I have written many "series" that could each be small books. Many of these series on particular subjects are part of my ongoing book "The Hardshell Baptist Cult." Some are not part of it but may be found either in this Old Baptist blog or in the Baptist Gadfly blog. One such series has been entitled "What The First Hardshells Believed." In the continuation of that series I post this addition. For previous entries in this series and this subject see these:
From the "Primitive Baptist" (1837) and
What the first Hardshells Believed IX and
What the first Hardshells Believed VIII and
What the first Hardshells Believed VII and
What the first Hardshells Believed VII (second under that title) and
What the first Hardshells Believed VI and
What the first Hardshells Believed V and
What the first Hardshells Believed IV and
First Hardshells on Rom. 8: 28 and
What the first Hardshells Believed III and
What the first Hardshells Believed II and
What the first Hardshells Believed
In this posting we will look at some citations from Vol. 2 (1837) and Vol. 3 of "The Primitive Baptist" periodical.
"The predestinarian believes in the foreknowledge of God, and that all men by nature deserve condemnation. The predestinarian believes in the atonement of the Lord Jesus, and that his righteousness is made over and imputed to all his spiritual children by and through the means or instrumentality of faith, as the law of righteousness that it might be of grace. The predestinarian believes that the means and the end are inseparably connected, and that works and faith are as much united as soul and body; and that God knoweth them that are his...And this is eternal life, that they believe on the only true God, and in Jesus Christ whom he has sent." (pg. 126)
Notice how the first Hardshells believed in "means" and that "the means and the end are inseparably connected." Today's Hardshells almost universally reject this view. So, if they don't even agree with their founding fathers on this issue, how can they legitimately call themselves "primitive" or "old school"?
"Bro. Bennett: Being well pleased with the doctrine contained in the Primitive Baptist, edited by yourself, and believe the doctrine to be in accordance with the word of God, and that it is therefore calculated to disseminate life, light, and immortality to those who are dead in trespasses and sins, and is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; comforting, confirming, and establishing them in the faith.." (pg. 142)
Again, this is not what is advocated by today's Hardshells. Today's "Primitive Baptists" will say that the means doctrine is "Arminianism," or as some are now doing, calling such a belief in means "Calvinism."
From Vol. 3
Elder John Watson wrote:
"We are informed by the apostle, in 2 Thess. 2: 13, that a sanctification of the spirit is necessarily connected with a belief of the truth; and those who cannot bear sound doctrine, would not at all be benefited, by our softening down gospel truths. We are directed in 2 Tim. 2: 23, to instruct those who oppose the truth, in meekness, hoping that the Lord may grant them "repentance to the acknowledging of the truth." (Pg. 83)
"So we understand that sanctification and faith are the means of that salvation to which God had chosen these Thessalonians. In short, we should take no man's opinion in such cases, nor have an opinion of our own, without a thus saith the Lord for it; for opinion must always be founded upon evidence." (pg. 95)
We know what Elder Watson believed about means in the new birth. His "Old Baptist Test" is full of statements in line with what he writes here. Further, Elder John Clark was a frequent writer and supporter of this periodical and he obviously shared the beliefs of Watson, Lawrence, Hassell, Bennett (the first editor), and others who supported this Kehukee Association supported paper. So too did Wilson Thomspon and his son Grigg Thompson read this periodical, the latter especially.
"So then, he hath chosen us that we might be holy, etc. consequently will give us the means of salvation, which are faith and holiness. And God is onmiscient (sic), or every where present, and therefore none of his elect shall miss the end designed; that is, eternal life: For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God, etc. Chosen in him before the foundation of the world, etc. So then, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. And even in the same way that the Lord sent his gospel to all the world once, even so now will he send it where he pleaseth; for he is of one mind and one way, and hath not said to the church, send ye my gospel any where." (pg. 109-10)
"I find the will of God is to believe the record that God has given us of his Son for salvation, which would include all the fundamental principles of the gospel, and a good deal more; and the doctrine of election and predestination, and final perseverance of the saints, all of which I believe in." (pg. 115)
"...as I do believe God has chosen his people in Christ before the world was, and that according to his own purpose. And as he has made the choice of the characters that shall inherit his kingdom above, he has also ordained the means by which they shall be prepared and qualified for that eternal world. He has not chosen his people in Christ and left the means to be used necessary to bring them there in the hands of men. No, sir, he has ordained the preaching of the gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation, as his own method of saving his elect." (pg. 145)
Today's Hardshells have apostatized from what their forefathers believed. Is this not why they have wanted to hide such old periodicals and information over the past one hundred years or so? But, thanks to the Internet, such works are being taken out of the closets of libraries and discovered. And oh what a discovery it is for those Hardshells today who know nothing of their real history.
"But perhaps the effort party may conclude there is still something for them to do, preachers must be prepared and sent to preach; but I want you also to remember, that God has not left this work in the hands of men, to say who shall preach his gospel, or who shall be instrumental in his hands in bringing his elect to a saving knowledge of his truth and glorious inheritance above. No, sir, he has reserved this work also to himself, he calls and qualifies his ministers to preach Jesus." (pg. 145)
"Therefore we need no other means now than were needed eighteen hundred years ago; it then required the power of God to quicken a dead sinner and make him alive, it requires the same now and nothing short of that will effect the salvation of the soul. God saved his chosen people before missionary societies were introduced, by the ministers he chose, by the means he ordained, and not by plans devised by mortals; consequently they were indebted to him alone for that salvation, he was entitled to all praise and glory: Not unto us, but unto thy name give glory." (pg. 146)
Notice how it is said "we need no other means." You see, these Hardshells rejected "human means," such as seminaries, Sunday schools, revival meetings, etc., but they did not "throw the baby out with the bath water" as their later descendents would do, for though they rejected these "human means" they did not see this as excluding the preaching of the Gospel as a divinely appointed means.
This is what brother Fralick and I believe and we are therefore the real Old or Primitive Baptists.