Dear Brother Beebe; I send you the following, which you may publish if you think proper.
“Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” Rom.5:18.
Two important points are brought to view in this text, namely: condemnation and justification, and the manner in which they came. First, by the disobedience of Adam condemnation came upon his whole natural family, because he was their great head and representative. By his disobedience sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. Being thus related to the whole natural family, Eve herself having her life and being in him, he is declared to be the figure of him that was to come; namely, Jesus Christ, in whom the actual life and being of the whole church of God was, is now, and will be continue to be eternally. And he is the covenant head and representative of all the election of grace, “predestinated to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” Now as the first Adam, who is of the earth, earthy, was not deceived; but the woman being deceived was in the transgression [I Tim.2:14,] brought condemnation upon the whole human family; so Jesus Christ was not deceived, but all those whom He represented [fallen in Adam, as pertaining to their earthly relation,] because of the eternal relation in which Jesus stood to them, in the covenant of redemption, and in eternal life in him, in whom they were chosen, Jesus came under the law with and for his bride, the church. As Adam took the forbidden fruit from and with his bride, Eve, who was bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh, so the church [keeping up the figure] is declared to be members of his [Christ’s] body, of his flesh, and of his bones. “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” Eph.5:31,32. As the inspired apostle viewed this not only a mystery, but a great mystery, is it strange that we cannot comprehend it? Yet, notwithstanding it remains such a great mystery to us, it is true, and cannot be successfully gainsaid. And as the law was given to Adam before the rib was taken from his side and made a woman, even so the church in life and immortality, eternally existed in Jesus Christ before manifestly exhibited in the vessels of mercy which God had before prepared unto glory. As then all the natural family die in Adam the first, [manifestly] even so all the spiritual family shall be made alive in Christ. Every man in his own order; Christ the first fruits, afterwards they that are his at his coming. As in the earthly Adam every man he represented fell, even so Jesus Christ tasted death for every man he represented, and calls them the church or children which God had given him. Read Heb.2:10-14. In this chapter the two great headships are plainly brought to view, as well as in many other places. Therefore when by the offence of the first Adam judgment came upon all the natural family to condemnation, even, or exactly so, by the righteousness of Jesus Christ, the great representative of his church or children, the free gift came upon all of them to justification of life, eternal life, which is the gift of God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Rom.6:23. This justification is by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ finished on the part of his people that he has saved from their sins, and they are never made to know or feel interested about it until called by his grace, and taught by his Spirit experimentally to know their weakness and total depravity, with their justly condemned condition as related to the first Adam. Then by the same Spirit is revealed to them the justification by one Jesus Christ. And therefore being justified by faith they have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom they have now received the atonement. It will not do to say that Jesus Christ, by his death and resurrection, has placed all men naturally in a state of justification; because all, while they remain natural, and destitute of quickening grace, are under the law and under its curse, and consequently are in condemnation. But of believers it is said, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, [carnal commandments or law] but after the Spirit,” or gospel rule, as given in the New Testament. And such as believe in the Lord Jesus Christ shall no more come into condemnation, because they have passed from death unto life. They are delivered from the power of darkness, and translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son.
As I had written the foregoing before receiving the SIGNS for the 10th December, containing your editorial reply to brother Jacob Wright, with which I am well pleased, I have concluded to send this to you, which is at your disposal.
The year 1872 is now about closing up, and, my dear brother, I remember that you are about ten years older than myself, and I am in my sixty-third year. If not entirely mistaken, the Lord gave me evidences of his pardoning mercy late in the evening of the 22nd of July, 1827. Very soon after this I united with the church at Bethlehem, Oglethorpe County, Ga., where my membership still remains, and though often filled with charges against myself, to my astonishment my brethren have borne with, and never preferred any charges against me in the church. In the year 1837 the church called me to ordination, which I thought was done too hastily; but notwithstanding all my fears, inability and unworthiness, I have continued to serve not less than four churches monthly, every year, and for a while one church in the week, besides traveling to Associations, Union meetings, and other meetings, visiting churches and congregations, in this and other states, where I have always been heartily received by my brethren and friends, and have traveled from five to eight thousand miles a year, and preached with such ability as God has given, and after all I am a poor unprofitable servant, having done only my duty, and too often come short of that; and while the great strife, contention and division of the Baptist denomination was progressing, many of our brethren became so disgusted with the constant cry for money to advance the modern missionary institutions, that they even neglected to administer to the temporal wants of their ministers; yet in the mysterious workings of God in his providence and grace, I have been supplied as yet with a sufficiency of the good things of the world, and I believe will be, if I am what I profess to be. If not, I ought to perish, and the sooner the better. May the Lord sustain you, brother Beebe.
Yours in love,
Near Lexington Georgia, Dec. 20, 1872.