Jun 29, 2010

Howell on Perseverance

One of the ablest defenses of the doctrine of eternal security was given by the great R. B. C. Howell, in the mid 19th century, in a sermon titled "Perseverance of the Saints." Dr. Howell, in his lifetime, was an ardent opponent of both Campbellism and Hardshellism and one of the first presidents of the Southern Baptist Convention. Here are some excerpts from that able defense. The sermon includes this title - "The Privileges of Believers In Christ Include Their Perseverance In Grace Unto the Attainment of Final, and Complete Salvation" (emphasis mine - SG)

Philippians 1:6 "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."

"To persevere in grace unto the attainment of final, and complete salvation, is another, and the last in the catalogue which I shall at present particularly consider, of the inestimable privileges growing out of the union of believers with Christ. I need not tell you that a result so glorious will not be achieved without a struggle. The utmost energies of minds renewed and sanctified by the Holy Spirit, will be imperatively demanded. Battles are to be fought; victories are to be won; labors are to be endured; before the end is gained.

But in every struggle, every conflict, Jehovah is your guide and support, and has promised that you shall be "more than conquerors," through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Many excellent christians however, in opposition to the doctrine maintained by us, hold, to use the language of one of their most distinguished divines, that--"A believer may totally lose his faith, and regeneration, and may continue in apostasy, and so eternally perish."

Either this proposition is not defensible, or that which asserts the final perseverance of the saints--in other words, the continuance of all believers "in a state of grace to a state of glory"--must be abandoned. Both cannot be true. To which shall we adhere? It is our interest, and our duty, to know the truth, on this, and all other topics; and thanks to our God, the means are accessible and at hand by which the whole inquiry may be fully and satisfactorily determined.

Before entering upon the argument however, whether in refutation of the opinion stated, or in defence of our own conclusion, it is necessary, if you would clearly comprehend the question to be examined, that several preliminary observations should be submitted."

"In the first place, we predicate final perseverance in grace of those only who are "born again"--the saints of Christ Jesus--and not of mere professors of religion. Let this fact be kept constantly in memory. Professors of religion, members of the Churches, are not all, as a matter of course, the children of God, and followers of the Redeemer. Many, in every age, have assumed the outward forms of godliness, in whose hearts true piety had no dwelling place. In the estimation of enlightened christians of every class, such are expected to "fall away." Their relations to the Church are not congenial; their spiritual duties are burdensome; they soon become weary; and in going back to the world, they return to a course of life which their hearts always preferred. Their apostasy is a natural consequence, and always to be anticipated.

It is, secondly, necessary that you discriminate carefully, between backsliding, and apostasy. The former is the act of turning back from God; the latter is the forsaking, or the renouncing of the religion of Christ. Backsliding consists either in the relinquishment of evangelical doctrine; or in the loss of spirituality of mind; or in the gradual departure from correct morals. All these evils are embraced in apostasy. The backslider commits transgressions, but returns to his allegiance, and obtains forgiveness, and acceptance. The apostate continues; dies in his sins; and "so eternally perishes." We teach that none of the true children of God--the believing, the pardoned, the regenerated, the sanctified--become apostate, but to backsliding, of every character and degree, all, it is but too evident, even the best, and most devoted, are constantly, and painfully liable.

A third preliminary remark--Final perseverance in grace is never accomplished without the divinely appointed instrumentalities. The means, and the ends, are invariably associated. And will believers in Christ always employ those means? If they do, the result can never be doubtful. Messiah himself says they will. If a man love me he will keep my words, and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." "This is the love of God that we keep his commandments; and his commandments are not grievous."

With these considerations before you, we proceed to weigh carefully, and prayerfully, in the balances of divine truth, the principal objections to the conclusion that all believers in Christ will persevere in grace unto the attainment of final and complete salvation, never "totally losing their faith, and regeneration," but pressing onward till they reach, and wear, the crown of eternal life.

The first of these objections may be stated thus--Many of the angels apostatized; our first parents also, fell from their original state of holiness; why then, may not christians "lose their faith and regeneration," and so bring upon themselves eternal perdition?

We have here brought before us two classes of intelligent beings; angels in heaven; and men in their primal state of innocence. Let us consider them separately. Angels belong to another world. Of the cause, and nature, of their apostasy, I may be permitted to remark, we know very little. Upon this topic our Heavenly Father has not deemed our instruction necessary. Allusions to the subject in his word, are made only incidentally. No argument therefore, can be predicated upon the fall of angels, in support of the doctrine which teaches the apostasy of christians. Here we dismiss this part of the objection.

But our first parents also fell from their original state of holiness. If so, may not christians under similar influences, fall and be lost?

This proposition demands our serious investigation. I observe, that between their primitive condition, and that of truly regenerated men of subsequent ages, no such similarity exists, as will admit of conclusive reasoning from the one to the other. Let several facts, evincive of the truth of this statement, be considered. You will, in the first place, remember that the covenant of God with them was wholly different from that upon which you now stand. To Adam Jehovah said--"Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat. But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not ear of it; for in the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die."

The obligation of this covenant was a simple negative, upon a single point. How easy would have been compliance. The conditions were explicit--obey, and live; disobey, and die. The result need not be repeated.

With this, contrast the Gospel Covenant--"I will put my laws into their mind, (saith Jehovah) and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people; and they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, know the Lord; for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest; for I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins, and their iniquities will I remember no more."

Their condition was wholly different from yours. Almost its antipodes. The reasoning from analogy therefore--is here clearly out of place--it is not legitimate. Neither, as you now see, from the fall of angels nor of our first parents, from their original state of holiness, can any valid arguments be adduced, proving that regenerated men, once depraved and sinful, but now redeemed and sanctified, are liable to "loose their faith, and regeneration, or to continue in apostasy, and so eternally perish." The objection is without relevancy, or force.

The threatenings, cautions, and warnings, with which the word of God every where abounds, imply, it is alleged, if they do not aver, the probability that some true christians will apostatise, and forever perish. They are therefore presented as a second objection to the doctrine it is my purpose to establish.

That such threatenings and cautions, and warnings, are of constant recurrence in the divine word, and that they are in their character, appalling, is most true. The premises are therefore cheerfully conceded, but the conclusion from thence, does not appear to me, by any means natural, or a matter of course. The reasoning is illogical, as I shall presently fully demonstrate. Let two important facts be here fixed carefully in the mind. The Church of Christ is composed, not of the regenerate alone, but of the unregenerate also. This is the first fact. The second is, that all these threatenings, and cautions, and warnings, are addressed to the members of the Church as a body. Both these truths will, I suppose, be readily admitted by all.

To the Churches as bodies, so composed, are all the fearful passages in question addressed. To the members of the Church at Rome for example, Paul said--"If ye live after the flesh ye shall die."

To those of the Churches of Galatia, "Be not deceived God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap; for he that soweth to his flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption."

To the members of the old Jewish Church the prophet Ezekiel said--"When the righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he love? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned; in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sins that he hath sinned, in them shall he die."

Does any one deny that these, and all similar threatenings, are, in fact, addressed to the members of the Churches. If they are not addressed to members of the Churches, they can have no influence upon the argument; they are directed to those who are not members, and whose claims to religion, since all truly religious men unite with the Churches, are at best, exceedingly questionable. They are in truth, however, addressed to the Churches, all of whose members are professedly righteous, and claim to be accepted of God through Christ. They are so regarded by their brethren, and by all others. For a season, they all act in accordance with their profession. No difference in zeal, and good works, can be perceived between the truly converted and unconverted. They all, whatever may be really the fact, bear the same character. They are known as christians--men of God.

Their profession when tested, prove unequal to the trial! They have fallen; and are probably lost forever. Behold the picture. Is it imaginary? Alas! far from it. Do these facts, however, prove that the persons in question have "lost their faith, and regeneration?" Surely not. The facts all concur to demonstrate that they never possessed these high endowments. True they professed religion. But the indubitable evidence of a man's faith and regeneration is, not alone that he has been excited, and experienced fears and sorrows, and confidence and raptures; nor that he does many righteous acts, and is lauded as eminently devoted; but it is that he sustains the tests to which he is subjected in the christian profession. The "refiners fire" consumes the dross only; the pure gold all remains, and is by the process, rendered but the finer, and the brighter. Can it be proved that these men who have fallen, although they previously maintained the character of great piety, were ever rally regenerated? Never. Such proof is impossible, as long as men can appear to be what they are not. Then their fall is very far from showing that the doctrine of the final perseverance of the saints is not true.

Many of Christ's own personal disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Men are still characterised by like conduct. Were such ever changed in heart? They have been, we have said, under spiritual influences; they have done many things religiously; but all the testimony accessible forbids the conclusion that they were ever renewed. Of those in the Philippian Church, and they may be safely assumed as examples of all others, Paul does not intimate the former regeneration, but says--"Many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ; whose end is destruction."

Of what value then, we may be asked, are all these threatenings, and warnings, and cautions? They are, I answer, of infinite benefit to those who without having experienced any change of heart, have nevertheless professed religion.

Still they are not beyond the boundaries of mercy. They may yet repent, believe, and be saved. But how are they to be reached? Threatenings, and cautions, and warnings, are addressed to the whole Church. Were they not, these graceless professors would never apply them to themselves. The appalling declarations of Jehovah of which we speak, may bring dismay, and trembling to the heart of the contrite; they at the same time however, apprise the unrenewed of their danger, and thus become the means of their salvation. They are promotive also of the highest interests of the true christian.

Upon a careful examination of this whole topic you must now clearly see that the threatenings, the cautions, and the warnings, of the word of God, and all the individual instances of apostasy recorded in the scripture, and that occur in our own day, afford no proof that any true believer in Christ will ever "lose his faith, and regeneration," or will not persevere in grace unto the attainment of final and complete salvation.

Many, in the third place, object to our conclusion on this subject from the apprehension that the doctrine may inspire a dangerous security, and create a carelessness in the use of the means of salvation. They think its practical tendency injurious.

Such may be the effect of crude and erroneous notions of the doctrine. Ignorance and error, are always productive of evil. But no such consequences are attendant upon it when truly and fully comprehended. Does any one, professedly a christian, and properly instructed, deliberately, and intentionally, practice sin against God? This fact ought instantly to convince him that he is yet unrenewed in the spirit of his mind; and he may perhaps be moved thereby to seek as never before, and obtain, salvation. It is essential to the very nature of grace that it lead to holiness and obedience in this life, as well as to salvation in that which is to come. But it is said, men are free agents, and therefore, have the power to throw away their "faith and regeneration." Yes, men are free agents; but will they therefore act contrary to nature? Because you are a free agent will you leave the abodes of civilization, resort to the fields, and "eat straw like the ox." Never. You will not, because it is in opposition to your nature. The nature of the christian is renewed. His will is turned to God, and it determines him to serve God. Can you will in opposition to your will? His affections are holy. You love your Lord Jesus Christ.--Can you then love and follow sin? Can you have experience of its criminality, and ingratitude, and misery, and not instinctively reject it? Can you know Christ, and deliberately, and finally forsake him? Can you have faith in the Redeemer, and cherish an impure heart? Can confidence of your safety in Christ become the motive which impels you to rebel against him, and follow the life of a sinner? Surely not. Such things cannot be. Yet they must all occur before it can be rendered probable that the doctrine, which teaches the final perseverance of the saints, is of injurious practical tendency. But there is another, and a still plainer test, by which the strength of the objection may be tried. I appeal to facts. They are numerous, and at hand. Look around you, and tell me, are those who believe in the doctrine that christians "fall from grace, and eternally perish,"--and there are many such--more circumspect, spiritual, religious, or less likely to become apostates, than those who believe in the final perseverance of the saints? We know they are not. They are, to say the least, as frequently as men of any other class, overcome by the evils which so thickly beset the paths of the christian. All the testimony in the case disproves therefore, the injurious practical tendency alleged.

These I believe, are all the objections of any importance, to the doctrine which maintains the final perseverance of the saints--the fall of the angels, and of our first parents, from their original state of holiness; the threatenings of the word of God; the individual examples of apostasy recorded in the scriptures, and that occur in our own day; and the alleged injurious practical tendency of the doctrine. We have candidly and impartially considered them all, and have seen that they are without weight, and fall far short of disproving the proposition that all true believers will at last, gain the crown of eternal life.

We now turn to consider briefly, some of the leading arguments in favor of the doctrine.

Salvation, I remark, in the first place, is preeminently the work of God. This great truth constitutes a primary article in the faith of all evangelical christians. He has redeemed, regenerated, and sanctified his people, with a view to their salvation, and the glory of all his attributes demands that the end proposed shall be accomplished. His love to his people is unchangeable, and therefore they cannot be the objects of it at one time, and not at another. His faithfulness to them, and to his promises, is not founded upon their merits, but his own will and goodness; it cannot therefore be violated. His wisdom foresees every obstacle in the way, and is capable of removing it, and directing them into the right path. Has he chosen an end so glorious, and will he fail to choose the means necessary for its accomplishment? His power is absolute, and perpetually exerted for their preservation, and protection. And will he not save his people? To them all, the divine declaration is made--"To an inheritance, incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you," ye "are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time."

The nature of their connection with the Lord Jesus Christ, I observe secondly, justifies the assurance that all the truly regenerate will persevere in divine grace unto eternal life.

"We are bound to give thanks always to God, for you brethren, beloved of the Lord," says an apostle, "because God hath from the beginning, chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth; whereunto he hath called you by our Gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Again. The atonement by Jesus Christ, God the Father has accepted for the forgiveness of your sins. Will he revoke his act of pardon; and will the law once satisfied by Messiah, again turn upon you, and demand at your hands a second satisfaction? Is not the law just, and holy? Again. By your adoption into the family of Jehovah, you are proclaimed from on high, "Heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ."

Will this proclamation be reversed, and you disinherited? How can this be, since you receive all these blessings by the Will and Testament of our Lord himself, and to give full effect to his actions, the Testator is dead? And again, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life."

You believe, and therefore have everlasting life. Shall this life be extinguished? This cannot be, since it is impossible that that which is everlasting can after a few years cease to exist. Once more. Jesus Christ is our Advocate to plead our cause before the Father in heaven. Will he fail of success? Now if in Christ Jesus you were from the beginning chosen, to salvation, and to secure it you have been actually called, and endowed with faith, and sanctification; if through him you have been pardoned, and the claims of the law against you fully satisfied; if you are recognized, and proclaimed heirs with Christ of the heavenly inheritance; if you already have everlasting life; and have his glorious promise--"Because I live ye shall live also;" what can we conclude but that your connection with Christ secures effectually, your final and complete salvation.

The perseverance of the saints in grace unto eternal life, is also evident, thirdly, from the work of the Holy Spirit.

"Now he," said Paul, "which establisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts."

By this holy anointing the people of God are distinguished as already consecrated to be kings, and priests, on high; by the sealing they are received, recognized, and acknowledged, as his peculiar treasure; and by the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts--that is the giving of a part as a pledge of the future bestowment of the whole--he fully ratifies our title to eternal salvation. Further. Our regeneration, and sanctification constitute important parts of the process by which we are fitted and qualified for heaven, and give undoubted proof that it is the intention of the Holy Ghost to save us. Will he, after all this, fail of his design?

God--the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost--purpose the salvation of all believers. This truth is now placed beyond the reach of controversy. On this point there is, I must think, no question in the mind of any intelligent christian. No deficiency can exist on the part of Jehovah, nor of any of the persons in the adorable Trinity. If all believers are not saved, the failure cannot be chargeable to God.

Finally. The salvation of all believers is a result guaranteed by the influence of the new nature in the soul of the regenerate.

In every instance of true conversion to God, the will, the affections, the desires, the purposes--all the powers of the mind--are, as we have already said, turned from sin to holiness. The old unsanctified nature, followed worldly things; the new spiritual nature follows of choice, the things of God. This is now the ruling influence of the soul. Men, as a general rule, act always in accordance with the impulses of their nature. This every one knows to be true. To suppose that any one will do otherwise, long at a time, is both unphilosophical, and unscriptural. This principle is recognized by our Saviour himself. "The tree is know by its fruit." "A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things; and an evil man out of the evil treasure, bringeth forth evil things." Christians are, by inspiration, addressed as "Holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling." All men undoubtedly act in accordance with their nature; the nature of believers is holy; they will therefore pursue a course of holy action. Will they then, ever finally abandon themselves to a life of sin? If so they will act in opposition to their nature, to suppose which, we have seen, is against both philosophy and scripture. Into snares, and temptations, they, as has been shown, may, and do, often fall, and not unfrequently, go very far into worldliness, and transgression. But if their nature is renewed, grace will ultimately triumph. The enlightened conscience will not always remain silent. They return to the path of life. This is the doctrine of Paul, who asks--"How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" The grace of the Father, the love of the Son, and the promptings of the Holy Ghost, combine with the desires and aspirations of the soul, and bear the believer onward, and upward, until he stands accepted, and glorified, in the midst of the shining hosts "who have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb!" If additional proofs of the correctness of this doctrine were needed, they are abundantly supplied by direct, and unequivocal declarations of God himself. I must of many, satisfy myself with one, or two. He says--"I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish." Truly, he "shall confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless, in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ."


Jun 18, 2010

More Old Hardshell Citations

Here are some other citations from an old Hardshell periodical, from the "Christian doctrinal advocate and spiritual monitor," where the first Hardshells are shown to disagree with today's modern Hardshell body.

"From Brother Jacob Wickizer, Rome, Pa.

Dear Brother Jewett,—Not stopping to apologize, I send you a few thoughts on 2 Thes. ii. 13; where the Apostle breaks out in language like this—

"But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, Brethren beloved in the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit, and the belief of the Truth."

The TRUTH is that, which every heaven-born soul is made to believe by the operation of the Spirit of God in his experience.

Again, this in not the view of today's Hardshells! How can they claim to be "primitive" when they cannot find their views by any Baptist confession, church, or authorities, prior to the 19th century? And when they cannot even find their extreme view taught by their own "founding fathers" in the beginning of their seceder movement?

"The Lord that Spirit commences his work in the hearts of those, whom God hath from the beginning chosen unto salvation, first, by quickening them; and then he shows them their guilty, lost, helpless condition, by the revelation of his holiness, revealed in the law with the glory and majesty of God, as King. And thus the creature is made, not only to believe, but to realize, and to know, that he is a sinner all over defiled, that his whole head is sick and his whole heart faint. And he sees no way, that God could be just and justify such a polluted wretch, as he sees himself to be; and if he turn his mind to the world, he finds nothing there, that can ease his mind. The sound of the viol, instead of being music, is now grating to his ears. His merry companions are now no more the company, that he desires; no, he would rather be in some lonely place, where he might mourn over his lost and undone situation! And if he turns his thoughts to Heaven, he sees a God of justice, a being to whom all the hosts above delight to pay homage, and cry, "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God,—who is and was and is to come." And feeling no desire, that God should change, even if il were possible,—he exclaims, no, I justly deserve to be banished from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power. He now feels to loathe himself, and to give up till hope; he feels himself to be entirely polluted."

Here is more proof that the first Hardshells believed that regeneration and new birth were not the same, that the one preceded the other. I have shown in other writings, especially in my ongoing book on the Hardshells, that the first generation of Hardshells believed that spiritual birth had stages just like physical birth. They believed that a man was first "regenerated," apart from means and gospel truth, then under conviction of sin, comparable to being in the womb, in darkness, without freedom, and then finally was "born" from the womb, the latter being by the means of gospel truth being believed by the "quickened soul." This is not, of course, the view of today's neo Hardshells.

"The teaching of the Spirit reveals to his mind the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ; teaches him his own poverty and wretchedness. He feels so poor, that he cannot say, that he will wear his own apparel and rat his own bread; no, he looks for it to Him, from whom comes every good and perfect gift. Thus they who are chosen of God &, brought to the belief of the truth, are all taught of God, all drink of the same fountain, rejoice in the same truth and speak the same things, and in short, belong to tho same family." (Nov. 2, 1841. Jacob Wickizer. pg. 146)

"That there should be a New Birth by regeneration, the soul is begotten of God, quickened, by his Spirit brought into labor under the law and heavy laden with sin, enlightened by the Spirit of God to feel the justice of his condemnation; views the mighty contrast between a Holy God and such a hell-deserving sinner, whose every thought, word and deed, is now and ever has been black as the tents of Kedar, a fountain issuing nothing but the most filthy bitter water; finds utter inability to cleanse one drop, or change the spot on his Ethiopian skin, being entirely destitute of any cleansing power or substance. At length, at the end of the law, he ceases from his own works, as God did from his at the creation of the world, and cries, 'Lord, save, or I perish?' Jesus Christ he views as his atonement, and by faith views him as his Lord and his God, the cheifest amongst ten thousands, the one altogether lovely."

This is more evidence of how the first Hardshells held to the view that regeneration was distinct from the new birth, that they believed the new birth to be the same as conversion, and that all the regenerated would be converted by the gospel.

"I am well aware, that the birth is not the origin of the child, neither does it add any new member or physical power to the soul; yet the child by being born, comes to enjoy some new faculties, such as seeing, crying, tasting...all new. I suppose, that I have witnessed thousands of natural births, during the practice of my medical profession; yet in no case have I been ready to believe, that it was never a child until it was born. As before observed, the child is as perfect a child, before it was born, as afterwards, but the birth manifests it to all around; so the 'New Birth' manifests the new-born soul to Israel, and to Israel only."

"I have thus far endeavored to give you my ideas, as to what constitutes regeneration, or the New Birth,—and what is done to an individual experiencing that wonderful change, and in what respect 'the believer or man in Christ is a New Creature.' But to be a little more explicit, I would add, it is 'Christ formed in you the hope of glory'..." (Squier Littell Sr. (Jan. 1842. pg. 147)

This is clear. The first Hardshells believed that all the elect would believe and hear the gospel, that being "taught of God" involved being taught the gospel.

See here

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

Jun 15, 2010

The Seceder Hardshells

Last November, when I had a debate with John Gentry, Campbellite, we held the debate on the campus of SBTS in Louisville. During this two day stay in Louisville, I was able to visit the campus library and look up some old books and records relative to the early 19th century "split" between the "anti mission" or Hardshell Baptists and those who supported missions. I found an old book on the history of the Liberty Baptist Association and on the "split" between the Hardshells and the general body of Baptists. I copied some pages at that time but did not get to copy as much as I had liked. Recently, I was able to find this history on the internet! I was so glad to have found it as it is an able defense against the Hardshell claims and pretenstions. Below are some notes taken from this work with some comments of mine. When I get back to writing and editing my on-going book on the Hardshells, I hope to make use of these notes. All highlighting and emphasis is mine - SG.

The front page of this work reads as follows: "OF THE LIBERTY BAPTIST ASSOCIATION FROM ITS ORGANIZATION IN 1832 TO 1906 Containing Much History Incidentally Connected with this Body ALSO There is presented quite an extended account of the "Split" in Baptist ranks, showing who are the "Primitive Baptists," together with Side-Lights on the "Split."

It was written by Elder Henry Sheets on behalf of the Liberty Association.

Sheets wrote:

"In this place we will offer a few thoughts on the use of means. Regeneration is frequently represented in Scripture as being effected by means: men are said to be born again by the word of God. 1st Peter, 1st, 23d, to be begotten by the word of truth, James 1:18; and Paul says to the Corinthians, in Christ Jesus have I begotten you through the gospel. Some may ask, how is this to be reconciled with making the quickening of sinners properly a supernatural work?" (pg. 20-24)

Bob Ross, who has also written in our time on the "History and Heresies of Hardshellism," has stated that the division between the anti-missionaries and the missionaries did not concern any serious doctrinal difference, but focused on "methods" of evangelism. I have also stated the same. The first Hardshells, represented by men such as Gilbert Beebe and John Watson, believed that means were involved in the new birth. It was not till later in the anti mission movement, however, that many of the Hardshells began to take the extreme position that affirmed that the gospel was no means at all in the new birth. In the above citation, however, Elder Sheets mentions the early discussions regarding means in "regeneration."

The first Hardshells, as I have shown, believed in distinguishing between "regeneration" and new "birth." They believed that no means were used in "regeneration," the first stage in the process, but means were used in the second stage, or in the "birth" of the Spirit. It is easy to see how this view would later cause most of the anti mission brethren to change into full blown "anti meanism." The second generation Hardshells soon discarded the view that regeneration and new birth were distinct but held on to the view that no means were involved in "regeneration," or in new "birth."

The Hardshells have no historical records to show that any Particular Baptist believed that the elect could be saved or born again apart from the means of the gospel prior to their departure from the Baptist family.

Elder Sheets wrote:

"From this it will be seen that the first missionary society that was organized in this State was in the bounds of the Kehukee Association, and its members were mainly instrumental in its organization.

It was not until 1827 that this body took a decided Anti-missionary position."

"We have now clearly shown that the Kehukee Association, which, since 1827, has manifested such hostility to missionary institutions, was for a number of years previous to that date a missionary body; consequently they are not "the Primitive" but the New Baptists. The Regular or Missionary Baptists are now occupying the position that the Kehukee brethren did previous to 1826 and '27."

This is the crucial question in debating the question "who are the primitive Baptists?" I invite any of my Hardshell brethren to come forward, as did Elders Lemuel Potter (late 1880's) and John R. Daily (early 1900's), to debate the question - "who are the real primitive Baptists?" What are they afraid of? Is it not that they shall be exposed? Elder Sheets gives evidence to show how the Kehukee Association, prior to the rise of the anti mission movement, was not Hardshell.

Elder Sheets wrote:

"In 1832, Elder James Osborne, of Baltimore, was present. Through his influence a large majority of this Association declared non-fellowship with all the benevolent societies of the day, and have since assumed the name of "The Old School" or "Primitive Baptists." It is, however, a misnomer, for they were formerly the "Primitive Baptists," but by changing their position, and instead of remaining Missionary Baptists as they previously had been, they became the New Baptists."

Again, this is the crucial point to be decided. Were the Baptists, prior to the "split" with the Hardshells, more like the Mission Baptists or the Anti-Mission Baptists? Did the Baptists prior to the 19th century, support means in new birth, or not? Did they support theological and Sunday schools, or not? Did they support revival and protracted meetings, or not? Did they support missionaries, or not? Elder Sheets is correct, and all the historical evidence proves it - there was no Hardshellism among the Baptists prior to the rise of the Hardshells in the 1830's.

Elder Sheets mentions Elder Osbourne and his role in the "split." I plan to write some things about the bio of Elder Osbourne. Elder Osbourne played a key role in the "split" and in the creation of the Hardshell denomination. He has not been given, however, much attention by those who have written on the history of the Hardshells. But, Elder Sheets did not ignore him, as the above, and the following, citations show. Hopefully, in the near future, I can put together some pertinent information about Osbourne.

Elder Sheets wrote:

"...antimission brethren are evidently the seceding or New Baptists."

This is a truth. The Hardshells will not admit this, however. They will hold on to their own interpretation of history no matter what facts are presented to them. They did not "exclude" the pro mission Baptists, but rather "seceded" from the Baptist family. They became a "sect," a "heresy," and sectarian and anti in spirit, and certainly a "cult."

Sheets said:

"While Elder Stadler and others were changing and getting up divisions about missions, the Regular or Missionary Baptists went regularly on in support of missions, consequently they are the true "Primitive Baptists."

It is a falsification of history, and injustice to the Regular or Missionary Baptists, whenever the Anti-mission Baptists are called the "Old Side" or the "Primitive Baptists."

Sheets states the matter correctly. All the historical evidence is on his side and supports his charge.

Sheets said:

"The Baltimore Baptist Association, so famous for its antimissionary character since 1836, was, previous to that date, a missionary Association."

Sheets gives historical records from two leading Hardshell Assocations, from the Kehukee and the Baltimore, demonstrating that they were both just like the Missionary Baptists, prior to their "secession" in the 1830's. Will today's Hardshells come forth and explain the historical records of these two associations, prior to the "split," showing us how they were "primitive" or "hardshell"? Will they deny that the "Old Kehukee" and the Baltimore were missionary before the rise of the Hardshells? Will they deny that they supported theological and Sunday schools, protracted meetings, etc., prior to the rise of Hardshells?

Sheets wrote:

"Elder James Osborne, who afterward became a disturber of the churches and a leader in the anti-mission ranks, was present and "cordially received" Brother Rice, and was afterward appointed a Home Missionary!"

What Sheets says about Osbourne, one of the leading founding fathers of the Hardshell denomination, is also true of other founding fathers. Many of them were in favor of missions before they were against them. Daniel Parker applied for a missionary position and financial support for it. But, being denied, he became one of their leading enemies. Wilson Thompson also had a similar experience.

Sheets said:

"In their minutes for 1818, they call themselves, as the Missionary Baptists now do, "the Regular Baptists;" the name "Old School," or "Primitive Baptists," had not then been invented."

"...but after this they, by changing their principles, became New Baptists. They had once practiced the things they now condemn. The great body of the Baptists of the United States went on as they had done before. The anti-mission party, calling themselves the "Primitive Baptists," are but a small portion of the denomination, and yet it has been said that the Regular or Missionary Baptists have seceded from the Primitive Baptists! Who ever heard before of a body of at least four-fifths seceding from one-fifth?"

"There never was an organized body of Baptists in existence that opposed missions until since the beginning of the present century (1800); perhaps not further back than 1820 or '25, and very few until about 1830."

Will the Hardshells come forth now, after so long a time, and give us their historical proof that the Baptists, prior to the 1800's, were just like them in sentiment and practice? Will they produce the evidence to show how the above statement, by Sheets, is false? Will they not see, if they check the records, that he was entirely correct? Will they not see that they are not "Primitive" or "Original" Baptists?

Sheets wrote:

"The English Baptists, the Philadelphia Association, the Sandy Creek Baptist Association, the Charleston, and many others, have never been connected, either in principle or practice, with the Anti-mission movement."

"We have now fully shown that the Regular or Missionary Baptists have not seceded from the Anti-mission Baptists."

Again, Sheets is historically accurate. Can the Hardshells show that they existed in the 16th, 17th, or 18th century? Can the Missionary Baptists not show how all the Baptists, prior to the 19th century, were supporters of missions, salaried ministers, church and theological schools, revival meetings, etc.?

Notes from CHAPTER XXII of Sheet's Work

An Extended Account Of The "split" And Examination As To "who Are The Primitive Baptists."

This is the title of this chapter, and gets right to the heart of the debate.

Sheets wrote:

"It is proposed to throw some light on the question propounded. This would be unnecessary but for the fact that our anti-mission or Hardshell brethren did, after the split, appropriate to themselves the title of "Primitive" Baptists and honored us with that of "Missionery" Baptists. And they have persisted in this course so long that all, or nearly all, of their own people really believe this to be true. Not only so, but many in our own ranks believe it, too.

They have endeavored long to make believe that the people commonly called Missionary Baptists are of very recent origin and that they are the genuine article, descended from Christ and the Apostles. This we deny. So far as age is concerned, one side is just as old as the other, for we all had the same origin, the same Articles of Faith, up till the split. The difference is as to what is believed and practiced now as compared with what was held and practiced then.

In treating this subject the author wishes to be perfectly candid, for he well knows that nothing but the truth can stand the test of history bearing on this subject. A faithful and honest study of the question will aid in the establishment of the truth.

There was a time when the Baptists were one in sentiment and purpose as to the spread of the Gospel and the upbuilding of Christ's kingdom on earth. They were enjoying the blessings of union and harmony on all questions pertaining to the organization of effort for the spread of the truth. They were growing rapidly in numerical strength and the consequent multiplication of churches and arms of churches. Not only so, but they were organizing Missionary Societies, Bible Societies, Tract Societies, Sunday Schools, etc., and giving encouragement to all these institutions without one word of protest; but, on the other hand, our churches and brethren all seemed as one; not one single note of discord to mar the beautiful, Christ-like harmony.

It will ever be a source of regret that a division along the lines indicated was ever forced upon the denomination by a few designing men. While this division was being worked up, there were many instances of the most intense bitterness on the part of those who were leading, as well as many of the new converts to this new and unheard of doctrine, which was just beginning to be propagated, which was arraying the people and churches against each other."

Some of the old church records show that this bitterness had in some instances developed to such an extent that they positively refused to heed the beseechings and loving entreaties of the brethren and sisters, who pleaded with them to cherish a spirit of love and forbearance toward them, to the end that they all might live on as in former years. But so far as known, they never yielded in a single instance. They did then, and do now, regard all who are not in their fold as out of the true church, and consequently they call no one "brother" unless in their church, in which case many of them regard him then as one of the "elect." Very few of them would lead in public prayer among other people, seemingly thinking it sacrilege to engage with others in worship. And the Baptists which they left, they often call "Arminians," or "Mystery Babylon."

All this is true to fact. Elder Sheets proves his statements, unlike the Hardshells.

CHAPTER XXIII - Time Of The Division—Changes After The Split— Difficulty In Finding A Name.

In this chapter, Sheets says:

"The unfortunate division did not take place all at once, nor in any one year. The first Association to divide was the Kehukee, in 1827. The Abbott's Creek Union, in 1832. And others at various dates, till 1836. Elder Coffey (antimission), in his History of the "Regular Baptists," says: "The strifes and contentions that caused the division were in progress from 1832 to 1840, before the final separation was complete."

So the time in which the split was being consummated, from first to last, was about thirteen years. At the time of which we write, there were many changes. In some instances they were in the majority and held the property, in others our people held it, and people went from one church to another, some coming from them to us, while some went from our churches to them.

Since writing the foregoing, "Outlines of Illinois Baptist History" has come to hand, and as a matter of history, the following is copied:


"December 1, 1817, John M. Peck, a strong missionary, arrived at St. Louis from Connecticut, and the same month Daniel Parker came from Tennessee to Crawford county, Illinois. In 1822, April 30, Mr. Peck removed to Illinois, settling at Rock Spring, sixteen miles out from St. Louis, on the Vincennes road. Mr. Parker became pastor of two Illinois churches belonging to the Wabash (Ind.) Association, and through one of them secured, the passage of an anti-mission resolution by the Association in 1819, which he used as a means of influencing the Illinois churches on the other side of the State. In 1822 it divided the Wabash Association.

In 1824 the Illinois Association became anti-mission. Of the nine Illinois Baptist Associations organized before 1830 all except the Friends to Humanity were anti-mission. But of the nineteen Associations organized in the 30's only six were anti-mission. In 1826 Daniel Parker published his "Two Seed" doctrine, which made a division in the anti-mission ranks and caused him in 1836 to emigrate to Texas. From that time the anti-mission influence began to subside."

For some time after the split, we know not how long, they did not baptize one coming from a Missionary church, because it might have been the same preacher baptized many of those composing both churches. Possibly the pastor of the Missionary church might have baptized the

But after they had succeeded in inducing some of our churches and associations to divide, they found an unthought of difficulty. Before the split we were all one body and known simply as Baptists. Now there are two bodies of Baptists, and one of these is a new body. Never had there been anything known like it.

It is said that Elder Mark Bennett went with them at the time of the split and remained several years; then his mind underwent a change, and he came back to his old love. In 1854 he published a "Review of the History of the Kehukee Association," in which he tells us about the name which they finally adopted. We quote from the Review, pp. 7 and 8:

"About that time (1826) two or three of her (Kehukee) preachers drafted some 'Resolutions,' in which was bespoken for their denomination the name of 'Reformed Baptists in North Carolina.' In the course of two years they became dissatisfied with this name and abandoned it. For some time they called themselves alternately, 'The Old Baptists,' 'The Old Sort of Baptists,' 'Baptists of the Old Stamp,' 'The Old Side Baptists,' etc. * * * If we recollect the time well, during the period of 1832 to 1835 a meeting of a few Antimission Baptists was held in Maryland, some distance from the city of Baltimore, at a place called Black Rock; at which meeting they resolved to be known among themselves by the name of 'Old School Baptists.' With this name the Kehukee people at first were not well satisfied. But contemporaneously, or nearly so, with the Black Rock movement, a monthly, with the caption of 'Signs of the Times' was issued from New Vernon, in New York, Orange County; which paper unceremoniously dubbed the Anti-mission Baptists with the name of 'Old School Baptists.'"

"After some murmuring and delay, the Kehukeeans adopted it, and became well pleased with it. More recently, say within twelve or eighteen months, we apprehend they are about to throw off 'Old School' and take the name of 'Primitive Baptists.'"

Thus we see that they were something like twenty-five years before they were enabled to adopt a name.

In November, 1871, the Biblical Recorder, in reply to an article quoted from the Primitive Baptist, an anti-mission paper, said editorially: "It is true that this sect is called by many names. Its own ministers have not been able to agree on their name. They call themselves 'Ironsides, Hardshells, Square-toed Baptists, Broad-brimmed Baptists, Old-Sort-ofBaptists, Old School Baptists, Hard-Bined Baptists, Predestinarian Baptists, Kehukees, Primitive Baptists, and some, not ashamed of their true paternity, call themselves Osbournites. Is it any marvel that outsiders find difficulty in naming those who have never been able to name themselves?"

This is quite interesting as regards Osbourne. Sheets, who was well versed in the history of the "split," considers Osbourne the true parent of the denomination. It is true that Elders Parker, Watson, Beebe, Trott, Thompson, and others, represented the "paternity" of the Hardshell denomination, being founding fathers of the sect, but Sheets attributes much to Osbourne. Again, as I said, I hope to write more about the role of Osbourne in upcoming posts and in my book on the Hardshells.

Wrote Sheets:

"If they are the "Old Baptists," indeed, why all this ado about a name ? They called us "missioners" or "missionaries," which has somewhat been accepted as a distinction. But all old Baptist histories published long before the split bears the plain, simple "Baptist," just what we call ourselves now and have ever since long before the split.

They had to do something to deceive the people into believing that they were and are still the Old Baptists. We venture the assertion that they can not produce any Baptist history or other Baptist document printed before 1825, that has any of the above names. The fact is, that their old minutes did not for many, many years print "Primitive" in the title as they do now. The Brier Creek and Mayo Associations did not. The Abbott's Creek Union Association did not till 1879."

"At the session held that year the following item was adopted: "The Association agrees that the words Primitive Baptist be added to the third article of the act of Convention of 1825." This was an afterthought. But it seems strange that they waited fifty-four years to make the change. But why add "primitive" at all if they continued the same as before the split?

Every one at all acquainted with Baptist history knows that in all our denominational literature that nothing but the plain, simple "Baptist" was used before the split, just as we use it now. They were accommodating, indeed, to give us a distinctive name (Missionary), and then adopt the one (Primitive) they liked best. But we shall see further on who are following what was practiced before the split, as well as the teaching of the Bible."

CHAPTER XXIV - The Number That Went Out From Us—The Men Who Led In The Split—Resolutions Of Kehukee AssociaTion '—- Covetousness, The Probable Cause Of The Division.

Sheets wrote:

"This result was secured, it is said, through the influence of a few men. The spirit of opposition was never spontaneous; it was wrought up by a few shrewd leaders. Elders James Osbourn of the Baltimore Association and John Stadler of the Country Line and Joshua Lawrence in the East, contributed more to the result in North Carolina than any dozen others. And it is quite likely true that Elder Osbourn's influence carried Stadler and Lawrence."

This is also interesting relative to Elder Osbourne. Osbourne was well known among the first generation Hardshells. He was more Englishman than American, and spent much time in England in the 1830's and 40's with the Strict Baptists. He was a man who travelled extensively among the anti mission churches, inciting insurrection and promoting division. He wrote many books, which he peddled among the Hardshells on his numerous trips. I feel certain that he had much influence among the anti mission leaders. He was friends with Trott, Thompson, Watson, and Beebe. Why have his books not survived? Why are they not promoted by today's Hardshells, especially seeing how influential he was in creating their denomination? Is it not for the same reason that writings by Watson are largely ignored? Would the writings of Osbourne, like those of Watson, prove detrimental to them in their claims to originality? Osbourne was an intellectual. Lawrence was not. Osbourne led the ministry, while men like Lawrence mostly led the ignorant lay membership.

Wrote Sheets:

"Again we quote from the Biblical Recorder—an editorial— November, 1871: "The Rev. James Osbourn began to preach in the South and to feed the fires of covetousness by declaiming against 'money hunters.' He denounced all publications except his own, and all collections except for himself, and obtained subscriptions for his books before they were written. Elder Joshua Lawrence and many others were led astray."

"The Kehukee Association was induced, after "much speaking," to "discard all Missionary Societies, Bible Societies, and Theological Seminaries, and the practices heretofore resorted to for their support, in begging money from the public; and if any persons should be among us as agents of any such societies, we hereafter discountenance them in those practices, and if under the character of a minister of the Gospel, we will not invite them into our pulpits."

"We do not have to go far to discover that the foregoing was prompted by a spirit of covetousness, for the same association, in 1834, two years after the split, said: "If any minister, although he may be a missionary without the bounds of our association, comes among us to preach the Gospel and not to make collections, we do not reject him."

And this teaching has, all through these years, been so congenial to the flesh that it has been accepted by the children in such homes, thus growing up and developing a bitter spirit toward all our work."

CHAPTER XXV - Strong Opposition- To Mission Work—The Apostles Sent Out As Missionaries By The Church At Antiooh —God's Purpose—His Guiding Hand—Elder Watson's View.

Wrote Sheets:

"Our anti-mission brethren claim that mission work as was at first developed one hundred years ago and as now being carried on, is not of God, but "man's work."

Elder Coffey, an authority among them in the West, taking a very decided stand against us, said: "I wish to be understood to mean the modern system of missions, or men-made institutions, and not Bible missionaries." Just as though we were not Bible missionaries because they reject our methods of work!

Our Baptist people from the days of Christ to the present time have always been missionary in spirit and practice; though at times held back by a spirit of lethargy. The Antimission Baptists claim that the system of modern missions is too modern, and ought therefore to be rejected. But the missionary spirit is no new thing; it is old as the church. We learn that the early Christians "went everywhere preaching the word."

"Neither can they claim the old records as sustaining them. From the organization of this work in England, in 1792, up to about 1826, there was no division of sentiment on the subject of missions (except the Kehukee Association, which divided in 1827), till 1832."

"Elder James Osbourn was perhaps the leading spirit in bringing about the split. Yet this item from the record tells us where he once was: "In 1817 'a committee was appointed for Domestic Missionary Affairs,' and Brethren O. B. Brown, James Osbourn and Spencer H. Cone were appointed as Home Missionaries." James Osbourn appointed a Missionary! He was Then a Primitive Baptist."

"We quote from an able work by Elder John M. Watson, entitled "Old Baptist Test," pages 181-182, one of their best and most conservative men. Writing of "Errors found existing among the Old Order of Baptists," he says: "I was much surprised as well as mortified that they evinced so little concern about the unbrought 'other sheep' which the Saviour said He must bring. They lay great stress on these words of the Saviour, but do not read other things which He connected with the bringing them in as they ought to do. I heard but few prayers for the sending forth of laborers into His field; nor did I see much concern in any way about them. The Lord's foreknowledge, predestination, calling, etc., have the same relation to them, in principle at least, that they had at the beginning—the same to the last one which He will bring that they had to the first. * * * They preach well about the "effectual call" as they term it, but not so well about the outward one. * * * I felt inclined to ask these orthodox Christians if they believed that any of the "other sheep" are now among the heathen nations, and if they were watching the providence of God in regard to them. Moreover, if they felt under any obligations to search them out; to pray unto the Lord to bring them in; and to encourage, aid and send out any who may feel called of the Lord to preach to them. * * * I really fear should any one profess a call of this kind, he would not receive the fellowship and assistance which he would have been entitled to. Thus I fear they do not act as did those who heeded all the commandments of the Lord."

"This position taken by Elder Watson is impregnable, it is unanswerable, because it is the truth. He is with us on this. It is just what we believe and constitutes one of the great barriers between us and them. We believe it to be a duty imposed by the great Head of the church to give the Gospel to the whole world—they believe that we have nothing to do with it, that God will raise up men to preach to the heathen when He wants them."

CHAPTER XXVI - Anti-mission Baptists Are Now Opposed To Revival Meetings—Nothing Said About Opposing Such MeetIngs When They Went Out Prom Us—Baptists Had Great Revivals Before The Split—In The Kehukee Association They Invited People To Be Prayed For— George Pope Baptized Large Numbers.

In this chapter, Sheets writes:

"Our Anti-mission brethren are very unlike the Primitive Baptists in their decided opposition to revival meetings. We never hear them pray for a revival of religion or know of them making a protracted effort. Who ever hears one of their preachers exhorting the unconverted to repent?

Before the split our Baptist brethren did this, and they had glorious revivals and large ingatherings into their churches. Even the historic old Kehukee, now so decidedly opposed to revival measures, was at one time much in favor with them; they prayed for them and otherwise greatly encouraged them.

We quote from Burkitt and Read's History, pages 145-46, "The ministers used frequently, at the close of worships, to sing a spiritual song suited to the occasion, and go through the congregation, and shake hands with people while singing. * * * The ministers usually, at the close of preaching, would tell the congregation, that if there were any persons who felt themselves lost and condemned, under the guilt and burden of their sins, that if they would come near the stage, and kneel down, they would pray for them. Shame at first kept many back, but as the work increased, numbers apparently under strong conviction would come and fall down before the Lord at the feet of the ministers, and crave an interest in their prayers. Sometimes twenty or thirty at a time. And at some Union Meetings, two or three hundred would come, and try to come as near as they could. This very much engaged the ministers, and many confessed that the Lord heard the prayers of His ministers, and had reason to hope their souls were relieved from the burden of their sins, through the blood of Christ. It had a powerful effect on the spectators to see their wives, their husbands, children, neighbors, etc, so solicitous for the salvation of their souls; and was sometimes a means of their conviction. Many ladies of quality, at times were so powerfully wrought on as to come and kneel down in the dust in their silks to be prayed for. The same history, page 153, says: "At an Union Meeting at Parker's Meeting-house, August, 1803, it was supposed there were 4,000 people. The weather proved very rainy on Sunday. There was a stage erected in the meeting-house yard; and at about half-past 11 o'clock Elder Burkitt ascended the stage to preach, and it was expected, from the appearance of the clouds, it would rain every moment, and before he was done preaching it did so. Yet, notwithstanding, the numerous congregation still kept together; and although every effort was used to shun the rain, by umbrellas, carriages, blankets, etc., yet we believe one thousand people were exposed to the rain without any shelter; and some crying, some convulsed to the ground, some begging the ministers to pray for them; and composedly stood and received the falling shower without ever being dispersed. And it is not only at particular times, but blessed be God, these meetings are generally blessed."

Burkitt and Read's History from which this quotation is taken is the History of Kehukee Association, now anti-mission, and was printed in 1803, twenty-four years before she turned against missions, Sunday Schools, Protracted Meetings, etc."

It is interesting to note Sheet's reference to Burkitt and Read's History of the Old Kehukee Association. This book, like the writings of Watson and Osbourne, got ignored and buried by the Hardshell leaders. Today's Hardshells accept only one book on their history, the one written by C. B. Hassell and his son Sylvestor, entitled "History of the Church of God." This work was paid for by the Kehukee Association after the split with the Hardshells. The Kehukee Association had been supporting the work of historians to record their history even prior to the split. The first history concerned the time long prior to the split. This history shows that the old Kehukee was not "Primitive" or Hardshell, prior to the 1830's. It is no wonder then that it has been thrown aside and Hassell's post division history accepted in its place.

Wrote Sheets:

"Strange as it may seem to people living now, there is not one word anywhere, in all the old church records or Baptist histories examined, where they opposed revival measures at first. In fact, such a thing seems never to have been thought of. But, on the other hand, they carried them on for some time.

That they ever should have taken such a stand in regard to revival measures is beyond comprehension, unless, in their opposition to us in almost everything else, they thought that they ought to oppose this measure also.

Such a thing as taking a stand against revivals or protracted meetings was never, never heard of amongst Baptists until our Anti-mission brethren separated from us in 1827—1840. Before the split in Baptist ranks they had such revivals and ingatherings as few, if any now living, ever witnessed. And, we might add, that they did not take the stand against protracted meetings till some time after they went out from us, as has been given us by old people who lived at the time, and after the division in Baptist ranks."

CHAPTER XXVII - A Departuee From Baptist Usage—They Oppose MinisTerial Education—Young Ministers Educated In England—The Philadelphia Association EncourAged It.

In this chapter, Sheets wrote:

"In preceding chapters we have shown that our anti-mission brethren have departed from Baptist usage before the split in some very important particulars. They are very decidedly opposed to the education of young ministers, called of God, as a part of our work. But long before there were any Antimission Baptists, the Baptists favored ministerial education. They claim, that while ministerial students are receiving an education that souls are dying and, therefore, they ought to go at once.

But our Saviour did not take that view, when he kept His disciples with Him for three years. Neither did our brethren in the years gone by.

As early as the year 1250, our Baptist brethren had schools where their young men called of God were educated, being supported by contributions from the churches.

Dr. John Rippon, of England, in a "Brief essay towards an History of the Baptist Academy," throws much light upon this important subject. Hear him: "We had at that time literary men, whose abilities reflected honor on themselves, and on the cause they espoused; and of these, some who ranked high among the learned were disposed to teach. Such, however, was the unsettled state of affairs in the protectorate, and so great the persecutions of our brethren and other non-conformists afterwards, from the Restoration, in 1660, till the glorious Revolution, in 1688, that we must not be surprised if we find no splendid seminaries of learning among the Baptists, or any other Protestant Dissenters in those early days.

Indeed several of the ejected or silenced ministers, in different counties took under their care a few young men of promising abilities for the ministry, and, without regard to our distinguishing sentiments, assisted them in their preparatory studies for sacred service. * * * It is not easy for me to say with precision how early in the last century our learned brethren in this country began, among themselves, to educate their juniors for the work of the ministry."

Again Dr. Rippon says: "That the ministers and messengers of more than one hundred baptized congregations in England and Wales met, in a General Assembly at London, in September, 1689, to consult the good of the whole denomination.

At this Convention they resolved to raise a fund or stock for the advantage of churches who were not able to maintain their own pastors or teachers, etc., and for assisting members of churches who had promising gifts, were sound in fundamentals, and inclined to study, in attaining to the knowledge of the Latin, Greek and Hebrew." From the above it will be perceived that our brethren engaged in ministerial education at as early a date as was possible for them to do so.

They were not allowed by their enemies to engage in such work; and so desirous were they to do something along this line that before they could project colleges and seminaries, they taught young men for the ministry in a private way.

Let us now follow our brethren across the Atlantic and see them in the new world. The Philadelphia Association, the oldest on the continent, was constituted in the year 1707. For the year 1722, one hundred and ten years before the split, it was proposed that the churches make inquiry among themselves, if they have any young persons hopeful for the ministry, and inclinable for learning; and if they have, to give notice of it to Mr. Abel Morgan before the first of November, that he might recommend such to the Academy on Mr. Hollis' account. (Minutes of Philadelphia Association, page 27.) Even at that age, Mr. Hollis was so much interested that he was to pay the bills.

At the sessions for 1756-57 we find this same Association encouraging education. At the session for 1764 it was agreed to inform the churches to which we respectively belong that, inasmuch as a charter is obtained in Rhode Island government, toward erecting a Baptist College, the churches should be liberal in contributing towards carrying the same into execution. In October, 1766, we find this: "Agreed to recommend warmly to our churches the interest of the college, for which a subscription is opened all over the continent. This college has been set on foot upwards of a year, and has now in it three promising youths under the tuition of President Manning." Two thoughts here are noticeable, viz: "Agreed"; and "warmly agreed to recommend."

A subscription is opened all over the continent. They were heart and soul in favor of ministerial education and had never been disturbed with a thought of anti-ism.

But why multiply authorities? These are only a few of what might be produced."

CHAPTER XXVIII - Anti-mission Baptists Oppose Stated Salary For PasTor—Scripture Teaching On The Subject—Eldee John M. Watson's View.

In this chapter, Sheets wrote:

"Our anti-mission brethren are very much opposed to an understanding between church and pastor, relative to a salary. They speak of such as a "hireling" ministry. With them there must be no agreement as to what the pastor must have for his support. It is strange that this should be so in regard to pastoral support and not practiced in any other calling in life.

There is just as much reason for a carpenter amongst the anti-mission brethren being asked to build a new meetinghouse and let the brethren pay him as they say preachers ought to be paid—just what the brethren think he ought to have. How many of them would take a contract on such condition? Not one. They ought not be asked to do it. It is not good business. And yet if ministers insist on knowing what they are to receive for their work, they are at once branded as "money hunters" or preaching for "filthy lucre." O for shame!

We all know that the New Testament Scriptures don't say in so many words that a stipulated amount may be mentioned, but we contend that it is not contrary to Scripture teaching on this subject.

Paul says, "Have I committed an offense in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I preached unto you the Gospel of God freely? I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service." "The laborer is worthy of his reward."

"The workman is worthy of his meat." "The laborer is worthy of his hire." It seems that "wages," "reward," and "hire" are not contrary to the genius of New Testament teaching on this subject, but fully in accord with it . The trouble with our Anti brethren is that they have made a hobby of this, while they are receiving money in handshaking and on the sly generally. If a church or churches ought to support a pastor, there can be nothing wrong in understanding what would be sufficient to support him. In that case, the church just knows what is expected and therefore has something to work to.

Elder John M. Watson, one of their preachers in "Old Baptist Test," has an article under the caption of "Ministerial Deviations," from which I wish to quote. He says: "The Scriptural relations between pastor and church is not regarded by us as it should be. Our ministers do not teach the churches their duties towards themselves. Human pride constrains them to shun to declare the counsel of God on the subject; because so many are preaching at fixed rates per sermon, per month, or per year, they forego their just rights, as ordained of God, rather than seem like such are. These have not only caused the way of truth to be evil spoken of, but our ministers to deviate from the line of duty. The plain commandments and exhortations of the Lord have been left unpreached, until some of our churches—judging from their conduct—have forgotten that these duties are enjoined in their Bibles. This deviation is mutual; it is difficult to say which party is most blameable; one fails to teach and exhort, and the other to perform."

"No one would suspect him being an Anti-mission Baptist preacher from reading the above deliverances. But he was.

According to his position on the support of the ministry we are carrying out the instructions of the New Testament more nearly than they. Therefore we must be Primitive or real Bible Baptists, instead of them."

CHAPTER XXIX - Opposition To Sunday Schools—Baptists Had Them Before The Split—County Line Association EncourAged Them—Afterwards They Oppose Them And BeCome New Baptists.

In this chapter, Sheets writes:

"How there ever could have been open opposition to teaching the people the word of God is more than can be known now. Can it be a sin for one to stand before a class and teach God's precious truth? Is the Lord displeased with those who teach or those taught? We think not, when perhaps seventy-five to ninety per cent of those coming into our churches are from the Sunday school. Moses evidently believed in teaching the children. (Deut. 6:5-9.) After exhorting them to love the Lord God with all the heart, and with the soul, he added: "And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children," etc.

There have been many foolish and unwise things said about this great work by our Anti-mission brethren. They have treated the Sunday school and its work as though it were an engine of the devil. But such a thing as abuse of this institution was unknown till our brethren split off and set up opposition to this work.

Of course they changed from what they were and became a new kind of Baptists, for there never had been seen such Baptists before the split.

CHAPTER XXX - They Are Declining In Numbers And Moral Powee— Cathcart's Encyclopedia Gives Statistics—The BapTist Year. Book, 1880—Elder John Culpeper's StaTistics, 1834—Comparative Statistics Kehukee And Chowan Associations—Miami Association In Ohio— Red River Association, Kentucky—Abbott's Creek Union Association, North Carolina.

In this chapter, Sheets wrote:

"Because of such decided, emphatic opposition to, and willful neglect of the means, which have been so signally blessed of God for the spread of the truth and consequent upbuilding of the Redeemer's kingdom, our Anti-mission brethren have been on the decline numerically almost ever since they went out from us.

"In 1844 the Baptist Almanac attempted to distinguish between the Regular or Mission Baptists and those who opposed missionary work in formal organizations for that purpose. The record of 1844 reported 184 Old-School Associations, 1,622 churches, 900 ordained ministers, 2,374 baptized in the year preceding, and 61,162 members.

"The Year Book for 1880 returns 900 Old-School churches, 400 ordained ministers, and 40,000 members,—a loss of onethird in thirty-six years. The Old-School brethren have declined in numbers almost every year since they made the division."


In this chapter, Sheets wrote:

"The reader will readily see that every author quoted bears testimony to certain truths:

1. That our anti-mission brethren went out from the great body of their Baptist brethren.

2. That almost everywhere they manifested the same spirit of—shall I say it?—of bitterness toward those who stood for the development of the Lord's work as it was being carried on before 1820 or 1825.

3. That they can not give us credit for being sincere in our views, but always regard us as of the world.

See a here here for the book by Elder Sheets.