In the number of the SIGNS OF THE TIMES for Dec. 15, 1879, will be found a letter from our beloved brother, Wm. E. Freeman, in which he speaks of some articles published more than 30 years ago, which have been construed by certain parties as fastening on us what they called the “Arian Two-Seed heresy.” Has but very few of our present readers have access to those old volumes, brother Freeman suggested that we should we publish them for the benefit of those who desire to know whether we have been for so many years publishing such pernicious heresies, and so very few of the many thousands of our readers have had sagacity enough to discover it. In all courts of equity the burden of proving charges has been thought rightly to devolve on the accusers, in the accused is supposed to be innocent until proved to be guilty. But circumstances altar cases. We are violently accused, and challenged to prove our innocent of the things charged. Our accusers claim that they have proved by extracts from the SIGNS of many years ago what we have constantly protested and denied that we do now, or ever have held. And now, to show that the passages copied from the SIGNS have been unfairly garbled or strangely misconstrued, and that, in the very articles from which they have made these extracts, we distinctly, expressly and most emphatically denied that we did at that time, or in any other time, pulled what they so persistently charges with. How truly brother Freeman says, “One thing that we should be thankful for, and that is, that of all the people calling themselves Old School Baptists, there are none so ignorant of these heresies as the readers and patrons of the SIGNS OF THE TIMES. This looks very strange, that those who never read the SIGNS should profess to know better what it teaches and advocates than those who do read it.” In a note which we appended to brother Freeman’s letter, we promise to attend to his suggestion in regard to the republication of the articles to which reference has been made by our accusers, at our earliest convenience. From the date of that promise our time and space have both been crowded, but we now commence in this number of the SIGNS the republication of the articles referred to. And as we can make room, we will continue their publication in consecutive numbers until we shall have reproduced all that have been referred to by brother Freeman has been claimed by our accusers as sustaining their charges against us. The first of the papers called for is here on two subjoined, being a letter from Eld. E. S. Dudley, dated June 28, 1849, and our reply.
DEAR BROTHER BEEBE: – if you feel free to do so, I would like if you would give your views on Heb. ii. 14, 15, which reads thus: “For as much then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”
The particular point of difficulty with me, and the point to which I would direct your attention, is “the origin of those children,” and how they became united in their Federal head, the second Adam.
My object is not too ilicit controversy, but to get information; and if you will favor me with your views, I will just take them for what they’re worth.
Yours in christian regard,
E. S. DUDLEY
REPLY: – we feel free to give our views on the subject presented, not from any presumption that we enjoy it clear light or happier talent of communication than our brethren, but because we desire to withhold no religious sentiment from the investigation of our readers. We consider them entitled to our religious views on all subjects on which they are pleased to interrogate us, and we feel the more unreservedly free in this instant because our brother assumes the more difficult task of estimating the exact worth of our views, and is pledged to take them for just what they are worth; if indeed they shall prove to be worth anything. This is what we desire on all subjects on which we express our opinion. To ask for more would be vain and presumptuous, and be willing to accept less would be to underrate their worth. The two particular points involved in the consideration of this text, to which our attention was called, are,
1. The origin of these children; and
2. How they became united to their Federal Head, the Second Adam.
First, the origin of these children. Taking for granted that these children are the children of God, that seed which God, by the prophet, said, should serve him, and which should be counted to the Lord for a generation; and which are by Peter are called, “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,” &c., And by Paul, “the faithful in Christ Jesus,” we shall have but little difficulty in tracing their origin immediately two God. Christ himself is said of them, “Thine they were, and thou gavest them me.” Again, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me.” “My Father which gave them me is greater than all,” &c. But we presume that brother Deadly is as well satisfied that these children had their origin in God, as we are; we conclude that his query was intended to embrace the consideration of the date, manner and circumstances of their origin. Whether they were originated at the time of the creation of the natural heavens and earth in the formation of Adam from the dust of the earth, or at some date antecedent or subsequent to the creation of the world. We are free to express the strong conviction of our mind that as the seed of Christ, they had their origin in him as their seminal Head, and divinely appointed Mediator, long before they became partakers of flesh and blood. Some of them we know existed as the seed of Christ when he poured out his soul unto death, for at that time he saw all his seed, and some of them have never until the present time been developed as partakers of flesh and blood; only as they had an earthly or natural existence in Adam the first, from the day that man became a living soul. The text before us demonstrates the fact that these children did exist as his (Christ’s) children before they became partakers of flesh and blood. Their becoming partakers of flesh and blood did not constitute them the children or seed of Christ, for they had their identity as his children, or “the children” before they partook of flesh and blood. Who partook of flesh and blood? The children. How did they partake of flesh and blood? Just as Christ “also himself likewise partook of the same,” when he was made flesh and dwelt among us; for the term likewise, signifies in like manner or in the same way. Christ existed as the Son of God before he was made of a woman; and so his seed existed in him as their Mediatorial and seminal Head, before they were created in Adam. When we speak of the existence of Christ as the Son of God, the Mediator, the Head of the church and life of his people, before he became incarnate, we do not allude to his absolute Godhead, for in his Godhead he is the eternal, the self-existent God, in the most absolute sense of the word; but we allude to what he was at the beginning of the creation of God and the First-Born of every creature. And thus existing in his Mediatorial character, the fullness of the Godhead and the fullness of the church were embodied in that Mediatorial existence. And hence it is said that his people were created in him, chosen in him, preserved in him, saved and called with an holy calling, not according to their works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given them in Christ Jesus before the world began. Their origin as his seed his simultaneous an identical with Christ as their Life, as we are informed in the connection of our text. For both he that sanctifieth and they that are sanctified are all of one, for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, “I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church I will sing praise unto thee. And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I, and the children which god hath given me.” In perfect harmony with the scriptures, he told his disciples that he was going to his Father into their Father, to his God and to their God. As he is the only begotten of the Father, their sonship is included in his Sonship. He was the Son of God before he partook of flesh and blood, and his seed were the children of God in his sonship before they partook of flesh and blood. Brother Dudley will perceive that while we ascribe to Christ absolute Godhead in the most absolute and a limited sense of the word; and as such denied that he is second, subsequent, or inferior to any other God, we refer every title applied to him in the scriptures, which implies derivation, emanation, generation or dependence, to his Mediatorial Headship of his church, which is his body, the fullness of him that fill with all in all; excepting only such titles as are used in special reference to his humanity.
Second. The second point for consideration is, “How they became united in their Federal Head, the Second Adam?” The original seminal union and identity of the church as the body, with Christ as the Head, has probably been sufficiently discussed in the first division of our article; but we suppose brother Dudley’s enquiry to embrace the subject of experimental union – for certainly neither he nor any other intelligent brother can conceive of the existence of a living head, and a living body belonging to that living head, and that the same time disconnected, or disunited. Separate any from which body, and neither head or body can survive the separation; the matter of union concerning which our brother inquires, must be that experimental union which is developed in the saints when Christ is formed in them the hope of glory. How this is brought about involves considerations second in importance only to what we have already expressed our views upon. This consideration is not only great and and sublime, but it is vast and its range, for it involves the consideration of the participation of his children in the flesh and blood of their Adamic nature, their natural seminal union to identity with Adam as the Federal head of the human family as such; their sin in him, their guilt and condemnation in that nature in union; their alienation from God, and their total depravity is fallen sinners; their redemption and reconciliation to God through the atonement of their “nearest of kin,” Christ, and finally their regeneration, by the quickening operation of the Holy Ghost. All these, and more, are involved in the consideration of this branch of our subject. It is not possible for us to be more clear on these points than the inspired writer, in the connection of our text. Christ, who in his mediatorial character was holy, harmless, separate from sinners and higher than the heavens, was made a little lower than the angels, in his assumption of that body which was prepared for the suffering of death; in which he, by the grace of God should taste death for them all, and thus bring many sons unto glory; by destroying him that had the power of death, and delivering them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. In this work it behooved him not only to be made like unto his brethren, but also to suffer the just for the unjust, to bring them to God; hints he was delivered for their offenses, and raised again for the justification, and by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Thus having, by virtue of pre-existing relationship, union an identity, sustained legally the character, and performed effectually the work of a Redeemer, he has “Gone up with a shout, and with the sound of a trumpet.” The heavens have received him as the High Priest of our profession, and as the Captain of our salvation; and he has sent the Holy Spirit, whose work it is to quicken and regenerate all those for whom he died, and the take of the things of his, and show them unto his people. In the prosecution of this placid work, the heirs of immortality are made to hear the voice of the Son of God, and live; and when thus made alive, they are made to feel and realized their lost and helpless condition as sinners against God, and to despair of salvation thru any work or merit of their own, and whence efficiently humbled before God, Christ is revealed to them as their Life, their Righteousness, Sanctification and Redemption. The spirit of adoption is given them, and they cry, Abba, Father. God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, shines in their hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ. Not to make them sons, but because they are sons, God sends forth the spirit of his Son into their hearts, and his spirit witnesses with their spirit, that they are born of God. Now they experience and enjoy this union with their second, anti-typical Adam; and they are made to know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings. Now they are recognized and sealed as the errors of Glory – and from their living in spiritual Head, by joints and bands united, they have nourishment ministered, and increased with the increase of God here we must leave the subject for the present. Brother Dudley would just throw what we have written into the scales of the sanctuary, weigh it fairly, ascertained its true wait and worth by a righteous standard, and do as he has promised, and we ask no more.
Elder Gilbert Beebe,
Signs of the Times,
Volume 48, No. 11
June 1, 1880