TABLE OF CONTENTS
Foreword and Introduction . . . . . 2
Chapter One: Introduction to Basic Concepts . . 12
Chapter Two: Eternal Vital Union . . . . 20
Chapter Three: The Old or Fleshly Man . . . 29
Chapter Four: The New or Spiritual Man . . . 34
Chapter Five: Derived Benefits Associated With EVU . 42
Chapter Six: The New Man Added Onto the Old Man . 47
Chapter Seven: Regeneration The New Man Begotten. . 58
Chapter Eight: “Being Born Again” . . . . 67
Chapter Nine: The adoption of The Natural Man . . 73
Chapter Ten: The Glorious Triumph Of The Sons of God 76
1844 Eternal Vital Union and New Birth . . . 83
1890 Eternal Vital Union by Wm. M. Smoot . . 85
The Christian Warfare by T.P. Dudley . . . 92
Application of The Warfare . . . . . 109
1847Eternal Vital Union of Christ and His Church . 115
1912 Circular Letter on Eternal Vital Union . . 121
1833 Oneness of Christ and His People . . . 128
1852 Regeneration and Union . . . . 137
1877 Eternal Union To Christ, by J.M. Simmons . 141
Glorious Blessings of Eternal Vital Union, Battersby . 147
1844 Eternal Union to Christ, by Conklin . . . 159
Circular Letter on Eternal Vital Union . .............................. . 164
1858 The Old and New Man, Beebe ............................. . . . 171
Union of the Vine and Fruit of the Branches . ......................... 175
1877 Union, by R.M. Simmons . . . .................................. 182
1877 Eternal Union of Christ and His Church . . .................186
1879 THE dual Character of the Christian . . .
1890 Salvation of Sinners Smoot . . . . ................................192
Every spirit that confesseth that Christ is come in flesh. ......199
1872 Predestination Inseparable from Eternal Union He Hath Prepared for Them a City . .
The Kingdom That Shall Never be Removed Eternal Vital Union . . . . . . . . . . . . 201 206 210 218
ransom, redemption, reconciliation, etc. Even those that have a grasp of these topics are unaware of even more fundamental concepts useful to better understand the subject of eternal vital union. Hence, this chapter is of great importance in primary concepts set forth in the Holy Bible. We will begin with two concepts first introduced in Genesis, chapter one. You will have need of these as you follow this discussion. 13In Genesis 1, all created living things, both plant and animal, have within themselves the seed of their kind or phyla; [“kind” refers to the basic classification of the animal kingdom; “phyla” refers to the basic classification of the plant kingdom;] and they reproduce after their own kind or phyla: “And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.” Genesis 1:11. “And the earth brought forth grass and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.” Those are the two most basic concepts, and they have to do with the reproduction of all living things. All created things have the power of reproduction of like kind; and none of them have the power within themselves to produce a different kind or phyla. No created natural life can reproduce an uncreated spiritual life form. In short, no man can produce or reproduce an angelic being. We would point out that each “seed” carries within itself the germ of life, and this germ of life has the substance of seeds (plural) within itself, and therefore it reproduces generation after generation its own kind bearing seed of itself. Incidentally, it is this principle that keeps the “kind” or “phyla” from cross breeding or crosspollination. [We will not charge you extra for this hint: this makes evolution impossible! The chromosomes of each kind differ in number and this prevents reproduction between “kinds.” – Species within a “kind” sometimes do cross, but being hybrids, they cannot reproduce. –No charge a freebee!] However, this principle of creation is extremely important to remember as we deal with the natural birth of natural offspring and the spiritual birth of the spiritual generation of Jesus Christ. The flesh cannot crossbreed with a spiritual being. The former is physical and tangible, while the latter is neither physical nor tangible – “A spirit hath not flesh and
bones as ye see Me have,” said Christ to His frightened disciples Luke 24:39. Hence in regeneration nothing of the natural man can take on anything of the Spirit; so the natural spirit of a natural man cannot take on anything of the Spirit of God either. The two cannot crossbreed. Herein lays the major error in modern Christianity’s concept of decisional or applied salvation. We will have occasion often to remind the reader of this “first principle” of creation as we proceed. But store these two concepts in your mind. You have already seen the use of the word “seedsubstance” in the Introduction, and you will see that concept developed and applied often while covering the topic of eternal vital union. The “germ of natural life” within the substance of the seed(s) was created when God first created plant and animal life. When we refer to a “spiritual” seed, that seed can only produce a “spiritual” prodigy or offspring. That spiritual life has always been in Christ, the eternal, spiritual Seed. That life is the source of eternal vital union. When we speak of Adam’s natural seed, the “germ of life” in his seed can only produce after its own kind – a “natural” man. The “spiritual” seed cannot cross with the “natural” seed. If you give that some thought, you can quickly see that the many different views of the doctrine of regeneration can’t be true! Any idea that the spiritual birth will cross with a man’s natural being cannot be so. In addition, we note that “life” does not begin with conception. Life began with creation. The “germ of life” within the seed of man is directly conveyed ones." Zech. 13:7. The children are called the sheep. "All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all." Isaiah 53:6. Again it is said, "The Lord hath appeared of old unto me saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee." Jer. 31:3. Again, "I was set up from everlasting from
the beginning, or ever the earth was, &c. Then I was by Him, as one brought up with Him; and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him; rejoicing in the habitable part of the earth, and My delights were with the sons of men." Prov. 8:31.
If they were so early beloved as this, being His delights before time, before they were actually brought into visibility, have you, doubting Christian, any reason to fear but that He will remember you yet? Well may you sing with the poet: "Rest, doubting Saint, assured of this, For God hath pledged His Holiness." Remember, when He brought Israel out of Egypt or bondage, He would not suffer a hoof to be left behind. Nor will He now: Do you ponder the resurrection of the body? His word and His oath is confirmation enough; His love brought Him down from heaven for you; it caused Him to suffer, bleed and die that you might live; He is gone to prepare a place for you, and He will come again and take you unto Himself. Again, we would say that in consequence of this eternal union, God saw proper to reveal Himself under the character of Love to His elect children. Think you that He would thus have revealed Himself to poor fallen sinners had not this union existed? Have we not more reason to conclude that He would have revealed Himself as a Just God, and not as a Savior? But thanks be to His name, He loved us, and had provided every means necessary to complete our redemption from under the curse of the law. Again, it is written: "My substance was not hid from Thee (having direct reference to His body, the Church) when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see My substance, yet being unperfect, and in Thy book all My members were written, which in continuance were fashioned when as yet there was none of them." Psalm 139: 15. Again, Christ says, when
speaking of this people, "They are not of the world even as I am not of the world." John 17:14. How beautifully they are identified then; they are with Christ; they then have a heavenly origin. The Scripture saith, "And we know that we are of God," &c. 1st John 5:19. For it is said again, "They which are the children of the flesh (Adam's posterity), these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted for the seed." Romans 9:8. They are a peculiar people, and it is said that "He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath He seen perverseness in Israel. The Lord His God is with him, and the shout of a King is among them." Numbers 23: 21. How unchangeable then is His Love? Now, dear brethren, this people is loved equally and coeternally with Christ, joint heirs with Him, and we hear Him representing them to the Father, and pleading their cause, and saying, "I pray for them. I pray not for the world, but for them which Thou hast given Me; for they are Thine." And they will all be sanctified and cleansed, that He might present them to Himself, a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing. Dear Brethren, rejoice and give honor to His name. You will discover that we have said nothing about the opposite character that people of whom it is said, "But ye believe not because ye are not of My sheep, as I said unto you." John 10: 26. The command of the angel to John was to "Rise and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein, but the court which is without the temple, leave out, and measure it not." &c. Revelation 11:12. Now may "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the Communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all. Amen." UNION BETWEEN CHRIST AND THE CH We wish to offer an explanation for the peculiar format of this book. In the 1980’s, this writer taught Economics in High School. The Textbook Publisher marketed a book with bold characters for economic laws, principles, and new terminology. Having taught the “dismal science” for a number of years, he was surprised at the increased achievement of his students. After retirement, while posting numerous articles on the Internet, he had transcribed and used that technique in posting historical documents. He received numerous comments relative to the ease the readers had in grasping the emphasized concepts set in bold characters. We continue that method with deliberation in this book. – The Author and Editor.
ETERNAL VITAL UNION
By Stanley C. Phillips
In 2003 we released our book on “The Baptized Churches of Christ,” in which was a section on the “internal, eternal and immanent act of God” in divine election. The enclosed words in that sentence are used by John Gill in his chapter on “Union with Christ,” and that aspect of union he said he would not then deal with. Whether he ever did return to the subject, this writer is unaware, but the subject is frequently included in the writings of very eminent men of the past, including several very well received hymn writers. Thomas Bradbury wrote: “Betroth’d in love ere time began His bloodbought Bride with Jesus see; Made by Eternal Union one, Who was, and is, and is to be. Thus He became our Covenant Head, Charg’d with her sin the Saviour stands, To do, and suffer in her stead All that the righteous Law demands. Here Justice and the highest grace Met in the sinner’s only Friend; 3He freely took our lowest place; Oh! Love that does all thought transcend. When sunk in sin He’ll not disown Those sacred ties that made her His, But claim this partner of His throne, Thro’ floods of wrath and deep distress. Nor flood, nor flame, nor hell combin’d; Shall from His heart the Church divide, His blood the Eternal covenant sign’d When for her sins in love He died. Thus in His eyes she ever stood From wrinkle and from blemish free; Lov’d with the dateless Love of God, And blest by the great Sacred Three.” - Hymn 780, Sectarian Hymnal. Few have exalted the doctrine of eternal vital union with such clarity based upon the purest expression of the Gospel of the grace of God as in the hymn above. But the beauty so often portrayed by John Kent, the English hymnologist, who wrote “On Zion’s Glorious Summit” [and/or, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Host,” which is said to be the greatest hymn ever written in the English tongue], is not lost when he expressed his heart’s attachment to eternal vital union, which poem flowed so freely from his experience: “Before the daystar knew its place, Or planets went their round, The Church in bonds of Sovereign Grace Were ONE with Jesus found. 4In all that Jesus did on earth, His Church an interest have; Go, trace Him, from His humble birth, Down to the silent grave. ‘T’was for His saints He tasted death; All glory to His name; Yet when He breathed His dying breath, With Him His saints o’ercame. With Him His members, on the tree, Fulfilled the Law’s demands; ‘Tis “I IN them, and they IN Me”, For thus the UNION sands. Since Jesus slept among the dead, His saints have naught to fear; For with their glorious, suffering Head, His members sojourned there. When from the tomb, we see Him rise, Triumphant o’er His foes, He bore His members in the skies; WITH Jesus they arose. Ye saints, This UNION can’t dissolve, By which all things are yours; Long as ETERNAL years revolve, And Deity endures.” To those lines, here are a few additional ones by Kent that are familiar with those who sing his hymns:
5“In Union with the Lamb, From condemnation free, The saints from everlasting were, And shall forever be.” And another by Kent: “Hail sacred union, firm and strong! How great the grace, how sweet the song! That worms of earth should ever be ONE with incarnate Deity!” It is quite hard to imagine a living saint reading the above selections, and finding strong objections rising in his heart against the very Gospel contained so sweetly and powerfully in them. From whence is one’s salvation? How can a living, breathing saint object to the origin of His most important and cherished blessing? Yet, sadly we must report, some carrying the name “Christian,” [rightly or wrongly] who fight this truth even harder than that of Divine Election itself. Their dislike of predestination is eclipsed almost totally when compared to their opposition to this blessed Truth. Yet, the readers may return to these lines and read them again, and again, and if they know the tunes others sing them by, will burst out aloud in praise to the Triune God for such a glorious mystery as expressed by these gifted hymnologists. At times, Clark’s lines, so simple in themselves, increase a saint’s heart to a more rapid beat: “Space and duration God doth fill, And orders all things by His sovereign will: Respecting all the Holy Seed, Chosen IN Christ, their blessed Head. God’s jewels of electinglove 6
Were sanctified IN Christ above, In ONENESS WITH HIS nature pure, Jointheirs with Him for evermore.” Hymn 32, Sectarian Hymnal. With the release of the book, the discussion of eternal vital union on the Internet became rather lively. Many had never even given thought to the topic, others fought against it, still others making wild and illogical arguments in opposition, and some even claiming that “Stanley Phillips invented that doctrine.” In return, this writer began immediately posting articles on the Predestinarian Forum, writings by earlier ministers of this faith, and libraries and websites began filing them and posting them. The oldest article on the topic he found was John Gill’s in UNION of Christ and His people, (1772), and in America, the constitution of the Warwick Baptist Association of New York, in 1791, made reference to the topic. Throughout the first century of the Warwick’s history, that topic was one very often treated of in her Circular Letters. [We printed all the Circulars we could find from 1791 to 1890 in a twovolume set of over 1100 pages, principally to make this and related sentiments of the Particular Baptists faith in America available.] Today, as he begins this work, he typed in “Eternal Vital Union” on Google’s “Bing” searchengine and the subject is greatly enlarged. And too, the topic is presented positively by some and negatively by unbelievers in that subject. This writer yet marvels that anyone touched by divine power and love, and who understand the Gospel of Christ, could even find a pang of opposition against His great love and care for His children. They had first belonged to His Father [John 17:2,6,] and when Christ, as Wisdom, was “brought forth” [Proverbs 8:23,] they were given to Him as their Mediator, and His mediation commenced that early and will continue throughout eternity for these blessed people
“chosen IN Him before the foundation of the world.” Eph. 1:14. Hence, we conclude that it is a Biblical doctrine that should be renewed in our minds and hearts again. We say “again,” for it was shunned and opposed during the doctrinal downgrade period, commencing around 1850 to the 1890’s. By then the pulpits in America of all denominations were now silenced on the fundamental points of the historic Christian faith: the new emphasis became “getting church members” – any way one could! That has not ended, but there is a revival of interest in what has been termed “Calvinism,” – i.e., the doctrine of free and sovereign grace. And, the bedrock foundation of sovereign grace is the eternal vital union of all those chosen to salvation through the sacrifice of the Lamb of God who “taketh away the sin of the world” of God’s election of grace. As a part of this “introduction,” it should include just what is meant by “eternal vital union”. In a simple way it is expressed by former writers as “eternal election.” As Gill stated when considering election of men, he wrote: “This is to be understood of the choice of certain persons by God, from all eternity, to grace and glory. . . .This act is made in Christ, according as He hath chosen us in Him, Eph. 1:4. Election does not find men in Christ, but puts them there; it gives them a being IN Him, and union to Him; which is the foundation of their open being IN Christ at conversion, which is the manifestation and evidence of this.” [Of Election, Book II, Chapter II, page 128.] If such is eternal it has always been as God has always been, for He “is the eternal God.” Deuteronomy 33:27. How then can we grasp Gill’s observation that “election does not find us in Christ; but puts us in Christ?” He speaks of election. Christ, as the Mediator was “brought forth,” [Proverbs 8: 2231] within the Eternal Godhead. The bringing forth of Christ as the Mediator is expressed in the New Testament as “at the beginning;” or “in the beginning,” 8
even though it refers to an act in eternity. First He is brought forth as the first Elect, and the Father chose His people in seed substance, and “gave them to Him.” It is a needful point that we make: At no time is He not “one with the Father.” At no time is He not God. The eternal Godhead is never separated into distinct entities – He is one God. In the Godhead, however, Christ stands as the Mediator of those His Father gave Him, and it is revealed that they are in Him, as He is in the Father; that they are one with Him, even as He is one with the Father in the Godhead [John 17: 2123]. This union is seen in Christ’s intercessory prayer when He prayed to His Father, “Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am;” not “where I will be,” that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me: for Thou loved Me before the foundation of the world.” John 17:24. During times of revival in the revelation of Truth, many embrace the doctrine of eternal election. It is such a powerful and invigorating truth that its immediate response is one of joy and zeal. The doctrine of election takes centerstage to most other doctrinal sentiments and eclipses the eternality of it, and sometimes the Christcenteredness of it, too. Often believers unconsciously realize that election “before the foundation of the world,” of necessity is an eternal and living union with them in Christ in ages past. These believers are prepared to embrace and enjoy the endearing sweetness in the meditation of so many aspects of the truth. Eternal union, they comprehend, are founded in God’s eternal love for living objects of His delight, and of necessity is an actual living union in that life they receive in experimental salvation. Nothing can be more humbling, or more precious than the realization of Christ’s union to such as perceive themselves rightly to be “the chief of sinners.” How condescending, how magnanimous is the love and longsuffering of Christ! If it were not that faith “is a gift of God,” surely no one could believe that the pure and holy God could 9
consort with such sinners! It is an unbelievable truth! For an experimental child of God, the preciousness of his very Being is overwhelming! How the throbbing heart seems nearly to burst through his chest upon such a gracious revelation of the very heart of God! And how humbling the thoughts of what penalties of sins He endured for the salvation of His blessed seed! In the contemplation of the eternality of Divine and personal election to grace and glory, the eternal vital union of the saints as members of the Body of Christ – His Church – knits the offspring of the eternal God together in a sweet and enduring fellowship that is far better felt than can possibly be told. Men and women, total strangers in the natural flesh, are united together in love and unity, which love is the tie that binds the members of Christ’s family together as one body, with Christ as their Head. He is their Life, their Love, their Support and their Comfort above all things else. Far more important than eternal vital union is the Head of that united and eternal Life. May the sweetness and blessedness of this union be magnified a thousandfold in the bosom of the reader! While very few bearing the name “Christian” believe in divine election, of those that do believe in election who oppose eternal vital union, their main objection seems to be to the thought that there is a “living union” of Christ and His people from so early. They will admit that there is an “election of grace,” and they will concede that it was “before the foundation of the world.” The mystery is why they would object to it being “from eternity,” if they admit it was “before the foundation of the world,” – which is in eternity! They explain this inconsistency in that such – they think makes man as old as God! But they admit that all of the seed of Adam was in Adam when he was created, and agree that because of this seminal union, all the race of man fell into sin and ruin WITH Adam’s fall. But, again, they are inconsistent: They do not believe that any of the race today are as “old as Adam”! Why would the elect being in Christ in seed 10
substance make them as old as God, if the race of man was in the loins of Adam when he fell, and this does not make any of them as old as he? Somewhere in these inconsistencies must be the actual objection, in which they are unwilling to expose themselves publicly against. They have seemingly no objection to the elect being in union with Christ “in His mind and purpose,” “in covenant,” by “faith,” or by “the new birth.” What union remains is the union that actually exists in seed substance. However, the race of man being in Adam in seed substance seems not to be so disturbing to them in spite of the belief that this union was their utter ruin! In both cases, this union is a “living” union; that is, a “vital union.” But why oppose a “living” union? Is a dead union a union at all? Where is the source of this “living union”? What is it that one receives in his spiritual birth? Almost all agree that it is “eternal life.” It is this “life” that unites the spiritual seed of the elect to the spiritual life in God, and this “life” is often referred to in the New Testament as “eternal life” [John 3:15.] But why object to a union in eternal life to Christ, who is “eternal Life”? [And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son” – 1 John 5:11.] They do not object to one saying that “he that believes in Christ has eternal life, and is passed from death unto life.” Perhaps this gives man a little to do in the affair – and to that natural man seldom objects! So, their objection seems to be in their feelings, rather than anything of substance. Taken apart, piece by piece, they have no issue to oppose. Eternal vital union only declares that this union between Christ and His body is a living and an eternal lifeunion. It is so simple, one could justly say: Why then write a book on the subject? Because it is true, and is a vital truth in the election of grace of anyone to salvation. It holds within itself a sweet vitality when the eternal Spirit brings it to one’s understanding; and it exalts Christ as the eternal Mediator and God and greatly edifies the saints in their pilgrimage. They have an eternal Father; they 11
have an eternal home; they are married to the Lord; and both by divine election and the new birth “from above by the Spirit,” they are called the “children of the most high God.” It should be obvious now, that if eternal vital union exists, then those in this union must enter experientially into this union manifestly: by being born of God. We mean by “born of God” that God Himself procreates His offspring without the aid of preachers as midwives or pediatricians. That “eternal life” hid in Christ in God [Colossians 3:3] must, at some point in time, be passed on to the man who is its “vessel of mercy afore prepared unto glory.” Romans 9: 23. So one aspect of this book will need to deal to some length on how this eternal life is conveyed to the one that is born of God and given faith to believe in Christ. It is as important as the subject of eternal vital union which truth supports it. The two topics go “handinglove” with each other. A third aspect of this subject is the final adoption of the natural man who houses the spiritual man born of God, and in which immortality will swallow up its mortality in the resurrection at the last day. One illogical argument against eternal vital union is “that nothing is done for the natural man.” The truth is, all sin and transgressions are committed by the natural man, and thus everything God did in the obedience and sacrifice of Christ was done for the natural man for sinners. To deal with this aspect of the subject, we will have to touch on both the atonement of Christ and regeneration. The subject of regeneration is a very confused subject today and clarifying it is necessary to explain the connection between eternal vital union in seedsubstance and the way eternal life is committed to the sinner at his effectual calling to grace. May the Lord bless the writer to present the truth in clarity and edification, and the reader to be able to rejoice in the doctrine with great comfort of mind, heart and spirit. Amen. 12
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION TO BASIC CONCEPTS
The subject of eternal vital union, however simple to explain, is established upon Biblical concepts no longer used by ministers today. For many decades, ministers seem not to understand what a “birth” is, or what the reproduction process is. While they use the term “bornagain Christians,” how one is “born” a second time is absent from their preaching. To them, they would have the man or woman believe it consists of the prodigy choosing its on parentage, and even initiating a premature birth if they can become alarmed that they might die before they can be born! In any regard, they lead their listeners to think a birth is produced by a decision. In such a void, we must rebuild the foundation of the doctrine “from scratch.” Dr. Gordon Clarke, a theologian and philosopher of the Presbyterian Church, and former professor at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, told this writer that when he first began teaching at the college, the ministerial students were prepared sufficiently to engage in very lively conversations of thorny theological issues. However, by 1962, he said he had to take up the first semester giving theological definitions at the basic level prior to being able to lead the class in discussions. So it is today with us. Most readers seem not to understand such elementary concepts as atonement, propitiation,in one generation to produce the next generation, which in turn has his seed and will reproduce “after his kind,” etc., in yet other generations. Thus we read in Genesis 5:1,2, “This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made He him; male and female created He them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they
15were created.” Right here we think it proper to point out a very important truth Paul taught in the New Testament: “`Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of Him that was to come.” Romans 5:14. As a figure of Christ Adam possessed similar traits as Christ. Both Adam and Christ had their bride (as members) within themselves. Both had their undeveloped offspring in seedsubstance within them from “the beginning.” Both are thereby able to produce a “seed,” and their seed shall be counted to them a “generation.” We quote from the Messianic Psalm, 22: 30: “A seed shall serve Him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.” From Isaiah 53, “He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare His generation?” and, “He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.” Isaiah 53:8,10. We know that Jesus did not marry and have offspring according to His human nature; therefore His seed is a “spiritual” seed and His offspring are produced a ‘spiritual’ generation. I call your attention to Genesis 5:1, that book was of the generations, plural, of Adam; whereas with Christ, His seed produces only a generation (singular.) Matthew 1:1, says, “This is the book of the generation of Jesus Christ;” even though His genealogy is traced through both branches of the royal family of David by many generations (plural.) There is but one spiritual life, and it is “eternal life,” and this life is in His seed by which all of His children are begotten into a spiritual family – one generation spanning the whole of time. His seed is expressed as “the incorruptible seed,” whereas Adam’s seed is referred to as the “corruptible seed.” II Peter 1:23. We have mentioned seed substance of a parent which produces an offspring “after its own kind.” Interestingly, we once
16presented the Scriptures that we present below on an internet exchange. Immediately, an objector shot back: “Seed substance is not in the Bible.” It reminded me of an occasion when my nephew said “I believe the Bible is true.” I asked him if he believed in predestination. He said, “No – I don’t believe in predestination. It isn’t in the Bible.” So I presented him Ephesians 1:4,11; and Romans 8:2830. He still said: “I don’t believe in predestination as you.” I answered: “I didn’t say how I believed about predestination. I only asked you if you believed in it.” He answered, “It isn’t in my Bible!” And it wasn’t! After we used these Scriptures repeatedly, the objector constantly remarked that seed substance was not in the Bible. I hope better things of the reader than those! David personified Christ, the Word and Wisdom of God, in Psalm 139 in these remarkable words: “I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are Thy works; and that My soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from Thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see My substance, yet being unperfect; and in Thy Book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. [yet undeveloped.] How precious also are Thy thoughts unto Me, O God! How great is the sum of them!” verses 14 – 17. In Isaiah 6, The Lord promised judgment upon Israel but reserved a tenth from the slaughter: “But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.” verse 13. The reference is to the elect seed in Christ, which is a substance of life – the germ of life – which as the seed of a teil or oak tree is the source of the procreative powers of reproduction “in like kind.” The teil tree produces a teil tree; an 17
oak tree produces an oak. So too, the holy seed produces an holy seed as surely as a natural seed produces a natural man. The “holy seed” is the “incorruptible seed;” whereas the natural seed is a “corruptible seed.” The holy seed is in Christ and produces the spiritual offspring of God – “Christ in you the hope of glory.” The corruptible seed is in man and produces the fleshly, carnal, or natural man – born “dead in trespasses and sins.” These concepts are: Each lifeform has a seed within itself. Each seed contains the germ of its life within itself. The germ of life of each seed produces in “like kind as its self.” In reproduction of a kind, the germ of life conveys nature and likeness of its original creation. One kind cannot produce the likeness of a different kind. All life is reproduced in like kind as its parentage. “Seed substance” is a Biblical concept. The “teil tree” and oak tree are biblical examples of the seed substance. Psalm 139 presents the seed substance of Christ – His elect generation. II Peter 1:23 presents the seed substance in the regeneration process of the elect child of God. The natural man, or fleshly person is born of a natural and corruptible seed in its natural body, natural spirit and natural soul. The spiritual man is born of the spiritual incorruptible seed. The born of God child is a dual person: he is both an old man of the fleshly birth, and a new man of a spiritual
18birth: the old is the natural or outward man, and the new is the spiritual or inward man. We will later spend some time on the presence of both of these “men” in the one “vessel of honor afore prepared unto glory.” In regeneration a new man, or spiritual man is added onto the natural or fleshly man; but it does not change the basic inherent nature of the flesh into spirit. The hopedfor change of the born of God child from flesh to spirit will be produced in the bodily resurrection of the dead when mortality will be swallowed up on immortality. The resurrection change is Biblically referred to as adoption of the body of the children of God by Jesus Christ which change they wait in this time experience. While presenting definitions, we need to include another that the reader will have occasion to understand, We often refer to a period in Evangelical History in the United States between 1889 and 1900 The phrase “The Downgrade,” referred to an unusual movement found in religious circles, where overwhelming numbers of ministers and congregations watered down the doctrine of the Christian Church to make Christianity more conducive to the unregenerate natural mind of nominal believers. We borrow this term from Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s booklet title where he explains how the Baptist Union in England left off the preaching of the Christian faith creating a vacuum which was filled by Socinianism, Universalism, Arminianism, nonresurrectionism and decisional regeneration. In other words: a wholesale departure from Christianity by socalled “Christians.” The term downgrade is an analogy of steep mountain railroad grades, which often allowed runaway trains to crash in the valleys below. Spurgeon’s downgrade” was between 1850 to 1890. 19
Among American Evangelicals, the downgrade periods were between 1800 1830; 18501860 and 18861890. Only a very small remnant of churches after 1890 maintained the historic Christian faith. The masses embraced decisional regeneration and outreach programs to fill their organizations with members. Among many, the specific sentiments the Downgrades laid aside included” Eternal Vital Union, Eternal Election and Predestination, Particular Redemption, Total Depravity of Man, a bodily resurrection (Adoption) and Holy Spirit Regeneration. *****
CHAPTER TWO: Eternal Vital Union The origin of God’s elect people is found in eternity.
They were not developed then, but did actually exist in seed substance in Christ that early, and their eternal life that would be imparted to them in regeneration in this time world was “hid in Christ in God” Col. 3: 3, in that Seed, which Paul said, “is Christ.”Gal. 3: 16. It is perfectly reasonable that since God is Life, that He always has been, and this life was both spiritual, “for God is a Spirit;” – and eternal – for God cannot change; He is immutable. When we speak of an actual existence IN Him from eternity, we draw upon a Biblical principle Paul used in Hebrews in showing the priestly office of Levi as an example of the priestly office of Christ from outside of the family of Levi. Paul stressed that “And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, paid tithes in Abraham. For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.” Hebrews 7: 910. Now Abraham was not Levi’s father; Jacob was.
And Abraham was not Jacob’s father either; Isaac was! Yet Divine Inspiration traces one’s existence in the seedsubstance of his linage. Levi was the greatgrand son of Abraham, yet is credited with having paid his tithes to Melchisedec, the High Priest of God at Salem long before Salem became Jeru’salem in David’s reign. Why might this be so? We suggest it is so because the germ of life in Levi was the same as that in Jacob, in Isaac and in turn, Abraham, even as all mankind was in Adam’s seedsubstance when he fell, and they all became “dead in trespasses and sins;” “For all have sinned and came short of the glory of God.”Romans 3: 23. We can refer to the same in modern terminology by saying Adam’s DNA was passed on to his offspring and the reader may grasp this concept better. Paul used the same principle when he pointed out that all had sinned in Adam, even those “who had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression.” The whole race of man did not eat of the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” in the same manner Adam and Eve did. But that they all were present there and then in Adam’s seed (DNA), none can reasonably deny. Upon that self same divine principle, we insist with our Christian forefathers that (1) All mankind fell in Adam and became corrupt; (2) That the whole Adamic man became corrupt, including his germ of life in his procreating seed; (3) and Adam in that fallen state still was “a figure of Him that was to come,” that is, of Christ Romans 5: 14. Seeing then, that according to these divinely established principles showing that Christ was antitypical of the “first man Adam” and of Levi paying tithes while in seed substance in Abraham’s loins, we thereby prove the eternality of the spiritual germ of eternal life of each of God’s elect children. Clearly they are said to be “Chosen IN Him” our emphasis on the “in” “from before the foundation of the world,” and actually “were blessed with all
spiritual blessings IN Him” that early Ephesians 1: 14. If all this is so, and God’s love to them is “an everlasting love,” – Jeremiah 31:3, they had an actual existence, albeit undeveloped, from all eternity in their eternal life, in seed substance, in Christ Jesus. What a blessing is this! The ramification of this is so far reaching the reader will find his understanding expanding as he studies this far beyond the degree of truth he possesses at this point in time! This Truth staggers one’s imagination and greatly strengthens his faith. Surely amazing grace is free and sovereign as well! If one stops here and gives consideration to all the great and sublime sentiments of the Christian faith, he should discover that eternal vital union is the foremost of all Christian doctrine. No wonder Satan has diligently eroded its position from modern Christian thought! Destroy this, and the firm foundation of the Christian’s hope is immensely weakened! It is no wonder, too, that apostate “Christians” will lend their best arguments to its destruction! Again, stop and pause, reflect and wonder: how many sermons have you read on eternal vital union of Christ’ members to Himself from eternity? Yet its importance is unsurpassed by the doctrine of faith, of repentance, of baptism, of good works, election and even predestination. It is clear that past attacks against this truth has been to a great degree highly successful. How important it is for a believer to often repeat it with alacrity and excitement, insisting upon its restoration to the language of sovereign grace. This writer believes it should be a constant companion to all Christian studies and discussions. No Christian should be ignorant of any portion of this sublime topic. May it become a household phrase in every Christian environment – in every Christian exploration of Biblical exegesis. If that is the case, they can come to know some very well blessed people who love the Truth of free grace and search for
spiritual nuggets wherever they can find some. ‘Tis a pity we cannot introduce all of you to each other. My original purpose for this writing is based upon so many we have met that love the truth of free and sovereign grace, yet report they know of no place near enough that they can attend upon that precious Word. There are so many shallow sociologists and psychologists attempting to serve churches as midwives and pediatricians [to beget children for God!]; and we feel sure there is more livelihood for hirelings in that religious profession than driving a ditchdigger! But the Gospel of our Lord is paramount in the minds and hearts of those who made up our original audience. Just knowing that is some sure grounds for thanksgiving to our merciful God. We really are not alone in defending this historic Christian sentiment. We have found others that rejoice in the contemplation that God had a people, the delight of His heart, from everlasting. Someone recently noted that after many years as a “Calvinist,” he had just recently heard of the doctrine of eternal vital union. We have often thought of it as the “hidden truth,” because from 1791 to 1890, thousands believed and rejoiced in it, until some youths with brighter ambitions took the place of the established ministry in America, and thought they could be better received if they kept quiet about this and related doctrines of sovereign free grace. They kept quiet, alright, and the following generations never even knew it was once a delightful subject of common discussion in the cabins along the vast wilderness of our frontier. When John said, “I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem,” that Jerusalem Paul said is “the mother of us all,” “coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Revelation 21:2. The old ministers in the nineteenth century spoke of her as the “election of grace” in their manifestation via the new birth “from above.” For years we stumbled around attempting to understand the passage in
John 1:9, “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh INTO the world.” Something did not ring right to our understanding. We still thought the world “lieth in darkness,” hence how could it be that Christ lighteth “every man which cometh into the world” and yet they remain in darkness? But, the sweet and blessed doctrine of eternal vital union of Christ with His people showed me a better and more consistent answer to that problem. The nonelect portion never “came into the world.” They were always in the world in the loins of their fathers all the way back to the creation of Adam. They are “Adam’s generations.” Genesis 5:1. Then according to Matthew 1:1, the children of God are accounted to Christ as “His generation,” and they were “IN HIM before the foundation of the world,” – Ephesians 1:4; and hence being IN Him they of necessity were “in heavenly places IN Christ Jesus” from when they received “every spiritual blessing;” and this, too, before the foundation of the world. This was a promise the Father gave to Him: “A seed shall serve Him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation”. Psalm 22:30. Some people don’t believe that; some do but do not understand it; and some rejoice in it. The One in whom they lie in seedsubstance is said to be made unto them “wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” I Corinthians 1:30. He is reported in the same chapter to be “the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” verse 24. When the origin of the Wisdom of God is presented to us, we read our opening text: “The Lord possessed Me (the Wisdom of God) in the beginning of His way, before His works of old.” “I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.” [We deliberately emphasize the word “beginning,” for we believe it expresses the “everlasting” mentioned in this connection.] Continuing: “When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains
were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: while as yet He had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.” Proverbs 8:2226. Now Brethren, we forewarn you: there have always been heretichunters. In ages past, they scoured the land, and anyone looking like a “heretic” was hailed before the Inquisition, and only a hellish fiend could have invented the instruments of cruelty used to scare them into recantation. Today, all they can do is pull out the Greeting Lady’s Labeler, select the one that sounds the worst, and stick that label upon one. Well, here is a golden opportunity for some renowned heretichunter looking for a plume in his hat. Why? Because we see in this passage the eternal Godhead “bringing forth” Christ as “His first Elect,” and setting Him up as the Mediator between the people belonging to the Father and the eternal Godhead. Hence, as a branded heretic, We are insisting upon the preexistence of Christ Jesus as the Mediator, and He was set up “From the Beginning,” meaning His eternality as one with the Father. I shall quote more that fits in with this view: “ When He prepared the heavens, I was there: when He set a compass upon the face of the depth: when He established the clouds above when He strengthened the fountains of the deep: when He gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass His commandment: when He appointed the foundation of the earth: then I was by Him, as one brought up with Him: and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him; rejoicing in the habitable part of His earth’ and MY delights were with the sons of MEN.” verses 27 31. Just to aid any heretichunter reading this, we will hasten to add that these “sons of men,” belonged to the Father before He did all this in creation glory. And the Mediator rejoicing with them received them as a gracious donation of His Father to Him even this early. Paul records: “But we are bound to give thanks always to God
for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the Truth.” 2 Thess. 2:13. And, Christ prayed to His Father, saying, : “Thine they were, and Thou gavest them Me.” We would suppose that if Christ desired the salvation of any man, all He must do is intercede for him with His Father, for He declared that “My Father hearest Me always.” But He was very choosy about the wording of His prayer: He said, “I pray for them.” And lest some humanistic person incapable of reading very well should say that “meant everybody!” He is very careful and very specific as well. “I pray not for the world, but for them which Thou hast given Me; for they are Thine. And all Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine, and I am glorified IN THEM.” John 17: 9,10. Surely there is a prepared label for anyone believing this! While we are with John, maybe we can find another good starting place for a label or two. Jesus said, in the most quoted verse in the Bible, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. . .” – John 3:16. Some have suggested that this proves that the view that the elect are begotten of God and thus born as one of His children cannot be so, if Christ is the Father’s ONLY Begotten Son. We admit the KJV does translate the word “monogenes” as “only begotten.” However, that is not the Greek word when used with those that are begotten of God in 1 Peter 1:36, and by John in his use of the word. The word “monogenes” means only, or sole, born; and we believe that refers to the fact that “before the foundation of the world,” or from “everlasting,” when there was no man as yet, Christ was the sole One born of God in “the beginning.” To me, He must have been the only begotten of the Father that early for the Father to give to Him those that belonged to the Father. That transaction was an immanent and eternal, internal act of God, and establishes the grounds that Christ as the
Mediator was “born of God,” and “brought forth” before creation. Now, heretichunters can reel out their tape of labels and have at it! But while they are trying to determine if we are an Arian, a Sabellian, an Athanasius, or a Contantinian pagan, let us continue: What a blessing it is to contemplate the ramifications of such a glorious fixed certainty! Can you see such a blessedness, when our and David’s Lord said unto “My Lord, Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power,”(Psa. 110:5) and His Lord seemed to soar higher as He declared, “In the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning Thou hast [right then when they are donated to Him] the dew of Thy youth.” And then His Lord crowned Him with an anointing higher than all the priests called of men, saying, “The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” Psalm 110: 35. As soon as our Lord Jesus is brought forth, as soon as He is begotten of the Father, that soon was a people ascribed to Him as “Thy people,” and if they are His, and had belonged to the Father antecedently, then this is as early as they were IN HIM, and as early He stood as their High Priest, and this early they have been eternally secured IN HIM. Someone mentioned recently that he did not like the term “seedsubstance” referring to the elect in Christ from eternity, but added “I know of no better way of saying it.” We cannot imagine in our mind something being “spiritual” and having “substance,” either. Yet we are alright (as he was) with the terminology because it is Scriptural. Again, it was David that personified Christ in Psalm 139, writing: “My substance was not hid from Thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see My members, yet being unperfect; and in Thy Book all My members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.” verse 16. And all His people can rejoice and say with David, “How precious also are
Thy thoughts unto Me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with Thee.” Imagine, if you can, being IN and WITH Him in seedsubstance “When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” Job 38:7 If it can be written of Israel, may the same be written of all God’s elect children as a remnant, when it is said, “But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.” Isaiah 6:13. Again, we may give occasion to heretichunters: One objection has always been that “this view makes God’s elect as old as God – eternal.” Yes it does, as to origin. But which of these heretic hunters will say that Adam’s seed was not in his loins the day he came forth from his Creator’s hands and had the breath of life breathed into his nostrils? Where is the source of all men’s unrighteousness? What is Adam’s seed, except as it is revealed, “And you hath He begotten, not of corruptible seed,” which Adam’s surely is! And does this passage not prove conclusively that the child born of God is “begotten again” by “the incorruptible seed, the word of God that liveth and abideth forever.” We think so. There is a passage that all of us full well understand when we think of the mercy and grace of our God, “When we were without strength, Christ died for the ungodly!” “And You who were dead in trespasses and sins.” “If while we were enemies, Christ died for us.” Think: “In” Him! Owned by the Father first, and then Christ was brought forth and raised up first that He might have preeminence; And immediately the Father trusted in His hands the whole elect nation, that would be “born in a day.” And while lying in Him in seed substance He was rejoicing beside His holy Father in all parts of the inhabitable earth to be. To answer the objection: Since we were ALL
in Adam in seedsubstance in his loins, are any of us as old as Adam? Look at your birth certificate: Just how old ARE you anyway? Then don’t be silly! You were as much “being unperfect” in the last Adam as you were in the first Adam. And just as your birth date is the day you were “brought forth,” so is His, and so are the elects’ from their birth, conversion and development. But, ah dear believer! Why such carnal objections to such a magnanimous blessing! To be “found IN Him, not having my own righteousness” Paul could rejoice! And can you not also sing with him? “Sweet was the time when first I felt The Saviour’s pardoning love.” Have we not found the sweetness that free salvation is eternally in the Lord by undeserved, unlearned, unmerited, and surprising favor of God? This so great salvation commenced in the Father, and was donated to the Son, who faithfully maintains it through His Spirit. May God greatly surprise you with His mercies.
CHAPTER THREE: THE OLD, OR FLESHLY MAN “VESSELS OF WRATH EVEN AS OTHERS”
“Nay but, O man, who art thou that replieth 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 the other unto dishonor? What if God, willing to shew His wrath, and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that He might make known the riches of His glory on the
vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory. Even us, whom He hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?” Romans 9: 2024. We would call your attention to two classes of mankind in the above text. One is classified as “vessels of mercy,” which is said to be “afore prepared unto glory;” and the other are the “vessels of wrath” said to be “fitted to destruction.” In both cases, the individuals in both groups are worked upon by some power that makes them what they are. The “vessels of mercy” are “afore prepared unto glory,” whereas the “vessels of wrath” are “made fit to destruction.” Yet the apostle tells us in another place that there is no difference inherently between the two groups relative to their origin and nature. They both are “formed from the same lump of clay;” and, as Paul noted in Ephesians 2:3, “Among whom also we had our conversation in times past in the lust of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” In the above text, Paul in speaking of the “vessels of mercy,” makes mention that these are “afore prepared unto glory.” On the basis of God’s immutability or unchangeableness, and the fact that these vessels are denominated “vessels of Mercy” does this not establish the eternality of these vessels IN Christ? In other words, something is done for them to make them fit for a glorified state, which is not done for the “vessels of wrath.” Instead of preparing these latter for a glorified state, they are specifically said to be “fitted to destruction.” It would seem, considering their fallen condition in Adam’s apostasy, that there is little else needed to make them fit for destruction, but the implication is that there is some additional work to make them so. However, if considering the same fallen condition of the vessels of mercy, there seems a great deal of work must be preformed to make such appropriate objects of both mercy and glory. The distance between absolute holiness and
absolute depravity is as broad as daylight and darkness; good and evil; mercy and justice. Flowing out of the issues of the 1850’s “downgrade” period, there was a fallacious charge made against the faithful that they did not believe there was “anything done for the sinnerman, or “vessels of mercy” in their Adamic or outward, fleshly man. This, of course, was a very obvious unreasonable falsehood. The elect’s “natural man” – even though “by nature the children of wrath, even as others,” are the actual “vessels of mercy” as to their bodily existence. And as such, these “were afore prepared unto glory.” The whole scheme of salvation was done by Christ for this preparatory work in making the natural man of the elect fit subjects of the indwelling Presence at regeneration. All that Christ came to do, and did actually accomplish, was to this very end. We wish here to cover this subject much more indepth than otherwise necessary, simply because the natural mind [which is enmity against God] seems intent on thinking that since the elect’s inner man that is begotten and born of God is the spiritual man and thought (by many) to be the child of the resurrection, that the bodily man is of little to no importance in salvation. This falsehood lends support to its companion error that there is no bodily resurrection. Of course, if there is no bodily resurrection then there is no resurrection at all, since there is nothing else left to be raised up after death. [In death, the natural spirit of man which glued the soul and body together returns to God who gave it; the natural soul immediately is torn from the body and goes to its destined end, and funeral parlors bury the empty body. Only the body is left to “be raised up.” I Corinthians 15: 1317.] What then has Christ done for the elect’s “vessel of mercy” or outward man?
All sin, iniquity and transgressions are in or done by the natural man. In referring to the natural man, the apostle speaks of the outward man, or “old man,” and describes his basic nature thusly: “That ye put off concerning the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.” Ephesians 4:22. In describing the activities of the “inward man.” Paul calls these “fruits; whereas when describing the activities of the “natural” or “outward” man he called these “works” – “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulation, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like; of the which I told you in time past, that they that do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:1921. In that one sentence Inspiration has covered the whole spectrum of human activities and assigned them all to the natural or fleshly man. If there is to be a glorified bodily resurrection of these corrupt bodies, there imperatively must be some way legally to clear them of guilt, and pay the penalty for each and every violation of God’s holy Law; His law stands fully against every one of these “works of the flesh,” hence leaving the just judgment of God fully against every one of these “vessels of mercy.” The “afore preparation” of these vessels include specifically what Christ as the Lamb of God came into this world to do – “save His people from their sins.” In dealing with this series of actions by Christ, we must next point out the “federal” or representative union of Christ with all His elect “vessels of mercy.” We are considering them here, not as yet possessors of their eternal life, but as they are in their fallen nature as objects of Christ’s purification and satisfaction. For Christ to take over their debt or wages of sin, to cancel that debt, He must legally represent them before His Father’s face. He does that as the divinely appointed Mediator between them and the
justice of God. As Mediator, He stands “between,” suggesting He can lay His hands upon both the offender and the One offended. To do this, He represents them as their “Advocate” with the Father. He federally becomes ONE with them so that whatever He does they are legally considered to also have done. This is what we mean by “federally.” [Under our Federal Constitution when the House initiates a revenue bill, and it is passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the President, you, the citizen represented by your Representative and Senator have legally passed the bill. That is an example of “federalism.”] By God imputing their sins to Christ, He became their federal representative, and whatever was required of them by God’s law, He performed in their stead, and they are legally considered to have fully met the demands of the law of God. As having paid the debt, “There is now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.” “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect; it is Christ that died.” All this transaction was done for sins committed in their bodies – the natural man, or fleshly man, or outward man. Thus these vessels, even “if children of wrath even as others,” are surely objects of God’s mercy! Keep in mind that we still are speaking of eternal vital union; only of their destined bodies prior to their birth of the Spirit. Even prior to the reception of their eternal life by regeneration, they are made or “afore” prepared unto glory. It was their fleshly body that was the object of redemption; it was their fleshly body that was ransomed by Jesus’ blood; it was their “earthen vessels” that gained satisfaction over their sins; it was this “sinnerman” that received the propitiation; and it was them – prior to being born of God, that were reconciled unto God by the death of His Son. Now, considering the above, why would anyone think that “nothing was done for the body,” since everything done was for it! And, considering the intense suffering of Christ for the penalties of
the sins done in their bodies, why would anyone surmise that He will do all that, and then not “raise IT from the dead”? Isn’t that preposterous to even consider? We could take each of the above blessings and expand upon them, but believe this is sufficient to make our point. Election, sanctification, redemption, reconciliation, propitiation, satisfaction, covers an enormous work of Christ in representing the fleshly man. Now that all these necessary things have been done which were for the full acquittal of each and every elect vessel, they are NOW “afore prepared unto glory.” They are NOW fit subjects for the indwelling Spirit of God. As earthen vessels prepared as recipients of God’s indwelling Presence, at the appointed time of their second, and spiritual birth, they each stand fully prepared, lacking nothing. They are already legally saved, and in time, shall be called with a holy calling by the Spirit in a spiritual birth within them. A finished salvation accomplished; an applied salvation to commence.
CHAPTER FOUR: THE NEW, OR SPIRITUAL MAN “TREASURE IN AN EARTHEN VESSEL”
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us .” 2 Corinthians 4:7. Everything that has to do with creation or salvation is so designed by the God of heaven that all the glory should be ascribed to Him, and none to the creature. There is never any room for boasting before our God. Only a moment of reflection should remind us that the reception of a spiritual birth must be exclusively of God if He is to have all the honor and praise in our
salvation. Any suggestion that the Creator of the universe needs a midwife or a pediatricianpreacher to procreate His own progeny is a blatant demonstration of spiritual ignorance. Surely it can not be a sustained thought that God made and upholds a universe, made man, and then can not do with or to him what He pleases. Yet far too often one can conclude that this is exactly what modern “Christianity” presents to the church and the world. It can be no wonder that few people have a “fear of God” within them. As He is often presented, what is there to fear of Him? The above text declares why God has designed the implantation of the glorious Gospel of grace in such a manner that human cooperation or decisionism should have no voice in the matter. The excellence of the power of God in us is wholly or exclusive of God Himself unaided by creature merit. This writer was acquainted with a lady – “Sister Be’at” or “Aunt Beatrice,” as she was known – in Arkansas. As a teenager near Dothan, Alabama, she attended an evangelical revivalist’ meeting. Each night the preacher attempted to direct his remarks pointedly to Be’at. Each night he insisted that if one would not let God save him, He would send them to hell. On the last night of the “revival.” He confronted the young lady: “If you do not let God save you tonight, you may have sinned away your day of grace, and He will send you to hell,” said the revivalist. “No He wont,” said Miss Be’at. “He certainly will replied the preacher! What makes you think He will not damn you?” “I wont let Him!” answered Miss Be’at!” “You can’t prevent God from damning you!” replied the preacher. “What?” answered the Lady, “Do you mean your God is sovereign in damnation, but helpless in salvation?” Stammering, the befuddled preacher had no answer. But, long years later, the Lord in His mercy called her by His grace, and added her to His church. In spite of the silliness and simpleton preachers of the DownGrade, the
children in Christ’s seed substance will invariable be, “born from above.” The ordained way for life and immortality to be made manifest in the elect – these “vessels of honor” is by a “birth from above.” There is but one way that one enters into a vital existence and that is by birth. This is true in nature, and it is equally true in the spiritual realm. Decisionism never produced a baby! Although, its parentage may have made a decision to try to have one; and in the case of the new birth, the only decision with any power to accomplish that birth was God’s! Certainly, not the offspring! The germ of spiritual life lies in the seed of the eternal God: and that “seed is Christ.” Galatians 3:16. The apostle John makes it clear that the new birth is not decisionmade, persuasionproduced, or of the creature. He wrote: “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is [not will be] born of God; and every one that loveth Him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of Him.” 1 John 5:1; and, “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” 1 John 5: 11 12. In regeneration these earthen vessels, “vessels of mercy afore prepared unto glory” become the receptacles for the spiritual conception and birth. It is by this experience that they are “passed from death unto life.” The elect vessels in nature having been “dead in trespasses and sin” have had the wages of sin atoned for by the suffering and death of Christ in their behalf, which gracious work prepared them to be holy vessels sanctified for the Master’s cause, and made the vessel to receive the power and glory of the indwelling Christ: “Christ in you the hope of glory.” Since they were in nature born of a fleshly birth, and now born a second time of a spiritual birth, they become a complex person. They are two men in one, a
natural outward or fleshly man and a spiritual inward man. They are partakers of the nature of Adam, and are partakers of the divine nature. In their outward fleshly nature they feed upon natural elements only. They are of the earth, earthy and all their sustenance is of the earth: food, drink, and air. At the same time, their inward spiritual nature is heavenly, and nothing of the earth can feed or satisfy their spiritual nature. That second nature feeds upon Christ, His Word, and the fellowship of His begotten children, none of which can sustain the natural man. They are truly the “earthen vessels” that possess the power and glory of their spiritual kingdom. The blessed sweetness of this internal work is the basic foundation for all comfort and strength in their trials and afflictions, and the greatest of these are due to the Christian warfare raging within. Truly He that is in them is greater than the world, and their wretchedness is relieved only by the spiritual support found in the Lord Jesus and the word of His grace. The spiritual lifeunion of these vessels of mercy extends back before time and existed in the eternal vital union of Christ with them. It is these, in union with Christ, which are born within the earthen vessels of the flesh in the new birth. It is not the old man “born over again the second time” in whole or in part. This point we would call your special attention, because the view that the flesh is bornagain is the foundational error for every other misconception of the new birth. Hence we should consider it separately here. It staggers the imagination to think that the Almighty Eternal Creator God would establish business franchises or broker houses to partial His eternal life out for them to offer it to men and women of their choosing. It is absolutely shocking to hear some of these brokerspreachers tell whole congregations: “God Himself cannot save you separate and apart from my preaching to you!” The impartation of life is always by the possessor of that seed of life.
This is obviously true in nature; how much more in the spiritual realm! How stunning it is to hear that God has done nothing for the fleshly man! What God has done for sinners is the greatest and sweetest message of all ages to a poor sinner that has found himself and all he does as unprofitable and futile. Such theories fall into the rank of unbelief as much as the theory of a nonresurrection of our bodies! If the natural man is the object of the spiritual birth, the creative principle that “life begets like kind,” is not true. If the invisible Spirit can crossbreed with a visible creature, then which specie will be dominant: flesh or spirit? If so, Paul’s assertion that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God,” would be a false assertion. If the flesh is born over again, either in whole or in part as a spiritual being, how then shall one appear before others, seeing that “a spirit hath not flesh and bones” as Jesus declared? Will he be half visible or half invisible? If so, which half? The best declaration we can make to prove such a birth is impossible can be drawn directly from a saint’s own experience: If we are born over again a spiritual being, why are we still found to be sinners? Why do we mourn over our sins and transgression? Why do we yet pray for the forgiveness of sins? In other words, if that were true, why are we thus? Such is a contradiction between opinion and experience; theory and fact. Such would be a classic example of an oxymoron: two mutually exclusive principles. Whatever the view of Biblical regeneration is, it surely must be more sound and solid than the view that the natural man is born over again by the decision of the flesh, by the Spirit or by some percentage of each. If such were true, we have never yet met any man or woman that is born of God! They all have “feet of clay.” All, we suppose, must agree that far too many professed “bornagain Christian” show more evidence of their carnality than spirituality.
When giving the above consideration, the dual nature of a bornofGod child appears most consistent with reality. The “earthen vessel” is of the fleshly birth and as such possesses the “old man with his evil deeds” in his nature even as he is also the recipient of the spiritual birth. This is, we believe, the reason Paul refers to the natural man that is born a second time as “the earthen vessel.” The word “vessel” implies a “container.” In Romans, Paul refers to the earthen vessel of the elect as “vessel of mercy;” and by adding the phrase “afore prepared unto glory” identifies the earthen vessel as being the object of the redemptive work of Christ. The word “afore” shows that this redemptive work of Christ preceded the new birth experience and was necessary to prepare the vessel to receive the spiritual begetting and birth of the “new creature” or “new man.” This view of the natural man being the recipient of the new birth experience is supportive of the doctrine of the eternality of vital union of Christ and His people. That eternal life promised and given to all true believers in Christ had to have come from some place; it had to have existed some where because it is “eternal” life. And the only place the Scriptures assign it to have been preserved antecedent to the new birth is “in Christ.” And the Scripture assigns that place IN Christ to have been in “His seed.” By being in His seed, the newly born child is counted as “Christ’s generation.” “A seed shall serve Him, and it shall be counted unto Him for a generation.” Psalm 22: 30. The New Testament – particular the book of Matthew – is said to be “This is the book of the generation of Jesus Christ.” Matthew 1:1. It is highly unreasonable for one to argue that “eternal life” had a beginning. The adjective “eternal” describing this spiritual life can only mean that it had no beginning. Hence, it is reasonable to insist that this eternal life was preserved some where “before the foundation of the world.” Ephesians 1:4. It is equally reasonable to 39insist that this “eternal life” existed some where prior to its implantation within an elect vessel by the Spirit’s begetting. The apostle Jude says where it was rather clearly: “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called.” Jude 1. This is consistent with Paul in Ephesians 1, “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world. . .” verse 4. John, in another place, speaking of Jesus, wrote: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him not any thing made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.” John 1:14. Our point is that the eternal life that is the vital union of Christ with His people was IN CHRIST, and that eternally. Here we discover that this Life is the creating Word of God. This we can easily substantiate in Genesis 1: “And God said, Let there be light” verse 3. “And God said, Let there be a firmament.” verse 6. “And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place.” verse 9, etc. In the begetting of eternal life within an earthen vessel, it is said by Paul to be by the Word of God. [It is imperative to point out that Paul did NOT say, nor intend, that this Word was by a preacherman. God is older than man – He can speak for Himself!] “So then faith [not life] cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” verse 17; and the Apostle Peter clearly indicates the same in 1 Peter 1:23: “Being born again, not of corruptible seed [which is the source of the natural birth], but of incorruptible, by the Word of God which liveth and abideth for ever.” As a side note, many “Christians” think this word is the Gospel, or some small portion thereof. Of course in many sermons there is no quotation of Scriptures at all! Just a sociological thesis! However,
God is not speech impaired. Jesus Christ Himself is the Word “which by the Gospel is preached unto you.” 1 Peter 1: 25. This chapter is about the treasure in the earthen vessel; and this treasure demonstrates the excellence of the power is of God and not of us. The power to produce spiritual life surely is exclusively of God – a SPIRIT; the agency of this power is the Word of God, which is Christ; and the power itself lies in the germ of eternal life “hid with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:3. In summation, the foundation of all natural and spiritual life is in God. In speaking of spiritual life, this foundation is found to be eternally in living union in and with Christ. Christ with this eternal life in Him is the exclusive source of all spirituality and spiritual life. Hence, in this view of salvation, “Christ is the power of God and the Wisdom of God,” and all the praise and glory is to Him. In this view of eternal vital union there is no loophole to allow some ignorant “Christian” to interject man into the work other than as a helpless passive recipient. There is no vacuum left to allow decisionism, evangelicalism; proselyting, outreach programs, and charlatanism to invade the doctrine. The ultimate result of the doctrine of eternal vital union is “to the praise of the glory of His grace.” Ephesians 1:6
CHAPTER FIVE: DERIVED BENEFITS ASSOCIATED WITH ETERNAL VITAL UNION
Too little attention has been given to an overwhelming number of blessings which flow directly to the saints by way of their
standing IN union with Christ. We call your attention to two meaningful words that identify some of the most precious blessings the saints have of which they seldom grasp. First, the word “in” as connecting the saints to Christ from eternity. Most are familiar with the verse in Ephesians 1:4, “According as He hath chosen us IN Him before the foundation of the world.” But there are many more than this! Another similar word with profound consequence for the saints is “WITH” Him. It is important to consider that to be “with” someone, or some thing, one must be in the approximation and timeliness of the one they are “with.” Without eternal vital union there is no other way the elect were in Judea when Christ was born, circumcised, baptized or in Jerusalem at the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The reader may immediately think of numerous texts that indicate they were “with” Him then and there; and this is fully reasonable if they were “IN” Him from before the foundation of the world. These blessings are the saints only by virtue of eternal vital union, and we will make note of many such passages under this heading. We will include some that are more obscure than others. The reader may study the principle upon which this chapter deals in Genesis 14, and coupled with Hebrews 7. In Genesis 14, Lot, Abram’s nephew, is taken captive by the Elamites and their confederates in Canaan. Abram armed his trained servants and made war against the “Five Kings,” and rescued Lot and reclaimed his property. On Abram’s return, Melchisedec high Priest of Salem met him, and it seems pretty much like presentday preachers, he thought Abram owed him something. Abraham refused to give him the spoils of war, but gave him a tithe of the spoils. At this point in time, Jacob and his twelve sons are not yet born. However, according to Paul in Hebrews 7,
Levi, who was given the priestly office as an inheritance in Israel during the Exodus, paid tithes to Melchisedec. How did Paul arrive at that conclusion? Through inspiration, Paul noted that Levi was seminally in Abram’s loins when he met Melchisedec. It is this same principle upon which the doctrine of eternal vital union stands: All the elect being given by the Father to Christ before the foundation of the world, they were in His seed in like manner as Levi was in Abram’s seed when he paid the tithe to Melchisedec. By this same principle, the elect having existence in seed substance in Christ, whatever Christ did, where ever He went, etc, so it is accounted to those in Him also as if they did and went. With that in view, follow the many illustrations in the Scriptures where this principle is applied. In Jesus’ mediatorial prayer, He made reference to this principle, saying, “And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.” John 17:23. The principle of approximation is in the following verse: “Father, I will that they also whom Thou hast given Me, be WITH Me WHERE I AM. . . .” [not where I will be]. Where was He? He was near Bethany and this was the eve of His trial and execution. His prayer is that they be considered IN and WITH Him and partaker of His crucifixion. Read on: “that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me: for Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world.”verse 24. That they did see His glory, John bares record, saying, “We beheld His glory; the glory of the only begotten of the Father.” As Jesus testified, “My Father heareth Me always,” what was this He asked of His Father? That all His elect be accounted in and with Him in His sacrificial suffering and death, and this will be borne out in other Scriptures we yet will
consider. We deem that nothing is more profoundly important than these principles of eternal vital union of all God’s elect in union in and with Christ, especially in His obedience, life, death and resurrection in their behalf. Paul wrote: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20. In the absence of eternal vital union, in what other sense can Paul mean that he is “crucified WITH Christ?” But, if he was IN Christ when Jesus was crucified, certainly he had legitimate grounds to make this claim. So it is in other expressions. “Even when we were dead in trespasses and sins, hath quickened us together with Christ (by grace are ye saved;) and hath raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” and “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:6 & 10. Another direct benefit of being in Christ by eternal vital union is found in Colossians 1: 21 22: “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He hath reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblamable and unreproveable in His sight.” By virtue of being in Him, the child of God stands reconciled to God and as reconciled he is both unblamable and unreproveable in the sight of God. Men and conscience may find much in us to blame and reprove, for they can only look upon the “old man” and he is full of “wicked works.” How much more precious it is that this is not so in the eyes of Him whose observation is of real importance to us? In addition, it should be noted that they are already reconciled. This is a past tense reconciliation and hence it is not something left to be done by our works.
The perfection the saints feel they fall so far short of is also already found by virtue of the saints’ standing in union with Christ, for “And ye are complete in Him, which is the Head of all principalities and powers; in whom also ye are circumcised WITH the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:” Again, in the following verse, we find their union with Christ. In the absence of eternal vital union, how can Paul write: “Buried WITH Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen WITH Him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses; etc.” Colossians 2: 1013. How often we have heard “there is but one Lord, one faith, and one baptism,” meaning someone’s dipping in water by some religious group(s) claiming exclusiveness of authority to administer the ordinances. May we suggest that the “baptism of Jesus Christ” by John in the river Jordon “was of heaven,” and by virtue of eternal vital union all the elect were, as the above passages state, IN Him and WITH Him in His baptism. Otherwise, how can it be said they were buried with Him, and raised with Him. We were even in and with Him when He was circumcised on the eighth day according to the law (verse,11). By extrapolation, being in Him when He obeyed the law, all His elect also obeyed the law, and hence “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are IN Christ Jesus, &c.” Romans 8:1. This point is confirmed by the apostle in Romans 5:19, “For as by one man’s (Adam’s) disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one, (Christ) shall many be made righteous.” Isaiah closes his Book with a halfdozen questions: “Who hath heard such a thing? Who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be
made to bring forth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? Then he answers the questions, saying: “For as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. Shall I bring to birth, and not cause to bring forth? Saith the Lord: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? Saith thy God” Isaiah 66: 810. We know of no other way that this prophecy could have been fulfilled except by the actual existence of all Zion’s children being “chosen IN Him from the foundation of the world,” and being found in Christ in seed substance, Zion brought forth all her children IN Him the day He was born in Bethlehem of Judea. They were all “in” Him from eternity when His Father gave them to Him and set Him up as their Mediatorial Head; and they were all “in” Him that day He took upon Himself the form of man to bear their sins “in His own body on the tree.” They were in Him at His circumcision in the temple, and were said to be “circumcised with Him.” They were there in and with Him in seed substance when He was baptized and are said to have been “baptized with Him.” They were in and with Him in seed substance when He came under the law, and was found in obedience to the law. By His obedience to the law He attained a righteousness which He imputed to them as if they had obeyed it themselves. “As in Adam all die; so in Christ shall all be made alive.” Thus the Scriptures repeatedly insist that they “are all dead,” and when He arose from the grave, then and there too, the Scriptures say they “arose.” Interestingly, He ascended to His Father in His resurrection, and here too, the Scripture says they “sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Surely wherever the great Head of the body is, there also must be the members of that body. But, in what sense? by virtue of their eternal living union in and with Him. We could add length to this chapter by considering their justification, reconciliation, redemption, sanctification and glorification – all being by virtue of their standing relation with
Christ, for “both he that is sanctified and He that sanctifieth are of one.” “Thou hast been our dwelling place through all generations.” “In all their afflictions, He was afflicted.” “A seed shall serve Him and it shall be counted to Him for a generation.” Of all the doctrine of the historic Christian faith, eternal vital union is the most fundamental of them all, and we believe we have more than amply proven this point herein.
CHAPTER SIX: THE NEW MAN ADDED ONTO THE OLD MAN
This chapter is an attempt to show how the sinner is born a second time rather than being born all over again as most often presented by modern decisionalsalvationists. We wish to strongly insist that the natural man stays a natural man after the new birth experience. While there is a change in circumstances with the habitation of a spiritual man within, nevertheless the natural or “old man” remains in nature unchanged. His carnal mind is yet carnal, and is enmity toward God. It is still “not subject to the law of God, and neither indeed can be.” His natural heart, or affections, is still “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” His natural conscience is yet “defiled,” and ‘seared as with a hot iron.” The natural man still “receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are [still] foolishness unto him: neither can he [even now] know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14. Yet, being now a possessor of a spiritual man within, he has the “mind of Christ,” and the next verse says: “But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged (or discerned) of no man.” verse 15.
In this chapter we are considering the natural or fleshly man as the earthen vessel possessing a spiritual addon, an appendage of a spiritual man begotten within his earthen vessel. This appendage does not negate all the glorious expressions of love that Christ made manifest in His active and passive obedience to the law of God in their behalf. It does, however, show the blessedness of the redemptive work of Christ and the blessings He has obtained for them. Some repetition will be necessary, for we shall attempt to keep the reader focused on two totally distinct types of lifeforms inhabiting one human body: the new man within the old man; or, a spiritual lifeform within a natural lifeform. The true Christian is indeed a “peculiar” person when compared with the natural race of mankind. By the words “addon” we mean that instead of the natural, fleshly, or “old man” being born over again by the Spirit, the Spirit implants eternal life within the natural, fleshly, or “old man,” and this eternal life is derived from the incorruptible seed, which is Christ. In the 1840’s there was a debate on this subject, and objectors tried to find some part, or place within a “sinnerman” that was born over again, and argued that the new birth changed the “old man” into a “new creature.” If, they argued, eternal vital union was true the implantation of eternal life would modify the nature of the natural man. Samuel Trott of Virginia used Jesus as an example to refute that argument. He pointed out that Christ was the Son of God before His incarnation and remained the same with His incarnation. The humanity of Jesus derived from Mary did not modify His deity, but rather humanity was added onto His deity for His office of Mediator. The Scripture Trott used was from Hebrews 2: 14. “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the
devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” The adding onto Jesus the natural, fleshly body of flesh and blood did not destroy or modify Jesus’ Divine nature. So too, the introduction of the eternal life in the spiritual birth did not change the fleshly nature of the “Old Man with his evil deeds.” This view is consistent with the experience of the saints who yet mourn over the evil deeds of their natural fleshly nature – that is not eradicated by the new birth as any who have a hope will testify. At this point we wish to call the reader’s attention to a little known Scripture which is extremely important when discussing this aspect of the subject. In 1 John 2:8, John wrote, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Yet in chapter 3, the same apostle wrote: “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for His seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” verse 9. It may help to shed some light on this seeming contradiction by looking at chapter 5, verse 18, “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.” Apparently these Scriptures are a mystery to many scholars, as evidenced by the twisting and turning seen in the writings of many as they attempt to harmonize them. Yet if viewed in the light of the doctrine of eternal vital union these Scriptures are in perfect harmony as written. John is speaking in the first Scripture quoted of the natural man, for it is certain that if in our nature we say that we have no sin, we are either a liar or deceived. But, when we speak of that man, that spiritual man born of God, the spiritual man cannot commit sin “because he is born of God.” Who would think that God could sin? Who would think that which is begotten of GOD could commit sin? Again, we speak of two very distinctly different offspring in one earthen vessel. One
“cannot cease from sin,” and the other “cannot commit sin.” The first one born is begotten of “corruptible seed,” while the second one born is begotten of an “incorruptible seed.” In eternal vital union there is a union of Christ with His seed which union can never be divided. It is not merely a nominal union nor yet a covenant union. It is far more than a mere thought in the mind of God. It has substance in the seed and capable of reproduction of “like kind” at the ordained time and place by the Holy Spirit. While the “vessel afore prepared unto glory” is found in nature without hope in this world or the world to come, his eternal life is hid in Christ in God, and at some point in time, he will be begotten of the Holy Spirit and take up his abode within his earthen vessel. Rather than have the reader to take this writer’s view without collaboration, we again present Samuel Trott in 1833, primarily to let it be known that we did not invent this doctrine. Trott wrote: “I will present for consideration what appears to me to be the Scriptural doctrine of the union of Christ and His church. Instead of that nominal union which many talk of, which is produced by the creature’s believing – the Scriptures speak of a real union, a oneness, “Both He that sanctified and they who are sanctified are all of one,” is the Scriptural testimony (Hebrews 2:11) and so I believe. I cannot conceive how the spotless Lamb of God could be made to bleed, or breeding, how His blood could sanctify or cleanse from their sins any of the family of Adam unless such a union previously existed between Him and them as made their sins, of right, chargeable to Him; and His suffering of death and enduring of the curse, accounted as done by them. Instead of this union being founded in Christ’s assumption of human nature; the Scriptures speak of His taking flesh and blood as a consequence of His relation to children who were partakers thereof, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; &c.” What children? Those
of whom Christ says, “Behold I and the children which God hath given Me,” Hebrews 2, 13,14. “Instead of this oneness being a union of feeling or of views, the Scriptures speak of it as a oneness of life. Hear the Apostle; “Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God, when Christ, who is your life shall appear &c.” Colossians 3:3,4. The life which is one in the Head and in the body, was in the only begotten of the Father, from the beginning; for “in Him was that life” which is the “light of men,” John 1:4, compared with vs. 14. Hence as it was said of Adam Geneses 5: 1,2 “In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made He him. Male and female created He them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created;” so it must have been with Christ, when He was “set up from everlasting, from the beginning, and brought forth when there were no depths” Prov. 8: 23,24. He must have been brought forth a perfect Christ, head and body, He and His bride in Him. Hence His people were “chosen in Him, (not into Him) before the foundation of the world;” and they were “created in Christ Jesus unto good works” and as Christ not as the essential Word, He is the “Beginning of the creation of God” Ephesians 1:4; 2:10 & Rev. 3:14). Christ was thus another or second Adam (last Adam), not of the earth, earthy, but the “Lord from heaven;” not a living soul merely, but “a quickening spirit.” 1 Cor. 15: 45, 48. Again as Eve when produced from the original creation in Adam, was “bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh; so the church in her quickened members, being born again, born of the Spirit, they are manifested as members of Christ’s body; and are His flesh and bones, spiritually. [See Genesis 2:23 & Ephesians 5:30.] Thus Adam both as a husband and a head was” a “figure of Him that was to come.” Romans 5:14. “As is the distinction between the two heads of families: Adam’s and God’s – the first man and the second man, so is the
distinction between the two lives brought forth severally in the distinct heads; consequently, so is the distinction between the bonds of union by which each Head is united with its body and members. The one bond is earthly; the other is spiritual; the one commenced in time and is dissolved in time; the other commenced in eternity, and therefore unchanged by time, will be eternal. “The one head, Adam, being created under the law, and his posterity seminally in him, they as servants are driven by the terrors of the Law. The other Head, Christ, as the Son of the Father, was set up and His posterity in Him, under the everlasting covenant, that is ordered in all things and sure, they are therefore as sons loved with an everlasting love, and with loving kindness are they drawn” to Him. Again, as the members of Adam’s family, or of the creation in him, are made manifest as such by being born after the flesh; so the members of Christ’s body can be manifested only by “being born again” of the Spirit. They are by this brought into personal existence as new creations and are now personified by their new and eternal life. Hence says Christ speaking of His disciples, “They are not of the world even as I am not of the world.” John 17; and says Paul, “Now if I do that, I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.” Romans 7:20. See also 1 John 3:9 & 5:18. “As the posterity of Adam came into existence under the curse of the law as having been in him when he fell; so the posterity of Christ in their new birth, are born into the blessings of the new Covenant, as well as those exceeding great and precious promises given them in Christ as that full provision for their deliverance from under the law; therefore they “receive not the spirit of bondage again to fear, but they receive the spirit of adoption whereby they cry, Abba, Father.” Thus much in relation to the union of Christ’s people with Him.
“I will now briefly notice this union with Adam, &c. Whilst they were thus set up in Christ, and as such loved with an everlasting love, it was the pleasure of the Father that they should be partakers of flesh and blood, and therefore as rational creatures they were created in a natural head, Adam, and under the law; were in common with all his posterity “vessels of wrath even as others” for they were left to fall in him, and became subject to the curse of the law. While they were thus a part of the same fallen family of Adam involved in the same condemnation, they by the eternal purpose of God were distinguished from the rest of the human family – and were “from the beginning chosen unto salvation; and predestinated unto the adoption of children, by Jesus Christ,” and were given to Christ as His portion, as it is written, “the Lord’s portion is His people, Jacob is the lot of His inheritance.” It was also necessary in order to their being brought into liberty as sons and receive the “spirit of adoption,” that they should be redeemed from under the law and also to be slain by it, that their union to it be dissolved. For all this provision was made in the everlasting Covenant and the accomplishment thereof assigned to the Son and to the Holy Spirit in their respective offices, that these sons become “afore prepared unto glory” as “vessels of mercy” in their earthen vessels. Their redemption could alone be accomplished by One who could fulfill the demands of the law and make it honorable in their behalf, and consequently alone by One who could be acknowledged by Divine Justice as standing in their lawplace. Christ being their Brother, their Head, their Husband in the everlasting Covenant, and in relation to the life therein set up, the right of redemption belonged exclusively to Him, and being not Himself under the law, He could take their lawplace and obey in their behalf, and be so accepted by Divine Justice. “One leading idea more, relating to this subject I wish distinctly noticed, namely: that it was not as the children of
Christ, but as the children of Adam that the elect were subject to the law, had sinned against it, &c. It was then as the children of Adam alone, that they needed deliverance from the curse of the law, justification from its demands and a dissolution of their relation to it. At this time, the children of Christ were in Him; could not sin, and hence needed no justification or dissolution from the law’s demands. “If one would duly reflect on the different relations the elect sustain to the distinct Heads, he would, I think, abandon the stand often taken of substitution as involving a separation between Christ and His people. Do not the Scriptures teach a manifest separation in this respect? Was Christ created [as Mediator] with His people in Adam? If so He is but a creature and a branch of a fallen stock. Or was He as the Head of His people set up under the law? If so the inheritance coming through Him is but earthly and must fail. On the other hand, Christ being the elder Brother of His people in the everlasting Covenant, it was His province to interpose Himself as their Redeemer that the law might not remain a barrier to their being put in possession of the inheritance bequeathed in the better Testament to which they are predestinated. Hence it is said, He was made sin, or rather, a sinoffering, for us, “who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him – and being made a curse for us.” II Corinthians 5:21 & Galatians 3:13. If I know anything of the use of words the doctrine of these texts is the doctrine of substitution; and the word “for” is used, in them, in the tense of “instead of.” He “being made a curse for us” for what purpose? “To deliver us from the curse of the law.” Did He not then endure that curse which He would deliver His people from? And would they not have suffered the curse, if He had not borne it? What is this, but His bearing it in the “stead”? And what can that be, but substitution? Again, we are told that Christ “laid down His life for the sheep. Now if He did not lay down His life in the place of
the sheep, how will we find an atonement in the death of Christ? And how will we find a ransom in it? If He laid down His life for us in any other sense than as suffering that punishment which was due to our transgressions then there was no ransom price in the death of Christ; for a ransom is as equivalent rendered for the demand against those to be ransomed, and consequently involves substitution.” Samuel Trott, Centreville, Fairfax County, Virginia, May 13, 1833.” In this chapter, “The New Man addedonto the Old Man,” Trott’s article above is based upon that Scriptural principle, and he argues the point that Christ was legally able to substitute Himself in His people’s lawplace, and thus bear their sins and transgressions. We would suppose the reader, as our self, would be struck with absolute horror if we heard of a court finding a man guilty of the worst imaginable crimes, and that the judge in the case sent out into the community and seized upon the most lawabiding citizen there and executed him instead of the notorious criminal. How does this differ to the Christian’s concept of God putting Jesus to death in lieu of goshawful sinners, and then, of all things, accounting Jesus’ righteousness for their own? The difference is that in the first illustration there is no legal relationship established between the criminal and the lawabiding citizen; whereas in Christianity, according to the doctrine of eternal vital union, Christ and His people are considered one. The husband and bride – “the twain is on flesh.” As a husband and wife are considered “the twain in one flesh,” (even in secular courts, a husband can be made to pay the debts incurred by his wife,) this union gives legality to Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice for those thus related to Him. Needless to say, it would not stand if He were to be executed for reprobate sinners, or the “vessels of wrath fitted to destruction,” seeing that they do not hold that near and dear
relation to Christ as “His Sheep.” The reprobates are not in vital union with Christ, and He is not their Head, nor are they members of His body. If one considers the early date of this article by Trott, (1833) and notice his position that Christ died for His people, not as they are in Him, but as they were in Adam’s posterity, then it appears that the arguments against those holding to the doctrine of eternal vital union in 1852-54 did not believe that God had done anything for the fleshly man was false in 1852 and more recently. The New Man has his standing, not in the Adamic flesh, but in seed substance in Christ until such time as the Holy Spirit breathes that spiritual life into his earthen vessel in divine quickening. During all of his history, he was “preserved in Christ Jesus,” until he was “called” to life and salvation. Jude 1. We have already pointed out that such as are born of God “cannot sin,” because “His seed dwelleth in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God.” Hence, the “new man” is not the object of redemption per se, only as he is “partaker of flesh and blood” in union with the Adam man, for whom Christ died – if of the elect family. To discuss further this “addon” of the spiritual man to the natural man, obviously entails a discussion of the doctrine of regeneration. There is but one view of the subject of regeneration that is consistent with the doctrine of eternal vital union – or how the eternal lifeform is added to the chosen “earthen vessel the vessels of mercy afore prepared by Christ unto glory. We will close this chapter and immediately present the Biblical doctrine of regeneration in chapter seven next.
CHAPTER SEVEN: REGENERATION: HOW THE SPIRITUAL LIFEFORM IS ADDED ONTO A POOR, DEPRAVED SINNER
It takes little reflection to see that the doctrine of regeneration is an integral subject with eternal vital union. So too is the doctrine of adoption and the bodily resurrection of the dead. If the eternal, spiritual life of a child of God is in Christ in seed substance, then the implantation of that eternal life within an elect earthen vessel is a natural outcome of that doctrine. We notice, first, that Adam “is a figure of Him that was to come,” Christ. We have noticed that already. As such, Christ’s seed, even as Adam’s, is preserved in His generation in seed substance. We are of the persuasion that Christ used words that have recognized meanings, and when He told Nicodemus, “Ye must be born again,” He used words Nicodemus should have understood. So should we. So what should come to our mind when we speak of a child being born? We believe none will deny that there must have been the implantation of the seed of the father at the appointed time. We refer to that as the “begetting” of a child. Begetting includes the “conception” of a child. We most often realize that there is a period of time for the maturation of that child prior to its birth. In biology, that is referred to as “a gestation” period. We also may think of the travail the mother must go through and the child’s struggle to be delivered. Again, we refer to that episode as “laboring;” the Scriptural term is “travail.” And finally, we hear the child cry, and the mother laugh, and see the doctor leaving the room. We then, and only until then, say the child “was born.” Birth is the culmination of the process of the generation of the child. The
most obvious proof is the presence of a child and the child coming forth into the light – a finality. Why should one object to applying Jesus’ words to their proper meaning? Christ is the Figure of Adam, and in both cases, there is but two ways that one can be a child of his father – by birth or by adoption. Birth is the way one becomes a member of a family by generation; and adoption is a way a stranger legally enters into a family unit. One may note that the New Testament teaches both of these methods for both of these families. Therefore, we are not backward in applying the type with its antitype. In the initial begetting into natural life, conception is produced by the implantation of the seed of the specie. In the life of Adam’s family, that seed resides in the loins of the father. So it is written, “Adam knew Eve his wife and she conceived and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord.” Genesis 4:1. This chapter in Genesis presents the birth of Cain, Abel, Enoch, Irad, Methusael, Lamech, Jabal, Jubal, JubalCain, Naamah, and Seth. Now notice chapter 5:1: “This is the book of the generations (plural) of Adam.” By the begetting and conceptions these generations of Adam’s family were procreated. This is according to the type. In the antitype, Christ, we read that the saints were “Born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible.” 1 Peter 1:23. And again, “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth Him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of Him.” 1 John 5:1. As you will note, the same words as used in natural birth are also used by the Spirit in the spiritual birth, proving that the first is a type of the second, and the second is the antitype of the first. We are therefore speaking of two kinds of births, one of the flesh in Adam’s generations, and the other of the Spirit in Christ’ generation. As John said relative to the impartation of spiritual, or eternal, life: “And this is the record, that God hath
given to us ETERNAL LIFE, and this life is in His Son.” 1 John 5:11. And we will add the last verse, “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are IN Him that is true, even IN His Son Jesus Christ.” 1 John 5:20. It seems clear that in the new birth, the saint is begotten into God’s family, and the life they receive is both spiritual and eternal, and they have that life by being IN the eternal Son of God. In dealing with eternal vital union, we perceive that the spiritual germ of life is passed on to an elect vessel “afore prepared unto glory,” while also remaining in Christ. Hence a union of spiritual life that has become an experimental union with Christ. Jesus told Nicodemus of the futility of trying to either see or enter the kingdom of God in any other way than by a spiritual birth. That is, incidentally, the primary way of entering into His spiritual family by a birth. That, too, is exactly the same way one became a member of Adam’s family; by a birth. We suppose that the most unique aspect of our subject lies here: in regeneration, a believer in Christ is united with both his Adamic family and his heavenly family: one by a physical existence with a dual parentage and families. [Rather than write on the consequent “Christian warfare” produced by this duality, we have appended Thomas P. Dudley’s article on that subject. See page 92.] Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Ye must be born again.” We note that He did not say “Ye must be born all over again,” as Nicodemus understood Him to mean. Too many today think the natural man is reborn a spiritual man, which we have indicated is an impossibility. In replying to Nicodemus, Jesus clarified the subject saying, “That which is born of the flesh IS flesh.” That is absolutely true to all we know of the reproduction of the species. A parentage can only produce after “like kind.” Therefore one need not marvel that the flesh invariably produces flesh; and the flesh is produced
by a “corruptible seed,” producing corruption and only corruptibility. Then Christ added, “That which is born of the Spirit IS spirit.” Again, the Spirit, as with the flesh, produces after “like kind.” And the Spirit produces the spiritual man by an “incorruptible seed.” 1 Peter 1:23. As with the flesh, the corrupt seed produces corruption, the incorruptible seed of God produces an incorruptible man – the “new creature,” “new man,” or “inward man.” We repeat for emphasis, “Whosever is born of God cannot sin,” and the simple reason is given: “because he is born of God.” 1 John 3:9. Hence we prove that which is begotten of God is by an incorruptible seed which produces a man born of God that cannot sin, hence an incorruptible man dwelling within a corruptible vessel. That the natural man is corruptible is proven by his mortality: he will die. That the spiritual man is incorruptible is proven by his immortality in Christ. He cannot die, but “will be changed” only by the union with his glorified body. Mortality will be swallowed up in immortality in the great rising day. Somewhere along the developmental process of modern Christianity, the whole picture of the spiritual reproduction process was lost sight of. In the vacuum that followed, almost every creed developed their own explanation (or plans) how one could of himself be “born again,” or of his religious institution be born of God, or by certain ministers divine life could be imparted. The quickening or conception of a child of God to life and salvation is clearly taught in the New Testament to be exclusively of God. The Scripture does not teach that God needs midwives or pediatricians to beget His own children for Him. The New Testament ascribes that precious work to the eternal Godhead. Sometimes the Spirit is mentioned, at other times it is ascribed to Christ as “The Word of God,” and in some cases the Father is credited with that work. As we cover each of these, bare in mind that we are speaking of the transmission of
eternal life as “hid in Christ in God,” from eternity to the prepared “earthen vessel of mercy,” or elect children of God. Jesus emphatically said, “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and are life.” John 6: 63 Notice in this connection the words of John in John 1:1213: “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born not of blood, nor the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Clearly decisional regeneration is distinctly denied by these texts, and the spiritual birth of God’s children is attributed to Him. By Him the Spirit quickeneth whom He will; and in the natural birth process, the will of man, including one’s own self, is denied. As we have pointed out, God needs no midwives or pediatricians to begat His own offspring. He is certainly not impotent nor speech impaired. He speaks His own word of life, and those to whom He directs His Word lives. In John 5:21, we read “For as the Father raises up the dead, and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom He will.” Again, God Himself and through Jesus, quickens to life whosoever He will. He has not delegated the birthing of His children to ministers and soulwinners, but retains in His own hand to give power to one to become the son of God. So in these verses we find the eternal Godhead procreating His own offspring. God being a Spirit, then those born of God are “of like kind” – spiritual. As in John 1:13, that which is born of God is not born of blood or the will of the outward, fleshly man, nor assisted by man in their birth. Hence it cannot be the natural flesh, natural spirit or natural soul of the outward man that is born over again by the new birth, but rather, the eternal life existence that was chosen in Christ is thereby implanted within the earthen vessel of a sinner. And this sinner was “afore prepared” by the redemptive sacrifice of
Christ to become the holy habitation of the child born of God. The inward man born of God is a distinctly different man than the outward man born of the corruptible seed of Adam’s offspring. That natural man – body, soul and spirit derives all its sustenance from the earth from which he was first formed. The food he eats, the liquids he drinks, the air he breathes all are of the earth, directly or indirectly. This fact alone demonstrates that God did not make the outward man as an immortal, spiritual, or heavenly creature. His respiratory system is made to utilize the elements of his earthly climes; his digestive system is uniquely and marvelously adapted to process the elements furnished in the earth, and his mortality shows clearly that he was made to die – even prior to his eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God did not tell Adam that “IF” he ate of the forbidden tree that he would die. He told him that “in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Adam, with his Bride and offspring IN Him was created a subject of death and the eating of the forbidden fruit was the sign of his demise. His eating of it came as no surprise to his Creator at all! He was already physically equipped as a man of mortality: noses, mouth, eyes, ears, feet, and hands with opposable thumbs to grasp the tools to earn his living by the sweat of his brow. This natural man was so constructed that he could live on the earthen elements, His construction lent itself to the works of the flesh, sin, transgression and depravity making him a fit subject of the redemptive work of “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world,” and for such as were to become the habitation of the spiritual offspring, Christ came to “prepare them unto glory,” by bearing their sins in His body on the tree. The spiritual man all of him, was in Christ from the beginning of His Mediatorial existence. Throughout those long ages prior to their earthly birth and regeneration, they were in Christ who was their dwellingplace. “Lord, Thou hast been our
dwellingplace in all generations; before the mountains were brought forth or ever Thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God.” Psalm 90: 1,2. We find this a most interesting confirmation of the doctrine of a pre existence of God’s elect people, and the identification of their place of existence antecedent to the creation of the world. Surely for them to have a dwellingplace before the creation of the world they must have existed. No wonder many writers of the past ages referred to the doctrine of divine election as “eternal election”! We have stated several times that during that period of existence that they were undeveloped; even as we today were in Adam’s loins and yet undeveloped until our natural births. Seeing then that they did in fact have an existence in Him as their dwellingplace throughout all their generations prior to their development, we entertain another thought. These generations were as much undeveloped prior to the creation of the world as the individuals were that composed them; for Adam was not yet formed! We believe we see the absolute perfection of God’s predestination in that thought. Individuals are procreated in generations, and these individuals’ names were written in the book of life of the Lamb this early too! –Revelation 17:8. There is no doubt that in the Messianic Psalm the seed and the generation are referred to: “A seed shall serve Him; and it shall be accounted unto the Lord for a generation. They shall come, and shall declare His righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that He hath done this.” Psalm 22:3031. The numerous texts that speak of His “seed” as the object of His redemption has reference, we believe, to the spiritual existence of the inward man – not to the natural, outward man. Consider this, almost all evangelical groups think of present day Israel as “God’s elect people,” in spite of the fact the apostles said otherwise, and the overwhelming percentage of modern Israel are descendants of the Slavic Khazars of eastern and southern
Europe. When they read this text: “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made,” (Galatians 3:16a) they immediately think of the Jewish population of modern Israel. But here is what Paul meant: “He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” (Galatians 3:16b). A Jewish friend of this writer once said, “If the Jews are God’s chosen people, why do the Arabs have all the oil?” Paul is very clear, “He is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God,” Romans 2:28,29. Then, who is the true Israelite? The Jew? Those that were in seed substance IN Christ’ spiritual seed from before He ever spoke the world into existence. The spiritual Israel is not in the letter of nature or law, but in spirit and heart. We do not speak of the natural vessels of earth as God’s children, simply because these were not begotten, quickened, or born of Him. These are the offspring of Adam’s family even if the habitation of His seed; but the seed is accounted for His generation – not Abraham’s. It was primarily for His seed that he endured the shame of the impalement on the tree to prepare the natural vessels of mercy for His seed. We see this in, “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.” Isaiah 53: 10. In the issues producing the 1880’s downgrade, those opposing the preaching of predestination, eternal election, eternal vital union and spiritual regeneration misunderstood both the doctrine as well as the position of those holding the doctrine steadfastly. The position held by the believers in the doctrine relative to these “two seeds,” was that the spiritual seed was in Christ and always had ETERNAL VITAL UNION
been. Christ’s spiritual seed never committed sin, and indeed could not. 1 John 3:9. They rightly concluded that the atonement of Christ was not designed for the children of God, but rather for the “vessels of mercy” or “earthen vessels.” The explanation was rather simple: the “vessels of wrath” were of the flesh, and as such were born of corruptible seed, and hence “sinners.” It was only for these “sinners” that Jesus died. Those that did not understand the doctrine were unable to follow the argument. To them, this was saying that Christ did not die for sinners, and their frequent repeated charge was that the doctrine of eternal vital union taught that Christ did nothing for “the sinner man.” As you can see by the above, this charge was groundless. The fact was that the doctrine insisted that all that Christ suffered and died for were “sinners.” The new man or “inner man” was born of God, and hence was not the “sinner man.” The doctrine, by the 1880’s, was too deep for the shallow theories of nominal believers. By that time, the evangelical fervor was so zealous for the “conversion of the whole world to Christ” that tolerance for doctrine had worn exceedingly thin. “Don’t come at me with doctrine,” many said, “just preach to me Jesus and Him crucified.” To preach “Jesus and Him crucified” is impossible in the absence of Christian doctrine. Without Christian doctrine, there is no way to articulate the Gospel of Christ. Thereafter, the sound of the Gospel became more and more silenced in this land. “Whosoever transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God.” 2 John 9.
CHAPTER EIGHT: “BEING BORN AGAIN”
“ Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible [seed], by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. . . . But the word of the Lord
endureth forever. And this is the word which by the Gospel is preached unto you.” 1 Peter 1: 23,25. We have frequently learned that merely because someone can boldly dispute a doctrine of the Christian faith as not being a “Bible doctrine,” depends at least in part as to what “Bible” he is referring to. There are other reasons also: To some “it is not given,” and hence even if they read it, would not notice it, or if they noticed it, would not believe it. So it is, to us, of another topic. We have recently read that the Bible does not teach two separate and distinct births of an elect child of God – or words to that effect. Again, that depends on the condition of the individual making the bold assertion, and/or which “Bible” he is referring to. In this brief dissertation, We refer ONLY to the King James, or Received Text. If there is a natural birth, that birth is one. If there is a second birth, that birth is another one. One plus one equals two, according to anyone’s arithmetic. That there is a natural, fleshly, or Adamic birth would be too obvious to deny by any intelligent creature with any reasoning power. It probably could be presented “as a given.” But one never knows what illogical conclusions are possible with the human mind. By nature and by birth, it is not sound. It is written, in my Bible, that “And Adam knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord.” –Genesis 4:1. Now I suggest that the fact that “Adam knew his wife, and she conceived,” that Eve was speaking only of God blessing the fruit of her womb; NOT suggesting the Lord knew Eve, and she conceived. But, if there is a problem here, there is none in Genesis 5: 3: “And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his own image; and called his name Seth.” Now, the point I’m trying to make is that there is a first birth, which is natural, brought about by a man “begetting”
and a woman “conceiving” and these two events manifest a living, natural man – born of the flesh. “Seth lived an hundred and five years and begat Enos.” verse 6. And in this one chapter alone, this truth – this fact – is repeated over fifteen times. So on this one point alone, it is certain that the natural begetting and conceiving of natural men is an establish BIBLE DOCTRINE (KJV). So, what part of the doctrine of the duality of the saint is without Biblical foundation? It is Biblically established with twohundred and ten references where that act of begetting produced a natural offspring. That the birth of the flesh is a Biblical doctrine is firmly established. Sound informed logic agrees. What, then, of the second birth? We assume that one who denies the doctrine, must thereby deny that there is a second birth, or else the poor man can’t count above two of his fingers! If he is only asserting that the naturally born man is reborn and become a spiritual man, then we ask, Do the Scriptures sustain such a position? Verily, we do not think so. Did John think so? Hear ye him: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave power to become THE SONS OF GOD, even to them that believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, . . . .” So according to John, the second born are not the same as the first born, simply because the first born are of the flesh, and the second are NOT! Right here, the learned Calvinist and Arminian are together! They both believe that all that is needed is for one TO BE WILLING, and he can be born again. Look at all those gimmicks used to persuade the sinner man to become “willing.” “Whoso ever will,” to them is a condition needed to be born of the flesh and blood the second time. But, did John say so? No! He did not. Continuing the quotation of John, “Which were born, not of blood, NOR THE WILL OF THE FLESH. . . .” All that persuading to get a naturally born man to reproduce himself into a spiritual being is denied outright! And even those proselyting
efforts, John puts aside, saying, “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, NOR OF THE WILL OF MAN.” And John is squarely on the foundation of the duality of births of the saints, when he concludes that verse adding: “BUT OF GOD.” – John 1: 1213. So, John denies that the natural man is born over again the second time. What of Paul? Does he agree with the view that the natural, or fleshly man is born over again? Again, we say not. For we read him plainly explaining, says, “That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are NOT THE CHILDREN OF GOD: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” Romans 9: 8. It can’t be any more plainly stated than this – that theory of one man having two natures is an error, Biblically speaking; both John and Paul bearing witness to the opposite position. But, may we need a third witness? Let us inquire of Peter. He writes deliberately on the subject of being “born again.” What did he present? He wrote: “Being born again,” – suggesting a second or additional birth – “NOT OF CORRUPTIBLE SEED,” – AGAIN, A CLEAR EMPHATIC STATEMENT. The natural birth is of “the flesh,” and all Calvinistic believers agree that the “flesh” is corruptible. But, these are not born again of corruptible seed, “but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.” 1 Peter 1:23. So three of the apostles of the Lamb have refuted the idea that the natural man is born over again and thereby made a spiritual man. Pardon the grammar or lack thereof – but it “just ain’t so!” We have thus labored to show that the modern theory of becoming Christians is not true. The fleshly man is not born over again into a spiritual man, and we have established that the “Bible doctrine” is not that theory. 68Now we will turn our attention to proving that the Bible doctrine is that of a spiritual begetting that is needful to produce a spiritual man, and this spiritual begetting is NOT of the natural, Adamic, or fleshly man. We have proven the obvious, that natural men beget natural or fleshly men. Can it be equally proven that God produces spiritual offspring? We think so. James again referenced his remarks saying, “Of His Own Will begat He us with the word of truth.” James 1:18. It appears clear to us: Adam does it naturally; God does it spiritually. Adam implants a “corruptible seed,” whereas God implants an “incorruptible seed.” Also, when one begets someone, that someone is said in the Bible to be “begotten.” Is this term used of God begetting anyone? Well, let us see. We read, “which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten US again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” 1 Peter 1:3. It surely seems so to us. Can anyone reading this now say that the Bible does not teach the duality of the saints: that is, that for the child of God he must have a first birth which is natural; and a second one which is spiritual; and the spiritual birth does NOT change the natural man INTO a spiritual man? The Bible teaches that “God is a Spirit,” and they that worship Him, “must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” The Bible also tells us in the language of our dear Lord, and “A spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see I have.” Tell me: can a natural man worship God spiritually? Can a spirit crossbreed with a natural man? Is YOUR fleshly man changed into a spiritual being? If so, why are you not better than you are? I know many disputes the following premise, but we will yet use it. John taught that “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he CANNOT SIN, BECAUSE HE IS BORN OF God.” I John 3:9. According to this,
that spiritual production is of God, and as being of Him, it cannot commit sin. Is YOUR FLESH sinless? If it were born of God, why would it not be? When John speaks of a child of God in his fleshly nature, he is perfectly clear that he cannot say that he has no sin. And all, we suppose agree. But when John is speaking of that “which is born of God,” he clearly shows that such CANNOT sin. Is that not evidence of TWO separate and distinct natures? And from whence came these two prodigies? Both from a BIRTH! That is the ONLY way life is transmitted from one generation to another; and in all cases, that life is transmitted from a previous life source or parentage. The flesh is NOT born of God. The spirit is NOT born of the flesh. These two are contrary one to another, and is the source of the Christian’s warfare – if he has one! In our experience, would it not be a wretched condition to be in if we believed the second birth made our natural flesh spiritual; and yet find ourselves mourning and groaning within ourselves over our native corruption? What comfort would such a theory provide a poor struggling saint? There is a real blessedness in the sentiment of eternal vital union and the spiritual birth of that seedsubstance within us. As Paul said, so could we, “That in us (that is, in our flesh) dwelleth no good thing.” This is the witness of the apostle to the Gentiles, and if this is his condition, then we should find comfort in our trials of faith and afflictions if our situation is as his. To believe that the spiritual life we are blessed with was born exclusively of God without the aid of man is solid comfort in times of spiritual declension. To even think that some part of our salvation was the production of men’s persuasion or our decision, not only robs God of His praise, but deprives our own soul of comfort in times of need. We all have too much sin and iniquity plaguing us, both without and within to conclude that the second
birth was a renovation of the Adamic nature in us; and producing a spiritual man “that cannot sin, because he is born of God.”
CHAPTER NINE: THE ADOPTION OF THE NATURAL MAN
Christianity has had its share of champions of non resurrectionsism since the apostolic century. Paul confronted the error soundly in 1 Corinthians 15. Socinianism embraced the unbelief in the 1850’s through the early 1900’s. Preterism has embraced the error in our times. Regardless of the theories of each of these theoretical abstracts, they all reject the doctrine of divine Adoption; and this doctrine is essential to the understanding of the doctrine of eternal vital union. There can be no sound presentation of eternal vital union without following that doctrine into and beyond the resurrection of the body in the last day. This, then, is the topic presented in this chapter. Again, we remind the reader that we are discussing eternal vital union and its ramifications. In our first chapters, we did not discuss the doctrine of divine or eternal election unto grace and glory. We discussed the eternality of that election which resulted in a discussion of eternal vital union. Thus, herein, while we place much emphasis upon the adoption of the earthen vessels of mercy, our real topic is still eternal vital union with emphasis upon a very important aspect of it.
We have made the point that everything that Christ suffered and died for was for these “earthen vessels” to “afore prepare them unto glory.” That necessary work was to make these “vessels of mercy” fit tabernacles of the spirit that is begotten of God within them. It is totally unreasonable as well as unscriptural to assume that after the great sufferings and humiliation of the Lord of Glory that He would then leave what He had purchased with His own precious blood to molder in the grave to never come forth to immortal life. It was this that the whole Gospel is purported to bring to light, i.e., “to bring life and immortality to light through the Gospel.” To deny the full redemption of the elect to life and salvation is to deny the Christian faith completely, and make that faith a horrific lie, for all born of God Christians throughout two thousands of years have testified to that precious and profound truth, “that God hath raised Him from the death.” The denial of the bodily resurrection of the dead is a denial of Christianity itself, for that is the central theme of that Gospel. The denial of the bodily resurrection of the dead is equally a denial of the “adoption of sons,” which takes place at the resurrection of the dead and produces the necessary change from mortality to immortality. For emphasis, we raise a question here: In nature, do men adopt their own begotten children? their birth child? Of course not! We have taught and shown from the Scriptures that God has begotten His own children without the instruments of man. If they are born of God, why then are they also adopted? If such were true in our natural family, would adoption enhance their inheritance more? Again, we answer, no. Yet the Scripture teachers that God’s elect are to be adopted. Not only are they to be adopted, but in regeneration they have already “received the spirit of adoption.” Romans 8:15. The answer to why this is so is a very interesting aspect of the doctrine of eternal vital union.
We have discussed that Jesus taught that “which is born of the flesh is flesh,” and that the fleshly birth was produced by the “corruptible seed” of Adam’s family. This family has no claim whatsoever to a spiritual inheritance in another’s family, i.e., God’s. As the Scripture declares, “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” 1 Corinthians 15:50. As Jesus taught, “except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God’ and, cannot enter the kingdom of God.” Because this is so in nature, He declared the necessity of one being “born of the Spirit.” And “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” John 3:6. As already presented, here are two births: one of the corruptible seed that “cannot inherit the kingdom of God;” and the other, born of the incorruptible seed and is in the kingdom of God. Hence two distinctly different kinds of men in one fleshly tabernacle. One can inherit the spiritual kingdom and the other cannot. It is easy to see why one unskilled in the Word of God can conclude, then, that the flesh cannot be resurrected, IF upon being resurrected, he cannot enter the spiritual kingdom of God! That would surely be a theological problem of the worst sort! The seeming mystery is not that mysterious. The inner, spiritual man has always been in existence in seed substance, and is begotten within the natural man, which is not born of God; but begotten of Adam’s seed. Because of this duality, some provision must be made for the complete union of these two men. That future union is provided for by the “adoption of children by Jesus Christ.” In this manner, the son of a man can become a son of God. That is what adoption does: it takes the son of a stranger or alien and gives acceptance within a family of a stranger with equal rights and privileges with all other children in the adopted family. That this is so, we gather from Paul in Romans: “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye
have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba Father.” Romans 8:15. Notice the text does NOT teach that we have been adopted. It teaches that we have “received the Spirit of the adoption.” We wait for that adoption and the change that will come to us in the flesh by it. “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope, because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. . . . And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the REDEMPTION OF THE BODY.” Romans 8: 19 23. We feel confident that whereas we were not changed in regeneration, but had added on to us a spiritual nature, that our hope in the resurrection is that our body will be changed into the glorious image of Christ; that our mortality will be swallowed up in immortality and this natural man will yet triumph in glory, and we shall be like Him and see Him as He is. Only by the doctrine of eternal vital union is there found a necessity for the adoption of sons. If – and we emphasize IF, in regeneration the natural man is changed into a spiritual man as most theories avow, then there can be no rational reason for adoption. The spiritual birth alone would be sufficient to make us sons of God in the flesh; and adoption could be of no more benefit than the new birth.
CHAPTER TEN: THE GLORIOUS TRIUMPH OF THE SONS OF GOD
“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” II Corinthians 5: 1 “For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now He that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord .” verse 45. When we read behind imminent writers of the past on eternal vital union, many of them refer to a passage in John’s Revelation where he saw the New Jerusalem descending from God out of heaven. To them, the “New Jerusalem” was “Zion, the city of our God,” and more to the point, the church composed of the saints of God throughout all ages in their spiritual existence in Christ. Thus they conclude that the spiritual life that is begotten within the “elect” or “earthen vessels” was in preexistence in Christ by divine election from eternity. This view, as one will note, is consistent with the doctrine of eternal vital union. These elect “come into the world,” relative to their spiritual generation; whereas the nonelect were always “in the world” in Adam’s seed. In John 1, he wrote of Christ as the Light “that lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” Hence, He giveth spiritual life and revelation to the inner man, which man “came down from God out of heaven.” It is manifestly clear that God does not give light and revelation to men that “are in darkness,” and “love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil, neither cometh to the light that their deeds be reproved.” When the spiritual inward man was “preserved in Christ Jesus before the world begun,” he dwelt in Christ in God and was clothed
with Christ’ glory. When he was born within the earthen vessel, he was stripped of his heavenly clothing, and was “clothed upon” by his “earthly house of this tabernacle.” And in this house he groans, waiting to be delivered. Every child of God is “begotten again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for” him (1 Peter 1:3,4) and has an innate longing to be gone from this wretched state, and return to his former comfortable heavenly origin in Christ and in His glory. As surely as he is predestinated to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ, he is also said to be “glorified.” Romans 8:2829. However, His return hence is predicated upon his “putting off of the body of this flesh,” as well as the reunification and glorification of that same body again in the last day. He cannot help but to hope in the purification and acceptation of his earthen vessel. The strangest dichotomy of a regenerate child of God is the attachment to this earthen body on the one hand, and the desire to be rid of it on the other. How can this strange phenomenon exist? We say it is because of the duality of the “two men” in one vessel existence. That produces the Christian’s warfare while at the same time preserves the interstitial unity of the individual – inward and outward men; the natural and spiritual men. This dichotomy is referred to by Paul in II Corinthians. He does not want to merely lay his body down, as if he were “unclothed” from it and thus through with it! (Paul was far from being a nonresurrectionist), but he expressed himself saying, “For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.” II Corinthians 5:4. As said earlier, the whole work of Christ in His atonement [by the suffering of the penalties of the sins of the “natural or outward
man,”] was only for the natural body, soul and spirit of His elect people. The price has already been paid, which price procured His ransom, redemption and possession of their “vessels of wrath even as others” of His own children. He will not despised that which He has gained legal right to, and it lies in the sovereign will and almighty power of His hands to find the perfect way to present them blameless before His Father’s throne. This necessitates the “redemption of our body.” Romans 8:23. Of all them of whom the apostle wrote relative to the predestined goodness of God, those “He predestinated, called, justified” He declared them also “glorified.” Romans 8:2830. His point is very well taken, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” he enquires. “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?verse 32. The logic of his enquiry and observation gives a solid ground for the hope of every child of grace. “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.” verse 33. When we read the intercessory prayer of Christ in John 17, one great article of His blessed request of His Father was the glorification of His elect. He made it clear He was not praying for all mankind, for He said, “I pray not for the world, but for them which Thou hast given Me; for they are Thine.”verse 9; . . . “And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one.” verse 22. That glorification, which embraces them in both the natural body and the spiritual man is bound up in the eternal love of God and the eternal vital union of Christ with His offspring: “And I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it; that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” verse 26. There are times that we wonder if some professors have read, or can understand or recall that glorious discussion of Paul’s in I
Corinthians 15. Eternal vital union undergirds the whole discussion. These vessels of mercy are the objects, along with their spiritual counterparts, of the resurrection experience. So much of the related aspects of this doctrine are referenced in that discussion. For that reason, and with that in mind, we quote more extensively from that discussion: “But some man will say. ‘How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?’ , , , ,”God giveth it a body as it hath pleased Him, and to every seed his own body. All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fish, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.” Before continuing – What is Paul’s point? He is answering the question posed: In the resurrection, with what kind of body do the glorified saints have? His point is laborious, but to this point: there are more kinds of bodies and more kinds of glory than men are often aware. The resurrected body will be different from the corruptible body that was redeemed – it will be a changed body; changed from mortality and corruptible to immortality and incorruptible. So he continues: “So in the resurrection of the dead. It (the natural or outward man of the flesh) is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption.” That clearly shows that in the previous regeneration or new birth, the fleshly man was not changed: it is still corruptible! “It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body and there is a spiritual body.” Paul is presenting the Christian Doctrine of the bodily resurrection of the dead and its glorious change. Now notice Paul’s argument:
“And so it is written, The first man Adam, was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening Spirit. Albeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and then afterward that which is spiritual.” These verses and those to follow demonstrate the dual parentage of the natural or fleshly man and the spiritual or heavenly man. As the early principle in Genesis “like begets like kind,” and each kind has “seed within itself;” so Paul here builds upon that foundation showing that the first man, Adam begat his children of the flesh; and the last Adam, Christ, begat His children of the Spirit. “The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” Now we know that the natural man, as such, is not in the family of God; for he was not quickened and born of God. As such, he has no legitimate claim to an inheritance with the children in that heavenly family. Only by adoption, and that by the free grace of God only, can he ever hope to be a partaker of the blessings of that heavenly family. As Paul said again: “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” There is no way that the corruptible flesh can ever be otherwise. “Behold I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep [or die], but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” Here, we think is what the saints hope for. In regeneration and the new birth experience the natural, earthy man was not changed into an incorruptible and spiritual, or heavenly man. Yet he certainly hopes to arrive at such a state. So, “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on
immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” I Corinthians 15:5057. Amen. ******* Note: We have basically covered our outline on the subject of Eternal Vital Union, and the related doctrine of Regeneration of two separate and distinct births of two separate and distinct parentages; one of Adam’s family and the other of God’s. In all the above, you have endured one man’s viewpoints. We desire better presentations than we can give, and therefore we append several very good and powerful articles on the subject from both English and American writers. We surely hope you enjoy the Supplement in this publication. May God only have the glory of His blessed Truth. The Author.
SUPPLEMENTARY READING MATERIAL
1844 ETERNAL UNION AND THE NEW BIRTH
Written by Thomas P. Dudley
The Licking Association of Particular Baptists, now in session at Mount Carmel meetinghouse, Clarke County, Kentucky, September 16th, 1844, To the Associations with which she corresponds, wishes grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. Very Dear Brethren, With all the reflection we have been able to bestow on the subject, we cannot perceive any advantage to be derived to any party from a correspondence, where there is a radical difference, either in faith or practice, existing between them; but dear brethren we rejoice to believe that such difference does not exist among us. We trust that we have all been taught by the same divine Spirit to speak the same things, and have been made willing to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. The flow of the Gospel blessing to the heirs of promise is predicated upon the eternal union subsisting between the Lord Jesus Christ, the Head, and the Church, which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all; hence we hear the Savior say by an apostle, “Blessed be the
God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ, according as He hath chosen us in Him, before the foundation of the world; that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love” (Ephesians 1:25). Although the heirs of promise sustain personal relation to Adam, their natural head, and in that relation have transgressed, and fallen under the curse of God’s righteous law, and are dead in trespasses and sins, “the carnal mind being enmity against God, not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be;” yet by virtue of their relation to Christ, their spiritual Head, they are relieved from the penalty annexed to transgression by His atoning blood, hence an apostle said, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us,” and that redemption is eternal. “But Christ being come an High Priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle – that is to say, not of this building: neither by the blood of goats and of calves, but by His own blood, He entered in once into the Holy Place, having obtained (past tense) eternal redemption for us,” wherefore the Savior said, “deliver him from going down to the pit, for I have found a ransom;” to which the Father responded, “as for Thee also, by the blood of Thy covenant, I have sent forth Thy prisoners out of the pit, wherein is no water.” Although the redemption of Christ has freed His seed from the curse of the law, yet, dear brethren, another sovereign act of God is indispensable to the enjoyment of that freedom; hence it is said by the Savior, “Father, glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee; as thou hast given Him power
over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him; and this is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.” From the premises laid down, you will discover that spiritual worship is the effect, and in no sense the cause, of eternal life; “except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” The heirs of promise “being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible (seed), by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever,” are led to a knowledge of the divine character the claims of His righteous law upon them of their own guilt and wretchedness when they cry, “God be merciful to me a sinner,” and ultimately to see, that “by the deeds of the law, no flesh living can be justified in His sight.” The holy Comforter reveals to them the Lord Jesus “who of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption;” from all which considerations, they are disposed to “glorify God in their holy body and spirit, which are His.” Dear brethren, we received your communications and messengers, who were invited to participate with us. Our souls were feasted with the Bread of Life, broken among us by the ministering brethren. We desire a continuation of your correspondence. And now, dear brethren may the God of peace dwell continually in you and us, and guide us in the way everlasting is our prayer for Jesus’ sake. Our next Association will, by divine permission, be held with our sister church at Williamstown, Grant County,
Kentucky, on the 2nd Saturday of September, 1845, when and where we hope to meet you again. Eternal Vital Union By William M. Smoot, Fairfax, VA., 1890 NOTE: Wm. Smmot was one of very few ministers in the US that did not compromise the truth during the Downgrade of1886-61890. Editor Dear brethren: We hail with joy the favored opportunity of addressing you in the holy and precious fellowship of saints; gathered together "with one accord in one place" we would write you of the things of that kingdom "whose God is the Lord." We realize anew the gracious power and sweetness of that which binds us together as one people, knowing no North, South, East or West, but kindred in Christ, and "companions in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ." Though separated from you by many miles, dear brethren, yet there is a nearness, an eternal, vital oneness, and we feel the holy fervor of that sweet fellowship which permeates the whole body of which Christ is the eternal Head, and which glows in living, immortal power in every member thereof. What subject could we write you of greater interest than that salvation experienced by us all, and by which lost and helpless sinners shine in immortal perfection before the throne of God? For nearly forty years our brethren here have been accused of denying the salvation of sinners, with many other absurd and false accusations circulated against them. We know of nothing calculated to comfort and encourage the saints in their mortal pilgrimage but a revelation of the Truth as it is in Jesus in the salvation of His people from sin and death.
We must follow the divine order, however, in presenting the subject of Gospel salvation. The eternal, unconditional, and personal election of the church in Christ, the chosen seed, comes first in that order. Before all worlds were made, or time was brought into existence, this eternal choice in Christ, the chosen Head of all the members of His body, was in an eternal oneness, Let it then be distinctly understood that this is not the election of sinners of Adam's race. This would make the election in Adam, and not in Christ, which the Scripture plainly teaches (Eph. 1:35). Nor is it the existence of a family of spirits in full development in all eternity. But it is the existence and choice of the church in the chosen Seed thereof, which seed develops the "generation of Jesus Christ." (Matt. 1:1). In that spiritual birth by which this development is made, the personal existence of the child of God in Christ is manifested. The birth develops that existence; hence the Redeemer says, "That which is born of the Spirit is spirit." That spiritual child was in Christ as the spiritual seed when He "was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was." The birth simply develops this personal existence. We see this in Adam "who is the figure of Him that was to come." The natural birth of an earthly child simply develops the personal existence which this child had in Adam when Adam was created; hence the Master says, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh." The eternal choice is in Christ and not in Adam, and the birth manifests the chosen child whose existence was thus "hid with Christ in God, the Father," before the world was made. Not the natural man born all over again, and he, the natural man, by that birth becoming the child of God, entering into, or seeing the kingdom of God. For it is manifest that if the man born of the Spirit is the man who sees and enters into the kingdom, and if the natural man is born of the Spirit, then he must after such a birth see and
enter into that kingdom. This reasoning contradicts the testimony of the apostle where he declares that 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 (the things of the Spirit of God) are spiritually discerned." 1 Cor. 2:14. But the development of this generation of Jesus Christ is in these vessels of mercy, called in the Scriptures the "old man," the "strong man," the "natural man," the "outward man": while the indwelling child of God, and that which is born of God, is called the "new man," the "stronger man," the "spiritual man," the "inward man." Take notice that this is not the natural man born over again, or born of God, exhibiting one man with two natures; in one of which nature he is born of the flesh, and in the other nature he is born of the Spirit. But each birth reveals an existence in the parent seed of the flesh, and of the spirit of Adam and of Christ. Nothing, we suppose, is more clearly taught in the Scripture than the existence of these two men, each the parent seed of his family the one family natural, the other family spiritual, the one the figure of the other. "The first man Adam," we are informed, "was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit." 1st Cor. 15:45. In the development of the generation of each of these two men, by a birth, we trace the linage of the child born back to the parent seed. This is what we understand the Master to have said in the language, "That which is born of the flesh, is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit, is spirit." This exhibits a natural and a spiritual seed, a natural and a spiritual birth, developing a natural and a spiritual generation. Notice that this is not the regeneration of the natural generation, and this regeneration constituting the generation of Jesus Christ, but it is the development of two characters of seed manifesting two orders of birth, and developing a natural and a
spiritual generation. "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ" (Matt 1:1) unfolds and reveals this heavenly generation in these vessels of mercy, yet not made out of them. To this agree the inspired testimony: "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same." Heb. 2:14. The blending of these two generations in one duplex being, in which "the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh," and wherein the old man, after the order of his father, "is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts," and the new man, "which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." Eph. 4:2224 reveals the wonderful "mystery of godliness." The regeneration of this spiritual generation, in their being brought from under the law in the Person of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the eternal and chose Head of the Church, brings us to a brief discussion of the subject of salvation. We should bear in mind that it is the child of God, and not the child of Adam, which is the subject of Gospel address; that the new man is the motivational power in that duplex being to which we have referred, and not the old man. Instead of its being the same feet that once carried us to the gambling den that now carries us to the house of God, thus making the old man carry the new man; it is the old man which is brought into subjection by the new, as it is written in type, the elder shall serve the younger." Genesis 25:23. But now let us regard the child of God as a partaker of flesh and blood, as developed or made manifest in a mortal body, in a vessel of mercy "afore prepared unto glory," in an outward man, a man that is born of the flesh and is flesh. In this relation only is he subject to bondage. And the revelation of this eternal, spiritual life, the manifestation of this inward man, who is born of God, is the eternal and abiding testimony, the everlasting seal of the salvation of the mortal vessel which holds this heavenly treasure. In this
mortal body he groans, longing to be delivered, and hungering and thirsting for the things of the heavenly kingdom. "We ourselves groan within ourselves." This groaning is not the result of the quickening of a dead sinner into spiritual life, but it is the manifestation of that "which is born of God." The quickening is in the Spirit and not in the flesh. "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing." John 6:63. The child of God, in his mortal pilgrimage, realizes ever the weakness, the mortal passion, the sin and death of that which is born of the flesh. When he would do good, "evil is present with him." The good that he would he does not, but the evil which "I would not," he says, "that I do." Tempted, distressed, beset on every side, weary of earth and sin, he looks with heavenly longing to the unending rest of his immortal home. 'Tis there that he is delivered from earth, himself, and sin, and filled with the fullness of God. In this mortal body he groans, "waiting for the adoption, towit, the redemption of the body;" Romans 8:23. Waiting for the adoption of that which is born of the flesh, but is not born again, or born of God; waiting for the birth from the dead (as Christ is the firstborn of the dead) of that which is thus born of the flesh; waiting for the appearing of our Lord from heaven, "Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself". Phil. 3:21. Most assuredly this world is not his home! "Here he has no abiding continuing city." Bound with a mortal chain, and oppressed with many a care, he clings with undying devotion to the Cross of the dear Redeemer as his only Refuge. The hope which animates him is the hope of salvation, the abiding testimony of the Spirit, "the anchor of the soul." Amid all the storms that beat upon him this hope abides, "entering into that within the veil." All that he
has, is, or hopes to be, rests upon that which is embraced in the Christian's hope. The hope of the Gospel! What thoughts cluster around it! What affections are there! In the love they bear it, saints have forsaken the friendships of earth, its nearest and most tender ties, its wealth and fame, yea, all, to follow Jesus. Through commotion and division, through flames and flood, they follow where He leads. They know by precious experience that they have not yet attained unto the resurrection of the dead. But when this mortal body falls in death, when the glorious and wondrous change of the resurrection is complete, when that which is born of the flesh is born from the dead, and the royal army of Heaven in bright phalanx shall stand, redeemed from every nation and kindred of earth; when, in immortal splendor. "the saints of all ages shall in harmony meet," then, and not until then, shall they comprehend the fullness of that salvation, the "volume of His deep decrees," which embraces every chosen vessel of mercy, every heir of immortal promise, which raises from the dust of earth to the splendor of eternity, adapting the sons of earth, changing their vile bodies, fashioning them like unto the glorious body of our Lord. Can more be done for the natural man? Can there be more perfect salvation for a lost and helpless sinner? In the hope of this salvation we greet you, dear brethren, believing that we "are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone: in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit." Eph. 2: 1922. We have enjoyed a refreshing season, we trust, from the presence of our God. A large and attentive congregation has
attended our meetings, and our brethren feel comforted, and are led to rejoice in the testimony of the Lord's unfailing goodness.
THE CHRISTIAN WARFARE
By Thomas P. Dudley
Dearly Beloved Brethren and Sisters: It occurs to us that we could not select a more appropriate subject, (because none possesses more intrinsic merit,) for our present annual address, than the Origin, Nature, and Effects of that warfare which so painfully disturbs the peace and quiet of the children of the regeneration. It is confidently believed, that much embarrassment and many doubts and fears with regard to their interest in a Savior’s shed blood, have resulted from misconception of this important subject. How often does the troubled saint exclaim, “If I love, why am I thus? Why this dull and lifeless frame? Hardly, sure, can they be worse, Who have never heard His name!” That the warfare, invariably follows regeneration, or being “born again,” is not, we believe, controverted by any experimental Christian. But whilst some of us maintain that the warfare results from a conflict of elements within; others, and perhaps the larger number contend, that, in regeneration, the natural or fleshly man is changed from the love of sin to the love of holiness. We inquire, By what power the supposed change is effected? The answer is, by the
Spirit of God. Moses informs us, “He is the Rock, His work is perfect.” – Deut. 32:4. Now we ask, if indeed, in regeneration, the man is changed from the love of sin to the love of holiness, and this change is perfect, does it not necessarily follow, that he will be so wholly and entirely devoted to holiness subsequently, as he had been to sin antecedently to regeneration? If, as is contended by many, the enmity of the heart is slain, in regeneration, whence arises the opposition to the dispensations of God’s Providence? Irreconciliation to His will? And whence the exclamation, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Romans 7:25. That the Christian is a compound being, is a truth so fully taught in his history, as given in the Holy Scriptures, that we wonder it should be controverted by any who have tasted “the Lord is gracious.” “But though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” 2 Cor. 4:16. “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man.” Romans 7:22. “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Christ.” Romans 6:5. “That ye put off, concerning the former conversation, the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Ephesians 4:2224. “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him.” Colossians 3:9,10. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.” 2 Corinthians 5:17. “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.” Galatians 6:15. Whence these various distinctions between the old and the new man, if indeed there are not two men, if man is only changed in regeneration? If the language, that “man is changed,” were appropriate, there would be but one man; his feelings and
affections have been changed, there could be no conflict, and hence no warfare! We presume that none will contend that the old is the new man, or that the new is the old man. This would be to confound language and make it perfectly unintelligible. We affectionately ask brethren to consider that, the matter of making Christians, is no where, in the Scriptures, represented as Reformation, but as a creation. Hence, it is said, “But be ye glad and rejoice forever in that which I create, for, behold I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people: and the voice of weeping shall no more be heard in her, nor the voice of crying.” “For they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them.” Isa. 65:18 23. None, we presume, will deny that the last quotation has exclusive reference to Galatians 4:26. “But, Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.” “But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O, Jacob, and He that formed thee, O, Israel. Fear not, for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name, thou art Mine.” “Fear not, for I am with thee; I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back; bring My sons from far, and My daughters from the ends of the earth; even every one that is called by My name: For I have created him for My glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.” Isa. 43:1,57. “How long wilt thou go about, O, thou backsliding daughter? For the Lord hath created a new thing in the earth; A woman shall compass a man.” Jer. 31:22. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10. “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10. But why need we multiply proofs on the point, when they are set forth so palpably in the Scriptures, and realized in the Christian experience?
The Bible furnishes the following history of the natural family of Adam: “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God created He him.” Genesis 1:27. “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul.” Genesis 2:17. “Male and female created He them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created?” Genesis 5:2. Hence, we learn, that all “living souls,” were created in, and simultaneously with their natural progenitor. They all descend from him by ordinary or natural generation. They necessarily partake of his nature, and subsist upon the same elements upon which he subsisted. The breath of life communicated to man, whence he became a living soul, constituted him a rational, intelligent, responsible being – the subject of law and earthly enjoyments capable of subsisted upon the products of the earth; But incapable of other and higher enjoyments. Deprive him of the soul, mind, or reasoning faculties, and what would distinguish him from the brute beasts? Deprive him of life and he would be like other dead matter. In the absence of soul or body he would have been incapable of filling up his destiny upon earth. “And the Lord God took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden, to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (The kind of life which Adam had could be forfeited by transgression.) And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone: I will make him an help meet for him.” “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh thereof. And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now
bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh.” Genesis 2:1518, 2124. Now, we ask, If the woman had been different in nature and disposition, if she had been incapable of earthly enjoyments of subsisting upon earthly productions of breathing a natural atmosphere in a word, had her susceptibilities been entirely different from Adam’s, would she have been an “help” meet for Adam? But she was part of him, possessed the same nature, and was, consequently, an “help meet” for him. Here too, we see the declaration, “male and female created He them, and blessed them, and called their name Adam,” carried out. “And unto Adam He said: Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee, saying, thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life: Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.” Genesis 3:1720. Did God address a rational, intelligent being, in the last quotation? And was he capable of realizing the curse pronounced? The characteristics of this family are strikingly marked in the Scriptures. “And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his own image; and called his name Seth.” Genesis 5:3. “Behold, I was shapened in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Psalm 51:5. “The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go stray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.” Psalm 58:3. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by
sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Romans 5:12. From the preceding facts and arguments, it is manifest that the family of the “first Adam” is not capable of rendering acceptable service to God. But the antagonistic nature and principles of the two families (the natural and the spiritual,) out of which grows the Christian’s warfare, is made still more manifest by the contrast introduced by an apostle. “And so it is written, the first man, Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit, that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy, the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they that are earthy: And, as is the heavenly, such are they also, that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit in corruption.” 1 st Corinthians 15:4550 inclusive. Is it not evident, then, that all “living souls,” were created in, and simultaneously with the “first man, Adam?” And they all being born of him, necessarily partake of his nature “and He called their name Adam?” And that all “quickened spiritual creatures,” were created in, and simultaneously with the “last Adam.” –that they all being born of Him, “born of God,” as necessarily partake of His spiritual nature! That all living souls, no more necessarily descend from the first Adam, than all quickened spiritual creatures necessarily descend from the last Adam. Is it not clear that the seed of the “first man Adam” disclose his nature – and the seed of the “last Adam” make manifest His nature? The children of the “first Adam,” are born of the flesh, and earthly in all their feelings and affections. The children of the “last Adam,” are born of the Spirit, and are necessarily, heavenly, or spiritual, in their feelings and
affections. The children of the first, are born for earth, of the last Adam, are born for heaven. Those of the “first” are born of corruptible seed; those of the “last Adam,” are born of incorruptible seed. The first necessarily partake of human; the last, of the divine nature. The antagonistic principles attached to the two men, necessarily result in the Christian’s warfare. If all living souls were not vitally united to the first Adam, how could they be so directly and fatally effected by the first transgression? How could the original act of transgression be considered their acts? “And so death passed upon all men; for that all have sinned.” “There is none righteous, no, not one.” Romans 3:10. If all quickened spiritual children were not vitally united to the “last Adam,” how could His mediatorial work affect them, in their deliverance from the wrath to come? “This is His name whereby He shall be called, ‘The Lord our Righteousness.’” Jeremiah 23:6. The transgression of the “first man Adam,” involved all his family in guilt and ruin. The mediatorial work of the “last Adam,” met all the claims of the law, and satisfied divine justice in behalf of the chosen seed. But as the transgression of the “first man Adam,” did not disqualify his family for heaven; neither did the obedience and death of “the last Adam,” impart to His chosen seed, a qualification for the enjoyment of heaven. The earth being the natural abode of the “first Adam’s” family; they are necessarily born of the flesh, in order to its enjoyment. Heaven being the ultimate abode of the saints, they are, necessarily, born of the Spirit,” in order to its enjoyment. “Except a man be born of water and the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” John 3:5. Here we are presented with two distinct births of two distinct elements, which necessarily produce two distinct beings. The first is born of the flesh, producing beings incapable of entering the kingdom of God; the second, born of the Spirit, producing beings capable of entering the kingdom of God. The first,
producing simple beings; the second, compound beings. The first, having but one nature flesh; the second, possessing two natures both flesh and spirit. Of those born of the flesh, it is said, “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” God said of those born of the Spirit, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man has not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” Romans 8:79. “All men hath not faith.” “But without faith, it is impossible to please Him.” Faith is a “fruit of the Spirit” The gift of God to the “new creature.” The development of the natural family has been progressing for near six thousand years, and yet, the last one born, like the first Adam, gives proof, demonstrable proof, of the source whence he sprang. The spiritual family of God has been developing with, and since the days of Abel and Seth, and each one, “born of the Spirit,” gives evidence of the source whence he sprang. “I delight in the law of God after the inward man.” No contingency can prevent the entire development of each, the natural and the spiritual families; and we are warranted to believe, that the last who shall be developed of each, shall be like the first of that family from whence he sprang. The sturdy oak of the forest, with all its roots, its huge trunk, every limb, every twig, yea, and every leaf which has been, is now being, and shall be developed, were once enclosed in a small acorn, whence they all sprang – are all of the same nature – each a part of the whole. Had not the acorn been providentially committed to the ground, whence it underwent decomposition, and germination, there had been no development. So with the corn of wheat: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and
die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life (his natural life) shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.” John 12:24,25. Adam the first, could no more produce a spiritual being, than the thorn produce grapes, or the thistle figs. We learn from the Bible that the Husband was composed of two whole and distinct natures, Divine and human. The human composed no part of the Divine; nor yet did the Divine compose any part of His human nature. Now examine the figure: if the bride is not composed of two whole and distinct natures, or if the human composes any part of the Divine, or the divine composes any part of the human nature, in her, can she be “an help meet” for Him? Unless she partake of the same distinct natures, can she enjoy Him, or He her, in this world, or in that which is to come? But we find the “two men” sustained upon radically different elements. The Earth, which is the mother of the “old” man now, as formerly, feeds the “old man.” The “new,” is fed upon that “bread which cometh down from heaven.” “If any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you.” John 6:51,53. The creation and development of these destined to inhabit both the natural and spiritual world, are distinct propositions. Hence the Psalmist, personating Christ, says: “My substance was not hid from Thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lower part of the earth; Thine eyes did see My substance being yet unperfect, and in Thy book all My members were written, which in continuance were fashioned when as yet there was none of them.” Psalm 139: 1516. “For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones.” Ephesians 5:30. Creation was instantaneous. Formation is progressive. Though we
were created simultaneously with and lay dormant (in seed substance) with the “first Adam,” for thousands of years, yet the time arrived; the purpose of God is carried out, and we were born of the flesh – elemented alone for a natural state of being – susceptible alone, of fleshly enjoyments – adapted to a natural world – capable alone of being sustained upon earthly food, and possessed alone of natural life; all of this family, “bear the image of the earthly Adam.” This includes Adam the first and all his natural seed. “And He called their name Adam.” We should not forget that Adam the first, is said to be “the figure of Him that was to come.” What, then, do we learn from the figure? That the Bride, and all the spiritual children were created in and simultaneously with the “the last Adam.” That, they are of the same nature with Him, and being born of the Spirit, they are possessed of eternal life, which qualifies them for a knowledge of “the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.” John 17:3. Antecedently to this birth, and the imparting to them, this life (which it is the province of their spiritual Father to impart, John 17:2) they are entirely ignorant of the “true God, and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent.” “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God.” “No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” 1 Corinthians 12:3. Although all the spiritual seed were “chosen in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world,” and had grace given them in Christ Jesus before the world began” and were sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ,” though they were hidden in their spiritual Father as the first Adam’s children were in their natural father for a long series of years, yet the times come when they are born of the Spirit – when the “hidden ones” are made known to each other. When their hearts being fashioned alike, the “Sun of righteousness” “shines in their hearts, to live light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2
Corinthians 4:6. As the light of the sun, the great luminary of day shines upon the sons and daughters of the natural world, so the “Sun of righteousness” affords light to the spiritual world. “I will say to the north, give up; and to the south keep not back, bring My sons from far, and My daughters from the ends of the earth; even every one that is called by My name, for I have created him for My glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.” Isaiah 43:67. Here again, we see the figure carried out. All the family of the “first Adam,” created in him, are called by his name so too, “even every one that is called by My name.” Here we have two distinct families, propagated by two distinct heads, each deriving the nature of his progenitor, and each looking to his appropriate elements for sustenance. The first, mortal beings, sustained upon corrupted elements. The second, immortal beings, sustained upon uncorrupted elements. The first, earthly; the second, heavenly beings. We ask again, Is not the “old man” sustained upon the same identical elements, subsequently, upon which he was fed and sustained antecedently to the new birth? Can those elements sustain his “new man?” Do we not partake of earthly food until our soul is satisfied without imparting a particle of nourishment to our “new man?” Does not our “new man,” setting under the droppings of the sanctuary of the gospel, feed sumptuously on the provisions of the gospel, without imparting a particle of food to our natural, or “old man?” “Feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.” Acts 20:28. Being “born of the flesh,” we are born into a natural state of consciousness, capable of investigating natural subjects, of participating in natural enjoyments, sustained upon natural elements, so long as we retain, and until we yield up that natural life, which we received in our natural head, “Adam the first.” Being “born of the Spirit,” “born of God,” we are made partakers of the divine nature, are susceptible of spiritual instruction, of
investigating spiritual subjects, participating in spiritual enjoyments, sustained upon spiritual elements; nor can the being thus born cease to be. “I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish.” John 10:20. “Because I live, ye shall live also.” John 14:19. “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory.” Colossians 3:4. Hence, we see that the death of the “old man” cannot destroy the life of the “new man.” The law was violated, and the curse incurred by man in the flesh. The law was magnified and made honorable, and the curse removed from His chosen seed, (who sinned in their Adamic or natural relation) by “God manifest in the flesh.” “For as much then as the children were partakers of flesh and blood, He, also, Himself, likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham.” Hebrews 2:1416. The whole humanity of the Lord Jesus, both soul and body, was involved in their transgression. “When Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hands.” Isaiah 53:10. “Now is My soul troubled.” “My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death.” “Who His own self bear our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness, by whose stripes ye were healed. 1 Peter 2:24. “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.” 1 Peter 3:18. We have said Christians are compound beings; by which we mean there are “two men” two whole and distinct natures, inhabiting the same tenement or body. The “old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,” whose genealogy we trace
back to the “first Adam,” who was made a “living soul,” and who discloses the corrupt nature of the fountain from whence he sprang. Adam “begat a son in his own likeness; after his own image” an enemy to holiness – a hater of God. The “new man” which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness,” and who exemplifies the declaration, “If the root be holy, so are the branches.” “And they shall call them, The Holy People, the redeemed of the Lord: and thou shall be called, Sought out; a city not forsaken.” Isaiah 42:12. “Behold, now are we the sons of God; and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” 1 John 3:2. Will He appear with two whole and distinct natures? If He shall so appear, shall we be like Him, unless we too, have two whole and distinct natures? Hence it is seen, that the two men derive their nature and disposition, from two distinct sources. Each has a life peculiar to himself, yet common to his species. The first, natural, the second, spiritual life. The first is a corporeal – the second, an incorporeal being. The first, an earthly – the second, an heavenly being. “As is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.” “As He is, so are we in this world.” APPLICATION OF THE ABOVE Nothing pure or holy, attaches to the “old man.” “But even their mind and conscience is defiled.” Titus 1:15. Nothing impure or unholy, attaches to the “new man.” “Unto the pure all things are pure.” Titus 1:15. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8. It is contended by some, yea, many professors of religion, that the soul is regenerated. We confess we know but
little about the soul. But we inquire, what is it that renders man a rational, intelligent responsible being? What is it that exercises volition for the body? “When lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” James 1:15. “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart, was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart.” Genesis 6:5. If the soul were regenerated, would it not be wholly devoted to God, subsequently, as it had been to sin, antecedently to regeneration? If it be the soul that exercises volition for the body, and that soul is “born of God,” and consequently “cannot sin,” how are we to account for the wicked actions of David, of Peter, and thousands of other Christians, even down to the present day? But, is it contended, that the same soul exercises wicked volition for the “old” and holy volition for the “new man?” If so, is not the soul divided against itself? Others tell us, it is the mind which exercises volition for the body. We have heretofore proven that “their mind and conscience is defiled.” And Paul informs us, “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God; neither indeed can be.” Romans 8:7. Hence we see, that the influence of this mind, will lead the body to rebel continually against God. Such is the practice of the “old man.” It cannot be this mind which exercises volition for the “new man,” because “he cannot sin.” The same mind cannot influence each, the “old,” and the “new man,” because their works are radically different from each other; and if it influenced both, there would be no warfare. We conclude that the “old man” is carnally minded, and thus shows that he is in a state of death. The “new man,” being “spiritually minded,” is possessed of “life and peace.” It is quite evident that when the Apostle speaks of the “carnal mind,” he refers to the mind of the “old man,” which is “not subject to the law of
God,” and equally evident that when he says, “so then with the mind, I myself serve the law of God,” he refers to the mind of the “new man.” “But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:16. Adam the first imparts his mind, which is carnal, to the old Adamic man; who descended from him Christ imparts His mind to His spiritual children – and hence the conflict, the warfare. “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man. (Certainly, not after the outward man.) But I see another law in my members (are those members without an intelligent principle?) warring against the law of my mind (not the carnal mind,) and bring me into captivity to the law of sin, which is in my members. O wretched man that I am.” (Surely sin does not render the “old man” wretched, it is his element.) “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” This “old man” whose deeds are evil – deeds of death. “For I know that in me, (that is in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing:” (Is the soul deposited in the flesh?”) “for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not?” Romans 7: 1825. How are we to explain the following seeming contradiction, or paradox? “If we (Christians) say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 1:8. The same apostle tells us, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for His seed remaineth in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” 1 John 3:9. The “old,” or “outward man,” sins daily, (and the Christian most feelingly acknowledges it) and thus proves that he is not born of God. The new man is filled with holy desires – he “delights in the law of God” complains of the “old man with his deeds” longs to be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God,” Romans 8:21, and cries with the Psalmist, “I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness.” Psalm 17:15. Thus does he prove his birth to be heavenly.
The truth is, dear brethren, the “old man” is precisely what he has ever been, since the fall, in nature and disposition. The “strong man armed,” is only bound not killed. His heart is yet “enmity against God” he is doomed to death; and then deliverance to the “new man,” who cries, “O, Lord, I am oppressed, undertake for me” will have come. But, we are asked, what becomes of man when death shall have done his office? We answer, “the dust returns to its dust again, and the spirit to God who gave it.” But, what becomes of the soul? When we shall be informed where the soul of the Lord Jesus was, between the time of His crucifixion and resurrection, we may undertake to answer this question. Of one thing, however, we are certain, that is, that neither soul nor body of the redeemed, can go to Hell, because both are purchased with the Redeemer’s blood. “The Redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth forever.” Psalm 49:8. “Waiting for the adoption, to wit: the redemption of our body.” “After that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 2: 4344. Mark, both soul and body are included in the purchase. “And the very God of peace, sanctify you wholly: and I pray God, your whole spirit, and soul, and body, be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5: 23. The whole “old man” of the elect is destined to undergo a mysterious and glorious change, by which he shall be assimilated into the likeness of the humanity of the Lord Jesus; and be prepared for that thrilling occasion, when the glories of eternity shall burst upon his ravishing sight, and the Heavenly family shall exclaim “Come Lord Jesus, come quickly.” But we are asked, when, and how, are the “old” and the “new man” to be united; and how will they appear hereafter? We answer, “Now we see through a glass darkly,” but when we shall learn how
the soul and body of the “Redeemer,” “Husband,’ “Friend,” now appears; and how they are gloriously united to His divinity, then, and not till then, may we undertake to say more in regard to the future state of the soul and body, and the “new man” composing the “Bride, the Lamb’s wife.” It is sufficient for the present, for her to know, that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” 1 John 3:2. Until which event shall roll on, the wise man described her thus, “What will you see in the Shulamite? As it were a company of two armies.” Song of Solomon 6:13. It is vain to tell us that the flesh, independently of an intelligent principle, call it soul, mind, or what you may, will rebel against God. Some brethren conclude that the warfare is to be explained by “mind and matter.” Have they forgotten that it requires both to constitute an intelligent responsible being? We have shown that “even their mind and conscience is defiled;” and that “the carnal mind is enmity against God.” Matter would be incapable of vice or virtue, in the absence of mind. Nor are those more successful, who attempt to explain the Christian warfare, by the different colors in the rainbow. Have they forgotten that those colors harmonize, and that it is the entire want of harmony between the old and the new man which necessarily produces the warfare? Have they forgotten the declaration, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life is not of the Father, but is of the world?” 1 John 2:16. If the “old man” is “born of God and cannot sin,” then there would be no warfare. But is this true? Let the Christian’s experience answer. “For that which I do, I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that I do.” Romans 7:15. In conclusion, we submit to your serious and prayerful consideration, the foregoing pages, hoping that God may bless us with an understanding of the truth; and dispose us to reduce it into
practice; that He may “guide us by His counsel and afterwards receive us to glory,” is our prayer for the Redeemer’s sake.
End of “The Christian Warfare.” ______ ETERNAL VITAL UNION OF CHRIST AND THE CHURCH By Thomas P. Dudley, 1847
We wish to address you briefly on the three following propositions, viz: First, That Christ and His Church are one. Secondly: That their oneness is vital and spiritual. Thirdly: That it is eternal. That they are one is proven by the testimony of Paul, 1 Corinthians 12:12. “For as the body is one and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.” Here the oneness is so complete that the body or church is called “Christ.” “So also is Christ:” that is, Christ the Head, and the Church, His body, are one. (Verse 27). “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” That this union is “vital,” or “living,” we think is clearly proved by the fact that the Spirit of Christ, which testified through the Holy Scriptures, in setting this doctrine forth, has used the strongest figures known, viz: Head, Husband, Vine, Shepherd, &c. But the limits of a Circular will not permit us to particularly notice more than one of these at present. We therefore pass to Romans 5:14, “Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression,
who is the figure of Him that was to come.” Now, we ask: Was not the reign of death considered by the Apostle as a consequence of vital oneness with the first Adam? And if he was not a “figure of Christ” in relation to this oneness, why did Paul allude to that subject? In the figure, as a unit, we behold the substance of all the seed in Adam. Now how came it there? Not by being born of the flesh; not by being quickened; but by the creative act of God. Genesis 1:26, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.” This vital (living) relationship to the first Adam preceded and is the foundation of every ordinary birth into the natural world. But how shall we apply this? Shall we say that all the seed of Christ are one with Him by virtue of the creative act of God? Will not some one charge us with teaching that the blessed Redeemer is a “created being?” Paul said in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” And, in Ephesians 1:4, “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” And now we are saved and called, “according to His own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” II Timothy 1:9. And in view of our becoming partakers of flesh and blood, God, that cannot lie, promised us, in Christ, eternal life, before the world began. Titus 1:2. All of which leads us to the conclusion that it is our creation in Christ that gives us literal oneness with Him, as His seed, and hence we are “born again,” “born from above,” “born of an incorruptible seed” – “born of God.” But, in order that you may more fully understand us, we will premise that the nature in which the Church stands, and has stood from the foundation of the world related to Christ, is not His Godhead; but His manhood, in which, according to Proverb 8:
22,23, “The Lord possessed Me in the beginning of His way, before His works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.” He was constituted Mediatorial “Head over all things to the Church which is His body, the fullness of Him that fillet all in all.” “Who is the image of the invisible God; the firstborn of every creature: for by Him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether that be thrones or dominions, or principalities or powers, all things were created by Him, and for Him, and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist; and He is the Head of the body, the Church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father, that in Him should all fullness dwell.” That is, as we believe, in the Man Christ Jesus. As to His Godhead, He was never brought forth, never set up, never made Head over all things, never was the firstborn of every creature, but is uncreated, underived, unbegotten Deity. “For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and man; the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” 1 Timothy 2:5. Now a Mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. Just as ancient then as is the date of Christ’s Meditorial Headship, is His manhood. But you are not to suppose that what he Scriptures denominate The Man Christ Jesus, or He who is he Mediator between God and man, existed in flesh, blood and bones, before the world began, (as has been charged against us.) Nor yet that His incarnation constituted Him as the Mediator. “And so it is written, the first man Adam was made a living soul. The last Adam was made a quickening Spirit. Howbeit, that was not first which is spiritual, but natural, afterwards that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven.” I Corinthians 15: 4547. The first man Adam was first only in
development. And no man has ascended up to heaven but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. – John 3:13. God dwells in this Man, and He is God. John 14:10,11 “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of Myself, but the Father that dwelleth in Me He doeth the works. Believe Me, that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the very work’s sake.” In view of the foregoing are we not justified in believing that the oneness of the first Adam with his seed was figurative of Christ and all His spiritual seed? But again, Adam is not only a figure as a unit, but after the development of His Bride, He recognizes her union with Him. Genesis 2: 2324 – “And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh.” Compare this with Ephesians 5: 2332. “For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is Head of the Church, and he is the savior of the body – for we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined to his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery; but I speak concerning Christ and the Church.” Here is an indissoluble bond, a vital (living) relationship which is as old as the constitution of man. We regard our mother Eve as representing figuratively the same that the Apostle represents Sarah, the wife of Abraham, viz.: “Jerusalem which is above and is free, which is the mother of us all.” Thus God is, through Christ the Everlasting Father of His people, while Jerusalem, which is above, and is free, is their mother. But, according to the decree of predestination, these children were regarded as partaking of flesh and blood. Hence the twofold character of the Church. The one earthy, the other heavenly; in her
earthy relation she was liable to, and did become corrupt, but she did not thereby sever the bond which united her to Christ. “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same.” – Hebrews 2:14. Here we are taught that the flesh and blood relation that the Savior assumed in His incarnation was not to make them children, but because they were children. If what we have said in reference to the spiritual vital (living) nature of the oneness, be true, it follows of course, that it is eternal. We see already that it has led to the incarnation of the Son of God. He is now, in all things made like unto His brethren, and in an attitude to meet the claims of the law and justice. The Father looks justly to Him as the Head, Husband, Shepherd and Surety. The iniquities of them all are laid on Him, and heaven’s own voice sounds the battlecry, “Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, against Man that is My Fellow, saith the Lord of Hosts. Smite the Shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered, and I will turn My hand upon the little ones.” He cries, “It is finished!” and gave up the Ghost. Yes, “He paid whate’er His people owed, And cancelled all their debt.” He finished transgression, made an end of sin, and brought in everlasting righteousness. Much more might be said upon this subject, dear brethren, but lest we weary you, we will close for the present, in he beautiful language of Psalm 40: 58, “Many, O Lord My God, are Thy wonderful works which Thou hast done, and Thy thoughts which are to usward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto Thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered. Sacrifice and offering Thou didst not desire; Mine ears hast Thou opened: burnt offerings and sin offering hast Thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is
written of Me, I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart.” “By the which will,” said Paul, “we are sanctified, through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all.” May grace, mercy and peace, from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, be with you all, Amen. CIRCULAR LETTER ON ETERNAL VITAL UNION By Wi,lliam M. Smoot, 1912 Particular Baptists now in session with the Elk Lick Church, near Sadieville, Kentucky. Dear Brethren and Sisters: As we have been permitted by Divine Providence to assemble together once more in an associated capacity, we again endeavor to address you, hoping that the Lord will enable us to so word our epistle that it may prove a blessing to all the household of faith, and especially to you, for whom it was more directly penned. And as the subject of the Union of Christ and His Church bears on our minds at present, we feel to say a few words thereon. While we regret that our feeble pen cannot portray the beauties of so grand a subject in such colors and minuteness as we could wish, yet we hope that from the hints we may give, in connection with the Scriptures, you will be able to draw consolation from the idea of the Church of Christ being truly and essentially united to Him from all eternity, not only virtually, but actually, not only in purpose, but also in fact and in deed. Now, we wish to be understood that when we speak, we mean in a spiritual point of view. "There is a natural body and there is a spiritual body." 1st. Cor. 15:44. Again: "The first
man, Adam, was made a living soul, the last Adam was made a quickening Spirit. Howbeit that was not first (having reference to their development in time) which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from Heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy, and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly." 1st Cor. 15: 4548). As we said before, there is a natural body and there is a spiritual body. The natural body is derived through Adam, while the spiritual body is of Christ. Thus the two headships are brought to view, and their seed in them. We can readily understand the union of relationship existing between Adam and his posterity, and that such union has existed ever since the time Adam was formed out of the dust of the earth, because that union is natural, and we being natural, can see and understand the development thereof with our natural faculties. So in like manner when the eyes of our understanding are enlightened by divine grace, we can behold that this natural figure illustrates the spiritual headship, and Christ and His seed in Him, and ever since He has existed as the great Head of the Church, as her Mediator, her High Priest and King, and as Husband she has stood in Him, united to Him and one with Him, as Eve was to Adam. And as Eve had her standing in Adam before she was taken from his side, having been created in him, for "in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them," and after she was taken from his side and formed into a semiseparate existence, Adam could say; "This is now bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man"
Genesis 2:23. So the antitype is brought to view by the figure, for as Eve was created in Adam, so the Church is said to be "created in Christ Jesus." Ephesians 2:10. And Christ as fully recognized His Bride, where He says, "I pray for them. I pray not for the world, but for them Thou hast given Me, for Thine they were. And all mine are Thine, and Thine are mine, and I am glorified in them." John 17:910. Thus you see that Adam was indeed a "figure" of Christ, for the Scripture saith, "Who is the figure of Him that was to come." Romans 5:14. How then can any one who has an understanding of divine things, deny the eternal union of Christ and His children? Adam being a timebeing, the relation between him and his seed is such, that their existence is coeval with his existence. So with Christ; He being from eternity, the relation between Him and His seed must necessarily be eternal. The figure is brought to view again by the example of a corn of wheat; Jesus saith, "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die it bringeth forth much fruit." John 12:24. Christ spoke this of Himself that He must necessarily die to bring forth fruit, and that His fruit should remain, and Paul saith, "Thou fool, that which thou soweth is not quickened except it die, and that which thou soweth, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bear grain, it may chance of wheat, or some other grain; but God giveth it a body as it hath pleased Him, and to every seed his own body." So that every seed produceth its like kind, and the seed or grain must spring from its parent germ; so there is a continuation of the same relation to every plant springing from one another. So Christ's seed was manifested or brought forth
in consequence of His laying down His Life, not to make them His seed, but to manifest them, as such. Again, national Israel is represented as a typical people; and their going down into Egypt into bondage under the Assyrian Pharaoh, is figurative of the bondage of spiritual Israel under sin, the land of darkness and the shadow of death. Now recollect that this people came out of Canaan before going down into Egypt, and their going back is spoken of as "a return;" so likewise this spiritual people do return from whence they came; "And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away." Isaiah 35:10. Does not this signify that the redeemed had been in Zion before? "I will say to the North, give up; and to the South; keep not back; bring My sons from far, and My daughters from the ends of the earth." Isaiah 43:6. They are here recognized as sons and daughters prior to their coming prior to regeneration. Again, "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba Father." Galatians 4:6. They are then called sons before they are made to cry "Father;" they can then own with thankfulness the relation, while Christ claims them as sons before, "Forasmuch, then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same." etc. Hebrew 2:14. This is plain: the children being put forth in Adam in their natural state of existence became sinners, strangers and foreigners; still they are recognized as children, and by grace are brought nigh, and made fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of God. "For ye
are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." Colossians 3:3. "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ." Romans 8:17. "For both He that sanctifieth, and they who are sanctified, are all of one, for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren." Hebrews 2:11. For that life which was given us in Him was never defiled with sin, being preserved in Him. They then had a preexistence in Christ prior to being in Him by calling. They then had an existence in Christ prior to being put forth in Adam, which constitutes that eternal relation; their being consistent with Him. Thus we see the necessity of His taking part of the nature of His Bride, that He might redeem her from under the curse of the law. This He could judicially do, being the near Kinsman, He had the right according to law to redeem her, as Boaz did Ruth, the Moabitess. The term "redeem" signifies the prior right of inheritance, and divine Justice fully recognizes Him as being the Head, the Husband, the Shepherd. "Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day." Luke 24:46. "Wherefore in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren", etc. Hebrews 2:17. So in consequence of His being her Head, He must needs suffer, and in no other way could divine Justice have accepted the sacrifice; in no other way could her sins have been imputed to Him. And in consequence of this imputation, we hear it said, "Awake O sword against My Shepherd, and against the man that is My fellow, saith the Lord of Host; smite the shepherd and the sheep shall be scattered; and I will turn Mine hands upon the little ones." Zech. 13:7.
The children are called the sheep. "All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all." Isaiah 53:6. Again it is said, " The Lord hath appeared of old unto me saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee." Jer. 31:3. Again, "I was set up from everlasting from the beginning, or ever the earth was, &c. Then I was by Him, as one brought up with Him; and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him; rejoicing in the habitable part of the earth, and My delights were with the sons of men." Prov. 8:2331. If they were so early beloved as this, being His delights before time, before they were actually brought into visibility, have you, doubting Christian, any reason to fear but that He will remember you yet? Well may you sing with the poet: "Rest, doubting Saint, assured of this, For God hath pledged His Holiness." Remember, when He brought Israel out of Egypt or bondage, He would not suffer a hoof to be left behind. Nor will He now: Do you ponder the resurrection of the body? His word and His oath is confirmation enough; His love brought Him down from heaven for you; it caused Him to suffer, bleed and die that you might live; He is gone to prepare a place for you, and He will come again and take you unto Himself. Again, we would say that in consequence of this eternal union, God saw proper to reveal Himself under the character of Love to His elect children. Think you that He would thus have revealed Himself
to poor fallen sinners had not this union existed? Have we not more reason to conclude that He would have revealed Himself as a Just God, and not as a Savior? But thanks be to His name, He loved us, and had provided every means necessary to complete our redemption from under the curse of the law. Again, it is written: "My substance was not hid from Thee (having direct reference to His body, the Church) when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see My substance, yet being unperfect, and in Thy book all My members were written, which in continuance were fashioned when as yet there was none of them." Psalm 139: 15. Again, Christ says, when speaking of this people, "They are not of the world even as I am not of the world." John 17:14. How beautifully they are identified then; they are with Christ; they then have a heavenly origin. The Scripture saith, "And we know that we are of God," &c. 1st John 5:19. For it is said again, "They which are the children of the flesh (Adam's posterity), these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted for the seed." Romans 9:8. They are a peculiar people, and it is said that "He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath He seen perverseness in Israel. The Lord His God is with him, and the shout of a King is among them." Numbers 23: 21. How unchangeable then is His Love? Now, dear brethren, this people is loved equally and coeternally with Christ, joint heirs with Him, and we hear Him representing them to the Father, and pleading their cause, and saying, "I pray for them. I pray not for the world, but for them which Thou hast given Me; for they are Thine." And they will all be sanctified and cleansed, that He
might present them to Himself, a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing. Dear Brethren, rejoice and give honor to His name. You will discover that we have said nothing about the opposite character that people of whom it is said, "But ye believe not because ye are not of My sheep, as I said unto you." John 10: 26. The command of the angel to John was to "Rise and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein, but the court which is without the temple, leave out, and measure it not." &c. Revelation 11:12. Now may "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the Communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all. Amen." ONENESS OF CHRIST AND HIS PEOPLE By Samuel Trott, Fairfax, Va., 1833 Brother Beebe: Our brother Raymond was not mistaken in supposing that his ideas would not all be received by the readers of the Signs. I think he labours under a mistake relative to that union which constitutes the oneness of Christ and His people, and probably relative to the idea intended to be conveyed when we speak of the substitution of Christ. I will propose for his consideration what appears to me to be the Scriptural doctrine of the union of Christ and His church. Instead of that nominal union which many talk of, which is produced by the creature’s believing – the Scriptures speak
of a real oneness. “Both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one,” is the Scripture testimony (Hebrews 2:1l) and so I believe. I cannot conceive how the spotless Lamb of God could be made to bleed, or bleeding, how His blood could sanctify or cleanse from their sins any of the family of Adam unless such a union previously existed between Him and them as made their sins, of right, chargeable to Him; and His suffering of death and enduring of the curse, accounted as done by them. Instead of this union being founded in Christ’s assumption of human nature; the Scriptures speak of His taking flesh and blood as a consequence of His relation to children who were partakers thereof: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; &c.” What children? Those of whom Christ says, “Behold I and the children which God hath given Me” Hebrews 2: 14, 13. Instead of this oneness being a union of feeling or views, the Scriptures speak of it as a oneness of life. Hear the Apostles; “Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God, when Christ, who is your life shall appear &c.” Colossians 3: 34. This life which is one in the Head and in the body, was in the only begotten of the Father from the beginning; for in Him was that life which is the light of men. John 1:4, compared with verse 14. Hence as it was said of Adam Genesis 5: 1,2. “In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made He him. Male and female created He them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created;” so it must have been with Christ, when He was “set up from everlasting, from the beginning,” and “brought forth when 120there were no depths” Proverbs 8: 23,24; He must have been brought forth a perfect Christ, Head and body, He and His bride in Him. Hence His people were chosen in Him, (not into Him) before the foundation of the world; and they were “created in Christ Jesus unto good works” and as Christ – not as the essential Word, He is the “Beginning of the creation of God” (Ephesians 1:4; 2:10 & Revelation 3:14.) Christ was thus another or second Adam, not of the earth, earthy, but the Lord from heaven; not a living soul merely, but “a quickening spirit.” 1 Cor. 15: 45, 48. Again as Eve when produced from the original creation in Adam, was “bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh;” so the church in her quickened members, being born again, born of the Spirit, they are manifested as members of Christ’s body; and are said to be “members of His flesh and of His bones,” spiritually. See Genesis 2:23 & Ephesians 5:30. Thus Adam both as a husband and a head was “a figure of Him that was to come” Romans 5:14. As is the distinction between the two Heads – the first man and the last, or second Adam, so is the distinction between the two lives brought forth severally in the distinct heads; consequently, so is the distinction between the bonds of union by which each Head is united with its body and members. The one bond is earthy; the other is spiritual; the one commenced in time and is dissolved in time, the other commenced in eternity, and therefore unchanged by time, will be eternal. The one head, Adam, being created under the law, and his posterity in him, they as servants are driven by the terrors of the Law. The other Head, Christ, as the Son of the Father, was
set up and His posterity in Him, under the everlasting covenant, that is ordered in all things and sure, they are therefore as sons loved with an everlasting love, and with loving kindness are they drawn to Him. Again, as the members of Adam’s family, or of the creation in him, are made manifest as such by being born after the flesh; so the members of Christ’s body can be manifested only by being born again of the Spirit. They are by this brought into personal existence as new creatures and are now personified by their new life. Hence says Christ speaking of His disciples, “They are not of the world even as I am not of the world” John 17:16; and says Paul, “Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me” Romans 7:20. “Whosoever is born of God, doth not commit sin: for his seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin, because he is born of God” 1 John 3:9 & “We know that whosoever is born of God, sinneth not: but he that is begotten of God, keepth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not” 1 John 5: 18. As the posterity of Adam came into existence under the curse of the law as having been in him when he fell; so the posterity of Christ in their new birth, are born into the blessings of the new covenant, as well as the exceeding great and precious promises given to them in Christ as that full provision for their deliverance from under the law; therefore they receive not the spirit of bondage again to fear, but they receive the spirit of adoption whereby they cry, Abba, Father.” Thus much in relation to the union of Christ’s people with Him; I now briefly notice this union with Adam, &c.
Whilst they were thus set up in Christ, and as such loved with an everlasting love, it was the pleasure of the Father that they should be “partakers of flesh and blood,” and therefore as rational creatures they were created in a natural head, Adam, and under the law; were in common with all his posterity, left to fall in him, and became subject to the curse of the law. While they were thus a part of the same fallen family of Adam involved in the same condemnation, they by the eternal purpose of God were distinguished from the rest of the human family – and were “from the beginning chosen unto salvation; and predestinated unto the adoption of children, by Jesus Christ,” and were given to Christ as His portion, as it is written: “the Lord’s portion is His people, Jacob is the lot of His inheritance.” It was also necessary in order to their being brought into liberty as sons and receive the spirit of adoption, that they should be redeemed from under the law and also to be slain by it, that their union to it might be dissolved. For all this provision was made in the everlasting Covenant and the accomplishment thereof assigned to the Son and to the Holy Spirit in their respective offices. Their redemption could alone be accomplished by One who could fulfill the demands of the law and make it honorable in their behalf, and consequently alone by One who could be acknowledged by Divine Justice as standing in their lawplace. Christ being their Brother, their Head, their Husband in the everlasting Covenant, and in relation to the life therein set up, the right of redemption belonged to Him, and being not Himself (in His divinity) under the law, He could take their lawplace and obey it in their behalf, and be so accepted by Divine Justice.
One leading idea more relative to this subject I wish distinctly noticed, namely: that it was not as children of Christ, but as the children of Adam that the elect were subject to the law, had sinned against it, &c. It was then as the children of Adam alone that they needed deliverance from the curse of the law, justification from its demands and a dissolution of their relation to it. If Brother Raymond would duly reflect on the different relations the elect sustain to the distinct Heads, he would, I think, abandon the stand he took in his letter published in the 9th number of the Signs. He speaks of substitution as involving a separation between Christ and His people. Do not the Scriptures teach a manifest separation in this respect? Was Christ created with His people in Adam? If so, He is but a creature and a branch of the fallen stock. Or, was He as the Head of His people set up under the law? If so, the inheritance coming through Him is but earthly and must fail. On the other hand, Christ being the elder Brother of His people in the everlasting Covenant, it was His province to interpose Himself as their Redeemer that the law might not remain a barrier to their being put in possession of the inheritance bequeathed in the better Testament. Hence it is said, “He was made sin, or rather, a sin offering, for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him – and being made a curse for us” II Cor. 5:21 and Gal. 3:13. If I knew anything of the use of words, the doctrine of these texts is the doctrine of substitution; and the word for is used, in them, in the sense of instead of. He “being made a curse for us;” for what purpose? “To deliver us from the curse of the law.” Did He not then
endure that curse which He would deliver His people from? And would they not have suffered the curse if He had not borne it? What is this but His bearing it in their stead? And what can that be but substitution? Again, we are told that Christ “laid down His life for the sheep.” Now if He did not lay down His life in the place of the sheep, how will we find an atonement in the death of Christ? And how will we find a ransom in it? If He laid down His life for us in any other sense than as suffering that punishment which was due to our transgressions then there was no ransom price in the death of Christ; for a ransom is an equivalent rendered for the demand against those to be ransomed, and consequently involves substitution. Brother Raymond challenges proof from the Scripture, that God’s children were ever appointed unto wrath. That God’s children were as the children of Adam, under the curse of the law, and “children of wrath, even as others,” – Ephesians 2:3 – we are prepared to prove from the Scriptures of Truth. But there was no need of God’s appointing any man, save the Man Christ Jesus, unto wrath; for left to themselves the wrath of God would assuredly “abide upon them” John 3:36. Brother Raymond seems throughout his letter, if I understand him, to suppose that the children of God were never viewed in any other relation than in their relation to Christ. If this were true I would venture to say that God never viewed them as sinners; for they never sinned in Christ, nor with that life which they derived from Christ as a Head. – 1 John 3:9. Once more; He remarks that it is a day full of substitutions, I grant it. But to me there is a very important
difference between men’s presuming to substitute human systems instead of God’s revealed truth, human ceremonies, instead of God’s ordinances, and human schemes instead of that order and plan which God has established in His word; I say there is a great difference between this substitution of men and God’s substituting His Son as a ransom for those who had been given Him. And those who are the fondest of these human substitutions are the ones who, by their substituted systems, do away the substitution of Christ in the lawplace of His people. Most of these new substitutions are the offspring of Fullerism and its twin sister Hopkinsianism, [Dr. Samuel Hopkin’s (17211803) Calvinistic view that man must submit to the will of God. SCP.] and both of these systems virtually, if not formally, deny the proper substitution of Christ. Samuel Trott, Centreville, Fairfax Co.,Virginia, May 13, 1833. 1852 REGENERATION AND UNION By James Dudley Beloved in the Lord The great I AM, THAT I AM, in the dispensations of His grace and unerring Providence, has brought us to witness another pleasing interview with each other, having unity fully manifested in our associated relation. Under the influence of such happy consequences the heart responding, makes the enquiry,
“From whence doth this union arise? That hatred is conquered by love! It fastens our souls in such ties That nature and time can’t remove.” Who, but those that have been created in righteousness and true holiness, completed in the image of Jesus, translated into His kingdom, know the sweets of those personal interviews, so often granted the followers of the blessed Redeemer; united in the same cause, fighting under the same banner of the same King, equally interested in the conquest, would not grasp the hand of his brother and companion in tribulation and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, and join in concert to praise the God of their salvation? The solidarity and permanence of our religious enjoyments arise from the truth of what God is in Himself, and the relation we bear to Him; He is of one mind and none can turn Him; the same yesterday, today, and forever. The unchangeableness of His character is assigned as the reason why His people are not consumed “I am the Lord and change not, therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” (Malachi 3:6). Again, it is of His mercies that we are not consumed; because His compassion faileth not. These compared with the language of the Apostle, “Having made known unto us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure which He has purposed in Himself”– (Ephesians 1:9). Again, “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” (II Timothy 1:9) clearly and conclusively sustain the
fact that our God is one Lord, working all in all, while the Holy Spirit, who is the same God, is bearing testimony and confirming it is the heirs of salvation interested in the covenant of grace according to the appointment of God, as purposed in Himself; making known to them its rich treasures through Jesus Christ, in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, which treasures are deposited in the same divine storehouse for them who are divinely appointed to obtain salvation thereby; being therein secured as the chosen and preserved in Christ, His body and fullness, having been sanctified by God the Father. This view of the subject is further sustained by David when personating God as speaking concerning Jesus Christ our Lord: “I have made a covenant with My chosen, I have sworn unto My servant David; thy seed will I establish forever and build thy throne to all generations” (Psalm 89:3,4). “A seed shall serve Him, it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation” (Psalm 22:30). Again, “In all their afflictions He was afflicted, and the Angel of His Presence saved them; in His love and pity He redeemed them; He bear them and carried them all the days of old” (Isaiah 63:9). Thus we see the chosen of God, His saints or children, were expressly spoken of as the seed of Christ, in view of His whole Church, or body, being His fullness and concerning which it is said “He shall see His Seed, He shall see of the travail of His soul and shall be satisfied” (Isaiah 53:1011). And this is not all, for they were denominated the seed, substance and members of Christ, before they were fashioned, formed, or regenerated, (i.e., spiritually generated, or quickened.) David, when
personating Christ, said: “My substance was not hid from Thee when I was made in secret and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth; Thine eyes did see My substance, yet being unperfect; and in Thy book all My members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139: 15,16). This corresponds with the doctrine taught by Isaiah 6: 1213: “There be a great forsaking in the midst of the land; but yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten as a teil tree, as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.” It is here clearly manifest that the substance of Christ was in view, while He was made in secret and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth, (His earth, the earth in which the will of the Father will be done as it is in Heaven,) in a dark figure in His Body, the Church, and although His substance was unperfected, not collected together; yet in the Lamb’s Book of Life developed in the accomplishment of God’s eternal purpose, all His members were written, while as yet there was none of them, none developed in actual personal existence, only existing as a unit or “seed” in Him, and in the process of time, as God has purposed in Himself, and has appointed that they shall be fashioned like Christ their Head, and consummated in His glory; being the seed and substance of Christ, whereby it is said that “Christ is Head over all things to the Church, which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:2223). They, His fullness, and He filleth them, yea, filleth all and in all.
This goes to prove the eternal, vital and indissoluble union, or oneness between Christ and His Church; the superabounding and everlasting love of God (which is the bond thereof,) that exists on His part with and towards them, (the chosen in Christ,) to be the securing and preserving cause that makes the gift and choice of God to and in Christ, effectual to their salvation. And the which will be carried on and completed by the Spirit the God of Israel through Christ Jesus, is clearly sustained by the Apostles, when speaking of God’s “making known the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself;” thus it is very evident that the gathering of the members of Christ’s body, or Church, together by the distinguishing grace of God in regeneration, (i.e., spiritually generated) or being born again, was not bringing them into union with Him; but unfolding and bringing to view its previous, actual and everlasting existence; and making known His divine will and purpose which He purposed, not in human agency or effort, but in Himself; and He will in the dispensation of the fullness of the times, remove every hindrance, and gather in one all things, not things out of Christ to be brought and inducted into Him, but things in Him, to be gathered together in one; i.e., one body or Church, whether they be things in heaven, or in earth; (chosen in Him before the foundation of the world;) thus in Him when chosen, yea, before they were regenerated: preserved in Him, gathered together in Him, created in Him unto good works, and because they are sons, or children, they are heirs of the eternal inheritance which is in reserve for them, and fadeth not away; wherefore, the Apostle saith: “If children, then heirs, heirs of God, and
joint heirs with Christ.” Again, “Because they are sons (not to make them sons) God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into their hearts crying, Abba Father.” Wherefore no more a servant, (in the likeness thereof,) but a son and heir through Christ manifestatively lords of the inheritance. Heirs of God jointly with Christ being one with Him, and one in Him, for it is thus written, “both He that sanctifieth, and they who are sanctified, are all of one, for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” Again, “For as much then, as the children are partakers of flesh and blood He also Himself likewise took part of the same” etc. A heart consoling and soulcheering thing it is, that Christ, is not ashamed to call such unworthy beings as we are, His brethren; and wherefore? Because He and His body, Church, or people, are all of one; blessed and glorious oneness indeed and in truth. And when did it first exist? When we were regenerated? No! For if so, previous to that time, He would have been ashamed of His people, and never would have espoused their cause; consequently they would have been lost forever. The whole chain of divine information teaches us, that this oneness has been, is now, and eternally will be, with Christ and His; for there can as well be a head without a body, as Christ without a Church. Here we learn the reason of His coming to sanctify it in order to present it to Himself, holy and without blemish, and the children being partakers of flesh and blood before He took part of the same, not only shows their prior existence thereunto, but shows the reason why He Himself likewise did so, that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the Devil, and deliver
them the children, His people, His elect, His sheep, from the bondage of death. How plain it is, that the whole chain of divine truth run in the channel; and presents so beautiful a connection, that we seriously doubt there being any deliverance, or salvation in the absence of their having been eternally in Christ, as a unit; dwelling together, in unity and He, God, in Christ, their dwelling place in all generations; yea, the whole attention of the brotherhood, summoned to this point, to behold how good it is. All its sweetness arises from their relation to the subject; thus, “Christ is both the root and the offspring of David.” “Thou bearest not the root but the root thee.” Again: “Ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular; members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones;” “a bone of Him shall not be broken.” And this carried out thus: “All Thy children shall be taught of the Lord,” “of all that the Father hath given Me, I should loose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” It is also said that the “ransomed of the Lord shall return” and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joys upon their heads; &c. The foregoing fairly and clearly develops the manifold wisdom of God, “according to His eternal purpose, which He hath purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord,” this compared with the following: “God commended His love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners,” dead in trespasses and sins, carnally minded, not capable of discerning the things of the Spirit; Christ died for us and even when we were dead in sins, God hath quickened us together WITH Him, (Christ,) and raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ, which are the consequences growing
out of the great love wherewith He loved us, and who will not suffer His compassion nor faithfulness to fail. It clearly brings to view the fact that as it relates to the preservation of the children, or elect, from eternal death God has purposed in Himself their regeneration, in order to the love, faith and practice of the Gospel as a rule of faith, to be the order of His house. And as it respects the Gospel itself, He will not suffer its true features to be altered from that in which it has ever stood in Christ our glorious Advocate and Redeemer, to accommodate it to the views of carnal men, and it is wickedness to attempt such a thing by dressing, concealing or handling the Word of God deceitfully. There is as much difference between the Law and the Gospel as there is between death and life. The former is conditional on the part of the creature; for by it is the knowledge of sin, which reigned unto death. And the latter is an exhibition of life from the dead, the power of God unto salvation, to the believer; brought from death to life, turned from Satan unto God; delivered from the power of darkness, translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son, brought from darkness unto light; the conditions of which are retained completely in God, permanently standing in His divine, eternal and immutable will, purposed in Himself, according to His good pleasure; and He will not be frustrated; for God’s chosen are His elect, according to His foreknowledge: Having from the beginning chosen them (His sheep) to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and the sprinkling of the blood of Christ, who hath abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel. Hence it is
entirely His act, and of His own will, that their embodiment manifestatively takes place; baptized into one body, by one Spirit, and made to drink into one Spirit. As such it is said, “except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” born of water and of the Spirit, to enter thereunto. It is also said, “we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works,” etc. And now what are we to understand from the language used by Christ, compared with what Paul said in this place? 1st. We are to understand that as natural men we are born children of the flesh; and can neither see it nor enter therein, and why? Because God is a Spirit and His kingdom spiritual, consequently the subjects must be spiritual to obey the laws thereof. Its being set forth as one body and one spirit, even as its inhabitants are called in one hope of their calling, as a sufficient inducement to obedience. If they had had no seminal existence, as the seed of the second Adam (Christ), there could have been no spiritual generation; if not spiritually generated, there could be no spiritual quickening; and if not spiritually quickened, they would not have been born a spiritual birth: all of which exists as a consequence of the vital union, or living relationship of Christ as Head of the body, and they being a unit in Him, as a seed. Hence their being spiritually generated, proceeds from their being that seed. They are as perfectly passive in their being generated, quickened and born spiritually as when born naturally. The question may arise, How can these things be? We answer, it is all of the Lord’s work. He generates, He quickens, and brings both to the natural and spiritual births, so when they are born of the Spirit, they are born in a
spiritual kingdom, possessed of spiritual life, with eyes, ears, and a heart, to see, hear, and understand spiritually, and now in a condition to do spiritually all that is required, through Christ, who strengtheneth them. For as a natural father can make His children understand and do his will, so our heavenly Father communicates to His children by His Spirit, and makes them understand and do His will. 2nd. That this body is not one member, but many, and so being many, are one body in Christ, and every one, members one of another: for as the body is one and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ, while its number is so completely definite that it can neither be increased nor diminished, which fact is fairly sustained by Peter. The promise is to you and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. This compared with the saying of Paul, “Therefore it is of faith that it might be by grace, to the end that the promise might be sure to all the seed” (Romans 4:16); and, 3rd. That the reason why we as members of this same body with you, Brethren, beloved of the Lord, are bound and under obligation to render or give hanks unto God for you, is because He hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth; whereunto He called you by our Gospel to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. In conclusion, how cheering the prospects opened to the view of faith, by the key of knowledge, exhibited in Divine Revelation. The Lord appearing in His Kingdom and Glory the
Glory of His wisdom, power, and love, to gather His elect from one end of Heaven to the other, for which reason He will say to the north “Give up; and to the south, Keep not back; bring My sons from far, My daughters from the ends of the earth; even every one that is called by My name, for I have created him for My glory; I have formed him; yea, I have made him.” (Isaiah 43:6,7). The glorious Mediator seated on the right hand of power, on the throne of His Father’s Glory, and in the midst of the throne, and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the four and twenty elders. Yea, our yesterday and today, Mediator, said “Behold I make all things new;” He will fulfill all His promises; He will work and who shall prevent it? Then let the Deist, under another name, deny His Godhead or proper Divinity, and the Infidel deny His power or hate His truth; mock at His revelation and experimental religion; let the kings of the earth set themselves; and the rulers thereof take counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed; let Hell from beneath be moved at his coming; let her martial all her numerous legions; let them act in their sable attire of impotent rage, or otherwise, let them unite their forces, and make war with the Lamb; and He will overcome them, for He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, and they that are with Him are called, and chosen and faithful. With such prospects as these to confirm our hope in our Deliverer and sustain us, dearly beloved Brethren and Sisters, with what unyielding and uncompromising perseverance, should we adhere to the doctrine which is according to godliness: with what earnestness should we contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints. With what interposing zeal, according to the
principles laid down in the Oracles of God, should we engage for the spread of Gospel truth; and with what sacred joy should we contemplate the victories of the Cross. Brethren, would we abound in hope, in power of the Holy Ghost? Let us abound in every good word and work. And, now may the God of Peace that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting Covenant, make you and us perfect in every good work; working in you and us that which is well pleasing, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. James Dudley
LETTER BY THOMAS P. DUDLEY, 1877 ON THE TWO NATURES IN A CHRISTIAN By Thomas P Dudley
My dear sister in Christ: I am gratified to learn you reached home in safety on Thursday evening after leaving us. I retain a very vivid recollection of the delightful season we enjoyed with the brethren and sisters from the north, south, east and west, at my house, the association, and with the dear saints in that vicinity. A moment’s sadness came over me at the thought that perhaps from my advanced age, no such season is held in reservation for me during my sojourn in this careworn world. Immediately, however, the scene brightens, with reflection that soon our Father will call, “Child, your Father calls, come home.” Then parting will be no more. When we remember the decree has gone forth from on high. “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, neither doth
corruption inherit corruption,” and that the source of all the ills we encounter on our pilgrimage is found in the antagonism of our flesh and spirit, and that no power below the heavens can “change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body,” we begin to cast around for the source of deliverance. That deliverance is found alone in the life and death, the resurrection, ascension and intercession, which is the crowning glory of the Son of God. As the poet wrote: “Whose work was great, ‘twas to redeem, And bring to glory all, The chosen seed, beloved in Him, Selected ere the fall.” The law must be maintained; justice must be satisfied. “And who but the Redeemer, say, Was able to endure, The weight of sin that on Him lay, And make salvation sure.” “Wherefore it was needful that this man should have something to offer.” “And gave Him to be the Head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.” “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same, that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject
unto bondage.” All that He did and suffered was for “His body’s sake, which is the church.” Did He accomplish His undertaking? When the Head met the claims of the law, the members, in their oneness, or union, with the Head, met those claims in Him. When the Head suffered, the members suffered. When the Head died, the members died. When the Head rose, the members rose. And thus was the law magnified and made honorable, and justice fully maintained. “If we be dead with Christ, we shall also live with Him, if we suffer, we shall also reign with Him.” “He for the sins of all the elect, Hath a complete atonement made; And justice never can demand, That the same debt should twice be paid.” Hence Paul said, “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, who also maketh intercession for us.” He pleads for the members of His body, and says, He knows His Father always hears Him. “Father, I will that they also whom Thou hast given Me be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory.” “By one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified,” set apart to a holy use. “I’m rich, my Lord hath made me so, Nor greater riches would I know.” I conceive it impossible to reconcile the justice of God with inflicting the penalty of the broken law on His Son, “who
did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth,” if you shall separate Him from those members of His body that had gone into transgression; and equally impossible to justify the withholding of the blessings of redemption from those for whom Christ has obtained “eternal redemption;” and yet equally impossible to account, Scripturally, for the continued conflict or war in which the Christian is engaged, if we deny that he is composed of antagonistic natures, which the apostle characterized thus: “The old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,” and “the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” “The flesh [or fleshly man] lusteth against the spirit, [or spiritual man] and the spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other, so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” “No man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it.” Consequently the warfare is peculiar to those only who are possessed of two natures. Whence do they derive these two natures? The one is born of the flesh, and is flesh; the other is born of the Spirit, and is spirit. The one is mortal and defiled, the other, in Christ, is immortal, holy and pure. Hence we see that a new tenant coming into the house, tenement, or tabernacle, so directly opposite in every particular, the strife or war begins, and is continued until “mortality is swallowed up of life.” In my younger days I contemplated with great delight the plan ordained of God for the deliverance of poor, rebellious sinners from the curse of the violated law, and their translation into the kingdom of God’s dear Son. Now, having grown old, and as I near the end of my mortal career, I feel deeper interest
in looking to the future of that existence, and knowing indeed that I have yet an “old man,” utterly unprepared for the enjoyment of the saints in light, how consoling to remember there is One, “who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body;” that these poor bodies of ours, though sown in corruption, shall be raised in incorruption; though sown in dishonor, will be raised in glory; thought sown in weakness, will be raised in power; though sown natural bodies, will be raised spiritual bodies. Then indeed will be brought to pass the saying, “Death is swallowed up in victory.” And then will you see Jesus, and be like Him, for you will see Him as He is. That is enough. I trust you may not be as much fatigued in reading as I have been in writing this scroll. My niece, Virginia, will forward you my photograph as requested, and one for sister Purington. A line from you at your leisure will be very acceptable. Your brother in hope of the better resurrection, Thomas P. Dudley – 1877. REDEMPTION OF THE BODIES OF THOSE IN UNION WITH CHRIST By J. M. Simmons Greetings to those who have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ: grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, according to His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness through the knowledge
of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: That by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” Dearly beloved: We wish not to write unto you as though you do not know these things; “but because ye do know them.” Neither would we write to commend ourselves; nor that we need, as some, epistles of recommendations to you, or of commendation from you: for, “ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men. Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be epistles of Christ, ministered by us, written, not with ink, but with the Spirit of the Living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart.” We desire to write you, and of you, as the epistle of Christ, written with the Spirit of the living God. “For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you ward.” For we write none other things unto you, than what ye have read or acknowledged and I trust ye shall acknowledge to the end. It is written in the Scriptures, “By grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” It is written with the Spirit of the living God, in you who are the epistle of Christ, after this manner: “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” Yet, ye read and acknowledge, that ye “were by nature the children of wrath even as others.” We know and confess that, In me, “that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing,” while at the same time we realize “that all
things that are reproved are made manifest in the light” for whatever doth make manifest is light. And the light that makes manifest “the hidden things of darkness,” is life and that life is in Christ, and is Christ. For it is written, “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men, And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not.” And this is the writing in you in the Spirit; that without Him, “I can do nothing.” It is God that worketh in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure; hence we are admonished, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.” Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.” Therefore, as He said, “set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth,” then that which we are admonished to seek and to set our affections on are above, the things which are above, surely comprehend the doctrine of Christ our Savior, the truth of our God, and the experience and practice of the faith and order of the house of God; which is the church, the pillar and ground of the truth.” We find it written, “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.” Again, “I am the Lord, and there is none else. I formed the light, and create darkness; I make peace and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.” Hence we believe that the God who saith these things, is the God of purpose, as well as wisdom and power, and that nothing can take place outside His absolute predestination, His determinate counsel and foreknowledge. As it is written, “And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath
determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation.” Again, “Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.” And further, “Unto you therefore which believe, He is precious; and unto them which be disobedient, the stone that the builders disallowed; the same is made the Head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at His word, being disobedient whereunto also they were appointed.” By these testimonies is the doctrine of predestination shown, according to the inspired word, and in connection therewith is seen the eternal personal unconditional election of all the children of God, in Christ their elect Head, ere time began or before the foundation of the world. Of the Head, it is thus written: “Behold Thy Servant whom I uphold, Mine Elect in whom My soul delighteth; I have put My Spirit upon Him; He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.” Of the body and members it is written: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ, according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” Again, “Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.” And again, “We are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” We notice in these heavenly testimonies a wonderful blending of those gracious things that pertain unto life and godliness and which are the gift of the divine power of God. Being chosen of God in Christ, ere time began, we are loved with an everlasting love, even as the Father loved Jesus, which was before the foundation of the world. “Sanctified by God the Father, preserved in Jesus Christ
and called.” Jesus was sanctified and sent into the world, and as “He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one; for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” So they are sanctified and also sent into the world, and as He partook of flesh and blood, so are they partakers of flesh and blood, as it is written, “Forasmuch as the children are partakers of the flesh and blood, He also Himself took part of the same, that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil, and deliver them, who through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” The salvation of the sinner is experimentally realized and understood by the precious treasure of God’s children, who are born of the Spirit, taking upon them these bodies which are born of the flesh; dwelling in them in these earthen vessels, the house of our tabernacle, or as precious treasure in earth vessels, and as the Spirit of adoption, sealing them unto the adoption, yea, the redemption of the body. It is written, “If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life, because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.” Again, “For our conversation is in heaven: from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself.” The Unity of Christ and His people in a heavenly, divine and spiritual seed is the divine power of God, whereby they are developed in a birth of the Spirit, which manifested in these bodies which are born of the flesh and secures their salvation,
redemption, resurrection and birth from the dead, and ultimate glorification. It is written, “Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God! Therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifies himself, even as He is pure.” Here is our hope, and here is the power of that hope. “For we are saved by hope,” and are taught that, “denying ungodliness, and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world: looking for the blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Savior, Jesus Christ: who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Dearly beloved, this is a faith view of those things which are above, which we are to seek, and set our affections on: this is a limited reference to the things that were written aforetime, and are now written in our hearts by the Spirit of the living God, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. And as the command of the Holy One is, to comfort My people and to speak comfortably to Jerusalem we will declare it in the gracious, loving words of the High and Mighty One, our precious Husband and Redeemer: “I will betroth thee unto Me forever: yea, I will betroth thee unto Me in righteousness and in judgment, and in loving kindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto Me in faithfulness; and thou shalt know the Lord.” Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
THE GLORIOUS BLESSINGS AND PRIVILEGES 146OF ETERNAL VITAL UNION IN CHRIST JESUS
By James Battersby
Preached in the Church of St. Mary, Aldermary, Queen Victoria Street, On Wednesday, April 2, 1884.
“I Knew a man in Christ.” - 2 Corinthians 12:2. You have heard the chapter already read whence my text is taken. I have selected these few words, because they either contain or suggest as much as we shall be able to get through in the time allotted to us. The apostle’s words in this chapter are very closely connected with the latter part of the preceding one. He had spoken of glorying; “If I must needs glory, I will glory in the things which concern mine infirmities.” Then he says in the opening of this chapter; “It is not expedient doubtless for me to glory;” but then he says that no one should rob him of this privilege under the circumstances: “I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.” The apostle had had both. He had a vision, and a very remarkable one, when he was on his way to Damascus, Syria; and then it was that the Lord was pleased to reveal Himself, not only to him but in him. “Visions and revelations.” Here we might enlarge, but we forbear. Then he introduces the words of my text, “I knew a man in Christ,” and a very remarkable man he was. He does not tell us in these words that he refers to himself, yet we gather from the connection that he does. The time when he knew Him was fourteen years ago, or more; he could not tell whether this man was in or out of the body, so great was the glory. This man was caught up into the third heaven, and we are told that this third heaven was Paradise, the place of the departed blessed, to place whither the thief was taken on the day of his departure. The Lord promised Paradise to him. “I knew such a man;” whether in the body or out of the body I cannot tell. God knows all about the man; how that this man was caught up into Paradise, and heard words unspeakable, or words that he could not utter upon earth. Now he says, “Of such an one would I glory; yet of myself I will not glory, but in my infirmities.” The man that he would glory of was the man in Christ, for a man has really nothing to glory of out of Christ. “For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forebear, lest any man
should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.” Then he relates a circumstance which he felt by sad experience to be a very trying one: “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me.” There are various opinions about this “thorn in the flesh,” and hence it is well for us not to go far from the general teaching of God’s Word in forming an opinion about it. Some have thought that Paul suffered from headache; some, an impediment in his speech; some, that he was blind or suffered partly from blindness. All sorts of ideas respecting this thorn in the flesh have been propounded, and it is not for us to say whether these ideas are right or wrong. We venture to mention one thorn in the flesh that no saint on earth has ever got rid of yet – that is, the corruption that remains in him. This thorn is spoken of in Romans 7: “In my flesh dwelleth no good thing.” And yet these were something good in him, even the new spirit of holiness, but in his flesh there was no good thing. He never boasted of that corrupt man – never! Now it strikes me, without going into particularities, that a common-sense view of this passage is that the thorn is the corruption of nature, and that Satan is the messenger that operates upon this corruption, making it prick and sting, and often bringing a person into captivity by it. Hence he says, “The messenger, Satan, was given to buffet me.” God does give Satan sometimes great power to annoy the saints; as, for instance, in the case of Job. And often he intrudes himself into the company of the servants of God. You remember how he accused Joshua, the High Priest, but the Lord was there to stand by the side of His servant. He buffeted our Lord in the wilderness. Now we are told why Paul should have this thorn, and Satan to work upon it: “Lest he should be exalted above measure, through the abundance of the revelations which he had;” and he prayed to God three times that it might depart from him. Well, now, the Lord did not take away this thorn, this corruption of nature, nor Satan who operated upon it, for He had something else to magnify in this servant of God: “My grace is sufficient for thee.” As to say, “Hence, Paul, there shall be a battle in thee as long as thou livest. There shall be the old man and the new man in constant conflict. I will show thee that the new man, strong in the strength which God supplies, shall conquer and overcome the old man of the flesh.” This satisfied Paul; he had nothing more to say except this:
“My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ, the love of Christ, the grace of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake; for “when I am weak then am I strong.” When I am made to feel my weakness in deed and in truth, it is by the power of Christ; and then it is that I am strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Now, without enlarging any further, I shall direct your attention more specifically to the words of my text. Paul is the man, the man in Christ, that we are about to speak of; but it is equally true of any man that is in Christ. Therefore, the first thing that I must touch upon is the union that is brought out, or manifested in our text: “In Christ.” What a wonderful expression! And then, secondly, what are the blessings and privileges of being united to Christ, or having a standing in Christ. And then, in the third place, what are the evidences to my own soul that I am standing in Christ. Paul says, “I knew a man in Christ.” He had got some proof on this point that the man was in Christ. Now, with regard to this union, or being in Christ, I hardly need say that it is one of the deepest doctrines in God’s blessed Word. I do not propose to enter into it fully, as it would take too much time; however, there are some few things respecting this union, or being in Christ, that we must touch upon, and that we cannot possibly pass over. Union! Well, there are many earthly illustrations of union. I speak now of earthly union. Persons may be share-holders in a company, and sometimes they find out to their sorrow that they are in union with those whose burdens they have to bear. This I admit is a very imperfect definition of union. I need not, however, go on with these earthly unions. Union with Christ is illustrated in God’s Word. You have the vine and the branches; the husband and the wife; the human body, the head and the members; and there is one which is a perfect illustration of real, vital union between Christ and His church which we shall have to touch upon, but this is not an earthly, but a heavenly union. The illustration of the vine and the branches, you will remember, is in John 15. Judas went out, and then our Lord delivered this parable: “I am the Vine, and ye are the branches. Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit. But if a branch abides not in Me, it is taken away, and cast into the fire and
burned.” Now it strikes me that this parable refers to Judas and to the rest of the disciples. There is such a thing as being professionally in Him. Now you will see at once that this parable deals with the question of union. The branch, Judas, was professionally in the Lord Jesus Christ. There are many Judases in the professing church; there always have been, there are now, and there always will be, wheat and tares in the visible kingdom of heaven to the very end of this dispensation. This merely professional man is to be taken away. Here you see that this illustration is imperfect. A branch may be taken away from the vine and burned, but not from Christ and burned. But the illustration answers the purpose of our Lord, which is this, that those really united to Him do bring forth fruit to the glory of God the Father; and hereby His disciples are proved and made known. The second illustration is that of marriage – that the husband loves his wife, and the wife is to be obedient to her husband. This is to set forth the union, the mystical union which is betwixt Christ and His church. Now this illustration is imperfect; but it does show this, that as a husband loves his wife and as a wife obeys her husband, so Christ loves the church and the true church obeys her Husband. Now you know that there may be a separation between husband and wife – either the one or the other may die – but this can never happen between Christ and His church; therefore there is imperfection in this illustration. Everything taken from the earth to illustrate spiritual and eternal things will fall short to some extent, and consequently an illustration must never be pressed beyond that which is designedly intended on the face of God’s Word. Notice another illustration (I Cor. 12:27): Christ is here spoken of as the Head. Then Paul says to the Corinthians, “And ye are members of His body, and ye are members also one of another.” Well, the members of the body and of the Head are needed to make up one perfect man – the one perfect man, the one Christ mystical. There is one feature we must notice in this illustration before we point out its imperfection. It is intended to set forth the sympathy and feeling between Christ and believers. Now, if you will look at it rightly, you will see that it is in the head that you have all the senses. The head feels, sees, hears, tastes, and smells. The body does not. The body only has one sense in common with the head, that is, feeling; and hence you will see at once the design of the writer in this illustration. It is to bring out the feeling, the sympathy, and the oneness of the members with the Head. They cannot see without Christ the Head; they cannot hear and understand
without Christ the Head; they cannot “taste that the Lord is gracious,” – the things that be of the Spirit of God without Christ the Head; and they cannot scent the good things of God without Christ the Head. Now this illustration also fails in another respect, because a member from the human body may be cut off, and yet the human body may live. There is a failure in all earthly illustrations in setting forth the union, the inseparable union which eternally exists between Christ and His church. I will now give you an illustration without a failure, but we shall have to go to heaven for it. Turn to John 17, and as we shall read our hearts will be moved to feel that we are with Him in heaven. He prays that His disciples may be one, even as He and the Father are one. Can there be any separation between the Father and the Son? Only here, then, you have perfection of illustration. “I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them as Thou hast loved Me.” Here is perfection of love – here is the perfection of union; and hence it is that Christ prays to His Father, saying, “I will that they also whom Thou hast given Me be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory, the glory which Thou gavest Me, for Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world.” And when Thou lovedst Me, Thou lovedst them in Me. They and I are one; one in nature, one in spirit, one in Life, one in union, to appear before Thee. See this point more fully brought out in Hebrews 2. Now I have given you one perfect illustration to show you the eternal union which exists between Christ and His church. Paul said, “I knew a man in Christ.” God grant that we may have such a blessed evidence. Secondly, consider some of the blessings and privileges of being in Christ. Now, what would you call some of the blessings of being in Christ? I will mention some that the apostle himself gives us; and this, I think, is the best way of knowing what he meant. He tells us in Ephesians 1:6, “Accepted in the Beloved.” Is not this a blessing? The Beloved is the Lord Jesus Christ, and my standing ground before my God in heaven is in Him. Now this is a blessing, for he tells us so in the very chapter, that it is one of the “many blessings” which we are blessed “in heavenly places in Jesus.” There is another blessing also connected with being in Christ. Do you know that all who are standing in Christ before God are as He is? Isaiah says (45:25), “In the Lord have I righteousness and strength.” You have been singing about it
this evening, and a glorious theme it is, not only to have it in one’s head and one’s mouth, but in one’s heart also. Those taught of the Spirit of God know these things for themselves. Then, as Christ is righteous so are all in Him, for they are one with Him. There is another glorious truth in connection with this: “There is therefore no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. The standing ground of believers is in Christ, and to them there is no condemnation. To those not in Him, they “are condemned already, (John 3:18). God will not condemn His elect; Christ will not condemn them; the Spirit will not condemn them; the law cannot condemn them, for it has been fully satisfied. The world may try and Satan may try to condemn them, but God has said by His servant, “There is no condemnation.” Is not this, then, a blessing to the man in Christ? Notice, again, another blessing, for it is in connection with these. A man that is in Christ is a sanctified man. I do not undertake to speak of all the phases of sanctification now, but of that sanctification in which a man stands and appears holy before his God. And hence in the opening of the first epistle to the Corinthians you will see that they are “sanctified” by God the Father “in Christ Jesus.” They are holy, or set apart in Him. Now, when a man knows and realizes this for himself, is he not the very man to live holily and godlily and righteously in this present world? Then again, we are told in this very epistle (verse 17), that “if any man be in Christ he is a new creature,” or “new creation.” He then shows us in what sense he is so; “Old things are passed away;” old ceremonialism, old formalism, old doings, and everything of the creature that he relied on for acceptance before God has passed away, and “behold, all things are become new,”- new in Christ Jesus, a new creation, new thoughts, a new righteousness, having done with the old rags of self, and now clothed upon with the beautiful garments of Jehovah-Jesus. “Behold,” says God, speaking to His servant John, “Behold, I make all things new.” Now those who have thus passed from death unto life, and who know that their standing is in the Lord Jesus Christ only, know also that this is the truth of God as revealed in their souls, and as it was experienced and made manifest in the life and conduct of the great apostle. There is another blessing, which is this, that a man in Christ Jesus is preserved in Him, and underneath him are the everlasting arms of Jehovah. Yes,
indeed; the child of God is safe and cannot slip out of the arms of Jesus; and this Jude sang long ago when he wrote the first verse of his epistle: “Preserved in Christ Jesus.” Is not this a blessing? Preserved in Christ, carried in Christ, and thus everlastingly blessed in Christ. Again, this union with Christ can never be dissolved; no, never. I shall give you one or two verses of the apostle, from Romans 8, to illustrate his own meaning. Verse 35: “Who shall separate us from the love of God?” Who can? He then names seven things: “Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For Thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things” – the bitterest things- “we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.” The he seems to gather strength and mount higher still, saying, “I am persuaded.” Who persuaded him? The Holy Ghost, to be sure! “I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor things present, nor things to come, nor heights, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” I have here mentioned a multitude of blessings bestowed upon us in Christ Jesus. No wonder that the apostle should glory of the man in Christ: “I knew a man in Christ.” Now, look again. I used two words in the second division of my subject, “blessings” and “privileges.” What are the privileges? Privilege will very nearly cover the same ground as the blessings, yet the illustrations will be different, One privilege is that we are made near to God in Christ Jesus. This is a great privilege. Hence the apostle says, “Ye who sometimes were afar off are made nigh to God.” By what means? By the meritorious means: “By the blood of Christ.” This is Christ’s own glorious work. A person brought near to God has this glorious privilege, - he enters into the most holy place by the blood of the Lamb. He speaks to his Father in heaven, and his Father speaks again to him through the Son of His love. What a privilege is this, to be able to draw near to God in Christ Jesus. Notice another privilege. What is it? Do you know that a man that is standing in Christ has the privilege of forgiveness of sins, and of the redemption of body and soul: his earthen vessel? “In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” (Ephesians 1:7). What a privilege! We have not to wait until we get to the other side of the grave to know the fact whether our
sins are gone or not. God has already told us in His precious Word, saying, “Thy sins are forgiven thee.” They shall never be remembered against thee – no, never! Again; it is a great privilege to have so many promises as the children of God have in Christ. You will remember what this same apostle says in his second epistle to the Corinthians: “All the promises of God are in Him,”- in the Lord Jesus Christ. What? “Yea.” There is no changing of them on God’s part. They are promises made over and sealed to you in Christ. How important is union with and in Christ! When a man is brought into the conscious realization of God’s promises, he can say “Amen” to them all, that they are his. Is not this a privilege? We might gather up many promises, but we forbear; if you want to see them, see them in Christ. Many persons look into themselves more than into Christ. Many professors of religion - I mean Christians - never seem to get on at all. Why? Because they are always looking into the sink of iniquity which is a vital part of themselves; they like the flesh-pots of Egypt. O for God the Holy Spirit to give them a lift out of themselves, that they may see the beauty and the perfection which is in Christ Jesus. Again, it is in Christ that we have victory and strength, - strength to battle with the world, strength to battle with self, strength to battle with sin and Satan, and strength also to battle with the grave. “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” I shall not enlarge upon the second head of my subject; but try and gather up for yourselves what I have said. I have only mentioned a few of the privileges and blessings of being in union in Christ. Our third head is this: the evidences to our own souls of being in Christ. Paul says, “I knew a man.” He had the evidence, and this evidence of knowledge arose from experience. One of the first evidences of a man being in union in Christ is this, that he has the mind of Christ. I now speak experimentally. “The same mind in you which was in Christ Jesus.” When this is the case, then my mind is brought into harmony with the mind of Christ. It is, “Not my will, but Thine be done.” Humility and submission are difficult lessons to learn sometimes. Have you ever thought carefully over the words in Matthew’s Gospel, where Christ speaks of the revelation of Himself and of His Father to the believing soul? “No man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man to Father, save the Son, and he
to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.” Now look and see what follows, for He has power to reveal His Father, and He has power to reveal Himself; hence He says to the weary, heavy-laden, broken-hearted, and contrite spirit, “Come unto Me, and ye shall have rest.” I am the Son of God, I am the Mighty One, I know My Father’s will. “Come unto Me, and I will give you rest.” “Learn of Me,” and I will teach you. “Take My yoke upon you, for My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” What a blessed state of mind to be brought into! Now read the passage of Scripture which I have referred to, and see whether I have given a correct idea of its meaning and beauty. Again; there is another evidence, which is this, walking in Christ. Hear what the apostle himself has said, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him.” Helpless as a little child, yet walking in Him. He takes me by the hand, as it were, and leads me and guides me in my every step heavenward. Rooted in Christ, built up in Christ, established in Christ, completed in Christ, and abounding with thanksgiving in Christ. What a privilege! Again; notice another evidence. Do you know that to be in Christ, and to realize it, hoping in Him, makes a man very bold. Not bold towards God, but for God in a gracious sense. To be in Christ, and to realize it, makes a man very bold towards the ungodly and towards the children of God for Christ’s sake. Hence Paul says, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.” Why not? “For it is the power of Christ unto salvation to every one that believeth.” “It is with the heart that man believeth unto righteousness, and it is with the mouth that confession is made unto salvation.” Now, when a man realizes these things in himself he becomes bold in the Gospel, for he has got the best evidences in his own soul, and he is trying to show other persons that he has the evidences and proofs that his hope is in God. When the Lord gives light it is not to be put under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that persons may see it. Hence, “Let your light so shine before men,” that it may be seen by them. Ye disciples are the light of the world, in Him; therefore let the men of the world see your good works, and see that you glorify your Father which is in heaven, for the world never will. Be bold in letting your light shine, and fear not what man can do. Then, again, another evidence, is patience- waiting and looking for the Lord Jesus Christ. You know that the Old Testament saints were waiting and looking for
a long time - some of them nearly four thousand years - before He came in the flesh. You may read that very remarkable chapter (Hebrews 11), in which are mentioned the worthies of the Old Testament dispensation. Their attitude was patient waiting and looking for Jesus. So now, under the Gospel dispensation, the child of God is “looking unto Jesus,” who is “the Author and Finisher” of his faith and of his salvation, “Who, for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame.” But where is He now? “Set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” What an encouragement to those who are looking unto Him, and waiting for Him whenever He may call them hence. It may be to-night that He may call some dear soul instantly away. Blessed are all they who are patiently waiting, watching, and looking for the Lord Jesus Christ. Can we rejoicingly say, “Come, Lord Jesus, come, and welcome me into Thine everlasting Kingdom of glory? Now there is another evidence which is this- rejoicing in the Lord. You find in Philippians 3:3, “Rejoice in Christ Jesus.” “We are the true circumcision,” says the apostle, “which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” Here are three marks: “no confidence in the flesh,” Some persons have a very great deal of confidence, both in their own and in the flesh of others. “Cursed is the man that trusteth in man, and that maketh flesh his arm.” But blessed is the man that puts his trust in the Lord, and that worships Him in the spirit, and who rejoices in Christ Jesus, and who has no confidence in the flesh of man. I will just mention another evidence. You know that Paul, when brought to know and realize the Lord Jesus Christ in His blessed fullness, thought very little of the things of this life, of himself, and of his Judaism; for he tells us that “all these things” he counted “but loss and dung for Christ.” He desires to be found in Him, not having his own legal righteousness, but that which is through the faith of Christ. This is God’s righteousness. He says, “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect; but I follow after.” “I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press forward.” No wonder that he was prepared to go to death, and to give up his life, if need be, for the Lord Jesus Christ. His motto was, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” He was a runner, a wrestler, a fighter, a contender, a conqueror, and an overcomer, and one who entered triumphantly into
the kingdom prepared for him from everlasting. He knew this man in Christ. God’s children have known and do know many things. Dear old Job said, “I know that I shall be justified.” (Job 17:13). My friends, can we take up these words and say, “I know that I shall be justified?” Job could say, “I know that my Redeemer liveth.” Can we? He could say also, “I know that the Lord can do everything.” Can we? The servants of God in the New Testament knew a good deal. Our apostle says, “I know whom I have believed, and I know that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” He knew a great many things, did Paul. John says, “Now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know.” What did he know? He knew this, “that when Christ shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” What knowledge! Paul and John knew the same thing. But Paul says again, “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28). We know; but this knowledge, you must bear in mind, is a revelation from God. “It hath pleased God to reveal His Son in me.” It is a glorious revelation of Jesus Christ by the Holy Ghost in the sinner’s soul; it is Christ glorified in the sinner, and the sinner glorified in Christ, for they are and shall be glorified together. No wonder Paul said, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Now, what do we know about a man being in Christ, or a woman being in Christ? Paul says, “I knew a man in Christ.” God grant that we may know and realize for ourselves that we are in Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior! Amen, and Amen. ETERNAL UNION TO CHRIST By Gabriel Conklin, Warwick, N.Y., 1844 Volumes might be filled in dwelling upon the grand, glorious, and sublime doctrine of the eternal union of the church to Christ her Head, without exhausting the subject, or unfolding one half of its real beauties. The testimony of the Scriptures prove beyond
contradiction that the church of God was created, secured, preserved and sanctified in Christ Jesus from everlasting; that the Lord has been her dwelling place in all generations, even from everlasting to everlasting; (Psalm xc.1;) that the church was chosen in Him before the foundation of the world, that she should be holy and without blame before Him in love, and that her spiritual life was as essentially and really in Him as her Spiritual Head, when in His Mediatorial character or headship He was brought forth set up as the natural life of all mankind, was in Adam the natural head, in the day that God created him. Here is the true ground of all union. If we had no existence in Adam we could not have sinned, been condemned and died in him thousands of years before we were actually born; and if the church had not in like manner had a spiritual life in Christ secured, she could have no part or inheritance in the provisions of grace and mercy which were treasured up in Him before the world began. Christ is emphatically the Life of His people, and they possess no spiritual Life in themselves until Christ is formed in them by regeneration. [Note: Here is the background for the two man doctrine of regeneration: one natural, one spiritual.SCP] Our union with Adam is measured by time, it is perpetuated through time, and must cease when time shall be no longer; but the Life of the church was “hid with Christ in God,” “in the secret place of the Most High,” and “under the shadow of the Almighty, FROM everlasting and TO everlasting.” But our Adamic nature, as we have observed, belongs to our time state, and will be put off when it returns to the dust, as God said to Adam, “Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” But in the resurrection of the redeemed bodies of the saints, all that is earthly, sensual, and corrupt, shall be left behind; and these mortals shall put on immortality, and these corruptibles shall be clothed in incorruption; (i Cor. xv.) and the bodies of the saints shall be
quickened and raised up by the same Spirit that brought again from the dead the body of our Lord Jesus: and their bodies shall be like that body which was put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit. Hence the resurrection of the bodies of the saints is spoken of as the “manifestation of the sons of God.” Romans viii.19. The relationship of the church to Christ was independent of and prior to their connection with Adam. They were children of God, and as such became partakers of flesh and blood, as in like manner Christ “also took part of the same; for both He that sanctifieth and they that are sanctified are all of one, for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” – Hebrews ii. 4 & 11. The subject of union to Christ should also be considered in an experimental point of view. Doctrinally we have proved that such union did exist before all time, and must continue forever; but we feel the importance of this union to Christ experimentally, by a true and living faith. The branches had their existence in the vine before their development as branches, and we see that in the swelling bud, and their ultimate manifestation was but a growing out of the vine. So stand the members of Christ’s mystical body, in relation to Himself. He is the “True Vine,” and they are the branches, which have grown out of, or become manifest in their vital connection with Him. The branch has no life in itself, neither have the children of God; but as the life of the branch is in the vine, so is the life of the church in Christ. The children of God are as unconscious of an existence in Christ, until they are quickened by the Holy Spirit and born of God, as though no such life was in Him treasured up for them; for they were “by nature children of wrath even as others;” though set aside as vessels of mercy afore prepared unto glory. Consequently they were in the same alienation from God, and from every thing of a
spiritual nature as other men are. “The son differeth nothing from a servant, until the time appointed of the father;” even so were all the children of God in bondage, guilt, and condemnation; and unconscious of their union to Christ, as they were of their union to Adam before they were born of the flesh. To bring them therefore to the knowledge and enjoyment of this sacred union, they “must be born again.” Not of the flesh, as Nicodemus and all work mongers seem to understand the subject, by some extraordinary development of human wisdom, virtue or power: “but by an incorruptible seed, by the word of God which liveth and abideth forever.” By regeneration, that Life which was given us in Christ before the world began, is communicated to the people of God. Christ who is their Life, is formed in them the hope of glory. Because they are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into their hearts, crying, “Abba Father.” This heavenly birth brings forth the sons of God: they not “born of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” In connection with this plan, the sons of God are brought into possession experimentally of all the fruits of the Spirit; love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, &c., and by which they have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom this gift of faith experimentally and manifestatively unites them. Faith discovers unto them their redemption from sin and condemnation found in the nature of the flesh, through the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ. By faith they are made to understand that the legal right of Christ to redeem them from sin and death, was grounded upon the preexisting union and relationship, the near Kinsman, in whom the right of redemption was secured; hence they are led to admire and wonder, adore and love their blessed Redeemer, whom they receive as Head over all things to His church, which “is His body, and the fullness of Him
that filleth all in all.” And being owned and accepted in Him as His body, and as members in particular, they feel the assurance that they are “the bone of His bone, and flesh of His flesh.” They are led by the Spirit to contemplate their union to Christ as being: 1 st ., Vital. It consists not in forms and duties, but there is a living connection really felt and enjoyed. His Spirit dwells in them, His love is shed abroad in their hearts, and His righteousness presents them without spot or blemish before the throne. In Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and they are complete in Him, which is the Head of all principalities and power. They, therefore, hold Him as the Head, from which all the body, by joints and bands, having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. Col. Ii. 19. 2d. IT IS INDISSOLUBLE. Our guilt and condemnation in Adam, our transgression of the Divine Law, our alienation from God, and enmity of all His perfections, could not dissolve that eternal union, nor arrest the love of Him, who for the great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, so that “By grace we are saved, through faith, and that (faith) not of ourselves, it is the gift of God.” Eph. ii. 45. And the challenge is still on record, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For Thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
We might go on to trace the attributes of this union, but the limits of a circular letter will not permit. REFLECTIONS. Brethren, Do you enjoy this vital, heavenly, and invincible union with Jesus Christ? Do you hold Him as the “Head over all things to His church, and do you disavow all other headships? The dragon and the beast which John saw had a plurality of heads, but Zion has but one head, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and all His members are called in one hope of their calling. Do you, brethren, receive all your spiritual nourishment from Him as your Head? Do you honor Him as your Head and Husband, as your Prophet, Priest, and King? Or are you ashamed to be found altogether dissimilar from all the daughters of the Old Mother of Harlots? If we stand thus united to Christ, may we not expect that the same vital union will be diffused from the Head to all the members of His body? Or can we be vitally united with Christ, and feel no special attachment, love and fellowship for all the members of His mystical body? Can we love Him that begets, and not those who are begotten of Him? And, again: If we love Him, will we not feel disposed with all our hearts to do whatsoever He has commanded us? We cannot consistently believe that His love dwells in our hearts, if it has no governing influence over our affections; over our lives and our deportment. May our union to Him, our love to His people, to His Truth, and to the order of His house, more abundantly appear in our lives and conversation before the world, and before our brethren.
CIRCULAR LETTER: Real and Substantial UNION OF CHRIST AND HIS CHURCH
The Warwick Old School Baptist Association, convened with the church at New Vernon, Orange Co., N. Y. June 7 th , 8 th , and 9 th , 1871, to the churches composing the same, send Christian salutation.
Dear Brethren: Time in its tireless flight has brought us to the close of another year, which with all its consequences has rolled into eternity. To the goodness of that Being in whose hands are all our times and places and seasons, we would acknowledge our great indebtedness. Permitted once more to meet in association, we send you, as is our custom, our circular letter, in which we would embody an earnest exhortation to unity, founded upon the many admonitions of the Scriptures. Many beautiful figures are employed in the Scriptures descriptive of the Church of Christ. The most exalted language ever used by mortals is used to portray her glory and her loveliness. But in all the names she bears, and in all the forms of love she wears, given her by her Lord and Master, the idea of perfect union or oneness is maintained. “My love is but one,” says He, “the only one of her mother.” Again, “I am the Vine, ye are the branches.” Again, “There is one body and one spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling. One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” And “being many are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” The Scriptures abound with declarations similar to those we have quoted, showing clearly the unity of the church existing between the members, as well as between them and their Head.
Now the bond of this union extending from the Head through all the members, uniting all together as sinews of brass or iron could not unite, is the everlasting, unchangeable love of God. Love – the very essence and being of God, who laid the foundation and placed His building upon it, and declared that the gates of hell should not prevail against it. And this same love, being eternal, flowing from the foundation, unites the living stones together, and to itself, with bands that never can be dissolved. All other buildings must crumble and fall. All other union is merely temporal, have both beginning and end, and like all time things must be dissolved. Now when this “love of God is shed abroad in the heart,” then is the one Spirit leading into all Truth and teaching the wonderful things of Christ; teaching the same things to every one, so that love, joy and peace abound. Where ever the heavenly seed is sown in the heart prepared of the Lord to receive it, its fruit will certainly more or less abound, and we must gain some evidence from the fruit that the “incorruptible seed, the (essential) word of God which liveth and abideth forever,” is in the heart, before we can feel any true union or fellowship. In opposition to this spirit of love and union is what the apostle terms the “Prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” Between the two spirits there is uncompromising warfare. There can be no union between Christ and Belial, nor fellowship between a believer and an infidel. For this is a lying spirit, “working all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish,” and goeth up and down in the earth, and walketh to and fro in it, like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. There is but one power that can deliver us from him, and that is the arm of the Lord, who hath set his metes and bounds. This Satan “transformed into an angel of light,” as the apostle declares, works his lying wonders in the soul; he puffs it up with air, and deludes the simple into the belief that he is the
humblest Christian on the earth. How he will imitate the graces of the Spirit of Truth; but his counterfeit imitations may easily be detected when, according to an injunction of the apostle, we “try the spirits.” His humility, that crowning grace of the true Spirit, is a “voluntary humility,” upon which he prides himself greatly. He even makes his boast of it, and thanks God that he has given him more grace than many of the brethren have. He can repeat with boastful assurance that prayer of the publican, “God, be merciful to me a sinner,” and at the same time upbraid the doubting child of grace because he dare not so much as lift his eyes to heaven while he cries for mercy. What are the fruits of this spirit? Just what the Scriptures represent: selfishness, deceit, dissimulation, hypocrisy, ambition, envy, malice, hatred, treachery, and every evil work. In contrast to this is the Spirit of Truth in them who are heirs of salvation – the spirit of all real unity and sweet fellowship. How different its fruit, how lovely and desirable its graces, and how the hearts of the saints go out after those who possess it. The humility of these is that which springs from a knowledge of themselves as sinners before God, and as unworthy recipients of His great mercy. These are vessels of mercy, into which is put the eternal life of the seed of Christ, and love, and glory – love not of themselves, but of God, and of those who are born of God, the brethren. No worldly policy, no schemes of selfaggrandizement, draw them to the house of God and to the company of the saints. One of them, and that the great apostle of the Gentiles, is led to explain, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” This humility is one of their chief characteristics. This language of Paul is the language of every soul in whom grace reigns. The “chief of sinners,” the “ends of the earth,” are they in their own eyes. Says the same apostle, “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” This is not a mere figure of speech, but it was wrung from
the soul as he felt the deep depravity of his very nature and his entire helplessness. There is a bringing down of high looks when God’s mighty voice is heard. He casts the mighty from their seats, and exalteth them of low degree. Where this precious work of the Lord is there is real substantial union. There is the one Spirit that gathers in the one name. God, according to His promise, gathers His own people. “I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee. I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the flock of Bozrah.” And when they are thus gathered they are in one mind and in one accord. Here in their experience they are brought into union personally with the “Man of sorrows,” made partakers, in their measure, of His sufferings, endure a great fight of afflictions, sorely pressed like a cart under sheaves; without are fightings, within are fears; so that anointing which he hath received of the Father extends over them, like the oil that was poured upon the head of the High Priest, which ran down over the skirts of his garments. The spirit of grace and of glory which was upon Christ extends through all His members, so that the Father, the Elder Brother and all the members of the household of God constitute but one family. “One family we dwell in Him, One Church above, beneath.” Here also in the flesh the members are partakers of the same earthly nature, which from Adam is “earthly, sensual and devilish.” “The carnal mind is enmity against God, is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Romans viii:7. And we have shown that between this carnal mind and the “one mind” in which they are gathered there is no union or fellowship, but constant warfare. This warfare is experienced by every heavenborn individual, else the
apostle Paul is not in union with the whole Church; for he with many others of the saints whose testimony we have upon record, speak in unmistakable terms of this warfare. He who is never a captive to the “law of sin” in his members, cannot feel a union with Paul in that condition or experience. He who can live above all doubt in regard to his heirship with Christ, and is exempt from those gloomy fears which tempt and depress the saints in this world, certainly can have no real union or oneness with them. Nor can the tried children of God feel any union with them. Why was Satan permitted to hurl his fierce temptations to doubt at Christ? Because His members are subject to the same temptations, and He “was tempted in all points like as we are.” Dear brethren, carnal security is more to be dreaded by the children of grace than the slough of despond. “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it?” Jer. xvii. 9. Grace, free and sovereign grace alone subdues it and holds its raging passions in check. God hath chosen His people in the furnace of affliction, (Isa. xlviii. 10,) and we believe that all of them are thus chosen. Not particularly the afflictions that are common to the world, but those afflictions which spring from the warfare of which we have been speaking, when deep waters come in upon the soul, and the deep innate depravity of our outward man is held up to our view, and from which we shrink with loathing. It is then we cry in bitter anguish to be delivered “from the body of this death.” Thus each one seeing the great unworthiness there is in himself by nature, and the fruit of the Spirit abounding much more in his brother, “esteems others better than himself,” and their hearts are drawn together as the heart of one man, and in lowness of mind they walk together before God. “How can two walk together except they be agreed,” asks the prophet. Amos iii. 3. They cannot. But these do agree, for they have the mind of Christ. All dissention that arises among brethren come of the lusts of the flesh, or outward
man, the carnal mind, which is opposed to God’s government of love. The prince of this world, who held undisputed away in the heart till the Prince of Peace was born and hurled him from his seat, is still at work, worrying whom he can’t devour, and if it were possible would sever the bond of union between Christ as the Church. But, brethren, you are not ignorant of his devices, how he will privily creep in unawares, and while men sleep will sow his devilish seed. It is against him we would warn you. Every thing that may spring up to mar the “unity of the spirit in the bond of peace” among the people of God, to produce envying, jealousies, backbitings, evil speaking and such like, come from this enemy, and should be treated as coming from an enemy. Whatever may thus disturb the sweet fellowship existing among the saints, is abhorrent in the eyes of God; for He hath purified them unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. He hath called them to be His own, He hath abundantly blessed them, set His kingdom in them, and crowned them with glory and honor. We would say then, dear brethren, “Mark them which cause divisions among you contrary to the doctrine ye have received, and avoid them.” Give no place for a moment to any disorganizing spirit among you. It were better for a man to die than to bring dissentions into the true church of God, contrary to the apostle’s doctrine. “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” “Endeavor to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace,” says the apostle. But we should remember that the unity of the spirit must be kept else there is no “bond of peace.” A cry of “Peace, peace, where there is no peace,” does not bring peace. There never can be peace between Christ and antiChrist. The only basis of lasting peace is the love of God our Father and the union and fellowship of the Holy Spirit.
Finally, brethren, farewell. Live in peace, and the God of peace be with you. The Old and New Man By Gilbert Beebe, Middleton, NY., Nov. 15, 1858. “So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.” Romans vii. 25 If Paul had in him these two opposite principles, and both so identified with his person that with the one he himself served the law of God, and with the other at the same time he himself served the law of sin, was he like all other Christians in these respects? Have all Christians in them a mind with which they themselves serve the law of God, or can any man be a Christian who has not such a mind? And have all Christians, like Paul, a principle or law in their members which is at war with this law of the mind, and with which they themselves serve the law of sin? Or is the flesh of some Christians so purified by regeneration [See next article] that they are unlike Paul, and have no wicked propensities in their flesh whereby they serve the law of sin? [Why not pause here, and reflect and answer those questions before proceedingSCP] If all Christians are like Paul in these particulars, and like him serve the law of their God with the mind, and with the flesh serve the law of sin, are both of these opposites born of God? Or is that flesh in them which wars against the Spirit, only born of the flesh: or has it been born over again and made holy by a spiritual birth? And if it has, why does the apostle then admonish Christians to crucify it with its affections and lusts, and how can the Christian
with it himself still serve the law of sin? [Why not pause and reflect on those problems? SCP.] If in our flesh there dwells no good thing, and in that which is born of the Spirit there dwells no evil thing, if that which is born of God “cannot sin, because his seed abideth in him, and he or it cannot sin because he is born of God,” is it heretical or wicked for a Christian to believe that all the corruptions within him are born of the flesh, and none of them are born of God, and that all that is pure and holy with him, is born of God, and no part of it is born of the flesh? Of this mind with which the Christian himself serves the law of God, the apostle says, “We have the mind of Christ,” and another mind, or law, which he saw in his flesh he calls a carnal, which signifies a fleshly mind. With the mind of Christ he serves the law of God; but the carnal (or fleshly) mind is “enmity against God, it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” – Romans 8:7. These two minds must be very opposite! One of them is not, and cannot be subject to the law of God, and with the other we actually serve the law of God. Are both of these minds born of God? Or is that mind which cannot be subject to the law of God, the mind that is born of the flesh? The carnal mind is enmity against God, while the law requires love to God, and love to our neighbor, and on these hang all the law and the prophets. Is that fleshly mind which cannot obey the law of love, born of God? Or is that mind which can and does love God, with all the heart, might and strength, born of that flesh in which there is no good thing? We think all Christians will unite in the conclusion that all within them that is carnal, earthly, depraved and vile, is born of the flesh, and will continue to annoy them until they shall be by death delivered from these bonds of corruption, until this earthly house or mortal tabernacle shall be taken down, dissolved and fall, and that our mortal bodies will not be animated with immortal life until God
shall change them and fashion them like the glorious body of their risen Redeemer, and that change will not come until the resurrection, when if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in us, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken (make alive) their mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwells in them. Then, and not until then, shall they be satisfied: when they shall awake in His likeness. Strip the subject of all vain speculations, what ifs, and all futile attempts you analyze the natural soul, body, and spirit of man, which is in man, in trying to make out what we possess that is born of earth, or born from above, and it will be easy for every heavenborn child to perceive that all that we possess as identified with persons in our present state that is born of God, bears the image of the heavenly, and all within us that does not bear the heavenly image is born of the flesh, and not of the Spirit. With a clear understanding of their complex character, as now in an earthly body which clings to the earth, and lusts after the things of the earth, and wars against the spirit of their mind, and makes them groan, being burdened, and also clearly understanding that they also are the happy recipients through grace, of eternal, or immortal life in Christ Jesus, that Christ is formed in them the hope of glory, that God has revealed His Sin in them, that God has shined in their hearts to give them the light of the glory of God, shining in the face of Jesus Christ, they will be prepared to appreciate what the inspired apostles have said of the old man and the new man, the outer man, and the inner man, together with the admonition to put off the old man with his deeds, and to put on the new man, which after God, is created in righteousness and true holiness. A clear Scriptural understanding of this subject will serve also to obviate the difficulties which may harass their minds in regard to the nature of the Christian warfare they experience. The saints are
often tempted to doubt the reality of their own experience because they find in them so much of what is earthly, sensual and devilish, so much unreconciliation to God, so much murmuring, such vile affection, and strong propensities to depart from the living God, and to run into forbidden paths. If, say they, we were born of God, would it be thus with us? Can a nature which is born of God, grovel in the dust, and be so opposite to the spirit and purity of God? Certainly that which is born of God cannot commit sin, cannot disbelieve or doubt what God has said, &c. But when they hear an inspired apostle declare that it is no more I that doeth it, but sin that dwelleth in me, that the new man in them only, is born of God, loves God, loves holiness, loves the brethren, and serves the law of God, and that with his flesh, or earthly nature, he serves the law of sin, and does the things which he would not, and leaves undone the things which he would do, it gives them sweet relief. “From whence come wars and fightings among you?” Thus the apostle James interrogates the saints. Do they arise from that new man which is after God created in righteousness and true holiness? Certainly not. They cannot proceed from that in us which is born of God, for that cannot commit sin, fort the seed abideth in him, and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. Whence are they then? “Come they not of your own lusts?” Our flesh lusts against the Spirit, and that which is born of the flesh is flesh. Here is the source of wars among the Christians. But as that which is assailed by the flesh is spirit, and is born of the Spirit, it wars against the corruptions of the flesh. This life, or animation in the Christian which is of the flesh, shall die, and if we walk after the flesh, as the body is death, and it is dead because of sin, ye shall die. There is nothing else in the flesh; but if ye through the Spirit (which is born of God) do mortify the deeds of the flesh, ye shall live; for the Spirit is life, because of righteousness. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the
Spirit.” Let us remember that if we walk after the Spirit, we shall not fulfill the desires or lusts of the flesh. If the saints could at all times walk after the Spirit, there would be no wars and fightings among them; that is, no bite and devouring of one another; they would lay aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speaking, and as newborn, heavenborn, spiritborn babes, we would desire the sincere milk of the word that we may grow thereby. This spiritual food is adapted to the child of the new birth; it will not nourish the child of the flesh. Our fleshly natures are of the earth, all their sustenance must come from the earth, and be obtained from thence by the sweat of the face. But that birth which is of an incorruptible seed, by the (essential) word of God which liveth and abideth forever, must be sustained by the milk of that living and abiding word. THE UNION OF THE VINE AND FRUIT OF THE BRANCHES By Gabriel Conklin, of NY., 1852 Beloved Brethren, Among the great variety of useful and interesting subjects afforded us in the Scriptures for our edification and comfort, that of the union of the Vine and the fruit of the branches stand prominent, and it is every way worthy of our contemplation and meditation. In the use of this language, the Savior evidently designs to set forth Himself and His people in union; hence His declaration, “I am the vine, ye are the branches.” John 15:5. The language is very significant and instructive; so much so, that a single reflection upon it, in a literal or natural sense, forces the conviction upon the mind of the truth and beauty
of it in a spiritual sense, as used and designed by Him; for we cannot conceive of a living vine and living branches, literally, only in union with each other, and all proceeding – vine, branches, and the union of them – from the same germ, or seed; so Christ and His people are all of one stock, or spiritual seed; and so the apostle observes, “Both He that is sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one; for which cause He (Christ) is not ashamed to call them brethren.” Hebrews 2:11. Jesus declares Himself to be “the true vine,” intimating that there were, or would be, others claiming His prerogative, to be the Messiah, and that they would come in their own name and be received by the Jews; but all such were and would be imposters, and He alone the one prophesied of, the true Messiah, or, as quoted above, “the true vine.” We naturally look for fruit from healthy branches, connected with a living vine; so the Savior speaks of His disciples as set forth by the branches; but He first asserts, that every branch in Him that beareth not fruit is taken away by His Father, the Husbandman.” While these branches in Him that do not bear fruit, and are taken away, refer to the natural branches (the Jews), some of which were to be broken off (see Paul to the Romans, 11 th chapter,); or to a being in Him by profession, having only the name of a disciple; or to some who are really the children of God; or whether it may not be applicable in each or all of these cases, we are not quite positive, we leave it for you to examine and judge for yourselves. The Scriptures fully justify us in the belief, that, as concerning the flesh, and in a national sense, a relationship existed between Christ and the Jews; and that when He came, “He came to His own” in this sense, and they “received Him not.” The Scriptures also teach us, that there were disciples socalled, who were not disciples indeed, but only in name and profession. The same Scriptures also indicate plainly, that there were and would be some of the real
children of God who, by reason of the infirmities of the flesh and the temptations of the adversary, would so far stray from the right way, as greatly to dishonor the Master and His cause, so that the declaration of the Savior, of bearing no fruit and being taken away, in a certain sense, and for the time being, might be true in their case. But as this conversation of the Savior with the disciples was in connection with His announcement to them, that one of them should betray Him, it would seem the most reasonable to suppose that the immediate reference was to Judas, and with him to others who, like him, have only the name and profession of being in Christ. There is something beyond our comprehension in the circumstance of Judas being one of the twelve, but it was so, and by the choice of the Savior; for, said He, “Have I not chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?” and with a knowledge of this fact He tells the disciples He chose them, but that the Scriptures might be fulfilled, “He that eateth bread with Me hath lifted up his heel against Me.” There was, therefore, a need be, or necessity in the case of the choice of Judas, namely, that the Scriptures might be fulfilled, and the purpose of God accomplished. Being numbered with the twelve, and having obtained part of this ministry (as saith an apostle, Acts 1:17), it is neither strange or unaccountable that Judas should be allowed to assume the name and profession of a disciple, and that in this sense the Savior might speak of his being in Him as a branch not bearing fruit, and to be taken away; but, said the Savior to the disciples, “Every branch in Me that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” This purging, or pruning, or purifying process, has been, is now, and will be carried on and carried out by the great Husbandman, the Lord of the vineyard. As the vinedresser, literally, prunes the branches by cutting loose and separating the excrescence, or useless matter adhering thereto, which in a greater or less degree would injure their growth and productiveness, so the Lord will cut loose and
separate from His people everything like confidence in the flesh, or trusting in an arm of flesh; for all such confidence and trust is useless, and far worse than useless, as it is opposed to a trusting in the Lord and a growing in grace and in the knowledge of God, and a bearing fruit to His honor and glory. “Herein,” says Jesus, “is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples.” Thus, in bearing fruit we glorify God, and show that we are the disciples of Christ. What a distinguished favor this, that the Lord purges the branches, inasmuch as it is indispensably necessary in order to their bearing fruit! What a blessing, that our Heavenly Father purifies His people, in order that they may glorify Him! What a mercy, that He prunes, cuts loose, and severs (though the process may be hard to endure) everything that may hinder our bearing fruit, as in this we manifest that we are the disciples of Christ! Another indispensable qualification in the branch for bearing fruit is, that it abide in the vine. This idea, literally, is so plain and conclusive, that none will likely dispute it. Well, “As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself except it abide in the vine, no more can ye except ye abide in Me” so the Savior tells us – what, then, is implied in abiding in Christ? His abiding in us is clearly implied, and also expressed by Himself, in connection with our abiding in Him. The Lord Jesus Christ abides in His people by His Spirit; hence it is written, “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of His.” Again, Christ abides in His people by His word, or words, according to the Scriptures. Another idea implied, is to abide in His love; so the Savior observes to His disciples – “If ye keep My commandments ye shall abide in My love.” Again, to abide in Christ is to abide in His word, having His word, or words, abiding in us. To abide in Christ, therefore, and in His word, is to abide in His doctrine; and John says, “Whosoever transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God.” In short, to abide in Christ is to abide in His precepts and examples, embracing His doctrine and
ordinances, faith and practice. Having briefly noticed the idea of abiding in Christ, the inference we draw, the instruction we receive from the subject is, that as it is impossible for the branch, literally, to bear fruit except it abide in the vine, so it is equally impossible for those professing to be disciples of Christ to bear fruit to the glory of God, and thus give evidence that they are disciples indeed, except they abide in Him, and He in them, by His love, His word, and Spirit, and they are found abiding in His love, possessing His Spirit, keeping His commandments, abiding in His word, and His word in them; abiding in the doctrine and order if His house, or Kingdom, as established by Himself and laid down in His word. Whoever is careful in the observance of men and things of our day and time, will not fail to discover that the religious world is on the stretch in its length and breadth, professedly, helping God to save the world; hence the great exertions to establish and sustain a host of religious societies, having no foundation whatsoever in the Scriptures, and place them on a permanent basis, according to the wisdom of the world, and the policy of men. But are they abiding in Christ in this, or is His word abiding in them? Does it not declare that the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God? And that “that which is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God”? Are they abiding in His doctrine and commandments in pursuing this course? Are they not rather “teaching for doctrines the commandments of men”? and do they not stand reproved and rebuked by the word of the Lord – “Who hath required this at your hands?” It is well for us, brethren, if we pause and reflect upon the consequences of joining hands with such an unholy alliance; that we be careful and cautious lest we are found engaged with them in a crusade against the truth, for as sure as the Scriptures are truth, so sure are those not only destitute of authority from them, but also directly opposing them. Would we, as His professed disciples, bear fruit, yea, much fruit, let us look well to ourselves, and to the
doctrine, as Paul said to Timothy, “holding fast the profession of our faith without wavering” clinging to the Bible alone as our only infallible rule of both faith and our practice; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace; walking in love, and looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; evincing thus that we are abiding in Christ. An inquiry is suggested, as to what this fruit is? It is believed to be, in its character, the same as that John saw in His vision of the Tree of Life (Revelation 22:2), and, therefore, must be good fruit – “fruit unto holiness.” Paul describes it and calls it the “fruit of the Spirit,” in contrast with the works of the flesh, (Galatians 5:22,23); it is “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” In 2 Peter 1, we have a cluster of the fruits of the Spirit named, embracing some in Paul’s list, and some additional ones, as “virtue, knowledge, brotherly kindness,” &c.; and Peter declares, that where these abound, there is neither barrenness nor unfruitfulness. John tells us that the Tree of Life, above referred too, bare twelve manner of fruits. It will be found, upon examination that Peter and Paul together, in their notice of the fruits of the Spirit, make about the same number of the different kinds. This Tree of Life is evidently designed to set forth Christ, not only as a living Christ, and possessing life in Himself and for Himself, but for His people also: therefore, whom He will He quickens, or makes alive. He is, then, the life of His people, according to the Scriptures, and it is His prerogative and His alone, to give it to them. This is spiritual, yea, it is eternal life; for, said the Savior, “I give unto them” (My sheep) “eternal life, and they shall never perish.” But this Tree of Life was most extraordinary for fruit, bearing twelve manner, or sorts; so all the graces or fruits of the Spirit, borne by His people, are found in Christ, and produced by Him; and as the Tree of Life yielded its fruit every month, so Christ,
being full of the Spirit and full of grace and truth, yea, possessing all fullness, His people in Him receive of that fullness, and grace for grace, and a continual supply, according to His infinite wisdom and boundless fullness. If this fruit, borne by the branches that abide in the vine, grows on the Tree of Life, or is produced by the Lord Jesus Christ, why is it called the “fruit of the Spirit”? because the Spirit takes of the things of Christ, and shows them unto His people. It is the Spirit of God, or Christ, the Holy Spirit, that teaches us to love, if, indeed, we love God and one another; it is the Spirit that gives us joy and peace in believing, and gives us patience in our afflictions. May we be found, dear brethren, abiding steadfastly in Christ, in every sense of the subject, so shall we bear much fruit; thus shall we glorify God, and give evidence that we are disciples of Christ. Let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not; remembering the words of the Master, “Without Me, ye can do nothing.” These are perilous times; this is a day of evil – a day in which darkness is put for light, and light for darkness – a day of awful delusion and deception, in which error, like a mighty flood, is sweeping through the world; but it is our unspeakable mercy, dear brethren, that the earth (antiChristian churches, made up principally of earthlyminded professors whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly,) has opened her mouth, and is, at this very time, swallowing up the flood of error, and thus unwittingly helping the woman (the Church of Christ); for the design of the dragon was to carry away the woman with the flood cast out of his mouth; but in this he is nonplused, and the Church of Christ, His body, is shielded from harm. Thus God will so overrule the devices of Satan, the rage of antiChrist, and the wrath of man, that His people shall be saved, their enemies all destroyed, and Himself glorified. Let us be encouraged, then, brethren, endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ, having on the whole
armor of God, that we may stand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. UNION By R. M. Simmons, 1877 Union signifies the act of joining together two or more, or of two or more being joined together; concord; conjunction of minds or interests; hence, to unite, is to join together two or more into one; to make to agree; to make to adhere; to be cemented together; to be consolidated; to grow into one. Therefore the apostle to the church at Ephesus would say, “There is one body and one spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Consequently Paul would say, in regard to the calling, “Who hath saved us, and called us with an 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.” Hence, when we refer back to where and when this grace was given, it was in Christ before the world began. “God said, Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness.” “There are Three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these Three are One.” This is God. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” “All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.” There are none who dare say man was not made in the image and likeness of God. Man was made without sin, but susceptible of receiving sin. Therefore, by disobedience man became
a sinner; yet grace being given in Christ before the world began, and before man was made, that Christ should be made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law. Hence, Christ “gave Himself for it (the church), that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word;” that He might present it unto Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing. “Therefore ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular;” “and every one members one of another.” Hence Jesus said, “I in them, and they in Me;” I in the Father, and the Father in Me.” Therefore, “both they who are sanctified, and He that sanctifieth, are all of one, for which cause He is not ashamed to call them “brethren.”’ She is “Bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh.” “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us; and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” “For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” “And of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.” Hence, whom God did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son; and whom He did predestinate, them He also called; “not according to their works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given them in Christ before the world began;” and whom He called, He also justified. Christ bare their sins, and their iniquities were laid on Him. “In union with the Lamb, From condemnation free, The saints from everlasting were, And shall forever be.” Those whom He justified, He also did glorify. “Father, glorify Thou Me with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.” Now, “Behold I and the children which God hath given Me,” elect according
to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit. Born of the Spirit, born of God; fell in Adam, reproduced in Christ, who is the express image of His Father’s person, the brightness of His glory. When He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the throne of God, expecting till His enemies be made His footstool. “All things are delivered unto Me of My Father; and no man knoweth the Son but by the Father, neither knoweth any man the Father save the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal Him.” Therefore we read of the Son, “Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Thy kingdom.” “Jesus, thou Son and Heir of heaven, Thou spotless Lamb of God, I see Thee bathed in sweat and tears, And weltering in Thy blood. “Yet quickly from these scenes of woe In triumph Thou shalt rise; Burst through the gloomy shades of death, And shine above the skies.” Therefore, who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? I is God that justifieth, it is Christ that died, yea, rather that is risen again.” Hence Christ says that “No man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” Brethren, from the foregoing sentences, or thoughts, we have the following conclusion: that Christ did save that which was lost; that is all He ever did or ever will save, which is His body, the church, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all. The church is the fullness of Christ; the Head, the life, the light, the joy, peace and every other grace, bestowed.
Finally, brethren, rejoice in the Lord, “To write the same things to you, to us is not grievous; but for you it is safe. Beware of dongs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision; for we are the circumcision, which worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh.” The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. ETERNAL UNION OF CHRIST AND HIS CHURCH By R. M. Thomas, Missouri, 1877 The First Regular Baptist Association called Kansas, in session with the Pleasant Grove Church, in Atchison Co., Kansas, on the 28 th , 29 th , and 30 th of September, 1877, to the churches composing our body, and to all who are in Christ Jesus, Greetings, Very Dear Brethren and Sisters: We think it a high privilege, far above our deserts, to be again permitted to meet in our annual session, and to hear and tell of the ups and downs, of the sorrows, trials and tribulations, and also the joys of which each one has been made to partake during the past year. Although we feel unworthy of the least of our heavenly Father’s notice, we have been made to feel that His Fatherly care has been over us, and we are again made to rejoice at the glad news of some of the dear lambs of God coming into the fold, and into the fellowship of the household of faith, as it is written, “The ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads.” &c.
In order that all may know of our steadfastness in the faith of God’s elect, we will present a few points of doctrine that we esteem most dear to the lovers of Truth. First, we believe that God, because of His eternal, unchangeable love, made choice of all the heirs of promise; that they were chosen in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world; that in time they are developed, called, and receive an evidence of their election; that they are kept by His omnipotent power, and will eventually receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. We believe that Jesus Christ came into the world to save His people from their sins; that He did not come, as some would have it, not knowing what He must suffer, nor who would be benefited by His sufferings; but He came with a full knowledge of what the redemption price was, and that all the holy seed (their holiness in Him) were embraced in the covenant of redemption, and not one of them can fail to receive the inheritance. The doctrine of the eternal union of Christ and the church seems at present to be the main controverted point among those claiming to be Old School Baptists. We believe that as Adam is the figure of Him that was to come, and Eve his wife was in him before the Lord caused a deep sleep to fall upon him, even so the church, the Lamb’s wife, was seminally (sic) in Him before the foundation of the world. And as the branches, before their development, dwelt in the vine, so all the members of Christ’s body dwelt in Him, are all made partakers of His divine nature, and all receive their nourishment through Him. On this blessed eternal union rests the Christian’s hope.
THE DUAL CHARACTER OF THE CHRISTIAN AND REDEMPTION OF THE BODY
By Levi Bavis, Mercer Run, Ohio, 1879.
Very Dear Brethren in the Lord: Forasmuch as it has been a time honored custom for Associations to address the several churches composing the same by the way of a Circular letter at the time of their annual meeting, we claim it a privilege to still continue the practice until it is proven to be only a “tradition of the father.” In this our annual Address, we desire to study the Christian character. The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch, and we have good authority to say it was given them by their enemies by way of derision. Notwithstanding the name has become very popular among all classes of professors, and is used as a covering or cloak to hide or cover up all manner of evil. The name “Christian” was given, because the man or woman was a follower of Christ and anointed by Him, who believed in Him and walked in His commandments. No other can be honestly called, in deed and in truth, “Christians,” and those professing to believe in Christ and found not walking in His commandments are not Christians. The Christian is set forth in the figure of the “Shulamite” as a “company of two armies.” He believes and yet he does not believe. “Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief.” He walks and yet he does not walk, standing unmoved in the principles of his belief. Hence a complex character, fighting and yet not fighting, for the battles are all fought for him; he coming off victorious in every struggle that comes in his way. His Captain is King Jesus, who has fought all his battles for him. Even in death itself coming off victorious, “and this is the victory that overcometh the world even our Faith,” which is the gift from God Himself. The victory there is a given victory, not an earned one, saying that “no weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper, and every tongue that riseth up in judgment Thou shalt condemn.” The warfare is only a time affair, and ends with time, but he that believeth in Jesus, though he were death, shall never die.
Christian, doest thou believe this? One said, “And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God, for I know that my Redeemer liveth and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.” This man, Job, was a Christian, though his conflicts were apparently unbearable by mortal man; nevertheless he lived and yet not he, but “Christ lived IN him, and the life he then lived, he lived by “the faith of the Son of God, who loved him and gave Himself for him. The Spirit is life because of righteousness; the body is dead because of sin, nevertheless, the motions of sin are still in the flesh, bringing the Christian into captivity to the law of sin which is in his members, warring against the law of his mind so that he cannot do the things that he would. He finds then a law, that when he would do good, evil is present with him, for his delight is in the law of God after the inward man, so then with the mind, he serves the law of God, but with the flesh, the law of sin. Consequently, the Christian, the saint, the heir of heaven has two minds, two natures and inclined in two directions – one mind is in the flesh, and is of the earth, earthy and is carnal, selfish and seeking after earthly things – the other is heavenly and seeking after heavenly things and is the mind of Christ. This is the experience of every Christian. He knows and realizes from day to day that he cannot do the things he would and the things he would not do that he is doing. Nevertheless, there is no condemnation resting against him whose strivings are after heavenly things and who is walking after the spirit and not after the flesh. “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die” to the enjoyments of heavenly things in this time state; “But if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” to the enjoyment of heavenly things. Hence the exhortation is for the Christian not to walk after his flesh; “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace;” because the carnal mind “is enmity against God. For it is not subject to the law, neither indeed
can be, so then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now, if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His, and if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.” Therefore brethren, we are debtors not to live after the flesh but to mortify the deeds of the body and as the man of sin was put under subjection by the great Head of the church, the command is to keep him under. “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but the Spirit of adoption whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” The Spirit itself bearing witness with our spirit that we are the children of God, therefore brethren there is a cross in keeping the commandments of God and if no cross, no crown, showing that we are bastards and not sons. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Hence the Christian is a suffering character. He is a waiting character, waiting for the adoption, to wit: the redemption of the body, which shall take place in the morning of the resurrection, for this “mortal must put on immortality and this corruption must put on incorruption. Then shall these vile bodies be changed and fashioned like unto the glorified body of the Son of God. For it is in the predestination of God that as we have born the image of the earthly, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. What a paradise is the life of the Christian, with a history unwritten and yet written to the experience of every believer. He has experienced death and been made alive; he has experienced sorrow and made joyful in tribulation. He has learned that tribulation worketh patience, and patience, experience, and experience, hope and hope maketh not ashamed because the love of God is shed 187
abroad by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us and unto them who have been made alive from the dead, and have experienced the forgiveness of their sins, in and through their Redeemer’s blood, which evidence shines forth in the love they have for the brethren. For how can we know that one loves God only by the manifestation of that love which he has for the begotten of God? Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, who was delivered for our offenses and raised again for our justification. We love God, because He first loved us, having received the evidence from God in our experience, we should not let sin reign in our mortal bodies, but keep them under subjection, and let love reign without dissimulation, and we pray God that He may so keep and preserve us from every false way that we may glorify His great and holy name in our bodies and spirits which are His. And now we say to the brethren composing the several churches, that while we acknowledge our power and authority comes from the several churches, we desire to admonish and exhort you, forasmuch as ye know that there are divisions and contentions all among those professing to be Old School Baptists, that ye discard and disown all coming to you, especially in the ministry, who are found walking with our adversaries, and not contending for the principles of the doctrine of God our Savior. And furthermore, as there is no periodical at this time contending for the principles of the doctrine as understood by us, therefore we recommend that ye discard all as unsound and having turned their ears from the Truth, and are turned into fables, teaching for doctrine the commandments of men and not of God. Of such, we find from the least to the greatest of them, advocating principles to their own interests and not having the welfare of Zion at heart, making merchandise of you, and endeavoring to turn you from the
simplicity of the Truth by their speeches, crying for help to build themselves up in error and not in the doctrine of God our Savior. Brethren, we say Beware, Search the Scriptures. There you will find the footprints of the early Christians. Those who suffered death for the cause of God; who turned not aside to error, but denounced it, and cautioned their brethren to stand aloof from every appearance of evil, so that they might honor God in their bodies and in their spirits which are His. And we pray God that He may remember you in His mercy and keep you from falling, and add unto you daily, such as He will own and bless in His heavenly kingdom, is our prayer for Jesus sake, Amen. 1890 – Circular Letter Of Virginia Annual Meeting: “Salvation of Sinners” Drafted by William Middleton Smoot, August, 1890, The Sectarian, Vol. 1, Issue 2. To all of like precious faith, Greeting: Dear Brethren: We hail with joy the favored opportunity of addressing you in the holy and precious fellowship of saints. Gathered together “with one accord in one place,” we would write of the holy things of that Kingdom “whose God is the Lord.” We realize anew the gracious power and sweetness of that which binds us together as one people, knowing no North, South, East or West, but kindred in Christ, and “companions in tribulation, and in the Kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ.” Though separated from you by many miles, dear brethren, yet there is a nearness, an eternal, vital oneness, and we feel the holy fervor of that fellowship which permeates the whole body of which Christ is the eternal Head, and which glows in living, immortal power in every member thereof. What subject could we write you of greater interest than salvation experienced by us all, and by which lost and helpless
sinners shine in immortal perfection before the throne of God? For nearly forty years now, our brethren here have been accused of denying the salvation of sinners, with many other absurd and false accusations circulated against them. We know of nothing calculated to comfort and encourage the saints in their mortal pilgrimage but a revelation of the Truth as it is in Jesus in the salvation of His people from sin and death. We must follow the Divine Order, however, in presenting the subject of Gospel salvation. The eternal, unconditional, and personal election of the Church in Christ, the chosen seed, comes first in that order. Before all worlds were made, or time was brought into existence, this eternal choice in Christ, the chosen Head of all the members of His body, in eternal oneness. Let it be distinctly understood that this is not the election of sinners of Adam’s race. This would make the election in Adam, and not in Christ. Nor is it the existence of a family of spirits in full development in all eternity. But it is the existence and choice of the Church in the chosen Seed thereof, which Seed develops the “generation of Jesus Christ.” Matthew i, 1. In that spiritual birth by which this development is made, the personal existence of the child of God in Christ is manifested. The birth develops that existence; hence the Redeemer says, “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” –John iii, 6. That spiritual child was in Christ as the spiritual seed when He “was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.” Proverb viii, 23. The birth simply develops this personal existence within the vessel of mercy, afore prepared unto glory. We see this in Adam, “who is the figure of Him that was to come.” Romans v, 14. In the figure, the natural birth of an earthly child simply develops the personal existence which this child had in
Adam when Adam was created; hence the Master says, “That which is born of the flesh, is flesh.” John iii, 6. The eternal choice is in Christ and not in Adam, and the birth manifests the chosen child whose existence was thus “hid with Christ in God,” the Father, before the world was made. Not the natural man born over again, and he, the natural man, by that born becoming the child of God, entering into, or seeing the Kingdom of God. For it is very manifest that if the man born of the Spirit is the man who sees and enters into the Kingdom, and if the natural man is that born of the Spirit, then he must after such a birth see and enter that Kingdom. But natural man does not, and this, too, is very evident. This reasoning contradicts the testimony of the apostle where he declares that 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 (the spiritual things of God,) are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians ii, 14. But the development of this “generation of Jesus Christ,” is in these “vessels of mercy,” called in the Scriptures the “old man,” the “strong man,” the “natural man,” the “outward man;” while the indwelling child of God, and that which is born of God, is called the “new man,” the “stronger man,” the “spiritual man,” the inward man.” Take notice that this is not the natural man born again, or born of God, exhibiting one man with two natures; in one of which natures he is born of the Adamic flesh, and in the other, born of the Spirit of God. But rather, each birth reveals an existence in the parent seed of the flesh, and of the spirit of Adam and of Christ. Nothing, we supposed, is more clearly taught in the Scripture than the existence of these two men, each the parent seed of his family – the one natural, the other spiritual; the one the figure of the other. “The first man Adam,” we are informed, “was made a living soul; the
st last Adam was made a quickening Spirit.” 1 Corinthians xv, 45. In the development of the generation of each of these two men, by a birth, we trace the lineage of the child born back to the parent seed. This is what we understand the Master to have said in the language, “That which is born of the flesh, is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit, is spirit.” John iii, 6. This exhibits a natural and a spiritual seed, a natural and a spiritual birth, developing a natural and a spiritual generation. Notice that this is not the regeneration of the natural generation, and this natural generation constituting the “generation of Jesus Christ,” but is the development of two characters of seed manifesting two orders of birth, and developing a natural and a spiritual generation. “This is the book of the generations of Adam.” Genesis v, 1; and “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ,” Matthew i, 1, which unfolds and reveals this heavenly generation in these “vessels of mercy,” yet not made out of them! To this agrees the inspired testimony: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same.” Hebrews ii, 14. The blending of these two distinct regenerations in one duplex being, in which “the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh,” and wherein the old man, after the order of his father, “is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,” and the new man, “which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness,” Ephesians iv, 2224 st reveals the wonderful “mystery of godliness.” 1 Timothy iii, 16. The regeneration of this spiritual generation, in their being brought from under the law in the Person of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the eternal and chosen Head of His Church, brings us to a brief discussion of subject of salvation. We should bear in mind that it is the child of God, and not the child of Adam, which is the subject of Gospel address; that
the new man is the motive power in that duplex being to which we have referred, and not the old man. Instead of its being the same feet (as it has been said,) that once carried us to the gambling den that now carries us to the house of God, thus making the old man carry the new man; it is the old man which is brought into subjection by the new, as it is written, in its type, “the elder shall serve the younger.” Genesis xxv, 23. But now let us regard the child of God as a partaker of flesh and blood, as developed or made manifest in a mortal body, in a vessel of mercy, in an outward man, a man that is born of the flesh is flesh. In this relation only is he subject to bondage. And the revelation of this eternal, spiritual life, the manifestation of this inward man, who is born of God, is the eternal and abiding testimony, the everlasting seal of the salvation of the mortal vessel which holds “the heavenly treasure,” In this mortal body he groans, longing to be delivered, and hungering and thirsting for the things of the heavenly Kingdom. “We ourselves groan within ourselves.” Romans viii, 23. This groaning is not the result of the quickening of a dead sinner into spiritual life, but it is the manifestation of that which is born of God. The quickening is in the spirit and not in the flesh. “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing.” John vi, 63. The child of God, in his mortal pilgrimage, [If the natural man is considered, he cannot be a “pilgrim.” He is fully at home already. But one that “came down from heaven,” is never at home in this world, but is a pilgrim and a sojourner passing through it, seeking his home above, from whence he came. SCP] realizes ever the weakness, the mortal passion, the sin and death of that which is born of the flesh. When he would do good, “evil is present with him.” The good that he would he does not, but the evil which “I would not,” Paul said, “that I do.” Tempted, distressed, beset on
every side, weary of earth and sin, he looks with heavenly longing to the unending rest of his immortal home. ‘Tis there that he is delivered from earth, himself, and sin, and filled with the fullness of God. In this mortal body he groans, “waiting for the adoption, towit, the redemption of our body.” – Romans viii, 23, waiting for the adoption of that which is born of the flesh, but is not yet born again, or born of God; waiting for the birth from the dead [and someone has penned in this next remark, rightly] (as Christ is the firstborn from the dead,) of that which is thus born of the flesh; waiting for the appearing of our Lord from heaven, “who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself – even our present corrupt body Phil. iii, 21. Most assuredly this world is not his home! “Here he has no continuing city.” Bound with a mortal chain, and oppressed with many a care, he clings with undying devotion to the Cross of the dear Redeemer as his only refuge. The hope which animates him is the hope of salvation, the abiding testimony of the Spirit, “the anchor of the soul.” Amid all the storms that beat upon him this hope abides, “entering into that within the veil.” All that he has, is, or hopes to be, rests upon that which is embraced in the Christian’s hope. The hope of the Gospel! What thoughts cluster around it! What affections are there! In the love they bear it, saints have forsaken the friendship of earth, its nearest and most tender ties, its wealth and fame, yes, all, to follow Jesus. Through commotion and division, opposition to them and the Truth they see and love, through flames and flood, they follow where He leads. They know by experience that they have not yet attained unto the benefits of the resurrection of the dead. But when this mortal body falls in death, when the glorious and wondrous change of the resurrection is
complete, when that which is born of the flesh is born from the dead, and the royal army of Heaven in bright phalanx shall stand, redeemed from every nation and kindred of earth; when, in immortal splendor, “the saints of all ages shall in harmony meet,” Then, and not until then, shall they comprehend the fullness of that salvation, the “volume of His deep decrees,” which embraces every chosen vessel of mercy, every heir of immortal promise, which raises from the dust of earth to the splendor of eternity, adopting the sons of earth, changing their vile bodies, fashioning them like unto the glorious body of our Lord. Can more be done for the natural man than this? Can there be more perfect salvation for a lost and helpless sinner? In the hope of this salvation we greet you, dear brethren, believing that we “are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Cornerstone: in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” Ephesians ii, 1922. We have enjoyed a refreshing season, we trust, in the presence of our God. A large and attentive congregation has attending our meeting, and our brethren feel comforted, and are led to rejoice in the testimony of the Lord’s unfailing goodness. North Topeka, Kansas, January 26, 1902. Dear Bro. Smoot, As I have written to you on business including remittance for the “SECTARIAN”, I will try to write a few
lines for our beloved paper. No doubt but what I will expose my ignorance, but not having much reputation to lose, I will endeavor to write you a few lines. Quite awhile ago, Sister Lorette Loofborrow wrote me asking me to write a communication for the “SECTARIAN.” I am not able to do this of myself, but trusting that the Lord may guide my pen I will make the attempt. As a subject I will call your attention to the testimony of Christ in 1 John iv, 2,3. “Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come: and even now already is it in the world.” The difference between the children of God, and the children of this world is in this: 1. There ever has been, and ever will be a time in their sojourn here below, that Jesus Christ is manifested in them by a birth of the Spirit; of the incorruptible seed, and this seed is the seed of God. – See Psalms xxii, 30; also 1 John iii, 9. This holy seed is sown or sent forth in time into these earthen vessels. Matthew xiii, 37. Jesus said, “He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man.” Christ came in the flesh, was “made of woman, made under the law.” Again we are told: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” Hebrews ii, 14. So we see by this testimony that the Son of God was sent forth from God, (see Galatians iv. 4,) when the fullness of the time was come. He was a
son when He sent Him forth, a son in the flesh, and a son when He ascended up on high. He partook of flesh and blood; not that the flesh took or takes the Son of God, as some Adamite Baptists have it! Notice Hebrews ii, 14, a little farther, “He also Himself likewise took part of the same.” The word “also,” or “like manner” means “likewise and same manner,” Christ said that He came down from heaven to do the will of the Father, and in so doing He took a body that was prepared for Him. Not that that body was any part of the Son of God in His sonship, but simply fleshly in which He dwelt, and was manifested. Even so it is with all of the children of God. Their fleshly tabernacle was also “afore prepared unto glory,” a “vessel of honor,” an “earthen vessel” in which dwells this heavenly treasure. It is God, “Christ in you the hope of glory,” in the flesh, and it is by being born of God that they can testify that “Christ is come in the flesh,” and this is the Spirit of Christ that confesseth this. The natural man is an inhabitant of this world, never had any other dwelling place; but the children of God had their dwelling place in the Father (Psalm xc. 1,2). They are the children of light and see the light. But antichrist loves “darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” Again the Scriptures saith, “The light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehendeth it not.” 1 John 2, 5. Nature’s “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” 1 Cor. ii, 6, 10. Children of God are given a sweet hope that corroborates with the testimony of Christ. – Read Hebrews vi. 19, 20. which “hope we have as an anchor of the soul,” &c. While in this world we see
through a glass darkly, but when our change shall come in the resurrection we shall see face to face; the old prophet said, “I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness.” Psalm xvii, 15. Paul says: “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, “Abba, Father.” Galatians iv, 6. Our God declares that He will dwell in this people, and walk in them. He declares of them that they are the temple of the living – 2 Cor. vi, 16. In the absence of Christ we have no hope, for He alone is our Hope. The testimony is that it is “Christ in you the hope of glory.” So He has “come in the flesh.” This is the treasure hid in the field, and we have this treasure in earthen vessels. Yours in fellowship, A. D. Jones. 1903 –
PREDESTINATION INSEPARABLY CONNECTED WITH DIVINE ELECTION.
By William Smoot, October, 1903 [While the following two articles are several years apart, we thought to print them together so the reader may compare the two – SCP.]
“ For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son.” Romans viii, 29. We do not believe that Baptists who deny the biblical doctrine of the Eternal, Unconditional, and personal Election of the Church in Christ, can clearly comprehend the doctrine of Absolute Predestination. To have a view of the doctrine of Absolute Predestination one must comprehend the end that predestination is 198designed to consummate. And to look to the end we must have a view of the beginning, or the eternal choice in Christ. That is but the scaffolding that stands round the building. For time with all its varying incidents, and circumstances was brought into existence for the lifting on high of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the manifestation of His glory in the Church “which is His body the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.” This testimony shines upon every page of the Divine Record. It opens with the beginning when the earth “was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” It brings forth form and order from apparent chaos, and ever points with unerring precision to the one grand objective point in creation, “the coming of Christ, and the glory that should follow;” the arena upon which this bright display was to be made in the world in which we live, with its time clouds of gloom and sorrow; yea, with all the mighty fabric of its creatures and events. To say that each and all was predestinated to its accurate end, with its shadows and its lights, all defined precisely in each and every varying hue, is most surely correct; but as we have already stated, this is but part of what is comprehended in the glorious, Godhonoring doctrine of the Absolute Predestination of all things whatsoever cometh to pass.” Assuredly it is an important part from which we would not, in the least, detract; but there is another part to which we wish to call attention. The apostle in our text has given us the testimony of this blessed and precious doctrine: “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son.” “Foreknowledge” itself is but another name for Predestination. For God to foreknow, is but to eternally, accurately, and absolutely prearrange, or predetermine, as embracing the beginning and all the accomplishment, and of course covering all that lies between. It is an
eternal purview of time and eternity and from all eternity as well: and it is yet more, as absolutely ordaining to an irrevocable accomplishment. To this agrees the declaration in the verse preceding our text, which must be denied to limit predestination. That is, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” “All things were predetermined thus to bend, to work together,” link in link, cause and effect, eternally, unchangeably, absolutely and without fail to the grand design named in the text. To deny absoluteness of predestination, one would be forced to deny that God works all things together to any great end, or accomplishment of His eternal purpose in predestination’s grand design named in the text. The apostle says” “For whom He did foreknow.” Here we have an eternal opening, the manifestation of an eternal purpose purposed in the Lord Jesus Christ, toward His chosen people. This people are the people which He had “formed for Himself.” They were the “unperfect” (undeveloped, in Psalm cxxxix, 16) substance “made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.” Foreknown as having been forechosen: foreknown as actually and eternally existing in Him who is the Book of Life in which all these members “were written.” Psalm cxxxix, 15, 16. Foreknown in this eternal choice, as being one with Him who is one with the Father from everlasting to everlasting, and in the glory which He had with the Father before the world was. – John xvii, 5. “Them He also did predestinate.” This eternal (spiritual) substance was predestinated to a glorious (personal) development. The purpose for which they were called, and for which all time is brought into being is here brought to view. Predestination not only provides the amphitheater in which this grand scene is enacted, but also makes the bright and dazzling display; not only builds the
scaffolding, but brings to development with shoutings of grace the heavenly building around which the earthly network stand, and all to the glory of God in the Lord Jesus Christ. “To be conformed to the image of His Son.” Here we have the legitimate end, the crowning work, the grand consummation of the doctrine of Predestination. The “many brethren” must be like Him who is the Firstborn. Predestination insures and accomplishes this glorious end. The apostle points out the successive steps to this bright consummation when he says, “Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified.” When Jesus arose a mighty Conqueror over death, and hell and ascended upon high, far above all principality and power, His people represented in Him and being in Him shared in this wonderful triumph, they were glorified in His glory, for they were and ever were, and ever will be, one with Him, as being one in Him. For “who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” . . . .”I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor heights, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” “In heaven the Head the members here, Ten thousand thousands yet but one.” But the heavenly testimony completes this glorious conformation in the brightness of immortality. “Brethren, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” – 1 John iii. 2.
This then is the doctrine of Predestination, and this its use in the Divine economy. How important! How precious to the child of God? No wonder that he contends earnestly for it; that he suffers strife, misrepresentation and exclusion for it. It is the Divine assurance that he shall be made like unto the Son of God. He sees through it the final goal of all his sufferings here, as conformed to the image of his suffering Jesus, he enters forever the portals of rest. He sees through it the Divine working of all things together, and good evolving from the dark way of suffering and sorrow to the glory of God, and bliss unending. “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Well might the apostle say, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been His counsellor? Or who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompenses unto Him again? For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” Romans xi, 2336. “For all things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, of life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are your’s; and yet are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s. October, 1903. 1903 He Hath Prepared For Them A City Wm. M. Smoot, Nov., 1903 [Elder William Smoot was the last of that group of ministers holding tenaciously to the Predestinarian Old School Baptists position of former decades. If you are familiar with Beebe's writings, you will
recognize the following from Elder Smoot's pen. Gracious and sweet thoughts indeed!SCP] "And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returened. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: whence God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He hath prepared for them a city." Hebrews 11:15,16. We have here a declaration that finds an answering echo in the experience of saints throughout their earthly pilgrimage. In the chapter from which the text is taken there is given us an example of their varied life of suffering, and the triumph of their faith, over all obstacles, "an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the vail." The children of the regeneration as born from above continually manifest their heavenly origin. All of their aspirations turn to the source from whence they come. As the natural mind turns to its mother Earth in all of its desires, so the heavenly, turns to the heavenly fatherland from whence it came, in holy desire and bright anticipation. These children are not of this world either in seed or in development, but most emphatically are of God, as being born of Him; and having been born of Him, must necessarily have ever existed in Him. They are at home in heaven, but strangers and pilgrims on earth. In our text and its connections we have a testimony of their earthly pilgrimage, their hungerings and thirsting, their heavenly longings, as seekers of "a city which hath foundation, whose Builder and Maker is God." They have an heavenly foretaste of these wonderful and precious things in their mortal journey, in the communion and companionship of saints, but the life immortal looks beyond this
lower world, to the glorious realization. The inspired penman tells us: "They that seek such things declare plainly that they seek a country." The power of indwelling heavenly Life necessarily turn away from these lower things, and turn to its heavenly home. This could never be if the Life of the child of grace was an earthly life, for no stream can rise higher than its own fountain, and the life comes from the earth, the "breath of life," (Genesis 2:7) which Adam and his posterity received in an earthly creation, must surely be satisfied with the things of time and sense. The warfare which is experienced by the children of grace between that which is born of the flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit, between the strong man and the stronger, between the old man and the new, evidences the Truth of this Divine testimony. The things of earth how frequently and constantly they seek to attract our attention, how strong these earthly ties sometimes seek to draw us away from the path of Life. "The songster in the arbor, That grew beside the way Attracted our attention, Invited or delay." But the inspired penman in our text records the travel of these heavenly children, that John saw "coming down from God out of heaven." They have taken an earthly body "a vessal afore prepared unto glory" partaken (Hebrews 2:14) of flesh and blood, following in the path of Him who is their elder Brother; and also is the "First born among many brethren." (Romans 8:29). In their manifestation in time and mortality they are called as Abram was (Genesis 12:1) out of the land of their earthly nativity, like Ruth who was a native born Moabitess, and again born of God,
receiving in that heavenly birth the faith so fully dwelt upon in the connection of our text, to look beyond the polluted borders of Moab. These children of heaven are manifested in this land of sin and death, of desert and drought, and yet called by the grace of God out of it. "And truly," says the inspired testimony, "if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out." Truly indeed, for the power of this assertion is written in their Life being, wrought in their tears and groans, inspiring their continual cry for deliverance from this land of sin, "for the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God." But in all of their experience of grace and glorious, in all of their suffering and sorrows, are they "mindful of that country from whence they came out," do they wish to return again to its false, deceitful, polluted shores? Most assuredly NO! if so "they might have had opportunity to have returned;" to turn back like Lot's wife (Genesis 19:26,) and became a pillar of salt. But this does not pertain to their eternal nature. He who begins a good work will perform it (Philippians 1:6) to the day of Jesus Christ. "The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." (Proverb 4:18). But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He hath prepared for them a city." A better country most surely, as the heavenly is better than the earthly, as eternity is better than time; and as immortality, beyond all comparison is better than mortality. In this glorious and heavenly country, God is the Sun, the Life, the everlasting all in all; and freed from sin and death, they are pure and holy in the endless Life of its immortality. They are at home!
Truly is He not ashamed to be called their God. The earthly bodies (the Adam man), which these eternal, heavenly children have borne in time, and in which they have groaned, waiting to be delivered, shall be changed from mortal to immortal. And in this groaning state, they are waiting for the appearance of the Lord from heaven, "who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself. "For He hath prepared for THEM a city." OH! glorious thought! Oh! blessed, assuring eternal promise ! a city prepared for, "Hath no need of suns to rise To dissipate the gloom of night." A city prepared where neither sin, sorrow, sickness, nor death can enter. A city where the redeemed of God alone can come; where their vile bodies are changed, where purity and holiness crowned with resurrection immortality is forever the habitation of the blessed. A city whose fullness alone can satisfy the longing desires, the aspirations of the heavenborn, and to which the Psalmist so eloquently alludes in the testimony: "Arise, O Lord, ** * deliver my soul from the wicked, which is Thy sword: from men which are Thy hand, O Lord, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly Thou fillest with Thy hid treasure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes. As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied when I awake, with Thy likeness. (Psalm 17: 1315. 1905 – The Kingdom that God Set Up Shall Never Be Destroyed
Written by William M. Smoot, September, 1905 ______ “The people who Order and Truth maintain, Unmoved forever must remain. In Christ is salvation; the Kingdom is His, Thro’ Him we shall conquer the mightiest foes.” “And in the days of these kings shall the God of Heaven set up a Kingdom, which shall never be destroyed.” Daniel ii, 44. In these days of gross ignorance, shallow superficial and perversion of Gospel Truth among the professed followers of grace, and while the world around us is full of prophecy concerning the downfall and extinction of the chosen few whose God is the Lord, and who alone are enabled to hear, see and to heed the teachings of the Sacred Oracles, and to maintain the Truth and Order of the Gospel, it is wise that we should pause and examine the Holy Testimony upon such an important and vital question. We have discussed the Scripture at the head of this article in some of its bearings before in these columns, but we desire now to make more particular reference to it in the one point in answer to the commonly received notion, in the world around us, that the visible church will soon cease to exist. We need not refer to the connection, showing that the God of heaven definitely rules and controls all worldly governments, that He marks the rise and fall of earthly kingdoms with direct reference to the good of His chosen people; for “When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of Adam, He set the bounds of the people according to the number of the
children of Israel. For the Lord’s portion is His people; Jacob is the lot of His inheritance.” Deuteronomy xxxii, 8. The bounds of nations (before as well as after the flood), of kingdoms, and races were absolutely determined with reference to the chosen people of God, and the manifestation of that visible people, as surely as other events and circumstances were ordained to that end, and to “work together for their good,” and the glory of the eternal God; nations are as absolutely in God’s hands as atoms and motes. Kingdom after kingdom rises in the vision of Daniel; each succeeding the other, and all paving the way for the “days of these kings” in which the God of heaven should set up a kingdom, which should never be destroyed, and should “not be left to other people.” That is, the very same character of people who were set up in it in Christ, shall continue to inhabit it. It shall not be left to strangers and foreigners, destitute of its eternal vital life, and ignorant of its teachings. For, “of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her; and the Highest Himself shall establish her. The Lord shall count, when He writeth up the people, that this man was born there.” Psalm lxxxvii, 5, 6. This chosen generation of Jesus Christ then shall inhabit the Kingdom, which is but the outward development of its organic and eternal life. “The days of these kings,” had come and the prepared material for this Kingdom was at hand. And what a wonderful preparation! They came through scenes of sorrow and suffering, a poor and an afflicted people. Their haunts were among the lowly, in the vale of poverty and distress; the blind, the lame, the lepers, the deaf; “the dead are raised up, and the poor have the Gospel preached to them.” Matthew xi, 46. They came to their places in this Kingdom through the purifying flames of deep affliction; a sorely tried people, and with
the deep conscious knowledge of the vain deceptive, unreal nature of all earthly power, and fancied earthly good. The Kingdom is not of this world, “a stone cut out of the mountain without hands.” “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” Luke i, 35. Jesus says in Luke xvii, 21, “Behold, the Kingdom of God is within you.” He was Himself the very embodiment of the Kingdom; “the root and the offspring” (Revelation xxii, 16,) of the house of David; the seed from which the whole development should come. And just as certain as He was not of this world, as “coming down from God out of heaven,” so every one of this development, each and every child of the Kingdom comes down from God out of heaven, taking up his abode in a mortal temple, “afore prepared unto glory.” Necessarily then the Kingdom must be indestructible as composed of indestructible subjects, “born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, (which therefore cannot be the Adam and mortal sinner,) but of God,” and hence a heavenly and spiritual birth. John i, 13. We trace the Church from age to age through the doctrine and order which she maintains. It is said that the Church when first organized “continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship.” She yet does. Can we find the doctrine of the apostles, as set forth in their teaching and writing, among us today? Can we trace the clear line shining like a sunbeam, from the teachings of the dear Master, and of the Man raised up and Divinely inspired to succeed Him? Can we trace this Divine testimony in the doctrine and order held so sacred among us, dear brethren and friends of Truth, today? Assuredly do we answer, Yes! The doctrine of the Absolute Predestination of God without reference to men, means and measures, or instrumentalities, or the
works of men or devils; without reference to whether these things be good, bad, or indifferent, whether they be large or small, temporal or eternal, all absolutely, emphatically, and accurately all, were ordained of God to come to pass, exactly as they do or did so occur, without changing a note, or swerving a hair breadth from what God did from all eternity, and before all time predestinate should come to pass. The doctrine of the eternal choice of the Church in Christ, in which each individual cell, or child of God was chosen in Christ, personally, eternally, and actually existing IN Him from all eternity; the body being set up in the Head “from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.” Proverbs viii, 23; the entire, separate, exclusive travel of the Church aside from all worldly religious orders, Secret orders, and worldly vanities. We ask who holds these things as plainly taught in the Sacred Oracles as the Sun is seen in a cloudless sky at noon? Who holds them? Why no other people in these United States of America today but the AntiMeans, AntiSecret Order, Old School Predestinarian Baptists! The apostolic doctrine and order mark the succession of the apostolic Church throughout the ages. The lifethrobbing power of the doctrine and order of the Gospel is manifested wherever saints meet in holy worship. The love of God is felt among them, the impulse and power of that love of His sacred and eternal truth is felt, as the tide throbs through the bosom of the sea; the love of God flowing from heart to heart, written in the organic life of these dear people, for “by this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.” – John xiii, 35. This is not for the world socially, religiously, or politically, to know or understand anything whatever about. They neither know the doctrine nor yet the people who maintain it; “The world knoweth
us not, because it knew Him not.” 1 John iii, 1. But rather, “Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.” 1 John iii, 13. “If the world hate you,” says Jesus, “ye know that it hated Me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love its own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” John xv, 18,19. But we return to the promise that this Kingdom “Shall never be destroyed.” This promise has been verified through each succeeding age from the apostolic days down to the present; there ever has been, and ever will be a people who “shall shew forth the praise of God.” The Church is His throne. He says by Ezekiel, “the place of My throne, and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and My holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile.” Chapter xliii, 7. Can the throne of God be set aside? Can it be corrupted by the corroding influence of time? Can His holy Church become so changed and so mixed with the world as to totally lose her identity? There are two ways in which an organization may become entirely extinct. One way is to entirely lose its visibility. The other, that its order may be so perverted as to entirely change its character. Are not some Baptists become dipping Methodist? An Old School Baptist Church may once have claimed to hold the principles of Truth, but if such principles have been perverted; instead of holding to the doctrine of an eternal election, if they hold to a perversion of that doctrine, for instance instead of holding to the eternal, personal election of the Church in Christ, they hold to an election in the life of Christ, which is communicated to an Adam sinner, by which a sinner being born again; then the perversion has totally changed its former character. Such perversion of the testimony especially when continued to other points of doctrine, and backed up by looseness of order,
absolutely marks the end of such a body as a Gospel church, and that the lampstand has been removed from their midst. The Gospel light has burned out the oil of grace. The Lord has withdrawn His Presence. As the once flourishing visible churches in Galatia, at Ephesus, and in adjoining parts have been removed; as the churches on the Atlantic Coast of the United States once strong and able in their ministry and membership, have ceased longer to exist as Gospel churches, through perversion and opposition to the doctrine they once loved, and gross disorder, so the Lord may continue to remove the lampstand from this or that locality. But this does not do violence to the truth that so long as time exists there shall be a visible church, whose unperverted doctrine, clearcut order, separating her entirely, religiously speaking, from the world, shall bring down upon such Church the malignant opposition of every worldly influence. It is through much tribulation His people enter this Kingdom. Our God knows where such Church shall be planted. Jesus says, “Every plant, which My heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.” And so it is, and ever has been. ‘Tis true that the primal application of this testimony was made to something somewhat different, yet it has an indirect bearing upon what we are writing. These churches are “Trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah lxi, 3. And as long as time endures so long shall the visible church of God exist as a witness to the Truth; the doctrine shall be held unperverted, and the order unpolluted in His holy Sanctuary. The Church shall outlive worldly governments, and earthly orders. The promise is “It shall stand forever.” No such promise has ever been made in regard to any other worldly nation or religious order. Nations strong and mighty in world power, whose armies have spread consternation and terror wherever they have marched, have come to nought. [In our time, The Soviet union collapsed with no opposition
party, revolution, or a shot being fire! – SCP.] Nations presided over by men wise in statecraft, and able to rule have fallen. One after another such worldly nations have passed as a night vision, but there is today, as there ever has been, and ever will be a Church, always small and weak in its own strength – small it is true in numbers compared to the hordes, the wild rabble of Antichrist, yet strong and aggressive as trusting in the living God who controls and directs all things. All worldly empires must sooner or later come to an end, but this church that believes the Truth can never die. “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of Thy Kingdom is a right sceptre.” Psalm xlv, 6. We can rest assured that there will ever be, as there has ever been, and is now, located exactly where the God of heaven designed them to be, a people who hold His precious Truth, while earth and hell oppose, and unbelievers mock. No earthly means are used to sustain them; earthly elements do not enter into their being or support. “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved,” – Acts ii, 47, and this is as much a mystery as any other aspect of her order. May we be kept from the attempt of adding to our numbers, by leaving it entirely in the Lord’s hands. He will give His Church ministers, “And no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.” Hebrews v, 4. We must not put forth our hand to steady the ark (1 Chron xiii,) for the hand of God will securely hold His church, adding to it her numbers and giving it her ministers. The light of Truth shall steadily fall from off her holy altar. And ye, dear children of the regeneration, are witnesses of these things. “Ye are My witnesses, saith the Lord, and My servant whom I have chosen.” – Isaiah xliii, 10. For, “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” Romans xi, 5. “Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you
faultless before the Presence of His glory with exceeding joy. To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever, Amen.” September, 1905 ETERNAL UNION The Gospel Standard, 1877, Periodical Of the Strict and Particular Baptist of England “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”—Revelation 13:8. It is remarkable that, while so many preachers abound in the land who, in their own way, set forth the unbounded merits of the atoning blood and justifying righteousness of the Incarnate Son of God, there are exceptionally few who in doctrine set forth the eternal union which of God subsists between Christ and those for whom his blood was shed and righteousness wrought out; by virtue of which union the imputation of the blood and righteousness of the Son of God to his church, and of the sin of his church to him, is a righteous transaction in the eye of the law. Paul lays down this doctrine both clearly and strongly in the concluding portion of Romans 5. The eternal union, therefore, which of God subsists between Christ and his church is the fountain from which the righteousness of redemption by substitution springs. (Isa. 49:2425; John 10:15; Rev. 19:11.) The Lord Jesus Christ is, in the election of his own Person by the Father, the Beginning of the freegrace creation of
God. (Rev. 3:14.) And, as he is the Beginning of it in the election of his own Person, so he is the Ending of it in the persons of those elected in him; for he is “Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last.” (Rev. 1:11.) From the eternal election of Christ by the Father, as Head of the church, and the eternal election of the church by the Father in Him, flows the eternal union which of God subsists between Christ and His church. (John 17:6.) And from this eternal union flows the eternal righteousness of the redemption of the church by Christ; who, although she fell in Adam, nevertheless fell in the secret purpose of God as the church of Christ. (Prov. 8:20, 22.) From the ignoring of this doctrine the grand heresy of the day springs. Men preach a general salvation, provided by the ThreeOne God for sinners, and inherent power in such to lay hold of it. To such preachers God says, “What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth, seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee?” (Ps. 1:1617.) The doctrine of such preachers is directly contrary to the Word of God. Whoever is elected by the Father is redeemed by the Son. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do.” (John 5:19.) Him whom the Father raises up to life from death in sin by eternal election, him also the Son of God similarly raises up by eternal redemption. “For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.” (John 5:21.) “For as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.” (John 5:26.) Here it is to be expressly borne in mind that, although the Father, as the Head of Christ (1 Cor. 11:3), gives Him to have life in Himself for the dead in sin, He does not give Him the life itself, which is the fruit of His own Deity. (Isa. 63:5; Ps. 31:5.) “That all
men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father.” (John 5:23.) Those, therefore, who assume a creaturepower on the part of man to lay hold of salvation, as provided for him by the ThreeOne God, only prove the light that is in them to be darkness. They make man by salvation a creature of the Father, of the Son, and of self, discarding salvation from the Holy Ghost altogether. But it is the express prerogative of the Holy Ghost to apply the salvation which God has provided in Christ for man; for as each Person in the Trinity had a share in man’s creation (Gen. 1:26), so each Person must have a share in his salvation; without which, indeed, man would not be a creature of the ThreeOne God, “to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ.” (Col. 2:2.) These preachers, after ascribing salvation to the Holy Ghost in a sense in which it does not belong, rend it from him doctrinally in the sense in which it does. For whomsoever the Father chose by election, him the Son secures by redemption; and whomsoever the Son has redeemed, him the Holy Ghost quickens by regeneration, (John 3:3, 5, 6.) As the Son comes in the Father’s Name, so the Spirit comes in the Son’s Name. (John 5:43; 14:26.) And as man was by creation a creature formed by the ThreeOne God, according to an eternal purpose of his own infinite mind, even so must he be by salvation as created anew. (Eph. 2:10—22.) This one heresy of the creature’s power to lay hold of a general salvation, provided for him on God’s part, contains many soul destroying errors. It denies election unto life on the part of the Father; redemption unto life on the part of the Son; and regeneration unto life on the part of the Spirit of God. It ascribes
omnipotence to man. The Holy Ghost alone can, by regeneration, implant the life in the heart of man which God the Father and God the Son has provided for man; and this power it ascribes to man himself. It denies the eternal foreknowledge of God in man’s salvation. It denies man, as saved, to be a creature of God’s foreknowledge. It denies the eternal union of the church with Christ, and the necessity of that union to give birth to the right of redemption. It calls a selfappropriation of the redemption of Christ without that union just. In short, it overthrows the economy of grace altogether. It both adds to and takes from the holy Word of God; and to those who believe, preach, and practice such a gospel, I conclude with that Scripture of truth recorded in Rev. 22:1819: “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book. And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” Eternal Vital Union By John Mulberry. Steve, This is a Circular from one of the later Licking Associations, moderated by an Elder C. C. Moore, whom I surmise is the son of Elder Jeremiah Taylor Moore. He was with Elder R. M. Thomas in 1909. These are the years Elder Smoot traveled much among another "Licking Association," of which Elder Thomas was then connected. But Smoot is not among these churches. I haven't put
these names and places together historically yet. What I liked about this lone figure, he was still contending for the selfsame truth as they always did; and does A GOOD JOB OF IT! This is 1912, and he was the only elder present. Here is the Circular Letter, written by "Brother John Mulberry." Btw, they were still corresponding with the "Western Corresponding of Missouri. This Circular is a sweet and sound presentation by a “lay” member. Three churches are left in this Licking: Elk Lick, Elizabeth, and Georgetown (once served by Elder J.F. Johnson) Total membership of the three churches : 61.
CIRCULAR LETTER ON ETERNAL VITAL UNION, 1912
The Elders and Messengers composing the Licking Association of Particular Baptists now in session with the Elk Lick Church, near Sadieville, Scott County, Ky. To the Saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are abroad, sendeth greetings:
Dear Brethren and Sisters: As we have been permitted by Divine Providence to assemble together once more in an associated capacity, we again endeavor to address you, hoping that the Lord will enable us to so word our epistle that it may prove a blessing to all the household of faith, and especially to you, for whom it was more directly penned. And as the subject of the Union of Christ and His Church bears on our minds at present, we feel to say a few words thereon. While we regret that our feeble pen cannot portray the beauties of so grand a subject in such colors and minuteness as we could wish, yet we hope that from the hints we may give, in connection with the Scriptures, you will be able to draw consolation from the idea of the Church of Christ being truly and essentially
united to Him from all eternity, not only virtually, but actually, not only in purpose, but also in fact and in deed. Now, we wish to be understood that when we speak, we mean in a spiritual point of view. "There is a natural body and there is a spiritual body." 1st. Cor. 15:44. Again: "The first man, Adam, was made a living soul, the last Adam was made a quickening Spirit. Howbeit that was not first (having reference to their development in time) which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from Heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy, and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly." 1st Cor. 15: 4548). As we said before, there is a natural body and there is a spiritual body. The natural body is derived through Adam, while the spiritual body is of Christ. Thus the two headships are brought to view, and their seed in them. We can readily understand the union of relationship existing between Adam and his posterity, and that such union has existed ever since the time Adam was formed out of the dust of the earth, because that union is natural, and we being natural, can see and understand the development thereof with our natural faculties. So in like manner when the eyes of our understanding are enlightened by divine grace, we can behold that this natural figure illustrates the spiritual headship, and Christ and His seed in Him, and ever since He has existed as the great Head of the Church, as her Mediator, her High Priest and King, and as Husband she has stood in Him, united to Him and one with Him, as Eve was to Adam. And as Eve had her standing in Adam before she was taken from his side, having been created in him, for "in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them," and after she was taken from his side and formed into a semi separate existence, Adam could say; "This is now bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called Woman, because she was
taken out of man" Genesis 2:23. So the antitype is brought to view by the figure, for as Eve was created in Adam, so the Church is said to be "created in Christ Jesus." Ephesians 2:10. And Christ as fully recognized His Bride, where He says, "I pray for them. I pray not for the world, but for them Thou hast given Me, for Thine they were. And all mine are Thine, and Thine are mine, and I am glorified in them." John 17:910. Thus you see that Adam was indeed a "figure" of Christ, for the Scripture saith, "Who is the figure of Him that was to come." Romans 5:14. How then can any one who has an understanding of divine things, deny the eternal union of Christ and His children? Adam being a timebeing, the relation between him and his seed is such, that their existence is coeval with his existence. So with Christ; He being from eternity, the relation between Him and His seed must necessarily be eternal. The figure is brought to view again by the example of a corn of wheat; Jesus saith, "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die it bringeth forth much fruit." John 12:24. Christ spoke this of Himself that He must necessarily die to bring forth fruit, and that His fruit should remain, and Paul saith, "Thou fool, that which thou soweth is not quickened except it die, and that which thou soweth, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bear grain, it may chance of wheat, or some other grain; but God giveth it a body as it hath pleased Him, and to every seed his own body." So that every seed produceth its like kind, and the seed or grain must spring from its parent germ; so there is a continuation of the same relation to every plant springing from one another. So Christ's seed was manifested or brought forth in
consequence of His laying down His Life, not to make them His seed, but to manifest them, as such. Again, national Israel is represented as a typical people; and their going down into Egypt into bondage under the Assyrian Pharaoh, is figurative of the bondage of spiritual Israel under sin, the land of darkness and the shadow of death. Now recollect that this people came out of Canaan before going down into Egypt, and their going back is spoken of as "a return;" so likewise this spiritual people do return from whence they came; "And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away." Isaiah 35:10. Does not this signify that the redeemed had been in Zion before? "I will say to the North, give up; and to the South; keep not back; bring My sons from far, and My daughters from the ends of the earth." Isaiah 43:6. They are here recognized as sons and daughters prior to their coming prior to regeneration. Again, "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba Father." Galatians 4:6. They are then called sons before they are made to cry "Abba Father;" they can then own with thankfulness the relation, while Christ claims them as sons before, "Forasmuch, then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same." etc. Hebrew 2:14. This is plain: the children being put forth in Adam in their natural state of existence became sinners; strangers and foreigners; still they are recognized as children, and by grace are brought nigh, and made fellowcitizens with the saints and of the household of God. "For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." Colossians 3:3. "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ." Romans 8:17. "For both He that sanctifieth, and they who are
sanctified, are all of one, for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren." Hebrews 2:11. For that life which was given us in Him was never defiled with sin, being preserved in Him. They then had a preexistence in Christ prior to being in Him by calling. They then had an existence in Christ prior to being put forth in Adam, which constitutes that eternal relation; their being consistent with Him. Thus we see the necessity of His taking part of the nature of His Bride, that He might redeem her from under the curse of the law. This He could judicially do, being the near Kinsman, He had the right according to law to redeem her, as Boaz did Ruth, the Moabitess. The term "redeem" signifies the prior right of inheritance, and divine Justice fully recognizes Him as being the Head, the Husband, the Shepherd. "Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day." Luke 24:46. "Wherefore in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren", etc. Hebrews 2:17. So in consequence of His being her Head, He must needs suffer, and in no other way could divine Justice have accepted the sacrifice; in no other way could her sins have been imputed to Him. And in consequence of this imputation, we hear it said, "Awake O sword against My Shepherd, and against the man that is My fellow, saith the Lord of Host; smite the shepherd and the sheep shall be scattered; and I will turn Mine hands upon the little church
By William Huntington, S.S. Gospel Standard, 1849 All religion that is not received from the fullness of Christ is nothing but a show, a form of godliness without the power; which renders the performer in the sight of God no more than a hypocrite, or a wolf in sheep’s clothing. For as God appointed the union between the two natures of Christ in eternity, and likewise the union between Christ and His seed, so from eternity He predestinated them to be conformed, in time, to the image of His Son. (Rom. 8:28) Hence, when He sent Him forth, it was to gather in Him the predestinated children of God that were scattered abroad. He was lifted up upon the cross to draw all these men unto Him; He was exhibited as the promised Shiloh, to whom the gathering of the people was to be; and exalted to the right hand of God, that we might be called to the fellowship of Him; and, by the reception of the Holy Spirit of promise, be joined to Him and made one spirit with Him, and so have our affections set at the right hand of God, where Christ sitteth. Christ being the fountain of all godliness, all fullness dwells in Him; so out of His fullness all grace must be received, and be continually derived from Him by virtue of union with Him; of which union I intend now to speak. And, first, there are many things which the Spirit of God performs in the elect sinner BEFORE this eternal union can take place, so as to be manifested, known, felt, and enjoyed in time. And, first, the sinner is naturally proud, and God beholds the proud afar off. The soul being by pride at a distance from God, it shows the need of humbling grace; for God says He will dwell with the humble and the contrite spirit. Secondly, all men are by nature unbelievers. God has concluded all men in unbelief; and an evil heart of unbelief
is called a departing from the living God. Hence appears the NEED of a work of faith ON the soul; and faith is GOD’S WORK. The different impressions and motions of the soul under the influence of the everblessed Spirit, in bringing about and effecting this union, are three: divine sensations, heavenly motions, and supernatural affections. Divine sensations give the first spring. Inward troubles about salvation render every human comforter a physician of no value; this, under the Spirit’s influence, drives the thoughts from earth to heaven: I thought about God, and was troubled. I now come to touch upon the Scriptural description of this everblessed union, as it is set forth by the union that subsists between the vine and its branches. I am the Vine, ye are the branches. There is nothing more fruitful than a vine. There is nothing that can be called wood that is so weak; and yet there is no root in the earth that contains so much life, sap, and nourishment as the root of a vine; nor is there any plant that is productive of so much generous liquor nor any thing that can produce any thing stronger, if it be distilled. Witness spirits of wine. And so in this union. Who could ever have thought that such great things should have been accomplished by the Saviour, when He appeared in the world a poor and needy man, a worm and no man, the despised of the people, and crucified through weakness? This was David’s Offspring; but David’s Root was hid in David’s branch; and in that everblessed Root is the natural life of all mankind, the life of angels, and the eternal life of all the chosen millions. In Him, we all Live, and move, and have our being; and from Him the blessing of eternal life is received by all that believe; and from Him the new wine of the kingdom is poured forth, the wine of eternal love, which is strong as death; and whoever drinks thereof forgets his poverty,
and remembers his misery no more. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in me. To abide sensibly in Him, is to stand by faith in His strength, to have the mind swaddled with His Truth, to shine in His light, to enjoy His countenance, to feel His power, to find the heart enlarged by a sense of His love, to observe his goings and coming, (in the soul) to bemoan his absence, to be entertained with his visits, and to stand fast in the liberty wherewith He has made us free; and not to be entangled in the traps of error, in the servitude of sin, nor with the yoke legal bondage. Sometimes the branches of a vine are without leaves and without fruit; but the branch that is in the vine still has life in its root, in which life be both the leaves and the fruit, and nothing is wanted but the sun to bring them forth. So the child of God, through slips and falls, often loses the external verdure of his profession; at which times faith is languid, love cold, patience in a decaying state, hope at a low ebb, zeal abated, and all joy apparently gone. But Christ shines, and revives His work, communicates refreshings from His presence; the wind blows afresh upon the garden, and the Beloved is once more invited to eat His own pleasant fruits. But, If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. A man may be in Christ professionally, but not spiritually. There are Christians in name and show, and there are Christians in spirit and principle. He that is in Christ only by profession and confession, by head knowledge, by gifts, by zeal, by flashes of joy springing up from the stirrings and motions of natural affections, is sure never to abide, for want of deepness of earth, or a broken heart; for want of moisture, or the wellspring of divine life; and for the want of root in themselves,
which is the love of God shed abroad in the heart. Such are cast forth by the church (used to be, anyway Stanley C. Phillips), either for their open profanity, or else for their damnable heresies which they embrace, and by which they are discovered, and for which they are cast forth, as a branch is pruned or cut off. And soon they withered. Their zeal, joy, and first knowledge, all wither together; and men gather them imposters, heretics, apostates, hypocrites, or worldlings, gather them into their company and unto their assembly; and the end of them is to be burned, body and soul, in hell fire. Furthermore. He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit. All the elect are made partakers of the Spirit of Christ. If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. The whole fullness of the Spirit is without measure in the Saviour; and the same Spirit operates and dwells in all the saints, whose bodies are temples of the Holy Ghost. And under the sweet influence of the Spirit of love, our glorious and eternal union with the Saviour is manifested to the elect sinner; for by the Spirit God calls us to the fellowship of His Son, and when once the poor sinner feels Christ’s love operating in him, and all his affections going out after Him, then he passes into the bond of the covenant, into the joy of the Lord, and into the glorious liberty of the children of God; he enters into his rest, and rests from all his burdens and from all his legal and dead works; and says for himself, My Beloved is mine, and I am His; while mutual affection, the bond of all perfectness, makes the union so clear, so close, so sweet, that they understand what He means when He says, Believe that I am in you and you are in me; and again, I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse. This union being represented by the vine and its branches, shows the root in which our life lies, where it is hid, and the way in which
it is communicated to us. And as the vine branch, which often appears without leaves or fruit, has life still in its root, so had the elect life given them in Christ Jesus before the world began, though they are by nature the children of wrath even as others, and dead in trespasses and sins, ‘til quickened by the Lord of life and glory. Furthermore: The vine, contrary to most plants, never bears fruit in the old wood; the new branch, and its new fruit in the branch, both spring together. If no life be communicated, there is no new branch; and if no new branch, no fruit. So old nature can never bring forth fruit unto God. The new and living principle, the new man of grace, must be formed in the soul before fruit can be expected. No man can gather grapes of thorns, nor figs or thistles. In Christ is our fruit found. The new man of grace comes from Christ’s fullness of grace; the Holy Ghost operates, and produces His own fruits, which are called the graces or fruits of the Spirit; and from the tuition of grace, we learn to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in the world; and from the operations of grace all good works proceed. I labored more abundantly than they all; yet not I but the grace of God that was with me. Moreover, as the new branch of the vine, the new cluster, and the new leaves, all lie in the life, which is in the root of the vine, so our new man, new fruit, and the verdant leaves of our holy profession, are all derived from Christ, who is our Life and our holy Root; and on which account, though at times we appear withered in our profession and barren in our souls, yet, by virtue of our union with Him, in Him shall our leaf be green, our leaf, in Him, shall not wither, nor shall we entirely cease from yielding fruit; yea, they shall still bring forth fruit in old age, to show that the Lord is upright, or righteous, or faithful, in giving to us, according to His covenant promise, the blessing of eternal life.
But again. As the life of the branch, the fruit, and the leaf, all lie in the sap, which is the life of the vine, and in which it is secured and hid as in its root; and which life is drawn forth, and the branch, fruit, and leaf, are all set in a working motion by the warm, enlivening rays of the sun; even so when the Sun of Righteousness arises with healing in His beams, the barren desert becomes a fruitful field, and the degenerate plant of a strange vine appears, with all its silverlings and with all its blessed clusters. This union is further set forth by the act of engrafting. For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted, contrary to nature, into a good olive tree, and partakest of the root and fatness of the olive, boast not against the natural branches; but, if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. (Rom. 11:1718) This engrafting is said to be contrary to nature. The natural way of grafting is to take a scion out of a good tree, which produces good fruit, and to graft it into a wild stock, the wood of which, being reduced to its natural standard, as it can sink no lower, will stand better and endure longer in the earth than the wood of a good tree, could a stock of such wood be procured. But our ingrafture is contrary to nature; for we are the wild olive branches, cut out of an olive tree which is by nature wild, and are engrafted into a good olive tree, so as to partake of the goodness and fatness of the good tree; which wonderful engrafting must in the end purge out all the wild nature of such a wild branch. And this is done in part at the sinner’s conversion, by implanting a principle of grace in the heart; and will be effectually accomplished when our mortal bodies shall put on immortality, and these corruptible bodies shall have put on incorruption; for then mortality, with all its wildness, shall be swallowed up of life, and immortality be all in all. From Gospel Standard, 1849.