Charleston, W. Va., Dec. 14, 1914.
ELDER. P. W. SAWIN HIGLY ESTEEMED BROTHER IN CHRIST: I received your good letter a few days ago, which I read and reread with delight, hoping that you might be spared and blessed with health to visit us when our next session of the Pocatalico Association convenes. We are not great in number, just a remnant according to the election of grace, but we are standing fast in the doctrine taught by Jesus Christ and his apostles, preaching the doctrine of unlimited predestination, election alone by the grace of God, and effectual calling of all that God the Father gave the Son in covenant contract before the world began. Upon these hinges the eternal destiny of the saints must hang, for whom he did foreknow (in the covenant) them he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son; moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called, and whom he called, them he also justified, and whom he justified, them he also glorified. The apostle continues by saying, What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? Paul is speaking of the redemption of the chosen in Christ, the elect family, being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. The children of the covenant were subjects of redemption only, for they were the sons by gift. All thine are mine, and mine are thine. Jesus spoke these words that we might know that the right of redemption was in him. Thine they were, and thou gavest them me. All (the children of the covenant) that the Father giveth me shall come to me, and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me; and this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all (elect family) which he hath given me. I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. My dear brother, how cheering is the thought of such a perfect work by the God-man, Mediator, who stepped in our law place and satisfied its every demand. It is said that God’s people are a peculiar people, and surely they are, for they desire to know that they have been redeemed by the blood of Christ, and that they are children of God, and when this mortal life shall cease that heaven is to be their home; then if one comes claiming to know all this we cannot fellowship such an-one, for we have not so learned in the school of grace to have perfect knowledge, for we cannot know and hope both, so we must live by hope.
When I sat down to write you a few lines this morning it was on my mind to write what I think the seven locks of Samson’s head woven in the web prefigured. Samson is a type of Christ, who is head over all things to the church. The seven locks of Samson’s head are typical of the seven churches which John so beautifully addressed in Asia. The number seven being a complete number, is for all time, and is applicable to the churches of like precious faith among every nation, tongue and people. Woven in the web, is to fairly show the standing of God’s people under the old covenant, all being completely woven in the Web of transgression by the disobedience of Adam, and were by nature children of wrath, even as others. In their standing in Adam they are black; they are dead in trespasses and in sin, and cut off from all hope of attaining to righteousness by the deeds of the law, therefore by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in God’s sight, as all have become guilty before him. The locks of Samson’s head cut off, represent God’s people cut off from all hope under the old covenant. Howbeit the hair began to grow out again, representing the children of God of which Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, shall sit upon thrones, these being the chosen in Christ. Now, standing in the grace covenant, ordered in all things and sure, they are new creatures in Christ by regeneration; old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new. They now worship no more in the oldness of the letter, but in newness of spirit. The seven locks of Samson’s head, to my mind, represent God’s people in their ordinary generation, and under the covenant that was found faulty. The hair began to grow out again, representing the chosen in Christ by regeneration having passed from legal service, or law righteousness, to the glorious gospel of the Son of God, the antitype whom Samson so beautifully typified, and are now under the grace covenant, growing in spiritual knowledge of Christ, who is head over all things to the church. Jesus said that not a hair of your head shall perish. Again, Even the very hairs of your head (Christ) are all numbered. God’s chosen people, no more, no less.
I am almost ashamed to send you this poor, imperfect letter, but feeling that you will cast the mantle of charity over my imperfections, I will send it to you to dispose of as you may think best.
I remain your brother in gospel bonds,
J. W. McCLANAHAN.
Signs of the Times
Volume 83, No. 10
May 15, 1915