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Corresponding Letter: The Fryingpan Old School Baptist Church and the churches and brethren uniting with her in a meeting for correspondence, - To the churches and Associations corresponding with us together, with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity and walk in truth: Send brotherly greetings.

Beloved Brethren: - In addressing to you this our letter of correspondence, we would call your attention to the declaration found in Deut.33 - part of verse 29, as a theme of contemplation. “Happy art thou O, Israel: who is like unto thee, O, people, saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency.”

Moses having in the preceding part of the chapter pronounced prophetically a blessing upon each tribe severally, then addresses Israel collectively, first as Jeshurun, and in the text above quoted as Israel.

Happy art thou O, Israel.” Israel is here addressed as singular, as one whilst she is spoken of as a people. Wherein was this unity found but in him to whom this name Israel was given, and from whom as his posterity they inherited it, together with the blessing therein implied? This was evidently the case with national Israel, and can be no less so with spiritual Israel the antitype. At the time Jacob received this name he was in very straightened circumstances. He had just received word that his brother Esau was coming to meet him, and four hundred men with him; he knew Esau’s enmity against him, he no doubt felt conscious of the provocation he had given him. He therefore feared that himself, his wives and children and all that he had would fall a prey to Esau’s vengeance. After making certain arrangements, and having sent all over the brook, “Jacob was left alone, and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day, and when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh, and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh, And he said I will not let thee go except thou bless me. And he said, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.” Gen.32:24 - 28. This has all undoubtedly a typical reference to the spiritual Israel, but we cannot now go into a full illustration of it, lest it swell our letter to too great a length. We will remark that Jacob’s posterity were all involved in his sin toward Esau, and in the threatened vengeance, and in his prevailing to clear away his sin before God, and to have Esau’s enmity subdued, his posterity, those already born, as well as those that should be born after, participated in the same blessing. Hence the name Israel was attached to them, and so recognized of God. Exod.4:22 - “And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my firstborn.” Now brethren, would we not insult your feelings, were we to ask you whether as spiritual Israelites, you in your own persons, as princes have power with God and with men? How then have you prevailed, and have been manifested as Israelites? National Israel as we have seen thus prevailed in an eternal sense and obtained the name Israel through and in their immediate head Jacob. Have we not a Head, a Jacob through whom as Israelites we have power with God and with men? Jacob was so named from the circumstance of his hand’s taking hold of Esau’s heel. Esau as from his names, Esau and Edom, as well as from his being the first born and being disappointed of the blessing was evidently typical of national Israel as manifested under the Sinai covenant. Had not Christ hold of the heel of national Israel, in all the manifestation or birth of that people from the promise to Abraham to give him a seed on through the giving of the law with all its ceremonies and forms? That is, was not all, designed to prefigure the coming of the Messiah, and to introduce Him to the view of faith as well as to prepare the way for His manifestation in the flesh? Thus we see His hand hold of Esau’s heel in the declaration to Abrham, “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed,” as well as in His being the substance of all the sacrifices of the law. Again Jacob was distinguished as the elect of God. See Rom.9:10, 13. So Christ is declared as the elect of God. See Isa.42:1 & 65:9. But the posterity of Jacob were elected in him to be participants in the blessing of Isaac, and that whilst Jacob was yet in the womb, and therefore it must be as they existed in him, and hence it was said to Rebekah: “Two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels” which could only immediately have taken place in the birth of Esau and Jacob. Gen.25:23. So the children of God are said to have been chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. See Eph.1:4. If before the foundation of the world, of course when He only, as their life existed in God, before sin existed and therefore before He could be manifested or declared in the world. And if then chosen in Him, it must have been, that according to the type, they were chosen in His election, and must have existed in Him and were a distinct manner of people in time to proceed from Him. Brethren, is it not in Christ and in Him only, that you find your Israel, your power with God and with men? Is it not alone through His atonement, and intercession that you have confidence to approach God with your supplications, and hope for acceptance with Him? Is it not Christ in you the hope of glory. Christ living in you {Col.1:27, Gal.2:20} that gives you the victory over the old man and over the allurements and opposition of men? Or is it from some new strength that you have obtained of your own? In other words, Is that faith which is the victory &c. a faith of your own, or is it not the faith of the Son of God? See Gal.2:16, 20. Happy indeed art thou, O, Israel; thy life being one with the Son of God. I John 5:12. Christ being thy life, thy salvation and righteousness, no curse can now reach thee, nor any plague come nigh thy dwelling in a spiritual sense. The blessing of God rests upon thy head and therefore upon His body and upon each member thereof. Thy very afflictions are blessings, and not in disguise neither, but often seen openly as such.

“Who is like thee, O, people saved by the Lord?” Truly in all times, the spiritual Israel, the members and body of Christ, have been singular, a different manner of people from others, in their salvation. Saved by the Lord, by Jehovah as it is in the original. As He is, as His name signifies, self-existent, He is all that He is, absolutely of Himself, therefore in the manifestation of Himself in His power, in His grace, or in His holiness, or in His love and mercy, He cannot be controlled, influenced, nor helped by any other, nor governed in the manifestations of any of His attributes, but by His own purpose and His purpose and design, must be like Himself eternal. Hence His people in being brought to know His salvation, are brought off from every idea of conditions. Their repentance instead of being viewed by them as a condition, is in itself a turning with loathing from every doing and exercise, yea from their whole Adamic nature, with all its works and faculties, as being depraved and rendering them unworthy of the favor of God. Instead of viewing their faith as a means of their salvation it gives them to see their salvation as already complete in Christ Jesus, that He is that salvation, {Isa.62:11} so that we might as well talk of faith’s being the means of Christ’s existence, as of its being the means of salvation. As we are saved by Jehovah, Christ must be, and is Jehovah, existing of Himself, and not of another. If the life which is the light of men, was in Him in the beginning, He was still the Word and the Word was God. If He is the only begotten Son, He is in the bosom of the Father, He and the Father are one. John 1:18 & 10:30. Hence the life of believers is hid with Christ in God. If Christ is in His people, the hope of glory liveth in them. Col.1:27, Gal.2:20. God, even the Father is in them there, “I in them, and thou in me.” John 17:23. If that as the Mediator, He might make that offering to law and justice which was required for the redemption of His people. He partook with them of flesh and blood, He was still, God manifest in the flesh. Contemplate the salvation of Israel as you may as completed in Christ or as existing experimentally in the believer, his hope of glory, it is by the Lord; it was His purpose, it is all His work, all that was necessary for accomplishing it, He provided in Himself, and communicates it with Himself as the life, to His people, as His body. Hence the church of which He is Head is the fulness of Him that filleth all in all. Eph.1:22, 23. Who then is like thee, O, people? Who is there of all the shades of religion in the world that do not manifest their opposition to Thy salvation? “The shield of thy help.” That is, Jehovah is the shield &c. Israel by his relation to Adam was ruined, condemned and helpless. But God laid help upon one that is mighty, exalted one chosen out of the people. Psa.89:19. By David in this connection, we are evidently to understand the antitype of David, He who was David’s Lord and Son, Jesus Christ as we have showed is mighty as the Jehovah, and He is called the Mighty God, Isa.9:6. Help was laid on Him, in that He was appointed the Surety of the better testament, a Mediator between God and men, and the High Priest of our profession. Israelites are made to know by experience that all their help must come from Him. As He said to His disciples “Without me ye can do nothing;” {John 15:5} and that they can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth them. Phil 4:13. And Christ says, “Because I live, ye shall live also.”

A shield is an armour of defense. Christ as the helper of His people was assaulted with the wrath of the law, it met Him at His birth and pursued Him to His tomb. He was assaulted by all the rage of Satan. Nothing short of the Godhead could have sustained Him under the assaults and enabled Him to triumph over them, and to bring His body the church out with Him unharmed from the contest. The help itself, the salvation of Israel is assaulted by many enemies, external and internal, but Jehovah shields it. “He that keepeth Israel, &c., Psal.121:4,5. “And who is the sword of thy excellency.” The word here rendered excellency, signifies exalted, or exaltation. In the passage already quoted, Psal.89:19 where David is spoken of as the type of Christ, it is written: “I have exalted one chosen out of the people.” David was chosen from among his brethren and exalted to the throne of Israel. So Christ is manifested as one with His brethren. Thus, it is written: “For both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one; for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” Heb.2:11. And thus Christ said to Mary; “Go to my brethren and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God.” John 20:17. Here He fully acknowledges a brotherhood with His disciples, as having with them one common Father, and one God. Not only this, but it is also written that: “Forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same, that through death, &c.” Heb.2:14. In the foregoing verses He had both acknowledged them as brethren and as children, and thus claims a father and a brother’s right to redeem them. And that the law might recognize His right to redeem, and accept of satisfaction at His hands He came into the law place of the children by taking part of the flesh and blood of which they partook and in which they had sinned. He thus humbled Himself to come under the law, both as God {Phil.2:6,7} and as the Son. Hence it is written: “Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered.” Heb.5:8. His humiliation thus was the ground of His exaltation as spoken of in the text above quoted from Psal.89. See Eph. 4:9 & 10, and Phil.2:6 - 10. As the condemnation of Christ to death lawfully, could only be by His standing in that relation to His people as their life, by which the law could hold Him as one with them and their sins as the sins of His body and members, and hence could inflict the penalty on Him. If their sins were not thus considered as His, how could David when speaking of Christ in Psal.40 represent Him in verse 12, as saying “Mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head, &c.” Christ individually had no sin.

If then Christ is so one with His people, He the life and head, and they the body and members in particular, {I Cor.12:12-27}, that their sins were His, did not Paul rightly say “I am crucified with Christ”? Gal.2:20. If crucified together, were they not raised up together? Hear what Paul testifies: “But God who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, {by grace ye are saved;} and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Eph.2:4-6. Notice that this quickening, this raising &c., is not only together with Christ, but it is in Christ Jesus, it must therefore have been in His being quickened, in His being raised; and therefore as one with Him. And who is it that has the presumption to call in question a truth so divinely testified to by an inspired Apostle? In the exaltation or excellency of Israel; the Lord is the sword of this excellency. By this sword, by the power of His self-existent Godhead, Christ cut His way through the curse of the law, through death and the grave to the exaltation of His people. This sword was stronger then the flaming sword placed at the east of Eden. Jesus by His death vanquished that. The religion of Christ is a living and experimental religion; it is not to be supposed that Christ as the head and life of His people hath ascended to glory with the purpose of leaving His body or a single member of His body behind. The head cannot say to the feet, I have no need of you. I Cor.12:21. As every member of a body is quickened by the same life which animates the head, so every member of Christ’s body must be quickened with that life which animates Him as the head, “If any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of His,” and they must be born of the seed of Abraham, of Israel, or they are not Israelites. Again the saints must be kept and their bodies raised spiritual bodies before they can participate individually in the glory, the exaltation of Christ. But when we consider that Jehovah Himself is the sword by which this excellency, this high exaltation is achieved, who can doubt its accomplishment, whatever obstacles we see in the way, whether within us or without?

Brethren, this is the salvation in which we believe, and to which we would bear our testimony. It meets with opposition and false representations even from some who once professedly walked in fellowship with us. But we rejoice to know and to testify that this is the God we worship, the Saviour we adore, the Mediator in whom we trust. Even Him of whom John testifies that, “This is the true God and eternal life.” I John 5:20. Therefore though reviled and reproached, we would rejoice in the consolations of our trust.

Our meeting which is drawing to a close has been truly refreshing and comforting to us, we have been highly grateful at receiving a goodly number of corresponding messengers from our sister associations, ministers and other brethren. The preaching that we have had has been of Christ and His salvation and in opposition to all the attempts of men to save themselves; so that we have been made to think the language of Moses to Israel applies to us. “Happy art thou O Israel, who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help and the sword of thine excellency.”

To our sister Associations we would say, we desire a continuance of your correspondence by minutes and messengers. Our next association will be held by appointment, the Lord willing, with the church at Mt. Pleasant Fairfax Co. Va. on Thursday before the second Lord’s day in August 1853.

S.TROTT. Moderator. 1852.