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Written by G.M. Thompson   


Bro. Clark:

Having to write to you on business, I have concluded to drop a few thoughts upon the commission as given (Matt. xxviii. 19. 20), "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." Christ is the King and the lawgiver in Zion, and has fixed and established a definite and specific polity or government in his church, and has forbidden any change in the doctrine, polity or ordinances of his kingdom. Human governments are progressive; one generation may improve upon the defects of the past. But not so with the government of Messiah, he is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and the laws, doctrine, polity and ordinances of his kingdom are fixed, unalterable, and perfect, and will not admit of a change. The commission is a specific law. It teaches the observance of a specific class of commands. This class is all things that Christ himself has commanded, and nothing else. This prohibits the teaching of the commands of the Pope, councils, synods, boards, conventions, or any other man, but specifies that they must "preach the gospel," not the traditions of men, human means, or agencies-but the "gospel," which is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes. It is a fundamental principle in our common law, that where one thing is specified, every other thing is forbidden. The maxim of the law is this: Expresslo unius est exclusio alterius. The specification of one thing is the exclusion of everything else. This is the most important principle in the civil code, and nothing can be determined in law without it. This rule is easily applied to the commission, and every one must see its force in a moment. Christ says, "baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Who will not admit that we are here forbidden to baptize in any other name, as Moses or Paul? All would agree that he was a blasphemer who would baptize in the name of men or angels. Paul thanked God that he baptized none of them Corinthians, save Crispus and Gaius and the household of Stephanus, lest some should say that he baptized in his own name. It is equally clear that believers, and believers alone, should be baptized, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." To baptize any other character is an act of rebellion against the law of Christ, and he who does it tramples the authority of Christ under his unhallowed feet. But, we are to teach them to observe all things that Christ has commanded. This includes the doctrine, polity and discipline of the church, together with practical piety, and the internal teachings of the Holy Ghost. He that would negative any doctrine taught by Christ is a blasphemer. God has declared that, "Thy Maker is thy husband, thy Redeemer, the Holy one of Israel." Then he, that teaches that the church is as old, and was created in and simultaneously with Christ, negatives the teaching of God, and is as clearly a violator of God's law as he that would baptize an unbeliever, or would baptize in his own name. God by is inspired servant has taught that, "There is one God, and one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus." He that teaches a third nature that is neither God nor man, negatives this positive teaching of God, and we are told not to invite such into our house, or bid them God speed. Christ has declared,  "I and my Father are one." He that would separate them, and teach that Christ is a created, delegated inferior personage, is an anti-Christ, and denies both the Father and the Son. Christ teaches that a man must be born again. It is therefore presumptuous, and anti Christian to teach a doctrine denying the necessity of this important change in the sinner. Christ has declared, "I lay down my life for the sheep. To preach that the sheep all died when he died, would negative the teaching of Christ, and, to say the least of it, would make the elect copartners with Christ in the great work of redemption, which is positively denied by the word of inspiration, which says, "of the people there was none to help," but his own arm brought salvation.

Doctrinally we are forbidden to teach ought but what Christ has taught us. Practically we are to observe all of Christ's commandments, and teach others that if they keep his word, they shall abide in his love. To fear God and keep his commandments is the whole duty of man, and anything beyond this is rebellion. Love is the great commandment, and we should love one another without dissimulation, abhor that which is evil and cleave to that which is good. Husbands should love their wives, wives should obey their husbands, children and servants should obey their parents and masters. Christians should not forsake the assembling of themselves together; should not be covenant breakers, should be slow to do evil, but swift to good, should not say to the poor, be ye clothed and be ye fed, and send them away naked and hungry; in a word they must observe "all things" which Christ has commanded. "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him," and we must be "born again," be new creatures in Christ, be taught of the Father, before we can serve God acceptably. For our holy life and conversation are only outward evidences of the holy principle implanted in the soul by the Holy Ghost in the work of regeneration. By keeping the commandments will give evidence to others that we are the children of God; but we have God's Spirit bearing witness with our spirits that we are born of God. This internal witness is the great Comforter of the saints while traveling through this wilderness of sore conflicts and deep distress. It is the spirit of adoption whereby we cry Abba, Father, and as many as are sons are led by that Spirit and rejoice in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh. Repentance towards God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, are fruits of the Spirit, and evidences of our saved state. To experience a daily warfare, the flesh warring against the spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, so that we cannot do the things we would, are evidences of the new birth. To abhor ourselves and to confess our sins before the Lord, are evidences of a gracious state. In fact, God's people are a poor and afflicted people, but they shall eat and lie down, for God will lead them beside the still waters, and cause them to lie down in green pastures.

Experimentally, Christians shall all be taught of the Lord, and great shall be their peace. In teaching all things which Christ has commanded, the Christian will be confirmed in doctrine, instructed in the discipline and polity of the church-his practical duties will be pointed out, and the internal evidences of his Christianity will often be described, and the soul comforted, and fed upon the sincere milk of the word. O that brethren would read the commission often, and never forget the specification, "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you," and learn from that that all human speculations, systems, and plans are positively forbidden. "Preach the word;" take heed to yourselves and the doctrine; teach the things that become sound doctrine, and continue in them, and in so doing you shall save yourselves and them that hear you. May the Lord save us all from error, is the prayer of your brother in Christ.

G. M. THOMPSON   Feb. 4, 1856.

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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.