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MERCY OBTAINED.

FOR THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST MESSENGER: - According to request made by brother Brown, {of Morgan County, GA.,} by private communication, I proceed to offer some thoughts in connection with the following text, Rom.11:30,31. “For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief; even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.”

I am apprised that many who profess to preach the gospel refer to this text to prove that through liberal contributions of money to support what are now called benevolent or missionary institutions of the present age, the heathen may obtain the mercy of life and salvation through the mercy of such as contribute, &c. If this exposition is correct, the following would be equally so on the first verse, that the Gentiles to whom Paul wrote had obtained the mercy of life and salvation through the unbelief or disobedience of the Jews or national Israel of God, which would prove so much it would throw their whole system into confusion, for they are continually preaching that through the unbelief and disobedience of such as refuse to contribute in support of their institutions, thousands are perishing and going down to hell. Now if this position was correct it would show that the mercy of eternal life was given, not only through the mercy, belief, or obedience of some, but also through the unbelief or disobedience of others; it, however, is through no such channels, “but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Rom.6:23. And I feel impressed that the mercy already obtained by Gentile believers, and the mercy to be obtained by believing Jews, referred particularly to the privileges and blessings enjoyed by believers {whether Jews or Gentiles,} united in a gospel church capacity, where love to God and to one another is the strong cord that binds all together in christian fellowship, of which the national or Jewish church, with all its ceremonies and offerings were only typical, until the great anti-type appeared and the gospel church was set up and established, and to accomplish this it pleased God that blindness in part should happen to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles were come in; for God had given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear unto that day, {8th verse.} Although in their blindness they had stumbled, it was not that they should utterly fall, but rather through their fall, salvation should come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them {the Jews} to jealousy, but notwithstanding all this we are assured that all Israel shall be saved. Not all who were of Israel as a nation, but all the spiritual Israel of God – the remnant according to the election of grace, and not according to the natural relations they bear to Abraham. The election of grace included those among the Gentiles as well as the Jews, and the time having fully come when God intended the Gentiles to be brought in, and through the unbelief of the jealous Jews, the Apostles were persecuted, and scattered abroad from Jerusalem, preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, through which means God’s elect sheep and lambs were gathered together to receive the great mercy of being constituted by the Apostles into a gospel church capacity in christian love and fellowship, to attend to the ordinances of the church as delivered them by Jesus Christ, through the inspired Apostles, by whose preaching it pleased God to save them that believed among the Gentiles. These were great mercies they had received through the unbelief of the Jews, and now it would be ungrateful for them to be so high-minded that they would withhold from believing Jews the same mercies they had received; namely, that of privileges in the church, christian love, fellowship and correspondence, boasting of their condition to the seclusion of, or withholding christian fellowship from believing Jews, whenever they gave evidence of regeneration, &c. As a caution against such a course, the Apostle uses the following language, 18th, 19th, and 20th verses. “Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in; Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear.” The same faith was given the Old Testament saints under the old, that is given the saints under the new or gospel dispensation – the first typical, the last real; and under both dispensations there is the “One Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Eph.4:5,6. So that the whole church or elect family is but “one body and one spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling.” Then it was entirely reasonable that the poor scattered believing Jews should enjoy christian fellowship and church privileges through the mercy of believing Gentiles, extended to them whenever they had evidences that God had grafted them in again. “As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes; but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.” Reflecting on the severity of God towards the Jews and his mercy to the Gentiles, the Apostle breaks forth in the following language, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!”

This portion of divine revelation {with the whole of the Scriptures,} was written for instruction, and we should learn from it to extend mercy and christian fellowship, not to the rich more than the poor, not to the learned and wise of this world, more than to the unlearned and ignorant, nor to the young, vigorous and strong, that promise great usefulness to the church, more than to the poor, the old and decrepit; not to the master more than the servant, not to the home born citizen, more than the foreigner, but to all alike as they shall give evidences of repentance towards God and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ. And moreover, if any of his children have or should become entangled in the delusive net of anti-christ, spread so broad in this day and age, and baited with popularity, and every other vain thing gratifying to the flesh, if they shall escape and return giving evidences of repentance, be sure through your mercy to let them obtain mercy and come fully into the privileges of the church. Again; the churches made up mostly of believing Gentiles, often, no doubt, contributed largely of their temporal things to supply the wants of the poor suffering saints at Jerusalem, so that through their mercy they obtain mercy in a temporal sense, as well as spiritually. From this we are taught, by precept as well as example, to administer to any of the saints in the bounds of our acquaintance, who are likely to suffer for daily food or natural sustenance, and I am glad to say that I know of no such case among the Old School Baptists that has not been attended to with relief, while I am ashamed to know that some others, making great noise about charitable institutions for the salvation {as they say} of the world, have been among the very last to contribute anything to such of their own members as have by misfortune been placed in needy circumstances, and that, too, under their immediate observation. Charity that overlooks the needy at home, can never profit the suffering abroad.

I have written the foregoing in haste, and if anything erroneous is discovered by my brethren, I shall be glad to be corrected in a proper manner.

Yours in love,
D.W. Patman.
Oglethorpe Co., Georgia, Sept.3, 1855.