Brother Littell: - I will now in answer to your other inquiry, attempt to give my views relative to the seed of the Serpent. I shall simply state my views and my reasons for them. I understand then the seed of the Serpent not to have reference to men as men, nor as sinners simply considered, but altogether to men as religionists.
My reasons for this view of the subjects are as follows: 1. I understand Christ, in saying to some "Ye are of your father the devil," as speaking in reference to their great pretensions to religion, and as a contrast to their claiming to be of God. And in the same connection He gives us a sketch by which to draw the line of distinction between the seed of Christ and the seed of the Serpent. Satan is represented as a murderer or liar, and the father of lies, John 8:44. Christ is the truth and the life, John 14:6. As is through the belief of the truth, II Thes. 2:13. Satan's by being given up to believe a lie, same chap., verse 11. Christ's seed are known by being gentle and inoffensive like sheep; Satan's by possessing a persecuting spirit like wolves, however much they may wrap themselves in sheep's clothing.
2. He whom Paul calls a child of the Devil, Acts 13:10, was manifested as such, not by not attending to the right ways of the Lord, but by perverting them. So at this day the children of the Devil are known by perverting the truth and order of the Gospel.
Thus Satan's ministers are manifested in the transforming themselves into the Apostles of Christ, as though they had authority to set things in order in the churches. II Cor. 11:13. An account of one of Satan's ministers and of his doctrine we have in the case of the damsel who annoyed Paul & Silas, at Philippi, Acts 16:16-18. It is true this was s female, but Satan sometimes employs such even at this day. The doctrine is worthy of particular notice: "These men are the servants of the Most High God, which shew unto us the way of salvation." Strange how many disciples this witch has, at this day, even among the Baptists; who, like their leader, are preaching that the ministers are the mighty ones who can shew unto the people the way of salvation. Whoever may preach this doctrine, we can have no hesitancy, with this waymark before us, in pronouncing it to be from the spirit of witchcraft. Paul preached Christ unto the people, but he never pretended to show them the way, that is, make them see the way of salvation, that he knew none less than the Holy Ghost could do. He was therefore grieved that any should say it of him.
3. Another reason for my views relative to the seed of the Serpent is drawn from the parable of the wheat and the tares, as explained by the Master Himself in Mt. 13:24-30 & 36-43. In this parable we have the seed of the Serpent as the children of the wicked one contrasted with the seed of Christ as the children of the Kingdom. Two things relative to this parable are worthy of notice. First, it is not the creation of the world that is likened to the incidents of the parable, but the kingdom of Heaven, therefore it has reference to events connected with the Gospel dispensation. Hence this parable affords no support to our Brother Parker's two-seed system. Second, the field is the world – not the church. The doctrine therefore, "Let them both grow together" has no reference to the exercise of church discipline, but has reference to the Spirit of the Gospel as not countenancing persecution.
In this parable as in the other instances I have noticed the seed of the Serpent is contrasted with the good seed of the Son of man. It is an illustration of the fact that wherever Christ sows His seed, that is, sends His gospel, plants His churches, and calls out His people, there Satan will have his mock-gospels, mock-churches, and mock-professors.
4. Another reason for my views, as laid down at the commencement of this letter, I find in what is said concerning the two seeds, Gen. 3:15, "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed." I understand from this declaration that there would be a continued, fixed enmity between these two interests in the world. But there certainly has never been any such enmity manifested between the elect and non-elect, as such; not between the gospel and the church of Christ, and sinners as such. Hence this does not support the two seed system of the West. I know well that there is a law enmity against the sinner, that is, the law condemns him, and that the carnal mind, both in the elect and non-elect is enmity against God, not subject to the Law, &c. But the text under consideration has reference to Christ; not to the law. The song of the angels, "Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good will toward men," I consider as expressive in the clearest and fullest sense of the design of the coming of Christ into the world and of the tendency of the Gospel. And the Gospel tends not to communicate to its true ministers nor to any who receive it, anything like enmity towards sinners or carnal men as such, but on the contrary, it produces more tenderness towards them, and a greater desire for their real happiness. Neither do carnal persons while inattentive to religion, manifest any enmity to the Gospel or to Christians. They have no relish for the Gospel. Like Gallio, they care for none of those things, therefore, like him, they will have no hand in persecuting the followers of Jesus for their religion.
But let one of these Gallios' become converted into any of the systems of men and he is at once enlisted into the ranks of Satan, and will soon begin to manifest his enmity against that gospel which proclaims Glory to God in the Highest, and against those who preach it. We have an illustration of my views upon this subject, in the case of Cain and Abel. These brothers lived peaceably together, so far as we know, till Cain became a religionist of his own contriving, then because Abel brought an offering, not of human contrivance, but in faith, and was therefore accepted, the enmity of Cain's heart burst forth against him and against God. Indeed, we see numerous illustrations around us, in the cases of the modern converts of the mourners bench and of the altars &c. It is by means of conversions to the various religious schemes which Satan has set afloat through the instrumentality of his ministers, that he has from age to age kept up his army for waging war against the church of Christ. And he is now mustering all the forces that the election of grace will allow of his collecting, for the purpose of making one more desperate attempt to bury the walls and city of Zion by assault. He will succeed in killing the watchmen on the walls, the true witnesses. But Zion's foundation is sufficiently strong to withstand the assault, and the result will be that his army will be overwhelmed and become the subjects of their own destruction.
On the other hand, although there is no malice on the side of the gospel, yet it inculcates upon its followers a firm and manly stand in opposition to the assaults and intrigues of the enemy and his forces. Christ says concerning the tares, He shall send forth His angels and shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them that do iniquity and shall cast them into a furnace of fire, &c. We hear the Angel proclaiming that "If any man worship the Beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God which is poured out without mixture, &c." Rev. 14:9, 11. Paul says, "though we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you, than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." Gal. 1:8. John also says, "If there come any unto you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed." II John, verse 10 & 11. Again, the Apostle to the Gentiles exhorts his Ephesian brethren in these words, "Finally my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil &c." Eph. 6:10-11.
Indeed, I cannot conceive how a person can be brought experimentally to know and love the truth as it is in Jesus, and not so feel his heart bound to that truth, that the setting up of anything in opposition to that truth would be like rending his own soul. There is in this truth as it is known and felt by the believers everything to enlist all the better feelings of the soul. The glory of the three-one God is involved in it. The sovereignty, glory, wisdom, love and mercy of the Father; the love, faithfulness and power of the Son, and the efficacy and completion of His work, and sovereignty, faithfulness and divine energies of the Holy Ghost are all so contained therein, and connected with the truth of the gospel, that there has never been a system of doctrine contrived by men but what has struck directly at one or more of these divine attributes. Again, the believer knows that the whole Godhead as is known as Father, Word and Holy Ghost, is necessary to secure the salvation of a sinner; hence as any of the divine attributes are left out or thrown into a background by any system introduced, he must feel that the foundation of his hope and comfort is struck at; and at the same time he knows that as such system is received into a confidence in that which will leave them to perish at last; and knowing all this; can the christian refrain from manifesting his abhorrence of such a system, and his opposition to it? That christian must be under the influence of a most dastardly spirit, who can turn from such divine glory and excellency as in the truth as it is in Jesus, or who can approbate or even wink at any attempts to deface it, and that from the mean desire of thereby securing a little worldly ease, and worldly applause. Yet there are those, known to some of us, especially in some of our larger cities, who are very Davids in the pulpit, wielding the sword of the Spirit manfully, in cutting down error and in defending the truth of the gospel that salvation is of the Lord, but who, when out of the pulpit, are lending their names and influence to sanction and help on this, and the other scheme of human contrivance, for saving those whom, as they represent it, the Lord would otherwise leave to perish.
Thus we see, there is a constituted separation between truth and error in religion, and between the lovers of truth and lovers of error. On the above and like reasons, I rest my views relative to the Seed of the Serpent.
Now, my brethren, you who have received the love of the truth, let me address a few remarks to you upon this subject. God, we see, has put enmity between the woman's seed and the seed of the Serpent. Where God has put enmity have we any right to make peace? And when God has called us to endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ; and to take the whole armour of God, that we may be able to withstand in the evil day; and having done all to stand, what right have we to sneak cowardly away, and leave the enemy to pursue unmolested their devastation of the divine system of truth and to plant their systems in its place? There are many excuses made for such a course; but will they stand? Look at Israel. God put enmity between them and the nations around them, but they were repeatedly making peace, forming alliances and intermixing with those nations. The consequence of every such departure from the direction of God was the introduction of idolatrous principles and worship into the land. So spiritual Israel has ever been found to form alliances with the seed of the Serpent; and thereby worldly professors, worldly principles and practices have been introduced into the church of Christ. It has now got to that pitch of intermixture of the two seeds, that we need an Ezra chapters 9 & 10; Neh. 13:1-9 & 23-30. Brethren, let us take the New Testament for our Ezra, and by its directions, arise and make the required division, separating ourselves from every system, scheme and divice of Ashdod and Moab. Let us erect the standard of truth over our camp, that we may be distinctly know that great exertions are being put forth to drown all confessions of faith by those who are afraid to have their principles see the light.
I am surprised that any Lover of the word should join them in the attempt. Let them succeed and we shall see Unitarians, and Trinitarians, Universalists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, &c. &c., all united in one mingled mass in battle array against the truth. Let us separate ourselves from the whole mixed multitude. Declarations of faith, I know, have been abused, such abuses we would do well to put down. For instances, the name, "Philadelphia Confession of Faith," the principles being overlooked has been used as a password, or rather as a flag of truce under which the seed of the Serpent have been coming into the very camp of Zion, till in many instances they have the entire command of the gateways, admitting and excluding whom they please, and even of the batteries, so as to point the artillery against Zion herself. This name therefore I would willingly drop; but let us make an unequivocal declaration of what we believe to be the faith and practice taught in the word of God, as we have learned it in the school of Christ – the Old Baptist School, and instead of dropping this declaration, let us nail it, as the sailors say, nail it to the mast, and rally round it in one solid body.
Brethren, let me entreat you to reflect on these things, and earnestly to enquire at the word of the Lord, after the course which belongs to you, as the Israel of God, to pursue. But amidst all our reflections, let us ever remember that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty, - not through human might, human wisdom, human stratagem, nor anything human – but through God to the pulling down of strongholds &c. And let us ever keep in mind what is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay saith the Lord, and therefore not give way to any emotions of revenge. I subscribe myself yours, &c.
Centreville, Fairfax County, Virginia,
June 25th, 1833
SIGNS of the TIMES: Vol. 1 (1833)