Elder G. Beebe – Dear Brother in Christ; As I have to make a small remittance to you, I feel impressed to offer a few thoughts on some important points which are and have been undergoing some investigation among the Old School Baptists in some portions of our country, all growing out of a disposition [in my conception] to find out more, and make plain to human reason things which God has not revealed in his holy word, nor in the experience of his children. And in every instance, such efforts, when they have been indulged in among the saints, have resulted in discussion, disputation, vain jangling, and strife about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the [readers] hearers, which is positively prohibited in God’s holy word. Without wasting time to reiterate the strange notions and arguments of many brethren about the soul of man, what it is, where it came from, whether or not it, exclusive of the body, is born again, and when it is born again, and whether the warfare in the christian is between his soul and his body, &c., all such investigation is vain, and to no profit, because not plainly revealed in the scriptures, which are “given by inspiration of God, and are profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God; but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever.” Deut.29:29. We are always safe in believing and publishing what God has plainly revealed in his holy word. There it is written, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.” Gen.2:7. “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” John 3:3 & 6. And to the saints it is written, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God which liveth and abideth forever.” I Pet.1:23. “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God. And every one that loveth him that begat, loveth him also that is begotten of him.” I John 5:1. The men or women who were thus blessed, were the souls, and the souls were the men and women, first born of the flesh, a visible and natural birth, and last of the Spirit, invisible. The first retains all its former qualities, and identity with the first Adam, of the earth, earthy. The last has its identity with the second Adam, the Lord from heaven, a Quickening Spirit – incorruptible seed, by the word of God, or Christ in you the hope of glory. The last, the younger, dwells in the elder, as excellent treasure in an earthen vessel; and “the elder shall serve the younger.” Rom.9:12. These truths, so plainly revealed in the scriptures, and agreeing with the experience of every subject of grace in his pilgrimage here, seems to me sufficient to satisfy, and fill every poor sinner, subdued and saved by grace, with unceasing praise to the God of their salvation, and cause them daily to deny self, [the old man] take up the cross and follow Jesus in the gospel rule, that they may glorify God in their body and in their spirit which are his.
Immortality has been discussed some, and different opinions have been offered, which needs no discussion, as the scriptures are so full and plain. It is written, “Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light, which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen nor can see; to whom be honor and power everlasting.” I Tim.6:15,16. Then it is certain that none have immortality but him, and such as receive of his fullness. To show that man is not immortal, and if he has immortality it must be put on him, the apostle has written as follows: “Behold I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up of victory;” and then will you sing loudly, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” I Cor.15:51-55. As to when the last trump shall sound, and how the resurrection shall be, we are as well informed in the scriptures, and much better, than we could be by the opinions and speculative notions of even preachers, seeing they differ often in their conclusions. The apostle says, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when he shall appear we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” I John 3:2. Is not this enough for us to know on that great and important subject? Jesus says, “But let your communications be Yea, yea, Nay, nay; for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” Matt.5:37. I gather from this the importance of being careful, lest our communication in talking, preaching, writing or conduct should be contrary to the plain teaching of God’s word; for if we go into contrary speculative notions, it cometh of evil, and can do no good, but often goes so far as to confuse and distress the people of God, and get them into disputation, vain jangling, and often into division. Ministers ought to be careful, and never forget Paul’s last charge to the Elders of Ephesus, a part of which follows: “Also of your own selves shall men arise speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them.” Acts 20:30. With an experience of more than forty years as a professed minister, I ought to have learned some things. As slow as I have been to learn, I have noticed with deep regret that distress and division in churches or associations have begun in the ministry; and when ministers have been disposed to make themselves conspicuous, or to draw away disciples after them, they have shown it by complaining of almost all other preachers, finding fault of their conduct, preaching, or some points of doctrine preached by them, and then use all their ability to enforce different opinions on these points; and their whole theme was to impress these particular points and make them appear right, though contrary to their brethren older than themselves, and contrary to the plain teachings of God’s word. And such, instead of being easily entreated could not be entreated at all, until they have drawn away disciples after themselves, to their own ruin and to the distraction of the peace of those who followed them; and then such influential leaders have fled to seek another field to do mischief in, leaving their poor deluded followers to shift as they may or can. If such wolves get into the ministry, the sooner they show themselves the better it is for the church, painful as it is. The Lord pity us, and forbid that we should ever strive to be wise above what is plainly taught in God’s Word, and cause us to search therein as for hid treasures, be content with its excellencies, and rejoice in its fullness.
Yours in love,
Near Lexington Georgia, Aug. 10, 1875.