Elder Lemuel Potter

Church Advocate, Vol. 3, No. 7, January 1, 1878.
Part No. 1.

It is claimed by some people that the Spirit of God never operates on the heart of the sinner, in the work of regeneration, without the means of preaching the gospel, or reading the bible. Upon this question there is a great deal of controversy. In claiming that the Spirit operates independent of the written or preached word, it does not necessarily follow that it never does operate through preaching. But if it ever does, we should be very careful in our claims for that position, not to make the gospel apply the spirit, instead of the spirit apply the gospel. We now propose to show that the bible does teach that the spirit does operate upon the heart, without the means of the written word. It is necessary, because no man knows the Father or Son without it. No people has ever lived since the days of the Savior that had better opportunities of knowing him, and that he was the Christ, than the Jews had when he was here. They saw him personally; we do not. They heard him testify of himself that he was the Messiah; we only have the account of that testimony. They were eye witnesses of the miracles that he performed; we have the record of them. It seems to us that if external evidence is enough now to enable the sinner to know the Lord, and that by preaching what Jesus did and said among the people, it certainly should have taught the Jews that he was the Christ, when they saw and heard for themselves. The exhibition of his power in all the miracles of Jesus was witnessed by them, when he turned water into wine, when he fed the five thousand with a few small loaves and fishes, when he raised Lazarus from the dead, when he could calm the storm and many other wonderful works which he performed in their midst. The nearest that all of these ever came of converting one of them, that we know of, was in the case of Nicodemus, and he only acknowledged externally, for when the Lord began to speak to him of any other necessary qualification to see the kingdom of God, he knew nothing about it. He was willing to make such a confession as he had, but that was only, We know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. This is what any man may do from the same testimony, and it is about as much. Jesus let him know that something else is necessary. He must be born again. It seems that it would be as difficult to teach him what that is, as to teach him that he was the Christ. Thus it seems that with all the advantages they had, they did not know him. Then something else must be necessary to impart that knowledge. He says, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemeth good in thy sight. All things are delivered unto me of my Father, and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Father will reveal him. Matthew 11:25-27. Here is a plain positive declaration of the necessity of a revelation in order that a man know the Lord. If there is any man in the world who never had a revelation, he is destitute of the knowledge of God. It matters not how much they may read, or how much preaching they may hear, if they never had this revelation, they do not know the Lord. In order that we may be able to know what reveals this to us, we turn to the scriptures: But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit, for the Spirit searcheth all things; yea, the deep things of God. I. Cor. 2:10. It is a revelation of the spirit, and without it we do not know the Lord. The Apostle in this same chapter says, But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. In this language he refers to the Jews, who crucified the Son of God. Had they the revelation of the Spirit, they would not have crucified him. They know not what they do, were the words of the blessed Lord. We have heard men take the position on the expression, But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, that he intended to make the impression that we unfold the mystery of the wisdom of God by our preaching. How hard pressed a man must be in his theology, to try to make an impression so foreign from the idea conveyed by the language used. The very fact that the Apostles spake the wisdom of God in a mystery is evidence of the necessity of the immediate influence of the Holy Spirit to enable him to understand the mystery when it is preached. The wisdom of God is one of the things of the Spirit, for Jesus himself is the wisdom of God. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. I. Cor. 1:30. Then the Apostles spake of Jesus Christ in a mystery. How do they ever know the Lord? God reveals it by his Spirit. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. I. Cor. 2:14. What are the things of the Spirit? It is anything appertaining unto life and godliness. They are foolishness unto the man who is destitute of the revelation above referred to. The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness. Why so? Because they do not understand it when it is preached in a mystery. This is the reason the Jews did not receive the gospel when it was preached. We preach Christ crucified unto the Greeks foolishness, and unto the Jews a stumbling block. But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. If the call is the preaching, exclusively, they all had it alike, for they were all preached to. But it was only understood and received by those who were called. Can we read that verse without coming to the conclusion that a calling is necessary to a proper understanding of the gospel when it is preached? This call is the work of the Lord by his Spirit. It is necessary, and he says he will do the work. We have an account of none who knew the Son of God when he was here, only they that had the revelation.

Jesus, on one occasion asked his disciples, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? Men had been very busy trying to find out who he was, they had followed after him in great multitudes, listening to his sayings, and witnessing his power, and from different things which he said and did in their midst, and now who is he, would no doubt, often come up in their conversation. They had various notions of him. Some say that thou art John the Baptist, some Elias, and others Jeremias, or one of the prophets. Various were their opinions, yet no doubt it was the best they could do. But none of them thought he was the Christ. The very best human wisdom could do, even with what they could see and hear of Jesus himself, their opinions were all wrong. But whom say ye that I am? Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. Matthew 16:15, 17. We have no account of any man knowing the Lord without a revelation, hence the necessity of it. Who reveals this fact? God. By what? His Spirit. In the days of the Son of man on earth, we find him speaking to a multitude in parables, and at the conclusion of one of them, The disciples came and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. Matthew 13:10-11. Here was a people who did not know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. They then do not comprehend the gospel when it is preached, for the Apostles preached the things concerning the kingdom of heaven. To say that there is no mystery in the kingdom of heaven, denies the necessity of being born again to see the kingdom of God. To say there is, acknowledges the necessity of the influence of the Holy Spirit to unfold the mystery. Hence one reason why it is necessary, is because a man cannot know the Lord without it. If he does not know the Lord, he does not know the nature of his kingdom. The multitude to which Jesus spake the parable, above referred to, did not know the mystery, the disciples did. It had not been given to the multitude to know it - it had been given to the disciples. If there is no such thing as a direct operation of the Spirit, unless it be through preaching or reading, what advantage had the disciples over the multitude in this case? They had all read the Scriptures, and heard Jesus preach and perform miracles, and if that would unfold the mystery to one, why not all? A revelation of the Spirit is necessary.

Church Advocate, Vol. 3, No. 8, January 15, 1878.
Part No. 2.

The immediate influence of the Holy Spirit is necessary, because in the work of regeneration, or being born again, the sinner is taken from one service to another, his affections are taken from one object and placed upon another, and he is willing to serve the new one, righteousness. There is more done for him than merely an external reformation. He is quickened into life, raised from the dead, put in possession of eternal life and made partaker of divine nature. According as his divine power hath given us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue. Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. II. Peter 1:3,4.

It is clearly taught here that in the work of conversion, the man is made partaker of a nature that he never had before. How long would it take him to read or hear a new nature into himself? Could all the external evidences that can be brought to bear upon his mind ever produce that nature in a man? To deny the direct influence of the Spirit in this work, and say that all the Spirit will do, it has already done, in dictating the Holy Scriptures, and that when we read them, or hear the minister expound them, we get the mind of the Spirit, is to deny the truth of an internal work in the conversion of the sinner. A new nature is given as we have shown in the above quotation of scripture. Can one man preach a nature into another? It would be as reasonable to suppose that he could create a thing as to give a nature to a man by preaching to him. In the work of the Spirit, in turning a man from sin to holiness, and preparing him to serve the living God, and giving him divine nature, there is a work of creation, which we have no account of ever having been done merely by preaching. Thus we cannot help seeing the necessity of the Holy Spirits immediate work For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Eph. 2:10. Before the man is able to do any good works, he must be qualified, for a man cannot act in a state in which he does not live, and that qualification is the work of creation, created in Christ Jesus unto good works. Is it not clearly taught that if the Holy Spirit has anything to do in the conversion of the sinner, it must be independent of the written or preached word?

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to-wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. II. Cor. 5:17,18,19.

In this work of creation and reconciliation, the enmity of the carnal mind is slain. The carnal mind is enmity against God, it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. As long as the mind is at enmity with God, the man cannot be said to love God. But by the work of creation in Christ, and being made partaker of the divine nature, something more is done, than merely an external reformation. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. In order that a poor guilty enemy of the God of all grace be capacitated to love the Lord, he must have his mind, be made partaker of his nature, and be reconciled to his will, and created in Christ unto good works. This is something that must be wrought in the heart by means of the influence of the Holy Spirit. External evidences never will produce this in a man, simply hearing the historical story of the cross, and of the resurrection and ascension of the adorable Son of God, will never work in the heart of a hardened rebel, the love of God. If so, there would have been no necessity of God sending his Spirit into the world to reprove the world of sin. The fact that simply preaching is not the exclusive operation of the Spirit may be clearly and definitely shown in the language of the Apostle, And hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. No man speaking by the Spirit of God, calleth Jesus accursed, and no man can say that Jesus Christ is Lord but by the Holy Ghost. All this must be done for the sinner before he can love him. He must be actuated by the Spirit of God, or all the professions he can make are only abortive. His heart must be in the work, for God looks at mans motive and judges his actions accordingly. God is a Spirit, and they that worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth. Thus we see the absolute necessity of the immediate influence of the Holy Spirit of God. If the Spirit of God has never touched a mans heart, it is impossible for that man to be spiritually minded, hence he must be carnally minded, and to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Man is one or the other all the time. But as we have before mentioned, if so be that the bible is the mind of the Spirit, and that all the influence of the Spirit that is ever brought to bear upon the mind of the sinner, then you can see what work must necessarily be performed by reading the bible, or preaching. The apostle should have said, no man can say that Jesus Christ is Lord without he reads or hears the gospel preached. The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by preaching the gospel. And instead of the Lord promising to send the Spirit into the world, after he had commissioned his apostles to preach, he should have told them that the Holy Spirit will, from this time forward, perform his work through your preaching. But he did not say this, nor intimate such a thing. Men have said it, but the Lord never has. And such were some of you, but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. Here is the work of the Holy Spirit, and surely this must be an immediate or direct operation of the Spirit. Wash your hands in water, if you can, without the immediate contact of your hands and the water with which you wash. To wash is to cleanse, to sanctify is to make fit, consecrate, or set apart. Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. The sanctification is of the Spirit, and is unto the obedience of the Lord Jesus Christ. By one mans obedience shall many be made righteous. The Spirit brings to that obedience. The blood of Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. The Spirit brings to the sprinkling of that blood. In this we are made to enjoy the spiritual benefits of death of the dear Savior, qualified for his service, led by his spirit we have testimony that we are the Sons of God. As no other agency is brought to our view in the scriptures as doing this great work for sinners, and as it is clearly said to be the work of the Spirit, let us not stop to conclude that it may be a mistake, and that it is done through some other agency than that God himself has appointed. It is necessary for the Spirit to do the work because without the Spirit it never could be done.

Church Advocate, Vol. 3, No. 9, February 1, 1878.
Part No. 3.

The immediate operation of the Spirit is necessary, because without it man is not capable of hearing and understanding the gospel when it is preached. When our Lord was conversing with the Jews, he asked them, Why do you not understand my speech? Even because ye cannot hear my words. John 8:43. We do not suppose the Jews were literally deaf so that they could not hear the audible voice of the savior, or that they were so irrational literally that they did not understand the literal meaning of his language. Yet there was a sense in which they could not hear, and consequently in the same sense they failed to understand. They, no doubt, possessed as much intelligence as other men, and listened as earnestly to the teachings of the Lord as any, but for want of the light of the Holy Spirit they failed to hear or understand spiritually. To those who could hear and understand, the Apostle says, The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints. Eph. 1:18. Had this work been done for the Jews, they could have both heard and understood the words of Jesus. But let us notice the parable of the sower for a moment. The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the seaside. And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. And he spake many things unto them in the parables, saying, Behold a sower went forth to sow, and when he sowed, some seeds fell by the wayside, the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth, and forthwith they sprung up because they had no deepness of earth; and when the sun was up they were scorched; and some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprung up and choked them; but others fell into good ground and brought forth fruit, some a hundred fold, some sixty fold, some thirty fold. Matthew 13:1-8. This text is in the conversion of a sinner, but if we will notice all that he says in the parable, it only proves the necessity of the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart before the heart is capable of receiving the gospel. We agree that the sower is the preacher, and that the seed sowed is the gospel, and that the ground is the sinners heart, and in all probability there is no difference between our position on this text and the position of all men who preach up means, and think there are no conversions without human agencies, except we might differ on the object of sowing the seed. Surely, if the preaching of the gospel is a means of the conversion of the sinners heart, for when his heart is changed he is said to be converted, then if the ground in the parable illustrates the sinners heart, and the seed is the gospel, and the object of sowing the seed is to change the condition of the ground, was the object accomplished, even in one case in the parable? The seed that fell by the wayside left the ground in the same condition that it was in before the seed fell into it. The seed did not change the ground at all. That that fell in stony places did not clear the stones away, and that which fell among the thorns did not remove the thorns. Is it not conclusive that the reason the wayside, stony ground, and the thorny ground did not bring forth fruit was because the ground was not prepared for the seed? Who is it that sows seed in order to clear the ground of thorns, stones, etc.? The wayside, stony ground and the thorny ground represent the heart of the unconverted sinner, and the seed that fell on these grounds failed to bring forth any fruit. Others fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit. This ground was good before the seed fell into it, or it could not have fallen into good ground. Hence the seed did not make the ground good. The ground that was good was ready for the reception of the seed, and it was all that brought forth any fruit. This ground represents the good and honest heart, and of necessity the changed heart. If the heart had been changed before the gospel was preached it was surely the immediate work of the Spirit, and a work necessary to be done before he could receive the gospel. But let us notice the savior a little further on the subject. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. And the disciples came, and said unto him, why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. Verses 9, 10, 11. It had not been given to the multitude to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but it had been given to the disciples, and we have often asked our Arminian friends to tell us what advantages the disciples had over others, if merely telling them of the things of the kingdom was all that was done for any of them. It could not be that they had heard the preaching of Jesus, and the multitude had not. It could not be that the disciples had the scriptures to read and the multitudes had not, for they all had these advantages alike except the disciples had the influence of the Holy Spirit, they were born of God, and could see the kingdom of heaven. They could hear and understand spiritual things, and the multitudes could not. As reading the bible, hearing the preaching of Jesus, witnessing his miracles was not sufficient to teach men to see the kingdom of heaven, the immediate influence of the Spirit is necessary to understand and unfold this mystery. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory. I. Cor. 2:7. This text tells us that the gospel is preached in a mystery. We claim the necessity of the work of the Spirit to enable us to understand the mystery when it is preached. The gospel is one of the things of the Spirit of God, and the Apostle says, But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit, because they are foolishness to him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. Verse 14. The things of the Spirit can only be discerned by the Spirit, and the man that is destitute of the Spirit cannot know them. The gospel being one of the things of the Spirit, he cannot receive the gospel. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved, it is the power of God. I. Cor. 1:18. Those that perish are destitute of the Spirit of God, and therefore the gospel is foolishness to them. Their minds are not awakened, and they do not know the gospel, or see the kingdom of God.

Church Advocate, Vol. 3, No. 10, February 15, 1878.
Part No. 4.

Nothing is more clearly taught in the New Testament than the direct or immediate influence of the Holy Spirit, going before the apostles, preparing the heart for the reception of the gospel. In the case of the Centurion, we have plain, and clear demonstrations of his benign influence. Here we have a man that feared God with all his house, and gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always. He was a worshipper of Israels God, and consequently knew him, and worshipped him in spirit and truth, or he was an idolater. If he was an idolater, the Bible gives a wrong account of him; and it will be of no advantage to us in trying to evade the doctrine of the Spirits immediate work, by saying that he worshipped God ignorantly. For God is a spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. This is the only way he can be worshipped. This man, although among the Gentiles, where the gospel had never been preached, did worship God. And when we are taught in the Bible, that without faith it is impossible to please him, we are forced to the conclusion that he had faith. If so, he necessarily must have had the Spirit, for faith is the fruit of the Spirit. Gal. 5:22. Will any Bible reader claim for a moment that Cornelius did not please God? He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. Now, if it be claimed that it was an angel, and that this was a miracle, let it not be forgotten that he was a devout man, and that he prayed and worshipped God before the angel came to him. The very words of the angel testify that he had pleased God before this, for the angel said, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. It cannot be claimed that the angel caused him to fear and worship God. But even if the spirit had assumed the form of an angel to him at first, it would be far from disproving our position, for it would have been the Spirit of God, even in that case. The angel instructed him to send for Peter, and after Peter had seen his vision, and was thinking on the vision, the spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. Bear in mind, this was the spirit conversing with Peter. If it was in the form of an angel now, we do not know it, but we do know it was the Spirit. The Spirit continues, Arise, therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing, for I have sent them. I have sent them. I, the Spirit, have sent them. How did the Spirit send men to Peter? He told Cornelius to send men to Joppa. He was in the form of an angel then, but he was the Spirit, nevertheless. Then if there was no other case in the Bible of a direct or immediate operation of the Spirit, it seems that here is a clear one. It cannot be doubted that Cornelius was a devout man, for the text says he was. It is not to be questioned that he worshipped God, for the same reason. And as this was true of him, he pleased God, and the angel so testifies. Then he either pleased him without faith, which the scriptures say is impossible, or he had faith. If he had faith, then the Campbell theory, that faith comes exclusively by hearing the gospel preached, fails to hold good. Cornelius feared God. Now just as we find him, before the angel appears to him, let us see if things are favorable with him concerning salvation. The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him: and he will shew them his covenant. Psalms 25:14. Behold the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, them that hope in his mercy. Psalms 33:18. The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. Psalms 34:7. Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him, that glory may dwell in our land. Psalms 85:9.

We might multiply quotations of this sort to know the claims that Cornelius had, even before the angel appeared, much less than having the Bible to read, or the gospel preached unto him. Hence a plain case of the operation of the spirit, independent of the written word. The conversion of Saul of Tarsus is another plain case of the immediate operation of the Holy Spirit. He had all the advantages of the gospel, was well versed in the scriptures; had seen the Savior himself; and yet he verily thought he ought to do many things contrary to this name. After he was converted he says, But I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. I. Tim. 1:13. All the reading and hearing he had done, had failed to teach him to know the Lord, or to appreciate the gospel when it was preached to him. On his way to Damascus, with authority from the High Priest to bind them for punishment, suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven. No one doubts but that this light was the influence of the Spirit. It is unnecessary to argue this case as one of the immediate influence of the Spirit. He was instructed to go to Damascus, and it should be told him there what to do. In answer to his inquiry, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? The learned Mr. McGarvey, the Campbellite commentator, says, The die is cast. The proud spirit yields and the whole mighty current of that soul is turned back in its channel, to flow forever, deeply and strongly, in the opposite direction.

He continues: The glorious power of the one great gospel proposition was never more forcibly illustrated than on this occasion. A moment ago, Saul was sternly, and with a fearful calmness, pressing to the destruction of the cause of Jesus, but now he is a trembling suppliant at his feet. Then of necessity there has been a change, which constitutes a conversion. It was not the written or preached word, but it was the Spirit of God, and it did a work that preaching had failed to do. We claim that this work was the work of conversion. Saul, as we have already shown, was an unbeliever before this, and if in this he is made to believe, then there is a conversion. The same writer says Saul mourned and prayed three days after he believed, and before he was immersed. Then he must have been a believer from the time he asked, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? If so, he was converted, and if there is any difference between conversion and the new birth, he was born of God; for John says, Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God. I. John 5:1. Our commentator says, he believed, and if he did, here was one case of a man believing without, or independent of the written or the preached word. He prayed, which is an evidence of the influence of the Holy Spirit. After this was done, Ananias was sent to him to preach to him, and he was ready to hear. We know from this that there had been a change in him since he started to Damascus, for when he started he did not love the gospel nor them that preached it. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23. With this scripture before us, we readily conclude that wherever we see one or more of these fruits we know the Spirit of God is there. Then from this standpoint, we judge the two cases already mentioned, as well as the case of Lydia, that we now propose to notice. And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days. And on the Sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither. And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. Acts 16:12-14.

We do not wish to conjecture, or suppose anything relative to this case; neither do we wish to occupy an untenable position, but we wish to elicit the truth in Lydias case. It is surely taught here that they were in the habit of meeting at the river side to pray before the Apostles were there. This, of itself is enough to teach us that they were actuated by the Spirit of God, or they prayed and worshipped without the Spirit. Mr. McGarvey gives the following interesting, and we think truthful account of the Apostles introduction to them. Upon entering this strange city, the first on the continent of Europe visited by an Apostle, Paul and his companions must have looked around them with great anxiety for some opportunity to open their message to the people. The prospects were sufficiently forbidding. They knew not the face of a human being; and there was not even a Jewish synagogue into which they might enter with the hope of being invited to speak a word of exhortation to the people. By some means, however, they learned that on the bank of the river Gangas, which flowed by the city, some Jewish women were in the habit of congregating on the Sabbath day, for prayer. Thither the Apostles directed their steps, determined that here should be the beginning of their labors in Philippi. Let us notice two or three things concerning this matter, and see how we can harmonize it with the Campbell theory. The above author is a radical advocate of that theory. The first thing worthy of notice is that this was the first visit of the Apostles to Macedonia; hence the gospel had not been preached there. Now if we can find any of the fruits of the Spirit there, or any just reasons to believe the Spirit has been there, it will sustain our position, that the spirit does operate independent of the written word. The only rule by which to judge is by the fruits. It was a custom of those women to meet there to pray. The text says Lydia was a worshipper of God. Then she worshipped him in spirit and in truth. They prayed, and they necessarily had faith, or their prayer was sin; for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. Faith is one of the fruits of the Spirit, then they had the Spirit that bore that fruit, which actuated them in the worship of God. Lydia heard the Apostles, whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended to the things that were spoken of Paul. Not that she attended to those things as terms upon which the Lord opened her heart, or a means by which her heart was opened, but the Lord opened her heart that she attended to the things that were spoken of Paul. The seed fell into good ground, and brought forth much fruit. Thus we see there is quite a difference between the doctrine of the immediate operation of the Spirit, or the operation of the Spirit independent of the written or preached word, and the Campbell notion, or any other notion that says the preacher and Bible are indispensably necessary to the conversion of a sinner.

Church Advocate, Vol. 3, No. 13, April 1, 1878.
Part No. 5.
Without the immediate operation of the Holy Spirit, a large majority of mankind are denied salvation. Hundreds and thousands of the race of mankind have passed away without being blest with the Bible or preacher. Not only a few individuals, but whole nations have from one generation to another been deprived of that great blessing, and if so bethat the Spirit never operates without the written or preached word, none of them are saved. In the Scriptures we have the following concerning salvation. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:12. Now the Arminian may console himself and others in every possible way; and when he says the Bible and preacher are necessary to the influence of the Holy Spirit upon the sinners heart, they deny the salvation of any who never hear the gospel or read the Bible. In order that our readers may be able to judge whether any claim that sentiment or not, we give an extract or two. We now quote Mr. Campbell, in his debate with Mr. Rice, p. 619: Our second argument is deduced from the fact, that no living man has ever been heard of, and none can now be found, possessed of a single conception of Christianity, of one spiritual thought, feeling, or emotion, where the Bible, or some tradition of it has not been before him.

Where the Bible has not been sent, or its traditions developed, there is not one single spiritual idea, word, or action. On the same page he says, When, then, we reflect upon the melancholy fact so often impressed upon the attention of Christendom, by her missionaries to heathen lands, that not more than one third of human kind enjoy the name of Jesus; that six tenths or seven tenths of mankind are wholly given up to the most stupid idolatries or delusions; that pagan darkness, and Mohometan impostors cover the fairest and largest portions of our earth, and engulf the great majority of our race in the most debasing superstitions - in the grossest ignorance and vice; and that from these is withholden all spiritual and divine influence, of a regenerating and salutary character, so far as documentary evidence avoucheth.

Examine the above quotation and when you learn from it that the Holy Spirit is held from a large majority of our race, then think of some plan whereby they may be saved. And remember, this great race of mankind do not enjoy the name of Jesus. Yet there is none other name given under heaven, among men, whereby we must be saved.

Jesus says, Except a man be born again, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. He also says, That which is born of the Spirit is Spirit. An evidence, at least, that to be born again, is to be born of the Spirit. But Mr. Campbell says there are six or seven tenths of mankind who do not have the influence of the Holy Spirit, are not born again. Can they be saved, and the language of Jesus be true? We hear the apostle say, If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. Romans 8:9. Six or seven tenths of the human family have not the Spirit of Christ, according to Mr. Campbell. Now do not endorse him, and then, in the face of the last scripture quoted, try to fix up a system of ignorance for their benefit, for they cannot be saved out of Christ, and if they have not his Spirit, they are not his. There are only two conclusions for us: none of them are saved, or Mr. Campbell is wrong, and the Spirit does operate where there is no Bible or preacher. We will next quote Mr. W. T. Brents, in his Gospel plan of salvation, page 618. Where the word of God is not, it cannot be heard, and hence there can be no faith, and he that believeth not shall be damned. He tells it in plain words, which is absolutely true, if the Spirit never operates without the written or preached word. He continues: Hence, no word of God, no faith and no salvation for intelligent men and women in a land of Bibles. Has he not fixed matters? No word of God in a land of Bibles, and the Bible the word of God! The truth of his position is, there is no salvation where there is no Bible, as we have already shown.

But it is not our aim to oppose Campbellism, exclusively, but all who hold out the idea that the Bible and preacher are necessary to the influence of the Holy Spirit. And if it should be thought by any that the Campbellites are the only people who hold such a notion, we will quote an article of the faith of the Big Saline, and Franklin Associations of Missionary Baptists of southern Illinois, which reads: The influence of the Spirit is co-extensive with the proclamation of the gospel. We think we understand that, it is plain, simple and comprehensive. It extends no farther than the proclamation of the gospel; so they and the Campbellites ought never to quarrel on that subject, for they are precisely alike. Those two sects have as much to say about our platform being so narrow that it only embraces the Elect, and gives no others a chance, as any people we are acquainted with. How many, or what proportion of mankind have a chance according to their theory? Just as many as are intelligent, and hear the gospel, and no more. The rest are all damned, and we wonder what for, according to their theory. For not obeying the gospel? They had no chance to do that, for they did not have it to obey. Then they are all damned without any chance at all. It will not do to say that if they do the best they can, under the circumstances, God will save them; for we have already quoted that there is none other name given under heaven, among men whereby we must be saved. Neither is there salvation in any other. Hence if they are saved, it must be through Christ, not through ignorance, and if they are saved through him, they must have his Spirit. If any man have not theSpirit of Christ, he is none of his.

How many of the human family can possibly be his, from the authors quoted? Three or four tenths as per Mr. Campbell. Just those who have the Bible, or proclamation of the gospel as per Mr. Brents and the Missionary Baptists quoted above. We claim that our platform will reach further than that, and that it is Bible. Not an imaginary vision of the brain. And if we can show a people saved from all the nations of earth, from the Bible, it will be in direct antagonism to the theory just referred to above. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation. Revelations 5:9. Let us notice this text a little. Thou art worthy. Who art worthy? Jesus, evidently; then they knew him, hence a knowledge of Jesus on their part. For thou wast slain. They knew he had been crucified, hence they had a gospel idea. And hast redeemed us to God. They had a knowledge of redemption, another spiritual idea. By thy blood. They knew the necessity of the shedding of blood for the remission of sins, and that he had done this. Out of three or four tenths of mankind? No. Out from among those nations who were visited by the preacher and Bible? No. Out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation. God is everywhere, and Jesus says, I and my Father are one. He has not bound himself up in the Bible and preacher, so that he cannot operate where and as he pleases, without being carried to the people by men. But as the Sun is said to be ninety-five millions of miles away, yet sheds forth his light on all the face of the earth, so that he comes into our rooms at the least crevice, so Jesus seated at the right hand of God, sends forth the power of his Spirit into the most benighted hearts of man, of every kindred, tongue and nation, and teaches them to know him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. They are taught by his Spirit, and when we can have any evidence that they know him, we may conclude his Spirit has been with them.

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