[Table of Contents]
Alexander Campbell, ed.|
The Millennial Harbinger, Vol. II, No. VI (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.
CO-OPERATION OF CHURCHES.--No II.
WE shall prove and illustrate the following proposition, viz. The first churches did exercise the right of selecting from among themselves brethren for the accomplishment of special purposes. Let me define this proposition: By special purposes I do not mean every and any purpose--e. g. I don't mean political purposes; nor literary ones, as such, nor commercial, ones--I mean ecclesiastical purposes--matters which regard the conversion of the world and the welfare of the churches. For the accomplishing of these matters, I say, the primitive churches did exercise the right of selecting brethren.
But to approach the proof of this position gradually, and in order to be fairly understood, I would just observe that when our Lord Jesus had any special business on hand, he uniformly effected it by the agency of special messengers. For instance, when he required a piece of money, he sent Peter to the lake; when the Jewish nation required to be informed of the approach of the Messiah's reign, Jesus sent forth the twelve, and afterwards seventy disciples, to proclaim in every place whither he himself should come. When he wished to have a colt for his public entry into the Jewish capital he sent two of his servants on this special business; and when he displayed his glory on the Holy Mount, he chose as special witnesses Peter, James, and John.
The Apostles also acted in this way, and accomplished their great purposes by select brethren--e. . When they heard that Samaria had received the word, they sent Peter and James to lay their hands on the disciples that they might "receive the holy Spirit." The Apostles also sent Barnabas to Antioch to see what was going on there; and when he had arrived and had seen the grace of God, he tarried with them some time, and much people were added unto the Lord; for he was a good man and full of faith. The Apostles and the church of Jerusalem in conjunction sent letters to the churches of the Gentiles on the special question of circumcision, and also selected Judas and Silas to relate the same things by word of mouth. The Apostles also selected individuals for the effecting of evangelical or gospel purposes, and styled them Evangelists. Paul on one occasion chose Silas, and  Barnabas chose John Mark; afterwards Paul chose Timothy on the recommendations of the brethren of Derbe, &c. &c.
Having thus stated, defined, and illustrated the proposition, I now advance to the proof that the primitive churches did exercise the right of selecting from among themselves brethren for the accomplishment of all special purposes.
When the church of Jerusalem wanted people to attend tables, they chose seven, and set them over this business. When the church of Antioch determined to aid the poor saints in the Jewish capital, they sent their contribution by the hands of special messengers, Barnabas and Paul; and when the matter of circumcision had to be determined, these two champions were sent for the judgment of the Apostles to Jerusalem. The church of Philippi sent Epaphroditus to Paul, and the same people had formerly sent once and again to him while in Thessalonica, and in Revelations the seven messengers which came from the Asiatic churches to John in Patmos, were returned with letters from Jesus to their respective institutions at Ephesus, Smyrna, &c. &e. Besides these and many other instances which could be adduced of single churches despatching their business by the agency of chosen men among the brethren, we have several instances of a number of churches in the same district concurring in the election of individuals to do special business--e. g. In 2 Cor. chap. viii. the Apostle speaks of a person whose praise was in the gospel through all the congregations; and not only this, but "who," says he, "was chosen by the congregations to travel with us," &c. Paul himself was chosen of the Macedonians to carry their contribution to Jerusalem, and he speaks of men who were the messengers of the churches and the glory of Christ. And let it be observed that the choice of the brethren was not overruled by the Apostles; for then it would not have been their choice. The Apostles said, "Look you out from among yourselves seven men" It does not read, 'We will look out seven men;' nor 'Look out seven men whom we shall name.' Again, Paul says, (1 Cor. chap. xvi.) "And when I come, whomsoever you shall approve by letters, them I will send to carry your gift to Jerusalem." The brethren, then, of any individual church, and the churches of any individual district, did, as we see, enjoy the right, and did exercise the liberty of concurring in the free and uncontrolled election of chosen men from among themselves for the accomplishment of special purposes--i. e. evangelical purposes.
Having thus stated, defined, illustrated, and proved our proposition, we now hold ourselves in readiness to defend it against all oppugners; and conclude by saying that the circumstances of the church at this time call imperiously for the application of this principle, or right, for the accomplishment of some of the most important purposes for which the church herself was set up in the world; but now-a-days our apprehensions of co-operation are so exceedingly morbid, that the brethren of an individual church would almost leave wholly undone the most important duties for fear of sinning in the choice of brethren to discharge them.
CO-OPERATION OF CHURCHES.--No. III.
ALL the business of a church is either internal or external--i. e. her duties either respect those who are within or those who are without--the world or the brethren--the converted or unconverted. What has she to do for those who are within? She has to teach them all things whatsoever Jesus commanded the Apostles. But can she do this in her public and congregated capacity in any way but by means of her individual members, fitted by time, talent, and acquirement? No--certainly no! As well might we talk of the human body doing a thing without the agency of its particular members, as of the church effecting anything without the aid and agency of individual disciples. We say the human body sees, but do we mean the whole body sees? No, a man does not see with the back of his head. When we say the body sees, we certainly mean that it sees with its eyes. Does it hear? Then the ear is employed. Does it feed itself? Then the hand is used? Does it speak? Then the mouth is opened. Is it otherwise in the body of Christ? Is all eye here? all ear--all mouth? No--the church can neither break bread, pray, read, nor even have her meetings opened and closed for public worship, but by the interference of individuals selected for these purposes. If, then, she cannot teach nor worship without her individual members, neither can she preach without their aid.
To teach and to preach became the two most important duties of the church when the Apostles left the world. Yes, these high matters, as will be seen immediately, ultimately devolved upon the church; and though, perhaps, it cannot be said of any individual member, 'Wo unto him if he does not preach the gospel;' yet, in all fairness it may be said of the church, 'Wo unto her if she preach not the gospel!' for if she do not, who shall? Will angels? Will wicked or worldly men do it? Will demons do it? No, the church must do it. And how will she do it? By her individual members, qualified within her own bosom for this high purpose. How important, then, the proposition developed in our last essay, viz. "that the churches exercised the right of selecting individual members for special business." We shall now introduce a second proposition for illustration and proof, viz. That to teach and to preach are strictly and properly duties of the church. I don't mean to preach every thing and any thing. For example, I don't mean politics, nor philosophy natural or moral--I don't even mean what is called the gospel--I mean the gospel itself as Christ preached it, as the Apostles preached it, as the Evangelists preached it, both in matter and form--I mean that the church must have proclaimed to men in the flesh the same facts in the same words which the Evangelists, Apostles, and Jesus employed. The Apostle speaks of the form of sound words, and of speaking spiritual things in words dictated by the Spirit. A multitude of things depend wholly on their form--i. e. destroy the form, and you destroy the thing itself; destroy the form of a bowl, and you destroy the bowl itself. The gospel, too, may be destroyed by breaking up the form of sound words by which the facts of which it is composed were handed to the churches by the Spirit in the  Holy Scriptures. The churches, then, must have the gospel preached to their fellow-men in substance, and in words as the Scriptures direct; for if she does not preach, how shall she increase her members? and if she does not have teaching, how will her converts grow in knowledge? It is one thing to conquer a country, and another to maintain that conquest; it is one thing to obtain a family, and another to sustain that family.
During his life it was the great business of our Lord Jesus Christ to preach and to teach. He first made disciples, and then taught them. The Sermon on the Mount was a lesson to his disciples. Matth. chap. v. "Jesus seeing so great a confluence, repaired to a mountain, and having sat down his disciples came to him. Then breaking silence, he taught them, saying, Happy the poor," &c. The forty days which elapsed between his resurrection and ascension were employed by him in teaching the Apostles the things which related to the kingdom of God; and when he was taken up into heaven from the business of preaching and teaching devolved immediately upon the Twelve. They were charged with three important duties in the following words: "Go, convert all the nations, immersing them into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, teaching them to do all the things which I have commanded you," &c. Accordingly they went every where preaching the word; and it is said in Acts they ceased not to teach and to preach Jesus Christ. The Apostles soon found it necessary to associate with themselves in these great matters other men; some of them styled Evangelists, others Pastors, Teachers, Bishops, &c. So that in some instances we have a picture of the Apostle Paul, pretty much resembling a great military chief standing in the midst of his aids, surrounded with Timothy, Titus, Erastus, Silas, Mark, Zenas, Apollos, Sopater, Aristarchus, Secundus, Gaius, Tychicus, Trophimus, Epaphroditus, Luke, Eubulus, fellow-prisoners and fellow-laborers, messengers of the churches some of them, and the very boast of the Christian religion.
But now Jesus and the Apostles have left the field; on whom, then, devolves the duty of teaching and preaching but the church? There is no other institution on earth to attend to these matters. It was first the business of our blessed Lord; then it became the duty of the Apostles, and finally it was entrusted to the divine institution called the congregation, the body of Christ, the church of the living God.
Having stated, defined, and illustrated this second proposition, I shall now prove it by references and quotations. Does not the Apostle address one of his letters to the church at Philippi, with the Bishops and Deacons? Does he not recognize the existence of men in the churches of Galatia, whose peculiar province it was to teach and to be made partakers of all good things in return? Does he not say that a Bishop should be apt to teach? Elders are enjoined to feed the flock of God; and he who taught was ordered to attend upon his teaching. Finally, the Apostle mentions certain of the elders who labored in word and teaching. The word means the gospel, as every well instructed disciple knows; and if we substitute the definition for  the term itself, then the passage in Timothy will read thus: "Let the elders who preside well be accounted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching; for it is written, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn." Is not the Church then contemplated in these scriptures as an institution in which the great duties of teaching and preaching were sustained? Undoubtedly. "The work of the Lord" is a phrase which occurs it the New Testament. "He worketh the work of the Lord," says the Apostle. Now what is this work of the Lord but that which Jesus attended to when he was on the earth, viz. teaching and preaching. This we have seen was his work, and he left it to the Apostles as long as they should live. "Separate unto me Paul and Barnabas, for the work whereunto I have called them:" again; "he went not with us to the work:" again, "For the work of Christ, he was nigh unto death." Here than we see that Christ has a work to be done on earth, nor can the Church be released from the duty of having it done, until the world be filled with the knowledge of the Lord. Have politicians their work to be carried on? so has the Lord. Have the carpenters, smiths, merchants, artists, their work to be attended to? so has the lord his work to be attended to. And alas! for that person called Christian, and that Church which has assumed the name of Christ, and suffers the name of the Lord to languish and to lay unheeded by carelessness and the love of this world. Notwithstanding all that has been said and written on the subject of scripture plainness, both in reference to the gospel and to every other matter, I shall hazzard one saying about the Bible, which I should like to see some folks with all their extent of reason and intellect, attempt to disprove. It is as follows, that, "The scriptures begin with the simplest, and end with the most profound book that is to be read in any language." I grant, that to him that understandeth, every thing is plain, but individuals carry things too far. "Est modus in rebus," said the Roman Poet, and reason should obtain, in regard to the plainness and obscurity of the different parts of the Bible, as well as of any other book.--Some would have the world to be converted by the order of the Church! Did you ever read in the Bible that faith came by order--public order? never. Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God; i. e. the gospel. The Church then must let the people hear the gospel, if she would have them to believe it; but who shall speak? who shall preach? Why those of her sons who labor in word and doctrine--those of the disciples whom she has selected for this special purpose.
Men will smatter and chatter about the conversion of the world, who never brought a dozen to God in their lives, either by their preaching, or their order; and talk about the plainness of scripture, who have been twenty years in the congregation, and don't know a pin in the tabernacle; who could not tell whether Jachin or Boaz stood on the right side of the temple porch; who could no more tell the name of David's mother, than they could tell why so much was done in the work of the Lord by the Apostles, and so little by themselves. How  easy a thing it is for men to sit by their own fireside in the enjoyment of every domestic comfort, and slight the labors, and mar the good standing of those who dare every difficulty, that presses from a thousand points, upon him who would resuscitate the ancient gospel, and pour destruction upon the corruptions of the times. With what eagerness is every moiety of talent picked up and improved in the political world! How the artists gather around the sons of genius and of talent who appear among them! To what advantage may a modicum of taste be turned! either in poetry, sculpture, painting, or any of the fine arts! Truly the men of this world are in this respect wiser than the sons of light, as our great and glorious leader has observed. For when he presents them with servants, they not only don't use them for others' good, but will suspect the use of them for their own good.
The following fable would illustrate the conduct of some folks, who are better at speaking than practising Christianity:
Once upon a time the human body was in perfect good keeping with itself. The head, the trunk, and the extremities, honored and were obedient to one another; when all of a sudden the several other members broke faith with the mouth, and declared that how necessary so-ever that organ was to the support and defence of the body, it should henceforth receive no further support, but if it would employ its talents in speaking, and masticating the food, which right belonged to the stomach, it should perform these functions at its own expense. Orders therefore were immediately issued to the great aorta to interdict the passage of all nutriment to the mouth and its appurtenances, and one of the members in his zeal for the decision of the majority, and in order to set the thing aright, snapped the nerve of voluntary motion leading to the mouth, when all of a sudden, down dropped the chops to the terror and confusion of all who beheld it. "I have done the deed," said the member.
NATURE and Revelation seem to have for their great object the development of the Divine character to man. Under the title of the Two Witnesses (spoken of in chap. xii. of the Book of the Revelation,) they testify of God. Set forth, also, as the Two Lamps which stand, before the God of the earth, they serve to expose the beauty of his countenance. Were these extinguished, in vain would we endeavor to discover HIM. Amidst the night of ignorance which surrounds the human family, these are the only lights which dispel the gloom; and standing before the God of the earth, they are obviously intended to exhibit Him to the view of men.
Although during the apostacy, for twelve hundred and sixty years, these two witnesses prophesied in sackcloth, under the influence of Sectarianism, which has indeed thrown the veil of mysticism around them, and dimmed the brightness of the lamps; though the savage beast ATHEISM ascended from the abyss, and in denying the very  existence of God slew them, during the reign of terror in France, the street of the great city; though they had ceased to speak, yet they could not even then be concealed: the sun could not be hid, the verdant hills, the winding streams--nature could not be banished from the view of man--the Bible could not be annihilated. It is said, accordingly, that they were not buried; their corpses were exposed for three years and a half, (from 93½ to 97); then were they restored again, and stood upon their feet, while their enemies were terrified when they looked upon them. Then did they hear a voice, saying to them from Heaven, "Come up hither!" and since that period great has been their exaltation.
We formerly endeavored to show that the renovation of men depended upon the exhibition of God's character to them, and that God had revealed his character to man in a manner so simple and obvious as to enable all to study it, and to a degree so perfect as to compel the love of every one who allowed himself to contemplate it.
How great indeed is the influence of a knowledge of God's character upon that of man! How well did Satan succeed in debasing man by placing before him degrading exhibitions of the Divine Being! He being the standard of perfection, when that was lowered, when he was represented as no better than a creature, a Jupiter, an Osiris, an ox, a crocodile, man became immediately plunged into the lowest depths of degradation. And as man sinks, in proportion as he loses a knowledge of the true God, so is he elevated and improved, just as he becomes more intimately acquainted with him. Indeed, when we wish to know the character of a people, we have only to inquire that of their Divinity. Where his character is best known, there civilization is most advanced, and all the nobler principles of human nature more fully developed. And what is meant by the effect of the "reflex light of christianity," but that this institution, holding forth to the view of those among whom it has obtained a footing, as well by its precepts as by the lives of those who obey them, a perfect portrait of its Divine Author, has given to them the best standard of perfection, and by these means exerted a happy influence upon their character?
The various exhibitions of the Divine character have been precisely adapted to the circumstances of man at the time in which they were respectively made. Thus nature preceded revelation, and by the various images which she furnished afforded a means of conveying instruction orally. A language of symbols was then formed by means of which, from time to time, a more perfect knowledge of God was given to man, until finally being fully prepared to comprehend the full display of the excellency of his character, he beheld his beauty in the face of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
The glad tidings or testimony concerning Christ being the conclusion of the whole matter, and being presented to us, and approached only by means of every previous manifestation of God, forms, as it were, a point at which the glory of the divine character seems to concentrate, and appear to have given the last shading to that portrait  which it required 4000 years to complete. All previous revelations, therefore, when they have already enabled us to understand the design and effects of the gospel, are not any longer to occupy our attention. As well might the scholar continue to dwell upon the alphabet and the primer, or the arithmetician upon the nine digits. When the painter has added those last touches to the picture which give beauty, design, and expression to all that he had previously sketched upon the canvass, we behold not the separate traces of his pencil--we admire the beauty of the likeness. When the bursting rosebud unfolds its bright petals to the summer day, attracted by the glowing carmine, we no longer occupy ourselves with the slender stalk which bears, or the oval leaves which have preceded the appearance of the queen of flowers--with the rose itself we are now entirely engrossed, and discover in it the perfect development of the beauty of the shrub.
The gospel of Christ, therefore, embracing a perfect exhibition of the divine character, is called the seed of which the children of God are born. When a man receives into his bosom, in the love of it, that image of God contained in the seed of the word, he is said to be begotten of God; and no sooner has he come forth from the womb of waters, than, taught to desire the unadulterated milk which is provided for his nourishment, he grows thereby, and as a child of God the goodness and excellencies of his Father begin by degrees to exhibit themselves to view. A creature entirely new is presented to us. New feelings, new principles, new actions, are displayed since he has become clothed with the new man who is created in righteousness and true holiness; and remembering that the old man was buried in a figure, he gradually acquires the mastery over him, and continues to resist his influence and to purify himself more and more until he is finally freed from the trammels of mortality.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE RELIGIOUS HERALD.
DEAR SIR--I HAVE read your paper of the 6th of May, and from the slight acquaintance I have of you, as a man, a christian, and a christian teacher, I am truly mortified. I entertained a very different opinion of you before you became the Editor of the Religious Herald, from what I am now constrained to do. I can assure you it is a very unpleasant thing to me to enter into controversy with those whom I had reason to believe were good and useful men. Nothing but self-defence now urges me to notice your editorial remarks. It appears you have thrown down the gauntlet, and are resolved to destroy, or to render every one that differs from you as obnoxious to society as possible. Expressions contained in your remarks evidently were intended for those of your brethren that doubted yours, and the rest of your brethren's infallibility. You have become the assailant, and used language that does not justify one that dwells in a glass house--"pretended garb," "hypocrisy," "pretext," "false doctrines," "secretly sweeping away its very vitals," "it opposes all the great plans of Christian benevolence under the  pretence of being sectarian and mercenary," "some of the restless and speculative have gladly embraced any thing that could gratify their peculiar minds," "a few have weighed anchor, or rather cut their cable, because they wished to be out of an old harbor; but as they have ventured out without any port in view, they seem uncertain where they will land. Some of that number appear to be bending their course towards Universalism, some towards Unitarianism, and some towards Rationalism." "For there must also be heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you." 1 Cor. xi. 10. "These are manifestation years." "It is now manifested who are to be carried about with every wind of doctrine, and who will continue rooted and grounded in the truth." Allow me, sir, just to take a passing notice of your accusations against Reformers, for to such I am bound to believe you allude.
Who is it that wears the "pretended garb?" They who believe and obey the written word of God, or those who claim to be specially called and sent, and can produce no more evidence of their call than his Holiness of Rome? They who pretend to be the only consecrated heads and hands that are authorized to minister at the altar; who make lawless yokes to bind the consciences of the disciples, and if they will not wear them cast then out of the congregation?
"Hypocrisy." Who are the hypocrites? They who present all their religious views in a tangible manner, coming directly from the language of inspiration? or those that make us believe they preach the gospel when they preach themselves, and religion instead of the gospel--profess to believe the word of God, and then make their opinions a bond of union, or paramount to the gospel--say call men Christians and will not fellowship them--profess to be God's ministers, and act like the sanguinary ruler of Portugal, who put his subjects to death because they thought differently from him," according to your own statement? If we are not put to death, we do not thank our opponents; they have done their best to destroy that which is dearer than life--rights of conscience.
"Pretext correcting the erroneous doctrines of the Priest, et cetera." Now, sir, I read of no doctrines in the New Testament except of the "scribes and pharisees," of "demons," of "men,"--the use of all which must perish. If the Priest has doctrines for the people to believe, there is no need of correction. We invite you to prove that any one sentiment we hold is erroneous. It will not do for you to charge us with "deluging the country with false doctrines." We deny it. You are now bound to prove it, or stand condemned as a "false accuser" of your brethren. Is it not false doctrine to teach the people that there is no "inherent efficacy in the word of God;" "that it is a dead letter;" that "it is a sealed book;" that "men have not the capacity to believe and obey the gospel?"
"The reforming brethren, you say, have received into their heart the spirit of Mr. Campbell from his writings, but they cannot receive on their believing and obeying the gospel the spirit of Jesus Christ! Yet men are Christians before they have put on Christ. Now, sir,  upon your own principles, that there is no other baptism but immersion; we say you cannot prove from the examples or precepts of the Apostles, that my man, woman, or child, was called Christian before he was immersed into the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of his sins, without making the Apostles inconsistent as well as disobedient men. If they did recognize any one as a Christian after the descent of the Holy Spirit, without being immersed into the name of Jesus Christ, than you are wrong for not commencing with such. If they did not, then you are wrong and your brother "Philander" for calling them "Christians," "Presbyterian brethren," thereby inducing the children of the Baptists to join the Paidobaptists.
"Secretly sweeping away the vitals of religion." We challenge you to the proof of this calumny. Without you produce the evidence and allow us the privilege in your columns to expose your sophistry we shall be justified in saying it is illiberal, unjust, and unchristian to make such a charge, when it is well known we act not secretly but openly before all men, while you and your brethren are striving to hinder us from a public discussion of our views!
What are your "vitals?" Let us hear them. If a cordial belief of the whole New Testament, a cheerful obedience, an ardent desire to "stand perfect and complete in all the will of God," is sweeping away the vitals of christianity, then, sir, your charge has some truth in it. But it is all right to contend that we are bound to obey Moses, as much as Christ; to contend for the tradition of the elders; to make the Scripture speak any thing and every thing, to force the consciences of men contrary to their best judgment or cast them out of the church. I proclaim it to all men that the conduct of the sects, if submitted to, is calculated to make hypocrites and bad men; to destroy the rights of conscience and the rights of free men.
"The four last years are manifestation years." In this thou speakest truly. For until then the ancient order of things and the ancient apostolic gospel were not proclaimed in all these United States, as I ever heard of. What has it brought to light? The hidden things of darkness, the cunning craftiness, and sleight of hand which the priesthood has cast upon the plainest doctrine and best book that ever man looked into. No man living could at that time make us believe that you and many others were in Babylon; that you and they indulged yourselves in the spirit of the man of sin, and would publish to the world the most glaring palpable misrepresentations of the gospel and the views of the advocates of the ancient apostolic gospel. Will you explain why, sir, you should undertake to judge of motives? "Wished," "without any port in view." How do you know our wishes? How do you know our views? This is like Mr. Clopton, who has swelled to the size of the man of sin--that is, to judge without evidence; "who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he, as God, sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is a god." Bishop Semple says Mr. Clopton's standing is above the reach of Mr. Campbell. It is remarkable that not one man whom I have read, who has opposed the ancient order and gospel; but  who has assumed the character of the man of sin. Nothing but assertion, and proscription if not believed, has characterized every opponent; witness the Appomattox Decrees, the Semple and Broaddus Decrees, which have been denied by every friend of reform, and not a shadow of evidence produced to sustain them. This is the perilous age. Men shall be lovers of their own selves, (their word must be taken as matters of fact;) covetous, (continually crying for our money to sustain sects;) boasters, ("the stability, firmness, and piety of our Christians have been made manifest;") proud, (of their opportunities and acquaintance with history;) blasphemers, (saying "the word of God that liveth and abideth forever," is "a dead letter;) disobedient to parents, (children now dishonor their parents by their ungodly lives;) unthankful, (like you, Mr. Editor, that receives from our pockets, if reports be true, one thousand dollars a year, as general agent of the Bible Society, and then call us hypocrites, pretenders, Universalists, Unitarians, &c.) unholy, (what are the religious periodicals of this day sending forth? The most glaring falsehoods;) "false accusers," (look at the calumnies, slanders, and misrepresentations of our views through all the religious journals.) These charges have been denied, proved false, and yet they are chanted in the papers and adopted in the churches. I must stop with the black list. If I were to go to some churches, it would prove, "like people, like priest."
"It opposes all the great plans of christian benevolence under the pretence of their being sectarian and mercenary." We hesitate not to say this is a calumny. Does Mr. Ball consider it benevolence to give him a thousand dollars a-year? If so, no wonder he should write such things. We deny the charges. Remember one thing reader: Mr. Ball's assertion is not to be regarded. He is a self-interested witness, as are all the priesthood more or less, that act the part of hirelings. Jesus says, "If I bear witness of myself my witness is not to be regarded." [Common version "not true."] If the word of Jesus, without testimony, was not to be regarded, I ask if these men who assert such misrepresentations of their brethren, and rest upon their own word to sustain them, do not come up to the man of sin, as I have here taken from the language of the Holy Spirit? They exalt themselves above all that is worshipped or called God. God never did promise or command any thing to be done by men without giving the evidence of its truth, so far as we are capable of receiving it in our present state of weakness. He accuses no one without evidence. This is the work of the Devil. Again, Mr. Ball's benevolence is to give to those who are able in four or five years to make a donation themselves of ten thousand dollars. During the war between England find Burmah, if I am not mistaken, it was said Mr. Judson lost all he had. He has now made a donation (if we believe your paper of the 15th of April) of ten thousand dollars. Verily, this, if true, is a Mercenary business! Also, Mrs. Wade represents herself in the following self-denying language: "We have but little furniture, and this is our little all, and all we desire; for the more we have, the more our minds are occupied and kept back from God." If this be true, which  do not doubt, can it be benevolence to tempt these good people, and corrupt their minds, when they can live (they say) very cheap, and make according to Mr. Judson's success, double as much as I can, with all my laborers, teams, and farm? It is the abuse of these things that we oppose. As to what you call heresies, who are the heretics? They who sanction sectarianism, creeds, confessions of opinions, or those that cleave to the New Testament.
|T. M. HENLEY.|
[We are of opinion that Mr. Ball should give those whom he accuses an opportunity to vindicate themselves in his own columns. This is but common justice. We give even those who falsely accuse us a place in our paper, and we will never censure any person or sect who may not have an opportunity of appearing for themselves. But we cannot occupy our pages in addresses to opposing Editors who will slander and gag those whom they calumniate. We think it a sufficient refutation of any calumny or reproach, that the publisher of it dare not meet in his own paper those whom he accuses.]
|ED. M. H.|
THE HISTORY OF SIN.--No. VII.
WORDS are called the signs of our ideas. But the magnitude of an idea is not to be measured by the magnitude of the term which represents it. The shortest words represent the greatest ideas. The greatest things in the universe are represented by monosyllables.--Amongst these the word sin occupies a most conspicuous place. It fills the largest space in the history of man. We do not mean that the moral evil in the world, has filled more volumes than the moral good, though this be certainly true; but all time has done little else than detail the meaning of this single word. It is a part of every history, and all history developes but a part of it.
But we have said it can be known best, or indeed only, in its effects, and in its effects on man. Angels have by it been dethroned. Banished from God and heaven, they are reserved in chains of darkness till the judgment of the great day. Man only fell from Eden, not from Heaven. 'Twas well for him he stood no higher; yet, still, his fall brings the malignity of sin nearer to our vision. From its effects on man, we form our first, though not our best conceptions of its real nature. And what have been its effects on man? Of these too, we can form but an imperfect idea. We have never seen a sinless man. Adam in Eden we know but little of;--"But by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin." All the nameless, all the countless ills embittering human life, and terminating in death and corruption, are but the first fruits of this damning principle. "When lust has conceived it brings forth sin, and sin when it is perfected, brings forth death." But our first and best approaches towards a knowledge of this "root of all bitterness," this "deadly evil thing," are made through the records of the "desolations of many generations." Of these the Bible gives many summaries, and all history is replete with details,  Adam driven from the presence of the Lord--a flaming cherub posted at the tree of life--his wife doomed to travail, and the earth devoted to destruction, announce the conception and birth of this hateful monster. "Soon as its reign began," sorrows and pains afflict every child of man. The earth is cursed for its sake:--"Cursed is the ground for your sake; in sorrow, O man! shall you eat of it all the days of your life. Thorns, also and thistles shall it bring forth to you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread, till you return to the ground: for out of it you were taken, for dust you are, and to dust you shall return," As men are multiplied, sin abounds. The long and hale lives which men in the first ages enjoyed, gave them many opportunities to perfect themselves in iniquity. The earth is filled with violence, and the whole race, one family excepted, are engulphed in one tremendous ruin. So reads the first chapter of man's sad history. One general judgment, a great and terrible day of the Lord, closes the first full period of the history of sin, only 1656 years from the exile from Eden. Full forty days the windows of heaven, and the fountains of the great abyss, poured God's vengeance upon a sinful world. All the workers of iniquity, the world of the ungodly, perished in one common ruin. What an awful monument of the destructive tendency of this accursed thing! With what emotion did Noah view the dreary waste on which be disembarked, after a confinement of three hundred and seventy five days. Not a living thing meets his view of all that once moved upon the face of the earth! Where are now those busy tribes--those who planted and builded, and married, and were given in marriage? All buried from his view. The whole earth strewed with the spoils of sin, presents to him the appearance of one immense sepulchre. Babes, men, and sires, all his acquaintance of six hundred years' accumulation, all his relatives, all with whom he once conversed, and reasoned, and expostulated, are buried from his view. Instead of the busy hum of the swarming millions that once fell incessant upon his ear, all is silence. But their mouths were full of cursing and bitterness;--Their feet were swift to shed blood, destruction and misery followed in their train.--Therefore the anger of the Lord was kindled, he called to the clouds and they heard him; to the fountains of the earth, and they obeyed him. He had no pleasure in all the works of man, and rather than have such tenants, he dispossessed the earth of every thing "which had the breath of life."
The next age of the world presents no general judgment. Individuals, families, cities, and nations are visited with those tokens which speak God's estimate of moral evil. At these let us glance in passing down the stream of sacred history.
Harm, not purged from the vices of the old world, forgets the honor due to a father. In sinning against a father, he sins against God. The first commandment with a promise, regards the first relation amongst men, "The eye which mocks a father, and despises a mother: the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it." Ham honored not his father, but rather mocked him. "Cursed  then, be Canaan son of Ham, a servant of servants he shall be to his brethren." On this occasion was pronounced a curse, which yet cleaves to that people; or rather, the future destiny of that branch of Noah's family, was, at that time, sketched in a few words--Ham imports, as Dr. Hales affirms, "burnt, or black." The South, or burnt portion of Asia, along the coast of the Persian Gulf, Chusistan or Susiana and Arabia were allotted to Cush. Palestine and Syria were the portion of Canaan. And Egypt and Lybia in Africa, fell to the lot of Misraim.
Nimrod, whose name imports rebellion, was the grandson of Ham by Cush. The Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel says, "From the foundation of the world, none was ever found like Nimrod, powerful in hunting, and in rebellions against the Lord." He was a hunter of men, he made a prey of them, founded the first Kingdom, was the first Tyrant of the second world. He founded Babel, and other ancient cities of renown. The first city was called Confusion, or Babel, and was erected by one of the most illustrious apostates from God which the family of Ham had till then produced. Out of that land went forth Ashur and builded Nineveh; or as it reads more correctly, perhaps, in the margin, He (Nimrod) went out into Assyria and built Nineveh; for Assyria is called "the land of Nimrod," Micah v. 6. Thus in this branch of Noah's family arose men of gigantic talents in crime of every sort, and among them are found the most striking monuments of the vengeance of heaven against sin.
From one of the mountains of Armenia, on which the ark rested, the sons of Noah journeyed westward till they found a plain in the land of Shinar, somewhere contiguous to the Euphrates, where, either to prevent their dispersion, or to honor the Host of Heaven, they attempted to erect a tower. This tower was called Babel, because God in punishment of their audacity confounded their language and dispersed them. Next to the abbreviating of the standard of human life, the confusion of speech contributed to check the accumulation of iniquity in the human family. But it has imposed a thousand misfortunes on the race of men, and doomed millions to destruction through its numerous and diversified influences upon the character and circumstances of man. This signal display of Divine indignation against sin is the most general judgment on the whole race inflicted since the deluge, carrying with it a voice to all people of their departure from God and alienation from one another.
The Lord scattered them abroad upon the face of all the earth. This confusion of speech made the nations as it now makes sects. It had necessarily a repulsive as well as an associating tendency.
|'Bring me,' quoth one, 'a trowel, quickly! quick!'
One brings him up a hammer. 'Hew this brick'
Another bids; and then they cleave a tree.
'Make fast this rope,' and then they let it flee.
One calls for planks; another mortar lacks:
They bear the first a stone; the last an axe. 
One would have spikes, and him a spade they give;
Another asks a saw and gets a sieve.
Thus crossing crost, they prate and point in vain,
What one hath made, another mars again.
|* * * * * * * * *|
|These masons then seeing the storm arrived
Of God's just wrath, all weak, and heart deprived,
Forsake their purpose, and like frantic fools
Scatter their stuff, and tumble down their tools.
In the plain of Siddim stood the five cities Sodom, Gomorrah, Zeboiim, Zoar, and Admah. The enormous wickedness of these cities drew down from heaven the most signal vengeance. Electric fire, nitrous particles ignited thereby, or, as it is commonly called, fire and brimstone, were rained from Heaven upon them, and not only consumed them into ashes, but the bituminous plain on which they stood was burned so deep as to become the channel of a lake seventy miles long and eighteen broad.
Lot's wife is stricken into a pillar of salt, emblem of the perpetuity of the monument her fate presents to all ages of the evil of disobeying God. She looked back. How dangerous it is for those who have begun to flee from the wrath to come to look back, or to apostatize, is strongly indicated in the fate of this disobedient woman.
But why dwell on individual cases? Why pause on the curse inflicted on Cain, on the son of Ham, on the wife of Lot? The time would fail me to tell of the rejection of the profane Esau, who for a morsel of food sold his birthright; of the death of Naidab and Abihu, who presumed to offer uncommanded fire before the Lord; of the fate of the son of Shebomith, who blasphemed the God of Heaven; of the destruction of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, who rebelled against the constituted authority of the priesthood, whom, with all their families and substance, the earth swallowed up alive; of the burning of the two hundred and fifty princes who joined in the same conspiracy against Moses and Aaron; of the sudden fate of Uzzah, who touched the ark of God; and of all those individual cases where every transgression and disobedience, however trivial in human sight, received a just recompense of reward. It seemed to be the design of the governor of the world to make a few examples in the beginning of every new economy, dispensation, or arrangement of society, to develope the danger of sin. Hence the thousands who fell in the wilderness. Even at the opening of the Reign of Favor it was expedient to make some examples of this sort. Hence the sudden death of Ananias and Sapphira his wife, and the sudden chastisements of the erring disciples.
But it is in the decline and fall, in the gradual and sudden overthrow of the great cities and nations of the world, in which these tokens of God's displeasure against sin, and in which its true nature and tendencies are most impressively exhibited. For the sins of those who  dwell in the most fertile lands, they are, as David says, afflicted with sterility. Egypt and Canaan are now, and long have been, monuments of this. "He turneth rivers into a wilderness, and the water-springs into dry ground; a fruitful land into barrenness for the wickedness of them that dwell therein." How often have all the terrible ministers of justice against sin been commissioned to execute wrath--the sword, the famine, the pestilence, fire, water, winds, earthquakes. These have laid in ruins the magnificence of nations, and razed the foundations of the great marts of commerce.
Egypt, once the most luxuriant in its soil, and the most renowned for its numerous and magnificent cities, has long been, as Ezekiel once said it should be, the basest of kingdoms--"It shall be the basest of kingdoms, neither shall it exalt itself any more above the nations, for I will diminish them that they shall no more rule over the nations." (Ex. xxix. 15.) It is covered with the ruins of its temples, obelisks, pyramids, immense and innumerable cities--its artificial lakes, canals, and catacombs. The mighty Thebes with its hundred gates, once able to send through each gate 200 chariots and 10,000 fighting men, celebrated for its grandeur by Grecian and Roman poets, now lies in ruins, the habitation of bats, which are only disturbed by the torch of the curious traveller who seeks among the ruins of its temples and palaces the traces of ancient magnificence. Memphis, once the capital of middle Egypt, the seat of clusters of temples, and of that most superb one dedicated to Apis, famous for the magnitude and number of its neighboring pyramids, has been long deserted, and stands a monument in its desolations of the wealth, population, science and arts of Egypt.
The ancient cities of Lower Egypt are no more. Heliopolis, Heracleopolis, Naucrates, Tanis, in the country of which the Israelites were located, Canopus, Pelusium, are scarcely known. Alexandria, founded by Alexander the Great, and which once vied in magnificence with some of the more ancient cities of Egypt, is still inhabited; but, like Rome, it is only great in the ruins of its ancient splendor.
But where is the glory of ancient Egypt? her palaces, with their thirty dynasties of kings? her temples, with their innumerable gods and priests? her 20,000 cities, with their countless myriads of inhabitants? They only live in history; and, with the gods which they worshipped, are involved in one promiscuous destruction.
But, passing from Egypt to Assyria, we are struck with the similar fortunes of her great cities. Ninus, the son of Belus, or of Nimrod, (for these seem to he two names for the same person) founds the great city of Nineveh. He determined to make it the greatest city in the world. Placed on the eastern banks of the Tigris, its position was favorable to its rapid growth and great commercial importance. It was eighteen and three quarter miles in length, and eleven and one quarter in breadth--an oblong of 480 stadia, or 60 miles, three day's journey in circumference--surrounded with walls 100 feet high, and so broad that three chariots could go abreast with ease. These were adorned and fortified with 1500 towers 200 feet high. Ninus, in his  expedition against the Bactrians, after the completion of Nineveh, commanded an army of 1,700,000 foot, 200,000 horse, and about 16,000 chariots armed with scythes. This gives us some idea of the population of this empire in those times.
Semiramis, the surviving wife of Ninus, resolves, in the ambition of her husband, to found a city of equal, if not superior grandeur and magnificence. The plains of Shinar furnished a site for this great undertaking. Two millions of men, drawn from her vast empire, were employed in the rearing of this city. Its walls were 350 feet high, 87 feet thick, and in compass 480 furlongs. Thus Babylon, for that was its name, was sixty miles in circumference. It differed from Nineveh not in size, but only in being a perfect square, each wall 15 miles in length. The excavations for the making of the brick and mortar, or bitumen for these walls, formed the channel for an immense canal round the walls. Twenty-five immense gates of solid brass, separated from each other by three lofty towers at proper distances, decorated each wall--thus giving to the city one hundred gates and three hundred towers. Its streets passed from gate to gate fifteen miles long, and intersected each other at right angles. This gave the city 50 full streets 15 miles, and 676 squares, each more than half a mile on each street: besides, one branch of the Euphrates passed through the city, and its streets were 150 feet wide. The quays and bridges in the city, and the lake, ditches, and canals made for the draining of the river and giving direction to the waters during the risings of the river, are among the ancient wonders of the world. By these the city was protected from inundation, and the waters of the Euphrates were poured into the Tigris. Its palaces, the temple of Belus, more august than any of the pyramids of Egypt, and its hanging gardens, raised even to the summit of its towers, gave it an appearance of greatness and grandeur never equalled by any city on earth. But where now the glory of Assyria!
Nineveh and Babylon have long since been destroyed. Tobit, before his death said--"The ruin of Nineveh is at hand; abide no longer here, for I perceive the wickedness of the city will cause its destruction." The Babylonians and the Medes, not long afterwards, laid it desolate. Babylon, just 50 years after she had destroyed Jerusalem and carried Israel captive, was taken by Cyrus. From that day it began to decline. The inhabitants gradually migrated from it. The kings of Persia made it a park for wild beasts, verifying the words of Isaiah xiii. 21. "Wild beasts of the desert shall lie there, and dragons shall dwell in their pleasant palaces. But the walls began to fall; and in the time of Alexander the Great, the Euphrates, by decaying walls, was compelled to abandon its channel. The waters, obstructed in their course, finally made it a sort of marsh, and hid the ruins of Babylon from the knowledge of the world. Alexander attempted to open the old channel of the Euphrates to rebuild the city; but his death, two years afterwards, put an end to the work, For the Lord had said, long before, "I will cut off from Babylon the name and remnant"--"I will make it pools of water"--"I will make  it a possession for the bittern and pools of water: and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, says the Lord of Hosts." Thus vanished the seat of an Empire which stood for 1660 years; and thus perished the pride and magnificence of a city unrivalled in the annals of time for its wealth, grandeur and magnificence.
LETTERS TO HUMPHREY MARSHAL, ESQ.
YOU modestly style yourself "a private student" of the Evidences of Christianity. But whether you have studied to find reasons why you should believe, or reasons why you should not believe that Jesus was in truth what he professed, or an impostor, you have not positively informed us. From one of his savings, however, we are inclined to infer that you never studied the book with a desire to believe it. He has said of those, and to those who were like you, deists, not atheists, "If any person is minded to do his will, he shall know of my doctrine whether I speak from myself or from him who sent me." Jesus the Messiah never uttered a weak or erroneous saying, though to the sages of this world some of them may appear so. But when fairly and honestly examined, his maxims and sayings indicate a perfect knowledge of all the principles of human action. In his judgment, then it appears that every one who, like the Jews, acknowledge one God, and who is minded or determined to do the will of that God, will know whether Jesus spoke from himself or from him who sent him. There cannot, then, be an honest deist in existence. I mean one honest to himself and to God.
I need not tell you that, regarding Jesus of Nazareth to be the only Saviour of men, and his name to be the only name proclaimed under heaven by which any human being can be saved, I can do no less than subscribe, ex animo, to every maxim of his. This maxim, I therefore say, compels me to regard every deist as not minded to do the will of the God whom he acknowledges.
You are aware how very, differently the testimony of a friend and of an enemy is regarded. When the sayings of an enemy are examined, many imperfections and errors are discovered which we could not see in the sayings of one whom we love and esteem. A person who examines that he may believe, and one who examines that he may reject, view the testimony through very different media. The one imagines contradictions and errors where they do not exist, while the other is only intent to have those things which appear contradictory explained. The one is always concerned to know how he will dispose of the arguments for, if he should fail to remove the objections against, the testimony of Jesus--the other, how he will most easily dispose of the arguments for, that the objections against, may have the greater weight. He who reads that he may believe dwells chiefly upon the arguments for, and he who reads that he may reject dwells with  satisfaction upon the objections against. When the sun shines upon a meadow, and upon a dunghill, it produces very different exhalations. The same beams darting upon different objects, draw forth very diverse effluvia. The same intellect too, poring with intensity upon objections to christianity, minded if possible to arrive at conclusions authorizing the casting off of the fear of God and the denunciations against those who work iniquity; and the mind poring upon the arguments for, and the objections against, that it may settle down in a firm and unshaken confidence in the professions of the Saviour of the World, deduces or draws from the same premises conclusions and results very opposite indeed. To the one mind apparent contradictions are corroborating arguments; to the other real agreement is probable contradiction, and apparent contradiction downright falsehood, fanaticism, priestcraft, and superstition.
In my last letter to you I have, without going into details, disposed of upon principles which cannot be argued against, all your "plenty of contradictions." You cannot overturn those principles; and admitting them, you cannot find a single contradiction in the book. But more desirous to convince than to confute you, I wish to direct your inquiries to the state of mind in which you approach your "private studies" upon the evidences of christianity.
Ridicule, you know, is no test of truth. You may ridicule the most exalted character, and the most brilliant virtue which adorns it. You may call patriotism, rebellion; heroism, knight errantry; humility, madness; generosity, extravagance; piety, superstition; and devotion, fanaticism. You may ridicule the forgiveness of injuries under the character of cowardice, and laugh at the courteous in the character of a parasite. Thus you are able to laugh at Mary and Martha, and Susannah and Joanna, under the character of gossips; and you can fill a few pages upon Mary Magdalene, as a woman of no good fame. You can take the words "some doubted," at the close of Matthew's testimony, and fill a page upon the incompetency of the witnesses. You can make a sentence for Peter or Paul, and then ridicule it as if Peter and Paul had spoken or written as yourself.
What a stupid impostor or knave must Matthew have been to have told that some of the disciples doubted whether it was the same Jesus when he meditated, as you allow, to give all the verisimilitude to his narrative possible! And what stupid souls have been all who have believed upon the testimony of those who declare that the witnesses themselves doubted whether he that appeared to give the commission was the same who was crucified!
Truly you represent Matthew as a very shrewd impostor! But if this shrewdness should be a proof of honesty, and the doubts expressed be only whether it was Jesus who appeared, and if these doubts were entertained only while he was at some distance, and vanished when he drew near, what then? Your wit and humor are your own! The laugh is at yourself.
But to explain the frequent appearances of the risen Saviour, you have only to assume that the Apostles had chosen one to personate  him, and that Thomas was absent, and being am honest man was deceived by the others into a renunciation of his doubts. Again, you tell us that the historian Mark sends Jesus to heaven the day after he rose from the dead, while John keeps him on earth for five or six weeks--and a hundred other things about his resurrection which no man of sense can regard in any other light than as the most contemptible puerilities of an undiscerning mind, oppressed with some evil genius, or laboring under some species of alienation, either from infirmity, or from a conscience haunted with the recollections of many years devoted to such practices as unfit a man for the enjoyment of immortality, and divest him of the desire for it.
Your representing the Apostles as laboring to induce the belief of a lie in which their fortune and fame were concerned, is so opposite to all probability that I never knew a deist who had the hardihood to make such an assertion. Great fame and fortune indeed! to lose all respectability among men, to suffer all privations, and the most severe death which deists, and atheists, and polytheists could inflict upon them.
The whole mind and strength of your pamphlet is fairly drawn to a focus in one proposition, viz: The four Evangelists have not recorded a single miracle, the crucifixion, resurrection or ascension of the Saviour, in precisely the same words, or in words representing exactly the same ideas; therefore their narratives are tissues of lies, falsehoods, fables, and the whole is incredible. Now the fact is, that were the testimonies of the original witnesses just such as you would make them, or have them to be, neither yourself nor any person else could believe them.
Peter and Paul are the two most noted preachers of the gospel mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles--the former to the Jews, the latter to the Gentiles. We have several of their sermons on record. They always preached the gospel; and one of them said that if man or angel should proclaim any other gospel than he proclaimed, he ought to be accursed. Now in your mode of reasoning, neither of these men, nor any other men, ever did preach twice the same gospel; for they never used the same words, nor expressed on any two occasions all the same ideas--nay, there is on your principles no credible history in the world. Of some eight or ten histories of England, of Germany, of France, of the American Colonies and Revolution, there is not one credible; they are all a tissue of lies and fables, for no two of them agree in narrating any one prominent event: that is, no two of them use exactly the same words, or give exactly the same ideas.
You make much use of one sentence in my debate with Mr. Owen which you either totally misunderstand or greatly pervert. It is an attempt to discriminate between what in the Jewish and Christian scriptures is worthy of the name of Divine Revelation. We contemplate not every thing said by every body whose, name is found in the books in the light of a communication from heaven to men: and with us the phrase "the word of God," or "the word of the Lord," in the Apostolic writings, indicates only the last communication, called the  gospel, or new institution of the Saviour. And, indeed, that which declares the philanthropy of God in the mission of his Son to be the saviour of the world, that word of reconciliation which purifies the heart and reforms the life of man, is, the gospel, or word of God, contradistinguished from all other things written in the book. It is as much the object of these writings to reveal man to himself, to give a fair outline of the best and worst things in the history of man, and in God's government over man, as to reveal the character of God and his purposes concerning man. Much of both Testaments is occupied with all details necessary for this purpose. Besides, the prophecies of the future, and the record of the past, are all intended to give proper emphasis to, and to accumulate light upon, the goodness concerning the Saviour, whom all good men love, honor, and obey, and whom all wicked men insult and traduce, as did his betrayers and murderers.
But, sir, your attack, scurrilous, abusive, and common as it is, upon the witnesses, is only a lying in ambush, like the dragon in the wilderness, to devour a certain child as soon as born: for no testimony could induce you to believe in such a miracle as the resurrection of a dead man! This is your own confession. But as I have shown you, long since, you do admit that one man, the father of the race, was raised from the dead, or that life was communicated to one man miraculously. In this you are at war with your own theory; and until you give some reconciliation of this matter with your own principles, it is preposterous to make that an objection to the second Adam which you ascribe to the first.
In this letter I only intended to call your attention to the state of mind in which you enter upon your private studies of the Evidences of Christianity; but lifting up your pamphlet, and glancing over a few pages of it, to find if there was any thing unnoticed in my former letters worthy of attention, I have been led to make the above general and disconnected remarks. Whenever you can furnish me with one, and only one contradiction in the New Testament, on the principles submitted in my last, I will specially attend to it. If you please to send me one contradiction, made out in proper form, and written in such style as will not shock the nerves of any of my readers, male or female, I will engage to show, according to right reason, that there is no contradiction in it.
|In all good will, respectfully,|
OUR third proposition has not been lost sight of in our previous essays. The 5th, 6th, and 7th prepared the way for its advantageous illustration and proof; and we might, we think, add, partially illustrated and proved it. The apparent impossibility of the moral means which the simple testimony of God furnishes to the subversion of the rulers of the darkness of this world, to the dethronement of spiritual wickedness, elevated to high places, by the corrupt and corrupting politics of nations sold to their hierarchies, teach us to look somewhere  else than to modern missionary exertions for giving that triumph to christianity with which every page of prophecy relative to the reign of a thousand years is replete. What moral means, unaided by the judgments of God, unaccompanied by miracles, have ever achieved a victory over any portion of mankind, so great as that promised to the world during the reign of Jesus? Not an island on the globe, not a city in any age or country, has seen, or tasted, or felt such a moral revolution as that guaranteed by the Prince of the kings of the earth, when the kingdoms of the world, when the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the holy ones of the Most High.
Can any man in his sober senses, with the history of modern Europe before him, (to say nothing of Asia and Africa, enslaved to idolatry or sold to Mahomet,) suppose, or promise to himself, that a few sectarian missionaries, sustained by a divided and secular church, can so revolutionize the world as to introduce a moral, much less a literal reign of Christ over all the race of men? If every sectarian proclaimer from both Christian continents should become a missionary, and the whole be landed in Asia and Africa, and go to work there with all the energies which they employ at home; I say, could they do more among Pagans than they do among the sons and daughters of Christians at home? Could they in five hundred years produce a better state of society among Turks and Pagans than they have produced in Britain and America? Alas! what have they done in Britain and the United States? How few of this population are even within the pale of sectarian altars; and of that few how few do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly! how few live soberly, righteously, and godly in the world! It would require more than all the moral influence of all the teachers of religion or both continents to give good morality to Europe and America.
Can even the Lutheran Reformation establish itself in Europe? Can the gospel, manacled and fettered with the traditions of fifteen centuries--oppressed and humbled with the immoralities of its professed friends, march back to Rome and re-occupy the grounds on which it stood before the man of sin was born! Reason declares it impossible. Experience proves the hope to be a delusion. Error has the chair or the throne in every "christian land." Backed by the powers that be," she wages a successful war against the humble advocates for ancient truth and morals. She controls the literature and the wealth of nations, and presses into her service all the lusts of men. With this fearful odds is simple truth equal to the conflict, unaided by that power of God which went with them who first carried it to the nations? In Europe and America christian deaths out-count christian births, with all the revivals of every name. Six thousand years to come, upon all the ratios of success which the last three hundred years bring to our aid, would be too short to put all the kingdoms of the world under the sceptre of Jesus Christ.
The politics, and commerce, and literature of christendom are all hostile to the powers of the world to come. Even in these United  States how rapid is the departure from the first principles of our government! How swift the descent from the pure republican principles of the fathers of this union! Have nations, as such, ever been reformed by moral arguments? What government ever improved as it became older! In what nation, in what history can it be found? The annals of six thousand years afford no such moral miracle. Degeneracy has long been the order of the day. Nations, like individuals, are always most innocent in their infancy. Churches, or rather sects, are so also. Methodism and Quakerism are yet fresh in our recollection, and speak volumes in proof of our position. Moral means reform not nations, and too seldom sects. The ultima ratio regum--the sword and the cannon argue with the most effect among a reprobate people. Politics gave to Luther and his cause an influence which his gospel could not have obtained. The same is true of Calvin. But look at mighty Rome--mighty in her weakness--and still holding the wealth and literature of nine-tenths of christendom along with Peter's keys. She rules the councils of Europe, and increases annually more than six per cent, in America. It is without precedent, without reason, against experience, and, I think, against prophecy, to think and argue that the mere proclamation of the gospel will or can break down the hierarchies of Europe, the power of the Pope, the influence of the Koran, or the superstitions of the Pagans. Our first argument in proof of the personal appearance of Christ is drawn from these premises--from the reason and nature of things--in a word, from the consideration that nothing short of his real presence and power can bring the nations to his feet.
But on these reasonings, plausible as they may seem, and one might say that plausible they are, we would not rely to prove a matter of such importance as that proposed, were we not sustained by the strong current of all the prophecies.
Daniel the great prophet, a man greatly beloved of the God of saints, saw in his clearer visions that the little horn, that power which spake so blasphemously against God and the saints--that horn which had the eyes of a man and the mouth of more than a man, which spake great things, and whose look was more stout than any of the ten horns; he saw this horn prevail as well as make war against the saints until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints--(there were saints when the Lord came,) and the time come that the saints possessed the kingdom. Into the hand of him personated by the horn the saints were given for a time, and times, and the dividing of a time; during all of which periods he thought to change times and laws, and to wear out the saints of the Most High. But he saw the thrones cast down and the Ancient of days appeared--the judgment was set. His throne was like the fiery flame, and its wheels as burning fire; a fiery stream issued and came forth from before him; thousand thousands ministered to him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set and the books were opened. What followed this appearance of the Ancient of days, and this opening of the judgment! The greatness of the  kingdom, the kingdom and the dominion, was then given to the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him. Thus we see that the saints were to be kept down and worn out by the little horn, without any intermission, till the judgment of the antichristian world. Then the Lord with his thousands of thousands appears in their behalf and gives them the victory over their enemies.
To this agree also the plainer intimations of Paul in his epistle to the Thessalonians. The man of sin and son of perdition exalts himself, sits in the temple of God. The Lord consumes him by his word, but he is only consumed by the word of his month. He is not destroyed until the brightness of his coming. The Lord suddenly comes in his glory and sends him to perdition. Thus Daniel and Paul teach us that the sudden appearance of the Lord precedes the perdition and destruction of that usurper who has so long triumphed on the throne of Jesus. He usurps the throne of him whom God placed upon his holy hill, whom he exalted a Prince and Saviour. He has long presumed to legislate for, and to dispense forgiveness to, those called Christians. But he will be utterly cast down and destroyed for strong is the Lord who will take vengeance upon him.
But the Jewish Prophets speak of the coming of Jesus in a way which precludes the application of their words to any moral, or metaphorical, or figurative coming. Thus says Zachariah, xiv. 4. 5. "And his feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the East; and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof, towards the East and towards the West, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove towards the North, and half of it towards the South." These sayings are certainly not applicable to his first coming; for the events here described then happened in no sense. From this mount he ascended literally, and the angels said he should descend as (literally) as they had seen him ascend to heaven. Behold he comes in clouds; all kindreds shall see him and bewail his approach: for behold his reward is with him. As he ascended from Mount Olivet he will descend to it. They shall then say, 'Blessed be he that comes in the name of the Lord.'
When he descends to put down all bad government, all influences opposed to his reign, as the Lord of the whole earth, to avenge his enemies--then the earth shall shake; mountains and hills shall be moved out of their places, and shall flow down at his presence. "His brightness shall be as the light; he holds in his hand the horns that oppose him, and there shall be the hiding of his power. Before him the pestilence; and burning coals at his feet. He shall stand and measure the earth; he shall behold, and drive asunder the nations, and the everlasting mountains shall be scattered, and the perpetual hills shall bow: his ways are everlasting. The mountains saw thee, and they trembled: the overflowing of the water passed by: the deep uttered his voice and lifted up his hands on high. The Sun and Moon stood still in their habitation: at the light of thine arrows they wept,  and at the shining of thy glittering spear. Thou shalt march through the land in indignation: thou shalt thresh the heathen in thine anger." "Who shall abide this day of his coming; for he shall be as the refiner's fire and as the fuller's soap, and shall sit as a refiner and purifier. He will consume the dross and purge the sons of Levi, as gold and silver is purified, that they may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness." When he arises to shake terribly the earth then shall these things literally come to pass; for he will hurl down the cities of the nations and shiver the tyrants of the earth. Then will great Babylon not be forgotten. The cup of the wine of his fiercest wrath shall be presented to her. Drink it she must. She will be utterly and for ever ruined: for strong is the arm that takes vengeance upon her. As she measured sorrow and torment to his saints, so he shall measure sorrow and torment to her. The saints, too, shall witness it: for the martyrs of Jesus, all who lost their lives for God and Christ, shall then be raised from the dead. This is the first resurrection. Holy and happy he who is invited to this marriage supper of the Lamb! Holy and happy he who has part in this first resurrection, for the second death shall not touch him!
The martyrs are with their King when he appears against his and their enemies. "Rejoice over her, you holy Apostles and Prophets!" Now is the time for you to triumph, for God has avenged you on her, "I saw the souls of them who were beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, who had never worshipped the beast, nor his image, nor had received his mark upon their foreheads or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years." Then shall be verified that saying of the Lord, "Whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall save it." The rest of the dead saints and sinners will not be raised till after the thousand years' reign of the martyrs and their martyred King shall have been fulfilled. To heaven they will ascend, and with Jesus they shall reign during one thousand years as a happy reversion for their sorrows and lives lost for the Lord's sake. The first resurrection and the burial of Anti-Christ shall be contemporaneous; for when the Lord appears for salvation to his saints, it will always be to the destruction of his and their enemies. Hence the heavens and the earth, sun, moon, and stars, mountains and valleys, oceans and seas, cities and the wilderness, are all grouped together in the pictures and visions of this terrible day the Lord.
From these premises, so far detailed, we presume our third proposition begins to appear probable, at least, to all who inquire diligently what the Spirit says to the churches. Let every one who has an ear to hear, regard what the Spirit says to the churches. He who testifies these things, says, Surely I come quickly.
|"When the King of kings comes,
When the Lord of lords comes;
We shall have a joyful day
When the King of kings comes: 
To see the nations broken down,
And kingdoms once of great renown,
And saints, now suff'ring, wear the crown
When the King of kings comes!"
REVIEW OF ARCHIPPUS--No. III.
THE question of justification is a question which all confess to be worthy of the most serious, solemn, and profound investigation. It is now revived. The meaning of christian immersion has called up this question in a new form, and has elicited, and is likely still to elicit, a peculiar attention. We are bold to affirm our conviction that since the great apostacy from original christianity, justification has not been placed clearly, fully, scripturally, satisfactorily before the minds of any portion of the community.
Expecting to have seen before this date the remarks of Mr. Andrew Broaddus on the "Extra, No. 1, on Remission of Sins," we have delayed offering to our readers any remarks on the subject of remission of sins under the term justification. Archippus has made it necessary that we should pay some attention to it sooner than we had contemplated. What appears to us a confused view of the doctrine of justification, lies at the bottom of the opposition to immersion for the forgiveness of sins. In anticipation of the forthcoming review of Mr. Broaddus, and in reply to the essays of Archippus on the import of baptism as preached to the Gentiles, we are constrained to call the attention of our readers to the "doctrine of justification." Archippus and Mr. Broaddus, however they may agree in the import of immersion, appear to stand upon the ground that the Gentiles are justified by faith ALONE. Now, reader, is it not strange that differing from them both, and they differ from one another in some respects, we should take the same premises; or, in other words, contend with them that we are justified by faith, and yet preach immersion for the remission of sins? Such, however, is the fact, as the sequel will show.
Every thing here, as in all other discussions and examinations, depends on the proper definition of the terms. The "doctrine" of justification is with us the meaning of the word justification: for words are signs of ideas, and therefore our ideas are known by words. The first question here, then, is, In what sense did the Jews, or rather in what sense did the Apostles use the terms justify, justified, justification? This decided, and we are prepared to examine the objections of our dissenting brethren.
Ask the gentlemen of the forum, or rather the members of the courts of judicature, what this term imports in their usage, and we vouch for them they will not say that to be justified and to be pardoned are the same thing. Nay, they will assert that they cannot be applied to the same person in the same state. The person justified with them cannot be pardoned; and he that is with them pardoned, cannot be justified; for he is condemned. Hence pardons come not to the justified, but to the condemned. To justify a person with them  is to prove him innocent of the crime alleged--it is to declare him just; and, therefore, he that is justified with them has nothing to be forgiven. Commentators on law and religion admit this to be the forensic import of the term. But the question is, Did the Jews, or did the Apostles use the term in the forensic use? Or did they use it as equivalent to pardon? To decide this matter with certainty, we have only to examine the use of the term in all the passages in which it occurs. Some of them will doubtless furnish decisive evidences of the meaning which they applied to justify, justified, and justification.
After a diligent examination of all the passages in which this term occurs, we are assured that, with them, to be pardoned and to be justified represented the same state, or the same act; and, therefore, pardon and justification were, with them, synonymous. For examples:--
Before detailing these examples which fix its meaning in reference to the question of personal justification or pardon, it ought to be remarked that the word is sometimes used in a forensic sense when applied to persons not needing pardon. Thus Jesus is said to have been justified in, or by the Spirit; i. e. declared to be just, or fully sustained in all his pretensions to he the Messiah. "Wisdom is also justified of her children." "By thy words thou shalt be justified." "That thou mightest he justified in thy sayings," sustained or proved to he just and true. But these are not to the point, and we only allude to them for the sake of the captious.
In reference to sinners, it is equivalent to pardon. Acts xiii. 39. "Through this man is proclaimed to you the forgiveness of sins, and by him all that believe are justified from all things (from all sins) from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses." Here it certainly is equivalent to pardon or forgiveness of sins. Thus the term "justified" is used always in the Acts of Apostles. Paul, in the Romans, uses it in the same sense, chap. iv. verse 5. "God justifieth the ungodly." In proof of this justification of the ungodly, he quotes David saying, "Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered! Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." The non-imputation of sin, the remission of it, and justification, are here shown to be convertible phrases--of the same sense and meaning. In the same chapter, verse 25, the Apostle says Jesus was delivered for our offences and raised again, not for our offences, but for the removal of them--"for our justification." In the 5th chapter also it is used in the same sense:--condemnation for one offence and justification from many offences are contrasted to show the difference between the Fall and the free gift by Jesus. But, indeed, it is always used in this sense when a change of state is spoken of, or when sinners are said to be justified.
The term "justify," and all its derivatives, being thus defined, we are now prepared to inquire whether a man is justified or pardoned by faith. If we ask the Westminster Assembly they will soon decide the matter. They ask the question and answer it for us:--
"Quest. 70. What is justification?"
"Ans. Justification is an act of God's free grace unto sinners, in  "Which he pardoneth all their sin, (very good) accepteth and accounteth their persons righteous in his sight, (very good) not for any thing wrought in them, or done by them, but only for the perfect obedience and full satisfaction of Christ by God imputed to them, and received by faith alone."
This by faith alone is Archippus' and I think my friend Broaddus' answer to the question. I would say by faith alone too, had it not been that James positively says "not by faith alone." "You see," says James, "that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone." That a man is justified by faith, both Paul and James declare; but neither of them will say by faith alone. This is just the jet of the whole controversy--by faith in connexion with other considerations, or by faith alone.
Those who preach pardon by faith alone, among whom is my friend Archippus, rely upon those passages which speak of justification and faith as connected; such as "God will justify the pagan by faith," or "being justified by faith," &c. not considering that none of them says what the Assembly's catechism says, viz: that we are justified by faith alone. We preach that a man is justified by faith; but they add "alone." Now we have the scriptures, and they have not; and that is all the difference between us. They have not a verse, from Genesis to Revelation, which says "by faith alone"--we have one that says "not by faith alone," and some that ascribe pardon and justification to other principles, as worthy of having "alone" attached to them as faith.
I would ask my friends who proclaim faith alone, whether they would allow us to say by grace alone, by blood alone, by works alone, by water alone, by knowledge alone? and it must be confessed that sinners are said to be justified, or pardoned, or saved, by each of these. "By grace you are saved;" but not by grace alone--"God has saved you by the washing of regeneration;" but not by the washing of regeneration only--"Baptism does also now save us;" but not baptism alone--"justified by his blood;" but not by his blood alone--"you see that a man is justified by works;" but not by works alone. If, then, they will not allow us to add "alone" to grace, blood, water, works; we will not allow them to add "alone" to faith. Grace, blood, knowledge, faith, water, the Holy Spirit, and good works, are all necessary to the enjoyment of the full salvation of the gospel. Hence either justification or salvation is ascribed to each of these, in the oracles of God--"You are justified freely by his grace, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus"--"Being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him"--"By the knowledge of him shall my righteous servant justify many, whose iniquities he shall have borne"--"Being justified by faith, we have peace with God"--"Immersion does also now save us, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead"--"God has saved us, not by works of righteousness (previously done) but by his own mercy through the bath of regeneration and the renewal of the Holy Spirit. You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone." Give, then, to  each of these its due, its proper place in the development and enjoyment of the salvation of the gospel, and we have the whole Apostolic doctrine; but so soon as any sectary comes with his pen and places alone when and where he pleases, and thus excludes one, or changes the order of some of these great principles, he assumes the character of him whom we Protestants distinguish by the appellation of Anti-Christ. We speak not of any of the human family who have not had the gospel preached to them, but of those to whom the word of this salvation is sent, and to them we say, that each and all of these are necessary to the full enjoyment of this salvation. You must confess to salvation as well as believe to righteousness; you must have the knowledge of God and his Son Jesus Christ; you must have the grace of God and receive the blood of Christ, and be immersed into the name of the Lord Jesus, as well as implicitly rely upon all that is promised in the book. So we speak to all those who have ears to hear what the Spirit of God testifies to mankind concerning Jesus and his salvation.
In hopes that Archippus and my friend Andrew Broaddus will give all that consideration which is due to these remarks, I have, in reply to the former and in anticipation of the latter, hastily sketched the premises for various arguments, which shall be forthcoming when occasion requires.
Please, reader, remember these are but premises. Yet from them we have, we think, already concluded, to the conviction or confutation of all opponents, that, to say salvation comes, is received, or enjoyed by faith alone, is not of God, but of man.
THE TIMES.--No. V.
A. W. CLOPTON.
Mr. A. W. CLOPTON, having abandoned his proposed review of my works, or deferred it, continues to issue his Nos. without discussing any one point, or attempting to sustain his views from the sacred oracles. He has great use for letters from the opponents of reform; and he swells his notices with the opinions of his coadjutors in the work of detraction, slander, and misrepresentation. Men like Mr. Garner McConnico, of Franklin, Tennessee, whose reputation at home for the morality of christianity can obtain them no influence in society, and whose preaching falls dead from their lips, not only because of its inherent insipidity, but because of the insincerity of their lives, count as witnesses against reformation at the distance of seven hundred or a thousand miles from home. Far would it be from me to suppose or to insinuate that all who write letters to order for A. W. Clopton, are, such Corinthians or Thyatirans as Mr. Clopton's brother of the South, or his Winters1 brother of the North. We know that the influence of the chief of his letter writers, like spurious paper, is incomparably more current abroad than at home. 
Some good men are necessary to sustain even the most popular projects; and I might add, that a few names of towering reputation for morality will, like Noah, carry in the same ark a goodly number of "unclean beasts" and reptiles, all useful in making up a world. But this is his mode of warfare, to enlist all to whom reformation is most offensive, (because, perhaps, they need so much of it themselves) to write letters to him in proof of the errors of reformers and the soundness of his own faith, and then, after mutually endorsing for one another, to send their paper into market as a safe medium of religious merchandizing in the wares of the gospel.
I pay no attention to these endorsers, knowing the real value of their estates; and I would as willingly take the paper of Andrew Fuller without the name of A. W. Clopton, G. McConnico, or ever, John Kerr, of Richmond, as when endorsed by the three. Concerning the latter kind and courteous gentleman, I could have wished, from motives of personal friendship, to have seen him more prudent and cautious about lending his name to those who have recently made themselves his friends from policy rather than affection. But Mr. Clopton and his endorsers, en masse, cannot sustain a single position in opposition to the cause we plead, by an appeal, logical and fair, to the Book that will judge us all in the great day. By that I stand or fall. And so must they.
I do not receive "the Index" regularly, owing to miscarriages, and have not all the numbers at hand. But I presume I have read, with the exception of one, all the Budgets of my friend Clopton, without any other conviction than that he feels his inability to sustain his own cause, or oppose that which I plead, by any other means than human testimony. On that he relies from first to last. I must acknowledge that my estimate of his character as an honest but prejudiced man has lowered with every piece I have seen from his pen. His foul insinuations and recklessness of truth in avowing that I was the author of certain pieces in the Christian Baptist signed "Querens," extinguished the last hope that he was rather the child of prejudice than "of wrath even as others." Neither did a whole number, written to clear himself from being the inventor and lover of such frauds, exculpate him in the least. I would engage to tell him, and will, on his application, give him the name of the author of those pieces, if he will not publish it, and if he will acknowledge his mistake and promise to reform.
I was willing at one time to allow that a good man might be so far mistaken as to think it his duty to preach and travel as solicitor for the Star and Columbian College at a decent salary per annum, and suppose that in so doing he was acting like a missionary of the cross and in duty bound to oppose any thing under the name of reformation which endangered his standing, in this relation, with the people; 1 say, I was willing to give such a one the credit of honesty and good intentions; but if a person will raze in our bosom the last favorable impression, what can we do but give up to him his own character, and permit him to be the architect of his own fortune and reputation. 
He has taken the bounty from the friends of the present order of things, and is now bound to sustain the schemes which sustain him. I would not make him a covenant-breaker, if in my power; and will therefore permit him to fulfil his day, and patiently wait for the going down of the sun. But should he ever dare to trust his cause to even a single argument other that Vox populi--Vox Dei, I will attend to it. But we have something else to do than to wrangle with A. W. Clopton about on which side of the question stood or stand certain men, or whether their standing on that side is any proof that it was, or is, the cause of God. Good and respectable names have unfortunately been found arrayed against reformation in every age. Even in the time of the Apostles there were seventy elders out of seventy-two who continued firm to the last breath in opposition to the holy Twelve. Annas, Caiaphas, John and Alexander Herod, Pontius Pilate, with many of the grandees and nobles in the Jewish nation and out of it, kept the great mass of the people in opposition to the proclaimers of reformation. Their names are inscribed upon a page more durable, to say the least, than that in which stands the Catholic anti-reformers, or that on which Mr. Clopton desires to enrol G. McConnico and his Virginia brotherhood.
But the times have changed somewhat, and he that thinks to carry a cause by the dint of name preceded by Rabbi, Rev. or Venerable, may perhaps live to see the day when his own friends will deride and blame him for a course which, however wise and judicious in the times of Wickliffe, Huss, or Luther, was ridiculous in the year of grace 1831.
But this is one of the most discriminating characters of the age in which we live. No man trusts himself to argue the cause at the bar of reason and revelation. All confide on their standing with the people, and allege the old argument of numbers and respectability, which the Catholics played off with so much advantage to their cause against the Protestant Reformation. One-sided publications from the pulpit and the press; groundless insinuations against them who have sacrificed all that the age will permit them to sacrifice in the cause of the ancient gospel; and appeals to the passions and prejudices of the people, backed by the names of those in authority, constitute that mighty triumvirate which seeks to control the public mind and manners of the age.
HINTS ON DECORUM.
I BELONG to a church which has got into some difficulties in consequence of the want of experience. We are all young disciples; none of us have been baptized more than two years; and, with the exception of myself and two others, all have been baptized within the last fifteen months. We are now about forty-eight in number, and are all zealous in keeping the commandments of our Lord and Master. Our meetings are spiritedly kept up; but we fail in being able to conduct them so much to our edification as I think we ought. Two or  three of us are much in favor of devoting a part of the day to the examination of the Scriptures, and to making our remarks upon them; but on some occasions we have got into something like a debate, and I have thought the feelings of some have been hurt on all such occasions. We have had one case of discipline, but were more embarrassed to understand the law in the case, than in estimating the merits of the difficulty. Could you give us some hints, the result of your experience; for it appears there is no law nor necessity for a law in the New Testament for conducting meetings? The things to be done are taught, but we are left to right reason for the manner of doing them; at least so I conclude. Will you communicate through the "Harbinger?"
|H------, Ohio, May 21, 1831.|
Dear brother J. T.
I WOULD not, if I could, sketch out a routine of church etiquette, or of christian courtesy. In these matters, where the Apostles have not enjoined, we ought to be free. We ought also to avoid all the stiffness and formality which spring from law, or mere rules of decorum. But as you merely ask for my experience in one matter, I will suggest the outlines of it in especial reference to matters of discussion. I will, Deo volente, call the attention of our readers to church discipline after some matters on hands are disposed of; till then I will only suggest as follows:--
Since the fashion of occupying the Lord's day in delivering and hearing public orations on religion has obtained so universally, presidents, or those elders to rule well named by the Apostles, have become unnecessary in conducting the worship and edification of christian congregations. Our teachers, improperly called bishops, except in so far as they oversee themselves doing every thing--reading, praying, preaching, baptizing, and administering ordinances, &c. have not the office, and are not acquainted with the duties of a president of a christian congregation. "Let him who presides do it with care" applies not to them, nor to any officer known in popular establishments.
When a society of disciples meets on the Lord's day for the reasons which convoked the primitive disciples, they cannot proceed to any of the duties or privileges of the day without the appointment of some persons to office, or unless some person assumes the office requisite to the different parts of christian worship.
He that says, "Brethren, let us read, sing, or pray," acts the part of a president; and he who takes charge of the contributions of the brethren acts the steward or deacon, whether he assumed it or is appointed by the brethren. Our object in this essay is not to attempt an investigation or development of the nature or necessity of the appointment of persons to preside in such congregations where there is no bishops and where they meet for mutual edification and worship; but rather to suggest a few hints on the manners and customs which ought to be practised in these assemblies. 
In the first place, the congregation having agreed upon the hours of coming together and of adjournment, and having some person to preside for the day, the first thing after the usual salutation of the brethren is, that the president opens the meeting by declaring the purposes for which they have come together. The president of any body, civil or religious, simply presides, introduces the business of the meeting, and is the organ through which the church speaks. He is therefore the speaker of the house--not because he speaks most, but because he speaks with authority. He is the tongue of the congregation. He is therefore to be honored as such; for in honoring him the congregation honors itself.
If he call upon a brother to preside at the Lord's table, or to read, sing, or pray; that person is to suppose himself called by the church to officiate in that capacity: for as every body expresses its will by its mouth, so the christian body expresses its will by its mouth, or tongue, which we have seen is the person officiating for the time being, with the consent of the body, as the president, speaker, or mouth of the assembly.
No person can, with propriety or any authority, introduce any thing into the assembly, can propose any subject, ask any question, make any motion, take part in any discussion or examination without leave of the president. Hence the necessity of having seniors, or the most experienced, prudent, and grave persons in an assembly selected for this office: and so many of them as will not leave the church to the hazard of being unorganized at any meeting, either by the sickness, absence, or any failure of one president.
In the conducting of the worship, few difficulties, if any, can occur in ordinary meetings; not so, however, in the reading, examination, or discussion of any portion of scripture, question, or case of discipline. Right reason says that when the president of any meeting, or any member through him and with his consent, introduces any topic of consideration, and declares it a proper subject of deliberation for the time being; in the consideration of that subject the following rules of order ought to be regarded:--
1. That no member speak more than once on the subject, without special leave of the president.
2. That in speaking upon the subject, he always speak to the point; and that he never impugns or arraigns the motives from which any thing is said by any member who may occupy the attention of the meeting.
3. That every speaker regard, in all his remarks, the character of the christian institution, and consider the christian congregation as the house of the living God, the temple of the Holy Spirit; and that, therefore, the utmost gravity, dignity, and solemnity, should appear in all that he says, both in matter and manner.
A few words on each of these rules of decorum shall close the present essay.
The reason of the first rule is, "Let all things be done to the edification of the congregation." If, therefore, one person speak repeatedly  on the same subject, the congregation will be deprived of the full advantage of the knowledge and understanding of all its members. Again, if a brother reply to another who may differ from him, the deliberation is converted into a debate which ought never to be introduced into a worshipping assembly. Besides, when any brother gives his views upon any subject, and another differs from him in any respect, he ought not to feel himself bound more than any other member to sustain them. It is the privilege of the church to act from the best lights she can command on all occasions, and this every speaker should feel; and therefore, except when the correction of some mistake as to his meaning becomes necessary, each speaker should wish to give place, until all who have any light to offer shall have concisely and fully given their views to the congregation.
The philosophy of the second rule is, that all suspicioning of the motives, all surmizing of evil or sinister designs, is expressly condemned both in the letter and spirit of the christian institution. It is ungentlemanly to ascribe any improper motive to a member of political society; and it is as unchristian among the disciples of Christ to impugn or suspect the motives of any brother of aught that is unbecoming, as it is ungentlemanly among the citizens of this present evil world to impute an unworthy motive to a fellow-citizen.
The grounds and reasons of the third rule is, that all levity, all frivolity, all jesting, smiling, or any thing in the common parlance of the street, counting-house, forum, or fireside, is beneath the dignity of the author of the christian religion, and of that institution of which he is the head. Let every thing be done with decency and order, that the Lord may be honored by his worshippers and his people sanctified through the truth.
Let no one, however, suppose that the christian disciples must in all their meetings assume such a form, or place themselves under such circumstances as a necessary part of their worship on every first day as to make the observance of these rules necessary. But when any matter of deliberation, examination, or discipline shall call for an expression of the views, or call forth all the knowledge and experience of the congregation, these rules are to be regarded as the dicta of reason enlightened by the maxims of the New Testament. Indeed, the observance of the institutions of prayer, praise, the supper, reading, teaching, exhortations from those qualified and called forward by the congregation, are the usual and ordinary matters which ought to engage the attention of the disciples on the Lord's day.
DR. GILL vs. THE ANTI-REFORMERS.
THERE is not a Baptist writer of any notoriety in England or America, and I am sure there were none among the Waldenses, who do not lay down such principles, and argue from them in such a way as to condemn all the opposition from our Baptist brethren in reference to all our efforts. But the misfortune is, that few men are consistent with themselves; and while pleading for one object, they will reason  from principles as undeniably plain and authoritative, which they do lose sight of, and sometimes impugn when writing or reasoning for another object. Such is the influence of the will upon the understanding, that not unfrequently it presents the same subject, principle, or fact in the most contradictory points of view. Dr. Gill and Andrew Fuller frequently state and contend for such principles as subvert all their own reasonings on other matters; but in one matter they are unanimous--i. e. in condemning the principles from which all our Baptist opponents act. In this matter they are wholly with us, though in other respects theoretically they are with them.
|Essex, Va. May 24, 1831.|
AS so much has been said by your opponents throughout the United States, as far as we have heard from them, of the orthodoxy of Dr. Gill and Andrew Fuller, I have spent some time in reading some of the writings of these idols of the Baptists, and have been astonished at their conduct towards you and all those who are advocating the restoration of the ancient order of things. Their conduct reminds me of the Pharisees that opposed the Messiah: they extol the writings of Moses, and scoff the sayings and doings of Jesus. Messrs. Clopton, Noel, and Co. are continually crying up these men's opinions, and charging us with innovation upon the established customs and opinions of the fathers; setting these men up as the head of the christian church. No wonder they should call every one that owns no man as master but Jesus Christ, heretics, schismatics, Campbellites, et cetera. The reason is obvious, if we apply the old adage, "They measure our corn with their bushel."
I will now send you a few of the sayings of these "fathers," that society, especially the Baptists, may see who are innovators, heretics, schismatics, &c. &c.
In a pamphlet published seventy-eight years ago, by Dr. Gill, I find the following sayings, which if you think merit a place in the Harbinger, you can use your own pleasure respecting the whole of this communication--
In opposing what is called Apostolic tradition to support infant baptism, he says:
"If it is founded upon scripture, then not upon tradition; and if upon tradition, then not upon scripture: if it is a scriptural business, then not a traditional one; and if a traditional one, then not a scriptural one: if it can be proved by scripture, that's enough; it has no need of tradition: but if it cannot be proved by that, a cart load of traditions will not support it."
Again: "We take the Bible to be the only authentic, perfect, and all-sufficient rule of faith and practice: we allow of no other head and law-giver but one, that is Christ; we deny that any man, or set of men, have any power to make laws in his house, or to decree rites  and ceremonies to be observed by his people; no, not Apostles themselves, uninspired: and this gentleman, [speaking of his opponent] out of this controversy, is of the same mind with us; who asserts the above things we do; and affirms, without the least hesitation, that what is ordained by the Apostle, without any precept from the Lord, or any particular direction of the Holy Spirit, is not at all obligatory, as a law, upon the consciences of christians. Even the Apostles had no dominion over the faith and practice of christians but what was given them by the special presence and Spirit of Christ, the only lawgiver, Lord, and sovereign of the church. They were to teach only the things which he commanded them; and whatever they enjoined under the influence of that Spirit, was to be considered and obeyed as the injunctions of Christ: but if they enjoined any thing in the church, without the peculiar influence and direction of this Spirit,--that is, as merely fallible and unassisted men--in that case, their injunctions had no authority over conscience, and every man's own reason had authority to examine and discuss their injunctions, as they approved themselves to his private judgment, to observe them or not.2 Should we grant what you ask, [says he to his antagonist] that the church in the present age has the same authority and power as the church in the Apostles' age, considered as being under any immediate and extraordinary guidance of the Holy Spirit, what will you gain by it? This same authority and power is, you see, sir, really no power nor authority at all."
Dr. Gill now replies to his opponent in the following language: "The controversy between us and our brethren on this head, is the same as between Papists and Protestants about tradition, and between the Church of England and Dissenters, about the church's power to decree rites and ceremonies; viz. Whether Christ is the sole head and law-giver in his church, or whether any set of men have a power to set aside, alter, and change any laws of his, or prescribe new ones? If the latter, then we own it is all over with us, and we ought to submit, and not carry on this dispute any further. But since we both profess to make the Bible our religion, and that only the rule of our faith and practice, let us unite upon this common principle, and reject every tradition of men, and all rites and ceremonies which Christ hath not enjoined on us; let us join in pulling down this prop of popery, and remove this scandal of the Protestant church." [Superexcellent!]
Again, speaking of baptizing, he says, "The rendering of the words 'disciple, or proselyte all nations, baptizing them,' will not help the cause of infant baptism; for one cannot he a proselyte to any religion unless he is taught it, embraces, and professes it."
In speaking of the fitness of a candidate for baptism he tells us before whom the candidate is to appear. "Actual faith itself is not sufficient, without a profession of it; the man that has it ought to  declare it to the satisfaction of the administrator, ere he admits him to the ordinance--(he cites) Acts viii. 36. 37."
In his reasons for the Baptists dissenting from the Church of England, he assigns the following as some:
"Though we are not against reading the scriptures in private and in public, yet we cannot approve of the manner the liturgy directs unto; namely, the reading it by piecemeals, by bits and scraps, so mangled and curtailed as the Gospels and Epistles. We see not why any part of the scripture be omitted; and the order of these being an invention of a Pope of Rome.
"Matrimony, which seems to favor the popish notion of making a sacrament of it; whereas it is a mere civil contract between a man and a woman, and in which a minister has nothing to do. Nor do we ever read of any priest or Levite that was ever concerned in the solemnization of it between other persons, under the Old Testament, or of any Apostle, or minister of the word, under the New; not to say any thing of the form of it.
"The burial of the dead; which is a mere civil action, and belongs not to a gospel minister, but to the relations of the deceased, or other neighbors, friends and acquaintances--Matth. viii. 21, 22. Nor is there any necessity for a place to be consecrated for such a purpose. Abraham and Sarah were buried in a cave--Deborah under an oak--Joshua in a field--Samuel in his house--and Christ in a garden. Nor do the scriptures ever make mention of any service being read, or of any divine worship being performed at the interment of the dead."
Again. "We cannot conform to the Church of England, because it is of a persecuting spirit. The reproaches and revilings which are daily cast upon us from the pulpit and the press, as well as in conversation, show the same."
Thus writes this good old Father. Who are innovators, heretics, schismatics, &c. according to his showing? Let the whole earth judge. You have often shown that our Baptist brethren have neither reason nor revelation to sustain them, and here their old father Gill condemns them. I wonder if they will take conviction from what he has said, as they will not hear what Jesus and his Apostles have said?
I intended giving some extracts from Fuller, but my sheet is nearly full. One only must suffice--
"Do you then suppose error to be innocent? The answer to this question must depend upon the cause from which it springs. If it arise from the want of natural power, or opportunity of obtaining evidence, it is mere mistake, and contains in it nothing of moral evil. But if it arise from prejudice, neglect, or an evil bias of heart, it is otherwise, and may endanger our eternal salvation."
If our brethren are opposing us from prejudice, as we have reason to believe, Fuller condemns them. They do manifestly neglect an opportunity, and show an evil bias of heart, by refusing us the liberty of free discussion in the houses of worship we have always been accustomed to, and for which many of us have paid our money; as  well the rights of conscience. They labor to prejudice others by, a palpable misrepresentation of truth.--See the resolutions of the King and Queen Conference, which have been denied by every friend of reform; not one tittle of evidence has been produced to support them. If these brethren do not stand before the public as "false accusers," I am at a loss to understand the meaning of such words.
|Yours in a precious Redeemer,|
|T. M. HENLEY.|
JEMIMA WILKINSON, the daughter of Jeremiah Wilkinson, an adherent of the society of Friends, was born in the town of Cumberland, Rhode Island, in the year 1751. She was the eighth child of her mother, an ardent Quaker, who died when Jemima was eight years old. She was left under the care of her sisters, her father being occupied on his farm so exclusively as to attend very little to the education of his children.
Jemima exhibited no peculiarity of character till her 16th year, except an unconquerable aversion to every thing, called labor. No authority, persuasion, nor entreaty, could overcome her dislike to domestic attentions and industry. At 16 she had become a fine blooming girl, sprightly in her manners, comely in her person, and upon the whole possessed of no ordinary share of beauty. She took it into her head at this time to learn the profession of a tailoress. But that aversion to patient industry which made her solicitous of leaving home, caused her soon to abandon the business, and, after ten months she returned back to her father's house. For the next seven years nothing occurred in her history worthy of note, except the many contests with her sisters about her passion for dress, and her total neglect of the affairs of the family.
In her native county of Providence, in 1774, there sprang up a sect of fanatics, called "New Lights," or "New Light Baptists." These enthusiasts went all for the Spirit, and received into their communion none but those who fancied themselves "to be constantly guided by an illumination directly from heaven." These after a time attracted the serious attention of some, and the curiosity of others. The meetings of this new sect Jemima frequented for a time, much to her reformation from gaiety and dress, though she never was possessed of such a share of their spirit as to qualify her for full membership. These fanatics soon died away: for when their fervor abated and reason returned the scheme was charmless in their eyes. Jemima, however, began from that time to think about religion and to read religious books. Novels, romances, poetry, and other light compositions constituted her former reading; but now the Bible and religious books occupied her attention, which diminished her passion for dress and visiting.
About midsummer, in the year 1775, she secluded herself from society, and kept her bed, complaining of ill health. Physician found no symptoms of bodily ailment, and gave it as their opinion  that she was the subject of some strong delusion. In the September following she became still worse, talked of visions of angels and extraordinary visitations from the skies. Nightly watches were called in to attend upon her bed. Still the physician declared that she labor under no corporeal malady. In the latter end of October, 1775, two neighboring women being in waiting upon her all night, who, far from superstition and fanaticism, were entertained by her for some time with marvellous details of visitations and visions; but being incredulous, and not regarding her in any other light than as laboring under some hallucination of the understanding, her tales passed for nothing. At length she pointed to the tremulous motion of the curtains of her bed in proof of the presence of the Lord. One of them, however, observed that this motion of the curtains was occasioned by pressing her feet against the wall at the foot of her bed. She vexed her attendants in this way till 11 o'clock, when she appeared to fall into a slight slumber. She lay pale and motionless till after the clock struck 12. At this instant she arose, as if she had awakened from a long and refreshing sleep, and in an authoritative manner called for her apparel, affirming that she had passed the gates of death and was now risen from the dead. The family were awaked. The father regarding it as a whim, interposed his authority; but to no purpose. She declared she would obey none but the higher powers, obtained her clothing, and walked the house in apparently as good health as she ever enjoyed, though somewhat enfeebled and emaciated by her long confinement. When many of her neighbors came to see her and congratulate her upon her recovery, she denied that it was Jemima Wilkinson that they saw, and affirmed that Jemima's soul was in heaven, and that her body was reanimated by the power and spirit of Jesus Christ; that this was the second coming of Jesus Christ, who was to reign on earth a thousand years; that it was the eleventh hour, and the last call of mercy which should ever be made to the human race; that an inquiry was made in heaven, saying, "Who will go and preach to a dying world?" and she answered, "Here am I--send me"' Thereupon she immediately descended from heaven in order to pass through many trials and sufferings for the happiness of mankind. On leaving the realms of bliss it had been given her to choose whether she would be received back into heaven, bodily, at the end of the first ten days of her terrestrial residence, or remain on earth and encounter all difficulties and trials for the benefit of mankind for one thousand years, and then receive a corporeal translation into heaven. She informed her friends that she had chosen to reign on earth a thousand years, and that the tabernacle which she inhabited was immortal, and at the close of a thousand years would be taken up in a cloud to glory. She protested that those who refused to believe these things would he in the state of the unbelieving Jews who rejected the counsel of God against themselves.
She soon began to preach these things of herself. Her friends were vexed with her arrogance and obstinacy, and others were intimidated by her set manner of speech, the firmness of her voice, the  inflexibility of her countenance, and the steady and intense glare of her eyes. No one at first believed in her preposterous pretensions. She attended all the meetings in her vicinity, and declared that all earthly relationships were with her at an end. She called herself "the Universal Friend," and recognized no person as a relative; disowned her father and all her kindred as not now standing in such relations to her.
Her fame spread abroad into remote places, and she was invited to visit them. In her perambulations she visited Newport, Providence, North and South Kingston in Rhode Island, and some principal places in Connecticut and Massachusetts. She rejected all the peculiarities of all sects--sacraments, creeds, ceremonies, all church government, and "most of the leading doctrines of christianity." She made a number of proselytes, first of the poor and ignorant, and afterwards of the better informed and wealthy. To the conversion of the wealthy she turned her whole attention. Several joined her society, and very large contributions were made for her use. Once she had a project on foot for going to England to preach her gospel there; but really in hopes of finding a husband in a British officer with whom she had got acquainted at Newport; and as an outfit for this religious mission, large donations were made. One of her followers contributed 1000 dollars for this religious purpose. But the death of her paramour, reported in a newspaper which fell into her hands just as she was about to sail, defeated the whole project; and telling her friends that she was advised in a vision to take care of her flock at home, she continued to proclaim in New England.
A sort of joint stock, or community of goods, was next preached to her disciples, and efforts were made to set it on foot. The rich did not so well relish this proposition, but the poor extolled it as the perfection of religion. However, to please them both she made the rich keepers of the stock, and the richest man was treasurer for the community, and each was left to contribute as much or as little as he pleased to this treasury. Whatever was necessary for the wants or wishes of Jemima was cheerfully communicated, for her demands were always made in these words, "The Lord has need of this thing." No one of her society dared to refuse such a demand as this, by which means Jemima lived in the most luxurious style.
She established several societies in different parts of the country, and her followers were so devoted to her, that no errors, no failures in working miracles which she attempted, no impostures, no actual crimes in which she was detected, could cause them to abandon her institutions. Not theft, attempted murder, an effort to walk upon the water, nor a pretence to raise to life a living man placed in a coffin as if dead, (in all of which acts she was fairly and fully detected,) could weaken the confidence of her admirers, or cause them to desert her standard. Several wealthy families were ruined in their circumstances, and rendered ridiculous in society through their persevering devotion to this "Universal Friend."
When the symptoms of approaching dissolution began to appear,  and to threaten the rapid flight of her thousand years, some of her friends interpreted them into proofs of the falling of her tabernacle only, and not as if indicative that she should go the way of all the earth. They could not brook the idea that she would literally die. But no fanaticism can change the course of nature. Jemima felt she must die, and began to inform her attendants that she must soon leave them. Towards the evening of the day of her death, she said, "My friends, I must soon depart: I am going: this night I leave you."--She died about 2 o'clock in the morning of July 1, 1810, aged 68 years.
A few of her flock expected that her disease would terminate her earthly career, and were prepared for the event; but the major part of them could not, and did not believe that she was dead when it was reported to them. They regarded the report as an insult to their understanding, and when they actually saw the corpse they were at first shocked exceedingly, it is true; but were rallied by the representation of the interested part of the fraternity that she had only left them for a while, and that her spirit was about to become resident among them and to be the guardian angel of all her followers. They refused to bury the body and, indeed, all the usual rites paid to the dead were dispensed with, and most of her followers knew not what use was made of the body, or where it was finally placed. The society has diminished rapidly since her death, in defiance of all the representations of her deceived and deceiving followers. She bequeathed a considerable property, which she obtained in New York, to some of her confederates, by whom her authority was maintained, though she had so often failed to redeem her pledges and promises to work miracles.
She was regarded by her followers in the light of a divinity, and her body as the tabernacle of the Lord and his Spirit. On her principal followers she bestowed the most extravagant titles: One was "the Prophet Daniel;" another, "the Prophet Elijah." In return they paid to her all homage, ascribed to her divine powers, and regarded her as the second appearance of Jesus Christ.
This sketch of her history I have gleaned from a volume of more than 200 pages, written by David Hudson, of New York, in which is a pretty full account of the rise, progress, and conclusion of her ministry.
This we give to our readers as another instance of the facility with which many become the prey of the most extravagant impostors, and wild delusions. No story can be invented, however romantic, unreasonable, and ridiculous, for which some believers cannot be found; and the pertinacity with which the deluded cleave to these romances is in the ratio of their absurdity. The less plausible, or rather the more incredible the tale, the stronger the faith of the infatuated. The believers in Jemima's mission had their visions of angels, impulses, and illuminations from heaven, so frequent and so unambiguous, that they lived and died in the full assurance of faith in her mission and pretensions. 
Perhaps few preachers on the continent could boast of more "seals to their ministry," of more thorough converts, of more persevering believers, than could this preacheress of one of the most barefaced lies ever told. So dangerous it is to expect new impulses, visions, and revelations from heaven, that where the expectation is entertained there is no hitherto can be fixed as the ultimatum of folly and madness to which men and women may be driven.
IT may appear strange to some that on the subject of converting the world we can quote with approbation a passage from the work of John Howard Hinton, quoted, commended and extolled by the Editor of the "Christian Index." But this cannot appear more strange to any person than it does to us, that Mr. Brantly should extol these ideas, coming from England, which were in substance exhibited in the 1st volume of the Christian Baptist, and, together with our other remarks on the same subject, reprobated, condemned as detrimental to the conversion of the world! I must object to some of the phrases in the following extract, for reasons well known to most of our readers; but with the scope and design of the whole I am not only well pleased, but have for years contended for the same course, as the only effectual moral means of converting the world. Make every citizen a soldier, officers are still necessary, but make every citizen a soldier of the cross, and a preacher of righteousness. I have no doubt but if many of our views were published in a new style in England, and printed by such judicious men as Lincoln and Edmunds, of Boston, even Mr. Brantly could, with all good conscience, quote and recommend them. But this Brooke county is in Western Virginia, and we cannot remove it, nor remove from it. Not even a call as loud as my friend Brantly's could place us in Second-street, Philadelphia.
|ED. M. H.|
A LITTLE BOOK MAY PROVE A GREAT BLESSING.
We have read with deep emotion a small work, by the Rev. John Howard Hinton, a Baptist preacher in England, on the all-absorbing subject of REVIVALS. We hasten to acquaint our readers with the existence of such a book, and with the further fact, that those judicious publishers, Lincoln & Edmunds, of Boston, have made a very neat American edition of it, in about 100 pages. Mr. Hinton has touched the true spring of useful action in the Christian church; and has developed with much clearness the genuine method of extending the influence of Gospel principles. He does not undertake to show the means by which an extraordinary excitement may be produced for a time, nor to lay down rules for the direction of those special events which distinguish the periods usually denominated revivals; but his plan is to point out the easiest and the surest way of making true religion universal. We shall allow him to speak for himself.
"You will not suppose me to depreciate for a moment either of  those most important and obligatory means of aiding the progress of religion, the stated ministry of the Gospel, or missions to the heathen; but place even them in comparison with universal endeavor, and the result will be greatly in its favor. Missionaries and ministers are comparatively few, and provided with difficulty; individual effort brings hundreds of thousands of laborers into the field in a moment. The support of ministers and missionaries involves (however unwillingly) a large annual expenditure; but for every christian to labor at home, costs absolutely nothing. Missionaries have to make great sacrifices, to run great risks, and often to fill an early grave; while individual effort involves no hazard, bereaves no parent, afflicts no family. A man sent abroad goes as a stranger, with a thousand impediments to encounter; in seeking to convert our neighbors and our friends, our way is open, our countenances are known, our language is understood, our influence is felt, our intention is appreciated. Private christians have many advantages over ministers of the gospel, even in the most favored circumstances. The one speak in virtue of their office, and often under a degree of suspicion as to their sincerity; the other can speak from no motive but unfeigned love. The one can address their hearers but occasionally; the other may do it frequently, and follow up their instructions by almost incessant watchfulness and admonition. The one speak as comparative strangers; the other may employ the more touching eloquence of social kindness, of ardent friendship, and perhaps of fraternal or paternal love. The one can speak only to those who choose to attend on their ministry; the other are scattered through society in all its paths, and can carry instruction and reproof to the heedless and abandoned. Had there been nothing instituted, therefore, but the public preaching of the gospel, whether at home or abroad, the easiest, most extensive, and most effectual means of converting the world would have been overlooked. Superficial observers might have conceived that little result could have been expected, from even a multitude of such feeble efforts as those of individual christians, in the same way as one might at first exclaim, Who would think of setting bounds to the sea by a sand bank? but He who knew that grains of sand form the only effectual barrier to the raging waters, discerned too that grains of salt would best season the corrupted world. He has, indeed, done well in instituting a public ministry; but the consummateness of His wisdom lies in evoking the individual energy of his people. 'YE are the salt of the earth; YE are the light of the world.'
"'Ye are the salt of the earth.' It is as though He had said, 'By my grace I have fitted you, and in my good pleasure I have appointed you, to be the instruments of converting the world. Be YE the salt of the earth. Every where let your influence be felt, and your capabilities exerted.' The text necessarily assumes this aspect, because the result anticipated implies and requires the voluntary effort of the followers of Christ. The corrupt earth will not be seasoned by the mere fact of christians being scattered through it, without their  endeavors to instruct, to convince and to persuade. The Lord's declaration, therefore, must be our directory. Let us charge it upon ourselves solemnly, if we are His disciples indeed, that it be with us an object of real and practical endeavor to do every thing that can be done for the conversion of sinners. We are not called upon merely to cherish a desire, however fervent, that sinners may be converted, or even to pray, with whatever enlargement, for this blessing; neither are we to content ourselves with remote and indirect efforts for this end, such as supporting the ministry of the gospel, or promoting missions to the heathen: that which is demanded is our personal labor. We are individually summoned to use the direct means of conversion; to be the salt of the earth.
"The means of conversion are of great variety. Among them undoubtedly may be reckoned endeavors to circulate the Holy Scriptures, and to put into the hands of every man the Volume which is able to make him wise unto salvation. But this is not all, nor even chief. The intention of Christ, as expressed in this passage, plainly is, that the actual character of His disciples should be brought into complete contact with that of ungodly men; for they are the salt of the earth. The words lead us of necessity, therefore, to the use of such means of conversion as express this character; namely, to conversation of an instructive, convincing, or persuasive tendency; to serious admonition, or even pointed reproof; to affectionate prayer, and the subserviency to this object of all the intercourse of life, as the writing of letters, occasional visits, offices of kindness, and the influence of relationship or domestic association. It is thus, by direct and personal effort, that a disciple of Christ should seek the conversion of sinners.
"And this should be the attitude of every disciple. None are exempt from the appointment, none are destitute of the qualification. None are without fitness for the work, and none are at liberty to decline it. It may easily be said by some, My ability is very small: and without entering into any argument on this point, I only say, that whatever it may be, it is enough, with God's blessing, to convert sinners. Besides, does not Christ know what it is? Is it not such as he has given you? Is it not such as he requires to be employed? Do you presume to say that what he has prepared for beneficial action is unfit for it? or that what he demands for this purpose shall be refused? However small a portion, you still are a portion of the salt of the earth: see that you act as such. The less your talent, the more need of activity. Beware lest your plea of incompetency be but a cloak for your indolence. Do not so much covet the ability of others, as show diligence in the application of your own.
"It may with equal ease be said of others, My station is obscure, and my influence small. Granted: but you will also admit, on the other hand, that however narrow your circle may be, it is a circle of some dimensions that you occupy. You do not stand alone upon the earth. You have some relatives, acquaintance, and neighbors. And are they all pious? If you were to try earnestly, could not reach any who are living without God? Behold, then, your duty. Labor for the conversion of these unhappy persons; and wrap yourself no longer in the delusion, that in this direction Christ can require and expect nothing from you.
"It may with truth be alleged by a third class that they are excessively busy, and are thrown into situations in life which demand all their time and all their power; they surely may leave the work of converting sinners to more leisure hands. Yes; if you are willing to abandon your hope of salvation, and to give up your interest in Christ; but not else. If you are His disciples, you are also the salt of the earth; and not the busiest man in the world is at liberty to relinquish one part of the character, and to imagine that he can retain the other. But the allegation supposed is, in all probability, truth exaggerated into the character of falsehood. You either have, or might have, some leisure in the early morning; and you allot the evening hours to the agreeable relaxation of domestic or social intercourse. Does a feeling of surprise, to  say no more, start up in your bosom at the mention of these things? You are upon the verge then of discovering, that it is not time you want, but inclination? Be assured that this is the fact; and that, however closely engaged, you ought to find, and may find, if you are disposed, means of specific exertion for the salvation both of your domestic inmates, your acquaintance, and your neighbors; while a similar aim may run through even the busiest of those busy hours, which, so far from becoming a plea for your total exemption from labor, ought to be regarded as furnishing you with incessant opportunities of promoting this blessed end.
"The duty of laboring directly and individually for the conversion of sinners is, in a word, one from which none of the followers of Christ can be excused. He knows the varied talents and circumstances of all; and comprehends them all in the declaration, 'YE are the salt of the earth.'
"Further: If endeavors to convert ungodly men should be recognized as a duty by every disciple of Christ, it should also be esteemed a duty of the highest moment. Of our many duties, none are without importance; but in this respect all are not equal. Our first duties are those which relate to our own salvation; and the next are those which relate to the salvation of others. By the immense magnitude of the object, and its direct reference to the glory of God and the highest happiness of our fellow-creatures, these take the decided precedence of all duties respecting the temporal interest either of ourselves or others. I am very well aware how often the callings of life will allow but a comparatively small portion of time to be applied to it; but the same may be said of the cultivation of personal piety, which is nevertheless our first duty. What we mean by this is, that the attainment of this end should hold the highest place in our desires; that it should be our chief aim; and that all other affairs should be so arranged as to afford us the amplest possible opportunities of pursuing it. So when we say that endeavors for the conversion of sinners form the second class of our duties, we mean that, next to our own salvation, we should feel more concerned about this than any other object; that it should be actually second among the great aims of life; and that our affairs should be so ordered as to allow us the utmost practicable opportunity of promoting it. We mean that when a christian asks himself, For what great ends do I live? he should be able to say, First for the good of my own soul; next for the conversion of others; and only after this, for the diligent prosecution of my worldly calling, and efforts of temporal benevolence.
"No duty, rightly understood, clashes with another. And as it happens with our first duty, that of securing our own salvation, so it is with our second, that of seeking the salvation of others, that an attention to it requires no interference with a due regard to earthly affairs. While we are diligent in business, as, on the one hand, we may be also fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; so, on the other, we may be animated by a deep concern for the spiritual welfare of those around us, and be ready to embrace every opportunity of advancing it, as a matter far more important than any secular advantage. And nothing short of this is the state of feeling and of action to which our Lord calls us, when he says, 'Ye are the salt of the earth.'"
PHILIP on the Co-operation of Churches is substituted for my Nos. II. & III. on that subject. They were written by him at my request, because of engagements which called me from home.
In No. 6, page 242, line from bottom 22d, after was, insert NOT--"was not overruled." 
MONTHLY RECEIPTS for the MILLENNIAL HARBINGER.
J Wilson, Beeler's Station, Va. paid vol 1. J Mulkey, Athens, Ten. vol 1 and 2 for G Metcalf and himself. O Welsh, Mount Pleasant, Va. vol 1 for W Slaughter and W C Clark, also, 1 dollar vol 2 for himself. N H Turner, Locust Creek, Va. vol 1 for J H Atkinson and A Mills; also vol 2 for L Turner, D Diggs, and T Johnson. W A Scranton, Rochester, N. Y. vol 1 for G Thurstin, C G Hill, and M Wilson; also, vols 1 and 2 for M Thurstin. A Graham, Hartsville, Ten. vols 1 and 2. W Hopewood, Bellborough, Ten. vols 1 and 2 for S Bigham, and vol 1 for H Bagley; also, vol 2 for J Vowel, G Blackwell and W Usrey. J K Speere. Bellborough, Ten. vol 1 and 2 for D Yancey, and vol 1 for J Billington. R Seaton, Jeffersontown, Ky. vol 2 for R Welsh, J Mills, E B Garnett, J A Sweney, J W Tyler, and himself. W R Cole, Wilmington, O. vol 1 for L Reed and J Rulon, and vol 2 for W Hibbin, J Shackley, and J Wilson. O Owens, Cincinnati, O. vol 2 for H Hathaway, and U Vanpelt. J Letherman, Canonsburg, Pa. vol 1. L Browning, Bethany, Va. vol 2. S Curtis, Stratford, Con. vol 2. J W Jeffreys, Jeffreys' Store, Va. vol 2 for P Hurt, R Sanders, and 1 dollar for F Lester. R Thompson, Georgetown, Ky. vol 2 for Mrs. B Smith, J Gaines, R Hurt, J W Grant, and E Johnson. T Bullock, Rees' Cross Roads, Ky. vol 2 for J Milchum, D Craig, W L Grady, P T Fisher, C Graves, J Castleman, J Sullivan, S Nuckles, S G Henry, J Collins, and himself; also, vols 1 and 2 for N Hayden, and S P Menzey, and vol 1 for G Carter. S Clack, Bloomfield, Ky. vol 1 and 2, and 1 dollar for S Carpenter. M P Wills, Fulton, Mo. vol 1 for--Beele, Esq. and 1 dollar for A Miller; also, vol 2 for J P Ewing. J Vankirk and H Langley, Washington, Pa. vol 2. G B Craft, Merrittstown, Pa. vol 2. C Dailey, Finleyville, Pa. vol 2 for J Moore and himself. A Sutton, Washington, Pa. vol 1 for J Denney, and vol 2 for C Wheeler. J Bowman, Perryopolis, Pa. vol. 2. A Morrison, C Forwards, Mary Ogle, N N Bruce, Somerset, Pa. vol 2. Mary S Gratt, Somerset, Pa. paid 1 dollar for J Vonkins, and vol 2 for herself. W Sharks, Brownsville, Pa. vol 2. G F H Crockett, Lexington, Ky. Vol 2 for H Wallace, B Steele, F Branham, R Ramsey, and A Dunlap. H Edwards, Bloomfield, Ky. vols 1 and 2. J Young, Brownville, Ten. vol. 1 for W Henderson, and J Booth; also, for E S Tappan, vol 2, 50 cents. G W Watts, Wattsborough, Va. vol 1 & 2 for R B Wilson, and vol 2 for J D Tinsdale, A Crawford, and himself. O H Tucker, Jamestown, Va. vol 2 for S H Pettus and himself. A Reynolds and Drusilla Carter, vols 1 and 2, and J Cooper, Washington, Pa. vol. 2 J Mitchell, Bentleysville, Pa. vols 1 and 2. J Smith, Georgeville, Mi. vol. 1 and 2. T Rucker, Murfreesborough, Ten. vol. 1 for C Parks, W Smith, T Rucker, Sen. and himself, and vol 2 for T J Nivean. J Curtwright, Montgomery, Ga. vol 1 for J Park, P Riley, and himself; also, vol 1 and 2 or W Walker. S G Earle, Earle's Store, S. C. vols 1 and 2 for R S C Forster ad Elizabeth R Earle; also, vol 2 for S Vandiver. J Lydick, Indiana, Pa. vol 1, and 1 dollar for vol 2 for S Howe; also, vol 2 for himself. J Rogers, Carlisle, Ky. vol 1 and 2 for O H Stout, and vol 2 for H Dinsmore, J Ball, G Bryant. J T Johnson, Georgetown, Ky. vols 1 and 2 for S Hatch, and 1 dollar for D Bradford, vol 2. J Wright, Jonesborough, Ten. vols 1 and 2. M P Wills, Fulton, Mo. vol 1, and 1 dollar for vol 2 for S Hopson, and vol 2 for G Maupin, E S Bush, Rising Sun, Ind. vol 2 for D B Barnhart, and vol 1 and 2 for J B Craft and himself. W Hopper, Hopper's Tan Yard, Ky. vol 1. W Bootwright, Richmond, Va. vol. 1 for J Bosher, Eliza Jenkins, W Calfield, G Massie, N Brown, B Vaughn, R Ryland, and vol 2 for W Bootwright, J Bootwright, W Dabney, C H Hyde. J Woodson, G Hanes, T C Howard, J P Tyler, J Winn, W Bosher, G R Myers, T J Glenn, B Jones, T H Fox, E Redd, J Shook, B F Lester, C Carter, O Ellison, Mrs. M Kinnard, M Walthall, J L Cary, J L Nelson, R Parrish, D Baker, J B Bragg, W D Wrenn. W B Clarke, J Winston, C Tally, M L Jones, N Brown, H Ryland, W H Johnson, M V Webber, H J Anderson, J T Anderson, J Goss, N Branham, S C Harris, J Tyler, H N Coleman. 
[The Millennial Harbinger, 2 (June, 1831): 241-288.]
[Table of Contents]
Alexander Campbell, ed.|
The Millennial Harbinger, Vol. II, No. VI (1831)
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