header image
Home arrow Griffin's History arrow Led By A Way I Knew Not-Chapter 13
Led By A Way I Knew Not-Chapter 13 PDF Print E-mail
Written by R. Anna Phillips   


CHAPTER XIII—CHURCH EVIDENCES

After the proof of having overcome the nations from Egypt to Canaan, which itself evidences the faith of God’s elect, let us ask who but the Primitive Baptists have ever overcome fleshly oppositions strong as nations. Other sects have nothing to overcome; it is an honor, a worldly fleshly benefit to belong to them! But then in the land of Canaan, natural Israel stood alone and aloof from all nations, had no dealings whatever, except to war, with any. While all nations surrounding her war against her. How willing to combine--how willing to propose (against her)—”a confederacy.” But who ever proposed “a confederacy.” with her, against another? Not one. And because ever true to the word of the Lord only, rejecting and spurning all alliance, they hated her, and would fain have destroyed her. But it was God who forbade affiliations with other nations; she must stand alone, the common opposite of all, obeying God and never man. She has the same one only living and true God, yesterday, today and forever. And hence knows no change in doctrine, faith or practice. However, she may from weakness of the flesh, be imposed upon, and by excess of worldly lusts, springing from seducers, creeping in to spy out her liberties, be subject to error, and follow pernicious practices as did national Israel; but when purged and pruned of these elements that thus for a time worked, the error was not permanent and she returns to the old way. But the true Israel of God never changes in spirit: even while designing rebellious men, controlling the members, led her a weeping captive to Babylon, the few chosen, were true to God in heart.
The true church was, and ever will be, a remnant. When God comes with the pruning knife and lops off this always heavier mass, that has ever led astray, he leaves ever a bare remnant; and they turning not again to the recent or rather late practices of error of those gone with the element now cut off; but to old paths marked by God, have been accused of changing--”not what they were”--”departed from original grounds,” as one in a late article in “The Baptist” of January 2nd, 1875, says of the Kehukee Association of N. C. As if the church, when purged and pruned, and left as a remnant, and after seventy years of captivity, did not go further back to reach the old landmarks when returned to Jerusalem, than ever did the Primitive Baptists when pruned of the Missionary Baptist element. Before “the last decade in the eighteenth century,” was nothing to reach over for the “good old way.”

If not the Primitive Baptists, then who? where? Not the popular denominations where the wise, prudent, rich and noble made up a vast multitude. Not where worldly strength rested, and fleshly lusts approvingly gave the hand in fellowship. Not where worldly institutions--sons and daughters of Sihon and Og, Esau and Moab, joined hand-in-hand with church fellowship. Not where numbers swelled the moving, progressing, boasting, ever changing, ever inventing and remodeling ranks. Not where Jesus did not manifest in the mortal body, or outward deportment, in all gentleness, meekness, lowliness, long-suffering and goodness--forbearing one another, forgiving one another, preferring one another, esteeming others better than themselves. Not where masters, honorary titles, self-aggrandizement, prevail. But where with the first enumerated traits, the greatest is least and servant of all; and all were as little children that worshipped God in spirit and had no confidence in the flesh. (Little children are so different from big ones; and their sins so unlike the sins of big ones). Little children may break laws, but never presume to make them. Little children love good things, but. they never connive, or defraud, or cheat, for filthy lucre.

Poor little flock of little ones! where was she,? One might search the great cities in vain, for this is about the time for her to be hid in the wilderness, nor seen by human observation. “Lo here” in this great city; and “lo there” in that high place, is no sign but that she is not there. Nor is she mounted on the car of progression, civilization and enlightenment. Her sun never grows more or less. The world given out these progressions; she is not of the world. But rather hated and persecuted by it.. But under the feature as a remnant I will further notice her peculiar characteristics. For despite her lowliness she is peculiar; and her laws of grace zealous of good works.

The Primitive Baptists alone correspond so far. Now let us trace her history a little and see how she compares as “a REMNANT.” God never has purged or pruned any but His own. My firm belief is that Jesus Christ established the Primitive Baptist church, not by this name, nor has she held the same name through many ages, but in spirit, letter, faith and practice. Circumstances, &c., may change a name; but the man who dares to touch the ark as steadying it, much more to improve upon, alter or amend it, is struck dead. This ark containing the immutable law is the standard test of all claims. People setting up for themselves, making their own ark and writing their own law upon their own tables and calling themselves a church, may alter, amend, or even destroy, with impunity, if the age of enlightenment demand: and thus demanding, they may touch anew a feature here or there, at pleasure: but the ark and law of God, for his church, never. No adding to or taking from. Some might think such a course, of such a people, would in this great age be ruinous: that they must inevitably die out. They forget, or never knew, perhaps, that their life is hid with Christ in God: the very fact of life, under the circumstances, should tell them this. And God has said he would never be without a witness on earth. The fact of this record, for the comfort and encouragement of his poor little remnant, would never point with any pertinence or any significance to any but the hunted, scattered Primitives.

A remnant then is a distinguishing feature of the church: no so-called churches are ever left a remnant or a bare portion left. All through ancient time we see Israel left occasionally s remnant. And once so bare, so scant, that one cried “they have killed thy prophets, digged down thine altars. and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” But God, ever true to his people, replied that “a remnant according to election, was reserved,” even seven thousand who had not bowed to the image of Baal. A remnant of national Israel--all that was left. of the worldly or legal element--was that with which Jesus Christ, according to the same election of grace, constituted the gospel church; the kingdom set up by himself upon himself. I note her faith and practice: her position in and estimation of the world; and more particularly by the Pharisaical world (the slandering representative of all false religious sects afterwards, as legalists ever opposing grace).

This remnant, comprising, the gospel church, was “everywhere spoken against.” This corresponds to the Primitive Baptists. What other sect is according to the election of grace? What others are everywhere spoken against? What others are accused of virtually saying “let us sin because grace abounds?” What other sect is condemned as preaching foolishness or a stumbling-block? What other sect would it be thought God service to silence all consideration of the doctrine of salvation by grace alone, as construed to license evil that good may come, or sin because grace abounds? We know that none others--and they are glad of it--are so tenacious for grace and election.

The same carnal mind, the same malicious legal priest-craft rule, that put Jesus to death, and persecuted the remnant, some of them to death, still pursuing her for two or three hundred years, till---shall I say it?--lenity swelled her numbers and made her great in the world to some considerable extent: till the wicked, worldly element that was already working in the apostles’ day, that had then conceived, brought forth a host engendering evil practices nurtured by the predominating element setting itself up above God, providing ways and means independent of the doctrine according to the elation of grace: the ever particularly distinguishing doctrine of the church of God, which perverting, claimed “another gospel” in the famous city of Rome. And the knife of the avenging God in heaven came, and the great Catholic element, as a fungus weighing the hidden church to the ground, and hiding her under her enormous trail, was lopped off and rolled away and a remnant was left.

The true church in her own garb now once more appears; and ever as when thus seen, she is again subject to every species of persecution. On through ages we glimpse her as by unswerving faith and practice--her peculiar doctrine of election and salvation by grace through faith, and as aloof from all the institutions, doctrines and commandments of men. 

At times, from not being “numbered with the nations,” neither civil or religious, as the Catholics and other seers were, and from persecutions, she is almost hid, as in Elijah’s time; or from some such covering again of worldly element; then she is pruned again, and then clearly marked by bloody footsteps, and as the common target for all. Fire, sword and prisons pursue her, till at times dens and caves only hold her; fleeing, but faithful unto death. Ah, how often when under the death-edict of Pope and King, and at the mercy of untiring fanatical priest craft, was she left a remnant bare indeed? Was the Catholic, Protestant, Presbyterian. Methodist, or any sect ever a remnant?

But I do not design giving a full history. Let it suffice, the Catholic was the first, the Missionary Baptist the last, lopping off leaving her a remnant. God takes care of her’: the forever weaker, the remnant is left, the strong party goes. What other party on earth can boast this mark of identity, and as such moving and spreading by persecutions. Persecutions, and not missions have spread the gospel: so it came to America. But the prunings of the true church were ever Pharisaical, and ever set up at once “above all that is called God,” to do more by’ the invention of ways and means than God ever required of his church in the way of meddling with salvation.
But when the church thus regains her identity as a remnant, when thus refined and bereft of the world thus shorn of the mighty men of valor, and riches and pomp that glittering gold gives: and the comeliness that towering intellect decorates and draws the pandering praise of the world, then is she safest and surest, and surest to grasp her spiritual weapon of faith, and stand and overcome. And what the world calls a cursing is her blessing.

Where was such a people as under law to Christ alone, and proving it by presenting no change in faith and permanent practice since the setting up of the gospel church, as still faithful to the characteristic principle of the doctrine of election and salvation by grace alone, and still presenting the lone weapon of defense--the shield of faith--to the world, the flesh and the devil? Where is the remnant, hated, persecuted, counted ignorant, foolish, low, poor, aye and pestilential, as giving license to sin, depraving man and exalting grace alone, by rejecting ways, means and merit? Where was the little flock standing alone and aloof in this great world because not of it ? Show me her, and I show you the church and the worship of God in the beauty of holiness, the worship of God in spirit, having no confidence in the flesh. Who but the Primitive Baptists? Elsewhere, in all so-called churches, was else than this pure unmixed doctrine of salvation by grace through faith. Elsewhere in all were lords many and gods many, and confidence in the flesh as manifested in works. means, auxiliary systems, helping institutions; and mingling merit was written everywhere.

Ah! I had condemned the Primitive Baptists! I had condemned her in the very marks, signs and seals that God had set upon her as his own. And I had sought the church at the great and glorious temple at legal Jerusalem; and turned from and denied the hated, unsightly, ontlawed remnant in the wilderness. And even as having failed, if I must go “without the gate of Jerusalem” as Christ did to the cross, I must fain carry some vessel of gold from the great temple along with me. But now, leaving all, I pray thee, let me go over and ,see the good land beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain and Lebanon, who in rejecting all did but obey Christ and prove the heart that would seek him in Zion.

Not that in rejecting “Missions” she would bind the gospel: not that in rejecting theological schools she opposed education; not that in rejecting Sons of Temperance, or Flood Templars, she disclaimed sobriety: not that in rejecting Sunday-schools she ignores religious instruction and training to children; not that in rejecting Masonry she ignores mutual friendship in the bonds of faith, hope and charity, or would restrain deeds of charity; even as not. in the Mosaic dispensation, did she ignore or reject it in its moral import and binding. But just as the moral law of Moses is brought in, established and observed, so are all these, AS UNDER LAW TO CHRIST.

Because “the righteousness of God is manifested without the law [or recognition of Moses] which is by faith of Jesus Christ,” so that a sinner is saved without deeds of the law, is justified freely by grace through faith--is the law made void? Is the law made void through faith? “God forbid,” exclaims an apostle. “yea, we establish the Law.” Rom. 3. Established upon “better promises.” Heb 8:6. Just so, and upon the same principles is the good moral import and obligations of every institution of the world whether as moral or religious, brought in and established upon better promises and premises and its observance made more binding as under law to Christ, and not as under law to worldly order and institutions.

But has the church the right, by the given simile, to take this moral good and transfer it to this other promise and premise? Perhaps those so-called churches and those orders, who have always had possession in the broad “lands [the world] on this side of Jordan,” who, born unto it, and knowing no conflict except in the defensive, may consider my simile far-fetched. But the true Israelite, who has come up from Egyptian bondage to receive the promise to Abraham hundreds of years, and who necessarily has sore battle here, will admit the simile in application and accept the figure in full. They have wanted to pass through to Canaan, and the spirit to discern the matter of this--otherwise mere historical record. And in continuation of which figure we read that, Israel, after destroying all that was consumable, was to “inherit the land” and “all the cattle and spoils of the cities [passive, innocent means] we took for a prey to ourselves; and we took at that time, out of the hands of the two kings of the Amorites, the land t hat was on this side of Jordan.” Deut. 3: 7. 8. Yes, destroy the temples and gods and consume all matter of defilement, and take the spoil to ourselves. That is, as of money advancing the kingdom of Christ, as saving souls, for instance; because money cannot do this we do not throw it away; or count it a sin to be earned lawfully: no, but we take from one use and apply it to another, take it to ourselves in lawful proper right, applying to temporal things; and as not abusing to advance the natural man, or as under law to Christ, help in temporal things of the church. This land that was to be inherited was the passive base from whence sprang the cities and their means of operation, their innocent material to work with and from. So the moral law of God had been equally prolific of so-called churches and religious institutions, as well as moral. They have been born to them in native homes, as natural offspring, and they feel they are theirs.

But the true church coming up from Egypt, by conquest, takes them out of the hands of the two kings, false churches and the world, she takes the obligations of the moral law out of false systems, and by right of inheritance by the power of conquest, brings them into the kingdom of, to be observed as under law to, Christ. While the spoils, as money, education, natural abilities, &c., &re, that, while she rejects as means and merit advancing Christ, or securing salvation, she takes to herself as natural men and women, and as under law to Christ, distributing to the temporal necessities of the Church, and as supporting the ministry. But this support is taken out of the hands of outside contract, and put into the hand of duty as a Christian under the law of Christ. And so all good works.
For “good works” is the plea for all outside institutions. In the gospel system the performance of “all good works” is absolutely required; and the church member is not wanting in law or obligation to all, because ignoring’ “institutions of the day:” in the law of Christ lie is “thoroughly furnished to all good works.” And here only are good works, gospel works; no work, however legal as to form, is gospel or acceptance to God, unless done in the faith of Christ, as under law to him. And gospel works is fruit unto holiness to the honor and praise of God, from obedience to faith, knowing no other allegiance.

But suppose a church member owes allegiance to a Masonic Lodge, and does deeds of charity; is the fruit unto holiness, and to the glory of God, or a Lodge? It is rendered as a Christian, or as a Mason? Suppose the answer is, as I have heard, “as a Christian Mason.” Then what glory goes to a lodge, is of the lodge; for God says he will not give his glory to graven images. To couple the terms can never make a partner in God’s glory, or a partnership business of gospel works. A lodge is of the world; the world is an enemy to Christ.” James 4:4. “The world is darkness.” Matt. 6:23, and the fruit “unto death.” “Christ is Light” John 2:23. The church “the light of the world.” What communion in life and death? “What agreement hath the temple of God with idols.” 2nd Cor. 6:14 He that is not, with me, is against me; and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth abroad.” Matt. 12:30. The world is not with Christ. Then if the work is at all as a Mason, it is, not at all as a Christian---for Christ, but against him; it scattereth abroad by the coupling.

But suppose he says “for Christ..” Then what utility in bringing in Masonry? Is the scope extended, or facilitated, and made more efficient by Masonry? Is the law of Christ really wanting? No, that law covers the whole scope of the whole duty of man, and that as looking to every relative position in life; whether as children; Eph. 6:1; husband, Eph. 5:23, wife, Col. 3:18; servants, Col. 3:22; citizen, Rom. 13:1; Tit. 3:1; 1st Pet, 2:12,15; neighbor, Rom. 13:10; Tit. 3:2; Mark 12:39; rich, poor, bond, free, male or female, and as church members particularly, John 12:36; Heb. 6:12; Acts 5:29: in all things in all capacities, he is thoroughly furnished to all good works, and will always be under law to Christ, Col. 3:23, 1st Cor. 9:21, and plenty of other places; and that as establishing the principle. Hence THE CHURCH OF CHRIST SUPERSEDES THE NECESSITY OF ALL OTHER INSTITUTIONS TO HER MEMBERS.

Then I repeat, we do not practically ignore the ethical good in any outside institution or society; the good works commanded and performed by the members of these, are in, and to the glory of their respective names; while we. finding their like or import in the gospel law comprising “all good works,” perform the same in, and to the glory of, Jesus’ name. The difference then is not in performance, but allegiance and name in which performed.

What! the Primitive Baptists who exclude one for joining one of the institutions, professing to observe all their good works! But consider, a work truly unto the Lord is well satisfied if he approves, nor concerns itself to have the world know--does not sound a trumpet before, or publish in print as do these institutions: you come into our every-day life and walk--among our neighbors--into our houses and churches and see if we will not compare favorably with other sects. We invite the search as not afraid of the comparison, while we deplore--as others must--the exceptions to the general rule.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 05 October 2006 )
< Previous   Next >

Purpose

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.