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DEAR BRETHREN BEEBE & PURINGTON: - As the past year has closed up, and we are about entering a new year, surely we are under the greatest obligations to the God of our salvation, not only for the rich display of his unchanging mercy and grace, through our Lord Jesus Christ, but for all the temporal blessings he has continued to bestow upon us. It is his good pleasure, according to his purpose in the Nineteenth Century, that we should occupy a small space upon this globe, in this world of woe and misery, in these United States, where God has hitherto made known his power and greatness, in a very miraculous manner, in our delivery from tyrannical oppression, and in our protection as a band of brethren, politically; all equally entitled to religious privileges, to worship according to the dictates of our own conscience, while no one has had a right, even if he had the disposition, to interfere with the religious devotions of another. In the full enjoyment of these sacred privileges, the constitution and laws of our highly favored country, protect every individual so completely that there is no manner of use for any of us to apply to legislative bodies to give us any more religious privileges than we already have; and surely none have, or will apply to the secular arm of the law to get more religious liberties and protection; but those who wish to proscribe, and get a legal advantage of their fellows, and that, too, in the name, and under the cloak of religion, and wherever exclusive religious liberties have been granted by legislative bodies, to churches, or other professed religious bodies, it has invariably resulted in their exaltation, in pride and worldly aggrandizement, and increased their disposition for more exclusive privileges; all of which go to show plainly that such aspirants with their pretended religion, are of this world, and not of our Lord Jesus Christ, for he has said, “My kingdom is not of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now is my kingdom not from hence.” John 18:36. Again, he has taught his followers that they should call no man on earth their father, “for one is your Father, even God, and all ye are brethren.” He has also charged them that they should not call any on earth their benefactors, seeing they have one Father, even God, and one Master, even Jesus Christ.

It is worthy of notice that the Church of Jesus Christ, in her simple organization, have never, since the organization thereof, been known to seek from any law-making powers any religious liberties whatever; but have been satisfied that their God reigns, to protect and defend them, with heaven and earth at his command; and holding the keys of death and of hell; and surely nothing but a lack of confidence in God and the truth of his work could influence professed religious bodies to apply to the puny arm of the laws made by men for more exclusive religious liberties than we already have in this highly favored country, namely; laws to protect every man in the right to worship according to the dictates of his own conscience. Being satisfied with these excellent liberties, we Old School Baptists ask no more; but really feel to rejoice that we can heartily believe and publicly proclaim the precious truths of our God, as recorded in his holy word, which we consider a full and finished rule, both of faith and practice, for all who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.

While we have been constantly contending for the doctrine and ordinances of the gospel, as once delivered unto the saints, we have had to come in contact with all other denominations, and even with many claiming the name of Baptists, and occasionally some claiming the name of Old School Baptists have been found to call in question some deep and important points of doctrine, not so much because they considered that deep points were false, but rather because they were too deep and mysterious to be easily and readily comprehended. I refer to the absolute predestination of all things, and the actual eternal vital or life union of Christ and his Church. Though there has been some discussion and inquiry among the brethren on these points, it is a pleasing reflection that a spirit of brotherly forbearance has been manifested, while those who can heartily receive the doctrine on these points, have shown no disposition to exercise dominion over the faith of their brethren who could not so readily receive the doctrine; the latter class seem to manifest no disposition to take dominion over the faith of the former. This is nothing new in the church of God, for in every age there have been some points of the doctrine of the gospel in discussion among the saints, but with proper forbearance they have continued to live together in brotherly love, through occasionally some have become so self-important that they would bear with none such as conformed to their notions, and away they have gone, and but seldom have gone out alone, but have taken off all they could to conform to, and follow them. The time to discuss doctrinal points has been mostly in times of coldness and declension, and not while the church have been enjoying revivals, for then all are teachable and childlike. O! That such a state of feelings could be once more realized by all the dear children of God. The doctrine of the gospel, is the doctrine of the Cross, and the more contrary to all natural calculations, the nearer right the doctrine is, while any system of doctrine that appears right, and easy to be understood by our natural reasoning powers, is wrong; because in such a system of doctrine the offense of the cross would cease.

With anxious desires for the peace of Zion, dear brethren, I hope and pray that God may keep us from the many hurtful snares that lie in the way to entangle our feet, and destroy our peace and usefulness, one to another; but may each esteem others better than himself, and all be found striving together to keep the unity of the Spirit {not the flesh} in the bonds of peace. Wishing prosperity to the MESSENGER, as a channel of free correspondence, and of friendly religious discussion, on all points connected with the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, I close for the present, confessing that if I am a saint at all, I am less than the least of all – the chief of sinners – yet faintly hoping for final deliverance from the present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father, through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom be glory, now, and forever. Amen.

Yours in love,
D.W. Patman.
Oglethorpe Co., Georgia, Dec.28, 1859.