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THOUGHTS ON HEBREWS 6:1-6.

DEAR BROTHER BEEBE: – As you have united with friend Belflower in requesting me to write on Heb.6:1-6, I have concluded to drop a few thoughts on the subject, and should be glad you would attend to the request of brother Barbee and give us some thoughts on the first and second verses of the same text, for there is a plenty connected with the text for both of us. The text reads as follows: “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment, and this will we do, if God permit.” Here we will stop for the present and notice the three verses quoted. The Apostle clearly shows that in the doctrine of the gospel there are many branches, such as repentance from dead works, faith towards God, baptism, laying on of the hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment; and these branches of the doctrine he calls the principles of the doctrine of Christ; but he by no means considers these to be all the branches of the doctrine, for he proposes to leave them and go on to perfection, and this he says will do if God permit, and very soon begins to compare the Levitical priesthood with that of Christ, and clearly shows that all the offerings made by the priests descending from Levi could never put away sins or purify the conscience, but were only legal, or could go no farther than to cleanse or purify than to cleanse or purify the flesh, but were all typical and were forever done away when Christ was offered once in the end for all offerings for sins, and by this one offering Christ has perfected forever them who are sanctified, chosen or set apart in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world. Thus the Apostle shows most clearly the excellency of the atonement and intercession of the great High Priest of our profession, as well pleasing to God, and forever sure, {beyond the possibility of a failure,} to all the heirs of promise, as the following language shows, “Wherefore He {Christ,} is able to save to the uttermost all them that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” I think it unnecessary to spend much time to prove to any or every lover of truth that the perfection Paul proposes to go on to was the entire sufficiency of the atonement of Christ to cleanse from all unrighteousness his chosen people, together with his entire adequacy to intercede successfully for them; and now if any of them who are heirs to all their benefits, sanctified by God the Father, preserved in Christ Jesus and called, if they or any of them should fall away, they would be forever undone, having destroyed or wasted all the benefits of Christ as applied to them, and all their inheritance as heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ, which is impossible, because the inheritance of saints is reserved in heaven for them while they are kept here by the almighty power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time.

We will now proceed to make some remarks on the subject of baptism, as there seems to be many yet who have need that one teach them again which be the first principles of the oracles of God, and are become such as have need of milk and not of strong meat. Heb.5:12. I have been greatly astonished that any child of God should be at a loss to know what course to pursue, when they have become satisfied in their own mind that they have been received and baptized by those who are unsound in the faith. For instance, suppose a foreigner sets out for America with anxious desires to become a citizen, but before he gets there he finds those who profess to be Americans, and they administer to him the oath of allegiance, and after remaining with them awhile he finds he was entirely mistaken, their doctrine and laws are oppressive and altogether contrary to what he had learned of America; he then becomes so dissatisfied that he is disposed to leave them and make another effort to get to the desired haven, could he enter the shores of America and refuse to take the oath of allegiance, simply because he had in form taken the same oath in another nation? Every citizen would fear that such a man was not a true republican, and of course could not admit him to become a citizen. Among all who profess the religion of Jesus Christ there is but two classes, notwithstanding their names are many. The first and most numerous and popular class are the children of the bond-woman, who preach and believe in conditional salvation to be effected by the industry of men in the use of means, and with that class are found the Missionary or New School Baptists, who immerse all they can get to offer to them, and occasionally they receive and baptize such {I have no doubt,} as have been taught of the Lord. All such are to be pitied, for their burdens are heavy and their food, through the preaching they hear, never satisfies their longing appetite for the simple truth as it is in Jesus, which results in their dissatisfaction, and causes them to weep and lament for a peaceable habitation in the borders of Zion. The other class is the poor, afflicted, despised, and unpopular few who contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints, “Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt.” Heb.11:26. They will not, nay, they cannot fellowship, nor encourage those who are teaching for doctrines the commandments of men, because they are the children of the free-woman, as was Isaac, and for this reason the Ishmaelites, or children of the bond-woman, all unite in mocking and speaking reproachfully of the children of the free-woman, which I do believe are now called by their enemies, Hard-Shells, or Anti-Missionary Baptists. Since the declaration of non-fellowship has been fully carried out between the Old and New School Baptists, every reasonable man knows that what one party does in receiving and baptizing members cannot be valid for the other, which is considered in disorder; for instance, if a church in fair standing excludes ten members for unsoundness in faith, and they go off {one of them a preacher too,} and declare themselves to be the true church, and receive and baptize members, who afterwards become dissatisfied and wish to join the church from which the ten were excluded. Can the church recognize the baptism when they know it was administered by one in disorder, and for them who were equally in disorder? Every one must see and know better. Then I contend that if such applicants are received at all they must come in at the door, tell their experience and be baptized before they could be entitled to the privileges of the church from which the ten were excluded, and in justice their baptism could not be called re-baptism, because the first was only a fraud practiced upon them by the disorderly party. The declaration of non-fellowship always amounts to exclusion, no matter to what extent it goes, and no more so in the supposed case above than in the division of the Baptist denomination on the subject of Missions, &c. And anyone who has been received and baptized by either party since the division, and afterwards becomes fully satisfied that the party he has joined is, and was unsound and in disorder when he joined them, and for this reason determines to join the other party, whom he considers the true church; I say, can he ask them to recognize his reception and baptism administered by those for whom he himself, nor the church to which he offers have no fellowship? If the church was to receive such applicant without his experience and baptism it would amount to a confession that they had unrighteously declared non-fellowship to the other party, and this would leave the applicant in no better condition than he was before.

As I have but little time to write and think the foregoing remarks will probably be satisfactory to friend Belflower and his inquiring friend, who it seems has regretfully fallen in ranks with the Missionary or Means Baptists, greatly to his dissatisfaction, I will say to him, if you are in heart an Old School Baptist, because you believe and love the doctrine they preach, which differs as much from the doctrines preached and believed by them with whom you have unconsciously united, as darkness differs from light. Therefore, come out from among them and be separate, “Touch not, taste not, handle not, which all are to perish with the using, after the commandments and doctrines of men, which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will-worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body, {or church,} not in any honor to the satisfying of the flesh.” Col.2:21-23. Let not the fear of suffering reproach or being evil spoken of by them keep you from obeying Him who has said, “If ye love me keep my commandments;” and I should be happy to learn at any time that you and friend Belflower too had taken up the cross and come fully in ranks with the Old School Baptists.

The latter part of the text reads thus, “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” To be enlightened, taste the heavenly gift, partake of the Holy Ghost, taste the good word of God and the powers of the world to come, are all the effects of quickening grace, realized in the experience of God’s children, given them freely through the all-sufficient atonement and intercession of Jesus Christ, the Great High Priest of our profession, who shall see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied, when according to the will of his Father, that of all he has given him he should loose nothing, but raise it up at the last day. Then shall every heir of promise awake with his likeness and be satisfied, and not one of them he has redeemed be missing, but all be with him and behold his glory forever. Some seem to labor very hard to prove by this text that the saints may fall away and be finally lost, but still contend that after they have fallen away they may be again renewed to repentance and be saved, which comes immediately in contact with the language of the text itself, which says, It is impossible to renew them again to repentance, seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. Such false teachers always get into difficulties on this subject, because they misapply the Scriptures, and particularly this text, which, instead of proving that the children of God may fall away and be lost, proves, with its connection, the utter impossibility of their falling again under the law and its curse from which Christ has redeemed them, so that the law in all its claims against them is forever dead and buried, like the body of Moses, where it never can be found, and I should like to know who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect, when it is God that justifieth, Christ that died to redeem them, and rose again for their justification, and ever liveth to make intercession for them. It is God dishonoring for mortals to conclude that the Sovereign of heaven and earth should, according to his own will and purpose, begin a good work of salvation in the heart of a poor sinner and fail to perform it. Shame, shame forever!

As I have noticed this part of the text in the commencement of this letter, I will close for the present.

Yours in love,
D.W. Patman.
Oglethorpe Co., Georgia, May 10, 1854.