Audio Video Library
General Beliefs Site Search Time Line
E-Mail Us Web Links Home

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

Fourteenth Speeches - Yates then Potter


I am glad my Brother Potter keeps in such good humor. It does me good when he gets up a laugh, but he is like a gentleman I have heard of—he can make more lather with a small piece of soap than any man I ever saw. I will give him credit for that. And out of that little mistake of mine he made great capital! If that proves the only mistake I shall make in life it will be a small one. If he had made no worse mistakes than that during this discussion, it would be a happy thing for him. I am glad he is so sympathetic. He says he admits that the gospel is the ordinary means in the work of salvation. I do not suppose he has ever read our Confession of Faith in his life before. I will give him a copy; I will, honestly, if he will read it after this thing is over. He has admitted all I asked him. Let us quote the proposition again: “Resolved, That the gospel work carried on by the different denominations of the Protestant world in heathen lands or foreign countries, known as the Foreign Mission work, is authorized in the Scriptures, and blessed and owned of God”—“authorized in the Scriptures,” not in the Confession of Faith, nor Campbell & Rice’s Debate, but in the Scriptures. He has read, time and again, that we accept the use of ordinary means, and I have asked him over and over to show me a single place where there were any converts to this religion in nineteen centuries where the gospel was not preached.
Brother James, as I understood him, said this: “I do not think Brother Potter ought to call me a Campbellite, for he has the loan of my double-barreled shotgun and silver-mounted revolver to fight his opponent with.” in this he referred to some of the books Brother Potter has been using.
“And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me.” He says that is Universalism. He knows how we teach on that. In regard to the 9th chapter of Romans, the potter spoken of there, he says, is God. I do not deny that interpretation. I deny what he claims is there taught in regard to God’s shaping the destiny of men. As I showed in my last speech, this figure of the potter and day was employed by the apostle to represent God’s dealings with the Gentiles who had accepted Christ, and the Hebrews as a people who had rejected him. I showed that God in his divine government requires of man, as his moral subject, to conform to his ideal of character, in order to be an honored and favored vessel of his. I showed that the dishonored vessels, formed of the lump of clay, represented the Jews as a body who rejected Christ, God’s ideal of character actualized. I showed that as the potter must have respect to the condition of the clay, in order to shape the vessel according to the ideal designed—as the vessel would be marred in the hands of the potter, and hence be unfitted for the service intended, if the clay was not in a proper state—so God, in shaping human character by the forces of his divine providence as a moral Sovereign, must have respect to the attitude of men toward him as moral agents.
I showed from the prophecy of Jeremiah that the Jews, as individuals and as a nation, marred their own character and destiny in the hands of the Divine Potter by their own willful course in sin. I showed also, from both the prophecy of Jeremiah and Paul’s second letter to Timothy, that it was the privilege of those who had already become dishonored vessels to repent and be changed to honored vessels of the Lord. This proves that the election, which makes individuals spiritual vessels of honor or dishonor, depends not upon the absolute choice from eternity by the sovereign will of God alone, but also upon the moral choice of the individual. This honors the dignity of the human will, and emphasizes the greatness of individual responsibility and the great trust committed to the Christian Church in the world’s evangelization.
He says I ought not to quote Proverbs against him, for he believes in human responsibility. It seems so from that beautiful illustration about the debt. What have I got to do with the debt when I am dead in Adam and cannot do any thing—when the sheep are all elected from eternity? Talk about rue making a debt! I cannot make a debt; God has made it for me. How sympathetic he is! He says I am in a hard place. I am so dull I cannot see it. That is the only trouble. Jesus said, Go;” Brother Potter says, “ Stay.” How many men of his Church have gone to the foreign field? Has he gone? He says he will measure miles with any man. Are we talking about measuring miles? We are talking about going to the heathen. Jesus, just before his ascension, with uplifted hands—in which were still the prints of the spikes that fastened them to the cross—said to the apostles, “Go, preach the gospel to every creature.” I have given proof-text after proof-text. Brother Potter said he did not want a volume, but I thought I would give him text upon text like hot shot from a Gatling gun. I have shown the gospel fruits of missionary efforts in the work of evangelizing the world? What has he shown? I have shown a perfect identity between the gospel work of the primitive Church and the Foreign Mission work of today. But he says they had no Boards then. That was an argument, wasn’t it? He said I would have to prove they would not have been saved without the missionaries. What evidence has he that God blesses the Regular Baptist Church? What evidence has he that anybody was ever brought in by the Lord? Suppose I were to demand that he should prove that this could have been done without the gospel, what evidence, according to such logic as that, has any Church that it ever did any good? He says there were no Boards behind the laborers of the primitive Church. This objection is groundless. The Church in the apostolic age sent forth its laborers into the Gentile countries. So the Church today sends forth its laborers into the foreign field. The Church of the first century employed such measures and means as were best adapted to advance its work in that day among the Gentiles. So the Church today, through its mission hoards, is employing the best means and methods for the propagation of the gospel in heathen lands.
A word in regard to what my brother says about Grecian civilization. If he will get Appleton’s or Johnson’s Cyclopedia he will find that Cecrops, whom he talks about, was a legendary character of Greece, and that Nimrod was never regarded as the founder of the civilization of Egypt. I do not want to hurt his feelings, but I do claim—though I do not claim to be a great man—that when I quote books I do know what they mean. Did I not show that Foreign Mission work is the very basal idea of the gospel? You know how Brother Potter treated the passages which I quoted as proof-texts in favor of mission work. I repeat some of them: “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” “If any man have not the spirit of Christ he is none of his.” “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” Will that do for a missionary text? What was Christ’s mind but to seek and save the lost? As the Father sent him, so Jesus sends us. His command is, “Go, and I will go with you.” Ah! my brother cannot get out of his dilemma. The passages of Scripture which I have just quoted place Jesus he-fore you as a model missionary. I have given the testimony here of authority after authority proving the abundant gospel fruits of the Foreign Mission work on the foreign field. I have presented passage after passage from the Word of God showing the object of the Foreign Mission work and the end it is designed to subserve. I quoted Acts xxvi. 17, is, the commission given to Paul, and showed that that was Foreign Mission work. I quoted the words of the intercessory prayer, in which Jesus says to the Father, “As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.” I showed you that in the gospel Church, guided by the Spirit of the living God, Paul and Barnabas were set apart to the missionary work. That is just the way our missionaries are set apart. Paul and Barnabas were selected by the Holy Spirit; they felt the call; the Church was impressed to send them. They preached the gospel to the needy and degraded heathen, just as our men are doing today. The work was just the same, my friends, and it produced the same fruits. The early gospel work and Foreign Mission work are identical.
I want to notice his proof-text, that excellent proof-text that he has given us—Matthew xx. Now, he says God has a right to do just as he pleases about saving men. I am going right to the Scripture, he says that God can do as he pleases, and has a right to save his own, and will do just as he pleases in the salvation of souls. We will turn to this 20th chapter of Matthew and see what it means. I have another passage to put right over against it. If the doctrine is taught in this. Scripture that my worthy opponent claimed in his exposition and application of it, it will harmonize with the teaching of the other parts of the Bible: For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is a householder, which went out early in the morning to hire laborers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the laborers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. A gain he went out about the sixth hour and ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the clay idle? They say unto him, because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall he receive. So when the even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his reward, Call the laborers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, saying. These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for, a penny?” Is that a parallel to the atonement? Those were servants of the Lord. If you did not keep telling these people, time and again, that I have failed they would never notice it. He says he is three speeches ahead of me, but he has not noticed one-half of my proof-texts. These laborers represent the servants of Christ, both the Jews and Gentiles. The Saviour in this parable is teaching his prerogative in rewarding his servants for their work, not in pardoning and justifying souls. In rewarding the labors of his servants he does as he pleases, but he does not save or damn men arbitrarily. Hear the Master’s own language in regard to this, Matthew xxiii. 13: “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men,”—he said man could not do that—“for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.” They stood back themselves, and kept others out. Now what about this Scripture? If my brother can explain this, I want him to do it. He finds fault about my defining the proposition. I just want to say a word here. I think these moderators will remember that I asked him if he did not understand the words owned and blessed of God” to mean the regeneration of the heathen by God, through the Foreign Mission work? And he said he did not.
I tried to get him to take a stand in personal conversation with me, and he would not do it. He knows that. That is the reason I wanted it defined. He tells you here that I would not define it, and he did not understand my proposition for four days.
But we will go on with the argument. I want to notice some things here that are of importance to us. I have presented you a line of argument which I want to call your attention to. I have shown that the gospel work of the New Testament and the work of Foreign Missions are founded on the same principles, and that they are therefore identical. These principles arc faith and love and loyalty. The great motive-power that moved Christ was the compassionate love for suffering humanity, and I have shown that this is the very heart of the Foreign Mission work. This work is based upon the principle of the unity of the human race, and that is the reason why all men everywhere are called upon to repent. Brother Potter did not offer to answer these proof-texts, and yet he comes out boldly and advocates election. He has acknowledged that the word is the ordinary means through which men are saved. So then he has given up the question.
He says he believes in civilization. Then, why does he not con tribute to it ? Why does he not do something for it? If God’s elect are being brought out in heathen lands by the gospel, why has he not a hand in the work? Did not he acknowledge to me that the Bible gives a better civilization than any other? Then the civilization he enjoys today is the result of Foreign Missions. When Paul crossed the Aegean Sea, heeding the voice which said, “Come over and help us,” that was Foreign Mission work. The Holy Spirit said to the youthful Church, send laborers to the foreign field; and the Church obeyed. So the Church today is heeding the dictates of the Holy Spirit in sending laborers to - the heathen lands to preach the gospel. I have shown, time and again, that Boards are only instrumentalities of the Church. But we are not discussing Boards now. I have shown further that this grand work has always been adapted to the circumstances of the times when the work was done. According to Brother Potter’s logic there is not a Presbyterian who has any fruit in gospel work. He believes every denomination but his own is in error. To establish what he claims for his Church, he must prove a Church succession clear back to the apostles. There are evidences showing that God owns and blesses the Foreign Mission work, and that it is of God—that God has been with us. This is proved by the fact that we have been prospered, and that there are more converts to Christ in the foreign field today, in proportion to the laborers engaged, than we have in our home work. The last nineteen centuries—the unfolding years from the origin of Christianity to the present time—are but one grand, gleaming chain of evidence demonstrating the fact that Foreign Mission work is blessed and owned of God. I will read now a quotation from Harris’ “Great Commission,” page 151, in support of this fact: “It was not until the eighteenth century that the era of Protestant missions can be said to have commenced. Not, indeed, that the missionary spirit had slumbered in the Church from the apostolic age until then. Every intermediate century had witnessed the diffusion of at least nominal Christianity, although as early as the third century the original impulse given to the progress of the gospel had evidently declined; in the fourth we find Christianity existing in Persia, become general in Armenia, where it had been introduced as early, probably, as the second century; carried from Armenia into Iberia; rapidly spreading throughout Ethiopia, whither it had been conveyed by Frumentius; and published about the year 350 by Theophilus, at the instance of Constantine, in the south of Arabia. In 314 we find bishops from Britain present at the Synod of Aries. How much earlier the gospel had entered Britain it is impossible to state. Probably, as Gretser suggests, it was brought from Gaul early in the second century. Through the instrumentality of Ulphilas the Visigoths now embraced Christianity, and to him they were indebted also for an alphabet and a translation of the Bible. The Goths had probably received the gospel in the century preceding, for in the early part of this century we find a Gothic bishop at the Council of Nice.” Now you can see how this gospel is spreading. The word mission means to send; it does not matter about the means if God is with it. “The fifth century was signalized by the nominal conversion of several of the German nations. In 432 Patricius, a Scotsman, induced the Irish to embrace Christianity, and in 496 the Francks assumed the Christian name and induced the Alemanni to follow their example. In the sixth century Christianity was professedly embraced by many of the barbarous nations bordering on the Euxine Sea, and was more widely diffused among the Gauls. From about the year 565 to 599 the Irish monk Columba labored with considerable success among the Picts, and in 596 Augustin succeeded in converting Ethelhert to the profession of the Christian faith, whose example was immediately followed by his Anglo-Saxon subjects in Kent and soon after by the other Anglo-Saxon kings of England. Ecclesiastical missionaries from England, Scotland and Ireland carried the gospel, in the seventh century, to Bavaria, Belgium, and several of the German nations. Traces of its extensive propagation by the Nestorian Christians of Syria, Persia and India, are also to be found, at this period, in the remotest regions of Asia; and, if the Monumentum Syro-Syriacum is genuine, it obtained a footing in China about the year 636. Tartary, parts of Germany, Friesland, and Saxony, were the principal additions to the domains of Christendom in the eighth century. In the ninth, Denmark and Sweden, Bulgaria and Moravia, professed subjection to the faith, as well as parts of Slavonia and Russia. From Moravia the gospel was carried into Bohemia. In the tenth century the rays of Christian light began to enter Poland. In Hungary Christianity was made a national religion by a royal decree; and in Norway, where it had been first introduced from England, it was imposed by the severest measures. From Norway it was carried into Iceland, the Faroe and Shetland Islands, and even to Greenland.”
As I said, I do not claim that in this propagation of the gospel, the work was all as spiritual as it should have been. A great deal of it is nominal, and means were used that I would not endorse, but that was just as true of Israel in the Old Dispensation. Some very bad men presided over Israel under the Theocracy. They used means that we would not endorse. When such means were used they injured God’s people. The same was true in the propagation of the gospel by the Church in some of the centuries past. If Christianity was ritualistic the spirit would be ritualistic, and if it was spiritual, it was where the work was carried out according to the missionary principles of today, and it was only where the gospel laborers were pious and de voted that the Church dispensed its greatest blessings
“The eleventh century saw a Christianity established as the national religion of Russia, and records its wider diffusion in the East. Conquest and conversion had now come to mean nearly the same thing “—just what I have been speaking of—” and hence, in the twelfth century, the political subjugation of Pomerania was followed by its nominal subjection to the Christian faith; the Island of Rugen, long the stronghold of heathenism, was subdued and its inhabitants baptized; and the conquered Fins were compelled to submit to the same rite.” You see those were means that we do not endorse today. “The nominal Church was still further enlarged in the thirteenth century by the forced sub mission of Prussia, Livonia, and many of the northern provinces, as well as by the recovery of portions of the Saracenic Territories in Spain. The fourteenth century was marked by the professed conversion of the Lithuanians, one of the last of the heathen nations of Europe which embraced Christianity; while the fifteenth was indelibly stained by the forced subjection of parts of the newly-discovered hemisphere.”
Here is what Mr. Harris himself says: “It is historically true, indeed, that many of the agents employed from century to century in this wide diffusion of the gospel, were men whose wisdom, piety, and zeal would have adorned the apostolic age; but it is notoriously known that its principal instrumentality consisted of worldly policy and martial power, and consequently that its immediate results were only territorial aggrandizement and nominal submission. Accordingly, as many of these conquests had been made by the sword, by the sword many of them were subsequently lost. Civilization itself, at one period, suffered a decline. Ages of darkness rolled over the Church, until Christendom, so far from being in a capacity to convert the world, stood itself in the most urgent need of substantial conversion. That glorious change, of which the signs and means had long been gathering, was the great event of the century of which we are now speaking.” Then he goes on to say, in speaking of the revival of Christian missions, in language which I have quoted in a former speech, that this revival commenced in its spiritual form in the 16th century, coming out in its great work in 1792. I do not want to be misunderstood upon this point. You understand what I say, that the work was missionary in the sense I have described it, and wherever the Church has violated the principles and spirit that were manifested in the first century of the Christian work, which I have shown are the same as the principles and spirit of the Foreign Mission work of today, it has failed. Christian workers who have failed to depend upon the energizing, quickening, and guiding power of the Holy Spirit, have always failed. But there was a reaction in the Reformation, and the Roman Catholics were pressing their work forward and throwing their influence out upon the world, and the leaders of the Protestant Church saw that they had to depend upon something else instead of statesmen for strength. Protestants went down on their knees to the Lord, and then came the great baptism of the Holy Spirit that swept like a great tidal wave over Ireland, Scotland, Germany, England, and France. Then came the bugle note that echoed and re-echoed from our own land, and then went forth the great army to the foreign field. The Church has always prospered in proportion as it has taken upon its heart suffering humanity for the sake of Jesus and the brotherhood of mankind.
Now, just a word or two as evidence in the further advancement of my argument. I call attention to the argument that every Church that has the Foreign Mission spirit and takes up the work prospers. That is an evidence that this work is blessed and owned of God. You know it is said that it is more blessed to give than to receive, and the idea in Proverbs on that is, that it impoverishes us to withhold, and blesses and energizes us to give. That is the way it is in nature and in the Christian work. I do not belong to the Methodist Church, but I say, without fear of successful contradiction, that that Church was born of the Foreign Mission spirit. Take the Missionary Baptists; they were few in number until sixty years -ago. They are now over two millions strong in the United States. Theirs is one of the foremost denominations in missionary work. They stand in the front rank. Their institutions flourish in every State from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and the results of their work are seen in the Islands of the Sea and everywhere on the globe. My brother says I bring up missionary authority. I want to say that the man I quoted got a prize on his book and Brother Potter dares not say he is not honest. These facts are just as the Rev. John Harris tells them. Where can Brother Potter show a first-class author who is opposed to missions? There may be such authors, but I do not know of one. Look at the growth of the Missionary Baptist Church, and of the Presbyterian Church, and of all Churches engaged in this mission work! I do not say this to reflect on my brethren that differ from me, nor to please those who agree with me. I say a man or a woman may possess the spirit of Christ and not enthusiastically engage in the Foreign Mission cause; but it dwarfs their souls and limits their usefulness. He acknowledges man’s responsibility and that he may blunder. This I believe to be true of our anti-mission brethren in their attitude to the Foreign Mission work. Put an acorn in a flower-pot, and water it until it begins to grow, and put a glass over it sufficiently strong to keep it from sending out its branches, and it will make a little dwarfed oak, with diminutive, acorns. But if you drop an acorn into the black soil, where the sunshine of heaven can flood it without an invitation, and where the rain can freely pour down upon it, and where it can have free access to draw its nutriment from the earth beneath and the heavens above, it will grow up and spread, and will become a grand oak that waves its giant form in the breeze. This is a true picture of the contrast between the growth and progressive development of the Churches which engage in the Foreign Mission work and those which do not.
Brother Potter has admitted that it is one of the grandest works he knows of, though he has not admitted that it is blessed and owned of God. He admits it is grand. Then, if it is, why does he not do something for it? I have shown beyond a doubt that it is authorized in the New Testament, and blessed and owned of God. The home Church needs the blessing as well as the foreign field. Let me make an illustration: Suppose you could see those poor mothers up in India and in the land of Islam, and those other countries where women are shut up and excluded from all privileges. A woman is not allowed to speak to any man except her lord and master. Mothers are looked down upon by their own boys, who insult them. In India and China a woman never has a kind word spoken to her, and as a wife or mother she has to eat last, sitting down on a mat of corded felt. She can have no communication with the outside world. She is kept in ignorance, and is subject to the passions of her degraded lord. And think of those child marriages. A little girl is taken from her mother and sold to the parents of a boy over yonder, and taken home, there to become a slave. She knows nothing of the man she has to marry until a certain time, and then is put into his hands. Then think of the gospel going there and reaching thousands of those women. Think of the gospel of the Son of God breaking up those castes and transforming those homes. Let me tell you how the women are reached. The heathen are very much prejudiced against women. They think, especially in India, that when a woman dies she goes into a cow or some other animal. She has no soul. A man won’t speak about his wife, and if you name the name of his wife or daughter it is an insult. The missionaries went there, but could not get into their homes. One day a missionary’s wife was embroidering a shoe, and one of the rich Brahmans came by, and looking at her work, it struck his fancy, and he said, “Teach me that.” She said, “I will, if you will permit me to show your wives how to do it.” He said he would not do that, and went off. But she knew he would come back again. He came back, and’ consented to let her teach his wives how to embroider. She was a long time teaching them, and while doing so she was all the time dropping the words of the gospel into their hearts. These women may have all been elected from eternity. I do not know; but I believe they at least became members of God’s elect family, When the man saw the change he asked what it meant, and the women tremblingly told him that this woman had taught them these things, and that they had begun to love Jesus and trust in him. The missionary woman trembled for them, but at last he came, and said, “Tell me about Christ.” This has not been over twenty-five or thirty years ago. The result was he found the Saviour and trusted in him, and so the work spread, and now the result is that there are twelve thousand such homes as this open today to receive the gospel. The women are crying, “Come over and help us.”
I thank you.


There are one or two notes that I took down in Brother Yates’ first speech this evening that I did not get to while I was up before, that I wish to notice. He tells us this evening that he is very far from believing that all the heathen are rolled into hell, or else I misunderstood him. That is what he tells us this evening— very far from believing that all heathen are lost. That is all I want to say about that at present.
Then he accused me of speaking about the gospel being shot into the people. I was talking about civilization being shot into them. What was it that civilized them? The gospel? What was the agent—the gospel or the army?—powder and lead? And I took his own words that he has repeated here several times during the discussion, that in some places, when the missionaries went there, they were expelled from the country and not allowed to preach. The account that he read concerning Madagascar seems to give the idea that there were eight years during which there was a suspension of missionary labor, until the army from England and France had come, and war occurred. Then, after that, the missionary operations went on. That seems to he the account given that I spoke of. That is all I want to say about it.
Then he says I have admitted all that he has said.
And he does not seem to notice the difference between an admission for the present, for argument’s sake, and making a final admission. I said, admit for argument’s sake—for a moment, for the present—that the Word was the original means, and that did not reach the point at issue between us. Admit that it is so, and it does not reach the point at issue between us, from the very fact that he has been challenging me to show one instance of the conversion and salvation of a soul without the truth, without this medium. That is what he has been challenging me to show. He comes up, however, this evening, and admits that there are such cases, and perhaps he could show them about as easily as I could. To pick out the name of the man, and tell where he lives in the world, I am not able to do; but I know from the teaching of the Cumberland Confession of Faith that there is bound to be such cases. I am not falling out with Presbyterians on that account. There are a great many things in this world that are called religion that I do not think there is any religion in, and which ought not to be called religion. I do not think every thing that is good ought to have the name of Jesus to it, and I not think that every thing that has the name of Jesus in it should be upheld.
I am able to prove that the Missionary Baptists stood just where I stand now. I am able to prove they held the doctrine of election, predestination, limited atonement, and that all that Christ died for would he saved, and that they denied and fought universal atonement and conditional salvation, and not only that, but that they denied that the gospel contained any conditional offers of salvation at all. The book that I have to prove that is open to Brother Yates’ inspection. If he wants me to prove by that book that there is where they stood, I will do it to-morrow. It is there. They blame us for not going with them into missionary labor. Why, what is the difference? It was not because we did not think the gospel was a good thing. It was not because we did not think influence of the Bible was good. It was not because we opposed civilization. It was not because we were opposed to education. It was not because we took pride in the thought of the condition of those superstitious heathen. That was not it; but they put something into that word we could not endorse. They limited the salvation of God to their labors, just like Brother Yates has. They made the eternal destiny of those nations to hang upon their getting there with the gospel, and therefore we could not endorse it. That is the reason we do not contribute to it. It would be a sin for us to do that. I do not believe they are the means of the salvation of a single one that would not have been saved without it. Brother Yates says himself, in speaking of that convert over there, he might have been an elect. Yes, he may, and I am satisfied that he was; if regenerated and saved, he was. Brother Yates did not know whether he was or not, and says himself he may have been.
Now about Brother James. Brother James and I are acquainted; we do not live more than about three or four miles apart. I will tell you, I am going to pay Brother James for the use of his book. I am very much obliged to him for it, and when I get Brother Yates thoroughly converted to your belief, in the operation of the Spirit, I will give him to you for the use of the book.
MR. YATES: I am elected; that is all right.
MR. POTTER: I presume Brother James and I understand each other. The proposition defined. I just want to state that it is the affirmant’s place, himself, to define his own proposition. He writes it out and agrees to affirm it; he ought to know what it means himself, ought to be ready to define it just exactly as he means it. If it did not read just as he wanted it, he ought to get it just as he wants it. When a man sets down coolly; and I suppose Brother Yates did that—but I thought when I read the challenge that he might not be as cool as a cucumber. However, the challenge has never been revised since its publication in the Gibson County Leader, and of course he ought to have known what Brother Yates meant, in Brother Yates’ own language, so that Brother Yates could define it when we met. The rule requires that. It was not my place to define it at all. It was nobody’s but his. He did not do it till yesterday. That is the reason we have not been debating. We had no proposition that we understood.
He thinks that if his witnesses are honest they are good authority. That is not true every time. It is not true every time that if a witness is honest he is good authority, from the very fact that prejudice is one of the most blinding things we have to contend with— prejudice for or against a thing. It occurs to rue that I have seen men in whom I have had such implicit confidence that I would have been willing to risk my life in their care, so far as honesty and integrity were concerned, but when you touch the point in which they were biased, I would not have risked them very far, for their prejudice controlled them. So that is the objection I have to all of his witnesses being missionary witnesses. A man, when giving his own case, sometimes is liable to exaggeration. He is liable to make it better than it really is. If testifying, for or against a party, he is liable to leave out the worst or best. A cross-examination is necessary in a case of that kind, so much so that when you want to get the deposition of a witness to take off into another country or send into court, both the attorneys must be present when that deposition is taken—the attorneys of both sides. ‘Why? Because of prejudice, not because the witness is not honest. That is not the reason, but because of prejudice. I do not attribute dishonesty to any of these missionaries, or anybody else, unless they prove themselves to be dishonest.
Now I propose to notice a few scriptural reasons why I do not believe the proposition. It is not my business to do that, but I have a right to do it. I happen to be on the unpopular side of the mission question. That makes no difference to me, for I have the Bible on my side. When a man goes to teach any thing to me that contradicts the Bible, or is contradictory to the understanding of a large majority of Christendom, from the introduction of the Bible until now, even if it is on the popular side, that is no reason why I should get on that side. I know that popular opinion was quoted here the first day, and because I argued that popular opinion was not always right, Brother Yates accused me of accusing them of being Christ-killers. Popular opinion is not always right, but the Bible is right if they are all wrong. Will anybody be saved? What does God say about it? I call your attention to Isaiah liii. 10—12: “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he bath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall he satisfied by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
Here is the prophet talking of Jesus, and he speaks of two or three things that I wish to notice. One is that Jesus Christ shall see his seed. He shall see them. I give this quotation in harmony with those I gave the other evening, where the Lord said, “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” I give it also in harmony with the text in Psalm xxii: “A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.” Notice, here is a positive, unconditional promise of God. “A seed shall he”—not may be—provided; not, shall have an opportunity, but “A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.” Now, talking about that seed; the God of heaven, by the Prophet Isaiah, speaking some seven hundred years and upward before the coining of Christ into the world, of the suffering of Christ, says: “It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief.” Why? Is it much pleasure to the Lord to send his Son into the world and put him to grief for the accomplishment of a purpose, when the purpose is certain not to be accomplished? And God knew it. Would that be much pleasure to him? Well, then, why did it please him to bruise him? For this reason: “When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed; he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.” That is why. That is why it pleased the Lord to bruise him, because there were glorious results going to be brought about; he was going to see his seed. Where are they? They are scattered over the earth, among all the inhabitants of the earth, and he is going to bring them in, and he shall see them, “and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand “—that is, in the hand of Jesus, not in the hands of ministers or of any other mediator. Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and man. The doctrine that my brother presents here today makes it necessary for there to be another one. Everybody can see that—that it makes it absolutely necessary for the salvation of men for there to he another mediator. God says there is only one; Jesus Christ is that one, and not only is he the only one, but God says in this text, “The pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.” No failure. I do not worship a God that tries to do things and cannot. I do not worship a God that does not know what he is about. I do not serve a God that has any purposes or plans the results of which he does not know. I do not serve a God that, when he does know the results of his plans for which he made them will never be brought about, will trust in them. I do not serve a God who will invent a plan for the salvation of his people that he knows will fail and never save them. Hence, salvation is in Christ, and not only that, but this text says, and I want to impress it upon the mind of every person here, “The pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.” What is the pleasure of the Lord? He is talking about the salvation of his people; talking about the salvation of his seed, talking about the gathering of them in. Does he tell the truth when he says the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand? Not according to the position that has been taken by my brother in this discussion, or else God does not please to save very many—one or the other.
Another point is, “He shall see of the travail of his soul.” He shall see the fruits, the result of the travail of his soul. That is what Jesus shall see. He shall see that for which he died. He shall see that glorious result brought about. His blood is not shed for nothing. His blood cleanses from sin; it does away with sin; it removes guilt, and the obedience of Jesus Christ is imputed to that man whose sins he atoned for, and he becomes justified. Docs not the text say, “By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many.” Will these justified people go to hell? What for? Turn to Romans v. 8: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Now, that is just as true in the case of one he died for as another. It is just as true in the case of those heathen he died for as it is in the case of those here. It is just as true in the case of the most unfavored of earth as it is in the case of the highly favored, that he loved us, and that “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” What is the result of that death? The apostle says in the next verse: “Much more then, being now justified by his blood”—justified how? By his blood. By whose blood? Christ’s—“we shall be saved from wrath through him.” Justified by his blood; then, after being justified by his blood, sent to hell? What do you think about it? Sent to hell unless the preacher comes and preaches to you after you are justified! Remember, that justification has already taken place. Then, being justified by his blood, we shall be saved. Not, are saved, but “shall be.” That text is just as positive that those people shall be saved as that they have been justified by the blood of Christ. Who has a right to say it does not reach anywhere only where the gospel is? Let us go back to the text here, “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.” What will it take to satisfy Jesus? What is required to give that satisfaction to Jesus Christ? That hundreds, and thousands, and millions of those that he has redeemed sink down to hell? No, sir; if one of them goes there he is not satisfied. In that case he does not sec of the travail of his soul. What will satisfy him? The eternal happiness and housing in heaven of all of his ransomed.
Now, I want to give you another text—Isaiah xxxv. 10. Christ redeemed somebody. Everybody admits that. Well, Isaiah, what do you say about it? The Lord, by the Prophet Isaiah, says: “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return”—I say so too, whoever they are, and wherever they may be—“and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” They are out yonder in that strayed condition into which they have gone, as the prophet says in Isaiah liii. 6: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” And in the 52d chapter of the same prophecy, he says: “And the redeemed of the Lord shall return.” He does not hang this upon the contingency of the human will or action of individual men in the world. He has not given this important work into the hands of the minister; he has not given it into the hands of the Church; he has not given it into the hands of another man. It is in the hands of Jesus Christ. He came to do the will of the Father, and in speaking of him one of the prophets says, “He shall fulfill all my will,” Who shall? Jesus Christ. How does that sound by the side of this doctrine that challenges me or any other man to show a single soul saved without he be preached to? What is the Bible worth more than last year’s almanac, only for what is in it? I love that Book. Now, because we believe those things. that the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and we arc not uneasy about it and say so, and that it does not depend upon Foreign Mission work, this .debate had to take place. I do not object to this debate. I have been glad all the time, ever since the arrangements were made, that it was coming off.
Then one of the objections I have to the doctrine of Foreign Missions for the salvation of the heathen is because it contradicts the Bible: it contradicts what God says. God says they shall be. brought in, and the mission work says they shall not unless we send the gospel to them. Brother Yates said in a letter to me during our correspondence that he was able, when fifteen years of age, to have successfully answered every objection I could have had to the Foreign Mission work in fifteen minutes. I have thought since this work commenced that Brother Yates was smarter when fifteen than he is now. He was a very smart boy, and a smart enough man.
I want to give you another text or two. I have not got them all noted down, but if I can think and locate them, I want to give them to you. Notice this text, and all in connection with this text, says, “He shall see his seed.” Now there is another thing couched in this text, and I want to give it to von. “ By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many.” Why? Why shall he? I want everybody to notice. Why shall he justify anybody? “For he shall bear their iniquities.” What is the cause of their justification? Jesus hearing their iniquities. Did he hear their iniquities? Yes. Well, then, if that is the cause of their justification, tell me how those justified people are going to sink down to hell? Upon what principle? What do they lack of being ready to come before God in a justified and unblamable state? Now, Brother Yates intimates that I am in good hands and have help and assistance. It may be that I have. If it is true, it must be because I have a great deal the smartest, because he has the most of it. That is giving Brother Lampton good credit; I am sure his presence here does me a great deal of good. So far as God is concerned, and his ways are concerned, and so far as his plan of salvation is concerned, there are no failures in it. Brother Yates represented me yesterday as saying God had made two laws and given them to Israel, and he denied it. His own Confession of Faith speaks of two covenants. I speak of two covenants and they are in his Confession of Faith. What was the first covenant? It was the covenant of works, conditional covenant. That is what the Presbyterians teach, and that is what I said. What was the second covenant? Of works? No, sir; of grace. These two covenants\are frequently embraced in one text in such cases as this: “For the wages of sin is death,” that is the covenant of works. “But the gift of God,”—not wages, not compensation for service rendered or performed; it is a gift—” the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Then, I say that all faults, and ills, and debts, and temptations that we are liable to are contracted by our own wicked works, while that which entitles us to heaven is grace. It comes in the new covenant. It comes in the covenant of grace.
Let us notice one more text in which these two covenants are both embodied: “The law was given by Moses”—that was the covenant of works—“but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” That is the covenant of grace. Jesus Christ himself is that covenant, for he said, in the language of the prophet, and I will find it if it is challenged, “I will make thee for a covenant to the people,” speaking of Jesus Christ, in the language of Isaiah.
I thank you, ladies and gentlemen.