[Table of Contents]
The Christian Baptist (1889)
C H R I S T I A N B A P T I S T.
NO. I.--VOL. III. BUFFALOE, (BETHANY) BROOKE CO. VA., AUGUST 1, 1825.
|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.||Messiah.|
NOTWITHSTANDING the flood of opposition which was intended to have overwhelmed this work, and aimed at its destruction by an ambitious priesthood and their deluded admirers, it has acquired an extensive growth in its circulation, and a vigor which opposition alone could give it. A spirit of investigation and of unbiased inquiry, which we had scarcely anticipated, appears to have aroused into activity the dormant energies of a priest-ridden community. We have every reason to hope that this spirit will not give sleep to its eyes, nor slumber to its eye-lids, until many shall clearly see and comprehensively understand, the mighty difference existing between the kingdom of the Clergy, and that of the Saviour of the world. We have little to promise but perseverance in the arduous conflict, so long as the same necessities exist, and until we shall see the ancient order of things restored in some good degree. Our constant readers have, perhaps, been expecting a series of essays upon some topics in our prospectus, scarcely yet touched. We have only to request a due exercise of patience on their part, and to offer as an apology the great press of many matters more immediately bearing upon existing circumstances. We intend to leave nothing undone, and to accomplish all that has been promised, as we have opportunity; but prudence is necessary to direct. We have also the proffered assistance of some of the most able and distinguished Nicodemuses of the times, and shall thankfully receive and promptly attend to their communications upon general and important matters. For there are a goodly number of those even amongst the priesthood that bid us God speed, although for the present distress they think it expedient to remain in the conclaves of the powerful. We must sympathize with them a little, for as Paul said, "all men have not faith," so we see all men have not courage.
While the press is pouring forth every day fresh oil into the lamp, which guides the devotion of the thoughtless, and makes them think that they see the sun in a smoky wick, not an editor in the East nor in the West of all the Luminaries and religious Heralds, has ventured to dispute one inch of the ground that we claim. And yet their snarling shows they would bite if they could. They seem to know that the less they say the better for them and their cause; and perhaps they are right. The editors of the Western Luminary did positively promise in December last, to enter the field of investigation, and to oppose us manfully; but not a syllable has appeared on the subject in any of their numbers that we have seen. They have either quit publishing, or ceased to send us their paper, for we have not seen one for a month. Perhaps they are of the same spirit with our neighbor the Pittsburgh Recorder, who, after he had agreed and promised to exchange papers with us, soon as we began to inquire what he was doing he forgot his agreement and ceased to send us his paper. These gentry seem to know, or at least to think, that their cause will not bear the light of open discussion, and that a silent course is the beat policy. They have given sufficient evidence by their occasional notices, that if they could do any thing in the way of public discussion, they would soon be at it. We do not say these things to provoke them into a controversy, for we have no expectation that there is any excitability in them, but merely to show the manner of spirit they are of. We must confess that we cannot view with other feelings than those due to a thief and a robber, who covers himself with the curtains of night, that he may execute his designs, those who attempt to extend their empire over the human mind and conscience, by suppressing the truth or withholding the light from the eyes of those who look up to them as their guides. This they do by prejudicing the minds of many against the truth. We hope the day is not far distant, in which it will be admitted, that true charity, benevolence and philanthropy consist not in flattering the wicked, nor in speaking peace to every body, but in withstanding to the face, as Paul did Peter, all those errorists, whether acting the part of the deceiver or the deceived.
Christian Union.--No II.
I AM aware of the prejudices which each christian sect feels for their own name and creed, and of the great difficulty there will be in getting them to drop them, or to exchange them for the name of Christian and the word of God. I fear that there are many professing christians among what are called Protestant sects, who, rather than make this exchange, would unite with the Roman Catholics in defence of human authority, in legislating for, and dictating to the consciences of men in religion. In this they would act consistently, if they really entertain the sentiment expressed by Dr. Miller, "that the adoption of a creed," (or confession of faith such as the Westminster,) "is not only lawful and expedient, but also indispensably necessary." They ought, however, in that case to be consistent throughout, and to join themselves to the church of Rome. For if any church or people have authority from God to form creeds and confessions in religion, (and without divine authority there is no right,)  the church of Rome had it before, and, as the elder and mother church ought to have been obeyed; and consequently the Reformation, as it has been called, was a rebellion against superiors, a disobedience of the divine authority vested in that church, and ought as such to be renounced by returning to it. If indeed it be lawful for men to substitute their speculations and notions derived from nature, and their views of scripture for scripture itself, and to impose them upon men's consciences, it will be very difficult to show upon what principle the church of Rome can be condemned for having thus acted. It will not do to say that they went too far, for they had as good a right to judge how far they might go as those have who condemn them. Dr. Miller's whole defence of creeds is based upon the deism or natural religion of John Calvin. This deism is at the foundation of, and pervades every system of sectarian religion in Christendom; it had its origin in Pagan philosophy, relative to innate ideas of God which was at an early period incorporated with the christian religion. The following sentiments are extracted from Calvin's Institutes, vol. I. chap. iii. "The human mind naturally endowed with the knowledge of God."
"We lay it down as a position not to be controverted, that the human mind, even by rational instinct, possesses some sense of a Deity--for God has given to all some apprehension of his existence; some sense of divinity is inscribed on every heart. All men have by nature an innate persuasion of the divine existence, a persuasion inseparable from their very constitution. The sense of a Deity is a doctrine not first to be learned in the schools, but every man from his birth is self-taught. Men need not go out of themselves for a clear discovery of God--the seeds of divinity are sown in the nature of man." In opposition to all this, the word of God says that "the world by wisdom knew not God;" and so say the history of the world and the experience and consciousness of every individual. Locke exploded the doctrine of innate ideas. All the present systems, however, retain the consequences of that doctrine which are seen in natural religion or deism, which is a religion without revelation, and in scholastic theology, and mystic divinity. These are taught in all theological schools, colleges, and universities in Christendom. True philosophy and the bible make revelation essential to religion. Men are born with innate capacities or susceptibility for acquiring the idea or knowledge of Deity; but revelation, supernatural revelation, is necessary for enlightening or improving that capacity, for giving the idea or knowledge of God.
The point must be sooner or later conceded, that Christ is the light of the world in religion and spiritual things, and that in his church he is himself the only sovereign and head; that he only has power to decree articles of faith and the authority thereof, and that he alone has a right to ordain rites and ceremonies, and to fix the terms of communion and of church membership; and consequently that no ecclesiastics or earthly princes have power to make laws in his kingdom which shall bind the consciences of his subjects, Matt. xx. 25-27. chap. xxiii. 8, 9. chap. xxviii. 18-20, 1st Cor. xiii. 6, Eph. 1:22, Jas. ix:12. According to Christ's system of laws, and the principles of his kingdom, the members of that kingdom may differ in opinion and in conscience to o, in some matters of religion, without disunion, and without forming creeds, and confessions, and sectarian churches, in o position to each other. It is made even a part of christian duty for members of his church to tolerate a difference of opinion and sentiment, not in respect to human creeds, for their very existence is an abomination: they produce divisions, and are to be opposed every where.
Read the fourteenth chapter of Paul's Epistle to the Romans. The principles contained in that chapter should be regarded as the great charter of christian liberty. They are the strongest barriers against all usurpations on the rights of conscience, whether by ecclesiastical or civil powers. The kingdom of God is in righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost: we are therefore commanded to follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
Do, Mr. Editor, print for us in the Christian Baptist the substance of Macknight's "view and illustration of the matter contained in the 14th chapter of the Epistle to the Romans" And do you, reader, read that chapter in connexion with 1st Cor. viii. chapter, with care. The principles of moral conduct for Christians towards each other united in Christ, in these chapters are less understood, seldomer thought of, and less practised than many of us are aware of.
With respect to the christian religion, nothing appears to me to be more absurd and contradictory than for men to talk or think of speaking divine or supernatural things in human language. This is very common, however, in theological schools, and in lectures on divinity: this is according to the Calvinistic vocabulary, with which Thomas Paine and all the Deists agree. Then in comes the mystic agencies, by which human and natural language is made to produce divine or supernatural effects!!
Human language, that is words and sentences invented by men, cannot rise higher than the objects of human thought, and the ideas of nature; nor can it exist antecedent to them. The ideas of supernatural or divine things are obtained by or through supernatural or divine language; that is, by language which originated with God. But according to the system of natural religion, the mind possesses these ideas naturally, or obtains them by reasoning, and invents the language which communicates them without revelation. If we would ourselves speak divine truths, or teach others, we must use the terms in which it was revealed. It is one thing to speak of divine things, and another to speak divine things. We may use our own language, the language arising from sensation, and reflection in speaking of or concerning them, after the divine objects are known: the knowledge, however, and belief of them must be first obtained by the scriptural terms and statements in which they were revealed; and if we would retain them, and communicate them to others, they must be retained and communicated, in the terms and statements in which we learnt them.
There is a state of mind, of feelings, of affection or emotion arising from the operation of the Divine Spirit, through, or with, or by, his gospel truth upon the human heart, which is termed an experience of grace, or religious experience, which accords with the word of God. In detailing of this experience the language used derives its qualifications from the states of feelings and sensation which it describes. No person who has not experienced these states can speak of them from the heart. To obtain this we must use gospel truth as the Spirit operates by and through it.
It is thought by some that the opposition to human creeds and confessions may be applied with equal force against the public preaching and teaching of religion. I think not. Public addresses are made on the subject of religion to  bring to people's minds scriptural views of divine things which have been learnt by the speaker, and to assist the hearers by a language addressed to their understandings and feelings, and which associates their best interests and chief happiness with the objects of faith as revealed in the gospel, to understand the scriptures and to believe them; but these addresses are never designed to be creeds and confessions for the hearers. Nothing that teachers say in their public discourses is intended to be paramount to the word of God; in many cases creeds are, insomuch, that men are liable to be treated as heathen men and publicans under their operations, who in all respects, according to the gospel, are entitled to the rights and privileges of Christ's church. Yes, they maybe accepted by God, and yet refused admittance into this sectarian kingdom; or if already members of a church constituted upon a human creed, are liable to be cast out by the operation of that creed, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and given to the Devil, and for no other reason than an uncompromitting adherence to the word of God, and authority of Christ according to the gospel, in preference to the authority of the Westminster assembly, or of John Wesley and his hierarchy, or of the Philadelphia association, or the authority of Henry VIII. and his bishops and successors to the Episcopalian church! This is no extraordinary operation of creeds and confessions, for it arises necessarily from sectarian constitutions, and every christian who is faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ, and is determined to "stand fast in the liberty wherewith he has made him free," ought to be turned out, must and will be turned out, of the churches built upon human creeds, if they exercise consistent discipline! Paul himself would be! Reader, weigh this well and you must see and feel the contrariety of opposition which exists between sectarian churches and the church of Christ. This is the reason why Christianity, as it is improperly called by the different sects, produces so little good in the world.
The christian religion was designed by its Divine Author to remedy all the evils which are incident to man's state of sin and misery in the world, and to make men happy and united in peace and love. This design has not been, and is not accomplished but in a very partial and imperfect degree, among even the professors of religion. And why is this the case? I answer, That by reason of Christ having been divided, christianity has been converted into a system of war, of persecution, and oppression, not against the common enemy, the destroyer of men's souls and of their happiness, so much as against each sect, and by each to the destruction of the spirit, and character and felicities of that religion as revealed in the gospel.
Who has not seen and felt the operation of sectarian indignation in our country, in arraying citizens, relations, and friends, against each other, who were at peace before they assumed the sectarian badge? Yes reader, you have seen the peace and happiness of families wounded and destroyed by this fiend-like influence; and have you not felt some of it too? Can that system of things which produces these effects be the religion of Jesus Christ as it appears in the gospel, the religion of him who is the Prince of Peace, and the author of good will, and kindness, and love among men? Oh no! an enemy has done this; it was done by "false Apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the Apostles of Christ; and no wonder, for Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light." 2d Cor. xi. 13. 14.
This old enemy has imposed upon the people of God, as he did upon Eve and Adam in Paradise, by adding a new chapter to the Bible under the alluring and apparently innocent title of "Non-Essentials," with a view of dividing Christ, and of securing his influence, and retaining human creeds, and sects, and authority, in religion.
Is it a non-essential that the new name, the name of Christ, and of Christian be made to give place to the name of Presbyterian, or of Baptist, or of Methodist, or of Episcopalian? Is it a non-essential that men should believe in, and serve the Lord Jesus, by the lessons, and instructions, and authority, of human wisdom, taught in creeds, confessions, books of discipline, and liturgies, rather than through the word of the Apostles and the authority of Christ? Is it a non-essential that christians be divided by reason of this into different factions, and be involved in conduct towards each other which occasions the christian religion often to be derided by the world as a curse to the peace of society, and the name of Jesus Christ to be blasphemed among the Gentiles? Is it a nonessential that the world of mankind should remain in unbelief and be damned? Reader, answer these questions in reference to the part you have acted, and are now acting in this sectarian business, with the awful truth impressed upon your mind, that "we shall all stand before Christ's judgment seat, and every one of us shall give an account of himself to God?" Hear the Saviour's prayer for unity through the word of the Apostles, amongst his disciples, and in his church, that the world might believe on him. This prayer he put up before he entered upon his sufferings; and to accomplish the objects of which he endured the agonies in the garden and on the cross, descended into the tomb, rose from the dead, and now fills his Father's throne with all power in heaven and in earth. "Neither pray I for these (the Apostles) alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word, that they may be one; as you, Father, are in me and I to you, that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that you have sent me." John xvii. 20, 21.
This is God's plan for union and for the conversion of the world, Satan's chapter of Non-Essentials notwithstanding. We are constantly praying and laboring for the conversion of sinners among us, and for the conversion of the heathen; but as long as we retain our sectarian divisions, God is bound to his Son, as far as these divisions are concerned, not to hear our prayers nor bless our exertions. The prayer and intercession of Jesus Christ are, that all christians may be one through the word of the apostles, that the world may believe in him: his honor, and glory, and faithfulness are bound up in this order. Should our prayers and exertions be heard, and blessed, in the present state of division and disunion, as far as they are concerned, the Lord Jesus Christ would be dishonored, his truth would fail, and the covenant of the Father to the Son, that he will give the Jews and the Heathen to him for his inheritance, according to the principles of the new covenant in the gospel, would be broken. None are converted to Christ on sectarian principles. Then why retain them? The different sects have not sufficiently realized that God in the conversion of sinners does nothing more than to make them christians, and place them immediately in the love, and under the direction, instruction and government of Jesus Christ. The inquiry of the new convert is, "Lord what will you have me to do?" The Lord directs him to search the scriptures, and in them he gives precisely the same directions to all, and which,  when humbly received and practiced, produces the unity and happiness of the saints, and the employment of the means for the conversion of the world. Sectarianism, with the chapter of non-essentials in its hand, and with the pestilential breath that blasted men's happiness in Eden, interposes, and as far as possible, robs the saint of the name of his Saviour; and of his authority too, by giving him the name of a sect and its book of laws: by its subtilty it kidnaps him, and takes from him his Christian liberty, and makes a galley slave of him to tug the balance of his days at a sectarian oar; or plundered of his divine inheritance as far as the universal love and fellowship of the saints, and the sweet smiles of the Saviour are concerned; and as far as active usefulness in promoting the common salvation, and human happiness, from parts of it in the present life, he appears an exile from his father's home in a far country, engaged in feeding swine and in eating husks. The language of the Saviour to such is, "return you backsliding children, and I will heal your backsliding; wherefore do you spend money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which satisfies not?" The answer of every Christian ought to be, "behold we come quickly to you, for you are the Lord our God."
I know it is said that all these things will be brought right when the millennium shall cone. I reply that it will be by the correction of these errors that the millennial day will be ushered in. It is moreover alleged that the different sects of christians must be greatly changed from what they are at present in their religion, before they will agree to unite upon the gospel and throw away their creeds. I think otherwise. Every real Christian will obey God, rather than men. "My sheep" said the Saviour, "hear my voice and they follow me--a stranger they will not follow." All that is needed for the restoration of the church to the apostolic order, is, that Christians be Christians, and act as the disciples of Jesus Christ. Let them throw aside their sectarian distinctions, and the commandments of men, and take the name of their Lord, and the word of God, and cultivate mutual forbearance towards each other, and tenderness for each other's conscientious differences in opinions, according to Romans xiv. and they will quickly feel the truth and meaning of what the Saviour said, "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God." And again, "If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed: and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." And "If the Son shall make you free you shall be free indeed:"--free from error, and ignorance, and sectarian bigotry, and free to love Christ and his people and cause universally, and free to be engaged in all Christian duties for promoting the conversion of the world, and for making mankind happy and glorious.
But I am asked whether I design to drop the ordinance of baptism by throwing away the name of Baptist? Without saying a word about sprinkling, pouring, washing, or dipping of adults or infants, I answer that my design is that every doctrine and ordinance be preserved in their proper place according to gospel order, and that every thing be called by its proper name, in the fixed style of the Holy Ghost. The Baptist said, (we have no account in scripture of but one Baptist,) "Christ must increase, but I must decrease." It is high time that this be the case. Paul was greater than John the Baptist, (Matt. ii. 11.) yet he would not permit any of Christ's disciples to call themselves by his name, or by the name of Apollos, or of Peter. All sects may have something good among them; but that good is common property, and ought not to be limited by sectarian barriers or conditions. God makes it the duty of every Christian to oppose every sectarian name and creed, and they have a divine right to do so; but none have a right to oppose the name of Christ or his oracles. He makes it the duty of all who are built upon the Lord Jesus Christ by faith in him, for his name's sake to exercise tenderness and forbearance towards each other in points of conscientious differences, but never to divide or form new sects or creeds. I shall say something about the origin, and growth, and effects of creeds hereafter, in promoting orthodoxy, &c., beginning with what has been falsely called "the Apostles' Creed." I will then address the clergy particularly on their duty in these United States.
A Restoration of the Ancient Order of Things.
On the Breaking of Bread.--No. I.
IN our last number we demonstrated from rational principles, that there necessarily must be, and most certainly is, a divinely instituted worship for Christian assemblies; and that this worship is uniformly the same in all meetings of the disciples on the first day of the week. That the breaking of bread in commemoration of the sacrifice of Christ, is a part, or an act of Christian worship, is generally admitted by professors of Christianity. Romanists and Protestants of almost every name agree in this. The society of Friends form the chief, if not the only exception in Christendom, to this general acknowledgment. Their religion is all spiritual, and may be suitable to beings of some higher order than the natural descendants of Adam and Eve; but it is too contemplative, too metaphysical, too sublime, for flesh and blood. We have tongues and lips wherewith men have been impiously cursed, but with which God should be blessed. We have bodies too which have become the instruments of unrighteousness, but which should be employed as instruments of righteousness. And so long as the five senses are the five avenues to the human understanding, and the medium of all divine communication to the spirit of man, so long will it be necessary to use them in the cultivation and exhibition of piety and humanity. But we have a few words for them in due time, for we esteem them highly on many accounts. But in the mean time, we speak to those who acknowledge the breaking of bread to be a divine institution, and a part of Christian worship in Christian assemblies, to be continued not only till the Lord came and destroyed Jerusalem and the temple, but to be continued until he shall come to judge the world.
That the primitive disciples did, in all their meetings on the first day of the week, attend on the breaking of bread as an essential part of the worship due their Lord, we are fully persuaded, and hope to make satisfactorily evident to every candid Christian. Indeed this is already proved from what has been said in the fifth number under this head. For, if there be a divinely instituted worship for Christians in their meetings on the first day of the week, as has been proved; if this order, or these acts of worship are uniformly the same, as has been shown; and if the breaking of bread be an act of Christian worship, as is admitted by those we address--then it is  fairly manifest that the disciples are to break bread in all their meetings for worship. This we submit as the first, but not the strongest argument in support of our position. We confess, however, that we cannot see any way of eluding its logical and legitimate force, though we are aware it is not so well adapted to every understanding as those which are to follow. Our second argument will be drawn from the nature, import and design of the breaking of bread. This we shall first illustrate a little.
While Romanists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians of every grade, Independents, Methodists Baptists &c., acknowledge the breaking of bread to be a divine institution, an act of religious worship in Christian assemblies, they all differ in their views of the import of the institution, the manner and times in which it is to be observed, and in the appendages thereto belonging. In one idea they all agree, that it is an extraordinary and not an ordinary act of Christian worship; and consequently, does not belong to the ordinary worship of the Christian church. For this opinion they have custom and tradition to show, but not one argument worthy of a moments reflection, not even one text to adduce as a confirmation of their practice. Who ever heard a text adduced to prove a monthly, a quarterly, a semi-annual, or an annual breaking of bread. This course in regard to this institution, I conjecture, drove the founders of the Quaker system into the practice of never breaking bread--just as the views of the clergy make and confirm Deists.
Much darkness and superstition are found in the minds and exhibited to the practice of the devout annual, semi-annual and quarterly observers of the breaking of bread They generally make a Jewish passover of it. Some of them indeed, make a Mount Sinai convocation of it. With all the bitterness of sorrow, and gloominess of superstition, they convert it into a religious penance, accompanied with a morose piety and an awful affliction of soul and body, expressed in fastings, long prayers, and sad countenances on sundry days of humiliation, fasting and preparation. And the only joy exhibited on the occasion, is, that all is over; for which some of them appoint a day of thanksgiving. They rejoice that they have approached the very base of Mount Sinai unhurt by stone or dart. In the opposite degrees of their ascent to, and descent from this preternatural solemnity, their piety is equal. In other words, they are as pious one week or ten weeks after, as they were one week or ten weeks before. If there be any thing fitly called superstition in this day and country, this pre-eminently deserves the name. A volume would be by far too small to exhibit all the abuses of this sacred institution in the present age.
The intelligent Christian views it quite in another light. It is to him as sacred and solemn as prayer to God, and as joyful as the hope of immortality and eternal life. His hope before God, springing from the death of his Son, is gratefully exhibited and expressed by him in the observance of this institution. While he participates of the symbolic loaf, he shews his faith in, and his life upon, the Bread of life. While he tastes the emblematic cup, he remembers the new covenant confirmed by the blood of the Lord. With sacred joy and blissful hope he hears the Saviour say, "This is my body broken--this my blood shed for you." When he reaches forth those lively emblems of his Saviour's love to his Christian brethren, the philanthropy of God fills his heart, and excites correspondent feelings to those sharing with him the salvation of the Lord. Here he knows no man after the flesh. Ties that spring from eternal love, revealed in blood and addressed to his senses in symbols adapted to the whole man, draw forth all that is within him of complacent affection and feeling to those joint heirs with him of the grace of eternal life. While it represents to him all the salvation of the Lord, it is the strength of his faith, the joy of his hope, and the life of his love. It cherishes the peace of God, and inscribes the image of God upon his heart, and leaves not out of view the revival of his body from the dust of death, and its glorious transformation to the likeness of the Son of God.
It is an institution full of wisdom and goodness, every way adapted to the Christian mind. As bread and wine to the body, so it strengthens his faith and cheers his heart with the love of God. It is a religious feast; a feast of joy and gladness; the happiest occasion, and the sweetest antepast on earth of the society and entertainment of heaven, that mortals meet with on their way to the true Canaan. If such be its nature and import, and such its design, say, ye saints, whether this act of Christian worship would be a privilege, or a pain, in all your meetings for edification and worship. If it be any proof of the kindness of the Saviour to institute it at all, would it not be a greater proof to allow the saints in all their meetings to have this token of his love set before them, and they called to partake? If it were goodness and grace on his part to allow you twice a-year in your meetings the privilege, would it not be inexpressibly greater goodness and grace to allow you the feast in all your meetings. But reverse the case, and convert it into an awful and grievous penance, and then grace is exhibited in not enforcing it but seldom. On this view of it, if it be an act of favor to command it only twice a-year, it would be a greater good to command it but twice or once during life. Just, then, as we understand its nature and design, will its frequency appear a favor or a frown.
It is acknowledged to be a blissful privilege, and this acknowledgment, whether sincere or feigned, accords with fact. It was the design of the Saviour that his disciples should not be deprived of this joyful festival when they meet in one place to worship God. It will appear (if it does not already) to the candid reader of these numbers, that the New Testament teaches that every time they met in honor of the resurrection of the Prince of Life, or, when they assembled in one place, it was a principal part of their entertainment, in his liberal house, to eat and drink with him. He keeps no dry lodgings for the saints--no empty house for his friends. He never bade his house assemble but to eat and drink with him. His generous and philanthropic heart never sent his disciples hungry away. He did not assemble them to weep, and wail, and starve with him. No, he commands them to rejoice always, and bids them eat and drink abundantly.
Man is a social animal. As the thirsty hind pants for the brooks of water, so man pants for society congenial to his mind. He feels a relish for the social hearth and the social table; because the feast of sentimental and congenial minds is the feast of reason. Man, alone and solitary, is but half blessed in any circumstances. Alone and solitary, he is like the owl in the desert, and pelican in the wilderness. The social feast is the native offspring of social minds. Savage or civilized, man has his social fire, and his social board. And shall the Christian house and family be always the poorest and the emptiest under heaven! Is the Lord of Christians a churl? Is he sordidly selfish? Is he parsimoniously poor and niggardly?  Tell it not amongst the admirers of anniversaries! publish it not amongst the frequenters of any human association! lest the votaries of Ceres rejoice! lest the sons of Bacchus triumph!
The christian is a man. He has the feelings of a man. He has a taste for society; but it is the society of kindred minds. The religion of Jesus Christ is a religion for men; for rational, for social, for grateful beings. It has its feasts, and its joys, and its extacies too. The Lord's house is his banqueting place, and the Lords day is his weekly festival.
But a sacrament, an annual sacrament, or a quarterly sacrament, is like the oath of a Roman soldier, from which it derives its name, often taken with reluctance, and kept with bad faith. It is as sad as a funeral parade. The knell of the parish bell that summonses the mourners to the house of sorrow, and the tocsin that awakes the recollection of a sacramental morn, are heard with equal dismay and aversion. The seldomer they occur, the better. We speak of them as they appear to be; and if they are not what they appear to be, they are mere exhibitions of hypocrisy and deceit, and serve no other purpose than as they create a market for silks and calicoes, and an occasion for the display of beauty and fashion.
Amongst the crowds of the thoughtless and superstitious that frequent them, it is reasonable to expect to find a few sincere and devout; but this will not justify their character, else the worshippers of saints and angels might be excused; for many of the sincere and devout say, Amen!
From the nature and design of the breaking of bread, we would argue its necessity and importance as a part of the entertainment of saints in the social worship of the Lord in their assemblies for his praise and their comfort. We cannot prosecute the subject farther at present. We have been preparing the way for opening the New Testament in our next number, to produce evidence and authority of a higher order. In the mean time, let the christian who apprehends the nature, meaning and design of this institution, say whether it be probable that it is, or could be an extraordinary observance, and not an ordinary part of christian worship in the meeting of saints.
WHEREAS the Rev. Mr. Blackburn, D. D. a Presbyterian of the town of Louisville, Kentucky, has declared that he did, in a sermon pronounced in Frankfort, "sweep from the arena" the sentiments and views expressed by me in an address delivered in the chamber of the Representatives of the state of Kentucky in November last, and that in my presence too; (in this point, however, he is mistaken, as I was in Lexington the time he spoke on that subject,) this is to inform the said Rev. Mr. Blackburn, D. D. that I am prepared to defend, illustrate and establish those sentiments and views before his face, and where he shall have an equal liberty of opposing all he has to say in defence of his views and sentiments, on the same subject. It will be remembered by many present at that time in Frankfort, that the most offensive item in my address and the most obnoxious to the displeasure of the priesthood, was, "that it was no part of the revealed design of the Saviour to employ clergymen, or an order of men resembling the priesthood, in the diffusion, spread, or progress of his religion in the world. In brief, that the whole Paido-Baptist priesthood is an order of men unauthorized by Heaven. They are neither constituted, commissioned, nor authorized by the Head of the Church to officiate in any one of their assumptions."
I would most respectfully inform the Rev. Mr. Blackburn, D. D. that I feel ready, as far as in me is, to contend for the truth of every sentiment advanced on that subject; and am disposed, all things concurring, to meet him any where within one hundred miles of Louisville, in the month of May or June next, for the discussion of that proposition. I engage upon his taking the affirmative, to show that the whole fraternity of Paido-Baptist clergymen, divines, or ministers, is a human institution, neither commanded, appointed, or decreed by God, to officiate in the office which they have assumed; that all their right so to officiate is self-constituted and bestowed; and is supported merely by a laity whose consciences are, in this respect, created and made by those priests that made and created themselves, and who preached the people into a deep sense of the reverence due to them as the Lord's anointed ones.
I would wish to have it distinctly understood that the whole grounds of debate on this subject are expressed in the following proposition, viz.--
That the Presbyterian clergy, or any other fraternity of Paido-Baptist clergy, is an order of men divinely constituted and authorized.
The Doctor and his brethren say that this proposition is true as far as respects their denomination. I am constrained to think, and therefore say, that it is false.
Now as public discussion, conducted with moderation and good temper, is of all means the best adapted to elicit inquiry and exhibit truth, I am constrained, from a sense of the high importance of this question, to propose (should the Doctor decline) to meet in conference any minister of the synod of Kentucky, on this proposition; and should they all decline calling this matter into question, I will agree, as far as in my power, to meet any minister of learning and good standing, of any denomination, who will agree to support the above proposition or anyone equivalent thereto, and endeavor to show that it is as false as the assumptions of the Roman Pontiff.
As the Doctor has boasted that he has already "swept from the arena" my sentiments and views on this subject, it gives a peculiar direction to this invitation to him. My duty requires me to give him a welcome invitation to do it again in my presence, and before all who may please to hear him do it. He shall have every respect due to his standing and reputation; and I hereby pledge, myself to submit to any rules of decorum any three respectable citizens shall appoint, one of them being chosen by him, another by me, and a, third by these two.
I do not suppose that any intelligent man, or any friend to free inquiry, will snarl at this proposal. If it be lawful to advance a proposition, it is lawful to defend it; and if it be lawful to defend, it is lawful to defend it in the presence of them who say they can assail it. And if it be lawful, generous and christian-like, to attack the sentiments of those whose views differ from our own, in their absence, it is surely as christian-like, as generous and as lawful, to do so in their presence. And if the Doctor has done all he says he has done once, he can more easily do it a second time--and to much greater advantage. Few comparatively had the benefit of his address on that occasion: many would have the benefit of his views in such a full discussion. Public feeling, the circumstances of the times, zeal for truth, and a respect to all that is manly,  good and fair, render this call upon this Divine truly imperative.
|July 16, 1825.|
To the Editor of the Christian Baptist.
DEAR SIR--I HAVE read a series of numbers of the "Christian Baptist" with interest, and am much pleased with your professing to discard from your creed every thing that has not the express sanction of the Holy Scriptures. These, if rightly understand you, you consider the Christian's only rule of faith and practice. Thus far I cordially agree with you. I am likewise much pleased with your generous offer to publish in the Christian Baptist any well written piece in opposition to any sentiment you have therein advanced. From the above I have taken the liberty to present the following queries for your inspection, presuming you will feel no reluctance to give a reason for any thing you believe or practice:--
Where have the scriptures declared that the New Testament is exclusively the Christian's guide?
Where do you find authority for calling the first day of the week "Lord's Day?"
Where are you commanded to celebrate the resurrection of Christ every week?
In all my biblical researches I have never been able to find a warrant for either.
That the ceremonial law is abolished, and that the political law of the Jews never was obligatory on any other nation, I cheerfully admit; but that the moral law was confined to the Jews, or that it has ever been abrogated, I have yet to learn. If I do not misapprehend the New Testament writers, they have every where (when speaking of the moral law) spoke of it with respect. "Think not," says the Saviour, "that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil," &c. Matt. v. 17-19. To argue that he came to fulfil, and thereby destroy it, would be directly charging him with self contradiction. If he destroyed by fulfilling it, then he accomplished what he never came to do. Besides, I cannot conceive how a man could justly be censured for breaking one of these commandments, or for teaching others so to do, if Christ had destroyed the whole. Many other places might be quoted where the New Testament writers "establish the law."
If the Scriptures do not call the first day Lord's Day, and we take the liberty to apply that title to it; or if God has not commanded us to celebrate the resurrection of Christ weekly, and yet we attend to it--in either case we are found on Paido-Baptist ground; and if we can walk with them thus far without an express warrant, I conceive we cannot censure them for sprinkling infants, without manifesting the most glaring inconsistency.
As in the second volume of the Christian Baptist you refer to the first, I have taken the liberty to send you the numbers of our Magazine complete, and request you in turn to send us the first volume of the Christian Baptist. We have suspended the publication of our magazine for a short period, but expect to resume it soon. We invite you to a cordial perusal of its contents, in which you will find several typographical errors, especially in the Greek, which you will have the goodness to correct in reading.
We cheerfully reciprocate your offer to publish in our future numbers any friendly remarks in opposition to any thing published in our magazine. We conceive that free inquiry is the open road to truth; and if we are wrong, we will thank our friends to set us right. I flatter myself that you will give an answer to my queries, either in the Christian Baptist or by letter.
|ELI S. BAILEY.|
ELI S. BAILEY.
One of the Editors of the Seventh Day Baptist
DEAR SIR--I AM ready to give you a reason for my belief and practice touching those things whereof you inquire of me. In relation to your first query, I have to object to the terms in which it is proposed. The example of Abraham and of the Jewish worthies, together with many of the admonitions and precepts found in the Jewish Scriptures, may be, and doubtless are, of importance to guide and encourage Christians in the right way. The things, too, that happened to the Jews, happened to them for ensamples, and they are written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world are come; consequently, of use to guide us. But if you ask, Where do the Scriptures of the prophets or apostles declare that the apostolic writings are to be our exclusive guide in the Christian religion, I am prepared to say that we are expressly and repeatedly taught, in all matters of religious observance or of Christian obedience, to be guided by Jesus the Messiah, and not by Moses--by the apostles, and not by the Jewish prophets. "The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." Now Moses commanded the people to obey that prophet whom the Lord should raise up to them like to him. Moses and Elias, when they descended from heaven and laid their commission at his feet, recognized his character as the one, or only Christian Lawgiver; and a voice from the excellent glory commanded the disciples to hear the beloved Son when Moses and Elias were taken to heaven. The law and the prophets also were to continue only until the seed came; for the law and the prophets were until John, but since that time a new religion and a new kingdom were set up. Christians are declared not to be under the law, but under the gospel, or the grace. Even the Jews, who believed in Jesus as the prophet and king whom God sent to Israel, were said to be like a woman whose former husband was dead; no longer bound to obey him, but at liberty to be married to, and to become subject to another lord or husband. Indeed a considerable part of the Epistles to the Romans, Galatians, and almost all the Epistle to the Hebrews, are written to prove that believers in Christ are not under Moses as a guide in the Christian religion, but under Christ, who is a Son over his own house, and not a servant in another's house, like Moses. Moses, as a servant, faithfully delivered laws to the people over whom he reigned; but Jesus Christ, as a Son, gives laws to those over whom he reigns as our prophet and king. For further reasons why we believe that we are now to continue in the apostles' doctrine, and to submit to them exclusively in Christ's house, see Christian Baptist, vol. I. p. 38-40. To this add, that when Jesus promised thrones to the Apostles in his church, he left none for Moses nor Elias--not Moses, but the twelve apostles of the Lamb, were to judge or give statutes to Israel. And when the Great King commissioned them, he commanded them to teach only what he commanded them. "Teach the disciples," said he, "to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." The I is inclusive of all Christ commanded, and exclusive of every thing else. Hence, so long as we believe the apostles to be faithful men, their example, or the examples of the churches whom they commended, are exactly of the same force  as a broad precept. If you had seen the first volume of this work and the address alluded to (a copy of each I have now sent you) I think those questions would have appeared to you unnecessary, at least the first one.
Under the new constitution all disciples live if they knew it; and if you go back to Moses for a Sabbath, you may go back to him for a new moon, a holy day or what you please. And indeed we are, and must be confessed to be, either under the old constitution or the new. We cannot be under both. We cannot live under the English and American constitution at the same time. If I were to go to Moses for a "Seventh Day Sabbath," I should not blush to take from him an eighth day circumcision or an annual passover. I have paid a good deal of attention to your Magazine, particularly on this topic of your peculiarity, and must think that you are inconsistent in telling me any thing about Paido-Baptist ground. But I should be glad to see the seventh day kept by those who have a conscience in this matter, as the law requires; and perhaps in keeping it this way, at least once in a life-time, they might become enlightened in its meaning. Please see vol. I. p. 43-46.
Your second question I will briefly answer. For the same reason that Paul calls the table on which the emblems of Christ's death are exhibited "the Lord's table," we call the day on which he rose from the dead and brought life and immortality to light, the Lord's day. It is true that everyday in the week, as some say, is the Lord's; and so is every table in the world, for "the earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof;" yet an apostle once calls this table the Lord's table. But if this reason will not be satisfactory to all, we have another. We have as much reason to believe that the first day of the week is once called by an apostle the Lord's day, as we have to believe that the table alluded to is once called the Lord's--"I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day." Now after hearing all that I could hear, and reading all that I could read, from the Sabbatarians and others, on these words, I must contend that no meaning can be affixed to them, from any thing in the whole record, but that the writer intended the day of the Lord's resurrection. For if he meant the gospel day, as some would have it, then the apostle degrades himself to a puerility, incompatible with his standing as a man--much more as an apostle. For as he intended to acquaint the reader addressed with that day in his exile on which he received the revelation, to have taken a name that was as indefinite as the whole gospel age, or to have taken a name not generally understood at that time as expressive of any particular day, would have been childish in the extreme.
But again, the first day of the week is emphatically the Lord's, for this reason, that on this day he was begotten--at least Paul says so. See his application of a part of the second psalm, Acts xiii. 34. "THIS DAY have I begotten you, my Son." Now these are my reasons (at least a number of them) for sometimes calling this day the Lord's day. I say sometimes, for I am not tenacious about its name. If you conscientiously prefer calling it the first day of the week, and regard it to the Lord as the first christians did, I am not conscientiously weak about the name, and should never force what may be a conclusion of my mind upon the religious practice of others. For I will admit that these reasons may not carry the same weight to every mind. But as you demanded my reasons for so denominating it in this way, (which is far from being a general practice) I have given you them freely. They are at your service.
An answer to your third query you will find in the 6th and 7th numbers on the "Restoration of the Ancient Order of Things." This is of more importance than the name we give the day.
I feel gratified with the spirit and temper of your letter, and am only sorry that my limits forbid me giving it a more lengthy notice. The numbers which I have sent you, and which you had not seen before writing your communication of the 30th ultimo, are, I think, a full answer to the subject matter of your queries, and much more minute than I could now find room for. I would request you to examine very closely the two articles referred to in the first volume, and to consider them as an answer to your difficulties upon the Sabbath day of the Jews, and the Lord's day.
The distinctions of moral, political and ceremonial law, which run through your Magazine and letter, are of the same family with infant baptism. Some might make them twin-sisters; but I would rather view them as the elder and younger branches of the same root.
Your quotation of Matthew v. 17, is entirely irrelevant, as it equally applies to your ceremonial as to your moral law, and he was as exact in the ritual of Moses as any other minister of the circumcision. It applies to the prophets too, as well as to the law; yet it is said of him that he delivered his brethren the Jews from the law, and that when the object of faith was come, they were no longer under a schoolmaster. In contending for the due observance of the Lord's day we establish the law--as Paul did by faith. But in making Sabbath days for Gentiles in this northern latitude, we put a yoke on the necks of the disciples, which makes Christ of as little effect to them as he was to those who circumcised in order to be saved.
| BOLD infidelity, turn pale!
Beneath this stone four infants' ashes lie:
Say, are they lost or sav'd?
If death's by sin, they sinn'd, because they're here:
If heaven's by works, in heaven they can't appear.
Reason, ah! how deprav'd!
Revere the bible's sacred page, the knot's untied:
They died, for Adam sinn'd;--they live, for Jesus died.
[Table of Contents]
The Christian Baptist (1889)