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Written by Lee Hanks   

The Gospel Messenger, June 1913

I have been in Texas ever since Saturday before the third Sunday in March, visiting the dear Lord's people. It has been my privilege to visit churches in the Southwest Texas, Bosque River, Little Flock, and Old Harmony Associations, and I am to visit churches in other Associations. I have visited several churches that do not belong to any Association. I have met Elder Culpepper, formerly of Georgia; Elders Cole, Blackwell, F. L. Webb <sp>, W. S. DuBose, J. W. Baker, G.W. White, J.S. Newman, Franklin Baker, R. W. Harrell, P. F. Watson, J. W. Shook, W. Y. Norman, W. J. D. Bradford, L. N. Barrow, Jasper Chambers, A. B. Chambers, and J. E. Center, and licentiates B. D. Burgin, Parker Burgin, Jeffrys, and Norman Allen, a grandson of the late lamented Elder James Baker. I found these good precious brethren, humble and Christlike, and contented to stand in the ways and enquire for the old paths and walk therein. I feel that the dear Lord has greatly blessed me with His sweet presence in trying to speak, and I have never been more kindly received and heartily endorsed. I find the Old Baptists, as a general thing, in good condition. They are very fine singers. They meet early, and sing the good old songs of Zion, and seem to serve the dear Lord as a sweet privilege. They are plain and simple and full of love. There are quite a number of young Baptists whose hearts are full of love for the doctrine of grace. They do not fellowship secret orders or any of the institutions of men. But very few allow their children to attend Sunday School. I am sorry there are any who do. It is a sad mistake. I have heard a number preach, and there was no uncertain sound in any of their preaching. Their theme was grace from start to finish in our salvation. We need that grace continually to enable us to serve God aright. That grace purges our consciences from dead works to serve the true and living God, and the Lord's people who are thus prepared in heart obey, from the heart, that form of doctrine delivered unto them. The grace of God teaches them to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present evil world.

If that is not men and women taught by God's grace, I do not know who it is. Paul says, "With the heart man believeth unto righteousness." I do not want a doctrine that leaves me out. Paul says, "As many as are led by the Spirit of God they are the sons of God." I think that was people led by the Spirit of God. There are two natures in the children of God. But I can't believe that some intangible being in the man is the child of God, and the man is a child of the devil. I do not think we baptize the children of the devil to get to baptize the children of God. "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God." Adam sinners quickened in soul are children of God. They are pure in heart, and shall see God. Surely the grace of God in the soul makes better men and women in their deportment. Good fruit is produced by a good tree. Grace in the soul in regeneration is the efficient cause of all acceptable service to God. I do not think any sober minded child of God can say he loves sin as well as he did before he received a hope. I could not extend the hand of fellowship to such an experience as that. God's children hate sin. Nearly all the dear Baptists that I met were most fully agreed on the above. They most heartily endorse our esteemed Brother Hassell on all points. Elder Newman has been with me eleven days. I do not think there is a man in Texas more universally loved and endorsed than Elder Newman. He is an humble, able defender of the gospel of Christ. He contends for the same principles contended for by our dear brethren, Elders Mitchell, Respess, S. F. Cager <sp>, Henderson, Hassell, Stewart, and the Baptists in our country. A number of other preachers have traveled with me for days, and were so loving and kind that I shall never forget them. Elder T. L. Webb is the efficient editor of the Baptist Trumpet, and Elder Newman is editor of the Primitive Baptist Signal. Both editors are loved and esteemed very highly. They are great and good men. I heard some little talk about the "whole man" doctrine, but I did not see nor hear of anybody in Texas that believes that the body is quickened until the resurrection, or that believe that man in his entirety is spiritual and immortal, pure and holy now.

I feel sure that the Old Baptists of Texas are one people. A brother may sometimes use unqualified expressions, and some, by placing a wrong construction on his language, would make it appear that he was unsound, when there is no real difference. We should all labor in love to unify our people, and leave off all expressions that have a tendency to confuse the minds of the hearers. We should not make a good brother an offender for a word. Good brethren who are agreed on the grand essentials should not let minor differences in expression alienate them.

May God bless and sweetly unify all of His poor afflicted people in love. Precious saints, I love you all. Your many kind words and acts will not soon be forgotten. May all of His precious servants be contented just to be servants and not lords over the dear church. We belong to the church, and not the church to us. We are all brethren, and so much need each other.

I am no near Temple, Texas.

L. H.

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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.