“THOSE who engage in the missionary enterprise, on gospel principles, are most intimately conjoined and associated therein with the adorable Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
“We have been sending our thoughts forward to contemplate the final results of the missionary labors. We will now turn them back to consider their origin and the authority on which they are based. Far away back, then, in the annals of eternity, to the record of a council held on this subject by the illustrious Three in One. High consultation was had on man’s for ever lost condition, and the resolve was made to undertake his redemption. The plan was that the Father should send the Son to the revolted province as Minister and Missionary Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, attended and aided in various ways by the Holy Spirit, and also by angelic messengers. And thus it was that when the Son in the fulfillment of his plan appeared on earth, in order to remove all doubts and satisfy even the most scrupulous of his authority as Messiah, he produced citation from the book of these ancient records, saying, “Lo I come; in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O God.” His will lie did do for three and thirty years; he trod the realms of the rebellious, seeking in ways manifold to do them good; he then entered and trod the wine-press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God; he trod it alone, and. of the people there were none with him. But that is the only place where he could be alone; in every other department of labor he would have his people with him. And especially does lie call upon them in the work of instruction, in the spread and proclamation of the gospel for the purpose of enlightening and winning souls to the love and practice of holiness. here in the language of Paul we are laborers together with God. O, what honored and favored partnership! what! to be associated not with the King simply, but with the King of kings and Lord of lords! is not this grand? is there not moral dignity here? And what in the universe can express the value and glory of an enterprise, if the concentration of infinite wisdom and goodness upon it, and the earnest, protracted and unceasing engagement of the adorable Trinity in it, cannot? And is it not cheering, is it not inspiring to know that while you are endeavoring to draw souls to Christ your work is identical with that of the Almighty Father? “That while you are agonizing in spirit for the salvation of the lost, and seeking with all your heart to save them, you are sympathizing deeply with the blessed Redeemer, and hi-boring in happy union with him in the same glorious object?” That in endeavoring to convince men of a sin and lead them in the paths of holiness, you are acting in delightful conjunction with the ever blessed spirit of truth? Let us, my brethren, be careful to demean ourselves worthily, and act in a manner becoming those who have been called with such a high and holy calling. We now close with some inferences.
“1. How great and yet how delightful is the work of the ministry, especially that of the missionary. They toil for objects that awaken the interests and engage the affections of angelic beings. in it they have their sympathy and approving smile. The object of their labors, moreover, is confessedly the most sublime and most important in creation. They seek the rescue of deathless spirits from untold misery; they seek the enrichment and adornment and perfection of those spirits in the bliss and beauties of undecaying holiness. To be successful in this is to live to some good purpose, to be indeed a benefactor of the race.
“2. How careful should we be in the selection of persons to fill the ministerial and missionary offices. We speak not here, particularly, of their abilities or their learning. In both, these respects they should be respectable; but of their character as christians. It is in the formation of character that their business emphatically lies. How then, if they be sordid, sensual, covetous, gross and selfish in their own characters, can they perceive and appreciate the importance of opposite traits in others? Or how, if they do, can they thus stained and tainted, effect the grand object of their calling? Congruity of character and work are here especially demanded, for we are to be examples to the flesh; by these we teach most effectually.
“3. We see the wickedness of opposition to missions. It is to rob the holiest and the kindest beings of the universe of one of the richest sources of their enjoyment. It is to stand in the way and hinder the progress of redemption, to keep mankind in sin and ruin, to shut them out from the means of attaining to the end of their creation a character formed upon the model of Immanuel’s, to stand in hostile array against the most delightful work of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Who that considers this would wish to occupy such a position? who would bear such a load of guilt? See then that ye oppose not the work of the joyful missions.
“4. We learn the great desire and anxiety of God that sinners should repent. Not only has he provided ample means for their salvation, and invited them in the most cordial manner to turn and live, but he has set forth bands of bright celestial beings to charm them to repentance by the music of their harps and the rapture of their songs. Say not then, oh sinner, that thou art willing to turn but Christ is not willing to receive thee. Thy heart deceives thee; trust it not. All heaven waits to receive-the penitent soul.” – Cross and Journal.
We cannot afford space to present our readers with the entire sermon, but refer them to the Cross and Journal of Columbus, Ohio, for the balance. What we have copied from that New School Baptist paper is a fair specimen of the whole; and from the fact that this sermon was published by special request of the trustees of the Ohio Baptist Convention, is a sufficient evidence that this discourse breathes the sentiments of that convention, and is by them regarded as a masterly exhibition of their real sentiments, and that they consider the doctrines and arguments in it embraced altogether unanswerable by those who are so wicked as to oppose them in their pious enterprise of what they blasphemously call a conjunction and association with the adorable Trinity!
The speaker, in the loftiness of his vain imagination, supposes that at a date at some time far back in the annals of eternity, there was a convention held in which the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Ghost convened in council upon the subject of undertaking the work of man’s redemption.
The stupidity and blindness of this learned novice appears, first, in his profound ignorance of the character and unity of God, supposing that a council or convention of the persons in the Godhead was required in order to hold high consultation, &c.
The ignorance of Mr. Gear and that of the convention before whom he uttered his aspersions upon the character of God, is very obviously betrayed in confounding the two scriptural words counsel and council, of which the latter is in no instance in the scriptures applied to God. The difference in the signification of these words will readily appear by reference to any common dictionary. The term counsel is frequently used in the scriptures and applied to God, as Isaiah xlvi. 11, Psa. xxxiii. 11, lxxiii. 24, cvii. 11, and Eph. i. 11, as signifying the decision of the divine mind in relation to future events; but the term council, which implies a deliberative assembly or convention, although frequently applied to anti-christ in the New Testament, is in no instance applied to God. The impropriety of such an application appears, first, in representing the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as a convention or assembly of gods, so distinct from each other as to require a special convention for business. How does this heathenish notion comport with the scriptural testimony: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord.” – Deut. vi. 4. “A just God and a Savior, there is none beside me.” And, “For I am God, and there is none else.” – Isa. Xiv. 21, 22? How does it accord with the declaration of Christ, “I and my Father are one,” and, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father also?” We hear much said about a council of Father, Son and Holy Ghost upon the subject of man’s redemption; but upon what portion of divine revelation is it based? There is not a solitary passage in scripture where such a council is mentioned, or where there’ is a hint given to that effect. If it could once be proven that such a council was held in the manner contended for, and for the purpose before stated, it would for ever remove the eternal permanency of our hope; it would effectually remove the foundation of the righteous, inasmuch as it would prove that the purpose of redemption did not always exist. Our author says high consultation was held on the subject, which only resulted in an undertaking of the work of man’s redemption. To our mind the idea of a commenced purpose of grace is equal to no prior purpose at all. If there be anything new in the divine mind it must seriously effect his immutability. If he has changed his mind or purpose by reason of a high or low consultation or issue of a convention, then of necessity that change, even in the divine mind, must be for the better or the worse. If for the better, he was not absolutely perfect prior to the change; and it’ for the worse, he is not perfect subsequently to the change! What think ye of this doctrine?
But the writer of our extract evidently designed, by going far back to the annals of eternity, to impress his hearers and readers with the fallacious idea that he is a predestinarian, that he believes in eternal purpose, &c. But does he so believe? By no means. He believes that even the plan or purpose did not exist until the convention of a council, and then a resolution was passed, whether unanimously or only by a majority we are not told, but that a resolution was passed to try the experiment, or in his own words, to undertake the work of man’s redemption!
Mr. Gear’s description of the plan resulting from the high consultation of an assemblage of persons in the Godhead, is scarcely less extravagant or absurd than his notion of the being and attributes of God; and all combine to prove him a most consummate arminian. He evidently inculcates the idea that the existence of the human family and their fallen, ruined and helpless state were all known by the members of the council before the convention was assembled; but represents them entirely ignorant of the purpose of grace until a much later date, until the result of the high consultation was ascertained. And yet if we should assert that H. Gear believes that God had ordained that sin should be in this world, so as to make it positively certain before the world was made, and even before the plan of grace was adopted, away back in the annals of eternity, we might be in danger of being contradicted.
His supposed plan described as being embraced in the resolution of the council, certainly demands some attention as we pass.
“The plan was that the Father should send the Son to the revolted province, as Minister and Missionary Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, attended and aided in various ways by the Holy Spirit, and also by angelic messengers.”
In what part of divine revelation does this sapient sermonizer find testimony to this effect? Not a syllable of the kind can be established by the testimony of the scriptures. We are informed that “When the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his Son,” not as a minister and missionary extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the revolted province. He came not in any such characters, nor was his business to treat with another government distinct from the government of God. Ministers plenipotentiary are sent to foreign governments, but do not act in that capacity within the limits of the government by them represented. But was the Son of God sent beyond the limits of the divine government to a world of beings beyond the control of God, to settle some terms of mutual agreement between the two distinct governments? No. Why then are these flourishing titles used in reference to the advent of our Lord? Only to darken counsel by words without knowledge. The deep seated corruption of arminianism, which like the poison of an asp, flows through all the veins of H. Gear, and blinds his eyes to every correct sentiment on this subject. He sees not, nor can he see, unless it shall please the Lord to translate him from nature’s darkness into the marvelous light of the gospel, that the Son of God, in his mediatorial character, came into this world as the Surety and legal Representative of a peculiar people which were represented in him before they had an existence in the natural Adam, before they were defiled with sin or condemned by the law; and that he came to save his people, a people on whom he had a prior claim, from their sins. “For he took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham.” But, so far is Mr. G. from understanding that Christ came as “A Redeemer out of Zion, to turn away ungodliness from Jacob,” he supposes that he came to attempt to negotiate a treaty of peace with all mankind without discrimination. And to effect this, the Holy Spirit and angelic messengers were to aid him. If Mr. G. believes as he has said, that the Son is one of the three persons that formed the council in eternity, and that he is, in any absolute sense, God, wherein can he suppose that he can be aided by angels? His views are not in harmony with them selves. But it is not true that Christ came to send peace on the earth, but a division; so Mr. G. has altogether mistaken the object of his advent. (Matt. x. 34.) Mr. G. also betrays as much ignorance of his real character, in supposing that he required the aid of even angels, as the Son of God; much less is he in need of such co-operators as modern missionaries. In his Godhead, Christ is the eternal God, equally with the Father and the Holy Ghost, for in him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. In his mediatorial character he has taken on him the form of a servant, and in that form he learned obedience, &c., and in that peculiar character angels ministered to him. Mr. G. continues to slander our Lord thus, “To remove all doubts and satisfy even the most scrupulous of his authority as Messiah, he produced citation from the book of these ancient records, saying, ‘Lo I come; in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O God.’” How well has an inspired apostle charged such men as H. Gear with turning the truth of God into a lie. No less than two palpable misrepresentations are attempted to be passed off as bible testimony in the last item quoted from the famous or rather infamous sermon. First, that Christ produced citation in order to remove doubts from the most scrupulous, &c.; and secondly, that he quoted the words, “Lo I come,” &c., from an ancient record of a council or convention of high consultation. The citation was not produced in treating with sinners, nor with such as entertain scruples, doubts, &c., of his being the true Messiah; but they were used. by our Lord Jesus Christ in his appeal to him of whom it was said, “Sacrifice and offering thou wouldst not, but a body hast thou prepared me.” Were these words addressed to unbelieving sinners, to those who doubted that Christ was the Messiah? Certainly not; hence the representation is false. And as citation is produced from. Psalms xl. 7, 8, the attempt of Mr. G. to impress his hearers with the idea that these words were cited from some other record than that of the scriptures, is also false.
NEW VERNON, N. Y.,
Oct. 15, 1842.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 2
Pages 73 – 81