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SECOND PROPOSITION—THE SCRIPTURES TEACH THAT GOD EMPLOYS THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL AS A MEANS IN THE REGENERATION OF SINNERS
 

ELD. THROGMORTON’S FIRST SPEECH
Gentlemen, Moderators, Ladies and Gentlemen

I want to set this chart here for a little bit so you can all see the proposition.

(Sets chart containing proposition in place.)

I want you to see it as well as hear it: “The Scriptures teach that God employs the preaching of the Gospel as a means in the regeneration of sinners.”

It is my province to affirm that proposition. Brother Daily’s to deny it.

I wish incidentally to call attention to a mistake in the reading of our rules. In the quotation from “Hedges’ Rules of Controversy,” the word “Argument” is used where the word “Proof” should be used. I hope this will be remembered if the rules are printed in the book.

It gives me great pleasure to affirm this proposition in discussion with my worthy friend once more. A year ago we had a delightful discussion of it. So far, we have had a pleasant discussion here. As has been said before, we met here at the beginning as friends, and I am sure we are now better friends still. The fact is, I esteem my opponent as a man very highly. I have been entertained in his home. I ate salt with him, besides other good things, and had a fine social time. He has a good wife and a nice family—a family that he ought to be proud of, and I have no doubt is; but in questions of this sort matters of friendship, of course, should cut no figure; neither should differences of this sort decrease the friendship that should exist between good men.

I will begin this morning by defining, briefly, the terms of the proposition. “The Scriptures teach.” By the Scriptures, I mean the Old and New Testaments, what we actually accept as the Bible, we Baptists, and Protestants generally. The term “teach” occurs. The proposition says “The Scriptures teach.” That means they make known, and so what I mean is this: The Scriptures fairly interpreted teach, make known, what my proposition affirms.

The first word in the proposition proper is “God” (not the first word in the writing but in the affirmation) God, the Supreme one, the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit; that is what I mean by the term God; and we will have no difference on that. We have heard Brother Daily on the God-head and he is orthodox. The Scriptures teach that “God employs.” That word “employs” means that God makes use of, or uses the Gospel in the regeneration of sinners, and in doing that work he uses the preaching of the Gospel. That is my affirmative. The Gospel means the story of Christ crucified, buried and risen, and the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith in him.

If you will excuse me I will be a little more deliberate in my speech this morning. I shall also, on account of my ill health, have to be a little quiet in my delivery.

In 1st Cor. 15:1-4 we find Paul saying: “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand, by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory that which I have preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” That is Paul’s definition of the Gospel, the term in my proposition.

He also gives it a further definition in Romans 1st chapter and sixteenth verse: “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

The next item in the proposition is the preaching of this Gospel. The preaching of this Gospel is employed by the Godhead in the regeneration of sinners. Preaching means proclamation in a way to make known; it means to proclaim so as to teach.

That other term “Means.” Means as defined in the Standard Dictionary, is the medium through which anything is done; the process in order to obtain an end; the subservient or secondary agency, instrumentality.” This from the Standard is as good a definition I think as I could make.

God employs the preaching of the Gospel as a means in the regeneration of sinners. That word, “regeneration,” means the work of God in imparting to the human soul the divine nature and the divine life and making the children of Adam the children ‘of Jehovah. That is what I mean by regeneration.

The last term to define: “Sinners.” This means persons who have transgressed God’s law. “Sin is the transgression of the law.”

I have now a little preliminary statement which I wish to make before I begin my arguments:

In producing any being—vegetable or animal—the germ or seed is necessary. The implantation of the germ or seed is the means employed in order to the production of the new being.

The most beautiful flower-pot filled with the most fertile soil will not produce a flower without seed. The means in order to the production of the flower is the implantation of the seed.

The Gospel or word of God, is the seed of the Kingdom of God. In planting or sowing this seed God employs preaching. See Luke 8:4-8, the parable of the sower, and Luke 8:11-15, the explanation. I want to read you: “And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake in parable; A sower went out to sow his seed, and as he sowed, some fell by the wayside, and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And some fell upon a rock, and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. And others fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear let him hear.” There is the parable.

Now here is the explanation: “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the wayside are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. But that on the good ground are they, which, in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.”

We see from this that the heart of a man is the soil; the seed is the word of God, the gospel; the sowing is preaching the word or explaining the word.

In our correspondence, more than a year ago, before we had the former discussion, Brother Daily refused to deny that God employs, the truth of the gospel—put the emphasis on the truth—in the regeneration of sinners. He does, however, deny that God uses or employs that truth when preached! That is his denial. God, he says, doesn’t use that truth this way when it is preached. So, according to Brother Daily, preaching the truth is a bad thing for the truth. It puts it where God will not employ it. Surely this robs God of his sovereignty. It limits him to what is entirely outside the word. It cuts him off from employing his truth if it be in preaching.

For instance, to illustrate: We employ water to quench thirst. When the water is in a drinking cup or glass we employ the glass or cup as a medium to get that water to our thirst. If Brother Daily’s logic be worth anything, the employment of a cup or glass would hinder the water from quenching thirst. Brother Daily has it that God employs the truth in the regeneration of sinners, but holds that if that truth be in words spoken, God will not employ it. I think I am stating that fairly. More as to this later perhaps. You know it is of great importance that the question be understood. So I am giving a good deal of time to the defining of the question.

The question before us is not a question as to what God’s power is. It is a question as to what God’s method is. God could make the giant oak of the fir without an acorn. But that is not the method he employs. He employs the acorn. And he as truly makes the oak when he employs the acorn as he made the first oak that was without an acorn. So our question is not whether God regenerates sinners! That is in my affirmation; I say in it that God regenerates sinners; we both agree that he does. But my affirmative is that, in doing it, .he uses the preaching of the gospel. That is not ruling God out. God is in, and God does the work! And we are both agreed to this. The one question is:

Does God, in regenerating sinners, employ the preaching of the Gospel as a means? Is that God’s method?

As to the mere question of power God could regenerate sinners with means or without means; he co employ the preaching of the gospel in regenerating sinners or he could regenerate them without employing the preaching. I affirm that his method is—that the Scriptures teach that his method is to employ the preaching of the gospel. That is what I have to prove and that is what I am going to prove.

Another preliminary remark I desire to give you. This remark is that in denying my proposition Brother Daily is out of harmony with the “Old Baptist Faith.” Do you get that? In denying my proposition Brother Daily is out of harmony with the Old Baptist Faith! He sets himself squarely against the Old Baptist Confession of Faith. If he shows that I am wrong in this discussion, he will show that the Old Confession of the Seven Churches in London, of 1644, was wrong. He will show that the “Somerset Confession” (of churches in West England), 1656, was wrong. He will show that the “Old London Confession” of 1689, of which his people have boasted so much, is wrong. He will show that the Philadelphia Confession is wrong. If he shows that my proposition is wrong, good bye to the doctrine of the old Baptists. I am here to defend the ‘Old Baptist Faith, as to what is involved in this proposition. Brother Daily is here to oppose it, and to over throw it, if he can! Will you “Old School” Baptists follow him in this?

Now for the facts: I will quo first, from the Confession of 1644, issued by Seven Churches in London. Speaking concerning faith it says: “That faith is ordinarily begot by the preaching of the Gospel, or Word of Christ,” etc. Art. 24. See McClothlin’s “Baptist Confessions of Faith,” page 181. Proof text given, Romans 10:17. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God;” also I Cor. 1:21.

The Somerset Confession in West England, 1656: “We believe that the Spirit is administered (that means ‘given,’ in that old way of expressing it) by or through the word of faith preached.” (Gal. 3:2.) “Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith; that the Spirit is administered by or through the word of faith preached. which word was first declared by the Lord himself and was confirmed by them that heard him.” Baptist Confessions of Faith, page 201.

“That this Spirit of Christ, being administered by the word of faith. worketh in us faith in Christ,” etc. Same work, page 207. These works show us plainly what those Baptists believed. What is in my proposition? The same idea: that faith comes by hearing. Inasmuch as regeneration comes by faith, then regeneration comes by the preaching of the Gospel.

I come to the “Old London Confession,” 1677. “Those whom God has predestinated unto life, he is pleased in his appointed and accepted time effectually to call (How?) By his word and Spirit out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ.” How? By the Spirit alone? No, sir. By his Word and Spirit. That is the Old Baptists Faith. Chapter 10 of the Old London Confession.        

Mr. Daily: What section is that?

Section 1 I believe it is.

There is another point I wanted to give in the way of a preliminary. This question before us is not as to election or predestination or effectual calling or limited atonement. And all the time that my opponent may waste in discussing any one or more of those questions, is waste indeed. Our question is not whether salvation is conditional or unconditional; our question is just one thing: whether God employs preaching in the regeneration of sinners! I hope this will be remembered by my worthy opponent and by the audience as well. Let me now go on with this testimony.

“The grace of faith (this is from the old London Confession) whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts, and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the word.” That is by the preaching of the Gospel, don’t you see? This is the Old London Confession, chapter 14, paragraph 1. This same point is found in the Old Philadelphia Confession.

In denying my proposition, I want to say further, that Brother Daily not only sets himself against the “Old Baptist Confessions,” but also against noted worthies whom he and his people have honored as leaders.

All who were in the assembly of 1689, who approved and sent out the London Confession; those in the old Philadelphia Association when it adopted its confession, the one known by its name; Dr. John Gill, Dr. R. W. Fain, Dr. John M. Watson, Morgan Edwards, John Gano. I just want to call your attention to this list of names. These all endorsed these words which I have read from the Confessions and which Brother Daily denies in denying this proposition.

But by the way, before I give you these quotations from these men, I have a few questions to present which he can answer at his leisure, or he can answer them in his next speech if he desires.

Do you accept the statement in the Confession of 1644 that faith is ordinarily begot by the preaching of the Word?” (This is going on record.)

Do you accept the statement in the Somerset Confession of 1656 that “the Spirit is administered by or through the word of faith?”

Do you accept the statement on page 10 of the London Confession of 1689 that “it pleases God effectually to call the elect by his Word and Spirit out of that state of sin and death, in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ?”

“Do you agree with page 14 of the London Confession that “faith is ordinarily wrought in the elect by the preaching of the Word?” That is on record. I don’t ask Brother Daily to answer these in his next speech unless he wants to.

Mr. Daily: I will.

All right; we shall be glad to hear you.

Will you old people who have so long boasted of your leaders and the London Confession—will you follow him in his issue with that Confession? (Some one in the audience nodded yes.) One brother says he will. All right. Some people follow their leader no matter where they go.

I want to show you about Dr. John Gill. I want to show what Dr. Gill affirms in his comment on James 1:18: “But he begets us of his, own free grace, and favor, and of his rich and abundant mercy, and of his sovereign will and pleasure, according to his counsels and purposes of old” Well, what next? “And the means—that word “means over there in the proposition on the chart—”he makes use of—-“that signifies employs, or with which he does it—is the word of truth; not Christ, who is the Word and truth itself, but the Gospel which is the word of truth, and truth itself, and contains nothing but truth; and by this souls are begotten and born again.” That is Dr. Gill, Brother Daily. He refers to Eph. 1.13. Yes, sir; Brother Daily knows it, but is setting himself against him. I Peter 1:23. Dr. Gill also refers to, and this is what he says: “And hence ministers of it”—that is, ministers of the Gospel—”are accounted spiritual fathers.”

Now I will quote from R. W. Fain, page 15 of the Old Baptist Test. This is in the preface to Dr. Watson’s great book: “Upon this principle the Gospel is preached to all, repentance and an interest in a Saviour’s blood is offered to all.” What was that we heard about offering salvation yesterday? That is neither here nor there of course! Brother Fain continues: “The charitable invitation, whosoever will, goes out to all, inviting them to take the water of life freely.”

Dr. John M. Watson: “To show that the will of God is in his word; ‘of his own free will,’ says James, “begat he us with the word of truth.” “Old Baptist Test,” page 421.

David Jones’ Circular Letter in the Old Philadelphia Association minutes, 1788, endorsed by that association: “The precious gift of faith is a free and sovereign gift of God, conveyed through the power of the Holy Ghost, and the instrumentality of the Word.” This is what I want you to hear: “is coexistent with regeneration if not an essential part of it.” Isn’t that my proposition? Brother Jones says “faith is coexistent with regeneration”—History of the Philadelphia Association, page 240.

Morgan Edwards (supposedly—it is not sure, but it is understood that he wrote it) approved by the Philadelphia Association, 1766: ‘‘Oh! Pray for your ministers, that the Lord will make them successful instruments in his hands for the comfort of saints (that is true isn’t it? But it doesn’t stop there) and the conversion of sinners.”

Now from Elder John Gano, endorsed by the Old Philadelphia Association. Those “Old Baptists” you know. Philadelphia Association minutes, 1784. He is talking about effectual calling, as per tenth chapter of the Confession, first paragraph: “This is an act of sovereign grace, which flows from the everlasting love of Cod, and is such an irresistible impression made by the Holy Spirit upon the human soul, as to effect a blessed change.” I haven’t got to the issue yet. “This impression or call is sometimes immediate”— there are exceptional cases—”as in the instance of Paul and others—though more ordinarily through. the instrumentality of the kind providence of God.”

So, Brother Daily, in denying my proposition, is off the old Baptist track and you are going to follow him, are you? He is out of line with the Old Baptist Confession! and will you follow him? He is out of line with the American Baptist Fathers before the great division of 1832, and is at cross purposes with some of the best of the “Old School” Baptists since the division. For instance, Watson and Fain.

I am coming now to argue the proposition. I think we understand the issue clearly and where we are.

Argument Number One: My first argument I base on the fact that
John in his gospel teaches that God employs the preaching of the Gospel as a means in bringing men to faith in Jesus Christ and to life; or in other words, uses the preaching of the Gospel in producing faith and in communicating life which is regeneration.

John 1:6-8: “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.” (That was John the Baptist.) “The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light (that is to preach. What for? Why did John come?) “that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.”

The purpose was that all through him might believe. God employed this preaching of John to make believers. God sent him that men through him might believe’’. He preached as in John 3:36: “that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” To make this point more clear let us read John 20:30-31: “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not, written in this book. But these are written” (What for?) “that ye might believe ‘that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and” (what else?) “and that believing ye might have life through his name.”

Having life through his name is regeneration, Brother Daily.

Now the purpose of the written words (which are the same as the spoken words when you preach,) is, first: That men “may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,” and, in addition to that, that by believing they might have life through his name. You see both the faith and the life come through these written words and these spoken words as in the case of preaching the Gospel. God employs the written or spoken word in producing faith and in giving life. And, Brother Daily, the communication of life is regeneration.

Argument Number Two: Jesus while here in the flesh taught that God employs the preaching of the Gospel in producing faith and in giving life. John 17:20:

“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.” How do men believe? “Through their word!” Through the preaching of the Apostles. Jesus knew that men would believe, and he prays for them that believe through their word. Here faith was to be produced through the word; the word as a means.

Jesus declares elsewhere that whoever thus believes has eternal life. John 5:24: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life.” And the believing is in order to the life. “That believing ye might have life,” John says.

Believing and coming to Christ are the same. John 6:35: “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” And the coming is in order to life. Note that the coming is not because you already have life. It is in order to life. Listen to the word, John 5:40: “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me that ye might have life.” What is it to come to Christ? To believe on him. How do we believe on him? Through the Apostle’s word. What are we to get by coming to Christ? Life. What is the communication of life? Regeneration.

So then, the proposition is true that “God employs the preaching of the Gospel in the regeneration of sinners”—in giving life to sinners. The Word is preached that men may hear; they hear that they may believe or come: they believe or come that they may have life. The hearing, the believing and the life are all of God, and in giving them, he uses the Word as a means. Don’t let us misunderstand. God uses the Word as a means. The communication of life is regeneration. It is not given to unbelievers, but to believers through hearing the Word.

Argument Number Three: I come next to argument three. Salvation, which involves regeneration, is wrought of God through the preaching of the Gospel.

1 Cor. 1:18: “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”

1 Cor. 1:21: “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.”

Now the preaching of the Gospel is the power of God to the saved. So reads that eighteenth verse there. It is that by which, as a means, they are saved. God does the saving. He saves those that believe, and it pleases him, in. saving them, to employ tile’ preaching of the Gospel, isn’t that plain? Just as plain as my hand.

In this I am supported by Dr. John Gill on I Cor. 1:21, that passage I have just quoted. Listen to him:

“So the wise men of the world, with all their wisdom are left ignorant of God, an perish in their sins, whilst the Gospel which they despise is the power of God unto salvation, to all that believe in Christ; this, through efficacious grace, becomes the means of regenerating and quickening men, showing them their need of salvation, and where it is, and of working faith in them to look to Christ for it.” But perhaps I had better show you how the Old Baptists far back regarded Dr. Gill. You have all heard of the Old Philadelphia Association. In 1807 that body adopted this: “This Association resolves to support the Publishing of the work to the utmost.” That was Dr. Gills Commentary which I have been quoting. To support the work to the utmost; they also recommended “to each church to subscribe for a COPY of this incomparable work for the use of their minister.” And yet Dr. Gill’s incomparable work conforms to my proposition.

Hassell’s Church History, a work, I am informed, which is held in high esteem by “Old School” Baptists, says on page 655: “John Gill of London was the soundest, the most learned and most able Baptist theologian since the death of the Apostle John—the author of a complete critical commentary of the old and new Testaments, and of a complete body of divinity—the only man that ever hunted and drove out Arminianism from the explanation of every verse in the Bible, from the beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelations.”

These “Old School” preachers here were glad that Arminianism was put out and John Gill, in running Arminianism out completely from the Bible, is complimented by them.

Argument Number Four: Now I have argument four to give you. Peter informs us that when God regenerated the first Gentile converts mentioned in the New Testament, he did it through the preaching of the Gospel as a means. You remember how Peter was sent to Cornelius’ house and about his sermon when he got there. Read Acts 10:11 for the whole story. Also read Acts 15:7. Here is what he says. It was at the Council at Jerusalem when they were discussing whether the Gentiles would submit to the law and be circumcised after the manner of Moses to be saved. Acts 15:7— “And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the Gospel, and believe!” But I am no through yet. “And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the holy Ghost, even as he did unto us”—I am not through—“and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts”—How ?—“By faith.”

Were their hearts pure before Peter went down there? Was it before Peter went down there, and be fore they believed? No, sir! “Purifying their hearts by faith.”

Who purified their hearts? God. How did he do it? By faith. How did he work faith in them? Read the seventh verse again: “God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel and believe,” and by that believing which was through the word preached to them, God purified the hearts. God did it. God purified their hearts by faith. Not without faith. Not before faith. But by it. And faith was worked in them by Peter’s preaching. That is God’s word. Using preaching as the instrumentality, as the old Baptist authorities say, the Holy Spirit worked faith in them. Here we have all the terms of my proposition. It is a rule of controversy that the proofs must contain the terms to be proven or their equivalent. I have found the equivalent where I have not found the term itself. Here we have God; we have God employing the preaching of the Gospel, we have regeneration; we have purification of the heart—God “purifying their hearts.” I think that means regeneration. God purifies their hearts and in doing so he employed the preaching of the Gospel. Now I appeal to you! Doesn’t all this prove my proposition? As Brother Daily said yesterday, let us lay aside prejudice. Let us take the word of our God, no matter where it leads us.

By the preaching of the Gospel they believed. This believing was faith and by this faith God purified their hearts. Their hearts were not purified, as I said a moment ago before faith, but by faith, and God did it. Don’t forget that. He purified their hearts and in purifying their hearts he used Peter’s preaching, to work the faith in them and he purified them by the faith.

Argument Five: I will give you Argument Five. I am pretty well stocked up, but I want to ask you again to pardon me for being slow this morning. Paul states it as the Gospel rule that God employs the preaching of the Gospel in producing faith.

Rom. 10:8-17, “But what saith it? ‘What says the word of faith? That is the meaning. The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart; that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Creek; for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

“How then shall they call in whom they have not believed and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard, and how shall they hear without a preacher (the preacher of the Gospel)? And how shall they preach except they be sent as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things.

“But they have not all obeyed the Gospel For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? (17th verse) So then faith—I have read all this to reach this conclusion—“So then faith cometh by hearing.” How? By hearing. “And hearing by the word.” Isn’t that plain enough for you? Looks plain to me. Nothing could be plainer. The word of faith is preached. Men hear, men believe and are saved.

God employs the word of God in producing faith. By this faith men are saved, have life, are purified, are regenerated.

Eph. 2:8, “By grace are you saved -through faith.” Not before faith. Not without faith, but by faith. And how does faith come? “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” That this salvation involves regeneration, see verses 4 and 5: Eph. 2:4-5, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved). “The quickening and the salvation are the same. The quickening is by faith. Yes, sir; it is by faith. It is not before faith, it is by it. And it is the salvation—the regeneration.

I desire to give you what Dr. John Gill says commenting on Rom. 10:17. Possibly some of you may have made eyes at my interpretation of this passage. “So then, faith cometh by hearing—that is, by preaching; for the word hearing is used in the same sense as in the preceding verse; and designs the report of the Gospel, or the preaching of the word, which is the means God makes use of to convey faith into the hearts of his people; for preachers are ministers, or instruments, by whom others believe.” Dr. Gill’s commentary on Romans 10:17.

Argument Six: I want to give Brother Daily a chance to see these arguments. I don’t want to save them up to the last.

Paul clearly teaches that faith comes by hearing and after hearing. Eph. 1:13, ‘‘in whom ye also trusted after that ye heard, that is you trusted in Christ.” (When?) “whom also ye trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation; after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy spirit of promise.’’

With the faith and through the faith, as a means, comes life, the communication of which means regeneration. God employs the preaching of the word of truth, which is the Gospel, in regenerating sinners. I will not elaborate here very extensively just now, but will pass, if you please, to

Argument Seven: We are specifically taught that uses the word as a means in what is called quickening. Psalms 119:50. David says: “Thy word hath quickened me.” Doubtless he quickened the Ephesians just as he did David. See Eph. 2:1, “And you hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and in sins.” Notice who did the quickening. God. That is what my proposition says: “God employs the preaching of the Gospel.” He does the quickening, an in doing it, he employs the preaching of the Gospel. John 20:30-31, “But these are written that ye might l that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” Not life before believing. Not life without believing, but life by believing.

Argument Eight: Now I will give you Argument Eight, if I have time, Brother Daily. 1st Cor. 3:5-7 shows that God employs the preaching of the Gospel as a mean in the regeneration of sinners: “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos, watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.”

Here again we have all the terms of my proposition or their equivalent. Paul preached the Gospel and thus planted the good seed in their hearts. The result was, believers—children of God—God is in the proposition; he caused the seed to grow. Planting the seed was a means which God employed in the regeneration of the Corinthian sinners. In fact, when there is no seed there can be no growth. But the planter and the planting of the seed count. It is God’s ordinary way of producing new beings. He used Paul and Apollos simply as a means. They were ministers by whom the Corinthians were made believers. God gave the increase, but he gave it through the preaching of Paul; through the preaching of the Gospel. The increase was the regenerated sinners. That was the way God gave it.

Argument Nine: In another place the Corinthians are declared to be the epistles of Christ. That is Christ had written in their hearts. They were thus made what they were not before. They were regenerated; before they were not regenerated. Here are the words: 2nd Cor. 3:3, “Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink; but with the Spirit of the living God, not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.” The Corinthians’ hearts were the paper; the Holy Spirit was the ink; Paul was the pen; Christ was the writer. God had employed Paul’s preaching as a means; through that means the Holy Spirit reached their hearts and there imprinted and emplanted his own nature, which means regeneration.

Now I appeal to you, my friends, if in these two passages from the letters to the Corinthians, are not all the terms of the proposition which I have affirmed. God employs the preaching of the Gospel as a means in the regeneration of sinners.

Could anything be plainer? And so we have it that Paul teaches, and Peter teaches, and John teaches, and Jesus teaches—God himself teaches—that in the regeneration of sinners God employs the preaching of the Gospel.

My friends, I want you to take these arguments and think about them and construe them; I trust my opponent will take up the proofs—what care I for the argument, if he shows there is nothing in the proofs? I want him to examine the proofs and show, if he can, that what I have said is in them is not in them. If he does that, he meets my arguments.

(Time expired.)

ELD. DAILY’S FIRST REPLY
Gentlemen, Moderators, Worthy Opponent. Ladies and Gentlemen:

It gives me great pleasure this morning to appear before you, and thus approach what I feel to be my privilege as well as my duty to respond to he speech to which you have just patiently listened. I appreciate more than I can express the compliments of my Brother opponent of myself and my family. I was glad to have him at my home. We would have treated him better than we did if we could, and if I ever have the pleasure again of having his company there I will try to do as well or even better than I did then.

Mr. Throgmorton: “Don’t think you can do it.”

 I esteem him as a high-toned. Christian gentleman and we entertain no ill feelings toward each other. We differ, but differ honestly. We differ in friendship. I want to say to those who may infer from me in this discussion, that I hold no malice in my heart toward any.

Both the propositions we agreed to discuss at this time were worded by my opponent, he would not consent to have it word ‘‘atone” in the first proposition, or the word ‘‘necessarily” in this. In our correspondence he insisted that no Missionary Baptist, no representative Missionary Baptist, had ever taken the position that the preaching of the Gospel is really necessary in the regeneration of sinners, and so would not have the word necessary in the proposition. He spoke of my objection to affirm that God makes use of the truth of the Gospel. I objected to that term because it was somewhat ambiguous and would allow the affirmant to make a play upon it.

Now it is important that the people understand this to begin with: that either he regards the Gospel really necessary to the regeneration of sinners, or that he does not. If he does not regard the preaching of the Gospel as really necessary there is not so much between us as there would he did he regard the preaching as really necessary: so that to show these people and get before you clearly just how much there is between us and what is the exact issue. I desire to get this matter settled in the beginning of this question.

I hold in my hand a printed pamphlet containing the report of an oral debate held about fifty years ago between Elder G. M. Thompson of the Primitive Baptist Church and Elder Selvidge, of the Missionary Church at Calhoun, Ga. In this, on page 8, Mr. Selvidge says: “The Gospel is the means God has appointed for the conversion of the world. It must therefore be preached or the world must remain in unbelief. The Bible must he printed in the different languages and sent to the different nations before they can he redeemed from heathenism and idolatry. The mind and judgment have to be informed and convinced of the truth of the Gospel before we can believe or have faith, and preaching is the means God has appointed for this, purpose.” On pages 42 and 43, he says: “The Gospel is the means of grace, and without it none can be saved; for none can believe on him of whom they have not heard, and none can hear without a preacher. The Gospel must be preached before sinners can be converted. The day of miracles is past, and we now live in the day of means, and it is only in the use of those means that the world is to be converted to God. We must plant our seed and cultivate our ground if we expect to gather a crop. Mr. Thompson’s corn will not grow if he does not cultivate it; and we cannot expect sinners to be converted unless we use the means. Faith comes by hearing, and is the fruit of testimony; without testimony we cannot believe anything. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned. Faith is the condition of salvation, and if we believe not we shall be damned; and this faith we can never have without a preached Gospel.” One more quotation from this book. On page 26, Mr. Selvidge says: “God speaks to man through human language, and human language alone. I would like to know what words the Holy Ghost ever said to Mr. Thompson. There is a great deal of talk about the Holy Ghost that is vain and foolish, the people are taught to look for some miraculous light, some supernatural invitation, but this is all superstition. The Gospel is to be preached, and the world is to be evangelized through human efforts, and by language, and language alone, does God speak to men. We know nothing but what we learn; and it is by use of human language that we learn all we know, either as men or as Christians. This is the age of means, and it is by the use of means and human language that men are taught religion.”

Now Mr. Selvidge was a representative Missionary Baptist preacher, chosen by his people to represent them in this discussion with Mr. Thompson. But it may be that Brother Throgmorton has never seen this work. and when he wrote that no representative Missionary Baptist ever did take the position that the preaching of the Gospel is a necessary means in the regeneration of sinners, he had not read this work and did not know that Mr. Selvidge said this. I will, therefore, give him something a little more modern than that. I have a debate between Eller Cayce and Elder Penick. It will not be disputed I am sure that he is a representative Missionary Baptist. I heard him two days. He has had fifty-three discussions he informed me, and I regard him as an able man. In this work, page 237. Mr. Penick says: “Never have I admitted that any man was saved before hearing the Gospel.” On page 333 he says, speaking of his opponent, “So you see the point that he makes is that there are regenerate people who are not believers, and these regenerate people who are not believers in heathen lands must he made believers by the preachers. He thinks these will be saved. Is there somebody who is not a believer that will be saved, Brother Cayce? That never heard the Gospel, don’t have to hear it? “Again, on page 259, he says, “I have you any evidence that any one is saved who has never heard or believed the Gospel? I don’t find the case. I should be glad to find it.” From these plain, statements, and many others made by Elder Penick it is certain that he as a representative Missionary Baptist preacher taught that the preaching of the Gospel is absolutely necessary to the work of regeneration. It may he possible that my worthy opponent is so busy with his editorial and preaching work and other duties that he has not been able to read this work very carefully and has not noticed that Elder Penick said that in that debate. And not having just noticed that, he made the assertion that no representative Missionary Baptist had ever said the preaching was a necessary means in the regeneration of sinners. To refresh my opponent’s memory a little, I shall now give a few quotations from the Potter-Throgmorton debate. I give these statements from Brother Throgmorton himself, to refresh his mind, for  surely he had forgotten he said these things when he wrote me that no representative Missionary Baptist had ever taken the position that the preaching of the gospel is really necessary in the work of regeneration. On page 211, Throgmorton-Potter debate: “We plant the incorruptible seed. The church through her ministers is to go forth unto the uttermost parts of the earth and plant this seed. We do not make it grow, Brother Potter. God giveth the increase. But he does not give it without the seed. We sow the seed, don’t you forget that. If you think you can show that he does give increase without seed, try it. Show a single instance where he ever brought anybody to Christ without the word.

Do not misunderstand me. I do not say the word atone, not that. The word alone will not bring a man to Christ. ‘We are workers together with him.’ He prepareth the soil, and maketh the seed to grow; but not where the seed is not. He does not sow the seed by means of his angels or do anything of that sort. Well, how is it? Thus: ‘For after that in the wisdom of the world the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God,’ ‘Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight,’ ‘It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe,’”

Hear Brother Throgmorton again in the same debate. Page 213: “I do not say that salvation is in the preaching; not that. I do not say that the seed alone produces the children of the kingdom; not that. But I do say that it has pleased God to make these things inseparable in the conversion of sinners in all lands, countries and nationalities since the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Now, Brother Throgmorton wrote to me in type capitals that no representative Missionary Baptist had ever taken the position that the preaching was absolutely necessary in the regeneration of sinners. Either he did not regard him self as a representative, or he had forgotten he said it himself. I could give much more of the same kind from this book, but this is sufficient.

I have a little work here that was published by Harry Todd when Harry was with the Primitive Baptists, and in this little work on “Church Identity,” just to prove without a question of a doubt that the Missionary Baptists had departed from the original faith, Harry gives their Seventh Article of Faith, as follows:

“That the influence of the Spirit is co-extensive with the proclamation of the Gospel.” This must be correct, for Harry knew. That is according to my representation on this black board. (see page 58). The Spirit of God cannot operate beyond the territory in the world’s history where preachers preach. Looks like some limitation there. Now this Article of Faith must be correct because Harry knew. He had been a Missionary before he came to us. Then it is a plank of the creed of the Missionary Baptist Church that the preaching of the Gospel is necessary to the regeneration of sinners. In fact, Brother Throgmorton has taken that position in this speech he has just made. But I have agreed to debate with Brother Throgmorton, in a friendly way, with all good feeling, the proposition as worded by him and accepted by me, which has been read in your hearing. My brother handed me some questions to which I believe I will now attend:

“Do you agree with Chapter 14 of the London Confession of Faith, that faith is ordinarily wrought in the hearts of the elect by the ministry of the word?” The 14th Chapter, Article One, of the Chapter in the Confession of Faith, says that the grace of faith is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the word. There is a distinction, which I desire you to hold in mind throughout the discussion of this proposition, between the life that produces the faith, or out of which the faith comes, and the graces. The faith is a fruit of the Spirit and the Spirit’s work in giving life, in producing that fruit, and so I accept this article of the London Confession with the understanding that there is a distinction and difference between the trace and the fruits, and the thing itself which produces them. Very well.

“Do you accept the statement in Chapter 10 of the London Confession of 1689, That it pleased God effectually to call (the elect) by his word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation?” Yes, sir; I accept that with the explanation given in the next paragraph, Section 2, of Chapter Ten—“This effectual call is of God’s free and special grace alone, not from anything at all foreseen of man (faith or anything else), nor from any power or agency in the creature co-working with his special grace; the creature being wholly passive therein, is dead in sins and trespasses, until, being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit, he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace there and conveyed in it, and that by no less power than that which raised up Christ from the dead.” Yes, sir; I accept the London Confession of Faith. Brethren, just follow me as long as I keep to the faith. I dare him to show he accepts the wording just as it is in that Second Chapter. Let him say he will.

“Do you accept the statement in the Somerset Confession of 1656. That the Spirit is administered by or through the word of faith preached?” I do not accept that statement. I will object to any error that has ever crept into the church from the days of the Apostles down to the present. In the church of Jesus Christ there have crept many errors, even in Confessions and circular letters. When I find any of them erroneous I am going to object. When I find any thing taught in these that is not taught, in the word of God, I am going to stand up against them. The next question:

“Do you accept the statement in the Confession of 1644, “That faith is ordinarily begot by the preaching of the Word?’” I have no objection to that statement. Faith may be, in the sense of belief or accepting a fact as published or taught. In that sense faith is wrought that way. Of course I have no objection to that whatever.

In his definitions Brother Throgmorton spoke of God as the Supreme One. Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and said we agreed in reference to that. It may develop, in fact I am not sure but it has already developed, that we are not agreed in regard to the actual supremacy of God; that we are not fully agreed.

Passing over his definitions and accepting them except where he places some misconstruction upon the Scriptures—he says in producing any being the germ or seed is necessary, implanting is the means, and the Gospel or word of God is the seed. My contention will be during the discussion of this proposition that the Gospel or word of God is simply the truth, spiritual truth, and the preaching is the proclamation of what is true, the truth. I shall make a distinction between truth and life. I shall show that truth is not life, that life is distinct from truth in the sense of facts existing and published. He calls attention to the parable of the sower, not in any regular argument, but in the line of his definitions and proceeds to make an argument upon that parable to which I shall now give attention. I want you to mark that the Word of God is called the “Word,.” Mark 4:14; “the Word of God,” in Luke 18:1, and that the heart that is said to be represented by the good ground in the parable in Luke 8:15, is called the honest and the good heart, Now that seed, he says, is the truth that the preacher preaches. Well, we accept that. But is that the life? That is the question. Is that the life? I know that seed sown by sowers is living seed, but in this parable what does that seed represent? If it represents eternal life, then my friend is right, but it devolves up to him to prove that it means eternal life—not what the seed is in itself, but what the seed represents. I deny that the seed represents the life. I deny that by my preaching or through my preaching I can speak to dead sinners, dead in trespasses and sins, and give life to them by my speaking this word or preaching it.

The position is that the preacher or preaching the truth gives life to dead sinners by his preaching, just as the sower puts life in the ground by sowing. That God depends upon the preacher for the transmission of life to the sinner dead in trespasses and sins. There was no change produced in the ground, the good ground even, by sowing the seed. It is the same ground it was before. There as no change wrought in the stony ground by sowing the seed. There was no change produced in the wayside ground by sowing seed upon it. There was no change in the ground that brought forth thorns, briars, etc., by sowing seeds among those thorns. The sowing produced no change. The ground represents the hearts. The preaching then produces no change in the hearts of people. None whatever. The seed sown cannot be eternal life; because where it fell on the wayside it was taken up the fowls and carried away. If it represents eternal life fowls get eternal life by swallowing the seed they will get salvation, and if it represents eternal life then eternal life perishes. If it represents eternal life, then eternal life is choked. I deny that it represents eternal life, and call upon him to prove it, which he will never do. He accuses me of having God limited, and speaks of our quenching thirst by the use of a cup. Of course we could employ a gourd to drink our water, but in his system the preached Gospel is the only means. Will you deny it? Your illustrations are rather unfortunate for your cause, to say the least of it. But he says it is not a question of God’s power, but a question as to method. But he said yesterday that God could not save a sinner until the sinner came to Christ. So it was a question of power yesterday. It is not a question of power today. Do you say he can save them now? Do you say he has the power to do it? I dare you to get up and say.

He says I am out of harmony with the Old Baptist faith, London, Somerset, etc., and I have already answered that by calling your attention to the London Confession. But he calls up John Gill. Now I have John Gill’s works. I couldn’t bring my library, it is too big. I have a great many Commentaries. Indeed I do not know how many. I will not take the time to count, and I prize all those Commentaries for what they are worth, but they are only worth what is true in them, and I accept what is true. How about John Gill in his Commentary? It did seem that John Gill favored the heresy that I am now opposing and that I expect to successfully oppose in this debate. But John Gill has contradicted himself very much, and if a witness comes into court and testifies concerning a case, and then in addition testifies contradictory to that testimony, his testimony as a witness is set aside. So I shall set John Gill aside. Page 180, Cause of God and Truth—“There is want of spiritual consideration and attention in every man, until God opens his heart, by his powerful grace, as he did Lydia’s, to attend to the things which are spoken, or which regard his spiritual welfare. The parable of the seed sown, instanced it, shows that the hearts of unregenerated men are unfit and unprepared to receive the word, and therefore it becomes unfruitful to them.” Bless my life, he is against my brother on the parable of the sower! I am discovering something! “And that it is only fruitful where it is received in an honest and good heart, made so by the Spirit and grace of God in regeneration.” You see? Well, I just declare! “whence it follows, that regeneration is rather a preparation for the right hearing of the word than the hearing of the word is a preparation for regeneration.” Dr. John Gill, page 180.

Cause of Regeneration, pages 114 and 115, Body of Divinity, Volume 2: “The instrumental cause of regeneration, if it may be so called, are the word of God and the ministers of it; hence regenerate persons are said to be born again by the word of God. 1st Peter 1:23, and again: Of his own will begat he us by the word of truth, James 1:18, unless by the word in these passages should be meant the eternal logos, or essential word of God, Jesus Christ, since logos is used in both places. Though ministers of the Gospel are not only represented as ministers and instruments by whom others believe, but as spiritual fathers.”

Seems like John Gill put his studying cap on here. Seems like he wanted to get it right. Though you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, says the Apostle to the Corinthians, yet have ye not many fathers, for in Christ Jesus have I begotten you through the Gospel. So he speaks of his Son Onesimus, whom he had begotten in his bonds. Philemon 10. Yet this instrumentality of the word in regeneration seems not so agreeable to the principle of grace implanted in the soul in regeneration and to be under stood in respect to that, since it is done by immediate infusion and is represented as a creation; and now as God made no use of any instrument in the first and old creation, so neither does it seem so agreeable that he should use any in the new creation; wherefore, this is rather to be understood of the exterior of the principle of grace as the drawing it forth into act and exercise, which is excited and encouraged by the ministry of the word by which it appears that a man is born again. So the three thousand first converts and the jailor were first regenerated, or had the principle of grace wrought in their souls by the Spirit of God, and then were directed and encouraged by the ministry of the Apostles to repent and believe in Christ; where by it becomes manifest that they were born again.”

Mr. Throgmorton: What work is that you quote from?

Body of Divinity, page 535.

“The new man is created in righteousness and. true holiness; the principle of holiness is then formed, from whence holy actions spring. The grace of repentance then appears. The stony, hard, impenitent heart being taken away, and a heart of flesh susceptible of Divine impressions being given; on which to follow a sense of sin, sorrow for it of a godly sort, and repentance unto life and salvation, which is not to be repented of; faith in Christ, which is not of a man’s self, but the gift of God, and the operation of the Spirit of God, is now brought into exercise, which being an effect, is an evidence of regeneration.” Page 537: “Regeneration is a passive work, or rather, men are passive in it; as they must needs be, in the first infusion and implantation of grace, and the quickening of them; even as passive as the first matter created was, out of which all things were made; and as a dead man when raised from the dead is.’’

So much for John Gill. How about this work from which I am quoting? Was it written when he was a boy and didn’t know? By no means. In the Memoirs of John Gill, found in his “Body of Divinity,” it is said: “This was his last work, and contains the substance of what he delivered to his people in the space of five or six years.” So much for Dr. John Gill. Yes, I stand where Dr. John Gill did in his mature age, when he had thought the matter over studiously. So, as I follow Brother John Gill, my brethren can follow mc along. Rather, you follow me as I follow Christ. That is the proper rule.

He then calls our attention in his first Argument, to John 1 :6-8 and John 3:36 and john 20:30-31, arguing from this that it was John’s teaching that God employs; the preaching of the Gospel in producing faith and consequent life. I believe I will confine my notice of this argument to the notice of John 20:30-31, as that seems to be the strongest claim by him made in support of his proposition. Now this verse reads as follows: “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” Dead, unregenerate sinners are not meant or addressed in this passage, sinners whose hearts are enmity toward God, who are not subject to his will and can not be. They are merely natural, having been born of the flesh only. They receive not the things published in the Gospel, because they are foolishness to them, and they cannot know those things because they are spiritually discerned. To say an inducement is offered to them to believe what they do not believe and what they cannot believe while their hearts are unchanged, is absurd. An offer to change their hearts by the gift of eternal life if they will only believe, made to them while they were in a state of enmity, while their hearts are unchanged and unprepared to bring forth the good fruit of faith, is too absurd to be entertained for a moment by any intelligent mind. As they will not receive the spiritual things published in the Gospel and cannot know them, they must be made spiritual by being born of God before they can know them, just as John Gill says.

Elder Throgmorton’s theory requires them to do what they will not do and cannot do in order to receive the change produced by the gift of eternal life to them. Again, if these things had to be written and believed in order that eternal life might be given and received, then no one had eternal life till they were written and believed. The rebuke of the Jews by the Saviour is in place here, and could be given to all who advocate Elder Throgmorton’s false theory: “Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they that testify of me.” John 5:39. How blind they were to think that life was in the mere testimony! They might he excused, but people now ought to know better. In this day of enlightenment, people should not display such blindness as that. In Christ is the life. It is not in the Bible or the preaching. These are mere testimonies of the life. John was sent to bear witness of that light, and he made no higher claim. No one has a right to claim more.

In his second argument he says God employs Gospel preaching in the regeneration of sinners and quotes from John 17 :20, where it is said that there were those who believed on him through the word of the Apostles. Now we are not discussing as to whether people can believe the truth by hearing it preached. That is not the question. We are discussing whether or not God employs the preaching as a means, a necessary means, at that, in the regeneration of sinners.

Of course he has everlasting life, or he cannot believe. Why, to be sure nobody believes but those that have everlasting life. People don’t believe without the Spirit. Faith is a fruit of the Spirit. Why, to be sure they have everlasting life, and by their faith they know that. It is the evidence, and so faith is a fruit, the evidence of eternal life there, by that Spirit. So, my friends, it is an evidence of eternal life, and every one that believes has it.

In his third argument, he said salvation which involves regeneration is said to be through preaching. There is another little issue between my brother and myself. I hope we will be nearer together when this closes: that is, I hope he will be nearer to me, and that if he should be right, I will be nearer to him. That is fair.

Salvation does not always involve regeneration. But notice in 1st Cor. 1:18 it is said that preaching is the power of God to save the believers. Brother Throgmorton said it was the power of God to the saved. We are agreed. If it is the power of God to the saved, it is not the power of God that saves them and regenerates them. It is the power of God to salvation unto every one that believes. It devolves upon him to show that it is the power of God to the unbeliever, to the one who dead in sins. If he finds a text that says it is the power of God to regenerate the unbeliever who in his heart despises the truth, then he will succeed in sustaining his position But on account of his inability to do it, the proposition will never stand. It is said that it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. It is to save the believer from what? from erroneous teaching, false points in doctrine and practice. Salvation in order to bring to him the sweet evidence that God has already regenerated his heart, in which he is made to rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.

In his fourth argument, he calls attention to the first Gentile converts and asks if Cornelius was regenerated, quoting Acts 1:7-9. It is said in that passage that their hearts were purified by faith. We want to know what the nature of that purification is; whether it is a purification from a state of death in sins or a purification from error. God had cleansed Cornelius and his household, before Peter preached to them, by the work of regeneration, is my position. To convince Peter that he had a people among the Gentiles that he should preach to, the Lord let down a vessel unto him as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, wherein were all manner of four footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts and creeping things and fowls of the air. “And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or un clean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call thou not common.” God had already cleansed the Gentiles before sending Peter down there. This is proof that Cornelius was cleansed by regeneration b Peter ever saw him. He was said to be a “devout man.” A devout man is one devoted to religion and piety. He “feared God.” The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Prov. 1:7. “It shall be well with them that fear God.” Ecc 8:12. He prayed to God and was heard and answered. He was a worker of righteousness. “He that feareth God and vorketh righteousness is accepted with him.” Acts 10:35. He was born of God, therefore, for 1st John 2:29, says: “If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.” Now Cornelius was doing righteousness and therefore born of God. He loved God and was born of God before Peter ever appeared and preached a sermon to him, and he that loveth is born, of God. Therefore, Cornelius was born of God before Peter preached to him, so the purifying of hearts by faith did not mean the purification in regeneration, but meant the purification from error by instructing them, and that is all the Gospel is ever intended to do, instruct the people. That is the truth, and I will stand on it these two days.

In regard to Paul’s Gospel rule, as given in Romans 10:17. I desire our attention a little to some things that I have which I regard as very pertinent here. It is said in that lesson: Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall he saved.” Now the terms belief and unbelief, believer and unbeliever, apply only to a special class of the human family. Those terms do not apply to people who have not heard the Gospel preached. If I have a fact in my mind, and you do not know what it is, you do not know whether you are a believer or not. I do not know whether you are a believer of that fact or not. But when I tell that to you, I may be able to discover whether you are a believer or unbeliever. So those that never hear the Gospel preached have not rejected it, because they have never heard it. They cannot he said to be believers in the sense of believing the Gospel. One cannot be said to believe a proposition until the proposition is presented to his mind. So believing and calling on the name of the Lord, and not believing, in the sense of this passage, are applicable to those only who hear the Gospel and give evidence of their condition by either believing or not believing. The terms belief and unbelief, believer and unbeliever, are not at all applicable to infants, the insane or the idiotic. Neither are they applicable to those who have not heard the Gospel preached. An unbeliever is one that, having heard, does not believe, and a believer is one who, having heard the Gospel receives it with a good and honest heart, believes in the Christ it publishes, loving him and the truth as it is in him. Here is the distinction.

In his sixth argument he referred to Eph. 1:16. Why to be sure, Cornelius, after he heard the word, trusting in the Lord, rejoiced. Whenever you hear a Gospel sermon, you children of God, some of you that are growing aged, that Gospel sermon calls forth anew and fresh, and bright, the faith wrought in your hearts, and your love is revived and you trust anew in the Gospel of the Lord thus preached and heard. That is your experience. We believe all that, but that does not prove that through this means, the hearts are prepared to receive the truth.

His seventh argument was based on Psalms 119:50. The word of God quickens God’s children. There is a difference between quickening people who are dead, and quickening people who are living. One may quicken a dead horse if he is able to give him life; he, may quicken a living horse with a spur or a switch or a slap of the bridle reins, but no person can quicken a dead horse without he has ability to give him life. So no preacher can quicken a dead sinner with preaching unless he has ability to give life.

Argument Eight: “Who is Paul and who is Appolos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?” My brother has been contending that “every man” meant the whole human family. Did God give to every man this faith in the territory where the Gospel is never preached? Does God give faith to every man, does he give faith to every man that hears the gospel? If he does, man will never believe until God gives him the faith. He may listen but he will never believe until God gives him the faith. It doesn’t mean the whole human family. It doesn’t mean all men in that text. It is restricted.

But he quotes from 2d Cor. 3:3 to prove this argument. We will notice that briefly now and perhaps more fully later on. He says that in that passage, Christ is the writer, the pen is the preacher, the ink is the Holy Spirit, and the paper is the heart of the ungodly unregenerated sinner, the act of writing being the work of regeneration. If I take my pen to write on paper, the pen must move as I move it, it cannot resist or refuse, and the paper just has to receive whatever is written on it. It cannot help it. The ink just has to flow through the pen. It cannot help it. The pen has to move as the writer moves. But in writing on the paper the pen isn’t changed a particle. It is the same paper and this writing was not on tables of stone, it was not on stony hearts, but on the fleshy tables of the heart. Allusion is made in this passage of Ezekiel, whet God declares by him: “I will take away the stony heart and give you a heart of flesh.” Then when God, in regeneration, gives the heart of flesh, there will be writing on fleshy hearts. It will be on a stony heart until God gives a heart of flesh. The writing won’t change the heart, just as the sowing of the seed didn’t change the ground.

I now have some questions for Brother Throgmorton

1. Does God want everybody to be saved?

2. Doe the devil want everybody to be lost?

3. If God is more powerful than the devil wants to save everybody, will he not save them?

4. Are not those born of God who love him? John 4:5.

5. If those who love God are born of God, does the alien sinner love God?

6. If the alien sinner does not love God or does not love Christ, then must he accept Christ in order to be born of God?

7. If the alien does accept Christ when he does not love him, does he not accept what he does not want?

8. Does an alien sinner have to become willing in order to be regenerated?

9. Is the alien sinner regenerated according to his own will or according to God’s will?

10. If the alien sinner is regenerated according to his own will, is it not of the will of the flesh or of the will of man?

11. If you say it is of the will of man reconcile this idea with John 1:12-13.

12. Do the heathen without the Gospel have an equal chance with those who have the Gospel?

I will give you an hour, two hours afternoon to answer.

I come to my first negative argument now:

My first negative argument is that there is of necessity in regeneration, a direct contact or, impact of the Holy Spirit. It matters not, so far as this argument is concerned how the Spirit reaches the sinner’s heart. My opponent in our correspondence said the spoken and written words were vehicles. Suppose for the sake of argument that this is true. It is not the vehicle that does the work nor does the vehicle stand between the power that does it and the work done. “It is the spirit that quickeneth: the flesh profiteth nothing.” John 6:63. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh: and that which is born of the spirit is spirit.” John 3:6. That spirit is God for “God is a spirit.” John 4:24. “Now the Lord is that spirit, for where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” It is comparable to the blowing wind. The wind blows directly upon whatever it touches and move and not through a medium. It is like leaven which a woman took and his three measures of meal. Matt 13:31 and Luke 13:21. The leaven comes in direct contact with the meal, so the spirit comes in contact with the heart. Elder Penick said in his debate with Elder Cayce, page 227: “I take it that every Missionary Baptist believes that in the process of salvation there is an immediate touch or contact with the Holy Spirit.” Again, on page 285, he said: “Let me say again, to get it clearly before you to-wit, that every passage of Scripture that intimates or implies, or says in almost direct words, that God’s Spirit does come in immediate direct contact with the heart, I believe it, my brethren believe it.  Every single, solitary one of them. Does the Spirit quicken? Yes. Does the Spirit enlighten? Yes.”

Elder Throgmorton himself admitted this in his former debate with me, and so I suppose he will admit it now.

Since, then, the Holy Spirit conies in direct, immediate contact with the heart in regeneration, no medium is between the spirit and the heart in that work, and so no means are used. This is simply unanswerable. Means is from the Latin word medianus, which means middle, that which comes in between. The proposition goes down before this argument, and Elder Throgmorton will never be able to lilt it up with the weight of this argument before it.

Now with tins stick and with this fan I touch this blackboard. This stick representing the preaching of the Gospel and the fan re the Holy Spirit, both touching the blackboard, the board representing the sinner’s heart. if it is the Spirit that regenerates, the Spirit does the work by immediate touch. So no means are used through which the power is conveyed. My contention is that the Spirit of God, whether it comes in contact the very moment the word preached reaches the heart, or whether it does not, that it is the Spirit that does the quickening. The Spirit of God does the regenerating, and as the Spirit does the regenerating, no means are used in the work of regeneration. No means are used for it is by immediate touch. If I were to throw a lasso out there and draw an interested brother up here to this rostrum, I would lasso him by means of the rope, the lasso would be between me and the thing operated upon. But if with the rope in my hand I go down to the brother and touch him with the rope and at the same time take hold of him myself and bring him up here, it cannot be said I used the rope as a means. I do it direct. How is it done? It is done by direct touch. Cannot be done by means when the Spirit of God does the work and does it by direct contact. It is certainly self evident.

My second negative argument is that in regeneration sinners are quickened or raised from a state of death and so it is represented as a resurrection from death. Resurrection from death is accomplished by the direct impartation of life to the dead in which no medium is used. Eph. 2:1, “And you hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins.” Verse 5 “But God who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we dead in sins hath quickened us together with Christ.” The context shows that the Ephesian saints have been going away from God until the very moment they were quickened. In the three instances of Jesus raising the dead, no medium came between the power that raised the dead and the dead that were raised. “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing.” In the resurrection of the body no medium or means is employed, for the same Spirit that resurrects the soul will resurrect the body in the same way. Romans 8:11, “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”

The word “also” in this passage shows that the same will be done for the bodies in their resurrection that is done for the souls in their regeneration, and in the same manner. As the resurrection of the bodies will be without any means whatever, so is the resurrection of the dead. It is not with words and arguments and through a process of teaching, but by an immediate exertion of almighty power to raise the dead; that he can reach those that are out of the reach of all other powers; that he can do what the devil cannot do; that he conquers the devil and takes from him poor, hell deserving sinners, change the hearts by the touch of his Omnipotence, and makes them by the Spirit into what they had not been before, causing them to love God and desire to glorify his precious name. As the resurrection of the body shall be without any means whatever, so is the resurrection of the soul. God gives them life. “The hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of God and they that hear shall live.’’ John 5:25. It is the voice of the Sun of God the dead hear, and not the voice of the preachers. It is not simply the words of the Son of God spoken by preachers, but it is the voice of the Son of God himself that must cause the dead to live. If I write a letter, that letter is not my voice. There is a difference between what is contained in that letter and my voice. If I tell you something to tell somebody in your town, my brother, and you tell that one, he doesn’t hear my voice, he hears your voice. Your voice is not mine. My written words are not my voice. There is a difference between one person telling what another person tells him to tell, and the voice that tells him to tell it. All hear to whom the voice speaks. They all hear and live. They hear because life is given by the power of the voice that speaks to them. Christ further says in the continuation of this passage, “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son of God to have life in himself, and hath given him power to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.” So the life is not in the preacher to be given to the sinner, or in his preaching to be imparted by proxy, but in the Son of God to be given to sinners directly by the touch of his omnipotent power. So John says. “He that hath the Son of God hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”

(Time expired.)

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 18 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.