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LUKE 11:28.

DEAR BRETHREN BEEBE & PURINGTON: – I send you the following reflections for publication at any time when you may think proper.

Luke 11:28 – “But he said, Yea, rather blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” This language was spoken by Jesus in answer to a certain woman, who had listened attentively to his reasonings on two important points. First, in answer to those who charged him with casting out devils by Beelzebub, the prince of devils. He clearly showed that if a kingdom was divided against itself, it could not stand; and to show his sovereign power over devils themselves, says, “When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace; but when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.” This shows the powerful workings of his grace when he takes possession of the heart of a poor sinner, and divideth his spoils, not between the stronger, and the strong, that was overcome, but Jesus, the stronger, separates the spoils, or the whole man, soul and body, to his own use, and for his own glory. His body is a tabernacle for the living God to dwell in by his Spirit; and thus the man is prepared to glorify God in his body and spirit, which are his. Secondly, he shows clearly the nature of that religion which is in form only, but denies the power of godliness, and when the unclean spirit is gone out of a man {not bound and cast out,} he walketh through dry places seeking rest and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out, {not cast out.} And when he cometh he findeth it swept and garnished – beautifully representing the self-righteous, nominal professor, which, indeed, is like unto a whited sepulcher, beautiful without, &c. Then goeth he and taketh seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there, and the last state of that man is worse than the first; and this is truly the case with every one out of whom the unclean spirit goes voluntarily – when he returns with others more wicked. Awful state! Possessed of eight devils instead of one. But to come to the text. This woman gave an expression of her pleasure in hearing him, by saying, “Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou has sucked.” But he said, “Yea, rather blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it.”

I shall take the position that the blessing referred to in this text, are not bestowed upon sinners because they hear the word of God and keep it, but that they hear the word of God and are prepared to keep it, by the blessings being first bestowed upon them, as will plainly appear from the following Scriptures, “Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world.” Eph.1:3,4. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.” I John 3:1. “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” II Tim.1:9. “And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.” John 1:16. These all go to show that God’s way of saving sinners anciently was by giving life, hearing, and all other spiritual blessings to sinners, because they were treasured up in Christ for them according to the good pleasure of God’s will, and not because they first gave heed to God’s word and kept it; and I am sure that He saves sinners in the same way even in this the nineteenth century. While an overwhelming majority of professed preachers and christians are advocating the false doctrine that life eternal with all spiritual blessings are bestowed upon poor lost and ruined sinners, in consequence of certain conditions they have to comply with such as hearing, believing, or exercising faith and repentance, holding out faithful unto the end, &c. Shame! That professed ministers, with the Holy Scriptures in their hands, will teach such perverse things, when the truth is, Eternal Life is the gift of God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, and not through preachers, nor their preaching, nor through anything their hearers have done, or can do; and the Spirit of God’s Son is life eternal, and the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, and faith – these excellent graces are not conditions sinners render to God, but wherever God bestows them, they, in their gentle and powerful reign, control their subjects. Strange it is that the false doctrine has become so popular, that except sinners hear preaching, or read the written Scriptures, they never can be saved, when there is no such doctrine found in God’s word; but to the contrary, God has said by Jeremiah, and it is repeated by Paul, in reference to his Israel and his manner of teaching them under the new covenant or gospel dispensation, “And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord;” for, “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit saith the Lord.” The letter killeth, but the Spirit quickeneth, &c.

Hence I conclude that unbelievers must first hear the voice of the Son of God, spiritually, before they can hear or understand the preached or written word, and the spiritual word or voice is in no way dependent upon the written or preached word, as the latter is altogether unprofitable {savingly,} without the Spirit being bestowed. The Spirit works independent of the written or preached word, while preaching or reading effects nothing without the Spirit, and that God saves unbelievers through preaching, none can prove by the Scriptures; but it has pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe; not from the curse of the law, or condemnation, but from the delusive doctrines of anti-christ, &c., and all such as hear spiritually are prepared to hear and receive heartily the written or preached word, and keep it in the love of the important truths therein contained, by rendering obedience to the full rule given in the New Testament, for the faith and practice of all such as are born of God.

If I am correct in my reasonings, the blessing of quickening grace must be first sent into the heart of a poor sinner, or he remains a natural man, and receiveth not the truths of the gospel as written in God’s holy word, and preached by his servants; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned; but being quickened, he is prepared to receive the truths of the gospel, or word of God, and to keep it, and eventually to enjoy the rich inheritance of immortal glory. Amen.

Yours in love,
D.W. Patman.
Oglethorpe Co., Georgia, Jan.4, 1860.