[Table of Contents]
Alexander Campbell, ed.|
The Millennial Harbinger, Vol. I, No. XI (1830)
I saw another messenger flying through the midst of heaven, having everlasting
good news to proclaim to the inhabitants of the earth, even to every nation
and tribe, and tongue, and people--saying with a loud voice, Fear God and
give glory to him, for the hour of his judgments is come: and worship him who
made heaven, and earth, and sea, and the fountains of water.--JOHN.
Great is the truth and mighty above things, and will prevail.
METAPHYSICAL REGENERATION--No. II.
FULLERISM AND SANDEMANIANISM EXPOSED.
MR. FULLER, in his Strictures on Sandemanianism, New York edition, page 7, makes the following remarks:--
"It is not my design to censure Sandemanianism in the gross. There are many things in the system which, in my judgment, are worthy of serious attention. If Mr. Sandeman, and his followers, had only taught that faith has revealed truth for its object, or that which is true antecedent to its being believed, and whether it be believed or not--that the finished work of Christ, exclusive of every act, exercise, or thought of the human mind, is that for the sake of which a sinner is justified before God--that no qualifications of any kind are necessary to warrant our believing in him--and that the first scriptural consolation received by the believer arises from the gospel and not from reflecting on the feelings of his own mind towards it, they would have deserved well of the church of Christ."
In these four great principles, Messrs. Sandeman and Fuller agree. In the second, I dissent from them both; viz. "That the finished work of Christ, exclusive of every act, exercise, or thought of the human mind, is that for the sake of which a sinner is justified before God." This Fullerism and Sandemanianism, I hold to be flatly contradictory to the most express testimonies of the sacred writings. The "finished work of Christ" is here exhibited as that alone, exclusive of any thought, volition, or exercise of mind, or body, on account of which a man is justified or pardoned, I ask, then, Why are not all men pardoned or justified by his finished work? We must answer, For the want of some thought, volition, or act of the mind or body to connect them with, or, if any one pleases, to interest them in, this finished work.
Fuller and Sandeman agree too well in metaphysical regeneration, or a regeneration without any thought, volition, or act of mind or body, to understand why faith, reformation, and immersion were so much insisted upon by the inspired teachers. If faith, reformation, and immersion be not a thought, volition, exercise, or act of mind or body, then these metaphysicians are right, and we are metaphysically wrong; but if faith, reformation, and immersion be a thought, volition, exercise, or act of mind or body, then are they in error. Let the Fullerites be cautious in examining this! Fullerism and  Sandemanianism are one and the same in the grand essentials, although the two gentlemen quarrel about their "non-essentials" in doctrine.
Both these writers concur, and I am happy in agreeing with them, in denouncing that which some of the Fullerites in this country and the Gillites unscripturally call christian experience. Mr. Fuller goes as far in this as I have ever gone. He says, page 13:--
"If the attention of the awakened sinner, instead of being directed to Christ, be turned inward, and his mind be employed in searching for evidences of his conversion, the effect must, to say the least, be uncomfortable, and may be fatal, as it may lead him to make a righteousness of his religious feelings, instead of looking out of himself to the Saviour.
"Nor is this all:--if the attention of christians be turned to their own feeling instead of the things which should make them feel, it will reduce their religion to something vastly different from that of the primitive christians. Such truths as the following were the life of their spirits. "Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners--Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and was buried and rose again the third day according to the scriptures.--Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead recording to my gospel--we have a great High Priest that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God," &c. But by the turn of thought, and strain of conversation in many religious connexions of the present day, it would seem as if these things had lost their influence. They are become "dry doctrines," and the parties must have something else. The elevation and depression of their hopes and fears, joys and sorrows, is with them the favorite theme. The consequence is, as might he expected, a living to themselves rather than to him that died and rose again; and a mind either elated by unscriptural enjoyment, or depressed by miserable despondency. It is not by thinking and talking of the sensations of hunger, but by feeding on the living aliment, that we are filled and strengthened."
In these sentiments, I am happy to accord fully with Mr. Fuller. I might quote many passages from this work in which Mr. Fuller speaks like a christian, and in which he reprobates the Regular Baptists as much as the Sandemanians. Page 15, he says:--
"Past experiences can no otherwise be an evidence of grace to us, than as the remembrance of them rekindles the same sentiments and feelings anew. But to object to all peace of mind arising from a consciousness of having done the will of God, and to denominate it "confidence in the flesh," is repugnant to the whole tenor of scripture.
"A system may contain much important truth, and yet be blended with so much error, as to destroy its salutary efficacy. Mr. Sandeman has expunged from christianity a great deal of false religion; but whether he has exhibited that of Christ and his Apostles, is another question."
But the misfortune is, that Mr. Fuller sometimes contradicts himself. After, in page 7, agreeing with Mr. Sandeman in those positions which I have quoted from him, in page 28, he contradicts himself--
"If," says he, "it be meant to deny that any deed or thought on the part of man is necessary in the established order of things, or that sinners are presented spotless before God without a deed or a thought on the subject, it is very false, and goes to deny the necessity of faith to salvation; for surely no man can be said to believe in Christ without thinking of him."
But to return to metaphysical regeneration. With Mr. Fuller there is a twofold regeneration--a "strict" and a "general". "Like every other term," says he, in the appendix, page 210, "it  (regeneration) is sometimes used in a more strict and sometimes in a more general sense." We have before shown the term is used but twice in all the Jewish and Christian scriptures.
In his Strictures on Sandemanianism, written some years afterwards, he says, page 135:--"Though in a general sense it be true that we are regenerated by believing the gospel, yet in a more particular sense it is equally true that we are regenerated in order to it." Mr. Fuller has a general regeneration to offer to his opponents when he is pressed by their arguments, and a particular regeneration for himself.
This particular or strict regeneration, he defines to be "a real physical work, whereby the Holy Spirit imparts spiritual life to the souls of all who are truly regenerated," p. 132. He adds, "When God created the soul of man originally in righteousness and true holiness, I suppose it must be allowed to have been a physical work. Man certainly was not induced by motives to be righteous any more than to be rational." The doctrine, them, is, God made man righteous as he made him rational without any moral means, and now he makes, or creates, him anew, or regenerates him without any means, other than he employed in making man rational, or in creating man at first. This philosophy is most unphilosophic, and what is incomparably worse, it makes the Word of God of non-effect. Mechanical power is employed upon what already exists; but physical power, when referred to God, denotes such energy as was displayed in originating the heavens and the earth, or such power as was displayed in causing an ear to grow on Malchus, an arm or limb upon a maimed person, or the infusion of life into Lazarus, Dorcas, and the son of the widow of Nain.
To talk of a physical work upon the soul is, in my humble opinion, preposterous in the extreme. Not a Doctor in christendom can define it: no, not one. To argue about an indefinable nonentity is not more ridiculous than to hear scribes and elders talk about a physical operation upon a spirit, or upon the soul of man. Such a thing is inconceivable to any mind unsophisticated by mysticism. The spirit of man ought to have been shown to be susceptible of such a power. Why did all the doctors of physical regeneration of spirits, all the living and all the dead, take for granted, that the spirit, or soul of man, is, or can be, a subject of physical influence or power? They seem, one and all, to have taken this for granted; and so all their reasonings are based upon a mere assumption. We may be the first who have called this assumption in question; but whether or not, we affirm it to be an untenable, because an irrational and unscriptural assumption. No man can demonstrate from any principle, natural or moral, that the soul of man can be the subject of any operation, or power, that is either physical or mechanical. Let some of the Fullerites attempt this; for if this cannot be sustained, their system vanishes into smoke. Whenever they prove that any power other than moral, or any power purely physical, can operate upon  the soul of man; in one word, that it can be the subject of physical operations, then I will prove that spirits may be pierced with a dagger, or beheaded with a sword.
But the assumption is absurd on other grounds. Physical power could not renew, or regenerate, man, because his fall was not effected by physical power. If the soul of man had been physically destroyed, it might be more plausible (but even then only plausible) to talk of its being physically restored. If the Devil had overcome and ruined Eve and Adam by physical power, then it would have been necessary for man to be physically cured, or restored by physical power. But Satan did not operate physically upon the soul or body of Eve, and consequently physical power is not now called for. He operated by motives, arguments, or what is called moral means. By these means the happy pair were dethroned.
We shall suppose a case and submit it to the Fullerites. Suppose, then, Satan, who was stronger than Eve, had physically, or by power, taken hold of her arm, opened her fingers, and made them close on the fruit of the forbidden tree, and then, by his strength, made her hand pull it off, and put it into her mouth, would she have fallen by such an act? They answer, No. I am bold to affirm that they will say, that man could not have fallen by any physical operation. If, then, man could not fall by physical operations, how can he be restored by them? It is, in my judgment, as impossible to restore, or renew, man by physical operations, as it was for him to fall by such means. As he could not fall by physical operations, it is absurd, then, to argue that he can be renewed by them. Wise, and learned, and good as Andrew Fuller may have been, and as his American and English disciples now are, we cannot refrain from affirming that, to our apprehension, they appear to assume, as a fundamental principle, a position at war with reason, experience, and revelation. I trust that if any of his disciples in this country think the system defensible, they will attend to, and attempt to solve on some principle, the case which we have here submitted.
The power which Satan employed was his word. All his energy was put forth in his word. He was a better philosopher than any of our opponents; for he knew too well that a spirit could not he operated upon physically, and, therefore, he could not even imagine such a thing as the fall of man by physical operations.
Satan has an honor bestowed upon him by the mystic spiritualizers to which he is not entitled. They represent him as wiser and more puissant than the Almighty. They say he could subvert and ruin the race of men by his word without any physical operation on the body or soul of man; but God cannot restore, or save man by his word without the use of other weapons than Satan employed against him. Satan's bow and arrow, his sling and stone, say they, call for the artillery, all the munitions of Heaven, physical and moral.
Prove, then, Fullerites, that Satan used other means than his word to ruin man, before you say and teach that God's word is not able to restore him!! Prove that the soul of man is, or can be, the subject  of physical operation before you preach physical regeneration. Prove that physical power can restore one morally depraved, or that sin can be cured by strength, or the conscience by force before you proclaim the impotency of God's word, or the necessity of almighty strength to now create, or repair, the soul of man.
Until these remain, of the dark and barbarous night of Mystery Babylon, are scattered to the four winds of heaven, until these fragments of the Platonic science, falsely so called, and the Aristotelean categories are banished from christian assemblies, the oracles of the living God will be despised, and men will grope in darkness, live and die in doubt, and in despair, as they have so often and so long done under the doctrine of physical and metaphysical regeneration.
Incur what censure we may, our veneration for the great Teacher sent from God, and our benevolence for our deluded contemporaries, command us to expose the sophisms of the schools, and to proclaim an interminable war against mystic doctors, mystic systems, and mystic religionists, however consecrated in the affections of a population whose reason has been perverted, whose minds have been confused, and whose consciences have been polluted with the mysteries and idolatries of an apostate church.
We have traced these errors to their sources. And, if the Lord permit, we will assist others in tracing them through all their meanderings up to the fountain. We have now glanced at only one of the assumptions in the propositions in which it was found. Concerning the implantation of "spiritual life," we shall offer some remarks in our next.
THIS term is used by the apostle Paul when discussing the doctrine of the resurrection from the dead, 1 Cor. ch. xv, and in reply to the question, "With what body do they come?" ver. 35. In answer to this inquiry, as it respects the saints who have died in the faith of Christ, he proceeds to show the difference between the body which falls into the grave and that with which they shall be raised. In allusion to a grain of wheat falling into the ground, he says, It is sown in corruption, that is, in a state of mortality, subject to death according to the original sentence, and having in its constitution the principles of dissolution and putrefaction--it is raised in incorruption, without any tendency to decay or dissolve; of a pure unfading and immortal nature. Thus our Lord says of those who are raised, "Neither can then die any more, for they are equal unto the angels." Luke x. 36. It is sown in dishonor, a mean and contemptible thing, liable to degradation, deformity, and defilement; a vile body or the body of our humiliation, Phil. iii. 21. But behold the change! it is raised in glory, not merely in a state of honor and immortality, but in a beautiful, majestic, and resplendent appearance, fashioned like unto Christ's glorious body; for the glorified body of the Saviour is the exemplar, or pattern, of the body of the saints in their  resurrection state. It is sown in weakness; it subsists in this world in a state of weakness and dependence, frail in its constitution, feeble in its exertions and operations; liable to weariness, faintings, pain and sickness; incident to all kinds of infirmities and diseases; and subject to innumerable injuries, Job iv. 19, and when laid in the dust it is weaker still, utterly inactive and defenceless, an easy prey even to worms, Job xix. 26. But it is raised in power, that is, in a strong, vigorous, and healthy state, exempt from all constitutional infirmities, and insusceptible of all external injuries: it will be active and unwearied in its operations, so as to keep pace with the soul in all its exalted exercises and employments without weariness or fainting. It is sown a natural body--it is an earthy tabernacle, suited to the purposes and functions of the animal life, which are common to us with the brute creation, such as feeding upon the fruits of the earth, vegetating, and producing its kind; endued with various appetites and desires after earthy objects; and sustained, recruited and gratified by means of food, of sleep and of air, so that were the body deprived of any of these it would soon become a lifeless corpse. But it is raised a spiritual body; for "there is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body." By a spiritual body, we are not to understand a pure spirit; for that would not be a body at all, nor would it be a resurrection. But the body will be spiritual in regard to its substance; it will be of a rarified and refined contexture, purged of all its present earthy grossness, and of a nature so alert and active as to resemble that of spirits. But it will also be spiritual in respect of its desires and manner of subsistence: it will be divested of all its sensual and animal appetites, by means of which it was attached to the things of earth and made dependent upon them for its subsistence. In short, it will be a spiritual body as being quickened by the Holy Spirit, Rom. viii. 11, and entirely fitted for spiritual and heavenly exercises and employments in perfect unison with the soul, and not as now clogging its operations, and warring against it by the law in its members. The apostle proceeds to illustrate his subject by considering Adam and Christ as the two public heads or representatives of their respective seeds: "The first man, Adam, was made a living soul"--his body, formed of the dust, was quickened by the breath of God into an animal sensitive frame, fitted for the functions and enjoyments of this earthy life: the last Adam was made a quickening spirit, having life in himself to quicken whom he will, John v. 21, 26, and so he conveys a spiritual and immortal life to the bodies of his saints, at the resurrection, Rom. viii. 11. This is the apostle's proof for the spiritual body and the original of it. So that, as Adam, by the breath of life breathed into him, became a living soul, and the source of the animal body and natural life for his posterity; even so Christ, being quickened from the dead, became the source of the spiritual body, and the everlasting heavenly life to all who stand connected with him. John xiv. 19; ch. xvii. 2. And the apostle concludes this most interesting discourse by affirming that as we have borne the image of the earthy, that is of the first man Adam,  in our mortal dying animal bodies, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly, or the Lord Jesus Christ in his glorified state, in our spiritual, immortal, and glorified bodies. The following remarks, on the manner of Christ's appearance to his disciples, after his resurrection, seem to have an intimate connexion with the nature and properties of the spiritual body, and, as such, merit the reader's attentive consideration. If we consider the manner of our Lord's appearance to his disciples after his resurrection, we shall find even in his interviews with them, no trace of that easy familiarity of intercourse which obtained between them before his death, when he condescended to lead his whole life in their society, as a man living with his equals. Had the history of his previous life been as mysteriously obscure, as that of the forty days between the resurrection and ascension is in many circumstances; had his previous habits been as studiously reserved, proof would indeed have been wanting that he had ever sustained the condition of a mortal man, and the error of the Docetæ, who taught that he was a man in appearance only, might have been universal. But the truth is, that the scheme of redemption required, that before the passion the form of the servant should be predominant in the Redeemer's appearance; that after his resurrection, the form of God should be conspicuous. Accordingly, throughout his previous life his manners were grave, but unreserved, serious rather than severe; his deportment highly dignified, but unassuming; and the whole course and method of his life was unconcealed, and it appears to have been the life of a man in every circumstance. He had a home at Capernaum, where he lived with his mother and her family, except when the stated festivals called him to Jerusalem, or the business of his ministry induced him to visit other towns. When he travelled about the country to propagate his doctrine and to heal those that were vexed of the devil, the evangelical history, for the most part, informs us whence he set out and whither he went; and with as much accuracy as can be expected in such compendious commentaries as the gospels are, we are informed of the time of his departure from one place, and of his arrival at another. We can, for the most part, trace the road by which he passed; we can mark the towns and villages which he touched in his way; and in many instances we are told, that in such a place he was entertained at the house of such a person. Upon these journeys he was attended by the twelve and other disciples, and except upon one or two very extraordinary occasions, he travelled along with them, and just as they did. Upon some occasions his own body was the subject of his miraculous power. In its natural constitution, however, it was plainly the mortal body of a man. It suffered from inanition, from fatigue and external violence, and needed the refection of food, of rest, and sleep: it was confined by its gravity to the earth's surface: it was translated from one place to another by a successive motion through the intermediate space: and if in a few instances, and upon some very extraordinary occasions, it was exempted from the action of mechanical powers, and divested of its  physical qualities and relations,--as when, to escape from the malice of a rabble, he made himself invisible, and when he walked upon a stormy sea. These were the only instances of our Lord's miraculous powers in his own person, which no more indicate a preternatural constitution of his body, than his other miracles indicate a preternatural constitution of the bodies on which they were performed. That he walked upon the sea is no more a sign of an uncommon constitution of his own body, which sunk not, than of the water which sustained it. In every circumstance therefore of his life, before his passion, the blessed Jesus appears a mortal man. An example of virtue he indeed exhibited, which never other man attained. But the example was of human virtues; of piety, of temperance, of benevolence, and of whatever in the life of man is laudable. Before his resurrection, it was in power only, and in knowledge, that he showed himself Divine. After his resurrection the change is wonderful. Insomuch that, except in certain actions which were done to give his disciples proof that they saw in him their crucified Lord arisen from the grave, he seems to have done nothing like a common man. Whatever was natural to him before, seems now miraculous; what was before miraculous, is now natural. The change first appears in the manner of his resurrection. It is evident that he had left the sepulchre before it was opened. And an angel, indeed, was sent to roll away the stone, but this was not to let the Lord out, but to let the women in. For no sooner was the thing done than the angel said to the women, "He is not here, he is risen; come and see the place where the Lord lay." Matthew's women saw the whole process of the opening of the sepulchre, for they were there before it was opened. They felt the earthquake; they saw the angel of the Lord descend from heaven; they saw him roll away the vast stone which stopped the mouth of the sepulchre, and, with a threatening aspect, seat Himself upon it; they saw the sentinels fall down petrified with fear. Had the Lord been waiting within the tomb for the removal of the stone, whence was it that they saw him not walk out? If he had a body to be confined, he had a body to be actually visible; and it is not to be supposed that with or without the heavenly guard which now attended him, he was in fear of being taken by the sentinels and put a second time to death, that for his security he should render himself invisible. But he was already gone. The huge stone, which would have barred their entrance, had been no bar to escape. With the manner of leaving the sepulchre, his appearances, first to the women, afterwards to the apostles, correspond. They were, for the most part, unforeseen and sudden; nor less suddenly he disappeared. He was found in company without coming in; he was missing again without going away. He joined, indeed, the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, like a traveller passing the same way; and he walked along with them, in order to prepare them by his conversation for the evidence which they were to receive of his resurrection. But no sooner was the discovery made, by a peculiar attitude which he assumed in the breaking of bread, than he  disappeared instantaneously. The same evening he presented himself to the apostles, at a late hour, assembled in a room with the doors shut; that is, fast made up with bolts and bars, for fear of a visit from the unbelieving Jews, their persecutors. To him who had departed from the unopened sepulchre, it was no difficulty to enter the barricadoed chamber. From all these circumstances it is evident that his body had undergone its change. The corruptible had put on incorruption. It was no longer the body of a man in its mortal state; it was the body of a man raised to life and immortality, which was now mysteriously united to divinity. And as it was by miracle that, before his death he walked upon the sea, it was now by miracle that, for the conviction of the apostles he shewed in his person the marks of his sufferings. Consonant with this exaltation of his human nature was the change in the manner of his life. He was repeatedly seen by the disciples after his resurrection; and so seen as to give them many infallible proofs that he was the very Jesus who had suffered on the cross. But he lived not with them in familiar habits. His time, for the forty days preceding his ascension was not spent in their society. They knew not his goings out and comings in. Where he lodged on the evening of his resurrection, after his visit to the apostles, we read not; nor were the apostles themselves better informed than we. To Thomas, who was absent when our Lord appeared, the report of the rest was in these words, "We have seen the Lord." That was all they had to say: they had seen him, and he was gone. They pretend not to direct Thomas to any place where he might find him and enjoy the same sight. None of them could now say to Thomas as Nathaniel once said to Philip, "Come and see." On the journey from Jerusalem to Galilee, he was not their companion--he went before them. How he went we are not informed. The way is not described; the places are not mentioned through which he passed; their names are not recorded who accompanied him on the road, or who entertained him. The disciples were commanded to repair to Galilee. They were not told to seek him at Capernaum, his former residence, or to inquire for him at his mother's house. They were to assemble at a certain hill. Thither they repaired; they met him there; and there they worshipped him. The place of his abode for any single night of all the forty days, is no where mentioned; nor, from the most diligent examination of the story, is any place of his abode on earth to be assigned. The conclusion seems to be, that on earth he had no longer any local residence, his body requiring neither food for its subsistence nor a lodging for its shelter and repose: he was become the inhabitant of another region, from which he came occasionally to converse with his disciples: his visible ascension, at the expiration of the forty days, being not the necessary means of his removal, but a token to the disciples that this was his last visit; an evidence to them that the heavens had now received him, and that he was to be seen no more on earth with the corporeal eye till the restitution of all things. I might have been less particular in the detail of circumstances which lead to this  conclusion, had it appeared in our English Bible, as it does in the original, that Peter roundly asserts the very same thing in the words of my text, "Him God raised up the third day," says Peter, "and showed him openly," as our English Bibles have it, "not to all the people." But here is a manifest contradiction. Not to be shown to all the people is not to be shown openly. To be shown openly therefore not to all the people, is to be shown and not to be shown at the same time. The literal meaning of the Greek words is this, "Him God raised up the third day, and gave him to be visible." Not openly visible; no such thing is said; it is the very thing denied; but "he gave him to be visible." Jesus was no longer in a state to be naturally visible to any man. His body was indeed risen, but it was become that body which Paul describes in the 15th chapter of his first epistle to the Corinthians, which having no sympathy with the gross bodies of this earthly sphere, nor any place among them, must be indiscernible to the human organs, till they shall have undergone a similar refinement. The divinity united to the blessed Jesus produced in a short space that change in him, which in other men, according to the mysterious physics of Paul, must be the effect of a slower process. The divinity united to him having raised him on the third day from the grave, in a body incorruptible and invisible, gave him to become visible occasionally, not to all the people, but to his chosen witnesses; to those who were chosen to the privilege of beholding God face to face in the person of his Son, of attesting the fact of Christ's resurrection, and of publishing through the world the glad tidings of the general redemption. Thus, you see, every appearance of our Lord to the apostles after his resurrection, was, in truth, an appearance of the great God, the Maker of heaven and earth, to mortal man. The conferences, though frequent; seem to have been short, and upon each occasion mixed with that condescension which was necessary to give the disciples sensible evidence of the reality of the resurrection. We discover much of a reserved dignity in his deportment; a tone of high authority prevails in his language, and something profoundly mysterious in his actions. His familiar conversation with the world before his passion, was a principle branch of his humiliation; and his humiliation was an essential part of those sufferings by which the guilt of a man was expiated. But the atonement being once made, the form of a servant was to be removed; Christ was to re-assume his glory, and to be seen no more but as the only begotten of the Father. See Bishop Horseley's Nine Sermons on the Nature of the Evidence of Christ's Resurrection, Sermon iv. p. 197, &c.--Biblical Cyclopædia, or Dictionary of the Holy Scriptures by William Jones, Author of the History of the Christian Church, vol. 2d. London Ed. 1824.
|[Communicated by W. C. Baltimore.]|
To the Editor of the Millennial Harbinger.
THE dominant priesthood are using all their ingenuity and craft to prejudice the minds of your readers and the community against you I have looked on and listened with astonishment at their conduct, and asked myself, Can this  be the fruits of the christian religion, or is it not some other spirit that the present order of things has produced?
The Apostle John exhorts us to "try the spirits whether they are of God, because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know we the Spirit of God; every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God; and this is that spirit of antichrist whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is in the world." I understand this Apostle that there would be, and were teachers gone out, that refused to own Jesus Christ as Lord of All. They preferred their own views or plans to the writings of his Apostles. They are of the world, therefore the world heareth them; that is, they are uninspired men, that have assumed to themselves to decide upon what is essential to salvation and what is not. "He that knows God, hears us," [that is, the Apostles of Jesus Christ and not uninspired men."] "Hereby know we the spirit of truth and the spirit of error." Those who take the writings of the Apostles as their guide to the christian church, and own Jesus in word and deed, are of God. Those who have ladders or scaffolds to climb up to the christian church, or build up a sect called the church of Jesus Christ, are not of God.
If any man renounce the dogmas of these uninspired men, and take the writings of the Apostles as a role of faith and practice, however orderly, pious, and useful he may be, all this goes for nothing--he is treated as a publican and a heathen man. Ask them why they act thus--they reply, You have changed your sentiments, and how can two walk together except they be agreed? These men preach reformation; and so soon as one is disposed to reform, they gather the pack (bigots) and raise the hue and cry. If he be a teacher the doors of the meeting houses are shut against him, and all fellowship is disclaimed with him, for no other reason than that of his being honest enough to forsake his errors, and teach men to conform, or reform their views and practices to the standard of the inspired Apostles.
I have known churches living in peace and love where the ancient gospel was proclaimed. No sooner did some heresiarch hear of it, than he, under pretence of great love for the brethren, visited them, and pitched upon some of the intolerant spirits he knew would subserve his views. The war-whoop was soon heard--schisms were soon made among brethren that were living in peace, by those that love to be busy bodies in other men's matters. Then, of course, all the blame was thrown upon those who were willing to live in fellowship with their brethren, though they differed in opinion.
I have so often heard from the priesthood that you are a Haldanian, (for the members do not know what are the sentiments of Haldane, nor do I,) and having never read one page of Haldane's writing except where it has been quoted by other authors, I felt anxious to find out what part of Haldane's writings was so heretical or unpure as to become a term of reproach. I therefore searched the Christian Baptist, in order to discover, if possible, what part of Haldane's conduct and sentiments produced so unchristian a course as has been pursued towards the friends of the ancient order of things. In vol. 8, page 197, I found a letter which you say was written by "one of the most intelligent, pious, and worthy Bishops in Virginia." This Bishop admits that the Haldanians "have many excellent things among them--things he would gladly see more prevalent among us; but in some respects they are far from pure christianity."
"Forbearance is certainly a christian grace, strongly recommended by precept and example in the word of God. It is an important branch of charity, without which knowledge is nothing, and the eloquence of angels nothing more than a tinkling cymbal. WITHOUT CHRISTIAN FORBEARANCE NO CHURCH FELLOWSHIP CAN BE MAINTAINED, AT LEAST SO I THINK. The Haldanians, I am persuaded, are greatly deficient on this head. I do not say they are wholly without forbearance; but they limit its exercise to too narrow bounds. In all church decisions, say they, there must be a unanimity--all must think alike.  However desirable this may be, it is impossible. Men will differ in opinion honestly. Hence, unless allowance be made for ignorance, for humor, and even for obstinacy, there will be but little peace; or, however, peace cannot subsist long."
"The essence of the gospel must be maintained at the expense of even life itself; and to do this more effectually, we must use forbearance in minor things. Gentleness of spirit becomes a servant of the Lord, and especially toward those who oppose truth, as being the most likely to bring them to repentance. Hence the persecutions of every age have been on the side of error."
So writes this excellent Bishop from King and Queen county. If I understand him, he is opposed to christians making their opinions a bond of union. This is, as he says, "Far from pure christianity." Such conduct is sure to produce persecutions; and he says. "Persecutions in every age have been on the side of error." These are important truths, and I am of this bishop's opinion. But, alas! how fearful some men are of changing their opinions; and yet how changeable they are!
I find in the 5th volume of the Christian Baptist, page 198 this same Bishop writes from Washington to Silas M. Noel, D. D. and tells him, "The Baptists have been a divided people, owing (I think) to the want of a proper respect for established opinions, customs, whether written or otherwise." "In my address to him a year or two ago, I said, if his principles prevailed, a new sect started up. Such are my views, and my deliberate judgment tells me that there is much less ground for fellowship with such a sect, than with Presbyterians, or even evangelical Episcopalians."
I ask, Can this Bishop review these two letters, and then inquire into the state of the churches in Kentucky and other places, and say that he and your opponents have not manifested what he calls the "Haldanian spirit," and have been the occasion of all the turmoil and schism among the brethren in the churches? Where is this forbearance, which he says "is certainly a christian grace, strongly recommended both by precept and example in the word of God, and is an important branch of charity without which, knowledge is nothing, and the eloquence of angels is nothing more than a tinkling cymbal, and without which no church fellowship can be manifested," and that "it is impossible for men to think alike--men will differ in opinion honestly."
I am fully persuaded that your opponents are according to the Bishop's views of Haldane, more in the spirit of Haldane than you are, or any of the friends of the ancient order of things. No than of truth can say that you or they make your opinions, "whether written or otherwise." a bond of union, or test of fellowship. No, sir, this is the antichristian spirit. Look at the conduct of the Jews, the Roman Catholics, and all the sects in christendom, and we see this spirit of intolerance manifested against all those that differ in opinion with them. They will not suffer any man to reform and remain among them. They make "sects" and then condemn them for discharging their duty to God. The conduct of Abner W. Clopton with his Association demonstrates my assertion. It is slander to call the friends of the ancient order of things, a sect, different from that sect, in their views and practices, raised up by the inspired Apostles of Jesus Christ, without pointing out their departure from the writings of the Apostles--as much so, as if I were to charge them with being thieves and robbers without producing the evidence of their guilt.
|For the Millennial Harbinger.|
TO R. T. BROWN.
YOUR candid letter demands and receives my serious attention. The temper it exhibits must be cherished by all who would come to the stature of men in Christ Jesus. I desire, with you, to  avoid that dogmatical spirit which savors of assumed infallibility, and I rejoice that the have one periodical unshackled by human systems and party views, presenting a medium for free discussion to all who are meekly and earnestly searching after the infinite treasure of divine truth.
Most cordially do I adopt the principle, that "in matters of religion nothing is good authority which does not bear as old a date as the days of the Apostles." Far be it, that the disciples of the Lord Jesus should continue to impeach his wisdom and goodness by reverencing any thing as such authority except that Word which abideth forever. So prone, however, are we to be insensibly biassed by various causes, that we have continual need to pray, "Make me to understand the way of thy precepts."
You remark, "The general prevalence of the idea that unbelievers believe, is to me the greatest miracle of this age." Again, "Strange to say, I know of a number of persons who seriously contend that believing what the Scriptures say of Jesus Christ, is not faith in Jesus Christ." I am not one of this number. I admit that if a man believes truth, whether it respects Jesus Christ or any other subject, so far he has true faith. But I ask, Is it any "miracle" that a man should believe some truths respecting Jesus Christ, and at the same time not believe other truths which must be believed if he would he saved? Is it "strange," or is it more "strange" than true, that men believe that Jesus Christ was born in Judea, died on the cross, rose from the dead, and ascended to heaven, while they do not believe "the truth" which he came down from heaven to declare? You, indeed, misapprehend me, if you suppose I contend for the belief of any truth "unconnected with this glorious truth that Jesus the Messiah has come in the flesh, died, and rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures." It is, however, my firm belief, that men are convinced of the truth of these facts, and at the same time, in the pride of their heart: will not believe other truths which must be believed if they would be saved. You ask, most reasonably, "What position faith in Jesus Christ is a conviction of the truth of?" I reply, (not in the words of some "human system of divinity" under the influence of which you fear I labor, but in the words which the Holy Spirit teacheth,) "The message which we have heard of him--that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all"--"all have sinned and come short of the glory of God"--and "the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." These truths must he believed in connexion with the recorded facts of the death, resurrection, and ascension of the Messiah, for these truths impart to those facts their chief importance and glory. Our blessed Master, praying for his disciples, said, "I have declared unto them THY NAME, and will declare it, that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them and I in them." Again--"He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life." By the Father's name, I understand his perfections. By the word of Christ, his testimony in general concerning the holy character of God, the consequent evil of sin, and justice of our  condemnation--his testimony respecting himself as the Son of God--the true Messiah--the way of salvation. These truths, in their holy and harmonious connexion, are what I mean by the phrase "the doctrine of the Lord." I do not exclude the recorded facts before stated from the doctrine of the Lord, but I conceive that they are not so connected with the holy truths I have specified, as to render it impossible for a man to believe them while he does not believe these holy truths. Indeed, I am personally acquainted with men who believe the Scripture testimony of the Acts of the Saviour's death, resurrection, and ascension, who also believe that the remission of sin is no more necessarily connected with the death of Christ, than with the martyrdom of Paul or Peter. Is such a man to be considered as believing to the saving of the soul? Is he to he immersed and received to the fellowship of the christian church, because he declares that he believes Jesus Christ to be the Son of God?
To illustrate my views, let us suppose that the state of Georgia rebels against the general government, and purposes to overthrow the republican and establish a monarchical form. The other states assembled in Congress appoint and send an ambassador with proper credentials to protest against this rebellion, to exhort the Georgians to abandon their iniquitous purpose, with assurances of friendship if they comply and of destruction if they do not. Some deny his official character. Others say, We know that he is an ambassador from the United States, for no man could produce the credentials which he does if he were not. They believe that he is the authorized minister of the general government, and say, We cannot deny it;" but they do not believe his testimony that it will be best for them to submit; they hate his embassy, and refuse subjection. They believed he came from Washington--that he delivered his message, and that he has returned; they have seen and hated both him and his embassy.
Impotent man has risen in proud rebellion against the infinitely benevolent and almighty Majesty of the Universe. The God of love, though he might in justice have destroyed forever, has sent his beloved Son as his Ambassador from the Court of Heaven to protest against this rebellion, to declare his Father's name, to exhort us to reform and to submit to his holy government, and to die for us that God "might be just and the justifier of him who believeth in Jesus." Some by divine favor, believe his testimony of divine truth, reform, are immersed, rejoice, and triumph in the hope of eternal life. Some deny that he came down from heaven, and that he is the Saviour of men. Others are obliged to allow, by the force of the evidence, the testimony that he is "a teacher come from God," that he died and rose again; but they believe not his testimony respecting the holy character of God, the evil of their rebellion, and reject his embassy of truth and mercy.
I am confirmed in my views of this subject by the consideration of the command to "reform and believe the glad tidings." This reformation, which is "towards God," necessarily implies a belief of the holiness or goodness of God's law, and the consequent evil of  sin, without which reformation "towards God" is impossible. Also, to the words of our Saviour, "How can ye believe that receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor which cometh from God only?" Is it not evident from this forcible question, that the carnal disposition of heart is a barrier in believing in the salvation of the soul? Is it not equally evident that men may, did, and do believe some truths, some facts recorded of Jesus Christ, while they love the praise of men more than the praise of God? [See John xii. 43.]
To this view of the subject it may be objected, that the promise of salvation is connected with believing the resurrection of the Son of God. Rom. x. 9. But if we infer from this that a man believing this may be saved while he does not believe other truths which the Scriptures declare must be believed in order to be saved, we set the Scripture against itself. It is obvious that we must believe all truth, the belief of which the New Testament makes essential to salvation; otherwise we might prove that "a man may be forgiven without grace, the blood of Jesus, and without faith, for (as brother Campbell says) we can find passages, many passages where remission, or justification, sanctification, or some similar term occurs, and no mention of either grace, faith, or the blood of Jesus."
This subject is, in my apprehension, of great importance, both as it respects the true character of the christian church, and the salvation of the souls of men. I know, indeed, and lament that the belief of too much truth has been made essential to membership in the church of Christ; let us, however, beware of what is, perhaps, the more dangerous error--making too little. Imagine an association of all the persons in any considerable town in the United States, who will confess a belief of the recorded facts of the birth, death, and resurrection of the Messiah. Would such a society be most worthy of the appellation of a church of Christ, or a synagogue of him who confessed the Saviour to be "the Holy One of God?"
|Yours in truth and love,|
|Hartford, Con. October 5th, 1830.|
|COPIED FROM THE RELIGIOUS HERALD.|
CONVERSION OF PROFESSOR FRANCKE OF HALLE.
HE had now been seven years engaged in the study of theology, was perfectly familiar with the letter of the Scriptures, and had gone through the routine of studies with uncommon assiduity. At this period, (while yet at Leipsic) it pleased God to give him daily, more and more conviction of his own unworthiness, as well as more and more solicitude to change his situation. But although he was now impressed with a full belief of the necessity and importance of conversion, he found himself so entangled with the things of this world, that he despaired of being able to extricate himself, and lift his affections higher. This exterior difficulty seemed to be removed, when he went to Luneburg. Cut off there from worldly society to  which he was accustomed, and brought into contact with consistent and exemplary christians, he now found that there was an obstacle more serious than mere external circumstances; he felt more than ever the necessity of a change, and the existence of some obstacle with himself to its production. While in this state of mind, he received an appointment to preach in St. John's Church, and finding himself no more disposed to regard the service as a mere exercise in eloquence, he felt deep solicitude so to perform the task as to edify his hearers. He was still engrossed with those thoughts, when he fell upon the text, (John xx. 21.) "These are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through his name."
While reflecting on the meaning of these words, and on the difference between imaginary and true faith, the thought occurred to him, that he was himself destitute of this important quality. It was in vain that he endeavored to withstand the strong conviction which now fastened on his soul. It was in vain that he reverted to his books, and even to the Scriptures for relief; he could find it neither in God's word or man's. In the agony of his soul he prayed that if there was indeed a God, he would have compassion on him. While in this state of mind, he resolved, unless some change should occur, to abstain from preaching against his conscience. "For," to borrow his own most expressive terms, "I felt too sensible what it was to have no God upon whom I could lay hold; to bemoan my sins without knowing wherefore, or who it was that caused my tears to flow; or whether there was in reality a God, who was offended with me. In such anguish, he continues, 'I knelt down upon that Sunday, and called, upon the God and Saviour whom I knew not, and believed not in, for deliverance from this miserable situation, if, indeed, there was a God and Saviour whom I knew not, and believed not in. The Lord heard me, heard me instantly: all my doubts vanished. I was assured in my own heart of the grace of God in Christ. All sorrow and uneasiness departed from me, and I was inundated as with a flood of joy. I had bent my knees in great distress and doubt; l rose again with unutterable confidence and joy. I felt as if through all my past life, I had been lying in a profound sleep, and performed all my actions in a dream, and as if I had now for the first time been awakened; I was perfectly convinced, that all the world, with all its pleasures, could not produce in the human heart, such delicious joy as I experienced, and I saw, distinctly, that after such foretastes of God's grace and goodness, the world with its charms would have little power to allure me." On the Wednesday following, he preached upon the text which he had chosen with great inward satisfaction:--from this hour, Francke dated his conversion, and in this hour, as he himself declared in his last prayer in the garden of the orphan house, forty years afterwards, God opened in his heart, a spring from which exhaustless streams of joy and consolation had been flowing ever since.
|Biblical Repertory. |
On the Conversion of Professor Francke.
WHAT an age of the world is this in which we live! How have sectarianisms and humanisms obscured the light of heaven! What absurdities and wild extravagances are issued from the press, and sent forth to pamper, or to feed, the souls of the bewildered devotees of speculative theology. Here is the conversion of a modern Nicodemus told in his own style. Yes, the conversion of a professor in a school for making preachers and teachers of the christian religion! Is it published for the benefit of the religious of this day and generation--a standard for the measurement of christian experience, or is it sent forth as a pun, a satire, on the enthusiasm of this time? I give it as I found it in "The Religious Herald." How many papers have inserted it, I know not. Nor do I know from what motive it was tendered to the readers of the Religious Herald. But it is titled the conversion of a Professor Francke of Halle. And what is the conversion of the professor of which he cherished the remembrance for forty years as his regeneration! The anguish, the prayer, and the answer to the prayer. And what was the anguish? "whether in reality there was a God who was offended with me?" And what was the prayer? Let him tell. "I called upon the God and Saviour whom I knew not, AND BELIEVED NOT IN, for deliverance from this miserable situation, if, indeed, there was a God and Saviour whom I knew not and believed not in"!! The answer to the prayer--"The Lord heard me." What was the proof?--"All my doubts vanished." Yes, here is the conversion of a professor--"the anguish, the pangs of regeneration," the prayer, and the answer. "How shall they call upon him in whom they have not believed?" Paul could not tell: but Professor Francke can tell. "Without faith it is impossible to please God"--said the same Apostle. But Professor Francke without faith pleased God, and was accepted. "He that cometh to God must believe that he is," says the Holy Spirit; but Professor Francke came to God without believing that God is.
It is known that Lord Herbert prayed in the style of Professor Francke, and was confirmed in deism by his prayer. It is said that Volney prayed exactly in the style, and almost in the words of Professor Francke, when the anguish of a sea storm overwhelmed him. Volney's prayer was "O God, if there be any, save my soul, if I have any." Volney was saved from being swallowed up in the ocean. But who will say, that this was Volney's conversion!
The professor conceited, however, that God heard him, and this conceit had a happy influence upon him; it operated as a reality. And most certainly it was but a conceit in the first instance: for every christian knows that God will not hear a person without faith. "Let not such a man," says James, "think that he shall obtain any thing from the Lord."
While such stories are told, and believed, and such anguish and prayers are called conversions, the world will continue in its present darkness, the scriptures will be neglected, and men will be  bewildered with every ignis fatuus which rises from the fens and marshes of the irreclaimable wilderness of creeds and systems of human contrivance. We go for this maxim, "Let God be true, though it should make every man a liar." "We walk by faith," and not by imaginary conversions. The conversion of the first christians by the Apostles, was a literal turning to God, and doing works worthy of reformation. It was ceasing to do evil, learning to do well. It was washing themselves, making themselves clean in the blood of the Lamb, and forsaking the evil of their doings. The first act of which, was their sensible, visible, memorable burial and resurrection with Jesus Christ in immersion for the remission of sins.
CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE--No. IV.
THE object of this essay is to account for a difference in degree between the comforts of forgiveness enjoyed by the first converts, contrasted with those now converted to the ancient gospel.
As a preliminary to this, it may be remarked that amongst the moderns, corrupted by human gospels, there is a prevailing idea that persons are pardoned by means of, or in consequence of, a thought or a feeling. Hence, we often hear persons, in relating their experience, date all their joys and their hopes of heaven from some idea which they formed, from some feeling of which they were conscious, or from some impression made upon their minds, at a certain time. Ask such what they know concerning the pardon of their sins and they generally refer to that idea, feeling, or impression, as proof that they were pardoned. From this, in retrospection, often spring all their confidence and their present joys. Their knowledge of remission is their recollection of such an idea, feeling, or impression. According to its vividness, or faintness are their present comforts and hopes. If, at any time, their recollections should fail, or the original idea or impression become less vivid, doubts and fears arise; clouds overspread their heaven, gloomy feelings, and religious chills and fevers, disturb their tranquility. But, if the impression, that at a certain time they were truly converted, increase by new experiences, called by them the witness of the Spirit, the first idea, feeling, or impression, augmented by more recent ideas, feelings, and impressions of a similar character, produces a glow intense and a joy unutterable. Still, however, the fons et principium, the fountain and origin of all their hopes and joys, is an impression that they were at a certain time pardoned; and, mark what follows, that they were at that time pardoned is an INFERENCE drawn from what passed in their minds. Their feelings were the premises, and their pardon is the conclusion.
That the fountain and origin of all true peace, hope, and joy is an assurance of the pardon of all sin, and an adoption into God's own family is cheerfully conceded: for this is that for which we contend. But whether this assurance is any inference drawn from such premises;--from the workings of a guilty conscience--terrors,  convictions, feelings, and a subsequent calm, or from the written and well attested testimony of God, received and obeyed, is the great question.
The foundation of this assurance with the ancient converts was the testimony of God; with the modern converts to humanized gospels, it appears to be an inference drawn from one's own feelings. On testimony true and faithful, the ancients built; on inference the moderns rely. When the controversy is pruned from all verbosity and intricacy, this seems to be the fair and simple state of the case.
The certainty, or the assurance, derived from well attested testimony, and that derived from an inference, especially when that inference is from premises so ambiguous and so intangible as the workings of the mind, is very different. Inferences, drawn from the comparison of propositions respecting things external and sensible, are not to be so much depended on as good human testimony. If a person were to infer the operation of any machine from the most strict examination, the testimony of one competent witness against his inferences will generally make him doubt the correctness of his reasonings and conclusions. But how much less to be depended on are the reasonings of the mind upon itself; when it is both the agent and the subject of examination. Not so the examination of testimony. Its credibility is more easily discovered than the agreement or disagreement of any two propositions respecting the operations of the mind upon itself. But this is a subject on which the experience of every thinking person sheds abundant lustre. To say nothing of the fact that Satan, though the Prince of darkness, often transforms himself into a messenger of light to deceive the human mind, the difficulty in the way of assurance arising from the subtlety of mental operations, makes the goodness of God most illustrious in founding the certainty of remission upon testimony rather than inference drawn from premises so ambiguous as mental impressions and feelings.
When we reflect that all mental comfort, all spiritual health, all peace of mind, hope, and joy, arise from a sense of the friendship and favor of God, or from the knowledge of the remission of our sins, it is most obvious that the clearer the evidence, or the greater the certainty of pardon, the greater the peace, hope, love, and joy of the convert.
To make the christian's joy complete, the Apostles, in imitation of the Saviour, spoke and wrote many things. If; then, the Saviour and his Apostles spoke and wrote for the avowed purpose of making the joy of christians complete, it is fairly to be presumed and clearly to be inferred that, in the assurance of remission which the gospel affords, there is a foundation laid for peace and joy complete. The testimony of God is the highest assurance which can be given, and produces the greatest conceivable certainty: for, as John says, "if we receive (as certain) the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater. But God, willing more abundantly to show to the heirs of his promise the immutability of his purpose, (to bless through  remission all the seed of Abraham) in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might, have strong consolations who have fled for refuge to the Lord Jesus."
To bless the nations through the seed of Abraham was the burthen of Cod's promise and oath to Abraham. But it was in, and not out, of Jesus this blessing was to come upon men. Hence, Peter announced in Solomon's Portico:--"To you Jews first, God having raised up his son Jesus, sent him to bless you, every one of you, in turning from his iniquities." From these premises and from this assurance, he exhorted them to be immersed, or to turn to God, that so their sins might be blotted out, and that seasons of refreshment, from the presence of God might come upon them.
All that we would infer from these premises is, that the gospel, to correspond with the love and grace which it discovers, to sustain the declared purpose or promise and oath of God concerning blessing the nations in the seed of Abraham, must afford the greatest certainty of remission; and as the object of the apostolic writings was to make the joy of christians complete, and as the completeness of this joy necessarily depends upon the certainty of remission, the gospel ground of assurance of remission to all who embrace it, must, also, be complete.
These things premised, we are prepared for the object of this essay. The first christians had just the same assurance of the remission of their previous sins as they had that Jesus was the Messiah. Their assurance that Jesus was the Messiah, was the testimony of God confirmed. Their assurance of remission was the same testimony confirmed and made accessible to them in immersion. Ask one of those converts if his sins were pardoned, he answered, Yes. Ask him how he knew, he replied, I was immersed in obedience to a divine command for the remission of my sins. And he that said, "This is my beloved Son," said also, "Believe and be immersed for remission." I believed and was immersed for that purpose upon the same testimony, and, therefore, as certain as I am that Jesus is the Messiah, so certain am I that all my former sins were remitted in immersion. This, at once, explains the complete joy of the Pentecostian, Samaritan, and Philippian converts, with all those detailed cases recorded by Luke--with all the disciples in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia Minor, and Bythinia, mentioned by Peter &c. &c. Since the days of Simon, the Pharisee, it has been decided that he that loves much is he that has much forgiven; and he that loves little has but little forgiven, or, what is the same thing, has little evidence that he has been forgiven.
Though many have the same joy in degree, as well as in kind, when they are born of water, as had the first christians, all have not. The reasons I now offer, indeed they are substantially presented already. The first christians acted upon testimony only. Those who are now proselyted act from testimony only in part, and from reasoning upon the systems of religious instruction already received. Sometimes the minds of candidates for immersion have been in  suspense, in a sort of mental equilibrium, between arguments on both sides, for and against remission in immersion. One single argument has given a preponderance in favor of baptism for remission. From this they act. From inferential reasonings they yield obedience to the gospel. A mind thus trained in vascillations, thus practised in wavering, seldom suddenly, or at all, acts with that certainty and decision which distinguished the first converts. Hence, not acting with the same implicit confidence on God's testimony alone, they cannot have the same immediate assurance of remission, and consequently the same full and complete peace and joy which distinguished the ancient converts.
Again, it may be observed that in the first ages there were no christians, public or private, opposing the promise of remission in immersion. Jews and Pagans, as such, opposed the whole christian institution. But these were regarded as common enemies of the cross. They opposed all the pretensions of Jesus, and all his institutions with like impartial hate. But now many confess Christ in words and professions, who have a reputation for piety, and oppose immersion for remission, and these are a drawback upon young converts, create doubts, suspicions, and fears, so that they cannot come forward with all that assurance and confidence in the institution which the first converts felt. These considerations will explain why it is that some who, surrounded with these unpropitious circumstances, obey for gospel purposes, may not in the same degree rejoice in the Lord as did those immersed by the Apostles.
So soon as these circumstances are removed, and this opposition from professed friends of the gospel is put down, the disciples, apprehending and relying implicitly on the testimony of God, will derive from their immersion that assurance of remission which was the strength and the joy of the apostolic converts. They will, like the Father of the Faithful, learn to rely implicitly upon the testimony of God, and give glory to his faithfulness and power, being fully persuaded that what he has promised he is able to perform. Then will they resemble the children of Abraham who have always been distinguished for faith and obedience, in the consequent confidence in God, and in all its concomitant hopes and joys. Let the disciples have that certainty of remission which the first converts had, and they will, like the first disciples, rejoice with joy unutterable and full of glory.
Proposition III.--At the time of this assemblage of the nations, the Lord Jesus will descend to Mount Olivet, whence he ascended. The Jews will be converted in one day; a literal earthquake will shake the earth from pole to pole; and then will be destroyed the cities of the nations, and all that do wickedly. The Man of Sin shall be judged--the dead saints shall be raised--and the Millennium commence from that day.
THIS proposition, more comprehensive than the preceding,  demands a fuller elucidation, and calls for more particular attention than the first and second. In the present No. we shall devote two essays to it.
The conversion of the Jews cannot be expected by the operation of any means now employed for that purpose. No exertions made by an apostate church, by a people distinguished for sectarian zeal and an adherence to human traditions, can be honored by God to accomplish such an event. The whole magazines of sectarian artillery furnish not the weapons for such a triumphant war. Their gospels are too impotent; their logic too illogical; their philosophy too unphilosophic, and their arguments too hostile to their own practices, and their practices too repugnant to the religion which they profess, to produce any prejudice in their favor in the hearts of the sons of Abraham.
Christ, proclaimed by a Paul and a Peter, could not subdue the prejudices of the great mass of that people. After the election of grace was separated from the nation, the unbelieving were "all shut up together for their disobedience" to the gospel. "A spirit of deep sleep God gave them, eyes not seeing, and ears not hearing, until the present day." "But God is able to graft them in again." If the casting away of them was the reconciling of the Gentiles, what will the resumption of them be, but life from the dead?" "All Israel shall be saved," when that which is written comes to pass. "The Deliverer shall come out of Zion, and turn away ungodliness from Jacob."
But the children of "Mystery, Babylon the Great," cannot turn away ungodliness from themselves, much less from Jacob. A ruler of a synagogue once said to me:--"You christians talk of the peaceable kingdom of Jesus--show me where the kingdom of love is! Are your discordant sects the conquests of your Messiah! Such a Messiah is worthy of such a people, and such a people worthy of such a Messiah! Whenever you agree in what Jesus taught you, and unite in where and what his kingdom is, then we Jews will hear you. Till then, we will adhere to that Moses who led our fathers through the Red Sea, fed them in the wilderness, and gave us a law from Horeb, received through ranks of angels from God's own hand."
But we have seen they must be restored to their own native land, and assembled from all nations before they can be converted to Jesus. The nation shall look together upon him whom their fathers pierced. Suddenly he will come in the clouds of heaven, then they all shall say, "Blessed let him be who comes in the name of the Lord!" Then the Deliverer, coming out of Zion, shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.
But here we must notice the accompanying events. For when the Lord Jesus descends to commence his liberal reign on earth, he is to destroy the Man of Sin as well as to convert the Jews. The conversion of the Jews, the destruction of the Man of Sin, and the subjugation of the remnant of the Gentiles to the dominion of Jesus, appear to be almost, if not altogether, contemporaneous events. The Man of Sin has been consuming for many years, and will yet be  farther consumed before the Lord appears. The Spirit, or Word, which proceeds out of his mouth, is the instrument by which, Paul informs us, the Man of Sin is to be consumed: but the bright appearing of the Lord at his coming, is that which is appointed to destroy him.
The judgment of the great harlot is reserved to that glorious and terrific appearance of the Lord in behalf of the saints amongst the Gentiles, and of his covenant with Abraham his friend. At one and the same crisis, Babylon the Great shall fall; the cities of the Gentiles shall be laid in ruins. The enemies of the Jews shall be destroyed, and the nation converted. In one day the antichristian kingdom in all its provinces--the idolatrous nations of the Gentiles, and the infidelity of the Jews, shall be arraigned and judged. Then it shall he proclaimed by a great voice from the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, IT IS DONE. When the seventh angel pours forth his vial upon the air, "there shall be voices, and thunders, and lightnings, and tempests, and hail, and a great earthquake, such as there had not been from the time that men were upon the earth, such and so great an earthquake." Then it is that Cod will cause the great harlot to drink the dregs of the cup of the wine of his fiercest wrath.
This great earthquake accompanies the pouring out of the seventh vial, full of the fiercest wrath of God upon the air. The corruptions of christianity deserve the severest punishment. He that corrupted and despised the Mosaic institution, died without mercy when convicted by two witnesses: of how much sorer punishment will the corruptors of christianity be worthy! For them, and their supporters, is reserved the vial of God's fiercest wrath. To this earthquake Ezekiel refers in the section cited in our last number. This is that shock, felt in the land of Israel, which rends the mountains, sinks the vallies, and prostrates the walls and towers to the ground. 'Tis then the Lord descends to Mount Olivet, whence he ascended. Soon as his feet are placed where once he stood, (for says Zechariah, "In that day he shall stand upon the Mount of Olives which is before Jerusalem on the East,") the mountain shall cleave in the midst. Then shall the prediction of the two angels be verified--Acts i. 10, 11. "This same Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven." But, says Malachi, "Who shall abide the day of his coming, and who shall stand when he appears; for he is like a refiner's fire, and a fuller's soap. He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver are purged (by fire) that they may offer unto the Lord an offering of righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant to the Lord as in days of old, and as in former years."
"When the Lord's feet touch the Mount of Olives, it shall cleave in the midst towards the East, and towards the West, and there shall he a very great, valley, and half of the mountain shall remove towards the North, and half of it towards the South," No person can  allege that this prediction was fulfilled when the Lord came to destroy Jerusalem. At this time, too, it is said, he shall come, and his saints with him. Enoch, who, also, foretold the same event, said, "The Lord will come with ten thousand of his saints." Many of the predictions concerning this coming of the Lord, are either referred to his coming to destroy Jerusalem, or at the end of the world. But to neither event can they properly apply. 'Tis now that "every eye shall see him, and all kindreds wail because of him." At this time the Jews are converted, the dead saints are raised, antichrist is destroyed, the remnant of the Gentiles brought in, and the reign of Jesus commences. But of these things hereafter in detail. Before we prosecute these inquiries farther, we shall subjoin an essay embracing the two periods of christianity as laid down in the sacred books--suffering and triumphant christianity.
CHRISTIANITY IN ITS SUFFERING AND TRIUMPHANT STATES.
WE shall endeavor to sustain the two following propositions from the Holy Scriptures, viz.--
I. The history of Christianity, as it lies on the face of Scripture, is divided into two parts--a suffering and a triumphant part.
II. The kingdom shall be changed from suffering to triumph, not gradually, but immediately--in a day--the day of the Lord--the great day of his wrath.
1st. The termination of the first period of christian history was indicated by the angel when he poured out the last plague--"It is done." The second period commences by the binding of Satan, and the resurrection of the just to live and reign a thousand years with Christ on the earth. The sixth seal concludes the first period and the oppression of the tyrants, the kings of the earth, the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every freeman opposed to God. And the seventh trumpet introduces the thousand years when the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ. The seals show that christianity was long to be oppressed--the trumpets give a warning to its oppressors--and the vials administer their punishment, because they repented not to give him glory.
Speaking of these two periods, the Apostle Paul says, "I account the suffering of the present time not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us;" and he shows us that mankind are to be made partakers, if not of the glory, at least of the liberty of the sons of God. Again, "If we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him;" i. e. during the thousand years, and afterwards eternally. Peter speaks of the sufferings for the Christ, and the glory following these; and John says, "Behold, he comes or clouds, and every eye shall see him." This will be at the commencement of the thousand years. But the two periods of christian history were indicated long before by Daniel when he symbolized it under the figure of a little stone and a  great mountain: "Thou sawest until that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, which smote the image--his feet that were of iron and clay, and broke them to pieces and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth." Daniel also shows that at the beginning of the Millennium, "the kingdom, and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him." Zechariah says that at that time, "the Lord shall be King overall the earth. In that day there shall be one Lord, and his name one." [See chaps. i. ii, iv. viii. ix, xii. xiii. xiv.] Finally, the Saviour said that the kingdom of heaven resembled a prince who went into a far country to obtain a kingdom, and return. He will return at the beginning of the 1000 years. And the suddenness of his appearance among the nations is set forth in the parable of the Ten Virgins; for as the lightning shines from the East even unto the West, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be; as a snare shall it enclose all the inhabitants of the earth. Watch and pray, therefore, that ye may he accounted worthy to escape all those things, and to stand before the Son of Man. The termination of this suffering period of christianity is set forth in the book of Revelation by a most singular symbol of the church. ch. xii. 1. "And there appeared a great wonder in heaven: a woman clothed with the Sun, and the Moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars." This woman, afterwards shown to be the church and bride of Christ, is driven by some tyrannical and opposing power into the wilderness: "And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she had a place prepared of God, that they should feed her a thousand two hundred and sixty days." At the end of this period, and near to, or, perhaps, at the very beginning of the thousand years, the woman again makes her appearance, and all the heavens rejoice; yes, when she looketh forth from the wilderness as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners! All the heavens rejoice. "Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great." "Alleluia! for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth." "Let us rejoice and be glad, and give honor to him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready." In a word, the present suffering period of christianity is to terminate by the most fearful and sweeping judgment that ever desolated the world--on a day called "the great day of God Almighty," "the great day of his wrath," and also "the great and notable day of the Lord." It is on this day that Jesus Christ goeth forth to the punishment of the ungodly nations, with all his saints. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich, and the chief captains, and the, mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth upon the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of his wrath is come and who shall be able to stand?"  It will come upon the gluttons of this age sudden as the flood. Ho! ye fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, come, gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God, that you may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, free and bond, both small and great." Here bad government and false religion come forever to an end, under the extraordinary symbols of a Beast and False Prophet, taken up by the strong-armed angel of God, and "cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone." And such shall be the fate of all who dare to act, either in politics or religion, as if there were no God. Brethren, let us reform, and reform, and reform, till we please God in all things; for it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. So much for our first proposition.
That the history of christianity will be changed from suffering to triumph, not gradually, but in a day, is most manifest to me from various considerations.
In the first instance, I hold it to be incontrovertible that the world, after two thousand years trial, has proved itself incapable of purifying itself, even with all the means for that purpose which God has given to it in the gospel of his Son Jesus Christ. I do not mean, that the gospel is not adequate to the salvation of the world; but that we are unable to apply it to that end. What have we done, what are we doing, or what can we do in Asia, Africa, Europe, or America, with the gospel as it came from the hands of its author? Our missionaries have been all dismissed the Russian empire; and when they were there they did not preach the gospel as the Apostles did; and if they had done so, what would it have availed in an empire where the civil government has anticipated all reform by enlisting against every attempt at change the thousands and tens of thousands of clergymen of the Greek church? England has done the same, and by her stipends and largesses, has given to the church by law established, such superiority in wealth, literature, rank, and influence, that the word of the Lord is impeded on every hand, nor can it be glorified in the salvation of the British people. It is so in France; it is so also in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Austria, and other nations in Europe. Asia is one universal sink of Idolatry and Mahometanism. Africa is totally Pagan; and if the original gospel have any thing like fair play in America, it is in these United States. Yet even here the mass of religious instructers do not know how to announce the gospel even in word, saying nothing of their morals and love to God and one another.
2d. Moreover, I think it highly proper that the cause of God should have the ascendancy, and that the opposing institutions of this world should finally he put down by force. The world, in Noah's time, was once served in this manner, before which it refused reformation; and the angels who sinned he cast down to Tartarus, keeping them in chains against the judgment of the great day. He destroyed Pharaoh  also in this manner, besides many others who dared to introduce false religion and bad government into his universe.
3d. I conceive it highly proper that the Messiah should both triumph and reign in the place where he condescended to be put to shame and to suffer; also, that those who, during these two thousand years have suffered for him and for his cause, should be rewarded with him and by him. "We shall reign with thee on the earth." All things, then, conspire to make the coming of Jesus necessary and proper: and now all things are ready; we are now waiting for the opening of that seal which is to rid the world of the tyrants--we now wait for the blast of that final trumpet which is to change the kingdoms, and for the pouring out of that last vial of the wrath of God which is at once to hurl from their ancient foundations all the "cities of the nations," and put an end to both the politics and superstition of the present evil iron age.
That this age shall end, and the Millennium enter in one day, and in only one, seems to me unquestionable from what Zechariah says, xiv. 5. "And the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee. And it shall come to pass in that day, the light shall not be clear nor dark, but it shall be one day known to the Lord, not day nor night. But it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light." Accordingly John speaks of the destination of the Apostacy as falling out in one day. "Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine, and she shall be utterly burned with fire; for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her." Rev. xviii. In this chapter the suddenness of the catastrophe is noticed no less than four times: First, God declares it; second, the kings of the earth wonder at it; third, the merchants deplore it; and fourth, a mighty angel plunges a great millstone into the sea to symbolize the suddenness, certainty, and completeness of the judgments with which the world will be overwhelmed in that day--in one hour. This is the day when, of two men in the field, the one shall be taken and the other left--the day on which the angel shall thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gather the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great wine-press of the wrath of God--the day on which God shall destroy them who have destroyed the earth--"the great and notable day," when the moon shall be turned into darkness, and the sun into blood, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven shall be shaken; and when we shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. All the tribes of the land shall mourn because of him.
The pride of kingdoms, kingdoms themselves, their cities, and the mountains and hills on which they are built, their armies and navies, and all their works of art, shall feel the lighting down of his arm; for on that day he will bathe his sword in heaven and utterly destroy idolatry. "Enter into the rocks and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the Lord and the glory of his majesty. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of man shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day; for the day of  the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up, and he shall be brought low; and upon all the cedars of Lebanon that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan, and upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up, and upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall, and upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures, and the loftiness of men shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be brought low, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day; and the idols he shall utterly abolish. And they shall go into the rocks and into the caverns of the earth for fear of the Lord and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver and idols of gold, which they have made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats, to go into the clefts of the rocks and into the tops of the rugged rocks, for fear of the Lord and for the glory of his majesty when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils; for wherein is he to he accounted of?" Reader, take notice!
HISTORY OF SIN,
INCLUDING THE OUTLINES OF ANCIENT HISTORY.--NO. VI.
ABOUT fifty years after the retreat of the 10,000, Darius Codomanus ascended the throne, and was destined to be the last of his race, and to seal with his blood the fate of Persia. Another sun was rising in Europe, whose zenith lustre was to eclipse all other luminaries.
The Grecian states had appointed Alexander generalissimo of the army, and his first project was the conquest of the Persian empire. The battle of Granicus was the first blow that was struck, in which the Persians were defeated, and Alexander pushed his march into the heart of the empire.
Alarmed at the progress of the Macedonian conqueror, Darius assembled his forces at Babylon, to the number of 500,000 men, headed them in person, and marched to meet Alexander. The march of this great army was conducted in the usual style of Asiatic monarchs in this day. And as the idea we may obtain of the custom of the age, is curious and important, a short description of the order of Darius' march will not be unacceptable in this place. The sacred fire, borne on five altars, and attended by the magi and three hundred and sixty-five youths dressed in scarlet, preceded the army: then came the chariot of Jupiter, drawn by white horses, and followed by the "Steed of the Sun," splendidly caparisoned. Ten chariots came next, sculptured with gold and silver. Twelve nations, forming the vanguard of the cavalry, then appeared, and were followed by the "Immortal Band," of 10,000 foot, all wearing golden collars and robes, stiff with embroidering and precious stones. Next advanced a body of 15,000, entitled the "King's Relations," sumptuously clothed. Then came Darius, seated on a chariot-throne, supported by the Persian deities, cast in pure gold, and shaded by the spreading wings of a golden eagle. His purple robe was spangled with jewels of surpassing beauty and immense value. He was attended by 200 of his nearest relations, and followed by 10,000 horsemen. The rear of the army, 30,000 foot, came next, and were followed by 400 of the king's horses, led. At some distance behind were Lysigambis, the king's mother, his wives, and female relatives, to the number of nearly 400, in the most costly attire; 600 mules and 300 camels, bearing the royal treasure, and guarded by archers, next approach; and the splendid cavalcade was closed by an immense number of chariots and horses, carrying the ladies of the officers, and attended by companies of light-armed infantry.  Instead of gold and silver, and embroidered robes, the phalanx of Alexander was covered with polished mail from head to foot. Their hardy frames were inured to abstinence and severity of climate, and strangers to the inebriating influence of luxury.
When Alexander heard that Darius had arrived at the city of Issus he hastened to meet him. A battle was fought. The close order and heavy armor of the Macedonian phalanx gave them so decidedly the advantages that the Persians were soon routed, and all resistance ceased, except from some Greek auxiliaries, who firmly stood their ground, till from twenty, they were reduced to eight thousand. Then they retreated and returned home, leaving Alexander sole master of the field. Darius fled; his camp and family fell into the hands of the victor. The cities of Damascus, Gaza, Susa, and Persepolis, containing the treasures of the crown, were taken.
The unfortunate Darius, after many attempts to retrieve himself, was obliged to take refuge in Media, whither he was pursued by Alexander. Bessus, the general of Darius, thinking to purchase the favor of Alexander, treacherously assassinated his royal benefactor, and left him "weltering in his blood."
Thus perished Darius Codomanus, in the sixth year of his reign, B. C. 330, and with him fell the empire of the Medes and Persians, which had continued, from the accession of Cyrus, 204 years.
The government, arts, sciences, manners, customs, and antiquities of the Persians, are next to be considered. We shall make a few observations upon each in their order.
1. The strenuous administration which was established by Cyrus had too much influence upon the internal constitution of the empire to be materially altered by the weakness and extravagance of his successors. The establishment of regular posts and couriers, attributed to Cyrus, rendered the conveyance of intelligence over that vast empire rapid and certain. By this means rebellions were quickly crushed, conspiracies easily frustrated, and the conduct of satraps, or governors, more open to cognizance. The crown was hereditary, always descending to the eldest son. The prerogative of the king was absolute. Secluded from the eyes of the vulgar, he was generally reverenced as a deity, and his commands, however unjust, cruel, or extravagant, had the authority of law, as well as the sanction of a religious obligation.
2. The Persians seem never to have been a very enterprising people. Their contempt for commerce rendered it impossible for them ever to derive the benefits of foreign improvement; and, consequently, their progress in the fine arts, which the Greeks were carrying rapidly to perfection, was either very slow or perfectly stationary. They have in all ages been celebrated for some kinds of manufacture, particularly the making of gold thread, embroidery, and leather. Their carpets, at this day, cover the floors of the rich in all parts of the world. But in the higher branches of manufacture they have never excelled, and are said, by travellers, at the present day to be almost entirely ignorant of painting.
They were an agricultural people, and before the fall of Babylon so poor that they had no clothing but skins, no drink but water, and no medium of exchange but the produce of the earth. Gold was first coined by Cyaxares, the cotemporary of Cyrus, and by Darius, whence thin pieces of money were call darios. But after the conquest of Assyria, which had for centuries been the seat of luxury, the Persians began to wrap their hardy bodies in silk and embroidered garments, till, under the last of their monarchs, they had utterly lost the spirit of the sentiment, that "virtuous poverty is better than vice loaded with diamonds." Those arts which advance, were supplanted by those which destroy a nation.
3. The Persians, before the days of Zoroaster, who lived in the reign of Darius Hystaspes, were generally ignorant in the extreme. Even the magi, who were the doctors of the nation, were confined to some vague opinions in philosophy and astronomy, together with the precepts of the then prevalent religion. 
4. The Persians were moderate in their eating, but always drank to excess. They were remarkably attached to their friends; and ingratitude was considered one of the most heinous crimes, being punished by the laws in the severest manner. This excellent practice has been peculiar to them. They always have been the most polished people of all the East, and their hospitality to strangers is very remarkable. A stranger can hardly insult a Persian more than by leaving his house without eating and drinking; for they suppose that for every entertainment they give to a stranger, Oromasdes commissions a blessing to rest upon their family. Their usual mode of salutation, if the persons were of equal sank, was a kiss upon the lips; if one were a little inferior, upon the cheek. The common people always prostrated themselves before the nobility. The Persians may be said to have been, emphatically, a ceremonious people, the strictest attention being always paid to every punctilio between relatives and friends, as well as strangers. All their important transactions were replete with ceremony.
5. There remain to this day some of the noblest specimens of architecture in Persia that the world affords. The majestic ruins of Palmyra and Persepolis testify, in strong language, the power, perseverance, and grandeur of the nations which once peopled the plains of Asia. Irregular masses of huge stones, marble porticoes, covered with sculptured ornaments, with here and there the broken shaft of a lofty pillar, are all that remain of those stupendous edifices which seemed destined to endure when thousands of generations should have rolled away. The palace of Persepolis, one of the noblest structures ever reared, at the instigation of Thais, a celebrated courtezan, was burnt in a fit of intoxication by Alexander the Great. Two pillars of beautiful fluted marble, fourteen feet in circumference, and fifty-four feet high, adorned with specimens of exquisite sculpture, are still standing before the mouldering, formless ruins of the palace. "Why dost thou build the hall, son of the winged days? Yet a few years, the blast of the desert comes and howls in thy empty court."
The prevalent religion of Persia, before Zoroaster, their prophet and reformer, is usually known by the name of magiism, or the worship of God under the symbol of fire. It originated in Persia and spread into India. The religion of Assyria was sabiism, or the worship of the host of heaven, under the symbols of images. Sabiism at different times gained some footing in Persia, but could never overcome their abhorrence of abasing the Deity by a representation of him under any image except fire, which they deemed the purest and simplest element.
After the death of Smerdis, the magian and usurper, the successor of Cambyses, the son of Cyrus, the magian religion fell into disrepute, and was gradually losing ground in Persia, when it was again revived by one of the most extraordinary men that ever appeared. Zerdusht, or, as he is called by the Greeks, Zoroaster, the founder, or rather the restorer of the magian religion. The result of the researches of the greatest orientalists, respecting the life and character of this remarkable personage is as follows:--
He was a Jew, born in Palestine, and for several years served in the capacity of a servant to one of the prophets who were carried to Babylon in the captivity of Nebuchadnezzar. Prideaux supposes that it was the Prophet Daniel with whom he lived. In this manner he became thoroughly acquainted, not only with the general scheme of the Jewish religion, as taught in the Pentateuch, being born and educated in it, but likewise with the spirit and purity of that religion, as professed and practised by his master Daniel. Endued by nature with a mind capable of embracing the most extensive views, and with learning and subtlety sufficient to carry those views into full effect, he aspired to secure to himself, by the pretence of a prophetic mission, a reputation and dignity similar to that which Daniel possessed. Accordingly he retired from the world, and lived for many years in a cave, where he pretended to have received revelations, and to have been instructed in the doctrines and ceremonies of the religion he was about to establish. Here he composed the Zendavesta, or magian  Bible, comprising 12 volumes of 100 skins of vellum each. The word Zendavesta signifies "a tinder box." This book, containing articles of faith and practice, together with the life of the author, Zoroaster feigned to have received from heaven. They say that the prophet, in a vision, was taken into the expanse of heaven, where he saw the empyreal circle, diffusing an interminable lustre; from the midst of which Oromasdes talked with him, gave him the holy Zendavesta, and the eternal fire to burn upon his altar.
After having matured his plan, Zoroaster made his appearance at Echatana, in Media, which had always been the principal seat of the magian religion, in the reign of Darius Hystaspes. Although the magian religion had fallen into disgrace among the nobility, yet the prejudice of the people, confirmed by long habit, was in its favor, and was the foundation of Zoroaster's scheme. A better one he could not have chosen. His first innovations respected their faith. They had been accustomed to believing that two eternal principles of good and evil existed, and were contending for the government of the world. But Zoroaster taught them that there was but one God, "incorruptible, eternal, and unbegotten; the author of all good, the most excellent of all beings, and the wisest of all intelligent natures; the father of equity, the parent of good laws, self-instructed, self-sufficient, and the first former of nature." That there are two powerful intelligences--the one light, which is the author of good; the other darkness, which is the author of evil. That in this world, these two angels are contending for the victory; but there will arrive a day of judgment, in which the angel of darkness shall be driven with his followers into a region of darkness and misery, to suffer everlasting torments for their evil deeds. But, that the angel of light shall go, with his followers, to dwell forever in that pure light and joy which eternally emanates from the burning throne of Oromasdes.
Another alteration which Zoroaster effected was the creation of the fire temples, in which worship was to be performed. Before his time the Persians had always paid their devotions in the open air, on the tops of mountains, and in solitary places, because they thought it derogatory to the majesty of heaven to suppose Oromasdes circumscribed by temples. But Zoroaster, by convincing them that though Oromasdes was not confined to any place, yet it was absolutely necessary to have a temple--In order to preserve the sacred fire, the symbol or shadow of Deity, which he had brought from heaven, from being extinguished by any casualty, they erected pyres, or fire temples, all over the empire, and have them to this day.
To give you some idea of their practical rules, I have transcribed the five grand precepts of the Zendavesta, which they consider ought to govern the conduct of every individual:--
1. To have shame ever with them, as a remedy against sin; for a man would never oppress his inferiors if he had any shame; a man would never steal if he had any shame; a man would never lie if he had any shame. But because this is laid aside, men are ready to commit any crimes.
2. To have fear always present with them; and that every time the eye twinkled, or closed its lids together, that they should stand in fear lest they should not go to heaven.
3. That whensoever they are to do any thing, to think whether the thing be good or bad--whether commanded or forbidden in the Zendavesta.
4. That whatsoever of God's creatures they should first behold in the morning, it should be a monitor to put them in mind of their thanksgivings to Oromasdes, that had given such good things for men's use.
5. That whensoever they pray by day, they should turn their faces towards the Sun; and when by night, towards the Moon, for these were Oromasdes' witnesses, most contrary to Lucifer, who loveth darkness more than light.
The Persian empire rose suddenly, and fell as suddenly. Instead of toiling through a long, tempestuous, and feeble infancy, like most other nations. It broke into existence like Pallas from the brain of Jupiter, in full armor, strength and beauty. Led by Cyrus, a mild and vivifying sun, it flourished, the envy  and admiration of the world; till, at length, as in a moment, it withered and perished beneath the scorching influence of another sun which suddenly appeared, flaming in the western hemisphere. The wild hero of Macedon swept these fair regions with the besom of destruction, and for a season the praises of Cyrus were drowned in the fame of Alexander the Great.
|From the Christian Examiner.|
AS the prejudices and antipathies of the Baptists have been aroused and are at work against all that we say or do, (though Christ or Paul has taken the lead in the matter,) and knowing that the opinions or examples of great and distinguished men are of incalculably greater weight than those of an obscure individual, we present them with the thoughts of the celebrated ABRAHAM BOOTH on the popular method of preaching. His name is familiar to most of our readers, who know that he stood pre-eminent among the Baptists both of Europe and America. He was the author of "the Reign of Grace," the "Pedobaptism Examined," an "Essay on the Kingdom of Christ," and several other works. In the last named work, (p. 60-65,) he says:--
"Some of different communions, have deliberately acted as if the preacher's work were a mere trial of skill, and as if a pulpit were the stage of a harlequin. To display the fertility of their invention, they have selected for texts mere scraps of scripture language; which, so far from containing complete propositions, have not, in their dislocated state, conveyed a single idea. Upon these they have harangued, while the ignorant multitude have been greatly surprized that the preacher could find so much where common capacities perceived nothing. Sometimes these men of genius will choose passages of scripture expressive of plain historical fact, which have no connexion with the great work of salvation by Jesus Christ; and handle their (not professedly by way of accommodation, for then it might be admitted) but as if they were sacred allegories. Such historical facts being "spiritualized," as they love to call it, doctrines, privileges, duties, in abundance, are easily derived from them. Nay, so ingenious are preachers of this turn, that it is no hard matter for them to find a great part of their creed in almost any text they take. Thus they allegorize common sense into pious absurdity. It might, perhaps, be too barefaced, though it would certainly suit the vanity of such preachers were they frequently to address their hearers on the pronominal monosyllable I; and there are two passages of sacred writ where it occurs in the most apposite manner. The former would make an admirable text; the latter, a noble conclusion: and they are as follows: "Such a man as I--Is "not this great Babylon that I have built?" Others, and often the same persons, frequently use the gestures of the theatre, and the language of a mountebank, as if their business were to amuse, to entertain, and to make their hearers laugh. Extravagant attitudes and quaint expressions, idle stories and, similes quite ludicrous, appear in abundance, and constitute no small part of the entertainment furnished by such characters. But in what a state must the consciences of those preachers be, who can deliberately and with premeditation act in this manners Or, what must we think of their petitions for divine assistance, in addressing the people when they intend thus to treat them! I called it entertainment; and, surely, they themselves do not consider it in a religious point of light. For can any man, who is not insane, deliberately adopt measures of this kind, when really aiming, either to produce, or to promote, a devotional and heavenly temper in the hearts of his hearers? Yet that is the general end of preaching. Or can the preacher have any devotion, while showing the airs of a mountebank; and when, if the bulk of his auditory had no more decency than himself, there would be a burst of laughter throughout the assembly? Whatever such declaimers may think, where there is no solemnity there is no devotion; and, we may venture to add, that a person habitually destitute of devotion in his own heart, while pretending  to teach others the doctrine of Christ, is a wretched character in the sight of God, and has reason to tremble. Such a man serves not our Lord Jesus Christ, but his own interests, in some form or other. He may wish for popularity, and perhaps may obtain it from the ignorant multitude; but people of sense and of piety will consider him as disgracing his office, as affronting their understandings, and as insulting the majesty of that Divine Presence in which he stands. For where upon earth are we to expect solemnity, if not in the pulpit? There a man should be serious and solemn as death.
"It may, perhaps, be said, 'This kind of trifling has its use. It is a mean of exciting curiosity, and of drawing many to hear the gospel who might not otherwise have the least inclination so to do.' Such, I presume, is the chief reason by which preachers of this cast endeavor to justify themselves at the bar of their own consciences. In answer to which, a repetition of that capital saying, "My kingdom is not of this world," might be sufficient: for that must be a wretched cause, even of a secular kind, which needs buffoonery to support it. To trifle in the service of God, is to be profane. It is, therefore, an impious kind of trifling: and shall we do evil that good may come? Through the interference of Providence, and the sovereign grace of God, various instances of enormous wickedness have issued in the highest good to mankind. Of this we have undoubted evidence in the selling of Joseph by his envious brethren. We have a still more striking instance in the death of Christ, through the treachery of Judas and malice of the Jews. Nay, persecution has frequently been a occasion of spreading the gospel; yet few, I take it for granted, have persecuted for that end, or attempted to justify the practice upon that principle. Were the farcical conduct, here censured, lawful, there would be reason to think that the cause of Christ and the interests of a harlequin are very nearly allied, because the same kind of means is adapted to promote them."
Mr. G. Gregory, when animadverting on the conduct which is here censured, says, "It is dangerous on any occasion to depart from the plain track of common sense, and there is no attempt at ingenuity so easy as that which borders upon nonsense. It is one of the mean artifices of barren genius, to surprize the audience with a text consisting of one or two words. I have heard of a person of this description, who preached from "Jehovah Jireh," and another, from the monosyllable "But." These are contemptible devices, more adapted to the moving theatre of the mountebank than to the pulpit, and can only serve to captivate the meanest and most ignorant of the vulgar."
LETTERS TO HUMPHREY MARSHAL, Esq.--No. I.
IN the bustle of controversy with the sects professing the christian faith, we have had neither room nor leisure to notice either the sayings or doings of the adversaries of that faith. Since the publication of the debate with Mr. Owen on the evidences of christianity, we have not seen any thing written by any of the sceptics of this country worthy of notice; because, in our judgment, already refuted in that work; nor have we seen a single sentence against the Debate from any pen, save the letter which you have written to me on that subject; with what honor to yourself as a gentleman, a senator, a logician, we shall leave others to decide. I was favored with a copy of your letter in the month of May last, while attending a meeting in May's Lick. I hastily glanced over it, while ascending the Ohio in a steam-boat, and have just now, for the second time, finished the reading of it. I have no doubt, sir, but you have strong objections to the truth of the christian religion, much stronger than you have either reason  or argument to sustain. For Free-thinkers are not more free from prejudice and passion, from enthusiasm and infatuation, than those whom they denounce as dupes and impostors. With many of them, a Free-thinker is one who is free to form opinions as despots enact laws; free to infer without premises; free to conjecture without probability; free to assert and to decide, not only without, but even against, reason and well established testimony. Those who are not so free in these respects, they rank amongst impostors and dupes. These they honor with such epithets as you bestow on Paul. In your style Paul was a "Jack-with-the-lantern;" the Apostles were "cullies," and the most honorable women were "gossips." The christian facts are "abominable falsehoods;" and the writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, are "apostolic romances." In this style, sir, you appear not to be a novitiate, but a master.
It is not improbable but that as he that invents and often repeats a falsehood, finally believes it himself; so some who have reason to fear the truth of revelation, from long wishing it to be false, come to think that it is all a cunning devised fable. At all events, many are strongly prejudiced against certain truths, on account of the aspect in which they stand to themselves; and while no evidence can assure them of their truth, they adhere to imaginations of their own with more tenacity than a mathematician to a theorem which he has fully demonstrated. I should not, sir, make these remarks if I thought them wholly impertinent as regards yourself. When I see you reason against the accumulated weight of evidences, from all sources, in attestation of the resurrection of Jesus from the grave, without even an air of plausibility; and see you assume, as a truth, "that the dead body of Jesus was taken from the sepulchre by Joseph of Arimathea, and Nicodemus who deposited it there FOR THE PURPOSE of removal"--must I not suppose that some passion, or prejudice, beclouds your reason? On any other subject, I doubt not, you would hold up to ridicule the person, who, pretending to reason about facts, would make such an assumption, and go on to assert concerning the purposes, or motives, of the persons impugned.
Jesus, too, with you, "himself was an adventurer for the Messiahship with a design but half digested--half formed." In the midst of all this incredulity and enthusiasm, there appears a little faith. You, sir, then, believe in the Messiahship of the Jews;--that such was the expectation of the nation resulting from their prophecies. So strong is your faith, too, in this Messiahship, that you believe Jesus was an adventurer for it. I think, were you to examine the grounds and reasons of this your faith, you will find yourself judged and condemned by your own reasonings for rejecting this adventurer.
But while on the subject of faith, I cannot but remark how much it is a faith sui generis. You believe and disbelieve what you please. You believe that "Paul had an apoplectic fit on his way to Damascus" probably "inflamed by wine"--(probably!) but certainly!--"not enough without it to construe this attack of apoplexy into a vision of Jesus Christ." You believe that Nicodemus and Joseph,  the senator had the body deposited for the purpose of removal. You assert in the following words:--"I say that Mary Magdalene was the author of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, by making the first suggestions of the fact, and by adding to it circumstances of a marvellous kind."
Indeed, sir, you appear to be as free a reasoner, as thinker, or believer, touching all matters and things pertaining to the resurrection of Jesus. The freest piece of reasoning, which I recollect to have seen from the pen of a senator, is your reasoning about the robbery of the sepulchre. At the conclusion of your reasoning, you affirm--"I have now shown how, or by whom, the body of Jesus was removed from the sepulchre." Now for your showing by testimony and reason. Nay, indeed, you prove a fact, historic, too, without testimony. For the only testimony you adduce is your own conjecture. And your deposition is to the following effect:--"The Apostles were hypocrites." Joseph and Nicodemus, two of the disciples, stole the body. This is proved from the fact that Joseph and Nicodemus were not interrogated about its absence. The Apostles knew they had stolen it, and therefore would not have them interrogated; and they, Joseph and Nicodemus, conscious of having stolen it, did not interrogate the Apostles about it. Had they not had the body in custody, they would doubtless have called upon the Apostles to account for its absence. And how is it proved that they did not interrogate the Apostles? Because it is not recorded! "The fair inference from this silence is as strong and as plain as the war-toned trumpet, in affirming that no inquiry was made. "And that in like manner affirms, that knowing how the body was disposed of, they had no inquiry to make; or rather that they chose not to write it down if they made any. Such, had it been told, would have been the honest truth." Thank you, Mr. Marshal, for your deposition. But this is more than your testimony--it is your reasoning and testimony combined. This you call "showing by whom the body of Jesus was removed." I know of no christian writer who ever demanded more credulity from his readers than you demand in this instance. This vies with the popish transubstantiation! Silence has not, as far as I have learned, ever before been summoned as a witness in any case, and made speak "louder than the war-toned trumpet." This is a new court, new judges, witnesses, and jury--one erected by Mr. Marshal for his own use and behoof. Now, sir, think you that a sane community will consent to such a tribunal, or that it can regard that man as possessing a sound mind in a sound body who would attempt--I say, attempt to subvert the faith of the most intelligent portion of the human race by such chimerical assumptions, and call it "showing by whom the body of Jesus was removed"!!
I shall only, in these introductory notices, attend to another of your proofs that the body was stolen. You inform us that Mary Magdalene was the author of the report of the resurrection, and yet the same writer who informs you of Mary Magdalene affirms that her report was not even believed by the disciples themselves, From  what history, then, sir, do you learn that she was the author of the resurrection story? But your records inform you of a grand "caucus" held the night between the first and second days of the report and of the week, touching this report. The proceedings of said caucus you are also apprized of. The debates you have read, well attested, and on the question "whether to suppress or to propagate the idea of their late Master's resurrection, the latter had the majority." If I do not forget what I have read in your pamphlet, I think you talk of the inductive philosophy, and the rules of evidence, testimony, &c. And is this your application of them? Is it by such reasonings, assumptions, and conjectures you propose to undermine the faith of christendom! If so, indeed, you appear to have as much underrated the intelligence and the intellect itself of this generation as you have the evidences of the christian religion. But the scoffer will rejoice with you in all the puns, witticisms, and scoffs which you bestow on the Author of the hope of immortality. They also, whose interest it would be that there were no God, will say, 'Well done, good and faithful servant.' But as you assume to reason against the evidences of the great fact on which christianity rests, and as you make a great a-do about the contradictions of the original witnesses, I will attend to the marrow and pith of your reasonings, to show that the original witnesses were wittingly and knowingly a pack of impostors, lying and propagating lies for the express purpose of carrying some point, which you, however, cannot name. We shall, nevertheless, calmly and dispassionately examine your "reasons," if such they may be called, by which you would disprove the fact of Christ's resurrection.
You seem to have reasoned yourself into the conviction that you have attacked the main point of my argument in support of the resurrection of Jesus. This, however, is not the fact. You have not even glanced at it. The testimony of the original witnesses is no where in your pamphlet submitted, presented, nor attached with any reference to that which gives validity to the whole of it. You rely upon the contradictions which you have imagined you have found in the narratives of the Evangelists. And because they did not tell all the same incidents, nor these which they relate, in the same words, you prove them to be incredible witnesses, and the gospel to be a fiction. How successful you have been in finding contradictions the sequel will disclose.
The christian religion has been attacked and defended by all sorts of intellects and by all sorts of men. It never sustained an injury from its enemies. Its friends--its professed friends, have always been its worst enemies. Its real friends have nothing to fear from such attacks as you volunteer in the pamphlet before me. You fail to console even the Deists. And I have so much knowledge of human nature as to authorize me to say, that even those who wield as able a pen as yourself are unable to deface from their own minds the doors and apprehensions that Jesus rose from the dead. It is among the most common phenomena of the human mind to find persons pleading a cause which they do not believe, and to sec others discrediting, both,  facts and pretensions, which, with all their efforts, they cannot cordially disbelieve themselves. How far this may be true of yourself I have no business to inquire. You have in your old days, at the close of a pretty long life, thought good to leave behind you a monument of your hatred against the Author of the Christian Religion, and those who sustained his pretensions at the hazard of their lives.
It is a consolation which you promise yourself in death, the most unenviable, that not having found the present world more religious nor moral than to make it safe to live in, you put forth all your powers and all your influence, your last and best efforts, to rob the christian of his hope in God, and to weaken all that restrains the arm of violence and the heart of wickedness, by denying the facts on which that purest and best of all systems of morality and virtue rests; and by offering in its place not a single ray of light or information on all that most interests man to know, viz. what he is, whence he came, and whither the goes.
IT has been observed by some writers that man is distinguished from the rest of the animal creation more by religion than by reason. Instinct, they argue, produces actions so nearly resembling those dictated by reason, that it is sometimes difficult, and perhaps impossible, to discriminate between them: but in the whole range of its operations we are presented with nothing which is at all analogous to devotional exercise, or claims the least degree of a affinity to religion. Pitching upon this, therefore, as the peculiar characteristic of the human family, man has been emphatically styled "a religious animal."
Although it be true that devotion, as contradistinguished from reason, is the most eminent trait of human character, it is not easy to perceive the propriety of placing them in opposition, and extolling the one at the expense of the other; since religion owes its existence to reason, and should be considered its crown of glory rather than its rival. It is the result of the conclusions and deductions of reason from revelations made to the senses, and is to be viewed as being the point which intellect most conspicuously displays its superiority, and not as a distinct and peculiar principle.
It would follow, then, that as man, under the influence of reason, properly directed, becomes religious; in the same degree will his character be exalted, and the line of distinction between him and the brute creation be more strongly marked: and that in proportion as he is irreligious, his distinguishing attribute is last, and he approaches more nearly in his character the beast that perishes.
That reason enables man to discover from the material universe the existence and power of God is abundantly evident. If, like Aristotle, we suppose a man to be brought up from infancy in a subterraneous abode where he has been conversant with the various works of art, and has learned by experience that what is made must  have had a maker; that every design must have had a designer; every contrivance, a contriver: if we then imagine him to be brought up into the light of day, and to discover creation unfolding its charms before him--the glorious sun enlivening nature with his grateful beams--the pleasant fruits adapted to his taste--the lovely flowers--the ten thousand delightful objects which would burst upon his senses, all intended for a particular use, all eminently fitted for that for which they were intended: all exhibiting marks of the most exquisite contrivance and ingenuity, so far excelling human skill as to defy imitation, and all bearing the impress of the same author; would he not be irresistibly compelled by the conclusions of reason founded upon experience to attribute the existence, order, beauty, greatness, and sublimity of the works of creation to such a being as we suppose God to be? Undoubtedly such would he the result; and, indeed, seeing that all the ideas of which man is possessed are derived originally from objects presented to the senses, we cannot possibly conceive of any thing better fitted than the material creation to reveal to human reason the power and the existence of God. The groves are vocal. The hills and vallies, "the cloud-rapt mountain and the shaggy heath," the painted birds, the creatures of his hand, the monsters that swim in the deep waters, utter forth a glorious voice, and lead the beholder to exclaim in the language of the poet--
|"These are thy glorious works, Parent of Good!
Almighty! thine this universal frame,
Thus wondrous fair! Thyself how wondrous then!
Unspeakable! who sittest above these heavens
To us invisible, or dimly seen
In these thy lowest works; yet these declare
Thy goodness beyond thought and power divine."
The conduct of the Gentiles in neglecting to glorify God, the Apostle Paul declares to have been without excuse. "Because (says he) that which may be known of God is manifest among them, for God has manifested it to them, (for his invisible things, even his eternal power and divinity, since the creation of the world are clearly seen, when thought upon, by the things that are made) so that they are inexcusable." And when the Lycaonians, recognizing the divine power in the cure of the lame man, were about to offer sacrifice to Paul anti Barnabas, these brethren, indignant at their idolatrous disposition, in endeavoring to turn them from the worship of dead idols to the living God, directed their attention to him by an appeal to those manifestations of his power and goodness with which they were already acquainted. He it was, they declared, "who made the heavens and the earth, and the sea, and all things which are in them; who in former generations permitted all the nations to walk in their own ways, though he did not leave himself without witness, doing good, and giving us showers of rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness." "The heavens," says David, "declare his glory, the starry canopy displays his workmanship. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not  heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world."
But man discovers God's power and existence not only in the creation, but in the preservation of the world. He perceives that all things are conducted according to a regular and unchangeable plan, and that under similar circumstances the same causes will always produce the same effects. From these observations he deduces what he calls "the laws of nature." Finding himself unable to interfere with the fixed operations of these laws--without power to stay the Sun in the zenith--to restrain the tides of the ocean--to interrupt the tempest in its wild career--to stop the march of Time, or change the course of the seasons; he is convinced that he has no control over them; that, on the contrary, he himself is entirely under their dominion; that the administration of them is in the hands of God, and that the power which can change and reverse them at pleasure must come from him.
We have stated that the first step towards the renovation of mankind, consisted in exhibiting to man the glories and excellencies of the divine character. Seeing, then, that the existence, power, and goodness of God have been disclosed to all men by the things that are made, before we enter upon the consideration of the manner in which he has more fully revealed himself, we will premise that, in doing so, we might reasonably expect him to introduce himself to the notice of men by means of those attributes which they already acknowledged to appertain to him.
Since the fall, man has not often been directly addressed by his Creator. Though once familiarized with his voice, he remembers it no more; or guilt causes him to tremble at its sound. He knew it in Eden, and fear taught him to conceal himself among the trees of the garden. When addressed at Sinai, in a manner comporting so well with what was already known of the majesty and power of God as to enable them to recognize his voice, the Israelites entreated that he might not speak with them any more "lest they should die." And when he spoke on other occasions, without any accompanying manifestations of his presence, they knew not his voice. Some said, "It thundered;" others said, "A heavenly messenger spoke" "Did you never hear his voice, (said the Saviour,) or see his form? Or have you forgotten his declaration that you believe not him whom he has commissioned?"
Our Heavenly Father, exhibiting both in matter and manner of the revelation his compassionate condescension towards the human family, designs to communicate his will by a human voice and in the likeness of man. Having in former ages addressed the fathers by the prophets, in these latter days the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, has revealed him. Professing to have been sent by the Governor of the universe, they received from him a letter of introduction to evince the truth of his pretensions. "The works which the Father has empowered me to perform, the works themselves which I do (says Jesus) testify that the Father has sent me." Having  been begotten of God and born of Mary, he had no sooner died to all earthly relationship and been born of water, than he was publicly acknowledged as the Son of God, and, as such, announced to the Jews on Jordan's banks. Entering immediately upon the work which the Father had given him to do, he glorified God upon the earth in all his words and actions. Meek and lowly, and acquainted with grief, he came unto his own, and though his own received him not, he bore with patience the scorn of those who received continually his favors. Full of compassion and of gentleness, he wept with those who wept, and rejoiced with those who rejoiced; he could not suffer the hungry to depart from him without satisfying their wants; he healed the sick, the blind, the lame, and at his bidding the dead arose from the silent tomb. Even the winds and the sea obeyed him, and while in his actions he displayed the power, wisdom, and goodness of God, while he went about doing good, he revealed to man a secret relative to the love of God, so wonderful, so far beyond all human expectation as to beat down the weapons of rebellion, to pierce the bosom of the stoutest foe, and lead the willing bands in grateful chains. The gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the glad tidings that God so loved the world as to give his only begotten Son, that whosoever believed in him should not perish, but have everlasting life; the proclamation of forgiveness and never ending happiness to the wretched and guilty sons of men through the atonement of the Son of God, completes that overwhelming exhibition of God's philanthropy which is calculated to soften the hardest heart, and becomes the power of God unto salvation to every one who believes it.
The Apostles of Christ believed in him upon the testimony of their senses. They could not be deceived. They witnessed his miracles, his death, his resurrection. Their eyes had seen, and their hands had handled that Word of Life which was with the Father, and was manifested to men. Their convictions were not upon faith but knowledge. In order to be witnesses, it was necessary that they should have actually seen the occurrence of the facts, The Apostle Paul appeals to his having seen the Lord as one of the proofs of his apostleship, and these witnesses, proclaiming the glad news throughout the world, were favored with those displays of that power of God which were necessary to introduce them in their true character to the notice of men. The gospel came, not depending upon the words of men's wisdom, but with demonstrations of the Spirit and with power. This great salvation, which began to be spoken by the Lord, was confirmed to men by those that heard him, God bearing joint witness, both by signs and wonders, and divers miracles, and distributions of the Holy Spirit, according to his own pleasure. It is called the Word of God, the incorruptible seed of the Word, of which the children of God are born, and "this is that Word," says Peter, "which has been proclaimed as glad tidings to you." "Belief comes by hearing, and this hearing by the word of God." Upon the testimony of the witnesses who proclaim the gospel our faith is founded. 
As they testify what they have seen and heard, we receive their testimony. We see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and are enabled, through the obedience of this faith founded upon the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets of Jesus Christ, to rejoice in him, though we see him not, with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
|Essex, Va. Sept. 17th, 1830.|
IN the last Harbinger Bishop Semple has seen cause to make some insinuations and assertions, to which I feel myself in duty bound to reply--I, therefore, hope you will grant me the privilege of defending myself, by giving place in your next Harbinger to the following letter addressed to him:--
TO BISHOP ROBERT B. SEMPLE.
Dear Sir--I REGRET to see in the 8th No. of the Harbinger, at the close of your letter to brother Campbell, certain insinuations and assertions which every reader that knows any thing of the circumstances, will believe were intended for me--I repeat it, I am sorry that you have laid me under the necessity of repelling your personal attack, and that publicly. This is not the first time you, in the plenitude of your mercy, have thrown a dart at me. You have condescended to call me a pious father in one breath, and almost in the next, have impeached my veracity. Such piety as this, brother Semple, I abhor. It behoves me now to sustain my assertions, or acknowledge my error. This is the course that ought to be pursued by every honest high minded christian. I say high minded, because if a christian have not independence enough to speak the truth, and maintain it, he is unworthy to be called a disciple of King Messiah; or, should he have erred, have not honesty enough to confess his errors, when told of them, he is, at best, a whited sepulchre.
I will now take a concise review of what you have insinuated and said. In order to your making your attack not directly, you have complained of certain things published by brother Campbell. "These tales, I suspect, all came from the same quarter." As respects the sermon of the oyster-man, you know that it is a fact, or ought to know it, being once Pastor of the church where it was preached. The preacher is your right hand man, (who possesses the most intolerant bigoted spirit that burdens any church in the lower country of my acquaintance,) did nearly, in substance, preach such a sermon from these words:--"Thou art an austere man." This preacher is my next door neighbor. But sir, brother Campbell can inform you I never wrote him one sentence upon that subject in my life, or opened to him my lips about it. It is remarkable that two, if not three, preachers took offence at the publication of this sermon. They had severally preached it almost verbatim. 
As respects the church that had not sober members enough to turn out the drunkards, I never heard of such a thing until I saw it in the Christian Baptist.1
As to the chickens, and rehearsing experiences, I did mention to brother Campbell in your presence, as well as I recollect, when I had the pleasure of both of your companies in my house. If you call matters of fact a tale of mine, I am prepared to prove them, in substance, to be correct, by such evidence as will leave no doubt on your mind of their truth. But, brother Semple, why complain about this, when you well know that Baptist churches have often turned off colored people under the impression that they have learned what you call an experience?
You remark upon my rejoicing at my son's constitutionally entering the kingdom of God's dear Son, that it was a cause of joy, "if I really believe he was well prepared for baptism." You say you "feel bound to rejoice with me." If this be so, how comes it to pass, when I informed you of his being baptized upon a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, you replied you would not baptize your son as brother Campbell had done mine--no not for the world? Brother Semple there is an expression used by you, "well prepared for baptism," which is the life and soul of baptist principles, I must say to you, as I have said to others, I fear that this error of requiring what is erroneously called a christian experience, in order to a right to immersion, is the cause of the damnation of thousands, if not millions, I conceive it to be taking away the key of knowledge, and shutting up the kingdom of God against men. To call the mental exercises of any a christian experience, who has never been born of water and the Spirit, is "old wives' fables," or german cousins. Can a man be said to be a christian that has never entered the kingdom of Christ? Can a man have entered the kingdom of God, that has never been born of God; that is, of water and the Spirit? Do the Apostles teach us that any one has put on Christ, that has never been immersed into Christ? And can one have a christian's experience who is not a christian? Is not such language, calling men christians who never were born of water and the Spirit, calculated to gender strife, divisions, schisms, sects, and turmoil? This is a radical error. Do, brother Semple, define what the Apostles required in order to the immersion of their hearers and inquirers to be "well prepared for immersion," and what they call a christian?
I complain of your having led the readers of the Harbinger to believe that I have gloried over the "misfortunes, or afflictions, or faults of my fellow laborers, whose sons have not been immersed." I here must request the readers of the Harbinger to look into the vii. vol. p. 262, of the Christian Baptist, and read my letter, and then say whether or not I did say, "many a good man had cause to weep  and lament the truth" of what I have said. I stated matters of fact, and if brother Semple disputes this point, calls for the evidence, and will screen me from the persecuting spirit of the present order of things, I will specify cases that will satisfy every rational being of the truth of what I have stated; but not without, as I have no wish to wound the feelings of any one. But, brother Semple, why not assign this unpleasant state of things to the cause I have done, instead of such a gratuitous construction? Did I not give you my reasons for this unhappy state among the sons of preachers? Was it not said to be owing to the manner in which the gospel was taught the human family, of textuary preachers, and sermonizing from a scrap of revelation, and sometimes a word? If you acknowledge this to he a fault, and are ashamed of the wresting, dissecting, and mangling the Word of Life, by my fellow laborers, to sustain them in their opposition to the ancient Apostolic gospel--my excuse is my ignorance of your being convinced of this shameful practice. Had I known better I should not have written thus.
What do you mean by your "sons not having obtained the grace of God"? Am I to understand you, that God must give them more than what they already have, before they can examine, receive, and obey what he has given them? If this is your meaning, my dear sir, I am not at all surprized that they are unbelievers, and will do nothing in order to obtain God's grace.
You speak of the exemplary lives of some preachers' sons. I cheerfully admit, brother Semple, you and two or three others have sons whose conduct in life is praiseworthy; but you will not deny there are some whose sons do produce what I have stated. I say these things not as glorying over my brethren, but with a sorrowful heart. Let me bring the cause of all this home to you:--you say "we cannot consent to baptize them, until they tell us "who hath warned them to flee from the wrath to come." Is it possible, brother Semple, that you have not at this late day, taught your sons that Jesus Christ and his Apostles "have warned them to flee from the wrath to come," and does not such language prove that I have described the cause of the sons of Baptist preachers living exposed to wrath? In what way have I vaunted myself over my brethren, except that of my son being favored with the proclamation of the ancient Apostolic gospel, and yielding obedience to its requirements?
But the most serious thing is, you charge me with not stating facts. In this you have put the rod into my hand to stripe you. But, knowing the Holy Spirit teaches me not to "severely rebuke an old man, but to entreat him as a father"--I will, therefore, attend to my instructer, and only call your attention to what I have said, and the real state of the case. I said that my son was the only one, except two, I knew of Baptist preachers now living. Now I call upon you to name more than another within the bounds of the Dover Association of fifty churches. This will determine the truth of my assertion or not, without another word. I did not allude to the sons of any dead; but those specified. How could you know this was not the fact without  knowing the extent of my knowledge of the sons of Baptist preachers dead or living; I say, you cannot point out a Baptist preacher, now living within the bounds of the Dover Association, that has a son I am acquainted with, a professor of religion, but those I have alluded to. I acknowledge there are several sons of preachers that have since the death of their fathers, bowed their necks to Jesus Christ. Why did I name preachers living? It was to show that their unreasonable opposition to the ancient gospel, which had made the difference between my son, and theirs, and not the opposition of dead men, who possibly, if they were living, never would have indulged the bigoted, intolerant proscribing spirit of some. You well know that something like papal bulls, and discountenancing societies, (which you informed me was done to force me back into the ranks of the present order of things,) have no influence on me, in deterring me from speaking what I believe, teaching what I am assured of, and censuring what is amiss in the views and conduct of my brethren, than the anathemas of his Holiness in Rome, or the pop-guns of children, I once was a slave to a sectarian priesthood; but now know the sweets of gospel liberty, glory in it by living, not upon the dogmas of a sect, but divine truth alone, which is like a well of water springing up unto everlasting life.
You charge me with raking up the ashes of the dead. I ask you if I did not say that this character, alluded to, was "one of the best men I ever knew?" If speaking of errors in doctrine be reproaching and raking up their ashes, think of what you have said of Jeremiah Walker, John Waller, and others. But, brother Semple, why do you claim the liberty of thinking, judging, and speaking your religious sentiments, and not allow the same privilege to others? Is not this assuming the character of a spiritual lord? Mark, I do not say you are one. "Stand by thyself; come not near me; I am more wise and holy than thou." When you advise churches to refuse to hear, unite in partaking of the loaf and cup, to close their doors against your reforming brethren, (as they would against an Episcopalian, Methodist, or Presbyterian) whose characters are unimpeachable, and for no other cause than their renouncing the traditions of the elders, are strong in the faith of the gospel, and some whose talents are superior to yours; I say, when you do these things, you produce a faction, the turmoil that now exists among brethren, and practically declare to the world, there is no liberty, right, or privilege to be enjoyed any where, but in the kingdom of darkness. This is proving, without a witness, what the Saviour promised his disciples:--"Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free?' This freedom none can enjoy in the Baptist sect, or any other, but from the hand of those who hold the reins, and give the whip and spurs, whomsoever they will. Do you not see this throughout the Baptist churches? What political printer would give place in his columns to charges against a man of character, and then refuse the liberty to the accused to refute the slander, falsehood, or charges? Would not this be a base unrighteous cause, calculated to corrupt the morals  society, and destroy the reputations of men? Would you not condemn such conduct? My dear sir, then drop your opposition against the disciples of Jesus Christ, and turn your attention to the correcting the abominable conduct of Wm. T. Brantly. Abner. W. Clopton, and Co. If you have any regard for the cause of God, come out from such antichristian conduct, and aid us in correcting the evils among the professors of religion. I have no doubt of your sincerity; but I have every evidence that a rational being needs, in saying, there is a departure from the Apostolic order of things, as handed down to us in the New Testament, by every sect in christendom. I can prove it from their own writings and doings. I have spoken my mind freely to you--it is because I love you; but the truth of God more. I assure you there is not one hostile feeling in my breast against you, either as a man, or a christian, except the foregoing errors. I remain yours in the kingdom and patience of Jesus,
|T. M. HENLEY.|
PREDICTIONS AND OPINIONS OF EZRA STYLES D. D.
President of Yale College--commented on by ISAAC BACKUS,
volume 3, page 10.
AND to prepare the way for a new system of laws, the president of their university said to their legislature, "Dominion is founded in property; and resides where that is whether in the hands of the few or many." And he held that the power of religious ministers is derived by an external succession from the apostles, through the churches of Rome and England; and said of New-England, "The induction of the ministers of the first churches was performed by lay brethren, and this was called ordination, but should he considered what in reality it was, only induction or instalment of those who were vested with official power. These were all ordained before by the bishops in England." And he encouraged them to go on in supporting such ministers by force, by saying, "God be thanked, the senatorial Assembly of this happiest of all the United States, still embosoms so many Phinehases and Zerubbabels, so many religious patriots, the friends of Jesus and his holy religion: And that the Messiah's cause is here accompanied with civil government and priesthood; allusively the two olive trees upon the right of the candlestick (the churches) and upon the left; the two golden branches, which through the two golden pipes, Moses and Aaron, empty the golden oil out of themselves, and diffuse their salutary influence of order and happiness through the community. Zech. iv. 11. As to nominal Christianity, I have no doubt but that it will be upheld for ages in these States. Through the liberty enjoyed here, all religious sects will grow up into large and respectable bodies. But the Congregational and Presbyterian denominations, however hitherto despised, will, by the blessing of Heaven, continue to hold the greatest figure in America, and, notwithstanding all the fruitless labors and exertions to proselyte us to other communions, become more numerous than the whole collective body of our fellow-protestants in Europe. The  whole proselytism of New England in particular for sixty or seventy years past, has not exceeded eight or ten thousand, while our augment in that term, by natural increase, has been half a million."
These things were published by the highest authority in Connecticut, just after the news of peace arrived, and many were pleased therewith. But we would now desire to ask a few questions. And first, as it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than it is for any who trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God, how can dominion be founded in property? Mark x. 24, 25. Yea, as all our American governments are founded in covenants, and not in riches, how dangerous is the above teaching? And as our rulers have solemnly sworn to renounce all foreign jurisdiction over us, how can they compel any to support teachers who hold their power of office by succession from Europe? And as persons who are born again, are the only holy priesthood that God hath under heaven, how can the priesthood be conveyed by an external laying on of hands? 1 Peter i. 23. ii. 5, 9. And as the golden oil is the Spirit and grace of God, how can it be diffused through a community by the laws of men enforced by the sword? Zech. iv. 6-12. For our Lord warns us to beware of the leaven of hypocrisy, which is caused by covetousness; to avoid which he refused to be concerned in dividing of estates. Luke xii. 1-15. Neither could Peter give any countenance to the distinction between Jews by nature, and sinners of the Gentiles, without dissimulation; and a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. Gal. ii. 12-15. v. 9. The covenant of circumcision made natural birth the first door into the church of Israel; and how can natural increase make any better churches now, than it did of the seed of Abraham, who were a generation of vipers, and had no right to baptism without personal repentance?
ROUSSEAU'S OPINION OF THE BIBLE.
THIS divine book, the only one which is indispensable to the Christian, needs only be read with reflection to inspire love for its author, and the most ardent desire to obey its precepts. Never did virtue speak so sweet a language; never was the most profound wisdom expressed with so much energy and simplicity. No one can arise from its perusal without feeling himself better than he was before.
The majesty of the scriptures strikes me with astonishment, and the sanctity of the gospel addresses itself to my heart. Look at the volumes of philosophers, with all their pomp: how contemptible do they appear in comparison to this! Is it possible that a book, at once so simple and sublime, can be the work of man? Can he who is the subject of its history, be himself a mere man? Was his the tone of an enthusiast, or of an ambitious sectary? What sweetness! What purity in his manners! What an affecting gracefulness in his maxims! What profound wisdom in his discourses! What presence of mind, what sagacity and propriety in his answers! How great the command of his passions! Where is the man, where the  philosopher, who could so live, suffer and die, without weakness and without ostentation! When Plato described his imaginary good man covered with all the disgrace of crime, yet worthy of all the rewards of virtue, he described exactly the character of Jesus Christ. The resemblance was so striking, it could not be mistaken, and all the fathers of the church perceived it. What prepossession, what blindness must it be, to compare the son of Sophroniscus to the Son of Mary! What an immeasurable distance between them! Socrates, dying without pain, and without ignominy, easily supported his character to the last; and if his death, however, crowned his life, it might have been doubted whether Socrates, with all his wisdom, was any thing more than a mere sophist. He invented, it is said, the theory of moral science. Others, however, had before him put it in practice; and he had nothing to do but to tell what they had done, and to reduce their examples to precept. Aristides had been just, before Socrates had defined what justice was; Leonidas had died for his country, before Socrates had made it a duty to love one's country. Sparta had been temperate, before Socrates had eulogised sobriety; and before he celebrated the praises of virtue, Greece had abounded with virtuous men. But from whom of all his countrymen could Jesus have derived that sublime and pure morality, of which he only has given us both the precept and example? In the midst of the most licentious fanaticism, the voice of the sublimest wisdom was heard, and the simplicity of the most heroic virtue crowned one of the humblest of all the multitude.
The death of Socrates, peaceably philosophising with his friends, is the most pleasant that could be desired! That of Jesus, expiring in torments, outraged, reviled, and execrated by a whole nation, is the most horrible that could be feared. Socrates, in receiving the cup of poison, blessed the weeping executioner who presented it; but Jesus, in the midst of excruciating torture, prayed for his merciless tormentors. Yes! if the life and death of Socrates were those of a sage, the lit and death of Jesus were those of a God. Shall we say that the evangelical history is a mere fiction? It does not bear the stamp of fiction; but the contrary. The history of Socrates, which no body doubts, is not so well attested as that of Jesus Christ. Such an assertion, in fact, only shifts the difficulty, without removing it. It is more inconceivable that a number of persons should have agreed to fabricate this book, than that one only should have furnished the subject of it.
The Jewish authors are incapable of the diction, and strangers to the morality contained in the gospel, the marks of whose truths are so striking, so perfectly inimitable, that the inventor would be a more astonishing man than the hero.
Testimony of REV. PLINY FISK, late Missionary to Palestine.
WHILE on the ground, or near to the place, where, in the Apostle John's time, existed one of the congregations of our Lord Jesus Christ;--viz. at Smyrna. Mr. Fisk wrote:--  "I also visited the Greek priests frequently, for the purpose of reading the scriptures with them. After reading our Saviour's discourse to Nicodemus, I asked, "What is regeneration?" The head priest replied, 'Baptism.' I asked, 'Is it water baptism merely, or does it imply also the regeneration of the heart by the Holy Spirit?' 'It certainly implies the latter,' he said. I replied, Suppose a man has been baptized, but his heart remains unholy, and he has no true faith--can he be saved? 'Certainly not,' was the reply. I then entered into conversation to show the nature and necessity of the renewing influences of the Holy Spirit. To all which he said he readily assented."
THE ACTION IMMERSION--[Memoir, p. 161, 162.]
"From Arissa we went in half an hour to Sharfi, a convent of Syrian Catholics. I learn from the bishops that they baptized thus:--The child is placed in the font so that a part of the; body is in the water; then the officiating priest three times takes water in his hands and pours it on the child's head repeating at each time the name of one person of the Trinity. After this the body is immersed; but when I inquired whether the immersion was an essential part of baptism, they said, "No--the baptism would be valid and perfect without it." Ib. p. 325, 326.
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[The Millennial Harbinger, 1 (November, 1830): 481-528.]
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The Millennial Harbinger, Vol. I, No. XI (1830)
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