South-hill, Bradford Co., Pa., June 4, 1842.
A few plain things for the comfort of them that have understanding therein, and for the instruction of enquiring minds.
All the words of wisdom are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them: they are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge. “A scorner seeketh wisdom, and findeth it not; but knowledge is easy to him that understandeth.” – Prov. viii. 9; and xiv. 6. God is an infinite, invisible and unchangeable Spirit; omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent; without beginning or end of life – that is, He knows all things; is every where present, and can do whatsoever he pleaseth.
To support the above declaration, read the following scriptures, John iv. 24: “God is a Spirit.” Col. i. 15: “Who is the image of the invisible God.” Rom. i. 20: “For the invisible things of him from the creation are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power of Godhead.” Psa. clvii. 6: “Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.” Jer. xxiii. 24: “Can any hide himself in secret places, that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord.” Mal. iii. 6: “I am the Lord, I change not.” James i. 17: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variablness, neither shadow of turning.” Psa. xciv. 9, and on: “He that planted the ear, Shall he not hear? He that planted the eye, Shall he not see? He that chastiseth the heathen, Shall he not correct? He that teacheth man knowledge, Shall he not know? The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.” Heb. iv. 13: “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight; but are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” Acts xv. 18: “Known unto God are all his works, from the beginning of the world.” Job xxxiv. 21: “For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his glorings.” Prov. xv. 3: “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” Isa. xlvi. 9,10: “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” Prov. xix. 21: “There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.” Dan. iv. 35: “All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing, and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What does thou?” Psa. cxxxv. 4,5,6: “For the Lord hath chosen Jacob to himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure. For I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods. Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.”
QUERY 1st. Who can say, this God is our God, forever and ever; he will be our guide even unto death?
Q. 2d. Who that owns this God as his, and has hope in his mercy, does not believe that he is, and eternally was, in and of himself possessed of unwasting fulness; with wisdom, power and holiness to create what he pleased, so to govern and dispose of it, as was right in his view – working all things according to the counsel of his own will; suffering sin to enter the system, thereby manifesting himself in his justice in punishing sinners, or his grace, in fitting them for, and bring them to glory, according to an unchanging purpose of his infinite mind, so that ultimately he will be declaratively glorified in the salvation of his chosen, and the interminable punishment of impenitent reprobates? Pursuant to such purpose, “The Lord spake, and it was done; commanded, and it stood fast.” Psa. xxxiii. 9: “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.” Psa. xxxiii. 6: “God said, Let there be light, and there was light,” &c. Gen. i. Creation being formed, man and beasts, &c. The man being of the earth, and earthly man, receives an earthly paradise, (or Eden) and when put in the possession of it, received a law; the spirit of which was, that he should love God with all his heart. Notice, when the lawyer asked the Savior, Which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus answered, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heard, &c. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Matt. xxii. 36, &c. Here notice, the principle is embraced, on which the Sinai law or covenant hung. A principle of universal and perpetual requirement upon all rational beings, That they love God with all the heart, and their neighbor as themselves. This law Adam transgressed, and as he represented his posterity, they sinned in him, or by his disobedience were made sinners. See Rom. v. 19. This principle, requiring love to God with all the heart, and our neighbor as ourselves, could not cease to hold its grasp on all Adam’s race, because God could not change, though never one of them had any disposition or ability in their nature since the fall to fulfil it. Hence they must all justly sink to hell together, or be saved by God’s eternal plan of grace, revealed and rolled into effect by Jehovah himself. According to which, God threatened the serpent, that the seed of the woman should bruise his head. Among the things leading to the fulfillment of the curse pronounced on the serpent, and revealing God’s purpose of grace to the children of men, was God’s promise to Abraham, mentioned Gen. xii., and the covenant made between God and Abraham, recorded Gen. xvii., which was to be in the flesh of Abraham and his seed, and it pointed to Christ. When the posterity of Abraham through the loins of Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise, (Heb. xi. 9) had accomplished their service in Egypt, in fulfillment of what God told Abraham, (Gen. xv. 9-17) and had journeyed as far as Sinai; there they were organized into a nation; there they received the law of ten commands, which law is expressly called a covenant. Exod. xxxiv. 27,28: “And the Lord said unto Moses, Write thou, these words, for after the tenor of these words, I have made a covenant with thee, and with Israel. And he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.” Notice, the law of ten commands was given to Israel as a covenant. It did not belong to Ishmael, though he was a son of Abraham according to the flesh; it did not belong to Esau, though he was a son of Isaac; it did not belong to the six sons of Abraham that Keturah bore him; it did not belong to the nations that God would destroy, to give Israel the promised inheritance, nor to any other nation, either as a law or a covenant; it was expressly given to them, and to none else. And its hanging on the principle, requiring supreme love to God, and equal love to the neighbor; now that it has had its use as a shadow of good things to come, and as such has waxed old, and vanished away in that respect; it holds its grasp as a law, under whose curse the remnant of that nation, now scattered and peeled, still remains, – as may be further discovered by noticing it as a testament, in which character it may be viewed in its place. As a law transgressed, without an atonement, it becomes a ministration of death. So the Apostle sets it forth, 2 Cor. iii. 7. “If the ministration of death, written engraven in stones was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses, for the glory of his countenance,” there needs no time lost in attempting to prove it a law. That the same law was a covenant, has already been proven beyond contradiction. And when we come to the dedication of this same ministration, we find it called a testament. Heb. ix. 16-20: “For where a testament is, there must of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people, according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop; and sprinkled both the book and all the people, saying, this is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.” The blood of those beasts then, that smoked on Jewish altars, was the blood of the first, of old testament. In the law of the nation of Israel with the ten commands at the head, is embodied their religious, civil, judicial, and military regulations. Shewing the proper authority of God as their Sovereign, or King, to direct their conduct towards himself, their brethren and fellow men. Regulating their priesthood, as well as other concerns, in, or according to which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make either him that did the service, or the comers thereunto perfect, as pertaining to the conscience, though they were offered year by year, continually. Heb. ix. 9; and x. 1. It had also a shadow of good things to come, or served unto the example of heavenly things. Heb. vlii. 5. This law was added to the principle upon which it hung, by reason of transgression, till the seed should come, to whom the promise was made, and by it was the knowledge of sin. And sin by the commandment, or law, became exceeding sinful. Gal. iii. 19; iii. 20; and vii. 13. As a covenant shewed the relation they stood in to God as a nation; the blessings they were to enjoy in consequence of obedience, and the curses which were to be executed upon them for their disobedience. See Deut. xxviii.; and Josh. viii. 30 to end.
Now, if that first covenant had been faultless, should no place have been sought for the second, for finding fault with them, the Lord said that he would make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah; not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, because they continued not in my covenant, (Jer. says they broke it) and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. Jer. xxxi. 32; Heb. viii. 7-9. In that he saith a new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth, and waxeth old, is ready to vanish away. Heb. viii. 13. The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Mediator of a better covenant, (than the old one) which was established by better promises. Moses was faithful in all his house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken. But Christ as a Son over his own house, whose house we are, &c. For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul which will not hear that prophet shall be destroyed from among the people. It being generally allowed that Moses was a type of Christ, and that Israel were a typical people; their bleeding beasts, &c. were typical, and their inheritance typical. If it be true that these things were types, shadows, figures, or patterns, representing, or pointing to Christ, his gospel, people, ordinances, on earth or in heaven as the substance thereof, so sure as Christ appeared, the substance answering to that by which he was pointed out, so sure the types, shadows, figures, or patterns, are of no use any longer; their virtue must cease. Hence they that attempt to embrace and cling to the shadows, reject Christ the substance, as they did who crucified him.
And among the many reasons for such conduct, that might be named, the following plain one may answer. As the Lord said to the Jews, Ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep; so these reject Christ, because they realize no inheritance in him, nor can they, until they realize the work of his Spirit in writing his law in their hearts, &c. One point more must be noticed before we come to that of the testament. It may be remembered that it was said above, that none were interested in that covenant except they belonged to that nation. Now there were provisions in the law, by which proselytes might be brought into some enjoyment thereof by attaching them to the nation. Hence the Jews embracing the Missionary system, would compass sea and land to make one proselyte; and they were so ardent in it, that they carried the doctrine with them to hell, and there instead of praying to God, would pray to father Abraham, as though he were a Mission Board, to send a Missionary to them that were destitute of the powerful evidence of hell-fire to make them repent. As they had been much scattered among the nations of the earth, and were very accommodating in mingling heathen rites with their religious exercises, they doubtless had been somewhat successful in the mission enterprise; for we read of Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven, being at Jerusalem, on the day of pentecost.
The Mission enterprise, and Judaizing doctrine propagated by false apostles, ministers of satan, transformed as the ministers of Christ, perverted the gospel; subverted the souls of the disciples, and removed them from Him that called them into the grace of Christ, unto another gospel, which appears to have been a general atonement, and conditional salvation: and by such means, it appears that the idea that the law which was a covenant between God and the Jews, being binding upon the gentiles, was first propagated. From which it has spread wherever the doctrine of a general atonement and conditional salvation has been received. And wherever they have been propagated, the proper doctrine of God’s last will and testament is perverted. Wherever there is a testament ready for administration, there must of necessity be the death of the testator. Therefore, the first testament was not dedicated without blood, which prefigured the blood of Christ, as the first testament was a figure for the time then present. In administering upon a testament, there is a distribution of property to the proper heirs therein named or characterized. And the administration or distributor is bound by the law to regard the testament, as the rule of conduct therein. In the first testament there was a landed inheritance to be distributed. To whom? To whosoever will, all the nations round; to the descendants of Ishmael and Esau, or any of the nations whom God had commanded to be destroyed, or any other. No, says an Hebrew, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and cast it to dogs. Yes, but, says a general atoner, “If they will but become children, then they may.” But, (they) or ye will not come, says the Hebrew. “But, let us preach to them and cultivate their minds, and try to persuade them: it may be, that by the use of means we may prevail upon some of them to come.” Nay, says the Hebrew, no man can come, except the Father draw him. All that you can do will prove ineffectual, as to making men heirs: because it is not your province to increase the number of heirs: it is yours (if you have anything to do in it) to distribute to their heirs. Moreover, if you could persuade some vain pretenders to claim an inheritance in the will, all you give them is robbing the proper heirs of their right. That the first testament was conditional in some sense, is freely granted; but it was so only to the heirs, to nobody else: and to them it stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances imposed on them, until the time of reformation. But Christ being come, an High Priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands; that is to day, not of this building. Neither by the blood of goats, and calves, but by his own blood. He entered once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us, (the heirs.) He haht obtained a more excellent ministry; as the Mediator of a better covenant, (or testament) established upon better promises; that is, their fulfilment depends on him, not on the heirs.
As Aaron the high priest did bear the names of the children of Israel in the breast-place of judgment, on his heart, when he went into the holy place before the Lord, and thus did bear the judgment of the heirs of that testament upon his heart, before the Lord, continually. He was only a shadow, or figure of Christ, the great High Priest of the heirs of the new testament. Who actually was delivered for the sins of his people; did really bear them in is his own body on the tree; died for them. Blotted out the hand-writing of ordinances that was against the heirs, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and arose again from the dead, for their justification.
As Aaron bare the names of the children of Israel, engraven in stones in the breast-plate on his breast, them, and only them, did he represent in his offering before the Lord. So Christ by the prophet said, Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, she may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands, thy walls are continually before me.
As none but the heirs of the first testament were known to, or represented by Aaron, the names of whose tribes he bare on his breast in his offering before the Lord, by which offering atonement was made according to law, for them: so Zion who was graven on the hands of the Lord, and whose walls were continually before him, the heirs of the last will and testament of our God, and no one else, were by him represented, when he through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, and made an atonement for their sins. He said, I lay down my life for the sheep – I pray not for the world. Thus the death of Christ, the testator, leaves no room for alterations to be made in the testament, either by adding to the number of the heirs, or changing, by placing others in their stead as heirs, or changing, by placing others in their stead as heirs, or distributing to any but such as are therein named, or characterized as heirs. And the whole is shown to be unchangeably confirmed, and ratified, by his resurrection from the dead, ascension to, and acceptance of the throne of God, where he ever lives to make intercession for the heirs, according to the will or testament of God. Hence, all those man-made proselytes, or to use more popular language, all that are converted by the use of such means as camp or protracted meetings, or any, or all the brood of means of men’s devising for evangelizing the world, or proselyting it by missions, &c., under the notion of a general atonement, and conditions performed by the enemies of God, either choosing, giving up their ungodly hearts to God, or submitting, repenting, believing, or any other act of unregeneratiate souls, as a means of obtaining forgiveness of sins, divine favor, or acceptance with God, have no mine inheritance in the last or immutable will, or testament of God, than Ishmael had with Isaac. According to the doctrine they profess, they are under the law; they hold it as a rule of life, and their hope of heaven founded on performing legal duties, proves them at best but heirs of the first testament: hence their inheritance is found in its curses, and according to their system they have no inheritance in the last or new covenant. As they teach the law, believe in the law, plead for the law – sparn at the doctrine of grace. They looking to, and depending upon the law, will find that as many as are of the works of the law, are under the curse. –
Who, but some foe unto the God of grace,
Would so insult the Saviour to his face,
As under cloak of friendship to pretend,
By adding heirs, – his last will to amend?
Who, but some enemy to God and man,
Would say to alter God’s eternal plan –
To bring them God had sentenc’d to hell,
As heirs with Christ, in glory for to dwell;
And send the chosen of the Lord to flames,
Pretending God had razed out their names?
Signs of the Times.
Volume 10, No. 12.
June 15, 1842