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Most of the articles on these WebPages have been written by godly men with a central belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. However as with most of us, they may have different beliefs concerning some particular doctrines. These articles have been made available for the purpose of “gleaning the good” where good can be found. I do not necessarily endorse all that is written by others, anymore than I expect others to endorse all that I write.

Joint Discussion On Foreign Missions

Elder Lemeul Potter -  Reverend Clay Yates

Eighth Speeches - Yates then Potter


You see the situation in which my brother is placed. If I did not meet another word of his denials, you see what is his condition right now. He said no man can teach that the Lord has to do it all, and yet that man is responsible. If I had nothing else to say, he has ended it right here. I want to know if we do not have to teach the gospel? In Matthew, Jesus commanded them to teach the gospel to all nations—to preach it. My brother, if what you say is so, I want to know, since you are so ready to ask questions, what is the use of teaching and preaching? What good will it do? The Lord alone does all in man’s salvation. If that is so there is no use for you to preach in this country. Why do you ever teach in this country if it is not necessary to teach the gospel? Listen: “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” Jesus speaks of giving them his word. “To as many as received him”—can they receive him?—“to as many as received him, to them gave he lower to become the sons of God.” They can receive him, can’t they? Let me give you another passage. O what a profound theologian he is! He says I am a little too smart for one man, and not quite smart enough for two. I knew you were in trouble, my brother; but you will think I am three before Saturday. I am going to go down and stay with my brother after this debate is over. I am getting in love with him.
He says I did not answer his question. It is a pity I cannot please my brother. He compares me to a negro. I did not know I was getting so black in the face. When I left home I did not look so, but sitting in the shadow here, he thinks I am black. He thinks Brother Yates is a pretty nice fellow, though. Well, I am glad I can do something. He says I make an eloquent speech. I am ordained; I cannot help it, my brother; God has fixed it so, and you have to meet those eloquent speeches.
Now, as to the heathen: he loves them, doesn’t he? He says it is a splendid thing to give them the Bible. What Fine logic! He says it is a good thing to send the Bible to the heathen, and confesses that the people did not give ten cents on the dollar for missions. But just look at what has been done. Look at that map—at its mission stations there! He thinks so little of the Protestants that he would not take the statistics of the map. That map is Colton’s. It is from one of the most responsible publishing houses in the United States. In this country and in Europe it is probably indorsed by one hundred and fifty of these Boards my brother hates so badly. When William Carey landed at Serampore, in 1792, there was not a missionary there. There were a half dozen men behind him in Europe, as I told you in the outset. And I told you how the people of Scotland shut their churches against Whitefield and Wesley— those men of God, whose hearts glowed with the burning missionary zeal and spirit. What about it today, my brother? Look on that map, will you? There are hundreds and thousands of miles represented there. You see the world is large, and there are mission stations girding round the world, and those people who live there are all transformed by the glorious gospel. Has my brother dared tell you, my friends, that man can transform his own character? He is defeated by his own speech. What did that wonderful work for the heathen? If God did it, he is with those men by his guiding hand. Why does not my brother talk about this map? Why, here, from Oceania, girdling clear around the globe, we see these stations of light. In 1798 all this was darkness (pointing to Oceania on the map) for 5,000 miles from south to north, and now it is gleaming in light.
He tells you that I will not take the Missionary Baptists as witnesses. Where did he learn that? Some of the grandest men upon this continent belong to the Missionary Baptist Church. What I am objecting to is his perversion of the meaning of the Baptist author he has been quoting, and his picking out those quibbles, instead of coming here as a Christian man and showing the good things they have done, and what the leading men have said.
He says I have not answered the question. I will answer it for him again. The question is, “Do you believe that in those Foreign Mission fields souls have been regenerated and born of God, and will be saved in heaven through the instrumentality of the Foreign Mission work, who would have been lost had those missionaries never gone there?” My answer is, if the brother means in this question that those people in the Foreign Mission fields who were once heathen, but are now saved Christians, would have been saved without God’s ordained agency, and the means employed in the Divine economy in carrying out the plan of salvation, I say no—that is what I said before. If he means that God saves some persons who are idolaters without character, I say no. He says if the people would take the Bible and believe it, and do what it says to do, all the necessary work would be accomplished. Is all the work accomplished that is necessary? I want him to answer that. Why is any work necessary, if I am predestinated and am God’s elect? Those people that are God’s elect are his children, and are guided by him, as I said yesterday. I showed you that if your theory is true, God is lower than any human father. No natural father would trifle with his children, and have them die on those foreign fields for nothing. He says those missionaries are good men and women. Now, he turns around in his last speech and says they are dishonest. Which time am I to believe him? He says that he is almost led to believe that they are hypocrites. What a consistent speaker!
He says he wants me to answer a great many things. He says there was no Foreign Mission Board in the days of Jesus, and that there was none until the seventeenth century. Didn’t I give him proof that there was a Foreign Mission Board in 1556? Didn’t I show that the primitive Church itself was a Foreign Mission Society? Didn’t I show that it sent Paul and Barnabas to the mission field? Brother Potter could not meet these facts, but he tried to slip out of his position by saying Paul went on a missionary trip to Arabia. He did not give one proof-text on that. He said that if missionaries were like Paul, he would believe in the Foreign Mission work; and when I showed him that Paul received wages he tried to slip out of it by saying Paul was the pastor of a church. He says that Foreign Missions cannot be found in the Bible, and that I virtually gave up the question by admitting that the name of Foreign Missions could not be found in the Bible, and by asking him where the name Regular Baptist could be found. But I want to say to my brother that the principles of Foreign Missions are there, and that is just the same.
I asked him about church clerks, and he fled from that, and also from the communion. I asked him about these things, but he says I ought not to have mentioned them—that in doing so I was not sustaining the proposition. It was a bad thing for him, I know, because he was arguing that the apostles did not represent the Church. That does away with his communion. He might just as well put his books in his pocket. I gave him that question on the community of goods and he has not named it. I wish my brother would take that up.
He says that Christians do not give ten per cent of their incomes to the mission work today. How much does he give for missions? He says it does good to send abroad the Bible—that schools and churches do good—and he speaks as though he sympathized with the suffering heathen in their degraded condition. He admits that the condition of the heathen is unfortunate. Then, if he believes what he argues, why does he not work for it? and why do not his brethren who sustain him in the argument help in this great work? What would have been done in the work had it depended upon him and his brethren? He talks about millions perishing, and says we ought not to build fine churches here if we believe they are perishing. Paul says they are degraded, and they have no excuse, and the wrath of God rests upon them; but my brother says that is not so.
He goes on to say that there was no Foreign Mission Society up to the sixteenth century. I proved to you (turning to Potter), and you dare not deny, that these Mission Boards are wielded by the Church just as your Association is wielded by your churches. When you appoint a committee it is the instrument of the church, and the church operates through it. You know that. The trouble with my brother is he is trying to fill up time.
He tells us he believes the Bible, and will stick to the Bible, and says to me that he wants me to show where Christ has made known to any man that he should go out and teach men to know the Lord. Priscilla and Aquila taught the way of the Lord. What is it to teach the way of the Lord more thoroughly but to teach people to know the Lord? Then, they are to take the gospel, the good news, the good tidings. What are the tidings? A Saviour is born that shall be a joy to all nations; and you tell me that is not teaching about the Lord? You had better look up your Book, my brother.
He says that Hebrews, eighth chapter, eleventh verse, has no reference to the time when the world shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord—the time when every man shall not teach his neighbor. But he says teaching does not do any good. Does he know that? Every man shall teach his neighbor. How is man going to be taught something he does not know? Does God put the meaning of that Book into a man without the use of the Book?
I want to look a little at my brother’s conclusions. He is in such sympathy with the heathen! He says he is nearly led to believe that the Foreign Mission advocates are hypocritical, since they are building fine churches while the heathen are all perishing. Who perishes? Now, if they are elected from eternity they cannot help themselves. You have owned that they have violated the law. You said you believed just as much as I did that a man is responsible for his acts, and will have to suffer the penalty. I want to know, if a man is capable of violating the law, if he is not capable of keeping it? If my children make mistakes and do wrong, I want to know if I am not willing to use the means of bringing them back? Will I not give them a chance? But he says God has a right to do as he pleases. He does not show that. He alluded to the children I spoke of as an illustration; but he did not fix it up by any means. Suppose that at the day of judgment, when the sheep and the goats are standing there, as the Book describes, one man comes up and is condemned, and Jesus says: “Depart into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels;” but the man says, “Lord, I was not elected from eternity; I was a non-elect; you elected my neighbor, instead of me; I was born under the dispensation of Christ, but there was my neighbor to whom the Spirit came, but it did not come to me; now, Lord, what am I to go to hell for?”—What is such a man accountable for? The gospel was brought to him, but he was not elected. But among the heathen they are all saved, I suppose; all elected, even all the idolaters, and the degraded; and my brother thinks he is willing to stay over there at home, and let them go up into heaven. Who, according to Brother Potter’s doctrine, are to be saved? Those that had the light but could not receive it? Those of us who are elected will be saved, but those who are not are just driven into everlasting darkness.
He says that the babies are all saved. That does not modify his horrible doctrine. Is it any more repulsive to damn babies than to foreordain unalterably that a certain part of the human family shall be lost? According to Brother Potter’s interpretation of the Scriptures, he shuts all the babies out of heaven. He says the elect, as spoken of in the Bible, are those alone whom Jesus died to save. We have shown that wherever election is spoken of in the Bible, in reference to eternal salvation, it always implies faith—always has reference to believers in Christ Jesus. Then if the elect represents those alone whom Jesus died to save, according to Brother Potter’s doctrine, the babies are left out; not being capable of believing, they cannot be numbered among the elect. But suppose, for the sake of argument, we admit that his theory saves the babies. Would it not be less cruel to damn a soul by reprobation in infancy than to let one of the non-elect grow up into mature years and see all of the privileges and opportunities extended in this life, and then to send that soul to hell, with a developed conscience to be filled with remorse and regret, caused by the thought that perhaps if the opportunities and privileges of salvation offered in this world had been properly improved, he might have been saved? But it is probable that the babe entering the land of the lost, with an undeveloped mind and conscience, would not suffer from remorse or regret. Having no knowledge of what it had apparently lost in this world, it would not be so pained, perhaps, by its surroundings. God damns no one save those who by their lives of willful disobedience bring condemnation upon their own souls. I wish Brother Potter would take that first chapter of Proverbs, and explain it for me.
I want to read to you again Ezekiel iii. 18, 19: “When I say to the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thy hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked ways, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.” In the words of the prophet just quoted the responsible relation the professed servant of God sustains to those who are not his servants is forcibly set forth; and especially is the state of the heathen world in sin, and the responsible relation the Christian Church sustains to their salvation, vividly pictured. The condition of the heathen world, and the relation the Christian Church sustains to them, is something like this: A number of persons, by a bad choice, board an unsafe and unseaworthy ship for a voyage. The ship is caught in a storm, crushed and torn by the angry winds and waves, and is going to pieces. On the shore in sight is a body of men organized and equipped as a life-saving company. They are in plain view of the ship’s signals of distress, and could reach and save those who are on the wrecked and sinking vessel. The members of the life-saving company are indifferent, and the ship goes down in the storm. The blood of those people in that lost vessel rests upon those men’s souls, because they did not make the effort and use the means that their profession, position, and opportunities demanded in attempting to rescue the perishing. Suppose, on the other hand, this life-saving company did all within their power, and many of the persons on the wreck were lost because they refused to accept or properly use the offered aid. In this case the life-saving company would be exonerated, and the responsibility of the results would be thrown upon those who refused the offers of salvation. So the heathen world, by a bad choice spiritually, have thrown themselves into this helpless and dying state in sin, and the Christian Church, organized and equipped, is the professed Life-saving Company of Jesus. They are in sight of the signals of distress in the heathen lands, and have the opportunities of reaching them with the blessed message of salvation, and of being instrumental in saving them. If we, as Christian Churches, fail to do our duty in this respect, many of the heathen who might have been saved will be finally and eternally lost, and their blood will rest upon us. If we do our duty, and they reject the message, we will be clear, but they will die in their sins: It is in accordance with this biblical principle that the great Foreign Mission work is prosecuted today.
Brother Potter says he objects to the Foreign Mission work because it depends upon money. He dares not stand up here today and say that the Foreign Mission work makes money a preeminently essential condition, because support is furnished the laborers on the foreign field. We make money an essential means, just as you and your brethren do. Are you not supported, my brother? Money is just as essential to the running of the work of the Regular Baptist Church as it is to the Foreign Mission work. He criticized me when I quoted, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” It is, and God holds us responsible for its use. We are responsible. What is that man in the parable of the talents put in prison for? For the improper use of his Lord’s money—because he abused the trust that was put in his hands.
I want to give you a quotation from “Error’s Chains,” by S. F. Dobbins, page 770. This book is one of the most reliable authorities on the subject of Foreign Missions. The title of the article is “The Story of the Mission Work.” “It began eighteen hundred and fifty years ago. A Christian man named Paul went among the heathen of Asia Minor and Southern Europe, among the worshipers of the gods of Greece and Rome, to tell them of Christ. He (Paul) says God called upon men everywhere to repent. He was accompanied by other Christians. They met with considerable success, though they were made to suffer for it. In later years, from Rome, that had then become the center of Christianity, other Christians went to Western Europe. From Greenland, of the arctic zone, to the West Indies of the tropics, Christianity was extended. Nation after nation gave up its idols; cruel customs were abolished, and purer life and worship was begun; but it was left for the last one hundred years to witness the development of this work to its greatest extent.”
Now let us read Matthew xxiii. 37, 38. I want to call Brother Potter’s attention to that again: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not.”—I would, but ye would not—“Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” Let us see what this man, Butler, says about this in his Bible Work, Vol. I, page 437: “Was ever imagery so homely invested with such grace and sublimity as this, at our Lord’s touch? And yet how exquisite the figure itself—of protection, rest, warmth, and all manner of conscious well-being, in. these defenseless, dependent, little creatures, as they creep under and feel themselves overshadowed by the capacious and kindly wing of the mother-bird. How significant all this to what Jesus is, and does, for men!
Under his great mediatorial wing would he have gathered Israel. In all the superhuman beauty of the character of Jesus, nothing is more affecting and impressive than the profound melancholy with which he foretells the future desolation of the city, which, before two days were passed, was to reek with his own blood. In fact, there was an intimate moral connection between the murder of Jesus and the doom of the Jewish city. It was the characteristic disposition of the people that now morally disqualified them from knowing the things which belonged to their peace, which forty years afterward committed them in their deadly, ruinous struggle with the masters of the world. Christianity alone could have subdued or mitigated that stubborn fanaticism which drove them at length to their desperate collisions with the arms of Rome. As Christians the Jewish people might have subsided into peaceful subjects of the universal empire. They might have lived as the Christians did, with the high and inalienable consolations of faith and hope under the heaviest oppressions, and calmly awaited the time when their holier and more beneficent ambition might be gratified by the submission of their rulers to the religious dominion founded by Christ and his apostles. They would have slowly won that victory by the patient heroism of martyrdom, and the steady perseverance in the dissemination of their faith, which it was madness to hope that they could ever obtain by force of arms.”
This led Jesus to weep, as he looked upon the city on the Sabbath evening immediately preceding his crucifixion, and this caused his exclamations to be broken with sobs. My brother has told us that God’s elect are all saved from eternity, and that man can do nothing; and yet Jesus wept over obstinate Jerusalem: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how can I pass through that gate to enter your streets? I have offered you salvation; you have rejected me: how can I go through that gate? I am a patriot as well a Saviour; I know in passing that gate your cup will be full. It was not Jesus’ fault, my brother, not a word of it, sir. God extends the opportunities and privileges. We would not have the power if God did not give us the Word and the Spirit, but he extends these, and thus makes us responsible. There are two forces which bear upon us— one is the evil, the other the good. Satan tempts both directly and indirectly, with tangible objects. Have we not proofs of that? It is said he put the lying words into the hearts of Ananias and Sapphira; and the Spirit of God through the Word, and independent of the Word, and yet associated with the Word, operates upon man’s heart, and counterbalances the force of both the direct and indirect temptations of the Evil One, and thereby enables men to exercise the power of choice, to decide between the right and the wrong. That makes man responsible; so, my friends, there are great obligations resting upon us.
I now advance in the line of my argument, in support of the affirmative of the proposition. That the Protestant Foreign Mission work is authorized in the Scriptures is evidenced in the fact of its absolute conformity with the universal principle of the brotherhood of mankind, as taught in the Bible. Man is created in the image of Jesus; that image is defaced by sin. I am so bound by the ties of humanity that I may die arid pass away, but my word and my influence live. Infidels are today sending their books and their papers into every open port of the world. Now, I ask my brother, since the devil is at that work misleading those heathen, does it not look reasonable that God will also be at work moving us to send them the Bible? Now, remember the things I have spoken concerning the propagation of infidelity in heathen lands are occurring in China, India, Japan, and the Islands of the Sea. Even the apostles of Ingersoll and Herbert Spencer are scattering their books among those people—among the same people that are learning about the Lord—among the Japanese students of the Government school in Japan. There are even infidel professors in that school. And those foreign missionaries, in the strength of the Lord, are grappling with them over these questions. They are achieving all the grand success that has been pictured to you. Go preach it. Not that any of us expect to save souls by the Word alone, but by thus moving with God and for God.
I want to ask my brother here this question, since he says we never saw any one saved by the gospel. What does Paul mean, when he says, “It is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth”? God’s word gives life if God’s Spirit accompanies it. It is God’s grand instrumentality. Jesus is the burden of his own message, and in his word he is revealed. Then, are not the fruits of the Foreign Mission work enough to convince us that God is in it? What evidence has my brother that God was in the work of Christianity during the centuries that are passed, except in the fruits of the work? What evidence has Brother Potter that God is with him in his work, only in the fruits of his labors? If I have time I will read a quotation right here from a speech by a heathen convert to Christianity, a Brahman of India. It is found on page 10 of the Report of the Evangelical Alliance of the great Protestant world, held in 1873, in New York.
My brother says that he does not believe people are saved among the heathen by missionaries going there. Then, those that are saved would have been saved if there had been no Bible sent there. I do not believe a word of it.


In about thirty minutes the discussion will come to a close for today. The first thing I want to call attention to is the expression of my brother, casting a reflection upon me, in speaking of my perversion of those authors. This audience knows very well that I have always offered him the inspection of every book I have read from. The audience knows very well that such an expression as that is unbecoming—that be should accuse me of perverting those works. Here are the books and I do not want that kind of language used. If my brother thinks I have perverted these works, they are open to him.
MR. YATES: I said the work of the Missionary Baptists.
MR. POTTER: That is what I mean. I am not here to pervert. I want the truth. I do not want to be accused of perverting the works of any author, when I have them, and offer them to him to read, and to see that I have not perverted them. The Missionary Baptists said just what I told you they said. If they did not, if I offer him the book he can show that they did nor. That is the way for him to do, instead of coming up here and accusing me of perversion of their works. He refuses to look, refuses to examine, refuses to notice any thing that we introduce as evidence, and then accuses me of perverting.
Again, he says that I said that if all the Christian people would read the Bible, and believe it, and do every thing it required, that every thing would be accomplished that is necessary. He missed me just a little. He then turns to me and asks me if all things are not accomplished that are necessary. He missed my language. I said, all that God intended by it. Just find the people—the preachers and Christian people in the world—reading the Bible, believing it, and doing what it teaches, and my affirmation was, that all the good results that God intended to accomplish by such means would be reached. I did not say, every thing that was necessary so far as the eternal salvation of God’s people is concerned. I believe that depends upon the work of Jesus Christ, and not upon the work of any human being in the world, that is now, or ever was, or ever will be. Jesus Christ came to do the will of his Father in the salvation of sinners, and he says he did it. Then he speaks of me as saying God has a right to do as he pleases, and he wants to know where we will find that. We will turn to the ninth chapter of Romans, and I will give one or two quotations from that chapter beginning with the tenth verse, where we find the following language: “And not only this; but when Rebecca had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac, (for the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I bated.” Here was a distinction, made known to the mother, concerning which of these two brothers should rule, and the apostle introduces it here to represent the principle upon which God elects his people to salvation. He applies it there, saving, “It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy,” that the purpose of God according to election might stand. He applies it to election. My brother says God has no right to elect. Again: “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What then shall we say? Is there unrighteousness with God?” Brother Yates says yes, if that is so. That is what he has been crying here all the time; if God does that—makes such distinctions as that—he is unjust. The apostle Paul seemed to anticipate just that kind of an objection, and he prepared for it here by saying: “What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” That is what it is of. That is what election is of. It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. For the Scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might he declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.” That is what the Lord said, whether it is his right or not. It will be for Brother Yates and the Lord to fix the matter up. I did not make this Book. I have it here, and brother Yates thinks it is a good book, and so do I; and this being true, that is what it says. “Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault ?”—that is the very inquiry that Brother Yates has been hurling at me all the time—“for who hath resisted his will?” The argument was, if God made such a distinction, man would be doing his will. The apostle anticipated an objection to that doctrine. He says, “Nay, but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God?” I have not seen a man in all my life that this is more applicable to than Brother Yates. He is replying to God and does not allow him to do as he pleases with guilty men. Let us read again. Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay of the same lump, to make one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor?” The law condemns the human race. They are not in a state of innocence, but guilty. God knew from eternity what the condition of the race would be today. He knew this audience here then as well as today. This being true, he compares them to a lump of clay, all of them guilty, none of them worthy of the approbation of God. Has he a right now to take that lump, and make just such a disposition of it as he pleases? The apostle says he has. He has the power, the right, the authority, and the privilege, over the clay of the same lump, to make one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor. That is the argument of the apostle. “What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction, and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory? There it is. There is one Scripture that I rely upon to prove that God had a right to do as he pleased in the matter. Mankind were all guilty, had incurred his just wrath and indignation upon them by their works. If the governor of the State of Indiana pardons one prisoner in the penitentiary, is he under obligations to pardon all the other convicts there? They are all guilty; none of them have a right to pardon; but the governor does pardon one. Does that necessarily involve upon him the obligation to pardon all that are there? Let us represent mankind as in the prison of sin for their wickedness and for their works. Has the Lord a right to pardon one without pardoning all? That is the question. Brother Yates rather questions that right in the Lord. That is all I will say about that for the present.
On the question of O Jerusalem, Jerusalem:” he read a lengthy comment upon that text. As far as I understood it, I accept the whole commentary. It does not interfere with any thing I have said today. The term salvation does not appear in it at all, nor in the text. It applies to the destruction of Jerusalem, a national calamity of the Jews for their wickedness. That commentary is his own witness, and of course he will accept it. If he read any thing in that commentary connected with that matter, that had any allusion to eternal life, eternal salvation, justification, or any thing of that kind, I did not happen to hear it. That is all. But he did speak of a national blessing that the Jews might have enjoyed had they not been so wicked, and also of the national calamity that was to befall them for their wickedness. And that is the reason the Saviour wept over them; not because he could not take them to heaven. This commentary says Jesus was a patriot; he thought of the cities of that country, and in sympathy with them, as being in the flesh, he made the lamentation that has been referred to today.
MR. YATES: I say he was a patriot.
MR. POTTER: Well. I accept it, whether he or the commentary says it. One good thing he says, anyway, and he was about not to get credit for it.
Then he accuses me of saying that people are never saved by the gospel. He is a very bad hand to remember or to note. The apostle speaks of being saved by the gospel, and of being saved by grace, and so on, but there is more than one salvation spoken of in the gospel. Let us turn to Philippians ii. 12, and its connection and we will see. The apostle says: “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” The people addressed in this text are Christians, saints of the church of God. My brother will not deny that, of course, and he and I agree that there is no such thing as the possibility of apostasy. That being true, I want to know what salvation they have to work out. The salvation of the saints is already worked out. If there is a saint today, he is just as sure of Heaven as there is one. We do not differ upon that. What salvation is it that they work out? It must be some other salvation; hence it must be some other salvation that the gospel speaks of. The proclamation of the gospel is not God’s only means of the eternal salvation of the sinner. He says that I argue that we are not required, and that it is not necessary, to teach people about the Lord. I do not argue any thing of the kind—nothing of the sort. I will make the people understand me whether Brother Yates does or not. I said there was not a solitary syllable in the New Testament of authority for any man going about teaching sinners to know the Lord. Remember, to know the Lord. I admitted the commission said, “teach,” but it did not say teach them to know the Lord. I admit that Aquila and Priscilla taught Apollos the way of the Lord more perfectly, but they did not teach him to know the Lord. The people will understand me. Now, there are many things we might teach the people about the Lord if they already knew him. There are some things we might teach the people concerning the Lord, even if they did not know him in the sense of the new covenant; but for a man to say he could teach a man to know the Lord is equivalent to saying he could give him eternal life. John xvii. 3: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” Hence let us do those things which the Lord has told us to do and the things which he has not told us to do, it seems to me Christians might feel a clear conscience to let alone. I do, at least.
Now, I want these people to think of one question: Take all the people in and around Owensville, where we have had the Bible, preaching, and every facility of learning all that is common to any people in the world to know the Lord—do they all know him? I would love to have Brother Yates answer that question. I do not believe he will do it, but I would love for him to. Do all the people of adult years, sound mind, and common intelligence, in and around Owensville, Gibson County, Ind., who have had the Bible, and preaching, and all the facilities of learning and religious culture that is common to any people in the world, know the Lord? If he says they do, I prove from the Saviour that they all have eternal life. If he says they do not, then it proves this: that it is necessary for them to be taught by another agency and that agrees with the quotation I made from Mr. Rice yesterday in regard to an influence of the Spirit, distinct from the gospel, without which the gospel itself never would regenerate a ruined son or daughter of Adam—in addition to and distinct from, the proclamation of the gospel—and Regular Baptists are not alone in believing that.
I want to tell you something more that I called his attention to this morning, and upon which I made an argument. I present this argument again to show you that God would fulfill .his promise to Abraham. Brother Yates said this morning that all those promises to Abraham, and all those Scriptures I quoted relative to the covenant with Abraham, were dependent upon conditions. I called upon him to prove it. What has he said about it? We are not here to take each other’s word, and the people are not here to hear me assert, or to hear me give my opinion. That is not worth any thing, but the Bible is worth something, and as Brother Yates said those things depended upon conditions, I asked him for the proof, and they stand just as they did until he gives it. I told you this morning that I was two speeches ahead of him.
Now, I want to call your attention to the argument of Jesus concerning the sheep, first giving the promise to Abraham: “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” John x. 14—16: “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” I want to advance an additional argument upon that expression.
Brother Yates has been talking a great deal during this debate about the missionaries capturing souls for Jesus. I want to say Jesus has already done, the work; they are already his. He says so in this text, “Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold.” And I do not know of any Commentary that does not say he has allusion to his people among the Gentiles. They are already his. He does not need to go out there and capture them, and bring them in; he already owns them, and speaks of them as his. He says, “Other sheep I have “—not that I will have them when the missionaries go and capture them for me. “Them also I must bring.” They are mine, and I must bring them. They are not his as a result of having been brought, for they have not been brought yet: but Jesus himself said, “I must bring them, and they shall hear my voice.” That is the positive language of Jesus. “And there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” Again, in speaking of the same sheep, the sheep of Jesus both among the Jews and Gentiles; speaking of all his sheep, he says, in John X. 27—29: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” Now, he already has them. He says so himself. He does not only have them now, but he says they shall never perish. Who gave them to him? Did the missionaries? No, sir. Who did? The Father. That is what he says. That is the language of Jesus and we have his own words for it—that they shall never perish. If they never perish, then they will all he saved. That is the argument. Now, the people can understand my position. As an evidence that this position is orthodox, and not peculiar to the Regular Baptist Church. I call attention to this Commentary of Jamieson Fausset, and Brown. Let us hear them on this same text. On the words, “other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also must I bring,” they say: “he means the perishing Gentiles, already his sheep in the love of his heart, and the purpose of his grace to bring them in due time.” On the words, “they shall hear my voice,” they say: “This is not the language of mere foresight that they would believe, but the expression of a purpose to draw them to himself by an inward and efficacious call which would infallibly issue in their spontaneous accession to him.” That is the argument I take, and he contradicts it all. He says the missionaries are necessary to bring them in. He does not admit that Christ has sheep among the Gentiles any further than the missionaries have gone. He is against not only the Bible, but also the ablest commentaries upon that text. Remember, this Commentary does not say, but even denies, the foresight that they would believe, and says they are already his in the love of his heart, and in his purpose to bring them all in, in time, by his grace. That is the doctrine I preach, and I am not isolated from all the religious world upon that subject. Then they will be brought in. None of them shall ever perish. I want these people to understand me in that. I believe they will he brought in, from the very fact that the Father has given them to him. He says so himself; and in John vi. 37, which I quoted this morning, he says: “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me.” They have not come yet, but shall come. Notice, he had given those that were among the Gentiles as well as those that were among the Jews: he had given those that had not come yet as well as those already here; he had given them all to him, and Jesus says they shall all come. He does not say some of them shall come, does not say a few of them shall come, does not say any of them may come; it does not hang upon their hearing and believing the gospel, but he says, “All the Father giveth me shall come to me, and him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out.” Why? Is it because they hear the gospel and believe? No, sir. What, then? “For I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” If he loses any of the sheep his Father hath given him, he fails to do his Father’s will. He says they shall all come, and assigns the reason that he came to do his Father’s will. And if he does this, their coming and their eternal happiness depend alone upon Jesus Christ doing his Father’s will, instead of upon the missionary labors of an institution that has been originated during the sixteenth century. That is the reason I take the bold position today to tell you God’s promise to Abraham will be fulfilled. He said, “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed,” and I believe it. And I do not believe that God has hung this upon the human will, the depraved and covetous heart of man, who may withhold the gospel. I do not believe he has hung the eternal destiny of man upon their will and voluntary service to bring them in. He has all these means treasured up in Jesus Christ. He knew what would be necessary to bring these people in, and he is going to do it. Hence, when the last trump shall sound, and the people are gathered up yonder, they will be a great multitude that no man can number. I called Brother Yates’ attention to that text yesterday, and I told him when he got all his figures together and all his statistics together, and computed them, and was able to give us the aggregate of the number of converts made through missionary labor, still there would be more saved than that, because it was a company no man could number. He does not say any thing about it. He tells us nothing about it. We go away from here without knowing any thing about it, so far as his side of the question is concerned. Remember, it is an innumerable company. Where do they come from? Out of every nation, every kindred, every tongue, and every people that is where they come from. That is just what God said to Abraham “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” Now, do you believe, my Christian friends, that God is as good as his word? Do you believe that Jesus Christ did the will of the Father? It he did, they are to come in, and the reason he assigns as to why they shall come is because he came to do his Father’s will. “And this is the Father’s will that hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” I believe they will come, and I do not believe that this work depends upon human agencies. I believe that Jesus himself is able to do the will of his Father. He came with power to do it. I will give the text to prove that. John xvii. i, 2: “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: as thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” Notice, the Father had given Jesus the power, not over one, but over all flesh. What for? Why, in order that Jesus should give eternal life to as many as the Father had given him. That is what it was for.
I thank you, ladies and gentlemen.