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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

Eleventh Speeches - Yates then Potter


I appear before you again to speak upon this theme. My brother congratulates you upon Brother Darby’s presence. I am glad with him. On that subject we have learned exactly his position, and I am really glad with him that we have at last been able to agree about one thing. Now, he has been telling you that man is a moral agent. He commenced with me on election, and I think he got sick of it. Just as he said in his other speech, I want to stand to the proposition all the time. All this talk about persecution has nothing to do with the Foreign Mission work of today, because, even according to his own doctrine, the Spirit of God will take possession of a man and convert him anywhere, whether he has the Bible or not. So all that history which Brother Potter read about Latimer and Ridley and those other men who suffered in those terrible persecutions, does not prove any thing. I do not know what this has to do with Foreign Missions. He talked about the martyrs being Baptists, but I do not know that there were any Baptists among them—there may have been some; but that has nothing to do with the proposition under discussion.
I want to speak in regard to the Church sleeping. Did you not notice what Mr. Carpenter said? Mr. Carpenter speaks of the spirit being well-nigh gone. Was not that true? Well-nigh gone, he says. We all admit that in the ritualistic age, after Constantine, a great deal of the spiritual life of the Church ebbed away. There was the same lack of spiritual life through the dark ages. There was some life, but not enough to send out missionaries. It is so in some Churches still. There was only just life enough to keep alive at home; but when the life of the Church began to increase, then the Reformation dawned. That is just the way it was in the time of John Wycliffe. I thank God for such a man. He had the spirit which impelled him to go out with the blessed word of God, and tell it for Jesus, carrying the gospel of salvation to his needy fellow-men. It was a genuine mission spirit; certainly it was. Now, I want to go to those proof-texts. We will look at them. Brother Potter says we have no proof in i Cor. vi. ii, that the members of that Church were changed by preaching. I think I understand you to say that the Apostle Paul had no reference to that change having been brought about by the preaching of the word. I will quote again; 1 Cor. vi. 9—Il: “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind”—that covers the case of the heathen—“nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed “—now, how are they washed?—” ye are sanctified “—how are they sanctified? “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” I want to know if this language of Jesus is true. “But ye are justified “—how? —“in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” What is the gospel? Jesus is the embodiment of that gospel; he is the Word. The revelation of this word is the revelation of the mighty Christ. Hence, what is it to reach the gospel and to teach it? What is the gospel? Good news; the glad tidings that a Saviour is born, and has come, and died, and risen gloriously to heaven in victory over death and the grave. And when he was about to ascend to heaven, with his hands uplifted over the heads of his disciples—those hands with the nail-prints in them—he said: Go preach the gospel to all nations; go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. That is, “Go and tell and teach the good news. The Saviour has come, and is offered in the gospel for salvation to every man.” Why, my brother said the other day there was no such thing in the teachings of the Bible. He said: “The gospel is not a proposition of salvation to all, but a proclamation of salvation.” What is the meaning of “come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest?” What is the meaning of that parable? I have called his attention to so many times, about the kingdom of heaven being like unto a feast given by a certain nobleman who sent out his servants and invited certain guests, and they refused? He said emphatically in his last speech that the called did not refuse, but only those who were not called. This is the way he explains Corinthians. I told him that he did not believe in character as a condition of salvation. Character means something cut or carved, and yet Brother Potter makes God do it all. A man, he says, has no choice in it, and yet choice is at the basis of character. Now, what is he going to do with this passage to which I called his attention? I am not through with him yet. I am glad we have come together at last. i Cor. i. 21: “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” I want him to explain that. But he says for me to go on and explain. I will, my brother. I now quote the 22d and 23d verses of the same chapter: “For the Jews require a sign, and the Geeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness.” Let me stop right there. Why was he, the crucified Christ a stumbling block to the Jews? Because the Jews believed that when the Messiah came he would not die. I can prove by the Book that they did not believe in a suffering Christ, but thought he would come in some mysterious way, and in great glory establish the kingdom of God; and that when his mission was accomplished he would be caught away to heaven, untouched by death. It caused the apostles themselves a great struggle to break away from this very belief of the Jews. The minds of the Jews had been molded by this doctrine ever since the Babylonian captivity. Therefore a suffering Christ was repugnant to them. The death which Jesus died by crucifixion was an ignominious death. To accept such a leader was a stumbling block to the Jews. To the Greeks, with their philosophical minds, the crucified Christ as a personal Saviour was foolishness. They did not see any connection between a bleeding man on the ignominious cross and the salvation of a human soul. I will read the 24th verse: “But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” Now, he ‘is writing to Christian men and women. The word called is never applied except to those who are illuminated, or to those who have accepted the gospel, and thereby become God’s chosen Or approved ones. To those who have opened their hearts and received him, Christ becomes the power and wisdom of God.
I will now call his attention again to the Book Proverbs. I cannot get him to notice that book, I have called his attention to it several times. Proverbs i. 24—31: “Because I have called and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and man regarded; but ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me; for that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord: they would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.” Now, I want him to face all this, and to come out and show me from the teaching of this proof-text that character is not necessary in order for man to be saved. In this passage it is plain and unmistakably declared that man’s salvation is conditioned upon his choice, and moral choice is the very basis of character. Therefore man’s salvation is conditioned upon character. It is the rejection of God’s invitation that destroys the soul, and the acceptance of it that saves the soul. It is not absolute election from eternity. Now, I will refer to his proof-text — Phil. ii. 12; that is a wonderful exposition he gave of it—“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” Now, as I told you before, he is trying to explain away the argument about Jerusalem, but he will never do it. I have his favorite Commentary on that. “I would, but ye would not.” Brother Potter said that referred to the nation. But I explained that this morning, and Jamieson, Fausset and Brown are against him on that. I will quote from Butler’s Bible Work on this text: “Work out ought to be ‘carry out;’ we do not workout our own salvation, for we are saved by grace; but we do carry out our own salvation. ‘What God has joined together let no man put asunder.’ Here are joined together, in the compass of one practical exhortation, faith in a finished salvation, and yet work . . . So people are bound to work likewise, perfecting that which converts them, making their salvation certain and sure; working with fear and trembling lest they should come short of the grace of God, because sin is repulsive. It must-not be forgotten that the Epistles were written not to make converts, but to edify the converts already made. In the Book of Acts we have examples of addresses made to unbelievers. . . . But this Epistle is addressed to the ‘beloved who have always obeyed,’ and the ‘saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi.’ Paul has no idea of giving his disciples a lesson in abstract theology or laying for them a foundation of a philosophy of free-will and divine sovereignty. He is not merely communicating to these Philippians truths for their creed, but precepts for their deeds. In a word, this working out our own salvation is following out in our daily walk of that deliverance from evil and from all its consequences which is brought nigh to us in the gospel.” It is only manifesting in life the love that we have in us. How is that? Let me read you a passage in the seventeenth chapter of John, as to how we get this life, and it will suggest at least the value of the Foreign Mission work. It says, commencing at the second verse: “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” Now let us see how they get that life. “For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have”—what?—“received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they’ have believed that thou didst send me.” He gave the word, and they received it, and “as many as received him to them gave he power to become the sons of God.” Now, I want to turn to Acts xiii. 42, 43: “And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath. Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas; who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.” The gospel, then, has much to do with the work of salvation. Acts xv. 36: “And some days after, Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do.” Paul wanted to go over the field where he and Barnabas had been sowing the Word of God in men’s hearts, and see what fruit the Word of the Lord was bringing forth. The Word is compared in the Scriptures to a grain of wheat; for the fruit of the gospel is wrapped up in the Word, as the fruit of the grain is wrapped up in the seed, God does’ not prepare the ground for the farmer. The farmer does that.
The farmer cannot control the rain and the sunlight. Nor can he make the wheat. That is God’s part; but he can sow, and God will water it and cause it to grow. God, in the present constitution of things, cannot believe for me. He has given me an eye to see, but he does not see for me; he has given me an ear to hear, but he does not hear for me; he has given me a heart to love, but he does not love for me. He asks me for my heart, but he gives me a lovable object to love, trust, and serve—the mighty and compassionate Christ, revealed in the gospel. Hence, my friends, you can see the value of preaching and teaching the glad tidings of salvation to the dying, sin-cursed race of mankind everywhere, and especially in the benighted lands of heathendom. Did God ordain the gospel us the great means in the plan of salvation, and own and bless it as such, in the gospel work of the first century of the Christian Church? This has to be answered in the affirmative by every Christian man. Now, the Scriptures being our only revelation and guide, it is clearly evident that the gospel is still the great means in the Divine plan of salvation. God has ever blessed the gospel as the great instrument of salvation; he is so blessing it today in both the home and the foreign field, and he will ever so bless it. No man is saved without the truth—that is, the truth of the Holy Spirit; even if it is not the same in name, it must be in the essence.
Brother Potter has quoted Hebrews viii. in order to prove that the gospel is not indispensable in the work of salvation. I want to notice that briefly, and I am going to read Jamieson, Faussett and Brown; that will be good authority for him. “And they shall not teach every man his neighbor and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord, for all shall know him from the least to the greatest.” This is the Commentary on Zechariah xii. 8, on the words “he that is feeble among them shall be as David:” “Under the old covenant, the priest’s lips were to keep knowledge, and at his mouth the people were to seek the law…under the new covenant the Holy Spirit teaches every believer. Not that the mutual teaching of brethren is excluded whilst the covenant is being promulgated; but when once the Holy Spirit shall have fully taught all the remission of their sins and inward sanctification, then there shall be no farther need of man teaching his fellow-man. Cf. 1 Thess. iv. 9; v. 1, an earnest of that perfect state to come. On the way to that perfect state every man should teach his neighbor. The teaching is not hard and forced, because grace renders all teachable; for it is not the ministry of the letter, but of the spirit. (2 Cor. iii. 6). The believer’s firmness does not depend on the authority of human teachers. God himself teaches. The New Testament is shorter than the Old Testament, because, instead of the details of an outward letter law, it gives the all-embracing principles of the spiritual law written on the conscience, leading one to spontaneous, instinctive obedience in outward details. None save the Lord can teach effectually, ‘know the Lord.”’ Now, you see, we agree with him about teaching, but we differ as to the means. This very commentator takes my position exactly, that when they have been instructed and received the Word, then one need not teach his neighbor, because he will know by his inner experiences, after appropriating Jesus as presented in the gospel. So much for that. But he tells us that the object of the missionaries is to teach the people to know the Lord. Well, it is owing to what he means by that. If he means experimental religion, there is not a man of us who claims that. Why, my brother knows that my quotations show that I do not believe that. I simply claim that man is a responsible being, that he has an understanding, and is constituted with faculties to respond to truth. Jesus was a perfect man as well as God, and in his wonderful work there is provision for every man in the human race. God gives the sunlight which enables us to see, but we have to open our eyes to receive it. Hence in the Word it is said that the Holy Spirit, through the gospel, illuminates the eye of the understanding. Therefore, the individual must open the understanding to receive the illuminating influence of the Holy Spirit through the Word. We can teach others to know Jesus intellectually in the Word, but experimentally he has to be personally appropriated and tested by each individual. The supreme desire of the soul must go out to ask God for aid to accomplish this, and when the soul yields itself to Christ the Holy Spirit imparts his life giving and transforming influence. Now, Brother Potter says they are not all saved around Owensville. And they were not all saved around Jerusalem, nor at Antioch, when Paul and Barnabas went out on their mission tours. So that is no argument whatever. So much for his proof-text.
Now, about Mr. Carpenter, in regard to the persecution. Does not my brother know better than to say that we teach that persecution caused the disciples who were dispersed from Jerusalem to prosecute the mission work? It caused them to leave Jerusalem, but they had the Spirit of God working in them, and were thereby induced to teach the gospel wherever they went. Some went into Africa, others went to Cyprus, and others went to Antioch, sowing the good seed, as God’s laborers are sowing it today all around the globe, and thereby lifting up the world into the sunlight of God’s favor. A handful of wheat was to be planted on the mountain-top that would shake like Lebanon. Now, Brother Potter has taken the position squarely that the preaching of the gospel is not necessary as a means, because they were called before they were preached to.
Now, I want to continue in my line of argument. I will proceed to develop one of the arguments which I have already adduced in support of the affirmative of the proposition. It is this: The fruits of the Foreign Mission work are an evidence that this work is owned and blessed of God. But before I discuss this I want to say something about Wycliffe and the quotations from Buck’s Theological Dictionary referred to in the remarks of Brother Potter. I do not want to do my brother injustice, but Wycliffe was not named in the quotation he gave concerning the terrible massacre of St. Bartholomew. I have that grand old book, and other authorities concerning this event. He knows I asked, before I got up here to speak, whom he meant by those martyrs alluded to in Buck’s Theological Dictionary. He need not say that this martyrdom took place at the beginning of the Reformation. Luther was dead when that took place under Charles IX. He told you how the conflict was brought about, and that it was not mission work. Why, my friends, it was the pressing out of the lines of Protestantism. Is not that the mission work—advancing the cause? That is the fruit of it, that is the spirit of it—pressing out. It had the Life in it, and I will say that neither the Baptists nor any other denomination would have been today what they are if it had not been for the spirit of the Reformation. This is apparent from the past history of Christianity.
I will now proceed further to develop the argument drawn from the unmistakably good fruits of the Foreign Mission work. These prove that this work is owned and blessed of God. My opponent says, “Show me the fruit.” Why, look here at this map. I have called his attention to it day after day—to the transformation of the character of those people in all these heathen lands. I call his attention to it now. He says he wants the fruit—he wants to see the apple. Now I am going to show him the apple, and I want this congregation to witness. Have I not quoted from the very best authorities, showing the wonderful progress of the work, and the transformation of all these degraded heathen people by the gospel? It has given a written language to many savage or barbarous tribes. It has transformed men from worse than brutes to civilized, Christian human beings. Have I not shown that today many are singing the sweet songs of Zion who were once idolaters and cannibals? There are in Oceania fathers and mothers, now happy Christians, who thirty years ago buried their children alive. They weep when their hearts are stirred by the blessed gospel of Christ, and as they look back and see what their former lives were. Not long ago they had a grand Sunday-school celebration for the children in one of those islands. That is a mission work—developing gospel knowledge and activity among the children in the Sunday school, teaching them the blessed Bible. They had a Sunday-school meeting, and the children were singing the sweet gospel songs, singing of Jesus’ love, of his work, and of the future world. And as they sang, an old man who was sitting there was seen to be weeping. The minister asked him what was the matter. “O that you had come here years ago! then I would have had my children! I would not have been without them, as I am now.” He, in his imbruted state, had buried them alive, to get rid of them, as had many of his neighbors. After Captain Cook was killed, in 1779, no man dared to visit these islands. The people were cannibals. The missionaries went there with the Word of God, and we see the fruits today. Why did they go there and to the Fiji Islands? Americans…men of our own nation went. When the news came to our shores, about 1819, that the people of the Sandwich Islands had, all of a sudden, rejected their priests and idolatrous services, and by a mighty uprising had thrown away their idols, Christian men offered themselves to go there to preach the gospel to them, if God in his providence would indicate the way. They waited only for proper equipment for the work, and transportation to the fields. The hearts of the people in Boston were touched, and opened to the call, and the adequate means were provided, and a small missionary party was equipped for the work. They set sail in a very few months after the reception of the news.
There has not been enough money spent in those islands to build three iron-clad vessels of war; and yet they are today filled with Christian churches, and illuminated by the light of heaven, and filled with good, sweet, kind, Christian men and Christian women. And it was there, as I read to you, that they rolled their boats over living beings, and buried them beneath their tents, before those missionaries went there. What made that transformation, I ask you? He said a man cannot do any thing except a call come, and we accept it. The work brought the fruit, and “by their fruit ye shall know them.” I have the proof right there in the Bible. What is it? “A good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and an evil tree evil fruit.” There is the good fruit— the fruit of God’s Spirit. It is brought forth abundantly in all the heathen lands which you see here on the map. This is true in British America, in Greenland amid the gleaming icebergs, in Labrador, in Patagonia, among the Bechuanas in Africa, in India, in the Chinese Empire. But here is my brother, in the light of these facts, in the year 1885, fighting this wonderful work. Look at these islands here—the New Hebrides, New Zealand, and Australia—the degraded people by whom they were inhabited, scarcely looked like human beings before the missionaries went there. There was but very little similarity between their vocal utterances and the articulate sound of the human voice. Their cries sounded more like the barking of a dog than human speech. “There,” said infidelity, “a people is found to whom the gospel is not adapted, and whom it cannot teach; hence we have a living demonstration that it is not perfectly in accord with the fitness of things; therefore it is not divine.” Mr. Darwin and other infidel scientists said that these degraded people could never be taught a vocal language, and therefore could never be rescued from their low, degraded state. But the missionaries entered these islands, and in a few years, by the blessing of God, proved all these assertions to be false. They not only taught these wretched specimens of humanity language, but induced them to accept Christ and become Christians. They became decent, moral, and spiritual. When Mr. Darwin and other infidel scientists saw what the missionaries had done for these people, they were so thoroughly convinced that they confessed that they were wrong, and contributed to the work. I can produce the document to prove that it was something they could not account for.
Theodore Christlieb, a man possessing one of the most giant intellects, and of the broadest culture, and of the most extensive information, in his late broad survey of Protestant missions, after a score of years spent in the study of this theme, speaking of the success of the Foreign Mission work in uplifting and saving the most degraded of heathen nations, says on page 23: “We thus have the comforting assurance that no race is spiritually so dead that, by the good news, if cannot arise to newness of life; no tongue so barbarian that it will not admit of the translation of the Bible; no heathen soul so sunk that he cannot become a new creature in Christ Jesus; and that therefore our Lord and Master, coming to us as the Way, the Truth and the Life, in the widest acceptation of the words, issued no impossible command when embracing, without any exception, all and every human misery, he said: ‘Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.’ Evangelical Christendom had long been accustomed simply to believe its possibility. Today we have living proofs of its actual accomplishment in thousands of converted South Sea cannibals, of Esquimaux and American Indians, of Bush Negroes, and Pesherehs of Terra del Fuego—yes, even of Papuans in Australia and New Guinea.”


I want to notice Brother Yates’ proof-text first. I will say, however, to begin with, that it may be Possible that I can do the work of my own brethren and prove my position correct. We have seen here since this discussion commenced that missionary evidences disagreed. They vary a great deal in their reports about the condition of the very places he points to with the pointer on that map.
MR. YATES: Will you show that variation?
MR. POTTER: I will, tomorrow or some other time. I stated in the outset of this discussion that I was in favor of any kind of enterprise that elevates humanity education, civilization, the ennobling of man, no matter what—and I believe the Bible and Christianity are a blessing. That is not the issue between Brother Yates and myself. A great many institutions that have a tendency to elevate man in the world, the Bible says nothing about. These institutions never claimed religion in themselves at all. However, in addition to that I go farther, and say I know no Baptist of our denomination, who understands himself, that is opposed to the spread of the gospel. Now, remember that. That is not the issue. You see Brother Yates pointing up there at the map? Suppose there are as many converts as he claims there are. The thing for him to settle here is to answer the question we have been putting to him for several days: Are there any of those people converted that would not have been, or any of them entitled to heaven, that would have gone to hell without the missionaries? —Not are they raised up to a state of civilization in which they would not have been without that? It all hangs on that. He has obligated himself to prove that, and not only that, but that they have lifted up man and educated him. I am not here to deny that they have done good work. He says that without these missionaries the heathen would sink down to hell, while with them they are saved. That is what we want him to prove. Now, if he can prove that there is a solitary convert there entitled to heaven that would not have gone to heaven without those missionaries, then his proposition stands, and he need not go to missionary labors to prove that—we want the Bible.
Now, I propose to notice some of his Scripture passages relative to the Corinthian letter. He referred us to i Cor. vi. ii: “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” He introduced an argument from that text, that the ministry of the Apostle Paul was the cause of that sanctification. He does not put the emphasis on “sanctification by the Spirit” as he does on “sanctification by the Word.” Notice, he runs off to another text to show where the Saviour prayed to the Lord, “Sanctify them through thy Word.” Here this text says they are sanctified and justified by thy Spirit, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
I call attention to Acts xviii. 6-10: “And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles. And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man’s house, named Justus, one that worshiped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue. And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized. Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace “—remember, the apostle was going to leave there on account of the opposition to his preaching there—” for I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.” For whose sake did the Lord request Paul to remain there and preach, according to the text? What reason did the Lord assign for telling Paul to remain there, according to that language? Give that question to any unprejudiced child of ten years of age, let him read that text, and ask him what was the reason for the Lord wanting Paul to remain at Corinth, and the answer would be, every time, For the sake of God’s people that he already had there. Notice that. Then, that explains his text. He already had them there. I know the apostle says in one place— perhaps in the same letter to the Corinthians—in speaking of what good the gospel is, he says, “unto them” that want to be saved? No. That have an opportunity of being saved? No. But it is “unto them that are saved, it is the power of God.” I will find the text. “It is the power of God unto them that are saved.” Unto some it seems to be foolishness; the gospel is hidden to all those that are lost; but unto us that are saved it is the power of God. i Cor. i. 21—24: “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified. unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” The “called” there must be equivalent to “saved” in other texts. Already called, already saved, unto them that are called it is Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Then, the gospel does not save anybody until they are already called, already saved, in that sense. Hence there are two salvations presented there. Brother Yates has not told us what “that salvation” means in Philippians ii. If they are already saved, already saints, which they are—for he will not question it—then, as there is no such thing as final apostasy of the saints, they are as sure of heaven as there is a heaven. They never will apostatize and lose heaven. Yet they are to work out their salvation.
Then he undertakes from Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, to give the comment on the new covenant, on Hebrews. After reading at considerable length, his Commentary says: “No one save the Lord can teach men to know the Lord effectually.” That is what I am arguing. That is the reason the Lord said in the new covenant. “They shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord.” You see, it is right to teach, but to teach them to know the Lord is a lesson no man is able to teach. I believe he admitted that finally.
He asked me a question, for the answer to which I am going to turn him over to his Brother Carpenter. He wants to know if I did not know that persecution was not the means of starting the apostles out. He would like to stigmatize somebody with ignorance. As far as that is concerned, I confess it. There have been: several such insinuations. I have nothing to boast of so far as learning is concerned. Who was it that said it was persecution that drove them out? Was it myself? Am I the only one that said it? Does not Mr Carpenter say, in the Great Commission and its Fulfillment, “that they might have remained there until they died ingloriously had not God sent the besom of persecution and started them out into this work?” Does that indicate ignorance? Well, I am not the author of that language. It is one of his missionary brethren that he admires, and he says that it was persecution that drove them out. I hope I am not to blame for what missionaries say. I would hate to be accountable for every thing they say. Let us notice what he says. He says: “The set time for an aggressive movement which should only cease when universal conquest was fully accomplished. The apostles must have understood that their field of labor was coextensive with the world.” They must have understood that. Then, what is it he accuses them of doing? “Still the Church at Jerusalem dallied.” They must have understood what was their duty, Mr. Carpenter says; but they did not go. What did they do? A thousand days elapsed instead of ten. “They might have lingered on until they died ingloriously had not God sent the besom of persecution to sweep them forth into the wide world, which; was perishing for lack of the knowledge which they alone could give.” That man says it was the persecution that sent them. Brother Yates seems to differ with him. They must settle it themselves. I told you this morning that the missionaries were not all right; somebody is wrong among the missionaries, and I do not care who. I think about as much of Brother Yates as I do of Mr. Carpenter—I mean their positions, their doctrine. But I am satisfied that one or the other of them is wrong, and not only that, but I believe they are both wrong. That is I where I stand. Now, as none save the Lord can teach effectually, I want to add an argument or two why I oppose this doctrine. I object to it. I say that the Foreign Mission work is of man, and I want to tell you some reasons why I say it. We are not to make assertions in debating, taking positions boldly and publicly, without any serious reasons for such things, without having studied the matter. Let us see. One missionary writer says: “We will mention hut one missionary principle more—namely, that the means by which instrumentally the great work is to be effected is the ministration, of the Divine Word. We would not be understood as supposing that this is the only means. Whenever salvation goes forth as a lamp that burneth, it will be in answer to the prayers of Zion; as it extends, private Christians will, in their several circles, be instructors too. ‘Every man shall teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, until all shall know the Lord.’” (Minutes of the Philadelphia Association, page 428). I have the work here, and if anybody wishes to examine it they shall have the opportunity to do so. This is what they say themselves in their Circular Letter of 1806. This letter before this Association is not the production of a fanatic; it was not produced in excitement; it was the deliberation of that grand and intelligent body of Christians called the Philadelphia Association of Baptists. That letter came before their scrutiny; it was passed and adopted by that intelligent body, and they say—as giving the ground for modern missions—“they shall teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord.” That is giving grounds of missionism. That is the reason I say it is not of God. It contradicts his Word, and I do not believe that any thing that contradicts God’s Word is of God. I want Brother Yates to reconcile this assertion that the missionary makes. He says they are as good men as there are in the world. I do not doubt there are good men among the Missionary Baptists, and among all other missionary bodies. But those good men are wrong, they are teaching that the Bible is wrong by putting forth in their books and publications such assertions as I have here mentioned.
Now, as a contrast between their language and the language of God, I wish to refer to Hebrews viii. 11: “And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.” It seems to me that it is an easy matter for a child to tell that the missionary is not of God, when he will so unscrupulously contradict God’s Word. This is not the mere phantom of some irresponsible fanatic, but it is the language of a large, intelligent council—the Missionary Baptist Association of 1806. Another writer says: “All are to contribute to that great, unceasing volume of earnest prayer, which has only to become general and tenderly importunate to secure the salvation of the great multitude of God’s elect, who are now wandering unsaved on the mountains of sin in their own lands.” (Great Commission, page 3). Here is an assertion by a missionary that God has an elect wandering on the mountains of sin in every land, and that they are unsaved—God’s elect in an unsaved state! And in order to save a people who are already God’s elect, this missionary says it is necessary to send the gospel to them. God elected them, he intended their salvation, he predestinated it, and he sent Jesus into the world to save them; yet with all this they never will be saved, according to that missionary, unless the gospel is carried to them. Let us see what God says about that. Isaiah liv. 13: “And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord.” Now, here is a positive declaration. It is true. This missionary I last quoted admits that God has a people everywhere. Well, if he has, God says, “All thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.” What does Jesus say? “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John vi. 37). I should suppose God gave to Jesus all the elect, and he says, “all that the Father giveth me shall come to me.” As a reason for saying so, he quotes the text from the prophet that I have quoted. What is that? That they shall all be taught of God. Jesus says, “Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.” Here is the argument: If all that are taught of God come to him, and all that the Father giveth him are to be taught of God, then the conclusion is that all that God gave him are to come to him. Jesus told the truth when he said “they shall all come.” It is evident they have been given, but they have not all come yet, but they shall come. If he told the truth, then they will come; then, their coming is not suspended on the contingency of the action of men. This doctrine that says they would have been lost without the labors of the missionaries is not the doctrine taught here. The doctrine taught here is positively as stated—” that they shall come, they shall be taught of God.” Now, in addition to that, I regard it as of man, and not of God, because it presumes to teach men to know the Lord. I have already noticed that. However, I wanted to state that it is God’s work, but he has never commanded, and Brother Yates has not introduced a. text yet that authorizes men to go about teaching men to know the Lord. He says himself, so far as experience is concerned—and that is what takes place in the conversion and regeneration of a soul—so far as that is concerned, the ministers cannot bring it about. Of course they cannot; nobody accuses him of believing that. The question between us is whether the ministry is an indispensable agent in bringing it about. Mr Rice said, as I have already quoted time and again in the presence of this audience, that God works by means and without means, as his infinite wisdom directs. That is Presbyterianism. Brother Rice also says that there is an influence of the Holy Spirit in the human heart, in addition to the gospel, and distinct from it without which the gospel, or the Word, would never regenerate one of Adam’s ruined sons or daughters.
I regard it as of man and not of God, because its doctrine is that God has bound himself up so in his ministers, and the doctrine that all his creatures that are deprived of the Bible are also deprived of salvation. This hangs the eternal destiny of 856,000,000 of people upon the contingency of man taking the gospel to them.
You remember I showed you yesterday, from the missionary chart published by the Baptist Missionary Union, in colors and figures, that one hundred thousand heathen are dying there every day, and underneath those figures stated that the Christians are giving one tenth of a cent per day to save them. We hear today that after death those one hundred thousand heathen are sinking down into ruin—perishing without the gospel. What did they go to hell for? Because they did not receive the gospel? Yes; and I am going to show it to you from a missionary author right here. One missionary says that, in the tract called “The True Test:” “Christian friends, we have no fires of martyrdom now to test our fidelity to Jesus Christ; but we are not left without a test. God is testing us all continually; testing the measure of our faith, of our love, of our devotedness to his Son, by the presence of eight hundred million of heathen in the world. It is a tremendous test, so real, so practical. It is no phantom, no myth, no theory, no doubtful contingency, but a great, awful fact, that we Protestant Christians, who rejoice in our rich gospel blessings, and claim to be followers of Him who gave up heavenly glory, and earthly ease, and life itself to save those heathen, are actually surrounded by eight hundred million of brothers and sisters who must perish in their sins unless they receive the gospel. This gospel they have never yet heard. This is a fact too many forget, but a fact none can deny; a fact of which we dare not pretend to be ignorant; a fact that ought to influence our whole Christian course from the moment of conversion.” Now, notice, then, these heathen sink down to hell because they do not receive the gospel. Why have they not had the gospel? If God wanted to save them, and intended to save them, has he hung the eternal destiny of the majority of our race upon the contingency of human effects and labors? When he desires to save them, has he done that? No, sir; the Bible teaches different from that, as I quoted yesterday evening, and I come back to it new; “Jesus came into the world to save the lost, and the heathen are lost in every sense of the word. Who are more truly lost than the heathen?” Was Jesus capable of doing the work, and was he adapted to that work when he came? When Jesus left the glory he had with his Father before the world was, and entered into this sin-ruined world, did he come fully adapted to the work of saving the lost? Was he suited to the work? He says himself, “The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” ‘Was he ready for the work? Did it depend upon any thing extraneous to himself? This writer says the heathen are lost—the heathen he came to save. Did he save them? Are one hundred thousand of them sinking down into eternal perdition every day? If so, was not Jesus Christ a failure? Let us see what the Bible says in John x. 16. He says, in speaking of his 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.” It has already been admitted that the other sheep are among the Gentiles, and it is the work of Jesus to bring them. He is not going to undertake to do a work of such importance as that by the use of means and instrumentalities that never will accomplish the work. It is an evident fact, according to history and evidence given by the missionaries themselves, that they have failed in a great measure. Today, in the latter part of the nineteenth century according to their own reports, there are about eight hundred and fifty-six million of heathen, besides Mohammedans, Roman Catholics, Jews and Greeks. They are all in an unsaved state, and Jesus Christ came into the world to save them. Did he want them saved? Did he desire their salvation? Was he able to do the work? Did he appoint means by which they should be saved, that he knew would not do it? Did he know his gospel never would reach these lands—that there would be such carelessness on the part of Christians that Brother Carpenter charges them with for forty or fifty generations, or such indifference on the part of governors of their own land that the gospel could not be preached there, yet hang the eternal destiny of these millions of souls upon such a condition as could not be? Is this God’s plan of salvation? Has he devised a plan that he must have known would fail?
I thank you, ladies and gentlemen.