Jun 18, 2010

First Hardshells on Means

In one of the first Hardshell periodicals, of the 1830's 40's, the "Christian doctrinal advocate and spiritual monitor," Volumes 5-6, edited by Daniel E. Jewett, I noticed some interesting things about the first Hardshells. As I have shown in previous writings, the first generation Hardshells were not as extreme or hyper in their Calvinism as are today's Hardshells. The first Hardshells did not believe that any unbeliever in Jesus was one of the elect. They believed that the gospel was a means in effecting the eternal salvation of the elect.

In this old periodical, in a piece called "Extracts From Circular Letters," of a Hardshell association, we have more proof of all this.

"The Elders and Messengers, composing the Lexington Particular Baptist Association—to the several independent Churches, of which it is composed, send greeting.

It therefore plainly follows, that every person must undergo a radical change and become a new creature...Whatever may be the instrumentality, which may be employed, the Holy Ghost alone begins and completes the work of awakening the dead sinner, and giving him, and supporting in him, eternal life. It is the Holy Ghost alone, that causes the sound of the Gospel, "the voice of the Son of God" to reverberate through the cold and dreary regions, of the sinners heart, and that brings him to the sense of hearing. It is the Spirit alone that accompanies the sense of hearing, in the sinner, with the sense of seeing; and removes all impediments to his having a view of the rays of light, which beam forth from the Sun of Righteousness; from whence he now hears a Voice that speaks, as never man spake: by which illumination he is brought to discern, that the great things—the incomparable accents of the said voice, are irrefragible truth. By this light the Spirit leads the awakened sinner, to a knowledge of the only true God. He discerns by this light, that God is possessed of all possible perfection and glory— that be is a Spirit, infinitely wise, just and powerful..."

No Hardshell today would accept this view. They do not believe that the "voice of the Son of God" is to be equated with the gospel. They do not believe that being born again makes one a believer in Jesus, that regeneration is a revelation of gospel truth.

"He now is prepared to he brought to a knowledge of Jesus Christ. The Spirit leads his mind to trace these rays of light to their source; and to his unspeakable astonishment, he discovers the source of this incomparable light, is the Lamb of God!— The Sin Atoning Lamb!!—that all these emotions within him, originated from the Spirit of Christ!—generated & nourished by the fructifying rays, that emanate from this Sun of suns,— the Sun Of Righteousness! His soul is absorbed with wonder and amazement! Here he beholds the Way, the only way to God,—here he beholds the Truth, the truth of God,—and here he discovers and realizes the Life, the life of God. These views [brought home in the Spirit's power,] transform his soul into the likeness of Christ—He now has the Spirit of Christ."

Notice how this writer does not believe that a sinner "realizes life" or is "transformed into the likeness of Jesus," nor that he possesses the "Spirit of Christ," until he makes this discovery of gospel truth.

"A person of the above description, has the following, or like important considerations revealed to his mind by the Holy Ghost, his divine teacher, and imprinted in his heart with an impress so deep, so indelible, so permanent..."

"These divine realities take possession of every Christian heart; and when the sinner is thus taught, he may then be said to know the Lord Jesus Christ. And this knowledge is eternal life. "And this is cteinal life, that they may know the only true God, &, Jesus Christ whom he hath sent." This knowledge has a transforming influence upon his soul..."

"These are, we believe, some of the leading characteristics of the Christian; and without a knowledge in some degree of these things, no man or woman has a right to membership in the church of Christ."

"Any person who has not experienced a radical change, some what of the above description, let his pretension &, zeal be what they may, he is not a child of God; nor has he any possible right to the privileges, of the sons of God..." (See pages 39-41)

"And under just such preaching as this God has and will in all ages convert his people. It is the same Gospel, that was preached by Philip, by Paul, James and John. This is the Gospel, that is 'the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.' This is the Gospel, that made the Jailor tremble and subjected him to obeying the commands of God. This is the gospel, which was preached by Philip to the eunuch, and which caused him to go on his way 'rejoicing.'" (Aug. 29, 1841. James Crouch Jr.) (pg. 46 of Vol. 5/6)

Can any Hardshell come forward and give us the historical proof that demonstrates that the first Hardshells took the extreme view that one could be born again and yet an unbeliever in Jesus?

See here

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