"What would you think of a mechanic who should attempt to build a house in the air, without any ‘corner stone,’ or edifice for it to rest upon! Or, what would you think of the wisdom of one who had a house partly reared, but who now forsooth for every piece of timber be placed on top, he takes away one from the bottom! when do they suppose he would get it completed?"

The Primitive Baptist,
February 1836
Copied from PB-History / David Montgomery




The salvation of the righteous is of the Lord.—Psalms xxvii. 39

The human-effort folks in general, however pass with little ceremony over all such passages of scripture as the one quoted from Paul in 2 Thess ii. 13. They decline giving them much serious attention, under the plausible plea to carnal multitudes that there is contained in them too much mystery. They insist upon it that God’s purposes and decrees, his electing. love and predestination, his foreknowledge, his counsel of peace in the ancient settlements of eternity of the redemption of his people, and all such like mysteries in godliness belong alone unto God; and men are presumptuous and out of the pathway of duty when preaching them, discussing them, or even meditating on them, notwithstanding they may shine forth from every page in the Bible as bright and as luminous as the noonday’s sun. They argue that “to notice these important things in our intercourse with men, we destroy the success of the gospel and hinder men from procuring their salvation.” Because in their opinion, “the gospel should be held forth to the unregenerated millions of Adam’s posterity, free and us untrammeled with any thing like a degree of mystery or spirituality, more than what the carnal mind to which it is addressed can readily comprehend, for otherwise it would be idle to calculate upon success; inasmuch as the mind cannot transcend its own capacity and understand and perform things entirely out of the reach of its very comprehension.” And in this last conclusion they are consistent, but the premises are incorrect. They argue further, “that God cannot be sincere or consistent with himself, in causing his gospel to be proclaimed to men and hold them accountable for the neglect of it, if their capacity at the same time is not sufficient to understand the hidden things of it. Therefore to remove all difficulties and make things plain they proceed to curtail it, and taper it down by lopping off a little here and a little there. Such as for instance to divest it first of all principle by which God may be supposed to a choice or particular purpose in the intent thereof. Secondly to strip it of all spirituality more than what the carnal mind of man can understand. Thirdly, to place its acquirement upon the same footing with arts and sciences or any of the ordinary attainments to which the human mind unconnected with the idea of, much less a belief in Christianity, may consistently and lawfully aspire. When all this is done they are ready for action. They professedly take the cause of God in hand, and with a zeal that the apostle would pronounce not according to knowledge, hurry it on to its final triumph, perfectly independent of all consideration whether God wills it or not. Having men’s persons in admiration of advantage, (Jude 16,) and their own glory in view, they altogether lose sight of the glory of God and would deny themselves by endeavoring to make all the hinges of man’s salvation turn upon the pivot of their high, mighty and stupendous efforts, and the unenlightened principles alone of human reason .

Bro. Bennett, such are the signs of these times; such are the clouds which the church is enveloped and such is the nature of that delusion, awful to relate, which the devil has cast on the minds of men in this day and generation, for extent and universality like unto the mighty floods and seas of error coming up upon the whole earth; and wo, wo, this day, such is the case that, the people love to have it so. They have almost and altogether lost sight of the doctrine of the text, and delight to glory in their own shame. And according to the high principle enjoyed by the present generation of men, they seem to be more disposed to gainsay or disregard the doctrine we are upon, than any of their predecessors. The ancient nations of the Gentile world, up to the advent of the Messiah, had much more reason for their disregard of God’s salvation. The descendants of Abraham, for many hundred years, were less guilty; because notwithstanding their heavenly instructions the vail of Moses was ever before their eyes, and they were surrounded on every side with the grossest idolatry, and had not such bright examples to follow. The inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities of the Plain had a more reasonable excuse for their neglect of God’s salvation than the men of this generation, because the on of God had not come down in visible shape to earth, and the doctrine had not been so often preached to them; consequently, they could at best have seen it as but through a glass darkly. The Gentile nations immediately succeeding the holy incarnation were much more consistent in their neglect of, or opposition to God’s salvation than those of the present age In whom we allude; because they had not hen given their assent to the truth and divinity Christianity, and were under the overwhelming influence of the heathen mythology. But most of civilized Europe and America, in our age of the world, are relieved from many of the disadvantages and inseparable obstacles that surrounded their ancient predecessors. So much so indeed, that they have either tacitly or professedly come into the measure of the Christian cause, or thrown aside their weapons of opposition. But while in the very act of doing so, and during the whole course of their lives under a profession of its influence, oppose with untiring hostility the quintessence of that very doctrine which they have espoused!!

Here’s marvelous consistency for you. What would you think of a mechanic who should attempt to build a house in the air, without any ‘corner stone,’ or edifice for it to rest upon! Or, what would you think of the wisdom of one who had a house partly reared, but who now forsooth for every piece of timber be placed on top, he takes away one from the bottom! when do they suppose he would get it completed? We answer for them; just about as soon as they complete God’s building of mercy, by building and building, and plastering and daubing upon the sandy foundation of their own human reason; and setting at naught the elect and precious corner stone of Jesus Christ’s righteousness. They will when but too late perhaps, discover to their great consternation that ..

    “The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner.” Luke xx. 17.

And then will their beautiful castles speedily vanish into thin air. But what authority has these wonderful workmen to attempt building God’s house at all! So far as the members of Christ’s mystical body are to be brought in, and the true church of Christ finally built up and crowned with glory, for grandeur and beauty be like unto the holy city New Jerusalem, descending from heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband Rev. xx. 2. I say so far as these things are to be accomplished, they have about as much control over them as they have over the light of the sun, that sheds his rays o’er all the earth, or hides his head at God’s commands.

Or, about as much have they to do with building up God’s spiritual temple, as they have control over the penetrating, irresistible, renovating and almighty operations of God the Holy Ghost, C. B. HASSELL.