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Alexander Campbell, ed.
The Millennial Harbinger, Vol. I, No. XII (1830)


{ Vol. 1. }
      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.



      NO two writers, as far as I have read, attack the christian religion in the same manner, nor upon the same principles. The Sceptics are very far from being agreed among themselves as to the test to which it ought to be subjected, or as respects the tribunal before which its pretensions ought to be tried. It is true they all talk about its being "submitted to the test of reason," and some add, "to the test of experience." But the gentlemen of your fraternity are as much at odds on the subject of reason, as on the subject of religion. With some it is reasonable to try christianity as they try a theorem in mathematics; with others, it is reasonable to examine its evidences as though it were a question of metaphysics; a third class say it is reasonable to decide upon its pretensions on the principles of individual experience; and a fourth will have it tried as a criminal in a court of law; and I may add, there are not a few who deem it most reasonable that it should be tried before all these tribunals in one general confederation. So long, then, as your brotherhood of philosophers are so variant on what reason decides, as to the court of inquiry before which christianity is to be examined, it is not strange that among Sceptics there should be so many sects, so many modes of attack, and so general an ignorance of what christianity is.

      We may differ as much about reason as religion, and about the manner of conducting the trial as about the thing to be tried. For my part, I must confess that I esteem it unreasonable in the highest degree to submit the pretensions of the Scriptures to the same tribunal before which I might submit a poem, a fine painting, a piece of architecture, a question in algebra, in physics, or in metaphysics. Neither could I agree to have it tried in a court of common law, nor in a court of chancery, by such rules as litigated questions of law and equity are decided. If, however, any question of fact, one or two thousand years since asserted, can be decided before such canons, I object not to join issue with you on the premises; that by all the same rules, canons, and regulations which you can bring to bear upon any question of fact [529] on record, will I have the question of the resurrection tried. In what ever court, before whatever judges, by whatever laws of trial you would ascertain the truth or falsehood of Cromwell's protectorate, of, the Saxon conquests, of the ascension of the Cesars to imperial power, the victories of Hannibal, the birth, life, and death of Cyrus, Alexander, Alfred, or Queen Elizabeth--in the same court, before the same judges, and by the same laws will the resurrection of Jesus be proved.

      This I call reason. You may call it what you please. All mathematical questions I submit to the canons of Euclid--all questions in natural philosophy, to experiment and analogy--all questions of common law, to courts of law, but questions of fact, historical fact, to that tribunal before which all historical facts are decided. The error on which your objections proceed is, that you will try historical facts in the same court and before the same laws by which you would try a question of fact, the witnesses to which are all living. You cannot elude the reasonableness of the distinction which I here lay down, by telling me that all questions of fact are questions respecting the past, and, consequently, so far historical, and therefore all belong to one and the same chapter: for the most common mind will at once perceive that no person would think of proving the truth of Cataline's conspiracy as was tried that of Aaron Burr. No person would have thought of proving the assassination of Col. Sharp, as he would prove the assassination of Julius Cesar. The evidence necessary to convict a thief or a murderer in our courts of law, differs essentially from that which is necessary to prove that Columbus was the first discoverer of America, or that Cicero wrote his Orations.

      Some of our laughing Sceptics, of the most fashionable schools, with an air of superior wisdom, inform us deluded christians that we could not recover a shilling in any court of law upon such testimony as we have to offer for our confidence in God and our faith in Jesus. This is one of Miss Frances Wright's finest thoughts--one of her most puissant blows at the christian faith. Some of the Deists, too, in the neighborhood of Frankfort, Ky., likewise triumph in their own estimation by the same argument. No man, say they, could prove any fact in court upon such testimony as we have to offer for the resurrection of Jesus. This may all be true, and yet the gospel true. I would ask them but one question here: Could a person recover a shilling in any court of law or equity upon such testimony as he has to offer for any historic fact which happened from the Creation to the Year of Grace 1700? Could you, sir, recover a shilling in any court in the United States by such testimony as you have to offer for your belief in the existence of such persons as Newton, Boyle, Bacon, Locke, Columbus, or any other person or event of whose existence you are assured? If, then, you could not, why discredit the resurrection of Jesus by objections drawn from such reasonings--by conclusions from such premises! This boast of other Sceptics, for which you manifest so strong an inclination, is just as pertinent to the point, at issue, as though one should say, 'All the arguments or evidences you have to offer for your belief in the resurrection would not prove [530] that a triangle has three sides and three angles, or that things that are equal to the same are equal to one another!'

      But, sir, if there be any historic fact which happened before the christian era, cotemporaneous with it, or during sixteen hundred years since, which you believe, name it; and I will undertake to show that you have better reasons to believe the fact of Christ's resurrection from the dead than that fact, whatever it may be. The only question here is, Can we act with certainty upon any testimony, or is testimony of any character capable of giving us assurance? If you say No, then you ought not to object to the testimony because of its character, because all testimony would then be inadequate. If you say Yes, then it behoves you to show that the apostolic testimony, with all its concomitants, is inferior to that testimony which you have to offer for other historic facts of which you are assured. But this we presume to assert you cannot do.

      Persons may reject the christian religion on the ground that it is the subject of history--that it comes to us through human testimony--that it is based on facts, which facts are necessarily to us matters of belief. In one word, they may reject christianity because it is first of all a matter of faith--because they suppose it incompatible with their views of Divinity that the salvation of men should he made dependant on that which does not always produce absolute certainty. They argue that it is unsafe, and consequently unworthy of the Author of the Universe, to make salvation directly or indirectly dependant on belief. When a Sceptic candidly avows this to be the ground of his objection to the christian religion, we know how to address him. We are prepared to show that this power we have of proving testimony to be true, or what is the same thing, this power which we have of believing testimony, is the most simple, natural, powerful, and universal principle of action belonging to the human constitution, and that there is not in human nature a principle of action so suitable, so well adapted to become the basis of religion as this principle of faith. We are prepared to show, if we have not already showed, that it is impossible in the nature of things, as far as known to mortal man, that it could have been, based upon any other principle. Good testimony, or testimony corresponding with the nature of the facts attested, is capable of producing all that certainty of assurance necessary to make man pure and happy: and that is enough, our enemies themselves being judges. If the facts to be believed are supernatural facts, the testimony is supernatural also, and supported by all that nature and reason can contribute to sustain any testimony.

      But I have not found in your pamphlet that you make such an avowal. You, sir, object not to religion because founded upon testimony; but the burthen of your book is to prove that the testimony is incompetent, contradictory, or some way incredible.

      As you have chosen your own course in objecting, I shall choose mine in replying; and as you single out the article of the resurrection of Jesus, or the testimony on which it is sustained, as, in your [531] judgment, incompetent, I will first turn my attention to your objection to that testimony. This shall be the burthen of my next letter.
  With all due respect,

Philalethes on the Scriptures.
[Continued from page 402.]

      IT moreover tends to prevent that patient, persevering consultation of the Spirit's words which is absolutely necessary, and other subordinate helps which the Spirit has provided for enabling an unbiassed, unfettered, diligent, and attentive reader of his message to understand it. Indeed, when a person has once admitted that the meaning given to a word or passage by an interpreter of any sort, is the meaning intended by the Spirit, he has as completely fettered the efforts of his own mind to ascertain its meaning as if he had secured them in a vice, and forever after continues to be a believer, not of what the Spirit tells him, but of what his interpreter has told him. And shall I be forgiven if here I notice an inconsistency that appears in the conduct of every interpreter of God's word. Every one of them takes the liberty of bursting the fetters and throwing off the shackles with which his predecessors or contemporaries had attempted to bind him fast; and no sooner has he asserted his liberty and indulged his propensity to inquire for himself, than he proceeds to force new chains for all around him, and all that come after him.

      20. This human contrivance offers to that God who has himself condescended to become our instructer, the grossest insult. For what greater insult can the offer to our Maker, than to prefer an instrument of instruction of our own devising, to one prepared and sent us by him, or to employ the former in the place of the latter? For my part, I can conceive none.

      21. This human invention treats God's message precisely as Sir Waiter Scott has treated the civil history of his country. Mr. Scott has made that history the mere occasion, or rather material, for constructing an endless number of fabulous and amusing stories, and the intermeddlers with God's word have engrafted on it an endless number of religious tales as remote from the truth of Scripture, as Scott's novels are from the truth of history. What multitudes of these fabulous productions are discharged from the pulpit every Lord's day, and from the press every day!

      22. To the many distinctions already noticed between the instrument of religious information furnished by God, and that fabricated by men, I add one more. Sacred writ, the instrument furnished by God, is made up entirely of facts and precepts. The facts which it declares to its reader are very numerous, and of the greatest utility; and to evince their reality it furnishes the highest possible evidence, the unerring knowledge, and immaculate veracity of a God. But though it reveals innumerable facts to man, which man, without such revelation, could never have with certainty discovered; yet it never [532] explains, nor ever attempts or professes to explain the manner of their accomplishment, nor to assign the causes which produced them; nay, it commonly specifies but few of the concomitant circumstances, and generally takes no notice of either the place or the time of their occurrence, nor of the object which they are intended to effect: thus treating man with respect to intellectual, spiritual, and invisible things, precisely in the same manner as he is treated with respect to his corporeal and temporal concerns during his residence on earth. In the present life as such facts are placed within man's observation as are necessary and sufficient to enable him to provide for his animal happiness, while the causes which produce them and the manner of their coming into existence, bid complete defiance to human sagacity; so such facts are declared to him in sacred writ, accompanied with all the assurance of their reality that the unerring knowledge and spotless veracity of God can create, as are necessary and sufficient, and if duly improved, to secure to him an intellectual or spiritual felicity, intense above conception, and lasting as the immortal mind. Nor is the reason of difficult discovery why so many deeply interesting and edifying facts, natural and revealed, are furnished, and no explanations attached to them, nor attainable of them. The reason manifestly is, that it was absolutely necessary for us to know the facts in order to our being put in a condition to provide for our temporal and eternal happiness, but not the explanations. Nay, had explanations been given, or rendered possible, they would not only have been unprofitable, but highly detrimental. They would have no doubt served the purpose of pampering a useless curiosity; but they would have afforded no profitable information: nay, they would have wasted much time and necessarily diverted the creature's attention from the facts that were eminently conducive, or rather indispensable to his well-being.

      As to the precepts contained in sacred writ, their immense utility and absolute necessity are so certified to us by the unerring knowledge and boundless kindness of our invisible Parent who enjoined them, as to admit of no additional proof from the tongue or pen of man.

      The very reverse of sacred writ in this respect is the instrument of religious instruction fabricated and offered by the clergy. It consists almost entirely of vain, presumptuous, and abortive attempts to explain facts, for the explanation of which God has given no capacity to man, of fanciful and imaginary circumstances, which they have dared to add to God's information, of vain labor to ascertain places and other objects, and to fix the dates and other circumstances of facts, for the ascertainment of which God has furnished us with no means to assign ends and purposes of which we literally know nothing, and, which is worse still, to make the divine precepts enjoin just what they fancy. Remove from man's instrument of religious instruction all such contemptible and unprofitable trash, and the residue would scarcely be visible.

      Now, reader, I have endeavored with truth, fairness, and simplicity, to set before you, the origin, nature, tendency, and effects of the [533] two instruments of religious instruction that have long been in use among christians. It is your part to compare diligently, reflect maturely, and prefer that one which really merits your preference; for a choice is before you. You may either make use of God's instrument of instruction, or that which your fellow-creatures, fallible, blundering, uninspired mortals have provided, for you. To use both is to involve yourselves in an inextricable labyrinth of absurdities, as well as to offer gross insult to your Maker. For my own part my choice has long been made. For many years I have consulted on the subject of religion no book but the Bible; and it is my firm belief that were the Bible diligently, attentively, and reverentially read as a message fresh from God, and as the only book which we either need, or can, according to God's will, use for the salvation of our souls; and were all who can read the Bible urged by every proper consideration to read it; and to those who cannot read it themselves, were it to be read in a solemn and impressive manner by every professed friend of the Redeemer, on every proper occasion; and were the professed friends of the Saviour to take care to observe truth in all they speak, punctuality in all they engage to do, justice in all their dealing: humanity in all their actions, and temperance, purity, and self-government in all their deportment--it is, I say, my firm belief, that were these things duly attended to, that Christ's cause would assuredly and speedily triumph over all opposition, were all the clergymen now in being to disappear in the twinkling of an eye, and every page written on the subject of religion, the Bible excepted, sent up to heaven in one conflagration. For then the management of Christ's affairs would be placed in the hands of those to whose fidelity he has entrusted them, and his conquest of the world confided to the use of that powerful instrument alone which he has provided and prepared for the purpose.

      But I terminate this long discussion with a repetition of the assertion which I have made over and over again, that to employ, for the purpose of acquiring religious knowledge, any modification of God's information, other than that in which he has judged it best to communicate, his mind to us, is gross impiety and insult. On the one hand it is a flat denial of God's ability to instruct us, and a daring ascription of imperfection to his attempt, and on the other, an arrogant assumption of capacity on our part to ameliorate God's work, and purge it of all defects.

To the Editor of the Millennial Harbinger.


      I HAVE, just returned from the Dover Association, where I went as a spectator and an inquirer. Such was the pleasing information I received, that I had determined to communicate it to you before I saw the 9th number of the Harbinger. Your labor is not in vain in the Lord. Light is evidently dawning. We counted ten public teachers who are more or less advocates for the ancient gospel, not one of them whose talents are not far before mine, and some equal, if not superior to any in the Association. All of those teachers live within the bounds [534] of the Dover Association. It has been my object, and I am pleased to hear it is theirs also, to prevent, if possible, a splitting up the churches into sects. Such is our abhorrence of sectarianism, that we would suffer much before we would break off from them. Nothing but their refusing us the liberty of partaking of the loaf, and the use of their houses, will induce us to separate from them. I fear this will be the case, if I am to judge from the language of Bishop Semple and a few of "his followers." He says he can commune with us as men, but not with our principles. This is the poorest "come-off" I ever heard. I should be glad to know why he places so much value upon a man without principles, and so little upon our being possessed of principles as to be unworthy of his fellowship. We do hereby invite Bishop Semple to prove from the New Testament, (not his say-so, or his church resolutions, as his holiness of Rome does,) any one principle we hold is erroneous, much less corrupt.1

      It is impossible for me to communicate at this time the great number of friends in this Association to the ancient gospel. I have been credibly informed that three of the churches in King William county are almost unanimous. No discord, no division, nor contention among them. These truly intelligent and pious people are decided friends of reformation. Those brethren that do not read your writings, consequently do not understand your views, are men of intelligence and liberality. They claim the right to form their own judgment of truth, and speak their sentiments, and they are willing that their brethren shall do the same. This is like disciples of Jesus Christ. They are increasing in number in the lower part of the county daily. The churches in the Association where the intolerant spirit reigns are at a stand. They will not enter themselves as advocates for the ancient apostolic doctrine, but the traditions of the elders, and shut up the kingdom of heaven against men.

      I am sorry to say, that one of your correspondents who has been defeated, (previous to that, and Bishop Semple's last letter in the 8th number of the Harbinger,) informed me in July last, and others, that he could commune with me, and had no disposition to injure my influence. He stirred up his old rusty rules in September, with one or two of his deacons, to get the church he was Pastor of to refuse to commune with me; and to effect this noble object, charged me with moral impropriety, that is, a departure from moral rectitude. One of his deacons charged me with defamation, and the other said he had as lief commune with as abandoned a wretch as he could find, as with me. This Pastor heard him say, it was nothing he had against my moral character, but because I held those reforming sentiments, without offering a word of reproof, or rebuke to him!!! When I demanded of the Pastor and his Deacon the evidence upon which their assertions were made, they referred me to a letter I wrote in the Christian Baptist, vol. ii. page 239-40. It was said I there defamed the churches by classing them with murderers and drunkards. How [535] thirsty must that man be to destroy by a church censure him whom he could not confute in argument! Let any reader, or christian, look at the last part of the second paragraph, and the first of the third, and compare with what I said about the 18, and then decide whether it was the churches, or those proscribing scabby sheep among them, called "sectarian spirits," which I expressed my happiness at there not "being more than two such characters in any one congregation I am acquainted with." They will have to prove there are no such characters among them, before they can be justified in attacking my moral character. Without they do this, they certainly must stand condemned as false accusers. The church did not do any thing with the affair. Possibly I may at some future day give you the names of the parties concerned, but withhold them now, hoping they will see the persecuting spirit they have indulged against me without a cause, and reform.


      IT will be remembered that Mr. Andrew Fuller defines his strict regeneration to be "a real physical work, whereby the Holy Spirit imparts spiritual life to the souls of all who are truly regenerated." It were well for mankind that the terms were well defined which writers use in all these great controversies, on the one side of which all is life; and on the other side of which all is death. To make men damnably erroneous for a tenet, contradictory to "essential points," it is surely necessary and all-important that these essential points should be plainly expressed, in a style familiar and perspicuous to all. In this definition of "strict regeneration" there is great obscurity resting upon the subject for the want of a definition of the terms. It is a philosophical definition and couched in terms excogitated by speculative reasoners; very unlike the terms which the Holy Spirit employs to communicate his mind to men upon the gospel.

      A "physical work" few understand; and "spiritual life" is a phrase not understood by a tithe of those who use it. Ask a majority of our proclaimers and teachers what they mean by either, or both of these expressions, and how embarrassed will they be to give an intelligible definition. Mr. Fuller gives a hint or two indicative of his meaning of "physical power." He means a power in which there is nothing moral; that is, in which there are no motives presented. As for example, no motives were presented to man in order to make him rational: he was made rational without argument, or persuasion; just as he was made with two eyes or two feet. The power that made man rational was the same which made a fish swim, a bird fly, or a stone quiescent; and was put forth in the same manner. No moral power, or power influencing by motive, was displayed in giving either fins and scales, or their use, to fishes; or wings and their use to birds. Fire acts physically upon metals; and a hammer in the hand of the smith who uses it, works physically upon the iron. But he that overcomes by persuasion, argument, or motive, works morally, as philosophers would call it; and such power as operates upon the understanding, [536] standing, will, or affections of men to induce to voluntary action, is called moral power.

      He who seizes a man, and manacles his hands or fetters his feet by superior strength, overcomes physically; but he who persuades a man to submit to reason, or to yield by motive or persuasion, overcomes morally. Now when God works physically upon men's minds according to this dogma of the Rabbis, he pays no more regard to the reason, will, or affections, than Samson did to the fingers and toes of the Philistines whom he vanquished in battle. Such is the "physical power" of the schools.

      "Spiritual life" is a phrase of more subtilty than the phrase "physical power." The meaning of the latter is much more easily approached than the import of the former. Indeed, philosophers themselves are puzzled to define life of any sort. Before we inquire into this spiritual life of the schools, we shall make an effort to illustrate life simply, and relatively considered.

      To do this in the most familiar and intelligible style, we shall begin with the lowest species of life. And first of vegetable life:--That vegetables live and die is as universally admitted as that animals live and die. Hence "a dead tree" is as common a phrase as "a dead man." There is then a change from one state to another in vegetables, as well as in animals, which change is a passing from life to death. There are all the incipient and progressive stages of vegetable, as of animal life. To trace these is not our object; but to inquire, In what does the life of a vegetable consist? It consists not in the power of locomotion, or of changing its place; this is not necessary to its life; but it consists in a power of abstracting from the material system such elements as are homogeneous with itself, or correspondent to its nature, by means of which it continues to increase in stature, and to produce seeds, which, when returned to the earth, will have the same power of abstracting the same properties from the material system, and of exhibiting the same attributes to the senses of man. Vegetable life, then, consists in this connexion, or in this power of abstracting from the material system certain qualities conducive to its continued connexion with the system.

      Let this connexion with the earth and atmosphere be destroyed, or let this power of abstracting by its roots, bark, and leaves, from the earth and atmosphere its appropriate food or sustenance, and a change appears which we call death. The death of a vegetable is its separation from the earth and atmosphere, or its losing the power of abstracting from both its necessary sustenance. This may be done by injuring its roots, its bark, or its leaves. These are its vital organs, or the means through which the power of abstracting is exhibited.--Whenever this power begins to fail, its verdure diminishes, its decay commences, it sickens and dies. When fully dead it has no power of abstracting any thing from the material system: ray, it gives itself back to its parents, and is reduced to its elementary principles. Such are the phenomena of vegetable life and death.

      Animal life is the second rank or grade of existence with which we [537] are acquainted. This also it will appear consists in a similar, connexion with the material system, or in a power of abstracting by certain organs from the material system, elementary principles, or such aliments or properties of matter as are capable of being converted into its own nature, or incorporated with itself. By means of these abstractions from the earth and atmosphere its existence is continued, or these powers are augmented, until it arrives at such a period or stage of life as weakens these powers of abstraction, when it either suddenly expires or gradually sickens and dies. Death is a deprivation of these powers, or a separation from the material systems, by some change in the organization of the animal.

      The organization of both plants and animals differ not only in the genera, but in the species; and as no two species of plants are organized exactly in the same manner, so they do not abstract precisely the same properties from the material system. This is equally true of all the species of animals. But notwithstanding all differences in organization, and in the qualities abstracted, still the power of abstracting, or that which constitutes life, is the same in all. The dissolution of this connexion with the material system is that which constitutes death, or it is that which we understand by this term.

      This is all we know of life and death from observation and reason. Beyond vegetable and animal life we have no knowledge except from revelation and analogy. But, aided by these means, we ascend higher in the developement, as well as in the enjoyment of life. Man is now capable, as experience proves, of standing in connexion with two systems; and that he once did so stand in connexion with two systems, (the material and the spiritual,) revelation abundantly testifies. God is a spirit, and he is himself the spiritual system. Connexion with him, or a power of deriving from him those qualities and blessings conducive to intellectual and moral health, is that which constitutes what may be called spiritual or rational life.

      We know of but two systems--Matter and Mind. Man is the keystone of the great arch of life which connects both systems. In him both systems meet:--

"The flesh to worms and dust allied;
"The soul to God and heaven akin."

Animal life, and rational or spiritual life, he is capable of, and did originally enjoy. When he transgressed he was severed as a branch from the vine. He was cut off from the spiritual system. He had no power of deriving aught from it; and although alive to the material, he was dead to the spiritual system. But let it be remembered that life is connexion with, and death separation from, any system, whether material or spiritual. Animal life all men enjoy in common with other animals; and of all the actions thereof, they are still capable: but unless connected with the spiritual systems by some new media, there is no enjoyment of that life.

      This idea carried out suggests the necessity of what christianity developes; viz.--that as Adam was the key-stone of the great arch of life between two worlds, now that the key-stone has fallen, it behoves [538] that some person possessing in himself not only a human body and spirit, but also a relation or connexion with the spiritual system, of such intimacy as to make himself not only "the way" of return, but "the life" itself, should be exhibited, and be a second Adam to the race of men. Hence Jesus stands forth confessed and proved to be this life of men. "He that has the Son has this life; and he that has not the Son has not this life." This new life, call it spiritual, rational, or eternal life, is now to be enjoyed only in the Messiah. Our life, say the christians, is hid in Christ. "He is our life." He has formed for us a connexion with the spiritual system; so that no man can now come to the Father, or enjoy this life, but by him.

      These things premised, we are in some measure prepared to canvass the dogma of the schoolmen touching the "impartation of spiritual life to the soul by physical power." How heat and moisture can quicken an acorn, or cause it to germinate; how animal heat can quicken an egg; how organized matter, animal or vegetable, may have life called forth, we have some faint idea: but how life is imparted without means, remains yet to be unfolded when the mysteries of the schools are developed. What is life, is a question to be decided before this spiritual life, physically imparted, can be understood.

      But suppose that there is any, the least analogy, between any thing called life, animal or vegetable, and this spiritual life, does it not appear that it is by receiving Jesus as "the way, the truth, and the life," and only by being engrafted into him, that we can be made alive to God? If so, this physical quickening is wholly a human invention.

      It appears to be more consonant with the christian philosopher, Paul the Apostle, to affirm that the quickening act, or that which imparts spiritual life is the act of remission. This he positively affirms. "You," says he to the Colossians, chapter ii. 13, "who were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, has he made alive, having forgiven you all trespasses." Sin cut man off from the spiritual system. Our iniquities have separated between us and our God. They have gone up over our heads as a cloud; yea, as a thick cloud, and we see not the light of his animating countenance. "Dead in trespasses and sins" is the death of which the Apostle has spoken. Absolve or remove these trespasses and sins, and we can approach God with confidence, and can have communion and fellowship with him. Without this there can be no friendly connexion; so no life. But so soon as we are buried and raised with Jesus, we begin to enjoy this new life; "we are made alive together with him;" and as those alive from the dead, we now walk in a new life--have our fruit to holiness, and the end everlasting life.

      Whatever that act be which engrafts us into Christ, that is the act by which the life that is in him is communicated to us. If that act be a physical operation upon the mind, then is spiritual life imparted by such an act; but if, as Paul teaches, we are "planted together with him," or "put him on;" by being through faith "immersed into his death," then we are born of God only when "born of water and [539] the Spirit," and made alive from the dead, when raised with him to a new life. "If, then, you be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits at the right hand of God; for you are dead (wherein you were once alive) and your life is hid with Christ by God."
      Cambridge, Ohio, October 28, 1830.


      LEST any reader of the Harbinger should take it into his head that my having ceased to publish the numbers of Abner W. Clopton, is because there is something argumentative in them, I will here insert one entire number, that the reader may see with what weapons Mr. Clopton assails the Restoration. His pieces are mere defamation from beginning to end. He has written to his friends to help him to curse bitterly; but has no reason nor argument to offer. He has got some assistance from Tennessee. The old man appears as large as life in Mr. Clopton's coadjutor, the good, old, high-toned, Gillized Calvinist, Mr. Garner M'Connico; and it seems they have two allies in that vicinity, Messrs. Whitsitt and Atkinson. These old men have been going the rounds upon the "five points" of John Calvin, until they find them all in every text from Genesis to Jude. I am glad there were many witnesses to most of the twelve hours chat alluded to in this letter. Whether the following be a fair report, I vouch not. I leave that to others to decide. But that I ever said the things alleged against me here, I must beg leave to deny in some important points at least. My prefatory remarks to the Epistle to the Ephesians I am glad were written before that day; and I trust no person will think that, with the new version in my hand, I contradicted what I had written in it. I have not so good a memory (probably!) as Mr. M'Connico. He in his 59th year can quote, with great accuracy, a conversation which happened four years ago; yes, verbatim, he can give the details of twelve hours, or the result of the whole matter. It would be well for this zealous old Calvinist, and his good brothers Whitsitt and Atkinson, if they could remember the words of the Apostles and be as zealous for their testimony as they are for their own honor and the dogmas of the dark ages, which unfortunately they began to preach without understanding them, and must now defend because they have preached them. But we shall give place to these worthy champions of orthodoxy:--
ED. M. H.      

From the Columbian Star and Christian Index.      


      Matt. vii. 16. "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns or figs of thistles?"

      THE following letter exhibits something more of Mr. Campbell, and of his fruits:--

FRANKLIN, (Ten.) July 22, 1830.      

Elders Clopton and Jeffries,

      I have received from each of you a letter, requesting, in substance, about the same information. And as such, I answer you both jointly, [540] as it will save time and labor; for I am but a bad scribe at best, and as I grow older, writing becomes more laborious. This I offer as an apology fur this method of writing.

      When Alexander Campbell came before the public by his debate with Walker, and rendered himself notorious, I saw something in the debate very objectionable (to me at least;) and said to some of the brethren, I was doubtful of the Scotchman. His views of John's baptism, and of the commencement of the gospel dispensation, raised my doubts. His debate with M'Calla still heightened my fears. When his prospectus for the Christian Baptist came out I became a subscriber, and read carefully its pages. I thought him an able disputant, but a bad divine; and said to some of the brethren, that Alexander the Great, and Alexander the coppersmith, and Alexander Campbell of Brooke county, were brethren. A member thought my remarks unauthorized. I said time was a good expositor and a revealer of secrets, and that I had no doubt but we should see some new-fangled religious infidelity set up in the churches. Out comes a prospectus for (another) a New Testament, which was to be taken from Doctors Macknight, George Campbell, and Doddridge. Well, I took the new book and read it attentively, and what did I see? Behold a New Testament made up of scraps from Doctors C------, M'N------, D------, T------, and G------, and when neither of them suited, he puts his own rendering. And this Testament is handed to the public, well suited to the religious infidelity of the Unitarian compiler.

      In this New Testament the divinity of Christ, the work of the Spirit, gospel repentance, gospel faith, regeneration by divine grace, and the effectual calling of the sinner, and of the minister of Christ, could not be so well sustained as by the common translation of the Testament. And religion is now made (according to this) a mere human science--and consequently all the standing religious sects are wrong, and a new theory, falsely, called the Ancient Gospel, is introduced. What a Pope!! When Alexander Campbell was in this country, children (in the gospel) that I had raised--ministers that I had baptized--were elated at the prospect that the strong opposition I had felt and manifested against Campbellism would be prostrated. Accordingly, I was requested to meet him in the town of Franklin. I repaired to the spot. When he came in sight, myself and others were waiting the event. It was the time of court in Franklin, and the house was literally filled with spectators and hearers. Being seated, he was informed that I did not think so favorably of his religious views. Well, said Campbell, brother M'Connico does not understand me. Perhaps not, said I. We then commenced a conversation, and continued for twelve hours with but little intermission. About the time the clock struck nine, I said, Brother Campbell, I profess to be an honest man--and, therefore, before I leave you this evening, I must say to you, I have read all you have written, and have now conversed with you twelve hours; and that I do not believe one word of your doctrine, taken as a whole. What doctrine? said he. I have no doctrine but the New Testament. I do not believe, replied I, your views of the New Testament. I have no views, said he, but [541] that testimony. Come and hear me preach to-morrow, and I hope to satisfy you. I did so. But alas! satisfied! Yes. How? Why, that he was not a gospel preacher. He commented on the whole Epistle to the Ephesians in his new book, (Testament.) Myself and others sat behind him in the pulpit. He said, among other things, that that Epistle was addressed to the Gentiles as a nation, and not a christian congregation. I involuntarily read out the address. (Paul an Apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus.) The preachers by my side started as if electrified. Campbell turned and looked at me--smiled--and proceeded to say, The best thing we could do, would be to forget all we had ever learned, and begin to learn anew. Yes, said I, and you are to be the teacher. He again looked and smiled. After three hours comment and argument to prove that the doctrine of pre-appointment as held by Calvin and others was not true, and that all their religious theories were false; he closed by pressing on the minds of the hearers the truth and utility of his own--(theory.) After dinner I asked Campbell how he would proceed to build a church, or, as he would call it, a christian congregation. Well, said he, I will suppose I was coming to Nashville to settle permanently. I would commence a series of discourses, in which I would prove that Jesus was the Son of God and the Saviour of sinners, and that the New Testament was the Word of God. And when all my authorities, vouchers, and arguments had been laid before the people, I would then request them to come together; and all who believed (or would say they believed) that Jesus was the Son of God, I would take to the river, immerse them, and pronounce them a christian congregation. Well, said I, nine-tenths of the people of this country could say all you would ask them to say, and therefore you would take them by wholesale. Such, said he, must be the state of things when the ancient order is set up. Such, replied I, was not the course of the apostolic order.

      My beloved brethren--Campbellism has carried away many whom I thought firm. These wandering stars and clouds without water, ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth, make proselytes much more the children of the devil than they were before. O Lord! hear the cries and see the tears of the Baptists: for Alexander has done them much harm. The Lord reward him according to his works. Look at the Creaths of Kentucky. Look at Anderson, Craig, and Hopwood, of Tennessee. See them dividing churches, and spreading discord, and constituting churches out of excommunicated members. Such shuffling--such lying--such slandering--such evil speaking--such dissembling--such downright hypocrisy--and all under the false name of reformation.

      Save me from such a reform, and such reformers. Cumberland Association has excommunicated Anderson, Craig, and their followers. Ah! my brethren, these are some of my ill-begotten children! Some say that I called Craig to preach. Really, it looks like some of my work; for if the Lord had done it, it would have been well done. They have made a division in Cool Spring Church. There they claim the church book, and hold (as they say) the constitution, [542] and yet preach as contrary to the principles on which the church was constituted as any two things can be.

      The Association pronounced the old party the church, and excluded Anderson, Craig, and all who had gone off with them. These were a large minority--they say the majority. But it is not so. These two churches are in one house; if that party may be called a church.

      At Lepres Fork Church a small party have gone over to Campbellism. Some had been excluded before, either for their principles or conduct. Here they have built up in the same house what they call a church. Of this church old brother Atkinson has the charge, and here is his membership. At Big Harpeth Church, where I have lived and served thirty-two years, ten or twelve members have left us. Of these excluded members they have built in Franklin, with one or two from Kentucky. At Nashville, P. S. Fall, a native of England, and Campbell's best friend, has led off most of that church which was a member of Cumberland Association.

      On Saturday before the first Lord's day in September, Willis Hopwood, as is expected, will be excluded, and perhaps most of Liberty Church, Bedford county, will follow him. Robertson's Fork Church, Giles county, will divide, and (probably) a number will follow Hopwood. Zion Church, Bedford county, I fear, will suffer much from the same new ancient gospel. Other churches may have some partial sifting. Many Arminian Campbellites and Masonic Unitarians have fled for refuge, (not to Christ.) The calf, too, is set up in Alabama, and already it is proclaimed, 'These be the gods that must bring us out of Babylon.' What shall I say? I have been thirty-three years in camps in Tennessee. I have fought many a hard battle under Christ's banner, and under Baptist colors. But never before have I seen such shuffling--such dissenting.

      I am this day 59 years old. I have baptized about 1200 persons. When I am old and weak what shall I say? Give up the ship? No--never--never. Some say, If old Atkinson, old Whitsitt, and M'Connico were dead, the battle would be won. But, ah me! Jesus lives and will sustain his cause; and in this I rejoice. A good man once said, All these things make against me. But they all made for him.

      The Lord reigns; let his servants fear. I am glad, brother Clopton, to see you march out against Goliath, who has been defying the armies of Israel. May the God of David direct the pebble from the sling, in this, the day of battle. I hope you will have the prayers of the godly. I have seen some two or three of your numbers. God bless the man and the means. If I were able I would hold up your hands while you fight the battles of the Lord. I fear many of the floating neutrality amongst the ministry will not support you. Fear not. Thus some of David's brethren thought that the pride of his heart had induced him to come forward in single combat. I hope, my brother, your beard is grown. I, for one, will not fear, though you meet the uncircumcised Philistine; for I know that the Lord is mighty in battle.
      Elders A. W. Clopton and Thomas Jeffries. [543]


      The foregoing is, in substance, the letter of Mr. M'Connico. While no idea has been changed, a few verbal alterations have been made. The writer is believed to be a faithful, eminently successful, and justly distinguished minister of the Lord Jesus Christ. Mr. Campbell inveighs much against learned Doctors of Divinity, except when they happen to suit his purpose. The writer of this letter has attained to his excellency in the ministry, through the grace of God, upon a diligent cultivation of his powers, without the aid of a collegiate or academical education. He is therefore free from all suspicion of a combination with what Mr. Campbell calls the learned priesthood. He has read carefully and impartially Mr. Campbell's writings. He gives him full credit for his talent in polemical disputation. He has had a personal interview and a twelve hours conversation with him. He has heard him preach. He has been an eye witness to the fruits resulting from the introduction of his writings among the churches. He knows well the meaning of a revival of the "ancient order of things" He has had a direct and personal acquaintance and intercourse with some of his proselytes. He has had the fairest opportunity of trying their "spirits." Their principles he has tested by their practices--their sayings by their doings. His language may he thought, by some, to be marked with a degree of asperity unsuited to the subject. But he was aware that the circumstances in which he was placed, the occasion which induced him to speak and write, forbade every thing like Jesuitical trimming. It is now more important than ever, that things be called by their appropriate names. His language is a burst of honest and holy indignation at the course pursued by those who have broken up the peace and harmony formerly existing in the churches with which he was connected.

      He sees his children bewitched and carried away by another gospel. He therefore speaks and writes as one who believes truth to be something. His language to Mr. Campbell is honest, bold, decisive. The tergiversation in Mr. Campbell's replies may satisfy his admirers, if not the "floating neutrality." These considerations ought, in my judgment, to give weight to the opinions of Mr. M'Connico; and more especially when those opinions are sanctioned by two such aged and distinguished ministers as John Atkinson and John Whitsitt. Under circumstances perhaps equally favorable to a correct decision, they too have formed the same opinion concerning Mr. Campbell and his scheme of religion.

      After a careful perusal of the newly translated Testament, Mr. M'Connico's conclusion is, that it is well suited to the religious infidelity of the Unitarian compiler. He is not singular in the opinion that Mr. Campbell is a Unitarian. And he stands not alone in the belief that Campbellism is a scheme of religious infidelity, dangerous to the souls of men, and to the real prosperity of the church of Christ, Just in proportion as it seems to wear the garb, and to speak the language of real believers. Respecting the mournful scenes of heresy, strife, alienation, and schism, depicted in this letter, no additional [544] remarks can be necessary, From the bare recital of them the heart of christian sensibility recoils with holy aversion--with holy indignation. Their promulgation to the world can be justified on no other ground but a strong persuasion that others equally exposed to dangers, and equally at a loss how to proceed, may, in this way, be awakened to vigilance, and if visited by the desolating scourge, know how to act. They all speak the same language. They all point to the same prime agent. They all require the same remedy--if that may be called a remedy which can only mitigate and not heal--palliate but not cure the deadly wounds. These churches and Associations, as well as those in Kentucky, are convinced, after long and painful experiment, that nothing short of a thorough purging of the floor--that nothing short of a distinct and total separation from all such, can promise relief.

      It would seem that Mr. Clopton thought his brother M'Connico's letter in need of burnishing, altering, and amending, to make it suit his views. It lost nothing of its defamatory character in so good hands. There was not a monk in the cloisters of the Mother of Harlots, who could not have written many such letters against the Lutheran Reformation. And many a Jew could have defamed Paul full as well as these children of Calvinism and Fullerism have defamed me. "Religious infidel," "Unitarian compiler," "Alexander the coppersmith," are strong arguments against me. So were "the ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes," "pestilent fellow," "sower of sedition," "a teacher of heresy," strong arguments against Paul. Messrs. M'Connico and Whitsitt sail under "Baptist colors" as it appears, and have "letters of marque and reprisal." They are now privateering on the high seas, and have waged an interminable war against Campbellism. I am just about starting to their own country, and will join them in a crusade against Campbellism. But if they thus nickname the ancient gospel, we must beg leave to expose their error, not by a war of epithets, but by the sword of the Spirit and the good arguments which it suggests to us. But having fought thirty years under the flag of Calvinism, and having nailed the colors to the mast, Mr. M'Connico and his two friends are resolved never to give up that ship. The fact of having so long preached that faith, is, no doubt, the strongest argument these gentlemen have to offer for continuing to preach it.

      As for this "shuffling, lying, slandering, evil speaking," &c. of which Mr. M'Connico speaks, we shall inquire into it a little more particularly, especially as it is now exparte testimony. But if any man advocating the ancient gospel should be guilty of such fashionable sins, for my part I will have no fellowship with him, though in his sixtieth year, and the father of "many ill-begotten children."

      As for Mr. Clopton's "holy indignation," it is so much like his "elevated tone of piety," that we place them in the same chapter.

      Mr. Clopton's proofs that I am unsound in the faith, have received three accessions or new arguments. These are the opinions of Messrs. M'Connico, Whitsitt, and Atkinson. Three logical arguments truly!
ED. M. H. [545]      

From the Gospel Luminary.      


      DR. COX, a respectable Presbyterian minister of this city, preached a sermon before the Synod of New York, on the subject of Regeneration, sometime last autumn. In this sermon, the Doctor commenced a bold and direct attack upon some of the leading doctrines of Calvinism. The sermon under consideration has been reviewed by the Princeton Biblical Repertory, and by the New Haven Christian Spectator, both of which are regarded as orthodox periodicals. We have adverted to this subject for the purpose of showing that the work of reform is gradually progressing among the Presbyterians, and also to show that there is no such uniformity of sentiment among them, as a body, as many pretend.

      Dr. Cox says in his sermon:--

      "One of the capital mistakes in theology, one that has been valued as a limb of orthodoxy, but which may well be viewed as the great paralyzer of preaching, is that of the alleged passivity of the subject in regeneration. This mistake has been adopted superficially, from a dark and technical regard to the doctrine of election and its kindred truths: by false principles of interpretation, since the Bible teaches no such doctrine; and with an officious care to exclude all self-complacency from christians. But error and ignorance correct nothing; and our grand weapon of warfare is truth. Now if it be a fact that the soul is just as active in regeneration as in any other thing--as it is before or after that glorious event--then, what shall we call that kind of orthodoxy that proposes to make men better by teaching them the reverse? To paralyze the soul, or to strike it through with a moral panic, is not regeneration. But to bring it to "hear the word of Christ, and believe on him that sent him," and so to pass (or, as we prefer to render it, to make transition) "from death unto life;" this is regeneration."--p. 24.

      "If it be said that the Spirit of God produces regeneration, I answer, True; but what is regeneration? Is it something done to the subject, and not done by him? This view will, I know, quadrate with some technicalities of the books; I know, also, that it is technically wretched, philosophically wrong, and theologically false."--p. 25.

      "Perhaps it will be said that God creates or inserts some holy principle in us, which constitutes regeneration, and in which we are entirely passive; but that thereafter we actively do our duty. I reply, that it can command the confidence of no well-disciplined mind. By "holy principle," I mean love to God, and not any thing antecedent to it; and by love to God, I mean loving him; and in that the subject is active. In short, there is no such thing as a holy principle antecedent to it; or distinguishable from, active, mental holiness."--p. 26.

      To this the Princeton reviewers reply:--

      "We do not see how it is possible to hold together the tattered shreds of Calvinism, if this ground be assumed.--p. 266. We are at a loss to see how this theory is to be reconciled with the Calvinist's [546] doctrine of the will.--p. 277. That the denial of the sinner's blindness to the holiness of God is involved in it, is perfectly evident.--p. 285. Dr. Cox asks whether it is not "intrinsically absurd," that a man should be regenerated before he does his duty? We think the absurdity is all the other way, that he should do his duty without being regenerated.--p. 286. Dr. Cox speaks of this "certain kind of principle," as a mysterious gratuity with which the receiver has nothing to do. We are persuaded that a fundamental difference, as to the nature of agency, and human liberty, lies at the foundation of all such objections. We are yet fighting in the dark. The real turning point is yet in the back ground."--p. 287.

      "The truth is, that the whole system is a forced and unnatural union between Arminian philosophy and Calvinistic facts; a union which can neither be peaceful nor lasting.--p. 192. That this principle [i. e. moral character belonging only to acts of choice] is inconsistent with the doctrine of original righteousness, is formally admitted. That it involves the denial of original sin, as the doctrine has been commonly held among Calvinists, is equally clear. According to the prevalent doctrine on this subject, original sin consists, first, in the imputation of Adam's sin; this, it seems, has been long exploded: secondly, in the want of original righteousness; this is gone too; for there never was any such thing: and thirdly, in the corruption of nature, that is, a tendency to do what God has prohibited, [and nothing else,] existing prior to all acts of choice, and independently of them; and now this is gone."--p. 292. [Alas! for the tattered shreds of Calvinism!]

      "But to return to our subject. This theory not only overthrows the doctrines which we have just mentioned, but it throws the Spirit's influences almost out of view. We think the grace of God acts a part scarcely more conspicuous in all this scheme, than it does in the enumeration of the titles of a European monarch."--p. 294. "As to the point which Dr. Cox thinks so "intrinsically absurd," and about which he says so much, whether man is passive in regeneration, it will be seen that, for is own sake, it does not merit a moment's discussion. It depends entirely on the previous questions; whether there is not a holy "relish," taste, or principle produced in the soul prior, in the order of nature, to any holy act of the soul itself. To relinquish this point, will cost us a struggle. It will be giving up the main point of debate between the friends and opposers of the doctrines of grace, from Augustine to the present day. We have no doubt Dr. Cox believes these doctrines. What we lament is, that he should seem to advocate a principle which we fear is subversive of them all."--p. 295, 296, 297.

      Such is the language by which the Princeton reviewers rebuke Dr. Cox, and those who agree with him in sentiment. But the reviewers of New Haven speak of Dr. Cox's sermon in very different terms. After eulogizing him as "a powerful preacher," and representing; the question at issue as "the most important in the whole range of christian theology," the reviewer says, "Perhaps the [547] solution of this single question may be the pivot on which shall turn whole systems of divinity; the radiating point, from which may shoot off rays into whole regions of surrounding twilight and midnight darkness. After quoting such scriptures as these, "Seek and you shall find," "Come unto me, and I will give you rest," they ask.

      "Now, in reading these passages--and they have reference to the very point in debate, the commencement of religion in the soul;--would it ever occur that they regarded man in any other light than as being active in the entire work of religion? Do they look as if the sacred penmen ever considered their minds as mere passive recipients in any part of this work? Do they not speak as men do on other subjects when they express activity? And is not the natural language of these expressions, that the mind is as far as possible from stagnation, or torpor, or "moral panic?" Let it be remembered, also, that they speak of the actings of the mind in all the changes which it experiences in religion. There is nothing in the charge of which they speak, anterior to ACTION; no department of the moral man in which christianity obtains a lodgment, that is not expressed by language describing man's own agency."--p. 330.

      Again, we should not probably agree with them in their views of election, yet we can heartily subscribe to the language which they use in controversy with the "old Calvinists;" language that would have sounded strangely in Presbyterian ears a few years ago.

      "What is the doctrine of election, on the theory of our opponents? That a part of mankind are taken to eternal life, in consequence of a change of heart, in which they had no share. That the remainder sink to hell for wanting that which did depend upon themselves--for wanting "a holy principle" distinct from, and independent of, any act of their own--and for wanting influence of God, by which such a principle is created in the breast of the redeemed! With exactly the same justice might any man be condemned to perdition for wanting talents, beauty or wealth. These are the representations of the doctrine of election, which have made it so odious in many parts of our land. Every principle of man's nature rises up against such statements. They make the whole system of the doctrines of grace a loathing and an abhorrence to thousands. They steel the hearts of multitudes against the influence of divine truth. Other multitudes they place in the attitude of passive recipients, waiting for some mysterious gift distinct from their own agency. With entire respect, and with personal affection for many who make these statements, we are compelled to say, that, in our view, they take upon themselves a tremendous responsibility in so doing. Woe to that minister of God, who, in his name, proclaims to men to wait is the solemn duties of their souls, for the expected aid of the Almighty, or to delay the effort for repentance till he shall send them new powers or principles of action from on high. In all the oracles of truth not one such direction is found."--p. 357.

      We shall make one more quotation from the Review at New Haven, for the purpose of giving the views which the conductors of that [548] periodical hold respecting faith. They are precisely those which we entertain ourselves on this subject:--

      "When we look at faith, without reference to any theological debate, we see nothing that is particularly mysterious about it as an operation of the mind; nothing which by any inherent properties separates it from the usual actings of moral agency. It is belief in testimony; that is, credit given to truth, according to evidence, implying action in looking at this evidence, and in coming to the result. In all this we see only the actings of the mind. Take away that act of mind--the putting forth of confidence, trust, or belief, and what remains? There is nothing tangible or conceivable, but the act of the mind. A child puts confidence in a parent's promise. This is faith. He relies on him in the hour of danger; he fears when he threatens. That is also faith. But besides this act of the mind in the child, there is nothing that can be detected or conceived of in relation to the subject, that deserves praise or blame. So of the christian. All that we know of this crowning christian grace is, that the man believes, hopes, loves, fears, puts trust in God."

      "But it is said that faith is the gift of God. This is true. And so are repentance, love, hope, and peace, the gift of God, and in the same sense, and to the same extent. The passage of scripture which says, "For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God," may perhaps be objected to the view here given. But it should be remembered that while the sentiment which appears to be taught there is true, it is not the truth which that passage contains. In the original the word "that" refers not to faith, but to the salvation by grace. It would be correctly rendered, 'You are saved by grace through faith, and this salvation by grace through faith is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God'--a sentiment not asserting any thing peculiar in the gift of faith above other graces."

      "To this view of faith we know there is presented a difficulty in the technicalities of some systems of theology, drawn we believe from erroneous views of the philosophy of the mind. It is, that anterior to the exercise of faith, apart from it, and capable of distinct contemplation, and of course responsibility, there is a principle of faith implanted in regeneration. This is the counterpart of the doctrine of physical depravity; of a concreated principle of evil; and is what cannot be admitted as true."--353, 354.

      The foregoing quotations are sufficient to show that the work of reform is still in progress among the Presbyterians--that the standard of orthodoxy is gradually lowering; and that a more liberal and rational system of theology is prevailing among them; and we are confident that it must continue to prevail. The dogmas of Calvinism, even among Presbyterians, are becoming unpopular, and must, ere long, sink to rise no more. This controversy is also an additional evidence to prove that the boasted power of creeds to preserve uniformity of faith in a religious body, is but the mere artifice of sectarians to urge the claims of partyism, and that creeds in reality possess no such power; for there always has, and must continue to be, a [549] variety of sentiments on religious subjects in the same body. From the force of education, from the degrees of knowledge which have been acquired, from the accustomed modes and habits of thinking which have been adopted, and from our constitutional temperament which is but partially understood, the light of truth shining upon the understanding under these various influences, produces different shades of reflections. From hence we argue that creeds are entirely powerless to preserve uniformity of faith, any further than they dispose persons to take things on trust; and so far as they do this, they are prejudicial to vital christianity.

To the Editor of the Millennial Harbinger.

      I HAVE recently read the "LIFE OF ELIAS SMITH," 405 pages, 12mo. published A. D. 1816. I cannot but regard him as a good man, and as having bean persecuted for righteousness' sake. He was born, he tells us, June 10th, 1769, in the town of LYME, in Connecticut--parents poor--advantages for education quite limited; but well improved. In the month of May, 1789, he was baptized by Elder William Grow, a Baptist minister--subsequently became a Baptist preacher himself. Dr. Baldwin preached at his ordination. He was installed at Woburn, Mass. November, 1798. Preached up Calvinistic election. Observing the bad effects, he was led to a careful and candid examination of the doctrine--result; that it was not the doctrine of Christ, and determined to give it up as wrong--soon after this, reduced all his religion to two things: "Believe right, and Do right." "This," says he, "laid the foundation for examining every part of doctrine by the Scriptures; and in consequence of this, for many years, the ignorant, the partial, and the dishonest, have considered me a heretic, and some have said, Not fit to Live." Treated badly at W--Left--Read some Universalist works--embraced Universalism for fifteen days, and then renounced it, and with this, all other isms for the name Christian, and the doctrine of Christ. Preached at Portsmouth, N. H. September 10th,1804, through the influence of Dr. Baldwin, the church in Woburn voted to withdraw the hand of fellowship from him: previous to this he withdrew from them. And as they gave no reason why, he thought it a duty to give the public the reasons in a pamphlet that year. The reasons were, seven unscriptural things they held, which he denied:--

      "1. Their name Baptists.

      "2. Articles, which are an addition to the perfect law of liberty.

      "3. Association of Churches, which is contrary to the New Testament.

      "4. Holding the necessity of a college education to be ministers of the gospel.

      "5. Missionary Societies.

      "6. Councils to ordain ministers and settle disputes.

      "7. Installing and re-installing ministers." [550]

      It appears from this work, that the first Christian church in the United States was formed in Portsmouth, N. H. In March, 1803: the second, in Boston in the Spring of 1504.

I copy the following, on the Trinity, from pages 106-7-8-9.

      "There was one man who improved them by the name of Victorious Smith. Mr. S. undertook to preach in the forenoon. He was a man of great moderation as to words; or rather, slow of speech, and a slow tongue. After the usual form of singing and praying, he stood up and read for his text the following words: Acts xx. 8. And there were many lights in the upper chamber where they were gathered together. I wondered why he took such a text to preach from, and was at a loss what he would do with it, besides showing that Paul did not preach in a dark room though he preached in the night. The man discovered some invention which was peculiar to himself. He did not first divide his text into propositions, but mentioned one at a time. First, he said, he should prove that the house was three stories high, though it was but one house. He said it was evident that the house was three stories high, because Eutychus fell down from the third loft. This statement I doubted, and still doubt: for a loft signifies rooms on high; and if there were three lofts, there must be one room on the ground. Having thus proved that the house was three stories high, and yet but one house; he stated, secondly, that Noah's ark was three stories high, and yet but one ark. This proposition took me from Troas where Paul preached, to Mount Ararat where the ark rested. He gave some description of the ark, told us that the beasts were in the first story, the birds in the second, and Noah and his family in the third. Next he called our attention to 1 John, v. 7. "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one." Having read this text, he stated, thirdly, that there were three persons in the godhead, and yet but one God. The man discovered some ingenuity in his discourse, as he brought such things to prove the doctrine called the trinity, as perhaps were never brought before nor since. At that time I did not know that such a doctrine was ever disputed, and of course thought it proved very well. As there is no scripture for such a doctrine as this, that three persons are one person, the lighted chamber where Paul preached, and Noah's ark are as much proof of it, as any other text in the Bible; and 1 Chron. i. 1. "Adam, Seth, Enos," is as much proof of it, as what he or any other man can bring from the Bible. The people sat very contented to hear the trinity illustrated from the supposed three-storied house, Noah's ark, and 1 John, v. 7. Some, after meeting, told me they did not see into the subject."

A Conversation with his Uncle Elisha Ransom, a Baptist Preacher, on
Words, (p.
139-141.) is thus described.--

      "The last part of his conversation at that time was upon Words; and though he did not talk long, what he said has been of great use to me from that day till now. He stated that it was of importance to know the meaning of words, and the different things often meant by [551] one word. He quoted what Solomon said, "The preacher sought to find out acceptable words; and that which was written was upright, even words of truth." He quoted the writings of Paul: "Let no man deceive you with vain words." "Hold fast the form of sound words." "With good words and fair speeches, deceive the hearts of the simple." "Charge them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit; but to the subverting of the hearers." After quoting these places of Scripture upon words; he observed that there were many words used not found in the Scriptures, and many Scripture words used not as the writers used them; and that to know the meaning of a word, we must know what the author meant when he used the word. When you read, said he, the word righteousness, atonement, hope, salvation, grace, truth, or any such word, find the subject that word is used to convey. In this way, said he, you will be rich in ideas, as well as words; for he who only knows words is like one who always deals in empty vessels; you must go to some other if you are hungry. All this looked rational, and I then resolved to attend to what he said. That conversation has been of great use to me.

      "In the first part of public speaking it was my constant study to know the meaning of important words used in the Scriptures, and to give their meaning to my hearers. For several years past, remembering what my uncle said, (that there are many words used, not in the Scriptures,) I have taken particular notice of the words used to describe doctrines which are not in the Bible, and have endeavored to point them out in speaking and writing, which has greatly enraged many who consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ. This instruction on words, laid the foundation for writing my Now Testament Dictionary, in which the most important words are noticed; the subject stated, contained in words; and unscriptural words named and left behind.

      "For the instruction of others, particularly young preachers, I here observe, that many words are now in use to describe some principal part of doctrine, which are not in the Scriptures; this often causes strife and contention. If the word is used to express a subject in the Bible, the word used in the Bible to express that subject is better than an unscriptural word. If the word and doctrine are both unscriptural, it is in vain to undertake to prove from the Bible, that which is not once named in it. The word trinity is an unscriptural word, and so is the doctrine, and we may as well prove purgatory from the Bible as the trinity: for neither of them are mentioned there. There are some scriptural words which are used to describe what is not named in the Bible. Baptism is one. It is in the Bible; but there is no account of baptizing infants; and all said in favor of that is invention.


      The hand and underscoring of this last sentence are mine. No preaching, I think, can be truer than this; and I would that it were inscribed in golden letters on every pulpit in christendom.

      In pages 399, 400, 401, Mr. Smith inserts and replies to a notice given of him by Mr. Benedict in his History of the Baptists, p. 411. From this and other such like misrepresentations of his enemies, previous to reading his life written by himself, I formed my opinion of Elias Smith. My opinion now is changed.

No. I.

      ON Tuesday, the 26th of October, started from Bethany, in company with brother Samuel Parmley, of New York, on a tour through Ohio and Kentucky to Nashville, Tennessee. Wednesday was chiefly spent in attending to sundry items of business in Wheeling. Thursday evening found us in Cambridge. During the day sundry topics of conversation, among which was, the best system of education which could be adopted in the present state of society, with a reference to our political institutions. The following is a condensed view of the sentiments advanced on the subject of


      The education of youth has long been confessed to be an object of paramount importance, supremely worthy of the greatest attention of parents and of every wise and benevolent government on earth. If the object of government be, as is generally confessed in this country, to protect the life, liberty, reputation, and property of every citizen in the community, the education of youth in literature and morals, as it is the most effectual means to promote these high ends of civilized government; so it, chief of all, and above every thing else, deserves and calls for the collective wisdom and combined energy of the whole government. Yet to our shame it must be confessed that this subject, in most of the state governments of these enlightened states, receives little or no attention; and in not one of the states does it receive that attention which it merits. Millions are annually squandered by some twenty-five legislating assemblies who spend a part of every winter in enacting laws against evil doers of every class in the schools of vice and immorality. These multifarious laws, like spiders' webs, are spun so fine that they catch only the flies, while wasps and hornets dash through them, regardless of the feeble restraints which they oppose to their course. Crimes and immoralities are not prevented by immense codes of laws. They are known to be abundant in every country in proportion to the size and number of the volumes of legislative enactments against them. A government which promises to itself the suppression of vice, immorality, and crime, by numerous laws, jails, and penitentiaries, reasons as fallaciously as the king who promised peace to his country on condition they augmented the army and the navy, erected fortifications, and arsenals, according to the number of his enemies. The multiplication of law is always the [553] multiplication of transgression. The laws of England are so numerous, that had not many of them become obsolete, a person could scarcely take a morning walk, enjoy the light of the sun, or taste the sweetness of the balmy zephyrs of a summer's evening, without subjecting himself to some penalty. And if our twenty-five law-making factories continue annually to swell the code for a generation to come, it will be as impossible for any man to keep the whole law of the state, as it is affirmed by some to be to keep the whole law of Moses, though that contained but ten commandments. Our lawgivers in this country have one great advantage, it is true, over the wise lawgivers of ancient times. It is fashionable here for one legislative assembly to declare void, or to annul the laws, the acts, and deeds of that which preceded it. This, owing to our wise institutions, can be done without in the least reflecting upon the wisdom or integrity of them who enacted them. This is our anchor of hope against the probability of one day being doomed to a series of penalties ruinous to our estates, if not detrimental to our lives.

      But it is not in laws to remove ignorance, the fruitful parent of vice, and, therefore, it is not in laws, however wise or good to reform men, nor to prevent the commission of crime. If we could learn any thing from the example of other governments and other nations, one would think that England alone would have enlightened christendom on this subject. She has made what we would call petty larceny a capital crime. Hundreds of her unfortunate inhabitants, citizens we cannot call them, have given their lives a ransom for a theft of fifty cents in our currency. But has the severity of the law, and the cruelty of the penalty diminished even the lesser thefts? No country on earth more abounds with evil doers of this school than England, with her common law, her statute law, her courts, her august tribunals, her acts of Parliament, her jails, her prison ships, her Botany Bay, her remote and inhospitable places of transportation. The law causes the offence to abound. Judea and England have proved this doctrine long ago.

      Ignorance, the parent of idleness and vice, must be dispossessed. Schools, not jails--school-masters, and not legislators, are wanting for this purpose. Four-fifths of the convicts in sense of our penitentiaries cannot read.

      The plan which we had to propose in the Virginia Convention for this purpose, still appears to us the most eligible for the present state of society, not for a better state of society, but for the present state of society. But there were few ears in that body disposed to hear a word upon the subject. It was a scramble for power, It was not what system of arrangements, what constitutional provisions will make the happiest population; but how shall we of the East retain our dominion over the West; and how shall we of the West obtain that equal share of power in the government to which we are, in justice, entitled? This question, like Pharaoh's ill-favored kine, devoured every thing, fat or well-favored, which appeared in the Convention.

      The plan, in its great outlines, embraced the following principles, and would have required the following details, had it been discussed or [554] carried into effect. The cardinal principles on which it sought to be based are these:--

      1. Ignorance is the parent of idleness, and this becomes the fruitful source of immorality and crime of every gradation.

      2. To prevent crime is much wiser than to punish it.

      3. Government having for its object the prevention rather than the punishment of crime; the preservation of life, liberty, reputation, and property, rather than the punishment of infractions upon these, ought, if it act wisely, to devote its energies to the erection and maintenance of the safeguards of life, liberty, reputation, and property, which, it is agreed on all hands, are INTELLIGENCE AND VIRTUE.

      4. Schools and seminaries of learning, well conducted and sustained, are essential, in every community, to the expulsion of ignorance, and the promotion of intelligence and virtue.

      5. They are, therefore, the most necessary, useful, and every way appropriate objects of legislation, and of governmental supervision, protection, and support; and as such, ought to be sustained by all the same means by which government is sustained and the expences thereof borne.

      The details would have embraced, among others, the following:--

      1. The whole territory of the state, the land and personal property, shall be subject to such imposts, levies, or taxes, as are sufficient to educate well every child born within the commonwealth.

      2. There shall be one University in the state, in which all the languages, arts, and sciences, comprising the most liberal education, shall be taught; and as many common schools as will make it convenient for all the children in every vicinity, to attend.

      3. The Professors of this University, and all the teachers of the common schools shall be paid by the state. The principal use of the University to the state, besides affording a liberal education to all who attend it, will be to furnish teachers for the common schools, not merely by educating them, but to hold two examinations every year, at which, whosoever attends, whether taught in that University or in any other school, or self-taught, and shall, on examination, be found to possess the knowledge of any science, or department of literature, he shall receive a diploma, or certificate, signed by the board of examinators of said University, attesting such attainments; and in a given time after the establishment of said University no person shall be employed in any common school as a teacher, who cannot produce a certificate from the state University declaring his competency.

      The chief objection to this system will he its expensiveness to the community. But it can be easily shown that not a state in this union would have, under such a system, to pay more than the present amount of taxes added to what is already paid for education. The commonwealth of Virginia, for example, has formerly paid about 100,000 dollars per annum for legislation alone; less than the half of which would give her wiser and more equal laws and acts in biennial meetings of less than half the number of her former [555] legislators: that is, 50,000 dollars every two years, wisely expended, would pay for all necessary legislation. Add this single item of rational economy, viz. 75,000 dollars per annum, to the sums already paid by her citizens for education, and it will, under a judicious system, educate all the children in the commonwealth. But were it deficient, other savings and other investments of capital, which any state could soon raise, would make it no more expensive to educate the whole, than it now is to educate, very imperfectly too, a part of the children of the state.

      Some have an objection against educating the children of the indolent and vicious poor. But let such remember that they had better expend a little on the education of their children, than so much as they now expend for laws to make themselves no safer, and the vicious poor no better. More money is now paid by the virtuous and industrious part of the community on account of this vicious mass of ignorance, idleness, and crime, without relieving the community from it, or improving it in the least, than would be sufficient to banish it out of the land altogether, by the proper means.

      And let the most avaricious citizen reflect that, although he is able to educate his own children, and considers himself oppressed when he has to pay for the education of the poor, he is thereby accomplishing two great objects:--First, he is defending his offspring from the infractions of ignorance and crime by removing them out of the country; and in the second place, all he pays annually, under such a system, would be only paid in advance for his own poor descendants: for in two or three generations, under the present system, they must sink to poverty and ignorance; but under this system they would not so likely become poor; and if poor, they could not be deprived of education, which is more than half that any wise man can wish for his posterity as respects this present life. The terror of poverty is ignorance. But divorce ignorance from poverty, and it has lost its sting. View this subject, then, in whatever light we may, it has every thing to recommend it. Nothing is, or can be arrayed against it, except the spirit of aristocracy, which builds its castles and decorates itself upon the spoils of ignorance and crime. There must be many huts to afford one castle; and many an unlettered swain is necessary, as the shade in the picture, to give a brighter lustre to a few Solomons in an age or a kingdom.

      During the evening of Thursday was finished the essay on Metaphysical Regeneration, No. 3. Friday, the 29th, brought us to Zanesville before 4 o'clock in the afternoon. Soon as we arrived, I employed a lad to notify the citizens that at candlelighting in the evening I would speak in the court-house, (which was already tendered by the Sheriff,) and sent to Mr. Sedwick2 a note in the words following:-- [556]

            "MR. SEDWICK,

      "Dear Sir--Having arrived in your town of Zanesville, and consequently within the diocese of your supervision; and being solicited to deliver a discourse to the citizens of Zanesville, I thought it due you, from the notice you have taken of me, to apprize you of my arrival. Should there be any cause, on account of which you might desire to see me, and to have an interview with me, it will give me pleasure to see you at my lodgings, at Mr. S. Hughes' Hotel, where I shall continue during the night; and believe me to be ever disposed, to give all satisfaction to all those who have aught to interrogate me touching those things which are now so generally the subject of inquiry and discussion.
  "Your obedient servant,
"A. CAMPBELL."      
     " Zanesville, 29th October, 1830."

      Mr. Sedwick was kind enough to call at my lodgings, and leave an invitation for me to call at his house, which I could not accept, promising to call again and accompany me to meeting. He called a few minutes before the hour appointed, and accompanied us to the court-house, where we found a small congregation assembled. The information not having been general, comparatively few of the citizens attended.

      The conclusion of the Testimony of Matthew Levi was read, our object being to strike at the root of the popular prejudice in favor of a specially called order of expositors; to persuade the people that the Scriptures were an intelligible book; to state that gospel by which the nations were to be converted to God, and to illustrate the apostolic practice under this commission by an examination of one of their discourses. In the prosecution of this complex object, the following propositions were stated and illustrated:--

      1. That the Apostles could hare no successors, inasmuch as the qualifications for their office, as stated by Peter, (Acts i.) were such as none after them could possess; the work itself given them in charge was so far executed as to require none invested with the same office to succeed them; they having taught the disciples every thing given them in charge. They literally planted churches in Asia, Africa, and Europe; fully announced the reign of God; and if they did not wholly convert all the nations, they proclaimed the gospel and set on foot the institutions which are to convert every man who is to be adopted into the family of God. The impropriety of supposing any preachers or teachers to be their successors, officially, was represented by allusions to all the civil offices known among men. The successor of a magistrate, governor, or president, is a magistrate, governor; or president, holding the same office, with all its powers and immunities; consequently if the Apostles have any successors, they are Apostles too.

      It was demonstrated that the arrogant pretensions of the papacy and prelacy originated in the assumption of apostolic succession; or in the plea that the Apostles must have successors of some sort. It [557] was also shown that all the sects less or more favored the idea by claiming for their teachers some official authority, by virtue of the commission given to the original witnesses of the resurrection, whose office it was to plant churches and teach the christian institution.

      2. That as God had spoken to men in their own language, by his Son and by these Apostles, it followed that in order to make his communications worthy of the character of a REVELATION he must have used our words in the commonly received sense; for to have taken our words and to have appropriated to them a peculiar and hidden meaning, would have been not to enlighten, but to confound the human understanding.

      The inference was, that the words and phrases found in the New Testament were to be interpreted by the common rules of interpretation applied to all writings of the same antiquity; or, indeed, to any human writings, ancient or modern. That the literal passages were to be understood literally; and the figurative passages figuratively, as in all human compositions. "That the words faith, hope, love, repentance, regeneration, &c, were in the world before the christian era and were used in the same sense by the inspired speakers and writers as was current in these days.

      Occasion was taken here to show the irrational and unmeaning assumptions of many professing to be called to interpret the Scriptures, by no rules, or by rules of their own invention. That the word of God was made of non-effect by the pretence that it required two other revelations to make it intelligible--a new revelation of the Spirit, and a revelation from the Clergy was suggested, and in proof of which, arguments and appeals to the experience of the thoughtful were tendered. The Clergy represent three revelations as necessary--the written word, the physical influence of the Spirit, and the erudition and spiritual understanding of the preachers.

      A brief history of the rise and progress of the Man of Sin was here presented, and the means by which he was to be consumed, and finally destroyed, descanted upon. The dark ages and the effects of the inductive science were introduced to illustrate the changes now in progress, and to show the certain demolition of the reigning systems of superstition and enthusiasm admired and extolled by the partizan sectaries of this age.

      3. The gospel proclaimed to the nations to convert them by the Apostles, were glad tidings of great joy to all who understood and obeyed it. It was remission of all past sins on obeying the command of mercy, and an immediate adoption into the family of God, with the impartation of the spirit of sons and daughters of the living God.

      4. Peter's opening of the reign of grace, or his first promulgation of the gospel on Pentecost, was then read, with a few appropriate remarks. His answer to the inquiry of the believing penitents, (Acts ii. 38.) was then briefly descanted upon. The import of the question, "What shall we do;" the faith and penitence of the inquirers; and Peter's commandment to them, were distinctly stated. And the meeting closed. [558] The discourse seemed to be felt more by my friend Mr. Sedwick, than by any other person present; for it even moved his whole person, body, soul, and spirit; and as soon as I closed, he went on his way without so much as saying, Good night! The congregation retired without any other indication than a willingness to hear and to be better instructed in these matters.

      On returning to our lodgings I sat down to write a letter.--While employed in writing some gentlemen entered the room. Two of them, not knowing me, entered into a conversation respecting the discourse. "Did you hear Campbell this evening?" says Mr. H.

      "No," replied Mr. A. "I had not times to go; and if I had, I don't know that I should go to hear such a man. He preaches down all preaching, and yet preaches himself. And I am told he holds to a perfect equality among all christians. I have heard that some private disciples, who say they agree with Campbell in his views of religion, meet every Sunday to celebrate the sacrament without any preacher."

      A Presbyterian gentleman, to whom I had been introduced as an Elder of that church, entered into a conversation with that gentlemen in a low tone of voice, and I heard no more of it till I finished my letter.

      After I finished I stepped up to the fire. The gentleman last alluded to introduced the two strangers to me. After the usual compellations I accosted Mr. A. saying, that I heard him state an objection to me which I hoped he would permit me to explain.

      He apologized very much for offering it as he had done, and really wished, he said, for information on that which appeared to him a contradiction. I admitted his apology, and told him I should attend to it with pleasure.

      In substance I remarked, that I found myself authorized from the New Testament to say, that every man who pretended to a special call to expound the Scriptures in the style of the modern sermonizers, was certainly self-deceived, and consequently a deceiver of others. To preach the gospel, I observed, was now a very ambiguous phrase. It meant to teach Calvinism, or Arminianism, or any ism which the preacher supposed to be orthodox. All such preaching and teaching, under the pretence of a divine call, I must, as a disciple of the Great Teacher, reject. Moreover, the Old and New Testament afforded neither command, nor precedent, nor logical inference, to favor a textuary, or the practice of taking a sentence and making it the theme of a sermon. In one word, there was no more countenance for expository sermons, or commenting harangues, or an order of men for such purposes, than for an order of Priests and Levites now to present offerings for the people. That it was always in season to call upon men to reform, so long as any were found living in rebellion; and that we never opposed any person in a public or private station who believed the gospel, wrought righteousness, and was intelligent in the christian scriptures, for proclaiming the ancient gospel to those ignorant of it; nor for calling upon men to regard the holy scriptures [559] in their proper character, as containing a revelation from God. That, for my part, I esteemed it my duty, from all the premises before me, to preach up the intelligibility, clearness, suitableness, and sufficiency of the holy scriptures to perfect the man of God, and to preach down all human systems, text-takers, sermon-makers, sectarian tenets, and every thing opposed to the plain, simple, ancient gospel, announced by the Apostles. But modern preaching, in its just acceptation, is antipodes to every thing which in ancient times obtained the reputation of preaching or teaching Jesus Christ.

      "To all that I assent," says Mr. A. "I never saw the reasonableness nor the authority which is plead for the usual pulpit exhibitions. I now understand you, and concur with you in sentiment on that subject.

      My Presbyterian friend very courteously interrogates me: "Do you think, Mr. Campbell, that the scriptures have not a spiritual meaning?"

      A "spiritual meaning," contradistinguished from a literal meaning, or a figurative or symbolic meaning, I confess myself not to understand. A mystical or hidden meaning I know is ascribed to them. To the prophecies such a meaning may belong; but other than a literal or a figurative meaning in the historical and epistolary books I profess not to comprehend.

      Presbyterian.--Does not Paul say that a natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit--that they are spiritually discerned; consequently, I think, must have a spiritual meaning.

      That context, I replied, places this subject in a very clear light. Paul's physical or animal man--the mere philosopher of Greece or Rome--without the ideas and words suggested by the Spirit to the Apostles, and by them communicated to us; having nothing but his five senses to guide him, a pure natural man, without revelation, written or oral, could never obtain, nor apprehend the spiritual things (which the philosopher's eye never saw, his ear never heard, his heart never conceived,) suggested by the Spirit in the words and sentences spoken by the Apostles. Macknight, your own Dr. Macknight, renders the passage thus: "We Apostles have received the Spirit which comes from God, that we might know the things which are gifted to us by God; which things also we speak, not in words taught by human wisdom; but in words taught by the Holy Spirit, explaining spiritual things in spiritual words" The words, then, suggested by the Spirit represent spiritual things; BUT THESE SPIRITUAL THINGS ARE THE LITERAL MEANING OF THESE SPIRITUAL WORDS. Spiritual words represent spiritual things. This is, perhaps, what you understand by a spiritual meaning: if so, I agree in sentiment with you, but must dissent from your phraseology as unauthorized. I agree, however, with your Dr. Macknight.

      Presbyterian.--Dr. Macknight was a great critic and a good divine. I cannot contradict him. But I fear if we should teach that the scriptures have not a spiritual meaning we should greatly mislead others and puzzle ourselves. I very well recollect what curious ideas [560] I once had upon such passages as these, "While I mused the fire did burn, and thus I spoke;" "A well of water within him springing up unto eternal life." How can I reconcile these--fire burning within, and a well of water springing up? If these have not a spiritual meaning I know of no meaning which they have. And, I think, without the Spirit such passages could not he rightly understood.

      To this I rejoined: I now perceive that you call the meaning of a figure of speech its spiritual meaning, and that you suppose the illumination of the Spirit is necessary to understand figures of speech. But will you please consider that all writers, historians, orators, and poets, of all ages, use figures of speech; and do you think that there are not as strong and bold figures as these you have quoted, in Virgil, Horace, Cicero, Demosthenes, Tacitus, and Hume; and does it require any supernatural aid to interpret them? I admit, my dear sir, that in both Testaments there are many bold figures of speech, emblems, parables, types, all of which are as intelligible, however, as the figures, emblems, and parables of other writers, and are to be interpreted by the same rules which rhetoricians apply to all such expressions, This is not what theologians call the spiritual meaning. Their spiritual meaning is the suggestion of the Holy Spirit, giving to the words in the book neither a literal nor a figurative meaning; but a mystical or hidden meaning, which man or angel could not discover;--than which there is no opinion more detrimental to true religion.

      Here the conversation turned to the debate with Mr. Owen and various works upon the evidences of christianity--the new theory of dew, rain, volcanic eruptions--geology, magnetism, and their bearings upon the truth of christianity. The clock finally admonished us that the witchful hour of night was approaching. We bade good night, and retired.

      Saturday was spent in journeying to near New Lancaster. I read Fuller's Strictures on Sandemanianism, while brother Parmley drove the gig. During the evening wrote No. 4 on Metaphysical Regeneration, and retired to repose free from all earthly anxieties, under the serene influences of the full moon richly scattering its silver radiance over my couch.


Extract, from my Memorandum Book,

Containing a Dialogue between the Editor and Mr. Judah, the Ruler of a Synagogue of the
      Jews in Richmond, Va. while attending the Convention, in December, 1829.

      MR. JUDAH having signified a desire to a friend in Richmond to have an interview with me, a party being invited at the house of a mutual friend, I was introduced to this venerable Jew, almost 70 years old, apparently in the health and vigor of 50.

      After sitting down by his side, I said, I feel myself peculiarly happy in being seated by the side of a son of the Patriarch Abraham. [561]

      Judah.--And I am happy in becoming acquainted with one who so well defended the divine mission of Moses against the infidel Owen.

      Editor.--Have you read the debate with Mr. Owen?

      Judah.--I have carefully read it all, and have not a single objection to any thing in the first volume of it. So far as you argue the authenticity of the Jews' religion, your arguments are substantially such as our Rabbims use; and your stripping the Deists of their natural religion is one of the best things I have read from any Christian. You know I differ from you on the christian part of your argument; but one thing I will say to you, I have heard some of your lectures on the Christian religion since you came to the city, which, with what I have read from your pen on that subject, assure me that you teach the religion which Jesus and the Apostles taught, if I know any thing of the meaning of what the New Testament says. And let me add, you are the only Christian preacher I have heard in a long life that does not abuse us poor Jews. I was wont to attend the Christian meetings in Richmond, but was constrained to abandon them because of the insults offered to us Jews.

      Editor.--I never can reproach a Jew. We Gentiles are debtors to the seed of Abraham for all that gives us elevation of character; and although the remnant of your people were to be treated as you say the Christian preachers now treat them, and your own Prophets foretold; still I never will be the person who will speak contumeliously of a Jew as such. For your Fathers' sake I must always respect your nation; and glad would I be if your reproach among the nations was taken away. But there are a few questions which I would wish to propose to you for my own information.

      Judah.--It will give me pleasure to answer them.

      Editor.--Do you continue to read the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms in your Synagogues, as your people were accustomed to do at, and before, the Christian era?

      Judah.--In our Synagogues every Sabbath day the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms are read, and all once through every year--just as you stated in your debate with Owen. We have these sacred writings divided into weekly lessons, and so divided as to make, in all, only fifty-two lessons.

      Editor.--You have not much time for "preaching," then, as we Christians call it.

      Judah.--No, nor much need for your sort of preaching or expounding. We hear Moses and the Prophets. We chant the Psalms of David, and invoke the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But we have no sermons. Sometimes an exhortation is tendered; but it is short, and only occasional. We teach our children the Law, without creed or catechism. We often hear in your Christian Synagogues sermons upon a sentence in Moses or the Prophets, very unlike however, what Moses or the Prophets taught. Your preachers make all our scriptures typical, and your own too. They often fault our Rabbims, and talk about the traditions of our Elders; but I find that Rabbi Luther, Rabbi Calvin, and Rabbi Wesley, are as venerable as any of our Rabbims; and their traditions as sacred as those of our Elders. [562]

      Editor.--Does your reading of the Law and the Prophets correspond with our version of them?

      Judah.--Substantially it does; excepting some passages in the Prophets and in the Psalms, and these are not numerous.

      Editor.--What do you mean by the Spirit of God?

      Judah.--We mean not what you mean. You represent the Spirit as a person distinct from the Father. We believe that Jehovah is one Jehovah; that the Spirit is his power, his wisdom, his goodness in operation; but have no idea of a distinct person or being.

      Editor.--I have thought that the distinction of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is a Christian revelation and not a Jewish, and that some of the criticisms upon Aleim and other words and phrases in your writings, applied by our Christian Doctors to this Christian developement, were forced and unnatural.

      Judah.--They are all so. Aleim, with us, denotes one Jehovah. "The Lord our God is one Lord."

      Editor.--As I merely inquire after your views and customs, permit me to inquire, Do you use bread and wine in eating the Passover?

      Judah.--There have been from time immemorial a loaf of bread and a flagon of wine upon the same table on which the Passover is served; and both are used by us pretty much as Jesus is said to have used them, We give thanks for them, and distribute them among the family which partake of the lamb. We cannot tell how they came to be used; but our fathers have used them as a thank-offering, and we still hold this among our sacred customs.

      Editor.--Do you use immersion in water as a religious institution, for any purpose?

      Judah.--It was used in proselyting a Gentile; but since proselytism has ceased this custom has ceased. When any foreigner was added to the congregation, he was first circumcised, then sprinkled with sacrificial blood, and immersed in a running stream or bath; for we have a tradition that "only by circumcision, sacrifice, and immersion, can a Gentile be received into the congregation:" for it was by circumcision, the blood of sprinkling, and immersion in the Red Sea, or in the cloud and sea, that we were dedicated to the Lord.

      Editor.--Might I request you to state to me your expectations of the Messiah?

      Judah.--Our people are now very far from agreed upon this subject. I believe that our nation will all be converted in one day--not to Jesus, however; but that the Messiah will come, and all the people shall know him and receive him cordially when he comes. Then "a nation shall he born in a day." Our people, Mr. Campbell, will never be converted by your missionaries. Those of them who have been said to be converted were hypocrites, and apostatized from us for interest, like your missionaries ------ and ------. I agree with Paul in some things; but Paul stole them from the Prophets, and pretended to have been inspired. But it is true that "all Israel shall be saved, when the Deliverer shall come out of Zion, and shall turn away impiety from Jacob." Then, too, shall all the Gentiles acknowledge him. And [563] never will you convert all the Gentiles to Jesus. You can neither convert the Jews nor the Gentiles to your Messiah; but when the Son of David comes all nations shall do him homage.

      Editor.--Do you know to what tribe you belong?

      Judah.--No: the family lineage and the tribes are all lost.

      Editor.--Was it not foretold that the Messiah would be of the tribe of Judah, and of the family of David?

      Judah.--Certainly it was.

      Editor.--Was not this foretold for some purpose?

      Judah.--It was.

      Editor.--And was it not in order to enable you to recognize and prove the pretensions of the Messiah when he came?

      Judah.--It was.

      Editor.--How, then, can these prophecies be of any use to you when the lineage of families and the tribes are lost? The purpose for which they were given cannot now be accomplished, if the Messiah be yet to come!

      Judah.--I will tell you how I understand this may be accomplished: when the Messiah comes he will tell every man to what tribe and family he belongs.

      Editor.--But will his assertion of that which you cannot prove but upon his own testimony, be a testimony in his favor! Could such an imposition be detected? Is not this to open the door for imposture? If you cannot prove the family and the tribe of every pretender, the prophecies concerning the family and tribe can serve no purpose whatever.

      Judah.--Mr. Campbell, we do not want proselytes to our religion. I do not talk with you to convert you. We want no converts. Your Master commanded you to make proselytes; but Moses gave us no such command.

      Editor.--I admit he did not. I do not expect to convert you to the christian faith; but as you have been so condescending as to answer my questions, I wish, for my own information, to know by what arguments you reject Jesus of Nazareth.

      Judah.--As a matter of information, but not with a design to convert you, I will continue to answer your questions.

      Editor.--What was the most heinous offence against God, which your nation, according to the tenor of your covenant, or constitution, could commit?

      Judah.--There were many very heinous offences which we could, and did commit.

      Editor.--But was it not treason for your nation, and the most flagrant sin which, under your government, you could be guilty of; to apostatize into idolatry?

      Judah.--It was. As a national sin, it was our greatest sin.

      Editor.--And was it not a sin to be punished with the utmost severity, as Moses declared? [564]

      Judah.--Most unquestionably it merited the severest punishment.

      Editor.--And when your nation, as such, fell into this sin, was not the seventy years captivity in Babylon, together with the destruction of your Temple and city, the punishment inflicted upon you for this sin?

      Judah.--It was the punishment visited upon us for that sin, and the severest punishment ever inflicted upon our nation for fifteen hundred years.

      Editor.--But a punishment still more severe has since befallen you; and were we to estimate sin by temporal punishments, we would be constrained to think, that as your Temple was razed to its foundation, your city laid in ruins, and your nation carried captive into all nations, and banished from your own land for almost two thousand years, you must have, about that time, committed a sin as much more aggravated in its character than simple idolatry, as the punishment consequent upon it has been more tremendous in its nature, and protracted in its duration, than was the Babylonish captivity with all its concomitants.

      Judah.--We have committed some great sin, it is true: but what that sin was it is not so easy to determine.

      Editor.--But have you not been led to suspect that, as this evil came upon your nation shortly after your rejection and crucifixion of Jesus, that probably it came upon you on that account?

      Judah.--Josephus said it came upon us for the martyrdom of James the Just; but I profess not to know on what account it came upon us.

      Editor.--Did not Moses say, that if you would not obey that prophet, of which he informed you, that such a calamity would befal you?

      Judah.--Whom do you think that prophet to have been?

      Editor.--Jesus the Nazarene.

      Judah.--That cannot be; for Jesus of Nazareth was not raised up like Moses: and the prophet of whom Moses spoke was to be raised up as Moses was.

      Editor.--And whom do you say that prophet was?

      Judah.--We believe that Moses was then speaking of Joshua, his successor.

      Editor.--And was Joshua raised up like Moses?

      Judah.--He was a man like Moses; but you say Jesus was God. And he pretended to be equal with Jehovah.

      Editor.--Jesus professed to be the Son of God; and sustained his pretensions by works equal, if not superior, to those which certified the mission of Moses. And Jesus was raised up just as Moses was raised, from obscurity, by the mighty power of God. But how can you think that Joshua was regarded in these words of Moses, when he is not named nor alluded to for ten chapters afterwards?

      Judah.--What was more natural than for Moses, in the book of Deuteronomy, when he was delivering his valedictory address to our fathers, than to allude to his successor, and to caution the people on the subject of obedience to his successor? [565]

      Editor.--This he does afterwards; but nothing in the context in the 18th chapter of Deuteronomy, will warrant the application of those words to Joshua. Besides, I know not on what authority you could call Joshua a prophet. A prophet like Moses, Joshua was not; nor, indeed, could any other prophet which God ever sent our people, be at all compared to Moses. So illustrious was Moses, that it was no disparagement to Jesus to be compared to him. For although he far excelled Moses, yet there were more points of coincidence between him and Moses, than between him and any other prophet. Joshua was, as a leader to Israel, the successor of Moses: but, pray tell me, in what respect was he like Moses as a prophet?

      Judah.--I do not expect you, Mr. Campbell, to agree with me on this subject, and you know I told you that I did not aim at proselyting you to my faith.

      Editor.--True, you said so; but I hope you will indulge me a little farther, as I wish to know what you have to offer against our faith, and what reasons influence you in rejecting Jesus as the Messiah.

      Judah.--We have many, many reasons; more than I could tell you in a long time.

      Editor.--Pray how do you apply the prophecy of Jacob: "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from among his descendants till Shiloh come; and to him shall the gathering of the people be."

      Judah.--I do not read that passage as you do. I read it, "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah till they come to Shiloh; then shall the people assemble to him"--that is, to Saul; for it was at Shiloh the people assembled and made Saul king.

      Editor.--But how will this accord with the fact? Was the sceptre in Judah before it was in the family of Saul? This passage intimates that the sceptre should continue in Judah for a long time; but your reading puts it in the family of Saul before it was in the tribe of Judah: for David was not made king till Saul was rejected.

      Judah.--Judah was prince or chief amongst his brethren, from Jacob's time, till Benjamin, in the person of Saul, became chief; and this fact, together with the place Shiloh, where the people assembled to Saul, proves the interpretation.

      [Here was a debate about the import of the term Shiloh, not remembered.]

      Editor.--But doubtless you must confess that the sceptre did not depart from Judah when Saul was made king: for in the person and family of David it continued almost a thousand years after it departed from Benjamin.

      Judah.--You talk about the peaceable kingdom of the Messiah; I mean, you christians are always preaching about this Prince of Peace. But show me this peaceful kingdom, and I will renounce my opposition to your Messiah.

      Editor.--Here I admit the force of your objection; and candor compels me to say that there is some strength in this objection. I feel my inability to stand up for the modern christian profession. But one fact consoles me, viz. Paul, John, Peter, and Jude assure us that [566] this state of things would come to pass; therefore it shakes not my faith, for it was foretold. That the Messiah should be a man of sorrows and acquainted with griefs; that he should be led as a lamb to the slaughter; and that in his humiliation his condemnation should be extorted, is not more plainly foretold in Isaiah in the 53d chapter of his prophecies, than is the apostacy of christians which we now witness. But this can constitute no objection against the religion, more than that those incidents in the life of the Messiah should be an objection to his divine mission. A reformation has commenced which will never cease till Christians and christianity be what they once were.

      Judah.--You apply Isaiah as other Christians; but I apply it to the Jewish nation--and make the term he stand for the nation.

      Editor.--But for this arbitrary appropriation of the term he no good reason can be adduced. There is one consideration which I beg you to reflect upon: I will suggest it in the form of a query, and will not farther impose upon your good nature for the present. What proof can any Messiah ever give of his mission, more convincing that did Jesus of Nazareth? Tell me what signs or evidences can your Messiah adduce--only mention one, that our Messiah has not, afforded?

      Judah.--If all that is testified of Jesus by his historians were true, I would say that the evidence was as satisfactory as necessary. But how will you prove that?

      Editor.--By all the same arguments by which you would impugn their testimony, will I impugn that of your own Moses. But you told me that my argument for the divine mission of Moses was irrefragable. My argument for the testimony of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, is just the same.

      Judah.--I read the New Testament more than most of my brethren. I blame you not for your proselyting zeal. Do try and convert your Christians to that book, and teach them to be more just to the poor Jews. I have offered you not my best arguments, but only an apology for my unbelief. I respect you as an honest Christian: believe me to be an honest Jew, who cannot believe for the reasons assigned by your Paul in his letter to the Romans. I shall always he glad to see you. But I must wait the conversion of my countrymen: for Israel will all be converted in one day.

      Editor.--One word more. How do you Jews expect to obtain the remission of your sins, as you have neither temple, nor altar, nor priest.

      Judah.--By prayer.

      Editor.--I know of no promise nor institution in your religion which warrants a hope of remission without sacrifice.

      Judah.--Sacrifice aye cannot have; for we have neither temple, nor altar, nor priest: and therefore, if God forgives us not through prayer, forgiveness we cannot gain. But our trust is in Jehovah whose mercy endureth forever. Farewell.
EDITOR. [567]      


      TO-DAY I beguiled the tediousness of the road from Zanesville to New Lancaster, Ohio, by reading Fuller's Strictures on Sandemanianism a second time. I was not a little entertained with many things in this work; and I might add, amused, if one might be amused with a zealous controversy about regeneration between three Doctors, who seemed to agree to differ with one another in a matter in which they are so well agreed that their greatest embarrassment is to explain the difference in their respective systems, or to show that there is a very important difference between them, yet so subtle and minute as to require the greatest labor in words to make it intelligible. Messrs. Archibald M'Clean, Ecking, Sandeman, and Fuller, are continually figuring in these pages. One while almost agreed in all the cardinal points of faith, repentance, justification, and regeneration, and ever and anon so opposite to one another, that Jews and Samaritans are quite as sociable as they.

      Mr. Fuller introduces them into his pages as so many characters in a drama--only with so much ambiguity that the reader cannot conclude till he comes to the last page whether it is to be a comedy or a tragedy; and even then, without taxing his memory, it is not easy to decide whether the whole performance ought to be dedicated to the comic or the tragic muse. Suffice it to say, that the most knotty point in the volume is to decide whether the physical influence consists in removing blindness or hatred, ignorance or enmity, previous to the impartation of spiritual life. Messrs. M'Clean and Ecking appear to agree that the removal of ignorance, as the cause of unbelief and unregeneracy, or "spiritual illumination," is essentially previous to faith. Mr. Fuller will have something more necessary as a previous principle; and between him, Sandeman. M'Clean, Ecking, and Co. the controversy is not about the necessity, but the nature of this previous change of mind. A spiritual principle of life, or a spiritual principle of light, superadded to the preached gospel, must, on either hypothesis, be infused or communicated as prerequisite to faith. With Messrs. M'Clean and Sandeman this previous principle of illumination is "the truth passively received." Mr. M'C. says, as quoted by Mr. Fuller, page 126, "It is not pleaded that any truth or sentiment is communicated to the mind by the Spirit, besides what is already revealed in the word, and the illumination of the Spirit is to MAKE MEN PERCEIVE AND UNDERSTAND THAT REVELATION WHICH IS ALREADY GIVEN, IN ITS TRUE LIGHT." Mr. Fuller contends for a QUICKENING INFLUENCE which he cannot explain; but such an impartation of life as that communicated to Tabitha by the immediate power of God, which at once makes the mind spiritual, destroys the enmity, and new-creates the soul previous to believing, and in order to believing the gospel. "That for which I contend," says he, page 120, "is, that there is a change effected in the soul of a sinner, called in scripture, giving him eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to [568] understand--a new heart and a right spirit--a new creation, &c. &c.--that this change is antecedent to his actively believing in Christ for salvation; and that it is not effected by motives addressed to the mind in a way of moral suasion, but by the mighty power of God." In page 133 he represents Mr. M'Clean, his opponent, as essentially agreeing with him, and more fully explains this work of the Spirit upon the regenerated in the words following:--"He (Mr. M'C.) holds with the necessity of a divine supernatural influence being superadded to the word, by which the mind is illuminated and rendered spiritual. But if divine influence consist in any thing distinct from the influence of the word, it must be supernatural and physical. The party is also equally unconscious of it on his principles as on mine: he is conscious of nothing but its effects. He finds himself the subject of new views and sensations; but as to knowing whence they came, it is likely he thinks nothing of it at the time, and is ready to imagine that any person, if he would but look into the Bible, must see what he sees so plainly taught in it. He may be conscious of ideas suggested to him by the word, and of their effect upon his mind; but as to any divine influence accompanying them, he knows nothing of it."

      He also introduces President Edwards as teaching that a "NEW SPIRITUAL SENSE" is communicated in regeneration, and defining spiritual understanding in the following words, p. 111: "It consists in a sense of the heart of the supreme beauty and sweetness of the holiness, or moral perfection of divine things, together with all that discerning and knowledge of things of religion, that depend upon and flow from such a sense." "Spiritual understanding consists primarily in a sense of heart of that spiritual beauty--I say, a sense of heart; for it is not speculation merely that is concerned in this kind of understanding."

      These extracts fully show Mr. Fuller's views of the physical work upon the heart is order to faith; and prove that, in his view, a person is regenerated or born again of that which he receives; than which we cannot conceive a greater outrage upon the use of words, figures, and analogues. The pangs of the new birth, as explained, are transferred to the child. In nature the mother travails; but in grace these Doctors make the child travail in birth! Paul once said that he travailed in birth in bringing forth his spiritual children; and that though the Corinthians had ten thousand instructers, they had not many fathers; for he was their only father, having begotten them by the gospel. But Paul had respect to the propriety of the analogy and language, and not to the marrow of modern divinity. The regenerated unbeliever, or he that, is born again in order to faith, receives the sixth sense, or a sense in the heart, by which he perceives the truth before he believes it.

      All these Doctors agree that man is naturally dead; but the nature; of this death, or rather the cause of it, is not so unanimously agreed upon. A death in trespasses and sins it is said to be; but whether ignorance, carnality, or hatred, as such, is the cause of their spiritual death, is with them an important question: for with them the removal of the cause is the removal of the effect. Removing the ignorance [569] by supernatural and physical illumination with one; slaying the enmity, or destroying the carnality by the infusion of spiritual life, with another, is the necessary work of regeneration in order to faith. According to the Scriptures, which theorize not upon this subject, some persons are said to be dead in trespasses and sins. To this apply their favorite maxim, "Remove the cause and you remove the effect," and then we approach the Scripture doctrine, as stated in my last essay on this subject. "You who were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, he has made alive, having forgiven you all trespasses." Remove the sins and the death in trespasses and sins, as an effect is removed. Hence the Scripture doctrine of regeneration is born of water and of the Spirit, or immersion for the remission of sins--not in order to faith, but as a consequence of the belief of the glad tidings of remission. How consonant with the proper use of terms, the nature, and order of things, is the plain, simple style of the New Testament!

      Mr. Fuller labors to prove that faith is "a spiritual act" and a "holy act," in order to prove that a man must he spiritual and holy before he can perform such an act. "Believing is a holy exercise of the mind." p 52. To say, with Mr. Sandeman, that "the holiness of faith is in the truth," Mr. F. repudiates; "because it places the nature of a thing in its cause, and in the object on which it terminates." p. 53. Yet in page 39, he affirms, that "to say that faith includes no holiness, and yet produces it as the seed does the plant, is to contradict the established laws of nature, according to which every seed produces its own body. If holiness, therefore, were not included in faith, it would not grow out of it." Now what is this but affirming that the nature of a thing is in its cause, and in the object on which it terminates? If Celadon love Amelia as his mistress, is not his affection of the same nature with its cause and the object on which it terminates? But this only by the way.

      The holiness of faith and its spirituality, as taught by Mr. Fuller, arises from its being "the act of a holy person--of one born of the Spirit." If this were worth a controverting, we might show it to be a gratuitous assertion. Are all the acts of the Spirit of God spiritual in Mr. Fuller's sense of the word? If so, matter is spiritual; for the Spirit of God is said to have operated upon it. Are all God's acts holy in his sense of the term? Then was the creating of the fowls, and the fishes, and the reptiles, holy acts. This will convert wisdom, power, and goodness, every attribute and work of God, into one called holiness?

      Holiness is a term which appears to he little understood by some of our most erudite teachers. The term holy is used, as it etymologically imports, to denote separation from that which is common or unclean. God's presence on Horeb made the mount holy for the time being; and every knife, fork, and spoon belonging to the service of the tabernacle, because separated and not for common use, was holy. As disciples are separated to the Lord, they are saints or holy persons. But only as separated, are they said to be sanctified or holy: for this [570] the term imports. Holy acts are the acts of persons sanctified or separated to God. To call a person holy, or any of his acts or feelings holy, before he is sanctified through faith and immersion, is as much at war with reason and the meaning of language, as with the plainest affirmations of the Apostles.

      But in all the refinements of these religious metaphysicians, one thing seems to have escaped their notice, that there is as great an incongruity in representing their natural mind, or "natural man," as being a fit subject of this physical, regenerating, sanctifying energy, as there is, according to their own reasoning and showing, in an unregenerated person believing; or being fitted, without such supernatural aid, to receive the testimony of God. IS NOT GOD'S WORD AS HOLY AS GOD'S POWER, AND GOD'S POWER, ON THEIR REASONING, AS HOLY AS GOD'S WORD? If, then, the natural, and unregenerated, and polluted mind of man is capacitated to receive the transforming impress of the Spirit of Holiness without the intervention of any means, why is it incongruous to suppose it capacitated to receive the testimony of God, or as fit a subject for the word as for the power of God to operate upon? And may we not ask, is not God's word as well fitted, and as powerful to create the mind anew, as it was to cause light to shine out of darkness at first? I trust I need not prove that light itself, natural and sensible light, was created by God's word.

      But the doctrine of Mr. Fuller is, that independent of the word believed, without the word, and in order to enabling a person to believe it, the Spirit of God does impart something he is pleased to call spiritual life, by a physical operation, as he made man rational, at first; and until this work is completed, and to effect which, neither argument, nor motive, wish, nor prayer, nor any agency in the power of man, can avail any thing; man is as dead as Lazarus in the grave, as to all power to help himself, to believe, repent, or obey the gospel; and that God withholds this power from some, and imparts it to others according to no other rule or principle than his own secret purpose. This is a capital item in Mr. Fuller's gospel, who yet disguises it all in a parade about the universality of the atonement, while it is as special in its application as this secret decree, physically and supernaturally to impart spiritual life to A, B, and C, which he calls regeneration in order to faith "strict and literal, and evangelical regeneration," from which D, E, and F are excepted, for no other reason than this same special and secret decree!!!! I hope I shall be excused from a farther exposition of this popular doctrine of metaphysical regeneration and its tendencies.
      October 30, 1830.


      OUR church being in a state of painful confusion, resulting from attempts by Alexander Campbell and others to produce a reformation in society, as they have been in the habit of calling it--among other things, denying the direct influence of the Spirit till after baptism--contending that persons professing faith in Christ shall be baptized for [571] the purpose of actually receiving forgiveness of sins--denying, and rather ridiculing, what we call christian experience, in part, at least; namely, a burdened heart on account of sin, and a sensible manifestation of God's pardoning mercy, by faith in the blood of Christ--slandering the Baptist Society, by saying they are in Babylon--against which sentiments, with many others referred to by them, we solemnly protest. Also, against the conduct of the Campbells, Creaths, Smith and others, who, in May, undertook to administer the supper in our meeting house--a number of our brethren joining in that thing without the authority of the church--some, likely, without thinking of the wounds and distress they were bringing on their brethren. Our brethren, a number of them, also, have been encouraging preachers to occupy our meeting house, that many of us believe to be Arians, knowing they were trampling on our feelings, which we conceive to be contrary to good order. We have made every effort to place them and us on ground that we can live in some degree of peace, but in vain; and we are now compelled to adopt the following resolution:--

      That all of us, whose names are hereunto subscribed, protesting, as above named, against the reformation, (falsely so called;) are willing and determined to rally round the original constitution and covenant of the church, which has never been disannulled--associating therewith the principles of the Union between the Regular and Separate Baptists, [see Articles of Union,] which was adopted by the Elkhorn Association, when this church was a member of that body, and according to which we have acted ever since, which is a fact, as relates to Baptists generally, thereby occupying precisely the same ground we did before the confused and confusing system of things that has destroyed our peace, and the peace of many other churches among us. And that no person shall be considered a member of this church, who will refuse to acknowledge the above, by subscribing their names, or causing them to be subscribed, or who will encourage the above named reformers.

Remarks by the Christian Messenger.

      This document truly beats the marks of olden times. None but Calvinists, immersed Calvinists, can be members of May's Lick Church; for each member must subscribe the original constitution, which is the Philadelphia Confession of Faith. None can he members of this church who will encourage A. Campbell, the Creaths, Smith, and others, called reformers. Yet Separate Baptists, who oppose Calvinism, may be members, if they will subscribe the above constitution, church covenant, and articles of union; that is, if they will subscribe what they do not believe; or, in plain language, if they will become hypocrites, and not encourage the reformers, by going to hear them, or joining with them in any religious act. If they shall do these things, they may be members of the church. It is well for the religions world that this church has not the keys of the kingdom. All but the few would be hurled out without mercy. It is hoped that this document may be of singular service to the world--to open to their view the evils of human creeds and sectarianism. For this purpose have I consented to give it a place in the Messenger. [572]


      THE retrospect of a volume resembles the retrospective view of our journey through life. We can see objects correctly only at a certain distance. And it happens to short-sighted man that he sees his errors most clearly some time after their commission.--The incidents of a year, and the pages of a volume, when finished and examined by the actor, and the author, seldom appear so perfect as not to require some emendation. The person who makes every day a critic upon the past, will every day improve; and he that subjects his own pages to like impartial criticism, will find ample opportunity to amend either in subject or in style, and most frequently in both.

      In reviewing the labors of the last year, both public and private, both oral and manual, methinks if we could live it over again, and act the scenes a second time, many defects would be amended, many errors would he corrected, and many blemishes would be defaced. But, alas! tempus preteritum nunquam revertitur!--time past never returns! and what we have done is done, and what we have written is written, and must remain so.

      There is an unlimited progression towards perfection in intellectual attainments; and no man can say of his acquisitions in any one department of human sciences, and much less in the knowledge of things divine, that they are incapable of augmentation. If, therefore, a person think he knows any thing perfectly, "he knows nothing as he ought to know." The more we enlarge our horizon, the greater the number and variety of objects which engage our attention; but as the portion of attention bestowed upon each must necessarily become less as the objects become numerous; and as in an extensive landscape the distance of some objects, as well as the number of them, is unpropitious to minute examination, so the more general our information the less perfect our knowledge of things in detail. It is true that the keeper of a Museum may be as intimately acquainted with its contents as the cottager is with the furniture of his cabin; but it is equally true that the apartments of a Museum may be so multiplied, and their contents so enlarged and diversified, as to transcend the capacity of any mind.

      Our attention should therefore be most fixed upon the objects most capable of producing real happiness. What those objects are no christian needs to be informed. These are the wares which should fill the magazine of the human soul. Our memory, like a warehouse, has its dimensions. Its capacity may be filled with wares of little worth, or with treasures of immense value. The Jews now generally deal in gold, silver, and precious stones, because they prefer portable to immoveable possessions. Christians should resemble them in the assortment and acquisition of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Human science is valuable so far as it qualifies or capacitates the human mind for the comprehension of divine knowledge. Those sciences which have the works of God for their objects, are most [573] conducive to this high end. Hence the natural sciences, rather than those called moral, are most deserving of the attention of him who would make the knowledge of God the foundation of rational happiness. Men have made the moral sciences, falsely so called; but God is the author of the natural, inasmuch as he is the Creator of the Universe. He that studies astronomy, geology, chymistry, botany, comparative anatomy, or even geography, if he study in fact, studies God. But he that studies ethics, moral philosophy, metaphysics, politics, and mythology, studies not so much man, as the follies and crimes of man.

      The study of nature is the study of God; for nature is a volume of which God is the author. A general knowledge of the solar system, and a particular knowledge of the terraqueous globe with its three kingdoms, (the animal, the vegetable, and the mineral,) is comparatively as propitious to true devotion, as is the occupation of the husbandman compared to that of the merchant and the mechanic. The farmer has more business to transact with God than the merchant or the mechanic; or, to express the same idea in other words, he feels himself more immediately dependent on God than on men, while other professions depend more on man than on God. The husbandman, says James the Apostle, has to exercise continued patience [dependence on God] till he receives the early and the latter rain. Hence we more generally find a larger share of piety and humanity among the same proportion of husbandmen, than among those devoted to merchandize and the mechanic arts. Even a Roman poet represents the virgin Astrea, the divinity who presided over justice, when banished from the cities and the places of rendezvous, as finding no place for a temple among merchants, soldiers, statesmen, artizans, philosophers, orators, poets, priests, &c. found a residence among husbandmen, and made her last abode on earth among them who cultivated the soil.

      The venerable fathers of the virtuous families of the olden time, were shepherds and husbandmen. But the founders of cities and the inventors of arts, were first found among the descendants of Cain. When Cain went out from the presence of the Lord he founded a city, and called it after the name of his son Enoch.

      But how easy it is for a textuary to stray from his text, and for me to wander from my subject. I had intended in the conclusion of this volume to say, that, in reviewing it, I see it has its full share of the imperfections of its author; and as I have never passed a single day since I crossed the line of reflection, in which I could not see wherein I might have done something better, or avoided some imperfection; so I have never written a page in which I could not, on re-examination, find something to improve. This I must qualify in regard to the volume now finished. I wish not to he understood as having discovered any serious error in sentiment in the various articles which I have written; but I speak of arrangement, selection, style, and the manner of saying some things, as well as of some of the things said. But all promise is poor dilatory man. I was about to compliment myself [574] by saying, that, as I have been a severer critic upon myself than my most cordial opponents, I hope still to reform, and to become, if not more perfect, less imperfect, as that great preceptor, Experience, may admonish me.

      Much of our prospectus remains to be regarded and accomplished. This we have not forgotten nor lost sight of. But our course is somewhat shaped, and must be in some measure, by the enemies of reform. It will still be less so, as the fury of the storm is almost past. Our opponents have nearly exhausted their quiver. All that they can do in many places has been done. But our quiver is yet full of arrows, and the panoply of our opposers cannot shield them. Truth is like a two-edged sword, and if in the hand of one disciplined in the military tactics of the Army of the Faith, it is a weapon of irresistible power. Our most, if not our only offensive weapon, is the sword of the Spirit. Our opponents have access to this weapon; but in opposing us they uniformly take hold of the wrong end of the sword; and the event proves that their loss of blood has been greater than ours. They are now afraid to touch it.

      They rely upon other weapons than those which the christian armory supplies. If they argue it is in a circle. Like Mr. Clopton, our opponents generally prove their doctrine to be true by one another. He invokes the shades of his teachers, the good old Virginia Apostles, to prove that what they taught him is true; and to sustain his teachers, he summonses his classmates to prove that his teachers taught the truth. This is a summary, but a fair specimen of the logical course of the van of the Army of Human Tradition. The people prove that their experience is genuine, because all who were the subjects of the same doctrinal operations, feel the same sensations from the same religious impulses. And as they smarted under the same rod, and were healed by the same plaster, they have the same sympathies for each other.

      But when this argument fails to carry conviction to the understandings of those who are bold enough to inquire what have the Apostles said, there remains another weapon in their armory on which they repose implicit confidence. This is the old, argument of the dark ages revived, formerly called argumentum bacculinum, or the argument of tooth and nail. Physical operations ought to be sustained by physical force. There is a chymical affinity between the doctrine and the proof. Hence these logicians have a notion that the allegata and the probata should correspond; or, in other words, that the proposition and the proof should be alike physical. Counting hands and noses is, therefore, the order of the day. The truth is detected and error exposed by a lean majority. Thirty heads, black or white, are always supposed to contain more orthodoxy and more intellect than twenty-nine other heads of greater or less dimensions. In the natural sciences the head of a Hervey, a Bacon, or a Newton, did more than balance all the heads in christendom; but in ecclesiastic matters and things, a Negro's pate is equal to Newton's mind. Votes are arguments in Frankfort, and orthodoxy in Georgetown [575] and happy is the man who can find thirteen votes for any doctrine--for having only thirteen, he can carry his opinions in defiance of the TWELVE Apostles!

      These are the weapons of the sectarian war. We do not fear the result. The sword of the Spirit has once triumphed over all the votes of Judea, Greece, and Rome; and if now unsheathed and wielded by men of the primitive military tactics, the victory is as sure as prophecy, and as certain as the testimony of God. "Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world."

      This year has been delivered of another calf. Soon after its commencement we saw it pregnant with some great events. In August it was in pain to be delivered. Then came forth the Franklin Decrees, and the whole congregation danced before the calf. Aaron was found at Oakley, while Moses was in the Mount. High Priests have had the honor, since Aaron's time, to midwife calves. The sisters found the jewels, the necklaces, and the rings, and Aaron invented the mould. But even in Georgetown, Ky. in the vicinity of which I write these remarks, and notice these signs of the times, the people are tired of dancing to the calf, and Aaron is finding excuses for his mould. Even John Taylor, Sen. has proved that an old man is not always wise, and that a person may survive his own reputation for wisdom and piety, and become a religious suicide. Time, that great innovator and teacher, will enlighten the most dull of apprehension, and wear out the yoke which enslaves human minds to religious tyrants, who make a nod a signal for consciences to bow.

      There is not the same necessity for written expositions of the sayings and doings of sectarian leaders. They expose themselves. They furnish not only the text, but the sermon. We will, therefore, have, we hope, less to do with them, and more time to devote to the redemption of the great principles which are to regenerate the world.

      The history of the progress of the Restoration is becoming more interesting, and must receive more attention. But while our eye is fixed upon the great object to be gained--the illumination and reformation of christians, and the salvation of the world--we must he governed, in some degree, by the incidents of the times and the course of them who advocate the continuance of the desolating systems of the antichristian kingdom. But the past and the present for the future. We hope ever to he governed by the wisdom which comes from above, which is pure, peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy, and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.
      Georgetown, Ky. October 15, 1830.

      ----> Many articles intended for this number are necessarily deferred till the next publication; among which are, a communication from Philalethes, and an Essay on the Prophecies, both in type. A letter from Bishop R. B. Semple has been received, and will probably appear in our next. The List of Receipts shall appear next month. [Print.] [576]

      1 Bishop Semple has been challenged to debate the points at issue, every one of them, before his own church, but manfully declined. [535]
      2 Mr. Sedwick is opposed to reformation. He edits a monthly Regular Baptist Miscellany, full of every thing "common among the Baptists." It is decidedly the leanest thing in all the land, and is now seeking to fatten itself by publishing every thing it can collect from all quarters, against the ancient gospel and the ancient order of things. [556]


[The Millennial Harbinger, 1 (December, 1830): 529-576.]

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