NC.000 A FEW NOTES AND COMMENTS ON THE PRIMITIVE CHURCH By Elder W. S. Craig Cozad, Nebraska 1941

These Notes and Extracts, descriptive of the New Testament Christian Church, is compiled with the view of showing that the Primitive Baptist Church of today has good grounds for full Fellowship with that Early Church, and to the Claim that they are its Legitimate and Orderly Successors. I do not claim that the Primitive Christians and their successors have always been called Primitive Baptists, for they have in the past been called by a variety of names, as their history plainly shows. But I think that many Baptists have adopted this name for they felt that it was the most appropriate name for them to bear, because it plainly expressed what they believed they truly were as the Church of God or of Jesus Christ; and also as being distinctive from other denominations. The True Church is now and always has been identified by its Doctrine and Practice. I believe there has always been a Church and Christian Professors from the days of Jesus Christ and His Apostles, who have held the leading Principles of those now called Primitive Baptists. My position does not unchristianize the members of other churches, for I maintain that everyone Born of the Holy Spirit is a Child of God, and that they will at last all be saved in heaven above.

 

The New Testament Visible Church or the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, was called by the Apostle Paul, the "Church of God," "Churches of God" "Church of the Living God," and "Churches of Christ." These were all good, scriptural and suitable names for the One and Only Christian Church then existing, and no other name or description was at that time needed. For they were all quite appropriate and fitting names in that age, and there was then no grounds whatever for any confusion. But now, it rather seems to me that the addition of Primitive Baptist is allowable and quite suitable, because it is both descriptive and distinguishing for the present age, and also much needed to avoid confusion because of the many different churches, and all claiming more or less to be of the New Testament Faith and Order.

 

Consequently, for their Denominational Name, I prefer to say, The Church of God or Church of Jesus Christ, now called Primitive Baptist. And to this may be added the given name of the local Church. But it seems that just the name Primitive Baptist is now very much used, though they have often been called Old School, Predestinarian, Regular, and Bible Baptists. Also, in history they have been called other names.

 

The Doctrine they have always advocated is according to the Gospel of the Grace of God. And this so blessedly and freely declares Salvation to the lost, life to the dying, clothing to the naked, food to the hungry, water to the thirsty. and a triumphant resurrection to the dead. And the whole of this without any causative or procuring works or conditions to be performed by the Believer, but all of the Lord's own merciful and sovereign Grace, from first to last. (Although, many things are most plainly required in the way of duty and obedience while living in this sinful world.) Salvation by Grace is the Doctrine of God our Saviour, as declared in the Scriptures of Divine Truth. And if this is only understood in some fair measure, it will most surely be Believed and Loved. This glorious Gospel of saving Grace is indeed good news to the Spiritually Poor and Thirsty!

 

The Invisible Church of Jesus Christ, consists of all those whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life, the full number of the Redeemed, the complete Body of Jesus Christ, the Bride the Lamb's Wife; and collectively comprises a great multitude which no man can number, out of all nations, kindreds, peoples and tongues.

 

D E F I N I T I O N S.

 

"Primitive, pertaining to the beginning or origin; first; earliest; primary; resembling the manners or style of long ago."-Funk and Wagnalls.

 

"Primitive, pertaining to the beginning or origin, or early times. * * The primitive church."Webster.

 

"Primitive Christians, those who lived in the first ages of Christian1,.y."-Henderson-Buck, 645.

 

"Nothing should be regarded as Primitive4 which is not sanctioned by the New Testament." -Brown, 974.

 

"The church of the first century forms the standard and example for the church of all future ages."-Hassell, 269.

 

"The Church of God is the same in all ages of the world."-Hawker, 8-503.

 

"Apostolic: Of or pertaining to an apostle or the apostles. According to the doctrine and practice of the apostles."-Funk and Wagnalls.

 

"Of all the periods connected with church history, none is so important or interesting as that of the Apostolic Age."-Hassell, 226.

 

"And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship."-Ac 2:42. "Ye should earnestly contend for the faith once delivered unto the saints."-Jude 25. "The Faith; the truths taught by Christ and His Apostles."

 

The followers of our Saviour were first denominated Christians at Antioch (Ac 11:26), about the year 42.

 

"Apostolic church, the Christian church; so called on account of its apostolic foundation, doctrine, and order."-Webster.

 

"Apostolic; pertaining to the twelve apostles of Christ, or their age, doctrine, or practice; handed down in due succession from the apostles." -Winston. "A. D. 100. Close of the Apostolic Age, since which time no new doctrine or practice has been revealed to man."-Hassell. Regardless of this fact, how true it is that since the Apostles' days the religious world has adopted many things for which there is no scriptural authority whatever!

 

"We claim identity with the Apostles, and with the Apostolic Church."-Eld. Lemuel Potter, 181.

 

"Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you."-Mt 28:20 "Nothing more or less; which binds them to leave out or omit nothing that He taught them, and at the same time it forbids or prohibits their adding anything to what He taught them, hence all the doctrines and commandments of men are condemned."-Eld. G. W. Stewart, 7.

 

True Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ should always lead His followers to believe that most surely He well knew just what was and is best adapted for His Church in all ages; and also, that He never started anything that has proved a failure. He never made any mistakes, and so will have no failures to lament.

 

While the Apostolic Office ended with the Apostles, but yet their Authority and Teachings ever lives through their inspired writings to plainly guide the Lord's dear people regarding His Church.

 

"The position of the Apostolic Church must be the standard and example to be followed by all subsequent believers in Christ."-Hassell, 326.

 

"The only really Apostolic Church is that, (be it found where it may), which accords throughout with the model prescribed in the New Testament."-Brown, 101.

 

"The claim of any people as being a church of Christ is good just so far as it is in accord in doctrine and practice with the apostolic churches, and no farther; or, in other words, identity with,he apostolic church is to be determined by steadfast continuance in the apostles' doctrine."-Eld. G. W. Stewart, 153.

 

Each of the Primitive Churches had all the church authority and power that Jesus Christ gave them, and no more. And it seems that in the exercise of this divinely-wise authority, each church was limited to the taking care of its own affairs. And while the responsibilities of each local church was very great, for each church then had all the rightful and proper ecclesiastical authority on earth, yet the jurisdiction of each one only extended to those things that concerned their own body or membership. None had jurisdiction over any sister church, to lord it over them in any way, for they were all upon the same equal footing. And it is plainly certain that no church since that Age can lawfully exercise any more New Testament authority than those Early churches. (Yet, we do not think that any was. or would be, compelled to fellowship any plain departures of any sister church from New Testament doctrine or practice.)

 

Also, it is positively Certain, and will have to be admitted by all who believe the Divine Record, that the Early or Primitive Church was the ONLY religious Organization set up and recognized by Jesus Christ and His Apostles.

 

"It is a demonstrable fact that Primitive Baptist Churches are nearer, in both doctrine and practice, than any others to the New Testament models."-Hassell, 352.

 

"The form of spiritual worship and praise in the apostolic church was the song-service, the prayer service, and the preaching of the gospel." -Pittman. "The learned Dr. Owen fully maintains that in no approved writer for 200 years after Christ, is mention made of any organized, visibly professing church, except a local congregation."Brown, by Graves.

 

"The first Christian churches chiefly consisted of poor persons."-Gill, 5-348. And it seems that the members were numerous, for they are represented as having "turned the world upside down."-Ac 17:6.

 

"A visible church is always in Scripture a local body, and every local church, acting by a majority of its members, is invested by Christ with the exclusive and final power of receiving, excluding and restoring its members, electing its officers, and transacting all other necessary business."-Hassell, 291.

 

Some of the Apostolic Churches were reproved for their errors, and probably none of them were perfect in all respects; yet I think it will have to be admitted that as a whole, those Primitive Churches were nearer perfection, both in Doctrine and Practice, than any churches have been since that time, and held the highest Standards of Scriptural Order and Discipline and Doctrine. And while I am not claiming this Apostolic perfection for the Primitive Baptists of today, yet I believe that their Churches taken as a whole. will compare very favorably with that Early and Divine Standard, and also far better than any other present day churches in their nearness to the New Testament Order and Teachings.

 

"The Church of Christ upon earth is made up of believing men and women, who are all members of the mystical body of Jesus, who all have a certain work of grace upon their souls, and by means of which they are manifested as possessing a vital union with the Lamb of God."Philpot, 1-37.

 

"Church; a religious assembly selected and called out of the world by the doctrine of the gospel, to worship the true God in Christ, according to His Word."-Cruden.

 

"A Church is a congregation of regenerated men and women publicly professing faith in Christ Jesus, and being regularly baptized by immersion, who have covenanted to meet together, having given themselves up to one another in the Lord, to be governed by His Word, and to be guided by a regular and proper discipline, agreeable to the Holy Scriptures."-Hassell, 835.

 

"The New Testament Church was a voluntary association, and was independent of all other churches. It might be, and probably was, affiliated with others in brotherly relations; but it remained independent of all outward control, and was responsible to Christ alone, who was the Supreme Lawgiver and source of all authority."

 

"Originally, the teachers and the people conjointly administered the affairs of the church."-Christian, 13.

 

"A church is a congregation of baptised believers who are covenanted together in the Lord's name, to follow in His footsteps in a gospel way. It is a church-home for Christians while they remain in this world."

 

"Paul's conception of the true church was not that of a mere congregation, but an organization embodying and manifesting the Spirit of Christ and the truths of the gospel. It was composed of baptised believers who attended upon the teachings of the Apostles and the worship of Jesus Christ. A spirit of brotherly love, union and benevolence prevailed. It was a living body, composed of those who had been born again. Both the organization and the spirit are necessary to constitute a church after the pattern given in the New Testament."

 

"Simple in organization and democratic in government, the New Testament Churches were independent of each other in their internal affairs. * * * The Apostles urged upon Churches as well as upon individuals, the duty of bearing one another's burdens, comforting each other in trouble, assisting each other in need, and generally cooperating to further the interests of the Kingdom of God." And their responsibilities were very great.

 

The Primitive Churches did not have women preachers, because they were forbidden to preach. 1Co 14:34-35; 1Ti 2:11-12. Also, the Early Churches chose their own Pastors, and were not dictated to in this matter by some higher authority or power. And their scriptural successors have followed this same practice.

 

"In all ages and countries, that people who in all spiritual matters, acknowledge Christ as their only Head and King, form a part of the true church of God."-Hassell, 18.

 

"The Church of Christ is a company of faithful people, separated from the world by the word and Spirit of God, being knit unto the Lord, and one to another by baptism, upon their own confession of the faith and sins."-Baptist Confession, 1611, Art. 10.

 

"The Church is a company of visible saints, called and separated from the world by the word and Spirit of God to the visible profession of the faith of the gospel, being baptized into that faith and joined to the Lord, and each to other by mutual agreement in the practical enjoyment of the Ordinances commanded by Christ, their Head and King."-Baptist Confersion 1646, Art. 33.

 

"The members of these Churches are saints by calling, visibly manifesting and evidencing in and by their profession and walking, their obedience unto that call of Christ; and do willingly consent to walk together according to the appointment of Christ, giving up themselves to the Lord and one another, by the will of God, in professed subjection to the Ordinances of the gospel."-Baptist Confession, 1689, Art. 26.

 

"An entire separation from all human and worldly (religious) institutions, and a strict observance of the commands of Christ, have been the infallible mark of His Church in all ages of the world."-Eld. G. M. Thompson.

 

"Any doctrine or practice not found in the Bible is not binding upon God's people. In this day there are many religious practices popular with the religious world that are not mentioned in the Bible. God did not order them."-Elder R. H. Pittman.

 

"Primitive or Old School Baptists are not ashamed of their principles and practices, believing assuredly that they are founded upon the fair and impartial interpretation of God's Word." -Elder R. H. Pittman.

 

"Be careful to maintain the purity of the church, and her entire separation from all the institutions of men."-Eld. G. M. Thompson, 527.

 

"God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions."-Ec 7:29. I believe this text may be applied in a religious sense. And if this was true in Solomon's day, how much more is it true since then, and especially now, when we see so many inventions of religious institutions that no where in the Bible is commanded?

 

"I claim that our people do every good work, as a people that is enjoined upon the people of God in the New Testament."-Elder Potter, 181.

 

"We believe in a church on earth, and hat this organization is to be identified by its doctrine and practice. If the doctrines and practice of an organization do not harmonize with Bible teaching we cannot recognize it as a church of Jesus Christ."-Elder Cash.

 

"As to church order and discipline, it may be observed that every Christian society formed on the Apostolic plan, is strictly independent of all other religious societies. No other church, however numerous or respectable; no person or persons, however eminent for authority, abilities or influence, have any right to assume arbitrary jurisdiction over such a society. They have but one master, who is Christ. Even the officers which Christ has appointed in His church have no power to give new laws to it; but only in conjunction with the other members of the society to execute the commands of Christ."-HendersonBuck, 163.

 

"How old is the Primitive Baptist Church? Answer: It was organized in the days of John the Baptist, Christ and His Apostles. Primitive means old first, original."-Elder Pittman.

 

At the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, I believe He will then find visible churches organized and worshipping Him after the very same New Testament way. He will not leave Himself without witnesses in His Church on earth. "The doctrine of the gospel is, I believe, nowhere else maintained in such purity as among Bible Baptists."Hassell, 471.

 

The Church of Jesus Christ plainly appears in Apostolic times as an organized, local and independent body of Scripturally baptized believers, who were self-governed and voluntarily associated togehter n the Doctrine and Practice of the New Testament. In those days there was a positive distinction made between the Church and the world, and surely this distinction should not be obliterated today; for wherever in any church there is little or no distinction, the world has swallowed that church. To adopt worldly doctrines and practices will surely make any church worldly, and I believe leads to Idolatry. "Idolatry; All human inventions thrust into the worship of God."-Cruden.

 

"We are taught in the New Testament that a part of Christ's work in this world was to set up a kingdom, or"build His Church."This kingdom was an institution of His own, and differed from all others; and is called the `kingdom of heaven,' the `kingdom of God,' etc. It was not the work of Christ to remodel, or reform some old institution; but to set up His kingdom, establish its laws, and appoint its ordinances. * * * The Church of Christ was organized during His ministry, and was to be perpetuated through all generations. Christ and the prophets have distinctly told us that it shall never be destroyed-'the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.' It is to stand unchanged and unaltered, in its doctrine, laws, and ordinances, so that its identity can be established, and its distinct visibility preserved in all ages of the world. The model church is given us in the New Testament, and we are to see that `all things are according to the pattern shown us.' No church should claim to be the Church of Christ, unless she can establish that a similar people to themselves existed in the days of Christ, or the apostles, and was by them recognized as Christians, and as churches."-Elder G. M. Thompson.

 

"Everything not commanded by our Lord, and taught and practiced by His apostles, is forbidden, and classed with idolatry. It leads our minds away from Christ, and changes the order He has established in His kingdom, which is diverse from all other kingdoms, and is not to be numbered with the nations of the earth. An entire separation from all human and worldly (religious, W.S. C.) institutions, and a strict observance of the commands of Christ, have been the infallible mark of His church in all ages of the world."Elder G. M. Thompson.

 

I very positively take the position that there is, and can only be the one true Gospel Church. And I just as firmly believe that the Primitive Baptist Church is that very one. This position does not un-Christianize other people, for I believe all those born of the Holy Spirit (regardless of church affiliations) are children of God and that they, every one, will at last be saved in heaven. Only a very few (comparatively) of the Lord's chosen and redeemed people hold their membership with the Primitive Baptists. But I think numbers would do so, if they correctly understood themselves and the teachings of the Bible. For no doubt many of the Lord's dear people love and religiously hold to unscripural doctrines and practices. And I wish to have and hold only feelings of kindness for them, and others also. Hatred toward another does not show a Christian spirit in anyone. Yes, I can have more or less Christian fellowship for all those I believe have had a Christian experience. But cannot conscientiously have church fellowship for any in what I believe to be wrong doctrine and practice. I can have more or less love for a Brother in error, though I should not love his errors. Doctrine shapes practice; consequently, whenever any are weak in doctrine, they are sure to be lame in practice. "Christ requires His churches to be faithful in doctrine, in practice and in discipline."-Hassell, 250.

 

"The Scriptures abundantly teach that Jesus Christ during His personal ministry on earth, set up and established the kingdom or church of Christ, an executive body. He gave to her all the laws and ordinances for the church to be governed by, without power or authority to alter or change her laws and ordinances."-Elder Radcliff, 246.

 

Christianity came down from Heaven in the Apostolic Age, which was a time of inspiration and legislation for all subsequent ages. The Church of this early period was a spiritual kingdom and an organized society of believers in Jesus Christ, whose authority and responsibilities was very great, and its doctrines and practices met His approval.

 

It will not be denied (only by infidels) that Jesus Christ set up His Church here in this world. Just at what particular time may be considered as more or less immaterial; though I think it may be well allowed as having had a least some beginnings of existence from the time the great Head of the Church chose and ordained His Apostles. And also, I believe it should be admitted that He instituted His Supper in the Church; and very plainly on the day of Pentecost does it seem to have been fully established, for it was then publicly opened for membership. And that church (whatever its claims may be) which is not of this early date of Jesus Christ and His Apostles, is most positively too YOUNG and too NEW for it to be of the New Testament order.

 

And to simply have a name among and to mix and mingle with those calling themselves Christians and a Christian church, is of itself nothing in a spiritual sense; for the new birth is the only real criterion of Christian character. This birth of the Spirit is not aided nor brought about in anyway by the help or power of man. It must ever remain a positive Bible fact that those who are spiritually born, are "born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."-Joh 1:13.

 

The Primitive Church was plainly warned against Idolatry. "Idolatry, worship of idols, images," etc.-Webster. Idolatry is of the heart and affections; it may be religious or otherwise, and perhaps none are altogether free from it in this life and but few willing to make any admissions of it. If a distinction be made, it may be said to be Literal, when it is the love and worship of visible objects. And that may be called Spiritual Idolatry, which consists in the love and religious worship of institutions, practices, observances, times, days, etc., which the Lord has not commanded.

 

It is reasonable to suppose that Jesus Christ employed His wonderful wisdom in establishing His Church on earth. For it is certain that He manifested, as is plainly shown through His Apostles, a great interest in its welfare. He was to be worshipped in this Church, in spirit and in truth. His own praise and honor was to be publicly declared and sung therein. and it was to be a spiritual home on earth for the instruction, comfort and spiritual good of His obedient followers. With this importance in view, I cannot believe that the great Head of the Church was so disinterested and unconcerned about its primitive constitution and government, that its affairs was left to be run and directed by the wisdom of man, and that any kind of a loosely organized body, just met together in any way, with almost any kind of a loosely conducted government and discipline, would have met His approval.

 

Neither do I believe that His Church was some kind of a complicated organization that was hard to be understood and managed by His followers. No, I believe that this Early Church, in its constitution and government, had some real regard and respect for order, though in all ways it was so plain and simple, and conducted its affairs decently and in an orderly manner, and that the Early Christians were well satisfied with the whole arrangement. The Primitive Churches recognized each other as being orderly and as Sister Churches. And none should be so presumptuous as to feel that they can improve on this divinely-wise arrangement.

 

To me it also very plainly appears that the Apostles were most well informed, and especially taught during those forty days, {Ac 1:3} and so were ably and sufficiently instructed in all "things pertaining to the Kingdom (or Church) of God." And to their advice all contempoary churches and Christians could and no doubt did appeal in all church matters. Before the Aposties passed away their inspired and infallible writings appeared containing their wonderfully good directions for church government. And to such inspired authority the Primitive Baptists have ever since claimed to look for their guidance. The need of some kind of briefly expressed Articles of faith of what the Bible plainly taught, seems to have early manifested itself, as witnessed by "The Apostles' Creed."

 

"The Baptists have always gloried that the Bible was their creed, and at the same time for centuries they have had published Confessions of Faith In our denomination these articles of belief have alawys ocupied a subordinate position; they are never placed on a level with the Scriptures, much less above them. They are used to protect our unity, to preserve our peace, and to instruct our members."-Cathcart.

 

Primitive Baptists do not look upon their Articles of Faith as being necessary to the existence of their churches, but only as being of much importance to their order, harmony and stability; and they all agree that no Article can be of the least importance, only so far as it agrees with and is confirmed by the Bible. But I think that the Bible surely does contain such plainly stated points of doctrine and discipline, as may be very easily stated in other than scriptural language; and that by doing so, we only the more plainly show where we stand in doctrine and practice.

 

"A creed is a convenient summary of the religious belief of a particular people at a particlar time; and may be useful as a bond of union between those who profess to believe it, as an aid to the understanding of the Scriptures., and as a safeguard against false doctrine and practice." -Hassell.

 

However honored may be the history of any church on earth, however far it may be extended, and adorned; so far as it is of human device and established by man, just that far it has lost the character of a true Church of Christ. And therefore has descended into a worldly organization.

 

Most surely that body of professed Christians who actually hold to the Doctrine and Practice of Jesus Christ and the Apostles, is the true Church and I feel to defend what I believe to be that Primitive way. All those who diverge or have departed from this high and Divine Standard, and followed the commandments of men, very plainly show that they do not possess those scriptural qualifications which have distinctly marked the true Church in all ages.

 

We may feel assured that the Primitive Christians had a noble respect as to how they should behave themselves in the House of God.-1Ti 3:15. Confusion could be expected where there was no order at all. Good order will prevent confusion in any assembly. The Apostle Paul wrote the Church at Corinth, "Let all things be done decently and in order."-1Co 14:40. Under the direction of the Holy Spirit the Apostles, and since their time their inspired writings, furnished the grounds for the discipline and government of all New Testament Churches. These regulations seem to have been few, but very important, and have never been improved upon by the wisdom of men. The rules of order for the business of their meetings, we can easily believe were very plain and simple. These churches were of a congregational nature, and the love and fellowship of the members for each other, bound them together in their practice and relations as well as in doctrine. And it would reasonably seem that to prevent any confusion or disorder, one of their number should act as chairman or moderator, and another should act as clerk, to keep record of their business, list of their membership and whatever else might be necessary to their keeping up a church organization. The business questions were probably always decided by a majority vote of all members present. All the members, including their preachers., were upon an equality as regards their liberty of speech on matters of business and voting privileges. The Elders and Pastors were servants, not dictators To have no church officers whatever, to give direction, order and harmony to their business sessions, would make their church appear as an unorganized body, or congregation without any government, and therefore liable not to conduct its. business properly. And to this very simple form of church government and in harmony with Apostolic teaching, it would seem other rules may have afterwards been added as experience appeared prudent and necessary. The Deacons were the Church Treasurers. "The primitive deacons took care of the secular affairs of the church, received and disbursed monies, kept the church's accounts, and provided every thing necessary for its temporal good."-Brown, 441.

 

"Each church is seen to be independent of all others. There is no common church occupying an entire district, no individual church losing its identity in that of others. Each church is also held responsible for permitting errorss to be taught within the limits of its membership. The church as a church, is charged with the maintenance of sound doctrine. This, of course carries with it the right of exclusion from the church for wrong teaching and wrong living."-Eoches.

 

"The first Christians assembled daily either in the Temple, or in private houses; in the latter case, they met in small companies, since their numbers were already too great for one chamber to hold them all. Discourses on the doctrine of salvation were addressed to believers and to those who were just won over to the faith, and prayers were offered up."-Neander.

 

"Many have been very much surprised when we have told them about the beginning of the Primitive Baptist Church. They have thought we, like other denominations, or many of them, had our origin in recent years, or at most only a few hundred years in the past. As before stated, the church is to be known by its doctrine and practice, and not by the name it may bear, which may change with surrounding conditions. We do not hesitate to take the position that the doctrines as set forth in regard to the divinity of Jesus, the atonement that He made, the necessity of regeneration, and the certainty that all atoned for will be saved, are the principle marks of the church. We claim that there has been through all the centuries an organization holding these things just as we do now, and so our origin is the Apostolic church."-Elder Cash.

 

It is not an empty claim that the Primitive Baptist Church of today has good grounds for holding that it is the oldest Christian Church. It traces its history back to the first Apostolic Church, whose Doctrine and Practice it has so nearly preserved, that if anyone will fairly look at this Church now, from the New Testament standpoint, they may behold the reflected image of the Ancient Church.

 

The institutions of men may come and go, but the Church of God will stand as long as the world does. The reason is because Christ is the Builder, and He said it would stand. Our contention is that the practice of the Apostolic Church should be maintained, as well as the doctrine. The doctrine we preach is not our doctrine, but the doctrine of God our Saviour. The religious practices we advocate were first taught by Christ and His Apostles. If taught by the Master and followed by His Apostles, who should object to them? Were they not meant for examples to us? Are they not good for all time? Surely no one with a sound mind and a good heart will contend that the doctrine and practice of the New Testament can be improved. There are people who want the plain simple service of the Apostolic Church; they want "a thus saith the Lord" for what they believe and practice, and will follow no man farther than he follows Jesus Christ. Are not the Primitive Baptists. truly concerned about keeping the Lord's house in the order He left it?-Eld. R. H. Pittman.

 

We read of the seven Churches of Asia, and while their spiritual condition was quite different, yet we feel to believe that they were all distinct, separate and independent of each other, so far as governing power and authority was concerned. Jesus Christ was their only Head and Law-giver. "It is the thing, and not the name, that we are looking for; and the thing is an official assembly of Christian people, having each of the marks which we have recognized as the characteristics of the churches of Christ in the Apostes' days. Their names have usually been given by their enemies, and do not designate their character. Their names have been changed for them in almost every century, but their peculiar character has been the same, and by this, not the name, we must discover and point them out upon the page of history."--Theodosia Ernest.

 

"Who organized the Church and by what name was it called? Answer: `Upon this rock I will build My Church.'-Mt 16:18. Jesus said this. This is the first mention of `church' in the Bible. Jesus is the first and Master Builder. If He is the Builder, He must have been the organizer. And as He was baptised by `John the Baptist,' His Church must have been a `Baptist Church.' And as the word `first' means primitive or original, it looks like the first church was a Primitive Baptist Church, though the contenders for the primitive doctrine and practice have been called by different names in the days that have passed, and will be in the days to come."-Elder R. H. Pittman.

 

"The Baptist denomination was founded by Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry Next to the Teacher of Nazareth, our great leaders were the Apostles, and the elders, bishops, and evangelists, who preached Christ in their times. The instructions of our Founder are contained in the four Gospels, the heaven-given teachings of our earliest ministers are in the inspired Epistles."-Cathcart.

 

"The Baptists do not pretend that the primitive saints were called Baptists, but that the primitive Christians were what would NOW be called by this name; and that there always has been a people on earth, from the introduction of Christianity, who have held the leading sentiments by which they are, and always have been distinguished."-Brown.

 

The Primitive Church while it was a voluntary body, yet it strongly insisted that her members live upright and honorable lives. This was plainly a duty and an obligation they owed their Lord. They were warned of His judgments and chastisements upon the disobedient. Those living sinful and scandalous lives were not fit subjects for membership in His church. The honor and good name of His church has always demanded that it keep up a proper discipline. "If ye love Me, keep My commandments."-Joh 14:15. "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."-Ro 12:1. "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."2Co 7:1. "Live in peace, and the God of love and peace shall be with you." 2Co 13:11; Ro 16:17; 1Co 6:1-8. Etc. All these and many other such Scriptures guided the members of the Early Churches, and should of course guide all the Lord's dear folowers until the end of time. And I am sure that if they would always do as the Bible directs, there would never be any strife and contentions among them.

 

"Keep a watch on your words, my Brother, For words are wonderful things. They are sweet like the bees' fresh honey Like the bees they have terrible stings. They can bless like warm, glad sushine, And brighten a lonely life; They can cut in the strife of anger Like an open two-edged knife."

 

"Remove far from me yanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny Thee. and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain." Pr 30:8-9.

 

"Discipline (church). the application in a Christian Church, of those principles and rules, derived from divine authority, which regard the purity, order, peace, and useful efficiency of its members. Discipline is to a Church what order and regularity are to a family."-Brown. The members may so live after the flesh, as to die to all the comforts and enjoyments of the Christian Religion, while living in this world. Also, they may live in such a disobedient and idolatrous way as to cause the Lord to spew them, as a church, out of His mouth; which of course would be the death of that church. Where Jesus is, there is peace, love and fellowship. Where He is not, there the works of the flesh abound, and that to the coldness and death of all spiritual enjoyments. "Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!"-Ps 133:1. "All matters of disorder should be scripturally settled by each individual church as required in the New Testament."-Hassell. "Let the reader carefully ask himself these questions: Where was the supreme authority vested when the church was first set up? To what adjudicatory body did they appeal their causes for a final decision? And where is the authority for taking the case out of the jurisdiction of the church and transferring it to a higher tribunal?"-Eld. P. T. Oliphant. No set of men was above the Primitive churches. Jesus Christ was their only and great HEAD.

 

"To show the great importance of prompt and strict discipline, God Himself directly interposed in the case of the first offense in the apostolic church and struck both the joint offenders, Ananias and Sapphira, with instant death." {Ac 5:1-11} The offense was falsehood, hypocrisy, covetousness-an outward semblance of devoting all to God, and yet a real heart-worship of manmon. Men "cannot serve both God and mammon." {Mt 6:24} 'If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him' {1Jo 2:15} This prompt and rigid act of Divine church-discipline caused `great fear to come upon all the church and upon as many as heard these things'; {Ac 5:11} 'and of the rest durst no man join himself to them'. {Ac 5:13} There can be no doubt that; after this, hypocrites were kept out of the church at Jerusalem a considerable time.

 

"The second example of church-discipline is mentioned as having occurred at Corinth. {1Co 5} A member of that church was guilty of incest-Corinth being at that time the most licentious city in the world. But the general prevalence of this or any other vice is no sort of justification for its being tolerated and retained in the church; a little of the leaven of wickedness soon leavens the whole lump. When Paul, at Ephesus, heard with deep grief of this scandal, he wrote the Corinthian church, and as united in spirit with the church, though bodily absent, he in the name of Jesus Christ judged that such an offender should be `delivered unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus-that is, excluded from the church, given over to Satan, the god of this world, for the infliction of bodily affliction, and mortification of the sinners carnal nature, and for the ultimate repentance and restoration of the offender. {1Co 5:13; 2Co 4:4; Job 2:4-7; Lu 13:16; 22:31; 2Co 12:7; 1Pe 5:8; Mt 5:29-30; 1Co 11:30,32; Ro 8:13; 1Pe 4:1-2} The church at Corinth, according to the Apostle's solemn admonition, when they were met together, excluded the offender, and we learn that he afterwards repented and was restored to their fellowship. {2Co 2:1-10; 7:8-12} Even the inspired Apostle did no` exc'ude, but he simply called upon the church, which alone had the authority- to exclude or put away that wicked person from among them. {1Co 5:13} It is the church, not merely the pastor or Deacons or any body, to which Christ directs that a trespass be finally told. {Mt 18:15-20} * * * When the church acts by His Spirit, its course will be ratified in Heaven. * * A pervading spirit of genuine brotherly love, springing from genuine love and loyalty to Christ, is the best preventative of offenses in the church. Cherishing this spirit, the members should tenderly watch over one another, and, by mutual Christian encouragement, counsel, admonition and reproof, provoke one another, not to wrath and evil, but to love and good works. * * Private or personal offenses are to be adjusted in strict accordance with Christ's directions in Mt 18:15-17" -Hassell, 287-8.

 

"A visible church is always in Scripture a local body; and every local church, acting by a majority of its members, is invested by Christ with the exclusive and final power of receiving, disciplining, excluding and restoring its members, electing its officers, and transacting all other necessary business."-Hassell, 291.

 

"It is no doubt true that nations and individuals have a present reward, and escape temporal calamities and judgments by living soberly, and by the practice of the virtues of frugality, industry, honesty and temperance."-Elder F. A. Chick.

 

"Speak not evil one of another, brethren." Jas 4:11. "For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work."--Jas 3:16. "Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."-Eph 4:32. "But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another."-Ga 5:15. "Live in peace, and the God of love and peace shall be with you."-2Co 13:11. "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peacably with all men."-Ro 12:18. "All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword."-Mt 26:52. "Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth."-Pr 26:20. "Whose keepeth his mouth and his tongue, keepeth his soul from troubles." -Pr 21:23 "It is an honor for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling."-Pr 20:3. "I said. I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue; I will keep my mouth with a bridle."- Ps 39:1 "Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people."-Le 19:17. "See that ye fall not out by the way."-Ge 45:24. The prudent forseeing the evils of contention among others, will try to carefully avoid being openly drawn into it; and more especially if it be a distant matter. It is almost impossible to openly take sides in the strife of others without more or less adding fuel to the fire.

 

"If we attach no value whatever to obedience, we destroy the basis of all exhortation; for if right living is of no value whatever, to any end, there can be no valid reason why we should live right ourselves, or labor to induce others to do so." -Elder R. W. Thompson.

 

The believer is often in the Scriptures exhorted to good works. Such is necessary to his obedience, and very plainly required in the way of duty and obligation. They are pleasing in God's sight, and should be maintained. They manifest a gracious state, but are not a condition of salvation from sin, as is often and erroneously supposed. The most obedient fall short of what they should do. "So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you. say, We, are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do."-Lu 17:10. "All the Lord's people, after all their attainments, are in themselves nothing. In the Lord alone have we righteousness and strength! It is very blessed to learn our own nothingness, that we may the better know how to value Christ's all-sufficiency!" Hawker, 8-294.

 

The Bible is given to guide believers in their practice as well as in their doctrine, and it surely is disobedience with them in the Lord's eyes not to be governed by its blessed instructions. The silence of the Bible regarding any thing or point, gives no license whatever to follow or adopt it; but rather is a good reason why it should not be followed. And since the Scriptures contains all that anyone need to know and practice religiously, surely its sacred pages should be careflly studied and followed. They cannot go wrong when following this course, because it is wisely calculated to keep them from all manner of error and idolatry. And, if not a plain command or example, there shoud be at least some fair Scriptural inference or precept, derived therefrom; to guide them. To religiously worship, love, and practice that which God has not commanded, I believe is idolatry in His eyes; although it may not be thought nor intended so, by those who do it. "Many are very zealous of good works which the Lord has not commanded."-Elder Watson. "We take it for granted that all good works are to be found in the Scriptures. * * Our faith is, that if the church and minister will teach what the Bible teaches, and practice just precisely what it requires, that all good results that God intended to accomplish by that means will be brought about. * * We are not uneasy for fear that the Lord will leave something back that is essential to the sah ation of the people, or the glory of His name."-Elder Potter, 182.

 

We now come to the task of setting forth the great principles on which the Christian Churches stood at the close of the Apostolic Age; for these are to be copied as the exact model to the end of time. Our chief work is to find what this model was; as 'he inner and divine life of those Churches moulded their entire organization. When we have determined this standard, we may easily see how far it has been followed or abandoned by succeeding churches. Many misconceptions arise in Church history from the failure to stop at this point, and to thoroughly weigh the divine history of the Churches before proceeding to consider the human. It is lamentable to witness the haste and light treatment with which this age is passed over. The true historian must fix his eye steadfastly at the beginning of his work upon the New Testament pattern, and never remove it; because it is the only guide to truth in every age, and the only authority of ultimate appeal.-Armitage.

 

"The Baptists have no origin short of the Apostles. They arose in the days of John the Baptist, and increased largely in the days of the Apostles, and have existed, under the severest oppression, with intervals of prosperity, ever since."-Christian. "The origin of the Baptists is claimed to have been in Apostolic times. * * In all ages since the first, the Baptists have believed their denomination more ancient than themselves."-Book of Religions, 29. "The Baptists can trace their origin to the Apostolic times."-A. Campbell. Of course the Early or Primitive Church was scriptural in origin, because it had Jesus Christ for its Head and Founder, and by Him it was to be preserved.-Mt 16:18. Therefore, its continued visibility must be admitted.

 

"John came preaching and baptising. Baptism was altogether a new rite in the church, and probably John was called the Baptist on this account, for he was the first who used it."Hawker, 7-22. "John was the first administrator of the ordinance of Baptism, and therefore is called `the Baptist', {Mt 3:1} by way of emphasis."-Gill, Div., 3-289.

 

When Jesus was about thirty years of age, the period when the Jewish priests generally entered their sacred office, He came unto John the Baptist to be baptised by him. John at firs` refused to administer the rite to Him, urging his great inferiority, but the Saviour insisted, and so he yielded and baptised Him in the river Jordan. After being baptised he "wei, up straightway out of the water; and lo, the heavens were opened outo Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him. And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."-Mt 3:16-17. God, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, was present " on that occasion to honor the sacred rite of Baptism and set apart the Messiah for the work of the gospel ministry. This office He then took upon Himself, and henceforth proclaimed the principles of the gospel kingdom till the time of His crucifixion. John was the forerunner of Jesus; he was filled with the Holy Spirit from before his birth; his name came from heaven, and his authority to baptise came from there also. The evangelists call him "John the Baptist." The blessed Saviour, having been baptised by him, was surely a "Baptist," and as He went forth preaching His gospel, He was necessarily a "Baptist preacher," thereby affording an example for all His ministerial followers to the end of the world. And here is where the Baptists came from. An unbaptised person has no Bible right to preach the gospel.-Hassell. John the Baptist was the first Baptist martyr.

 

"John the Baptist" proclaimed the coming of Jesus Christ and the setting up of His Gospel Kingdom here on earth. Though he was a servant, yet he was divinely commissioned to baptise his Master. As I view it, John gave Him the same baptism that he gave others, and that the authority of his commission went no farther. The only difference there appears to me is, that in the case of Jesus, the baptism was so wonderfully witnessed and blessed by God the Father and the Holy Spirit. For Jesus as the Lord God, could not and did not receive any authority or power from John; but "The man Christ Jesus," did receive from him an orderly and valid baptism. Our Saviour is the one and only great Head of the Christian Church, and not John the Baptist. But as Christ was orderly baptised, and that by the first Baptist the New Testament speaks of, may not the liberty be reasonably allowed to call Him a Baptist? And further, as He was a Preacher of the Gospel, may not also, the same liberty be allowed to call Him a Baptist Preacher? His baptism set a plain example for all believers in Him, those relying upon Him for eternal life and salvation, and who are not obedient when they neglect His command.

 

"Christ's own example shows that He understood baptism to be an immersion in water, for He was baptised in the river Jordan and came up out of the water. Every allusion and example, as far as given, show that' the apostles and believers of their day understood baptism to be immersion. Since the apostles' time there has been no power authorized to change any doctrine or practice delivered to the church. So one who is not immersed cannot have Christian baptism, and if we were tc receive anything else for baptism, we would at once lose our right to claim that we are churches of Jesus Christ, because we would not have a baptism that was apostolic."-Elder Cash.

 

"Christ was a Baptist, and His disciples were Baptists. John the Baptist, who was sent of God to baptise in water, received his authority from heaven and not from man. He baptised Christ and perhaps all His disciples. Christ perpetuated this ordinance by the commission given His Apostles."-Elder W. Thompson, 281. "And here is where the Baptists came from."

 

Surely John the Baptist was good authority on a Baptism that was lawful and would meet the Lord's full approval, for he received his commission from heaven.-Lu 20:4-6. And was it not necessary that a valid and orderly Baptism be established on earth among the Lord's followers? So John began and practiced a scriptural Baptism as too its authority and order, its mode (immersion), and its subjects (believers). What earthly power has any right whatever to change this form or order in any way? And is it not necessary that the Church of Jesus Christ should have and exercise proper watch-care over this valid and orderly Baptism? Yes, for it is certainly very plain that it should not be administered too loosely, for church history records very plainly so much of the sad consequences that has followed the abuse of scriptural Baptism. So it plainly seems to me that after the New Testament Church was established, that this Ordinance was placed under its watchful authority, for the true Church is the highest ecclesiastical authority on earth.

 

"We believe and teach that John baptized Jesus in the river Jordan in such form that it is likened to a burial. All well informed historians concede that the apostles baptized by immersion in water."-Elder Walter Cash.

 

"And they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptised him." Ac 8:38. "Upon which Calvin has this note iIcrce we see what was the manner of baptising with the ancients, for they plunged the whole body into water.' "-Gill, 8-230 "And when they were come up out of the water."-Ac 8:39. "Which is another circumstance showing that baptism was then performed by immersion; -Gill, 8-231. "And Jesus, when He was baptised, went up straightway out of the water."-Mt 3:16. "And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptised of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water."-Mr 1:9-10. "Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."-Ro 6:4. "Buried with Him in baptism."-Col 2:12. Immersion belongs to the very essence of baptism; there can be no baptism in the Bible sense of the word, without it. We cannot lightly cast this aside and adopt or follow any weak human counterfeit. Further, Bible baptism is plainly limited to a BELIEVER'S Baptism.

 

While we so strongly believe the New Testament Baptism to be by immersion, yet we do not idolize nor worship this rite, by ascribing to it any magical results. The true believer in Jesus Christ is already in possession of eternal life. Joh 3:36; 5:24; 6:47. Such living persons realize their need of a Saviour, and therefore are fit and proper subjects for baptism in water.

 

Ac 22:16. I think it was the sin of omission, and which believers may commit through their delaying this command, and which may be ceremonially put away by baptism, that Ananias told Paul to do Only the blood of Jesus Christ can really put away the guilt of sin and condemnation.

 

We believe with Elder Lampton: "1. That no organization but a true Church of Christ, visible, can administer scriptural and orderly baptism. 2. If baptism is considered scriptural and valid, then the church administering it must be acknowledged and treated as a true Church of Christ, visible. 3. That there is and can be but one true Church of Christ, visible, on earth." And that Church we believe to be the Primitive Baptist Church.

 

"It is well known that Baptists believe the doctrine of church succession; that the church first organized by Christ has existed in all ages of the world to the present, and we claim to be in that succession."-Elder J. H. Oliphant.

 

In the Apostolic Age, "the majority of congregations were no doubt small, often a mere handfull of poor people. * * The Christian converts belonging mostly to the middle and lower classes of society, such as fishermen, peasants, traders, freedmen. slaves. Paul says, 'For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. * * That no flesh should glory in His presence.'-1Co 1:26-29. And yet these poor illiterate churches were the recipients of the noblest gifts, and alive to the deepest problems and highest thoughts which can challenge the attention of an immortal mind. * * The rapid success of Christianity under the most unfavorable circunms'tances is surprising and its own best vindication. It was achieved in the face of an indifferent or hostile world, and by purely spiritual and moral means without shedding a drop of blood except that of its own innocent martyrs."--Schaff, 1-196-7.

 

"The Christians of the first century worshipped in p• ivate houses. or in the open air, in remote Places, because they were not acknowledged by the sta`e, and were often persecuted. It was not till the third century that they could venture to give more publicity to their service, and build places of worship."-Brown, 366. "The Church in the days of the Apostles eviden'.ly had no building set apart as special places Df worship, for Paul refers to 'he church in the homes of different brethren. ( Ro 16:5; Col 4:15; Phm 25)."-Elder Pittman.

 

"Nymphas, and the church which is in his house."-Col 4:15. "Analogous to a Christian assembly meeting at the house of Nymphas may be mentioned that Aquilla and Priscilla had such, both in their house at Ephesus, {1Co 16:19} and at Rome, {Ro 16:5} and that Philemon had such in his house at Colosse (Phm 25). As the early Christians had no houses of worship, different assemblies of the same church were often compelled to meet in separate places. Separate buildings for public worship seem not to be traced earlier than the third century."-Clark.

 

The Primitive Christians believed and advocated the sinfulness and condemnation of man, as the result of Adam's Fall; and Primitive Baptists today declare the same Bible doctrine.

 

"That Adam in his first transgression, fell under the just and full condemnation of God's holy law; that each and all of his posterity were then represented by him as their earthly head, and consequently in their descent from him have inherited his same fallen nature and condition of guilt and depravity; so are by nature (or their earthly birth) corrupted and defiled (in body, soul, intellect, will, and affections), and justly condemned under the great penalty of the Adamic-sin; subject to all the sorrowful and many resulting consequences, both temporal and eternal: and that,hey have neither will nor power to deliver themselves from this awful curse of their lost and ruined state."

 

"Death, signifies, (1) The separation of the soul from the body-Ge 25:11. This is temporal death. (2) A separation of soul and body from God's favor in this life, which is the state of all unregenerated and unrenewed persons, who are without the light of knowledge, and the quickening power of grace.-Lu 1:79. This is spiritual death. (3) The perpetual separation of the whole man from God's heavenly presence and glory, to be tormented forever with the devil and his angels.- Re 2:11; Mt 25:41. This is the second death, or eternal death. To all these kinds of death, Adam made himself and his posterity liable, by transgressing the commandment of God in eating the forbidden fruit.--Ge 2:17."-Cruden.

 

"The whole race of mankind were in the loins of Adam, when he transgressed the command of God, and were with him involved in the same condemnation."-Hawker, 8-277. "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for (margin, `in whom') that all have sinned."Ro 5:12. "'By one man all men became sinners, and hence death passed upon all men, through that one man, in whom all sinned.' This, no doubt, is the true meaning of the whole verse." -Ro 5:12-Hodge, Rom 117.

 

Augustine taught the corruption of the whole mass of mankind through original sin, and all deserving of damnation because of the sin of the first man.-Zanchius. "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." -1Jo 1:8 "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness."-Mr 7:21-22; Jer 17:9; Ps 51:5; Ro 3:9-19. Original sin in the heart is the fountain from which flows all the streams of actual sins, in thought, word and deed. Man is always more sinful in his heart than he is in his outward acts, for he is not capable of fully putting into execution, all the evil thoughts and intents of his corrupt heart. But all these wicked thoughts and desires are black with damning guilt in God's holy eyes. "The Scriptures never hesitate for a moment to ascribe absolute holiness to God, and all the guilt of every sinful act to the sinner."-Hassell, 652.

 

"The first sin in the world was on many accourts, the greatest sin that ever was in the world."-Owen. "In Adam was the first spring andfountain of evil. We are but filthy drops of the same filthy stream."-Wm. Gadsby, 2-295.

 

Sin is surely the meritorius cause of any man's damnation. For those finally lost (those departing this life in unbelief and impenitence) are condemned and lost most justly; while all those saved are saved in a way of Sovereign Grace and mercy through Jesus Christ. who came into this world "to seek and to save that which was lost." -Lu 19:10.

 

Our father Adam by his one and first disobedience sunk all of his unborn race with him into his very same condition of defilement and condemnation; and therefore by Nature, none of his descendents are any better than he was when driven from the Garden of Eden. "We distinctly affirm that spiritual death, and in consequence, eternal death, is the chief and appalling feature of the Fall of man."-Parks, Five-Points, 14.

 

Ro 5:12-21 "Let us from this portion of the sacred Scriptures learn habitually to look upon ourselves, and the whole human race, as lying in the ruins of the Fall; sinners by nature and pratice, exposed to condemnation, and no more able to save our own souls from hell, than to rescue our own bodies from the grave."-Scott, 3-505.

 

"From the sin of Adam arises the corruption of nature, with which all mankind, descending from him by ordinary generation, are infected; and from the corruption of nature, or indwelling sin, arise many actual sins and iniquities which are called in Scripture, the works of the flesh, or corrupt nature, in distinction from the fruits of the Spirit."-Gill, Bod. Div., 1-491.

 

Salvation by Jesus Christ means the deliverance of sinners from the bondage, corruption, guilt and curse of sin, and their just condemnation to eternal death; together with the conferring upon them of everlasting blessedness in Heaven. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift bf God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." -Eph 2:8-9 "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace. which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began."-2Ti 1:9. "But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they."-Ac 15:11. "Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."-Ro 3:24. "Salvation belongeth unto the Lord: thy blessing is upon thy people."-Ps 3:8. "All the glory of salvation belongs to the Lord, Father, Son, and Spirit, and should be given to the Father as the Contriver of it, to the Son as the Author of it and to the Spirit as the Applier of it."-Gill, 3-598.

 

"Bible Baptists believe the doctrine of salvation by grace alone, because it is unmistakably taught in the Scriptures, and not because Augustiree or any other man since the Apostles has believed and maintained it."-Hassell, 395.

 

Grace: "The divine unmerited favor towards man." "Grace in the strict sense of the term is spontaneous favor to the guilty or undeserving." -Webster. "The unmerited love and favor of God in Christ; hence, free gift."-Funk and Wagnalls.

 

"The grace of God may be considered as displayed in acts of goodness towards His creatures. especially men, and is no other than His free favor and good will to men; it is no other than love unmerited and undeserved, exercising and communicating itself to them in a free and generous manner; which they are altogether unworthy of."-Gill. "The gospel is a system of grace. All its blessings are gratuitously bestowed; all is so ordered in every step of the progress of redemption and its consumation, that the grace, or undeserved love of God, is conspicuously displayed. Nothing is given or promised on the ground of merit. Everything is an undeserved favor. That salvation was provided at all, is a matter of grace and not of debt. That one man is saved, and another not, is to the subject of salvation, a matter of grace."-Hodge. 2-654.

 

"How glad I am that salvation is all of grace!

 

The longer I live, the more I know of myself, the more I am established in this blessed truth, a truth that God has made dear to my soul. And, were it not that salvation, from beginning to end, is all of grace, there would be no hope of my getting to heaven. * * All the difference between us and an ungodly world is by the grace of God, so we have nothing in ourselves to glory in; there is no room for boasting. Had it not been for the grace of God, we would have continued where we were."-Gospel Standard, July, 1929.

 

"Because He delighteth in mercy."-Mic 7:18. "Which is natural to Him, abundant with Him, and exercised according to His sovereign will and pleasure, very delightful to Him; He takes pleasure in showing mercy to miserable creatures, and to those that hope in it; {Ps 147:11} this is the spring of pardon, which streams through the blood of Christ."-Gill, 6-633.

 

Paul preached not himself, but Christ Jesus the Lord. His text, sermon, doctrine, substance, and application, was all Christ. He preached wholly of grace; and that it was God alone who first commanded light from darkness, to whom he looked, to give light and understanding in his hearers' hearts.-Hawker, 2Co 4:1-7.

 

"Christ hath redeemsd us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us."-Ga 3:13. "In whom we have redemption through His blood."- Eph 1:7; Col 1:14 "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us."-Heb 9:12. "But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God"-Heb 10:12. "For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost."Lu 19:10. "If we seek salvation, we are taught by the name of JESUS, that it is in Him."-Calvin, 1-475. It is idolatry to trust in anything other than Jesus Christ for eternal life and salvation.

 

Redemption (which is only by Jesus as the Great High Priest of His people) is a very rich blessing of our gracious God's sovereign grace, and indeed is a most wonderful and very important subject for all seriously anxious (or spiritously awakened) minds to contemplate. Because none can possibly ever enter heaven without a perfectly good and valid title thereto, and it is the blessed Saviour's redemption alone that gives sinners this purchased title. The great saving virtue of His marvelous redemption is most surely the glory of the Christian Religion, because it securely embraces the delivering strength of all the saving promises of God. And through this Redemption of Jesus Christ, not only is the full demands of God's Justice against His people satisfied, but His Justice is glorified.

 

"Redeem: To rescue and deliver from the bondage of sin and the penalties of God's violated law." "Redemption: Deliverance from the bondage and consequences of sin; specifically. deliverance by the atonement of Christ from the bondage of sin and the penalties for violation of God's law; salvation."-Webster. "Redeem: To purchase back; recover, as from captivity; deliver, as from sin." "Redemption: Salvation from sin through the atonement of Christ."-Funk and Wagnalls.

 

"But He was wounded and scourged, that we might be healed; He was arrayed with scorn in the purple robe that He might procure for us sinners, `The robe of righteousness and salvation;' He was crowned with thorns, that we might be `crowned with honor and immortality;' He stood speechless, that we might have an all- prevailing plea; He endured torture, that we might have `a strong consolation;' He thirsted, that we might enjoy His favor; He `was numbered with transgressors.' that we might be made `equal to angels;' He died that we might live forever."Scott, 3-366.

 

If there be a doctrine of the gospel with which we should desire to be acquainted, a doctrine on which our salvation and comfort depend, it is that of the translation of our sins to Christ. From this fountain the streams of salvation flow. If sin itself be not transferable, He could not have borne all the effects and consequences of our iniquities. The principal part of the punishment of sin consists in a sense of guilt, and of divine wrath; but neither of these could Immanuel have endured unless He had borne our sins themselves. If sin be not transferable, then infinite justice still finds guilt upon believers and glorified saints, and will ever do so. But contrary to this, the Scripture represents it as the glory of Salvation that the guilt of sin itself is done away in the blood of the Lamb. Our sins were so transfered to Christ that had He not conquered and destroyed them they would have destroyed Him. His resurrection was proof that sin was on Him no longer.-Rushton.

 

We surely will not honor Jesus Christ very highly, nor look to Him very strongly for salvation, if we have no well-defined views of His great Atonement. And in harmony with such feeble conceptions, may suppose that is was so loosely designed and arranged, that it was made for nobody in particular, but just for anybody. probably for everybody, though possibly for nobody.

 

"Old School, Primitive. or Bible Baptists, believe and rejoice in the absolute sovereignty of God, their heavenly Father-in the entire dependence of all His creatures upon Him, both in nature and in grace; a doctrine that leads its adherents to abandon all confidence in creature power, and to exercise a living and a loving trust in the Most High."-Hassell, 327.

 

"Speak thou the things which become sound doctrine."-Tit 2:1. Paul most certainly considered sound doctrine very essential or he would never have written this. And it is most surely a fact, which cannot be too strongly emphasized, that sound doctrine and practice has never, never injured any church in the least; but the lack of this kind of doctrine and practice has indeed injured very many. The Apostles no doubt preached after the very same doctrinal way they wrote, and their strong doctrinal sentiments were therefor, the very doctrines of the New Testament Churches. Consequently, these Early Churches were far from being Arminian or Pelagian churches, but were actually Predestinarian in their creed. Bible Baptists have always consistantly held to the Bible Doctrines of the Omnipotence, Sovereignty, Immutability, Foreknowledge, Predestina.ion Election, and Eternal Purposes of the Almighty God. Surely these Divine truths characterise the true Church, and I believe strongly identifies the Primitive Baptists with the New Testament Churches.

 

All Bible believers should ever remember that the most holy and all-wise God invariably acts from the purest and most worthy purposes and motives; however unfathomable His actions may appear to feeble, fallen and altogether unworthy human beings. It should never be forgotten that it is His wonderful love, and not their deservings, that is the real cause of His gracious blessings being bestowed on poor, sinful and justly condemned characters. And also that all the motives of this wonderful love and mercy are all from His own breast. If professors of religion have any real love for the Lord or His Church, surely they should desire to praise and honor His grea. name. For surely His own glory and praise has always been the first consideration with Him in all His wonderful works and purposes, and therefore such praise should be the first consideration with them, and not their own honor and praise.

 

"Doctrine, the principles or positions of any sect or master. As the doctrines of the Bible arthe first principles and the foundation of religion, they should be carefully examined and well understood. The Scriptures present us with a copious fund of evangelical truth, which, though it has not the form of a regular system, yet its parts are such, that, when united, make the most complete body of doctrine that we can possibly have."-Henderson-Buck, 253.

 

"Predestination is one of the revealed doctrines of God's Word. It is frequently noticed by the inspired writers, and consequently, belongs to us. We should lovingly receive it, and try to understand it, and never slight the Mighty One by whose authority prophets, apostles, and evangelists penned the Sacred Writings, by attempting to argue it out of the Scriptures, or to pass it by as a dreaded mystery, of which we should not think, and which the Spirit ought not to have revealed. * * The scriptural authority for this doctrine is unquestionable."-Cathcart, 2-934.

 

Primitive Baptists agree that no point of doctrine can be of the least importance, only so far as it agrees with and is confirmed by the Bible And I fully believe that the Bible surely does contain such plainly stated points of doctrine that may be easily expressed in other than the exact scriptural language. And by doing so, the Primitive Baptists in all ages have shown where they have doctrinally stood It is by such Articles of Faith that we plainly can see where our forefathers stood; and by our's, our successors will as unmistakably know where we have stood. And it is a positive truth that no church in any age can safely lay aside the fundamental truths of the Scriptures.

 

"Primitive Baptists stand by their Articles; they read them, they believe them to be true, and they preach the doctrine contained in them; and hope that themselves and their successors will continue to do so even to the end of the world." -Hassell, 837. "The doctrine and practice of the true Church is the same in all ages; there can be no change."-Eld. G. M. Thompson, Measuring Rod, page iv.

 

"The first community of the followers of Christ was formed at Jerusalem, soon after the death and resurrection of their Master Another at Antioch, in Syria, first assumed, about the year 45, the name of Christians. which had originally been given them by their enemies, as a term of reproach; and the travels and ministry of the Apostles and other missionaries, soon spread Christianity through the Roman Empire. Palestine, Syria, Natolia, Greece, the islands of the Mediterranean, Italy, and the northern coast of Africa, as early as the first century, contained numerous societies of Christians. Their lives were spiritual and holy, their ecclesiastical practices simple, and conformable to the nature of their religion, and the humble circumstances in which they were placed, and they continued to acquire strength amidst all kinds of persecution."-Henderson-Buck, 157.

 

"During the first three centuries, Christian congregations all over the east, subsisted in separate independent bodies unsupported by government, and consequently without secular power over one another. All this time they were Baptists churches."-Orchard, 1-36. "The churches, during this early period, were strictly Baptist in their practice and constitution."Orchard, 1-51.

 

"What kind of church was the first church? Answer: It was composed of baptised believers. And believers who are baptised by a proper administrator and by the proper mode, constitute a Baptist Church."-Elder Pittman, Ques. and Ans., 17. "The first of all the Christian churches founded by the Apostles, was that at Jerusalem; and after the form and model of this, all the others of that age were constituted."Mosheim, 1-46. "The new churches everywhere formed themselves, on the model of the mother church at Jerusalem."-Giesler, 1-29. "This church of Jerusalem was composed of those only who `gladly received the word and were baptised.' * * This church so constituted is the acknowledged pattern or model by which other Christian churches were formed. * * This model imitated, occasioned a harmony in practice."Orchard, 6, 7.

 

It plainly seems that all Baptist historians have always taken the position that the true Church has had a continuous existence from the time of Jesus Christ and His Apostles. "We Baptist claim, that from the time of its organization on earth, it has stood distinct and visible. until the present time. * * Any statement that may be made by any person, coming from any quarter, that would have the tendency to make the impression that the Church died out, contradicts God's Word. * * We believe that Jesus Christ Himself instituted the Church; that it was perfect at the start, suitably adapted in its organization to every age of the world, to every locality of earth, to every state and condition of mankind, without any changes or alterations to suit the times, customs, situations and localities."-Elder Potter, 180.

 

Mosheim says, All the churches of those primitive times were independent bodies, none of them subject to the jurisdiction of any other. Each church was a little independent republic, governed by its own laws. It is clear as noon day, that all Christian churches had equal rights, and were in all respects on a footing of equality. "When we search the Scriptures. we find in them abundant evidence of the Divine institution of the church. The Greek word Ekklesia, meaning `the called out,' the church of God, is used 110 times in the New Testament in reference to the Christian church. * * We thus find, in the Scriptures, copious and indisputable evidence of the Divine institution and authority of each local church of Christ as established to-day among Primitive Baptists."-Elder Hassell, Churches and Associations, 3, 6.

 

"An exact likeness, therefore, of the apostolic churches should be sought at the outset, as the test to which every position and fact in the whole investigation must be brought back and tried. We never can be wrong in following the pattern found in the constitution of the apostolic churches."-Armitage, 114. "In the Apostolic Age, the church was a local body; each church was entirely independent of every other church. The simple term `Ecclesia' denotes one congregation, or organized assembly, and no more, this being its literal and primal meaning."-Armitage, 118. "`Ecclesia' in the New Testament never means the building or house of assembly, for church buildings were long after the apostolic age. It means an organized body. Church, is used of one or more particular Christian associations, even one small enough to worship together in one house; Ro 16:5"Fausset, 130.

 

"The usual and common accepta.ion of the word (ecclesia) is that of a particular Church, that is, a society of Christians, meeting together in one place under their proper pastors, for the performance of religious worship and the exercising of Christian Discipline."-Graves. "Each gospel church is a separate and independent republic, having Christ as its only Head and Lawgiver, and not subject, in ecclestical matters, to any outside jurisdiction; such, according to the ablest scholars and historians, was not only every apostolic church in the first century, but also of the second century."-Hassell, 292.

 

The "Kingdom of Heaven," the "Kingdom of God," and the word "Kingdom," are often used in the New Testament. Jesus Christ is indeed a King in and over His Kingdom, in whatever sense it may be used. In some places this Kingdom has reference to the Gospel or Christian dispensation; in others, to the reign of grace in the hearts of believers; and we believe also in others, to the full enjoyment of spiritual blessings in the world of glory. To me it is plain that this word is used with different meanings. But as at least a part of the work of Jesus Christ was to build and establish His Church on earth, it would reasonably seem that in some of these places, there is more or less reference to the Primitive Church. For this Church was most surely of very great importance in His eyes, and therefore we should value it quite highly. This Church was the only organization that He left to His followers. And it was not just for that age alone, but was intended in its order and practice for a pattern to all ages until the end of time. Therefore, no departures from its primitive simplicity should be made, or any new institutions added to it. May the gracious Lord enable all His people to ever keep within the Scriptures in their Faith and Practice, and thereby keep the dear Church free from all the institutions of men.

 

"These early, original Bible Baptists, had everything essential for them to have. The only thing required of them was to follow Him. The only established organization He left them was the Church. The Church He left was certainly a model Church, and as it was then, just so it should be now."-Eld. J. S. Newman, Primitive Baptist, March 2, 1933.

 

"A visible church is always in Scripture a local body; and every local church, acting by a majority of its members, {2Co 2:6} is invested by Christ with the exclusive and final power of receiving disciplining, excluding and restoring is members, electing its officers, and transacting all other necessary business. * * The church is repeatedly declared in the New Testament to be the body of Christ; the only Head, therefore, of this body, is Christ, who guides and controls and preserves the church as His body. * * It cannot be repeated too often that each gospel church is according to Christ and His Apostles, the highest ecclesiastical authority on earth."-Hassell, 291-3.

 

"The local church was the only Church known to the Apostles themselves, the only body which they ever addressed, and which they knew collectively as the `Churches scattered abroad.' The Church of Rome was made up of those who lived there, who were `beloved of God, called to be saints;' that at Corinth of `them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus;' and the Church at Ephesus `of the faithful in Christ Jesus,' who lived there. Even those who attended worship with those Churches, but were not numbered with the believers, had nothing to do with their government. Only those who were born of God, and met in any place for the purposes of a Church under obedience to Christ's law, were the Christian Church in that place. There may have been more than one Church in a given city; but there is nothing in the New Testament to show, that one central body in that city governed all its Churches, if there was more than one. The power of discipline being lodged in the local Church, all its members took part in its enforcement. * * The words which express the rights of these Churches, harmonize with the principles on which they were formed. The Epistles are not addressed to their officers, but to the Churches themselves, and none of these letters either deny the right of selfgovernment to the Churches, or instruct another body to regard itself as higher than the Churches; but every thing was to be done by their will. The Churches held the supreme place in all things, each being expected to rectify its own evils; and no outside power is appealed to, to do this, nor is the local Church itself referred to others for their supervision. There was nothing that partook in the slightest degree of an Apostolic hierachy, and no Church ranked above another in control. Each Church was a society, a family, a republic in itself, forming a perfect sovereignty for the ends of self-government. Every foundation principle was laid down indeed by the precepts or example of Christ and the Holy Spirit, or by the Apostles, and nothing could be enforced without this sanction. So then, no legislative power was given to them, but only the power of administration."-Armitage.

 

"That form of the Primitive Churches which was derived from the Church of Jerusalem, erected and organized by the Apostles themselves, must be accounted divine."-Mosheim, 1-81. What use should any body or organization of professed Christians have for the Bible, if not expressly to instruct, direct and control them in all matters of worship, practices and church relations?

 

There must indeed be a real need for this Church on earth. It is a home for the Lord's dear people-those who feel to be weary and heavy-laden. Jesus said to one, "Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee."-Mr 5:19. Jesus Christ called it "My Church."-Mt 16:19. It is called the "Church of God."-Ac 20:28. He is the chief Corner stone.-Eph 2:20. And the Head of this Church. -Col 1:18; Eph 1:22.

 

"No man, or set of men, on earth today has a right to give one law to govern the Church of God. The giving of orders was never in the hands of men since the days of the apostles. The laws that govern the activity of the Church in every age were given, and no place can ever be found to change them in the least. God saw her in every age, under every condition, and supplied her with everything that she will ever need."-Elder J. M. Bullard.

 

"Yet, this fact is perfectly clear, namely: That the New Testament contains all that entered into the faith and practice of the apostolic churches. It is the only revealed record of Christian truth It is stamped with the divine character, and it utterly excludes every species of authority from uninspired sources. When the line is drawn between the close of inspiration and all af;ertime, what follows stands upon another and lower level, and can be no authority whatever."-Armitage.

 

About the year 42, a church was formed at Antioch, it is believed by Paul and Barnabas. "Next after Jerusalem the most noted city in the history of the Apostolic Church."-Boyd. "Here Christianity flourished to such a degree for many ages, that it obtained the appellation of 'Theophilus. or the city of God,' and this church was considered as the first and chief of the Gentile churches."-Jones, 1-58. The first pastor of this church was Evodius, and the second was Ignatius. -Gill, 8-259.

 

Ac 2:2-41 "Every requisite for church-membership is here enumerated, not only for the Apostolic days, but for future ages. * * * The Church then at this period, was a body of baptised men and women who believed in Jesus as the Christ, and in the revelation made by Him, who were united by having the same faith. hope, and animating Spirit of love."-Smith. 161. "At that time they (the apostles) preached to the devout Jews assembled at Jerusalem, addressing them in the language of the different countries from whence they came; at which they were all amazed, and gladly received the word, and were baptized to the number of 3 000 souls. Thus was formed the first Christian church at Jerusalem, A. D. 33, and James the Less or Just, the cousin of the Lord, was chosen as its first presbyter or bishop." -Mitchell. Ac 4:4 "See how.he gospel got ground, and it was the effect of the pouring out of the Spirit. Though the preachers were persecuted, the word prevailed; for sometimes the church's suffering days have been her growing days; the days of her infancy were so."-Henry, 5-21. "And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women." -Ac 5:14.

 

"Churches, Apostolic, such Christian. societies as were formed in the days and with the sanction of the Apostles. It clearly appears that such churches were not national; they were not even provincial; for, though there were many believers and professing Christians in Judea, in Galilee, in Samaria in Macedonia, in Galatia, and other provinces, yet we never read oof a provincial church in any of those places. The particular societies of Christians in these districts are memtioned in the plural number.-2Co 8:1; Ga 1:2; Ac 9:31. No mention is made of dioceasan churches in the New Testament. In the days of the Apostles, bishops were so far from presiding over more churches than one, that sometimes a plurality of bishops presided over the same church.-Php 1:1. Nor do we find any mention made of parochal churches. * * On these principles it is maintained that the primitive churches of Christ were properly congregational. The first church at Jerusalem met together in one place at the same time.-Ac 1:14-15. The church at Antioch did the same.-Ac 14:27. The church of Corinth the same.-1Co 14:23. The same did the church at Troas.-Ac 20:7. There was a church at Cenchrea, a port of Corinth, distinct from the church in that city.-Ro 16:1. He that was a member of one church was not a member of another. Such a church is a body distinguished from the civil societies of the world by the spiritual nature and design of its government; for though Christ would have order kept in His church, yet this is to be done solely by the influence of His authority."-Henderson-Buck, 161-2.

 

"The Christian societies, instituted in the cities of the Roman Empire, were united only by th' ties of faith and charity. Independence and equality formed the basis of their internal constitution; and they were in every way corresponding to churches of the Baptist denomination at the present day, in the admission of members, discussing affairs, dismissing brethren, or excluding offenders."-Orchard, 22. "The Baptists may be considered as the only Christian community which has stood since the days of the Apostles, and as a Christian society which has preserved pure the doctrines of the gospel through all ages."-Ypeij and Dermont; Brown, 795; Hassell, 471. "The learned Mosheim said of the Baptists of his day, that `their origin was hidden in the remote depths of antiquity.'"-Hassell, 283.

 

"The first Christians were undoubtedly all Baptists, and we believe they will all be Baptists again, when they are all brought to keep the Ordinances of Christ as they were first delivered to the saints."-J. Davis., 17Z. "The teachings of the Apostles, then, are the teachings of Christ, and they. with those of Christ, constitute a perperfect directory to ministers of all they are to teach men to observe pertaining to Christianity, and consequently of all things pertaining to the formation and government of a Christian Church." -Graves, 548.

 

"Bible Baptists believe that, not only in the first, but also in every succeeding century, God has had on earth faithful, spiritual, unworldly, apostolic churches."-Hassell, 292. "The claim of any people as being a church of Christ is good just so far as it is in accord with the Apostolic Churches, and no farther; or, in other words, identity with the Apostolic Church is to be determined by steadfast continuance in the Apostles' doctrine."-Eld. Stewart, 153.

 

"We affirm that the Primitive Baptist Church is scripural in origin, doctrine and practice. It is scripural in origin, because having Jesus Christ for its Founder, Builder, and Head; by whom it was set up and has been preserved. It is scriptural in doctrine, because it faithfully promulgates the doctrine of God our Saviour. It is scriptural in practice, because it is careful to follow the commands given in the New Testament."

 

"It will be seen that the Baptists claim the high antiquity of the commencement of the Christian church. They can trace a succession of those who have believed the same doctrine and administered the same ordinances directly up to the apostolic age."-Belcher, 53. "It is a fact worthy of note that no well informed historian has ever attempted to locate the time, place, and manner of the origin of the Baptist denomination this side of Christ and the apostles. But all historians can tell the year, country, and the manner of the rise of all other denominations"-Ray.

 

And here we contemplate the beginning of the establishment of Christ's kingdom here in the world; or which is the same thing, the erection of the first Christian church. But we should endeavor to trace out a concise description of it in a few leading particulars. Jesus answered Pilate that His kingdom was not of this world, and in the church at Jerusalem we see this truth exemplified. We there behold a company of selfcondemned sinners, who under the impending wrath of heaven had fled for refuge to the mercy of God, freely proclaimed to them in the gospel of salvation. They were persons who believed what these inspired witnesses testified concerning the mission, character, sufferings, death, resurrection and ascension into heaven of the Son of God; and who under all their accumulated guilt and wretchedness, found enough in these things to encourage their hope of forgiveness, and even fill their souls with peace and joy. The Gospel which the apostles preached was that which exactly suited their case-it contained no rules or directions about what they should do in order to atone for their deep and aggravated guilt; for they found all that was necessary to satisfy the most troubled conscience in the doctrine concerning the Son of God, as delivered for the offenses. of the guilty and raised again for their justification. They publicly professed that all their hope of salvation centered in these things. The doctrine which they believed and in which they found all their happiness and joy, was the common bond of union among them. They loved one another for the truth's sake, which dwelt mutually in them, and prompted them to take a lively interest in each other's spiritual welfare. Having experienced much forgiveness at the hands of God, they were influenced to love much it is evident, therefore, that they were not connected together by any of those ties which constitute the spring of action in the kingdoms of this world. In men actuated by such noble and disinterested principles, human policy could have no place. Their fears, hopes, joys and sorrows were all of a spiritual and heavenly tendency; and they were animated by one object of pursuit, the attainment of that glory, honor and immortality promised them by the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus was the kingdom of Christ established with all possible evidence that it was not of this world. What laws were given were of divine authority-they were held superior to all other laws. What power appeared was the power of God working in a miraculous manner, and with supernatural efficency. The riches and honors of this world were not promised Es members., nor were they allowed any hope of reigning in this life, but they were assured of being exposed to poverty, contempt, and every form of persecution. Neither their principles nor practices were conformable to this world. And if this be a just representation of the church or kingdom of Christ as it appeared in its establishment, it is manifest that where ever we trace it in subsequent periods., we must find something that resembles it in its leading features. We shall discern a people, holding the same views of the character and work of the Saviour; owning subjection to Him as. the King whom God hath set upon His holy Hill of Zion; evincing their ellegiance to Him by an implicit obedience to His laws, institutions, and ordinances; and discarding the doctrines and commandments of man. The church at Jerusalem was. designed to serve as a pattern, in its faith and order, to all succeeding churches, to the end of the world."-Jones, 48-50.

 

"The church of the first century forms the standard and example for the church of all future ages. Should there exist now on earth a body of professed Christians who occupy the same ground in faith and practice as that of the first century, they are RIGHT; and if any should lee found occupying a different position, they are WRONG. The true church of Christ and false or merely nominal churches are to be distinguished by a comparison with the apostolic standard."-Hassell, 269. "The position of the apostolic church must be the standard and example to be followed by all subsequent believers in Christ; and all subsequent bodies of people professing Christianity may, by comparison, see where they stand, whether on the side of Divine truth, or on the side of human -error. As they conform to the Pattern, they are to be accepted; and as, they lack this conformity, they are to be rejected."-Hassell, 326.

 

"Of all the periods connected with church history, none is so important or interesting, as that of the Apostolic Age. Two gifts are peculiar to this age, vis., that of the Apostolate and of Inspiration. The Apostolate constitutes the direct witness for Christ, and the judgment from which there is no appeal; and the Inspiration, the Holy Ghost given in extraordinary measure, to lay a solid foundation upon which the church in all ages must be built up. These two great facts of the Apostolic Age claim our attention."-Hassell, 226. Where is Babylon? Where in Nineveh? Where is Tyre? What is become of all the great monarchies of the earth: the Egyptian, the Assyrian, the Grecian, Persian, Roman? Alas! not a vestige remains. But glorious things are spoken of thee, thou City of God.-Ps 87:3. Reader! do not, I pray you, overlook the cause. Was Zion lovely in herself? Was Zion great? Was Zion deserving? No! What was it made her glorious? Jesus fixed His love upon her. And Jesus tabernacled there. Salvation did God appoint for walls and bulwarks.-Isa 26:1. Reader, have you so considered Zion! He that founded Zion is Zion's Protector. "The Lord hath founded Zion."Hawker, 4-316.

 

"In the Apostolic Age, the services of public worship consisted of prayer, praise, and the preaching of the word, probably with reading of the Old Testament writings, and the New Testament writings, as they appeared and were circulated through copies." "The worship of the Early Christians was simple and spiritual."

 

"Salvation belongeth unto the Lord."-Ps 38. "All the glory of salvation belongs to the Lord, Father, Son, and Spirit, and should be given to the Father as the contriver of it, to the Son as the author of it, and to the Spirit as the applier of.it."-Gill, 3-598.

 

Solomon was plainly speaking of the one true Church when inspired to write, "My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother."-Song 6:9. And this Church or spiritual Kingdom most certainly possesses some well defined and plainly distinguishing characteristics. Hassell's History, 269-326, gives twelve Marks of this Apostolic Church, very plainly stated and most ably defended. The following is but little more than the different headings:

 

TWELVE MARKS OF THE APOSTOLIC CHURCH. "1. The Apostolic Church consisted only of those persons who had been convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit, and who had been given signs of repentence toward God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Their faith was the faith of God's elect, {Tit 1:1} a steadfast adherence to the doctrine of the apostles and prophets." ('Faith is a divinely wrought, loving, and hearty reliance upon God and His promise of salvation through Christ.' This is the best definition of evangelical faith that I have ever seen." -Hassell.)

 

"2. True baptism-the immersion of believers in water, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Those giving credible evidence of a living, personal faith in the Triune Jehovah were taken by the ministry, or persons authorized by the church, and dipped, plunged, overwhelmed or inundated in water, in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Ghost. Thus were those already born of the Spirit born symbolically of the water, and initiated into the membership of the visible church, entitled to all her privileges and exposed to all her persecutions." (Since Jesus Christ is the only door to heaven and the source of all spiritual blessings, I think that His work of grace in the heart, or Christian experience, may be conosidered as the first and secret door of the church; and secondly, the vote of the church may be considered as the visible door of entrance, because members are taken into her body by vote. Some may so idolize baptism as to consider it the door of their church, but no Primitive Baptist should ever want to so worship this ordinance. "No ordinance of Christ must be put idolatrously in the place of Christ."-Hassell, 279).

 

"3. The members, being baptized believers, came frequently around the table of the Lord, and commemorated the sufferings and death of their precious Redeemer, by partaking of common bread to represent His body broken, and common wine to represent His blood shed for them. The two practices of baptism and the Lord's Supper or Communion, were called ordinances of the church, and were strictly observed."

 

"4. Was the maintaining of strict discipline. Christ was the only perfect being that ever lived on earth in human form. Neither the Apostles nor apostolic churches attained perfection in the flesh; but all intelligent students of the Scriptures and of church history admit that the strict precepts of the Apostles were more faithfully observed by the apostolic than they have been by any succeeding churches."

 

"5. The independent or congregational polity or government of each local church, subject only to the headship of Christ; all the local apostolic churches being united, by no outward bond of force, but 'by an inward bond of love. * * A visible church is always in scripture a local body: and every local church, acting by a majority of its members, is invested by Christ with the exclusive and final power of receiving, disciplining, excluding and restoring its members electing its officers, and transacting all other necessary business." So their obligations and responsibities were very great.

 

"6. The religious liberty, soul-freedom, a complete separation of church and state, the entire I ndependence of each church from all state control so far as, regarded the membership, ministry, organization, faith, worship and discipline of the church."

 

"7. With few exceptions the members were generally poor, obscure, unlearned, afflicted, despised, and persecuted." ("Jesus would not, for He need not, have made His Church poor, had not poverty best suited her time-state of being. Sweet is that scripture, pray turn to it, for it suits the Church of Jesus in all ages; `I will also leave in the midst of thee, an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the Lord.'-Zep 3:12. Depend upon it, that it is our affliction and poverty, both in spirituals and temporals, which minister most advantagously to keep the heart near Jesus."-Hawker, 8-48. "For the most part, we find the Lord's people gathered from among the humbler walks of life, poor in worldly circumstances, as. well as poor in spirit."--8-370. "And the common people heard Him gladly."-Mr 12:37. "The success of our Saviour in His preaching was chiefly among the common or the poorer class of people. The rich and the mighty were too proud to listen to His instructions.."-Barnes, 386. Ac 8:1 "`And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem;' it began on that day, as the words may be rendered, on which Stephen was stoned. As soon as they had put him to death, these blood-thirsty wretches were the more greedy after the blood of others; and being now in great numbers, and filled with rage and fury, fell upon the members of the church, wherever they met them, and killed them; for that more, besides Stephen, were put to death, seems plain from Ac 26:10"-Gill, 8-219. "The New Testament furnishes not a shadow of support for the doctrine of persecution. The whole teaching and example of Christ and the Apostles are directly opposed to it. They suffered persecution, but they persecuted no one. Their weapons were spiritual not carnal."-Schaff, 7-695).

 

"8. The fraternal equality, the essential priesthood, of all the members, in accordance with which fact they chose to office among them those of their number whom they perceived to be already qualified thereunto by the Spirit of Godthere being but two classes of officers. Bishops, or Elders, or Pastors, and Deacons; the fraternal equality of all the members involving the fraternal equality of the ministry." ("The primitive deacons took care of the secular affairs of the church, received and disbursed monies, kept the church's accounts and provided every thing necessary for its temporal good.'-Brown, 441.)

 

"9. The possession of a humble, God-called and God-qualified ministry. The qualifications laid down in the New Testament for a gospel minister are that he must be a regenerated, Christ-loving, God-called and God-qualified man. * Sound in doctrine, able and apt to teach, and divinely impressed with the work of the ministry, not for ambitious or sordid ends, but for the good of men and the glory of God." (And such a ministry most surely will in any age, honor and praise God and greatly benefit His people, by preaching a full gospel. But that ministry will be sadly degraded, wherever it be, if it be money-called and man-qualified. "Elder, in the New Testament, is a general name, comprehending under it all such as have any ecclesiastical function, as apostles, pastors, teachers, or other church officers.-1Ti 5:17; Tit 1:5. The apostle Peter calls himself an elder.-1Pe 5:1." Cruden. "It is a fact now generally recognized by theologians of all shades of opinion, that in the New Testament, the same officer in the church is called indifferently, bishop and elder or prebyter."-Lightfoot, Eaton, 11. "At first all bishops were on an equality, no matter where their field of labor was located."-Cathcart, 225.

 

"10. That while the ministry received voluntary help from the churches, they were not salaried, but labored themselves, more or less, for their own support." (A salaried ministry commercializes preaching, and by making it a trade or profession, most certainly corrupts it. "For the first three centuries, the ministry were unsalaried, and received only voluntary contributions from the private members, who were themselves comparatively few and poor. But Constantine instituted the worldly and corrupt practice of paying the ministry a fixed salary." Hassell, 384.)

 

`` Note: I believe he was wrong on this point. See The Work on The Ministry vindicated by our Baptist brethren in 1680.'' __L.R. Rhodes__

 

"11. The sending out of the divinely called and qualified ministry by the Holy Spirit in themselves and in the churches, their going forth, whithersoever the Lord directed, in simple dependence upon Him, and their preaching the gospel to every creature, whether Jew or Gentile, and especially shepherding the lambs and sheep of Christ." (Could it ever have entered the minds of the Apostles, that the days would come when men would take upon themselves the sacred office for the sake of filthy lucre?-Hawker. 8-666.)

 

"12. That it was absolutely the only divinely recognized religious organization in the world. There was no forbidden, unhallowed and corrupting alliance between church and worldly societies and human institutions, combining believers and unbelievers, for carrying on God's work of evangelizing the nations; although, it would seem, such confederacies, if ever necessary, were most essential in the first establishment of the feeble church on earth."

 

Wealth and Popularity has always been a very strong corrupter of Scriptural Order and Practice. In the course of time they are certain to lead any church astray. For they lead to the practice of worldly things, and the more worldly things that any church adopts, the farther they_ get away from the New Testament model of the True Church. Fine and costly church buildings, in all ages of the world since the days of Constantine, have surely been the temples of man's pride and clearly exhibit the folly and love of display which is in the human heart. All such things are surely opposed to the spirit of true religion. For that which fosters pride cannot teach or lead to humility of heart. I think Primitive Baptists should build their church houses for their own comfort and convenience, and avoid display. The Lord is rightly worshipped by the love, gratitude and praise of believers' hearts. He dwelleth not in temples made with hands, neither is worshipped with man's hands, as though He needed any thing.-Ac 17:24-25. "Tradition is th corrupter of Doctrine, and Wealth the corrupter of Practice."-Hassell, 256.

 

"Let the ministers of churches faithfully devote themselves to the ministry of the Word, and let them never adulterate the doctrine of salvation, but deliver it pure and uncontaminated to the people of God."-Calvin, Ins., 1-368.

 

"An organization, professing to be the church of Christ, may have its millions of members who contribute their millions of dollars; it may have activity and a name to live, and may boast of its power and the possibilities before it. But if the Spirit of Christ and the true principles of His doctrine be not in it, then God will not own it as His kingdom; it is of the world." It is a positive reflection on the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord, to suppose that He did not know just what was best for His Church (both in early days and modern times) to believe and practice. Men have no Bible right whatever to alter either one to suit themselves, or to comply with the way they may think these ought to be, or to conclude that some new thing or practice would be an improvement upon the New Testament way.

 

Da 2:44; Mt 16:18 "Baptists claim these promises, because their churches are built according to the pattern Christ gave, and they take His teachings alone for the government of their faith and practice. They alone have existed as pure communities of Christians, from the day of His ascention until now."-Graves, 567.

 

Daniel prophesied that the Kingdom which the God of Heaven would set up should never be destroyed, but stand forever.-Da 2:44. Jesus Christ said, "Upon this Rock I will build My Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."-Mt 16:18. I believe that Jesus and Daniel had reference to the very same visible kingldom, and which has stood the test of time and survived all the opposition hurled against it, for it was to be a perpetual kingdom. ("The kingdom of God coincides with the idea of the church existing in the hearts, of men.'-Neander, 279. If a distinction be made between this kingdom and the church, the kingdom may be further defined as being invisible and spiritual, while the church be considered as the visible organization of some of her believing members. The "Rock" is Christ revealed in the heart-experience of His people.) This glorious church-kingdom then, as a living witness will stand, not in human strength, but by divine power and protection, until the end of time on earth. While many of its local organizations have and may go down, yet in this denomination, there will always be witnessing churches of this same early faith preserved.

 

"It is a most remarkable fact that, as Christ had warned His disciples (Lu 21:20-21 to flee to the mountains when they saw Jerusalem compassed with armies, history states that Cestius Gallus, prefect of Syria, having besieged Jerusalem for six days, when he might have captured it in an hour or less, yet to the universal surprise, abandoned the siege, Nov. A. D. 66, and retreated, and his army was destroyed; so that, before the final siege by Titus, in April, A. D. 70; all the Christians in Jerusalem, remembering the words of Christ emigrated beyond the Jordan to Pella, in the north of Perea, in the mountains of Gilead (some sixty miles northeast of Jerusalem), where king Herod Agrippa II, before whom Paul once stood, opened to them a safe asylum."-Hassell. 152. "Just before the destruction of Jerusalem, A. D. 70, this church retired to Pella, beyond the Jordan, and sojourned there `above sixty years in solitude and obscurity.'"-Hassell, 367.

 

"We read in the history of those awful times, when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans, that on the soldiers entering the temple and finding no image there, as they had been accustomed to in their idolatrous services, they ridiculed the Jewish religion, saying, that they worshipped the clouds."-Hawker, 7-162.

 

"What is the `rock' or foundation of the church? Answer: It is the knowledge of the truth revealed by God to His children; an understanding of Jesus and His work as `the way, the truth, and the life,'-really, Jesus Himself"-Elder Pittman, 17.

 

"In Mt 16:18, the Saviour says, speaking of this church: `The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.' This passage indicates, the perpetuity of the church. The word `gates' is put for military strength, and indicates that hell's mighty hosts, who rush out of her gates, the attack shall never vanish and destroy this church. If this prediction is true she has existed in all ages of the world, despite the persecutions through which she has passed."-Eld. J. H. Oliphant, 334-5.

 

"The Church of Christ has lived, and will continue to live, as long as Christ shall reign at the right hand of the Father, by whose power she is preserved in safety. For He will undoubtedly perform what He once Promised."-Calvin, 1-33.

 

The Church of Jesus Christ must be upheld and protected by Him, if it continues to live as a city set on a hill. But it is. possible for the members to idolatrously follow after the things which He has not commanded, and otherwise live in such a disobedient manner, as to cause Him in righteous judgment, to come and remove "thy candlestick out of his place."-Re 2:5. A faithful minister will warn the Lord's people against the - things which are so dangerous to their peace and fellowship, and destructive to the very life of their church. Satan is never better pleased than when leading believers astray into forbidden paths. But that Church will surely live where love, peace and fellowship abounds, and where the members walk in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

 

"As early as the end of the first century, Palestine, Syria, Asia Minor, Greece, the islands of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy, and the northern coast of Africa, contained many Christian societies. Their ecclesiastical discipline was simple and conformable to their humble condition, and they continued to acquire strength amidst all the persecutions that were raised against them.'Mitchell.

 

"The followers of the Saviour were few in number during His life to what they were soon after His resurrection and ascension to glory. He sent out twelve Apostles first to preach, and then seventy disciples afterwards, but their success appeared to be very limited as to the acquisition of members. Jesus called to Him whomsoever He would, and thus set up His gospel kingdom in the world. From among the number of His adherents, He ordained twelve to attend His ministry in person, to become witnesses of His miracles, of His doctrine and sufferings. As apostles they have no successors, and therefore all matters of faith and practice must be referred to them; that is, to their inspired writings. They received their instructions from the Saviour. He commanded them to teach and baptize the people who believe in Him, and then to teach them to observe all things whatsoever He commanded them.-Hassell, 185.

 

Jesus Christ learned nothing from human teachers. His wisdom was not of this world. He needed no visions and revelations like the prophets and apostles. He came directly from His great Father in heaven, and when Hee spoke of heaven, He spoke of His familiar home. He spoke from the fulness of God dwelling in Him. His doctrine comprehended the nature and perfections of His Father, and that He and the Father were one; the misery of fallen man; a declaration of His own character as the Son of God and the promised Messiah; the design of His mission into this world, which was to save His people from their sins, and who were the gift of the Father to Him; the impossibility of their perishing or being plucked out of His hand; His eternal union with them as their covenant Head: His giving them repentance and remission of sins; the divinely given immortality of the soul; the resurrection from the dead; the certainty of a future state of blessings and punishments; His appointment by His Father to judge the world in righteousness at the last day, and the certain assurance that the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, shall abide with His church forever. In the teaching and mediation of Christ was laid the foundation of Christianity, the principles of which were to be elucidated and made abundantly manifested by the descent of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost, who was to enlighten the understanding of His disciples and bring to their remembrance all things whatsoever that He had said unto them. He had directed His apostles to tarry in Jerusalem until they were endued with power from on high. Accordingly they did so, and ten days after His ascension the apostles and many disciples were found together in one place, when "suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." Such a miraculous display of divine power brought many thousands together to behold it, and three thousand of them being quickened into divine life by the Spirit of God, believed the preaching of the apostles and were added to the number in one day. Thus the mother church was fairly set up in Jerusalem, from which all others sprang. It was a Baptist church, composed of baptized believers; because all who believed, and made a profession of their faith, were baptized straightway. None others were reveived into fellowship and communion. And here is where the Baptists came from.-Hassell, 190-3.

 

"All historians speak of the Christian Church sustaining to an eminent degree, the character of a PURE VIRGIN, for above one hundred years. * * The first Christians were poor; and their benevolence towards each other was calculated to keep them free of worldly incumbrances, yet it is equally evident they were numerous."Orchard, 19-2b.

 

"It is certain, however, in the early days following the death of the Apostle John, that the Christians lived simple and zealous lives. * * * Through all of this period there were doubtless many churches that remained true to the New Testament ideals."-Christian.

 

"Christ was a Baptist, and His disciples were Baptists. John the Baptist, who was sent of God to baptize in water, received his authority from heaven and not from man. He baptized Christ and perhaps all his disciples. Christ perpetuated this ordinance by the commission given His Apostles; and He told them to tarry at Jerusalem until they were `endued with power from on high,' and then they were to begin their mission. This endowment they received on the memorable day of Pentecost, which may be regarded as the day of the inauguration of Christ as king of His visible kingdom. His Church on that day began its administration as the executive authority of that kingdom. The apostles then received the requisite gifts for their work, * * This was the Church the Lord added to daily, such as He would have to be saved. This was a Baptist Church, or at least a Church composed of believers who were all baptized."-Eld. Wilson Thompson, 281.

 

"With the Acts of the Apostles' we enter upon a very interesting part of the Divine Record concerning the Primitive Church. Its history at this period becomes highly important. We are given an account of the public manifestation of the ministry of the Holy Ghost, and which Jesus Christ had promised. The very marvelous Gift of the Holy Ghost is described. It is proven that Jesus Christ is the Founder and Builder of the Christian Church, and which was to stand until the end of the world. This Book also contains a brief history of the Apostles' ministry and miracles. It begins with the ascension of Jesus Christ, and reaches to the imprisonment of Paul at Rome; a period of about thirty years. It also gives an account of the First Church at Jerusalem, and of the progress there, and in Judea, and among the Gentiles. It records how the gospel went forth from Jerusalem and spread among other nations. It tells of the sufferings of the Primitive Christians, and with what patience and courage they bore their severe trials."

 

The Apostles and Primitive Christians were endowed with a holy boldness, and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit went in all directions, preaching the gospel of the kingdom. They stood in no fear of man, but feared God, and at the risk of their lives, determined to serve Him. They planted churches after the pattern of the one at Jerusalem, and they were independent bodies, distinct from each other, though all ofo the same faith and order. Each was a little "republic" within itself, governed by the rudiments of Christ and not of the world. After the apostles came pastors and deacons as officers in the churches.

 

Such was the evidence of divine authority attending the doctrine and labors of the apostles and early ministers of the gospel, that large numbers were added to the churches, and the interest was so great that some concluded they had turned the world upside down. The success which attended the early publication of the gospel was very wonderful. On the day the cripple man who lay at the gate of the temple was healed, five thousand were numbered among the believers. And all this, conquest was made by divine grace in direct opposition to earthly powers, both Jew and Gentle. If the religion of Christ prevailed in its infancy against the wishes and persecutions of the combined powers of earth, why should it not do so now, when it has. spread its roots with the growth of nearly twenty centuries? Is God Almighty more dependent NOW than He was THEN to carry on the work of evangelization? Some would have us believe so, who go about begging everybody to give sufficient funds to convert the whole world to God! How preposterous!-Hassell, 193-4.

 

The Epistles of the New Testament were divinely intended for the redeemed, regenerated and spiritual family of God, who inwardly feel their need of divine mercy and guidance and comfort and preservation; and these precious gifts of the divine Spirit should be constantly, habitually, familiarly and reverently studied. The system of salvation proclaimed by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to His apostles, and by them orally and in manuscript to contemporaneous and future generations, was perfect and complete in the outset. Unlike all other systems of religion, science, or art, nothing can be added to it or taken from it, to increase its beauty, usefulness or perfection: all attempts in this direction serve to mar rather than add luster to its excellence. And now for about two thousand years the only way to obtain a perfect knowledge of Christian principles, is to consult the original record and to gather a "Thus saith the Lord" for all that His people say and do. When men speak not according to this Word they speak at random, and give evidence that there is no light in'them.-Hassell, 205-13.

 

I wish that all who may read these lines would carefully consider how the gospel was spread in the first ages of the Primitive Church, and not forget that most positively this divine method should be considered as an infallibly correct guide for all missionary enterprises to the end of the world, for surely those Primitive preachers were Bible missionaries. They went forth under the influence, power and direction of the Holy Spirit alone. And as the gospel prospered so well during that age under the Lord's almighty power, and all-wise direction, surely none should conclude that His work of grace will be a failure now, unless aided by human hands and money.

 

Primitive Baptists are quite generally lovers of instrumental music in their homes, but they do not believe that such should be used in their churches as a part of their worship. They do not want any confusing noise to drown their voices and make unintelligible their words, for they want to sing with the spirit and with the understanding, {1Co 14:15} and with spiritual songs make melody in their hearts to the Lord.-Eph 5:15. "That instrumental music was not practiced by the Primitive Christians, but was the innovation of later times, is evident from church history." -Henderson-Buck.

 

Ps 150 "I never have been able to satisfy my mind that the expression here used of psaltery and harp, organs and loud cymbals, have the smallest reference to musical instruments. I am well aware that some commentators have conceived that they find authority for their use, in what is said of the harps used in heaven.-Re 14:2. But this, in my view, is advancing nothing; they might as well contended that what is said of the streets of heaven being paved with gold, literally means so.-Re 21:21. If musical instruments were used in the temple service, we may humbly observe, that they were suited to a dispensation of types and shadows only; similar to what the Apostle saith of other figurative services in the church: Heb 9:10. According to my apprehension, under a gospel dispensation, and in a gospel Church, the only stringed instruments to be used, are the strings of the heart"-Hawker, 4-639-40.

 

"Our oft-repeated statements that we take the Bible alone as our guide in doctrine and practice, should apply to all doctrine and practice-" "And it is the contention of Old Baptists that in the absence of scripture authority for church service, that said servioa should be excluded By this reasoning instrumental music in church service is excluded. So is salary for ministers," etc.-Eld. R. H. Pittman.

 

In order that the Primitive Baptists retain their right to be called Primitivee they must stand by the Scriptures, and carefully avoid all the manmade institutions that are so popular with the world.

 

"But, says an objector, `there are many things we should observe that the Scriptures do not mention, or give instruction upon.' Let the Apostle answer, `All Scripture is given by inspiration of God. and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.'-2Ti 3:16. Now, if the Scriptures are a `perfect' and 'thorough' furnisher unto all good works, what kind of religious works are those that are not included in this thorough furnishment? If there is anything that we should believe, teach or observe, that is not included in this perfect and thorough furnishment, then the Apostle was mistaken. If we affirm that there are other good works not mentioned in the Scriptures we contradict the Apostle, ignore his testimony, and set up human expediency as the rule to govern us in spiritual things."-Eld. P. T. Oliphant. 23-4.

 

"Now, listen while I tell you our reason for not trying to improve on the ways of our fathers in religion. It is because our religion is God-given, and men cannot improve what God has given. He has all wisdom, there can never be anything new with Him. He cannot improve on His own ways, for all He does is perfect. If men can improve on God's doctrine, it must be because they know more than God knows. If men can improve on the practices of the church, it must be because God did not see that time would change and demand something different to what was suitable in the time of Christ. We do not want to try to improve on the Bible, because we believe it to be the word of God."-Eld. Walter Cash.

 

"Perhaps as much fault is found with Primitive Baptists on the subject of Sunday Schools as any one thing. People profess to think that we are indifferent to teaching the Bible to our children. `Such a strange people, not to believe in Sunday Schools,' is a remark sometimes heard. The modern religious Sunday School is not a Bible institution. No one can find a word about such a thing in the New Testament. Neither is it an old institution, it is a modern idea. The first Sunday School was not a religious effort, and only dates back to 1781, when Robert Raikes, of England, gathered up poor children to give them the rudiments of a common education, and this was a laudable work. But later, religionists caught the idea and employed it as an annex to the church, and finally it became what has been called the `nursery of the church.' Why do not Primitive Baptists adopt this idea? Because originally the obligation to bring up children right was laid upon the parents themselves, and the history of the matter is that under that rule children have had a better influence brought to bear upon them than has been the case since they were turned over to the Sunday School. * * The home training is the Bible rule and the best rule that the world has ever known.'-Eld. Walter Cash.

 

The first Sunday School in America was started at Pawtucket, R. I, by Samuel Slater, in 1799. This was copied from the one formed in England by Robert Raikes in 1781. The primary object was the same in both cases; to take the poor and neglected children and give them a common school education, and such work was certainly commend-; able. This school was held on Sunday which gave it the name. But after awhile this early and worthy object was entirely lost sight of by the giving of modern religious instruction. We further object to Sunday Schools because we believe that so much error is now and has been taught in them, and this is wrong in the Lord's eyes, anywhere.

 

God requires parents to bring their children up themselves every day in their own homes, both by example and precept, in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.-Eph 6:4. This parents can and should do by their own lives and by their moral and religious instruction and advice to their children, and by daily reading the Bible to them and encouraging them to read it, and by taking them with them to church. Baptist parents have reared their children in this way for hundreds of years, and they should continue to do so. This is the way my father raised his children, and the way I have tried to raise mine.-Elder Hassell. The good effects of such scriptural home teaching lasts through life, and no man can improve upon this good old way.-Pr 22:6. Neither can parents escape their responsibilities by doing. differently.

 

"Let us not forget that true religion is unchangeable and cannot be improved by the wisdom of the world. If the religion of Christ and the Apostles was perfect in their day it is perfect today, and will be until the end of time. They set up for us in the Gospel Church the doctrine we should preach, the form of worship we should maintain, the practice we should follow, and the means and method of applying divine laws for the government of His Church. And men have no right to add anything thereto, nor take anything therefrom; and when they do so, they are guilty of rebellion."-Elder Pittman. "God is a jealous God, and will not suffer anything to be admitted into His worship, but what is according to His word and will; if not commanded by Him, He may justly say, Who hath required this at your hands? and will resent it. A command from men is not sufficient."-Gill, Bod., 3-292.

 

In Mt 15:1-9 and Mr 7:1-13, is recorded that Jesus Christ sharply reproved the Pharisees for adding religious inventions of their own to the commands of Moses. He positively declared, that "in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men;" and, "full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition." Now, what are the many popular things that men have today added to their churches, but the commandments of men? And if things of such nature was so highly offensive to Jesus Christ then, can it be reasonably supposed that the "commandments of men" in religious matters, will be more acceptable to Him now? The very best Guide-Book is the Bible, for it is a thorough furnisher unto all good works. 2Ti 3:17. We honor God when we are governed by it, that is what it is given for; and we are surely showing more or less• contempt for Him and His teachings when we reject it, by refusing to follow its directions. Consequently, if not a plain command or example, they should at least have some fair inference or Bible precept, for their practices. Some religious institutions may seem at first to be quite harmless in themselves, but the danger lies in that they may lead to the admission of worse things, if once the gate is opened to admit unscriptural practices. I cannot admit that anyone has any Bible right whatever to refuse to be governed by its teachings.

 

To Scripturally worship the Sovereign Lord and "God of all grace," is surely the very greatest thing that. His believers can attempt to do in this life, and therefore the Christian Church should be dedicated to His most solemn service. He is praised and honored through the love, gratitude and thankfulness of their hearts to Him, for all blessings received and enjoyed. And their prayerful desires should be for a continuance of these upon their unworthy heads. But it would be a very wrong and dishonoring church service in His sight, to praise or worship the works of man's hands, or to boast of helping Him in His work. The Bible makes a plain distinction between the Church and the world, and it is certainly very wrong to try to obliterate that distinction. It can only be too plain to any candid observer, that the popular and rich churches of all ages are very unlike those of the New Testament pattern.

 

"We contend that the Bible teaches all that we ought to know, believe and do religiously. We limit our knowledge of the will of God to what the Bible says. We limit our obligations, religiously, to what the Bible requires. We believe in nothing, religiously, that we cannot find a warrant for in God's Word. We believe that Jesus Christ himself instituted the church; that it was perfect at the start, suitably adapted in its organization to every age of the world, to every locality of earth, to every state and condition of mankind, without any changes or alterations to suit the times, customs; situations and localities. We claim that a great many things change, but principles never change, that when the revelation of God closed, that we have no right to make any demands upon the people, religiously, that are not found therein."-Elder Lemuel Potter, 180-1.

 

Divine Instruction and Direction in religious matters surely should govern all Believers. and therefore their conscientious position should always be, one of Faithful Fidelity To The Bible. No amount of otherwise intentions, though they be sincerely well-intended, can in the least justify Doctrines and Practices that are Unscriptural, or what the Bible does Not Teach. And the silence of the Scriptures on any Point does not give any License whatever to adopt it. It is always far better to stand on the side of Divine Truth, than on the dangerous side of Human Error, however plausible that may be made to appear. And nothing should ever be called a Christian Institution which was never set up by Jesus Christ or His Apostles, because it has no Bible Right whatever to be so Named or Recognized.

 

I am not claiming Perfection for the Primitive Baptists in their following after the Pattern of the New Testament Churches, But I do claim that they as a whole are following closely that Pattern in their Doctrine and Practice, and Far more Closdly than any other churches of today. And therefore, I believe the Primitive Baptists have by far the best grounds over all others to the Claim that they are the Scriptural Successors of the New Testament Churches. The following after and practice of Worldly Institutions will surely make any church or denomination Worldly. For that is the Logical and Certain Result, and that is Plainly one of the Good Reasons why Primitive Baptists, if they continue to retain their Position of being PRIMITIVE, must avoid Worldly Institutions.

 

The Church of Jesus Christ surely has many blessings for obedient Believers while sojourning in this sinful world, and therefore they should place a very high value on its precious privileges, and carefully try to live uprightly and to its honor and good name. It is Unquestionably a very great Blessing to them to be well-rooted and grounded in Bible Truth. They should surely Love the Church, and have a Prayerful Desire that it always continue in the Primitive Faith and Practice, and that just as closely as possible as when it came from the hands of Jesus Christ and His Apostles. They should ever remember That it is What the Bible DOES NOT TEACH that is always to be carefully guarded against. So they should Earnestly Try, as much as within them lies to Keep their dear Church. which is not of this World, Free from the many erroneous and dangerous "Commandments of men that turn from the Truth," {Tit 1:14} and surely lead to Corruptions and Departures from Sound and Orderly Doctrines and Practice. I am very Sure that it will have to be admitted by all Bible Beievers, That the best Preservative against all kinds of Spiritual Error and Idolatry, is to be carefully Guided by the Scriptures. "Idolatry:

 

All human inventions thrust into the worship of God."-Cruden.

 

Elder G. M. Thompson at the close of his life in his Address to Young Preachers, 527-8, very earnestly and feelingly says: "I shall never meet you in this world; I shall soon drop into the grave, and be forgotten by the world; but my last words to you are: Be careful to maintain the purity of the church, and her entire separation from all the institutions of men. If men tempt you to the least deviation from the path marked out in the gospel, by the siren song of `No danger;' be not deceived; it leads to destruction. Again, I say, Remember the distinct mark that has in all ages identified Christ's church, and preserve it; and at the end of your warfare and stewardship here, your Lord and Master will say, `Well done, thou good and faithful servant; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.' God bless you! and so preserve you that you may keep your garments unspotted from the world. Amen."

 

"God only has a right to declare what shall be done in His service."-Barnes. "For it is a wellknown fact that it was in ages past a uniform and distinguishing trait in the character of the Baptists, that they required a `Thus saith the Lord,' that is, direct authority from the word of God for the order and practices, as well as the doctrine, they received in religion."-Black Rock Address.

 

"With the Divine, perfect, and complete inspiration of the Scriptures, the Primitive Baptist cause either stands or falls. If any point of faith or practice can, by human authority, be added to or taken from the inspired Record, then Primitive Baptist principles are forever swept away."-Elder Hassell.