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Written by Sylvester Hassell   


Q. Was it customary in Israel for the patriarchs to bless one son at the approach of death, as Isaac blessed Jacob?
A. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were the three chief Jewish patriarchs, who, with their wives, the matriarchs, Sarah, Rebekah, and Leah, were buried in the cave of Macplah, near Hebron, about 20 miles southwest of Jerusalem. The Scriptures do not say that Abraham blessed Isaac, but that God blessed both Isaac and Ishmael, his sons, giving the covenant or Messianic blessing to Isaac (Gen. 17:18,20; 20:12,13). Isaac blessed or invoked the blessing of the Lord upon or prophesied the history of both of his sons, Jacob and Esau, but gave the chief blessing to Jacob (Gen. 27:25-29; 38-40). And Jacob, on his dying bed, made a prophecy of the history of the descendants of his sons, intimating that from his son Judah would be descended the Shiloh, or Peace-Giver, or Messiah (Gen. 49). Among the ancient Jews, by what is called the law of primogeniture, the eldest son was entitled to the birthright - the hardship and priesthood of the family, and a double portion of the property, that is, twice as much as any other child (Gen. 25: 31; 27:36; Deut. 21:17), and the Jewish Rabbis explain that he was to have twice as much of the property as any other child in order to preside with dignity over the family, and to take care of the unmarried female members of the family. By the laws or customs of feudalism in the Middle Ages, the eldest son generally inherited the dwelling or castle and the adjoining houses and lands of the father; but, in some instances, the nearest male relative had this inheritance; and, in the ease of nomadic or wandering tribes, as the youngest son was more likely to be with his parents, he inherited the tent and best furniture and horses and cattle. But the law of primogeniture has, in modern times, been abolished all over the civilized world, except in parts of England, and in succession to a hereditary monarchy.

Q. What is meant by a plague of leprosy being in a woolen or linen garment or in the walls of a house (Levit. 13:47-59; 14:33-57)?
A. There are different skin diseases called leprosy in the Bible, some of which are curable, and some incurable. Genuine or incurable leprosy is distinguished by a specific germ or bacillus, which may be conveyed from a human body to clothing or to the walls of a house; or, as modern physicians think, the leprosy in clothing, in Levit. 13, may have been a mildew, and that in the walls of a house may have been a dry rot; and in either case washing or scraping, and bunion removal, was the prescribed remedy. It is supposed that leprosy in clothing or in the walls of a house was confined to Palestine during the Mosaic or legal dispensation. The ceremonies in the purification of a house were the same as those prescribed in the purification of a leper. Leprosy is a type of sin; and each individual member of a church and the whole church need to be cleansed from it by the blood of Christ applied by the Spirit of God (I John 1:7; 5:8; Heb. 9:14; 10:14,15).

Q. Were the Primitive Baptists the only authors of the London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689?
A. The English Baptists made similar Confessions of Faith in 1643, 1644, 1656, 1677, and 1688; but, in their Confession of 1689, in order to show that they believed the same Bible truths, in regard to the eternal salvation of sinners, as the Presbyterians and Independents (or Congregationalists) of that century, although they differed from both of those denominations in regard to the proper subjects of baptism and what is erroneously called "the mode of baptism" (for baptism is immersion in the name of the Trinity, and there is but one mode of immersion), they adopted much of the language of the Westminster (Presbyterian) Confession of 1647, and of the Savoy (Independent) Declaration of 1658. In regard to Church government, the Baptists and Congregationalists hold that each church or congregation should govern itself - according to the laws of Christ in the New Testament; but John Calvin, the founder of Presbyterianism, noticing the four Councils, one above another, in the government of Geneva, Switzerland, where he lived much of his life, invented the plan of ruling his churches by four Councils - the Session (of Pastor and Ruling Elders of a Church), the Presbytery, the Synod, and the General Assembly. Baptists and Congregationalists think that this human invention is a reflection on the wisdom of God manifested in the New Testament, in which Christ makes the Church the last court of resort for an aggrieved member.

Q. What are your views on divorce? Are there any other scriptural grounds for divorce than adultery?
A. There are not (Deut. 24:1; Matt. 5:32; 19:9; Mark 10:2-12; Luke 16:18). Nothing is plainer in the word of God than His positive and repeated prohibition of divorce except for adultery. The wicked laws of popes and States and Nations that pretend to authorize the dissolution of the marriage bond except for adultery should not be observed or regarded by any true and faithful child of God, who is infinitely above all creatures, and to whom we are finally and eternally accountable.

Q. Does the Bible antagonize education in natural things?
A. Not when such education is true; but it condemns the "oppositions of science falsely so called" (I Tim. 6:20) the profane and vain speculations and babblings of unbelievers in opposition to the eternal truths of the Scriptures (Rom. 3:4).

Q. How large is the endowment of "Chicago University?"
A. This institution was founded in 1891, and has been endowed in all, it is said, with thirty-one million dollars, mostly by John D. Rockefeller, a New School Baptist. No religious tests are ever to be exacted of professors or students; but it is required, in the charter, that the president and at least two-thirds of the trustees shall, at all times, be Baptists. The institution has about 400 teachers, and about 6,000 pupils, and about 500,000 volumes in its libraries. Its annual income is about $1,250,000. The instruction in natural things is, no doubt, of a high older; but, sad to say, as is the case with most of our wealthiest institutions of learning, some of the professors are diligent propagators of infidelity, and at least one is an unblushing advocate of even atheism. The spread of unbelief and consequent wickedness is a dreadful mark of these last perilous, and evil times; but this fact is only a proof of the divine inspiration and truth of the Holy Scriptures (II Thess. 2:1-12; I Tim. 4:1-3; II. Tim. 3:1-17; II Pet. 3:1-18; Rev. 19:11-21).

Q. What is the latest Arminian estimate of the cost of saving sinners in heathen lands?
A. The Protestants claim to convert about 100,000 a year at a cost of about $30,000,000 - which is about $300 apiece. The Roman Catholics (whom Protestants call "veneered Pagans") claim to convert about 100,000 a year act a cost of about $5,000,000 - which is about $50 apiece (see the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. 18, page 598; and The Protestant Magazine, Washington, D.C., for October, 1914, page 479; and my Church History, page 351; and I Peter 1:18,19). Even if 200,000 were saved a year, it would take 5,000 years to save the billion heathen now in the world; and, even at one per cent increase, there would be, at the end of the 5,000 years, fifty less one, that is forty-nine billion heathens unsaved in the world. Evidently, God must save men if they are ever saved. According to the testimony of missionary ministers themselves, the most of so-called missionaries do not contribute one cent to foreign missions; and the so-called Christian world spends twenty times as much for vice and crime and luxuries as they spend for all religious purposes.

Q. What is the unpardonable sin?
A. The sin of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost - calling the Holy Spirit, with Whom Christ was filled, an unclean or unholy spirit, Beelzebub or Satan (Matt. 12:22-37; Mark 3:22-30) may be that this sin can not be committed now; and those Christ is not here now in His visible personality, and it who are under the influence of His Spirit will not think or speak evil of the fruit of that Spirit in others (Gal. 5:22-26).

Q. John says, "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin" (I John 3:9), what is the meaning?
A. Not that the child of God is not a sinner, for John himself says, in this Epistle, "If we say that we have no sin we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (I John 1:8); but that (as Paul says in Rom. 6) the child of God is dead to sin, freed from its dominions and is a servant to God, having his fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. He hates sin, and loves holiness, and, though still a sinner, he does not continue in the habitual, careless, unrepented practice of sin as before his regeneration. The literal translation of the first clause of I John 3:9 is: "Every one begotten of God does not practice sin" (as in the Interlinear Literal Translation published in 1900 by Arthur Hinds & Co., 4 Cooper Institute, New York City).

Q. Ought our members to make, sell, or use alcoholic liquors?
A. I do not myself, and I would be glad to know that none of our members did any of these things. Alcohol is a poison not found in nature, but manufactured by man; and if it were taken for a medicine, the very small doses of a few drops in which other poisonous medicines, as prescribed by physicians, are taken, it would not do so much harm, and produce so much poverty, crime, and disease as it does now. About twenty-five other rank poisons, with water, are mixed with alcoholic liquors, to expand and adulterate them, and this, of course, greatly increases the danger of their use.

Q. Does the Lord, in Amos 6:5,6, condemn the use of musical instruments during the legal dispensation?
A. He does, on the part of those who are ungodly and idolatrous and unjust, and at ease in Zion, and proud and luxurious and intemperate and effeminate, and who "are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph;" but so does He also condemn the feast days and solemn assemblies, and offerings and sacrifices and the songs of such people, in Amos 5:21-23. Yet we are told, in II Chron. 29:25, that the Lord by His prophets Gad and Nathan, commanded the use of these musical instruments (as He commanded the use of feast days and offerings and sacrifices) in the tabernacle and temple service; but none of these things have been commanded by the Lord in the gospel dispensation, and the use of them now is going back and down from the gospel day into the legal night.

Q. Would you advise a young man, who is honestly and reverently seeking for the truth, to read and study the works of Voltaire, Thomas Paine, Spencer, and Ingersoll?
A. No sooner than I would advise a healthy person to take into his body the rankest poisons. Life is too short and time too precious, to waste on the ignorances, falsehoods, vanities, wickedness, and blasphemies of these men and of their followers.

Q. Is marriage a kind of lottery?
A. It is not. Lottery is chance-work or gambling, and condemned by the laws of England and the United States; while marriage is an appointment of God, commended by Him, and allowed in all nations. Nothing takes place by chance or without cause, though often we do not know the immediate causes of things; but all things are known to God (Heb. 4:13; Acts 15:18), and He works all things after the counsel of His own will (Eph. 1:11; Isa. 46:9-11; Prov. 16:33; Matt. 10: 29,30). Forbidding to marry is a doctrine of devils (I Tim. 4:1-5), and such a prohibition as this would fill the world with corruption and violence.

Q. What did Jesus mean by saying that not one sparrow should fall on the ground without your Father (Matt. 5:29)?
A. In this charge to His twelve Apostles, Jesus, though telling them that they would meet with the greatest opposition and persecution from the world, and from worldly religionists, encourages them with the assurance that their omniscient and omnipotent Father would be always with them; that not even the smallest and most worthless bird, that was sold in the market for less than half a cent, could be shot and killed without the knowledge, permission, power, and will of God, whose providence extends over every creature, and every event, and who loved and cared for them more than they even loved and cared for themselves, numbering even every hair upon their heads - a thing which they had never done. In Luke 12:6, Jesus, speaking of the sparrows, says that "not one of them is forgotten before God;" and it is certain that much less will He forget one, even the least and poorest one, of His loved, chosen, and redeemed people, whose names the Great High Priest of Israel carries on His heart, and has engraved on the palms of His hands (Exod. 28:29; Isa. 49:16).

Q. In Psalm 149:3, and 150:4 the Psalmist calls on his readers to praise the Lord "in the dance" or "with the dance;" in the margin of the King James Version, the Hebrew word rendered "dance" is rendered "pipe;" which is the correct translation?
A. As shown by all the oldest versions and by all the latest and most authoritative versions, lexicons, cyclopedias, and commentaries, the Hebrew word means dance, and does not mean pipe. "Rhythmical movements of the body, accompanied with music, were usual on solemn occasions of joy (Exod. 15:2,21; Psalm 30:11; Jer. 31:4,13)." The use of musical instruments and of dancing accompaniments in the public worship of God passed away with the legal dispensation and the destruction of the temple at Jerusalem; they were but fleeting types of the exultant rejoicings and thanksgivings of the spiritual Israel of God in the gospel dispensation.

Q. What do you think of vows?
A. A vow is a promise to God to do some good thing hereafter. No vow of man to do something contrary to the law or commandments of God is lawful, nor should a vow be made or kept. A vow is voluntary, and, if in accordance with the Scriptures, is binding (Deut. 23:21; Eccles. 5:4). Vows have been common in all nations; and the laws for their regulation and execution are given in Levit. 27 and Num. 30. The vow of a wife or daughter, if disallowed by the husband or father, was not binding. The first-born of man or beast could not be vowed, because it was already devoted to the service of God. An animal fit for sacrifice could not be redeemed; but an animal unfit for sacrifice, or land or a house could be redeemed by adding one-fifth. The price of redemption is given in the 27th chapter of Leviticus. The head was shaven after a vow (Acts 18: 18; 21:24). Jephthah had no right to murder his daughter; nor had Herod a right to murder John the Baptist; nor had the forty conspirators a right to murder Paul. Christ is the great and all-sufficient Redeemer and Redemption of His people; in Him all the promises of God are Yea and Amen (Isa. 41:14; I Cor. 1:30,31).

Q. What are your views of the eternal condition of such persons as Cain, Lot's wife, Balaam, and Judas?
A. That they were like the five foolish virgins, the one talent man, and the goats in Matt. 25; that they were nonelect, unredeemed, and unregenerate; that their service of God was only a natural, outward, or mental service, not a spiritual, inward, and heart service; that they loved the creature instead of the Creator, served Mammon instead of God; and that, like all other unchanged human beings, children of the Devil and of wrath, they justly went at last to their own place - perdition - and will, after the final judgment, be consigned to the lake of fire and brimstone, the second death. Such is the testimony of the infallible Scriptures of eternal truth in regard to the everlasting state of the unbelieving, ungodly, and disobedient portion of mankind.

Q. Were the ten commandments the Old Covenant?
A. They are so called in Exod. 34:28; Deut. 9:9; Jer. 31:32; and Heb. 8:9,13.

Q. Would John Bunyan be regarded as a good Baptist by the Primitive Baptists of today?
A. John Bunyan was the most profound spiritual and experimental writer since the days of the apostles; but he was not inspired and infallible; he believed in and practiced open Communion with other denominations, which few Baptists of any name in America endorse.

Q. What or who were the "barbarians" mentioned in the New Testament?
A. The New Testament was originally written in Greek, and the Greeks called all other nations but themselves "barbarians" (Rom. 1:14), as the Jews called all other nations Gentiles. Greeks and Barbarians meant the whole human race; just as Jews and Gentiles mean all the race of man. Paul uses "Greeks" the same as "Gentiles" (I Cor. 1:22,24). The Greek word "barbaros" (barbarian) is thought to be imitative, or expressive of the repugnant sound of a foreign language to a Greek. In both the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament, the original words sometimes rendered "Gentiles" are at other times rendered "nations," "heathen," and "people."

Q. What is the meaning of Gen. 6:3? "And the Lord said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh; yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years"
A. That the Lord's Spirit in His prophets, Enoch, Noah and perhaps others would not continue always to rebuke the carnal and corrupt and violent antediluvians, but, after a hundred and twenty years, during which time Noah was probably engaged in building the ark, He would destroy those wicked people with a flood of water (Neh. 9:26,30; Acts 7:51,52; Heb. 11:7; I Pet. 3:19,20; II Pet. 2:5; Jude 14,15). Jude says that ungodly mockers are sensual or animal, and have not the Spirit (Jude 18,19). The Holy Spirit, like the wind, is mysterious, sovereign and effective in His operations (John 3:8) ; and, like the Divine Father and Son,
quickens or gives spiritual and eternal life to whomsoever He will (John 5:21,25; 6:63).

Q. Why was there so long a period (400 years) between Malachi, the last Old Testament prophet, and the birth of Christ?
A. To show the people of God their dependence on Him for a spiritual teacher; and to prove that there be no collusion between the prophets who predicted the coming and work and sufferings and death and resurrection of the Messiah, and the Apostles who bore witness of the fulfillment of these predictions.

Q. Do cyclones come from Satan or from God?
A. Satan is called "the prince of the power of the air" (Eph. 2:2), and it is implied, in the first chapter of the book of Job, that Satan caused a great wind from the wilderness to blow down the house in which Job's children were feasting, and to kill his seven sons; but it was only by God's express permission, and we know that God is above Satan, and, from numerous Scriptures, that God created the wind and controls it, causing it to blow and to cease as He pleases, and that He works all things after the counsel of His own will, and reigns a perfect, almighty, and eternal Sovereign, over every creature, and every event. While oftentimes His judgments are unsearchable and His ways are past finding out, though clouds and darkness are round about Him, righteousness and justice are the habitation of His throne (Rom. 11:33-36; Psalm 97:2).

Q. What is the difference between inspiration and revelation?
A. They are frequently used as meaning the same thing; but, when distinguished from each other, inspiration means a supernatural influence of the Holy Spirit upon the minds of the writers of the Old and New Testaments, enabling them to communicate religious truth, with either tongue or pen, in an infallible manner, to their hearers or readers; while revelation includes also the divine communication of truth to the inspired writers.

Q. What do you think of the (so-called) "Christian Science" organization?
A. That it is a money-making machine, and, in its denial of the reality of matter and sin and sickness and death and therefore any need of a Divine salvation from sin and death, it is the falsest, stupidest, wickedest, most astounding delusion with which the Devil has ever deceived any of our poor fellow sinners and fellow mortals. It contradicts all Science and all Christianity, stultifies all common sense and Scripture, and is one of the surest signs of these last, evil, and perilous times, demonstrating the rapidly increasing degeneracy and degradation of the human race, both in mind and in heart.

Q. Why did the Lord command the Jews to slay even the children of the Amalikites (I Sam. 15:3)?
A. Because it was His holy and unsearchable will, just as He takes the lives of infants in storms and famines and pestilences, mercifully saving them forever in heaven, as we believe.

Q. Was the temple free at all times for any one to enter it?
A. The temple proper (the temple house) could be entered only by the priests, and at the times appointed by the Lord; the Holy of Holies, or Most Holy Place, the innermost apartment of the temple could be entered only by the high-priest, and by him only on the Day of Atonement; but in front of, or to the east of the temple-house were temple-courts or yards, separated by walls, and containing porches or halls, which could be entered at any time by the classes whose names they bore; easternmost was the Court of the Gentiles; next west of that was the Court of the Women (these two formed the Outer Court); next west of that, the Court of the Israelites; next west of that, the Court of the Priests (these last two formed the Inner Court); and next west of the Court of the Priests was the temple building, or temple proper.

Q. Have we reason to believe that angels are taking part in the affairs of men?
A. Abundant and indisputable reason. See, for instance, Gen. 16; 19; 28; 32; Exod. 23; 32; 33; Num. 20; 22; Judg. 2; 6; 13; Psalm 34:7; Matt. 1; 13:49; Luke 1; 2; Acts 5:19; 7:53; I Pet.1:12, etc.

Q. Did the Jerusalem Church hold its meetings in the temple?
A. No. While the temple stood (until A.D. 70), they seem to have met with other Jews in the temple courts for morning and evening prayer at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., the times of the daily sacrifice; but, in their own assemblies, they met in "an upper room," and at "the house of Mary, the mother of Mark" (Acts 1:13; 12:12), and perhaps at other places.

Q. What, in a Bible sense, is an "unknown tongue?"
A. This phrase is found in the King James version of the Bible, but only in the 14th chapter of I Corinthians; and the word "unknown" is not in the original, which simply reads "tongue" or "tongues." Whether the Apostle Paul means, by the phrase, speaking in an articulate foreign language, or in emotional inarticulate utterances or rhapsodies, no person now on earth knows; but we do know that he says it is better to speak five understood words than ten thousand that are not understood, and that words not understood should not be spoken in a church unless they are interpreted and thus made edifying to the hearers (I Cor. 14).

Q. In what sense are husband and wife one flesh (Gen. 2:24)?
A. In the sense that, according to God's purpose and command, they are united in body and soul, and only one woman is to be married to one man, and their marriage should be indissoluble except by death (Mal. 2:15; Matt. 19:3-6; Mark 10:2-12; Luke 16:18; Rom. 7:2,3; Eph. 5:22-23).

Q. "What is meant by saying God is a person? Does He have a body?"
A. "God is (a) spirit." He is "invisible." When we say that God is a person we mean that He is a being who knows and feels and wills and is not simply a blind, unintelligent force. He does not have a body. Hands, feet, eyes, etc. are merely marks of corporeity not of personalty."

Q. Is it good order for a church to grant a letter of dismission to a member knowing that said member would lay it in a disorderly church? Is a church a sovereign?
A. Yes, in the sense that councils, conventions, synods, presbyteries, associations, etc., have no scriptural authority above churches. Such bodies have no ruling power over churches, for they are the creatures of churches. Associations and councils may labor with and advise a church, but the law of discipline was given to the church. Yet a church, is not a sovereign without restriction, she is held in bounds by the laws of her Law-giver. If she breaks the laws of Christ, if she teaches false doctrines and practices which Christ and the apostolic church did not teach, and will not give them up; if she becomes stubborn, unruly, and unforgiving, then she has become disorderly; and if she continues in her disorders she will lose her identity. Such a church has no scriptural right to plead "church sovereignty" when she continues in rebellion to her Lawgiver. And orderly gospel churches may deny her claims of "sovereignty" and refuse to be bound by her.

Q. What is the scriptural authority for hanging, or punishing by death, people who commit murder?
A. Genesis 9:6; Numbers 35:30-34; Romans 13:1-4.

Q. Did Judas Iscariot have any of the miraculous powers which Christ gave to the other Apostles?
A. The Scriptures do not say explicitly that Christ gave Judas Iscariot miraculous powers, but they do say that He gave the twelve Apostles (of whom Judas Iscariot was one) a commission to preach the gospel and power to work miracles (Matt. 10:1-8; Mark 3:13-19; 6:7-13; Luke 9:1-6); just as Balamm, who loved gold more than he loved God, preached and prophesied the truth about Israel, and blessed the people of God when he wished to earn Balak's money by cursing them. It would seem, from the Scriptures, that a person may preach the truth and even have power from God to work miracles, and yet have no grace in his heart, and be lost at last (Num. 22; 23; 31:8; Josh. 13:22; II Pet. 2:15,16; Jude 11; Matt. 7:22-27; I Cor. 13:1,2; Heb. 6:4-10).

Q. What did Paul mean when he said he was "freeborn" (Acts 22:28)?
A. That, by his natural birth, he was a Roman citizen - a free, governing member of the Roman Commonwealth, entitled to valuable personal and political privileges. It is thought that his father or some other ancestor had obtained Roman citizenship by some valued service that he had rendered to the government.

Q. Who are meant by the sons of God, and the daughters of men in Gen. 6:2?
A. The male descendants of godly Seth, and the female descendants of ungodly Cain, according to the understanding of the best Bible scholars.

Q. What was the "birthright" that Esau sold to Jacob?
A. The right to the father's chief blessing, and to an inheritance in the land of Canaan, and to being the ancestor of the Messiah.

Q. In Gen. 1:26 Moses writes, "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness;" to whom do the "us" and "our" refer?
A. To the Three-One God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The original Hebrew word translated God in the first chapter of Genesis is Elohim, a plural noun meaning Mighty Ones; and yet the verb of which it is the subject is in the singular number. The phrase "God said" is used in this chapter ten times, showing that God made all things by His Word or Son (John 1:1-3,14,18,34); and the Spirit of God is shown to have wrought in the creation in Gen. 1:2.

Q. What are your views on the scripture: "I have been young, and am now old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread" (Ps. 37:25)?
A. This was David's observation in his long life. Though afflicted of God and forsaken by men, yet God does not forsake the righteous. He withdraws His blessings and felt presence for a season but does not utterly forsake. The righteous may feel to be forsaken, and their enemies may conclude that they are, but not so. The righteous may be brought down to want - they may for a little season ask of others needed help - David at one time asked bread of Ahimeleck, and Elijah asked bread of the widow of Sarepta, and Lazarus, a certain beggar, was laid at the rich man's gate. Yet these are exceptions, there are exceptions to all rules in the affairs of human life, there are times of emergencies when good people ask favors of others; but David had not seen them forsaken. Paul said, "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken."

Q. A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet" Rev. 12:1. What does this mean?
A. I cannot tell all it means, probably no one can. But evidently the "woman" represents the apostolic church, the true church on earth. This vision was seen in heaven whither John was called up to, and it was wonderful. This "woman" was clothed with the sun, or with Jesus, for He is called the "sun of righteousness." Though she was attired in sound doctrine, heavenly ordinances and godly practices, yet the most beautiful of her garments was the righteousness of Christ to whom she was married. Christ was her husband - He furnished her clothes. And under her feet was "the moon." The moon here represents the ceremonial law, the law of ceremonies and forms of worship under Moses. These have served their purpose and are to be laid aside or put under the feet of the gospel church.

Q. Do you think that the "prodigal" son was an unregenerated man - an alien sinner?
A. No. The parable does not teach such an idea. The "certain man" represents God. He had two sons. In a secondary sense the two sons may represent the Jews and the Gentiles, but primarily they represent the two classes among the Jews in the days of Christ upon earth and the two classes of worshipers today. The younger son typified the publicans and sinners, the older son represents the scribes and the pharisees. Possibly we have among us some old Baptists who act like pharisees, who are stubborn and get angry if special attention is given to God's wayward children when they repent of their sins and come back to the Father's house, the church. But there should be great rejoicing on such occasions, for when the wayward son returned, "the Father" put "the best robe" on him and the ring (representing unending love) was put on his hand; shoes on his feet; and the feast was spread. The Father had compassion - brothers sometimes do not have compassion. But it is a shame when they do not. God is not pleased with His children when they are angry, stubborn and unforgiving. This "prodigal" was a son when he left home and he was a son when he came back.

Q. Does I Cor. 14: 34-35 and I Tim. 2:11-12 prohibit a sister speaking in church service under any circumstances?
A. No. The Apostle clearly condemns public preaching or teaching by women. The Apostolic churches had no women preachers. But women can do a gospel work - some labored with Paul in the gospel. (Phil. 4:3). Priscilla, with her husband, Aquila, (Acts 18:26) expounded unto Apollos, a preacher of eloquence, "the way of God more perfectly." Some sisters know more gospel truth and understand the Bible better than some young preachers. I wish we had more Priscillas and Lydias. Their private teaching and godly example is of untold influence for good; and in conducting the matters of church government - which is congregational - the sisters have a voice. And often their judgment, as well as their labors of love, is especially prominent among our churches and have been blessed of God to the upbuilding of the cause of truth.

Q. Please explain I John 3:9. Also 3:1-8 and I Cor. 6:18.
A. The first passage reads as follows: "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him and he cannot sin because he is born of God." In the light of other scriptures and in view of the doctrine of regeneration this passage can only mean one thing and that is: the regenerated cannot live a life of sin because of the holy principle implanted in him in regeneration. He is morally unable to live such a life because the governing disposition of the soul has been changed and he hates sin and loves righteousness. I John 3:1-8. "If we say we have no sin" and do not need the cleansing blood of Jesus "we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." The first passage teaches that no Christian can live in sin. He is not its slave. He is not under its dominion and power. While the second passage teaches all are sinners and need the cleansing blood of Jesus. I Cor. 6:18 - "Every sin that a man doeth is without the body." This passage does not mean that the body is not involved in sin. It is the instrument of sin. Sin is conceived in the heart and executed by the body. And every sin a man doeth is against his body because it leaves its mark on the body.

Q. Is a Christian ever justifiable in resisting civil government?
A. When civil government undertakes to interfere with and prevent one's duty to God, of course obedience to God comes first. "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's." "It is better to obey God than man." See Daniel's conduct.

Views on Scripture Requested

A brother in Georgia requests the Editor's opinion on the following scripture, especially verses 3, 4 and 5:

"I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men: for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." (I Tim. 2:1-5.)

Who will have all men to be saved?:

All men agreeable to the context, kings and peasants, rich and poor, bond and free, young and old, all classes and conditions of sinners. Therefore all are to be prayed for. God has a people, an elect people, among all nations, races and peoples. Jesus said, "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me." Jesus also said, "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him." God, by his all-mighty power, draws to the Son all classes and conditions of men given to Him. He draws from death in sin to a life in Christ, from nature to grace. He cannot fail. If He gave all the race of men to Jesus, then all the race of men will be saved. God's ordaining, purposing and determining will, can never be resisted so as to be frustrated, but is always accomplished. Election is true: "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world." All the race became sinners: "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for all have sinned." (Rom. 5:12). God could have left all the race in sin, saved none, and remained just. But through mercy, some are saved. How many, we know not. But we do believe that as many of all the race as God gave the Son, will come to Him. And all who are saved, God wills they should be saved.

Our brother also asks what is meant by I Tim. 5:9, which reads: "Let not a widow be taken into the number under three score years old, having been the wife of one man."

This has reference to widows who should be maintained by the church. It would seem that widows under sixty years of age were supposed to be capable of labor, or might marry, and therefore not be desolate or dependent upon the care of the church. Widows above that age became a care upon their brethren and sisters if they had no way of support or others to care for them, and if they had "been the wife of one man," that is, one at a time. Other evidences were also necessary for such aged widows to become worthy charges to the church. They must have been, "Well reported for good works; if she have brought up children, of she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints' feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work." If aged widows have a good report by both the members of the church and those that are without, and if they have done such good works as mentioned - all of which are private duties - then they should receive help from their brethren and sisters when they are in need.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 11 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.