Brother Beebe: It is high time that we present you our annual remittance for the SIGNS, and in so doing I will communicate to you, and (if you think this scribble worthy of a place in your columns) to the saints and faithful brethren scattered through the length and breadth of your correspondence, some of the trials, conflicts and joys to which we are made incident in this Western Valley.
It seems to me that the little flock in this part of the Lord’s vineyard has need of the whole armor of God. The enemy “truly appears to have come in like a flood” against the little company, being rigged out in hostile array with their carnal weapons, such as anger, malice, calumny, backbiting, smiting with the fist of wickedness, and falsehood, together with locks and keys, and nails and bars, to prevent us from attending our places of worship, and then guarding them with clubs and guns, and threatening to shoot us if we attempt to enter. Such are the means that some Means Baptists [so-called] use in this country to accomplish their ends, and, if possible, to fulfill the general Arminian prophecy, which is, that the Old School Baptists will soon be extinct.
Truly we may say, “The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priest bear rule by their means” (Jer. 5:31). The Campbellites, Methodists and other Arminians are rejoicing that so many have left our ranks and come over to their sentiments. Some of them say they feel like taking them in their arms; others, that they now see nothing to prevent them from all uniting. I was told, not long since, by an intelligent Campbellite, that the Means Baptists in his neighborhood preached precisely the Campbellite doctrine. The general cry is, that there are but few of those old hard-heads left, and they will soon be out of the way. Think you, my brethren that it is a matter of discouragement to us thus to be grinned at, mocked and called few by these modern Ishmaelites? Nay! Let it remind us, of the days of Gideon, and of the language of the Captain of our Salvation: “Strait is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matt. 7:13) And again, “Fear not, little flock,” &c. (Luke 12:32). The “remnant according to the election of grace” is safe, because they are “kept by the power of God.” Though prowling wolves may range the forest, and greedy dogs infest the road, and hungry lions thirst for their blood, and false teachers crying, “Lo here, and Lo there,” shall deceive many, and although we “are everywhere spoken against,” and persecuted from place to place, let the wolves howl, the dogs bark, the lions roar, false teachers cry, evil speakers lie, and let persecution rage with a ten-fold vengeance, the little flock is forever secure; for the eternal God is her refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. “We have a strong city: Salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.” Watchmen, listen to this: “Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell (count) the towers thereof, mark ye well her bulwarks; consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following.” (Psalm 48:12,13). Then stand upon her wall, as a faithful watchman; fear not the enemy’s darts; “keep not silence,” but “cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet;” but be certain to “put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. “Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with Truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness, and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” But be sure not to mistake the use of the sword, as the Means folks do; think not that it is to be the means or instrument of giving life to the dead. The weapons of our warfare are mighty, (through God) to pull down strong holds, and cast down imaginations. Fear not while you have that sword; it is a well-tempered, well-tried Jerusalem blade. One sweep of it, coming in contact with them, will dash in ten thousand atoms a thousand Arminian earthly weapons so that not one is formed against you shall prosper. Therefore use it well, wherever there is an enemy creeping round the walls of Zion. And when they against his Sovereign, and entailed death upon all his offspring, and though the poisonous, killing stream flowed upon all his progeny, so that a long list of black, unhallowed crimes have been, and will be perpetrated through all the lapse of ages, against the righteous law, and in the sight of God, yet heinous, aggravated and numerous as those sins have been, and may be, they have never been, nor will they ever be sufficient to stop the current or change the course of that love from its chosen objects. O! Tell them of that love, and tell them that it changes not, and therefore the sons of Jacob are not consumed. Surely it is a rich repast when tasted by His hungry children. What wonders have been wrought in the exhibition of that love! The great Redeemer in consequence of it, bowed to visit this abode of sin and misery, that He might bear the sins of all His people in His own body on the tree, and put them away by the sacrifice of Himself. It is strong as death; for when the monster made his appearance in his most hideous form, when the sword of Justice could no longer slumber, when the weighty storm from Sinai’s burning, trembling, smoking summit must break in fearful vengeance, His spotless soul was made the receptacle of all its deadly darts, to screen His guilty children from impending ruin. He died for their sins. But it was not possible that He should be holden of death. On the set time of Jehovah, the third morn, death and the grave must yield up their prey. He arose for their justification. He ascended on high, and is now exalted a Prince and a Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. What dainties are here for the craving appetites of His regenerated children! And yet all this has no more charms for the soul that is dead in sins, than a jewel has for swine. But the eye of faith beholds it, and feeds upon the rich repast. His children, by faith, eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, and have eternal life. Christ is in them the hope of glory, and He is eternal life.
J. F. Johnson.
New Castle, Henry Co. Ind.,
March 4, 1847