Sample of Principles and Practices of the Regular Baptists

Principles and Practices of the Regular Baptists Original publish year: 1883 By: Rev. James Oliphant (1846-1925)

Principles and Practices of the Regular Baptists
Original publish year: 1883
By: Rev. James Oliphant (1846-1925)


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Stated and Defended

By James H. Oliphant



Knightstown, Indiana

Principles and Practices of the

Regular Baptists Stated and Defended

By: Elder James H. Oliphant

Originally Published: 1883

First PBHB Edition 2022

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PREFACE ......................................................................................... xi

CHAPTER 1 ― The Providence of God ...................................... 1

CHAPTER 2 ― The Doctrine of Total Depravity

Vindicated ........................................................ 11

CHAPTER 3 ― The Will of Men in Nature Shown to be

Against God ..................................................... 24

CHAPTER 4 ― The Doctrine of Election and

Predestination Considered ............................. 36

CHAPTER 5 ― The Atonement .................................................. 55

CHAPTER 6 ― Various Covenants Made by God

with Men Considered ..................................... 70

CHAPTER 7 ― God the Author of Faith ................................... 87

CHAPTER 8 ― Sanctification; by Elder P. T. Oliphant ........... 97

CHAPTER 9 ― Of Good Works .............................................. 109

CHAPTER 10 ― Fellowship; the 18 th Chapter of

Matthew Considered .................................... 118

CHAPTER 11 ― The Doctrine of the Call to

Ministry Proven ............................................ 133

CHAPTER 12 ― Of the Nature of the Call, with

the Author’s Experience ............................. 142

CHAPTER 13 ― The Duty of Churches to

Their Minister ............................................... 151


Principles and Practices of the Regular Baptists

CHAPTER 14 ― Immersion Proven to be the

Only Gospel Baptism ................................ 162

CHAPTER 15 ― Adult Believers Alone are Proper

Subjects for Baptism .................................. 173

CHAPTER 16 ― The Design of Baptism Considered ........... 187

CHAPTER 17 ― The Lord’s Supper ........................................ 176

CHAPTER 17 ― The Deacon and His Duties, with

the Manner of His Ordination ................. 196

CHAPTER 19 ― The Ordination of an Elder; by

Elder E. D. Thomas, of

Danville, Ind ............................................... 220

CHAPTER 20 ― The Doctrine of the Resurrection

Proven; by Elder J. T. Oliphant,

of Fort Branch, Ind .................................... 229

CHAPTER 21 ― Thoughts of Death and Heaven ................. 238

CHAPTER 22 ― Church Organization; by Elder E. D.

Thomas, Danville, Ind ............................... 251

CHAPTER 23 ― The Atonement; by Elder J. W.

Richason of Petersburg, Pike Co. Ind ..... 258

CHAPTER 24 ― Advice to Children ........................................ 264



In presenting this work to the public I feel fully sensible of

its many imperfections. Everything that comes from human

hands bears the clear evidence of the weakness of its author.

But while this is true, we should be willing to do what we can

to disseminate truth, though in so doing we expose our

weakness and imperfections. Those who write for the press are

liable to be actuated by a spirit of “vain glory,” which I have

often thought of while writing these pages, and have earnestly

sought to be freed from such a temper. It has been my earnest

desire to advance the cause of truth and point the reader to the

real truths of the gospel, and thus be a blessing to the dear

cause of our blessed Redeemer, whose, as I trust, I am, and of

whom I desire to be a servant.

Life is but a span, and when we have done with that our

opportunity to present the precious truths that relate to our

eternal salvation will be over, so far as our personal labors are

concerned. I feel that this thought has in some measure urged

me to write these pages, knowing that when I have done with

time they shall still speak for me; and, although they may be

very imperfect, yet I feel sure that I have been enabled to

present some very precious truths in these pages.

And with my whole heart, warm with love, I desire to thank

the Lord that I have ever seen and known his truth, for sure I

am that God is the great teacher of the human heart. I have

felt very grateful for the kind manner in which the brethren

have received my little book on the “Final Perseverance of the

Saints.” I trust its cordial reception has not filled me with self

esteem, but with humble gratitude to God that one so sinful, so


Principles and Practices of the Regular Baptists

corrupt, and unworthy as I should be so highly favored as to

be enabled to comfort any of the dear redeemed family of God.

I pray God’s blessing to attend these pages, and bless them to

the good of his people.

I wish you, dear reader, to peruse this book with a feeling of

charity to its author, and with a sincere willingness to receive

the truth and be governed by it. What a stupendous thought

that we are under the government of God, that we, who love

God, are required to keep his commandments. Angels above

adore the Lamb of God – Heb. 1. All power in the illimitable

universe is in his hands, and He claims our obedience. With

what anxiety should we search for truth, both in doctrine and

practice, and when we have found it how carefully should we

walk in it. I have been cheered by the good news that I have

received from all parts of our Zion within the past year, and

have felt hopeful that God would bless us with clear evidences

of his general presence among us to establish and confirm his

people in their most holy faith.

With a fervent prayer for Zion, I subscribe myself yours, dear

reader, in gospel bonds.


Buena Vista, Monroe Co. INd.

August 28, 1883

I have felt anxious to aid in inculcating good habits and

sound principles among our children, and for this reason I

have added a few pages of advice for children, which I hope

will be a benefit to someone.




The Providence of God

By the providence of God we understand is meant the care

he has of all his creation in heaven and earth; his control of the

starry heavens and all the elements of nature in this world ―

the vegetable and animal kingdoms. But more particularly the

care and notice that he takes of men in general, of kings and

kingdoms, of nations and of individuals from the highest to

the lowest, from the richest to the poorest, from the wisest to

the most ignorant. And most particularly the constant watchcare

he has of all his saints, not only with respect to their

eternal state, but also with respect to their respective lots and

conditions in this world.

In order to understand this important subject, or, I might

say, any other subject respecting religion, aright, it is necessary

to consider first what God is, and what are his attributes. He

“is a spirit,” and the scriptures teach that he is everywhere.

That he is in every place is a sublime thought, hard for us to

comprehend and yet plainly taught.

On this, the language of David is: “If I ascend up into heaven

thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, behold thou art there;

if I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost

parts of the sea, even there shall thy hand lead me and thy right

hand hold me if I say surely darkness shall cover me, even the

night shall be light about thee.” There is no going out of his

presence by land or by sea, by day or night, in heaven, earth or

hell. “The eyes of the Lord are in every place beholding the evil

and the good.” “There is no darkness nor shadow of death


Principles and Practices of the Regular Baptists

where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.”

From these passages it is evident that there is no point in the

universe but what God is there. Paul says “in him we live and

move and have our being.” As the fish in his native element is

surrounded on all sides with water, so we are surrounded with

Deity. As the air pervades and fills space and surrounds every

insect, so God is about us. While he is in heaven the object of

all praise, he is “not far from everyone of us.” It is a fearful

thought that God is always with me beholding my evil as well

as good thoughts, in the darkness of the night as well as by day.

He never sleeps nor slumbers. There is not a human that is

hid from him. “He beholdeth all the sons of men.” “He

looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth.” He is not only

everywhere, but he is everywhere knowing. “He is a discerner of

the thoughts and intents of our hearts.” David tells us, “His

understanding is infinite.” So that from the lowest reptile or

insect or worm or atom to the highest angel in heaven, he has

a perfect knowledge of all; he needs no information as to what

is in man or anything else. The Savior taught this idea with

reference to the sparrow: “It shall not fall without our

Heavenly Father.” “The very hairs of your head are


But if God were everywhere a silent and inactive spectator, a

bare observer of things, his presence among us would be an

unimportant thing. But if he governs seasons and times, if he

sends rain and dew, and cold and heat; if he decides the battle

and controls nations, and fixes our time and lot, and stay on

earth; if he be a father to the fatherless, a husband to the

widow, a defense for his people and a covert to them from

every storm, tempest, and trial; in a word, if he is everywhere

and knows everything, to control, direct and manage it, then


Ch. 1 The Providence of God

the doctrine of his omnipresence and omniscience is calculated

to comfort his people and strike terror to his enemies.

Were the saints of God casting their ballots for one to take

the helm of that great ship called nature, or were they choosing

one to preside over all the concerns of this world and bring them to

an issue, honoring to God and safe to them, everyone would

say, “Jesus, let all power in heaven and earth be given to him,

let him have power over all flesh that he may the more

effectually be the Savior of his people.” “Bring forth the royal

diadem and crown him Lord of all.”

We believe that God does rule in everything and in all places.

“He sends his rain upon the just and the unjust.” This

expression implies more than that of permitting it to rain. In

speaking of the clouds Job says: “It is turned round about by

his counsels that they may do whatsoever he commandeth

them upon the face of the world in the earth.” “He causeth it

to come, whether for correction or for his land or for mercy.”

The rain, therefore, does not fall in obedience to a mere blind

law of nature. If the cloud arises it is because the Lord “turns

it round about by his counsels.” If one says it is natural for it

to rain, we answer that God is the author of nature, and in this

case nature is but his “check lines” by which he conducts these


The snow, rain, wind, hail, frost, lightning, all are mentioned

in the bible as being under him as servants. “Hast thou entered

into the treasures of snow, or hast thou seen the treasures of

the hail?” “He scattereth the hoar frost like ashes.” “He

causeth the wind to blow and the waters flow.” “God

thundereth marvelously with his voice; great things doeth he

which we cannot comprehend.” “He causeth vapors to ascend

from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings with rain and


Principles and Practices of the Regular Baptists

bringeth forth his wind out of his treasures.” All this shows

that God is not a silent, disinterested spectator in these great

affairs, but that he is the great, active and wise agent who

personally manages and directs.

In mercy he sends the rain, and for correction he withholds

it. He supplies the sources of all rivers, visits every herb with

moisture, quenches the thirst of every animal. He rides on

every storm, directs the scythe winged lighting, whether it burst

the oak or destroy the city. His hands give down the gentle dew

or small rain, or drenching, destructive deluge, or pelting hail.

He is in the snow storm and hail storm.

Zech. 10:1: “Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter

rain. So the Lord shall make bright clouds and give them rain,

to everyone grass in his field.” Here we are taught to pray for

rain, and if these things were not under his immediate or direct

control we need not ask for rain. God has made promise that

seed time and harvest shall not fail. Hence the seasons are in

his hands. I do not doubt but that the great law of the universe

produces the change of seasons, but he made that law.

Droughts and famines are, therefore, not accidents, nor does

the refreshing showers come by chance; let us, therefore, never

murmur at the weather nor be alarmed. Thousands of years

have fled and gone, and yet the inhabitants of the earth are fed.

The providence of God provides for the beasts and fowls.

Psalm 147:9: “He giveth to the beast his food and to the young

ravens when they cry.” Job 38:41: “Who provideth for the

raven his food when the young ones cry unto the Lord,” etc.

The Savior refers to the lily, the grass, the sparrow, and the

very hairs of our heads, as receiving the care of the Lord. How

wonderful are the ways and works of God. In the eternal march

of the planets and in the everlasting succession of seasons, and


Ch. 1 The Providence of God

seed time and harvest, the hand of God is plainly manifest, but

the same hand provides for the raven and sparrow and grass

and every green tree and living thing. The bible teaches us to

ascribe things to God that are daily occurring around us.

Psalm 90:7: “He is our God and we are the people of his

pasture and sheep of his hand.” As a shepherd has the

oversight of his flock, so the Lord has the care of all men, for

“He is the Savior of all men” temporally. The wicked are kept

by his hand; the very life they employ, in rebellion against him,

is kept by him. Think, dear reader, that he prolongs your being

and gives you all things to enjoy. These thoughts may justly

alarm the ungodly, but they should truly comfort the saint.

He also reigns among men. “The Lord most high is terrible;

he is a great king over all the earth.” “God reigneth over the

heathen.” “God is king of all the earth.” The devil is called the

“God of this world,” and yet God is “King of all the earth.” In

the rise and fall of nations the hand of God is directing.

Though we may not be able to understand how, yet the bible

teaches that God governs in these things. Although Hazael was

a wicked king, yet the Lord raised him up upon the throne.

This the Lord did for a reproof of his people for their sins ―

2 nd Kings 8 and 20.

See also Dan. 4:17: “To the intent that the living may know

that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men and giveth it

to whomsoever he will,” and “sitteth up over it the basest of

men.” This is undoubtedly proof that God fixes the crown on

whatever head he will, even upon the wickedest of men. Dan.

4:32 “Until thou know that the Most High ruleth in the

kingdom of men and giveth it to whomsoever he will.” Again:

“And he doeth according to his will in the armies of heaven

and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay his


Principles and Practices of the Regular Baptists

hands or say unto him what doest thou.” See also Dan. 5:21

and 4:25.

There are many places that show that God decides political

questions and governs in national affairs. It is difficult to see

how that it is God’s will for the wicked to rule and bad laws to

be placed on the statute book. Ezek. 20:25: “Wherefore I gave

them statues that were not good,” etc., but it is certain that

while wicked rulers are ruling, that the purposes of God with

them and their subjects are being carried out. It is a stupendous

thought that the Almighty God gives shape to the political

world and directs the steps of men.

The wonderful providence of God preserves his people and

directs the course of the various events of this life to their

good. Hence we read: “All things shall work together for good

to them that love God,” etc. “Man deviseth his own way but

the Lord directs his steps.” “It is not in man that walketh to

direct his steps,” etc. The history of Joseph is a clear exhibition

of this doctrine. God was in the whole affair, from his first

dream to the final deliverance of the famishing family of Jacob.

Pharaoh is a clear example of God’s reigning providence over

the events of life. The purposes of God and the evil of men

met in these things. Joseph’s brethren meant evil in their sale

of Joseph, but God meant it for Good. They unwittingly and

sinfully carried out the purposes of God. So Pharaoh, though

he was a wicked ruler, yet his conduct was a means of

publishing the name of the Lord throughout the earth ―

Rom. 9:16.

The whole history of the Jewish nation witnesses the

overruling power of God in the affairs of men. It is easy for us

to believe that God cares for the great planets of the skies, the

tall angels at his feet, but not so easy to understand that he


Ch. 1 The Providence of God

cares for the “sparrow,” the “hairs of our head,” and the small

insect crawling at our feet. There is no dividing line between

the doctrine of his universal providence and infidelity. He

molds and directs the planets, and he guides the dusts in the

storm. It is a comforting thought to God’s people that the Lord

reigns in all things; that he measures to us our affliction. It is

blessed “concerning everything to cry my Father’s will be


In Rom. 1:20 we are taught to know the greatness of God by

his creation; one said “the universe is God,” but here we are

taught that the universe is a creature. We see the wisdom,

power and goodness of God in creation. The amazing wonders

of heaven are the fruits of his perfection, but his hand is equally

manifest among men.

Our Savior says: “And why take ye thought for raiment;

consider the lilies of the field how they grow, they toil not,

neither do they spin.” “Behold the fowls of the air, for they

sow not, neither do they reap nor gather into barns, yet your

Heavenly Father feedeth them; are ye not much better than

they?” “Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field

which today is and tomorrow is cast into the oven, Shall he not

much more clothe you, oh ye of little faith?” The special

providence of God over his people is here taught. We are to

feel that he is ever with us, and that all the events of life,

however dismal, shall work ultimately for the best. Jacob felt

that God had bestowed wealth upon him, and was made

humble by it; his words were: “I am not worthy of the least of

thy mercies, for with my staff I passed over this Jordan and am

now become two bands.”

If our worldly business is prosperous we are to remember

that God is directing all. We are not to use this doctrine


Principles and Practices of the Regular Baptists

unlawfully. Some have abused the doctrine of grace by urging

that we may live in sin if it be of grace, and so the devil

suggested to Christ that he should cast himself down from the

pinnacle of the temple, “for God hath given his angels charge

concerning thee lest at any time thou shouldest dash thy foot

against a stone.” Here the devil suggested a wicked use of the

doctrine, but Christ replied, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord

thy God,” as much as to say, “I know the doctrine you present

is true, but you are endeavoring to make a bad use of it.”

So while we recognize the universality of God’s providence

in the care of his people, and know that he is the “Savior of all

men, but especially of his people,” yet we must not make an

unlawful use of the doctrine. To rush foolishly into danger is

to make an unlawful use of the doctrine, but when we are by

duty called into danger we may place our feet upon this solid

rock and feel courageous in the midst of the most dreadful

contagions, or the roar of battle. We may feel that God cares

for us, and sing with Hart:

“The shafts of death around me fly,

Till Jesus will I cannot die.”

It was the belief of these sentiments that caused the Apostle

to say: “All things shall work together for good to them that

love God, to them who are the called according to his


It should not be used as a license to laziness or neglect, but

should be used as a check to our pride in prosperity. We should

remember that if we are advanced in life that we are favored of

God; it should produce humility. David was humbled before

God when he was advanced to the throne of Israel. Jacob was

greatly humbled before God when he recounted his wealth, for


Ch. 1 The Providence of God

he felt that he had it from God. And so we should, if we are

blessed, ever remember that it should produce humility.

How often do we see wealth and prosperity fatten pride and

starve humility. We should know that it is a sad state of things

if we are made proud and high minded by the mercies of God;

they should humble us. If we are made honorable among men,

or if we are blessed with a degree of usefulness above others,

these things should bring us to the feet of the Lord in

thanksgiving and humility. But wealth and worldly honor are

not always best for us. Sometimes God sees and knows that

adversity is best for his people ― the furnace purifies the gold,

and so afflictions sometimes remove our pride and undue

attachments to this world.

Therefore this doctrine is encouraging to God’s people

amidst affliction of every kind. David says: “Before I was

afflicted I went astray, but now I have kept thy word.” “It is

good for me that I might learn thy statutes.” Psalm 119:67-71

and in verse 75: “I know, oh Lord, that thy judgments are right,

and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.” Here he

ascribes his afflictions to God, and feels that they are good for

him. See 2 Cor. 1:4-7.

In James 1:1-12, we find it is good to have our plans crossed,

our objects defeated, as it tends to fix our minds to eternal

things. Oh, how much better to be tried and made to suffer

here than to be left proud and haughty? When you see others

made proud by prosperity and filled with the vanities of sin,

you should be glad that you are so highly favored of God as to

be kept humble. Our sins are our worst enemies; in curing

these a severe treatment is often necessary; the amputating

knife is often used to remove a diseased member, which alone

will preserve the life of the patient; marines often cast valuables


Principles and Practices of the Regular Baptists

into the sea to save the vessel, and so God often removes from

us our idols that we may be saved from sinking in the whirlpool

of pride.

How often have we prayed for humble hearts, that God

would make and keep us humble. This end is often best

accomplished by the rod of affliction. The rich man lifted up

his eyes in hell, while Lazarus was conveyed to Abraham’s

bosom. Only see how different their states after death. The

apostles were conveyed to heaven from scenes of martyrdom,

while many have left high places on earth for low ones in hell.

It is far better to have our sins curbed by adversity while we

stay here than to have them run headlong with us to hell.

Therefore, oh man of affliction, you may have reason to kiss

your disease or affliction, you may have reason to praise and

adore the Lord for his cross providence that now fills your

body with pain or your heart with disappointment. Oh,

Christian, you may sing with Kent:

“’Tis well when joys arise; ‘tis well when sorrows flow;

‘Tis well when darkness veils the skies

and strong temptations blow.”

Your blessed God is in every affliction and in every trial. You

may not see his hand, but it is there, as much so as when your

soul is made to rejoice. Let us so trust him as to obey him in

all things. We are

“In every state secure,

Kept by Jehovah’s eye;

‘Tis well with us while life endures

And well when called to die.”

May a sweet sense of his everlasting presence heighten your

joys and brighten your darkest nights of affliction, is my prayer.



The Doctrine of Total Depravity Vindicated

The nature, extent and degree of human depravity is a subject of

the first importance. We cannot have a correct understanding

of the remedy unless we fully understand the disease. No effort

is necessary to prove that sin exists among us, but the power

that it possesses to control men and women, the deep-seated

hold it has in the human heart and affections, are what but few

understand. For one to know the real evil of his own heart is

sure to be attended with humility and distrust of self.

Our first parent was made in the image of God ― Gen. 1:26,

but “by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin,

so death is passed upon all men, for that all have sinned ―

Rom. 5:12. I suppose the one man here referred to is Adam.

He was made in God’s image (morally), but we are informed

that he sinned and death was the result of that sin, not only

death to himself but death “is passed upon all men for that all

have sinned.” In some way his sin affects us all. By reading

Romans 5:15-19, it will be plain to you that all the long race of

Adam was involved in his guilt and made subject to death by

it. “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made

sinners.” Here the disobedience of one had the effect to make

many (persons) sinners.

This is a deep subject and much controverted. The justice of

God in entailing upon the unborn millions of Adam’s posterity

the fatal results of his sin may not appear clear to all, but there

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