The Baltimore Old School Baptist Association, to the churches composing the same.
DEAR BRETHREN and SISTERS: - We will at this time, the Lord willing, offer you some thoughts on Isaiah xxxii. 1,2, which reads, “Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment. And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place; as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” We feel sure that the prophet had in view the gospel day, and saw King Jesus reigning over his kingdom, or church, from whom came all the commandments, and all these are to be obeyed, and no others, if we are to have peace in the family of God and live to the honor of his blessed name. He has said, If my children walk not in my commandments I will visit their transgressions with the rod. But he never makes a stroke more than is necessary, nor goes beyond what is righteous. He metes out justice to all, and all the time. He commends when his servants please him, saying, “Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of the Lord.” As to the order of his house, the princes rule over it, his apostles are the judges, and this is the supreme court of heaven, and from their judgment there is no appeal. We have no right to come saying how things seem to us, but come with a “Thus saith the Lord,” from the mouth of his apostles. What they teach us we should believe and observe, and nothing more, if we would be orderly churches of Jesus Christ. They set forth the way of salvation, declaring that is all of grace, through Jesus Christ our Lord. The Father having determined to save sinners, did in the fullness of time send his Son Jesus Christ to execute that eternal purpose, and so if we be the children of God we are as Isaac was: children of promise, who in due time were born again of an incorruptible seed by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. Now we are no more children of darkness, but of the light, and one of the princes of judges says, “Walk as children of light.” Dear ones, in coming into the church we obligate ourselves to live as the judges have prescribed, and doing so we shall live to the comfort and encouragement of each other. Judge Paul says, Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together. Is this injunction hard to obey? If so, we do not love the brethren as we have professed. It is not a burden to go to see those we love, and the company of those who love us and sympathize with us is worth putting ourselves to some inconvenience to enjoy. Another one of the judges has said that we know we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. Christ was not ashamed to call his saved ones brethren the apostle is talking about. We are not rulers in or of the church, but the church holds the keys and prescribes our manner of conduct and its bounds. So nothing is in order without the sanction of the church, but she can bind and loose as in her judgment is right, and walking with the church the man Christ Jesus is a hiding-place, a covert, rivers of water and the shadow of a great rock; yea, verily, head over all things to his own, whether it be one person or the whole body. He is their meat and their drink, his righteousness is their clothing, his word is music to their ears, a comfort to their souls; he is strength to the weak, rest to the weary, a shield to those who are shot at, and he hath said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee,” but be with you to the end.
Brethren, this is a day of falling away, many are denying the power of the form of godliness they profess, but we believe there is nothing too hard for the God of our salvation. He made the earth, and every creature that lives in the air or in the water, and he sustains all that he has made by his great power, and by him the virgin did conceive and bright forth a Son, who is the Savior of his people, and beside him there is no Savior, and he is our Comforter. May he give us a mind to seek him, love him and serve him, thus letting our lights so shine before men that they, seeing our good works, may glorify our Father which is in heaven, and to his blessed and holy name be all the praise, now and forever. Amen.
J.T. Rowe, Moderator
F.G. Scott, Clerk
E.A. Johnson, Ass't Clerk
Signs of the Times
Volume 91, No. 13
July 1, 1923