The Elders and messengers composing the Western Corresponding Association of the Old School Predestinarian Baptists of Missouri in session with ______, Friday, Saturday and Sunday; the last day of September and the two following days of October, 1892. To the several churches whose messengers we are, to those who have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ: grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, according to His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: “That by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
Dearly beloved: - We wish not to write unto you as though you do not know these things; but because ye do know them.” Neither would we write to commend ourselves; nor that we need, as some, epistles of recommendations to you, or of commendation from you: for, “ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men. Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be epistles of Christ, ministered by us, written, not with ink, but with the Spirit of the Living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart.”
We desire to write you, and of you, as the epistle of Christ, written with the Spirit of the living God. “For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you ward.”
For we write none other things unto you, than what ye have read or acknowledged and I trust ye shall acknowledge to the end. It is written in the Scriptures, “By grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” It is written with the Spirit of the living God, in you who are the epistle of Christ, after this manner: “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” Yet, ye read and acknowledge, that ye “were by nature the children of wrath even as others.”
We know and confess that, In me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing,” while at the same time we realize “that all things that are reproved are made manifest in the light” for whatever doth make manifest is light. And the light that makes manifest “the hidden things of darkness,” is life and that life is in Christ, and is Christ. For it is written, “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men, And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not.” And this is the writing in you in the Spirit; that without Him, “I can do nothing.” It is God that worketh in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure; hence we are admonished, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.” Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.” Therefore, as He said, “set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth,” then that which we are admonished to seek and to set our affections on are above, the things which are above, surely comprehend the doctrine of Christ our Savior, the truth of our God, and the experience and practice of the faith and order of the house of God; which is the church, the pillar and ground of the truth.” We find it written, “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.” Again, “I am the Lord, and there is none else. I formed the light, and create darkness; I make peace and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.” Hence we believe that the God who saith these things, is the God of purpose, as well as wisdom and power, and that nothing can take place outside His absolute predestination, His determinate counsel and foreknowledge. As it is written, “And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation.” Again, “Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.” And further, “Unto you therefore which believe, He is precious; and unto them which be disobedient, the stone that the builders disallowed; the same is made the Head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at His word, being disobedient whereunto also they were appointed.”
By these testimonies is the doctrine of predestination shown, according to the inspired word, and in connection therewith is seen the eternal personal unconditional election of all the children of God, in Christ their elect Head, ere time began or before the foundation of the world. Of the Head, it is thus written: “Behold Thy Servant whom I uphold, Mine Elect in whom My soul delighteth; I have put My Spirit upon Him; He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.” Of the body and members it is written: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ, according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” Again, “Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.” And again, “We are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.”
We notice in these heavenly testimonies a wonderful blending of those gracious things that pertain unto life and godliness and which are the gift of the divine power of God. Being chosen of God in Christ, ere time began, we are loved with an everlasting love, even as the Father loved Jesus, which was before the foundation of the world. “Sanctified by God the Father, preserved in Jesus Christ and called.” Jesus was sanctified and sent into the world, and as He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one; for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” So they are sanctified and also sent into the world, and as He partook of flesh and blood, so are they partakers of flesh and blood, as it is written, “Forasmuch as the children are partakers of the flesh and blood, He also Himself took part of the same, that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil, and deliver them, who through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”
The salvation of the sinner is experimentally realized and understood by the precious treasure of God’s children, who are born of the Spirit, taking upon them these bodies which are born of the flesh; dwelling in them in these earthen vessels, the house of our tabernacle, or as precious treasure in earth vessels, and as the Spirit of adoption, sealing them unto the adoption, yea, the redemption of the body.
It is written, “If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life, because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.” Again, “For our conversation is in heaven: from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself.” The Unity of Christ and His people in a heavenly, divine and spiritual seed is the divine power of God, whereby they are developed in a birth of the spirit, which manifested in these bodies which are born of the flesh and secures their salvation, redemption, resurrection and birth from the dead, and ultimate glorification.
I is written, “Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God! Therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifies himself, even as He is pure.” Here is our hope, and here is the power of that hope. “For we are saved by hope,” and are taught that, “denying ungodliness, and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world: looking for the blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Savior, Jesus Christ: who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”
Dearly beloved, this is a faith view of those things which are above, which we are to seek, and set our affections on: this is a limited reference to the things that were written aforetime, and are now written in our hearts by the Spirit of the living God, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
And as the command of the Holy One is, to comfort My people and to speak comfortably to Jerusalem we will declare it in the gracious, loving words of the High and Mighty One, our precious Husband and Redeemer: “I will betroth thee unto Me forever: yea, I will betroth thee unto Me in righteousness and in judgment, and in loving kindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto Me in faithfulness; and thou shalt know the Lord.” Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
R. M. Thomas, Moderator
J. W. Magee, Clerk.
Transcribed by Stanley Phillips – February 2009