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CHRISTIAN FORBEARANCE.

DEAR BROTHER BEEBE: - According to your request, I feel inclined again to write something for the MESSENGER, and as no subject occurs to my mind of more importance than that of CHRISTIAN FORBEARANCE, I am inclined to offer some thoughts for the reflection of your readers, and will commence with ministers of the gospel, who occupy the most responsible station of any of the household of faith, and at the same time have as much imperfection in themselves to contend with, as any other child of God, and with their brethren equally liable to think, speak, or write wrong. Hence the address of the Apostle to the churches of Galatia, has its application now to all the saints, while they remain in this present evil world in perpetual warfare. “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.” From these three verses we are taught first, that all God’s children are subject to be overtaken in faults, but not all at once; for secondly, he says, ye which are spiritual restore such a one, &c. The difference between being overtaken in a fault, and going willfully into a fault, is of considerable importance, for while the first is overtaken in a fault, the other runs into, and pursues it, and in both cases, such are under the influence of the flesh, or carnal nature, when thus entangled. To illustrate, suppose a minister, through habit or false impressions, preaches or writes sentiments that are not scriptural, his brethren which are spiritual, giving evidences of meekness, and of considering themselves also subjects of temptation, approach him and point out his errors in a brotherly manner. The preacher thus overtaken in a fault in this way, could at once be convinced and made to confess his error, and be restored, not only to the confidence of his brethren, but to the better enjoying of himself with them.

But if a brother gets in error, and others actuated from selfish and fleshly motives, undertakes to correct him, giving evidences of harshness and self-importance were beyond the reach of temptation, there could be no hope of restoring the offending brother, for self always requires more than it is willing to give. Then how important that such as undertake to restore, be careful that they themselves are spiritual! There are in every christian, spiritual eyes than can discern spiritual things, for this reason, such as are spiritual, and manifest it, can easily restore such of God’s children as have been overtaken in a fault. For he that is spiritual, judgeth all things while he himself is judged of no man. I Cor.2:15. But when one who has the name of a minister of Christ, knowingly goes into errors in doctrine or otherwise, he will not be easily entreated, because he is in error in design, and is self-determined in his cause. As such, the first and second admonitions by those who are spiritual, fails to convince or restore, therefore God has said by Paul to Titus, Titus 3:10, “A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject.” Then of course the burdens of such are no longer to be borne by God’s children. I have noticed by reading the MESSENGER and SIGNS, that while some brethren who had been corrected were ready forthwith to confess and turn from erroneous views; others were self determined and ready to exhaust all argument or sustain their peculiar views, while others, when convinced they were occupying unscriptural doubtful grounds, have dropped off and ceased to write on the subject. The first and last of these always raise themselves in the estimation of their brethren, while such as ambitiously persist in striving themselves never fail to lower themselves in the estimation of their brethren. Our pride naturally prompts us to want what we preach or write for the public to pass currently, and while we commit an error and receive public correction, there is nothing better calculated to mortify pride, or excite our ambition; therefore in giving our views, we should be sure we occupy safe and scriptural grounds, and when we attempt to correct what we consider errors in our brethren, be careful to do it in a spiritual and brotherly manner, bearing each other’s burdens and so fulfilling the law of Christ. The object in all our religious transactions with each other, should be to help and to love; and never to sink or destroy, and whoever persists in striving to sink or destroy the reputation and fair standing of his brethren, to aggrandize himself, will, without fail, sink himself to rise no more; for such are not simply overtaken in a fault, but ambitiously persisting in an erroneous course, whenever it is manifest, that one is in this situation, the less God’s children have to do with him the better. I reckon no feeble saint, sensible of his own imperfection would say he did not need the forbearance of his brethren, and surely he could not refuse to be corrected and restored by them when overtaken in a fault, and none that cannot claim perfection in themselves, can expect it in their brethren, for all are equally poor and subject to be tempted and drawn off by their own lust. Then how important it is that we should make every reasonable allowance for the imperfections of each other, and bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ, or act out the spirit of the gospel. The O.S. Baptists, now, like they always have been, are everywhere spoken against, which is one of the strongest scriptural arguments that they are contending for correct principles, and though few in number, afflicted and poor, they have nothing to fear but their God. While he is for them, who can be against them? It is God who justifieth, who is he that condemneth? Then I am sure all such as love God, love his children also, and have a tender regard for their feelings, and anxious desires for their prosperity in a divine life.

Brother William, I am glad to learn that your prospects to sustain and continue the MESSENGER are now better than they have been; and I hope patrons will promptly send their remittances. Surely none who think more of the Old School Baptist cause, than they do of the price of the MESSENGER, will discontinue the paper on account of scarcity of money, or the present derangement in money matters; nor because they have seen some things in the paper they did not like, or understand. Any one who has expected you or your correspondents to be free from errors, in writing yourself, or publishing communications written by your patrons, has, I presume, looked for more from others than they can find in themselves, and all such as consider what is published in the MESSENGER, the standard for Old School Baptist faith and practice, have altogether mistaken the object of the paper, for those who write for the MESSENGER, {if actuated by proper motives,} do it to perpetuate christian correspondence and acquaintance, by writing what they consider consistent with the Scriptures of divine truth and christian experience, and if at any time they communicate unscriptural views and can be corrected by their brethren, they will not persist in error, because, what they had written was peculiar to themselves, but will gladly accept the correction, which always raises the erring brother in the estimation of his brethren.

May the Lord give us all more christian forbearance, with a disposition to confess our faults one to another, to forgive and pray for one another, is my earnest desire for Christ’s sake.

Yours in love,
D.W. Patman.
Oglethorpe Co., Georgia, Dec.8, 1857.