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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

Fourth Speeches - Yates then Potter


I am glad this afternoon to he greeted by this great sea of smiling faces. It shows that there are a great many false prophets in this world. I will give my Brother Hume credit for standing with me in the prediction that the people would hear this discussion. I believe that my brother and myself are only laboring for what we think to be for the greatest good, and we are glad to have the people come out whether they agree with us in every particular or not, for we believe it will lead them to investigate the truth. You have heard the proposition read. I will commence again with the heathens as referred to in Romans i. 20. I want to read you my brother’s exact language. You see we are sometimes a little short in memory. It is just as reported. I do not want to misrepresent him. It is just what he said about the heathen yesterday when referring to that quotation in Romans i. 20: “The heathen were without excuse. Why were they? They had Nature, which ought to teach there is a God. Ought not the same thing teach the heathen now? If it answered the purpose then, why not now? My idea is that when people think there is a God, and have an idea of his character, they ought to have some respect for him; and it is my idea that it is so.” That is his language. “It is my idea that it is so.” That is very different from the interpretation he gave in his speech. I will give him credit for his memory being short. And he says farther “Nature unfolds a volume to the people wherever they live. Paul said the people who had that were without excuse, as they had some way to know.” Then the Bible and the ministry are not absolutely essential for the heathen to know that there is a God. He slips out of it by saying what he meant. He does not allow me to say what I mean. He says he meant a saving knowledge; but that ruins his election business, as he has come out on it so boldly, because they knew it and then degraded God. When they degraded God it was by their own hands. God left them to themselves, and then they were degraded. So much for that point. Now I am going to take him up just as he spoke. If I should happen to forget any thing, I hope he will tell me.
My brother says that the, commission was given to the apostles, and asks if it was not so given, to “tell the meaning of that pronoun ‘ye.’” That is a wonderful, thing in philology. “Ye” is the plural. It might be addressed to two or to a crowd. But he said the commission was given to the apostles—that is the idea. But those apostles represented the Church. I am afraid my brother will have to be dealt with by my Regular Baptist brethren. I am fearful it will not end in this. I believe our Baptist brethren are close communionists, and they believe that God gave a visible, tangible, local organization—an ironbound plan of Church polity. That is what I call it. If it is the Lord’s, it is all right. Where did he get his authority for close, communion, if the apostles did not represent the church? I want him to answer that. He will not receive the communion except from the hands of a successor of the apostles. On the night of the Lord’s Supper there was no one present but the apostles. If he believes in apostolic succession, that puts him down as a Roman Catholic priest; and, to be consistent, he should take the stand of the Catholic priesthood—that no one has the right to partake .of the bread and wine but the preachers; and, like the Romanists, he should give the deacons and membership the wafer in place of the bread and wine. If the commission was not given to the Church, neither was the Lord’s Supper. Of course he will give us some light on that. We will now notice that Arabia question. He says he did not mean to say Paul preached there at all. He did not mean to say that it was scriptural, but it was his idea that he did. He did not exactly explain it that way until he got into a place he could not get out of. He did not mean to say it was Scripture. I do not suppose he did, by any means.
He said God called his preachers. We admit that I gave that in showing the identity of the Foreign Mission work with the gospel work, as recorded in the New Testament. He says there is no identity. Let him take up my line of argument as I gave it yesterday— the object and end to be subserved in the Foreign Mission work, the principles of it, the motive that actuates it, the call and preparation of the workers, and the fruits of the work. I want him to deny, and I dared him to deny, in my opening speech, that the principles I laid down there have been manifested by the grand workers in this Foreign Mission work. He knows that in my affirmation of the proposition under discussion I do not affirm the measures and’ means, but he dodges around in them like a partridge in the prairie, trying by means of them to keep from being struck.
I want to give him a little piece of explanation. He said he did not know what I meant by Paul’s obligation in Romans i. 15. I will try and make my meaning plain to him. “So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.” That is the 15th verse. Going back to the 14th verse: “I am debtor both to the Greeks and to the Barbarians, both to the wise and to the unwise.” Now couple that with this: “The love of Christ constraineth me.” Why was he a debtor? Jesus told us we must love our neighbors as ourselves. This very Apostle Paul said without love he was nothing—compassionate love, the very love that constrained Jesus to come from the bosom of the Father into this world to seek and to save the lost; that was the very love that burned and glowed in the apostle’s heart. This was the debt he was under. He had good news and glad tidings. There were men and women in the wide world who did not know the good news, and he was a debtor to all nations and all people, so far as in him lay, to give them these glad tidings. Compassionate love made him a debtor to give them this message of salvation. I wonder if my brother will deny that debt. I will turn back to show you that that was the Saviour’s way of doing things. The heart is moved. Christianity makes us humane, and tender, and compassionate. Let us go back and look at Matthew ix. 36 for just a moment: “And when he saw the multitudes he was moved with compassion on them.” That word “compassion” is from two words: “com,” together, and “passus,” to bear—that is, to bear or suffer together—to take another’s condition upon one s heart. That is the way Jesus did, and that is the way Paul did, and that is the way the Foreign Mission workers do today.
Then, my brother said the Mission Work was a money business. I will make him sick of that money part of it before Saturday night. Jesus’ heart was moved with compassion; he put himself in their place. “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so to them.” If you were in the condition of the heathen, and were degraded as they, and had never heard of Jesus, and you could only learn by personal instruction, and had seen a few fruits of Christianity and its advantages, would you not desire to have it brought to you? That will lead me to explain the curiosity of the Japanese when they read the Bible. When Jesus saw the multitude “he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd”—helpless, exposed to danger and ruin. It would be folly for a man or any individual to he touched with compassion for one not in need, and not in danger. That is the way it is with the heathen work. That is what made me call Paul a debtor, my brother.
Well, he made a very logical argument on the explanation I made about the word heathen. Hardly in place, my brother. Let us see how that is. He says I quoted, “it is the power of God unto salvation;” but I said, as it is, “to every one that believeth.” He said, speaking of the publication of the gospel to the ungodly man, that it was the circulation of it, and asked if it was necessary to publish salvation here to the people; and he went on to ask me if I would preach to babies and idiots. Was not that an argument about the heathen? The commission was to those that were capable of believing. He and I agree about that. It does not refer to idiots and children. But what is he going to do about his election when a man is not an idiot, those who have the faculty of reasoning? I want him to explain that to us. I do not understand it. Then he says I teach the universal damnation of the heathen, and asks what am I going to do with that. I will leave them to Jesus, just where he will have to, because God never commands us to do what we cannot, nor that which he will not give us ability to do; therefore he will deal with the heathen as with us, in accordance with the light they have. The baby is not developed; the idiot has not the faculty of reason or of becoming a religious being. That is very different. I am talking about those men and women who are capable of receiving the message when presented to them in the spirit of the Lord, and of cooperating with God in the work. And I want him to meet that squarely. I do not know what he is aiming to do about his commission, but he will fix that for you. If, according to the position of my worthy opponent, nature is a sufficient revelation of God to the heathen to bring out and save all God’s elect, as set apart from eternity, then the Saviour made a mistake in enjoining upon the Church through the apostles to preach the gospel to every creature; and the Apostle Paul also, in claiming that the heathen, even with the light they had from nature, had no excuse for their degrading practices of idolatry, and that Christ, if they would only accept him, was now revealed to them in the gospel to save them from their degraded state, brought about by abused privileges. So much for his absurd position that as many heathen will be saved through the light of nature without the gospel as with it. He made a nice explanation for you on the seed, employed to represent the Word in the parable. I think he will have a little trouble on that word again—Matthew xiii. 3-19. In regard to the seed sown, he said it was sown in the human heart. The heart sometimes in the Bible is used to represent the whole inner man, because of the controlling passions. It simply means the receptive nature, for the Devil sowed tares there, too. He said the seed did not prepare the heart. What does? It says we are begotten of the gospel; that is the language of the Bible. He makes it literal; you must take it figuratively. It is figurative. What did Jesus design to teach when he pictured these four classes of hearers? Will God command a, person to do a thing, and not give him ability to do it? God gives me an eye to see, but he does not see for me; God gives me an ear to hear, but he does not hear for me. What does Jesus mean to teach in this parable? Why, the preparation of the ground and the sowing of the seed represent our part in receiving and propagating the gospel. God creates the grain. God gives us the revelation, God gives us the sunshine and the rain; that is it, isn’t it? He spoke of the farmer. What is the farmer’s part? It is to prepare the ground and sow the seed; but the seed will not sprout without the rain and sunshine. Paul spoke of one planting and another watering, “but God giveth the increase.” We are laborers together with God, my brethren. We open the heart to receive that seed. While we have an understanding and reasoning powers, we cannot transform our nature. By the preparation of the ground we mean the earnest attitude we can assume toward God, and which prepares us to receive the word. The case in which the seed fell by the wayside, where the travelers passed over it, applies to those who let worldly thoughts fill their minds about worldly things. The seed which sprung up and was withered because there was rock beneath it represents that class who hear the word but do not take it down into their consciences; the rod is not broken. Those in whom the thorns choke out the seed, are those who listen partially, with other thoughts mixed in—who do not go into deep spiritual self-examination, asking God to help root out the weeds. The good ground represents those who earnestly listen, and ask God to help them and give them life. We can do that, that is our part, and God will do his. But what if the Word does not yield fruit, and the heart was prepared before the Word was put in? What is the value of the Word, my brother, in regeneration? What is the value of it? Well, I will tell you the point my brother makes. He quoted Luke about the good man who, out of the good treasure of his heart, brings out hood results, and the evil man who brings out bad results; the good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the bad tree bad fruit. He denies that we are to keep the heart with all diligence. “Keep the heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.” In the passages he quoted about the fruit of the good and bad tree, Jesus was arguing that the life was like the inner nature, and was saying nothing about the point that Brother Potter quoted it to sustain—viz., the preparation of heart. Not a word. It had nothing whatever to do with it. Then he says the preparation of the heart is froth God. It is a cooperative business; when we open the understanding and let the word of God in, the Holy Spirit energizes the word and also accompanies it. We can open our heart to it as we open our eyes to the sunlight. We open the heart to the influence of the Holy Spirit, and with the Word of God the Holy Spirit flashes in and energizes the soul to receive it. I want him to give me a little testimony. Will he tell us where souls have been converted in heathen lands without the Word? He always demands that I shall give him the proof. And I do not claim they are all lost. I explained to you that all those that lived up to the beet light they had would be saved. My brother knows that all idolatry is but a perversion of man’s original worship of one true God. That is the inference of Paul in the first chapter of Romans. The Hebrew theocracy was the gospel in symbolism.
He is a little troubled on the Cumberland Presbyterian Confession of Faith. I had forgotten that. I will talk a little about that. He says the Regular Baptists do not revise. I would like to have him show how far back they got their articles of faith. Let me ask him if he can show his articles where he quoted this morning? He quoted a man this morning that has been acknowledged to be a dishonest historian. My brother certainly knows that Jones has been proved to be a falsifier in that book (pointing to Campbell and Rice’s debate). I will bring it down and show where he garbled and mistranslated the original language of the old historians of those Waldenses he was talking about today. He has been exposed as a perverter of the facts of history, and I am not willing to take him as a witness. I want to go further, and show you about this revision. He says the Bible remains the same—that, principles do not change. That is true: but men in their understanding of the truth do not remain the same. The Word is represented as the seed sown, from which results come. Nature is the same, but our knowledge of it is not the same. Wise men, they say, change sometimes, but the other kind do not. There is a great amount of truth to he studied and understood. Why, he says he just dares me to say I do not indorse election, with Calvin. I dare to do it, and I dare to say to you here this afternoon that the Cumberland Presbyterian Church does not embrace Calvinism. I defy him to show that we embrace that doctrine. That was the very thing that caused us to take our stand and become a separate denomination.
I want to read one little thing in regard to his missions and missionaries in the early centuries, propagating the gospel in Northern Europe. My worthy opponent, and his honorable historian, Jones, from whom he gave a long quotation concerning them, both inferred that they were Baptists, and brother Potter particularly emphasized that they were his brethren— Anti-mission Baptists—and he wonderfully eulogized their work as being of God, and owned and blessed of him. But the brother did not know, when he was quoting from Mr. Jones, that these people were not Baptists; that I could follow him up with the very best authorities and prove to the contrary. I will now quote from Harris’ “Great Commission” in regard to these missions and missionaries of Brother Potter’s. Mr. Harris shows conclusively that the missionary work performed in the countries and at the time Brother Potter speaks of was not performed by Baptists, but by the very ecclesiastical body that Brother Potter claims the Catholics sprung from. There was a division in the Church under Decius, who ascended the throne of the Roman Empire in 249 A.D. This division occurred in 251 A.D. A small faction withdrew from the main body of the Church. It was the main body—the great national Church of the Empire—that did this mission work. At that day, according to my brother’s views, the Christian Church, in every nation might be called Catholic. Let me read on page 151: “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. It became general in Armenia, where it had been introduced as early, probably, as the second century; it was carried from Armenia into Iberia, rapidly spreading throughout Ethiopia, whither it had been conveyed by Trumentius; and published about the year 359 by Theophilus, at the instance of Constantine, in the South of Arabia.”
I want to know if Constantine, in his influence, was over the Regular Baptist Church? It was the State Church of the Roman Empire at that time; and all of his quotation from Jones’ history this morning fails to help his case. The missionaries of the third and fourth centuries, whom Jones claimed as Baptists, and whom my opponent claims not only as Baptists, but as members of his own Church—the Anti-mission Baptists of today—were the missionaries of the State Church of Rome. Though this was true, they were instrumental in bringing forth some excellent gospel fruit, notwithstanding their many errors in the work. They had no real piety or religious success, only in so far as they complied with the principles of the, Foreign Mission work. But I want to turn over here and read a little further. I knew he would bite at that yesterday. He says in 1791 the first Foreign Missionary Society was organized. I will read on page 154 of Harris’ “Great Commission:”
The seventeenth-century was an age of missionary preparation and promise. The close of the preceding century, indeed, had witnessed the first attempt on the part of Protestant Christians to make a descent on heathenism. The distinguished honor of making it belongs to the Swiss “—this is squarely against your Baptist doctrine; I hate to read it to you, but we are friends—” for in 1556 fourteen missionaries were sent by the Church of Geneva to plant the Christian faith in the newly-discovered regions of South America. In 1559 a missionary was sent into Lapland by the celebrated Gustavus Vasa, king of Sweden. Early in the seventeenth century the Dutch, having obtained possession of Ceylon, attempted to convert the natives to the Christian faith. About the same time many of the Nonconformists, who had settled in New England, began to attempt the conversion of the aborigines. Mayhew, in 1643, and the laborious Eliot in 1646, devoted themselves to the apostolic service. In 1649, during the Protectorate of Cromwell, was incorporated by act of Parliament the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in New England. In 1660 the Society was dissolved, but on urgent application was soon restored, and the celebrated Robert Boyle was appointed its first governor. The zeal of this distinguished individual for the diffusion of the gospel in India and America, and among the native Irish and Welsh, his munificent donations for translations of the sacred Scriptures into Malay and Arabic, Welsh and Irish, and of Eliot’s Bible into the Massachusetts Indian language, as well as for the distribution of Grotius’ “De Veritate Christiane Religiouis,” and, lastly, his legacy of £5,400 for the propagation of Christianity among the heathen, entitled him to distinct attention.”
I have not time to read all. I would like to. I will now speak on Japan for a short time. I have not at hand the book I had expected to quote from, having left it in my hurry; but I will say this, and make my statement good: In 1859 the Protestant Episcopal Church sent an ordained minister into Japan. That man, by the laws of Japan, was not allowed to preach publicly. Then the work was begun by the Presbyterian Board, Baptists, and. others, during the time from 1860 to 1870. The Japanese saw our civilization after Commodore Perry had been there. They wanted the civilization, but were prejudiced against the Christian religion. But these men were anxious for the cause of Jesus. The Spirit of God makes them that way. They went there in the spirit of the Master, and would not be employed for teachers only as they could perform their work. So at last they were allowed to preach in the houses. The people became anxious to read the Bible. Why? They had seen the fruits of this wonderful civilization produced by Christianity, and they began to want it. That was because Commodore Perry opened the Bible right on the flag, thereby acknowledging that the great Republic he represented owed all its prestige and glory to the Bible. But my brother says, “Only 7,791 converts in Japan!” How much this little handful of men and women are doing! In 1872 they only had ten members, and they observed the week of prayers and two or three Japanese students went to the meeting. They heard about Pentecost, and believed, and these young men prayed so to God that the wicked sea captains who witnessed the scene said their hearts trembled within them. And they have added to them 7,791 members in these few years. Pretty good work, with all this heathenism against them. Look at the membership of my brother’s Church in 1851, as reported by the Baptist Almanac. They were 60,000 strong; in 1861 they were 40,000 strong, There, I will say to you in all kindness, my brother, you have lost 20,000. I got it from the Baptist Years book—Almanac. That is pretty good authority; you quote from it. O how he is growing! That is the result of his wonderful biblical doctrine. The Mission work in Japan, he tells us, is doing badly. How about’ your own Church, my brother?
Here is another little book from which I will read concerning the Foreign Mission work in Africa. There it is on the map—those gleaming centers of light. This is by McKenzie, from his History of the Nineteenth Century, page 214:
“Southern Africa was the home of the Bechuanas, a fierce, warlike race—cruel, treacherous, delighting in blood. No traveler could go among them in safety; they refused even to trade with strangers; they bad no trace of a religion, no belief in any being greater than themselves, no idea of a future life. In the early days of missionary efforts Dr. Moffatt, with some companions, went among these discouraging savages. For years he toiled under manifold difficulty.” For money, my brother? “No man regarded his words. The people would not even come to church until they were bribed by a gift of tobacco; and their deportment, when they came, was unbecoming in a high degree. They stole the missionary’s vegetables, his tools, and the very water which irrigated his fields. They destroyed his sheep, or chased them in utter mischief into dangerous places. But Moffatt, a heroic Christian man, labored patiently on, and in time a vast success crowned his noble toils. Almost suddenly (in 1828) the people began to attend church in large numbers, and to evince deep interest in the instruction of the missionaries. Dr. Moffatt translated the Bible into the native tongue, and there arose an eager desire to be able to read. Many persons professed Christianity and applied for baptism. Soon they manifested a disposition to clothe themselves, and to keep clean their persons, which heretofore were filthy. They began to improve their dwellings, and in a simple way to furnish them.” (The Bible was at the bottom of that). “They wanted plows wagons, and other agricultural implements. They entered readily into commercial relations with foreigners, and, in a few years their imports of foreign manufactures amounted to two hundred and fifty thousand pounds, paid for in the produce of the soil. Christianity is now almost universal among the Bechuanas. Education is rapidly extending, the natives are being trained in adequate numbers for teachers and preachers, and Christianity is spreading out among the neighboring tribes. The Bechuanas have been changed by Christian missions into an orderly, industrious people, who cultivate their fields in peace, and maintain with foreigners a mutually beneficial traffic.”


We have been interested in another happy and eloquent speech. Brother Yates seems to be in as fine humor as ever. He believes in final perseverance. That is good doctrine. I believe in that too. By patience and perseverance the rat ate in two the cable. I want to pay some respect to the speech, because it is a good speech; but if any of the terms of the proposition were mentioned in the whole speech, they have slipped my mind. However, let us accept the speech as good, able, eloquent, and all that, and interesting. The subject of the commission I mention first.
He asserted yesterday morning, in the introduction of this discussion, the very thing that all modern or foreign missionaries assert—that is, that the commission, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,” was delivered to the Church. I want to know of him why he said so, what Bible authority he had for saying any thing of the kind, when it was addressed to the eleven, as the text in both cases; Matthew and Mark, plainly and clearly state. Now be gets up and undertakes to give the reason by saying the Communion was instituted in the presence of the apostles only. If he is satisfied with that kind of proof, all right. I leave this audience to judge whether that establishes the fact, whether the gospel commission was delivered to the Church, ordained and unordained, male and female, old and young, rich and poor, weak and strong, instead of being delivered to the apostles and their successors. I leave that with you.
He made an improvement in representing my position on the subject of Romans i. 20, he referred to the report, found out what I did say; that is what I claimed this morning, that if Nature taught the Gentiles anciently that there was a God, why does not Nature teach the heathen the same? They were without excuse then; why are they not now, under the same circumstances?
Then he refers us to Matthew ix. 36, where Jesus, seeing the multitude, had compassion on them because they fainted, and were scattered abroad as sheep going astray, and intimates that this sympathy of Jesus was, the same sympathy or compassion that the missionaries have for the heathen that takes them into the great mission work. That is his effort, I suppose, to prove the identity of the love of the Saviour and the love of the missionary to the sinner. I don’t know but according to their own language they love the heathen better than Jesus did. He failed to get us this institution called the Foreign Missionary Board for the salvation of the heathen, as well as he loved them. He said nothing about it, left no such instruction. Our missionary brethren say the heathen could not be saved without it. Hence they love the heathen so well that they have got up this expediency that they say is so essential to the salvation of the heathen I believe they love the heathen best, according to their own language.
I said that the seed did not prepare the heart. He does not say it does, but he asks what does. Perhaps I do not differ from Brother Yates as to what the seed was.
He said it was the word of God, and I believe it is the gospel preached. Perhaps we do not differ on that. If the seed does not prepare the heart, did it do it in the parable? The parable said that some fell by the wayside, and the fowls of the air caught it up. Did that change the heart? Did it not leave it just as it was? The seed that fell in stony places and that that fell among thorns—did it change the heart? Brother Yates did not say yes. He would not come out and say yes. But he says, if it does not, what does? That is plain.
That is the Scripture—Matthew xiii. Read it for yourself. I shall not spend much time on it.
But as he asked me one question, I must answer it. I am going to answer it in the language of Mr. Rice, a Presbyterian, in the Campbell and Rice Debate, page 628. Mr. Rice says: “We believe and teach that in conversion and sanctification there is an influence of the Spirit in addition to that of the Word” (notice that), “and distinct from it—an influence without which the arguments and motives of the gospel would never convert and sanctify one of Adam’s ruined race. Now, whether Brother Yates will accept Brother Rice or not, I will adopt that as my language in answer to his question. I adopt it as my own. If he wants to reply to it, he can reply to Brother Rice through me. “We further believe, although the Word is employed as an instrument of conversion and sanctification where it can be used, God has never confined himself to means and instrumentalities where they cannot be employed.” The latter part of that clause I accept—that he has “never confined himself to means and instrumentalities where they cannot be employed.” Can they be employed among the heathen where the gospel never was, and there never was any Bible, and never was any preacher? Then the Lord does “not confine himself to means and instrumentalities” in these places, Mr. Rice says, and I don’t believe he does.
One thing more I want to notice; that is, Brother Yates says wise men change. We have been talking about the revision of the Presbyterian doctrine. He says himself it has been revised! I don’t know any thing about it. I have not seen his new revision of the Confession of Faith, but I produced one that he says looks old. It looks old because it is old. He says wise men change; and I presume from that, our Presbyterian brethren are wise enough to change, and Brother Yates belongs to that class. I want to know whether, before the change, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church stood upon the truth, and if they did, did they stand upon it after the change? Now, as Brother Yates is one of these wise men that change, perhaps he is wise enough to give us some light on that subject, and tell us whether the Cumberland Presbyterian Church was founded at the start upon the truth, and if it was, and has changed its doctrines since then, is it founded upon the truth today? Brother Yates, answer that question in your next speech. It would be a great accommodation to us who are under the impression that principles never change. God’s truth is as unchangeable as himself.
On the subject of election I will tell you what the Cumberland Presbyterians once believed. I don’t know whether they do now or not. If Brother Yates holds them to it, I don’t hold them to it. Reformation is commendable if the man finds he is wrong. It is the very noblest trait of the human character to retract when they find out they are wrong. Here is what they said, as contained in their Confession of Faith-Chapter VIII. Article I: “it has pleased God to choose the Lord Jesus Christ, his only-begotten Son: who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, to be the mediator between God and man, a Prophet, Priest, and King, the Head and Saviour of his Church, and heir of all things, and Judge of the world, unto whom he promised a seed “—remember, it was God who promised the Son a seed—” and to be by him redeemed, called by his Word and Spirit, justified by his grace, sanctified and glorified.” That is what the Cumberland Presbyterians used to believe. I don’t know whether they do now or not.
Now, if God promised Jesus Christ a seed before the world began, he knew Where they were, and knew where they would be, and he is going to make good his promise. He made every provision necessary for the accomplishment of the work, and our Presbyterian brethren say that he did make the promise. The prophet says, “God is not a man that he should he; neither the son of man that he should repent. Hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath, he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” Having promised his Son a seed, then, to be by him in time redeemed, and not only redeemed, but glorified, will the Father fulfill that promise? I answer, Yes, sir, he will fulfill it.
Again, he tells us that missionism did not commence as recently as 1792. It originated anterior to that date. It was in the seventeenth century. Very well. If it originated in the seventeenth century, it did not originate before Pentecost, nor very shortly afterward; it was nearly seventeen hundred years afterward, according to his own futures—at least sixteen hundred years afterward, according to the earliest figures he has given us. Then it did not originate with the Saviour nor the apostles, according to Brother Yates’ own showing. If it did not, it is not authorized in the Scriptures and owned of God. We have no right to believe any thing is authorized of God that is not given any account of in his Word. If it is not of God, it is of man, and that is the issue between us, according to Brother Yates’ own heading of his article, “Is the Foreign Mission work of God or man. Now I propose to present an objection to this, and give you some Bible reasons for my objection. I believe in the salvation of more people than some people do. The platform of salvation on which I stand is broader than the platform on which some others stand. I want to say now that I present an objection that has already been hinted at. I object to the Foreign Mission work on the ground that it makes a misuse of the gospel, in that it makes the gospel an offer of salvation, and therefore essential to salvation. The mission work makes the publication of the gospel, or the proclamation of it to the people, an offer of salvation, and not only so, but essential to salvation; and that is the reason we hear Brother Yates and other missionaries talk about capturing souls in heathen lands for Jesus, and working for Jesus. Let us see if I am correct in charging that on the missionaries. For proof of this objection I quote from a tract published by the American Baptist Missionary Union.
Pardon me; I want to notice right here one more thing that I had forgotten. I want Brother Yates to bring us that Baptist almanac he talks about. We want to know the author of it. We want to know something about that Baptist almanac. He tells us what our strength was a few years ago by that almanac, and what it is today. If any of our brethren ever published any Baptist almanac, or any thing of that kind, I don’t know any thing about it. The missionaries do once in awhile, I think, publish an almanac, yearly. The Mission Baptists, I think, some of them, do so, and perhaps other denominations. We divorced the Mission Baptists long ago, and we have no communication or communion with them, and have not had for a long time. We would not receive their immersion any quicker than we would Brother Yates’ sprinkling or pouring. The people already know that. We are not accountable for what the Baptist missionaries say Benedict, and other historians, stigmatize us as Hard. Shells, and every thing ugly; and he said before his type-plates would be circulated over this country, the Hard-Shells would be numbered among the things of the past. He was a false prophet. Perhaps people who have that kind of a feeling toward us have been getting up this almanac.
I want to show you that the missionaries do hang the salvation of the heathen upon their hearing of the gospel. Let us hear what they say. And when I quote from Missionary Baptist authority, it is just as good as Presbyterian authority; from the very fact that the proposition embraces all Protestant denominations who are engaged in the Foreign Mission work—just as good. This proposition is not denominational, and these Missionary Baptists are not my brethren. They are Brother Yates’ in this discussion. This congregation understands that. Now what do they say? In a tract published by the American Baptist Missionary Union, entitled “The True Test,” we read the following:
“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 the heathen world. It is a tremendous test —so real, so practical. It is no trifle, no myth, no theory, no doubtful contingency but an 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 these heathen, are actually surrounded by eight hundred millions of brothers and sisters who must perish in their sins unless they receive the gospel. This gospel they have never heard. This is a fact that too many forget, but a fact that none can deny, a fact which we dare not pretend to be ignorant of, a fact that ought to influence our whole Christian course from the moment of conversion.”
That is easily understood. I also quote from the Campbell—Rice debate, which teaches the same doctrine. Mr Campbell says:
“Our second argument is deduced from the fact that no living man has ever been heard of, and none can now be found, possessed of a single conception of Christianity, of one spiritual thought, feeling, or emotion, where the Bible, or some traditions from it, has not been before him. Where the Bible has not been sent, or its traditions developed, there is not one single spiritual idea, word, or action. It is all midnight; a gloom profound; utter darkness. What stronger evidence can be adduced than this most evident and indisputable fact? It weighs more than a thousand volumes of metaphysical speculations.”
That is what Mr. Campbell says. We will not stop at him further. I remember today, when I made the assertion that I did not believe the foreign missionaries, with all their operations, and zeal, and love, had been the means of converting a solitary heathen to God that would not have been converted without it, there was a snicker all over the house. It pleased our missionary friends to hear me take that position. That is where I stand. Brother Yates did not tell us they were the means of doing that. Let him do so if he wants to. Here is the issue: “Are the foreign missionaries the means of adding to the number that shall be saved?” Are they the means of increasing the number of that seed that God promised to the Son before the world began? Are they necessary in order to save that seed that God promised to the Son before the world began? I want some explanation on that. Let us hear what another missionary has to say. I now refer you to the circular letter of the Philadelphia Baptist Association, of 1806, page 426. They say:
“The following principles have given rise to Christian missions, and swayed the conduct of faithful missionaries. First, a deep conviction of the fallen state of the human race. Once, indeed, man was made in honor, but now he is in disgrace. Woe unto us that we have sinned. In our common father we have all sunk in the abyss of original defection, and are all actual offenders against the righteous God. Many have endeavored to extenuate the offenses of the heathen world. Idolaters have been represented as the untaught children of nature, whom the Supreme Being would rather pity than punish. But such are not the representations of the Holy Scriptures, the oracles of divine truth. That they who have sinned without the law will be judged without the law is admitted; but it is expressly declared that The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men; that such as change the glory of the incorruptible God into an image are without excuse, and that the judgment of God is that they who commit such things are worthy of death. Who will dare to oppose his judgment to the judgment of infinite wisdom and righteousness? or who can be negative when he hears the Bible proclaim indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile.”
That is missionary doctrine. Now, notice these texts of Scripture are used to prove the damnation of the heathen. They would not accept the idea that God would rather pity the poor heathen than punish them. They say that is wrong, and quote these texts to prove it. I say that is the missionary doctrine. I want to say that it limits the salvation of God; it binds him up; it shuts him out from that portion of his elect that he said should bless all nations of the earth where the Bible is not. If none are to be saved in heathen lands only on the condition that they hear, believe, and obey the gospel, then about three-fourths of the sons and daughters of Adam are sent to hell, to suffer eternal vengeance for what they are no more to be blamed for than I am because I was not born in England two hundred years ago. It shuts salvation out from a large majority of this world. I want to show you that God has made a covenant. I want to call attention now to some Scripture proofs; and I want Brother Yates .to tell us what they mean. Genesis xviii. 17, 18: “And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?” How many nations of the earth art to be blessed in him? Brother Yates, tell us what nation is left out. Again, Genesis xxii. 18: “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.” Now here is God’s Word, it must be taken. 
Whether missionary witnesses are sufficient or not, here is one that is. God said it. he that cannot he says to Abraham, “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” Again, Genesis xii. 3, “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” Again, Genesis xxvi. “And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and I will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.”
Here was God’s covenant with Abraham long ago. That covenant embraced a seed, a people, who were not all literally Jews, fleshly descendants of Abraham. We will go to the New Testament now, and read Acts iii. 25, 26, and see what it does mean: “Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth he blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.” Gal. iii 7, 8: “Know ye therefore, that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.” Now we begin to see that this seed, the children of Abraham, are the people of God, not only the Jews but they were also among the Gentiles. Gal. iii. i6: “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.”
Then Christ, being the seed, is to bless all kindreds of the earth, which also are the seed of Abraham, Gal. iii. 29:—I will quote to prove that—”And if ye be Christ’s “—that applies to Brother Yates and me, and all Christians within the sound of my voice today, all that live, all that ever will live, and all that ever have lived—“ If ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.” According to what are ye heirs? “According to the promise.” What promise? The promise of God made to Abraham. I want Brother Yates to tell us if that is not so. I challenge him to point out an heir of God under the canopy of heaven that is not an heir according to the promise made to Abraham. Go to your heathen fields, go the dark nooks and corners of the earth, and find a man that is Christ’s, that God did not promise him in his covenant that he should be his, and who is not his according to that promise. If it is according to that promise, it is not according to something else. It is not according to the energy of man, or zeal of missionaries. It does not depend upon human institutions to fulfill that promise. If God had depended upon such influences to perform that promise, which he promised at the start, they would have been embraced in the great economy of the gospel when Jesus Christ was here. Our forefathers in the primitive church would have had the benefit of all that, and when they went to preach the gospel in almost all the divisions of Asia, Europe, and Africa, they would have had the benefit of modern missionary institutions that my brother is here to defend, and to say are authorized in the Scriptures. But no; according to his own testimony, and I am a witness with Brother Yates on that, the Church had stood for over sixteen hundred years without it, and if it had, surely it was not authorized in the Scriptures.