Written by Gilbert Beebe
The Warwick Baptist Association, in session with the Middletown and Wallkill church, June 10th, 11th, and 12th, 1857, to the churches composing the same, send Christian salutation.
Dearly Beloved in the Lord:
As you have a right to expect from us an epistle according to our annual custom, we propose to offer for your consideration a few remarks on the subject of the Unsearchable Riches of Jesus Christ.
This was the theme of the inspired apostle, unto whom grace was given, that he should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Jesus Christ; and this is still the theme of all Gospel preaching. Although it be to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolishness, it is to all that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. The riches of Christ which we are called on to consider, differ from all other kinds in many respects; and among other points of difference, we are informed they are unsearchable. This is not the case with the mammon or riches of this world. The hidden treasures of the earth and the sea are searchable, and they have been sought for successfully by finite creatures. The most precious minerals have been sought and found in the bosom of the earth; the most valued gems of the ocean have been sought and found by man; and it is so with all the riches of this world, the natural powers of men are capable of searching them out. But it is not so in regard to the riches of Jesus Christ. No man by searching can find out God; none by searching can acquaint themselves with Christ or find out His riches. “No man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father’ and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.” – Luke x.22. And Paul testified, that, “When it pleased God, to reveal His Son in me,” &c., showing that a knowledge of Jesus Christ is a revelation of God the Father, and not the result of human research. “God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ.” In His person, in His characters, offices, relations, as in His power and wisdom, He is infinitely beyond the comprehension of the natural mind of man. “Without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh,” &c. Hence, when Paul came to the Corinthians, knowing nothing among them save Christ Jesus, and Him crucified, he spake wisdom among them that are perfect; yet not the wisdom of this world nor of the princes of this world that comes to naught. But, said he, “We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery; even the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the world unto our glory.” 1st. Cor. ii, 6,7. And John says, “Therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not.”
Not only are the persons and attributes of Christ Jesus unsearchable; but the riches which are treasured up in Him, are far beyond the utmost stretch of the mind of man. Of these riches permit us to name a few: And first, He is rich in the possession of the brightness of His Father’s glory. - Hebrews 1. 3.”And in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” - Col. ii, 9. In oneness and identity with the Father; He is in the Father and the Father is in Him; and He and the Father are one. How unsearchable are His riches in this one particular! Not only unsearchable by the wisdom of this world; but far beyond the capacity of the saints to comprehend Him, until they can comprehend the hidden attributes and eternal perfections of His essential Godhead. Second, His riches in this possession of His church are also unsearchable, for the church is complete in Him, who is the Head of all principalities and power. - Co,. ii. 10. Paul says that he was made a minister, “according to the dispensation of God, which was given him for the saints to fulfill the word of God; even the mystery which hath been hidden from ages and from generations; but is now made manifest to the saints; to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles,” &c. Again, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of His glory and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” “For this cause I bow my head unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family of heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you according to the riches of His glory, might be strengthened with might by His might in the inner man.” Eph. iii. 14-16.
Thirdly, He is rich in mercy. As He is heir of all things, the Father has spoken in vision, and said, among other things, “My mercy will I keep for Him for ever more, and My covenant shall stand forever with Him. His seed will I make to endure forever, and His throne as the days of the heavens.” - Psalm lxxxix. 19-29; compared with Ephesians ii. 4. “But God, who is rich in mercy, for the great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Him.”
Fourth, He is unsearchably rich in wisdom and knowledge. “And unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God and of the Father, and of Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” - Col. ii. 2,3. All this is it in His possession and treasured up in Him; so that “By His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many.” - Isaiah liii. 11. And He is emphatically the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1st. Cor. i.24.
Fifth, He is unsearchably full of grace and truth. “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.” - John i.14. This is a rich, a blessed fullness indeed to the saints, there is no lack; for it has pleased the Father that in Him all fullness should dwell, and although all the saints have of His fullness received, and grace for grace, His fullness is still undiminished. He is still rich in grace and truth.
Sixth, The unsearchable riches of His power, embraces all the power of both worlds combined. All power in Heaven and in earth is given into His hands. Matthew xxviii.
And Christ acknowledges the receipt of this power, and pleads it in His Mediatorial intercession, “As Thou hast given Him power over all flesh; that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him.” - John xvii.2.
We might continue to speak of the unsearchable riches of our adorable Redeemer, without fear of exhausting the subject. We have not space to speak of the riches of His blood, to cleanse His people from all sin; of His righteousness to justify them before God; of His advocacy on the behalf of His church; of the glory which He had with the Father before the world began, and of the glory which He now has with the Father. We have but briefly alluded to His personal glory, and His transcendent loveliness as the brightness of His Father’s glory and express image of the invisible God; of the riches of His inheritance in the saints, who are complete in Him; the riches of His mercy, His wisdom and knowledge; His grace and truth; His power and righteousness; and all these, together with all spiritual blessings which were given to His saints in Him, according as they were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world. O, the depths, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!
In conclusion, shall we inquire what is or shall be His riches, in the revenue of honor, praise and dominion ascribed to Him by all His redeemed family in earth and heaven? Are we engaged in casting our crowns at His feet, and in placing the royal diadem of power upon His sacred head? Are we engaged as we should be in declaring among the Gentiles His unsearchable riches? Are we breathing the desire expressed by the poet:
“Jesus, with all Thy saints above,
My tongue would bear her part;
Would sound aloud Thy sovereign love,
And sing Thy bleeding heart.”
We hope these are the aspirations of every heart to whom this letter is addressed; and that God may give us grace to praise and magnify His great and holy name, and to own Him as our Lord and Master, by observing all things whatsoever He has commanded us. Though we may feel poor and needy, weak and trembling, we have a rich and gracious Lord. And from His fullness we shall be well supplied. He will give grace and glory, and no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.
John F. Johnson, Moderator
Gilbert Beebe, Clerk.
The Warwick Baptist Association, convened with the Church of Christ of Middletown and Wallkill, Orange County, N.Y., on the 10th, 11th and 12th days of June, 1857 – to the Associations, Corresponding Meetings and Churches with which she Corresponds, sends Love and Christian Salutation.
Dearly Beloved Brethren:-
An inspired Apostle hat declared that our God who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, 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, that in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness to us through Christ Jesus.” We, brethren, are living in the age spoken of by the Apostle; and during the past year, so pregnant with important events, which have agitated our country from its centre to its circumference, and even threatened the very existence of our Union, the stability of our free institutions, and the perpetuity of our civil and religious rights, our God has shown His loving kindness to us, through Jesus Christ, in restraining thus far the angry passions of men; in rebuking the maddening spirit of fanaticism, which would convert the professed churches of Christ into arenas for political and sectional strife; and in causing many exciting questions to be settled in such a manner as, in our opinion, will ultimately redound to the welfare and prosperity of our beloved country. Our privileges, as believers, in our Lord Jesus Christ, enable us to rejoice in the exceeding riches of His grace, in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus; by which His church is immovably built upon that Rock, against which the gates of hell can never prevail. Our duty as citizens, constrain us to rejoice in the manifestations of His kindness towards us, as the God of Providence, in preserving peace and prosperity in our land, by which His children from different sections of our extended land, are permitted to meet for the worship of His holy name, as a family of brethren, having one Lord, one faith and one baptism; maintaining the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace, and contending for the faith once delivered to the saints; thus presenting to view, what no other sect or denomination can present, a people free from sectional strife, united in faith, in doctrine, and practice; and in the spiritual bonds of love and Christian fellowship. Brethren, may the exceeding riches of the grace of our God, in His kindness for us through Christ Jesus, be still manifested in the ages to come, by strengthening the bonds which now united us, by removing every root of bitterness which may grow up among us, and in calling in the ransomed of the Lord, from all parts of our land and of the world, that they may sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of our God. We rejoice in meeting your messengers, and in hearing the testimony in vindication of the truth, and in defending the Gospel of Christ from the aspersions and calumnies of its and our enemies. The Churches in this Association enjoy peace, and the presence of the Lord of hosts. We could wish, and is our prayer that the Lord would visit once more with the outpouring of His Eternal Spirit; and we are “waiting for the consolation of Israel.”
Our next meeting will be held with our sister church at Warwick, on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, after the first Sunday in June, 1858. May the Lord bless you to meet with us by your messengers and thus extend the fellowship and confirm the churches in the faith once delivered to the saints.
J. F. Johnson, Moderator.
Gilbert Beebe, Clerk.