TO THE CHURCHES
Composing the Licking Association of Particular Baptists, specially, and to the “Old School Baptists,” generally.
Circumstances seem, in the judgment of the undersigned, to render it necessary to his own vindication, and but justice to those who concurred with the sentiments contained in the following Circular; that it should be published for your prayerful consideration.
It will not be forgotten that, at the session of the Licking Association in 1845, the undersigned was unanimously requested to prepare a Circular for the following year.
Finding some discrepancy in the views of brethren, as expressed, upon the ORIGIN, NATURE, AND EFFECTS OF THE CHRISTIAN WARFARE; and believing that discrepancy to consist more in a difference of terms used to express the opinions entertained, than in the doctrine taught; he was induced to prepare the following Circular in substance.
There were two Circulars prepared, and submitted to the inspection of several brethren, the most of whom preferred the following, whilst no one made (to the writer) any objection to it.
On reaching the Association in 1846, the writer was informed by an esteemed brother, that this circular would meet opposition. He immediately declined presenting it; alledging that he did not wish to produce conflict among brethren.
In the following year, an esteemed ministering brother, from abroad, visited us; who, upon hearing this letter read, expressed a desire that the Association should adopt and print it, for the information of brethren abroad as well as here. The writer suggested, that another brother had been appointed to prepare a letter for the approaching session, and that he could not consent to the presentation of this. At the meeting of the Association in 1847, the brother appointed for that purpose, presented a Circular, which, according to our uniform custom, was referred to the Committee of Arrangement. On the meeting of that committee some difference of opinion was manifested, with regard to the Circular, in its then present form; and a proposition was made, and adopted that the undersigned (who protested against it) and another brother, be appointed a committee to take the Circular, and put it in such form as to meet the views of the committee of Arrangement, and report to that committee on Monday morning, whereupon the committee adjourned.
After the adjournment, the ministering brother from abroad (who had been present, by invitation and assisting in the examination of the Circular,) remarked, “I have seen a Circular which I should be gratified to see the Association adopt.” A member of the committee inquired, Where is it? The brother replied, “I have seen it.” The question was again asked by another member of the committee, Where is it? The brother replied, with some hesitancy, “I saw it in the possession of brother Dudley.” The undersigned being applied to for the letter alluded to remarked, “If it is here at all, it is among the papers of the Association, in possession of the Clerk, who is at Lawrenceburg.” A message was sent to the Clerk for the Circular, and the committee agreed to meet on the next morning for the purpose of examining it. The committee met, and upon hearing the letter read, a proposition was made that this letter should be presented in lieu of the one which had been referred to the committee, (the undersigned declined voting on the proposition,) to the Association on Monday. This proposition was adopted.
When the Circular was called for, on Monday, the substitute for the original letter (as adopted in committee) was read, whereupon some opposition was made to its adoption. After considerable debate, a motion to recommit to a select committee, was carried. The select committee reported that they were unable to agree on the Circular committee to them, and recommended the re-publication of the Circular, which appears in the Minutes of that year; and the Association concurred in that recommendation.
The Circular having been read but once in the Association, some brethren, misapprehended the position taken, and scriptural proofs offered, to sustain these positions; in consequence of which, and not (as the undersigned sincerely hopes,) with a design to misrepresent; extensive misrepresentations of the letter, and of the views of its author, have been made. To correct which, and afford an opportunity to the brethren, to examine and compare it with the standard of truth; and thus (as he fondly hopes) produce perfect harmony of sentiment among brethren, he is induced to publish it.
The undersigned has been charged, (as he learns) with having left “old Baptist” ground, and being engaged in preaching new things. The truth of when charge he most emphatically controverts, and confidently appeals to the candor of brethren, to say, whether in the seven and twenty years he has been engaged in the ministry, they have ever known him to deviate from what he now maintains as truth upon this interesting subject.
The Circular referred to the committee, and which, after examination, they declined presenting to the Association on Monday morning, was subsequently published by its author, without giving offence (as its publication should not have given) to any one, so far as the undersigned knows or has heard. He hopes that all will accord to him the same right, without offence to any; especially, as he, too, publishes on his own responsibility.
Most truly and affectionately,
Your brother in hope of immortality,
THO. P. DUDLEY.
February 27, 1849.
To the Churches composing the Licking Association of Particular Baptists, their Messengers, wish grace, mercy and peace be multiplied.
DEARLY BELOVED BRETHREN AND SISTERS: – It occurs to us that we could not select a more appropriate subject, because none possesses more intrinsic merit, for our present annual address, than the ORIGIN, NATURE, AND EFFECTS of that warfare which so painfully disturbs the peace and quiet of the Children of the Regeneration.
It is confidently believed that much embarrassment and many doubts and fears with regard to their interest in a Saviour’s shed blood, have resulted from misconception of this important subject. How often does the troubled saint exclaim:
“If I love, why am I thus?
Why this dull and lifeless frame?
Hardly sure can they be worse,
Who have never heard His name.”
That the warfare, invariably follows regeneration, or being “born again,” is not, we believe, controverted by any experimental Christian. But while some of us maintain, that the warfare results from a conflict of elements within; others, and perhaps the larger number contend, that, in regeneration, the man is changed from the love of sin to the love of holiness.
We inquire, by what power is the supposed change affected? The answer is, by the Spirit of God. Moses informs us, “He is the rock, his work is perfect.” (Deut. xxxii. 4) Now we ask if indeed, in regeneration, the man (natural carnal man) is changed from the love of sin to the love of holiness, and this change is perfect, does it not necessarily follow, that he will be as wholly and entirely devoted to holiness subsequently, as he had been to sin antecedently to regeneration? If, as is contended by many, the enmity of the heart is slain in regeneration, whence arises opposition to the dispensations of God’s providence? Irreconciliation to His will? and whence the exclamation, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” – Rom. vii. 24. That the Christian is a compound being, is a truth so fully taught in his history, as given in the holy Scriptures, that we wonder it should be controverted by any who have tasted “that the Lord is gracious.” “But though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” – 2 Cor. iv. 16. “For I delight in the law of God, after the inward man.” – Rom. vii. 22. “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him.” – Rom vi. 5. “That ye put off, concerning the former conversation, the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” – Eph. iv. 22, 23, 24. “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him.” – Col. iii. 9, 10. “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.” – 2 Cor. v. 17. “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.” – Gal. vi. 15.
Whence these various distinctions between the OLD and NEW MAN, if indeed there are not TWO MEN? If man is only changed in regeneration? If the language that “man is changed” were appropriate, there would be but ONE MAN; his feelings and affections having been changed; there would be no conflict and hence no warfare! We presume that none will contend that the OLD man is the NEW MAN, or that the NEW man is the OLD MAN. This would be to confound language and make it unintelligible.
We affectionately ask brethren to consider that the matter of MAKING CHRISTIANS is nowhere in the Scripture represented as RE FORMATION, but as a CREATION. Hence it is said, “But be you glad and rejoice forever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.” – “For they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their off-spring with them.” – Isa. lxv. 18, 19, 23. None, we presume, will deny, that the last quotation has exclusive reference to Gal. iv. 26. “But JERUSALEM WHICH IS ABOVE IS FREE, WHICH IS THE MOTHER OF US ALL.” “But now, thus saith the Lord that CREATED thee, O Jacob, and He that FORMED thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name: thou art mine.” – “Fear not; for I am with thee; I will bring THY SEED from the east, and GATHER THEE from the west; I will say to the north, Give up: and to the south, Keep not back: bring MY SONS from far, and MY DAUGHTERS from the ends of the earth; EVEN EVERY ONE THAT IS CALLED BY MY NAME: For I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.” – Isa. xliii. 1, 5, 6, 7. “How long wilt thou go about, O thou BACKSLIDING DAUGHTER? for the Lord hath created a new thing in the earth, a woman shall compass a man.” – Jer. xxxi. 22. “For we are his workmanship, CREATED IN CHRIST JESUS unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” – Eph. ii. 10. “CREATE ME A CLEAN HEART, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” – Psa. li. 10. But why need we multiply proofs on the point when they are set forth so palpably in the Scriptures and realized in the Christian experience?
The Bible furnishes the following history of the NATURAL FAMILY. “So God CREATED MAN IN HIS OWN IMAGE; in the image of God CREATED He him; MALE AND FEMALE CREATED HE THEM.” – Gen. i. 27. “And the Lord God FORMED man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” – Gen. ii. 7. “Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.” – Gen. v. 2. Hence we learn that all “living souls” were created in, and simultaneously with their natural progenitor. They all descend from him by ordinary or natural generation. They necessarily partake of his nature, and subsist upon the same elements upon which he subsisted. The breath of life communicated to man whence he became a “living soul,” constituted him a rational, intelligent, responsible being – capable of subsisting upon the products of the earth; but incapable of other and higher enjoyments. Deprive him of the soul, mind, or rational faculties, and what would distinguish him from the brute? Deprive him of life, and he would be like other dead matter. In the absence of soul, or body, he would have been incapable of filling up his destiny upon earth. “And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it, and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man saying, of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (The life which Adam had, could be forfeited by transgression.) And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone: I will make him an help meet for him.” “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof. And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh.” – Gen. ii. 15-24.
Now, we ask, if the woman had been different in nature and disposition, if she had been incapable of earthly enjoyments – of subsisting upon earthly productions – of breathing a natural atmosphere – in a word, had her susceptibilities been entirely different from Adam’s, would she have been a “help meet” for Adam? But she was part of him, possessed the same nature, and was, consequently, an “help meet.” Here too, we see the declaration, “male and female created He them, and blessed them, and called their name Adam,” carried out: “And unto Adam He said: Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee saying: thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.” – Gen. iii. 17-20. Did God address a rational, intelligent being in the foregoing quotation, and was he capable of realizing the curse pronounced? The characteristics of this family are strikingly marked in the Scriptures. “And Adam lived a hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his own image: and called his name Seth.” – Gen. v. 3. “Behold I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” – Psa li. 5. “The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.” – Psa. lviii. 3. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” – Rom. v. 12. From the preceding facts and arguments it is manifest that the family of the “first Adam” is not capable of rending acceptable service to God, but the antagonist nature and principle of the two families (the NATURAL and THE SPIRITUAL) out of which grows the warfare, are made still more manifest by the contrast introduced by an apostle. “And so it is written: The FIRST MAN ADAM was made a living soul; the LAST ADAM was made a quickening Spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterwards that which is spiritual. THE FIRST man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy; And as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” – I Cor. xv. 45-50.
Is it not evident, then, that all “LIVING SOULS,” were created in and simultaneously with the “first man Adam,” that they all, being born of him, necessarily partake of his nature, “and He called their name Adam?” And that ALL “QUICKENED SPIRITS” were created in and simultaneously with the “last Adam” – that they all, being born of Him, “Born of God,” as necessarily partake of His nature? That all living souls no more necessarily descend from the first Adam than all quickened spirits necessarily descend from the last Adam: that the seed of the “first man Adam” DISCLOSE HIS NATURE – and the seed of the “last Adam” make manifest His nature. The children of the “first Adam” are born of the flesh and are earthy in all their feelings and affections; the children of the “last Adam” are born of the spirit and are necessarily heavenly, or spiritual, in their feelings and affections? The children of the first are born FOR EARTH; of the last Adam, are born FOR HEAVEN. Those of the “first” are born of CORRUPTIBLE: those of the “last Adam” are of INCORRUPTIBLE SEED. The first necessarily partake of human; the last, of the divine nature. The antagonistic principles attached to the two men necessarily result in THE WARFARE.
If all living souls were not vitally united to the first Adam, how could they be so directly and FATALLY affected by the first transgression? How could the original act of transgression be considered THEIR ACT? “And so death passed upon ALL MEN; for that ALL HAV E SINNED.” “There is none righteous, no not one.” – Rom. iii. 10. If all quickened spirits were not VITALLY UNITED TO THE “LAST ADAM,” how could His mediatorial work affect them in their deliverance from the wrath to come? “This is His name whereby he shall be called, The Lord Our Righteousness.’” – Jer. xxiii. 6. The transgression of the “first man Adam” involved all his family in guilt and ruin. The mediatorial work of the “last Adam” met all the claims of the law and satisfied divine justice in behalf of the chosen seed. But as the transgression of the “first man Adam” DID NOT DISQUALIFY HIS FAMILY FOR HEAVEN. Neither DID THE OBEDIENCE AND DEATH OF “THE LAST ADAM,” IMPART TO HIS CHOSEN SEED A QUALIFICATION FOR THE ENJOYMENT OF HEAVEN. The earth being the natural abode of the “first Adam’s” family, they are necessarily born of the flesh in order to its enjoyment. Heaven being the ultimate abode of saints, they are as necessarily born of the spirit in order to its enjoyments. “Except a man be born of water, and of the Spirit, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” – Jno. iii. 5. Here we are presented with two distinct births of two distinct elements, which necessarily produce two distinct beings. The first, of the flesh, producing beings incapable; the second, of the Spirit, producing beings CAPABLE OF ENTERING INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD. The first producing simple; the second producing compound beings. The first having but one; the second two natures.
Of those born of the flesh, it is said, “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: FOR IT IS NOT SUBJECT TO THE LAW OF GOD, NEITHER CAN BE. SO THEN THEY THAT ARE IN THE FLESH CANNOT PLEASE GOD.” Of those born of the spirit, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now, if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” – Rom. viii. 7, 8, 9. “All men hath not faith.” “But without faith it is impossible to please Him.” Faith is a “fruit of the Spirit” – “the gift of God” to the “NEW CREATURE.”
The development of the natural family has been progressing for near six thousand years, and yet the last one born, like the first, gives proof, demonstrable proof, of the source whence he sprang. The spiritual family has been developing with and since the says of Abel, and each one “born of the spirit,” gives evidence of the source whence he sprang. “I delight in the law of God after the INWARD MAN.” No contingency can prevent the entire development of each, the natural and spiritual family: and we are warranted to believe the the LAST who shall be developed of each, shall be like the FIRST OF THAT FAMILY – WHENCE HE SPRANG.
The sturdy oak of the forest, with all its roots, its huge trunk, every limb, every twig, yea, and every leaf, which has been, is now being, and shall yet be developed, were once inclosed in a small acorn whence they all sprang – all are of the same nature – each a part of the whole. Had not the acorn been providentially committed to the ground whence it underwent decomposition, germination, there had been no development – so with the corn of wheat. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and DIE, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that LOVETH HIS LIFE (his NATURAL life) SHALL LOSE IT; and he that HATETH HIS LIFE IN THIS WORLD shall keep it unto life eternal.” – Jno. xii. 24, 25. Adam the First, could no more produce a spiritual being, than the “thorn” could produce grapes; or the “thistle” figs.
We learn from the Bible that the Husband was composed of TWO WHOLE AND DISTINCT NATURES, DIVINE AND HUMAN. The HUMAN composed NO PART of the DIVINE; nor yet did THE DIVINE compose any part of HIS HUMAN NATURE. Now examine the figure: – if the bride is not composed of two whole and distinct natures, or if the human composes any part of the divine, or the divine composes any part of the human nature in her, can she be “AN HELP MEET FOR HIM?” Unless she partake of the same distinct natures, can she enjoy Him, or He her, in this world or in that which is to come? But we find the “TWO MEN” sustained upon radically different elements. The earth which is the mother of the “old” now, as formerly, feeds the “old man.” The “new” is fed upon that “bread which cometh down from heaven.” “If any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever, and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you.” – Jno. vi. 51, 53.
The creation and development of those destined to inhabit both the natural and spiritual worlds are distinct propositions. Hence the Psalmist, personating Christ, says,: – “My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth; thine eyes did see my substance being yet imperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.” – Ps. cxxix. 15, 16. “For we are members of His body, of his flesh, and of his bones..” – Eph. v. 30. Creation was instantaneous. – Formation is progressive. Though we are created simultaneously with and lay dormant in the “first Adam,” for thousands of years, yet the time arrived – the purpose of God is carried out, and we were born of the flesh – elemented alone for a natural state of being – susceptible alone, of fleshly enjoyments – adapted to a natural world – capable alone of being sustained upon earthly food, and possessed alone of natural life – all of this family “bear the image of the earthly Adam.” This includes Adam the first and all his natural seed. “And He called their name Adam.” We should not forget that Adam the first is said to be “the figure of Him that was to come.” What, then, do we learn from the figure? That the bride, and all the spiritual children were created in and simultaneously with “the last Adam.” That they are of the same nature with him, and being born “of the spirit,” they are possessed of eternal life, which qualifies them for a knowledge of “the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” – Jno. xvii. 3. Antecedently to this birth, and the imparting to them, this life (which it is the province of their spiritual father to impart, Jno. xvii. 2) they are entirely ignorant of the “true God,” “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God.” “No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” – 1st Cor. xii. 3.
Although all the spiritual seed were “chosen in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world” – and had “grace given them in Christ Jesus before the world began” – and were “sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ,” though they were hidden in their spiritual father as the first Adam’s children were in their natural father, for a long series of years; yet the times come when, they are born of the Spirit – when the “hidden ones” are made known to each other. When their hearts being fashioned alike, the “Son of Righteousness,” shines in their hearts “to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” – 2 Cor. iv. 6. As the light of the sun, the great luminary of day, shines upon the sons and daughters of the natural world – so the “Sun of Righteousness” affords light to the spiritual world. “I will say to the North, give up; and to the South, keep not back; bring my sons from afar, and my daughters from the ends of the Earth; even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.” – Isa. xliii. 6, 7. Here, again, we see the figure carried out. All the family of the “first Adam,” created in him, are called by his name – “and called their name Adam” – all the spiritual family of the “last Adam,” are called by his name – “Even every one that is called by my name.” Here we have two distinct families, propagated by two distinct heads; each deriving the nature of his progenitor, and each looking to his appropriate elements for sustenance. The first, mortal beings, sustained upon corrupted elements; the second, immortal, sustained upon uncorrupted elements. The first, earthy; the second, heavenly beings. – We ask, is not the “old man” sustained upon the same identical elements, subsequently upon which he was fed and sustained antecedently to regeneration? Can those elements sustain the “new man?” Do we not partake of earthly food, until our soul is satisfied, without imparting a particle of nourishment to the “new man?” Does not the “new man,” “setting under the droppings of the sanctuary,” feed sumptuously upon the provision of the gospel, without imparting a particle of food to the “old man?” “Feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.” – Acts xx. 28. “Feed My lambs, feed My sheep.” Being “born of the flesh,” we are born into a natural state of consciousness, capable of investigating natural subjects – of participating in natural enjoyments – sustained upon natural elements, so long as we retain, and until we yield up that natural life which we received in our natural head.” “Adam the First.” Being “born of the spirit,” – “born of God,” we are made partakers of the divine nature – are susceptible of spiritual instruction – of investigating spiritual subjects – participating in spiritual enjoyments – sustained upon spiritual elements; nor can the being thus born, cease to be. “I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish.” Jno. x. 28. “Because I live, ye shall live also.” Jno. xiv. 19. “When Christ, who is our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory.” – Col. 3:4. Hence we see that the death of the “old man” cannot destroy the life of the “new man.”
The law was violated, and the curse incurred by man in the flesh; The law was magnified and made honorable, and the curse removed from his chosen seed (who sinned in their Adamic, or natural relation) by “God manifest in the flesh.” “For as much then 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 life time subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.” – Heb. ii. 14, 15, 16. The whole humanity of the Lord Jesus, both soul and body, was involved in that deliverance: because the whole “old man” both soul and body, was involved in transgression; because the whole “old man,” both soul and body, was involved in transgression. “When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasures of the Lord shall prosper in his hands.” – Isa. liii. 10. “Now is my soul troubled.” “My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death.” “Who His own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sin, should live unto righteousness; by whose stripes ye were healed.” – 1st Peter ii. 24. “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the spirit.” – 1st Peter iii. 18.
We have said, Christians are compound beings; by which we mean, there are “two men” – two whole and distinct natures, inhabiting the same tenement. The “old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,” whose genealogy we trace back to the “first Adam,” who “was made a living soul,” and who discloses the corrupt nature of the fountain from whence he sprang. Adam “begat a son in his own likeness; after his image” – an enemy to holiness – a hater of God. The “new man” which after God is created in “righteousness and true holiness,” and who exemplifies the declaration, “If the root be holy, so are the branches.” “And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the Lord: and thou, shalt be called, sought out, A city not forsaken.” – Isa. xlii. 12. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God; and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” – 1st Jno. iii. 2. Will He appear with two whole distinct natures? If He shall so appear, shall we be like Him, unless we too, have two whole and distinct natures?
Hence it is seen, that the two men derive their nature and disposition from two distinct sources. Each has a life peculiar to himself, yet common to his species. The first, natural – the second, spiritual life. The first is a corporeal – the second, an incorporeal being. The first, an earthly; the second, an heavenly being. “As is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.” “As He is, so are we in this world.”
Nothing pure or holy is attached to the “old man.” “But even their mind and conscience is defiled.” – Titus i. 15. Nothing impure or unholy is attached to the “new man” – “Unto the pure, all things are pure.” – Titus i. 15. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” – Mat. v. 8. It is contended by some, yea, many professors of religion, that the soul is regenerated. We confess we know but little about the soul. But we inquire, what is it that renders man a rational, intelligent, responsible being? What is it that exercises volition for the body? “When lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” – James i. 15. “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” – Gen. vi. 5, 6. If the soul were regenerated, would it not be as wholly devoted to God, subsequently, as it had been to sin antecedently to regeneration? If it be the soul that exercises volition for the body, and that soul is “born of God,” and consequently “cannot sin,” how are we to account for the wicked actions of David, of Peter, and thousands of other Christians, even down to the present day? But, it is contended, that the same soul, exercises wicked volition for the “old,” and holy volition for the “new man?” If so, is not the soul divided against itself? Others tell us it is the mind which exercises volition for the body. We have therefore proven that “their mind and conscience is defiled.” And Paul informs us, “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God; neither indeed can be.” – Rom. viii. 7. Hence we see the influence of this mind, will lead the body to rebel continually against God. Such is the practice of the “old man.” It cannot be this mind, which exercises volition for the “new man” – because “he cannot sin.” The same mind cannot influence each, the “old,” and the “new man,” because their works are radically different from each other; and if it influenced both, there would be no warfare.
We conclude that the “old man,” is “carnally minded,” and thus shows that he is in a state of death. The “new man” being “spiritually minded,” is possessed of “life and peace.” It is quite evident, that when the apostle speaks of the “carnal mind,” he refers to the mind of the “old man,” which “is not subject to the law of God,” and equally evident, that when he says “so then with the mind, I myself serve the law of God,” he refers to the mind of the “new man.” “But we have the mind of Christ.” – 1st. Cor. ii. 16. Adam the first imparts his mind, which is carnal, to the old Adamic man; who descended from him – Christ imparts his mind, to his spiritual children – and hence the conflict – the warfare. “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man. (Certainly, not after the outward man.) But I see another law in my members (are those members without an intelligent principle?) warring against the law of my mind (not the carnal mind) and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin, which is in my members. O, wretched man that I am.” (Surely sin does not render the “old man” wretched – it is his element.) Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? This “old man” whose deeds are evil – deeds of death. “For I know that in me (that is in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing: (Is the soul deposited in the flesh?) for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not?” – Rom. vii. 18, 22, 23, 24, 25. How are we to explain the following seeming contradiction, or paradox? “If we (christians) say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” – Jno. i. 8. The same apostle tells us, “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.” – 1st Jno. iii. 9. The “old,” or “outward man,” sins daily, (and the christian most feelingly acknowledges it) and thus proves that he is not “born of God.” The “new man,” is filled with holy desires – be “delights in the law of God” – complains of the “old man, with his deeds” – longs to be “delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God,” Rom. viii. 21., and cries with the Psalmist, “I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.” – Ps. xvii. 15. Thus does he prove his birth to be heavenly.
The truth is, dear brethren, the “old man” is precisely what he has ever been, since the fall, in nature and disposition. The “strong man armed,” is only bound – not killed. His heart is yet “enmity against God” – he is doomed to death; and then deliverance to the “new man,” who cries, “O Lord I am oppressed, undertake for me” will have come. But, we are asked, what becomes of man, when death shall have done his office? WE answer “the dust returns to its dust again, and the spirit to God who gave it.” But, what becomes of the soul? When we shall be informed where the soul of the Lord Jesus was, between the time of his crucifixion and resurrection, we may undertake to answer this question. Of one thing, however, we are certain, that is, that neither soul or body of the redeemed, can go to Hell; because both are purchased with the Redeemer’s blood. “The Redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth forever.” – Ps. xlix. 8. “Waiting for the adoption, to wit: the redemption of our body.” “After that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession unto the praise of his glory.” – Eph. i. 13, 14. Mark, both soul and body are included in the purchase. “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly: and I pray God your whole spirit, and soul, and body, be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 1st Thess. v. 23. The whole “old man” is destined to undergo a mysterious and glorious change, by which he shall be assimilated into the likeness of the humanity of the Lord Jesus; and be prepared for that thrilling occasion, when the glories of eternity shall burst upon his ravished sight, and the Heavenly family shall exclaim “Come Lord Jesus, come quickly.”
But we are asked, When, and how, are the “old” and the “new man,” to be united; and how will they appear hereafter? We answer, “Now we see through a glass darkly,” but when we shall learn how the soul and body of the “Redeemer,” “Husband,” “Friend,” now appears; and how they are gloriously united to His divinity, then, and not until then, may we undertake to say more in regard to the future state of the soul and body, and the “new man,” composing the “Bride, the Lamb’s wife.” It is sufficient for the present, for her to know that “when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” – 1st Jno. iii. 2. Until which event shall roll on, the wise man describes her thus, “What will ye see in the Shulamite? as it were the company of two armies.” – Song. vi. 13.
It is vain to tell us, that the flesh, independently of an intelligent principle, call it soul, mind, or what you may: will rebel against God. Some brethren, conclude that the warfare is to be explained by “mind over matter.” Have they forgotten that it requires both to constitute an intelligent responsible being? We have shown that “even the mind and conscience is defiled” – That “the carnal mind is enmity against God.” Matter would be incapable of vice or virtue in the absence of mind! Nor are those more successful who attempt to explain the warfare by the different colors blended in the rainbow. Have they forgotten that those colors harmonize, and that it is the entire want of harmony between the “old and new man” which necessarily produces the warfare? – Have they forgotten the declaration, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world?” – 1st Jno. ii. 16. If the “old man” is “born of God he can not sin,” and there would be no warfare. But is this true? Let the Christian experience answer – “For that which I do, I allow not; for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.” – Rom. vii. 15.
In conclusion, we submit to your serious and prayerful consideration, the foregoing pages, hoping that God may bless us with an understanding of the truth; and dispose us to reduce it into practice – that He may guide us with His counsel and afterwards receive us to glory, is our prayer for the Redeemer’s sake. – Amen.
Signs of the Times
Volume 17, No. 20.
October 15, 1849