“The people who Order and Truth maintain,
Unmoved forever must remain.
In Christ is salvation; the Kingdom is His,
Thro’ Him we shall conquer the mightiest foes.”
“And in the days of these kings shall the God of Heaven set up a Kingdom, which shall never be destroyed.” – Daniel ii, 44.
In these days of gross ignorance, shallow superficial and perversion of Gospel Truth among the professed followers of grace, and while the world around us is full of prophecy concerning the downfall and extinction of the chosen few whose God is the Lord, and who alone are enabled to hear, see and to heed the teachings of the Sacred Oracles, and to maintain the Truth and Order of the Gospel, it is wise that we should pause and examine the Holy Testimony upon such an important and vital question.
We have discussed the Scripture at the head of this article in some of its bearings before in these columns, but we desire now to make more particular reference to it in the one point in answer to the commonly received notion, in the world around us, that the visible church will soon cease to exist.
We need not refer to the connection, showing that the God of heaven definitely rules and controls all worldly governments, that He marks the rise and fall of earthly kingdoms with direct reference to the good of His chosen people; for “When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of Adam, He set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. For the Lord’s portion is His people; Jacob is the lot of His inheritance.” – Deuteronomy xxxii, 8.
The bounds of nations (before as well as after the flood), of kingdoms, and races were absolutely determined with reference to the chosen people of God, and the manifestation of that visible people, as surely as other events and circumstances were ordained to that end, and to “work together for their good,” and the glory of the eternal God; nations are as absolutely in God’s hands as atoms and motes.
Kingdom after kingdom rises in the vision of Daniel; each succeeding the other, and all paving the way for the “days of these kings” in which the God of heaven should set up a kingdom, which should never be destroyed, and should “not be left to other people.” That is, the very same character of people who were set up in it in Christ, shall continue to inhabit it. It shall not be left to strangers and foreigners, destitute of its eternal vital life, and ignorant of its teachings. For, “of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her; and the Highest Himself shall establish her. The Lord shall count, when He writeth up the people, that this man was born there.” – Psalm lxxxvii, 5, 6. This chosen generation of Jesus Christ then shall inhabit the Kingdom, which is but the outward development of its organic and eternal life.
“The days of these kings,” had come and the prepared material for this Kingdom was at hand. And what a wonderful preparation! They came through scenes of sorrow and suffering, a poor and an afflicted people. Their haunts were among the lowly, in the vale of poverty and distress; the blind, the lame, the lepers, the deaf; “the dead are raised up, and the poor have the Gospel preached to them.” – Matthew xi, 4-6.
They came to their places in this Kingdom through the purifying flames of deep affliction; a sorely tried people, and with the deep conscious knowledge of the vain deceptive, unreal nature of all earthly power, and fancied earthly good. The Kingdom is not of this world, “a stone cut out of the mountain without hands.” “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” – Luke i, 35. Jesus says in Luke xvii, 21, “Behold, the Kingdom of God is within you.”
He was Himself the very embodiment of the Kingdom; “the root and the offspring” (Revelation xxii, 16,) of the house of David; the seed from which the whole development should come. And just as certain as He was not of this world, as “coming down from God out of heaven,” so every one of this development, each and every child of the Kingdom comes down from God out of heaven, taking up his abode in a mortal temple, “afore prepared unto glory.” Necessarily then the Kingdom must be indestructible as composed of indestructible subjects, “born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, (which therefore cannot be the Adam and mortal sinner,) but of God,” and hence a heavenly and spiritual birth. – John i, 13.
We trace the Church from age to age through the doctrine and order which she maintains. It is said that the Church when first organized “continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship.” She yet does. Can we find the doctrine of the apostles, as set forth in their teaching and writing, among us today? Can we trace the clear line shining like a sunbeam, from the teachings of the dear Master, and of the Man raised up and Divinely inspired to succeed Him? Can we trace this Divine testimony in the doctrine and order held so sacred among us, dear brethren and friends of Truth, today? Assuredly do we answer, Yes!
The doctrine of the Absolute Predestination of God without reference to men, means and measures, or instrumentalities, or the works of men or devils; without reference to whether these things be good, bad, or indifferent, whether they be large or small, temporal or eternal, all absolutely, emphatically, and accurately all, were ordained of God to come to pass, exactly as they do or did so occur, without changing a note, or swerving a hair breadth from what God did from all eternity, and before all time predestinate should come to pass.
The doctrine of the eternal choice of the Church in Christ, in which each individual cell, or child of God was chosen in Christ, personally, eternally, and actually existing IN Him from all eternity; the body being set up in the Head “from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.” – Proverbs viii, 23; the entire, separate, exclusive travel of the Church aside from all worldly religious orders, Secret orders, and worldly vanities.
We ask who holds these things as plainly taught in the Sacred Oracles as the Sun is seen in a cloudless sky at noon? Who holds them? Why no other people in these United States of America today but the Anti-Means, Anti-Secret Order, Old School Predestinarian Baptists! The apostolic doctrine and order mark the succession of the apostolic Church throughout the ages.
The life-throbbing power of the doctrine and order of the Gospel is manifested wherever saints meet in holy worship. The love of God is felt among them, the impulse and power of that love of His sacred and eternal truth is felt, as the tide throbs through the bosom of the sea; the love of God flowing from heart to heart, written in the organic life of these dear people, for “by this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.” – John xiii, 35.
This is not for the world socially, religiously, or politically, to know or understand anything whatever about. They neither know the doctrine nor yet the people who maintain it; “The world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not.” – 1 John iii, 1. But rather, “Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.” – 1 John iii, 13. “If the world hate you,” says Jesus, “ye know that it hated Me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love its own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” – John xv, 18,19.
But we return to the promise that this Kingdom “Shall never be destroyed.” This promise has been verified through each succeeding age from the apostolic days down to the present; there ever has been, and ever will be a people who “shall shew forth the praise of God.” The Church is His throne. He says by Ezekiel, “the place of My throne, and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and My holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile.” – Chapter xliii, 7.
Can the throne of God be set aside? Can it be corrupted by the corroding influence of time? Can His holy Church become so changed and so mixed with the world as to totally lose her identity? There are two ways in which an organization may become entirely extinct. One way is to entirely lose its visibility. The other, that its order may be so perverted as to entirely change its character. Are not some Baptists become dipping Methodist? An Old School Baptist Church may once have claimed to hold the principles of Truth, but if such principles have been perverted; instead of holding to the doctrine of an eternal election, if they hold to a perversion of that doctrine, for instance instead of holding to the eternal, personal election of the Church in Christ, they hold to an election in the life of Christ, which is communicated to an Adam sinner, by which a sinner being born again; then the perversion has totally changed its former character.
Such perversion of the testimony especially when continued to other points of doctrine, and backed up by looseness of order, absolutely marks the end of such a body as a Gospel church, and that the lampstand has been removed from their midst. The Gospel light has burned out the oil of grace. The Lord has withdrawn His Presence. As the once flourishing visible churches in Galatia, at Ephesus, and in adjoining parts have been removed; as the churches on the Atlantic Coast of the United States once strong and able in their ministry and membership, have ceased longer to exist as Gospel churches, through perversion and opposition to the doctrine they once loved, and gross disorder, so the Lord may continue to remove the lampstand from this or that locality. But this does not do violence to the truth that so long as time exists there shall be a visible church, whose unperverted doctrine, clear-cut order, separating her entirely, religiously speaking, from the world, shall bring down upon such Church the malignant opposition of every worldly influence. It is through much tribulation His people enter this Kingdom.
Our God knows where such Church shall be planted. Jesus says, “Every plant, which My heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.” And so it is, and ever has been. ‘Tis true that the primal application of this testimony was made to something somewhat different, yet it has an indirect bearing upon what we are writing. These churches are “Trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” – Isaiah lxi, 3. And as long as time endures so long shall the visible church of God exist as a witness to the Truth; the doctrine shall be held unperverted, and the order unpolluted in His holy Sanctuary. The Church shall outlive worldly governments, and earthly orders. The promise is “It shall stand forever.” No such promise has ever been made in regard to any other worldly nation or religious order. Nations strong and mighty in world power, whose armies have spread consternation and terror wherever they have marched, have come to nought. Nations presided over by men wise in state-craft, and able to rule have fallen. One after another such worldly nations have passed as a night vision, but there is today, as there ever has been, and ever will be a Church, always small and weak in its own strength – small it is true in numbers compared to the hordes, the wild rabble of Anti-christ, yet strong and aggressive as trusting in the living God who controls and directs all things.
All worldly empires must sooner or later come to an end, but this church that believes the Truth can never die. “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of Thy Kingdom is a right sceptre.” – Psalm xlv, 6. We can rest assured that there will ever be, as there has ever been, and is now, located exactly where the God of heaven designed them to be, a people who hold His precious Truth, while earth and hell oppose, and unbelievers mock.
No earthly means are used to sustain them; earthly elements do not enter into their being or support. “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved,” – Acts ii, 47, and this is as much a mystery as any other aspect of her order. May we be kept from the attempt of adding to our numbers, by leaving it entirely in the Lord’s hands. He will give His Church ministers, “And no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.” – Hebrews v, 4. We must not put forth our hand to steady the ark (1 Chron xiii,) for the hand of God will securely hold His church, adding to it her numbers and giving it her ministers. The light of Truth shall steadily fall from off her holy altar. And ye, dear children of the regeneration, are witnesses of these things. “Ye are My witnesses, saith the Lord, and My servant whom I have chosen.” – Isaiah xliii, 10. For, “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” – Romans xi, 5. “Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the Presence of His glory with exceeding joy. To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever, Amen.”
Elder William M. Smoot,