Alexander Campbell Scripture Quotations (1826)


C H R I S T I A N   B A P T I S T.


      Style no man on earth your Father; for he alone is your Father who is in heaven: and all ye are brethren. Assume not the title of Rabbi; for ye have only One Teacher; neither assume the title of Leader; for ye have only One Leader--The Messiah.

Scripture Quotations.

      WE have often had occasion to notice the pernicious influence of the text system of expounding scripture--No practice has done more to obscure the meaning of scripture, and to originate the most romantic and enthusiastic tenets. The thoughtless manner in which the multitude of textuaries follow each other, not merely in their sermons, but in their quotations of scripture, only affords another instance that not one in a thousand dares to think for himself, and to exercise his own faculties on the scriptures. I have found myself, in countless instances, quoting scriptures in a sense which I had heedlessly attached to them because I always heard them quoted in this manner. Nothing but my own experience and observation has taught me that the great mass of mankind are but mere imitators, and the disciples of men. I have found too, that many sentences are, I may say, universally quoted in a sense which not one sentence of scripture will justify, and that too, on some of the most common topics. I will exhibit a few specimens:--

      Psalms cxlv. 9--"The Lord is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his other works." The last clause I never once heard quoted right, or in its true sense. If I have not been greatly deceived, I have, in every instance, heard it quoted thus: "His tender mercies are superior to all his other perfections, over them all in greatness and glory, transcending every other attribute of his nature." This is the sense universally attached to the words in their frequent application. Now let the whole context be considered and this application of them must be discarded--The sense in which the Psalmist evidently uses these words is--"The Lord is good to all men, and his tender mercies are over all his other creatures upon the earth. He feeds the raven, the young lion, and tile eyes of all things wait upon him, and he upholds and feeds them." God's perfections are never in scripture called his works, and David often exhibits his goodness and mercy manifested to the meanest of his creatures.

      David is often called "the man after God's own heart," from the sound of a passage frequently quoted--He is said to have been a man such as God's heart or mind exactly approved. Thus the populars always apply these words: And of all the men that ever lived David is represented by them as "THE man after God's own heart." Now let 1st. Samuel xiii. 14, be examined and this sense will totally vanish. Here it is--"Saul has not answered my purpose, mind, or will in governing my people; but I have found a man that will just suit my purpose, viz. David the son of Jesse." That this is the true sense of the words in sacred scripture, methinks is evident when declared without further exposure.

      At a certain crisis in the vision of John, long before the end of the world comes in his view, a heavenly messenger is introduced who solemnly declares "time shall be no more." Hence in the numerous allusions to the period here spoken of, all speak of a period when time ceases to exist. Sermons are spoken and even published on the text "time shall be no more;" whereas the sense, and indeed, the true translation, says, "there shall be no longer delay, the judgment spoken of shall be immediately executed"--that other things which require the continuance of time may regularly be introduced.

      In these examples I prefer those on which no sectarian tenet depends, to illustrate what egregious blunders, and how universally followed, are passing current, as the sense of the sacred writings, under the popular system of text preaching and text quoting.


[The Christian Baptist 4 (August 1826): 265.]


      Alexander Campbell's "Scripture Quotations" was first published in The Christian Baptist, Vol. 4, No. 1, August 1826. The electronic version of the essay has been transcribed from the College Press (1983) reprint of The Christian Baptist, ed. Alexander Campbell (Cincinnati: D. S. Burnet, 1835), p. 265.

      Pagination in the electronic version has been represented by placing the page number in brackets following the last complete word on the printed page. I have let stand variations and inconsistencies in the author's (or editor's) use of italics, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling in the essay.

      Addenda and corrigenda are earnestly solicited.

Ernie Stefanik
Derry, PA

Created 8 September 1998.
Updated 6 July 2003.

Alexander Campbell Scripture Quotations (1826)

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