(If I may be permitted so to call you), although I live in a dark corner, much excluded from the great and common privileges of my brethren, yet I have been favored with a few numbers of your valuable and heart-cheering paper, and a few days past, by the hand of a friend, was conveyed to me the 20th and 21st number of the 9th Vol., in each of which, I find my name and some of my writings notices by Elder S. Trott, and thereby feel myself called on to make a few remarks for the relief and information of brother Trott, and my brethren in general, and to sustain the cause of Zion in which I have long been engaged; and I think it but a reasonable request that my remarks in each case should find a place in the ‘Signs of the Times’.
I shall begin with his remarks on my ‘third dose’, in the 20th number; I am aware that the narrow bounds that I should expect, in a Periodical, admonishes me to be very short on every point, and, as a word of a sort is enough to the wise, and I am writing for the benefit of Bible readers. I shall not, but in few cases make full quotations, nor refer to where they may be found. Close investigation, and honest criticism, for the purpose of attaining to a correct knowledge of truth is right, but when to avoid the force of truth it is wrong, amongst the diversities of gifts, the great measure given to brother Trott, in many points of gospel truth and mysteries in God’s word, for the edifying of the Body of Christ and the defense of the gospel, calls for thanks giving to God the giver, which should lay near the hearts of every saint, and be esteemed by every watchman on the walls of Zion, as a fellow laborer and brother sufferer for truth’s sake, and though in some points I may feel, or view, the small light in me, eclipsed by the greater light in him, yet, I am unwilling to surrender, give up, or keep back from the church the advantage or benefit of the gift or measure of light given to me in the understanding of God’s word on some points where it seems as if brother Trott, and perhaps others are left in the dark, and thus they wander in the imagination of their own minds in things, and on points which are ‘plain in him that hath understanding’.
As Elder Trott is the first man, known to me, who has touched my views on these things, but by way of ridicule he deserves a calm plain attention; and while I acknowledge my brotherly thanks due him, for his friendly desire that I may be led to reconsider my views, etc. I can assure brother Trott, that I have reconsidered them again and again, carefully examining the word of divine truth, and, if I am not deceived with a prayerful attention to that God who is the giver of every good and perfect gift; as willing to see and know wherein I might be wrong, as to be further confirmed if I was right, and could I have found, that any point of my view of things supplanted any part of the regular Baptist faith or predestinarian doctrine, or in any way limited, curtailed or eclipsed the glory, wisdom, or power of God, to giving the enemy the advantage ground; I should long since have abandoned this view of things. But every review confirmed me more and more, bringing to view the sure bases of every point of gospel truth, while the glory of God, in all his divine properties were manifesting, and would be manifested, in executing his fierce wrath upon his adversaries, as the product of any enemy, and not the product of himself, but by a display of divine power to place his enemy in a situation to be known in his malignant nature, and to be punished: and upon this view of things, I have long stood in defense of truth and the gospel church, and so far from giving the enemy the advantage ground, it has driven out all the mongrel motley tribes speaking half or each tongue, and restored the regular Baptist churches in my bounds to one language.
Had brother Trott, examined my views on the Two Seed, and the second dose with attention, he, I think would have found himself so fully answered on every point where he has based his arguments from which he has arrived at the conclusion that I have confused my arguments, lost my ground by inconsistency, run afoul of some points of gospel truth, curtailed the wisdom, might and power of God, and that I claim the whole volume of God’s Revelation to maintain it, being all of a piece, as the author of the doctrine advanced by me, and the foundation on which I stand in its defense, and not only the one sentence to which he has referred, and now instead of entering upon it particularly in my reply to him or his remarks; I refer him and all others who feel interested in the matter to what I have written upon that subject, with a request to give my ‘views’, and the second dose a careful and candid perusal with their Bible by them, and a willing heart to know, receive, and love the truth, although it may overturn their former traditional vies of matters and things, and if my views on these points, contradict any part of the word of truth, it should be rejected, ‘let God be true, but every man a liar’. I do not think strange, nor hard of brother Trott, nor any other brother for standing opposed to this view of things at the first view of it; I only blame them for forming too hasty decisions on the subject before giving my writings that candid scriptural examination that it merits. This brother Trott, I think has not done, for if he had, he would not have wrote on that subject, or, would have based his objections on other grounds as he would have found himself answered on nearly every point. I once stood, perhaps as much opposed to this view of things as brother Trott now does, and strove as hard to sustain in my mind, my former traditional views, but the force of Bible truth, attended as I believe by that spirit which guides into all truth, making the word of God quick and powerful, etc., not only compelled me to believe the doctrine, but, also, by opening to my view, its beauty, excellency and glory in the great display of the wisdom and power of God, in the salvation of his people, and just and final overthrow of his enemies, made me love it, and willing to suffer reproach in proclaiming abroad those scriptural truths, an understanding of which, I verily believe is that, which will prepare the church to stand the test against the errors of the day, and dying struggles of anti-Christ. Having never examined even the English Grammar book five minutes in my life, I may have erred in language, and as man is prone to err, if left to himself. I do not contend that my views on these points are perfect, but the sum and substance of the matter, I do contend is Bible truth.
I agree with Elder Trott, that the ‘all things’ spoken of in Col. 1:16, 20 are to be understood in a limited sense, and the passage referred to by him in John 1:3 shows exactly, that limitation, ‘and without him was not any thing made that was made’. Now, understanding the word ‘made’ in this passage in the same sense, as the word ‘created’, in Col 1:16, we will understand, that, the Apostle only had in view ‘things’, that was created, and not things in heaven nor hell which was not created. I am absolute in denying that any other being possesses ‘creative’ power, but the God of Zion, and I am unwilling to admit, that the principalities, and powers, and the rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places, spoken in Ephesians 6:12, stood amongst the ‘all things’ created, by and for the Savior, therefore, I do not agree with Elder Trott, in the limitation he contended for between the all things spoken of in these two verses. I understand the word ‘create’ to be the act of creative power, bringing to view the actor, as the author of what ever may be brought into action, or being, and that the word ‘make’, in most cases in scripture, is to be understood in a different sense: true in many parts of divine writ, it is the same as the word ‘create’, but, when used relative to God’s enemies. I understand it as a display of God’s compelling power in accordance with his infinite wisdom, comprehending the intention, wish and acts of his enemy, and his eternal purpose, not only in the salvation of his Elect, but also, that the wrath of men shall praise him, ruling every actions of men and devils, finally to his eternal glory, thus, making every thing subservient to his purpose, delivering the godly out of temptation and reserving the unjust to the day of Judgment to be punished; ‘the Lord hath made all things for himself, yea, even the wicked for the day of evil’. God’s enemy cannot move beyond the circle of his purpose; hence, the acts and doings of the mystery of iniquity, are spoken of as the acts and doings of God himself; with this view of things, I understand how God raised up Pharaoh, etc., and all other wicked Kings, Monarchs, etc., and yet God not the author of that power of darkness, and Christ being delivered by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, yet, taken and slain by the hands of wicked men. The Lord’s putting a lying spirit in the mouth of Ahab’s prophets, etc., are by me, understood in the same way, those wicked beings in accordance with the nature of their father the devil, who was a murderer from the beginning, wanted it to be so, and God let it be so. I do not say permitted it to be so, for this would be tolerated liberty without guilt, but God as a sovereign had a right to withhold his restraining power and let those instruments of iniquity act out the malignant nature, or quality of their origin, author or father, which would have laid concealed or hid, had not it been made manifest, ‘for there is nothing covered that shall not be made known’, Matthew 10:26, and according to his counsel and purpose he overrules every such act of wickedness, to terminate to his glory, while the actors are the subjects of his just wrath. It seems now, to come before me to notice the positive conclusion that brother Trott has arrive at, provided this enemy of God exists in himself, or, of himself, which is. He exists at his own pleasure – as he pleases to be – could be as powerful as God, etc. Again, he concludes that if Satan exists independent of God, he can act independent of God; consequently, prostrate God’s predestinating purpose, and God’s not knowing what his adversary’s (Satan), course may be, or will be, will have to adopt new plans, etc. I have not room to transcribe these items at length, but I think I have the substance of each. If I understand brother Trott, here, correctly, he intends by these points of arguments, to overthrow my views, respecting Satan, iniquity or the devil, (here call it what you please) being uncreated and existing in himself, and not in God. Is so, it seems to me, as if he has made a leap in the dark, and for want of better grounds of argument, to support a bad cause, reproached the God of Zion. Surely, brother Trott has not such limited views of the wisdom and power of God, as to think that a being must be the product of God, and exist in him, in order to be in the circle of his wisdom and power, so as not to baffle his designs without making new arrangements. I have a more exalted view of the God in whom I trust, as heretofore brought to view; that his infinite wisdom fully comprehended every being, no odds where they come from, nor how, or where they existed, with every movement, and that his sovereign power controls every thing according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself, to do all his will. So perhaps my views of things does not plunge us into those errors brother Trott supposes. We will again turn to the first chapter of Colossians. Brother Trott seems very certain that I am wrong in my view here, supposing that there is created angels who are not subjects of reconciliation, not having sinned.
Here brother Trott leaves me, by stepping out of Bible bonds, where I dare not go. He wanders in the vain field of imagination, and supposition, in search of the probable origin of Satan or the Devil. Almost concluding that God had created that being just as he is, passing through the probability of his being “hatched” by, or some how produced from darkness. Taking a view of the vanity, or skill of the ancient Philosophers, until he arrives at the strongest probability of the origin of the Devil; that it was self-love originating in some of the spiritual beings of high order, which God had created, and left to the influence of individual of selfish consideration. We will now indulge a few reflections on this view of things.
FIRST. Where did this wicked principal of self-love in opposition to God come from?
SECOND. Is it not more reasonable to suppose (if we are left to suppositions) that such a wicked spiritual power should be HATCHED in that bottomless pit of darkness, than to have been HATCHED around and about God’s throne of light, where there is no darkness, and no unclean thing can enter, and are not we as vain in these imaginations, as was the ancient philosophers?
THIRD. Could a high order of created spiritual beings, by sinning against God, become more powerful, and omnipotent than before, and is not this spiritual wickedness every where, except where the purpose, presence and power of God forbids?
FOURTH. If Satan be in any way, the product of God, and exists in him, did not Christ in destroying the Devil and his works, destroy a part of God’s spiritual works?
FIFTH. Should it be found in the final result of the war between God and his enemy, that the wonderful works that God had done, with the sacrifice of his beloved son, was but to conquer or destroy something that had proceeded from himself and had all the while existed in him? On what would the glory of God be predicated?
SIXTH. I think brother Trott will agree with me, that if there was such a high order of created spiritual beings, that they were good; yes, spiritually good, and that the law they sinned against, was good, (if no law, no transgression). Then the question is, can a good being, by transgressing a good law, produce a spirit, principle or nature, which is neither in the good being, or in the good law, nor in both, when brought together, nor in the author of both? The Bible, and sound philosophy, forbids such a conclusion. “Sweat water, and bitter, cannot proceed from the same place”. Then what will brother Trott’s view of things lead us to, but, that this corrupt and corrupting spirit of iniquity, “the body of sin”, “the body of this death”, etc., were somehow or other in God, and therefore by these beings transgressing his law, was created, or brought into action, and now he has to struggle hard, or he will be defeated by it. These are weighty considerations.
SEVENTH. If there are spiritual beings created, as the product of God, who is a spirit, (which is the case if created) are they not immortal? and can corruption or death, prey upon immortality?
EIGHTH. We are aware that St. Paul charged Timothy before “the elect Angels”, etc., and we are also aware that God’s ministers, as well as invisible spirits, are called “Angels”, they being his messengers. But where have we the scriptural authority for thinking, saying and contending that ever God created Angels, as invisible spirits, or that a part of them was saved from falling, and that a part being left to themselves, fell from their holy state, and became Devils? If there be authority in the Bible, for such a view of things, as yet I have not, by a close search, found it; and indeed, to me such a view of things appears absurd, for God is a spirit, omnipotent in the full space of holiness, and it appears to me by creating holy spirits, he would be but adding to himself, and if he can increase, he may decrease.
Brethren, bear with me, be not too hasty in decisions; examine closely into the matter. I do not wish to “destroy you with my meats”. But it seems as if this subject cannot rest, and shall I be silent while the precious sons of Zion are wandering in the dark, for want of a correct understanding of Bible truth, and their enemies gaining ground; no, not while God lets me live, and I feel the weighty injunction enjoined on me, to defend his truth and church, and expose error. I am aware that I have now attacked (as I think) the pillar and ground work of the old traditional views of things, which has left the church to wander in the uncertain field of imagination, on these and many more points very important to be correctly understood. I feel cramped for fear the length of this will prevent brother Beebe from giving it room, particularly if he is not pleased with my views of things. However, I must say a few more things.
Brother Trott concludes that “there is a difference between existing in God, living within his compass by his power and under his control, and that of being a part of God”. By which I infer that he thinks, nothing can exist within the compass under the control and power of God, but that which exists in him, and indeed his charging me with inconsistency, proves that, to be his view. Surely, sin, iniquity and wickedness, now exists in the compass and dominion of God, and must we, therefore, conclude that it exists in him. I think not. For a being to exist in God, I understand, to exist in and by the existence and life of God, so that should God withdraw from that being, his existence and life, that it would cease to exist. God is not a God of the dead, but of the living, and there is an existence in a state of death, or when “death and hell is cast into the lake”, etc. God must be there to sustain their existence, or they will cease to exist. But this is the “death that never dies”. Brother Trott seems to be certain that I have “confused my argument, by blending the intelligent spirit, Satan, with iniquity a mere principle of action. And again, that I “make iniquity itself the same as the Devil”, and that I have spoken of it as a ‘creature’, and while he condemns the idea, he directly makes it (iniquity or the Devil) to be but the art of sin, which is the transgression of the law. My own bases already laid in my former writings, without being particular in detail, and had Elder Trott examined my writing with attention, they perhaps, would have corrected his own errors on these points, as well as his mistake in my views of things. If I have any where, spoken of iniquity, the Devil, or sin, as ‘a creature’, I know not where, and if the reader should find it so, it may be a mistake. Though I have, as I thought heretofore, made these things as plain as words could do. Yet it seems right, to say something now. Sin is an action, transgressing of the law, and the strength of the law. The term Satan is used as expressive of an adversary, or opposite. The word Devil is a term belonging to any or every thing that is devilish, wicked, or bad; used sometimes in the singular and sometimes in the plural number, (at least this is the way I understand things). We read of the Devil, Belzebub, the Prince of Devils, legions of Devils, spirits of Devils, the great Dragon, the old Serpent, (which is call the Devil), the Devil and his angels, etc. By the term iniquity, I understand that, principle or spirit of darkness and wicked corruption, and when spoken of as a ‘mystery’, as that corrupting iniquity, laying inactive not fully manifested in action: hence the term ‘Devil’, is this iniquity in action, either in, or by the spirits of Devils, or human beings, or in what ever it may appear. Thus in speaking of this iniquity, in its acts and doings of wickedness in the world God had made, the term Devil, or Devils are used. This is that corrupt and corrupting spiritual wickedness, which I contend never proceeded from God, and that it does not, nor never did exist in God by his existence and life; that the Bottomless Pitt as the region of darkness, is the place of his nativity, (and not the throne of God) where he proceeded from, and where he with all his product will finally be cast, and confined; that had he remained in that Pitt, and never by himself or his Angels, (I view the Serpent in the Garden but his Angel or Messenger) left their own habitation, and came into God’s dominion. The law of God would have had no more to do with him, than our law has to do with a man in another government, while he remains there, but when he came into God’s rightful dominion, as an enemy, God could curse him above all the cattle of the field, and make him eat dust, and all his religious adherence yet eats dust.
How long this enemy of God had been in that Pit, or how he come there is not for me to say. But as I think I have scriptural grounds in saying that he existed when God created the world, and God doing all his creating work in six days, and giving us no account of creating the inhabitants of that Pitt, authorizes me to think he is an uncreated being, and almost venture to conclusion, that perhaps he existed eternally as the spirit of darkness and corruption, as the opposite to the spirit of light and Holiness. The length of this piece admonishes me to come to a close.
Respecting brother Trott’s remarks on my views on the two seeds, I can but remind him that it is a Bible doctrine, and that the same Apostle that tells us “The election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded’, tells us that ‘They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed (thus the children of the promise hath obtained it, and the children of the flesh were blinded)’, and ‘Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor’. Look at Jeremiah 18:3, etc., for further information on this subject. In conclusion I can say, that I wish to thank God for the charitable feeling brother Trott appears to have towards me, and I do hope that nothing I have said will wound his feelings. It is not my wish; and brethren, let the old man advise you to treat these deep critical points of difference between brethren, with much care, tenderness and precaution, lest some root of bitterness springing up amongst you, and you loose the proper spirit of a candid investigation in pursuit of truth. I have a bad chance to communicate any thing to you, or receive any thing from you. Brethren, pray for us poor scattered children of Zion in this wilderness country; you can’t be complete without us. In making up the fullness of Christ, every saint must be there. This is intended to pass through the paper edited by Elder Newport, to the Signs of the Times; should his be in progress. I wish the Printer to correct my spelling and excuse my rough writings, as I have not time to draw it off, the bearer being about starting. My love to brother Trott and all the dear brethren and sisters in Christ, with a lively hope to meet them all where we shall know as well as we are known, and the (now) mysteries of God’s word, and godliness will be unfolded, and unfolding in splendid glory. May the God of grace keep us from sin and error, and by his spirit guide us into all truth, is the prayer of your old servant, for Christ’s sake.
(Elder) D. (Daniel) PARKER,
Burnett County, Republic of Texas
THE WESTERN PREDESTINARIAN BAPTIST
Vol. #1, No. 3,
March 15, 1842