Campbell, Coles Co., Ill., July 21, 1874.
BROTHER BEEBE: - By permission, please publish the enclosed letter, written by Elder Thomas P. Dudley.
Lexington, Ky., June 25, 1874.
DEAR BROTHER TAYLOR: - Your very kind and brotherly letter of the 10th instant came duly to hand, and has been attentively considered. It is matter of some surprise that after my views of bible truth have been so fully and unmistakably expressed, from the pulpit, the press, and in an extensive private correspondence, and so severely stigmatized and criticized, and I flatter myself have been so fully vindicated by the divine record, that there should be those who yet do not understand them, or who willfully pervert them to some unholy end. I have never attempted to make my faith a standard for others, although of its truth I am as firmly convinced as I can be; yet I have invariably urged brethren to try that faith by the infallible standard, the word of God. If not sustained by that word, reject it. Unfortunately for the good of society, others have undertaken to speak for me. I protest against this injustice, and have frequently said, I am willing to be held responsible for what I have delivered, since my earliest ministry, but protest against being held responsible for what others say I have preached.
I have ever protested against the heresy that “all who were created in the earthly Adam were redeemed by Christ,” as necessarily resulting in Universalism, or denying the responsibility of the larger portion of the human family to God – either of which doctrines I consider no better than open infidelity. I have, moreover, controverted the notion that “Adam, by transgression, died a spiritual death,” for the conclusive reason that in his original creation he was not possessed of spiritual life, and he could not lose that which he had not. “Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural, and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven.”
Hence we see the beauty and harmony of the divine record. “There is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” The law was given to, and was violated by, and the curse incurred, by the universality of mankind, in their oneness with their earthly head. “In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” “The wages of sin is death.” “Sin is the transgression of the law.” “Where there is no law there is no transgression.” “Without the shedding of blood is no remission.” Do our adversaries mean to contend there were no transgressors but those who were redeemed by Christ? I presume they will not dare content that Cain, Ishmael and Esau were redeemed! If the law did not bind Cain, where was his offence in killing his brother Abel? How could “sin lie at his door,” if the law did not bind him? And if he was not one of his creatures, and the subject of law, how can we reconcile the justice of God with pronouncing the curse upon him?
If the law was not given to, and transgressed by spirits, what need of Christ dying for spirits?
Men, as I have shown, were the subjects of law, and transgressors; therefore the man Christ Jesus “was made sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Let Paul explain: “Forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same, that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil, and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels, [disembodied spirits] but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore it behooved him in all things to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted.” Remember that Christ was “put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit;” that “he bare our sins in his own body on the tree;” that “he died for our sins, according to the scriptures, was buried, and rose again, according to the scriptures.” What more monstrous heresy than that the Godhead died, was buried, and rose again!
Although modern Hymenaeus’es and Philetus’es do greatly err in saying the resurrection is past already, let us attend to the more sure word of prophecy. “If the dead rise not, then is not Christ risen; and if Christ be not risen, then is your faith vain; ye are yet in your sins.” “But now is Christ risen from the dead and become the first fruits of them that slept.” “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body.” “But we know that when he shall appear we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” When? “When this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality.”
No doctrine in the Bible is more conclusively established by divine testimony than the future resurrection of the bodies of all the heirs of promise.
What I have written will assure you that I repudiate the following heresies: First, “That all who were created in Adam were redeemed by Christ.” Second, “That Adam died a spiritual death.” Third, “That Christ died for spirits, and not men and women.” Fourth, “That the Divinity or Godhead of the Lord Jesus died.” Fifth, “That there will be no future resurrection of the just and the unjust.”
I have not written the foregoing without considerable inconvenience, resulting from the loss of sight of one eye, and impaired vision of the other.
I am entirely confident that those who have been personally acquainted with me from my earliest ministry, now reaching through a period of fifty-three years, in all my published articles on the subject of religion, together with my private correspondence, will bear me witness that I have constantly and invariably maintained the same system of truth, and will unhesitatingly say the charge of change on my part is untrue.
I should be gratified to visit your section, but when I consider my advanced age of infirmity, together with the distance, I hesitate to give a promise. Kind regards to the brethren and sisters who may care to hear from me.
Your brother in hope,
Thomas P. Dudley.