Hopewell, N. J., Aug. 3, 1891.
Miss. Rebecca Wells – Dear Sister In Christ: – Your letter, mailed July 30th, was received in due time, and its contents read with much interest, as we all were very glad to hear from you again, but we regret that you are so situated that you cannot hear gospel preaching, for it must be a great deprivation to you The most that now is called preaching is a mixture of rationalism, gnosticism, neology, metaphysics and rant, or rodomontade, and not one crumb of food for a hungry child of God; but alas, if a man does not know the gospel he cannot proclaim it, for “The husbandman that laboreth must be first partaker of the fruits;” therefore however eminent a man’s natural abilities may be, if he has not experienced the truth of the gospel in his heart he cannot proclaim it.
My sister, concerning the declarations of Scripture to which you refer, I pen a brief reply. The Scripture reads thus: “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust; for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.”
My sister, I understand that the Scripture now under consideration has direct reference to the resurrection of Christ from the dead and the regeneration of the church from under the law, for turning to the New Testament it reads, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time.” Well might the poet sing,
“One in the tomb, one when he rose,
One when he triumphed o’er his foes.
One when in heaven he took his seat,
While seraphs sung all hell’s defeat.”
“Then answered Peter, and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee, what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Regeneration is a very important word in the Scriptures, for the prefix re signifies again or the second time, and the root of the word is generare, or generation. to beget, to procreate, showing that in the resurrection of Christ from the dead that the church, the body of Christ, was begotten again, as has already been quoted; but the children of God do not receive that glorious doctrine in a speculative manner, nor as a theory, but they know it as a soul-cheering, heart-warming and glorious doctrine, and the apostle says, “The woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should he married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring- forth fruit unto God.” Also, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so he that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ he in you, the body is dead be cause of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” The same apostle, when enraptured at the glory revealed in the gospel, gave expression to his feelings in the following language: “O the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearehable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counselor? or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen.” A vast amount more of Scripture declarations from both the Old and New Testaments might be adduced, bearing upon and concerning the regeneration of the church through the righteous life, bitter and agonizing death and triumphantly glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ, but I forbear making any more quotations.
The great and glorious battle has been fought for the church, the body of Christ, and age after age the members of his mystical body have been filled with wonder, admiration and thanksgiving when they have felt the power of reigning, grace in their hearts, and have joined in Spirit with the declarations, “Who is this that cometh from Edom, [blood, or the bloody land,] with dyed garments from Bozrah! [tribulation] this that is glorious in his apparel, traveling [not attempting to travel] in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden the wine-press alone, and of the people there was none with me; for I will tread them in mine auger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.”
My dear sister, though hundreds of miles now intervene between us, I cannot help thinking that we are still joined in heart and one communion make, and it is very doubtful whether we ever meet personally again in this world, but the very pleasant season we all enjoyed when you and Bertha were here will not be forgotten while reason is on the throne. We still have a large and attentive congregation on Sundays here at Hopewell, and since you left us three members have been added by baptism, and there are indications that more are inquiring the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, and I know that in God’s appointed time, if according to his will, they will be made willing to follow their dear Lord and Master into the “watery grave.”
WILLIAM J. PURINGTON.
Signs Of The Times
Volume 72., No. 3.
FEBRUARY 1, 1904.