Wayne, Steuben Co., N. Y., Nov. 27, 1879
DEAR FATHER BEEBE: – Having a few thoughts in my mind that I cannot drive away, and having no one to express then to, I send them to you, for you to dispose of as you may think best. Having but a few minutes to spend, I will not spend them in telling you of my weakness. The Lord knows that I am weak, but he has promised to lie with those that are weak, and in his strength do thee trust. To-day is appointed by our rulers as a day of thanskgiving; and while I have been lousy with my work, my mind has been led to think much about thanksgiving. To think of man’s appointing a day when we shall be thankful to the Lord, seems foolishness to me; for there have been times in my experience when I seemed to have much to be thankful for, and have tried to feel so, but could not. And there have been times when everything of earth has seemed to be against me, and I felt to thank the Lord that it was so. As it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps, so neither can he control his thoughts. But when the Lord is pleased to shed almond his love in our hearts, then we can feel thankful, no matter what our circumstances are. We may be suffering with pain, or be deprived of the comforts of life, but with his love shed abroad in our hearts, we do not need much of this earth to make us rich; but when he leaves us to ourselves, how soon we feel our poverty, although our house may be a palace. Mondays while I am writing, I think the Lord gives me a thankful feeling that he has made me to differ from my friends and neighbors who teach for doctrines the commandments of men. Yes, he has given me a taste of that food which is nothing short of the heavenly manna, and nothing else can satisfy my hungry soul. I have no desire to fill myself with the husks, which are fit for nothing but for swine to eat. But I must close for want of time.
From one of the smallest of the flock,
C. E. REED.
REPLY TO BROTHER REED
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. Add 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 Nile body, and fashion it like the glorious body of our Lord Jesus Christ. This earthly, fleshly nature, which is born of the Dealt, and is still in a mortal and corruptible state, and which has been thus sealed as a vessel of mercy, predestinated to the 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 ire 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 mans 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 Reed 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 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 thee 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. – Peter i. 23. Because, the words that Jesus speaks unto his disciples, “are spirit and they are life.” A birth, therefore, thus effected independently of the flesh, we think mast 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 Reed 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 shortcomings; and now that old age and infirmity remind us that we shall soon leave this stage of conflict, we feel 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., January 15, 1880.
Signs of the Times – Editorial
Volume 48, No. 2
January 15, 1880