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II TIMOTHY 2:13.

DEAR BROTHER WILLIAM: – I see, in the first number, present volume of the MESSENGER, that my beloved brother, W.M. Mitchell, has expressed some anxiety that I should give my views on the 13th verse, 2nd chapter of Paul’s 2nd letter to Timothy, rather as a conclusion to his letter, or in connection with his views on the proceeding verse. I feel inclined to offer some thoughts on the subject, though I had much rather he could have given us his views on the whole text. I hope, however, mine may be as satisfactory to him as his has been to me. The whole text reads thus, “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we believe not, yet he abideth faithful; he cannot deny himself.” This verse is full of consolation to the poor afflicted saints of God, who are sensible of their own unbelief, which often causes them to fear and tremble, knowing that if their final delivery from sin depended upon their good behavior in believing God, or performing all the duties he has enjoined on them, that it certainly would be a failure, but the reflection that notwithstanding all their unbelief and failures, yet he in whom their life is, and with whom they are one, abideth faithful and “cannot deny himself,” and until he can do that, he never can deny his saints, or heirs, their eternal inheritance reserved in heaven for them, because they are with himself, and of his body members in particular. The sons of Jacob representing the whole church of Jesus, are much encouraged from the following language, Mal.3:6, “For I am the Lord, I change not, therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” He is unchangeable in his purpose, according to which they were chosen in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world, unchangeable in his purpose to call them with a holy calling, not according to their works; unchangeable in his purpose of revealing to them the way of salvation through Jesus Christ; unchangeable in his purpose of keeping them by his power, through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed at the last time, and unchangeable in his promises, that, “If his children forsake my law and walk not in my judgments, if they break my statutes and keep not my commandments, then will I visit their transgressions with the rod, and their iniquities with stripes; nevertheless, my loving kindness will I not utterly take from him, {Jesus and his church,} nor suffer my faithfulness to fail.” Psa.89:30-33. Again, Heb.12:6-9, “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons, for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not. But if ye be without chastisement whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards and not sons.” Among all who profess Christianity there are but two classes; namely, The children of the bond-woman, and the children of the free. The children of the bond-woman are all of the works of the law, and glory in themselves and their works, despising the cross of Christ and its doctrine, denying the promises of God, supposing that their works are essential in carrying them out, in proof of which we find many using such language as the following; namely, that the salvation of souls depends upon the works of men, and if they will use the means in their hands they can be saved, and if they neglect it they must be lost; therefore every effort is made by such children of the bond-woman to beg money to support the institutions of men, and to hire to go and preach to fallen men and women salvation upon the terms of their repenting, believing, and persevering in good works, if such unbelieving characters should get in the church with the children of the free woman, their unbelief does not hinder God’s purpose and promises to the children of the free woman, {Jerusalem which is above,} He abideth faithful, he cannot deny himself. From such as are above hinted at, the children of the free woman are distinguished because they glory in the cross of Christ, hating even their own lives because they are so unlike to God; therefore they have no works to glory in, but have reason every day to mourn over their unbelief, hardness of heart, and neglect of duty. They believe the promises of God in his word, and by no means consider their being fulfilled dependant upon works they can perform, but such as the following, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit saith the Lord.” “All thy children shall be taught of the Lord.” “They shall teach no more every man his neighbor and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord, for they {the Israel of God or children of the free woman,} shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me, and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” “No man can come to me except the Father, which hath sent me, draw him, and I will raise him up at the last day.” “Other sheep I have which are not of this fold, them, also, I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” “But God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” Such promises, and such positive declarations as the foregoing, his children cannot for a moment doubt, but the difficulty with them is to determine whether or not such promises are applicable to, or have been fulfilled in them. On this subject they have great fears many times, which causes them to search diligently the Scriptures, and pray to God that if they are deceived to undeceive them. Such fears, anxiety, and prayers, the children of the bond-woman never realize, because they are in darkness {and bondage,} and know not their own corruption, nor God’s righteousness. Unbelief which the children of God have to contend with is altogether of the flesh, which wareth against the spirit of their mind so that they cannot do the things they would do, and when under its influence they are sure to give evidences of unbelief to themselves, if to nobody else; but that principle born of God in every child of his is exactly the reverse of unbelief, and cannot sin because it is the seed of God, {Christ the hope of glory,} that remaineth in them; therefore, “If we believe not, he remaineth faithful, he cannot deny himself.” I will now close this scribble by subscribing myself,

Yours in the bonds of christian love and affection,
D.W. Patman.
Oglethorpe Co., Georgia, Jan.10, 1854.