WTM.01 The Religious Experience of the Wife of Elder Wilson Thompson

THE PRIMITIVE MONITOR -December 1895 

PRELUDE.

He in his biography refers to the small, slender girl, whose baptism by Elder James Lee, in the Licking River, Kentucky, made such a deep and lasting impression on his youthful mind, as he was only nine months her senior. At the age of twenty-two she became his companion for life. Her conviction and conversion, as related by herself, had become familiar to the writer, with whom she spent considerable of the last years of her mortal life, having heard it related by her many times, the last of which when in her 80th year. After so long an elapse of time it seemed, as she remarked, as vivid in her memory as when related before the church of which she first became a member.

THE EXPERIENCE

Myself, with several neighbor children, attended an evening service in the Old Baptist meeting house near my father's home I then, as for some time past, imagined myself a much more consistent Christian than most professing people. I often found myself commenting on the faults and imagined the shortcomings of even my own dear parents. Filled with self-righteousness, I joined the singing in lull harmony, so far a voice was concerned, fully satisfied with myself in every way, until the minister repeated his text, which was these words, ‘For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?’ Re 6:17. I realized a feeling similar to a shock. The words, ‘Who shall be able to stand,’ seemed to be addressed to me personally. A trembling fear seized the, and all my props of self-righteousness and good works fell from under the, and left me overwhelmed with a feeling of helplessness and utter despair. Under this load of condemnation, I returned to my father's house. This distress of mind continued with very little change for some time, so much so that it became observable to all my friends.

One day my mother, who had noticed a change in my general manners, also the usual sadness of my countenance, said, ‘Polly, [as such I was called commonly] what is the matter with you, you eat so little and seem so sad? Are you well?’ ‘O mother!’ I cried, ‘I feel that I must die. I don't know what to do. I feel so sinful!’ She asked some questions as to the cause of my trouble. After I answered as best I could, she counseled me to go to Christ as the only hope of deliverance, bid me seek his mercy in prayer, for his sufferings on the cross were to redeem just such sinners as I felt myself to be. This advice comforted me. I resolved at once to try to pray. I had tried so often before arid failed to find relief. My sins arose before me. They seemed like mountains pressing me down. In my inmost heart, I was calling on God to have mercy on my poor soul. Yet, it seemed that I could not pray. This unhappy state of mind continued for some time. 

When some friends of my parents were spending the day with us, I was told to take charge of a small child while the parents ate dinner, I did so, and seating myself near a stand or table on which lay a hymn book, so great was my distress of mind, I grasped the book, hoping, yet despairing, to find comfort to my poor heart. On opening the book my eyes fell on these lines, no others seemed visible:

 

'While Jesus shows his heart is mine,

And whispers I am his.'

Inexpressible joy filled my soul and involuntarily I praised God for his goodness to me, a poor sinner.

In the year 1834 the membership of both husband and wife were recorded in the Old Baptist church called Lick Creek, Fayette county, Ind., where they remained until death. His death occurred some ten years prior to hers. Their mortal remains rest in the cemetery at Russiaville, Howard County, Ind., where only a few inches of earth separate their moldering dust; there they await the trump of God to join together with the bright numberless throng, whose robes have been washed in the blood of the Lamb, and filled whose eyes every tear has been wiped away.

Welcome, welcome to the skies!

All at once they rise to glory,

Jesus brings them to the King;

There with all the hosts of heaven,

Their eternal anthems sing!

Hallelujah!

Boundless glory to the lamb!

Their daughter,

Mrs. M. J. Olive

WTM.02 Elder Wilson Thompson and the Arians

Dear Friends, 

Here is a very interesting thing--a personal letter from Elder Wilson Thompson to his son, Elder Gregg Thompson. Elder John Clark who published the letter in Zion's Advocate, asks some pertinent questions about things contained in the letter, questions I would like answered. But, alas! Both Elder Thompsons and Elder Clark are with the Lord, so the answers will certainly be long in coming. 

DM 

ZION'S ADVOCATE - February 4, 1860 

We make the following extract of a letter from Elder Wilson Thompson addressed to his son, Elder G. M. Thompson, and published in the "Herald of Truth," which shows very conclusively how he stands towards the Arian party of the present day. The Arians, on the occasion referred to, were as much puzzled by the question propounded to them by Eld. T. as their "illustrious predecessors" were in the days of our Immanuel, when he interrogated them concerning David’s testimony of the Son of God :-" if David in Spirit called him Lord, how is be his Son?" (Mt 22:41,46), and they answered, consequently, in a similar way-by SILENCE. But there is a part of Eld. T’s. communication which we do not understand, and therefore would respectfully turn upon him his address to Johnson and his party, before propounding to them the several questions found in his letter, and we hope he will enlighten us upon the subject; as we can truly say that we desire to know what he means. For until we understand him, we cannot tell whether we believe what he has written or not. The point about which we seek information is what he says upon the subject of the "ADAMIC MAN." He says "I have no warfare with the ADAMIC MAN, if by him you mean, the man of flesh and bones, muscles and nerves, and mind and soul," &c." If by this Adamic man, we would again inquire, is meant the "OLD MAN" as defined by Paul, which is corrupt with his deeds, we cannot conceive how it is that a Christian has no warfare with him, nor how it is that he has no warfare with the FLESH, since the apostle says, ‘‘ With the MIND I myself serve the law of God; but with the FLESH the law of sin," ( Ro 7:25), and another apostle admonishes us to " abstain from FLESHLY LUSTS, which war against the soul". (1Pe 2:11). If we have read the Scriptures correctly and understandingly, and have an experience in harmony with the teachings therein, the parties to this warfare will be saved; that Christ died for, and therefore will as certainly redeem the BODY as the SOUL-that be will redeem his people FROM THE POWER OF THE GRAVE; for as our bodies are embraced in the PURCHASED POSSESION, we have the assurance that he will CHANGE OUR VILE BODIES, &c. We cannot see how sin in itself can be detached from the SINNER, and therefore embodied as a distinct man. That Christ has put away the sins of his people by the sacrifice of himself, and will in due time effectually cleanse them from iniquity, and wash them and make them white in his blood, we most assuredly believe, and rejoice in that assurance, yet we have no knowledge of sin, of its existence, except in connection with the sinner. If this should meet the eye of Eld. Thompson, (be is not a subscriber to the Advocate, and never has been,) we shall be pleased to hear from him upon the subject. (John Clark)

DEAR CHILDREN: With feelings of deep parental affection we acknowledge the receipt of your kind letter, We feel much comfort in hearing of your good health.- We should have replied sooner, but the Associations were near at hand and we have been constantly on the move, and no time to write. Whitewater Association met with the Shiloh church, Hancock county Ind. on the 2nd Friday in August. The session was all in peace, and unanimity and harmony, and all the churches reported peace.

On Sunday J. F. Johnson preached his doctrine of non-regeneration, and said that the words, "a man must be born again," did nut mean a Second birth, or that the child born had ever been born before. Then he said that the spiritual seed or child was preserved in Christ its spiritual head as a woman preserves her fruit in a jar, so that no taint or sour could ever tinge it in the least degree. This holy immortal, incorruptible, spiritual child was the elect, and thus was chosen in Christ, and was in union with him in eternal oneness, and this Seed was never in Adam, never fell, and was never tainted with sin in the least degree. The Adamic man, he said was quite of another family, of another stock, of another kindred, and was not in any relation to Christ, the spiritual head of the church, nor was any change effected on any part at this Adamic man by regeneration or the birth of the spirit, &c. The most of the people left their seats and scattered through the woods while he was at it, and I have not heard of one person in the bounds of this Association who believed this doctrine.

Lebanon Association met in Allen county, Ind., 10 miles west of Ft. Wayne, over our hundred mites from where ours sat.- We went to it. Some little sparring in the business matters and some difference of doctrine appeared on the stand. Evidently, the most of the preachers of Concreek and Lebanon Associations are deeply in Johnson’s doctrine.

On Sunday night Joseph Johnson, son of J. F. Johnson, took up the new doctrine in full. He is a talented young man. He took the same position of his father, and said that this spiritual seed was the elect-that God never elected arty one of Adam’s race-that to be born again did not mean to be born a second time. He roundly asserted that no part of the Adamic man, neither soul, body, nor spirit, mind nor matter, nor any faculty belonging to him, was changed in the least degree, except as they were partially controlled and held in check by surrounding circumstances exercised by the indivelency of this new man. This he said was revealed to every Christian by the spirit, and to none but Christians.

After meeting Elders A. B. Nay, J. A. Johnson, Tyler, J. A. Williams, and other elders, with many brethren present, I put many questions to them, all in the following manner;

I have heard much preaching of late which if I understand I do not believe.- But I am old, and my mind and memory is fast failing me, and I cannot learn new words, names and ideas as readily as formerly, and I may not properly understand or comprehend your meaning, and perhaps if I did I might believe it. I do therefore wish to know fully what you do wish to preach, and then I can say positively whether I believe it or not. All I can now say is, if I do understand and comprehend your meaning I do not believe the doctrine.-- Brother Johnson this night has told us that this is the very point, which God by his spirit has revealed to every Christian and to no others, and I well knowing that it has never been revealed to me, if I understand it, I am cut off. It is therefore a matter of great importance to me to know whether I do understand your meaning or not, for if I do new understand your real meaning, I do not believe it, and it has never been revealed to me by the spirit either in the word or any part of my experience. This brings me before you now as an earnest enquirer after truth, and not as a debater. I simply wish to know what you mean, and whether I correctly comprehend your meaning or not. Therefore, please to answer some quest ions plainly to the point:

1st. What do you mean by the Adamic man? Do you mean the man that God created with his body, mind and all included, and called them Adam with all his descendants in him seminally-are these all your Adamic man or men?

Answer-Yes.

2nd. If this union was between a spiritual, immortal, incorruptible seed and head, could it embrace any of the non elect strangers of Adam’s race, and effect their redemption; and if the spiritual seed was never involved or tainted by any of its effects, did it ever need any redemption, and if the Adamic seed was not in the Union, and of course could not be redeemed, was there anything redeemed by Christ?

No one answered.

3rd. Must I not be prepared to renounce all that I have preached or written, or experienced through the first seventy years of my life in order to embrace this new system, if it be a new system?

No answer.

4th. If no part or any of the Adamic man is changed or born of the spirit and no part or faculty of the spiritual, immortal man ever needed any change or birth of the spirit, what man is it that must be born again, or is anything born again, either of the old or new man?

5th. Does not this new system, only ten years old, lay the axe at the very root of the Bible, Christian experience, and all that we have ever preached or believed?

Answer-We have thought much about this.

6th. If no part of the Adamic man, soul, body, mind nor matter, attribute or affection, is either changed or born by the spirit and never will be until the resurrection, what goes with it in God’s people from the death of the body until the resurrection?

No answer.

7th. Brother Johnson this night has beautifully described a converted sinner, mourning on the verge of despair, under a load of conscious guilt, and crying, " God be merciful to me a sinner." Was this the sinless spiritual child or was it the unchanged, unborn Adamic man, or what man was it?

No answer.

8th. Did any of you, when you went before the church, to seek its fellowship and admission to its ordinances, say, "friends, I wish to join this church; I have never met with any change in soul, mind, body or affections, or anything else. Therefore as your preachers declare, that neither themselves nor any of you, nor any of Adam’s race, are changed in any part, and I know I am not; I therefore wish to join your church." Did you so tell the church and be received, or would you now receive such an applicant? If not, why preach such doctrine?

No answer.

9th. Can any of you tell me of any benefit resulting from the life, death, burial and resurrection of Christ, except the resurrection of the body, according to your doctrine?

No answer.

10th Since there is no change in the sinner, and the scriptural man has no sin, is not the doctrine of pardon, forgiveness of sin, justification, with the exercise of mercy, of grace, all a nullity, since the Adamic man can never in this world enjoy any of them, and the sinless spiritual man does not need them?

Here they began to ask me the following questions

1st. Do you believe that the soul is changed in regeneration?

Answer-I believe the Scriptures I will not set up metaphysics against metaphysics; your system is all metaphysical, mine is all positive scripture. We many differ widely about what the soul is. I believe the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin, or purges the consciences to serve the living God, and so cleanses the heart from an evil conscience. I believe the heart is circumcised to love the Lord God. I believe that the eyes of the understanding, which were darkened and blinded, are enlightened and opened so that they may see. I believe they who were dead are quickened. I believe the dead hear the voice of the Son of God and live-call this soul, mind, spirit, or what you will, there is a change, and this change is not effected in the living, sinless, immortal, incorruptible man, but on the blind, dark, dead, corrupt, pointed heart, the evil conscience, and this is some part of the man. So there is a change, and this is all I contend for, and my bible declares it and I believe it.

2nd. If any part of the Adamic man is changed, what causes the warfare you daily feel?

Answer-We should call things by their proper name. Your new doctrine has new names unknown to the Bible. Your Adamic man is a new name. I have no warfare with the Adamic man, if by him you mean the man of flesh and bones, muscles and nerves, and mind and soul. I owe this man much, and many duties, and I should do all I can to sustain it, and also my Adamic neighbors around me, to clothe, feed, warm, visit them in sickness, &c. This man is the temple for the Holy Ghost to dwell in. God will save this body, this Adamic man, and I owe it my duty as a Christian according to the scriptures. My daily warfare is not with the Adamic man, whom God made, whom Christ redeemed, whom God will raise from the dead and eternally save. But sin and its train of evils and lusts, which war against the soul, these things make the body of the sins of the flesh. This man of sin, this son of perdition, this earthly sensual, devilish thing, which is of its father the devil, the very child of hell, an enemy of all good. God never made it. Christ never redeemed it and it will never be saved nor raised with the just. I owe it no duties I may do all I can to kill it, to starve it, to put it off, to crucify it. It lurks in the flesh the Adamic man, groans under the load and bondage of this corruption, pains, fevers, palsy aid lunacy, and innumerable woes and sufferings prey upon the body, mind, soul and spirit of the Adamic man, and Wars against the soul. This is the sin that dwells in me so that I cannot do the things that I would. This is the enemy of the Adamic man under which it groans, being burdened, and this is the belligerent and vigilant foe against every maim who is renewed in the spirit of his mind, and is led by the spirit, with his mind to serve the law of Christ, is in this incessant warfare. This is my warfare with this man of sin, and not with my Adamic man-no, but with the trains of evil, which lurk in, effect and punish him, and constantly keep up wars without and fightings within. When I call things by their proper names, this is the Christian warfare. But the Adamic man, soul, mind, saint and body shall be saved, but this old man of sin will never be saved. But God’s people are redeemed, and will be all finally saved from all this evil. Here the talk ended.

Connersville, Ind., Sept. 14, 1859.

WTM.03 Letter to the Signs -- Jan 25, 1836

Signs of The Times --July 1836

Harrisburgh, Ind., Jan. 25, 1836.

 Brother Beebe: --We are in a world of conflicting interests and contending parties. These act as causes producing feuds and turmoil. These embitter the sweets of social life, and blend their unhallowed influence in almost every circle of community. This bane of social harmony not only infects the political and fraternal associations, but too often, like an evil genus, is seen exhibiting its many magic and enticing forms in the theological departments, alluring the weak and unwary, and thus producing divisions in the ranks of that once united band which, like an army with banners marching in the strength of the Lord, has struck, with terror and dismay, every opposing foe, and filled the hearts of aliens with appalling consternation.

 I have not been altogether an indifferent or idle spectator while these tragical scenes have been passing before the ordeal of the public. I have seen much to admire and much to deplore. I have observed truth and error in contrast, and while some of the partially concealed beauties of the former and many of the partially covered deformities of the latter have been exhibited by the comparison, I have believed an increase of knowledge would be the result. 

From the earliest age of Christianity up to the present time, men, even christians, have been prone to be diverted from gospel simplicity by will-worship, feigned words, vain philosophy, and worldly policy. Spacious displays of these have perverted many, and the glossy and sophistical covering has so effectually concealed the deformity of the fraud, that for a time it was nourished as virtue, and extolled as holy benevolence. Under these expanded appearances of charity and disinterested philanthropy, many, no doubt, who love the truth and wish to walk in it, have inadvertently been engaged with all their energies, not seeing the evil tendency of their course. 

While we consider all these disguises and the various seducing schemes in which error intrudes itself upon the child of grace, and our own weakness and imperfection, let us learn with meekness and patience to bear with each other. Have we always escaped the snare? Have our feet well nigh slipped? If not give God the glory, but if we have, and this is most likely, let us with patient forbearance, brotherly love, and long suffering, endeavor to convince others of their error froth which we have but just escaped, and give them time to repent; yet while we thus act let plain faithfulness mark every step and a zeal for truth prompt all our actions. While we earnestly contend for the faith and order of the gospel, we shall not be crowned except we strive lawfully--let us endeavor so to run that we may obtain. The Baptist Church, as their history shows, was set up at the day of Pentecost. Their history from that time to this, is correctly traced among the Waldenses in the valleys of Piedmont and not through the Papal See, or in the church of Rome. Taking this for granted, as all Baptist do, it follows of course that they are intruding on the privileges of the Romish church when they claim these plans of which she is the proprietor. It will be vain to pretend that those schemes, which of late have so generally spoiled the peace and divided the ranks of the Baptists, was not first invented by the Church of Rome. I well remember when the missionary plan was first put into operation among the Baptists of the west, the advocates of it would argue that the church of Rome subdued nations by this plan and converted multitudes to her views in this way, and if error was so successfully propagated by this plan, truth could be spread with equal success. This is, then, a scheme of Rome, which to say the least of it, the Baptists have seized upon in order to extend the truth, by the same means which anti-christ had employed for the spread of error. There are schemes exerted for the introduction of the millennial glory. One is to amalgamate all sects irrespective of any principles, and by this modus operand to destroy all party names, and so effect an universal harmony and communion, and then all party strife and confusion must die and the millennial glories will blaze forth in all its translucent splendor on every nation, expelling every shade of Papal and Pagan superstition from the religious hemisphere, and burn like a flaming beacon on every hill, and the benighted heathen will come from all the habitations of cruelty and pay the tribute of their grateful hearts at the shrine of the King of kings. Others with as much zeal and knowledge, suppose this latter day glory, with all its hallowed splendour, will be ushered in by a different policy. These have observed that wealth and learning give power, these being the two great engines of human policy, and the possession of these gives influence, and facilitates enterprise; and knowing how the Pope extended his holy sovereignty and dominion by these agents, combined with a show of benevolence and divine philanthropy, they have seized upon the same combination and with equal zeal have engaged in a similar enterprise. To obtain learning, seminaries and theological schools for religious instruction are gotten up to prepare them for missionary labors; and then send these to the heathen and destitute to instruct them; and to give children the proper bias in infancy to patronize this plan after their maturity, Sunday Schools are employed; and as common school books or the scriptures will not give these young twigs the proper bend to suit the plain. Tracts must be printed suitable to effect this end; and a library of these be procured for the Sunday Schools.

To complete this well organized train of events, much wealth is indispensable; hence agents must be sent out to extol this benevolent enterprise, take up collections, obtain donations, establish auxiliary branch societies, and employ every other means compatible with the end which may best secure the two great agents--money and learning. In this way, children are deprived of the freedom of thought and, in their tender infancy, are made to sub serve these plans. The votaries of this scheme of operation form different societies to conduct the affairs of the different branches of the scheme; all must have money, all must have agents and auxiliaries, all must have a share of power; thus room is made for their preachers: some as agents for some one of these societies, some as domestics, and some as foreign missionaries, some to conduct the different schools, and some to edit their journals, and all in their different ways to enlist the youth in their enterprise, and obtain money and learning. The Pope subdued Africa by the plan of a monk who sprinkled the children, and when these came to maturity, they were catholic subjects and Africa was subdued. Now Sunday and Catechism schools are for the same end, and if all our children are taught to read and believe tracts, and admire the benevolence of these societies, who with half an eye cannot see that the whole reins of government, of both Church and State, as far as human agency is concerned, will be in the hands and at the control of this great monopoly, and, like Africa, our freedom is gone like a pleasing dream. The complete and universal success of this scheme is what its friends are avowedly laboring for, it is what they are praying for, and it is what they are grasping learning and wealth for; and when they shall have accomplished their design, they expect the halcyon day to break with divine orbed brightness and lock the jaws, and palsy every arm and tongue that would refuse tribute to this hallowed flame.

Now, sir, suppose the first of these plans should succeed, and all parties with their names, should be forever lost in one great body, including all who now fill the ranks of the sects that now exist; and by this amalgamation the millennium should be ushered in; in that case the Catholics and all reformers and Protestants of every grade, with all their diversity of opinions, would be combined--all would have but one interest, and their numbers would be sufficient to control all nations. Why should we now hear the alarm sounded of Roman Catholic influence in America, and yet see without suspicion, the exertions now making, by many reformers, to identify themselves and their interests with the Catholic Church. Who cannot see what the glories of this millennium would consist of, and who does not know that Constantine established such a one long ago! If either of these plans should succeed, our liberties are jeopardized, and the nation will be governed by the will of the church. If both should succeed, and this is most likely, for in the management of most of these societies, they are united already, and in doctrine and practice they rapidly approximate each other, then wealth, learning, numbers, and minds inclined in youth, and well prepared to act in concert, our liberties are gone at their will. These plans may thus succeed, and just as sure as either, or both of them should, our liberties as a nation and as christians are lost. The Church of Christ has been a sect, as we have seen above, which has every where been spoken against, while Rome and all her daughters have been inventing, and prosecuting these plans, and must suffer if ever they are consummated; and I believe it is the spirit, and children of Mystery Babylon that is now working, and many of these have crept in among the Baptists, and under the specious pretext of benevolence many lovers of truth are spoiled through this disguise. As a christian, as a politician, as a citizen of the world, or a friend of the Baptists, I stand pledged to oppose with religious firmness, all these plans: and as many of my old friends, have manifested a strong solicitude to know my views an these subjects, who live too remote to know by word of month, I send you this sheet for their perusal.

Wilson Thompson