Dear Brother Beebe; We often hear professed ministers of the gospel exhort men and women to exercise faith and repentance and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, just as though the power was in them, and gospel grace were simple tools or instruments for them to handle or work with at pleasure. It was not so anciently, neither is it so now, for our God is one, and his way is one; there has been no improvement made in the plan of saving sinners, nor in the way sinners are made acquainted with God in his pardoning mercy, nor in the finished rule God has given for the government of his people, while they sojourn in this world of sin and sorrow. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” II Tim.3:16,17. The Old Testament, in types and shadows, pointed to the New, which is the only rule of faith and practice for New Testament saints. Whatever there is taught by precept or example, they are safe in doing, and not only safe, in doing, but under the greatest obligations to observe, and by no means at liberty to believe or practice anything contrary thereto. Therefore all the boasted religious improvements in this so-called enlightened age of the world, such as Bible and Tract Societies, Sunday School Unions, Missionary Boards and Conventions, Theological Schools, Temperance and Abolition Societies, hiring preachers at fixed salaries, receiving into professedly religious societies members, and pouring or sprinkling for baptism, is in defiance of the rule. Not only adults, but infants, are thus initiated in their societies, all of which are totally unscriptural, and of course anti-christian. And, dear reader, you need no better proof of this fact than that no such things or practices are taught in the New Testament, and that they have grown to be so popular in the world. They are of the world, therefore the world loves its own. They have been introduced by the rulers of the darkness of this world, teachers of anti-christ, controlled by selfish or lucrative motives, practicing their spiritual wickedness in high places, [Eph.6:12,] putting on sanctimonious appearances, kneeling and groaning before the public eye, so making their dupes or followers fear and tremble in their priestly presence; very courteous and friendly to all, but particularly to the ladies. Such things are truly disgusting to sober-minded, reflecting christians.
I will now notice the subject of faith, which is the gift of God, and a fruit of the Spirit. No man has or can have this faith unless he is born of God. “Without faith it is impossible to please him, for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Heb.11:6. This faith Abraham had, and the effect was he believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness. Will any one contend that Abraham originated, exercised or controlled this faith, when it caused him, at the call of God, to go towards that strange land which he should after receive for an inheritance, not knowing whither he went; and when he was tried, offered up his only son, Isaac? No, the truth is, Abraham was controlled by this powerful grace. And Elijah, when he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and prayed again for rain, and in both cases his prayers were answered; can any suppose that he controlled the faith? Surely not! Just so it was with all the New Testament saints. Peter no doubt thought he never would deny his Lord and Master, but he did. When the Savior, at the request of Peter, commanded him to come to him on the water, he had faith, and started, but soon began to sink. Why did not Peter exercise faith and continue to walk on the water? Because he could not, and that faith, which is always connected immediately with the power of God, did not control him, and down he went, crying, “Lord, save, I perish.” Saul of Tarsus, on his way to Damascus to persecute the saints, was suddenly stopped by this power, which went with the voice, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” and faith controlled him to enquire, “Who art thou, Lord?” And when told, to say, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” When speaking of this faith, afterwards, he says, “And the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Not the faith of himself, which he could exercise at pleasure. There is no change in the faith of God’s elect, nor in its effects. When a poor sinner is first quickened by the Spirit of God, love to God, and faith, are fruits of the Spirit, and the sinner is controlled by these graces, and hates sin and loves righteousness, and verily believes that God is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. And now he seeks God because God has sought and found him in the desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness of sin and death. Repentance is the necessary effect of quickening grace. Not that sinners obtain eternal life through faith and repentance, but because they have received eternal life, faith and repentance is in existence, and they are subjects of these powerful graces. The life given is light, and shines in darkness, and the darkness comprehends it not, therefore the enlightened sinner cannot understand what is going on in his own bosom. His reformation or prayers seem to do no good, and yet he cannot cease to pray and try to do right in everything; that light shines more and more, making known not only the conduct, but the deep depravity of the heart; and the utter impossibility of justification by the deeds of the law, or any works he can do. God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts [not to make the darkness light, but] to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ. When a subject of grace is so enlightened that even their best works and prayers appear so mixed with sin as to make them hateful, just then, unexpectedly to the poor ruined man or woman, the Holy Spirit, through faith, reveals to their understanding the mercy and goodness of God, through Jesus Christ, in the forgiveness of their sins, or the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. In this is realized what Peter speaks of in the following language: “We have also a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place.” II Pet.1:19. Also, I John 2:20 – “But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.” “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you; but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” I John 2:27. So I do believe all that mortals can know of God and his salvation is by the revelation of the Spirit, and they understand the written or preached word only in proportion as God has before revealed it to or in them. Many deep and important points of doctrine contained in the scriptures of divine truth, may not be understood for a time by the children of God; but when explained in their hearing, through preaching, or comparing scripture with scripture, or by comparing spiritual things with spiritual, they readily receive and believe them, not that they have just learned them, but because God had before revealed it in them, but they could not so sensibly realize them to their satisfaction or edification. In proof read Matt.11:27. “And no man knoweth the Son but the Father, neither knoweth any man the Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.” “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen, immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood.” “Neither was I taught it but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Gal.1:12,15,16. In the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established. A majority of preachers tell sinners what they must do to get to heaven; but God’s ministers tell them what God has done and has promised he will do, to take them to heaven.
Yours in love,
Oglethorpe County, Georgia, March 15, 1868.