A Sweet Savor Contact Miscellaneous Audio Messages Penmen


Alexandria, VA., Oct.11, 1870.

DEAR BROTHER BEEBE: - Having finished the business portion of my letter, I will pen a few lines for publication. I am compelled to believe that God is at work by his blessed Spirit in the hearts of his people in these parts. I speak particularly in reference to the gathering into his visible church of such as shall be saved. Since my letter to you of the 30th, I have baptized twelve persons, all white persons but one, who came of their own accord, three to Bethlehem church {Manassas,} six to Quantico church {lower part of Prince William County, VA.,} and three to Ebenezer church {Loudoun County, VA.} It was rather a season of rejoicing to each of those churches. I speak of this to the praise and glory of God’s grace in the salvation of sinners, and not to the praise and glory of the creature. The ordinance of the Lord’s Supper was administered at Quantico and Ebenezer churches, and on the whole it is verily believed we experienced a refreshing from the presence of the Lord. It is not in a whirlwind, an earthquake, or a fire, that the Lord appears to his people, but by a still small voice, out of the hearing of the natural ear, but heard, understood and felt by those who have circumcised hearts and ears to know and receive the gospel’s joyful sound. It is God our Savior that is preached. While many self-righteous men in our day require a sign that may be tangible to the natural senses, like the ancient Jews required, and many, like the Greeks of old, seek after wisdom, yet Christ and him crucified is preached among the Old School Baptists, to the self-righteous fraternity of this deluded age it is a stumbling block, like as it was with the Jews of old, for it demolishes the whole system of creature righteousness, with its numerous inventions and institutions, and presents the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ alone for justification and salvation. It is foolishness to those who suppose that spiritual things, or the salvation of God, is reduced to a science, a knowledge of which is obtained by dint of study, or seeking after wisdom by human erudition, as a gentleman, not long since, a member of a popular church, who heard me preach, remarked to a friend of his, “I heard Purington preach the other day, and his preaching sounded like foolishness.” But to them that are called, whether they were formerly self-righteous characters or creaturely boasters of their wisdom and human ability, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God to them. We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, something beyond human intelligence, and which is known only by divine revelation, through the teaching of the Holy Spirit. And when this divine revelation or heavenly teaching is made known to a sinner, he cries out involuntarily, “Wo is me, for I am undone;” also, “God, be merciful to me a sinner.” When Christ, the hope of salvation, in fact his salvation is revealed in him in the pardon of his sins, and as his justifying righteousness, he breaks out involuntarily in the glory of this salvation, and sings surprising grace. Some, who may not have a clear manifestation of this grace as they desire, still think upon his name, and love the followers of Jesus, and his gospel. The word is in the mouth and in the heart of believers; for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. This people are saved by the Lord, and are the church of God. We are all well.

Yours in gospel fellowship,
Joseph L. Purington.