Covington, GA., Nov. 15, 1859.
Brother C.A. Parker, in our last, and brother I.M. David in this number, use some expressions relative to these two items of the doctrine of our Lord, as contended for by our paper, and all Baptists, from the commencement of the Christian era, which seem to indicate that they misapprehend our position; therefore, we feel compelled to re-assert our views on these points, as we are aware that designing men, who have gone out from us because they were not of us, have endeavored to confuse the minds of such as have not duly reflected on these points, by misrepresenting our views on these subjects.
On Predestination, we have advanced no new doctrine; but the very identical doctrine recorded in the Scriptures of Truth; without which the Immutability of God cannot be maintained; and the existence of a God is not more clearly taught in the Bible than the foreknowledge and predestination of all things. But objectors are not bold enough to deny the foreknowledge of God. Yet in the beginning, before all his works of old, there was none to predestinate or certainly fix all things, or anything, unless God himself did it. See Isaiah 40:13 & Rom. 11:34-36. If anything could occur contrary to the purpose or predestination of God, to that extent at least he must have failed to do all his pleasure. But as he has said, “My counsel shall stand, and I will DO ALL MY PLEASURE,” all things must be subject to the over-ruling government of God; and as he is unchangeable, what his will is now, is the same it ever has been. Consequently, IN ALL THINGS GOD’S PREDESTINATION MUST BE ABSOLUTE, according to our understanding; yet we do not insist on anybody else agreeing with us, unless their voluntary conclusions coincide with our own, as ours necessarily are the same with the teaching of Paul. See Rom. 9:11-13. The purpose of God, mentioned in verse 11, is precisely what we mean by his predestination. And that this purpose extends to the absolute government of all things, is not only an unavoidable inference from his infinite power, and unlimited sovereignty, but it is clearly taught by the express language of the Scriptures of eternal truth. See Isaiah 46:10, also Eph. 1:11, “BEING PREDESTINATED ACCORDING TO THE PURPOSE OF HIM WHO WORKETH ALL THINGS AFTER THE COUNSEL OF HIS OWN WILL.”
On the subject of Vital Union, the Scriptures are equally clear and pointed in their testimony. Vital union is life union, or Oneness of life. Christ is the Life of his people, and that Life is One Life. “When Christ, WHO IS OUR LIFE, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” Col. 3:4. This settles the fact as to the union of life, and that Union must have been as old as eternity, or there would of necessity be a change in the Son of God.
Hoping the above brief statement of our views may be satisfactory to our brethren, who have been alarmed by the misrepresentations of our adversaries, we would only add a caution to our brethren everywhere not to be misled by the false representations of our enemies, who would make it appear that these points of doctrine are innovations upon the old doctrine of the Primitive Baptists; and if, on examination, it should be found that the points for which we contend are sustained by the Divine Word, they must stand, however much they may be opposed to our carnal judgments, and feelings; but if they can be condemned by that infallible standard, when we shall be ready to yield them, and accept the teaching of the Spirit of Truth, even though we are compelled to give up our own most cherished notions; for nothing can be of any permanent value but that which bears the unmistakable imprint of truth.
Joseph L. Purington.