[Table of Contents]
Alexander Campbell, ed.|
The Millennial Harbinger, Vol. II, No. III (1831)
|THE MILLENNIAL HARBINGER.|
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.
INCIDENTS ON A TOUR TO NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE.
ON Friday the 10th of December, at seven o'clock P. M. I pronounced an address to the church and citizens of Nashville, introductory to other addresses in contemplation. The characteristics of the present apostacy were compared with the prophetic character of the Man of Sin, and Babylon the Great, as portrayed by Daniel, Paul, and John. The mysteries of "the Mystery of iniquity" were descanted on, and the deleterious influences of the mystic systems of interpretation were noticed. Several positions respecting primitive christianity were exhibited; and at the close it was proposed to have a meeting on the following evening for the purpose of giving a favorable opportunity for a familiar conversation, to such as had any thing to inquire, object, or propose relative to the principles assumed in this introductory address. After the close of the discourse I learned that all, or nearly all, the clergy of the city had attended this meeting. On the next evening at the hour appointed, we found a large congregation assembled. Some objections were proposed through brother J. Creath on the nature of faith, and repentance; and an inquiry on the mystery of the five Calvinistic points was also proposed. We attended to the difficulties proposed on the subject of faith, when Obadiah Jennings, now pastor of the Presbyterian church in Nashville, arose and spoke nearly an hour on the popular views of faith as a saving grace wrought some way in the heart by supernatural operations. I replied in a speech of about half an hour. Mr. Jennings then arose and gave us a sermon on the special operations of the holy Spirit--on true and saving faith contrasted with historic faith, &c. &c. which occupied another hour, and as soon as he ended he left the house, alleging indisposition. We replied to his remarks, examining the prominent passages of scripture cited by him in attestation of his views. Faith as the gift of God--as ranked among the fruits of the Spirit--and the impossibility of the natural man understanding spiritual things, were amongst his strongest proofs of the necessity of supernatural assistance to believe the testimony of God.  David's prayer for the opening of his eyes to understand the law, and the Lord's opening the understandings of his disciples to understand the Jewish scriptures were confidently appealed to in proof of his views. The gentleman seemed not to have noticed that not faith, but the salvation was the antecedent to touto. He appeared not to have noticed that pistis, faith, and charis, grace, are both feminine; and, consequently, neither of them could be the antecedent to touto which is of the neuter gender. Faith is not, then, said by the Apostle to be the gift of God. Nor did he seem to have noticed that faith, ranked amongst the fruits of the Spirit, was fidelity associated with temperance and meekness. "To one is given faith by the same Spirit" was also alluded to, without observing that this was faith to work a miracle; for if ordinary faith was given only to one of the spiritual men, the other spiritual men wanted it; a position equally hostile to his views and mine. He did not appear to have apprehended that the natural man, spoken of by Paul in his 1st letter to the Corinthians, was contrasted with the spiritual man; or, in other words, that the natural man was a Pagan with only his five senses to guide him. That a mere animal man, destitute of any oral or written revelation from God, could not have spiritual ideas was cheerfully admitted by me: but that the natural man of the schools was the same with that of Paul was not only confidently denied, but evinced.
This zealous advocate of the incredibility of God's testimony without supernatural assistance, did not appear to have seen how impertinent it was to his purpose to adduce the prayers of David, concerning a discovery of the wondrous things couched in the ancient oracles to prove that his natural man could not admit the testimony of God. Neither did he regard the discrepancy between the Lord's opening to the minds of the Apostles the ancient prophecies, and his pleadings for supernatural aid to believe that God spoke the truth. But his ardor to defend the dogmas of the elders had doubtless led him into these very palpable mistakes; and heated by a zeal to maintain what he had taught, he appeared reluctant to yield opinions so much at war with revelation and experience.
He was, indeed, honest enough to allege that faith was the belief of testimony, and that faith and testimony are correlate terms. He also protested against physical influences; but yet contended for some sort of mysteries in religion, neither as I could learn in accordance with Catholic or Protestant mysteries; but a sort of intermediate mysteries. The mystery of iniquity he disowned, but the mystery of godliness was yet a secret in some sense which he failed to make me understand.
His second speech being a repetition of his first one somewhat enlarged and amended, and the lateness of the hour, together with his precipitate retreat from the house, forbade my enlarging upon the topics. A few remarks illustrative of the entire inapplicability of his proofs to his positions, closed the scene.
Lord's day morning, after the celebration of the Lord's death, I lectured on Ephesians, fourth chapter, viz, the one Lord, one body,  one Spirit, one God, one hope, one faith, and one immersion. Descanted on the many lords, bodies, spirits, gods, hopes, faiths, and immersions of distracted christendom, and contrasted these with the seven units. Ten persons came forward, and confessed the Lord, whom I immersed in the Cumberland River. An immense crowd witnessed the immersion.
In the evening we returned to the church. After delivering an address to those who had that day owned the Lord, I spoke the word of the Lord to the whole congregation. Another exhortation was tendered, after which three persons came forward to vow allegiance to the King. The night being dark and wet and the river at some distance, they were immersed at sunrise the next morning by brother Creath.
On Monday evening we lectured again on John, third chapter, and examined the doctrine of the new birth--descanted on the kingdoms of nature, grace, and glory, in the popular acceptation of these terms; and on the next day left the city to visit Franklin and Columbia--farther in the interior of the state. Brother P. S. Fall accompanied me. During our absence, brother Creath delivered several addresses and immersed two persons.
In Franklin we found ourselves among the icebergs of Calvinism. Garner Mc'Connico who has sublimated every thing in religion, except the practice which is yet carnal, is the bishop of this diocese, and lives unfortunately within three miles of the town. To help the matter, the thermometer got down nearly to zero, and even below it, an unusual degree of cold for that place. We tried to speak in the Baptist meeting-house, which had a stove without a pipe to it. We were first smoked out of our eyes, and then chilled out of our feelings; just emblems of the system of things ecclesiastic in that diocese. The next day we retreated to the Presbyterian meeting-house, in which were two stoves and their appendages. But some of the windows were out. An effort to warm the house under such circumstances, was as fruitless as Fullerism; which, while it displays great generosity in the beginning, is in the end as churlish as Calvinism. Too homogeneous was this house; for the heat created by the stoves passed out through the windows above. The congregation was chilled in body, soul, and spirit. On our return through this place, we tried the Episcopalian meeting-house which is the masonic hall. It, more candid than the others, had no pretensions to heat; for there was neither stoves, nor pipes, nor fire-place of any sort visible to the naked eye. So we found the doctrine of correspondences according to the Baron Swedenborg true for once, in the flourishing village of Franklin, Tennessee. We were very courteously treated by several citizens of this place, amongst whom were Mr. Olmstead, Robert Foster, Esq. and the physicians of the town. But while Calvinists in faith, the citizens of this place appear to be Arminians in the affairs of the present world. In raising cotton the prophet Mc'Connico is not a Calvinist; but in converting souls the work is altogether God's. Good works, too, are not to he depended on, neither can evil works  frustrate infrustrable grace. This is said to be his unfeigned faith, and the people are unworthy of credit, if he be a hypocrite.
In the Baptist meeting house we spoke of trying the spirits; in the Presbyterian house we descanted upon the cloud of witnesses to the power of faith as a principle of action; and in the Episcopalian house upon the 1st and 2d chapters of the Epistle to the Colossians on translation into the kingdom of Christ from the kingdom of Satan; and on the fulness, power, and majesty of the King of Saints. But no per. son could be induced to enlist under him.
In Columbia we found a large assembly. Brother Fall, on Saturday evening, addressed them on Paul in Athens. On the Lord's day we spoke in the forenoon on the salvation of the Gentiles, and after night on the same subject. After much exhortation, three persons only had the faith which we required; and at sunrise the next morning we immersed them in Duck River, in the environs of the town. This water had not been moved in a similar way for some years, or perhaps, ever before; and although the hour was so early; many of the citizens attended, and many seemed to be convinced that this was the ancient gospel and order, but they lacked courage or confidence to own the Lord. The Methodist society, so generally distinguished for liberality, afforded their meeting house; while the Presbyterian pastor, and two of his elders, kept a larger house comparatively empty, much to the dissatisfaction of his own people and the citizens generally. Sundry persons who came a great distance could not get within hearing at the Methodist house.
On Tuesday the 21st, returned to my relatives in the vicinity of Nashville, where I spent two or three days in writing for the Harbinger. On Friday evening delivered a lecture in Nashville in reply to two questions, viz: 1st. How did the Lord Jesus establish his religion in the world? 2d. By what means did he determine to perpetuate it in all time coming? The congregation was large, and as usual, attentive. Mr. Jennings appeared, taking notes as before. We repeated the invitation formerly given, and proposed the next day, being Christmas, to bear objections.
On Saturday morning we met, at ten o'clock. After reading a portion of the history of the planting of christianity, of the disputes, reasonings, and discussions of that age, from Luke's Acts of Apostles, brother Creath prayed. To prevent such an appropriation of time as occurred on a former occasion, I had the precaution to call a gentleman to preside over the meeting, and to stipulate that twenty minutes only should at one time be occupied by any one speaker. Dr. Felix Robinson, as impartial an umpire as the city could afford, accepted the request.
Mr. Jennings soon arose, and began a defence of the sects from the severe condemnation he represented me as having pronounced upon them. He apologized for the "evangelical sects," as very innocent, unavoidable, and in some respects necessary and useful things, he said there were sects amongst the Grecian and Roman Philosophers; sects amongst the Jews; and that there must be, as Paul said,  sects or heresies amongst Christians. Some sects were worthy of being denounced, but the orthodox sects could not be, as I had stated, ranked amongst the works of the flesh. There were good christians in them all, especially in the "evangelical sects;" and how reprehensible must he be who represents sects, as such, as doomed to the vengeance of heaven. Mr. Jennings spoke with much charity and apparent feeling on this subject, and appeared the very benevolent apologist for his good Methodist, Episcopalian, Quaker, and Regular Baptist brethren. He appeared to be all love and tenderness, bowels of compassion for these necessary, useful, and good evils. His sage appearance and fine Presbyterian voice, with a very evangelical tone, drew forth the grateful sympathies of all sectarians who supposed themselves embraced in all the "good words and fine speeches" of this no sectarian Presbyterian. Unfortunately for me I had read the history of the Puritans of Old and New England, and the Blue Laws of Connecticut--the groans and sighs of the whipped and gibbeted Quakers and Baptists, and all the movements of this orthodox sect in pursuit of the civil sword, with the active use they made of it while they had it, were passing in review before me, and prevented me from enjoying a morsel of this rich repast for the hungry Methodists, Episcopalians, and Calvinian Baptists, who seemed to swallow it without chewing. This subject engrossed two or three of his speeches.
In reply, I urged such facts as the following--That Paul had represented divisions amongst christians as equivalent to a literal dividing of Christ--and the assuming the name of a factionist, as equivalent to representing that factionist as crucified for his followers, and his followers as immersed into his name; that sects were ranked by the same Paul amongst the works of the flesh, and classed with murder and adultery, and that most of the wars and bloodshed of modern Europe, and a great majority of all the envies, jealousies, and bickerings in families and neighborhoods, arose from this cause; that the anathemas of Heaven were denounced, not only upon the Mother of harlots, but, upon all her daughters; and that the plagues of God were threatened to them who would not come out of this Sectarian Babylon.
A difference between those who are leaders and those who are led was admitted. The leaders were shewn to be factionists, and the led, frequently, without suspecting it, their ciders and abettors. The identity between the fictionist and the heretic whom Paul denounces was alluded to; and his admonition to the Romans, to "receive one another without regard to differences of opinion" was urged, to show that differences of opinion might exist amongst christians while they are one body and of one faith.
Mr. Jennings accused me of being a factionist, and shed a few dry tears over the divisions amongst the Baptists. Some of the opposers of reform present sighed an Amen to this imputation. He even accused me of being the head of a party. His remarks reminded me of the charges against Luther for rending the seamless coat of Christ, and for destroying the integrity of the Holy Apostolic Church, These  aspersions were shown to be unfounded. The motto to every number of the "Christian Baptist" was a witness against him. And the impossibility of building up a sect while we admitted only the constitution and laws of Christ's kingdom as authoritative, and allowed perfect liberty to private judgment without excision, was demonstrated. In one sense of the word party; or sect, the kingdom of Jesus would be a sect or party so long as there were Jews, Mahomedans, or Pagans, on earth. In this sense only could our views and practices be denominated sectarian. So long as we excluded from the kingdom of Jesus only those who would not acknowledge him to be Lord by doing the things which he commanded; so long as we made our own opinions private property, and required no person on pain of excommunication to adopt them, we might he calumniated by a classification with other sects, but could not be shewn to be sectarian.
Mr. Jennings next attempted to sustain his pretensions to being one of God's called and sent ministers, by urging the necessity of a special call, and alleging that the Apostles taught the necessity of both "the call to preach," and ordination to qualify for administering ordinances. He said that he agreed with all the views presented in my discourse the evening before on the means by which christianity was originally established and to be perpetuated, except in what pertained to this "call and ordination." He relied principally upon Ephesians, fourth chapter, and on the commission to the Apostles, as proof of this special call; and on the letters to Timothy and Titus for ordination. The Presbyterian arguments for a sort of apostolic succession and the necessity of official authority, were informally advanced. Several speeches were made on this question, evidently to the great detriment of his special call, and to the jeopardy of his authority with the people. 'Twas on this occasion that my worthy opponent learned, if not before, to guard against being "land-bound," as sailors would say. From this moment he put to sea, and only touched upon the coasts of foreign countries, never entering a single harbor.
The incredibility of the special call from the contradictory messages delivered to men by those who equally pretended to, and proved their special call by the Holy Spirit, and apostolic succession, was briefly exposed. The more ignorant the preacher the greater the pretence to the call, was now become an adage. The world had not yet decided whether Swedenborg, Fox, Calvin, Wesley, or Gill, had the strongest plea for being called and sent by the Holy Spirit. That they all could not be sent by God needed no proof; and that any one of them was specially called or sent by him, none of them could prove. The only call which any man could urge with either scripture or reason on his side, was his competency to instruct, and the need for it. The same call which the rich man has to relieve the poor when he discovers them, is that which an intelligent christian has to instruct those ignorant of God. All the texts adduced by Mr. Jennings were examined, and the fact that no man was ever ordained by the Apostles to break or consecrate the loaf, or to immerse or sprinkle, was urged without an effort on his part to adduce an exception--  unless we could consider his quoting the phrase "the bread which we break" as applicable only to the Apostles. But his denying that he was a successor of the Apostles, and his not attempting to sustain this phrase as spoken of the Apostles breaking the loaf, forbid us supposing that he could find an exception. His asking for an example of a layman's baptizing or breaking bread was replied to by a reference to Philip's immersing the Eunuch, Ananias immersing Paul, and to the fact that the Apostle Peter commanded the six Jewish brethren who accompanied him to Cesarea, (for there were no other disciples present,) to immerse the Gentiles. The coming together of the disciples to break the loaf at Troas, was adduced to shew that the celebration of the supper required no official, hands nor consecrated heads--and the fact that in all the qualifications for the office of bishop and deacon, and in all the exhortations tendered to them, not a hint or allusion is found intimating that they were appointed for that purpose. That all christians are made kings and priests to God under the great king and high priest of our profession, was also enforced. That the idea of official power or holiness coming from the imposition of hands, was the kernel of Popery; and that, if Mr. Jennings and the Presbyterians contended for the right to administer ordinances, because of ordination, then they derived it from the Man of Sin and Son of Perdition, because they had no other ordination than what Calvin had received: or, if they had, it came from a layman; were propositions which Mr. Jennings would not discuss. When he plead that a man's desire for the office of a bishop was a special call to the work, he soon discovered that this would prove too much for him; for it would include myriads of enthusiasts and other unqualified persons, because proportionally of these there is a greater number who desire the office than of those qualified for it, With this discovery Mr. Jennings abandoned that point, and with it ended any thing like a discussion on Saturday.
'Tis true he read and commented on some extracts from his manuscript sermons on Divine operations in true conversion, and became quite a critic on the new version. Immersion, too, as the import of Baptisma, and the extracts from Dr. George Campbell's Preliminary Dissertations, appended to the new version, were topics which he named. He even professed to criticise some phrases in the new version, and represented Dr. McNight as a formalist, because a dry preacher. His object appeared to be to excite the prejudices of the people against every thing but Presbyterianism, and therefore, like the wounded Parthian, he shot his arrows behind him, flying from point to point. With him it was Point Look-out, and Point Look-in, Point, No-point, and Point again.
After spending the evening till nearly ten o'clock in this latitudinarian style, the worthy gentleman let us know that he had much more to say, and was sorry that my appointments forwarded through Kentucky prevented a continuance of the conference the next week, At this moment I informed the gentleman that if he would select any one proposition, the most important he could select from all that he had  read or heard from me, and pledge himself to discuss it according to the established rules, submitting to be controlled by a competent tribunal, I would hazard the meeting of my appointments and continue in the city till Tuesday morning. He consented, as a matter of course, but did not then give the proposition, though the Moderator suggested the propriety of furnishing it in writing. Determined not to tarry on Monday unless a proposition of some sort, affirmative or negative was presented, I requested through some of the brethren, who waited on him next morning, a proposition. He sent me in writing the following: "To be born again--What is it? and the effects thereof?" This being one topic, and expecting that as he had pledged himself to give one proposition he would have no objections to affirm or deny something about it, and thus convert it into a proposition, I consented to wait till Monday, and on the Lord's day made the appointment.
On the Lord's day morning at ten o'clock, the disciples came together to break the loaf as they are wont every Lord's day. Feeling assured that Mr. Jennings' efforts were designed to check the spirit of enquiry still increasing in Nashville, to hang up the public mind in suspense, and thus to prevent a favorable hearing, I called the attention of a very large audience, on the Lord's day, to the remarkable coincidences in the history of the three great leaders of men sent by special commission from God--Moses, John, and Jesus. The attestations given to each, and the adaptation of their credentials to the persons over whom they were called to preside, were first noticed. This placed in a forcible point of view before the mind the peculiar signs and proofs of the mission of each afforded to those whom they congregated. The promises and threatenings which each leader had to offer, constituted the second topic. That each of these three leaders made all their disciples pass through water, was the third topic. The immersion into Moses, in the cloud and sea--John's immersion into reformation--and the immersion of all who acknowledge Jesus as a leader into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, were illustrated in the details.
The discourse, occupying two hours, was followed by an exhortation to submit to the last and greatest leader and commander of men, Jesus the Messiah, because of the promises he had to offer. Sixteen or seventeen persons came forward and submitted themselves to the Lord Jesus as their leader. After sermon I immersed them in the Cumberland River into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, according to the command of Jesus. They were united to the congregation in the evening of the same clay, and addressed for some time on the new relation into which they were brought, with all the duties and privileges attendant thereon. The brethren in this congregation generally came forward and saluted the new disciples, by giving them the right band of fellowship, and congratulating them on their adoption into the family of God.
After the address we again spoke to the whole audience on the cloud of witnesses to the power and excellency of faith, as the great  principle of action under the reign of the Messiah.--We adjourned till Monday morning at ten o'clock.
At the hour appointed, Mr. Jennings attended. He chose Mr. Hays, a Presbyterian Theologue, as his Moderator--I requested brother Foster, formerly Speaker of the Senate of Tennessee, to act for me. These gentlemen agreed to invite Mr. Payne, a Methodist teacher of celebrity, to preside. They took their seats. I informed them that I had not yet got a proposition from Mr. Jennings, but only the subject of a proposition, without any predicate. Mr. Jennings at first demurred against giving me any thing save the topic already mentioned; but being reminded of the pledge he had given on Saturday evening, he attempted to draft one. But so it came to pass that we could not get any definite proposition from Mr. Jennings till one o'clock. I proposed to defend any one of the ten propositions in the Extra, on remission of sins, if he could not draft one to meet his views and to comply with his pledge. At length he chose a paragraph with four propositions in it, refusing to discuss any one of the ten. I told him to engross those four propositions into one and I would accept it. He said it could not be done. We then presented them engrossed in one, proposing if there was one idea in the paragraph not engrossed, we would on his suggestion add it. After some examination he declined it, making no other objection than that he did not like it. He then gave me the following: "To be born again and to be immersed is not the same thing." I was constrained to accept this awkward proposition or to have no discussion. I observed that if he would, to save debate, admit that the term regeneration in Titus, 3 and 5, was equivalent to "being born again," in his sense of the phrase, and would have it appended to his proposition in writing, I would accept it. He did so. The Moderators then adjourned till three o'clock.
At the hour appointed we met. Mr. Jennings, though holding the negative, without ceremony arose and spoke his twenty minutes. The uncharitableness of my views, and the consequences flowing from the supposition that immersion and regeneration were two names for the same act, engrossed his first speech.
I appealed to the congregation whether my charitableness or uncharitableness was any proof of the proposition, and whether the gentleman did not endeavor to incapacitate them for examining coolly and dispassionately the question, by an attempt to inflame their passions and arouse their prejudices. I shewed from his own confession of faith from the article on the decrees, how illy it became him to talk about the charitableness of systems, and concluded by shewing that the discussion was by stipulation to be confined to the mere question whether the term regeneration was used in the scriptures as equivalent to the term immersion. He arose and renewed his remarks on charitableness and on the decrees and brought in, among some local matters, a tale about some of the reformers laying too much stress on water. Mr. Payne, the presiding Moderator, called him to order, and stated the irrelevancy of such matters to the question at  issue. He then spoke of the new birth as spiritual, and on immersion as incapable of changing the heart.
We replied to his remarks on the decrees by reading the article in the Creed without note or comment, and observed that we would not notice any thing he might say on any topic save that agreed upon.
We then stated the affirmative of the proposition, and shewed the different acceptations of the terms to be born again. Regeneration having been agreed to be equivalent to being born again, it was immaterial in the discussion which term we used. We then shewed what ground was covered in the popular acceptation of the term, and what in the biblical import. In the popular import regeneration included the quickening, the receiving of the spirit, a change of heart, and being born. In the scriptural import it denotes only the act of being born; for the washing of regeneration is contrasted with, or, at least, distinguished from, the renewal of the Holy Spirit. We then spoke of the begetter, the impregnation of the mind by the word of truth, and of the act of being born of water and of spirit as distinct matters. We also noticed the deception practised by our opponents in representing us as including in our usage of the term all their ideas of regeneration, and then in representing us as including all their views in our sense of the act of immersion: Whereas we contended that a child is begotten and made alive before it is born, and that regeneration, in scripture acceptation, meant neither more nor legs than the act of being born of water, which my opponent had already conceded, inasmuch as he had said that regeneration, Titus 3d & 5th, meant being born again; and that Paul had associated the idea of water with regeneration, inasmuch as he spake of the washing or bath of regeneration.
Mr. Jennings spoke of the necessity of a change of heart, as essential to the idea of being born; and descanted upon such phrases as "create in me a clean heart, renew in me a right spirit;" of "the opening of the heart;" of the natural enmity;" of the incapacity of "the natural man;" of the import of the discourse with Nicodemus; and attempted to shew that to be born of water was a figurative expression, and some way not distinctly stated as equivalent to being born of the Spirit. He spoke of the necessity of supernatural aid in the common sense, though not physically, but spiritually; and closed by moving an adjournment.
I opposed the adjournment, as too soon, and insisted upon replying at least before an adjournment.
Mr. Jennings then urged his plea, assigning indisposition. I then consented, and the Moderators declared an adjournment till seven o'clock.
The house having filled to overflowing, we ascended into the pulpit, and resumed the discussion. My friend, having filled his Testament with two or three manuscript sermons, soon recovered from his indisposition. I thought his pen was swifter than the tongue of a ready writer, if, during the recess, he had not only indited but written out so many pages. But the miracle was explained to me by  those who heard him deliver two discourses on regeneration shortly after the appearance of the "Extra on Remission." Seeing him well furnished with materials, I resolved to confine myself, and him, if possible, to the insulated topic; and therefore resumed the discussion by alleging that it mattered not what views might be entertained upon the subject of previous causes and previous changes, the question was, What does the term regeneration import? He had said that the Spirit did not operate physically; it must, therefore, operate morally, and if morally, then water and the word must be the instruments: and, accordingly, Paul had taught that the church was cleansed by a bath or washing of water and the word. But although different views of previous changes and their causes might be entertained, still it mattered not; the question was not what preceded regeneration, but what is regeneration? It was represented by me as the act of being born, and if my opponent understood and regarded the import of his concession on Titus 3d, he must feel that he had decided the cause against himself: for if the washing of regeneration was equivalent to being born again, and if the washing of regeneration was different from the renewal of the Holy Spirit, then, unless he could shew some other use of water than the baptismal, it must follow that the only time the term regeneration occurs in the New Testament applied to a person, it is used as convertible with, or equivalent to immersion, which was the only question before us.
I observed that I would not rely upon the fact, though it was the highest human authority on the subject, that all antiquity for the first 400 years unanimously used the term regeneration in this sense as convertible with baptism; yet I relied upon the scriptures alone, and then proceeded to John 3 & 5, and examined it.
Mr. Jennings in three or four speeches touched on the following topics--He remarked that these writers had used these terms as equivalent, but this was in the age of darkness. He argued that the Holy Spirit did not act physically nor morally, but spiritually. He descanted on Titus 3d & 5th, and John 3d & 5th, as figurative expressions; and shewed that the operations of the Spirit were frequently compared to water. He cited and commented on, or rather read from his sermons, several passages from both Testaments on the figurative application of water, and extolled spiritual regeneration. He thought that I followed the figure of being begotten and quickened before born, too far--represented the darkness anterior to the new birth, and the light into which we were introduced at the first birth, as the only legitimate use of the figure of being born again. He also assumed that persons might in his sense be born again and not baptized, and baptized and not born again. He descanted upon the impossibility of water, of itself, washing away sin, and the danger of relying upon immersion--emphasised upon the necessity of the blood of Christ, and read some passages in the "Extra" which he compared to the doctrine of Transubstantiation.
In reply, we shewed that if "born of the water" was figurative, "born of the Spirit" was figurative too, and illustrated the tendencies of  such liberties with the Sacred Scriptures. We descanted upon the use of the term begotten in the Epistles of John & Peter; on the fact that water always preceded in the Apostolic style "the word," and "the spirit," when they occurred in the same passages. We shewed that the primitive writers were not classed by any authority with the writers of the dark ages. Mr. Wall's declaration that all antiquity considered John 3 & 5, and Titus 3 & 5 as referring to immersion, was next considered. We shewed the unmeaning subterfuge of representing the Spirit as operating neither physically nor morally, but spiritually; for if we act humanly when we act physically and morally, the Spirit must act spiritually when it acts morally or physically. We read an extract from the Presbyterian Standard of Theology, written by Timothy Dwight, in demonstration that "the essence of enthusiasm consisted in relying upon spiritual communications for knowledge and disposition, and that no such communications exist in fact"--Next presented to the congregation the fact that Mr. Jennings not only departed from all the rules of interpretation agreed upon by his own commentators, but positively contradicted his own confession of faith, in his remarks on John 3 & 5, and Titus 3 & 5. Here we read from the confession the application of these two passages to baptism by the Westminster Assembly, and shewed that Mr. Jennings, in his mysticising, equally opposed his own creed and myself on this occasion.
As to the possibility of water washing away sin by its own intrinsic influence, we had as little faith as our opponent. We regarded the imputation as a calumny. We regarded faith, the name of the Lord, or the blood of Christ, and water, as all necessary; and shewed that this was a foul slander. What God had joined together, we presumed not to separate--Jesus had said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall he saved," and, "Unless a man be born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God." "Confession with the mouth, and believing with the heart," were joined by Paul as necessary to salvation; and he that separated them presumed to sit as a god in the temple of God. We left all to judge whether we or our opponent acted most wisely; we requiring faith, the blood of Jesus, and water, as necessary; or he that dispensed with such of them as he pleased.
After reading some extracts from the Extra, vindicating it from the aspersions of my zealous opponent, and the Moderators having agreed upon the time of adjournment, we concluded our address, and the discussion closed.
Mr. Jennings deserved some credit for his tact in managing his resources. He had so much management as to keep something else before the mind of his audience than the real subject of debate. He was always combatting some deadly heresy, and guarding his audiences against the contagion of error. He has a considerable talent for relating anecdotes, and his long practice as a lawyer has left yet upon him the scars of the profession. He compared himself to David with his sling, and myself to him who had defied the armies of--  John Calvin; and, indeed, he was much more adroit in slinging stones than in submitting his premises to the scrutiny of reason or revelation. He never came within the confines of logic, and his practice as a textuary has eminently disqualified him for a judicious application of scripture. The Presbyterian notice of this discussion published in the "Whig and Banner," as far as it goes, is as impartial as we could have expected; but that of Whitsitt, (the Baptist) which appeared in the Chronicle, is like its author, out at every corner. He was not present, and presumed to inform his brother the Chronicler of that which he neither heard nor saw. The Regular Baptists, as they call themselves, would have rejoiced if Mr. Jennings could have sustained one of his objections, as they did in the failure of W. L. McCalla to prove his infant baptism. Indeed they are more willing now to fraternize with the Presbyterians than with us. The Tract Missionary, Mr. McAboy, after enjoying a good salary for a year or two as itinerant knight for the Tract establishment, has thought good to secure one for life by actually joining the Presbyterians. His example will be of use to his brethren.
To dismiss Mr. Jennings for the present, we would only add that it unquestionably was his object, in availing himself of an opportunity tendered not for such purposes, to prejudice the community against the reformation, to secure his own flock from defection, to discuss nothing, but to create doubts and difficulties where there were none, and to bewilder the public mind with the mysteries of human invention. In this he was not quite so successful as he expected, for more than thirty persons confessed the Lord and vowed allegiance to him, in the different intervals of his opposition.
THE CHURCH IN NASHVILLE.
THIS Congregation, before the late additions, was reported as consisting of about 250 members. By the labors of brother P. S. Fall, an able and efficient advocate of the Apostles' doctrine, sustained by the intelligence and assiduous efforts of several faithful brethren and fellow-helpers of the truth, this congregation has been purged from much of the traditions of the fathers of sectarianism, with only the loss of five persons, who have recently withdrawn from them and formed an alliance with the factionists Whitsitt and McConnico.--These inconvertible remains of orthodoxy, which sat like an incubus on the brotherhood desirous of honoring the Ambassadors of Heaven, have happily for the cause of truth worked themselves off into a little sectarian fraternity, enlivened only by the feeble pulsations of metaphysical life, and animated with the hope of being justified by a righteousness imputed to them, to which, they say, they are not entitled from any thing inherent in themselves.
This christian congregation is so far advanced in the reformation as to meet every Lord's day, to remember the Lord's death and resurrection, to continue in the Apostles' doctrine, in the fellowship, breaking of bread, and in prayers and praises. From its location, in  the capital of the state, this society has already exerted, and is likely still to exert, a happy influence over the whole state. Like the congregation in Rome in that Empire, may their faith and piety be spoken of throughout, at least, the whole state of Tennessee!
The spell of a specially called and sent army of textuaries to murder the holy Scriptures has been broken in Tennessee; and never again will that population tamely submit to the degradation of having to eat the minced pies of any religious confectionary, or to be fed upon the broken dough from the kneading trough of Pharaoh's chief baker. But, indeed, they have not hitherto been so well used. They have been, like birds in a cage, fed upon the crumbs of him who has imprisoned them, and meted out their par hens so long as they would sing for him.
The three best specimens of the textuary system which I had the opportunity to hear, were the proofs adduced by Mr. Jennings for metaphysical regeneration, by Jeremiah Hubbard, a famous preacher among the Friends, whom I heard in Bowlingreen, and a Mr. Jacobs, a Calvinian Baptist, whom I heard in Maysville, Ky. They both agreed in the necessity of a mystic supernatural agency in the production of a belief in the testimony of God. Friend Hubbard was the fullest of the three in his quotations. Differing nothing in his main proposition, nor is the manner of quoting the scriptures, from Messrs. Jennings and Jacobs, he simply excelled then in the number of his quotations. Words were thrown together which had no more religious affinity than Judas Iscariot and Judas the brother of James. Peter, and Magus the sorcerer, were both called Simon; and as well might the ignorance and impiety of the sorcerer be ascribed to the Apostle, because they both occasionally appropriated the same name, as to apply nine texts in every ten of those quoted to sustain the incredibility of God without mystic impulse, to the purposes of these pretenders to a secret communication of either wisdom or power from God to believe.
The following is a fair sample of the texts quoted to prove that God cannot be believed unless his Spirit work faith into the heart:
"My Brethren--As Jesus Christ was conceived in the womb of the Virgin by the Holy Spirit, so must all his children be born of the Spirit before they can exercise true and saving faith. Unless. then, the Holy Spirit come upon thee, and the power of the highest overshadow thee, that holy thing called faith cannot be wrought in thy heart. For as Elihu said, "there is a spirit in man;" and "the Spirit of the Lord has given me understanding"--and "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his;" for holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. "The things of the spirit are spiritually discerned," and "there is a manifestation of the Spirit given to every man, to profit withal. To one is given faith by the same Spirit," and the fruit of the Spirit is faith, which is also called the gift of God; for "he opened the heart of Lydia," and made the Apostles understand his meaning: and Paul saith, "you are his workmanship, created unto good works"--for "except a man be born of the  Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God;" and God has shined into our hearts to give us the light of this knowledge," and "therefore as many as were ordained to eternal life believed;" for "my sheep hear my voice, therefore you believe not, because you are not of my sheep"--"all thy children shall be taught of God"--"every one that has learned of the Father cometh unto me;" and "no man can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him." "Thou hast revealed these things unto babes," "for flesh and blood has not revealed it unto thee, but my Father who is in Heaven." "No man can say that Jesus is Lord but by the Holy Spirit;" and "the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, they are foolishness unto him." "But you have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit of God"--"how shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather glorious"! "Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty." "The Spirit divideth to every man severally as he will"--and there is "but one Spirit"--"God hath chosen you to salvation through the sanctification of the Spirit; and the Spirit will therefore convince the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment:" and "this he spake of the Spirit which they should receive." Now is not the point fairly proved that no man can believe but he that is first regenerated of the Spirit!!"
Such rhapsodies are called preaching the gospel! and he is a natural man who calls them in doubt!
|For the Millennial Harbinger.|
"ORDER IS HEAVEN'S FIRST LAW."
WHILE, in the absence of him whose right it is to reign, the up start rulers and petty despots of this world are tyrannizing over their unhappy subjects, and watching with intense interest those gloomy and portentous clouds which now darken the political horizon; while the French Revolution, like the writing on the wall which "struck o'er midnight bowls the proud Assyrian pale," intimates to them that they have been "weighed in the balance and found wanting;" while, in the midst of the feast, they have perceived their destiny suspended by a single hair; and tumult, and confusion, blood and carnage, the roar of artillery and the shrieks of the dying are heard on every side. You, Dear Brother, surrounded by rural quiet and domestic peace, and far retired from the arena of political dissension, occupy yourself in the contemplation of the beauties of creation; in tracing the analogies of nature and religion, and exhibiting the order, harmony, and enjoyment, which obtain beneath the government of the Prince of Peace. Blessed indeed are all they who put their trust in Him! Thrice happy they who, finding themselves involved in the disorder and confusion consequent upon the fall of the first head of the human family, have returned to their allegiance and adopted as a Leader, that glorious One whom God has constituted a Prophet, Priest, and King. 
What perfect order and regularity we discover in those parts of the universe which have never departed from the laws originally delivered to them by the Creator! What beauty is exhibited in the still night by the azure canopy which glows above us, spangled with stars! These glorious orbs, sparkling with undiminished brilliancy though ancient as the sun, have continued to know their appointed course, and to perform all their revolutions with the utmost precision. With so much exactness indeed do these immense bodies go through their various movements, that the astronomer for months, nay years before, can foretell to the minutest division of time, even to the very instant, when their anticipated changes and eclipses shall occur. No deviation of a planet from its orbit has struck a sun from its centre and carried ruin and dismay amongst a thousand worlds. Against the dominion of their Author they have never rebelled. To Him the bands of Orion have ever yielded, and He has controlled the sweet influence of Pleiades. He has brought forth Mazzaroth in his season, and He has guided Arcturus with his sons. The orb of day has continued to issue like a bridegroom from the glowing chambers of the East, and like a strong man has rejoiced to run his daily course. He knoweth also his going down. Nor has the moon forgotten when to display her silvery crescent, nor when full orbed to steal the radiance of the starry host. The earth, also, has still experienced her appointed alternation of seasons. Does the husbandman tremble for his sown fields when the hoary frost of heaven binds up the soil in icy fetters? Or does he despair when winter's snows bury the hills and vallies and all the works of man in "one wild dazzling waste.?" Has smiling spring ever failed to unbend the frozen glebe? Has glowing summer neglected to clothe the earth with verdure? And when did the sower not enjoy his harvest-home?
But when we turn from scenes like these of harmony and peace to contemplate man, for whose benefit this beautiful order has been instituted, how striking and how melancholy is the contrast. The head has fallen, and long has the body been struggling in the dust! Adam proved incompetent to govern himself, and he was not fit to be the king of men. Accordingly, the human family, deprived of a Leader, yet feeling the need of government; laboring under a consciousness of guilt, without a Priest to mediate and to atone; and ignorant of the character of God, without a Teacher to reveal it, have, in their vain endeavors to supply their wants, delivered themselves up, from days of old, to the dominion of cruel kings, the influence of wicked priests, and the delusions of false prophets.
Here we re a vain Xerxes, in the impotency of his rage, chastising the unruly waves and casting a chain into the sea, while millions follow him to slaughter and destruction. There a deified Alexander is slain by the cup of Hercules--but the kingdom is not yet given to the most worthy." Here a Nero and a Tiberius vainly strive to glut themselves with human misery and carnage; and there an Alaric leads forward his conquering bands to devastate the fairest portion of the globe. At one time a voluptuous Heliogabalus is seen at the head  of an Empire, and at another the world trembles at the name of Napoleon the destroyer. Now, men idolize a tyrant; and again, revolting from a king, they put themselves under the power of a numerous band of legislators, and instead of the follies of one are willing to endure the absurdities of many. How nation has been arrayed against nation by ambitious leaders, state opposed to state, city to city, and man to his fellow! flew, in short, beneath the sway of the oppressor under the title of King, Protector, Sultan, Emperor, Satrap, Bashaw, Czar, or Dictator, we discover the human family in every age naked, dishonored, imprisoned, manacled and bleeding!
And if such ill success has attended the endeavors of men to procure for themselves a head worthy to govern, how entirely incompetent have they been to select an acceptable Mediator! Acquainted, we would suppose, with their own character, if they have failed to obtain a ruler to please themselves, could we expect them to find an intercessor who would please God, of whose nature and attributes they were so ignorant as to compare to the creatures of his hand, to four-footed beasts, and creeping things, the invisible Creator who is God over all and blessed forever? What cruelties have been practised, and what preposterous sacrifices offered, with a view to atone for transgression, and to propitiate an offended Divinity! Here, under the direction of the priests of Chronus, we see mothers forgetful of all the tenderness of their nature, making it a merit to witness without a, groan their infant offspring cast into the flaming statue of that idol, and with kisses and embraces hushing the cries of their children, lest the efficacy of the sacrifice should be lost by an appearance of reluctance and regret! There the blood-stained wheels of the car of Juggernaut meet our eyes, where the land is strewed with human bones whitening in the sun, and where dogs and vultures are fed by the hand of superstition; "for there is no pity at Juggernaut, there is no tenderness of heart in Moloch's kingdom." Now we meet a miserable pilgrim on his way to Mecca, or straying far to seek "in Golgotha him dead who reigns in heaven:" and again, an unhappy votary of Shion is seen, hoping to appease his god by swinging in the air upon hooks fastened in his flesh. At one time, a Curtius, devoting himself to the gods Manes for the safety of Rome, leaps into an unfathomable gulph; and at another, a patriotic Codrus bleeds to satisfy the tutelar deity of his country. But time would fail to speak of the penances and mortifications extorted by false priests to placate directly or indirectly an offended God; the whip of St. Francis, or the discipline of St. Dominic; the stool of repentance; the intercession of Friars, Popes, and pretended Saints; their pardons, indulgences, bulls, and all their trumpery.
Nor is it required to range the fields of ancient Mythology to exhibit the unworthy ideas which have been delivered to man by false prophets respecting the character of the Supreme Being. We do not need to speak of the loves and battles of the heathen deities, the voluptuous paradise of Mahomet, the dreams of Eastern Brahmins, or the fancies of the ten thousand religious visionaries who have led the  world astray. Their own conduct has sufficiently displayed their views of the Divine character. The horde of vile and barbarous divinities with which they have overspread the world from the regions of eternal frost to India's coral strand, or the burning sands of Africa, prove the degradation into which they have plunged the human family. Here men have been taught to offer sacrifice to the trunk of a tree--there, the pedal with which rice is beaten is raised to godship. In one country paying divine honors to the river Ganges, they consider it the most acceptable offering to drown themselves in its waters. In other regions they worship serpents, and bow down before the beasts of the field; they pay adoration to monkeys, bones, the teeth of elephants, and the feathers of birds. And just in proportion as the character of God (the true standard of perfection) has been lowered, in the same degree has the character of man himself been degraded, Apis brutalized his worshippers, and the example of Priapus could produce no purity. Bacchus and Venus were patrons of debauchery and lust; and the Bacchanalia of Greece, and the Aphrodisia of Cyprus were their schools. What a flood of vice and immorality has issued from this source and deluged the world! How has it been filled with violence, rapine and murder, by pretended messengers of God! It is not necessary to detail the slaughters of Mahomedanism, or to lift the curtain from the scenes of the Inquisition: suffice it to say, that false priests and false prophets have involved men in miseries and crimes at which humanity shudders. Professing to be governed by the God of peace and goodness, they have waged wars of extermination; and, fiercer than the hyena, have delighted in torture--have arrayed nations against each other, and engaged them in all the horrors of religious persecution.
What a melancholy picture, then, does the human family present! What confusion, what disorder prevails! What diversity in religion, government, morality, law, manners, and customs! What national peculiarities, antipathies, discords, feuds, and jealousies! No communion, no harmony, no uniformity among men. And how unable have they been to deliver themselves from their oppressors! Like the fabled hydra, presenting the appearance of a many headed monster, if the steel of a Brutus have crushed an imperial Cæsar, an Anthony and an Octavius have instantly sprung up to rivet the chains of despotism; if the strong arm of popular indignation has here dethroned a tyrant, innumerable leaders have plunged the state into anarchy and ruin. Thus has it ever been, and thus will it ever be until the Avenger, coming in the glory of his strength, shall sear the nations with a flaming brand!
But let us turn from the contemplation of the miseries and divisions of the human family, to enquire for a moment their cause. And since we have seen that peace and harmony have been preserved in those parts of the universe which have not deviated from the laws originally delivered to them, we can impute the disorders of mankind to no other cause than this, that they have departed from the order in which they were originally placed by the Creator; that man has forsaken  the principles which were delivered to him at the beginning. "He put forth his hand and did eat." Here we behold the true source of error! The spark that hath set the world on fire! The small seed which, darting its roots deep into the earth, has stretched its vigorous arms to the skies, and seems to bid defiance to the storms of heaven!
The substitutes which men have sought out shew their need of a true head, as false coin proves the poverty of its possessor. Had they not felt their want, they would not have endeavored to supply it. Had they not been sensible that they had sinned, they would not have recognised the necessity of atonement and intercession; and had they not known themselves ignorant of God's character, they would not have sought for teachers to reveal it. And it would ill become any one, to infer from the ill success which has attended the attempts of mankind to procure a true guide, that such an one has no existence. The existence of a counterfeit proves the existence of something genuine. For a counterfeit is predicated upon a previous knowledge of that which is true, and derives its success from the confidence already placed in that of which it is merely the appearance. Have men, then, usurped the power of God, and sought to free themselves from his authority? Have they paid to others the homage due to him? Has Satan deluded the world by means of false gods, false kings, false prophets, and false priests? Here we might rest the argument and argue from these very facts the certain existence of a Living and True God, a glorious king, a true Teacher, and a holy Priest.
"Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers took counsel together against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set MY KING upon my holy hill of Sion. I will declare the decree, the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my SON, this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. Be wise therefore, Oh! ye kings; be instructed ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him."
How eminently fitted must the Son of God indeed be to supply the wants of the human family. Acquainted with the order, beauty and perfection of the government of the universe; possessed of the power, glory and wisdom of his Father, and knowing what is in man, how well qualified must he be to rule the nations of the earth! Unlike the first Adam, he withstood the temptations of Satan and showed his capacity to govern, being himself unconquered. The mighty one who has overthrown the proudest monarchs he overcame; and having  triumphed over sin, death, and satin, the heavens have acknowledged him as worthy to receive riches, and honor, and power, and glory, and blessing; and when he comes to claim the kingdoms of the world, he will be revealed in his glory as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Vain mortals have claimed the honors of the Deity, and have aped his power. The treacherous sandal betrayed the mortality of Empedocles, and the imitative thunders of Salmoneus and Caligula could not save them from retributive justice. But when the King of Kings comes, the trump of God shall announce his presence; the trembling earth shall own her rightful Lord, while they that are in their graves shall hear his voice; the government shall be upon his shoulders--and then, dear brother, we shall have a joyful day!
He is also constituted a Priest forever, after the order of Melchisedeck. A sacrifice of nobler name and richer blood than the Lamb of God could not be offered up to atone for the sins of man, and to exhibit to them the justice and mercy of the Author of their existence. As the children were partakers of flesh and blood, he also took part of the same. As he was tempted, he knows how to succor those who are tempted--and what more prevalent intercessor is there with a Father than a beloved Son? As a Prophet, who can equal him who is perfect in wisdom, who knows all things, who is the First and the Last? He spoke as never man spoke. He possessed the riches of knowledge and understanding. What beautiful thoughts compose his discourse! What ennobling sentiments, what sublime views of God and nature he has delivered! In the midst of an age of darkness and of ignorance, in his teachings we behold nothing unworthy of infinite perfection; nothing derogatory to divine wisdom; nothing incompatible with the divine character. All is simple, all is pure, all is peaceable, every thing calculated to happily the condition and exalt the character of man. But who shall speak of his perfections? Who shall display the glories of Him who is the effulgence of the Father's glory, and the exact image of his substance; who upholds all things by the word of his power; who hath light and immortality dwelling in him--To whom be glory now and forever. Amen.
|For the Millennial Harbinger.|
11. WE now come to consider the business of ruling, and the passages of scripture which the clergy have translated so as to suit and support their pretensions to spiritual domination.
The business of government or ruling has, in modern times, been divided with great propriety into three branches, happily enough distinguished and designated by the epithets Legislative, Judicial, and Executive. Anciently, however, and even when the New Testament was written, all these branches were claimed and exercised by one and the same functionary. It belonged to his office to enact laws, to investigate their transgression, and punish their violation. When Christ determined to erect and organize his spiritual kingdom on earth, he selected and employed twelve honest friends to publish,  along with other information, the laws which he had enacted and committed to them for publication; laws by which he designed that all his subjects should be governed to the end of time; and, moreover, which, for the purpose of rendering them fit to answer this important end, he caused to be reduced to writing, and thus rendered permanent, visible, and transmissible to all parts of the world to the last generations of men. These laws we now find in Christ's statute book, the New Testament, where they were at first enrolled, and where they are still presented in their original purity. The legislative branch, then, of Christ's government, continues to this day and forever will continue to be, exclusively in his own hands. To take from, to add to, or to alter in any respect his laws, has been confided to no mortal man. To attempt, then, a change even of the slightest kind, is a manifest usurpation of Christ's legislative prerogative; a flat denial of his capacity and right to legislate for man; a contemptuous rejection of his sovereignty. It tells him and all intelligent creatures that he either wants the information and the feelings which a legislator ought to possess, or that he has no right to prescribe laws to the human family. But though Christ has not thought proper to delegate his legislative right to any human being, and though he has threatened to inflict on the presumptuous wretch who shall dare to usurp the exercise of it the most awful punishment, yet he has confided the exercise of both the judicial and executive branches to the prudence, discretion and fidelity of his brethren the saints, Mat. xviii. 17.--1 Corinth. v. 4.--2 Corinth. ii 6. &c. &c. But if the legislative branch be still retained by Christ himself, and the exercise of the judicial and executive branches be delegated by their sovereign to the saints, what part, I ask, of Christ's government or business of ruling has been reserved as a patrimony for the clergy? As to the scriptural terms on which they rest their pretensions, when correctly translated, they yield no support. The primitive and strict meaning of proistemi, which the clergy have translated rule, or, are over, (Rom. xii. 8.--1 Thess, v. 12.--1 Tim, iii. 4, 5, 12,) is, I stand forward, occupy the first place, am ahead of others, step forward but for what purpose? For the purpose of ruling, that is, of prescribing rules, and enforcing obedience to these rules by power and authority, by the terrors of a brandished rod and imperative threats? Or for the purpose of guarding and protecting from moral danger, from the danger of apostacy and supineness, by the influence of example, expostulation and counsel, or as Paul himself explains it, for the purpose of taking care of the house of God? As to the term hegeomai, which the clergy have translated by their favorite term rule, Heb. xiii. 7, 17, 24, its primitive and proper acceptation is still more remote from the work of ruling. It signifies, I lead the van, I stimulate or urge on by the example set, by the motives I propose, by the admonitions I give. But to lead, stimulate and urge on his fellow-travellers is the bounden duty of every saint, but particularly of those aged persons in whom their fellow christians have reposed so much confidence as to constitute them inspectors and guardians of the sentiments and morals of the rest. 
12. The saints are alone qualified to perform Christ's service and build his body, because they alone possess the knowledge and dispositions required in the performance of this work. With them alone is the knowledge of man's intellectual, moral and legal condition; of God's attributes, designs, purposes and offers; of the Saviour's person, dignity, character, feelings and offices; of the Spirit's personal dignity and functions; of the prospects, motives and inducements which sacred writ presents to stimulate and encourage perseverance; of the malignity and deformity of sin, or disobedience to the commands of God; and of the innumerable difficulties, discouragements, temptations and trials with which the christian is daily and hourly beset, to be found; and of course, that knowledge which, when imparted, call alone make others wise to salvation. But further, the saints alone feel that attachment, that sense of obligation and gratitude to their Redeemer, which is necessary, absolutely necessary, to render his friends active, zealous, patient, and persevering in his service.
13. The saints are, one and all of them, qualified to perform the service which their Master has assigned them. For all of them, possessing the information and feelings which are necessary to secure to themselves eternal life, they can undoubtedly, in a plain and familiar, if not in a pompous and formal way, tell what they know and feel to all around as opportunity may permit. And every believer, every saint, and every friend of Jesus Christ, has his circle of relations acquaintances, neighbors, friends, and occasionally strangers, to whom he may, whenever he pleases, communicate what he knows of their perishing condition and absolute need of a Saviour, and of the perfect sufficiency and infinite willingness of our most gracious and glorious Redeemer to rescue them from impending vengeance, from everlasting ruin; and to bring both their bodies and minds into a state of the greatest perfection and happiness.
14. Christ's service is a personal trust. He has entrusted the building up of his body to the saints personally, and they have no authority to attempt its delegation, or to hire substitutes to do their work for them. Nothing can be more at variance with the spirit and design of the christian institution, nothing more pernicious to the Redeemer's cause, than the prevailing system, that has so long prevailed. Can any thing be more absurd, more incredible, than the fancy that Christ should, after qualifying and commanding every one of his friends to do his work personally, permit them to abandon its personal performance and entrust it to hirelings and substitutes? And what has produced the deplorable, the loathsome, the disgusting spectacle which christendom has long presented and now presents--the children professedly of the same Father, the subjects professedly of the same Sovereign, the friends professedly of the same Benefactor, the promoters professedly of the same glorious cause, torn into countless factions, sects, creeds, confessions and communions, into bodies and individuals, continually fighting, wrangling, abusing and vilifying one another--what has, I ask, produced this mournful, this distressing  this horrible sight, but the hireling system? Never could this wretched spectacle have been exhibited to the derision, disdain, alienation and ruin of an astonished, ignorant, thoughtless and deluded world, had every professed friend of Jesus Christ performed personally, with the love of his God in his heart and his fear before his eyes, his just share of his Master's work devolving on him. Incalculable have been the faithlessness and criminality of Christ's professed friends in this matter. They have basely, cowardly, and treacherously declined the performance of their duty themselves, and committed, to their own immeasurable loss, as well as the irreparable injury of their Master's cause, his work into the hands of hirelings and substitutes: an act of perfidy which has produced for nearly seventeen hundred years all the most lamentable effects already noticed, and many others, as every one, in the least acquainted with church history, or who has even attended to passing events, well knows. Were every saint to perform diligently; in his own person, his just share of his Master's work, to the entire disuse of hirelings and substitute what a glorious change would soon arise! We should soon behold the splendid era, foretold by ancient seers, realized before our astonished eyes: we should see the wilderness and the solitary place enjoying a crowded, a pure, and a joyful population; the desert rejoicing and blooming as the rose: we should see it blossoming abundantly, rejoicing even with joy and singing, we should see the glory of Lebanon given to it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon: nay, we should behold the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God, even his own most glorious intellectual and moral character, the most lovely and the most august of all sights, spread over it.
15. The saints have not only the information necessary to enable them to perform their Master's work with dignity and success within their own minds, but they have an infallible medium or instrument of communication provided and prepared for their use, and actually put into their hands, externally, even God's own unadulterated, unmixed message, contained in sacred writ. No saint, who uses, and relies on this instrument of religious instruction alone, when he attempts to impart religious information to his fellow creatures, can fail to convey truth, saving truth, and nothing but saving truth. Thus, then, completely qualified within and without to do his duty, and perform his Master's work, why should the timid, the seduced believer decline its performance? Why betray the sacred, the all-important trust, so confidentially reposed in him, and hire a substitute to do that for him, which honor, interest, duty, obligation, profession, gratitude, justice, and character, require him most urgently to do in his own person?
16. The saints have derived their qualifications to perform their Master's service, not from poring, for years, over the profane remains of heathen historians, divines, priests, and moralists: not from geometrical demonstrations, and algebraical calculations; not from the dogmas of schoolmen, those metaphysical hair-splitters, who infuse impenetrable darkness into all they touch; not from the sophistical,  unintelligible wrangling of contentious and contending Doctors of human divinity, those cobweb spinners, who wrap up the plainest declarations in the book of God, in such a mass of homespun, that no mortal sagacity can unravel it; not from theological seminaries, the prolific, filthy hotbeds of sophistry, error, prejudice, nonsense, and faction; nor from the hereditary faith, or recent belief of parents, relations, neighbors, or friends, infused into the infant mind, as yet unable to judge whether the information offered be true or false; but from the unadulterated oracles of the God of truth. From these alone is the religious information directly received, which the saints attempt through the very same inspired words of sacred writ to impart to their fellow-men: and thus are they effectually guarded from communicating error; nonsense, or falsehood, instead of divine truth.
17. The great command, "Go and proclaim the good news to every rational creature," Mark xv. 15. can, consistently with common sense, be addressed to none but the saints. Surely no thinking being can imagine that God ever commanded any of his creatures to undertake an office, or attempt to do an action, for the performance of which he was not previously qualified. To the saints, therefore, as being the only persons who are qualified to perform it, must this command and all the actions comprehended in it, be restricted, and on each of them as being qualified for its performance, is its execution binding. Indeed, it would be perfectly absurd to suppose that Christ commanded any other than qualified friends to engage in his service, or that he forbade any of them to do so. Shall it be told, that because Paul, whom Christ miraculously qualified, and commissioned, in conjunction with his other Apostles, to organize, and, while they lived, to govern his kingdom on earth, occasionally selected and appointed under the infallible direction of that miraculous gift called discerning of spirits, persons to act as deputies or agents under him, where and when he could not attend himself; I say, shall be told, that uninspired men, who have no such gift or commission, and who of course are entirely unqualified to make a safe selection, have a right to determine the latitude of Christ's command, and confine its execution to such characters as they choose to select and approve, thus arrogating to themselves the office and authority of an inspired Apostle? The pretension is absurd. Paul, as an inspired teacher, can have no successor but the inspired oracles of the New Testament; and as a governor, judge, or administrator, as a selector and appointer of subordinate officers and agents, no successor, but the christian community, to which, in common with all other societies, the right of selecting and appointing its own officers necessarily belongs. We are, then, utterly at a loss to conceive how uninspired, unaccredited, and, of course, self-created usurpers of the rights of the christian community, could or can acquire a right to select and appoint either associates or successors. The practice is a barefaced usurpation of the rights and privileges of God's children, and a manifest subversion of Christ's arrangement.
18. That the saints, with God's instrument of religious information  in their hands, are equal to their own edification, and the religious instruction of others, or, in scriptural language, to the building up of the body of Christ, is reduced to certainty, both by experience and the testimony of sacred writ. Of the passages, however, which assert this interesting fact, I shall mention only a few:--John vi. 45. Rom. xiv. 19. Col., iii. 16. 1 Thess. iv. 9-v. 11-14. Heb. v. 12. 1 John ii. 27. In Hebrews the persons addressed are blamed because still unable to teach; but why blame them for not acquiring a capacity to perform a work, which they were not at liberty, if capable, to execute? Can any thing be more absurd?
As connected with the preceding reflections, it appears that a more particular examination of the firmness of the four grand pillars on which the clergy rest their pretensions to the exclusive exercise of a spiritual despotism over Christ's family, namely, the clerical call, ordination, assumption of the honorable and discriminating titles, bestowed by God on his inspired and accredited servants, and the right of reorganizing Christ's kingdom, is absolutely necessary. This investigation, however, must be deferred to another occasion.
IN our preceding essays, it has, we doubt not, been stated with sufficient clearness and supported by undoubted scriptural argument, reason, and innumerable references, that the Jews will in their unconverted state return to Canaan; and there, after the resumption of their nationality, be assailed by the powers of the earth en masse; when on a day, called the Great Day of the Lord, Jesus Christ shall descend to Mount Olivet, &c. &c. This is the day which, like a curtain, divides the present tragic, from the future triumphant, and millennial part of the drama of christianity. For christianity, like virtue, must finally triumph.
Before, however, entering upon our third proposition, let us look at a few more of the circumstances relative to the Jews in their land, on this side of the great line of demarkation on this side the "Day of the Lord"--before the introduction of the Millennium.
The land of Judea forms comparatively but an inconsiderable portion of political territory, extending North and South along the South corner of the eastern shore of the Mediterranean about 200, and running back East about 160 miles. Within its boundaries the tribes were at first settled without regard to regularity, or to the mathematical configuration of the country; but when it shall be resettled, this will not be the case: for the Prophet Ezekiel, after marking out the external boundaries, subdivides the whole into portions, running in regular stripes backwards from the great sea to the eastern line. Dan, Asher, Naphthali, Manasseh, Ephraim, Reuben, and Judah, being awarded the first seven, and Benjamin, Simeon, Issachar, Zebulun, and Gad, the last five portions in this partition of the land. But between the seven tribes North, and the five tribes South, is reserved a portion of territory, called the "holy oblation," or offering which is described as follows:--chap. xl. 8.--"And by the border of Judah from the East side to the West side, shall be the offering which they shall offer of five and twenty thousand reeds in breadth, and in length as one of the other parts from the East side unto the West side; and the sanctuary shall be in the midst of it. The oblation which ye shall offer unto the Lord, shall be of five and twenty thousand in length, and of ten thousand in breadth; and for them, even for the priests, shall be this holy oblation toward the North, five and twenty thousand in length, and toward the,  West, ten thousand in breadth, and toward the East, ten thousand in breadth, and toward the South, five and twenty thousand in length; and the sanctuary of the Lord shall be in the midst thereof. It shall be for the priests who are sanctified, of the sons of Zadok; who have kept my charge, who went not stray when the children of Israel went astray, as the Levites went astray. And this oblation of the land that is offered, shall be unto them a thing most holy, by the border of the Levites. And ever against the border of the priests, the Levites shall have five and twenty thousand in length, and ten thousand in breadth; all the length shall be five and twenty thousand, and the breadth, ten thousand, and they shall not sell of it; neither exchange nor alienate the fruits of the land, for it is holy unto the Lord. And the five thousand that are left in breadth over against the five and twenty thousand, shall be a profane place for the city for dwelling, and for suburbs, and the city shall be in the midst thereof. And these shall be the measures thereof:--the North side, four thousand five hundred, and the South side, four thousand five hundred, and the East side, four thousand five hundred, and the West side, four thousand five hundred, and the suburbs shall be towards the North 250, and towards the South 250, and towards the Fast 250, and towards the West 250; and the residue in length over against the holy portion, shall be ten thousand eastward, and ten thousand westward, and it shall be over against the oblation of the holy portion; and the increase thereof shall be for food unto them that serve the city, and they that serve the city shall serve it, out of all the tribes of Israel. All the oblation shall be five and twenty thousand--by five and twenty thousand ye shall offer the holy portion four square with the possession of the city. And the residue shall be for the princes, on the one side and on the other side of the holy oblation; and of the possession of the city over against the five and twenty thousand of the oblation, toward the East border, and westward over against the five and twenty thousand, toward the West border over against the portion of the prince; and it shall be the holy oblation, and the sanctuary of the house shall be in the midst thereof. Moreover, from the possession of the Levites and upon the possession of the city being in the midst of that which is the princes between the border of Judah and the border of Benjamin, shall be for the Prince."
Thus, in the midst of the oblation for religious and political purposes, 25 thousand reeds, perhaps about 25 miles square, is reserved while the remainder goes to the support of the Prince. The city is to be built with twelve gates named after the twelve tribes, and in size round about 18 thousand measures, and the name of the city from that day shall be, "The Lord is there." We ask the historians of the world, Has such a disposition and settlement of the land occurred? No--never.
The tribes being thus settled in the land of their fathers, and their city and temple rebuilt, the Scriptures of the Prophets afford us many pleasing pictures of the prosperous condition of the nation,--trade and commerce shall return once more to that interesting portion of the globe, and the villages, towns, and cities of Palestine become again the mart of nations until the world stirred up against them shall assemble in the holy land and there be destroyed on that eventful day, when the new age will commence and false religion and bad government come to a perpetual end.
Perhaps it may both please and instruct the reader to know the manner in which the settlement of the Israelites in their own land and most of the prophecies are handled by the spiritualizers. The Rev. M. Henry, as he is commonly styled, says, "In this distribution of the land we may observe--
1. That it differs very much from the division of it in Joshua's time, nor agrees with the order of their birth or their blessing by Jacob and Moses. Simeon here is not divided in Jacob, nor is Zebulun a haven of ships--a plain intimation that it is not so much to he understood literally as spiritually. Though the mystery of it is very much hidden from us.
2. That the tribe of Dan which was last provided for in the first division, is first provided for here--thus in the gospel the last shall be first, 
3. That every tribe in this visionary distribution had its lot assigned it by divine appointment; for it was never the intention of the gospel to pluck up the hedge of property and lay all in common.
4. That the tribes lay contiguous; a figure of the communion of churches and saints under the gospel government.
5. That the sanctuary was in the midst of them;--those of the same parish or congregation! says this Rev. Dr. meeting together should have their hearts knit together in love." Thus the Rev. M. Henry first says we must understand it spiritually, and finally calls it a visionary land.
But to go on with the Jews after their re-settlement in Canaan--the following quotation affords a pleasing outline of their prosperous condition when all the tribes get home:--
Jeremiah xxx. 17. "For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord, because they call thee an outcast, saying, "This is Zion whom no man seeketh after. Thus, saith the Lord, I will bring again he captivity of Jacob's tents, and have mercy on his dwelling places; and the city shall be builded upon her own heap; and the palace shall remain after the manner thereof; and out of them shall proceed thanksgiving, and the voice of them that make merry; and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few. I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small: they shall be as aforetime, and their congregation shall be established before me: and I will punish all who oppress them; and their nobles shall be of themselves, and their governor shall proceed from the midst of them; and I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach unto me; for who is this that engages his heart to approach me, saith the Lord; and ye shall be my people and I will be your God. Behold the whirlwind of the Lord goeth forth with fury, a consuming whirlwind; it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked. The fierce anger of the Lord shall not return until he have done it and until he have performed the intents of his heart. In the latter days ye shall consider it." Again, iii. 10. "He that scattereth Israel will gather him and keep him as a shepherd doth his flock; for the Lord hath redeemed Israel and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he; therefore, they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the Lord, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd, and their souls shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all. Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together; for I will turn their mourning into joy, and comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow; and I will satiate the soul of the priest with fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the Lord. Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that the city shall be built to the Lord, from the tower of Hananeel to the gate of the corner. And the measuring line shall yet go forth over against it, over the hill Gareb, and shall compass about to Goath. And the whole vallies of the dead bodies and of the ashes and of the fields unto the brook of Kidron unto the corner of the horse-gate toward the East shall be holy unto the Lord. It shall not be plucked up nor thrown down any more for ever.
We see from the above that on the restoration of their nationality the Jews are to become independent and choose their own governors; the arts of peace are to be restored, and the city to be built, and extended greatly beyond its former limits. How do the hearts of all the righteous long for the accomplishment of these things--and these things must shortly come to pass--the note of preparation has been given. The nations, as now seen in the present state of Europe, are approaching a crisis from which they cannot retreat--there is a "bridle in their jaws causing them to err"--they must, therefore, continue to approach the precipice until they tumble over it to eternal ruin. Revolution must succeed revolution, with all the accompaniments of war, famine, and ruin, until he comes whose right it is to reign, and to him the government shall be given. 
We are now waiting for that event which shall open the way for the return of the children of Israel; perhaps, however, the late revolution in France is that event. Perhaps the Consistory of Paris may in its wisdom deem it fit shortly to order the scattered remnants to hold themselves in preparation to march for the land of their fathers. The Lord will perform it in his own due time. Blessed be the name of the Lord!
There is an immense number of Jews in Poland. The late revolution there, together with the disturbances in other parts of Europe and of the world, will very possibly stir up this degraded people to some new measures. Perhaps the Grand Turk will invite them shortly to take possession of Judea, for Mahometanism will flourish to the time of the end, and at that time will conspire with other nations against the Jews. The Turk is fond of improvements, and more liberal than his predecessors. In the Apocalypse, France, because it runs through the Catholic countries, from one sea to another, is styled the Street, i. e. of Religious Babylon; and when the sixth vial is poured out, it is upon the river Euphrates. Perhaps this indicates the German empire, which flows through the whole extent of the Roman Catholic countries, from the Baltic to the Mediterranean. The vial is for drying up the waters to prepare the way for the conquering party, whoever that shall be. By drying up the waters may be meant the detaching of the petty chiefs from the thraldom of the emperor and the consequent ruin of his kingdom. But who are the conquering party? "The kings of the East." Time alone can interpret this scripture. Some think the Christians are meant--some think the Jews. It is a fact, however, that can be proved from scripture, that the Jewish nation turned to the faith of the Messiah, is appointed to conquer and inherit the world; for there is a promise to their Father Abraham, that his seed should inherit the world: perhaps, then, the sixth vial, which is to fall upon the German empire, will make way for the Jews; and, as vast hordes of them are contained within its boundaries, the consideration renders the supposition not the less probable. But we will wait patiently for the salvation of the Lord, whose "eyes are upon all their ways," The fifth universal empire, viz. that of Messiah, must inherit the world--he must inherit all nations; and the Jews who are to be converted to the faith may possibly be the conquering party, meant by the phrase, "Kings of the East. But of this there is at present no certainty: besides it is to be remembered that the allusion is to the taking of Babylon by Cyrus and his uncle, two eastern kings; and as the Catholic countries are the antitype of ancient Babylon the conquering party may possibly be--nay, very probably, are those who are now trying to put down the government and religion of those countries of Europe.
EXTRACT of a letter addressed by CUTHBERT RIPPON, Esq. to Sir ROBERT PEEL, on the subject of Church Reform.
"Tythe is a valuable consideration given in exchange for spiritual assistance. If the price be received, the advantage withheld, the party is guilty of religious swindling. The Parson is the servant of the parish, paid for the performance of certain duties, which in equity he is bound to fulfil. If he neglects or refuses, the contract between the parties is at an end. The appointment of a hireling substitute, without the approbation of the parish, is imposition and fraud--it is the well-paid physician receiving his fees, and giving up his patients to the care of an apothecary. What justification can be offered for this shameful concubinage of duties? * * * * * Religion becomes a trade, is ministers, money seeking men--its chiefs a  political presbytery--Power sets up its puppet, commands its consecration, vests it in lawn, crowns it with a mitre, and by forgery of language calls 'Father in God.' But it is a mopsey of mortal make. God will not accept it--man will not respect it; human reason detects the juggle and smiles with contempt on the worldly conjuror."
These remarks deserve to be printed in letters of gold, and circulated throughout the country. They are an Iliad in a nut-shell. There is no omission; no exaggeration; the eloquence is the eloquence of truth; the indignation that of honesty and justice. The Church is precisely what Mr. Rippon has described it, an enormous overgrown establishment, which makes up in temporal, what it wants in spiritual, authority. It has within it all the seeds of rottenness and corruption, as any one may perceive, who will take the trouble to devote a month (if so short a time will suffice) to the summing up of its countless pluralities. What can be said in praise of a system which enabled an Irish clergyman to die the other day, in full possession of nine livings, and which now elevates an English one to the mitre, whose sole recommendations are his apostacy and his having seven sons? Of course these seven sons must be provided for; it is nonsense to suppose otherwise: these are not the days of clerical disinterestedness and patriotism, and it is, therefore, but reasonable to expect that the See of Exeter, like that of Ely, will be henceforth the rich monopoly of one man. In Ireland the same grievances exist, though to a still more deplorable extent, for MR. O'CONNEL, at a late dinner given to him at Cork, assured his hearers that "in a miserable parish near Mill street, he saw upwards of 30l. levied, and for what? to support a church for the immense number of 14 Protestants!" Is not this monstrous?
In every age the undue wealth of the Church has been a grievance, but never was that grievance so acutely felt as at present. With a declining revenue; with a weight of taxation that would break the back of Atlas; with commerce, agriculture, the arts, each and all in a state of depression, we are called on still further to augment our distresses by swelling the revenues of a Church already gorged with wealth, and yet clamoring for more. But the Church, it may be urged, deserves support? Undoubtedly; but only to the extent of its utility. If that utility, on an impartial and honorable investigation, should be found limited, so on every principle of justice should be the revenues of the Ecclesiastical Corporation. As for the old clamor which has winded so many of our Ultras PITT dinners--of Church and State, it is a mere juggle got up to throw dust into the eyes of the people. Its real meaning is, that the Church binds itself to the State, so long, (and no longer) as the State guards its pluralities from invasion. In like manner the State, and dearly it pays for its alliance, binds itself to protect the Church, provided the Church will in turn lend it the sacred, "heaven descended" authority of its countenance. That this is the true and only meaning of the compact, the annals of JAMES II. abundantly attest. During the early period of that dotard's reign, the Clergy, and particularly the Bishops, were the  loudest in defence of the divine right of Kings; but no sooner did the royal despot attempt to cripple their power by putting forward Popery, than the Church, with the Bishops, of course, at their head, alarmed not for the safety of their religion, but their pluralities (see DEFOE'S works) took fright; recanted all they had said about divine right, and took the lead in turning out JAMES and bringing in WILLIAM, under whom they imagined their darling pluralities would be safe. This was the true secret of the patriotism of the Seven Bishops. At a less fortunate crisis they would have been shown in their proper colors; but the events of the day were in their favor, and in great political changes we must not look so much to character as to influence.
|London Paper, October 18, 1830.|
A NEW DISCOVERY,
Made by Samuel Williams of Pittsburg.
THEOLOGICAL schools, it is now discovered, are the only safeguards from error. For the want of them many Baptists and Methodists have become a prey to the ancient gospel. But the Presbyterians, through the abundance of learning and money which they control, are impregnably secured against conviction. Hence, Mr. Williams, finding that the writings of the Apostles are wholly inadequate to the exigencies of this time, and that the ancient Baptist measures of getting "an evangelical ministry" by waiting for the special call and mission is not to be relied on, recommends an abandonment of both, and a substitution of Presbyterian policy.
But he is not a Talleyrand, nor an Ahitophel, else he would have seen that a good salary per annum is the best antidote against heresy; for of the many defections in ancient and modern times, very, very few can be adduced of any man apostatizing from a good living. The Church of Rome is wiser than Samuel Williams, and she takes care to secure the priesthood against the contagion of Protestantism by many silver and golden arguments.
One Regular Baptist has gone over, body, soul, and spirit, to Presbyterianism. Mr. Williams recommends an adoption of their measures, to his Regular Baptist friends. The Literary Baptist Chronicle and the Regular Baptist Miscellany publish it with approbation. So much for the signs of the times. The ancient gospel will unite the sects in opposing it, and prove that there is no real difference between the mother and her daughters. But hear Mr. Williams speak for himself:--
"One evidence of their utility and propriety is, that the propagators of error are the most virulent opposers of Theological Seminaries, although many of them are indebted to the patrons of these institutions for their learning, yet, like Judas Iscariot, have betrayed the cause they have professed, and abused the benevolence that instructed their ignorance. And the reason of this is obvious; they dread competition with men of literature and enlightened criticism, before whose expositions their flimsy speculations, and airy phantoms must fly away like the shades of night before the rising Sun. Those branches of the Church that have been negligent in this matter, are now suffering for their sloth and covetousness. I mean particularly the Baptists and Methodists;  their churches are distracted and destroyed. Some of their more whimsical and superficial ministers are decoyed over to the ranks of the enemy. But the Presbyterians, who are foremost in the education of their ministers, have remained unmoved, defying the efforts of avowed enemies and pretended friends, while all their arrows have fallen powerless at their feet. If then, the safety of the churches, the success of our ministers, in opposing error and advancing the truth, and the salvation of souls are in any measure connected with the Seminary as a means of preparing men for the service of the cause, can any lover of the truth, especially any Baptist professor, withhold his hand from giving, or restrain his heart from praying for its prosperity?
Your son and fellow-servant in the gospel,
SAMUEL WILLIAMS. BRO. SEDWICK."
I would inform this gentleman that some of the most learned Presbyterian ministers in Europe and America have protested against creeds and human phantoms; and not a few of them have renounced Presbyterianism in toto. If the Baptists will give each and every preacher of orthodoxy from five hundred to five thousand dollars per annum, we may insure them against defection for $5 per head per annum. An insurance office might, on this principle, be set on foot of much profit to the stockholders.
IN regard to the relations which at present subsist in society, there are those kinds which may be defined with all certainty--these are natural, political, and religious relations. The last class of relations is constituted of those which are formed between disciples and God; between them and Christ; the Holy Spirit, and, finally, among themselves, as members of the same religious community, church, or congregation.
The second class, viz. political relations, are those which subsist among us as a body politic, as rulers and ruled, master and servant, &c. &c.
The first class comprises those relations which have their origin in nature; such are life, or relations to material nature; the marriage relation; the relation of parent and child, &c. Let us distinguish then between things which are different, and estimate them according to their proper nature. For we suffer as much by confounding things which are distinct, as in making a difference where none exist. A tree, a lion, and a man are endued with life: but it would greatly impede our progress in natural science to confound organic with animal, or animal with rational existence.
In this enumeration religious relations are the most refined and exalted; but at the same time they are the most remote: for we are sons and fellow-citizens before we are christians. We are born to our fathers and to the state, before we are born again to God. We are first natural, then spiritual; first sinners, then saints; first from beneath, then from above.
Political relations are those over which we are allowed to exercise the greatest control; for though we cannot be the children of whom  we please, yet we may be the subjects of whom we please. Though we are not allowed by God to worship under Confucius, the Pope, or Mahomet; yet we may enjoy the rights of citizenship either under the Sultan or Emperor, or in these United States. We may in this respect be a Frank, a Spaniard, a Briton, a Republican, a Democrat, or a Monarchist, and yet violate no religious obligation.
But the most immediate class of relations is the natural; this is antecedent both to the political and religious; this is first in society, first in the world. Adam was first formed, then Eve. Marriage must obtain before children could be procreated, and children must be born before states could be created. It is, therefore, added, he brought her to Adam, and Adam said "this is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh." "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh."
Some may object that Adam was made spiritual; but this is absurd. The Apostle says he was earthy, natural, animal; and the Tree of Life was given for the support of the life of which he was possessed, i. e. animal and rational, not religious and spiritual life: so that he was married to her a rational animal; a man made of the dust of the ground, not a religious, spiritual man, begotten anew by the faith and reception of a divine revelation.
Thus the marriage of two rational human beings has for its authority and warrant God their Creator; as much as the religious man has for the authority of his baptism God his Redeemer; or the political man has for his good government "the powers that be" by the ordination of God. God is the God of nature, society, and religion. If, then, our natural relations of brother and sister, parent and child, husband and wife, are limited or modified in any degree, it must be for the sake either of our political or religious relations.
Our natural rights and relations are, indeed, the legitimate objects of political legislation. We have all an equal right and need to our own will to pursue happiness, to acquire property, to marry, to have children, &c. but for social purposes we suffer ourselves to be curtailed of a certain part of our natural rights and liberties, that the residue or what is left may be secured to us by law, and enjoyed without alarm.
Our natural right, therefore, to acquire property, to pursue happiness, to marry, to have children, &c. &c. are completely done away in the social state; and all these things are, properly speaking, politically enjoyed by every person who is a member of a community. In society we have no natural rights; no natural ordinances; they are all political, all social: so that marriage itself, and even the possessing of children, is in this way political, with every thing we speak, act, or reason. Hence, the American government which abhors all interference, and legislation, on subjects of religion, does, nevertheless, take cognizance of all these things, whether it be the pursuit of happiness, property, fame, marriage, procreation, speaking, &c. &c. which, indeed, shows that in their judgment such things are not naturally connected with religion. 
Now, what does political law say of these matters? Why, in the case of children, e. g. that they shall be under the guardianship of their parents until a certain age fixed for them by law, and that after this period they shall be at their own disposal. If they marry before this age without the consent of their parents, the marriage is null and void; if after it, the marriage is legal. Again, the parties in this affair of marriage must be united in the manner prescribed, and by the person authorized, bylaw. Our law, also, forbids polygamy, concubinage, and adultery; all which things are judged the proper objects of political legislation, otherwise the rulers have usurped the place of God, and, instead of being ordained by him as his ministers, are rebels.
Now as political authority comes in and limits the wild and unchecked liberties of nature, and throws a girdle around her naked freedom; if political rights or liberties are at all checked and modified, it must be on account of religion, and by him who is the Author of religion. God alone can come into a nation or people and say, that so and so it shall be; hitherto shalt thou come and no further. Now, then, it is granted that God has determined to take out from the nations a people for his name; a people to serve him in all things according to his will which will is expressed to them, the christians in the New Testament.
Has God, then, delivered any law on the subject of choosing our country and government? Are we to select a hot or cold climate--a government that supports his religion, or one that puts it down--one that sanctions any religion, or one that treats all with equal indifference? Has he said that his worshippers in Christ Jesus shall fill any offices in that government, within a republic or monarchy; that he shall not be a tax-gatherer, a lawyer, or a soldier? Has he said that I shall be free or bond when the gospel finds me; a servant to a christian or an infidel? has he said that I shall hold no real property and employ only christian servants; that I shall have christian children, and be married only to one who has become a disciple? Or does he say I shall marry an unbeliever? Am I to form covenants only with those of the household of faith, and make no bargain at all with unbelievers? All these are the ordinances of man, or, in other words, political institutions; and every member in society has the right, if he has the will, to do any of these things. Does God, then, change, alter, or modify these ordinances of the nations, these political institutions. Christianity says, and she says it with emphasis, "Let every soul be subject to the higher powers:" the powers that be are ordained of God. Again, "Be subject to every ordinance of man." We may live where we please, in Europe, Asia, Africa, or America, serve whom we please, hire whom we please, hold an office if we please, profess the trade which we please, hold servants if we please, marry whom we please.
Does christianity, then, say any thing else? does she speak out, and speak explicitly too, with whom we shall form these relations? with christians or unbelievers? Jews, Turks, or Idolaters, or with  the children of those families which are called holy; for the children of a believer are called holy?--No: on the subject of forming any relation which is properly political, christianity says not one word. It is not at this stage of the business that she opens her mouth and teaches for this would be to throw society into political casts. She allows, as society allows, our understandings, affections, appetites, and necessities, to make their own choice; but when the relation is once formed, then, indeed, she speaks out, and speaks explicitly, to the rulers and to the ruled, the soldier and the slave, the master and the servant, parent and child, husband and wife. "Wives obey your husbands;" "husbands love your wives," "servants be obedient to your own masters according to the flesh;" "master do the same thing to them," &c. "pray for all men, kings," &c. &c. "be obedient to the powers that be," &c. "he is the minister of God to thee;" "he beareth not the sword in vain."
Thus society does not change nor alter, but only modify the things of nature: and thus religion does not change nor alter, but only modify the things of society, and bring them back to nature if they have departed in such way as to disturb or destroy society; for nature, society, and religion, are all of God. The conclusion of this matter, then, is this, that there is no law for the formation of political relations; that is, with whom we shall relate ourselves, either as officers, soldiers, governors, masters, servants, slaves, children, parents, husbands, wives.
THE question, whether the Great King has enacted any law, constraining virgins, i. e. unmarried persons of either sex, to intermarry only with professors of the same faith--is one which has already excited some interest in some churches and which cannot fail to excite much interest in all societies where it is examined. There are certain crises favorable or unfavorable for such investigations. The present is, perhaps, a favorable crisis, there being not more excitement than is necessary to arrest the attention of the disciples to its importance.
On the premises submitted by "Parthenos," and the argument deducible from his premises, we would solicit his attention to the following queries:--
Query 1. Is not marriage that institution which makes the parties one, and places them on such an equality as no other relation, natural or political, recognizes, and ought it not, therefore, to be distinguished from other political relations?
2. Is not marriage the origin of all natural relations in the human family; and does it not deserve from its vast importance to be noticed by the Great Lawgiver, and excepted out of the rank of the relations which only spring from it?
3. Does not Paul, in saying that he had a right to lead about a sister wife, imply that he had no right to lead about a wife that was not a sister?
4. Are not widows commanded by the Apostle to marry whom they please, only in the Lord; and why should widows any more than virgins be restricted, in these matters? Parthenos will please attend to these topics in his next essay.
MR. WILLIAM WARDER.
MR. WILLIAM WARDER of Russelville, Kentucky, handed me a letter which, by some contingency, has been lost, which he wished me to insert in this work, remonstrating against a classification of himself with the proclaimers of the ancient gospel in our acceptation of that gospel. He was represented by a correspondent as having been a proclaimer of that gospel which Peter announced on Pentecost--which he says was a mistake, for he never did say to any man, "Repent and be immersed for the remission of your sins." If this notice does not prove satisfactory to Mr. Warder, we will insert any thing which he may please to forward, touching this matter, which will free him from an imputation so revolting to his feelings.
THE HOLY SPIRIT, for which Silas M. Noel contends.
THE pleaders for miraculous conversion, physical influences, and who have denounced us for opposing their "holy spirit," give many strong proofs of the manner of spirit for which they contend. The following is one of the inspirations of Silas' Holy Spirit: It is represented as an extemporaneous effusion, and is, consequently, one of the purest workings of his Holy Spirit. It is only necessary to inform the reader that Philip S. Fall, of Nashville, Tennessee, a gentleman, a scholar, and a christian of the first order of the age, addressed a letter to S. M. Noel, through the Christian Examiner, concerning the obligations of his course, written, too, in all good spirit. On reading this letter, the prophetic or poetic spirit seized Silas, and he extemporaneously pronounced the following holy ballad, which the Baptist Chronicle puts in its most Literary and Poetic Corner as an exquisite original: Communicated for the Baptist Chronicle.
An Extempore by brother S. after reading the last letters of P. S. Fall in the C. E.
| Our little Phill, can ne'er he still,
From nestling and from hatching;
'Tis point look up, to Cam'mell'sville,
'Tis point no point, with little Phill,
And yet he will he scratching.
CHORUS------Twittle twattle, &c.
And all the regenerate said "Amen, and Amen!"
IT always affords me pleasure to have removed from my mind, or to be able to remove from the minds of others, an unfavorable impression of the moral character of any man professing christianity, whether agreeing or disagreeing with me in his views of any part of the christian institution. It will be recollected that in my remarks upon the remarks of Abner W. Clopton, some things were stated implicating his moral character. My remarks, it appears, were just; but it is satisfactorily alleged that Mr. Clopton was innocent,  inasmuch as he wrote upon the information which he had received, and had reason to believe that the information was correct. It is therefore with pleasure we insert the following extract from a very responsible correspondent, as it places the character of Mr. Clopton in a more favorable light in that one instance:
"In your notice of brother Clopton's 'Alleged Facts,' (Millennial Harbinger, p. 431) concerning Sharon Church, in Prince Edward county, your informant has, doubtless without intention, done him injustice. The publication produced some difficulty in Sharon Church, & upon an investigation, the Church decided that the circumstances of the case did not justify the language used in the notice, but conveyed to the mind of the public an idea not exactly in accordance with the facts.1 A member of the Church present, frankly acknowledged that Mr. Clopton had received from him a statement which fully authorised the publication, but that he was now convinced his statement was not warranted by the circumstances of the case. The Church, when in possession of every thing necessary to enable her to form a correct opinion, unanimously decided that, in her opinion, there did not exist with Mr. Clopton any intention to misrepresent. The error may therefore he traced to the loose indefinite manner in which his informant made the communication.
"I do not intend to be understood as saving any thing in this communication derogatory to the very excellent brother from whom you received information; I know him well, and delight to hear testimony to the fact that his character both as a man and a christian is second to that of no man. I know his means of information justified the impression which he received, and which dictated his communication to you.
MONTHLY RECEIPTS FOR THE MILLENNIAL HARBINGER.
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[The Millennial Harbinger, 2 (March, 1831): 109-144.]
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The Millennial Harbinger, Vol. II, No. III (1831)
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