A Tribute to Elder Lemuel Potter

Dear Brother Thompson: You have already been given briefly the sad intelligence that our dear fellow-laborer, Elder Lemuel Potter, had passed from the scenes and labors of earth to be with us here no more. A more extended obituary has been promised and is due the brotherhood at large, and is incumbent upon us who were more intimately connected with the labors of this eminent and faithful servant of God. His death occurred at 11:30 on the morning of December 8, 1897, he being a little more than fifty-six years of age. His health had steadily declined for a year or more and it became evident that the outward man was perishing day by day. His strength and energy had been so marked, and his life so promising, that his friends hoped for many years of usefulness yet to come, until his unexpected and rapid decline gave warning that their hopes were vain.

In 1863, when twenty-two years old he was married to Miss Lydia Jane Humphreys, and to this union were born seven children, of whom five survive with their mother to mourn his death. He joined Providence Primitive Baptist Church in Wayne County, Illinois, in the year of his marriage, and four years later was ordained to the work of the ministry. It was a good day for our people when Brother Potter took his place as a laborer in the gospel field. From the first he withheld nothing in promoting the cause he had espoused. All he had, mental and physical - his strength and intellect - his vigor of body and mind, his plans and promises of life, he laid before the church and at the feet of his Lord and Master, the King of saints. He had entered the war where there was no discharge and thought not of drawing back from this cross of labor till the race was run. More than half his life was spent in unremitting toil in the Lord's harvest field. Who can estimate the worth to our churches - the influence for good - of thirty busy, faithful years of labor from such a man?

He was so widely known and so universally beloved that it would seem almost superfluous to speak of his character or work. He traveled much among the churches and associations and labored untiringly wherever circumstances placed him. I can say of him, and our churches will attest its truth, that he was no extremist upon any point nor fond of hobbies, but simply an old-fashioned, well-balanced, and consistent preacher of the cross of Christ. His ambition and desire was to serve with fidelity and zeal the Lord God of Israel, and we believe by his ministry the name of the Lord God was glorified and his grace extolled. The impression made by his public teaching will remain long after his body has returned to dust, and it may be said in years to come, he being dead yet speaketh. While he was fearless and steadfast in maintaining the doctrine of God's free and sovereign gtace, he was courteous to all, and to his brethren the gentlest and most lovable of men. Circumstances drew him to engage in many public discussions, and it can be said that the utmost kindness and fairness characterized his course on all these occasions. Having learned in the school of deep experience the knowledge of sin and his need of mercy, and also the preciousness, and fullness, and sufficiency of almighty grace, he made these truths the keynote of every sermon and every public utterance of life. He was thus compelled, in the matter of salvation, to utterly reject the finger-prints of man, standing aloof from all modern enterprises as throwing discredit on God's revealed word, and staining the finished and glorious work of the Redeemer. - Primitive Monitor, by Elder James H. Oliphant, who preached the funeral discourse.

Quotations from the writings of Elder Lemuel Potter

"I do not worship a God that tries to do things and cannot. I do not worship a God that does not know what he is about. I do not serve a God that has any purposes or plans the results of which he does not know. I do not serve a God that, when he does know the results of his plans for which he made them will never be brought about, will trust in them. I do not serve a God who will invent a plan for the salvation of his people that he knows will fail and never save them." - Discussion on Foreign Missions, page 538.

"I will make a statement of our religious principles. That is this, our faith is, that if the church and minister will teach exclusively what the Bible teaches, and practice just precisely what it requires, that all the good results that God intended to accomplish by that means will be brought about." Elder Lemuel Potter.

Doctrine of the "Church Advocate" Concerning the Lord Jesus Christ as Mediator

1. That the Son of God, one of the three that bear record in heaven, was verily and eternally God, of one substance and equal with the Father, and that he was set up from everlasting, or ever the earth was. That by Him all things were made that was made.

2. That God did choose Him, His only begotten Son, who was verily foreordained before the foundation of the world, to be the Mediator between God and men, the prophet, priest, king, head and Savior of His church, the heir of all things, and judge of the world, to whom He gave a seed, to be by Him redeemed, called by His Spirit, justified by His grace, and finally saved high up in heaven, without the loss of one that the Father gave Him.

3. That He did, when the fulness of the time was come, take upon Him man's nature, with all the properties and common infirmities of the same, yet without sin, and that He was conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the virgin Mary, and that He is of her substance, and that in this miraculous conception and birth, two whole, perfect and distinct natures, human and divine, the God-head and man-hood were joined together in one person.

4. That He, in his Human nature, thus united to the divine, was sanctified and anointed with the Holy Spirit, possessing all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, in whom it pleased the Father that all fulness should dwell, to the end that being holy, harmless, undefiled, full of grace and truth, He might be thoroughly furnished to execute the office of Mediator and Surety.

5. That He took no this office unto Himself, but was called thereunto by the Father, who put all power and judgment into His hand, and gave Him all power in heaven and earth, to execute the same. And that He did willingly accept this office, which, in order that He might discharge, He was made under the law, and did perfectly fulfill it, suffering the most grievous torments, which were immediately inflicted on Him, was crucified and died, was buried and remained under the power of death, yet saw no corruption.

6. That on the third day He arose from the dead, with the same body in which He suffered, with which also He ascended to heaven, to be a prince and a Savior, to give repentance to His people, and the remission of sins; to make intercession for them, and shall make a second advent into the world to judge the world in righteousness, and to gather His elect from the four quarters of the earth, and from every wind under heaven.

7. That He, by His perfect obedience and sacrifice of himself, which He through the eternal Spirit offered without spot to God, hath fully and completely satisfied the divine justice of God, satisfied every claim of law, for His elect, and met every claim of law that was against them, and secured to them an everlasting inheritance in the Kingdom of heaven.

8. That the work of redemption was not actually wrought by Him, until His incarnation, yet the virtue, efficacy and benefits thereof were given to His elect in all ages of the world, in and by those promises, types and sacrifices in which He was revealed and designated to be the seed of the woman, which should bruise the serpent's head; which was the lamb slain from the foundation of the world, in which sense He has ever been the husband of His bride, head of His church, and the Redeemer of His people.

9. That in the work of mediation, He acts according to both human and divine natures, each nature doing that which is proper to itself, yet by reason of the unity of the two in one person, that which is proper to one nature is sometimes attributed, in Scripture, to the one denominated by the other nature.

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