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ACTUAL ETERNAL ONENESS.

DEAR BRETHREN BEEBE & PURINGTON: – With some reluctance I feel impressed to notice the communication of Brother C.A. Parker, appearing in the MESSENGER of the 1st of November, in which he gives account of having attended several Associations. The first was Itchaconna; at this Association, he says of the preaching, “At the stand I do not think that in principle a discordant note was heard.” Of the brethren he says, “They are opposed to the extreme phrase, Eternal Actual Union, and also the extreme point the Absolute Predestination of all Things.” Again he says, “I cannot dismiss this point in justice to those dear brethren, without saying that they are in no way obnoxious to the charges in the minutes of the Towaliga and Connasauga Associations of 1858.” In this last saying, I do believe the O.S. Baptists throughout the United States, so far as my knowledge extends, are fully agreed with brother Parker and the brethren he speaks of. None hold or believe any such things as the Minutes of the Associations charge upon those claiming to be Old School Baptists, and there is many of us who feel glad that we are not in correspondence with, and in no way accountable to Associations who can so abruptly misrepresent brethren who stand firm in the form of doctrine once delivered unto the saints. On the subject of “Eternal Actual Union” in its broadest sense, I have not understood any of the brethren to believe or advocate it, but the Actual Eternal {or life} Union of Christ and his church spiritually, is what I have understood the O.S. Baptists to believe and preach all the time. Surely all are agreed in the truth that the actual eternal oneness of life of Christ and his church is a union, while such of Adam’s race as were chosen to the adoption of children as they stand related to a fallen parent, are by nature the children of wrath, even as others, and by no means united to Christ, until they receive personally the Spirit of Christ, which is eternal life itself, and no more so after they receive it than it was before; this Spirit eventually bears witness with their spirit, that they are the children of God, and if children then heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. Rom.8:17. This brings the heirs of promise to realize experimentally the union or oneness of life, which they have received in Christ Jesus, and being thus joined to the Lord, is one Spirit. I Cor.6:17. And Christ says of such, “I in you, and you in me, and I in my Father.”  “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God,” and “when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” Col.3:3,4. On the subject of the absolute predestination of all things, I cannot understand how Jehovah can foreknow anything that is not before determined or predestinated with and by him; if his foreknowledge and predestination does not go precisely to the same extent, I confess I do not think correctly of the character and sovereignty of God; and as to the term absolute, I cannot object to it, because if anything is foreknown, and before determined with God, it is absolutely so, or it is not so at all. Yet I am satisfied that this point of doctrine is deep and hard to be comprehended by me, yet I dare not deny it with the Scriptures of divine truth before me. If any who feel like rejecting this doctrine, will put themselves to the trouble to read the 24th chapter of II Samuel, and the 10th chapter of Isaiah; Elihu’s answer to Job and his three friends, Job 32, and the Lord’s answer to Job out of the whirlwind, Job 38; then come to Acts 17:22-38; then read Rom.9:11-13, and Eph.1:1-11, they would surely like Job say, “Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.” Job 40:4. Once have I spoken, but I will not answer; yea twice, but I will proceed no further. Read also the history of Jacob and his family – of Joseph and of Pharaoh – the crucifixion of Christ, as related by Peter. Acts 2:23. Taking all these, and in fact all the Scriptures together, and I cannot see how any who believe the Scriptures, can deny that the predestination of God does go to the same extent that his foreknowledge does. I do hope the brethren who cannot so readily receive the doctrine on this deep and mysterious point will not denounce those of us who can receive it, as we are by no means disposed to denounce them, but let us all try and adopt the following language. II Cor.1:24, “Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy; for by faith ye stand.” Then we can remain united upon the fundamental points of doctrine embraced in the constitution of every church, allowing every member full privilege to take the Scriptures in all their fullness, as the only rule of faith and practice. Peter in closing up his second epistle, uses the following language, to which all would do well to give heed, “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless, and account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness; but grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” A few more remarks and I close. One reason why brethren who heartily believe the two points of doctrine, {named in this piece,} have preached and written more extensively on these points, is because since some have rose up, even of ourselves denying them, many brethren have been requested to give their views, which have not been withheld even on these deep and mysterious points, while none claim infallibility, nor do they wish to compel others to adopt their views.

Yours in love,
D.W. Patman.
Oglethorpe Co., Georgia, Dec.7, 1859.