Near Lexington Ky., Aug. 15, 1849.
MY DEAR BROTHER BEEBE: – From the moment I read your response to Elder Williams’ queries in No. 12 “Signs,” I have had it in contemplation to write to you, and drop some suggestions for your consideration – knowing Elder Williams, and being satisfied that I know the motive which prompted him in propounding the queries to you, I was prepared for his exultation at your admitting that the soul is regenerated. That brother Beebe, has committed himself in his reply to Elder W., I think will be manifest upon his re-examining the following positions taken in his reply.
“If what we have thus far written on this query be correct, then nothing in the christian is a new creature, but what was actually in Christ.”
A little lower down on the same page you say “And this quickening is the communication of new life to the soul, which was dead, by the which that soul is made alive, and becomes a new creature.”
Now, I ask brother Beebe, was the soul actually in Christ? If not, and I think on reflection, brother Beebe will admit it was not, are you not found in conflict with yourself? “And so it is written the first man Adam, was made a living soul.” “And he called their name Adam.” “The last Adam was made a quickening spirit, even every one that is called by my name.” “As is the earthy, such are they that are earthy; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.”
I submit several questions, a solution of which may rid the subject of some obscurity. 1. What do you understand the soul to be? 2. Did the soul compose any part of the Adamic man? 3. Were living souls created in the first or the last Adam? 4. Does any thing descend from within the first or the last Adam, which was not created in him? 5. Is it not the soul which distinguishes man from the rest of creation, and renders him a rational, intelligent, responsible being? 6. Was man capable of vice or virtue until the Lord God “Breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul? 7. What is it that exercises volition for the body, and prompts it to action? 8. Is it the act or the intention to commit the act, which constitutes crime? 9. Can any other than an intelligent being commit crime and draw down the curse of God upon him? 10. Is any thing ever developed from seed, which was not in the germ? 11. Does Jehovah take any part of the Adamic man, but of which to form the “new man?” 12. If the soul is regenerated, or more properly, remodled, and by this remodling becomes the “new man,” is it not a reformation, instead of regeneration? 13. Is it not an abuse of terms, to call the soul the “new man,” when in truth, the soul existed prior to regeneration; and would it not be rather the “old man” dressed up in new livery? 14. If the soul is regenerated, or born again, and it is that which exercises volition for the body, would not every act of the body, and its members, be conformed to the strictest principles of holiness; seeing that “whosoever is born of God, doth not commit sin, for his seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God?” 15. If the soul is the intelligent part of man, which renders him responsible, and that soul being regenerated, cannot prompt the members of the body to sin, how are we to understand the Apostle John, “If we say we have no sin, we decieve ourselves and the truth is no tin us.” If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from unrighteousness – have the goodness to reconcile.” 1 John i. 8,9 with iii. 9? 16. Would God chastise beings entirely devoid of intelligence? 17. Could the flesh and blood of David, Peter, or any other child of God rebel against the divine throne and bring down the rod upon him, if that part which rebelled, was destitute of an intelligent principle? 18. Was Jesus Christ (the husband) composed of two whole and distinct natures, the divine and the human – did either compose a part of the other nature. If christians (the bride the Lamb’s wife) be composed not of two whole and distinct natures, or if either, composed part of the other nature in her, can we realize what the Apostle said, “But we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is?” 19. Are there indeed, two men in the christian, “The old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;” and “the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him? Is the “new man after God, created in righteousness and true holiness?” 20. Are not the two men in, or composing the christian as developed, here upon earth, fed upon radically different elements, adn possessed of radically different lives?
I rose up from an attentive perusal of Doctor Watson’s review of the Licking circular, with this strong conviction of mind, the most appropriate answer Licking could give the Doctor is, “What I have written, I have written.” – That is, what we have written is true, and the Doctor’s sophistry cannot overturn it. I was much pleased with, and most cordially adopted your reply to the Doct. I was also much pleased with your reply to Elder Williams’ queries with the exception I have taken in the early part of this communication. From the time you left us, I was strongly urged by many brethren to publish the circular on the “origin, nature and effects of the christian warfare,” but declined, until the extensive and palpable misrepresentations of that letter and of my views, seemed to render it necessary to my own vindication. I forwarded copies to you immediately after its publication, and have been led to conjecture, that if you received them, you were deterred from its publication, by the consideration that it would produce controversy. Those in this country, or some of them, who have made war upon that circular are beginning to see the inconsistency of advocating the doctrine of eternal union and opposing the circular, hence they are denying union, except in purpose.
I submit it to you, whether as the circular has been referred to by more than one of your correspondents, justice to all parties, does not require its publication?
Most truly and affectionately your brother,
THOMAS P. DUDLEY.
Signs of the Times
Volume 17, No. 19.
October 1, 1849.