Written by R.M. Thomas
The Elders and messengers of the churches composing the Western Corresponding Association of the Old School Predestinarian, or Particular Baptists of Missouri and Iowa, in session with Unity Church, at her place of meeting in Platte County, Missouri, Friday before the third Saturday in September, A.D. 1904, and the two days next following; to the churches whose messengers we are, and to the beloved children of God, scattered abroad, Greeting in faith and hope:-
“To them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: mercy unto you and peace and love be multiplied.”
Dearly Beloved in Christ: We have desired to give all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, because it was needful for us to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints, “For there are certain men crept in unaware, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” And with another apostle, we would say, “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work; only he who letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming. Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they receive not the love of the Truth that they might be saved. And for this cause, that they should believe a lie; that they all might be damned who believe not the Truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
This is a serious and solemn matter to contemplate, while there is joy in hope of deliverance. And will follow the apostle further as he has written, and rejoice in the hope we are partakers of the benefit of what is written. And thus he wrote: “But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord, because God has from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the Truth; Whereunto He called you by our Gospel to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word or our epistle.” And now brethren, we will call your attention to the admonitions and warnings of our Divine Master, in the 24th chapter of Matthew, which surely sets forth matter of the deepest and most serious import to us. When the disciples came to Him for to shew Him the buildings of the temple, “Jesus said unto him, see ye not all these things? Verily I say unto you there shall not be left here one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down.” Now we are informed that, “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, seeing He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things.” We may surely learn from these Scriptures that all forms of worship among us here on earth, and in the flesh, whether the temples be of wood and stone, or of the learning and intelligence of men, or of the piety and zeal of professed religionists and Judaizing teachers, who teach for doctrine the commandments of men and foist into their professions of faith and rules of decorum principles founded upon human tradition, or Jewish forms and signs, or Grecian wisdom and prudence. Yet they must all be thrown down, and not one stone left upon another. They form no part of that spiritual temple of which our God is the Architect pr of that church that Jesus said He would build, and against which the gates of hell shall not prevail. For it is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief Cornerstone, in whom together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord, in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”
But we will turn again to the conversation of the Master, as He sat on the Mount of Olives, and His disciples came unto Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when shall these things be, and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world?” Now let us notice the solemn and awful answer of the Master: “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ: and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that ye be not troubled, for all these things must come to pass; but the end is not yet, for nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines, and pestilence, and earthquakes in divers places. All these things are the beginning of sorrows.” Now it is literally true with reference to the people of the earth and the nations of the world that the things have come to pass.
But there is a spiritual application of these things, and it is also true in a religious sense and has reference to the numerous bodies and classes of professed religionists in the world that may be, and are, properly denominated “nations” and are spoken of in connection with that people whom it is said, “Lo, the people shall dwell alone and shall not be reckoned among the nations.” But we will observe what follows” “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you; and ye shall be hated of all nations, for My name’s sake. And then shall many be offended and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall arise and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” How solemn and awful is this testimony.
And the Master proceeded and said: “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come.” Then the Master went on to speak of the “abomination of desolation” spoken by Daniel the prophet, and warns them which be in Judea to flee into the mountains, and them which be on the housetop to not come down to take anything out of the house; and him who is in the field to not return back to take his clothes; and speaks of the woe upon some and of the wrong time for them to make their flight, and of the “great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved, but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” He gives another serious admonition and says, “Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo here is Christ, or there, believe it not. For there shall arise false Christ's and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore, if they say unto you, Behold, He is in the desert, go not forth; behold, He is in the secret chamber, believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east and shineth even unto the west, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be. For wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together.”
Dearly Beloved, this is certainly a sure word of prophecy which is given unto us, “Wherefore ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts. Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scriptures is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” But a certain fact is mentioned, and a certain truth is told in correspondence as a warning to us. And it is thus declared: “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways, by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of, and through covetousness shall they with feign words make merchandise of you, whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” The same apostle further admonishes us, saying, “But beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness, but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens shall pass away, with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with the fervent heat, the earth also, and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hastening unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless.” These admonitions and warnings should bear upon our minds with weight, and should sink deep in our hearts, and should have an avoiding influence upon our conduct and conversation. Influenced by them, we should be more like our Lord and Master; be meek and lowly in heart and mind, submissive to do the command of our God in all things.
“Only let your conversation be as it becometh the Gospel of Christ,” and “that ye stand fast in one Spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the Gospel, and in nothing terrified by your adversaries, which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake.” Our Master said to His disciples, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” And furthermore, “Ye have not chosen Me; but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatsoever ye shall ask of My Father in My name, He may give it to you.” He also said: “If ye shall ask anything in My name, I will do it. If ye love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you anther Comforter that He may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him; but ye know Him, for He dwelleth with you and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth Me no more; but ye see Me; because I live, ye shall live also.”
Again, an admonition and blessing by an apostle: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time; casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom He may devour; Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered awhile, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
Elder R. M. Simmons, Moderator.
Bro. Ed. C. Smith, Clerk.
Bro. J. M. Moffitt, Asst. Clerk.
Transcribed by Stanley Phillips – March 2009