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Written by Lee Hanks   

GOSPEL MESSENGER 

Macon, GA., March 1913

Article by Elder Lee Hanks with comment by Elder Hassell.

We have felt deeply concerned about our people being so indifferent in places. Their love in a great measure has seemed to wax cold, and they do not exhibit that love one for another that should characterize the followers of the lowly Savior. If they were full of love for God and one another, as they should be, each erring one would confess his own sins, and make all necessary sacrifices, and seeming differences would be removed, and a halo of joy would thrill the hearts of God's poor and afflicted Zion. In passing through neighborhoods we often ask about the spiritual welfare of ministers and churches in that country, and can gain but little information, as they seldom visit each other, and members are seemingly indifferent toward their pastors and faith ministers, as they visit them but little if at all. Churches do not visit each other. Sometimes they will visit each other at annual meetings, but we should not wait until meetings to visit. The good members and ministers sicken and die, and members in the immediate community do not visit them, and care but little seemingly for the loss they have sustained. Poor widows are often in great need, and the deacons do not go to their homes to ascertain their necessities. It is a shame indeed to see an old Baptist in a pauper's home and then quote the Scriptures, "We know we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren"; "Whoso hath this world's goods, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in that man?"

Our ministers have had a hard time, and by faith they choose to suffer afflictions, persecutions, hardships, privations, in the dear old church where they preach the truth freely because they love it rather than to have the honors of the world, fat salaries, and their names sounded out to the world as being something grand, to exalt and please the flesh. Churches may make a mistake right here. Because Arminians go to a great extreme in preaching for a living, as a vocation of life, and woefully abuse it is no reason why Old Baptists should go to another extreme. The law of love should govern in this service. The preacher should preach the gospel freely and in love, and the brethren should administer to him of their carnal things in love, and labor to equalize the burden. Do not aid him as a pauper, or wait until he becomes a pauper before you help, but aid him for the gospel's sake. God will bless you in the service. Some good preachers do not get their expenses borne on the train to churches they serve. Brethren, this is wrong. "Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges?" "If I have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great matter if I should reap of your carnal things?" How many deacons ever go to their pastor's home, and look after his condition temporally? Brethren have many things and ways by which they could loose the hands of our poor struggling ministry, or they could be of more service to them, and do the cause more good. There are poor children of God scattered in isolated places that need to be visited, and have the pure gospel preached to them.

Doubtless one cause of our coldness now is our neglect to meet at the house of God and in each other's homes, and talk to each other about spiritual things. We have sown to the flesh in setting our affections on things of the world, and have grown indifferent. We should meet at the house of worship, and go right into the house, and sing praises to God, and let the entire service be done with reverence and solemnity. We should try to speak to each other, and manifest our love one toward another. Let our preaching be done in love. If there are differences among us, we should minimize them as much as possible, and labor in love to unify our beloved people. Do not wait for another to confess his wrongs, but let each for himself confess his wrongs. We should awake to spiritual activity, and labor hard to adjust all differences, and let us come together in love. Many bleating lambs are wanting a home, but our indifference drives them away. How careful should we all live! Let us lay aside all malice, guile, evil speaking, hypocrisies, jesting, worldly conformity, pride, covetousness, seeking high seats in the church, and come to each other's feet, in love and live so as to honor and glorify our precious Savior in our bodies and spirits which are His. Let us all do our full duty. Do not neglect the assembling of yourselves together; whether the preacher goes or not, you go there as an humble, prayerful worshiper of God. Meet in each other's homes, and sing and pray with and for one another. May God bless His afflicted people.

Lee Hanks

 

REMARKS

The above is, by far, one of the most important and timely articles ever published in any of our periodicals. I was just going to write an article on this very subject when I received this clear, tender, seasonable, and scriptural editorial from Brother Hanks. The unregenerate world, dead in sin, and tens of millions of the dead in profession, are, like the beasts that perish, utterly engrossed with the trifling and corrupting vanities of this dying world, and perfectly indifferent to the imminent solemn realities of eternity; and, like these foolish people, the most of the children of God are slumbering and sleeping, unconcerned and unprepared to meet the Bridegroom at His midnight coming (Matt. 25:1-13). O that the great Head of the church would arouse us, and make us more watchful and prayerful, more zealous and active in His loving service, more self-denying and Christ-like during the short remainder of our sojourn on the earth! We seek a better, even a heavenly country, and we hope, by rich and reigning grace, soon to enter that purer and brighter world. O that its spirit of reverence and holiness and love might fill our poor hearts, and fit us for our heavenly and everlasting inheritance, and transform this wilderness world into the paradise of God!

Sylvester Hassell

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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.