The Journal of John Long
Finding John Long's Journal
Treatises & Writings
By John Long
Born September 15, 1872 - Died July 4, 1962, Age 90
Why I am an Unsectarian Evangelist
Principal Doctrines of the Christian Religion
Methods and Manner of Divine Worship
Principles of the Doctrines preached by John Long
Church Government, Ministry and Discipling
The Gift and Office of an Apostle
Concerning Faith Lines
Satan, Sin and Hell
Pentecostalism and Divine Healing
Letter to John G. Govan re Pentecostalism, 1924
I considered it wise here to explain once for all the reason Why I am an Unsectarian Evangelist. About the time I left living with the rector, to go fully on the Lord's work, I joined the Methodist Society for reasons explained in notes for 1895, Chapter 2, last paragraph.
Strictly speaking I never left the Methodist Society causelessly, but the doors shut when I resigned the Colportage work to go on Faith Lines; also for speaking out strongly against worldly pleasures in the church: and defending the revival under the labours of William Irvine. See notes on Chapter 3, November, 1899. I still preach for them whenever requested.
Through adjusting my life and work to Scriptural ways and doctrines, I got baptized by immersion in a stream by George Grubb, in Rathmolyn, May 1900; also, saw the birth of breaking of bread every Lord's Day, Randaltown, November, 1902. The people called the Plymouth Brethren, although containing much that’s Scriptural, were always too narrow and exclusive for me; nevertheless many of their members helped my work by gifts of money, and occasional hospitality.
For three years, I laboured in a movable wooden hall; after which I got many openings for missions, in undenominational halls; and working men’s missions in England; and although in the Go Preachers’ fellowship, I was open and unsectarian towards other churches, missions, and members. The time came, I regret to say so, when the Go Preachers’ mission became too exclusive and narrow, so as that I was constrained to leave it in July, 1907.
I never undervalued or denied the blessing and help that William Irvine’s testimony was to me; and it was a great pity for me to have to leave them; yet because of the exclusiveness and error they went into, it was a great liberation as well; also I had more access to the different sects with the gospel; and more money to abound as well. God saved me from exclusiveness that would debar usefulness and ever since I claim the right of having fellowship with every member of the body of Christ; and preaching the gospel to every creature, entering every open door.
From that time I have steered a strait unsectarian course; I came under the auspices of the Elim Mission in 1918, but considered it wise not to join it fully, owing to being used to a wider field of service and fellowship. I am convinced it is scriptural and charitable to have fellowship with every member of the body of Christ; and preach the Gospel everywhere I get an open door. Reader, go to your church, and be a constant communicant; but never despise or reject fellowship with any other Christian. (Journal, January 1925)
I myself have been rejected fellowship at the Lord's table, because I believed in the gift of tongues, which is a Scriptural gift; but thank God, this was only in the exception. I thank God for an open door and a wide extended fellowship with all saints.
John Long wrote: "The following letter I wrote to J. G. Govan, Director of the Faith Mission; and is a specimen of many letters of a corrective kind written by me in defence of truth."
Crumlin, Co. Antrim, Ireland
30th of September, 1924
Dear Brother in Christ:
Since my former letter was written concerning the Faith Mission attitude of refusing a give and take fellowship with the Pentecostal people, and others who contend for a whole Bible; from the observation and experience I have passed through since it was written I have observed that this attitude has produced many evil effects and fruits.
First of all I might say that we have no right to refuse fellowship with any member of the Body of Christ no matter how weak, unless we first tell them their fault according to Matt. 18:15, and this is a statute in the Faith Mission, also in John Wesley’s Sermons: also we should not despise the utility of any gift or ministry according to 1 Cor. 12:21; tongues enumerated among the rest.
There are scattered among the counties Godly persons, Pentecostal and such like, who would show hospitality to the Pilgrims and Delegates of the Faith Mission; and who naturally would be interested in any mission, revival, or conference; no matter where, or how, or whom the servants of God are that He condescends to use for His Glory. Because they are Pentecostal, or in fellowship with such, they get no place to minister; and are rejected and despised, and this hurts the true spirit of prayer, union and revival.
The Prayer Union is a powerful means of grace, but what may it become? if used against any Scriptural truth or gift. There is no commandment of our Lord, a carnal ordinance when rightly observed; and any negative stand against any Scriptural truth opens the door for antinomianism and is sure to hinder the work of the Lord.
The Faith Mission seems to be in alliance with the other churches against the Pentecostal people; and there is an underhand boycott to refuse all fellowship with them; they seem to be afraid to speak out, yet go on rejecting a people more obedient and Spiritual than themselves. As an unsectarian Evangelist, and being somewhat neutral I have had an opportunity to judge for myself between the Pentecostal and the churches of other denominations; and the despised people are far more Spiritual and Scriptural than the others. (Omit respect of persons).
In conclusion, I would say if you used your position and influence affirmative on the side of the Word of God (and against the worldly, and the carnal, who oppose the revival) and seek to restore the church to its original Spiritual power and Scripturalness: I say, sir, you would be a blessing.
Now I have done my duty, as a Watchman (not at all a pleasant one) in writing this second time: I hope you will receive my message of warning and correction faithfully.
I am, yours truly in Christ,
Reply from J. G. Govan:
Your letter of 31 st Sept. to hand.
The so called Pentecostal movement as a body, has not commended itself to us; it has over emphasized some things, and has been very censorious on others who cannot agree with them and appear to us as those who make divisions, therefore we cannot welcome them into our Prayer Unions. We do not seek the respect of persons you speak about, we seek first the Kingdom of God; neither are we ______(?) in any underhand manner.
Trusting you keep well, and that God will continue to use you.
Yours truly in His Service
J. G. Govan
A short Treatise on Christian Baptism may not be out of place, as time and experience tends to perfect us in knowledge both helpful and beneficial to the soul seeking after truth. When we adjust and examine the doctrines we have been brought up in by the teaching of Scripture, as all believers should, we are surprised to find neither command nor example in the New Testament for infant sprinkling: but we do for infant dedication.
Many believers conscientiously think that infant baptism by sprinkling is sufficient; and fulfill the conditions of repentance and faith, and walk in newness of life; and when God receives them and they show fruits of it, why not we; neither should we raise a barrier or disturb their peace by rash judgment or fruitless controversies. Rom. 14 – better any mode or form of the ordinance than none at all. "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature." Gal. 6:15.
There are among Christians eunuchs, invalids, and idiots who never were baptized; also there are those who have repented, and like the dying thief had no opportunity of being baptized. There are in the world many who are ignorant of Christian baptism, because of heathen darkness and no teacher; and who have up to the light of their conscience turned to God from sin. Who can say that the Blood of Jesus has no plea for them; or who dare say that heaven will be shut to them because they never were baptized. Rom. 2:14, 15. To whom little is given little will be required. What must I say about those who altogether deny water baptism saying that there is only one baptism, namely the Baptism with the Holy Ghost; and are wise above that which is written. I praise them not; if such go to heaven, a full reward will not be given; they shall suffer loss. 1 Cor. 3:15.
There are well meaning Christians who say that Believers immersion is only an act of obedience; well, it is that but it is much more; it is a type of identification with the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; it is a public profession of putting off for ever the old man, and putting on the new. And although justification is obtained by faith alone, yet the act of baptism following conversion is an outward type of remission of sins; which has already taken place through faith in the death of Christ: wherefore Gods order is repentance, faith, and baptism. Cornelius was saved and baptized with the Holy Spirit before water baptism. Acts 10:44 to 48. So was the Ethiopian eunuch. Acts 8:37 to 39. So was Saul of Tarsus. Acts. 9. Thus it is written, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." Mark 16:16.
However let no one who has been baptized by infant sprinkling, get it done by immersion, until they see it from the Scriptures for themselves; and is convinced that the Scriptural mode and time is adult immersion, once only after conversion; and let no one who has obeyed in adult believers immersion, ever be moved by any subverting influence to get it done the second time; as there is but one Lord, one faith, one baptism. Eph. 4:5. Personally I am convinced for myself, through the study of the Scriptures that Immersion after conversion is the proper mode and time though I have avoided making it a bone of contention; or a bar to Christian fellowship, as it hurts more essential truth. Baptism is a personal act with personal responsibility at an adult age, when he or she can understand for themselves. With an infant it is not a personal act, nor choice; and are unable to answer for themselves. Had dedication or presentation of infants without water been properly taught, it would have saved Christianity from much serious dispute; nevertheless I am glad to say that it is reviving by Baptists and Pentecostal churches; and the opposition against adult baptism among Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and Methodists, is decreasing every year.
There is another difficulty; was it single immersion or were they dipped three times? My answer is that there are no positive Scriptures to enable us to decide. I believe that all persons immersed once in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit are truly and evangelically baptized; but if they desire to be dipped three times, let them have their request; only, let them not make a rule of it when the Scriptures give no explicit instruction.
Single immersion in the Triune Name appeals to me to be the most natural; as a person is not buried three times but once; and I have baptized sisters in a fainting condition, in which life would have been endangered to dip three times; while they soon recovered the ordeal of one plunge beneath the cold water. I know that dipping three times was a very ancient custom; but we must not decide on such a point by the traditions of the Fathers, but by the Scriptures of truth the only infallible rule of faith. On such a fine point we should not be positive; lest the old serpent, Satan, lie hidden on the bottom of the waters.
All infants are the Lords whether sprinkled or not. For the atonement of Christ cancelled the original offence; and are not responsible till they come to adult age to know the difference between right and wrong; and with their own choice and wills accept or reject Jesus Christ. Wherefore the means of regeneration is faith, a personal faith; and to awaken that faith "It pleaseth God through the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe" Rom. 4:18, 1 Cor. 1:21. To substitute baptism for preaching and faith, is a serious error the Ecclesiastes run into at a very early age, making it the initiatory conditions of life and church fellowship. Although in proper order baptism should follow conversion; yet this order can be observed by Missionaries on new ground; than among nominal Christian nations who have undergone a form of it in infancy. Controversy, and rash judgment of a censorious kind has done more to hinder the truth and to quench the spirit of unity and love, than to establish it; Searching the Scriptures; and Godly example has probligated adult baptism in the earth so as that if a census was taken, adult immersion would exceed in numbers at home and abroad.
If all infants baptized by sprinkling were in the act regenerated, we should naturally expect to see more fruits as they grow into adult years; and there would be no need for conversion; but contrariwise we see little fruits and in the majority great need for conversion; therefore they need the Gospel preached to them as they grow up; and the good seed sown in their hearts in the Sunday School, and Bible class during childhood days. It is difficult to prove that the few texts quoted in support of infant sprinkling has any reference to baptism at all. Example as well as precept helps us to decide. Wherefore, we have example for keeping the Lord’s day; we have example for infant dedication; we have example for adult baptism; we have example for laying on of hands; we have example for anointing the sick; we have example for fasting; we have example for ordination but we have no example for infant baptism; and its origin can be traced to the council of St. Cyprian in the 3 rd century.
Neither way seems to be a crime as some would make it. Consider the tender feelings of a mother, up to the light she has got, bringing her infant to be Christened; if she does it sincerely as an act of duty and consecration to God she has committed no sin. Consider also that young man, or maiden, newly converted, in their first love for Christ; humbly submitting to be immersed as a type of burial and resurrection with Christ; they have committed no sin as some would try to prove. Either way, water the outward symbol is used; the Triune name is invoked; and the conditions are the same; and God has bestowed His Spirit upon both parties. Nationality and climate, health and sanitary conditions may render an ordinance or sacrament impossible to be observed in the same way, in detail; while the principals and Spiritual conditions that govern the ordinances in their relation to God’s requirements remains unshaken and unchanged. While I write thus I would cast my vote on the side of Adult immersion as the more Scriptural, and original and primitive form of the ordinance others may see differently if they choose. If the Greek word Baptize, means pouring as well as dipping; and Adam Clarke tells us it does; then it is optional as to which mode is used according to convenience and climate. Personally I have baptized two adults, invalids, at their own request who never were Christened.
John Long wrote: "I might here once for all give in condensed order the principal doctrines of the Christian religion and at least two positive Scriptures to support them by way of command and example."
The Sabbath Day
That the Lord instituted one day in seven for rest and worship. Gen. 2:3; Acts 20:7.
That marriage is an institution of God; and that the state is honourable; and the free will thereof only in the Lord, to the believer. Gen. 2:18; 1 Cor. 7:39. As a Divine ordinance it is a remedy against sin, 1 Cor. 7:5 pronounced as good by God himself; designed for procreation and mutual fellowship. Children are a blessing from the Lord. Psa. 127:3 and birth control a great sin. Gen. 38:9. See also, Matthew 19:4 to 12.
Dedication of infants
That parents should dedicate their children to the Lord; for which act we have precept and example, Luke 2:22; Matt. 19:13 to 15. That they should believe for and expect their salvation. Acts 16:31; and send them to Sunday School to learn the Scriptures. Eph. 6:4.
It is the duty of every person as they grow into adult years to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour; to love God their heavenly Father; and serve him in the Spirit all the days of their lives. John 1:12, 13. This experience of being Justified, or born again is obtained by repentance towards God; and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 20, purchased for every man by the Precious Blood of Jesus. Rom. 3:2.
Confession of Christ with the mouth
That all who repent and believe should confess Christ with their mouths; for by doing this they receive the witness earnest, or seal, of the Holy Spirit. Rom. 10:9, 10; Rom. 8:16.
Baptism by Immersion
That baptism by immersion followed after being made disciples by believing; and was a personal and adult act of identification with the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Matt. 28:19, 20; Acts 8:12. It should not be repeated, Eph. 4:5.
The Lord's Supper
That every born again believer should meet together on the first day of the week; the Lords day, for fellowship, breaking of bread and prayers. Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 11; that in the church there were three orders, or offices, designed to rule and control; by exercising church discipling and ministry, namely, bishops, presbyters, and deacons, Acts 14:23; Phil. 1:1, 2. In addition to these, from the church, were sent forth to spread the knowledge of the Gospel, ambassadors; namely, Apostles and Evangelists, Eph. 4:11; 3 John 7.
Sanctification and Holiness
That sanctification is an act and growth caused by the full surrender of the members to the head; it is followed by the cleansing of the Holy Spirit through which the abiding soul is purged from all inbred sin. Rom. 6; John 17:17; thus every disciple is called unto holiness, 1 Cor. 1,2.
Laying on of hands
That the doctrine of laying on of hands is Scriptural and was to be continued in the church, Heb. 6:1, 2. It was only done by elders, 1 Tim. 4:14; and the Holy Spirit was given with or without it. Acts 10:44.
Baptism with the Holy Ghost
That all believers were to wait for, and have the experience of the coming upon of the Holy Spirit; for power, for service, Mark 1:8; Acts 8:14 to 17. That the repetition of fillings, or anointings were to be always the experience of Gods people. Acts 4:31; Eph. 5:18; 1 John 2:27.
That Christians were to excel in good works towards the Brethren and to all men, Gal. 6:10. Widows over sixty were to be helped by the free will offerings of the church, 1 Tim. 4. A tenth or tithes is commended by the Word, Mal. 3:10; 1 Cor. 16:1, 2; also they were to dress plain, 1 Pet. 3:1 to 5 and not accumulate riches, Matt. 6:19, 20. They are to manifest the fruits of the spirit in showing mercy, Matt. 5:1 to 12 in not resisting evil and to be given to prayer, praise and preaching, Matt. 5:39, 1 Thess. 5:16 to 20.
Anointing and healing the sick
Sick persons are to call for elders; who were to anoint with oil and pray the prayer of faith, James 5:14, 15; Mark 6:12, 13. Confession of sin to God necessary; and of faults to each other, 1 John 1:8; James 5:16.
Burial of the dead
That we have precept and practice for the burial of the dead and the word of truth read on the occasion, Jer. 22:19; Acts 8:2; Gen. 49:29, 30; 1 Tim. 4:5; 1 Tim. 2:8.
That the souls of all men live after their bodies are dead; the just in Paradise, Luke 16:19 to 31; and the unjust in a place of torment; both waiting the resurrection of their bodies at the coming of our Lord for judgment, 1 Thes. 4:12 to 18. These abodes in the Greek are called Hades.
That our Lord Jesus Christ is coming again for his people; when at His coming there will be a resurrection of the just; and a rapture of all the redeemed to meet Him in the air; after which Satan will be bound for a thousand years, and an age of peace called the millennium, Rev. 20:1 to 6, John 14:3, Acts 1:11.
End of the world
That at the end of the world there will be a general resurrection of all, and judgment; after which the wicked shall be condemned to eternal punishment and the righteous to eternal happiness in the new heavens and the new earth, Matt. 25:31 to end; Rev. 26:11 to 15.
The inspired Word
That all this is the teaching of the inspired Scriptures which is the only rule of faith, and lives for ever, 1 Tim. 4:15__.
The Divinity of Christ
That our Lord Jesus Christ in His Divine nature was God; and in His human nature was man sinless and perfect. He was Emmanuel or God manifested in the flesh; and was begotten by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary. Isa. 9:6, 7; Matt. 1:18 to 25; John 1:1 to 3.
That by our Saviours death once for all on Calvary’s cross a full and perfect atonement is made for all sin; and every person can participate in its benefits; by faith in His Blood it is meritorious only to believers, Rom. 3:25; Heb. 2:9; and we need the continuous merits, and cleansing of the precious blood while in the body, 1 John 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:2.
That in the Godhead, there are three Divine persons; of one substance, namely The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, 2 Cor. 13:14; 1 John 1:7.
That the Devil is a Spiritual enemy of God and man and organises a host of wicked spirits against the righteous and we are to renounce him and all his works, Matt. 13:28; Gen. 3:15; Eph. 6:12. Through his subtlety came the fall of man.
Life a probation
That the whole period of life is one of probation; when man is called upon to turn from sin to God; and amend his ways and goings by accepting with his free will, the free Grace provided for the human race in the Gospel, Isa. 55:7.
Whole volumes might be written on these fundamental principals essential to life and Godliness, and many more Scripture quoted in their support. We may make mistakes in our administration of them; nevertheless, I have yet to be convinced that there is any heresy in believing and teaching the forgoing principals; but everything that makes for life and Godliness; and any departure from them is a byway to error. A fuller description is given in this book of all these doctrines together with a definition and meaning of the terms; but scattered throughout its pages.
These are given to show God’s order in ministry; an order, if it had been attended to in the history of the church, would have saved it from many a controversy, and division. My work is so widespread and scattered, as that I cannot at all times write to satisfaction; but having this opportunity I embrace it to give my humble opinion to the best of my ability, concerning the Christian faith every believer embraces in order to ensure an eternity in heaven; trusting some day that it would be counted worthy to be printed and published so as that others may embrace the same Saviour; not being well up in Grammar and punctuation; some educated Christian friend may fit it for the press.
John Long wrote: "Having written notes on the Doctrines of the Christian faith, I will now proceed to write short notes on the Methods and Manner of Divine Worship; and the different and many means used to reach mankind with the Gospel; also to make disciples, build them up and edify the same."
Marriage is a legal and religious rite, instituted of God for procreation, partnership and family, and mutual help; it is a moral necessity, a remedy against fornication and loneliness, and imperfection in man; for in women there is a supply of virtues lacking in man.
Restricted and guarded acquaintance is necessary before marriage, in order that the pair may be guided aright in their choice, being equally yoked. This should not be too long, lest the pair should be distracted or run into temptation; neither should it be too hastily done lest either sides discover too late that they have made a mistake; for it is a bond for ever. Much courtship is dangerous; as both are to remember that they are not one flesh till the bond is solemnized. Parents should endeavour to guard the youth of their children; and in chastity give them some necessary instruction on the laws of human nature that govern both the sexes. Parents should not hinder their children, when they come to ripe age to get married, when they meet with a proper partner. Much harm may be done by the people reporting intended marriage before the pair is ready, or has the day fixed. See what Adam the first, the last Adam, and Paul said on the subject. Gen. 2:23 to 25; Matt. 19:3 to 9; 1 Cor. 7.
Concerning the marriage service: prayer for the pairs welfare is commendable; also one or two hymns of praise to God. It is a grand opportunity for a good sermon to the pair, to the guests, and to the spectators. See John 2:1 to 11; 1 Tim. 4:3 to 6. Let the pair love each other and study each others dispositions and temperaments; also bear one another’s burdens and so fulfil the law of Christ. Gal. 6:2.
The value and necessity for this means of Grace should be taught by Pastors. The responsibility of the practice of it rests very largely with the head of the house. A fixed half hour morning and evening saves from neglect. See Rev. 8:1 to 5. It serves many fruitful purposes; as I have mentioned else where specially the purpose of asking from God what we need daily for ourselves and others. It is helpful to accompany its utility by Daily Bible reading chapter after chapter. It is an antidote and preventative against backsliding; and a constant testimony to everybody that we are God’s family.
In the old Testament dispensation, women were to bring a lamb or turtle dove as an offering, after child birth. See Lev. 12:6. In the New Covenant, she is free from this obligation; however the type always suggest an antitype; and the least she may do after so great a deliverance is to appear publicly to return thanks. Luke 2:22 to 35; 1 Tim. 2:15.
Concerning harvest thanksgiving. In the Old Testament the feast of weeks or Pentecost, with its tribute of a free will offering according as the Lord their God hath blessed them. Deu. 16:9, 10. We have no occasion to bring corn or fruit in the New Covenant; but certainly a thanksgiving service with a free will offering of money is in harmony with the will of God. When a King or Prince proclaims a national day of humiliation of prayer and fasting; or thanksgiving. Every loyal subject who fears God and honours the King, should join in, for righteousness shall establish a nation; but sin is a reproach to any people. "Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." Phil. 4:6.
Public dedication of Infants
A public dedication service of infants is both Scriptural and in harmony with religion, common sense, and the Holy Spirit; and none would forbid it but conceited Brethren, and stern disciples, needing the rebuke of the gentle Jesus, meek and mild. Matt. 19:13 to 16. In the Law, mothers in the case of the birth of males were to appear before the Lord thirty three days after confinement; in the case of females Sixty and six days. This seems to suggest such a period of time when she would have recovered her strength enough to publicly attend a thanksgiving service. It is a public act before God and the people on the part of parents that so far as their duty lies they are willing to consecrate their infants to God and His service. It is also an opportunity, after the example of our Lord to pray for them: This elders can do by placing their hands on their head and taking them up in their arms. It is also an introduction into Christian name and fellowship. See Eph. 6:4.
Places designed for public worship were dedicated to God in the Old Testament. 1 Kings 8. Our Lord seemed to sanction every place in the New. John 4:21. And above the place the quality. Vs. 23; 24. He knew that poverty and persecution would render it impossible to have expensive and elaborate and magnificent buildings; more a burden than a freedom more a curse than a blessing. It is worthy of remark that in the Acts of the apostles, the Christian Church had its birth in an upper room; and met there for worship on the Lords Day; also in the homes of elders. See Philemon 2. However, plain buildings dedicated to God, and set apart for the Church to meet and worship in are necessary in every age, and country; both for cleanliness, and convenience. There are certain principals essential to life and Godliness; also certain requirements for sanitary reasons, age never alters; and once sanctioned in the Scriptures, is for ever sanctioned.
Sunday School Service
Although we have no example of an organised Sunday School in Scripture, yet the plain teaching of God to Moses, and of the Son of God to Simon Peter is "Teach them to thy Children." Deu. 6:7. "Feed my lambs." John 21:15. On this subject all sects of Christians are agreed. The Episcopalians have a good Sunday School. Let us give credit where it is due. To divide a Sunday School into classes is by far the best for two reasons. First children are controlled better in that way; and the lessons can be suited to their age. Secondly, it gives teachers specially sisters something to do both beneficial to the children and to themselves. Titus 2:3 to 5. To open with prayer and singing is best. The distribution of Texts, Bibles, or good books for prizes encourages the young to run well so as that they may obtain; but pains should be taken as to the quality of literature given to instruct their young and tender minds for we reap whatsoever we sow.
When young men and maidens come of age they are apt instead of becoming teachers, to leave off Sunday School and fall into neglect. A Bible class is a good means to keep them going; also to water the seed already sown during Sunday School years; this can be held on Lord’s Day, afternoon, or on week nights. The Brethren have a good Bible Class. Let us also give them credit where it is due. In a Bible class there should be control and liberty; the one to maintain order; and the other to have the help and opinion of fertile minds. In this meeting a one man ministry is not the best. A short prayer and hymn is helpful, to rest the body by a change; and inspire the mind by a variety. The Christian Endeavor Society have a good Bible Class, and follow this line in their methods and object, and pledge.
Although Temperance, and Band of Hope meetings are somewhat secular; yet they need not be so; as they are splendid opportunities for Gospel Hymns, prayer, and aggressive Christian service; bringing before the people danger and rescue; disease and remedy; and helps to prepare the way and are stepping stones to the Cross of Calvary. That the Bible teaches temperance is very manifest both in the Old and New Testaments; and it is spoken of as one of the fruits of the Spirit. Gal. 5:23. Alcoholic drinks have been, and are still one of the most deadly enemies of the human race; and only the power of God can give the strength to forsake it. Drunkenness is a degrading and defiling vice and the avenue to all other demoralizing sins. To get the young into the pathway of life where they will never know the taste of it; and how only be temperate, but total abstainers for ever is a good work; and no good work should be despised.
The Methodist class meeting was open to all who had a desire to “flee from the wrath to come”; it has grown nearly extinct in Ireland; but is still kept alive in England. There is no doubt but it was an individual as well as a collective help. The following extract from John Wesley’s Journal shows its original design; and the texts of Scripture it was founded upon. “This evening our little society began, which afterwards met in Fetters Lane. Our fundamental rules were as follows. In obedience to the command of God by St. James; and by advice of Peter Bohlen, it is agreed by us that we meet together once a week to Confess our faults one to another, and pray one for another that we may be healed.” Standard edition by Cully, Page 459; May 1738.
The Ayann, Agapee, or Love feasts were in the Primitive Church charitable meals got up for strangers who travelled a long distance to worship on the Lord’s Day. This excellent provision crept into abuse and became extinct in the fourth century. At these banquets there was singing and holy conversation on Spiritual things. A form of it was restored by John Wesley and still exists in the Methodist church and the Salvation Army. It seems to be in reference by St. Jude 12. "These are spots in your feasts of charity" (Love feasts). The Methodist Love Feast consists of a biscuit and water; followed by an experience or Testimony Meeting; much the same as the class meeting.
A testimony meeting is usually held at the close of a Mission or Convention. A great revival of it took place under the labours of D. L. Moody, and I. D. Sankey, together with the singing and publication of that sweet Hymn Book; that lives and will live to the praise of God and the benefit of the Church militant. Any open meeting where there is liberty to pray, sing, speak, or testify is sure to help the Spiritual life of the church; for the Scriptures encourages God's people to confess Him in the sanctuary; also to the world and before men. Psa. 144:1 to 12, Matt. 10:32, 33. Many believers get the witness of the Holy Spirit in the act of confessing Christ. Rom. 10:9, 10. This also is one of the best training schools for publick preaching. No believers who love unity, and peace, should take the advantage of an open meeting; either to speak or pray too long; or to put forth unwisely a controversial doctrine or opinion "Quench not the Spirit". 1 Thes. 5:14. Testimony should be true, short, and up to date.
No matter what form they take they are powerful means of Grace; and no church can thrive without them. The Society of Friends have their times of quiet waiting upon God for the Holy Spirit to move them. The people called the Pentecostal people have their weekly waiting prayer meetings for the Baptism with the Holy Spirit. The Faith Mission have their Prayer Union; where every member is supposed to take part. In most chapters of the Acts of the Apostles we have ideal prayer meetings; and it can be proved that sisters took part as well as brothers. Acts 16:13, 14. Days of prayer and fasting were ever the resort of Gods people during time of distress, war, pestilence and persecution. Half nights and whole nights of prayer were always signs of revival seasons. See Acts 12:12. No man will backslide on his knees praying; no church will lose its savour which has her days of prayer.
That prayer meeting by the river side in Philippi seems to have been a sisters’ Prayer Meeting. A mothers’ meeting is a provision for women, whom, through home duties cannot get out to night meetings; and many have been reached in this way by the Saving power of the Gospel in Hymns, or short sermons given unto them. They have a cup of tea, followed by a spiritual meal this is not unscriptural and resembles the Primitive love feast. I am glad to say that Brethren in England have mothers’ meetings.
Lord’s Day Meeting
This is the Holy place of the church; heaven is the Holy of Holies. I have said so much on the Lord’s Day worship else where that I will not say much here in order to avoid repetition. See Acts 2:42 and Acts 20:7.
Lord’s Day Gospel Meetings
All sects of Christians have a Sunday Evening service, when saints and sinners, in fact everybody are welcome to come. At this meeting the Evangelical note should be sounded, namely ruin by the fall; Redemption by the (Holy Spirit) Blood, and regeneration by the Holy Spirit should be preached from every pulpit with no uncertain sound. Everything should be free, seats free, hymn books free, and a free Gospel. Occasionally the Gospel net should be pulled in and anxious souls dealt with in pointing them to the Saviour, and in prayer. I see nothing unscriptural in music in worship and meetings. Psa. 150; Rev. 15:2. Solo singing, when done to the Glory of God is very fruitful and effectual. Hymns, Psalms and Spiritual songs are sanctioned by the Lord. See Matt. 26:30; Eph. 5:19.
These are looked upon as the most effectual means of reaping where others have sown; and gathering into the fold the lost ones. They are mostly held by lay Evangelists, in Churches, Mission halls, and tents, etc. However of late years, they have failed to reach the masses as the people have grown hardened; and the falling away has come; and if they will not come in we are to go out to them. Luke 14:21 to 23. Prayer, praise, and preaching together with reading the Scriptures constitute the primary means of service; and this uniformly and universally the means which God has ordained to reach mankind. These are mostly accompanied with after meetings, to give the anxious an opportunity to decide for Christ. This can be either overdone or underdone; and it requires discernment and wisdom on the part of the Evangelist.
Open Air Meetings
This a necessary and Scriptural branch of the Lord’s work and is accompanied with much self denial, humiliation and hardships; and does not at all get the consideration and support that it requires and deserves; yet it is used to reach a class of people with the Gospel, unreached by other means. There are three different features, namely field meetings, Street preaching, by organised bands; also individual stands in bye streets, courts, or Market places. It can be accompanied with the distribution of tracts. Indeed the Greek word, K______ Keerux, means a herald or publisher and can be rightly applied to a street preacher. See notes for September 1898.
House to house visitation
This is a means of bringing the Gospel to the homes of the people; and is very largely the work of Scripture Readers, Colporteurs, and city missionaries. Of this there are two species of visitations; namely accessible homes where the visitor can enter in, and read and pray with the sick, old aged, and infirm. Then there is calling from door to door, giving them a tract; and speaking personally to the inmates about their soul’s salvation. This requires great courage, much wisdom, and good health; for it is very exhausting to the vitality of Spirit, soul, and body. Strangely to say, the people do not come out to meetings through this means. See Luke 14:18; Acts 20:20.
The Lord Jesus said "As my Father hath sent me even so send I you." John 20:21. Every pastor, and Evangelist, and Christian worker should carry the Gospel message with them wherever they go; on land or sea, at home and abroad, in fields or highways, towns or villages; in trams, cars, trains, by night or by day. They should always be watching to speak a word for Jesus and Redeem the time. Such personal talks have a lasting effect; and God will give the wisdom, and tact how to deal with every case.
There are many ways of making use of Tracts to profit; selected ones can be sent by post in letters; they can be used as an introduction to homes or personal conversations. They can be put into letter boxes and left at wells, stiles, paths. They can be given out broadcast to large crowds of people. No matter which, they should be backed up with prayer. The same can be said of periodicals, pamphlets, and booklets, Wall texts, and Almanacs.
Selling and giving away Bibles, Testaments, Gospels and other portions to Roman Catholics, Jews and Heathens, accompanied by the oral message, is a work that God has always used and blessed. See my notes on Colportage experience, from February 1895 to 1899. Omitting selling, every faithful Evangelist and Pastor knows something about this more or less.
Conferences and Conventions
These consist of two sorts, sectarian and unsectarian. Every church or sect has their annual Conventions or meeting of delegates to consider various matters of importance concerning the Kingdom of God; doctrine, appointments and finance, etc. The other sort is unsectarian, annual; and are composed of choice servants of the Lord, met together as "All one in Christ Jesus" for the deepening of Spiritual life, such as Keswick. See notes for July, 1908. This is Scriptural, see Acts 15. Besides these, there are local meetings of Elders and Deacons, met together to talk about the workings of their assemblies. Acts 20:17 to 38. Every believer if possible should try and spend a few days every year at an holiness convention. Not always is it a grand experience; I have come away from them blessed; and I have come away from them pained and wounded sore.
There are not many of these in the British Isles, but they are on the increase. To pray for the sick is a command as well as a duty. James 5:14 to 16. Meetings where sick and diseased can ask to be anointed for healing should be in every town and church: but sad to say unbelief has ruled it out; and many are more given to oppose this truth than to repair the altar which was thrown down. However on this subject I have dealt at large in other parts of the book.
Baptism of Adults by immersion is sure to gather a large audience; and this is an opportunity for a stirring address on the occasion. These services are better attached to Conferences; where there is proper provision and sympathy. They speak for themselves; and the results of the candidates who obey is sure to beget the same obedience in spectators, hitherto not immersed.
Burial of the dead service
The Gospel of comfort to the mourners, and the Gospel of repentance to sinners is not out of place on the occasion. How much pride, show, waste, and expense is attached to the burial of the dead; so as that it is made an unbearable burden to the poor and needy. The customs of the people are vain; and children of God should not be conformed to them.
Ordination of elders service
No assembly should be without control; and the public appointment of offices in a church; or apostle going to foreign land, on mission work is Scriptural see Acts 6:6; Acts 14:23. A meeting for prayer and counsel on the occasion is very impressive, Acts 13:2, 3.
These are best held by returned missionaries; as it is in line because of their experience. See Acts 14:26, Acts 15:12. Such meetings are very powerful and effectual; to stir up Christians unto more self denial, zeal, and communication.
I have no prejudice to the good old book; there is much of its contents Scriptural, pure and orthodox. However I beg leave to ask a question, has it not become so formal and familiar, that the constant reading of the same thing has lost its effect? I don't see any positive scripture for its use, extempore prayer in the Holy Ghost is the teaching of Scripture Jude 20.
Hymns are very largely Scripture paraphrased, or Scripture in metre. Written prayers can be done without; and prayers from the heart seem more effectual and powerful; but we cannot sing hymns so easy without a book. Any servant can utter a prayer; but any servant of the Lord can’t sing hymns without a book unless they are retained by memory, the one is prose; the other is poetry. Chanting or singing prayers never appealed to me; Singing hymns appeal to me, and has been much used of God in revivals, also it is Scriptural. Eph. 5:19. A Christian can do without a prayer book, to his profit; but he cannot do without a hymn book, except at a great loss.
- The natural and fallen condition of mankind.
- The Atonement, by our Saviour’s death on Calvary’s cross.
- The Divinity and Incarnation of our blessed Lord.
- The resurrection of Christ; his ascension into Glory; our Mediator, surityship and Great High Priest.
- The second coming.
- Judgment and rewards for saints; and the judgment of sinners.
- Eternal Heaven for the righteous; and eternal punishment for the lost.
- Satan, a personal enemy of God and man.
- The inspiration of the Scriptures.
- That there is salvation for every sinner through repenting; believing and confessing Christ.
- The dedication of little children.
- Believer’s Baptism by Immersion.
- Fellowship, breaking of bread and prayers
- The Baptism, anointing and filling of the Holy Spirit; resulting in holiness of life.
- Family worship; and united worship, good works, Etc. Etc.
The following is a summary of the many ways of teaching, and preaching the Word of God. I have marked the facilities with an "X" which has fallen most to my lot; also I have given at least two Scriptures to prove their Divine authority. We mean by a Gospel mission, a session of meetings, organized to bring men and women into the experience of Salvation, by preaching the Gospel message. It is only logical to conclude that the Scriptures had to be written, sold and circulated then as well as now; therefore, I give the Colporteur work a place among the Scriptural list. See Deu. 16, 18; Neh. 8:4 to 8.
Circumstances and places alter the method of reaching people with the gospel, but it never alters an open mouth, and a ready hand to circulate the written Word. Prayer, praise, preaching, has in every age been the most powerful means of spreading the Good news; and God’s seal is always set upon them by the Holy Spirit, in the salvation of precious souls and the feeding of Christ’s lambs and sheep. Glory Hallelujah!
- x Personal conversations John 4:1 to 29; Acts 8:26 to 40
- x Street & Open air preaching Matt. 5:1; Acts 8:40
- x Organised Missions Acts 19:8, 9
- Pastorical work Acts 14:22; Acts 20:28
- x House to house visitation Acts 4:42; Acts 20:20
- x Sunday School work Deu. 6:7; 2 Tim. 3:15 to 17
- x Bible classes Acts 17:11; John 5:39
- x Prayer Meetings Acts 12:12; Acts 16:13, 14
- Conferences Acts 14:6; Acts 20:17
- x Scripture Reading & Colporteur work 2 Chron. 17:9; Isa. 52:7
- Healing the sick Exe. 34:4; James 5:14, 15
- Solo singing & service of song 1 Chron. 6:31; 1 Cor. 14:26
- x Tract distribution Ecc. 12:9, 10; Matt. 13:3 to 8
- x Giving away books & pamphlets, periodicals, etc. Ecc. 12:12; 1 Tim. 4:4
- x Calendars & Almanacs 2 Kings 25:30; Matt. 4:4
- x Meetings & Appointments Acts 11:22 to 26; Heb. 10:25
- x Family prayer & Bible reading Josh. 1:8; Jer. 10:25
All these facilities may be summed up under four heads:
- Preach: Preach the word, 2 Tim. 4:2.
- Teach: Teaching them to observe all things, Matt. 28:20.
- Heal: Heal the sick, Matt. 10:8. Let it rather be healed, Heb. 12:14.
- Buy: Buy the truth, and sell it not, Pro. 23:23.
On the Church something short, and to the point may be said; namely its government, ministry and discipling.
It consisted of Bishops, presbyters and deacons. A bishop was an overseer of more than one assemblies. A presbyter was an old man in office. A deacon was an approved servant in material as well as Spiritual things.
It consisted in Apostles or sent ones and Evangelists. Apostles were pioneer missionaries; Evangelists were travelling preachers of the Gospel. The fixed ministers were prophets, pastors and teachers. Prophets were Extraordinary endowed with the Holy Spirit; Pastors were the above mentioned governors of the church. Teachers were readers and instructors of the Scriptures.
It consisted in teaching, and training believers in the doctrine of Christianity; or receiving worthy, or excommunicating the unworthy; also ordaining to office fit and qualified persons. No one should be excommunicated because of his nationality, poverty, or education, neither for a Scriptural experience or doctrine. Discipling should be excercized against sin, crime, or heresy unrepented of; but never against one who shows signs and fruits of having fellowship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 1 Tim. 3:1 to 13, Titus 1:5, 3 John, Acts 14:2, Matt. 16:18, Matt. 18:15 to 21, Acts 28:31.
Such a ministry purged from all unnecessary and unscriptural titles, gowns, images, masses and priestly clothes, also purged from all worldly pleasures is what the world needs. We want men like Hezekiah and Josiah, also like John Wycliffe, Martin Luther, John Bunyon, Kenzith, etc. who suffered to purify the church, and restore it to the standard of New Testament; also second century Christianity.
The various denominations of the earth who have accepted the Bible, as a Divine revelation from God; consequently defend Christianity as the only true religion, Jews and Mohommedans excepted. They all have the above offices in various forms and names; and while Scriptural terms are to be commended, yet to force or expect a uniformity of Church government would be unreasonable, unscriptural and unwise. The unity our Lord prayed for in John 17:21, was a Spiritual recognition and oneness; and this is produced by a new birth, and growth in righteousness and obedience, Eph. 4:13. For which the gifts of our risen Lord were given to the church.
Howbeit our Lord denounced flattering titles, long robes, exalted ambition, uppermost seats, Lording over Gods heritages; and exhorted to simplicity, humility, plainness and a servants place. "But be ye not called Rabbi: for one is your Master even Christ; and all ye are brethren" Matt. 23:8. Many reformers in making from these additions and evils, have ran into the opposite of taking from the Word the pure gifts and offices required for edification and order: this is a serious mistake.
We are often faced with the question, why has God permitted so many divisions and sects in Christianity? A question not easy to answer; and yet I think it can be answered from Scripture. Men’s notions rose up against the purpose of God. In Genesis ten, we read of the city the tower, and the name against the command of God, "Multiply and replenish the earth Gen. 1:28. In the New Covenant the commission of Christ to His disciples was, "Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature" Mark 16:15. In Acts eight, verse one, we read it took a persecution to scatter the church at Jerusalem, "Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word." Verse 4. Every genuine revival has had its Exodus, and scattering. The tower and the name and the greatness was never God’s plan to Evangelize the world; and as in Genesis 10, God has to confound their languages in order to scatter them abroad; even so God permits diversity of opinions and gifts in order to spread the Evangel. Our Lord plainly foretold division. Luke 12:51. Paul gives the cause, 1 Cor. 11:18. Separation from evil and error is commended, 2 Cor. 6:17. A harlot church is represented in the Apocalypse; and God’s people are commanded to come out of her. Rev. 17:4. However we should labour for peace and unity among the brethren; as well as to preach the Gospel to the lost, and ______ ______ ______ every creature .
On the gift and office of an apostle, something might be said to profit.
Our Lord first chose twelve, after the same principal of the twelve tribes in Israel. Matt. 10:2; and sent them, which is the meaning of the Greek word: these occupied an unique and foundation place, Eph. 2:20: and were eye witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus. Acts 1:22. After this the Lord appointed other seventy also, Luke 10:1. This corresponds with the seventy elders in Israel. Some others were called apostles such as Paul, Barnabas, James, etc. So far concerning the laying the foundation of Christianity; and the principals of the doctrine of Christ; also were inspired to write the New Testament; but was the office to be continued in the church?
The Christian ministry may be divided into two classes namely the go and the fixed; in other words the apostolic and the pastoral. Disciples, who are chosen, called, and sent to preach the Gospel in heathen lands are doing in apostolic ministry; and may lawfully be called apostles; having God's anointing and seal. This is a Scriptural, and an orthodox belief: so we may rightly judge that in this secondary and lesser and verbal sense, the gift of our risen Lord. Eph. 4:11, which he sets forth first in the church was to be continued.
We read of false apostles; also, we read of a false church; but the existence of a counterfeit only proves that there exists a true church, a true apostle, a true ministry. Why should we substitute Worldly terms for Scriptural ones such as missionary, president, committee, etc? Do not the Scriptural ones carry weight, authority, respect, sweetness? such as Apostle, Evangelist, Pastor, Bishop, etc. The dictionary meaning of the word missionary is the same as apostle namely one sent from one country to another with a message and is an ambassador or apostle for Christ.
However on all controversial points there should be liberty; and never made a bar to Christian fellowship, while men are sound on the essentials to life and Godliness. Amen.
Concerning faith lines and a fixed or stated salary. To those who have a stated salary and are faithful in our Lords vineyard, whom God has received and honoured and blessed; I do not dispute the point or unchristianise them; but to those who live in luxury, and excessively; and are characterized to neglect to preach the Gospel to the poor, and feed His lambs and His sheep; I would say, yet not I but the shepherd in the Scriptures of truth, "I will require my flock at their hand" Eze. 34:1.
Concerning a fixed salary we have no positive Scriptures to support it; but we have for a maintenance or provision for Pastors, and Evangelists who give their full time in the work of the ministry. 1 Cor. 9:14; 1 Tim. 4:17. Faith lines as it is called has many promises, aspects and facilities, even that the salaried preacher has not; together with its adventure, trials, tests, and victories; it makes for itself channels and avenues through which God works, and provision flows hither to unthought of and undiscovered. "I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and the hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the Lord, which called thee by thy name, am the God of Israel." Isa. 45:3. This has been my experience now since 1899; and the four years preceding were a training furnace preparing the way.
Concerning collections and free will offerings at meetings, a word in season can be said suggestive to all. Proper teaching on the subject of tithes, firstfruit and almsgiving is necessary in its place and time as that young disciples may be instructed in stewardship which secures unto themselves blessing and promises beyond all other conditions of inheritance. Titus 3:8. "Let all believers give attention to the teaching of Paul to the Corinthian Church. “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” 1 Cor. 1:2. The people, called the Brethren excel in practice and example in this respect: they have some good qualities, that deserves commendation, especially in conformity to the Scriptures on the Lord’s Day worship.
Living as lords and reigning as kings over Gods heritage has no sanction in the Scriptures (regarding offices in the church) but is strongly reproved: therefore every Apostle to other lands, and every Evangelist in the home lands; as well as the Bishops, presbyters, and deacons should be content with a labourers pay; also should be an ensample to the flock, kindly disposed, and given to hospitality. A little surplus money to super abound is not out of place; and a good use can be made of it in making friends with the mammon of unrighteousness. We all feel the need of this in going among the poor and sick and needy; the fig and the grape are found to prove that we are true prophets, and not false. Matt. 7:16.
Very little is revealed to us in the Scriptures concerning the origin of the Devil. The most received opinion and the one most likely to be the truth, is that he once was an angel in heaven and occupied a high place; but being a free will servant of God, he violated it; and kept not his first estate and was cast out, he and his angels into the bottomless pit. Our Lord said concerning him, "And abode not in the truth." John 8:44.
That sin originated with him, and that he became an enemy is very plain from these words, "An enemy hath done this" Matt. 13:28. In acts and character he is all the opposite of God namely wicked, hatred, destructive, deceiver, liar, unjust, tempter, etc. Gen. 3:1 to 15; Rev. 11:7.
He deceived our first parents and sowed the seeds of sin, sickness and death. He organises his host against the children of men tempting, destroying, perverting and indwelling all who become captivated by him. Mark 5:2 to 15; Luke 13:16; Matt. 12:26.
That hell is a lake of fire and brimstone, which God hath from the beginning prepared for the Devil and his angels, Mal. 25:41; and that Satan and his angels together with the wicked shall be cast into the lake of fire, Rev. 20:10.
As to the extent or degree of torment or punishment I cannot say only, “The judge of all the earth will do right.” It is “Everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord.” 2 Thes. 1:9. The bodies of the unsaved shall rise again, be reconstructed; and the fire of Gehenna preserves instead of annihilates. For every one shall be salted with fire, Mark 9:2. Reader "Flee from the wrath to come."
The Greek word "Hades" and its equivalent in Hebrew "Sheol" very frequently translated hell means the separate abode of disembodied spirits till the resurrection, Luke 16:19 to 31. The righteous compartment is called Paradise or Abrams bosom, Luke 23:43. Tartaroo only occurs once in the New Testament, namely 2 Pet. 2:4, and means the lowest hell. The eternal hell is the lake of fire called Gehenna; from which the Jews called the Valley of Gehenna where all the offscouring and unclean refuse were cast; and the destructive fires, and the corruptive worms never ceased to consume their fuel. In this valley the idolaters caused their children to pass through the fire to (Lev. 18:21) Moleck. Our Lord may have referred to this valley, Mark 9:42 to 50.
Two texts of Scripture from two of the greatest prophets in the old Testament, namely Daniel and Isaiah; also two texts of Scripture from our Lord and Paul in the New Testament contain the two most powerful words in the Bible to express the endless time; and are both translated eternal or everlasting, namely Olam and Aion: both are used to express the abode of the lost. Dan. 12-2, Isa. 55-14, Matt. 25-46, 2 Thes. 1-9.
In Hebrews 6:1 to 2, we have the four foundation principals of the doctrine of Christ in the Divine order in which they should be ministered; namely repentance from dead works; and of faith towards God; of the doctrine of baptisms; and of laying on of hands. The other two are future, namely resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. It is a great lack that Nonconformists have not paid attention to the Divine order in ministry; and in retaining these principals as they are given. Every believer who loves the restoration of truth should examine the foundation on which they build for eternity by this Scripture which corresponds with Acts 8:5 to 17 and Acts 9:3 to 18 and perfect the lack at once, Acts 18:26.