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Written by R. Anna Phillips   

 

CHAPTER XVI—AS A PRIMITIVE BAPTIST

Does anyone suppose my warfare was now ended, having joined the church fully satisfied as to all her evidences of identity? Does any suppose I had nothing to do and nothing to trouble me more now, but to sing the songs of Zion in her border, and attend her regular assemblages, &c., and b~ happy and easy all my life ? Did Israel have nothing to do after all the wars from Egypt to Jordan--when she had passed over Jordan and settled in Canaan, had she nothing more to do than sing and be happy in her devotions to the tabernacle ? Let her difficulties and continually recurring wars with the seven nations--there before her--answer. The name, Israel, signifies warriors or soldiers of God—figuratively God’s faithful people And the command of God to them, on entering Canaan, was to drive out—expel those nations--those ites. So the church of God has ever those ites and isms to contend with.

I have had much thought about those nations and their kings, having particularly to do with Israel; even from Egypt to those inhabiting the land of Canaan. The Egyptian bondage undoubtedly represents the bondage of sin and death: in which case Pharaoh--always the same name if king of Egypt--must be a representation of the devil directly concerning himself with the law of sin and detail. Then after deliverance from him, as overthrown in the Red Sea--new birth, see how many nations still to meet and overcome, before the passage of Jordan. I have given my idea of these. But now those nations in the land of Canaan? The land of Canaan is not the church, the Israel of God, but the land wherein they dwelt. The tabernacle was a moving tent, but was ever held sacred from profanity in all its parts and appliances. But the temple was set, built upon Mount Zion in Jerusalem; this was but a city in the broad land, where alone was the worship of God in the beauty of holiness, and none but a Jew might enter here to worship. But worshipping, he went abroad to live as a man, in the land of Canaan. Canaan was generally a lowland with striking sharp high mountains. This denotes the experience of a Christian, generally in the valley or lowlands, but has access to those high places of love, joy and praise. And when he went up to Mount Zion he was always above the level of the lowland. To defend Mount Zion, to defend Jerusalem for the sake of Mt. Zion, where was the sacred ark, &c., was the dearest duty of his life. And though Canaan was there as a possession forever,” yet the land was broad, who could not pass Jordan? (legal form of baptism). Who had not passed Jordan of all the tribes around, and fought for possession. Indeed, those seven nations already laid claim before Israel came, but not before the covenant of promise. And these nations were many and strong giants, sons of Anak, some of them. And in tracing them back, we know just as much about them as we know of the fallen angels, who doubtless fell and inhabited some sphere where pride and insubordination reign in opposition to God before the church fell. And as they were before in that particular, may they not by representation have been before Israel in Canaan ? At least, I regard those nations as representing the most powerful emissaries of the devil, “spiritual wickedness in high places,” as existing before the visibility of the church. Those obscure people, Zuzim and Zamzummim, are as clear to us in origin as the devils. It is not for us to know, but to meet them as the enemies of God and his church.

And that an Israelite is done with Pharaoh and all those kings of the way, is not that he is done with his armor. Indeed it is that he has to buckle it on the more closely. Those away down in Egypt, or along the way, or any elsewhere, know nothing of the wars with spiritual wickedness in high places: know nothing of the strategy and subtlety of “the prince of the power of the air,” transforming himself as he lists here in the AIR. The air! the element in which the natural man lives and moves and has a being; he breathes it, he eats and drinks it; it enters into him fully, and that so necessary to, and harmonious with nature, as to be unaware. Guarded, and on the alert, we stand a chance at victory; but to “creep in unawares,” as ravening wolves in sheep’s clothing, these, says an apostle, are the enemies of the church, against which, more than all, she is to beware: as the same spirit beguiled Eve. See how far he traces it to the same source? “Lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted.” That this was a spiritual enemy is shown in guarding the mind. And. that these, some of them at least, were the greatest and strongest Israel ever had met, is denoted by being giants, they have met no giants heretofore; but now they come in contact with the descendants of Anakim; they are the Anakims. God himself had delivered them from Pharaoh and brought them on the Way, and ushered them into the promised land, flowing with milk and honey, but infested nevertheless with powerful enemies. He had given them Jaws, which to keep, insured his help. He had done everything for them and now he gave them weapons, not carnal, to withstand all the might of these great foes. And that all availing shield of faith to guard the vital parts while fighting. Yes, God had fought for them, but now here they must fight. One warfare, salvation of the soul, is accomplished by God; but now the “common Salvation” begins as their own to be.
And this spiritual wickedness in high places is the Anakim, the descendant of the great “giant, tall and high.” From it crops out all the lesser evil of the spirit of error. Spiritual things, you know, are things not seen; so we meet an enemy as we meet the air, see only in the spirit of effect, known only by contact. God has given us a lettered law to which corresponds perfectly the spirit of truth in our hearts; this is the standard. So, to sum the premises of the gospel church in warfare today, is to sum the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. The spirit of error is the great foe, the giant that would slay us, and he has ten thousand subtle emissaries helping him, not the least host of which is found in our flesh--fleshly lusts. They all side with him, and yet claim kin with us.

Then beware here! beware of men claiming kin with us, claiming membership with us, or what not, following not Christ. Here is the unguarded danger, subtle power of the air we breathe unawares; we inhale heresy, the spirit of error, a thought, a view, looking at, the man we love, and not at the truth we profess. These descendants of Anakim, the Bible says, have possession to some extent “to this day,” which means for all days. We may buckle on our armor, and run away over the plain to meet a noisy host of open enemies out there; while spiritual wickedness, the spirit of error, may play as treasonably within the very walls of Zion. Spiritual wickedness in high places is that enthroned in the mind, and upheld by highest human reason and intelligence, the highest place in the world. A “principality” or “power” is a system by a combination of these.

Whatever in any sense applies to the church collectively, applies to the individual child of God. The church collective met all these nations. So must she still, spiritually; and so must every individual Christian meet them in parts stronger or weaker. Some of the individual Israelites suffered but little in the battlings or in many other ways; they moved along in the midst, covered by the defense of the strong, active ones. So there are some now. But others must fight the harder, and as good soldiers are rewarded with what the weak and slothful know not nor enjoy.
Then to every individual Christian, active in the service of God, come all these enemies besieging the heart and mind, just as those nations did the Jerusalem and Mount Zion nationally. The spirit of error: ah the spirit of error! calling itself the truth; just like those nations claiming to be Canaanites.

These were some of my thoughts and views sometime after I joined the church. And they gained strength and dimension, and in importance, as the truth of God, the more I received them. Dismiss them I could not; for Zion and all that concerned her became more and more as matter weighting me in interest. Immediately after, and for some long time after, joining the church I was at, peace. Yes, peace with the world, church and myself; and the enemy was not seen: sweet, solid peace and assurance of faith, and hope, and love. With indwelling gladness meeting the assemblage of saints: while bearing reproach and insult heaped upon me by some of those opposing ,without offense, but rather with gladness and joy, at being counted worthy to suffer for the truth. “The Lord reigneth” was the sum of my heart’s hope and trust, in all fleeting, as well as eternal things. The war then raging gave me no uneasiness as to results. God rules in heaven and in the armies of the earth. All is well, all will be well, however the war ends, for God reigns.

But then these thoughts as above expressed began to engage my mind, and finally caused me to look about me, and the church also, and to examine my armor, &c. I might ask myself why not stay within the citadel like the weak and little ones did, while Israel fought, and let others--strong ones--watch and fight? But this was forgotten, and the first I knew I was over the parapet, on some outlook for the enemy. Or else searching around within to see all was right For one foe within is more than a thousand without. And so dear to me had become the church collective that I had almost as soon find error in my own personal heart as in hers. Oh how, for her sake collectively embracing myself, did I crave spiritual discernment? How I did crave spiritual understanding; and to worship God with her “with the spirit and with the understanding also.”

And still up to this time--three or four years after joining the church--was with me still that simple trust in God: disturbed at times mightily, but coming back again. And, putting myself with the church. I could say, “all things are yours, and ye are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s: only believe and obey!

This was her whole duty. But in the matter of obedience questions arose. As the individual Christian is but the collective body in perfect miniature. I could take questions concerning her to myself, and this was the more acceptable way, as my own personal duty was first, and so--I that was once so low (in death and sin,) now raised so high (in Christ)--would ask—what am I? And what practical duties apply to what? This called for nice discrimination. But this I found was necessary to practical reception of, and obedience to, respectively, the laws of Christ; whether as bearing upon the more important ordinances, or otherwise, as applying to, and demanding of elements comprising the new man--the only man under the law of grace. The true Israelite put off the natural man, and moved from every-day life and place, and went up to Mount Zion, and into the tabernacle to worship God: and there alone he might perform the ceremonial service: and each respective department of the temple had its respective service. The discrimination here was not so hard to make: indeed it, was by sight; but the human body now. in the gospel order taking the place of that temple, is not so easily read: because that, as a figure of the true, is a natural house typifying a spiritual house: the eyes of nature beheld that; but the eyes of the spirit, or faith, must, see and discern this. One thing we know--that that temple was a pattern and figure of the gospel church: also that the natural body of the saint is the gospel and antitype of the legal house; and that it is a “habitation of God through the spirit:” and not as it were under the legal dispensation, where the divine presence was located above the Ark in metaphor visible to the natural eye, and the pillow of cloud as seen. So, each department of the temple was noted by natural observation. But the gospel kingdom is “not by observation.”

But then, that being “figures of the true,” we may learn much of the particular gospel building of God, and its respective departments, and order of service, &c., by going back to the “pattern;” just as we learn of spiritual Israel by national Israel in all other respects.

I say then, that as the human body is the visible gospel temple, and that as embracing the hidden departments within, or the elements comprising the whole one new man; a nice discrimination is absolutely necessary. Yet, as according to the pattern--and see saith the Lord that ye “make all things according to the pattern”--wherein special and particular service was to be rendered in a specified department; this discrimination is absolutely essential to the gospel worship of God with the spirit and with the understanding also.

True, one might stand and look and look at the visible outside of the house---the natural bodies of the saints--and comprising the whole, body, soul and spirit, in a vague undefined sense and say “there is the new man” while the same, could as truthfully say “there is the natural man, the enemy of God.” Besides, thus looking at the house, as an undefined whole, or the man, and even as ignoring the existence of departments, shutting our eyes to the probability of the fact, how call we judge the order of service within? How can we know but the spirit, of the “prince of the power of the air”—Spiritual wickedness (in this highest place in creation, but a little lower than angels),--subtle as air, has been inhaled, and dwells, where no search comes? Did national Israel stand without and judge by the smoke from the incense, rising of the incense, and the party offering? Did it make no difference whether the ark was here or there? or whether the altar of burnt-offering was in this, or that department, so it was in the temple? Who knows but your altar is in the outer court; and, judging merely from the smoke, who knows but a veritable son of Anak is offering the sacrifice within? Did God tell Israel not to note the departments of the temple within, that to do so would be to invade his secret things? No, he specified them to them; and particularly discriminated between the service here and there: this service was to be performed here; in the outer-court; that there in the second, or sanctuary; and that there in the third, or most holy place. No discriminate mixing, no misunderstanding, no confusion, but order, law, time, place, discrimination and distinction in departments and in service. Yet some tell us it is “too far-fetched and hair-spun” to distinguish between body, soul and spirit.

But so the gospel church should know her departments of body, soul, and spirit; so as to obey--so as to observe the service in order--so as to worship God in spirit and understanding. This was my thought; and this was my desire: and this was my prayer. But I remember that, some years before, in my longest interval of rest from inquiring after the true church, that the subject of the philosophy of man, especially the nervous system as the link and reed iron of communication between the material and immaterial elements composing the one living man, engaged me. One ponderous volume after another was read, and one hypothesis after another tumbled down. I found that great authors--philosopher and anatomist--themselves entangled in the labyrinths of metaphysical speculations. And., eventually, that I knew very little, when 1 knew all they could teach.

But again I went to work, and worked hard and long: and came out a little more confused that ever. Then, long after, when I had given up all hope of ever being able to comprehend, yet with my interest in it, as connecting with the church, strengthened (I hope) I believe the Lord gave me light on the subject: and a view was given me at once clear, and bright, comprehending the whole; but soon the perfect clearness, embracing every part of the subject, was obscure in parts, leaving me a glimmer, yet a perfect undisturbed knowledge that the glimmer, corresponded with the perfection I saw and lost. Why it was given, and then taken, in part, from me, I do not know.

And with the view came certain Scriptural confirmations, and correspondings, prominent among with, as a corresponding figure, was the legal temple in all its departments, as referred to. Man was presented to me as a triune being: as a natural man he was triune; and as a spiritual man he was triune. The temple was triune in its departments; and the gospel church was triune; and the witness springing therefrom was triune. And I found that every representation of the gospel church or an individual Christian , and every answering witness in matter of fact, was triune.

The Godhead is triune--”and God said let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” Gen. 1. So man in original make was triune--in fact was body, soul, and spirit. In that make the body was first formed of the dust of the ground; this was man, first, and he must have had animal life to be called man. I believe that he had it like any animal; and God breathed into him the breath of life. Now God could create animal life, which as the life, or spirit of a beast, would go down, or become extinct at the death of the animal body; but this animal, earthly life was not in God: his life was immortal: and hence breath, conveying life, was of another, and far higher order; and the result was, man, receiving it, was no more man as an animal, but, by this immortal breath making him, rose to but a little lower than the angels, becoming “a living SOUL.” And as a living, intelligent, immortal soul, became a subject of law: and to the man as this higher, ruling element--a living soul--the law was given. And this principle of soul as coming from God was in communion with God, but remember God as in the Godhead.

But that living soul fell and died in sin: dead in trespasses and in sins. How can an immortal principle die? “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” The soul is not dead in the literal sense; but by crime is dead to peace and communion with God: just like a woman by crime divorced from her husband is dead to him. Dead in a law sense: dead to that love, support, and protection, holding them above the law. This is the way a sinner is dead in sins and under bondage to the law: the crime that does violence to the law divorces from the husband: two awful ruinous effects from one sin as a cause. But now if the soul was literally dead whole, the man would be left where he was before this life came from GOD, so low indeed in the scale of intelligence, that he would scarcely be help responsible to law. But the soul in best principle—uprightness and goodness—was dead: and the entire soul was dead legally; and without Christ, this dearth, divorce or banishment will follow that soul everlastingly. So much so that it is called “everlasting death” but how everlasting if literally dead? No, the death to the immortal soul is legal death in trespasses and in sins, and hence the soul-faculties are still active, but as the servant of sin. Death-sentence was passed upon the body as a result of death to the soul, which I hope to be able to explain after awhile.

So a man dead in trespasses and in sins is, too, a triune man.

But the “new man,” more particularly, is whom we now want to obey as under law to Christ, the spiritual Jew as serving in respective departments of the temple, or gospel kingdom militant. And to be prepared to enter in, and serve acceptably to God, is to follow Jesus in the regeneration and be baptized withal with the same baptism unto death.

Then for the man to be prepared for this, and its eternal blessing, it is well for him, at least, that he died--it is well to that living soul, carrying his subordinate member of body with him, that he died in the first place. (This may appear strange logic, but so was it was shown me---even that all things were created by, for, through, and to Jesus Christ; and that all things work together for good to the perfect consummation and completion of the church as redeemed, saved, justified and glorified in him who is the fullness of him that filleth all in all.)

To be made alive in Christ, as the Savior, Head, and Husband of the church, is absolutely necessary to any element comprising the gospel building. The redemption right found in Christ, and followed up by the gift of eternal life to this material, looks to, and bears alone upon the Adamic man, to whom alone the law was given. So to be made alive in Christ, by this redemption right, is first to die in Adam. For, without first dying, how can they be made alive? or without being born first, how can they be born again? So death, however the king of terrors, we find an important and necessary factor in salvation, for we must die to live.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 05 October 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.