A Sweet Savor Contact Miscellaneous Audio Messages Penmen


Richmond, Maine, 1842.

DEAR BROTHER JEWETT: - With a sense of my inability in writing, as well as preaching, do I attempt again to send a few lines to you, hoping to be led by the Holy Spirit of God in so doing. I take comfort in reading the ADVOCATE & MONITOR, believing the doctrine there included is the doctrine of the Bible. I hope God will support you, in your editorial capacity, and otherwise, as you occupy an important place. The professed christian world have become so wise in their own imaginations, so pleased with a perverted gospel, that they come out in opposition to the discriminating principles of grace, plainly and boldly in their public periodicals and papers of the present day, as well as in their public assemblies; which shows, that for a periodical to be sustained on pure gospel principles, separate from the inventions of men, needs the power of God’s supporting grace. I have read Rushton’s Letters &c., and am pleased with their contents, believing the arguments he produced from scripture for the support of particular Redemption, are conclusive, to a complete overthrow of the system of indefinite atonement. There is great need of a firm establishment in, and an earnest contending for the faith once delivered to the saints, in this wonder-working day. The principles of eternal election, free justification, imputed righteousness, efficacious and invincible grace, are the soul and marrow of Christianity, which enlivens, invigorates and warms the heart of every christian, and which leads him to contend for, {not with a fleshly spirit or carnal weapons,} and speak in defense of, as the Holy Spirit sheds abroad in his heart a love for them. Oh, the preciousness of Jesus to every sin-sick soul; how lovely does all the divine character shine in the face of Jesus Christ in all his attributes and perfections. And when the soul gets a right understanding of his own unworthiness, sinfulness, guilt and ill desert, then he begins to bemoan himself like one of old, “I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus {saith God,} Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke; turn thou me, and I shall be turned, for thou art the Lord my God. Surely, after I was turned I repented, and after I was instructed {or had a right understanding of myself,} I smote upon my thigh; I was ashamed, yea even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth.” At such complaints and bemoanings the Lord breaks forth into these heart melting expressions, saying, “Is Ephraim my dear son? Is he a pleasant child? For since I spake against him I do earnestly remember him still; therefore my bowels are troubled for him, I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord.” In this we see a manifestation of the everlasting love of God towards his people in the midst of their many backslidings from him, which proves their union to Christ, by election, effectual calling, and the internal renovation of their souls by divine grace. Hence the absurdity of that idea, which many advocate, to admit the possibility of falling from grace. Why, according to scripture, it is as possible for Christ to fall out of the Godhead, as it is for the elect to fall out of Christ; for they are and will be kept by the almighty, restraining and constraining power and love of God, through faith unto salvation. Seeing the foundation is so sure, what a source of comfort and consolation the people of God can have through an application of the promises, which are all yea and amen unto the glory of God, to their understanding, by the blessed Spirit, sealing them heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. There is a joy that arises from a view of these things by faith, which is unspeakable and full of glory, that unconverted men are strangers to, which they cannot conceive of in all their imaginations; for, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit;” which shows that the Spirit of God, alone is sufficient to take the deep things of God and reveal them unto his people. But what the christian learns is by experience, and experience comes by trials, and trials are necessary for the increase of faith, through which the soul grows in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The truth is firmly maintained here by a few, but the great majority of professors appear to be walking in the way that Solomon said “seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof is the way of death.” I try to preach once a week, poor and inadequate as I am for the capacity of a minister, being slow of speech, dull of apprehension, and one who feels sick of his own performances. Yet, “by the grace of God I am what I am,” and have been enabled, at times to declare the truth to the edification of some, and to the utter confusion of others. I have preached in several different places among O.S. Baptists within sixteen months, but most of the time have been confined to the church of which I am an unworthy member; namely, Bowdoinham; which church I suppose is as much, if not more opposed and slandered by the antichristian forces, than any other church belonging to the Ancient Predestinarian Baptist Association. But as the eternal God has been her defense in years gone by, so I trust he will be her defense, for time to come, from all the rage and malice of her enemies. The aforesaid Association is composed of six small churches, extending over a territory of seventy-five mile in length by sixty in breadth. Our last associational meeting was held with the church in Anson, sixty-five miles distant, in September last. One brother was ordained or set apart for the work of the ministry, and one sister baptized. The business of the Association was performed in harmony and the preaching, exhortations, and prayers were much to the comfort and edification of the poor and afflicted of the flock. The next annual meeting of the A.P. Baptist Association, is to be held, in Bowdoinham, Maine, on the 15th and 16th days of September next. Our Association holds correspondence with the N. Berwick and Woburn O.S. Baptist Churches, and we rejoice to hear, at our last meeting, from their messengers, of their steadfastness in the truth, though not enjoying that lively sense of religion, as they had in days past. Since I left the N.S. and joined the O.S. Baptists, I have enjoyed, with few exceptions, uninterrupted peace. When we, as a church, assemble together there is a oneness in our exhortations and prayers, which savors of the gospel sound; our depravity and rich, free and sovereign grace in the rescue of our souls from ruin. I believe that such is our ruined state by nature, that unless God works in us to will and to do of his good pleasure, we should utterly renounce the truth, after we have embraced it; not owing to any want of evidence to the contrary, but to the blindness, wickedness, hardness and insensibility of the heart to divine truth. A sense of these things leads us to pray, that God will not leave us to ourselves a moment. A christian is one who sees his liability to err in divers ways, and has a sense of his senselessness, and a sense of the want of mercy, by reason of the danger of sin. He is one who pours out a sincere, sensible, affectionate prayer to God in the strength and assistance of the Holy Spirit for such things that God hath promised, and that he stands in need of, believing that he shall receive them in God’s way and time. Paul saith, “I will pray with the Spirit and I will pray with the understanding also.” Again, he saith, writing to his brethren, including himself with them, “likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered;” which shows that the apostle and primitive christians were sensible of their inabilities to pray aright, without the help of the Holy Spirit. And since “whatever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope,” so we being troubled with infirmities, as they were, can rejoice in the day of visitation. From these considerations, we can come to the conclusion, that the great cheat of the devil and Antichrist, wherewith they delude the world, is to make them continue in the form of any duty, the form of preaching, of hearing, of praying &c. These are they that have a form of godliness, but deny the power; from such turn away. Now may the God of all grace have mercy upon, and keep us all, with the elect of God, unto his heavenly kingdom, to whom be honor and glory, in a world without end. Amen.

Yours, in the afflictions and consolations of the gospel of Christ,
J.L. Purington.