In regard to the change experienced by the subjects of the new and heavenly birth, there is probably a want of a clearer understanding among some of our brethren, in comprehending each other’s views, and the manner in which they are expressed. On the one hand, brethren hold that the new birth develops in those who are born again a new man, which after God, is created in righteousness and true holiness, embodying all the elements of a spiritual man, and that they are brought into the possession and experience of all the fruits of the Spirit, such as love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance, as the legitimate fruits of the Spirit, and that none of these fruits ever emanated from the fleshly nature, which is born of the flesh, either before or subsequently to their new and spiritual birth. The difference between the works of the flesh and the fruits of the Spirit is so great as to produce a bitter and unreconcilable warfare between the flesh and the spirit in all who are the subjects of both births. Those who hold these scriptural views, as did Paul, whose flesh (though he were born of God, and was an apostle of the Lamb) still lusted against his spirit, and his spirit warred constantly against his flesh, and so much so as to bring him into captivity to the law of sin, which was still in his members, may in the avowal of their experience, be misunderstood to mean that the new birth effects no change in the man who is born again, because they accept the declarations of the Scriptures, that “that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” “And these are contrary one to the other.” They see another law in their members warring against the law of their mind, and they deny that anything spiritual, holy and good is born of the flesh, or that anything carnal, earthly, sensual or devilish is born of the Spirit of God.
While those who believe, with brother Vanmeter, that their heart, soul, spirit, conscience, mind, understanding, will and affections are changed, embracing all their mental or intellectual faculties, and so changed by regeneration and the new birth, that they now have become pure, holy, spiritual, and subject to the law of Christ, may still, with our esteemed brother, after all only mean, as he expresses in the latter part of his letter, that “Regeneration does not destroy any of the faculties of the mind or soul; but changes their course right about, to will and to do of his good pleasure.” And that there is still an opposite inclination of the flesh, from that of the spirit in the children of God, causing a warfare between them, and that the flesh, from which all this opposition to the Spirit proceeds, is called the old man. And the spirit from which holiness proceeds in the Christian is called the new man; and that these two are as contrary to each other as sin and holiness can make them.
With this last expression of his views, we can understand what would otherwise have been a mystery to us, namely, how our brother can feel so deeply, and confess so freely his own personal imperfections, lack of knowledge, want of perfection, etc., if his mind and understanding, his intellectual and mental faculties were all made perfect and spiritual, by regeneration or the new birth. The apostle has informed us that “He that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ (I Corinthians 2:15,16).”
This, then, is the key to the secret. Brother Vanmeter’s natural mind, faculties, understanding and perceptive powers, may only be turned into a new channel, or directed in a new course, by the powers of the new man, by which he keeps his body under; and yet like all his brethren, be very imperfect and unable to see or comprehend the things of the Spirit, only so far as the things of the Spirit are revealed by the Spirit of his faith, by which he has the mind of Christ. It has been the same with us; it is the same with all the saints; it was so with Paul; for he was not sufficient to think anything as of himself. See II Corinthians 3:5. We are glad to learn that the same conflict is felt in our brother, between his carnal, or fleshly mind, and the mind of Christ, which by virtue of his new and heavenly birth, has been given him.
In the absence of his closing explanatory remarks, we would perhaps have done him injustice by imputing to him what his words seemed to us to imply, but which he probably does not mean.
It has been contended by some that the new birth makes that which is born of the flesh spiritual; that the sinner is in his earthly nature, soul, body and spirit all changed from natural to spiritual. This brother V. has not said; but we should have concluded that, with the exception of the corporal substance of the fleshly body, he held that the whole man had become spiritual and holy. This we now think could not have been his meaning; for if all the faculties of the natural man were changed from being natural, and had become spiritual, his mind, conscience, understanding, affections and desires would cease to be natural; and if spiritual, then pure and immortal, in which case they could never err, or commit transgression; and the fleshly body, without the soul, mind, understanding, or any of its former faculties, could never sin; for in their absence the fleshly body would be dead, and he that is dead is free from committing sin; it could then no longer maintain a warfare between the flesh and the spirit.
Now in regard to what change is wrought in those who are born of God, we do understand, and presume, that our brethren generally agree with us that the redeemed sinner of Adam’s race, who was dead, is quickened by the quickening Spirit and power of God; that he is passed from death unto life; that he who was a child of wrath, even as others, is quickened together with Christ. He that was lost is found. He that was blind is made to see; is delivered from the power of darkness, and translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son. He who hated God is filled with the love of God. He who was guilty and condemned is now freely justified through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. He who was without hope, has now a hope that is sure and steadfast. He who was an infidel is now a believer. He who persecuted the saints now esteems them as the excellent ones of the earth, in whom he delights; he now desires a place and home with them, though feeling himself less than the least of all. The stranger and foreigner is made nigh by the blood of Christ. And he who had always been under the delusion that he possessed faculties, fleshly powers and abilities with which he could serve God is stripped of all his self-conceit, and self-righteousness, and is manifestly “of the circumcision who worship God in the spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” He who knew no warfare before sees a law in his members warring against the law of his mind, bringing him into captivity to the law of sin, which is in his members.
Now we ask, is there no change in all this? The course of the man is changed. He that was a profane swearer prayeth; the mouth that was full of cursing is engaged in singing the praise of God. Does a denial that any or all these gifts bestowed on us by the Spirit, in our new and spiritual birth, are born of our flesh, or that our carnal, depraved nature, with its natural faculties, are born of the Spirit, necessarily involve a denial of any change wrought in us by the implantation of the Spirit of the living God? We think not.
We believe that every one who is born of God is astonished at the wonderful change that God has wrought in him; and while every day of his life he has the unmistakable evidence that his old carnal nature is the same as it was before, causing him to mourn and weep, to doubt and fear, to groan and confess his vileness; he is amazed to contemplate what God has wrought in bringing him to see, feel and confess that in him, that is, in his flesh, which is born of the flesh, there dwells no good thing. Still he has in him a hope, full of immortality, that the conflict between the old man, that is born of the flesh, and the new man, which is born of the Spirit, will cease when this mortal shall put on immortality, and when this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and that glorious saying that is written shall be brought to pass, “that death is swallowed up of victory.” Thanks, eternal thanks be to God who giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ.
We cannot, without extending this article to too great a length, show the perfect harmony of all those passages of Scriptures quoted by brother Vanmeter, and the doctrine held by all consistent and divinely instructed Old School or Primitive Baptists. If there is among all the readers of the “Signs of the Times” a Christian who feels sure that in his new birth his old nature is changed from carnal to spiritual, whose carnal mind has (Paul’s declaration to the contrary notwithstanding) become spiritual and subject to the law of God, and whose natural understanding has become spiritual, so that he is competent to judge all things, and yet himself be judged of no man, who being so radically changed that he has no more doubts or fears to encounter, no more lusts to suppress, no more vain thoughts to rise in his mind, no more propensity to transgress, we ask that man to let us hear from him.
Brethren, in pointing out what may seem to them to be error in the views of other brethren of the household of faith, should be exceedingly careful to make their differences seem no greater than they really are. Walk as charitably as we may, we shall all find enough in ourselves and others to deplore, pity and forgive, without exaggeration or magnifying our differences. From what we can learn, there has been too little prudence in some quarters in the discussion of the subject of the change which is wrought in the subjects of grace by the new birth.
As an example, take the case now on hand. Who, in reading the communication of brother Vanmeter, if totally unacquainted with the views of the editor of the “Signs of the Times” and eminent brethren who have expressed their views in the “Signs,” would not conclude that he had to encounter those who hold that the new birth makes no change in the person who is born again? Such an impression would naturally arise from the frank acknowledgement of his conscientious dissent from our views; and then, instead of carefully identifying the views to which he objects, he leaves the reader to infer that we entertain and have promulgated views through the “Signs of the Times,” which conflict with the long array of Scriptures which he has produced, as though he intended to demolish our views and to establish his own. We are very slow to believe that there can be found any where in the connection of the Old School or Primitive Baptists even one intelligent brother or sister, who does not as sacredly regard the full force of every passage as brother Vanmeter can. Nor is there any change expressed or implied in any or in all of them, that is disputed by those brethren who have and do deny that any of our natural powers are or ever will be made spiritual until God shall in our final resurrection change these vile bodies, and fashion them like unto Christ’s glorious body.
Brother Vanmeter understands “that the Scriptures abundantly teach a change of heart, soul, spirit, conscience, mind, understanding, will, affections, etc.” Let all this be taken in connection with his concluding remarks, that all these faculties or elements of the man are brought into subordination to the spirit of holiness of which he is born again, and we will not dispute his position. What we dispute is that these faculties are changed from natural to spiritual. And even this we hope we may have no occasion to dispute with brother Vanmeter; for he with us holds that they are turned right about by that power that works in us both to will and do of God’s good pleasure. Now here is the point. What power is it that worketh in the saints to will and to do of his good pleasure? The apostle says it is God; then it is not our fleshly faculties made spiritual; but it is God himself, by his own power, that subjects us to his own pleasure by curbing our wills and controlling our actions. If our fleshly faculties had become changed from their nature and relation to our flesh, and had by a heavenly birth become spiritual, then they would be pure and holy, and would never lead us astray.
Let us illustrate: If our old natural heart is changed into a spiritual, pure and holy heart, why are the saints still reproved for being “slow of heart to believe?” And why do censurable thoughts still arise in them? It is true God has given to us a new heart, in which he has written his law, and he has put within us a right spirit, but every Christian finds his old natural heart as full of doubts, fears, unbelief, vain thoughts, murmurings, rebellions and inconstancies as ever; but still he has a heart which believes unto righteousness, and a mouth with which confession is made unto salvation. We fully agree with our brother that those who are born again “were dead, but are now quickened and made alive.” But the death in which they were held has not become life, but is death still, and the body is dead because of sin, but the spirit is life because of righteousness. Christ is our life, and he has taken his abode in us. “We are dead, and our life is hid with Christ in God.” “And the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God.” So it is not the flesh that is quickened and becomes immortal, but an immortal life is given us, and as long as we remain in the flesh we shall feel the conflict going on between the two opposite principles of death and life. This brother Vanmeter says is attributable to the opposite inclinations of the flesh and spirit, and so say we. But what is the flesh? And what is the spirit that their inclinations should be so conflicting? Our Savior has settled this question. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. The one wars against the other, for in the flesh dwells no good thing, and in the spirit dwells no evil thing. The one is of the earth, earthly; the other is born of God, and cannot sin, because it is born of God. But was there nothing but the material substance of our bodies born of the flesh? “Adam begat a son in his own likeness, after his image.” To be like Adam, his son must have possessed all the faculties of his father. Had Cain, or Abel, or Seth, in their organizations, lacked the essential elements of a man: say had they been born without a soul, or mind, or the faculties which distinguish a man from a beast, he would not be begotten and born in the likeness and image of Adam. The word flesh, as used by our Lord, included all that is born of the flesh, just as much as the Spirit which is born of God includes all that is born of God. In our first or earthly birth were born all the elements, nature and faculties that we had before we were born again, and that they have who were never born again, and these all being born of the flesh are flesh, and although God has ordained to bring all these elements of the flesh to subserve his purpose. and give to the development of the new birth a controlling power over them; still, the flesh is flesh, and the spirit continues to be spirit, just as our Lord said to Nicodemus.
Now let us look after these subjugated faculties in the order in which our brother has presented them. We have noticed that the saints were dead but are quickened into life, or rather, life is given unto them. Blind, but now they see. What is blind? “The natural man.” The man who has all the faculties of a natural man, or a man that is not born again, such a man “receiveth not the things of the Spirit, for they are foolishness to him, neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned.” Bring all the lights of nature, of reason, or science or education to bear upon that natural man with all his natural faculties, either before or after his new birth, and still the inability remains, the natural man cannot see, by any faculty, those things which God himself declares can only be discerned by a spiritual capacity. Can even a Christian, by searching, find out God? If they can, why do they “seek him oft, and find him not?”
Still, the blind, notwithstanding their own blindness, do see, “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us (II Corinthians 4:6).” How much does an earthen pot comprehend of the light, or understand of the power of the treasure which is put in it? It is put in the earthen vessel expressly that its excellency shall reflect all the honor to God, and not to the vessel. Christ is the true light. “In him was life, and the life was the light of men; and the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not (John 1:4,5).” This light is life, and this life is Christ, and this Christ is God, and this God is he that hath shined in the hearts of his people; as treasure to put in earthen vessels, and it is to the faith of those who are born of God that this revelation of light is made; for, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Not seen by human discernment. “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal (II Corinthians 4:18).” So this transition from darkness and blindness to marvelous light is not a revision of our natural powers. For with our natural sight no man hath seen the Father at any time; for he dwells in light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen nor can see, to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen. See I Timothy 6:16.
“They were ignorant, but made wise.” This is true as the book; but is their ignorance converted into wisdom? Their ignorance is just what it was before; but they are delivered from its power, and Christ is of God, made unto them wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption. The Christian who has been made wise unto salvation can rise no higher above his native ignorance of divine and spiritual things by the exercise of his natural powers, or faculties, than he could before his translation from darkness to light. “Who is among you that feareth the Lord, and obeyed the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light?” What then? Shall he try his own faculties, kindle a fire, compass himself about with sparks, walk in the light of his own fire and sparks which he has kindled? If he does, he shall, from the hand of God, lie down in sorrow. Instead of falling back on his own wisdom, faculties or works, “Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.” See Isaiah 50:10,11. How many a child of God has learned by sad experience that his fleshly faculties have not become spiritual, that they cannot aid him in searching for spiritual things. Was it for lack of mental light that Job broke forth in his lamentation, “Oh, that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat,” etc. Is it for want of faculties the spouse is heard to cry:
“With long desire and anxious thought,
I seek him oft but find him not.”
Still it is true, though our fleshly perceptions are as blind to everything spiritual, as before, yet as born of God, they are children of the light, for God (not their improved faculties), is their light and their salvation. But he is never seen even by his own children, only in his own light (Psalm 36:9). By any effort of our own powers or faculties we can no more see God than by the light of a taper we can see the sun at midnight.
“We were afar off, but now made nigh.” This is a glorious truth where the inspired apostle applied it to us poor Gentile sinners, who are redeemed and made nigh unto God by the blood of Christ. But, let us ask brother Vanmeter if the disparity between the eternal perfections of God, and our groveling mortal faculties, is any less than has been at any previous time? Are not his thoughts and ways still as far transcending ours as heaven is arched above the earth? The nearer any of us are brought unto God in our spiritual exercises, the more fully we shall realize the weakness of all our mortal powers. When Isaiah in rapturous vision saw the glory of the Lord, he cried, “Wo is me, for I am undone.” The more we know of God, the less will be our confidence in the flesh.
Most heartily do we endorse the following sentiment of brother Vanmeter, “Indeed they are now new creatures; God, by his Spirit, having created these new desires, and feelings of heart and illuminated the understanding.”
This is the very point the editor and his brethren have been contending for; that, “If any man be of Christ Jesus, he is a new creature.” Old things are past away, all things are become new. “And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new; and he said unto me, Write; for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done! I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End (Revelation 21:5,6).” Not a revision of our poor old corrupt nature, but a new creature of desires and feelings, of heart, of light and understanding of spiritual things, which we never had or knew anything about until we were born of God. Those who are born again have reason to know the truth of brother Vanmeter’s remarks, that “Regeneration does not destroy any of the faculties of the mind or soul, but changes their course right about,” etc. The strong man armed that had kept the palace is overmatched by a stranger, who binds him and spoils his goods. These faculties are subordinate to the new creation, to the reign of grace which triumphs over all the evil propensities and carnal faculties of the old depraved nature. But these faculties, powers and passions, like the Canaanites of old, are left within the walls, for a trial to the people of God.
“The spirit impresses the image of God, or the divine nature in the heart.” Not on the old carnal heart of stone, but the new heart which God has covenanted to give them, and in which he has written his law. The faculties of the old fleshly heart, although subjugated, are nevertheless carnal still. God’s image cannot be found on any one of them, nor is the divine nature imparted to any one of them. Try them separately - sight, for instance - can the mere natural faculty of seeing perceive the things of the Spirit? If so, why are Christians ever in the dark? Our natural perception is no greater than it was before, for we walk not by sight, but by faith, which is a faculty, if we may so speak of the properties of the new man, a fruit of the Spirit and a gift of God. Our carnal mind has not become spiritual, for “it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Every Christian has a carnal and a spiritual mind; with the spiritual he serves the law, while to be carnally minded is death. The Christian is warned against adhering to his carnal mind, because it is enmity against God. The affections of our nature are not made spiritual and holy in our heavenly birth; for we are exhorted to put off the old man with its affections and lusts. We could have neither to put off if the image and nature of our God were enstamped on them; but we have the mind of Christ, the spirit of holiness, the love of God, the light of the knowledge of the glory of God; on all these the image of God and the divine nature appear. These are not faculties belonging to the old man, either before or after the new birth; but they belong to the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. This new man must bear the image of God, because instead of being created after Adam, it is after God created, and in his righteousness made manifest.
The warfare is everywhere imputed to the opposite influences of the flesh and spirit; the former, under the influence of indwelling sin, and the renewed faculties of the heart, under the influence of the spirit. The former is called the old man; the latter the new; and these are as opposite as sin and holiness can make them. We may not fully comprehend the meaning of our brother, but certain we are that in the Scriptures, and in the experience of the saints, the Christian warfare is attributed to the opposite inclinations and powers of the flesh and spirit. The Christian being born first of the flesh, afterwards of the Spirit, the fleshly nature is of the earth earthy, and is, with all its faculties, called the old man. And that which is developed in the new birth is altogether unlike that which is born of the flesh, and it is called Spirit, and this newborn Spirit is called the new man, and these are contrary the one to the other, and this contrariety of nature and disposition is what occasions the Christian warfare. We have failed to find any of those places, either in the Scriptures or in the Christian’s experience, where the renewed faculties of the heart are called the new man, or where they are even mentioned. We do not wish to impute to our brother what he does not intend to express, nor to criticize or cavil about words. But if it be intended that the natural faculties of our carnal nature have ceased to be carnal, have become holy, so as to partake of the divine nature of God, and to bear the image of the invisible God, and have become so distinct from and opposite to the fleshly nature, of which they formed that part which distinguish men from beasts, as to make the difference as great as the extremes of sin and holiness, we would ask what power there is in the flesh, in the absence of all its faculties, to maintain a warfare against the new man?
Paul’s instructions on this subject seems to us more clear. In describing the nature and violence of the warfare, he admonishes the saints thus, “This I say then, Walk in the spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh; for the flesh lusteth against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other, so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led by the Spirit,” (not by the renewed faculties of the flesh) “ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness. Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts (Galatians 5:16-24).” Now, we ask, can any or all of these works of the flesh be performed independently of the faculties of the flesh? Brother Vanmeter has defined these faculties as embracing “soul, mind, understanding, conscience,” etc. Can a man without a soul, if such a thing can be, or without a mind, or understanding, or a conscience, or any other faculty, commit adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strifes, seditions, heresies, envies, murders, drunkenness, revelings and such like? Or can a Christian, if all the faculties of his earthly nature have become spiritual, and as holy as holiness can make them, possibly commit any or all these works of the flesh? If Christians cannot, why are they admonished against committing them? If in all their faculties they are partakers of the divine nature, and bear the image of God, how can the flesh, with all its faculties made pure, lust against the Spirit? If it cannot, then where is the warfare?
But we would rather charitably hope and believe that our brother means by renewed faculties, those graces which the apostle calls fruits of the Spirit. The Christian loves; not with that affection of the flesh which he is commanded to crucify, but with that love which is born of God, flowing from a pure heart, with fervency. He joys, but his rejoicings are in the Holy Ghost; he has peace, but it comes from God the Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ; he is long suffering, but his patience and endurance is not of the flesh; he is petulant, fretful, and murmuring; he is meek, quiet and gentle; but all this he has learned of him whose yoke he wears; he has goodness, but it does not consist in the perfection of his fleshly faculties; it is among the spiritual blessings which were given him in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world; he has faith, but it is the faith of the Son of God, who loved him and gave himself for him. And thus we may examine all the fruits, and we shall find that “every good and perfect gift cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variableness, nor shadow of turning.”
If we had not already extended our remarks to so great a length, we would notice the entire array of Scriptures brought forward by our brother with a seeming design to disprove what he regards as errors of the editor and contributors of the “Signs”. We have carefully examined these Scriptures, but fail to find in them any bearing against any sentiment held by us. For instance, brother Vanmeter proves clearly from plain Scripture testimony that the heart of man is deceitful, and desperately wicked; this we fully admit, and have never denied; but he says this wicked heart is purified by faith; but to prove that the natural heart of man is so changed as to become spiritual, pure, clean, and holy, he quotes Acts 15:9, in which the Gentiles have been purged from their idolatry, and have received the faith of the Son of God, equally with the primitive saints which were called from among the Jews. And further, that the “stony heart is taken away, and a heart of flesh is given.” To our mind this Scripture not only fails to sustain the position that the natural mind has become spiritual and holy, but proves rather what we have hitherto contended for, that the old heart is still the seat of natural vitality, affections and lusts, which are excluded from the spiritual kingdom, by the circumcision of Christ; and a new heart is given them, which is the seat of spiritual life, light, love, and purity. This new heart is born of God, as the old heart was born of the flesh, and is the seat and center of the new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. We also wish to be understood by every little child in the kingdom of Christ; and we therefore ask, Is there a little child in the house of God who does not still find in his old carnal nature an evil heart of unbelief, departing from the living God? And again we ask of all the little children, When love, joy, and peace, with holy desires, grateful emotions, and heavenly exercises gush forth from the overflowing fountain of life which is in them as a well of water ever springing up to immortality, do you ever so far mistake, as to ascribe it to the present goodness of your natural heart?
But, at least for the present, we must bring our remarks to a close; and in conclusion will say that if brother Vanmeter, or any other brother or sister, can find in his or her fleshly nature, on in any thing thereunto pertaining, any good thing, whether it be called a faculty, or by any other name, then they can find in them what Paul could not find in himself. It is the Spirit only that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing. “The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from Heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption (II Corinthians 15:47-50).”
In his letter, brother Vanmeter has admitted all that we contend for; but he has rendered his views somewhat obscure by some forms of expression which seem to conflict with our views and his admissions; and as he has been frank to tell us that he differs from us in some things published in the “Signs”, we have felt called on the review his letter, not, we trust, in a fault-finding spirit, or to provoke controversy, but rather to contend earnestly for what we understand to be the truth. We wish not to hurt his feelings, nor would we give offence to Jew or Gentile - nor to the church of God.
February 15, 1868.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 7
Pages 137 – 150