Woodsonville, KY, Oct. 18, 1857.
Dear Brother Beebe: - I send you a number of the Primitive Baptist, in which you will find a letter from G.M. Thompson. In this letter you will find some charges against you, and the brethren of your connection. These charges are going the rounds so far as the influence of some brethren are concerned. Let them be deceived or not, these charges are to your prejudice, and in my humble judgment, ought to be met promptly, yet in a meek and quiet spirit; therefore I insist you take the time and pains to meet them fully. I do not think it important you should publish this note, yet I leave it optionary with you.
Yours in Christ,
A. L WOODSON.
Reply. We were aware of the charges which have been spread broadcast in certain localities against us and our brethren, but until specially called on to meet them, we had concluded to let them pass. We remember the words of the Redeemer, "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you." - Matt. v. 11, 12.
There is not probably in the United States, if in the world, at this day, an Old School Baptist whose religious sentiments are more thoroughly or more extensively known, than our own. Twice a month, for twenty-five years, we have published our sentiments without the least reserve, and have answered all questions which have been put to us by our brethren, with all the candor and frankness possible. We have never held any secret sentiment on any religious subject, and we have therefore no fear that any, who do not wish to find occasion against us, will be inclined to credit the false reports which are and have been circulated against us.
The paper which brother Woodson has sent us, was shown to us when at the Kehukee Association, in North Carolina, and by the advice of brethren of that Association, we wrote a note to brother Temple, in which we denied the charges, so far as they referred to us, and so far as they were intended to implicate any Old School Baptists that we have any knowledge of. The charges alluded to are contained in a letter over the signature of "G.M. Thompson," address to "M.V. Wilson," and published in the 18th number of the current volume of the Primitive Baptist, and embraced in the commencement of a paragraph at the bottom of the second column of page 279, and read as follows, viz:
"I will state to you a few things preached by Beebe, and many others who call themselves Old Baptists, and you can judge for yourself.
1st. They preach that Christ is a created Savior.
2d. They preach that the elect never sinned in Adam.
3d. They preach that Christ never came into this world to redeem his children.
4th. They deny the regeneration of the soul, or that any change is wrought in the sinner in regeneration."
These four specifications are totally false in every particular, so far as we are concerned, and if there is an Old Baptist or any other person who either holds or preaches the above heresies, we have never heard of it before.
For more than forty years we have preached constantly that Jesus Christ is the "Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace." That besides God there is no Savior; that in him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, that he is uncreated, underived, self-existent, independent and eternal. There is not an attribute ascribed to the Eternal Father that we do not ascribe to Jesus Christ. In a created Savior we have neither faith nor confidence. We hold that our Savior is the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Almighty. And we also hold that he sustains the character, office and relationship of Mediator between God and men, in which he is one with the Father, and his church one with him. That he stood in this Mediatorial relation to his church, her Head, Life, and Immortality, before the world began, and even from everlasting. And farther, we believe that when he made his advent to this world, he was made of a woman - made under the law, and his children being partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same. That he was put to death in the flesh, and that he arose from the dead, the third day, according to the Scriptures, and that he ascended up into heaven in that body and flesh in which he was crucified, and which did not see corruption.
Second. We preach and believe that the elect of God did all sin in Adam, that is, that all those who were chosen and elected by God the Father, in Jesus Christ, the Son and Mediator, did sin in Adam, and in that nature derived from him were all of them, by nature, children of wrath even as others, even to the same extent, so that they have nothing wherein they can boast over the finally impenitent.
Third. We believe and preach that the express object of Christ's coming into the world was to redeem his children; and that this was the exclusive object; he came for that very purpose, and for no other.
Fourth. We believe in the regeneration of every soul that belongs to Christ in the economy of grace and salvation. Not, however, that regeneration is a new modeling of the old man, whether we call the old man soul, body or spirit, but that it is the communication of spiritual, immortal and eternal life, to every individual person that is born again. That which is produced in us in regeneration, is not a reproduction of that which is born of the flesh, but the development in us of that life and immortality which was given to us in Jesus Christ our Lord, before the world began. We believe, and constantly preach, that a change is wrought in every sinner, by regeneration, that is born of God, but that change does not consist in changing our mortal bodies to immortal, our terrestial to celestial bodies nor in delivering the creature from the bondage of corruption, as it shall be changed at the resurrection. The soul and body and spirit, and all the elements of our natural Adamic nature, after regeneration, as before, are subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, and consequently, from the hour of the new birth, so long as the old Adamic man remains in the same person with the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness, to the time that these earthly tabernacles shall be dissolved and fall, the heaven-born child will be in a state of warfare; the flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. The change effected by the new birth, as we believe and preach, is this: Before the birth, we are dead, being destitute of all spiritual, immortal and eternal life. At the birth, spiritual, immortal and eternal life is developed in us. The dead hear the voice of the Son of God, (for the incorruptible seed by which the new birth is produced, is by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. The words which Christ speaks to us, they are spirit and they are life,) and they that hear shall live. This we not only regard as a change, but a great change, in which he that was lost is found; he that was blind, sees, the deaf hears, the dead is made alive. He that hated God, hated truth, hated God's people, and hated holiness, now, by virtue of the love of God shed abroad in his heart, loves God supremely, loves his word, his ordinances, his people, and all that is lovely in the sight of God. He that is born again has the Spirit of Christ, and the mind of Christ, but still the body is dead, because of sin; but the Spirit is life, because of righteousness. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, for flesh can produce nothing else; and it is dead because of sin. Death has passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. But that which is born of the Spirit is spirit; and it is life because of righteousness. And while life and death continue to struggle in us, there will be a warfare; insomuch that if we live after the flesh we shall die, for nothing but death is there, when thus abstractly considered; but still, dead as it is, there is a life of immortality in it. "I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who hath loved me, and given himself for me." If to be made experimentally acquainted with the religion of our Lord Jesus Christ, to know the love of God which passes all knowledge; if to be brought to love holiness and hate sin; if to see the kingdom of God, and feel an interest in it; if to pass from death to life, from darkness to light, and if to be taught of Jesus, who is meek and lowly, and to feel inclined to follow him through evil as well as through good report; if to be made to prefer Jerusalem above our chief joys; if to desire the company of the saints, and feel unworthy of a place among them; if to delight in singing the praise of God, and living by faith upon the Son of God, constitutes no change, what is the change insisted upon by our new-light reformers? Did Paul, or Peter, or any of the apostles or primitive saints, contend for any other change in regeneration than we do? Or is there an Old School Baptist on earth that contends for any change effected by the new birth, that we do not?
One word to G.M. Thompson, before we close. We do really believe that the work of regeneration fairly developed in a poor sinner, makes him tell the truth. We are slow to believe that a regenerated person will deliberately and knowingly lie, especially to slander the followers of Christ. We do believe that the life implanted to men by the new birth, makes them virtuous and honest in all their relations to the world, to their families, to their wives and children, and to the church of God; it will lead them to live soberly, righteously and godly. We hardly think it would lead a man to abandon his family for eleven months, or to walk so disorderly as to compel an Old School Baptist church to exclude him more than once or twice. But if, after being restored, on confession, such an one would give satisfactory evidence that he indeed possessed a life which was born from above; it would not be by declaring that his carnal nature was changed from its evil propensities, and had become spiritual; nor by assailing the reputation of those veterans of the cross of Christ, who have stood in the fellowship and esteem of the church of God for forty or fifty years without having ever once betrayed the confidence of their brethren. The book of Esther records an account of a very noted man, whose boundless ambition would not allow him to enjoy the favors of his king, because one who sat in the gate refused to do him reverence. He conceived the idea of hanging the innocent man who thus annoyed him; but the sequel left poor Haman dangling from the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman had erected for Mordecai.
We do not intend to devote the columns of our paper to a defense of our own name and reputation from the aspersions of our personal assailants. We have scarcely replied to the constant volleys of falsehood and slander which has been heaped on us for the last three or four years, through the pages of a sheet published in Virginia, and blasphemously yeleped Zion's Advocate. We have preferred to allow it to bang away, as long as it can find readers sufficiently depraved to feed on its filthy productions. The Zion of our God has an Advocate with the Father, even Jesus Christ, the righteous, an advocate that is not made of paper daubed with ink, or stained with falsehood; and in her Advocate she will ever confide, to manage her cause, and to dispose of her foes.
Unless, as in this case, we should be called on by our brethren, we shall probably never again allude to the falsehoods and slanders which are so unsparingly heaped on us. Our prayer is, that God may give us grace to bear patiently all the reproaches of our enemies, and keep us by his power and grace from deserving their vindictive shafts. Only when the cause of truth and righteousness demands an expose of the hidden things of darkness, do we feel disposed to crowd out more edifying matter, to refute or expose the depravity of those whose element seems to be only to bite and to devour.
November 15, 1857.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 4
Pages 41 - 46