1890 – Circular Letter Of the Virginian Annual Meeting
August 20th, 1890

“The Meeting was called to order by Elder Wm. M. Smoot, moderator, and brother James Posey, clerk.

1. The letters from the churches were read, and the followings table prepared from their contents:

Occoquan Church, Messengers Elder W. M. Smoot; Brethren Enoch Grimes, James Posey, James Clark, Caleb Stone, Chas. Dulany. Number of members 59.

Quantico Church, Messenger, Ezekiel Lynn. Number of Members 20.

2. That in our annual sessions the pastor serving the church where the meeting is held, shall be its moderator, and that the moderator shall have the privilege of appointing a clerk.

3. The following brethren from abroad were invited to seats with us in council:

Elder J. H. Wallingford; Brother M. B. Tolle, of the Licking Particular Baptist Association of Ky.; Elder Levi Bavis; Brethren Laban Loofbourrow and Samuel F. Mckay, of the Indian Creek Association of Regular Baptists of Ohio, and Brother F. Crouch, of the Lebanon Old School Baptist Association of Indiana.

4. Brethren Ezekiel Lynn, Enoch Grimes, James Posey, James Clark, and Caleb Stone were appointed a committee on the Circular.

5. The Circular letter was reported by the committee, who recommended its adoption. The letter was read before the audience and adopted by unanimous approval.

Ordered that the Minutes of the Meeting be published in the Sectarian.

 


 

CIRCULAR LETTER

The Virginia Annual Meeting of Anti-Means, Old School, Predestinarian Baptists.

To all of the precious faith once delivered the saints, Greeting.

Dear Brethren: We hail with joy the favored opportunity of addressing you in the most holy and precious fellowship of saints. Gathered together “with one accord in one place” we would write you of the holy things of that kingdom “whose God is the Lord.” We realize anew the gracious power and sweetness of that which binds us together as one people, knowing no North, South, East or West, but kindred in Christ, and “companions in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ.” Though separated from you by many miles, dear brethren, yet there is a nearness, an eternal, vital oneness, and we feel the holy fervor of that fellowship which permeates the whole body of which Christ is the eternal Head, and which glows in living immortal power in every member thereof.

What subject could we write you of greater interest than that salvation experienced by us all, and by which lost and helpless sinners shine in immortal perfection before the throne of God? For nearly forty years our brethren here have been accused of denying the salvation of sinners, with many other absurd and false accusations circulated against them. We know of nothing calculated to comfort and encourage the saints in their mortal pilgrimage but a revelation of the Truth as it is in Jesus in the salvation of His people from sin and death.

We must follow the divine order, however, in presenting the subject of Gospel salvation. The eternal, unconditional, and personal election of the church in Christ, the chosen seed, comes first in that order. Before all worlds were made, or time was brought into existence, this eternal choice in Christ, the chosen Head of all the members of His body, in an eternal oneness. Let it then be distinctly understood that this is not the election of sinners of Adam’s race. This would make the election in Adam, and not in Christ. Nor is it the existence of a family of fully developed spirits in all of eternity! But it is the existence and choice of the church in the chosen Seed thereof, which seed develops the “generation of Jesus Christ.” In that spiritual birth by which this development is made, the personal existence of the child of God in Christ is manifested. The birth develops that existence; hence the Redeemer says, “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” That spiritual child was in Christ as the spiritual seed when He was “set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.” – Proverbs 8: 22-23. The birth simply develops this personal existence. We see in Adam “who is the figure of Him that was to come.” – Roman’s 5:14. The natural birth of an earthly child simply develops the personal existence which this child had in Adam when Adam was created; hence the Master says, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh.” – John 3:6.

The eternal choice is in Christ and not in Adam, and the birth manifest the chosen child whose existence was thus “hid with Christ in God,” (Colossians 3:3) the Father, “before the world was made.” Not the natural man born over again, and he, the natural man, by that birth becoming the “child of God,” entering into, or seeing the kingdom of God. For it is manifest that if the man born of the Spirit is the man who sees and enters into the kingdom of God, and if the natural man is born of the Spirit, then he must after such a birth see and enter the kingdom of God, which we know he does not! This reasoning contradicts the testimony of the Apostle where he declares that the “Natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” – 1st Corinthians 2:14. But the development of this generation of Jesus Christ is in these “vessels of mercy,” called in the Scriptures the “old man, “the strong man,” the natural man,” the “outward man”; while the indwelling child of God, and that which is born of God, is called the “new man,” the “stronger man,” the “spiritual man,” the “inward man.”

Take notice that this is not the natural man born over again, or born of God – the natural man is born of a natural man- nor exhibiting one man with two natures; in one of which nature he is born of the flesh, and in the other, he is born of the Spirit. But rather each birth reveals an existence in the parent seed of the flesh and of the spirit of Adam and of Christ. Nothing, we suppose, is more clearly taught in the Scripture than the existence of these two men, each the parent seed of his family – the one natural, the other spiritual, the one the figure of the other. “The first man Adam,” we are informed, “was a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.” – 1st Corinthians 15:45. In the development of the generation of each of these two men, by a “birth,” we trace the lineage of the child that is born back to the parent seed. Remember that all living things have “seed in themselves,” and produce “in like kind.” – Genesis 1. This is what we understand the Master to have said in the language, “That which is born of the flesh, is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit, is spirit.” – John 3:3. This exhibits a natural and a spiritual seed, a natural and a spiritual birth, developing a natural and a spiritual generation.

Notice that this is not the regeneration of the natural generation, and this generation constituting the “generation of Jesus Christ,” but it is the development of two characters of seed manifesting two orders of birth, and developing a natural and a spiritual generation. “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ” (Matthew 1:1) unfolds and reveals this heavenly generation in these “vessels of mercy,” yet not made out of them! To this agrees the inspired testimony: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same.” – Hebrews 2:14. The blending of these two generations in one duplex being, in which “the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh,” and wherein the old man, after the order of his father, “is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,” and the new man, “which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness: – Eph. 4:22-24, reveals the wonderful “mystery of godliness.” The regeneration of this spiritual generation, in their being brought from under the law in the person of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the eternal and chosen Head of the Church, brings us to a brief discussion of the subjects of salvation.

We should bear in mind that it is the child born of God, and not the child of Adam, which is the subject of Gospel address; that the new man is the motive power in that duplex being to which we have referred, and not the old man born of Adam’s seed. Instead of its being the same “feet that once carried us to the gambling den that now carries us to the house of God, (as A. B. Francis argued), thus making the “old man” of nature carry the “new man” born of God; it is the old man which is brought into subjection by the new, as it is written, “The elder shall serve the younger.” – Genesis 25:23.

But now let us regard the child of God as a partaker of flesh and blood, as developed or made manifest within a mortal body, in a “vessel of mercy,” in an outward natural man, a man that is born of the flesh and is flesh, In this relation only is he subject to bondage of this inward man, who is born of God, is the eternal and abiding testimony, the everlasting seal of the salvation of the mortal vessel which holds the heavenly treasure. In this mortal body he groans, longing to be delivered, and hungering and thirsting for the things of the heavenly kingdom. “We ourselves groans within ourselves.” This groaning is not the result of the quickening of a dead sinner into spiritual life, but it is the manifestation of that which is already born of God. The quickening is in the Spirit and not in the flesh! “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing.” – John 6: 63.

The child of God, in his mortal pilgrimage, realizes ever the weakness, the mortal passion, the sin and death of that which is born of the flesh. When he would do good, “evil is present with him.” The good that he would he does not, but the evil which “I would not,” he says, “that I do.” Tempted, distressed, beset on every side, weary of earth and sin, he looks with heavenly longing to the unending rest of his immortal home. ‘Tis there that he is delivered from earth, himself, and sin, and filled with the fullness of God. In this mortal body he groans, “waiting for the adoption, to-wit, the redemption of our body;” – Romans 8:23, waiting “for the adoption” of that which is born of the flesh, but is not yet born again, or born of God, or “born from above”; waiting for the birth from the dead (for Christ is the first-born from the dead”) – of that which is thus born of the flesh; “waiting for the appearing of our Lord from heaven, “who shall change or vile body, that it might be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself.” – Phil. 3:21. Most assuredly this world is not his home. “Here he has no continuing city.” Bound with a mortal chain, and oppressed with many a fleshly care, he clings with undying devotion to the Tree of our dear Redeemer as his only Refuge. The hope which animates him is the hope of salvation, the abiding testimony of the blessed Spirit, “the anchor of the soul.” Amid all the storms that beat upon him this hope abides, “entering into that within the veil.” All that he has, is, or hopes to be, rests upon that which is embraced in the Christian’s hope.

The hope of the Gospel! What thoughts cluster around it? In the love they bear it, saints have forsaken the friendships of earth, its nearest and most tender ties, its wealth and fame, yea, all, to follow Jesus. Through commotion and division, through flames and flood, they follow where He leads. They know by precious experience that they have not yet attained unto the resurrection of the dead – as some foolishly claim. But when this mortal body falls in death, when the glorious and wondrous change of the resurrection is complete, when that which is born of the flesh is now “born from the dead,” and the royal army of Heaven in bright phalanx shall stand up, redeemed from every nation and kindred of earth; when in immortal splendor, “the saints of all ages shall in harmony meet,” then, and not until then, shall they comprehend the fullness of that salvation, the “volume of His deep decrees,” which embraces every chosen vessel of mercy, every heir of immortal promise, which raises from the dust of earth to the splendor of eternity, adopting the sons of earth and clay, changing their vile bodies, fashioning them like unto the glorious body of our Lord. Can more be done for the natural man? Can there be more perfect salvation for a lost and helpless sinner?

In the hope of this salvation we greet you, dear brethren, believing that we “are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Corner-stone: in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” – Ephesians 2:19-22.

We have enjoyed a refreshing season, we trust, from the presence of our God. A large and attentive congregation has attended our meeting with the churches, and our brethren feel comforted, and are led to rejoice in the testimony of the Lord’s unfailing goodness.

William M. Smoot, Moderator
James Posey, Clerk