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MR. YATES’ ELEVENTH SPEECH.


MODERATORS, LADIES, AND GENTLEMEN:

I appear before you again to speak upon this theme. My brother congratulates you upon Brother Darby’s presence. I am glad with him. On that subject we have learned exactly his position, and I am really glad with him that we have at last been able to agree about one thing. Now, he has been telling you that man is a moral agent. He commenced with me on election, and I think he got sick of it. Just as he said in his other speech, I want to stand to the proposition all the time. All this talk about persecution has nothing to do with the Foreign Mission work of today, because, even according to his own doctrine, the Spirit of God will take possession of a man and convert him anywhere, whether he has the Bible or not. So all that history which Brother Potter read about Latimer and Ridley and those other men who suffered in those terrible persecutions, does not prove any thing. I do not know what this has to do with Foreign Missions. He talked about the martyrs being Baptists, but I do not know that there were any Baptists among them—there may have been some; but that has nothing to do with the proposition under discussion.

I want to speak in regard to the Church sleeping. Did you not notice what Mr. Carpenter said? Mr. Carpenter speaks of the spirit being well-nigh gone. Was not that true? Well-nigh gone, he says. We all admit that in the ritualistic age, after Constantine, a great deal of the spiritual life of the Church ebbed away. There was the same lack of spiritual life through the dark ages. There was some life, but not enough to send out missionaries. It is so in some Churches still. There was only just life enough to keep alive at home; but when the life of the Church began to increase, then the Reformation dawned. That is just the way it was in the time of John Wycliffe. I thank God for such a man. He had the spirit which impelled him to go out with the blessed word of God, and tell it for Jesus, carrying the gospel of salvation to his needy fellow-men. It was a genuine mission spirit; certainly it was. Now, I want to go to those proof-texts. We will look at them. Brother Potter says we have no proof in i Cor. vi. ii, that the members of that Church were changed by preaching. I think I understand you to say that the Apostle Paul had no reference to that change having been brought about by the preaching of the word. I will quote again; 1 Cor. vi. 9—Il: “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind”—that covers the case of the heathen—“nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed “—now, how are they washed?—” ye are sanctified “—how are they sanctified? “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” I want to know if this language of Jesus is true. “But ye are justified “—how? —“in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” What is the gospel? Jesus is the embodiment of that gospel; he is the Word. The revelation of this word is the revelation of the mighty Christ. Hence, what is it to reach the gospel and to teach it? What is the gospel? Good news; the glad tidings that a Saviour is born, and has come, and died, and risen gloriously to heaven in victory over death and the grave. And when he was about to ascend to heaven, with his hands uplifted over the heads of his disciples—those hands with the nail-prints in them—he said: Go preach the gospel to all nations; go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. That is, “Go and tell and teach the good news. The Saviour has come, and is offered in the gospel for salvation to every man.” Why, my brother said the other day there was no such thing in the teachings of the Bible. He said: “The gospel is not a proposition of salvation to all, but a proclamation of salvation.” What is the meaning of “come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest?” What is the meaning of that parable? I have called his attention to so many times, about the kingdom of heaven being like unto a feast given by a certain nobleman who sent out his servants and invited certain guests, and they refused? He said emphatically in his last speech that the called did not refuse, but only those who were not called. This is the way he explains Corinthians. I told him that he did not believe in character as a condition of salvation. Character means something cut or carved, and yet Brother Potter makes God do it all. A man, he says, has no choice in it, and yet choice is at the basis of character. Now, what is he going to do with this passage to which I called his attention? I am not through with him yet. I am glad we have come together at last. i Cor. i. 21: “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” I want him to explain that. But he says for me to go on and explain. I will, my brother. I now quote the 22d and 23d verses of the same chapter: “For the Jews require a sign, and the Geeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness.” Let me stop right there. Why was he, the crucified Christ a stumbling block to the Jews? Because the Jews believed that when the Messiah came he would not die. I can prove by the Book that they did not believe in a suffering Christ, but thought he would come in some mysterious way, and in great glory establish the kingdom of God; and that when his mission was accomplished he would be caught away to heaven, untouched by death. It caused the apostles themselves a great struggle to break away from this very belief of the Jews. The minds of the Jews had been molded by this doctrine ever since the Babylonian captivity. Therefore a suffering Christ was repugnant to them. The death which Jesus died by crucifixion was an ignominious death. To accept such a leader was a stumbling block to the Jews. To the Greeks, with their philosophical minds, the crucified Christ as a personal Saviour was foolishness. They did not see any connection between a bleeding man on the ignominious cross and the salvation of a human soul. I will read the 24th verse: “But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” Now, he ‘is writing to Christian men and women. The word called is never applied except to those who are illuminated, or to those who have accepted the gospel, and thereby become God’s chosen Or approved ones. To those who have opened their hearts and received him, Christ becomes the power and wisdom of God.

I will now call his attention again to the Book Proverbs. I cannot get him to notice that book, I have called his attention to it several times. Proverbs i. 24—31: “Because I have called and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and man regarded; but ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me; for that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord: they would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.” Now, I want him to face all this, and to come out and show me from the teaching of this proof-text that character is not necessary in order for man to be saved. In this passage it is plain and unmistakably declared that man’s salvation is conditioned upon his choice, and moral choice is the very basis of character. Therefore man’s salvation is conditioned upon character. It is the rejection of God’s invitation that destroys the soul, and the acceptance of it that saves the soul. It is not absolute election from eternity. Now, I will refer to his proof-text — Phil. ii. 12; that is a wonderful exposition he gave of it—“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” Now, as I told you before, he is trying to explain away the argument about Jerusalem, but he will never do it. I have his favorite Commentary on that. “I would, but ye would not.” Brother Potter said that referred to the nation. But I explained that this morning, and Jamieson, Fausset and Brown are against him on that. I will quote from Butler’s Bible Work on this text: “Work out ought to be ‘carry out;’ we do not workout our own salvation, for we are saved by grace; but we do carry out our own salvation. ‘What God has joined together let no man put asunder.’ Here are joined together, in the compass of one practical exhortation, faith in a finished salvation, and yet work . . . So people are bound to work likewise, perfecting that which converts them, making their salvation certain and sure; working with fear and trembling lest they should come short of the grace of God, because sin is repulsive. It must-not be forgotten that the Epistles were written not to make converts, but to edify the converts already made. In the Book of Acts we have examples of addresses made to unbelievers. . . . But this Epistle is addressed to the ‘beloved who have always obeyed,’ and the ‘saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi.’ Paul has no idea of giving his disciples a lesson in abstract theology or laying for them a foundation of a philosophy of free-will and divine sovereignty. He is not merely communicating to these Philippians truths for their creed, but precepts for their deeds. In a word, this working out our own salvation is following out in our daily walk of that deliverance from evil and from all its consequences which is brought nigh to us in the gospel.” It is only manifesting in life the love that we have in us. How is that? Let me read you a passage in the seventeenth chapter of John, as to how we get this life, and it will suggest at least the value of the Foreign Mission work. It says, commencing at the second verse: “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” Now let us see how they get that life. “For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have”—what?—“received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they’ have believed that thou didst send me.” He gave the word, and they received it, and “as many as received him to them gave he power to become the sons of God.” Now, I want to turn to Acts xiii. 42, 43: “And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath. Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas; who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.” The gospel, then, has much to do with the work of salvation. Acts xv. 36: “And some days after, Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do.” Paul wanted to go over the field where he and Barnabas had been sowing the Word of God in men’s hearts, and see what fruit the Word of the Lord was bringing forth. The Word is compared in the Scriptures to a grain of wheat; for the fruit of the gospel is wrapped up in the Word, as the fruit of the grain is wrapped up in the seed, God does’ not prepare the ground for the farmer. The farmer does that.

The farmer cannot control the rain and the sunlight. Nor can he make the wheat. That is God’s part; but he can sow, and God will water it and cause it to grow. God, in the present constitution of things, cannot believe for me. He has given me an eye to see, but he does not see for me; he has given me an ear to hear, but he does not hear for me; he has given me a heart to love, but he does not love for me. He asks me for my heart, but he gives me a lovable object to love, trust, and serve—the mighty and compassionate Christ, revealed in the gospel. Hence, my friends, you can see the value of preaching and teaching the glad tidings of salvation to the dying, sin-cursed race of mankind everywhere, and especially in the benighted lands of heathendom. Did God ordain the gospel us the great means in the plan of salvation, and own and bless it as such, in the gospel work of the first century of the Christian Church? This has to be answered in the affirmative by every Christian man. Now, the Scriptures being our only revelation and guide, it is clearly evident that the gospel is still the great means in the Divine plan of salvation. God has ever blessed the gospel as the great instrument of salvation; he is so blessing it today in both the home and the foreign field, and he will ever so bless it. No man is saved without the truth—that is, the truth of the Holy Spirit; even if it is not the same in name, it must be in the essence.

Brother Potter has quoted Hebrews viii. in order to prove that the gospel is not indispensable in the work of salvation. I want to notice that briefly, and I am going to read Jamieson, Faussett and Brown; that will be good authority for him. “And they shall not teach every man his neighbor and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord, for all shall know him from the least to the greatest.” This is the Commentary on Zechariah xii. 8, on the words “he that is feeble among them shall be as David:” “Under the old covenant, the priest’s lips were to keep knowledge, and at his mouth the people were to seek the law…under the new covenant the Holy Spirit teaches every believer. Not that the mutual teaching of brethren is excluded whilst the covenant is being promulgated; but when once the Holy Spirit shall have fully taught all the remission of their sins and inward sanctification, then there shall be no farther need of man teaching his fellow-man. Cf. 1 Thess. iv. 9; v. 1, an earnest of that perfect state to come. On the way to that perfect state every man should teach his neighbor. The teaching is not hard and forced, because grace renders all teachable; for it is not the ministry of the letter, but of the spirit. (2 Cor. iii. 6). The believer’s firmness does not depend on the authority of human teachers. God himself teaches. The New Testament is shorter than the Old Testament, because, instead of the details of an outward letter law, it gives the all-embracing principles of the spiritual law written on the conscience, leading one to spontaneous, instinctive obedience in outward details. None save the Lord can teach effectually, ‘know the Lord.”’ Now, you see, we agree with him about teaching, but we differ as to the means. This very commentator takes my position exactly, that when they have been instructed and received the Word, then one need not teach his neighbor, because he will know by his inner experiences, after appropriating Jesus as presented in the gospel. So much for that. But he tells us that the object of the missionaries is to teach the people to know the Lord. Well, it is owing to what he means by that. If he means experimental religion, there is not a man of us who claims that. Why, my brother knows that my quotations show that I do not believe that. I simply claim that man is a responsible being, that he has an understanding, and is constituted with faculties to respond to truth. Jesus was a perfect man as well as God, and in his wonderful work there is provision for every man in the human race. God gives the sunlight which enables us to see, but we have to open our eyes to receive it. Hence in the Word it is said that the Holy Spirit, through the gospel, illuminates the eye of the understanding. Therefore, the individual must open the understanding to receive the illuminating influence of the Holy Spirit through the Word. We can teach others to know Jesus intellectually in the Word, but experimentally he has to be personally appropriated and tested by each individual. The supreme desire of the soul must go out to ask God for aid to accomplish this, and when the soul yields itself to Christ the Holy Spirit imparts his life giving and transforming influence. Now, Brother Potter says they are not all saved around Owensville. And they were not all saved around Jerusalem, nor at Antioch, when Paul and Barnabas went out on their mission tours. So that is no argument whatever. So much for his proof-text.

Now, about Mr. Carpenter, in regard to the persecution. Does not my brother know better than to say that we teach that persecution caused the disciples who were dispersed from Jerusalem to prosecute the mission work? It caused them to leave Jerusalem, but they had the Spirit of God working in them, and were thereby induced to teach the gospel wherever they went. Some went into Africa, others went to Cyprus, and others went to Antioch, sowing the good seed, as God’s laborers are sowing it today all around the globe, and thereby lifting up the world into the sunlight of God’s favor. A handful of wheat was to be planted on the mountain-top that would shake like Lebanon. Now, Brother Potter has taken the position squarely that the preaching of the gospel is not necessary as a means, because they were called before they were preached to.

Now, I want to continue in my line of argument. I will proceed to develop one of the arguments which I have already adduced in support of the affirmative of the proposition. It is this: The fruits of the Foreign Mission work are an evidence that this work is owned and blessed of God. But before I discuss this I want to say something about Wycliffe and the quotations from Buck’s Theological Dictionary referred to in the remarks of Brother Potter. I do not want to do my brother injustice, but Wycliffe was not named in the quotation he gave concerning the terrible massacre of St. Bartholomew. I have that grand old book, and other authorities concerning this event. He knows I asked, before I got up here to speak, whom he meant by those martyrs alluded to in Buck’s Theological Dictionary. He need not say that this martyrdom took place at the beginning of the Reformation. Luther was dead when that took place under Charles IX. He told you how the conflict was brought about, and that it was not mission work. Why, my friends, it was the pressing out of the lines of Protestantism. Is not that the mission work—advancing the cause? That is the fruit of it, that is the spirit of it—pressing out. It had the Life in it, and I will say that neither the Baptists nor any other denomination would have been today what they are if it had not been for the spirit of the Reformation. This is apparent from the past history of Christianity.

I will now proceed further to develop the argument drawn from the unmistakably good fruits of the Foreign Mission work. These prove that this work is owned and blessed of God. My opponent says, “Show me the fruit.” Why, look here at this map. I have called his attention to it day after day—to the transformation of the character of those people in all these heathen lands. I call his attention to it now. He says he wants the fruit—he wants to see the apple. Now I am going to show him the apple, and I want this congregation to witness. Have I not quoted from the very best authorities, showing the wonderful progress of the work, and the transformation of all these degraded heathen people by the gospel? It has given a written language to many savage or barbarous tribes. It has transformed men from worse than brutes to civilized, Christian human beings. Have I not shown that today many are singing the sweet songs of Zion who were once idolaters and cannibals? There are in Oceania fathers and mothers, now happy Christians, who thirty years ago buried their children alive. They weep when their hearts are stirred by the blessed gospel of Christ, and as they look back and see what their former lives were. Not long ago they had a grand Sunday-school celebration for the children in one of those islands. That is a mission work—developing gospel knowledge and activity among the children in the Sunday school, teaching them the blessed Bible. They had a Sunday-school meeting, and the children were singing the sweet gospel songs, singing of Jesus’ love, of his work, and of the future world. And as they sang, an old man who was sitting there was seen to be weeping. The minister asked him what was the matter. “O that you had come here years ago! then I would have had my children! I would not have been without them, as I am now.” He, in his imbruted state, had buried them alive, to get rid of them, as had many of his neighbors. After Captain Cook was killed, in 1779, no man dared to visit these islands. The people were cannibals. The missionaries went there with the Word of God, and we see the fruits today. Why did they go there and to the Fiji Islands? Americans…men of our own nation went. When the news came to our shores, about 1819, that the people of the Sandwich Islands had, all of a sudden, rejected their priests and idolatrous services, and by a mighty uprising had thrown away their idols, Christian men offered themselves to go there to preach the gospel to them, if God in his providence would indicate the way. They waited only for proper equipment for the work, and transportation to the fields. The hearts of the people in Boston were touched, and opened to the call, and the adequate means were provided, and a small missionary party was equipped for the work. They set sail in a very few months after the reception of the news.

There has not been enough money spent in those islands to build three iron-clad vessels of war; and yet they are today filled with Christian churches, and illuminated by the light of heaven, and filled with good, sweet, kind, Christian men and Christian women. And it was there, as I read to you, that they rolled their boats over living beings, and buried them beneath their tents, before those missionaries went there. What made that transformation, I ask you? He said a man cannot do any thing except a call come, and we accept it. The work brought the fruit, and “by their fruit ye shall know them.” I have the proof right there in the Bible. What is it? “A good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and an evil tree evil fruit.” There is the good fruit— the fruit of God’s Spirit. It is brought forth abundantly in all the heathen lands which you see here on the map. This is true in British America, in Greenland amid the gleaming icebergs, in Labrador, in Patagonia, among the Bechuanas in Africa, in India, in the Chinese Empire. But here is my brother, in the light of these facts, in the year 1885, fighting this wonderful work. Look at these islands here—the New Hebrides, New Zealand, and Australia—the degraded people by whom they were inhabited, scarcely looked like human beings before the missionaries went there. There was but very little similarity between their vocal utterances and the articulate sound of the human voice. Their cries sounded more like the barking of a dog than human speech. “There,” said infidelity, “a people is found to whom the gospel is not adapted, and whom it cannot teach; hence we have a living demonstration that it is not perfectly in accord with the fitness of things; therefore it is not divine.” Mr. Darwin and other infidel scientists said that these degraded people could never be taught a vocal language, and therefore could never be rescued from their low, degraded state. But the missionaries entered these islands, and in a few years, by the blessing of God, proved all these assertions to be false. They not only taught these wretched specimens of humanity language, but induced them to accept Christ and become Christians. They became decent, moral, and spiritual. When Mr. Darwin and other infidel scientists saw what the missionaries had done for these people, they were so thoroughly convinced that they confessed that they were wrong, and contributed to the work. I can produce the document to prove that it was something they could not account for.

Theodore Christlieb, a man possessing one of the most giant intellects, and of the broadest culture, and of the most extensive information, in his late broad survey of Protestant missions, after a score of years spent in the study of this theme, speaking of the success of the Foreign Mission work in uplifting and saving the most degraded of heathen nations, says on page 23: “We thus have the comforting assurance that no race is spiritually so dead that, by the good news, if cannot arise to newness of life; no tongue so barbarian that it will not admit of the translation of the Bible; no heathen soul so sunk that he cannot become a new creature in Christ Jesus; and that therefore our Lord and Master, coming to us as the Way, the Truth and the Life, in the widest acceptation of the words, issued no impossible command when embracing, without any exception, all and every human misery, he said: ‘Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.’ Evangelical Christendom had long been accustomed simply to believe its possibility. Today we have living proofs of its actual accomplishment in thousands of converted South Sea cannibals, of Esquimaux and American Indians, of Bush Negroes, and Pesherehs of Terra del Fuego—yes, even of Papuans in Australia and New Guinea.”

 

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