Lexington, Ky., Jan.19, 1871.
MY DEAR BROTHER BEEBE: - Strange as it will appear to attentive observers of passing events, some of the opposition to the views of Particular or Old School Baptists are laboring under the hallucination that we have left the ground we have all the while maintained with regard to the great and fundamental truths of the christian religion, and have come over to their views. Whence these dreamless visions, which caused them to lay the flattering unction to their souls, I confess is beyond my comprehension. I am, I presume, as conversant with the views of Old School Baptists as anyone of that order, except yourself, and am utterly at a loss to conjecture how any sane man can have imbibed that opinion. Our views are known east and west, north and south, and I have yet to learn that one individual Old School Baptist, who is one indeed, or has been recognized as one in our ranks, has gone over to the opposition. If we have not written or dwelt as much on the distinguishing traits of character which have distinguished Old School Baptists from the new theories, it is not because we have any misgivings with regard to the truth of the doctrine, but because none of the puerile attempts to successfully controvert it have presented any scriptural argument to controvert the doctrine. Have they found one who denies the unity in the Godhead; the personal relation of the “three that bear record in heaven?” The eternal, underived, unbegotten, essential deity of the Lord Jesus Christ? His incarnation and assumption of the nature of his chosen people, in order to their redemption and deliverance from the curse of the violated law? The actual union between Christ and his chosen people, which gives sanction and validity to his work in their behalf, as Shepherd for his sheep, as Husband for his bride, as Head for the members of his body, the church? Nor yet have I heard of an Old School Baptist who denies the necessity of the new or spiritual birth, in order to see the kingdom of God, or that “that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
It is true that we deny that any part of the Adamic or natural man is made spiritual by the new birth; but that the old man is controlled in his life and conversation by the inward or spiritual man. Nor have we contented that nothing has been done for the old or Adamic man. On the contrary, we maintain that what the Lord Jesus did, by his life, sufferings and death, was for and on the behalf of the old man, the sinner, and that these vile bodies shall be changed and fashioned like unto his glorious body, and that every member of his mystical body shall be brought to participate in the heavenly glory.
Moreover, we maintain that every member of each, the natural and the spiritual family, shall be developed, wearing the image or likeness of his progenitor. We maintain that the entire natural family, who were created in the earthly Adam, will be developed by natural generation, or being born of the flesh; and the entire spiritual family, created in the last Adam, will be developed by the new or spiritual birth, as “heirs of God, and joint heirs with the Lord Jesus Christ.”
In what then, have we changed or gone over to their ground? The charge then, that we have gone over to their ground is a strange hallucination of the brain. If then, they who have formerly been numbered with Old School Baptists have seen their error, and are prepared to confess their fault, and return from their wandering, I know of no reason why we should not restore to fellowship; but until this is done, I am entirely certain that nothing can be gained to the cause of truth and godliness by professed union and fellowship. We have nothing to surrender, no compromise to make with error. Better remain as we are, than bring in the uncircumcised or bewitched into the congregation of the Lord. We now enjoy sweet peace, union and fellowship; let us be content to abide alone and suffer the reproach, rather than to dishonor the Lord. Let us admit none to our communion who fail to give evidence that they are fully with us.
As ever, most truly and affectionately, your friend and brother in hope of eternal life,
Thomas P. Dudley.