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Home arrow Griffin's History arrow Debate on Foregin Missions-Chapter 16
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Written by Potter/Yates   

MR. POTTER’S EIGHTH SPEECH.


MODERATORS, LADIES, AND GENTLEMEN:

In about thirty minutes the discussion will come to a close for today. The first thing I want to call attention to is the expression of my brother, casting a reflection upon me, in speaking of my perversion of those authors. This audience knows very well that I have always offered him the inspection of every book I have read from. The audience knows very well that such an expression as that is unbecoming—that be should accuse me of perverting those works. Here are the books and I do not want that kind of language used. If my brother thinks I have perverted these works, they are open to him.

MR. YATES: I said the work of the Missionary Baptists.

MR. POTTER: That is what I mean. I am not here to pervert. I want the truth. I do not want to be accused of perverting the works of any author, when I have them, and offer them to him to read, and to see that I have not perverted them. The Missionary Baptists said just what I told you they said. If they did not, if I offer him the book he can show that they did nor. That is the way for him to do, instead of coming up here and accusing me of perversion of their works. He refuses to look, refuses to examine, refuses to notice any thing that we introduce as evidence, and then accuses me of perverting.

Again, he says that I said that if all the Christian people would read the Bible, and believe it, and do every thing it required, that every thing would be accomplished that is necessary. He missed me just a little. He then turns to me and asks me if all things are not accomplished that are necessary. He missed my language. I said, all that God intended by it. Just find the people—the preachers and Christian people in the world—reading the Bible, believing it, and doing what it teaches, and my affirmation was, that all the good results that God intended to accomplish by such means would be reached. I did not say, every thing that was necessary so far as the eternal salvation of God’s people is concerned. I believe that depends upon the work of Jesus Christ, and not upon the work of any human being in the world, that is now, or ever was, or ever will be. Jesus Christ came to do the will of his Father in the salvation of sinners, and he says he did it. Then he speaks of me as saying God has a right to do as he pleases, and he wants to know where we will find that. We will turn to the ninth chapter of Romans, and I will give one or two quotations from that chapter beginning with the tenth verse, where we find the following language: “And not only this; but when Rebecca had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac, (for the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I bated.” Here was a distinction, made known to the mother, concerning which of these two brothers should rule, and the apostle introduces it here to represent the principle upon which God elects his people to salvation. He applies it there, saving, “It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy,” that the purpose of God according to election might stand. He applies it to election. My brother says God has no right to elect. Again: “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What then shall we say? Is there unrighteousness with God?” Brother Yates says yes, if that is so. That is what he has been crying here all the time; if God does that—makes such distinctions as that—he is unjust. The apostle Paul seemed to anticipate just that kind of an objection, and he prepared for it here by saying: “What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” That is what it is of. That is what election is of. It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. For the Scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might he declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.” That is what the Lord said, whether it is his right or not. It will be for Brother Yates and the Lord to fix the matter up. I did not make this Book. I have it here, and brother Yates thinks it is a good book, and so do I; and this being true, that is what it says. “Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault ?”—that is the very inquiry that Brother Yates has been hurling at me all the time—“for who hath resisted his will?” The argument was, if God made such a distinction, man would be doing his will. The apostle anticipated an objection to that doctrine. He says, “Nay, but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God?” I have not seen a man in all my life that this is more applicable to than Brother Yates. He is replying to God and does not allow him to do as he pleases with guilty men. Let us read again. Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay of the same lump, to make one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor?” The law condemns the human race. They are not in a state of innocence, but guilty. God knew from eternity what the condition of the race would be today. He knew this audience here then as well as today. This being true, he compares them to a lump of clay, all of them guilty, none of them worthy of the approbation of God. Has he a right now to take that lump, and make just such a disposition of it as he pleases? The apostle says he has. He has the power, the right, the authority, and the privilege, over the clay of the same lump, to make one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor. That is the argument of the apostle. “What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction, and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory? There it is. There is one Scripture that I rely upon to prove that God had a right to do as he pleased in the matter. Mankind were all guilty, had incurred his just wrath and indignation upon them by their works. If the governor of the State of Indiana pardons one prisoner in the penitentiary, is he under obligations to pardon all the other convicts there? They are all guilty; none of them have a right to pardon; but the governor does pardon one. Does that necessarily involve upon him the obligation to pardon all that are there? Let us represent mankind as in the prison of sin for their wickedness and for their works. Has the Lord a right to pardon one without pardoning all? That is the question. Brother Yates rather questions that right in the Lord. That is all I will say about that for the present.

On the question of O Jerusalem, Jerusalem:” he read a lengthy comment upon that text. As far as I understood it, I accept the whole commentary. It does not interfere with any thing I have said today. The term salvation does not appear in it at all, nor in the text. It applies to the destruction of Jerusalem, a national calamity of the Jews for their wickedness. That commentary is his own witness, and of course he will accept it. If he read any thing in that commentary connected with that matter, that had any allusion to eternal life, eternal salvation, justification, or any thing of that kind, I did not happen to hear it. That is all. But he did speak of a national blessing that the Jews might have enjoyed had they not been so wicked, and also of the national calamity that was to befall them for their wickedness. And that is the reason the Saviour wept over them; not because he could not take them to heaven. This commentary says Jesus was a patriot; he thought of the cities of that country, and in sympathy with them, as being in the flesh, he made the lamentation that has been referred to today.

MR. YATES: I say he was a patriot.

MR. POTTER: Well. I accept it, whether he or the commentary says it. One good thing he says, anyway, and he was about not to get credit for it.

Then he accuses me of saying that people are never saved by the gospel. He is a very bad hand to remember or to note. The apostle speaks of being saved by the gospel, and of being saved by grace, and so on, but there is more than one salvation spoken of in the gospel. Let us turn to Philippians ii. 12, and its connection and we will see. The apostle says: “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” The people addressed in this text are Christians, saints of the church of God. My brother will not deny that, of course, and he and I agree that there is no such thing as the possibility of apostasy. That being true, I want to know what salvation they have to work out. The salvation of the saints is already worked out. If there is a saint today, he is just as sure of Heaven as there is one. We do not differ upon that. What salvation is it that they work out? It must be some other salvation; hence it must be some other salvation that the gospel speaks of. The proclamation of the gospel is not God’s only means of the eternal salvation of the sinner. He says that I argue that we are not required, and that it is not necessary, to teach people about the Lord. I do not argue any thing of the kind—nothing of the sort. I will make the people understand me whether Brother Yates does or not. I said there was not a solitary syllable in the New Testament of authority for any man going about teaching sinners to know the Lord. Remember, to know the Lord. I admitted the commission said, “teach,” but it did not say teach them to know the Lord. I admit that Aquila and Priscilla taught Apollos the way of the Lord more perfectly, but they did not teach him to know the Lord. The people will understand me. Now, there are many things we might teach the people about the Lord if they already knew him. There are some things we might teach the people concerning the Lord, even if they did not know him in the sense of the new covenant; but for a man to say he could teach a man to know the Lord is equivalent to saying he could give him eternal life. John xvii. 3: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” Hence let us do those things which the Lord has told us to do and the things which he has not told us to do, it seems to me Christians might feel a clear conscience to let alone. I do, at least.

Now, I want these people to think of one question: Take all the people in and around Owensville, where we have had the Bible, preaching, and every facility of learning all that is common to any people in the world to know the Lord—do they all know him? I would love to have Brother Yates answer that question. I do not believe he will do it, but I would love for him to. Do all the people of adult years, sound mind, and common intelligence, in and around Owensville, Gibson County, Ind., who have had the Bible, and preaching, and all the facilities of learning and religious culture that is common to any people in the world, know the Lord? If he says they do, I prove from the Saviour that they all have eternal life. If he says they do not, then it proves this: that it is necessary for them to be taught by another agency and that agrees with the quotation I made from Mr. Rice yesterday in regard to an influence of the Spirit, distinct from the gospel, without which the gospel itself never would regenerate a ruined son or daughter of Adam—in addition to and distinct from, the proclamation of the gospel—and Regular Baptists are not alone in believing that.

I want to tell you something more that I called his attention to this morning, and upon which I made an argument. I present this argument again to show you that God would fulfill .his promise to Abraham. Brother Yates said this morning that all those promises to Abraham, and all those Scriptures I quoted relative to the covenant with Abraham, were dependent upon conditions. I called upon him to prove it. What has he said about it? We are not here to take each other’s word, and the people are not here to hear me assert, or to hear me give my opinion. That is not worth any thing, but the Bible is worth something, and as Brother Yates said those things depended upon conditions, I asked him for the proof, and they stand just as they did until he gives it. I told you this morning that I was two speeches ahead of him.

Now, I want to call your attention to the argument of Jesus concerning the sheep, first giving the promise to Abraham: “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” John x. 14—16: “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” I want to advance an additional argument upon that expression.

Brother Yates has been talking a great deal during this debate about the missionaries capturing souls for Jesus. I want to say Jesus has already done, the work; they are already his. He says so in this text, “Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold.” And I do not know of any Commentary that does not say he has allusion to his people among the Gentiles. They are already his. He does not need to go out there and capture them, and bring them in; he already owns them, and speaks of them as his. He says, “Other sheep I have “—not that I will have them when the missionaries go and capture them for me. “Them also I must bring.” They are mine, and I must bring them. They are not his as a result of having been brought, for they have not been brought yet: but Jesus himself said, “I must bring them, and they shall hear my voice.” That is the positive language of Jesus. “And there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” Again, in speaking of the same sheep, the sheep of Jesus both among the Jews and Gentiles; speaking of all his sheep, he says, in John X. 27—29: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” Now, he already has them. He says so himself. He does not only have them now, but he says they shall never perish. Who gave them to him? Did the missionaries? No, sir. Who did? The Father. That is what he says. That is the language of Jesus and we have his own words for it—that they shall never perish. If they never perish, then they will all he saved. That is the argument. Now, the people can understand my position. As an evidence that this position is orthodox, and not peculiar to the Regular Baptist Church. I call attention to this Commentary of Jamieson Fausset, and Brown. Let us hear them on this same text. On the words, “other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also must I bring,” they say: “he means the perishing Gentiles, already his sheep in the love of his heart, and the purpose of his grace to bring them in due time.” On the words, “they shall hear my voice,” they say: “This is not the language of mere foresight that they would believe, but the expression of a purpose to draw them to himself by an inward and efficacious call which would infallibly issue in their spontaneous accession to him.” That is the argument I take, and he contradicts it all. He says the missionaries are necessary to bring them in. He does not admit that Christ has sheep among the Gentiles any further than the missionaries have gone. He is against not only the Bible, but also the ablest commentaries upon that text. Remember, this Commentary does not say, but even denies, the foresight that they would believe, and says they are already his in the love of his heart, and in his purpose to bring them all in, in time, by his grace. That is the doctrine I preach, and I am not isolated from all the religious world upon that subject. Then they will be brought in. None of them shall ever perish. I want these people to understand me in that. I believe they will he brought in, from the very fact that the Father has given them to him. He says so himself; and in John vi. 37, which I quoted this morning, he says: “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me.” They have not come yet, but shall come. Notice, he had given those that were among the Gentiles as well as those that were among the Jews: he had given those that had not come yet as well as those already here; he had given them all to him, and Jesus says they shall all come. He does not say some of them shall come, does not say a few of them shall come, does not say any of them may come; it does not hang upon their hearing and believing the gospel, but he says, “All the Father giveth me shall come to me, and him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out.” Why? Is it because they hear the gospel and believe? No, sir. What, then? “For I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” If he loses any of the sheep his Father hath given him, he fails to do his Father’s will. He says they shall all come, and assigns the reason that he came to do his Father’s will. And if he does this, their coming and their eternal happiness depend alone upon Jesus Christ doing his Father’s will, instead of upon the missionary labors of an institution that has been originated during the sixteenth century. That is the reason I take the bold position today to tell you God’s promise to Abraham will be fulfilled. He said, “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed,” and I believe it. And I do not believe that God has hung this upon the human will, the depraved and covetous heart of man, who may withhold the gospel. I do not believe he has hung the eternal destiny of man upon their will and voluntary service to bring them in. He has all these means treasured up in Jesus Christ. He knew what would be necessary to bring these people in, and he is going to do it. Hence, when the last trump shall sound, and the people are gathered up yonder, they will be a great multitude that no man can number. I called Brother Yates’ attention to that text yesterday, and I told him when he got all his figures together and all his statistics together, and computed them, and was able to give us the aggregate of the number of converts made through missionary labor, still there would be more saved than that, because it was a company no man could number. He does not say any thing about it. He tells us nothing about it. We go away from here without knowing any thing about it, so far as his side of the question is concerned. Remember, it is an innumerable company. Where do they come from? Out of every nation, every kindred, every tongue, and every people that is where they come from. That is just what God said to Abraham “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” Now, do you believe, my Christian friends, that God is as good as his word? Do you believe that Jesus Christ did the will of the Father? It he did, they are to come in, and the reason he assigns as to why they shall come is because he came to do his Father’s will. “And this is the Father’s will that hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” I believe they will come, and I do not believe that this work depends upon human agencies. I believe that Jesus himself is able to do the will of his Father. He came with power to do it. I will give the text to prove that. John xvii. i, 2: “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: as thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” Notice, the Father had given Jesus the power, not over one, but over all flesh. What for? Why, in order that Jesus should give eternal life to as many as the Father had given him. That is what it was for.

I thank you, ladies and gentlemen.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 20 September 2006 )
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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.