A true converstaion from the 1820's in Tennessee

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by revmwc, Feb 25, 2016.

  1. revmwc

    revmwc
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    An excerpt from a book :The Rev. J.W. Loguen, As Slave and A free Man. A narrative of real life. © This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.

    Read and give your view on this conversation which is from the memory of an 11 or so year old slave boy.


    That was the argument of Caiphas, a Jewish old fogy and incorrigible hypocrite. The Jews adopted his counsel and killed Jesus in obedience to your infernal doctrine, 'the greatest good to the greatest number.' But did they thereby secure good in his sense of the words? No. I tell you good can only come from doing good--and we can never receive good unless we do right. Come, I am going to preach. No good can come from wrong. Good to one is good to all-- and evil to one is evil to all. Caiphas lied when he said that. He was blind to everything but--self. He gave up his church and country to be murdered when he gave up Jesus to be murdered. It needed just that to seal their doom. Jerusalem, which symbolizes the Church--and the Temple, which symbolizes the Lord himself, fell by that sin from among them. The foundations of the former were plowed up, and not one stone, that is, not one truth, remained upon another, after they had crucified Jesus. Falsehood was ultimated and triumphed in the decapitation of the Lord of the Church."

    "Always a preaching--but how do you make out that the Jewish Church fell with the Jewish State? There is scarce a large city in the world without one or more synagogues in it--you are out there."

    "No church can survive its Lord--its form may remain, as the Christian church does now, like the broken shell when the chick has flown. When it excommunicated the Lord, its life went with him, of course. The old church committed suicide to let in a new one. Fi! I Dave--don't believe these preaching, praying, and chanting assembles in synagogues and meeting houses, are, of course, genuine churches. They may be forms without life--mere husks and shells--mere human organizations, made by men for men--not by God for God. There is but one church and that is 'the Lamb's wife'--in other words, the Lord's wife--the Lord has not got two wives. He maintains no Harem. He acknowledges no Presbyterian wife, nor Methodist wife, nor Baptist wife, nor the thousand and one things that claim him as husband. They who live to do good to others, be they Christian or heathen, "lean on his bosom" and are his wife, and "he is their Lord."

    "Do you mean to say that the Church instituted by the Lord Jesus Christ can lose its life, and be as a husk or shell, as the Jewish Church is?"

    "Indeed I do. When it becomes as the Jewish Church was, its fate must be the same, by the laws of order. The Apostolic Church was no more the Lord's Church, than was the Adamic, Noatic, and Israelitish churches, before them--and they successively performed their uses and perished. When a church ceases to honor its Lord by a life devoted to his uses--when it is a covering for selfish and worldly aims, it has like the Jewish Church excommunicated its Lord--it has conspired with Judas and sold him--it has, in other words, lost its life. It may preserve truths--but they will be without good--the will be truths in petrified forms after life is gone--their light will be the light of winter shimmering in the face of death. Of what use is light without heat--truth without good--or what is the same Faith without Charity?"

    "Now, Joseph; I am no Christian, and know little of Divinity--but you surprise me--do you mean to say that Christianity is a failure, and that the Lord has no Church in the world?"

    No, no. No church ever was a failure. All were adapted to the age they were instituted. They performed their uses and perished--they are the ages or dispensations that have come and gone."

    "I am not satisfied--I want one reason why I am to believe that the first Christian Church, as you call it, has perished?"

    "Well--I will try to give one. Christ founded his Church on Peter, on a Rock, on Truth--in other words, on Faith. After Christ arose from the grave, he had a talk with Peter--the Rock, the Truth--Faith--for in the language of the ancients the former words mean Faith. In that talk he described the doom of his Church in the following striking prophesy: "When thou wast young thou girdest thyself and walkest whither thou wouldst--but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands and another shall gird thee and carry thee whither thou wouldst not--"

    "But that was said to and of Peter."

    "Don't interrupt me--have I not just said, that in the correspondential language of our Lord, Peter means Faith? It's literal, is Rock or Stone, and in such language, they both mean Truth or Faith. Christ did not establish his Church on Peter as a man. He was a very unreliable man. In ancient times things had their names from their qualities--Rocks and Stones represented Truths--and Peter is another name for Rock or Stone, the Divine meaning of which is Truth or Faith--and the Bible is to be read in its Divine or spiritual meaning. The things of nature represent God's thoughts, and were clearly seen and read by unfallen men. And because Peter or Stone is a Divine representation of Truth or Faith, therefore it is said to be the head of the corner. Christ used the word in the Divine sense, as it was used before letters were made."

    "When he spoke of Peter then, he spoke of a New Church he come to establish--was that it?"

    "Yes. It was a prophecy. 'When thou wast young,' means when the church is young--'thou girdest thyself,' means, it thought for itself or had a mind of its own--'walking whither thou wouldst,' means that such church was free to obey God according to its own mind and will--'when thou shalt be old,' means when the church is decaying--'thou shalt stretch forth thy hands and another shall gird thee,' means that in its decline it will give its power and honor to another (for hands mean power)--to the Pope, to the Bishop, the Presbyter, the Council, the Synod, &c.--that these shall dictate its doctrines and creeds--'lead thee whither thou wouldst not,' means that the Church will become a servile, fashionable thing, without understanding or will of its own. Now, when Peter, or Truth, or Faith, has given its understanding and will to another--don't you see it can't obey the command 'follow thou me'--that faith is gone, and the church is defunct, when it follows another?"

    "But Christ said that to signify what death Peter should die."

    "So he did. But natural death is spoken of only because it corresponds to spiritual death, just as stones correspond to truth. The former is the external and natural, the other the internal and Divine sense."

    "Is that the way you read the Bible? I have always understood the Bible as it reads, and have never read it much. Then you will have it, God did not mean that Adam should die on the day he eat the apple?"

    "No--indeed,--he did eat the forbidden fruit, but did he die a natural death on the day he eat it? Not he. God set him to tilling the ground,--sufficient evidence that, to satisfy everybody that God intended a different sort of death. He lost the Divine life and image--that was death enough. Natural death is purely normal; our natural bodies are no part of us. The spiritual body is the man, and it takes on this body of flesh, and puts it off like a worn-out garment --and then lives on, and on, on forever in a higher sphere of existence. To suppose that God declared that Adam should die a natural death on the day he ate the fruit, is to suppose, not that the serpent or devil, but that God was the liar. Not so. God was true. Adam lived naturally, but not spiritually."

    "Do you suppose mother Eve was seduced by a serpent?"

    "There it is again. If we take the natural sense of the letter to be the Divine meaning, our God will be little better than the gods of the heathen. Adam and Eve, the man and the woman, represent the bride and the bridegroom, the lamb and the lamb's wife--the church, in the Divine sense. The serpent is a hieroglyph, representing the sensual principle in man ruling his affections--as woman does the Church itself under the dominion of the higher principles of his nature. So the serpent was understood by the ancients, and so figured on the pyramids and rocks, the books of the ancients. The serpent crawls upon his belly, and cannot raise its head to see or assail the higher principles of man's nature. It aims only at the heel, the lowest natural principle--it can't reach higher. But, be it remembered, the sensual principle is a Divine element in God's nature as well as in man's, for man is an image of God--and being so, it is an essential element in man. In its place, under the dominion of the understanding and will, the higher principles of the human soul, it is absolutely necessary for human uses. Separate from those principles, it becomes an enemy, a serpent. It is beautifully represented by the rod of Moses. In its proper place, in his hands and power, it is a staff to help him in the Divine walk or life--but released from his control, it is a snake, whose bite is death, and that is what it means. The Woman, that is the men and women of the church called Adam, gave themselves to the dominion of the sensual principle, and of course separated from higher and Divine principles, and sought light and wisdom through the senses. They threw the rod of God upon the ground, and of course came under the dominion of the serpent or sensual principle, and perished."

    More to come

    So let me know how you interpret this.
     
  2. revmwc

    revmwc
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    the rest of the excerpt from: The Rev. J.W. Loguen, As Slave and A free Man. A narrative of real life. © This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.


    "But how will this carry out? If Peter's name had such significance, what is the meaning of JOHN? His name, too, is used in this connection. Has that an internal meaning, too?"

    "O yes--John, as represented by the ancients, means 'the Life of Charity,' or love true to its impulses, and never swerving from its duties. John never forsook the Lord of the Church, though Peter, and all the Apostles, who represent all the other qualities of the Lord and of the Church, forsook him. Charity is ever faithful, leaning on the Lord's breast. What a beautiful emblem of Charity that! John, or Love, followed the Lord into the High Priest's Palace, when every other disciple fled, and Peter, or Faith, stood at the door without and denied the Lord three times. John stood at the Cross and saw his Lord die, and received his last words, 'Woman, (or church) behold thy son'--then to John (or charity) he said, 'Son, behold thy mother.' Charity is born of the Church (or heaven) as its mother--and now mark 'from that hour that disciple (Charity) took her (the Church) to his own bosom and preserved her,' to use the Lord's expression, 'until I come,' that is until he came in the spirit to form a New Church. Christ came only to form a new church. If you want to find the church, look for John, not Peter."

    So how do you guys see this?
     

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