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DEAR BROTHER WILLIAM: - I have concluded to drop you a few lines expressive of some thoughts in connection with the following text: “Therefore let no man glory in men, for all things are yours.” I Cor.3:21. In this chapter the inspired Apostle brings forward the best evidences of carnality, in the church at Corinth; namely, their peculiar attachment to men, for saith he, “For while one saith I am of Paul, another I am of Apollos, are ye not carnal?” And as a reproof to them continues to say, “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.” “For we are labourers together with God; ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” In this I conceive the Apostle claims no agency in their regeneration which prepared them, spiritually, for the church, but as ministers they were laborers together with God, preaching the gospel consistent with the word and will of God, and thus gathering together in a church capacity such as God had prepared by the internal workings of his power and grace to love the truth, and to choose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, and of course such as loved the truth were very much attached to ministers of the truth, and as they had carnal nature about them they were subject to have too much regard for the persons of those ministers, and place too much confidence in them as men, so that each were included to speak in praise of the minister he thought the most of, thus glorying in men. One claimed to be of Paul, another of Apollos, another of Cephas, and some of Christ. Thus there was contention, strife, and division among them, and to remedy this state of things the Apostle calls their attention to the foundation laid of God in Zion, upon which they were built of God, which foundation Paul had first preached or laid among them. Therefore he says, I have laid the foundation and another buildeth thereon, for other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble. In this he refers to their works, not only in preaching, but their works generally as members of the Church of Christ; such works as were consistent with the rule given by their Lord and Master, were glorifying to God, and like gold, silver, precious stones, not to be destroyed by fire itself, while all such works as were not commanded by their Lord and Master, though they might appear good, needful and popular, yet they are only like wood, hay, and stubble, combustible, and would not stand before the fire. “Every man’s work shall be made manifest; for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

This burning and trying of every man’s work is confined strictly to the Church of Jesus Christ – built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets. Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone, and I do believe the dark and trying scenes of fiery affliction through which the Church has been passing for the last twenty-five or thirty years have proven to every close observer that while some of the works of the saints, like the gold and silver, have remained, and such truly have received a reward; yet, many of the unscriptural works of the saints have been burned, and such have suffered loss, while they themselves have been saved, or delivered; yet so as by fire. While this is the case relative to the church of Christ, we are aware that all the host of anti-christ, in their different manner of devotions, claim to be the church of Christ, some glorying in the Pope, others in the clergy, and their own works, performed after their own plans, without the least regard to God’s word as the only correct rule of faith and practice, while they are all sailing high in worldly pride and pharisaic sanctity, boasting of their ministers, number of members, works of piety and benevolence, they all agree in opposing the Church of God and the truth of the gospel, as preached by Jesus and his Apostles. Of such and their devotion, Paul says, Col.2:23, “Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.” Such as the foregoing events, being witnessed now by the saints should be sufficient caution to them against glorying in poor mortal men, and it also should be a powerful admonition to glory alone in the Lord, and the reflection should be more impressive because God has said to his children by the inspired Apostle, “For all things are yours,” including Apostles, ministers of the gospel, the world, life, death, things present, things to come – all, says God, are yours, and ye are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. No better reason could be given why the saints should glory in the Lord. When we reflect that the spiritual, actual existence of the Church of God was and is in Christ Jesus, eternally, and that all spiritual blessings were given her in Christ Jesus, according as God has chosen her in him before the foundation of the world, before Adam’s dust was fashioned into a man, and before {by his disobedience} sin entered into the world, the spiritual existence of the church, or eternal life in Christ Jesus, was given to those chosen in him, which choice embraced and looked directly to all his people to be redeemed and called from among the fallen sons and daughters of Adam, according to the choice before made in Christ Jesus. Hence it is said, “whom he did foreknow, them he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, &c.,” and that they may be conformed because they are sons, he sends the spirit of his Son into their hearts crying Abba Father. This spirit is called the spirit of adoption, so that as his people stand related to Adam, they came into the family of God’s dear Son, by adoption; because of the spiritual existence and relation they bore to God in Christ before the world began. This being the case they are God’s children by spiritual generation, as well as by adoption, therefore except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. Then we should never glory in men, but in the Lord.

Yours in love,
D.W. Patman.
Oglethorpe Co., Georgia, Jan.21, 1857.