Northport, Ala., Dec. 12, 1879
DEAR BRETHREN BEEBE: – Your editorials are truly edifying and instructive to me, although I cannot understand you in everything. It seems to me from reading your editorials that what I consider the “eternal life” that is given to the saints in the new birth, you call the child of God itself. I see no necessity for contending that this “eternal life,” which was with the Father, and was manifested to us, and is given to the saints in the new birth, never sinned nor fell in Adam, and consequently needs no redemption. I do not know of any one that believes such a doctrine; and as we find no such language in the Bible, and as no one preaches or believes such a doctrine, why speak of it? I think that this is the reason that so many fail to understand you. It is true that this eternal life, that is given to the saints or redeemed people of God in the new birth, this eternal life which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us, the Word that was with God and was God, the same that was in the beginning with God, and the same Word that was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and to the recipients of this eternal life is Christ in them the hope of glory, never sinned, never fell in Adam, and consequently needs no redemption. But the now redeemed “vessels of mercy” did fall, did sin in Adam, and consequently are in great need of redemption and deliverance from sin and death. “For as in Adam all dies, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” The road that leads to life is a strait and narrow way, and those that lead should be careful, lest the lambs be led astray, and “that which is lame be turned out of the way.”
These remarks are made in love and the best of feeling, with the hope that you may be induced to continue through the SIGNS your able delineations of these glorious and important truths. Wishing the SIGNS success, and a hearty reception of the firesides of all who love our Lord Jesus Christ in truth and sincerity, I bid your adieu for the present.
Yours in christian love and affection,
H. J. REDD.
It is not in refutation of any who have contended that the eternal life which was with the Father, and was given us in Christ, had sinned, or was in need of the cleansing blood of the Lamb to redeem it, that we have contended; but because that we have been charged with saying that there is nothing done in redemption, regeneration or the new birth for the Adamic man, and in the hope of correcting that misapprehension of our views, that we have contended that it was in that life which was given us in the earthy Adam, and not in that eternal life which was preserved in the second Adam, who is the Lord from heaven, that we have all sinned, and that death has passed on us all. And that those who were chosen of the family of mankind, and predestinated to the adoption of children, were involved in guilt and under condemnation, and required to be redeemed, called and justified through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. We have also believed and contended that the life which was given us in the earthy Adam, and on which death passed as soon as sin entered into the world, is developed in us by ordinary or natural generation when we are born of the flesh, making us manifest as the children of the earthy Adam, in whose image, depravity and mortality we are born.
But that spiritual, incorruptible and eternal life, which Paul says “is the gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. vi. 23,) is developed in the man of Adam’s race who is born again; and he in whom this life is thus manifested, although he continues in his fleshly relation to the earthy Adam in possession of Adam’s earthy, carnal, mortal and corruptible nature until the dissolution of his mortal body, or until his mortality shall put on immortality, and his corruptible shall put on incorruption, still he is by the spirit and eternal life which is given him in his new birth sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise as an heir of immortal glory, and has the assurance that in due time God will change his vile body, and fashion it like the glorious body of our Lord Jesus Christ. This earthly, fleshly nature, which is born of the flesh, and is still in a mortal and corruptible state, and which has been thus sealed as a vessel of mercy, predestinated tot eh adoption of a son, even after the reception of the spirit of adoption, as the first fruits of the Spirit, waits for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of the body, which cannot be fully realized until the redemption or resurrection of the purchased possession. This Adamic life remaining in those who are born of God is, as we understand, personified as a man, and is, inasmuch as it is the first life or nature manifested in the order of time, called the old man; it is also called the outer man, the natural man, &c., still retaining affections and lusts, which the christian is commanded to deny, resist, and crucify.
As the fleshly life which was given us in Adam is manifested and personified as an old man, an outward man, &c., so that spiritual, immortal, incorruptible life which was given to the saints in Christ Jesus before the world began is communicated to and manifested in us by a spiritual birth, and is also in the same manner personified as a man, as the inner man, and as the new (in distinction from the old) man, which after God (not after Adam) is created in righteousness and true holiness. This creation after God in righteousness and true holiness does not, we think, refer to our natural creation in the earthy Adam, in the sense and application of the word, but as when it is used by divine inspiration, thus, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” – Eph. ii. 10.
Our highly esteemed brother Redd is correct in understanding us to personify that life which is born of God. Being born of God, it is in vital relation to him as a child, of whom God is its parent, who “Of his own will begat us with the word of truth.” – James i. 18. Jesus said to his disciples, “What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.” – John vi. 63. And Peter says, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed.” Not of the flesh, which profiteth nothing. “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” – John i. 13. Yet, being born again, “of incorruptible (seed), by the word of God,” which Jesus speaks in the quickening and new birth of his incorruptible seed; which word of Jesus is the word of God, unaided by the flesh in the production of that birth which is by the word of God, that liveth and abideth forever. – 1 Peter i. 23. Because, the words that Jesus speaks unto his disciples, “are spirit and they are life.” A birth, therefore, thus affected independently of the flesh, we think must be purely spiritual bringing forth that which is in its nature purely spiritual and vital; hence, if we be correct, that which is born of the word of God is not a reproduction of flesh and blood, but it is a spiritual child of God, an heir of glory, and a joint heir with Jesus Christ. This birth, effected by the living, immortal word of God in the chosen and redeemed vessels of mercy, makes manifest in them that spirit and life by which they are sealed unto the day of redemption, or of the change of their vile bodies, when by its power and virtue they shall be raised up from the dead in the image and likeness of their blessed Redeemer and bear his image, as we now bear the image of the earthy Adam. God being the Father of that which is begotten of him, presents to our mind the inevitable conclusion that that which is born of him is his child.
We receive the remarks of brother Redd in the same spirit in which they are presented in his letter, and hold ourself ready and willing to give all satisfaction to all who write to us in the same brotherly and God-fearing spirit. We trust that he will perceive by our reply that we have not charged any with holding that our eternal life in Christ Jesus, which is begotten and born in us, was corruptible or sinful, or that it was in need of cleansing; but having ourself been charged with holding sentiments involving that doctrine, and of denying that anything was done in redemption or salvation for the Adamic man, we have labored to make ourself better understood by our brethren who have seemed to misapprehend our language. We feel very sensibly our insufficiency and short-comings; and now that old age and infirmity remind us that we shall soon leave this stage of conflict, we fell a very great desire that our sentiments should be clearly understood, and to leave our dying testimony to the truth free from ambiguity or perplexing complication.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Middletown, N. Y.
Signs of the Times
January 15, 1880
Volume 48, No. 2