Elder Lemuel Potter
In the publication of this little work I have only one object in view, and that is the defense of gospel truth, and the peace of the Baptists. I have been associated with brethren who differed with me on the new birth, for more than twenty years, and as they were good and precious brethren, I thought that if we could all let that subject alone, and not agitate it, we might get along peaceably together, and yet not see exactly alike on that subject. They knew, however, what I believed on the question, for they had often heard me express myself. I was requested by some of my readers of the ADVOCATE, in Arkansas, to write some on the new birth, through the paper, for their sakes, as they had a minister among them that was leading off on that subject; this was in the fall of 1892. I put them off and said nothing about it on account of the feelings of my brethren nearer home. So, I thought the Baptists in our part of the country might get along without agitating that subject, and that we would live in peace and union, as we had always done. But those brethren who differed, finally became intolerant, some of them, and could not bear to hear a brother say "soul and body" or that "it is the spirit that is born again," or speak of the separation of soul and body at death, or "inner man," or that "the soul of man is born of God in time," or any of those intimations of a distinction of soul and body, without making war on the party that made use of the expression. I wrote to one good brother, whom I love as a fellow laborer, who had showed the spirit of intolerance by making war on another brother, for saying that he believed that it was the spirit of man that was born of God in the new birth, and the only apology he made for it was, that he believed what he preached then, and that he still believed it. I think myself, that if a man believes a thing, he has a right to preach it, but I have my serious doubts about any man, even if he is a minister in the Regular Baptist church, having the right to make war on any sentiment of doctrine that has always been held by that church, and fighting it to the grief of those who do believe and preach just what the church has always believed, and what she still believes. I believe, and the Old School Baptist church believes, the doctrine of the following pages, and in order to set forth the Baptist doctrine, and defend it against the assaults of those who do not believe it, and to teach our people what the doctrine of the church is on this subject, this little book is offered to the public. I have blamed those brethren who differed, for trying to hide from the people, what they really do believe, and for trying to make it appear that the whole fight is on the question of the sinner being born again. But, in order that the reader may know just what they contend for, I will give a statement of what they say they believe, as given by one of the ablest men on that side of the issue.
He says: 1. I believe the great God formed man out of the dust of the ground.
2. I believe the Adam man is composed of body, soul and spirit - is
3. I believe the Adam man, all of him, is born of the flesh by ordinary generation.
4. I believe that which is born of the flesh is flesh.
5. I believe the Adam man, all of him, by transgression, died the day he ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and hence is in a state of death in trespasses and sins.
6. I believe the great God, in the work of regeneration, gives the Adam man the benefit of the new birth - quickens all of him from death in sin.
7. After being quickened from the death in sins, I believe it is impossible for the Adam man to again eat thereof and become dead in sins. (In short, he can not die that death any more.)
8. I believe the Adam man is born into this world in a state of death in sin, and by virtue of which birth, he is prone to sin, and being corrupt, brings forth that which is evil, continuously. And while in this state he has no warfare.
9. I believe that when the Adam man, all of him, is quickened from the death in sin, he receives a principle directly antagonistic to the one he receives by virtue of natural birth, and these two principles he now has, cause the warfare.
10. After he is "born again," I believe the Adam man is such a being that he can live after the inclinations of either principle, or both.
11. I believe the Adam man - all of him - when he lives after the flesh, he dies, and that he remains dead until quickened by the Spirit of him who raised Christ up from the dead.
12. I believe the Adam man, after being born again, turns aside from the path of duty, more or less times, all through life, and is quickened to duty's path again by the Spirit of him that raised up Christ from the dead.
13. I believe the Adam man, after passing through trials and temptations, sorrows and distress, will finally die a death that is different from any that he has yet died - a mortal death, a ceasing to be in this world.
14. I believe the Adam man will remain in this dead state till the resurrection morn, when he will be quickened from this mortal death by the Spirit of him who raised up Christ from the dead.
15. I believe the Adam man, in the resurrection, will be changed to an immortal man, and will be fashioned like unto Christ's glorious body; and to be like Christ he must be a man of flesh and bones.
16. I believe all these births, deaths, quickenings and changes, are necessary to prepare the Adam man for heaven of ultimate bliss, and it is all done in accordance with the eternal purpose of the Great God Almighty.
17. I believe the Adam man is as much the child of God when he is born into this world, as he will be in the resurrection; that all the changes he undergoes here, only manifest him a child of God.
After receiving and reading the foregoing seventeen items of faith, I wrote to him concerning the 13th and 14th articles, to know if he believed the Adam man, all of him, will finally die, and did he believe that the Adam man, all of him, would remain dead till the resurrection morn, to which I received the following reply:
"But another letter, of August 5, 1895, is at hand. You desire me to say whether I believe all of the Adam man dies. All that is born of the flesh dies, and if there is any more of him than that which is born of the flesh, I do not know what it is. I also believe the child of God receives the Spirit of God in the process of the new birth, which dwells in him till he, all of him dies, and then returns to God. I can't think that Spirit stays in the tomb till the resurrection. I do think that the spirit that returns to God who gave it, simply means his breath which goeth forth at death, but it is no part of a man. (I am not arguing this now, but am ready to defend what I believe.) Nor do I believe one, neither the "man we see," nor the "one we don't see" goes to heaven at death. That man - the "one we don't see," the "spirit man," or any part of man goes to heaven at death, is a step, and a big one, too, toward non-resurrectionism. I am quite sure you believe in the resurrection, but the doctrine you advocate, in my judgment, tends to non-resurrectionism."
The writer of the foregoing is T. J. Carr, Hartsville, Pope County, Illinois. He is a dear, good brother, and is not a minister, but with his pen, he is as well able to state what he believes as any man in southern Illinois. I have been intimately and personally acquainted with him for more than twenty years, and I love him. After he wrote his doctrine to me as I have given here, I begged him to renounce it, that it was heresy, and it was opposed to the doctrine of God's word, and the doctrine as held by the church, and that it was causing distress among the brethren wherever it was preached. I told him that as I had his positions stated by himself, I should use them as they might answer my purpose hereafter. I have given them in full, and verbatim, and I want the reader to remember that this is what is meant, and has been what I have referred to in the ADVOCATE. I could stand it for a man to believe that doctrine, if he would not be all the time trying to impose it on the church, as Baptist doctrine; then I object. One brother, on that side, wrote me to stop sending him the paper until I got through writing about the inner man, stating that he was disgusted with that subject. I stopped it at once, and I can only say that I feel sorry for a Primitive Baptist that gets disgusted with Bible terms in his church paper. He instructed me to send it on to him again, when I got through writing on that subject. He may never get the paper again on those terms. I would much prefer to quit publishing the ADVOCATE, than to not be allowed to publish what Old Baptists have always believed. Another brother, on that side, wrote me accusing me of using my paper to divide the Baptists in his part of the country. At the same time there was nothing in it, nor had been, that had not always been taught and preached by our people. It seems so strange to me that for me to publish the Baptist doctrine in the ADVOCATE would divide the Baptists. I claim the liberty to preach and write in defense of the doctrine of our people, on any subject, and that while it is my privilege, it is more, it is my duty.
Reasons for Writing on This Subject .
In the ADVOCATE, of February 15, 1894, there appeared an article from one of our correspondents, on the subject of man, not on the new birth, but in the article, the writer spoke of the soul as being born again, in time, and the body in the resurrection. The expression so aroused some of our dear brethren that two of them wrote a reply at once. It simply occurred to me then, that these brethren did not intend such terms should be used in our papers by our brethren. One of them wrote from a sense of duty to "vindicate the truth," he said, as though the truth had been assailed, and that it was his imperative duty to vindicate it. He wrote at considerable length, in his zeal to "vindicate the truth," stating that it would not be fair to shut him out of the paper. I did not think the cause of truth was in such need of defense as he seemed to, and so I did not publish his article. The most that had been done against his idea of what the truth was, some one had intimated that there was a distinction of soul and body. The good brother did not believe there was such a distinction, and he did not intend that a brother should say so, without a fight for it. I still opposed the idea of fighting over that doctrine, and I replied in the ADVOCATE of March 1, 1894, as follows:
THE NEW BIRTH
It is not our intention, in this article, to discuss the subject of the "new birth," or to even introduce it for others to discuss, through the ADVOCATE, but simply to let our readers know where we stand. Our reasons for even that much is, that we have recently received two letters, both of which invited controversy on that subject, on the plea that some of our writers had dropped a remark or two that they did not endorse. We claim the right to publish the doctrine of our people on that, or any other subject, without being under any obligations, whatever, to give space to those who may differ, though they be Primitive Baptists, and our personal friends. THE CHURCH ADVOCATE believes that the sinner, the Adam sinner, is the subject of salvation; that it is the man that is the subject of the new birth, and that this man has a soul and a body, and that the soul is born again, in the work of regeneration in time, and that it goes immediately to heaven when the body dies. We believe that in the resurrection, the body will be born again, and go to heaven, and that the soul and body will be reunited in heaven, and thus the sinner will be born again, and saved. This has been the doctrine of our people for the past two hundred years, provided it was our people who first drew up and published the London Confession of Faith, in England, in the year 1689. In chapter 23, of that confession, we have the following, on
"THE STATE OF MAN AFTER DEATH,
AND OF THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD."
1. "The bodies of men after death return to dust and see corruption; but their souls, which neither die nor sleep, having an immortal subsistence, immediately return to God who gave them; the souls of the righteous being then made perfect in holiness are received into , where they are with Christ and behold the face of God in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies; and the souls of the wicked are cast into hell, where they remain in torment and utter darkness reserved to the judgment of the great day; besides these two places for souls separated from their bodies the Scripture acknowledgeth none."
2. "At the last day such of the saints as are found alive shall not sleep, but be changed; and all the dead shall be raised up with the self-same bodies, and none other, although with different qualities, which shall be united again to their souls forever."
3. "The bodies of the unjust shall by the power of Christ, be raised to dishonor; the bodies of the just, by his Spirit, unto honor, and be made conformable to his own glorious body." In our efforts to identify ourselves with the Old Baptists, against the claims of the missionaries, we claim to be identical with these old English brethren in doctrine. THE ADVOCATE does now stand, and always has stood there, especially on the new birth. We hope that none of our brethren will differ from them, and at the same time claim identity with them. This article is not to controvert the point, but it is intended as a statement of the doctrine of the ADVOCATE, on this subject. It is also intended as an answer to a question, recently, in a letter from Brother J. P. Harris, of Sunfield, Illinois. P." Prior to this time I had said nothing in the paper on the subject, and yet I knew that our brethren who differed, were preaching on the new birth in almost all their sermons, and that they were trying to intimidate those who opposed them. But I let it all pass, and said nothing for some time afterwards.
Born of the Flesh .
"That which is born of the flesh is flesh." In this expression of our Master, I do not think that we are to understand that everything born of flesh is literally, and corporally flesh, especially, if in the birth of a man, his soul and spirit are included. I have always understood the Savior, in this text, to acknowledge the truth of the regularly fixed and unchanging law of nature, that is, in the propagation of species, everything should bring forth after its own kind. The truth is simply this: that everything that is born partakes of the nature of that of which it is born. If a thing is born of the flesh it of a corruptible seed, it partakes of a corruptible nature, and if it is born of an incorruptible seed, it partakes of an incorruptible nature. Man, by his fleshly, or natural birth, as he is born according to the flesh, of his natural parents, is a mere natural man, soul and body; that is, he is carnal and corrupt, and cannot discern things that pertain to the kingdom of God. This text does not teach that the soul of man, by being born of the flesh, is simply a fleshly substance, but it has an earthly nature. "As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy." This certainly teaches that as the father and progenitor of the human race is earthy, or natural, so are all his posterity. It is very evident that by the term "flesh" in this text, matter is not meant, that is it does not mean the fleshly part of man, the body, as having been born of another fleshly substance, for in that sense, the same might be said of the brute creation, as well as of man. But by the word "flesh" in this text is intended the nature of man; not merely as a weak and frail being, but as unclean, and corrupt through sin and pollution, and which being propagated by natural or ordinary generation from sinful men, cannot be different from their parents. "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one." Job 14: 4. Natural, carnal, fleshly, earthly and mortal are all used in the Bible, as opposed to spiritual. No natural birth ever produced, or brought forth a spiritual child. "And that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." I have often heard our No Soul friends interpret this text to say that which is born of the Spirit is spiritual. I am not disposed, in the least, to say they are wrong in that interpretation. I believe it is right. Now, let the same rule apply to both sentences in the text, and we have it this way: "That which is born of the flesh is natural, and that which is born of the Spirit is spiritual." Now, if we say that in the work of regeneration, the body is born of the Spirit, then we have man in possession of a spiritual body, after regeneration. But Paul still refers to the bodies of the saints as natural, fleshly bodies. If the bodies are not born of the Spirit, in the work of regeneration, in time, then there must, of necessity, be something about man, that really is man, that is not body, that partakes of spirituality, at the time of the new birth, or else no part of man is born of God in time. Then, this text does not prove that man is all flesh.
No Souler .
My brother, why do you object to the name "No Souler?" A brother on your side of the issue of the new birth said that to say "no souler" implied that some of our members did not believe that men had souls, and his feelings seemed considerably pent up about it. He said that such a charge was void of foundation. He challenged for the proof that any of his brethren believed anything of the sort. And yet when a text is given him with the word soul in it, to give a distinction of soul and body, he will another, and he will say, "Soul in that text means simply the man." Then give him the case of the rich man and Lazarus, and he will ask if you believe that circumstance just as it reads. Then ask him if he believes that the body of Lazarus went to Abraham's bosom, and he will say, "I believe that Lazarus went there; the book says it was Lazarus, not his soul, or a part of him." In speaking of the rich man he makes about the same turn, and yet he says he believes men have souls, and thinks hard of being called a No Souler. Ask him what he thinks of the idea of a man out of the body, and he will try to make it appear that he was simply not out of the body, but in such a strain of mind, or so transported, that for the time being, he had forgotten himself. Everything he says goes in the direction of denying that man possesses a soul, distinct from the body, and that it helps to make up the man, yet he thinks hard of being called a No Souler. If you mention the "inner man" to him, to prove that man has a soul, or something internal, that is called "inner man," in the Bible, he will tell you that the "inner man" is Christ, and that the unrenewed sinner has no "inner man." If you quote the language of Jesus, "Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell," and tell him that this text is so plain a distinction of soul and body that he can not very well say that it is man's life, or that it is man himself, and as we know that it is not the body, he will say, "I do not know what that means." Yet he says he believes that man has a soul, distinct from the body, and he thinks hard if he is accused of not believing it. The truth is he does not believe it. He does not believe that man's body will die, and the soul still live, and he is afraid of any text, or construction of a text, that means that when the bodies of the saints die, that their souls leave the body, and go to heaven. They, some of them, make very strange at the thought, that when the body dies, any part of the man still lives. Whether it is the proper name for them or not, I call all such No Soulers. No one need guess at what I mean, or whom I mean. If he believes that man has a soul, as a part of man, distinct from the body, there is no need that he should want to so construe every text that has the word soul in it, to mean something else. I now want my readers to know that the reason I am saying so much on this subject is that there are some who do not believe that man is changed in the new birth, but just a new principle is put into him, and the same old principle that was in him before regeneration, is still in him, and that makes the warfare, and that the whole man, soul, body and spirit, some of them say, is born of God in time, and that the same man, all of him, soul, body and spirit, will die, and remain dead until the resurrection. They make strange of the idea that any part of man goes to heaven at the death of the body. They believe that man is not changed until the resurrection. Then he will be changed. These people, I denominate "No Soulers," and I charge them with believing and preaching heresy. It is not warranted in the Bible, and it antagonizes the Primitive Baptist doctrine. Those who deny the doctrine of a distinction of soul and body have become so intolerant in some localities, that with them a man brother, with whom I am well acquainted, in referring to one of his brethren, who believed as I do, stigmatize him "Doctor of Divinity," with quite a sarcastic air. I think that was a bad spirit.
The Body Not Born Again in Time .
In the investigation of this subject, I shall be very brief, and on that account, it will be impossible for me to go into details. So, I will start out by saying that when a man is born of God, he is born of an incorruptible seed. "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever." I Peter 1: 23. To carry out the rule, given by the Savior to Nicodemus, which is, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit," so, that which is born of corruptible seed is corruptible, and that which is born of incorruptible seed is incorruptible, we would necessarily have to admit that our bodies, after being born of incorruptible seed, are incorruptible, and I do not see any way for a man who believes the body is born of God in time, to escape the conclusion that the body is incorruptible. But the apostles recognize the body as corruptible, mortal, vile and natural, and they no where allude to the body as immortal, spiritual or incorruptible. On account of these facts I have always denied, and do yet deny, that the body is regenerated in time. Another reason I have for not believing that the body is born again, in the work of regeneration, in time, is that there is such a difference in what is said of the body and of the soul or spirit, after regeneration. "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body." Romans 6: 12. This text speaks especially of the body, as distinct from the soul or spirit. This was never said of the soul, and I do not see why the same thing might not be said of both soul and body, if they are both born of God, in regeneration. Again, "And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness." Romans 8: 10. Here, the inspired writer most emphatically declares that if Christ be in you the body is dead. Is the body born of God, and at the same time dead on account of sin? The body and the Spirit are just precisely opposite to each other in this text. The very life the Spirit has, the body has not. The very sense in which the body is dead, the Spirit is alive. It seems strange to me that the soul or spirit, and body, are both born of God, and yet they are the very opposite of each other in these respects. "But I keep under my body and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast away." If the body is born of God, why is it so necessary to bring it into subjection for fear of being a cast away? Such things are never said of the soul or spirit, or inner man. "Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things to himself." It is a vile body, I do not understand. There is a washing that takes place in regeneration. Paul says, "But according to his mercy he saved us by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost." To wash must be to make clean, and let us bear in mind that in the work of regeneration it is washed, or made clean. Then, if indeed, this work is done for the body, and it has been made clean, why does inspiration call it a vile body?
The very washing of regeneration is a sanctifying and cleansing process. The apostle says, "That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word." I presume no one will claim that in regeneration the body is cleansed and sanctified. Then it is not born again. But I have been often told by good people that the body must be born again, for the Savior said to Nicodemus, "Ye must be born again." They claim that he did not say a part of him, nor he did not say that his soul or spirit must be born again, but he, Nicodemus, must be born again. Let me ask, did he tell Nicodemus that his body must be born again? But "no soulers" claim that the body is born again, for it is the body that weeps and cries and feels badly and condemned. I doubt very seriously that the arrow of conviction ever touched the body, even if the body did cry and weep on account of sin, the pain and ache that caused those tears were not pains and aches of the body. But I have often been told that when the sinner is born again, the body turns its course, and begins to act differently from what it did formerly. They talk this way: "It was I that felt like I was a great sinner, and that God's holy law had been broken by me, the greatest sinner in the world. I mourned and grieved and prayed the Lord to forgive my sins. It was I, and not something in me that had sinned, and it was me that was made to hate sin, the very thing that I had loved before. I tried all the good things that I could do to drive the trouble away, and I finally concluded I must die and be lost, for there was no mercy for such a sinner as I was; and when Jesus revealed himself to me as my Savior, I felt like I was the beneficiary of his mercy, and it seemed that it was me all the time. While it was I that mourned, it was I that afterwards rejoiced, not something in me, but me. I do not wish to divide the man up, I do not want to dissect man. I believe I am the man, both soul and body, that is born of God, in the work of regeneration, in time." Let us not forget that in this chapter we are trying to find out whether the body is born of God or not, in time. So I will ask every one who has had such an experience as is described above, where were your pains and aches located, that caused you so much grief and sorrow? Were those wounds bodily wounds? Or was it mental sorrow and conviction? If the cause of your tears were bodily ailments, then it may be that the body is born again. But if the sorrow was in the mind, and not in the body, that caused your eyes to flow with tears, then it was not your body that was filled with so much sorrow, but it was something inside your body, and if you did not dislike the word so much, I would tell you that it was the soul, and not the body, that you suffered in. But I have often been told that the body is certainly affected in the new birth. We are not talking about did not say to Nicodemus, "Ye must be affected." He did not say "Except a man be affected he cannot see the kingdom of God." The man, then, must be born again, not affected. So, I see nothing to convince me that the body is born of God, in time. I claim that it will be born again in the resurrection. You will find my argument on that in another part of this little work.
The Soul Born Again .
In the great controversy among men on the subject of the Christian religion, there is not a single point of importance, in the whole system that has not been disputed. Even among Christians, themselves, there ave been dissensions, schisms, and debates on all fundamental points. Man, himself, has been a subject about which there has been as many different notions, as any one thing in the knowledge of man. The inspired writers, in speaking of man, seemed to be at perfect liberty to use all the terms denoting the different parts of man, without any fear of opposition or criticisms from one another. They would speak about the soul of man, and they would speak of the body of man, and they would speak of the spirit of man, or all of these, with impunity, and no controversy came up among them as to what the soul or spirit signified, and even at this age of the world, while some claim that the soul is something pertaining to man, still clinging to the idea that the inspired writers taught that man had a soul, distinct from the body, yet they believe it dies with the body, and sleeps in death until the resurrection. These are generally termed "Soul Sleepers," and sometimes Materialists." It seems to me, from all that I have heard men say on the subject, that it is a hard matter for any of them, no matter what their views may be on the subject, to just simply admit that man has no soul. After an admission that man had a soul, and that it was distinct from the body, by one of those men who denied the separation of soul and body at death, I asked him where the soul went when the body died? He answered me that if I would tell him where the light went to when I blew out the lamp, he would tell me. He was not a Soul Sleeper. He did not believe in the existence of the soul separate from the body, neither did he believe that the soul existed in the body after the body died. He believed that all that pertained to man, or all that constituted man died. Then, as a matter of course, he did not believe that man possessed a soul, as he possesses a body. If soul is not essential to a complete man, then man has no soul. I can not see why a man, who believes that man has no soul, which is essential to his existence as a complete man, should become offended at me for calling him a No Souler. He certainly does not believe that man has a soul, and why not just admit it. I propose to prove, in this chapter, that man has a soul, and that it is as much the subject of salvation as the body is, and that in the work of regeneration, it is born again.
I will first try to prove, then, that man has a soul, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." Matthew 10: 28. The soul in this text can not be said to mean simply the man, for if it is the man, then there is a man without a body, for we here have a soul without a body. Soul, in this text certainly does not mean the breath of life, for the very idea of killing a man's breath is a grand absurdity. Who ever heard of a man killing a man, and then trying to kill his life? Or who ever killed a brute, and then tried to kill its life? When the animal is killed his life is not in the way. But some may kill the body of a man, and yet can not kill his soul. This verse certainly does teach that our Savior recognized the idea that the soul lived separate from the body. We see two points in this text; one is that there is a distinction of soul and body; and the other is that the soul lives after the body dies. I know of nothing else mentioned in the Scriptures pertaining to man that survives the body, except the soul, or spirit, and when I read of a person going into heaven at the death of the body, even if it should be called by the name of the person, as in the case of Lazarus, I understand it to be the soul; or if he goes to hell, as in the case of the rich man, for I know of nothing that dies as they did only the body, and I know of nothing that lives after the body dies, except the soul, or spirit. I do not believe that the dead body of Lazarus was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom, but I believe his soul was. Imight not have thought about it being his soul, if the Savior had not told me that the soul survived the body. I do not believe that the dead body of the rich man lifted up its eyes in hell, being in torment; but I do believe that something that was called the rich man did, and I believe it was his soul, in all this agony, while his body was dead in the grave. The reason I believe it was his soul, is because the Savior has already taught me that the body might be dead, and the soul yet alive. Our Savior said to the thief on the cross, "Today shalt thou be with me in ." I do not believe his body went to that day, but I believe it died, for the Scriptures say so. Men killed his body, who were not able to kill the soul. At the death of the body, the soul went to . Paul says, "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Philippians 1: 21. I do not understand what he would gain by dying, if there is to be no more of him until the resurrection. "But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labor: yet what I shall choose I wot not." Verse 22. He says, "if I live in the flesh," by which he does not mean that if he lives in the flesh, in the sense that they do who can not please God, for he, like the Roman brethren, is not in the flesh in that sense, but in the spirit, if so be the Spirit of God dwells in him. Then, by the expression, "if I live in the flesh," he must mean, "if I live in the body." "But what I shall choose I wot not." That is, the apostle was not certain whether he would choose to live in the body longer, or whether he would choose to die. "For I am in a strait betwixt two." That is why he did not know which he would choose. "Having a desire to depart," that means to die, "and be with Christ, which is far better." Not to die and be unconscious until the resurrection, Christ. From this I believe that Paul thought that when he died he would leave the body, and be with Christ. He did not believe his body would be with Christ immediately, but he believed his soul would. "Nevertheless to abide in the flesh," that is to remain in the body, or, to live in this world longer, "is more needful to you." There can be no mistake about the apostle speaking of his death in this connection. He uses the word "depart," which means depart out of this world, and be with Christ. Quite different from dying and being no more until the resurrection. In another place he says, "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand." II Timothy 4: 6. He evidently has allusion to his death, in this passage, as he did in the other. To depart and to be with Christ. No doubt, from this language, the apostle expected to be with Christ, at once, after leaving the world. "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." "At that day," the day of Paul's departure, the Lord is going to give him a crown. This agrees with Revelations 2: 10. "Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer. Behold the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days. Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." There is a great stimulus which enables the saints to endure hardness as good soldiers, hoping that when they leave this world they will enter into the joy of the Lord, and will receive a crown that fadeth not away.
Our Lord, in his dying moments, uttered a great truth that must afford much comfort to his suffering children in their sorrows and afflictions, in this life, when he said, "Today shalt thou be with me in ." He did not tell him that he must lie in the grave until the resurrection, and then be raised up out of death, before he would be with Jesus. The language of Jesus to the thief, and the language of Paul, seems very much alike. Jesus said, "thou shalt be with me." Paul said he had a desire to depart and be with Christ. So, I believe that all the saints, when they leave this world, will be with Christ at once, and while their bodies moulder away in the earth, their souls will enjoy heaven with Jesus. The notion that some of our brethren have, that there is no distinction of soul and body, contradicts the plain language of the Scripture, in Revelations 6: 9. "And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God which they held." No possible interpretation can be given this text to make it agree with the idea that when man dies, all there is of him dies; or that the soul does not survive the body, only to simply deny the truth of the text. The very people mentioned here are the souls of them that were slain for the word of God. Those who killed their bodies were not able to kill their souls. As No Soulers are fond of criticizing, they, perhaps, would say that John saw these souls, and if he did, and they were really the souls of the martyrs, then the souls of men are visible and he saw them, and I believe he did it, it matters not how many difficulties may arise in the mind of the man who does not want to believe. John also says they were the souls of them that were slain, and I do not believe that he was deceived, or that he uttered a thing that was not true. While the Lord was revealing many things to John by vision, he might have seen them as the apostles have seen angels, or they may have been clothed with corporeal forms, or he may have seen them in a visionary way. So long as we are willing to admit that the Lord possesses all power, there need be no difficulty about the souls of men being visible to John. He saw them, and they were not in the grave, in an unconscious state, but they were under the altar, and were alive and conscious. But the objector says, they were under the altar, and not in heaven. We might admit all that, if it was necessary, which it is not, and yet the greatest difficulty to the No Souler still stands unmoved, and that is, that we have in this text the souls of dead men, and those souls alive and conscious. This is the difficulty that the No Souler must get out of his way, or his doctrine is flatly contradicted by the inspired volume. But is there not an altar in heaven? Altar is sometimes used, by a figure of speech, for the sacrifice, or offering itself. "Ye fools and blind: for whether is the greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon." Matthew 23: 19, 20. So, in a typical sense, it sometimes signifies Christ, the sacrifice of atonement, "the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world." "We have an altar whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle. For the bodies of those beasts whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest, for sin, are burned without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name." Hebrews 13: 10, 15. In this text, it is certainly taught that it is by Jesus Christ that we offer our sacrifices to God. He is the altar that sanctifies our offerings. The apostle Peter says, "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." I Peter 2: 5. Our sacrifices being accepted by Jesus Christ, makes him the altar upon which our offerings are made. The souls that John saw were under the altar, that is they were under Christ. He is the altar, sacrifice and priest. We, and all that we ever offer to God, are sanctified by him, the altar, or else we are not accepted. The souls of the martyrs being under the altar simply denotes that they are with Christ, as Paul desired to depart and be with Christ. These martyrs committed their souls into the hands of Christ at death, just as Stephen did his. The doctrine that there is a distinction of soul and body, then, is clearly and indisputably taught in God's word, and in all the texts I have referred to in this chapter, the notion that man, scriptures. John did not only see these souls under the altar, but he says, "And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled." Those white robes were given to the souls that John saw, and they were told that they should rest for a little season, etc. I feel like I had certainly established from the Scriptures, the doctrine of a distinction of soul and body, and that the whole man does not die when the body dies. As I have clearly shown in this chapter that when the saints die they are at once with Christ, in soul, or spirit, or inner man, it will hardly be necessary for me to prove those souls are born of God, for they would not have been admitted into heaven, if they had not been born again. But I wish to give a few texts and reasons why I believe the soul, distinct from the body, is born again. I will begin by showing some of the plainest proofs of the new birth, in the soul. John, the forerunner of Jesus, in giving in his testimony of him, says: "In him was life; and the life was the light of men." John 1: 4. From this text we are taught that where there is light, it is but the effect of life. We need never expect spiritual light in any man unless he has life. Let this rule apply in all cases, and we may be better able to understand some passages. If the Lord has delivered his people from the power of darkness and translated them into the kingdom of his dear Son, he has certainly raised them up from death to life. The Ephesian saints were sometime darkness, but now they are light in the Lord. Life being the light of men, it follows that life was the light of the Ephesians. Let us then adopt the rule that wherever we find spiritual light, we also find spiritual life. In fact there can be no spiritual light in the absence of spiritual life. While, then, I undertake to establish the doctrine of the regeneration of the soul, I will first give my definition of the word, from various expressions in the Scriptures. SOUL. (Hebrew: nepesh ; Greek: psnche. ) The human mind; that vital, active principle in man, which perceives, remembers, reasons, loves, hopes, fears, compares, desires, resolves, adores, imagines, and aspires after immortality. To this soul belong properties, as knowledge, understanding, conscience, judgment, etc., all of which may be corrupted, perverted and contaminated. So, whatever is done for any property of the mental man, is done for the soul. Men are commanded to love God with their souls, but they are nowhere in the Bible, commanded to love him with their bodies.
There are only two causes of bodily action, and one is the promptings of the renewed soul, and the other is the motions of sin. To discriminate between the two prompters to good and evil works, the apostle makes mention of two laws; one he calls the law of the mind, and the other, the law of sin. It is not the same law that prompts to both good and evil. The law of the mind leads one direction only, and if that was the only law the Christian had, he would always pursue the same course. But another law opposite direction. Prior to regeneration, the conscience and the will are defiled, and the understanding is darkened, (not that the body is darkened,) and there is no law of the mind leading the man to serve God. "Having the understanding darkened being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their hearts. Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness." Ephesians 4: 18, 19. By reading this text carefully, we may learn that those people referred to in it were destitute of life and light both. It is also very clearly intimated that they were ignorant, and blind. Now, what they lack, grace supplies, and we may find them in the Scriptures, in plain terms. "The eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of your calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints," etc. Ephesians 1: 18. The understanding is that faculty of the soul by which knowledge or information is received. The eyes being enlightened is very expressive of the work of grace in the regeneration of the soul. According to the text, at the beginning of this chapter, when a man has light he has life. In this text there is something about man, distinct from the body, that has been the recipient of life and light, and consequently, knowledge. I do not remember that I ever heard one of our brethren question the work of enlightening the eyes of the understanding, being the work of regeneration. If this is regeneration, and I claim that it is, itis the regeneration of the soul, and not the regeneration of the body. The work of enlightening the eyes of the understanding, is the work of the divine Spirit, and in that work the Spirit operates on something invisible. Then, if that upon which the Spirit operates is regenerated, the thing regenerated is invisible. "But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions." Hebrews10:32. Here is the work of regeneration, represented as the work of grace, in illuminating, which is thesame as enlightening, and giving spiritual life. Let us remember that it was not the body, nor the eyes of of the body, that were enlightened, but the eyes of your understanding. It was something invisible, and the work was internal. I now claim that the fact that the fruits of the Spirit are to be found in the soul, is unmistakable proof that the soul is regenerated. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." Galatians 5: 22, 23. These are some of the fruits of the Spirit, and whoever possesses the Spirit bears the fruits of the Spirit, and Jesus says, "For every tree is known by his own fruit." Luke 6: 44. Let us notice each one of the following texts concerning the soul, and if from them we find the fruits of the Spirit, let us judge them by their fruits, as to whether they possess the Spirit or not. If they have the Spirit, then it is an indisputable fact that they are born of God. "Every one that loveth is born of God." Does the soul love? Read the following texts and see, and then let us believe the truth of the Bible. Does the soul rejoice? That is one of the fruits of the Spirit. "My soul shall servants, and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate." "For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt thou not deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?" Such a walk is certainly the walk of a saint, and the man whose soul has been delivered from death, or quickened into divine life, can walk before God in the light of the living. "Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul." By this text I prove that God had done something for the soul of David. The following words of the text, are, "I cried unto him with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me." Psalms 66: 16, 20. Certainly no one will try to evade the truth of my proposition, by claiming that regeneration is not meant in this text. Something is done for the soul, in this text, and if the work of grace in regeneration is intended here, then the soul is regenerated. This is evidently the work of grace in the new birth, and in view of that great work, David says, "And I will declare what he hath done for my soul." Not what he had done for his body, in making and preserving it, but what he had done for his soul. Let us not be afraid of the word soul , for David was not. "Preserve my soul; for I am holy: O, thou my God, save thy servant that trusteth in thee. Be merciful unto me, O Lord, for I cry unto thee daily. Rejoice the soul of thy servant; for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul." Here we have a saint calling on the Lord to preserve his soul, the same prayer that Paul made, when he said, "I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." I Thessalonians 5: 23. Again: "Ye that love the Lord, hate evil; he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked. Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart. Rejoice in the Lord, ye righteous, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness." Psalms 97: 10, 11, 12. My object in quoting so lengthily is to show that the work for the soul, in the text, is the work of grace, which if true, proves that the soul is the subject of the new birth in time. "Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee. For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling." Psalms 116: 7, 8. The soul that has been delivered from death, and has been made alive, which is the same thing, is necessarily a regenerated soul.
But let us hear a few expressions that prove that the soul is interested in the work of grace. A good writer, and one that I endorse, has said, "That the soul of man is redeemed and renewed in regeneration, we have abundant evidence in the Scriptures, some of which we present: 'Draw nigh to my soul and redeem it.' 'My soul shall rejoice which thou hast redeemed.' 'Shall redeem their souls from deceit.' 'The redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth forever.' (See Psalms 19, 49, 69, 71, 72.)
The spiritual enjoyment and the love of God, by the redeemed who not only believed he had a soul, but that God had done something for it, had a good deal to say upon this subject. Hear him. 'He restoreth my soul. To thee I lift up my soul. Gather not my soul with sinners. My soul shall be joyful in the Lord. As the hart panteth after the cooling water-brook, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for the living God. My soul trusteth in thee. Truly my soul waiteth upon God. O God, my soul thirsteth for thee. My soul shall rejoice which thou hast redeemed. My soul longeth for the courts of the Lord.' But enough. That such exercises as these can flow from a corrupt source - from an unrenewed soul - none can believe, we should think, that know anything of the salvation that is in Christ.
The spouse in the Canticles also gives expressions of similar sentiments: 'O thou whom my soul loveth.' 'My soul made me like the chariots of Arminidab.' And Mary, when filled with the love of God, said, 'My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit doth rejoice in God my Savior.'
I believe that I have now shown from Scripture, and reason, that the soul is born of God, and is the recipient of life and light, and that all the actions of the body, in the service of God, and all the changes in the body, from evil actions to good ones, are the effects of grace in the soul, which influences the body to the service of God. At the death of the body, the new born soul enters immediately into heaven, and the body will be born of God in the resurrection.
The Renewed Soul Clear of Sin .
Some who believe in a distinction of soul and body, and that the soul of the saint goes immediately into conscious joy at the death of the body, have claimed that, in the work of the new birth, the soul is not made entirely clear of sin, as the body will be in the resurrection; but that when the soul leaves the body, it will be pure and sinless. It is argued that the soul comprises the whole mind of man, and that the body could neither do good nor evil, only as it did so at the instance of the soul; that the body was the instrument of the soul, in doing good and evil both. I have always thought that, in the Christian warfare, the soul was always on the side of holiness, and that it always did oppose evil. The apostle Peter exhorts his brethren to "Abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul." I Peter 2: 11. In this text we have a war, and the soul seems to be one of the parties in the conflict, and the fleshly lusts seem to be the opposite party in the war. The soul is not divided, but it seems to beall on one side. Another text says, "For the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other; so that ye can not do the things that ye would." Galatians 5: 17. The lusts of the flesh in this text must be precisely the same thing that Peter mentions which war against the soul. I simply understand that against which it is at war, in both cases, to be the spirit," and Peter warns his brethren against fleshly lusts which war against the soul. Paul, again, says, "So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin." Romans 7: 25. He does not seem to serve the law of God, and the law of sin, both with the same mind. He serves one with the mind and the other with the flesh. From Young's Analytical Concordance, we learn that the term "mind," in this text, means "will." It would read correctly, if we would say, "So then, with the will I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin." It seems to me that in the whole conflict, the flesh is on one side, in the battle, and the will, or mind, or spirit, or soul, which are the soul and its properties, are undivided on the other side. "For to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I find not." It is very clear to me, from this text that it is not for want of a will to do good, that hinders the Christian from being a perfect man. The will is always opposed to evil performance, and I do not believe that it ever changes. My idea of it is that the will, or mind of the saint, is always offended at evil. "When I would do good evil is present with me." Evil is present with the saint, but he is not willing to do evil. When he does evil, he is not doing the will of the renewed soul, for it is opposed to, and hates such doings. From the foregoing it does not seem to me that the man serves the law of God with his soul at one time, and at another time serves the law of sin with his soul. The same mind does not serve the law of God and the law of sin. It is clear to my mind, that the mind with which the saint serves the law of God, hates evil with a perfect hatred, and if there was not something else in man that opposes the law of the mind, he would never do wrong. The mind with which we serve the law of God, is not at war with itself, but the flesh is at war with it. The renewed soul is not at war with itself, but Peter intimates that fleshly lusts war against the soul. Fleshly lusts are not the soul of man, and I do not think that any man will claim for a moment that the fleshly lusts spoken of by the inspired apostle, is the heaven-born soul of man. If, as some have thought, the body can not do good or evil, only as prompted to do so by the soul, or as Paul says, the mind, by which he serves the law of God, then it seems to me that he might have said, "I with the mind serve the law of sin, and I with the same mind serve the law of God." I can not yet accept the idea that he meant that. "But," he says, "with the flesh the law of sin." If the flesh, in these texts, simply means the renewed soul, that has been a recipient of grace, but not made clear of sin, as the body will be in the resurrection, then to live after the flesh is to live after the evil inclinations of the regenerated soul. "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof." Romans 6: 12. The lusts, in this text, must be the lusts of the flesh, and not the lusts of the soul. But these lusts war against the soul. But if sin is yet in the renewed soul, as well as the body, it seems to me that it would have been as proper to have said, "Let not sin therefore reign in your soul," for according to the view of those who think that the body only acts as the instrument of the soul, it seems to me difficulties are in my way, when I would take that position. Paul did that he would not, that is, he was unwilling to do them, even while he was doing them. There was something in him, which, had it been left to that something, he would not have done them. I have always believed, and do yet believe, that this opposition was in the soul, while sin, reigning in the mortal body, does the evil. He says "it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me." It seems to be sin that dwells in Paul, and not Paul himself that sins. It is sin that dwells in him that does the work, and this sin is in the body, and not in the soul. "If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body ye shall live." It does not say if you through the spirit mortify the deeds of the soul, or spirit, you shall live. Again the apostle says, "If Christ be in you the body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness." The spirit in this text must be the spirit of man, for it is set over against the body. The body is dead, and the spirit is alive. Sin is in the body, but if there is any sin in the renewed soul, I do not remember the text, at this time, that says so. But those with whom I have conversed and corresponded on this text, who claim that the soul is not clear of sin until the last moments of its stay with the body, believe it goes immediately to heaven, clear of sin, at the death of the body. So, even with that view of it, my position that the soul of man is born again, and made clear of sin in time, is sustained. I do not see enough in the point to make war about. I have given my reasons, or some of them, at least, for believing as I do, and feel as if I desire to be right, and stand open to conviction, and if I should ever become convinced that my position is wrong, I now think I should try to make my change as widely known, as I am now making my present positions known. I now believe that the renewed soul is clear of sin, and is constantly engaged in deadly conflict with the flesh in this life.
Is Man Changed in the New Birth?
We have seen hints from some that man is born of God in time, but not changed until the resurrection. This idea, to me, seems to contradict everything that is said on the subject in the Scriptures, as well as in the experience of the saints. The apostle says, "Therefore if any man be in Christ he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." II Corinthians 5: 17. No one has ever explained to me how a man becomes a new creature, and yet undergoes no change. Those who deny any change in the new birth, must necessarily deny that man becomes a new creature by being born of God, it seems to me. Christ is in the man that is born again. Romans 8: 10. He has the mind of Christ. I Corinthians 1: 16. The love of God is shed abroad in his heart. Romans 5: 5. He has been delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of God's dear Son. Colossians 1: 13. Created in Christ Jesus unto with Christ. Ephesians 2: 5. The eyes of their understanding have been enlightened. Ephesians 1: 18. They were sometime darkness, but are now light in the Lord. Ephesians 5: 8. They have passed from death to life. John 5: 24. God dwelleth in them. I John 4:16. All these things are true of the regenerate man, and none of them are true of the unrenewed man. The no change doctrine is not new among some who once stood with us. They believed that in regeneration, something was simply implanted in the man, that did not change the man. If the sinner is not changed he is not born again. He has been translated into the kingdom of God's dear Son, and if he gets into the kingdom of Christ without being changed, he goes into the kingdom while in a state of enmity against God, for that is the condition he was in before. I claim that in the work of the new birth, the sinner is changed. He was dead, but he now has eternal life. His heart was evil, and it spoke evil things, and Jesus said, "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth evil things, for of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." Luke 6: 45. If man undergoes no change in regeneration, he is just the same in adaptations and in his nature after the new birth that he is before the new birth. Before he is born of God, he is natural, so, if he undergoes no change in the new birth, he is still natural. The apostle says, "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." I Corinthians 2: 14. Is it true of the saints that they do not discern the things of the Spirit? Can the saint know the things of the Spirit? We read, "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God: that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God." The very things that the natural man does not know the saint knows. The natural man is made a saint in the work of regeneration, and the saint knows the things of the Spirit of God, but the natural man does not. So, it is inevitably true that the man is changed in the new birth; not merely changed as to his state and surroundings, but he is changed in his nature. He himself is changed. The apostle Peter intimates that he partakes of the divine nature. He was fleshly before regeneration; he is spiritual after regeneration. "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted." Galatians 6: 1. "Ye that are spiritual." To whom does this important language apply? I hold, and I suppose no one will dispute it, that it applies to the man that has been born of God. Will it apply as truly to the unregenerate? I suppose all will agree with me that it does not. If man was natural before he was born of God, and is spiritual now, since he is born of God, he is certainly changed, is he not? Reader, you say. All these glaring oppositions to the plain teachings of God's word, grow out of the unscriptural idea that all there is of man is body, and we know it is not changed in the new birth; so if we claim that it is born again, we must claim that the sinner is not changed in the
Is the Resurrection a Birth?
In all that I have ever heard, seen or read, I have never known any person to deny that the resurrection is a birth, until very recently. I have always thought that all people who believed the Bible agreed that to be raised from the dead, was to be born from the dead. I have often argued in the presence of my congregations that the work of the regeneration of the soul, and the raising of the dead, was of precisely the same nature, and that in both cases the dead were made alive. I had never heard any objection to that view, and I thought it was universally accepted, until, in correspondence with a No Souler, some months ago, he emphatically denied that they were works of the same nature, and I was surprised. But all I wish to know on that, or any other subject, religiously, is what the Book says: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live." John 5: 25. Our people, and in fact, other people too, as far as I know, have understood this hearing and living to be applied to the sinner who is dead in sins. "The dead shall hear." The dead sinner shall hear the voice of the Son of God. It is by the power of that voice that they are made alive to the things of the Spirit. It is by the power of that voice that they receive eternal life, or are born of God. This verse coupled on with the preceding one, shows that it is the work of regeneration. In verses 28 and 29, we read, "Marvel not at this; for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth, they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." From these two texts we learn that the dead sinner is made alive, and that he lives, at the hearing of the voice of Jesus. We learn also, that they that are in the graves are made alive, in the resurrection, and come forth at the hearing of the voice of the Son of God. In both of these cases the dead are made alive, and we know that in one of them, it is the body, and if it is not the body in the other, it must be the work of the Spirit in regeneration. The believer "is passed from death unto life." So, he was dead, but he has heard the voice of the Son of God, and is alive. As that is true, it is also true that in the resurrection the dead will hear the same voice of the Son of God, and will be raised from the dead. In each case the dead are raised by the same power. If one of them is a birth, I can not see why the other is not. They who deny the distinction of soul and body, want to accuse me of denying the new birth of the whole man, but I believe the doctrine that the whole man must be born again. And, as I claim that the body will be born again, in the resurrection, they, it seems to me, see that my point is made, if the resurrection of the body is a birth of the body. That is not all: If the resurrection is a birth, then their theory has the body born of regeneration in time, so if the Bible teaches that the resurrection is a birth of the body from the dead, then we might have expected to hear our Savior say to Nicodemus, "Except a man be born three times, once of the flesh and twice of the Spirit, he can not enter into the kingdom of God." But I propose to submit to what the Bible may say on the subject. Peter says, "Begotten us again unto a lively hope." Here is "begotten" in regeneration. John, in Revelation, says, "And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead." Revelations 1: 5. Here we have begotten in the resurrection, just as clearly as we do in regeneration. There is a begetting in both. Peter said, "Being born again, not of corruptible seed." Here we have "born" in regeneration. Paul said, "And he is the head of the body, the church; who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead." Colossians 1: 18. Comment is unnecessary. If a man does not believe that resurrection is a birth, he does not believe that Christ was born from the dead; and if he does not believe that Christ was born from the dead, he does not believe the Bible. As he was born from the dead, so his people will be. I assert that the body will be born again, in the resurrection. To deny it is to deny the resurrection of the body.
The Body Dead, the Spirit Life
"And if Christ be in you the body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Jesus from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you." Romans 8: 10, 11.
The idea that Christ is in his people presents a subject of great magnitude to us. He is in his people as he is not in the whole race of men, and all the rest of his creatures. Neither is he in them to the exclusion of himself elsewhere. His body, or person is in heaven, and his blood is in the veil, his righteousness is upon the saints; but his Spirit and grace are in them. He is in the hearts of his people by his Spirit and grace. In the new birth he takes possession of them, and the Father reveals him in them, and he manifests himself to them, and to them he communicates his grace, and grants them communion with himself. All this, and perhaps more is meant by the inspired apostle in the expression, "If Christ be in you." The saints are told that they are reprobates except Christ is in them. He is the life of his people, and if he is in them they have life, for Christ is their life. "When Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." Again, "He that hath the Son hath life." All who have Christ in them have life. This is the record that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. It seems hardly necessary for us to introduce further proof of the fact that if Jesus Christ is in a man he must have eternal life.
The MAN in whom Christ dwells has is not man. He does not have eternal life in the body, but in his spirit, for the body is dead; and we can not conceive of the idea that the dead have eternal life; yet the man has it, and as he does not have it in his body he must have it in his soul, or spirit. If the body has eternal life it is not dead; but if Christ be in you the body is dead because of sin, but the spirit is life because of righteousness. The idea that the body is dead because Christ is in you, must be a very distorted view of the apostle's meaning; but more so to say that it was alive before Christ was "in you." The body is dead because of sin, and not because Christ is in it. Because of sin must mean on account of sin. It is not dead to sin, but on account of sin; and if it is dead because of sin, the cause of it being dead was in it before Christ entered into the man. Sin is certainly not more the cause of death with Christ than without him. The idea that every thing has its opposite is very striking, but if the truth is all we wish, we can find the opposite to the body being dead because of sin, in the text itself, without having to theorize, or speculate on the subject. The opposite to the body being dead because of sin, is that the spirit is life because of righteousness. The body is not dead because Christ is in the man, but because sin is in him, or "because of sin;" so Christ being in you is not the cause of the body being dead. The context taken altogether seems to be about this: "Now if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ he is none of his." We simply believe that to have the Spirit of Christ, is to have Christ in you. And if Christ be in you, we do not think that it necessarily follows that the body is quickened, for although he be in you, the body is dead because of sin, for it has undergone no change; but the Spirit is life, or alive, it has undergone a change, and although the body is dead, even with Christ in you, the spirit is life because of righteousness. The body is dead, and the spirit is the very opposite - it is righteousness. It is said that Christ is our righteousness, and so it follows that the spirit is alive because of Christ. It is very clearly taught here by the apostle that man is not all good, soul and body, because Christ is in him, but that the spirit is, and that while the body is dead because of sin, the saints may walk after the flesh, become carnally minded, and even die. The apostle says in this connection, "If ye live after the flesh ye shall die; but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." With this view of the subject, we think we understand Paul when he says, "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof." Romans 6: 12. The mortal body is dead because of sin, but we are exhorted to not let sin reign in the body, even if it is there. Neither are we allowed to yield our members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin, simply because the body is yet dead, and has not been made alive as the spirit has.
The great apostle says, "But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection; lest by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." I Corinthians 9: 27. The body being dead because of sin, makes it necessary that the saints should keep their bodies under, and bring them into subjection. Its deeds should be mortified, and the man should live after the of righteousness." Is it the Spirit of God, or the Spirit of Christ that is life because of righteousness? Or is it the spirit of man? Whatever spirit it is, the text says it is life, or it is alive, the very opposite from the body. Is the Spirit of God alive because of righteousness? The Spirit of God, or of Christ, or the Holy Ghost, which we understand to all be the same, is life in itself, and is the author of life to others. We hardly think that the spirit in the text, that is life because of righteousness, is any thing but the spirit, or soul of man. We hardly think that any man would claim for a moment, that the Holy Ghost is life because of righteousness. If we say that the spirit in the text, is any thing else than the spirit or soul of man, we, by so doing, leave the entire man out; for the body is yet dead, even with Christ in it, and if man is nothing but the body, then he is still dead, because of sin. If the spirit that is life because of righteousness is the Spirit of God, then the Spirit of God is life because of righteousness. If this text has reference to regeneration, then we ask, what is done for the sinner in the new birth? His spirit is not made alive, and his body is still dead because of sin. Such theorizing denies that the sinner is born again. If the body is dead, with Christ in the man, and his spirit is not born again in time, or if he has no spirit to be born, then for Christ to be in a man simply does nothing for him, but the Spirit of God is life because of righteousness. The spirit would not be life because of righteousness, if Christ was not in the man. So whether the spirit in the text is the spirit of man, or the Spirit of God, it is life because of righteousness, provided Christ is in the man. We simply believe the spirit that is life because of righteousness to be the spirit of the soul of man. One thing we do know, it is not the body, so if it is not his spirit, it is not man at all, for if the body was born of God it would not still be dead because of sin. A writer said very recently, "Now, the Old Baptists, so far as my acquaintance extends, either believe that all or some part of the earthly or Adamic man, is the subject of the new birth. Those, however, who believe that only a part is born again, differ as regards the part. One says it is his mortal soul part; another it is his immortal soul part; another it is his mind part; another it is his heart part; and so on to the end of the chapter; while some hold that the man who is composed of parts, is born again in time, and will be changed in the resurrection."
So far as his mortal soul, or immortal soul, or his mind, or his heart being born of God, the writer of the above, it seems to us, tries harder to make those who believe in the regeneration of the soul of man, look ridiculous, than to arrive at the truth of the matter. We are always willing to inquire after truth, and feel perfectly willing to investigate a point for all that is in it, but we wish to deal in a sublime manner with a sublime subject. So far as a difference as to what part of the man is born again, allowing us to use the word of No Soulers, we do not know of any material difference among those who believe that the soul lives after the body dies. We have never seen an Old Baptist yet that we know of, that believes that the soul but when they say immortal, they simply mean immortality in the sense that it survives the body, and either goes to heaven or hell when the body dies. But those who fall out with this idea do not differ so much on the immortality of the soul, but they deny the existence of the soul as the subject of salvation. They know of no soul, except in the sense that man is soul, while we claim that the Bible makes a distinction of soul and body, and that the soul leaves the body at death. But this writer says, "while some hold that it is the man who is composed of parts, is born again in time, and will be changed in the resurrection." We do not know whether the writer takes this last position or not; but if he does not then we do not know what his position is. Where in all the Bible do we find that anything is changed in the resurrection but the body? Where in the sacred word do we read that the body is born of God in time? Are the parts mentioned above - the soul, heart, mind and body - all born of God in time? Will the soul, mind, heart and body be changed in the resurrection? The writer quoted above seems to think that some Baptists believe that. Another idea in the above quotation is, that they are born of God in time but they are not changed in time. Paul says, "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed." In this he is arguing the doctrine of the resurrection of the body. The change of the body spoken of is that it will be made spiritual or immortal. It will be made alive from the dead, and fashioned like unto the glorious body of Christ. All such expressions as these refer to the body exclusively. If man is composed of parts, as soul, mind, heart and body, then the body is all that is changed in the resurrection. Where is the other part? We are told that some Old Baptists hold that the man who is composed of parts, is born of God in time, and changed in the resurrection. Are we to understand that to be born of God is not to be changed? Or that in the new birth no part of the man is changed? That is the way we understand the writer. Christ was the first begotten of the dead, Revelations 1: 5. He was the first fruits of them that slept. I Corinthians 15: 20. In the Scriptures, to be begotten, spiritually, is to be born. Peter says, "Begotten us again unto a lively hope, to an incorruptible inheritance." In this text they became heirs by being begotten. "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God." To be born of an incorruptible seed makes us heirs of an incorruptible inheritance. It is very clearly taught then that to be born and to be begotten, spiritually, are the same thing. Christ was the first born from the dead, and if he was born from the dead, his people will be born from the dead. So we claim that the body of Christ and the body of his people are born of God in the resurrection. If the body was born of God in time, then it is born of God twice, not born in time and changed in the resurrection. So, even if Christ be in the man, he is not born of God, soul and body, but the body is dead because of sin, but the spirit is life. But let us not conclude that because Christ is in you, and the body is yet dead, that the body is no part of the child of God. "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised his Spirit that dwelleth in you." The body is dead now, and the spirit is alive, if Christ be in you; but the body will also be quickened and raised from the dead in the resurrection.
In, or Out of the Body
Notwithstanding we have been censured for publishing our faith on the subject of the new birth, and the state of the dead, yet when we see a man, once in awhile, who seems so determined to have his views forced upon the brethren, and those views opposed to the doctrine that Baptists have always believed, that he will preach it in almost every sermon, and exhortation, and think hard of any man that will not accept those views, especially if he says so, we deem it high time that his error should be exposed, and the truth placed before the people. For those who advocate the error to say, that if we oppose them we will stir up strife, is to simply ask us to be quiet until the error has such a hold on us that we can not shake loose. We believe it is our duty to speak, let others think differently if they wish.
In this article we wish to notice the idea of a man in, or out of, the body. If, as some have strongly intimated, the flesh, bones, and blood, or the mortal body, is the man proper, then to think of a man absent from the body, or out of the body, would be entirely out of all reason. We hope that while we investigate this matter, it will be for no other purpose than to find out what the truth is, and also, that we may accept whatever the Scriptures may say on the subject. We feel an humble desire to be right, and have all our brethren agreed on the important subject now under consideration. The unity of faith among the brethren is the only object we have in view in the present effort. If Jesus and all the inspired writers of the Old and New Testaments ever said more than one single time, "Ye must be born again," we do not know when, where, nor under what circumstances it was ever said. At the same time that great and important truth seems to be as indelibly fixed on the minds of all Christian people, as though the Son of God had unmistakably, and in tones of thunder, spoken it a thousand times. That is perfectly right, for if God says a thing it is true, even if he says it only once. If there is no such a thing as man without the body, or if the body is so essential to man that when the Psalmist said "quicken me," he necessarily meant "quicken my mortal body," then to conceive of a man out of the body would be the height of foolishness. Only on the hypothesis that man has a soul or spirit, or inner man, can we justly conclude that such a thing as a man out of the body can exist. Let us see, then, what the Scriptures say: "I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I can not tell; or whether out of the body, I can not tell; God knoweth;) such a one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I can not tell; God knoweth;) how that he was caught up into , and heard unspeakable words, which it is us appeal to you, dear reader; does the language of this text give you any reason to believe that there is, or can be a man out of the body? Do not stop to raise the question as to what the third heaven, or , in this text is, for it matters not whether heaven and mean the heaven of immortal glory, or some state or place in this world; the question we ask, is this: Is there such a thing, according to this text, as a man out of the body? It seems to us that to admit that this text teaches anything, must be to admit that there may be a man out of the body.
Why, dear reader, O why object to the idea that a man may go to heaven out of the body? We believe that the third heaven, in the text, means the seat of the Divine Majesty, and the residence of the holy angels, and the final home of all the saints. It is where the souls of departed saints go immediately after the dissolution of the body. Also, it is where the souls and bodies of those who are translated, as Enoch and Elijah, and those who have been raised from the dead already are, and where the glorified body of Christ is, and will be until his second coming into the world. The great and inspired apostle knew a man caught up into heaven, but he did not know whether his soul remained in his body, and he was caught up into heaven soul and body, as Elijah was, or whether his soul was out of his body, and that he was disembodied for a time. One thing we do know, and that is, it may have been a man out of the body, and that is good authority for believing that the body is not always meant when man is mentioned. This being true, that man that wishes us to understand that body is always meant when man is spoken of, is fighting God's sacred and holy word. So, without any further proof from the Bible, we claim that the point is established beyond successful contradiction, that there may be such a thing as a man out of the body. We maintain, further, that the man out of the body is an invisible man, let any dispute it that will.
But we will give one more text that proves clearly that we may be in the body, and we may be out of, or absent from the body: "Therefore we are always confident, knowing that whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord." II Corinthians 5: 6. The 8th verse reads, "We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord." It is not to be questioned that the interval between death and the resurrection is a state of absence from the body. During this time the soul is disembodied, and exists in a separate state from the body, and at the same time in a state of happiness and glory, and in the presence of the Lord. It is the hearty belief of this doctrine that saints, on a dying bed, almost universally, if they say anything at all, rejoice at the approach of death. Why do they rejoice in the moments of their departure? Is it because they desire to die and go into the grave, where they may sleep, so far as they know, millions of years? Do they not always seem to express that confidence referred to by the apostle, that as soon as they are released from the body, they expect to be with Jesus? Dear reader, what did they say, as a rule, when you heard them speak of the future?
Did you ever her one rejoice at the thought that he, all of him, was going down to death, and that he would not live any more most comforting things to us when our friends leave us, to hear them rejoice at the near approach of death, and hear them shout for joy in the happy thought that they would soon be in heaven with the Savior. All people seem to consider such things as one of the brightest evidences of the presence of the Lord in a dying hour. None of them ever rejoice because they are going to die, and sleep in the grave until the resurrection; but their joy is better expressed by the poet:
"My soul would leave this heavy clay,
At that transporting word,
Run up with joy the shining way,
To embrace my dearest Lord."
This seems to be the sentiment of saints in the hour of death. We have heard several of them say, in their last moments,
"I shall soon be with Jesus."
"I heard them bid the world adieu,
"I saw them on the rolling billow,
"Their far off home appeared in view,
"While yet they pressed a dying pillow."
They expected to be with Jesus as soon as they were released from this world, and perhaps many of them see Jesus, as Stephen did. They, doubtless, expect to be received into glory at once, and, no doubt, as Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit," saints often pray the same prayer. Let us ask you, dear reader, to not consider these things a delusion, for if you do, you must say the same thing of Stephen. We do not know that we ever noticed one of our brethren, when trying to comfort the friends of deceased relatives, that did not try to do so by telling of the bright prospects the departed had for the future, and almost universally repeat that "our loss is his or her eternal gain." Why comfort friends with these things if they are not true? If the whole man dies and remains dead until the resurrection, then let me tell you, your friends are not in heaven, and they were under a great delusion when they, in their last moments, told you that they would soon be with Jesus. Some people rejoice more in a dying hour than at any other period of life, in the thought that they will soon be in heaven with the Savior. If they are disappointed in all this, and instead of being taken up into heaven, as they expected, they must die and go down to the grave and wait until the resurrection, then the fondest hopes they have in this life are disappointed. This is the case if there can not be a man out of the body. If we are at liberty to question the correctness of the impressions of the dying, and argue that when they realize such bright evidences that they are going into heaven itself, as soon as their sufferings are over, that they are deluded, why not doubt the truthfulness of experimental religion, at once. They who contend that the whole man, soul, body, and spirit dies, and returns to the earth, and remains there until the resurrection, rob the saints of all the comfort promised to them in a dying hour. Our ." He did not tell him that he must die and go to the grave, and wait until the resurrection.
What Our Writers Have Said
But, without arguing further, as we have been accused of agitating this subject, we now propose to show that the Baptists always, from time immemorial, believed as we do on this subject. We will first introduce the ancient Waldenses, as our worthy ancestors of the dark ages. We love to stand identified with them, and it is admitted that if we do not stand with them we are not the original Primitive Baptists. In a book called Religious Denominations of the World, on pp. 276-277, we have the following: "They maintained that the power of delivering sinners from guilt and punishment for their offenses, belonged to God alone; and that indulgencies, of consequence were the criminal inventions of a sordid avarice. They looked upon the prayers and other ceremonies that were instituted in behalf of the dead, as vain, useless, and absurd, and denied the existence of departed souls in an intermediate state of purification; affirming that they were immediately, upon their separation from the body, received into heaven, or thrust down to hell."
This is what the Waldenses believed, and we stand identified with them, especially on this point. Our next witness will be Coffey's History. In his arguments in favor of our identity with the original Philadelphia Baptists association, he says, "The above quotation shows very conclusively, that the Philadelphia Association in 1775, was the same in practice that the Regular Baptists are to this day; and in order that the reader may have a knowledge of the principles upon which such association was founded, I here insert the confession of faith adopted in the year 1742, which confession was adopted by over one hundred congregations, whose delegates met in London in 1689. The Philadelphia Association, in 1742, endorsed the said confession, pages 107-108." Elder Coffey then quotes the confession, in order to prove our identity, and the 23rd article reads as follows: "The bodies of men after death return to dust and see corruption; but their souls, which neither die nor sleep, having an immortal subsistence, immediately return to God who gave them; the souls of the righteous being then made perfect in holiness, are received into , where they are with Christ, and behold the face of God in light and glory waiting for the full redemption of their bodies; and the souls of the wicked are cast into hell, where they remain in torment and utter darkness, reserved to the judgment of the great day." Page 113. We claim this identity, while there are some who have, for the last twenty-five or thirty years made war upon this old time honored, Baptist doctrine, which distinguished them from the doctrine of the pope during the dark ages. Some of those who are thus fighting this doctrine, have asked us to let this subject alone, on the grounds that the mention of what it is that is born again, certainly think it shows a very sad state of affairs, if Baptists can not preach nor write on the subject of the new birth, and on the state of the dead, just as our old brethren have written and preached from time immemorial, without it causing unpleasant feelings. It must be because some one has been fighting the Old Baptist doctrine in that country.
But our effort now, is to prove that the very thing we advocate, that, perhaps twenty of our ministers, and a very light sprinkle of brethren in the Mississippi valley, object to, is the very doctrine that Baptists have always believed, and have had in their confession of faith. We shall now call up the late and renowned Elder Daniel Parker, the "Two Seeder." In his Church Advocate , Vol. 2, No. 4, January 1831, page 90, he says: "The soul thus being made immortal by the Spirit of God, is fitted and prepared for the presence of God, and to enjoy him." On the same page he says, "When we turn our attention to the experimental part of the Christian religion, as wrought by the Divine Spirit in the soul, we find it to be the same divine truth, realized by the soul, which is declared in the word of God. The soul is quickened by the Spirit, the dead is made to hear the voice of the Son of God and live." On page 91, he says, "Take away, or deny the work of the Spirit in the internal experimental knowledge of saving grace in or to the soul, and you take away, or deny the truth of the word of God to the soul, the life of the soul, the hope God has wrought in the soul, the comfort of the soul, the love of God in the soul, the divine principle implanted in the soul, the food and clothing of the soul, the warm feeling desires of the soul, the drawing of God's love to the soul, and in fact you take everything that makes religion sweet, the true worship of God delightful, the word of God powerful, the presence of God desirable, and the glory of God as the prime objects of the soul, which stimulates it, in acts of obedience to God from proper and pure motives, for its religion, the life or Spirit of God in the soul, that moves it forward in action, in the service of God at war against sin." We hope the reader will bear in mind that we, in this article, are trying to prove that, upon the subject of what is born again in time, and the state of the dead until the resurrection, we are identical with the Primitive Baptists, not only of the present time, but in all the past.
To this end we will continue to quote from Parker. In the same paper, of July 1831, page 234, six queries were propounded to Elder Parker, and the sixth one was as follows: "Did Adam possess a spirit in his created state superior to animal? As I understand the soul and spirit to be different, dear brother, be pleased to answer these queries, as they are matters of considerable moment to me."
On page 240, after stating that "Adam was certainly a natural being, and not a spiritual one, when created," etc., he concludes his answer, as follows: "There is a controversy as to which is the existing part of man, the soul or spirit, and I have no doubt that both terms are used in the word of truth, as expressive of that part of man, which will eternally exist, but I think you will understand me as to that part of man which I have been pointing out, and as to any thing further on this subject, I 8th number." On page 180, of the same paper, we find his answer in number 8, and in it he says, "I do not consider the bare lump of clay, separate from the soul, to be the man, neither the soul separate from the body, but it took both soul and body to complete the Adam which God created."
We also have before us a circular letter, written in 1849, by the late Elder Joel Hume, in which he treats on the regeneration of the soul, and the resurrection of the body, and he is very pointed, and stands in line with all the foregoing witnesses, on the subject before us. Our next witness will be the late Elder John M. Watson, in Old Baptist Test , page 551: "It is a matter of surprise that any should have supposed that the soul, after the death of the body, passes into a state of insensibility, which will continue until the morning of the resurrection." On page 550, he says, "As the regenerated soul is endowed with eternal life, its destinies extend far beyond the present world, time, and time things." On Page 551, he says, "The renewed soul at death is in a state to enter heaven." On same page, "The soul can exist without a body, but the body can not exist without the soul. The soul can not die." On page 552, he says, "Christ makes a clear distinction of soul and body in the following words. "Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him, who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." Our next witness is the late Elder John Clark, of Virginia, the founder of Zion's Advocate , which is now published by Elder T. S. Dalton. In volume 10, of that paper, Feb. 14, 1871, page 272, he gives his readers a very able article on regeneration, in which he says, "No change takes place in the mental powers of man after regeneration at any time, and the souls of the redeemed go immediately to heaven at death, for which they were fully and effectually prepared in regeneration, as heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people, as some one has justly said, and hence the Redeemer said to the malefactor that hung by his side on the cross, "Today shalt thou be with me in ;" and John saw "the souls of them that were slain for the word of God under the altar." Revelations 6: 9; 20: 4. They were then absent from the body and present with the Lord ; and those that had killed their bodies, could do nothing more; they could not kill their souls. Their bodies were, and still are, under the power of the grave, though their ransomed spirits are before the throne." Elder Clark believed that the soul of man was redeemed and renewed in regeneration. He says it in this article. We have now seen that the Waldenses, and the old English Baptists, and the first American Baptists, and our own authors of the present century, as Parker, Hume, Watson, and Clark, have all written that when the body dies the soul goes immediately to heaven or hell.
All these authors believed in the resurrection of the body, and the salvation of the Adam sinner. None of them believed in the doctrine of eternal children. We have others present, but can not quote them in this article, as Elder Jesse Cox, Dr. John Gill, and others who believed as we do. These have been our spiritual fathers; I Corinthians 4: 15, and they have all believed without controversy, that at death the soul left the claims to the name of old Primitive Baptists. We are truly sorry that any of our dear brethren are engaged in opposing this Old Baptist doctrine. Some of them are very near to us, and we do not wish to treat them unkindly, but when they make a fight against the doctrine we, and our church as a denomination, have always believed, it wounds us. Shall we be compelled to be neutral on this point, while others, in almost all their sermons and exhortations, are preaching that the entire man, soul, body, and spirit, dies, and remains dead until the resurrection? We do not believe that doctrine, and we find no comfort in it, and we are sure that wherever it has been advocated, it has caused trouble, and we feel sure that it is neither the doctrine of the Bible, nor of the Baptists. We have been advised by some to let the matter go, and say nothing about it, especially those who teach that all the man dies, say that we are the agitator of the matter. That is just what the Missionary Baptists said about us, that it was our opposition to missionism that caused the division, and not the introduction of missionism. We made no noise about missionism in our churches until it came into our churches; just so, we made no fight on the doctrine that the whole man dies, until it was preached among us.
It would certainly be unfaithfulness on our part, to let such things come among us, to the grief of the brethren, and then listen to the advice of those who advocate it, and say nothing lest we stir up strife. In conclusion, we say to those who oppose the separation of soul and body at death, that if there is one Baptist in every hundred that agrees with you, it is far beyond what we believe.
Even where you are the strongest, a large majority of your members are against you, so when you fight that doctrine you are wounding the feelings of your own brethren. Can you not give up the idea that the entire man dies, and remains dead until the resurrection, and come back to the old doctrine of the church, that has so often cheered and comforted the saints amid the trials of life? Don't tell us that at death we must go down to the cold, lonesome, and silent grave, and remain in an unconscious state, and so remain until the resurrection. Let us have all the comfort that the Bible gives us in the blessed assurance, that as the Lord opened heaven to Stephen, that so it will be to all the saints. But if you do not believe that any part of man goes to heaven when the body dies, let us believe it, and speak it to the comfort of those who do, and give us the pleasure of saying soul and body, without subjecting ourselves to censures and accusations, that have rather a tendency to pull us down, instead of lift us up. Who wishes to divide the Baptists over these things? This very same issue has divided them, and we see no reason why it should not do so again, if it is urged. We feel sure that none of our brethren would think of wanting a division, and we know that we do not, but queries from churches to associations, on doctrine, are very dangerous things, and we can not help feeling bad when we think of such things, especially when the church demands the association to say yes or no. We do hope our brethren will stop now, and consider that such things have many times made rents, and caused strifes, and wounded feelings that were never healed. The Lord forbid anything like.
But I wish to call one more witness to this question. Elder G. M. Thompson, in his book called Primitive Preacher , says, on page 144, "It is not that he is a new creature physically; he is the same person he was, his flesh is not changed and immortalized, as it will be in the resurrection, but he is renewed in the spirit of the mind by a gracious principle imparted from above, which changes the affections of the soul, which sways and guides him in another way, and to a different end than he ever acted before." On page 145, he says, "Our bodies may be said to be new bodies by the change wrought in them, and the endowments bestowed upon them in the resurrection. So the soul is now resurrected from a death in sin, and renewed by imparting new principles to it in the work of regeneration." Again, he says, "This new creation is the first work of the Spirit in the soul of the sinner, preparing it to receive and enjoy the salvation that is in Christ Jesus. Page 170. One more witness to this point is all that I will trouble the reader with to show that I stand, doctrinally, where our people have always stood, and that to elbow me off for advocating the doctrine that the soul lives after the death of the body is to treat me unjustly.
In the circular letter of the Ketocton Association, of Virginia, in the year 1890, this old time- honored body of Baptists, the fifth association constituted in the United States, said: "The doctrine of regeneration now claims our attention, as this is the pivotal point from which departures are taken when error enters the Baptist fold.
We begin with the statement that we believe in the existence of the human soul, though unable to define it. The words of the Master's warning, "fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell," Matthew 20: 28, are sufficient to justify us in holding this cornerstone of faith.
About half a century ago metaphysics was introduced among the Old School Baptists, and men began to question the existence of the soul; hence, the regeneration of the soul was denied.
Among the many theories invented, the most plausible and popular was that of eternal spiritual existence in Christ, as our seminal head; and implantation into the Adam sinner, making no change in soul, body, nor spirit; hence, non-resurrection, and a host of equally fatal heresies, came in a natural course.
Into this error, by the mercy of God, the Ketocton Association did not fall; but through the dark days, when this cloud was most threatening, she declared her belief in the regeneration of the soul, by the Spirit of God; eternal life being the result of begetting by the Holy Ghost, whose presence in the soul is manifested by a change so apparent that even the ungodly take knowledge of the saint that he has been with Jesus." Ever since those new things were introduced among the Baptists there have been little factions here and there whose feelings are so very sensitive on the subject of the regeneration of the soul, or the separate existence of the soul after the death of the body, that the man who still contends for the old doctrine of the church is, to say the least of it, admonished to that subject causes unpleasant feelings in some places. Men have always said soul and body without thinking of hurting anybody's feelings.
The Inner Man
"For I delight in the law of God after the inward man." Romans 7: 22.
"For which cause we faint not, but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day." II Corinthians 4: 16.
"That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man." Ephesians 3: 16.
"But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit which is in the sight of God of great price." I Peter 3: 4.
We know from the above texts of Scripture that thee is an inner man, and while there have been some controversies among men, and some doubts raised and encouraged by those who would deny the distinction of soul and body, and who seem more disposed to criticize the positions of others than to defend any position of their own, we will state that, even if there is no man that can tell what the inner man is, there is an inner man. It has been said that the Scriptures do not teach that a man has an inner man, and if the unregenerate man has not, then it necessarily follows that in the work of regeneration there is a man, that in some way gets into the man that was not there before.
Is this man that is in the saint and not in the unrenewed sinner, necessary to a complete man? If so, then the unregenerate man is not complete. Is the inner man any part of the saint? Can there be a saint without the inner man? If the unrenewed man is not in possession of an inner man, and the inner man is a part of the saint, and the outward man is not a part of the saint, then the "no change" doctrine that has caused so much distress among our people in some places, must be the truth, and the doctrine of the resurrection must be false and also the doctrine of the salvation of the Adam sinner a delusion. But if the outer man is a part of the saint, and the sinner before regeneration has no inner man, then it follows that in order to have a saint it is necessary to put a man into the Adam man that was never there before. Where the Lord gets this inner man to put forth into the sinner, we do not know. Those who hold the doctrine of eternal children might tell us, but those who deny that doctrine and who reject the doctrine that any part of the child of God came down from heaven, must have some other idea about it. Will it do to say that the inner man is Christ? The inner man is renewed day by day. Can such language properly apply to Christ? If it is Christ in the sinner, and the outer man is the saint, then the saint perishes, and Christ is renewed .
"That he would grant you according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man." Who is it that might be strengthened? It is "you." Is "you" the inner man, or the outer man? If it is the inner man then is it something that sinners do not possess in nature? If it is the inner man that is strengthened, and the inner man is not the Adam man then there is nothing done for the Adam man. If the inner man is something that gets into the Adam man in the work of regeneration, that was not there before, we should be very careful not to blend the two,, in our application of the comforts of the Gospel to them, for their interests are certainly different.
But the text says, "strengthened by his Spirit in the inner man." Whatever the inner man may be, it is the Spirit of God in the inner man that strengthens "you" in the text. If we were to claim that "you" in this text is the saint, then the saint is strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man. The Spirit of Christ is not the innerman, for his Spirit is in the inner man. So if the inner man is Christ, then the saint is strengthened with might by his Spirit in Christ. We have a clear intimation that Christ is in "you." "And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness." Romans 8: 10. "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you the hope of glory." Colossians 1: 27. "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" II Corinthians 13: 5.
If "you" in all these texts is the "you" in Ephesians 3: 16, and we claim that it is, then Christ is in "you" by his Spirit in the inner man. If the inner man is something separate and apart from the Adam sinner, and at the same time, separate and apart from Christ as an existence, it certainly must be of heavenly extraction. Does it necessarily follow that because the Bible says nothing about the inner man until after regeneration, that there is no inner man in the sinner? If there is no inner man in the sinner, until after regeneration, then it is not true that Christ is not in the Adam sinner, at all, but that he is in the inner man, who, by some turn or other, gets into the sinner in the work of regeneration.
The legitimate result of the doctrine that the inner man is no part of the Adam man, is the denial of the salvation of the sinner. We have always opposed the doctrine of eternal children, in seed, or any other way, only in the eternal counsel and unfrustrable purpose of God. It seems to us that the most reasonable and tenable position we could occupy, is to say that the inner man is the soul of the Adam man, and that it is renewed by the Holy Ghost in regeneration. Titus 3: 5. The inner man is the soul of man, and is in him prior to regeneration, or else it is no part of the child of God, or else the Adam man is not a child of God. The soul of man is as truly sinful as the body is. The apostle said, "And you hath he quickened." Ephesians 2: 1. He either intended to teach that the body was quickened, or else work of regeneration, besides the body, and that whatever it was, had been previously dead in sins, just as the body had.
We do not believe that the body is quickened in regeneration, but we do believe the soul is, and that the body will be in the resurrection. "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you." Romans 8: 11. No one will deny that the apostle here addresses the saints, at Rome, just as truly as in his Ephesian letter he addresses the saints at Ephesus. He tells the Ephesian saints that God hath quickened them. He tells the Roman saints that he shall quicken their mortal bodies. If he has already quickened the mortal bodies of the saints, and yet in the future he shall quicken them again, then the body will be well quickened, for it will be quickened the second time. Why not just admit that it is the soul that is quickened in the work of regeneration in time, and that the body will be quickened in the resurrection, and that the inner man is the soul, and not undertake to say that the unregenerate man has no inner man? It is more consistent with the Bible, even if critics, in their vain speculations, do theorize, and, after the same rule that the infidel would rob the saint of all the comfort of his hope of heaven, undertake to intimidate every idea of the doctrine of the soul quickened now, and the body quickened in the resurrection.
If my position be true the sinner is saved, and not something else. If the "no soul" doctrine be true, it is doubtful if the sinner has any part in the matter. I believe the Adam sinner is saved, soul and body. I know of no other sinner except the Adam sinner.
Is It Right to Say Part?
We believe that the Adam man "puts off" the old and "puts on" the new man, for we believe the "old man" to be sin, and sin is no part of man. In a sermon at Benton, Illinois, recently, we made the same argument. We remarked then, and believe it, and have for years, that if the old man was the body we did not know how to put it off unless we committed suicide, and that we did not think that Paul intended anything of the sort. We believe there was putting off and putting on, just like we would pull off an old coat and put on a new one. We further believe that the word flesh, in the Christian warfare, simply means the evil about us that is opposed to grace, and fights against our spiritual interest, and that it does not mean the physical body of the man. We claimed in that sermon that sin was no part of the man, any more than the color of the coat is part of the cloth. We thought the color might all be taken out of a piece of cloth, and the cloth not be lost. So man was a complete man without sin, or before he sinned, an that sin was no part of man. We think it wrong and unscriptural, when we speak of the evil that we have much Adam before he sinned as he is now. When God made him he was good, innocent, and had no sin about him.
God made men upright, but they have sought out many inventions. If we leave off all the sin about a man, on the one hand, and all the grace there is about him, if he has any, on the other hand, then we have man, the very man that God made, the man that sinned, and the man that is saved or lost, as the case may be. This man, all of him, is born of the flesh when he is born into this world, and this same man, all of him, must be born of God, or never get to heaven. This man is all Adam, and he, the Adam man, possesses body and spirit, and it is said of him, "His flesh upon him shall suffer pain, and his soul within him shall mourn." He has inward parts, and the Lord puts his law in his inward parts. His inward parts, or soul, is born of God in time, and the body in the resurrection.
When the Lord, in the new covenant said, "I will put my laws in their inward parts," did he represent man as having parts, or does he mean that he will simply put his law on the inside of the body, yet put it on the body? Does anyone think from this expression that man has inward parts? It is parts of the man, remember, and in that part, or in those parts of man that are inward, he puts his law. He writes his law in their hearts, and puts it in their inward parts. Jeremiah 31: 33. Paul quotes it, "I will put my laws into their mind and write them in their hearts." Hebrews 8: 10. Where the prophet says inward parts, Paul says mind; so he puts them in the mind, and the mind is part of the man, according to the Scriptures. The apostle says, "For I delight in the law of God after the inward man (inward parts). But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, (my inward parts,) and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members." Romans 7: 22, 23. "So then with the mind, (the inward parts) I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin." Romans 7: 25. David the Psalmist, in speaking of his enemies, says, "their inward part is very wickedness." Psalms 5: 9. From this we see that the wicked or unregenerate have inward parts. David again says: "Behold, thou desireth the truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom." Psalms 51: 6.