THE LIGHT OF GOSPEL SIMPLICITY

BROTHER BEEBE: – Although full, heart and hand, with things requiring my attention, and the difficulties with which I am encompassed, and arising principally from the bitter opposition of those who have claimed to be Old School Baptists, yet I cannot let the last number {the 16th} of the SIGNS pass without dropping you a line upon its contents.

I will begin with those things which have been gratifying to me; namely, the Letters from Brethren Hartwell and Hovey. It is really refreshing to hear of those churches in Maine coming out from the mass of corruption, both in doctrine and ceremonies, with which I had supposed that whole country was covered; and of their setting up a standard in the behalf of the purity and simplicity of Gospel doctrine and order. It is certainly a favorable indication that the Lord has much people there which he intends bringing out as witnesses for himself. May all the Lord’s children be led to distinguish between the light of Gospel simplicity of which the Lord has given them a lamp, and the darkness of human systems and schemes, and come out from their errors and rally around the standard their brethren have erected in the name of the Lord. But in thus coming out, they must expect opposition, and reproach. If enabled so to conduct in all things, that their opposers may have no evil thing to say of them, in truth, reproach will not hurt them; they will find a blessing in it, though it is not pleasant to the flesh.

But Brother Hovey’s account of the little band of faithful ones at Brighton is the most surprising. The existence of such a company of witnesses for the truth in that situation is one of those remarkable instances in which God has at all times displayed the power of Sovereign Grace in rearing up and preserving a standard to the glory of his Name in the midst of everything calculated to prostrate it. It is like a living fire amidst surrounding waters; it is like some of those little companies of spiritual disciples which during the dark ages were occasionally found and hunted down in the very heart of Rome .

For there they exist, the humble followers of Jesus, amidst the wealth, the grandeur, the hurry and pride of the Emporium of the Eastern States, and which perhaps surpasses in these things, any spot of the same size in America . Again, they have on one hand in this vicinity the Unitarian College, called Harvard University, and not far from them the Baptist Theological School at Newton, and near them in Boston, the Baptist Foreign Mission Rooms, and Board of Missions in all the splendor of their operations, and are encompassed with what are called the Baptist churches of Boston, of Charleston, Cambridge and Newton, with their great D.D’s for pastors. And yet these Brethren have had boldness given them to come out from all this pomp in religion and to meet by themselves for the purpose of worshipping God in the simplicity and spirituality of his instituted worship. Then the humble, meek and quiet spirit which Brother Hovey’s letter breaths, renders it more estimable, than a million of such Reports of great human exertions, as emanate from the foreign mission rooms, with Dr. Bolles’ or Dr. Sharpe’s name appended to them. I did feel on reading the letters of these brethren as though I should be rejoiced to visit them, were I at liberty to roam among the scattered bands of my Master’s little flock.

I now pass to notice some of those pieces less pleasant. I will commence with the extract on Sinners coming to Christ, which you have credited to Emmons, I presume Dr. Emmons. Perhaps many of your readers will be surprised, and perhaps think me wild, when I say that this piece is one of the greatest or most complete counterfeits I have ever seen of the New Birth. That either the writer was a stranger to Divine Quickening or was so accustomed to the dialect of Ashdod that he could not speak intelligibly in the Jews language. There is much said of God’s teaching, but it is apparently the natural man taught. There is an intimacy formed between the sinner and Christ, like the branches and Vine; but it is not the branches growing out of the Vine – it is His divine and human excellencies, and his mediatorial offices from the views they have of Him as the brightness of the Father’s glory, that concur to unite them to him as the branches are united to the Vine.

There is a coming to Christ for salvation, but it is not a finding of salvation in him, but in their coming to him.

To show the justness of my remarks, I will quote a few of his expressions. He says, “By being taught their own characters and the character of God, they are fully convinced that no mercy can be found out of Christ.” Again, “They cannot see how it is possible that God should be just, and yet justify any but those who came to Christ and believe in Him for salvation.” He speaks of God’s terms of mercy in a way of implying condition. His idea of the failure of the similitude of the Prodigal is I think incorrect. Sinners when brought to return to God in the penitent spirit of the Prodigal, know no more in reality of the Mediator than the Prodigal did, until he is unfolded to them, as in figure he was to him, in the robe, feast, etc. He says, “They are willing to come to Christ and rely upon his mediation and atonement as the sole ground of their complete restoration to the divine favor.” If they are willing to come to him, they know not that they may come, till his work is applied to them; the best robe must be brought and put on them, etc. But I will not multiply quotations. A little attention will show that his was a legal gospel, and an un-regenerated unborn, renewed man; if I may use the expression.

I had intended to notice your New York Scraps, but I must let him pass for this time. Only requesting the next time he writes that he would give us Scripture quotations in proof, and not mutilated Scripture neither, as in his extract from Rom. 8:1.

S. TROTT,
Fairfax Court House, Va.,
Aug. 8, 1834.