[Table of Contents]
Alexander Campbell, ed.|
The Millennial Harbinger, Vol. II, No. VII (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.
THE WHOLE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE
SALVATION OF MEN.
THIS dialogue will not he a substitute for what is written in the 2d volume of the Christian Baptist on "the work of the Holy Spirit in the salvation of men" nor does it proceed upon the supposition that the reader is fully acquainted with all that is written in that series of essays upon this subject; but it places the whole subject in a new light before the reader, and will develop the subject more fully with a reference to all the systems of the sects.
It may be supposed that we are too sanguine should we think that we can reconcile all the conflicting creeds and their admirers to the views about to be submitted; and yet we entertain the opinion, and it is but an opinion, that we can reconcile many of the different sects; of those, too, who boast so much of being the subjects of special operations, to what we would call, with all due deference to those differing from us, the Doctrine of the Apostles upon this subject.
We are greatly deceived in our reasonings, as well as in our apprehensions of the fair import of the sayings of the Apostles, if we cannot show to all who will give us an impartial or candid hearing, that the views to be submitted are more conducive to the true conversion of sinners to God, to the spirit of true piety in the converted, to the holiness and happiness of all disciples, than are the tenets and views which we intend to undermine and refute in the following dialogue. If their tendency be not to ascribe more glory to God, to produce more peace aid joy in the human heart, and store good will to all mankind than the views to which they are opposed, then let them be repudiated. But, gentle reader, judge nothing before the time; hear the whole, then embrace or reject them.--ED.
DIALOGUE ON THE HOLY SPIRIT--Part I.
AUSTIN AND TIMOTHY.
Austin--Is there no way of settling the public mind on the nature and degrees of influence which the Holy Spirit exercises on the human, mind in converting and sanctifying men?
Timothy--Certainly the writings dictated by that Spirit settles these questions.  A.--In the sacred writings these questions may be settled, but the christian public are unsettled, and greatly confounded through the conflicting theories of spiritual influences and operations. The most sincere hearted are in doubts, and the most candid are yet inquiring what the scriptures teach concerning both the nature and degrees of influence exerted by that agent in the salvation of men.
T.--This is true of many other subjects which are clearly taught in the Holy Scriptures. Our questions are not discussed there, because many of them are foolish and untaught. Men have long explored both Testaments to find infant baptism and confirmation clearly taught. But who has ever found a hint on these topics in the divine books! Yet the candid and sincere hearted are in doubts and difficulties on these subjects. We have sought out many inventions, and we go to the book in expectation of finding them settled there. But God's thoughts are not as our thoughts, nor his ways as our ways. He teaches us by his messengers, as he has taught us by his works; nothing in the abstract--every thing in the concrete.
A.--But this does not extricate us from the mazes in which we have strayed. Can nothing be done to relieve us from the influences of these pernicious theories? Can we not reason ourselves out of our false reasonings?
T.--The best reasoning is that which leads us to the Oracles and turns our attention to the simplicity of the divine teaching. To reason ourselves out of false reasonings is not so easy as many suppose. We have one set of premises in our minds, and another before our eyes; and, therefore, our conclusions are very often erroneous; and because of the confusion in our premises we cannot detect the errors in our inferences. To illustrate this I will make an experiment on yourself, and shall begin with asking you, What are your conclusions on the nature of that influence which the Holy Spirit exercises in converting men? We may speak of the degrees again.
A.--To this I have no objections; for my mind vascilates on that subject, and while I incline to my old theory of divine assistance, or spiritual operations, independent of what is written, I am not able accurately to define it, nor to maintain it with confidence against some objections which 1 have found in your essays on Metaphysical Regeneration; but upon the whole premises, I am rather of the opinion that there is some divine influence either accompanying, or apart from the word which makes it, and without which it is not, an effectual means of salvation.
T.--Can you give no name to, nor definition of, that power or influence? or is it an indistinct and indescribable influence of which you can form no idea? for, remember, if yon can form no idea of it, it is impossible to think of it, or to speak of it intelligibly.
A.--I confess the difficulty which I feel in giving it a name, because my ideas of power or influence are limited by what I see around me; and I acknowledge that there are but two sorts of power of which I can form distinct ideas, and on which I can converse with some degree of confidence. These are what are usually called natural, or physical, and moral power. 
T.--Perhaps your third sort of power is a combination of these two, as you can have no distinct idea of any influence which is not in its nature either natural or moral.
A.--I would, upon the whole, call it spiritual power, and suppose it to be neither purely moral nor purely natural, nor even a simple combination of these two; but a species of power which is neither angelic nor human, but divine.
T.--This helps not our conceptions, and I must confess I can form no idea of a power spiritual, which is neither moral nor natural, nor a combination of the two. To speak of a spiritual power without some meaning attached to the word, is only to impose upon ourselves.
A.--I will therefore define it. It is a power operating directly on the spirit of man, without any thing between it and the Spirit of God. It is the naked Spirit of God operating upon the naked spirit of man, without any instrument or means, moral or physical. This is what I call spiritual power. Let me define the three sorts of power of which I have spoken. There is physical power--that is an agent operating through the laws of nature; there is moral power;--that is an agent operating through moral law or through moral means; and there is spiritual power;--that is a spiritual agent operating upon a spirit without any law or means moral or natural. And all this is proved in an ancient and common adage--"God works by means, and he works without them." He employs two sorts of means, physical and moral; and he acts, like himself, spiritually, when he employs no means at all.
T.--I understand you now, I presume, full as well as you understand yourself. I apprehend your definition of spiritual power, and think you have been more fortunate in expressing yourself than any person I have met with on your side of the question. Will you allow me to suggest an illustration of your three sorts of power, that you may be satisfied that I do understand you.
A.--I will thank you for it.
T.--Senex had a son whom he wished to bring into his house. He first reasoned with him, and presented motives to induce him to come in. These failed; and he called for a rope, which he threw around him. By this he attempted to draw him into the house, but the rope broke. Then he walked out himself, and seized him with his own naked hands, and pulled him in. The first represents your moral power; the second, your physical power; and the third effort represents your spiritual power.
A.--I cannot find an objection to your illustration as respects the nature of these powers; though I think your representation of physical power makes it too mechanical, and your illustration of spiritual power makes it too much like compulsion.
T.--Let me have a better one, then, if you can. I only aim at showing you that I apprehend your spiritual power, as contradistinguished from those which are already well defined.
A.--I shall take the same case, and only suppose that when Senex had reasoned with his son he was willing to come in, but was unable  Then his father handed him his cane, and by it aided him in walking in; but this still being inadequate, he laid aside his cane and took him by the hand and led him in.
T.--This still exhibits the three powers in the same light, only you have two of then successfully applied; namely, the moral and the spiritual; while l represent the latter only as successfully applied. The difference, then, is not in the nature of the power, but in the success accompanying its exertion.
A.--Agreed. You understand me, and that is all I wish. You will, therefore, please consider whether such a power is not taught in the scriptures; and is not in the nature of things necessary to the conversion of men.
T.--My dear sir, if you were to distribute and classify power into animal, mechanical, physical, moral, and spiritual, and could define your own distinctions with all logical and rhetorical accuracy and eloquence, it affects not the nature of the great question on which you proposed an interview, viz.--the influence of the Holy Spirit in the salvation of men. The present salvation is not a change of body, nor of perception, memory, judgment, imagination, reason; not of the intellectual and animal; but of the moral nature of man. Christ came not to make new men and redeem them, but to redeem and save such as we are by nature. Our ruin is not in our senses nor in our intellectual faculties, but in our moral character and relations. The enlargement of our powers, physical, animal, or intellectual, would neither contribute to our purity nor our happiness. It is a moral revolution, a moral reformation, a moral change, which is essential to the salvation of men. The means must therefore be moral, unless we can think that physical causes can produce moral effects.
A.--I am not opposed to the necessity of such a change, but to your name of it. Call it a spiritual change and I agree with you in all you have said.
T.--Spiritual change and moral change are both terms of our own adoption. But as you have defined spiritual power to be a power without means, natural or moral, we cannot, in that sense, use the term in reference to this change, as all must confess that means numerous and powerful have been employed in effecting the salvation of men. Sacrifices, altars, priests, temples, prophets, apostles, evangelists, words, writings, institutions, ordinances, laws, &c. &c. are found in the vast variety of means employed in effecting this salvation. The power is not spiritual, in your sense of it, which effects this change. And let me add, whatever may be said of God's working spiritually, or without means, in reference to any other universe prior to, or separate from this one, to which our persons and our Bibles belong, one thing is most obvious and indisputable--he always works by means in this empire.
A.--But it is more to the glory of God to work without means than with them?
T.--Of this, perhaps, we are both bad judges. It is enough for us to know that God has been more glorified by Jesus Christ than he  would have been without his humiliation unto death, and that he has always employed means in the creation, government, and redemption of men. And for my part, I must consider the loaf upon my table as much the gift of God as the manna in the pots of Israel. Both came from God; but the former more circuitously, and to us more ingeniously and curiously than the latter. More of God is seen in giving me a loaf in the usual way, than was seen in a shower of manna. Power was most conspicuous in the manna, but wisdom and power are equally displayed in the loaf. In one sentence, means are employed in bringing man into the world; in sustaining, preserving, and comforting him while in it; and in taking him out of it. All natural good is received by natural means, and all moral good by moral means. So decree all reason and all experience.
A.--It is reason we are now listening to; and it is my wish to know whether reasoning upon any just premises, either in nature or religion, we can be saved from the false reasonings of so many theories, conflicting with each other, and confounding the minds of those who either cannot, or will not think for themselves.
T.--If you will bear with me l will put you in possession of my mode reasoning upon this long and much disputed subject; but I must crave a little indulgence as to the time I may occupy in giving you my views fully. I will hear your objections with all attention so soon as I shall have laid my premises and my conclusions before you. And, to secure Your attention, I will inform you that I have found a safe haven and a good anchorage, in which I can rest with all security amid all the storms and tempests enthusiastic and superstitious of the times in which we live.
A.--You have my attention secured, and I will promise you either my objections, or my approbation, when I shall have heard you to the close.
T.--We have two sorts of power, physical and moral.1 By the former we operate upon matter--by the latter upon mind. To put matter in motion we use physical power, whether we call it animal or scientific power; to put minds in motion we use arguments or motives addressed to the reason and nature of man. The dominion we have over animals is acquired by our intellectual and physical powers, addressed to their instincts, appetites, propensities, or feelings: thus we control creatures greatly superior to us in animal strength. All the powers, however, which we possess are in our spirits, and these are within us. At their volitions we put forth our physical and moral strength. If D wills to captivate B, he reasons  within himself as to the means which he shall employ. If he wills to take him by force, he puts forth his physical strength: but if he wills to take him by argument, he speaks. He addresses arguments, allurements, or motives, to move his mind to act in unison with his design.
Motives are arguments and the strength of an argument is its power to move. Arguments are said to be strong or weak, according to their power to move. And he is said to be a man of strong mind who is able to produce strong arguments and can move men to act in accordance with his volitions. A man of weak arguments is a weak man, though his physical strength may be of the highest order. But the strength of an argument is its meaning; not the length or number of its words, nor the noise with which it is expressed. It can operate only so far as it is understood.
Because arguments are addressed to the understanding, will, and affections of men they are called moral, inasmuch as their tendency is to form or change the habits, manners, or actions of men. Every spirit puts forth its moral power in words; that is, all the power it has over the views, habits, manners, or actions of men, is in the meaning and arrangement of its ideas expressed in words; or in significant sagas addressed to the eye or the ear. All the moral power of Cicero and Demosthenes was in their orations when spoken, and in the circumstances which gave them meaning; and whatever power these men have exercised over Greece and Rome since their death, is in their writings.
The tongue of the orator and the pen of the writer, though small instruments, and of little physical power, are the two most powerful instruments in the world; because they are to the mind as the arms to the body--they are but the instruments of moral power. The strength is in what is spoken or written, not in the instrument by which it is spoken or written. The argument is the power of the spirit of man, and the only power which one spirit can exert over another is its arguments. How often do we see a whole congregation roused into certain actions expressions of joy or sorrow, by the spirit of one man. Yet no person supposes that his spirit has literally deserted his body and entered into every man and woman in the house, although it is often said he has filled them with his spirit. But how does that spirit, located in the head of yonder little man, fill all the thousands around him with joy or sadness, with fear and trembling, with zeal or indignation, as the case may be? How has it displayed such power over so many minds? By words uttered by the tongue; by ideas communicated to the minds of the hearers. In this way only can moral power be displayed.
From such premises we may say that all the moral power which can be exerted on human beings, is, and must of necessity be, in the arguments addressed to them. No other power than moral power can operate on minds; and this power must always be clothed in words, addressed to the eye or ear. Thus we reason when revelation is altogether out of view. And when we think of the power of the  Spirit of God exerted upon minds or human spirits, it is impossible for us to imagine that that power can consist in any thing else but words or arguments. Thus in the nature of things we are prepared to expect verbal communications from the Spirit of God, if that Spirit operates at all upon our spirits. As the moral power of every man is in his arguments, so is the moral power of the Spirit of God in his arguments. Thus man still retains an image of his Creator: and from such analogy Paul reasons when he says, "For the things of a man knows no man, save the spirit of a man which is in him; even so the things of God knows no man save the Spirit of God." And the analogy stops not here; for as he is said to resist another whose arguments he understands, so they are said always to resist the Holy Spirit, who always to resist, or refuse to yield to his arguments.
Whenever a person has expressed all the arguments he has to offer to carry one point, he has spent all his moral strength, whether he carries that point or not. But until all his arguments are stated, heard, and understood, his moral power is not fully developed. We add, "heard and understood," because although an argument may be irresistible to him that hears and understands it, it is perfectly impotent to him who understands it not. Hence the person in the Saviour's parable on the success of proclaiming the word, who heard to his salvation, is distinguished as one who understood what he heard; and he on whom the same arguments had no effect is designated as one that understood not. Matth. xiii. 19-23.
A person once observed that he was convinced by a certain argument which all but himself acknowledged was the weakest of the seven adduced on the occasion. But in conversation with the same gentleman, it was discovered that it was the only argument of the seven which he fully understood. It is said by Grecian critics of the highest reputation that Demosthenes owed more of his fame to the perspicuity and easy intelligibility of his orations, than to any other character of the orator which he possessed. It was the perfect adaptation of his arguments to the capacity and taste of his audience and the accommodating himself to the genius of the age, which gave to him the highest niche in the temple of fame.
But to return. As the spirit of man puts forth all its moral power in the words which it fills with its ideas; so the Spirit of God puts forth all its converting and sanctifying power in the words which it fills with its ideas. Miracles cannot convert. They can only obtain a favorable hearing of the converting arguments. If they fail to obtain a favorable hearing, the arguments which they prove are impotent as an unknown tongue. If the Spirit of God has spoken all its arguments; or, if the New and Old Testament contain all the arguments which can be offered to reconcile man to God, and to purity them who are reconciled, then all the power of the Holy Spirit which can operate upon the human mind is spent; and he that is not sanctified and saved by these cannot be saved by angels or spirits human or divine. 
A.--Here let me interrupt you. Do you allege that the Holy Spirit can exert no greater influence upon the human mind, than is found in the arguments which are written in the New Testament, or which it used to convince the world of sin, righteousness and judgment after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus?
T.--I do, provided always, that the arguments are understood.--And let me add, that the full apprehension of these arguments requires an accurate knowledge of the precedent revelations. As Jesus said concerning the writings of Moses and the Prophets; in attestation of his Messiahship, so we say in reference to the arguments of the Holy Spirit, in advocating the cause of the Saviour. If men hear not, feel not, obey not these, they would not be persuaded by any messenger from Heaven, or Hades: Nay more, they could not by any power be converted to God. We plead that all the converting power of the Holy Spirit is exhibited in the Divine Record.
A.--Now I understand you; you do not mean that more miracles might not be adduced, or that more prophecies could not be uttered; but you argue that these only secure the attention, open, or prepare the heart for the reception of the converting word; but that the captivating, illuminating, purifying, saving power is purely moral; and is therefore, all contained in the arguments first spoken, and then written by the inspired witnesses.
T.--That is just my meaning. "The word is able to make men wise to salvation;" "Able to build men up and to give them an inheritance among the sanctified"--""the implanted word is able to save men's soul's." These and similar expressions, sustain all that we have said. But we are not arguing this matter from the scriptures, but the acknowledged principles and reasonings of men, to shew that on their own reasonings, the truths which they oppose, can be rationally and fully established. But when we have reasoned this question to rest in our own mind, we only come by any other road, to the resting place, we found in the Holy Spirit's teaching before we began to reason with men on their own principles.
A.--I am almost, but not altogether convinced that these things are so; but yet it appears to me a strange assertion, an irreconcileable position, that no new light can be communicated to the mind, no new arguments offered to convert men to God.
T.--Men have long talked of new light--I am not an advocate for new light--I believe Jesus is the light of the world. But let me ask what do you mean by light? Do you mean a new sun, moon, stare, lamp, candle, &c. or do you mean intellectual or moral light?--You need not answer me, for I know you mean moral, not natural light. Well, then, this light, like moral power, is all contained in words. Where there are no words, there is no light. If then the spirit of God can communicate new light to any mind, it must be by new words or new verbal communications. Words too, recollect, must be spoken, uttered, or written. If then new words are written by the spirit, new ideas must be communicated, and that constitutes a new revelation. Then the sects who contend for special moral influences,  are the only "NEW LIGHTS" properly so called. But, mark you, if the spirit communicates not new ideas, it, can communicate no new light. And if it do, then, it only proves that the revelation we have is an imperfect revelation; and that the Spirit of God, like other orators, does not, or cannot express itself so intelligibly at one time, as at another; and that its second effort is better than its first, and its third better than its second. Are you prepared for this?
A.--I am not. And is this the consequence, the logical and necessary consequence to which the doctrine of special influences tends!! If so I must re-examine my premises.
T.--Aye, and your conclusions too, if you please: for I have neither found a scripturian nor a logician in all the pleaders for new lightism.
A.--I will re-examine, for I cannot yet give up; I must rally again. But pardon me for interrupting you: I had resolved to hear you to the end before I replied, or objected.
T.--Other engagements call me hence, and I think it better for us to appoint another evening, and to talk the matter over again. Please rally all your forces against this night fortnight, when I will have more leisure. I shall gladly hear all your reasonings and objections for I am assured that I have found the ark of safety and the resting place in this long and verbose controversy about spiritual operations. The advantage you will at once perceive results from my conclusions. It secures the undivided attention of all who thus view the matter to the oracles of the spirit, and it exalts the perfection of the sacred records as the wisdom and power of God to salvation to all who believe and obey them. And let me add, never did I see a man or woman, a constant and honest reader of the Apostles' testimony, who lacked light; or who complained of the want of power in the written communications to transform their minds into the image of the truth as it is in Jesus.--They are most clamorous for help, who will not help themselves, by submitting their minds to the impression of the Holy Spirit in its word. But of this more at our next interview.
A.--Of the truth of this last remark, I have much evidence: but I have learned to be cautious, and not to receive any great position because it has many things to sustain it both from reason and experience. But this much I must add; if in your reasonings, there be not falsehoods or mistakes, this appears a safe and easy way of settling the long controversy. But I am not fully convinced. I will rally again. Good night.
|From the Christian Messenger.|
ARCHIPPUS ON THE REMISSION OF SIN.--No. II.
While I claim to myself the right to controvert all that I deem erroneous in the religious sentiments of others, I concede to them the same right, to controvert any that I may entertain. And while this is assumed and yielded as a mutual right, I desire it to be distinctly understood, that, on my part, the exercise of it, does not proceed from an unfriendly disposition towards those whose opinions and views are opposed. I do not believe that the word of God authorizes, in any degree, the belief that the sins of the Gentiles are, or ever  have been remitted in water, or in the action of baptism. Feeling confident of the truth of this sentiment, and the error of the opposite one, I feel it to be a duty to adduce proof of the truth of the one, and of the fallacy of the other.
I would define remission of sins, as others have done, to consist in forgiveness, or pardon; that is, the giving up of the punishment due to them. Justification is of the same meaning in the Gospel, and consists in remission of sins, and absolution from guilt and punishment; or an act of free grace, by which God, pardons the sinner, and accepts him as righteous in the account of the atonement of Christ. Meritorious justification is predicable only of sinless beings, while gratuitous justification is that alone which is suited to the state of sinners; it is an acquittal from condemnation by free forgiveness, and an acceptance of him into a state of favor. The instrument of gospel justification is faith alone. Thus God is said to justify the ungodly by faith--his faith is counted to him for righteousness, Rom. iv. 5; and being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom also we have access by faith into the grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Rom. v. 1, 2. The meritorious ground or cause of the remission of sin, made so by the grace of God, is the blood of Christ: "this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many, for the remission of sins" Mat. xxvi. 28. All having sinned, "the righteousness of God is by the faith of Jesus Christ unto all, and upon all them that believe--we are justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God hath set forth a propitiation through faith in his blood to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins, Rom. iii. 22-25. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself: in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace. Eph. i. 3-v. 7. In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins, Col. i. 14. If there be a single principle in the doctrines of grace, among those taught by the Apostles, which can be considered fundamental, it must certainly be that of the remission of sin through the death of Jesus Christ--upon this subject there is no difference of opinion between the Baptist Reformers and myself. The only question between them and myself is this: Is the efficacy of the blood of Christ, in the remission of the sins of believing Gentiles, by divine appointment, suspended upon their being baptized or immersed in water? They take the affirmative side of the question, and I the negative. Peter must determine this question under the infallible direction of the Holy Spirit.
To Peter was given the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, to open the gospel and to pronounce the order of the Kingdom to the Gentiles. He had, moreover, the qualifications bestowed upon him by the King and the Judge of the living and the dead, so infallibly to bind and loose on earth, as to oblige him to ratify his declarations and decisions in heaven. Let us turn then to the tenth chapter of the acts of the Apostles, and other passages, to learn the truth on this subject. I pass by at this time the account of the conversion and Baptism of the Jews on the day of Pentecost, and of Saul of Tarsus, on account of the circumstances by which they were distinguished from the Gentiles. They shall be attended to in my next number.
After the great preparation had been made by the revelations of the spirit, and the supernatural appearance to Peter, and the communications and instructions of the Angel to Cornelius which were sent to Peter, Peter set out to visit the town of Cornelius, at Cesarea, who was an officer, a centurion of the band called the Italian band. As he approached it, Cornelius met him and told him that he had sent for him; "Now," said he, "we are all here before God (Cornelius, his kinsmen and near friends) to hear all things that are commanded thee of God." Then Peter opened his mouth and said, "Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons; but in every nation he that feareth him and worketh righteousness is accepted of him." The word  which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) that word I say ye know which was published throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached; how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost, and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the Devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things which he did, both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: him God raised up from the dead the third day, and showed him openly; not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God, to be the Judge of the quick and the dead. To him gave all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
"While Peter was yet speaking these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed, were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify or glorify God. Then answered Peter, "Can any man forbid water that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days." Acts x. 34-48.
Now I ask, were these Gentiles in their sins when they received the Holy Ghost, spake with new tongues and glorified God, both of which were done before they were baptized? Or, were their sins not remitted through faith? and were they not received into the divine favor the moment they believed what Peter said concerning Jesus Christ? and were not the gifts of the Holy Ghost a seal and confirmation of these facts, both of which occurred before they were baptized? After that they believed, (before they were baptized) they were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which was the earnest of their inheritance. Eph. i. 13, 14. Being the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus, God sent forth the spirit of his Son into their hearts crying Abba Father. They were then baptized into Christ, and put him on. Gal. iii. 26, 27, ch. 4, 6. We will let Peter explain this matter. In Acts xi. we are informed that when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision, contended with him for going in to the Gentiles and eating with them. But Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it in order unto them. Peter told them that the angel directed Cornelius to send for him, (Peter) who shall tell thee (C.) words whereby thou and thy house shall be saved. And, said Peter, when I began to speak, (that is when he had already spoken what was stated in the 10th chap.) the Holy Ghost fell upon them, as it did upon us (the 120, Acts i. 15.) at the beginning. Acts ii. 1-4. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Acts i. 45. Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gifts, as he did unto us who believed; what was I, that I could withstand God? When they heard these things, they held their peace and glorified God, saving, then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life. Acts xi. 2-18. It deserves notice that although Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them that were of the circumcision, so as perfectly to satisfy them that God had granted to the Gentiles repentance unto life, for which they glorified God, he said not one word to them about his having baptized them--nor did he, when telling the Gentiles all things that were commanded him of God to tell them; and even the words whereby they should be saved, tell them that they were to be baptized for the remission of their sins, or in order to obtain their remission. The reason he did not tell them this, was, that it was not included in the words which God commanded him to tell them, whereby they should be saved. A proof of it is, the Holy Ghost fell  upon them as he did upon Peter, and the rest of the one hundred and twenty disciples who believed at the beginning, by which God testified that he had remitted the sins of the Gentiles, and received them into his favor before they were baptized. There can be no mistake here, because the gift in a miraculous way of the Holy Ghost, or the baptism of the Holy Ghost was given to them, to prove that God had purified their hearts by faith, and given them repentance unto life before they were baptized; and the Apostles, and they of the circumcision who contended with Peter, received this testimony as conclusive in the case. We will turn to the 15th chapter of the Acts, and hear Peter further upon this subject. Here, before the council at Jerusalem, composed of the Apostles, elders and brethren, over which the Holy Ghost presided--a council to be sure, very different from the ecclesiastical councils and associations of this day. Peter rose up and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago, God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God which knoweth the hearts bear them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost; even as he did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, having purified their hearts by faith. I use the new translation Acts xv. 7-9. That is, having purified the hearts of the Gentiles by faith, he baptized them with, or gave them the miraculous gifts of the Holy Ghost as his witness or proof of it; and after he had thus purified their hearts, and sealed them with the Holy Spirit of promise, after they believed, which was an earnest of their heavenly inheritance, Peter commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Eph. i. 13, 14.
The baptism or the miraculous gift of the Holy Ghost, which were bestowed upon these Gentiles, did not give them faith or save them, for they had faith and were justified before they received this gift, and the gift of tongues, &c. was bestowed upon them as God's witness, seal and confirmation, that what Peter had said was true, and that he had through the faith of Jesus Christ, imparted to them by the words of Peter, given to them eternal life.
The quotations that I have made from the Acts of the Apostles, are the only divinely authenticated narrative of the order and plan of the introduction of the gospel to the Gentiles. All that is said in the Epistles relative to this subject, is by way of allusion, and must be interpreted and explained agreeably to the order of faith, remission of sin and baptism, as stated in their connection and order of succession in the Acts of the Apostles.
We have now seen in what sense Peter and the rest of the Apostles, and the Jewish converts understood God's plan or method in the gospel, by which he pardons or remits the sins of the Gentiles, and purifies their hearts, which I confidently believe justified me, when I said that, baptism as administered to the Gentiles, is wholly misapprehended as to its design and use, when it is regarded as the action by, or in which their sins are remitted, and justified me also when I said, "that it is the doctrine of the New Testament, that God justifies the Gentiles by faith alone;" I mean Gentile enemies and sinners. Such cannot be justified in any degree by works, till they are justified by faith without works. Till then they are in a state of guilt and under condemnation, and the wrath of God abideth on them. This was their state and character when Christ died for them, and so their actual deliverance from that state through faith in Christ's blood, is justifying the ungodly. Rom. iv. 5. This is the principle of justification for which Paul argues. But James treats of the justification of the righteous; that is, of persons who are not duly justified in Paul's sense, but who in consequence, of this are righteous, by doing good and righteous works; for he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 1 John, iii. 7. They are not forgetful hearers but doers of the work, James i. 25; they practise pure and undefiled religion, v. 27: they are christians--but more of this hereafter. "Ye are the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus," whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God; Gal. iii. 27--1 John v. 1. The great principle of christian fellowship is faith--by faith we are justified from all things, and hold  fellowship with the Father and the Son, and with the Apostles; and by it christians hold fellowship with one another. If I have ever known feelingly and experimentally the pardoning grace and love of God, it was several years before I was immersed, and it was during the period that I had no thought of being immersed; being justified by faith, I had peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Notwithstanding this, I consider it the duty of all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, to be immersed, as soon as they do believe, with the approbation of the heart. I have intentionally omitted saying anything about the design and use of baptism, in this number; neither have I attended to the baptism of the 3000 on the day of Pentecost, or to Saul of Tarsus. I will take up the subject in my next number, and endeavor to show the reason of the difference between the baptism of the Jews, and of the Gentiles, or the difference in the account of them, so as to reconcile them in reference to their baptism, and maintain the principle that there is one God, who justifies the Jew by faith, and the Gentile through faith.
REPLY TO ARCHIPPUS--No. IV.
A LETTER received from James Fishback, D. D. of Lexington, Ky. assures us that he is the writer in the "Christian Messenger," signed "Archippus." Having been favored with the missing Nos. of the C. Messenger, by the kindness of its Editor, we lay before our readers the 2d No. already replied to in our April number. Before we can in propriety publish any thing more from the pen of Dr. Fishback, we must review what he has written on this subject. Had he wished to discuss the subject in due form, he would have sent us one argument or essay, and waited our reply; but as he selected the Christian Messenger, and continued his numbers till he had delivered himself fully, (to which course we had no objections,) he cannot expect us to hear or answer any thing from him until we have examined what he has already made public property. When we have finished our review, if he feel disposed farther to discuss the question, the main question, we will hear him through the pages in which he commenced, and thus, if agreeable to brother Stone, all his readers will hear the Doctor as well as mine. I must, however, inform my readers that he has complained in the June No. of the Messenger, and in a letter to me, of some injustice done him in representing him as contending for a baptism peculiar to the Gentiles, which we called "Gentile baptism."
Before seeing this complaint in the Messenger, I expected to have seen him either atone for the unfairness complained of in our first No. or make an attempt to sustain his references to the history of the Novatians. But as he only complains in turn, it is presumed he wishes to balance the charge of injustice by a credit of so much injustice received in return. Thus is my prediction already more than verified. In April last we predicted (page 164) that "before many spoons he will surrender either his Jew's baptism or his Gentile baptism in the estimation of all men of sense and intelligence, and among these I include himself." And in June, he not only abandons his Gentile baptism as distinct from the Jew's baptism, but considers it injustice to be represented as contending for a baptism peculiar to  the Gentiles; or, in other words, that baptism means more or less to a Gentile than to a Jew. This more than verifies my conjectures.
But is it possible that we shall have to prove that no injustice has been done him in representing him as pleading that baptism, to a Gentile, meant not exactly what it meant to a Jew! When no less than fourteen questions are asked, (see pages 157, 158, of this volume) to indicate the differences between the state of the Jews and Gentiles, with a reference, too, to the proposition--"That God justifies the GENTILES by faith alone;" and "that baptism has no more to do in procuring remission of sins, than any other work of faith has"--"but," adds he, "you perceive that I limit my observations on the subject of baptism to the Gentiles." Yet it is an act of injustice in us to "perceive" this, or that the question of Jew or Gentile has any thing to do in this matter of remission!!!
But I did him injustice in heading the article "Gentile baptism," notwithstanding he limits his observations on the subject of baptism to the Gentiles!! How can this be, when he selects the cases of Gentile baptism, designates them exclusively as the subject of examination, and attempts to prove from these cases that baptism to the Gentiles is not for remission of sins? If he intended to show that we had misunderstood baptism, and misapplied the scriptures on this subject, why not meet us on the whole New Testament premises--why select the Gentiles, and confine himself to them and to the scriptures referring to them!! But I see no necessity to prove a matter which is now before the reader in Nos. 1 & 2, from the pen of Archippus himself. The coming Nos. as far as we have read them, are as full to the point.
The preceding article we have laid before our readers for reasons already assigned. They will recollect that we have already replied to it in the May and June numbers. We stated the contents of it from memory, and see nothing affecting the main question left out or overlooked, and shall not repeat our reply to it. One thing, indeed, was not formally alluded to in our reply, which we discover in the preceding essay is much relied on by brother Fishback: Peter, he avers, did not, "when telling the Gentiles (mark--the Gentiles) all things that were commanded him of God to tell them, and even the words by which they should be saved, tell them that they were to be baptized for the remission of their sins, or in order to obtain their remission."
And, candid reader, will you ask our friend what did Peter tell them to do for the remission of their sins? Did he say, "Believe for the remission of your sins"? for remission comes "by faith alone," as he has decided!! It is evident, then, that our friend is too sanguine here. He might as well, yes as reasonably argue, that the Gentiles are saved without either repentance or reformation; for Peter never once said to the Gentiles repent or reform in telling them "words by which they were to be saved." This would be every way as scriptural and as reasonable a distinction between Jews and Gentiles, and its good a proof that reformation is not as necessary to Gentiles as it was to the Jews, as is his position and his proofs for Gentile baptism  after remission. Nay, he might as well array Peter and Paul against each other, as Peter against himself in Jerusalem and Cesarea. For Paul says to the Athenians "that God commands all men, every where, to reform;" but Peter gave no such commandment to the Gentiles!
But, replies our worthy friend, faith implies repentance and reformation. Well, grant it--and what then? The name of the Lord implies immersion--for it was through the name of the Lord that Peter told the Gentiles remission came.
But what did Peter say to these Gentiles? Did he command them to believe, repent, or be baptized for remission? Not directly, Archippus himself will say. Did he mention grace, blood, or the renewal of the Holy Spirit before they received the Holy Spirit? No. I cannot tell what Archippus might not prove from all these facts, if he were to try. But let us hear Peter speak the last sentence preceding the marvellous gifts of the Spirit--
[New version] "To him bear all the prophets witness that every one who believes on him shall receive remission of sins by his name"--[Common version] "To him gave all the prophets witness, that through his name, whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins." The Vulgate, as translated by Father Simon, reads: "All the prophets bare witness of him, that all those who shall believe in him shall receive remission of sins through his name." Here is no command for remission; but the fact is declared, that the prophets affirm that "remission of sins was to come through the name of Jesus to all believers." It is not en to onomati, by the authority, but dia tou onomatos, through the name. Now if our friend would ask how remission comes through the name, he would find that Peter preached remission to the Gentiles as he did to the Jews on Pentecost. Men were by the authority of the Lord immersed into the name of the Lord; and if our learned and ingenious friend would ask when remission comes through his name to a believer, unless when it is put upon him and he is immersed into it, he might be constrained to see that Peter does not preach one gospel on Pentecost, and another in Cesarea. And is it not a little remarkable, that our ingenious brother should not have noticed that immediately after the interruption of Peter's discourse was ended, he forthwith commanded immersion in water. The name of the Lord, and water, with faith in Jesus, were, it appears, preached to the Gentiles, when Peter told them the words by which they were to be saved!!
His not placing the words in the same order, or using identically the same words he used on Pentecost, is nothing to this question more than his changing of his phrases in the discourse in Solomon's Portico, Acts iii. To these Jews he said, "Be converted that your sins may be blotted out." I wonder why some ingenious brother has not noticed that not a word was said about immersion in Peter's second discourse. One might say from it that Peter only preached faith and baptism to certain classes of sinners: to the more sedate he preached faith for remission; and to the more flagitious, baptism for remission!
APOSTACY AND REFORM.
"SO he drove out the man," closes the recital of the first apostacy, When man made himself an apostate, God made him an outcast, When man departs from God, he never wishes to return until compelled by pain. Mercy was mingled with the judgment when man was first driven from the presence of the Lord: for nothing but experience could teach him what he had done in breaking communion with the fountain of his own life. When cut off from "the fountain of living waters," his consolations soon dried up. But, alas! the thirst for these waters abates as he recedes from them, and finally he loses all taste for them. Man, indeed, made in the image of God, and fitted for the enjoyment of his friendship and favor, when separated from his presence so far falls beneath himself as to worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator, and seeks for happiness in forgetting God rather than in knowing and adoring him.
The reason of this may be found in the fact that the human mind is averse from the subject which gives it the greatest pain. Man wishes to forget the subject which torments him. And having rendered himself worthy of the displeasure and indignation of his Father and his God, he cannot think of him without pain. Hence he strives to forget him. "God is not in all his thoughts" is a saying true, not only of the grossly wicked, but of all the impenitent. Men talk of God unknown, while they are haters of the God revealed. Man must have a God: for an Atheist's mind has no rest. But rather than seek or find the knowledge of the only king and true God, be makes for himself a god, to which he ascribes such attributes as suit his own debased nature. This, the gods of all mythology prove even to the most undiscerning.
This is the moral death which precedes a man's interment in the grave of his own corruptions. This loss of communion with God, this loss of a taste or disposition for the knowledge of God, is death to the soul of man. Moral corruption follows death moral, as literal corruption follows a literal dissolution. Corruption moral resembles natural corruption in this, that under some circumstances it is more rapid in its progress, and more offensive in its development than under other circumstances. But in all cases when the vital spark is gone, corruption commences its career. So all who are unreconciled to God, all who are dead in trespasses and sins, are consuming in their own corruptions.
To quicken man, to impart new life to him, is only possible to him who created him. This power is now in the word of God; not that word spoke in Eden, nor that spoken on Sinai; but that which was spoken on Calvary and first published in all languages in Jerusalem: a revelation of God not imputing men's trespasses to them, but a revelation of God in Christ reconciling a world to himself, making him who did no sin a sin-offering for man that they might he made righteous through him.
To effect a return to God has been the object of all his communications to man, through mediators, since the first apostacy. But it is  not necessary to narrate the means employed after the first, second, or third apostacy, to recover man from working out his own ruin. We had better attend to the present economy. Suffice it to observe, that from every economy under which man has hitherto been placed, apostacy has been possible, and man has actually become an apostate. Adam apostatized from the first economy. A new arrangement was then introduced, from which Cain became the first apostate; and so it progressed until all mankind, with a single exception, were involved in one general apostacy, and engulphed in one common ruin.
A new economy was again introduced, and Noah and his sons placed under it. From this the sons of Noah began to apostatize, and in a few generations all mankind were likely to be sunk again in one common apostacy from that institution. Abraham was called out of the general degeneracy, and a new economy in his family was set up. From this, too, the great mass of his progeny apostatized; and God gave them over into the hands of their enemies for seventy years. They were restored: but after a second trial they apostatized so far from God and Moses, that after crucifying their own Messiah, and thus filling up the measure of God's long suffering, the nation, with but comparatively few exceptions, was destroyed or given over to the scourge of all nations.
The christian economy was then set up, full of grace and reality. A new salvation and a new life distinguished this heavenly arrangement. The greatest promises;--remission of sins, adoption into the family of God, the Holy Spirit, and eternal life glorify the New Institution. "He shall save his people from their sins," is the name of our JOSHUA by an order from the Eternal Throne.
Man has been treated by his heavenly Father in all respects as a son. Adam the Son of God was placed in full possession of an estate every way becoming his rank in the creation. He became a bankrupt. He was then placed under a pension or annuity of a certain amount, but held nothing in fee simple. This, too, his family squandered; and, as they became poorer and more wretched by every new delinquency, God, the Father of the whole degenerate family, gave a new estate, but placed the inheritance in his own Son, and vested man's right of enjoyment in him, so that all his rights, immunities, and honors are in the Son, by virtue of an everlasting institution, called, "the sure mercies of David." The life which christianity proposes is in the Son of God. He that is united to him has this life; he that is not united to him, has not this life; but the old sentence of death remains upon him.
But an apostacy from this union, as respects individuals, and from the engrafting word, from the whole christian institution, was not only possible, but has actually taken place. Many branches have been broken off from the true vine; for many who have tasted the powers of the new world have fallen away. "Because of unbelief they were broken off;" for under this economy men "stand by faith," not by flesh. "Take heed, brethren, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief." 
As the branch can bear no fruit of itself unless it abide in the vine, so no person can enjoy the life which is hid in Christ, who is our life, nor bring forth the living fruits of that life, unless he adhere to him, Hence apostacy from him is death to the individual. This is a sin unto death. For him that wilfully and wittingly renounces Jesus as his Lord, there remains no sacrifice for sin, there remains nothing but the fearful expectation of certain and irremediable destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power.
But there is a declension or an apostacy from the institution of Jesus Christ, where there is an acknowledgment of its divine authority, and no personal renunciation of Jesus. This falling off, this waxing lukewarm, this indifference to the excellency and purity of the christian institution, is intolerable in the estimation of the King: "I will spue thee out of my mouth," is the promise of the Faithful and True Witness, to those who become cold in their attachment and lukewarm in their adherence to his person and cause. "Remember whence you are fallen, and reform, or else I will come to you quickly and will remove your candlestick out of its place unless you reform."
Reformation was proclaimed by the Jewish Prophets to their own people, and arguments offered to move them to reformation. Reformation was proclaimed by John the Harbinger, and arguments offered to enforce the necessity of it. "Reformation unto life" was by the commandment of the Lord announced to all nations; and this reformation had suitable arguments to enforce it. But there is a reformation proclaimed to christians in the midst of their apostacies or departures from the christian institution. The seven letters written by the order of the Lord Jesus to the seven Asiatic congregations are full of this. And the last message to apostate christendom, found in the last communication from the Lord himself, is a command to reform: "Come out of the apostacy, my people, that you participate not in its iniquities, and that you may escape the plagues which shall destroy them that have corrupted the christian institution." Such is its import viewed through the connexion in which it stands.
Concerning apostacies we may learn their nature and consequences from a strict regard to those leading apostacies to which we have alluded. Concerning reformations and returnings to God, we have abundant information in those preached in past ages; indeed, in all reforms proclaimed in both the Testaments. But in these reformations the following characteristics deserve attention:--
First--They are all personal. Though the nation of the Jews, as such, apostatized; yet reformation could not be effected by the government without the people, nor by the people without the government, nor by the people but in their individual character. Reformation of manners, of government, or of religion in its integral character, must necessarily be composed of units. When the persons composing a family, a congregation, or a nation, reform; then there is a family, or a congregational or a national reformation. But reformation is always, and must necessarily be, a personal thing. 
Second--In every reformation there are promises tendered on condition of it. These are motives to obedience; and there are also threatenings presented on condition of disobedience; and these, too, serve as motives to enforce it. Something is always gained by reformation, and something is always lost in consequence of not reforming.
Third--There is only one "reformation unto life;" and they who comply with it, obtain remission and life; and those who disdain or reject it, incur eternal separation from God.
Fourth--But there is a reformation of manners which is announced to those who have obeyed the gospel, and which becomes indispensable when they have in any wise fallen off from the purity of the gospel institution. This is the point to which all that precedes is preliminary.
Now it so happens in the very genius of this institution, that none can enjoy it who do not carry out to the full, the reformation which it contemplates and enforces. Hence the partial and limited enjoyments of christianity which are found among those who do not embrace and fully carry out the principles of reformation propounded by the great Reformer and Saviour of men.
It is almost universally acknowledged that christians, as we call them, among us, do not enjoy the same confidence in God, the same clear and unfaltering hope in the Saviour, the same joy unspeakable and full of glory, which characterized the profession of those who first received Jesus into their confidence as the Great Apostle of Jehovah--the Messiah of four thousand year's expectation.
The reason is, they do not so fully and unreservedly give themselves up to be guided by him in every thing. The same causes must produce the same effects, moral as well as natural. Let professors make the same unconditional surrender of themselves to the Lord Jesus which they did who first trusted in him as the Only Begotten of the Father, full of favor and of truth, and their hearts will exult like theirs; their joy will be as complete, because their lives will be as pure.
But the sects cannot enjoy the salvation of God, because in every sect there must be something antichristian; for the fact that there is a single human institution incorporated with the Divine, is that which gives to any community its name, its sectarian designation, when compared with the institution of Jesus Christ. And this, though it be but a unit, is a worm at the root of the christian's enjoyment.
The envies, the jealousies, the hopes and the fears, the likings and the dislikings which grow out of a sectarian peculiarity, like a cancer vexes and torments the whole body in which it is found; and this afflicts every spirit which composes the mystical body of Christ. There must be schisms and all their hateful train where such institutions are enthroned in the minds of the people, were it in conjunction with all the Apostles' doctrine.
A return to the whole institution in principle and practice, in sentiment and behaviour--we say, "the whole institution," without addition or subtraction, and without any new modification, is indispensable  to the restoration of that holy spirit which filled the first saints with righteousness, peace, and joy. We must have the same religion, if we would have the same fruits which adorned and blessed the ancient disciples.
But such a profession would make a new sect, or rather revive the old one. It must be a sect so far as all mankind do not embrace it, or so far as any sect of mankind oppose it. The whole constitution, laws, ordinances, and manners of the kingdom of Jesus Christ revived would make the people who understand, believe, and practise them so far a sect as they are opposed; but no farther. And most certainly none of the sects hitherto existing are built exclusively upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets: for even the ordinances, nay, the constitution, and the naturalization of citizens as respects this kingdom, have not as yet by any sect been so understood as they are now beginning to be understood. In a word, christians could not, in the true sense of language, enjoy the christian religion; for it was not understood, and is not now fully understood by any sect, or by a minority in any sect in christendom. While christians, so called, are warring about their opinions, and erecting exclusive establishments and maintaining the sects and schisms which their fathers made, it is proof positive that they are estranged from the simplicity which is in Christ; that they are in Babylon, and, as they often confess, in a cloudy and dark day, in the wilderness. The whole head is sick and the heart faint, and unless a reformation radical and coextensive with the apostacy is effected, men may profess, but cannot enjoy, the religion of the Saviour of the world.
But the old cry, "The temple of the Lord is with us," we have been blessed, we are his people, "we are the true circumcision," blinds the eyes and hardens the hearts of many against a radical reformation. We are rich, we are full, we are honorable, &c. is the cry which prevents thousands from stooping to inquire what means the command, "I counsel you to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich; and white raiment, that you may be clothed; and anoint your eyes with eye-salve, that you may see." Unless a distrust is created, none will examine; and therefore none will reform.
Professors need not accuse us of making a new sect, nor pretend that they can be happy in God without a reformation as radical as that for which we contend. If the revival of the uncorrupted religion of the New Testament, free from any humanisms, make a new sect, then it will only prove that all the sects are more or less gone into the apostacy. And if it did not prove this, it would be an argument against it. But so long as no humanism is advocated by us or made preliminary to admission into the christian kingdom, nor enforced upon them in the kingdom, the cry of a new sect is only a calumny. And that the experience of all professors, when compared with what the New Testament exhibits, is defective, every honest man in those establishments has only to examine himself to find the proof. But it must be remembered that we plead not a reformation of systems, but a personal reformation of principles and manners, an entire submission to Jesus as the only Prophet, Priest, and King of divine authority. 
And this, too, is the highest ground which can be assumed, and the only ground on which a man intelligent in the scriptures can stand approved before God, the universe, and his own conscience. None that come after us can go farther back than the day of Pentecost none can plead for more than an unconditional surrender to Jesus and his Apostles in their official designations; none can reasonably ask less. We are confident, then, that we stand upon the only tenable ground in the universe; that we have the approbation of God, angels and all the dead saints; and that were all the Apostles and Prophet again to revisit the earth, they would take sides with us in this controversy; and if blamed by them it would not be for the ground we have assumed, but for our failure to stand fairly upon it, or for our delinquency in carrying it out in all its details. In case of such a rebuke from them, we would reply, 'Show us our errors; we wish to see them: our hearts are right in the matter, and we wish our effort to correspond with them.' Such confidence have we towards God in the cause we plead.
Our opponents may be sincere and honest; some of them, we doubt not, are so; but none of them have presumed to say that they can have such confidence; nay, they have said so much already of a contrary import that they cannot now say it. None of them say that things are as they ought to be in the schemes which they support They are afraid of changing for the worse; but all admit the possibility of changing for the better, Not a man will lay his hand upon his heart and say, that before God he thinks that the present order of things is the order of things established by the Apostles. None will say that christians are what they ought to be, or might be, under thy uncorrupted institutions of Jesus Christ. They cannot, therefore unequivocally vindicate their cause nor their course.
It is to no purpose to say that they prefer their order of things or their views and traditions to that reformation which we plead, because they do not see it fully developed, they see things only in progress, or perhaps they do not put themselves to the trouble to examine into the real merits of the cause. They must admit the ground we take is unexceptionable--it is apostolic; and our failure to exemplify it fully is to he charged to them, in a great measure, who throw obstacles in our way, and endeavor to turn away the ears of the people from the ancient gospel and order of things. But to the Lord, and not to us, they have to account for this.
Let those who plead this cause give them no real occasion to speak reproachfully of it, or of them, and we have the approbation of our King, and shall be pleased with the measure of success which he is pleased to bestow on our efforts, which has hitherto incomparably transcended our most sanguine expectations. This reformation must be effected soon or late; else the promises and the plainest predictions shall have failed for once. But this cannot be. The only question with any can be, Is this the time for it? And let us answer this question as we may, we are sure that it is our time and our duty to plead for it, because we have been made to know what is, and what is  not, the institution of Jesus. And no man lights a candle to put it under a corn-measure, but on a stand. We are, therefore, divinely called to the work.
|FOR THE MILLENNIAL HARBINGER.|
WHEN we are wrong, it is of great importance that we should know it. Without this knowledge, we can never be redeemed from error; for we cannot be induced to forsake the path we are pursuing, unless we are first persuaded that it is leading us astray. We make but little progress, however, in recovering from error, unless we are enabled to discover also the cause of our mistake: and even this will profit us little if we are not made acquainted with the manner in which we have been deceived; for until we know the way in which we have strayed, it is impossible for us to find the way by which we should return.
As we have already spoken (p. 123) of the delusion in which the human race has become involved, and have evinced that it has been owing to a departure from the order which God first instituted, permit me now to exhibit the manner in which Satan, who is styled the Deceiver of the Nations, has succeeded in accomplishing his purposes.
It is evident, then, that in every age it has been by COUNTERFEITS.
Than this we can conceive of no mode more ingenious or efficient, Against an open enemy every one is on his guard; but when he presents himself under the semblance of a friend, the unsuspecting confidence of affection, the most honorable principles, and the warmest feelings of the heart, may be made to forward the design of the betrayer, and to promote the destruction of the unfortunate victim. In what intricate mazes may not that stranger be lost, over what precipices may he not be hurled headlong, who is under the conduct of a false guide! To what unknown regions may not that pilot steer, far from the intended port, and in what yawning abyss may not his vessel be engulphed, who trusts to an illusive compass! At first, indeed, the mariner, pleased with the novelty of his situation, and his bosom swelling with joyful anticipation, may not discover the apparently slight deviation of the needle, while the frail bark glides along the well known shores, and the friendly beacon is still in view; but when the blue mountains are lost in the distance, and sea and sky alone are seen, then it is that, trusting entirely to the guide which he confidently supposes has brought him thus far safely on his voyage, he is lost upon the boundless world of waters, and "drifted to a returnless distance from his family and his home."
Thus, then, I repeat, by the substitution of falsehood for truth, and appearance for reality, men have been, from the very beginning, led into the paths of error and delusion. In the outset, indeed, the course pursued may not have seemed to deviate from the correct one; but no sooner has the deceitful leader obtained the confidence of his  followers, and all the well known landmarks have faded from their memory, than he has boldly led his willing victims to their everlasting ruin.
By the persuasions of the Deceiver our first parents found themselves, in the very commencement of their career, driven from Eden and cut off from the tree of life. But the Tempter, in saying to them, "You shall not surely die," intimated to them that they should continue to enjoy life. Accordingly, we find that after they had sinned they continued to possess that life. Life, did I say!--nay, rather a counterfeit, a dream for a reality, a shadow, as image, a mere resemblance! We speak of our mortal life.--This is a contradiction in terms: Is life indeed mortal? can it die? or is it possible for death to live?--A smoke which appears for a little time, and then vanishes away; a wavering delusive light, that leads us through pains, toils and sorrows--to the grave! Does this indeed deserve the name of Life? Oh! no. The Lord is the fountain of life, and in his favor it can alone be found. When Christ preached to men, "he preached to those who were dead." He is the life--the bread of life. They who hate him love death; they who are separated from him are dead. Though they eat bread, they shall hunger; though they drink water, they shall thirst again; and although they may seem to have life, yet do they possess it only in appearance; for that alone is truly life which is eternal, and they only live who are nourished by the tree of life, and led to the fountains of living water.
|"They live, they greatly live a life on earth
Unkindled, unconceived, and from an eye
Of tenderness let heavenly pity fall
On us more justly numbered with the dead.
This is the desert! this the solitude!
How populous, how vital is the grave!
This is Creation's melancholy vault,
The vale funereal, the sad cypress gloom;
The land of apparitions, empty shades:
All, all on earth is shadow, all beyond
Is substance. The reverse is Folly's creed."
Death being thus permitted for a while to prevail, that the excellency of eternal life might be more conspicuous, a new scene is presented to our view. Men having died, or fallen, and his character having been thus degraded, the Diving Creator reveals himself to him, in order that, being now able to judge by contrast, he might he enticed by the glory and excellency of his character to imitate his perfections, and, taught by experience, be induced to relinquish the false and vain enjoyments of a fleeting existence, and exchange the counterfeit for an everlasting life.
Displaying therefore his wisdom, justice and tender mercy, he clothes the naked, foretells a final victory over the Serpent, and gives the gracious promise of a Deliverer. He teaches men to regard him not only as their Creator, but as their Redeemer: and from this period  until the seed of the woman had burst those chains of death into whose power Satan had delivered them, he continued to address them from time to time by his patriarchs, his prophets, his judgments, his mercies, and his institutions to keep alive the knowledge of his name, and to give a perfect revelation of his character.
Satan now discovering that mankind could not be brought fully under his dominion, so long as the knowledge of the true God remained with them, endeavors to deprive them of that knowledge, by proposing to them, as objects of worship, counterfeit gods.
This was accomplished by degrees. First, by exhibiting some glorious object in creation as an apt emblem of the Creator, and then teaching them to pay religious homage to this object, as a representative of God. Accordingly the Sun, which like its Author diffuses light, life and glory, was, throughout the world, under various names, the first object of idolatrous worship. The Moon came next to receive divine homage, as the second in importance of the heavenly bodies; and after these the planets, as having attracted notice by their appearance and motions. Thus the Greeks worshipped the sun under the title of Saturn, or Apollo, and the moon under that of Diana. The Egyptians, the Philistines, the Zidonians, the Babylonians, the Syrians, and the Ammonites, sacrificed to the same divinities under the appellations of Ammon, Isis, Astarte, Ashtaroth, Bel or Moloch. And seeing that in this as in every other departure from rectitude, "C'est le premier nas qui coute," the first step is the only difficulty, the world soon began to substitute things which bore some real or supposed analogy to their new divinities.
To this idolatrous worship, which was so common among the nations around them, the Jews themselves were exceedingly addicted. On this account, it seems, that both the Tabernacle and the Temple were so placed that the entrance of each was from the east, that the Israelites in praying towards them might have their backs towards the rising sun. So Ezekiel viii. 16 17, says: "I was brought into the inner court of the Lord's house, and saw at the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, about five and twenty men with their backs toward the temple of the Lord, and their faces toward the east, who worshipped the sun towards the east." Job also alludes to the same practice when be says, (xxxi. 26) "If I beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon walking in brightness, and my heart hath been secretly enticed or my mouth hath kissed my hand, this also were as iniquity to be punished by the Judge, for I should have denied the God that is above." We read also that Solomon in his old age "went after Ashtaroth (a name for the moon) the Goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom, the abomination of the Ammonites." I Kings, xi. And that he built upon Mount Olivet "a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Moloch the abomination of the children of Ammon" Chemosh signifies the solar fire. Moloch was also the name of an idol made to represent the sun, the Saturn of the Carthagenians. We may observe also that in the contest between Elijah and the priests of Baal, the answer was  given by fire; for Baalim, or the different kinds of Baals, as Baal-Berith, Baal-Peor, Baal-Tamar, Baal-Zebub, &c. were representations of the sun under different forms. The most common one was that of a bull, with a wide gaping mouth to receive the victims, whether animals or children, which were burnt to death by a fire within. This was their usual mode of offering sacrifice; and the Valley of Tophet, or of the Son of Hinnom, between Mount Olivet and Jerusalem, is noted for the many cruel offerings there made in this way. Thus we are told that Manasseh "reared up altars for Baalim, and made groves, (idols?) and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them. And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord. And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom." 2 Chron. xxxiii. See also Jer. xix.
As the rock just loosened from the mountain's brow gathers force and velocity as it proceeds, and rushes with overwhelming violence into the abyss below, so mankind, thus deprived of the knowledge of the true God, supposing that they saw in the creature the excellencies of the Creator who is blessed forever, and multiplying the objects of their worship according to the dictates of fancy or the desires of ambition, plunged deeper and deeper into ignorance and superstition. They represented Him not under his true character, but under such an one as they wished him to possess. Governed by the lowest propensities of human nature, they imagined the invisible God to be altogether such an one as themselves; and deifying the vilest passions, they gave themselves up, soul and body, to work all manner of iniquity with greediness.
Man stands at the head of the creation. All things being placed under his feet, and being constituted monarch of all he surveys, his eye beholds no equal; and among all the things that are made, there is nothing to which he can be compared. Even when he fell from his first estate he retained his superiority: for if man was degraded, so was creation; and he still remained, though fallen, lord of a fallen world. It being as impossible for man, thus lowered, to elevate his character without having before him one superior to his own, as it would be for him to elevate his person in the air without having something higher than himself; and it being shown that he has no equal, much less a superior in creation, it is evident that he must look out of the world altogether for a model, and that God himself, in whose image he was originally created, is the only Being that can furnish it. How great therefore the cunning of the Deceiver in placing before man natural objects as representations of God: objects which, far from being comparable to the Creator, were inferior even to man himself, and which consequently, in place of exalting him, could only more and more degrade him!
It may also be worthy of observation that nations, like individuals, have their peculiar characteristics. And as there is always a correspondence between the character of a people and that of their divinity, we would expect to find the same difference between the ancient  deities as there were between the nations who gave them birth; for as it is more easy to intercept the rays of the sun than to imitate their brightness, as a beautiful statue can with more facility be converted into a rude stone than the unhewn marble can be made to assume the elegant proportions of a Belvidere Apollo, so the nations found it more convenient to suit the character of the Divinity to their own, than to adapt their character to that of the Divinity. Accordingly we find that after they were sunk in idolatry, and had lost all knowledge of the true God, every country was provided with deities suited to the character of the people. We see the Egyptians, for instance, who were a people devoted to agriculture, paying divine honors to Osiris, one of their kings, to whose instructions they considered themselves indebted for their skill in cultivating the soil. And as the ox was an animal of important service in agricultural pursuits, he was soon chosen to be a representative of the person and divinity of Osiris. At the death of their idol, the priests shaved their heads, and Egypt mourned; but no sooner was another ox discovered having the peculiar marks and spots which qualified him to be a god, than, supposing Osiris restored to life, the people celebrated the re-appearance of their deity with the most superstitious ceremonies and extravagant demonstrations of joy. And as they believed Osiris himself to be the representative of the sun, so, esteeming his wife Isis as the moon, they worshipped her also under the emblem of a cow.
The voluptuous Greeks, importing their divinities from Egypt, gave to Osiris the name and character of Bacchus, and worshipped the Deity under the character of a drunkard and a debauchee. Impetuous in their disposition, and wanton in their imagination, while they saw a superior being in every object which caused terror, inspired gratitude, or excited love, they attributed to their innumerable divinities the same passions which afflict the human race, and supposed them to be appeased or provoked just as the imperfect beings to whose superstition they owed their existence.
The more warlike Romans were taught to pay the most abundant honors to the god of war, from whom they even claimed to be descended, and imagined the Deity to be delighted with human slaughter. Seated in his blood-stained car, and drawn by furious steeds, they were accustomed to represent him as presiding over the contest, plunging amidst the tumult of opposing armies, and enjoying all the horrors of the field of battle.
The northern nations were each provided with a divinity adapted to their peculiar genius. Here we perceive the fierce Germans yielding homage to gods as cruel as themselves; and there the Gauls, under the tutelage of the Druids, supposing that their idols could be appeased by human sacrifices. Now we see a people engaged in the worship of Thor; and again we find their proposing to themselves no higher felicity in a future state than to drink the blood of their enemies from their skulls in the halls of Odin.
Thus did Satan, by the introduction of false gods, succeed not only in destroying the knowledge of the true God, but as a necessary  consequence, in hurrying mankind into every species of enormity. Here, under the auspices of Bacchus and of Venus, he leads his miserable victims into the unheard of pollutions of the Bacchanalia. There Mars and Bellona thunder along the ranks of armed warriors, and fill every breast with fury and the thirst of blood. Now the mysteries of a Syrian Astarte, or a Persian Tanais, are celebrated by the perpetration of the greatest crimes; and again, deified heroes become the patrons of every species of immorality; so that the world had become so vile and debased at the christian era, as to authorize an Apostle to say of them that they were "filled with all injustice, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, full of envy, murder, strife, cunning, bad disposition, whisperers, revilers, haters of God, insolent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil pleasures, disobedient to parents, impudent, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful."
As, however, things grow smaller the further they are removed from the eye, so it happens also with respect to those objects which are now far removed from us by the lapse of intervening ages; and the present subject, though of all-engrossing importance at the period of which we treat, may now be considered as too remote for particular attention, and as having dwindled into comparative insignificance. We will therefore descend the page of history, and speak of those matters with which we are more immediately concerned, and to the consideration of which, indeed, the above remarks have been, in a great measure, introductory.
Permit me to observe, however, in the first place, that the development of God's character to man has been gradual. The first full blaze of light is too strong for the eye accustomed to darkness, and it would have been impossible for man, ignorant and without experience, to receive any other than a gradual revelation. Each age of the world, therefore, by some means or institution peculiar to itself, presents us successively with more perfect displays of the divine character. Every age of the world also has its peculiar class of counterfeits. Thus when God addressed men orally by patriarchs, prophets, priests and messengers, the heathen world were provided with oracles. When the Lord could be consulted by Urim and Thummirn, the Pythia occupied her tripod, and Dodona and Jupiter Ammon gave answer to the votaries of idolatry. Thus, also, when miracles and supernatural means were employed by the true God, they were opposed by counterfeit or false miracles. Egypt felt through all her coasts the judgments of the Almighty; but we read that Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses. We need not dwell, however, upon these instances; nor is it necessary for me to speak of the temple that was built in Samaria in imitation of that at Jerusalem, and of the worship there set up as a counterfeit of the Jewish Institution, but coming at once to that perfect Institution which was to supersede every other, we will devote a few moments to those human schemes and impositions by which it has been counterfeited.
THE CHRISTIAN HOME MISSIONARY SOCIETY.
IN glancing over the pages of a pamphlet written by Ralph Cushman, as "an appeal to the christian public against the allegations contained in a pamphlet written by J. L. Wilson, D. D. entitled 'Four Propositions sustained against the claims of the American Home Missionary Society,"' we were not a little surprised to see such avowals as the following made in vindication of the benefits accruing to Presbyterianism from the operations of said Home Missionary Society. By the instrumentality of this Home Presbyterian Missionary Society, "many thousands of Sabbath School children, and members of Bible classes, have been drawn within the influence of Presbyterian ministers." p. 7. And on the same page, the Society has succeeded in "bringing hundreds and thousands of children into Presbyterian Sabbath Schools and Bible classes." We have here from a teacher of Presbyterianism an avowal which unequivocally justifies our apprehensions, that the Bible classes and Sabbath Schools were intended, and are used, as great proselyting and sectarian schemes, to build up a sect who has always been struggling for the precedency and control of society since its first organization. Dr. Wilson, of Cincinnati, wrote a pamphlet, it appears, to suppress or annihilate this Home Missionary Society, as prejudicial to the Presbyterian church. Mr. Cushman, after exposing "the misrepresentations and unchristian aspersions," as he calls them, of his brother Wilson, urges these as facts to prove that the Home Missionary establishment, so far from being detrimental, is abundantly useful to the Presbyterian church.
After castigating his brother Wilson for representing many of his Eastern brethren of New England as preachers of every thing "from Antinomianism to Universal ism," he states one of the most prominent characteristics of a Presbyterian, in a way for which I would have been censured by many of his brethren; but doubtless it is a true representation, and no less so when coming from a Presbyterian preacher. "I have," says Mr. Cushman, "always supposed one leading feature of Presbyterianism to be submission to the decisions of the judicatories of the church, or a redress of grievances by constitutional means." A question is then put to the religious public, whether Mr. Cushman and his Missionary friends, or Dr. Wilson, are the better Presbyterians; the former, who "submit to be ruled quietly by the Presbyterians," or the latter, "in refusing to submit to the judicatories of the church."
Dr. Wilson calls "his brother ministers schismatics, and no true Presbyterians," who will persist in preaching under the Home Missionary establishment. But Mr. Cushman proves that he is as "good a Presbyterian" as the Doctor, because he acts quietly under and according to the decisions and recommendations of the judicatories of the church.
Upon the whole, this pamphlet might be useful to open the eyes of even Presbyterians themselves to the spirits which guide their destinies, and to the objects which animate the hopes of their builders.  A time will come, nor far distant is the day, when an overacting of their part will prostrate the ambition of these aspirants after the honors which come from men. Many of their fellow-helpers and contributors are, no doubt, actuated by higher considerations than sectarian aggrandizement, and they suspect not the object of those who are daily preaching to them about "building up the Redeemer's Kingdom." But if such be the Redeemer's Kingdom, the New Testament is a volume of mysteries, hid from all eyes save those who look through the glasses of the Westminster Creed.
THE END OF GREAT MEN.
HAPPENING to cast my eyes upon a printed page of miniature portraits, I perceived that the four personages who occupied the four most conspicuous places, were Alexander, Hannibal, Cesar, and Bonaparte. I had seen the same unnumbered times before, but never did the same sensations arise in my bosom, as my mind hastily glanced over their several histories.
ALEXANDER, after having climbed the dizzy heights of his ambition, and with his temples bound with chaplets dipped in the blood of countless nations, looked down upon a conquered world and wept that there was not another world for him to conquer, set a city on fire, and died in a scene of debauch.
HANNIBAL, after having, to the astonishment and consternation of Rome, passed the Alps; after having put to flight the armies of this Mistress of the World, and stripped three bushels of gold rings from the fingers of her slaughtered knights, and made her very foundation quake--fled from his country, being hated by those who once exultingly united his name to that of their god, and called him Hanni Baal--and died at last by poison administered by his own hands, unlamented and unwept, in a foreign land.
CESAR, after having conquered eight hundred cities, and dyed his garments in the blood of one million of his foes--after having pursued to death the only rival he had on earth--was miserably assassinated by those he considered his nearest friends, and in that very place the attainment of which had been his greatest ambition.
BONAPARTE, whose mandate Kings and Popes obeyed--after having filled the earth with the terror of his name--after having deluged Europe with tears and blood, and clothed the world in sackcloth--closed his days in lonely banishment, almost literally exiled from the world, yet where he could sometimes see his country's banner waving over the deep, but which would not or could not bring him aid!
Thus those four men, who, from the peculiar situations of their portraits, seemed to stand as the representatives of all those whom the world calls great--those four who each in turn made the earth tremble to its very centre by their simple tread, severally died--one by intoxication, or, as some suppose, by poison mingled in his wine--one a suicide--one murdered by his friends--and one in lonely exile!--"How are the mighty fallen!"
THE HISTORY OF SIN.--No. VIII.
IN the present narrative we shall trace the prominent incidents in the history of sin in one land, and that the chosen residence of the elect nation. Preparatory to this, an allusion to the peregrinations of Israel from the Red Sea to the Jordan shall suffice.
Pharaoh, with his whole army, his six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, his horses and horsemen, were engulphed in the Red Sea while pursuing the children of Israel. So perished the pride and strength of Egypt in their rebellion against the God of the whole earth. Pharaoh asks no more--"Who is the Lord that I should serve him?" The death of the entire first-born of Egypt could not long subdue his obstinacy or soften his heart. Egypt was judged, and terrible was her catastrophe. This, however, is but the prelude to the woes about to be inflicted on seven nations, the cup of whose iniquities had been filling for more than four hundred years.
After the giving of the law to Israel, their sins began to be avenged. The entrance of the law caused sin to abound, "for by the law was the knowledge of sin." Besides the individuals and the families which were made monuments of the evil of transgressing a law given by angels, there fell on one day three thousand persons, for making the golden calf; on another, fourteen thousand seven hundred, for murmuring against Moses and Aaron, as God's ministers; and on another, twenty-four thousand, on account of idolatry and whoredom with the daughters of Moab:--Also for disbelieving God's promises concerning their obtaining possession of the promised land, of the whole six hundred thousand warriors which stood at Mount Sinai, but two persons crossed the Jordan; all the rest fell in the wilderness.
But now that Israel have crossed the Jordan, what devastations fall upon the seven nations which inhabited the devoted land! Each of these nations were greater and more numerous than the whole house of Israel. But this avails them nothing. The Lord fights against them. We need not speak particularly of the destruction of Jericho, of Ai, of the five confederate kings against the cities of Gibeon; of the total discomfiture of Makkedah, Libnah, Lachish, Eglon, Hebron, Debir, Hazor; of the inhabitants of the mountains, the Anakims, nor of each and every one of the thirty-one western kings, with their people, which Joshua wholly subdued and extirpated. It is enough to say that about fourteen millions of persons perished before Israel sat down in the quiet possession of their promised inheritance. The twelve tribes at this time amounted to about two millions; and as each of the seven nations was as numerous as the nation of Israel, and as they were almost wholly extirpated, we cannot suppose that less than fourteen millions of men, women and children, were destroyed. The sins of these nations were of the most aggravated character, and had accumulated beyond all human conception; for nations long enslaved to idolatry are debased into every species of crime of which man is capable--"For their wickedness the Lord executed this vengeance upon them." 
After the death of Joshua, the Jews, on sundry occasions, intermarried with the idolatrous remnants of the land, and were led by them into their idolatries. This drew down upon them numerous judgments, during a long succession of years. Notwithstanding the mighty proofs of God's presence and power in the tribes of Israel, they were decoyed into the acknowledgment of the idols of the land, The Lord sent them out in single tribes, and had taught them that the battle was his; and though he made tens chase thousands, insomuch that Judah alone in Bezek, in a single day, slew ten thousand, and punished their king as he had punished threescore and ten kings, gave Jerusalem into their hands, and routed before them the inhabitants of mountains and vallies, yet they served Baal and Ashtaroth until the Lord gave them over to their enemies, and made them serve Chusanrishathaim eight years; Eglon, the king of Moab, eighteen years; Jahin, king of Canaan, twenty years; Midian seven years, and the Philistines eighteen years. Under these tyrannies they were sorely pressed; but God raised up Judges and delivered them: yet still they revolted again and again. Then he changed their punishments, and at one time forty-two thousand of the tribe of Ephraim fell by the sword, and the whole house of Israel served the Philistines forty years. Samson avenged the wrongs of the Philistines for a long time, and finally died by his own hands, in conjunction with a great multitude of them. But their delinquencies, and the visitations which followed them, are so numerous that it is impracticable to go into the minute details. Benjamin and Israel contended against each other. This controversy terminated in the loss of more than forty thousand of the allied tribes, and of the tribe of Benjamin more than twenty-five thousand men who drew the sword.
In the time of Samuel the Prophet, there fell in one engagement with the Philistines more than thirty-three thousand men of war. Under David the King Israel achieved many victories; but they also were sorely chastised. Of the Syrians David in one battle slew all the men of seven hundred chariots, and forty thousand footmen. In Absalom's revolt, in one day there fell of Israel twenty thousand men. But the impiety of David in numbering Israel brought one of the greatest calamities upon his own people which happened during his whole reign; for by the pestilence, in three days seventy thousand men died.
The sword wasted the strength of Israel for many years under the kings, as it had under the Judges. Passing from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands, there fell of the Midianites in one battle against Israel one hundred and twenty thousand. Of the Syrians Israel slew in one day a hundred thousand footmen, and twenty-seven thousand of those who fled were killed by the falling of a wall. Pekah slew in one day in Judah one hundred and twenty thousand men. Of the Assyrians encamped against Israel an angel of the Lord in one night slew one hundred and eighty-five thousand. And to flash this outline by another instance, Judah slew in one day five hundred thousand men of Israel!! If the loss of Judah bore any  proportion, there must on that day have fallen six hundred thousand men of war.
Finally, the whole nation went into captivity, and were wasted and reduced to a small remnant in the land of their enemies. The judgments which befel this people from the time they received their law until the time of the Messiah, or rather until the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, transcend all description.
The most signal favors, and the most tremendous visitations, distinguish each chapter of their history. While obedient, they lived upon the fat of the land; God was a wall of fire around them, and the glory in the midst of them. But when they rebelled, "the wrath of the Lord was kindled against his people, insomuch that he abhorred his own inheritance. He gave them into the hand of the heathen, and they that hated them ruled over them. Many times did he deliver them; but they provoked him with their counsel, and were brought low by their iniquity. Nevertheless he regarded their affliction when he heard their cry, and repented according to the multitude of his mercies."
"But Jeshuran waxed fat and kicked. Then he forsook God that made him, and lightly esteemed the rock of his salvation. They provoked him to jealousy with their idols. They sacrificed to demons not to God; to gods whom they knew not; to new gods that came newly up, whom their fathers feared not." When the Lord saw it, he abhorred them and said--"A fire is kindled in my anger, and shall burn to the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains; I will heap mischiefs upon them, I will spend my arrows upon them. They shall be consumed with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction. I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust. The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the suckling also and the man of grey hairs."
"See now that I, even I am he, and there is no god with me. I kill and I make alive, I wound and I heal; neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand: for I lift up my hand to heaven and say I live forever. If I whet my glittering sword and my hand take hold on judgment, I will render vengeance to my enemies, and will reward them who hate me: I will make my arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh. Rejoice, O nations with his people, for he will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful to his land and to his people."
Could we add together all who have fallen in battle, all whose lives perished because of their enormities, in the single land of Canaan, before, at the time of, and since Israel possessed it, the channel of Jordan could not contain the blood which that land has drunk up, nor could the inheritance of the whole twelve tribes afford a burial ground for the untimely deaths which their iniquities occasioned. That land has been literally drenched with blood, and manured with human flesh. Were the blessings of Heaven to be withholden  places fattened by human slaughter, not only should the mountains of Gilboah, but every hill and valley in Canaan, be without dew; and rain, and fields of offerings.
LETTER TO R. B. SEMPLE--No. V.
SINCE the publication of your Letter, No. 3, page 103, appeared, various communications for publication have been forwarded me from Virginia and Kentucky, touching its contents; each of which exposes your course in terms which would doubtless excite your indignation still higher, if possible, than my remarks upon your Letter, No. 2. But as I have myself commenced a series of letters to you on those subjects on which they treat, I have laid them aside for the present. Some rather censure my mildness, and some my brevity, in exposing the "sophistry," as they call it, of your performances. But I must proceed in the even tenor of my way, and certainly cannot reply to you in the spirit in which you wrote to me.
When you say, "I have dashed myself against a stone, by which I ought to be ground to powder," I do not think you wish to see that act of vengeance inflicted upon me, for daring to say that a man may proclaim Jesus in the familiar language of the nursery. Nor, perhaps, would you, in your calm and rational moments, when no indignation was upon you, use those words in relation to me at all. I attribute them not to that spirit of which you preach so much to the people; but to the evil genius of the "old man," or of the system of theology under which your conscience has been formed, Nor will I criminate you, my kind sir, for saying that "I do not like to be called upon for proof of my assertions;" although all my readers know that I am most willing, cheerful to excess in offering proof, even when unasked, for my assertions. Anger not only beclouds the judgment, but while it governs it, obliterates the recollection. Some men in a passion cannot name their own children. I ascribe these, and sundry such expressions, to the weakness of human nature; for here you speak as a man, and not as a christian: or, to quote Paul in your own sense of "The evil which you would not, that you do:" "to will is present with you, but how to perform that which is good, you find not."
There is another apology for you: You have been long accustomed to rule all your brethren about you; and when you spoke, even the aged stood up. To see any one even questioning your opinions, such more opposing them is to a person, even as mild as yourself, almost insufferable. You, brethren, whom you now persecute like partridges on the mountains, for dissenting from you, are too apt to censure you. If they would think how often they took your sayings upon trust--how often they paid homage to your decisions--they would see less cause of complaints on account of the severity of your menaces and proscriptions They are not all so acquiescive as your brother Paulinus--they are not all so nervous as to be threatened into silence or submission. When he, in all honesty and candor, published,  not as "a new speculation," but as a well-established sentiment, (page 28, vol. 4, C. Baptist,) long entertained by him, a perfect agreement with me in my views of the Old Testament; in a word, to quote his own sayings, "that the old dispensation has passed away, and with it, all institutions, ordinances, and obligations, not re-sanctioned by the New Testament;" I say, when he avowed his full conviction that this "was at instrument the most effectual for sweeping off all that rubbish which has been gathered from the old ruins of former establishments, to build withal on christian grounds," you put your veto upon him, and are said to have threatened, "that if ever his views expressed in that letter were adopted by the Baptists you would quit the denomination." Because other teachers and brethren have more courage than he, they ought not to forget that they have put into your hands the ferula which you apply to them with so much eagerness and good will.
Some of your partizan friends, who plead for your "New Testament spirit, I am infirmed, go much farther than you in some matters; and say (but I am unwilling to believe that they are in earnest) that if they had their way they would burn me alive! I repeat it, they could not persuade me that they mean what they say. But when the shepherd talks of "grinding to powder," the sheep may talk of "burning alive," but it is only talk: neither of them could find in their hearts to do such things. I doubt not but both you and they would treat me with all courtesy, and, perhaps, even friendship, were I to throw myself upon your hospitality.
Neither do I think you intended to destroy a brother in Essex, whom you have pursued with plot upon plot for three years, because he dissented from you. Once you requested him to become sponsor for 500 dollars for the Colombian College, and wrote to him that "you had confidence it his obedience, and knew that he would do more than you demanded." He had before this time contributed as much as he thought expedient; but he not only disobeyed your command, but dissented from your opinions on other matters. For your devoting yourself to the pecuniary concerns of that College, and leaving off your former labors in a great degree, had some influence in opening his eyes. Perhaps you contributed more to bringing this brother out of the mists of Babylon than any other person in Virginia. But how often has he been tried for heresy? How often? Not less than three times was he been brought before his own church, by your means, as he had reason to believe. And how often have you endeavored to have him cut off from the Baptists? Did not even your brother Broaddus once decide that you owed him "a public apologetic explanation of your conduct?" The persecutions which brother Henley has suffered would fill a pamphlet as large as the contemplated Review of the Extra, promised some months ago, by our friend Andrew Broaddus. But I feel assured that you meant it all for good, and only wished to compel him into your train, believing that he was a very excellent disciple, and even a good teacher "of the gospel," only in some "metaphysical errors." The meekness which he has evinced amidst all  these trials is some proof of his goodness, and of his putting the most favorable interpretations upon your acts. We do not, my dear sir, think that you are either so wrathful, or so destitute of even christian sympathy, as you would represent yourself in many of your recent acts in opposition to reform. Sorry would I be to apply to you a sentence I not long since saw appositely applied to some who have opposed reformation: "Even the sea-monsters draw out the breast; they give suck to their young ones. The daughter of my people is become cruel, like the ostrich in the wilderness."
I had resolved to examine the contents of some of your late communications in this letter: but finding that I have only alluded to some preliminary matters, and that one sheet is already full, I will have to wait the return of another moon. In the mean time, I thought it due to you, myself, and the public, to make some apologies for the apparent falling off from a christian spirit in yourself and friends in prosecuting the controversy. I am willing to ascribe it rather to any other cause, than to a hard, censorious, proud, and persecuting spirit.
Hoping that you may not only love your brethren in deed and in truth, but in word also, I remain your faithful friend.
|Essex, Va. June 21, 1831|
TO BISHOP R. B. SEMPLE.
IT is believed that I am the brother alluded to in your letter to brother Campbell, in the 5th number of the Harbinger; that was your friend and favorite brother before the seeds of discord were sown among us." Now, my dear sir, you know that I am still your friend and brother, and only regret that the seeds of discord were ever sown among us. You also know that it was owing to your imprudent friend in Kentucky, who refused to do me justice, according to your statement.
If ever a man was tried by scoffs, frowns, and persecution of the tongue, to wean me from you and the Baptists, I have experienced it. Nevertheless, I trust you will have the magnanimity to say I have held on my way as though nothing had taken place. It is true when those who were wiser than myself countenanced the unreasonable conduct of the less informed, I have been mortified, and may have expressed myself freely; but there is not the man living the hair of whose head I would hurt, otherwise than by the use of means to convince him of his error.
My dear sir, I have a conscience that must he listened to. I claim the rights of a freeman. I claim the rights of a christian; and so long as I maintain the character of a christian, I shall consider it illiberal and unjust in any man, or set of men, to use means to deprive do of my standing in society as a christian and a christian teacher. I do blame you for expressing your religious sentiments in a christian spirit; but I do blame any man to fulminate seven decrees with  a view of rendering another obnoxious to society, whose character as a christian stands as fair as yours or any other man's, for no other reason than that of a difference of opinion! Every reformer believes more in the influence of the Holy Spirit in the salvation of men, according to apostolic order, than their opponents. The difference is not in the influence of the Spirit, but when and how it operates. This is the whole cause of the continuance of the discord. We contend for the literal meaning of the New Testament--you contend for your view of the New Testament.
All I ask at your hands, or the hands of any man, is my rights as a servant of Jesus Christ. As a christian I have rights, and those rights I will never surrender to any man or set of men under heaven. When you grant that my rights as a christian are as sacred as yours, or any set of men; and that I have an equal right to proclaim my sentiments among the worshippers of God as you or any man, without molestation; then the cause of discord will cease, but not until then. I am willing to leave it to the hearers to decide who proclaims the gospel. Are you willing to do so? If so, all cause of discord is at an end; and let us appear in our true character as disciples of the Messiah.
|Yours in hope of a glorious immortality,|
|THOMAS M. HENLEY.|
[In a postscript to the above, brother Henley, among other items of good news, states the following: "We are progressing rapidly. Within four weeks we have immersed fifty-four persons for the remission of their sins. Our opponents cannot but admire the independence of the people."]
THE TIMES--No. VI.
THE false impressions made upon the public mind by the misrepresentation of facts, the allegation of the facts, and the colorings given to incidents of a doubtful character, so far transcend any thing we could have once imagined, that our sympathies are awakened to a very high degree for those who are in the keeping of one-sided editors, authors, preachers, and their train. It is painful to see, and painful to show to others the alarming degeneracy of this age from what we once thought to be a common, but now really the very uncommon virtue of telling the truth and nothing but the truth. To support the most marvellous tale, the time was, when he that told it, had only to say, "I read it in a newspaper. Be assured, neighbor, it is true; for it is no hearsay. I saw it in print." To tell an untruth, or to give a false representation, or even to write one, was supposed possible; but to print one, to put it deliberately upon metal, to set it in type, to put the ink upon it, and put it to press, seemed so much like deliberate murder of the first degree, that few persons could be supposed to be capable of such an act.
But, perhaps, we estimate, the degeneracy to be much greater than it really is, because we are better acquainted with matters and things now than we were in our unsuspicious childhood and youth. Be this  as it may, one thing is certain, that a fair unvarnished representation of things, not only in our political, but in our religious periodicals, is more frequently to be wished for, or imagined, than to be seen. This we learn from an increasing acquaintance with many of the things--histories, narratives, or incidents, which are passing before the public in various versions and forms; from the frequent detection of falsehood and misrepresentation where our charities would not permit us to entertain a suspicion, and more especially from our own personal knowledge of facts as they are, and as they are represented to be afterwards by those who narrate them according to their passions, prejudices, likings, dislikings, or interest. It seems, indeed, very hard to simply narrate the truth without any of the colorings which our passions or prejudices so voluntarily furnish without even a solicitation from Satan.
Zealots never can tell the truth, if they were even to try; because, as water passing through a new channel, instantly is impregnated with some foreign qualities; so the truth, passing through their heated souls, changes its color. But if it were only a change of color it would not he quite so provoking as to have a change of figure, form, and magnitude. These metamorphoses are not only of the poetic, but of the historic kind. Better to have a hundred Ovids singing his metamorphoses, than to have one Tacitus writing for posterity an historic metamorphosis of his own times.
These remarks, and many more like them, if we had room to offer them, are called for by the following documents, which are only a mere sample of what we could lay before the public. Such garbling, misstating, false coloring, and puffing as the religious prints in opposition to reform are serving up to their readers, must nauseate the moral sense of every man who has only a glimmering knowledge of truth, and a mere bird's eye glance of what is passing behind the curtains in the inner temples of those who are sworn to the schemes which sustain them:--
DANIEL GRIFFING'S RENUNCIATION AGAIN.
Brother Campbell--Inasmuch as we believe the renunciation of Daniel Griffing was intended to discourage the friends of reform, we wish to state a few facts relative to the case to your readers. Daniel Griffing was ordained "a minister of the gospel," some 4 or 5 years since, by John Burch and through his influence, not by the request of any church for him to rule over or take the charge of, nor has he ever since had the charge of any church. When a majority of the brethren at Fellowship renounced human tradition, and contended for the New Testament as the best code of laws for the government of the kingdom of Christ, they suffered all the anathemas and persecutions common in the present day in such cases. Griffing stood rather on neutral ground, and shifted from side to side as occasion offered, until neither party had much confidence in him. He was one of the last to declare himself in favor of reform, and one of the first to turn back when persecuted. He led none into reform with him,  nor did he lead any back to "orthodoxy." We do not state these facts to injure "little Daniel" (as he is called here) in any respect; We only wish to unveil simple facts, that all may see the great loss we have sustained in the renunciation of this 'minister of the gospel.'
HINTS OF REV. A. W. CLOPTON TO SILAS SHELBURNE--NOTICED.
He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbor cometh and searcheth him.--Prov. xviii. 17.
IN No. 7 of the "Columbian Star and Christian Index," of August 14th, 1830, Elder Clopton's examination of Campbellism, No. 4, I find the following sentence: "What in the principles, what in the lives of Courtney, Lunsford, Straughan, Harris, Walker, Weatherford, and Shelburne, bore any resemblance to the late feats of anarchy and schism in South Benson and other churches?" I was naturally led to inquire what the schism in South Benson was. I found that you had presented the following extract from a brief history of said church:--
"At December meeting, 1829, the church assembled, reconsidered and revised this disorganizing vote by an overwhelming majority. Some four or five members, known to be friendly to the church constitution or creed, were specially invited by the no-creed leaders to attend the January meeting. Accordingly three of them, with many other visiting brethren, did attend. The malcontents moved for a reconsideration; which motion the church, after a short discussion, rejected. A strange inconsistency marked the course of the minority: while they would contend and vote with the utmost pertinacity that no creed was necessary, they disclaimed all opposition to the church constitution or terms of general union; and even now, it is believed, the greater part of them adhere to the last mentioned creed. They were greatly excited, and various propositions were made in order to reconcile them; and finally the church agreed to erase from her record any imputation of corruption to the no creed sentiment or its advocates. On their part it was alleged that nothing short of a total erasure from the church book of every thing in regard to the advice of the Association; and that John Brown should be permitted to preach such doctrine as he had heretofore preached, or pleased to preach; and that the doors should not be closed against any that they might choose to invite, would satisfy them. This proposition the church rejected, Whereupon, Elder Jacob Creath, Sen. rose, put on his hat, and pronounced the minority absolved. Elder Jacob Creath, Jun. then rose and proclaimed that he would renew his appointment to preach in that pulpit on the creed question. Another leader arose and vociferated, 'All you who are in favor of meeting here on Monday to constitute on this book, [holding up the Bible,] say Ay!' The ringleader of the malcontents said Ay, and forthwith left the house. After which Elder William Ford, the Moderator, requested the church and congregation to resume their seats, which was done, and he proceeded to close the business without noticing this most disagreeable schism. On Monday following those who had schismatized assembled in the meeting-house, and "constituted (as they call it) on the Scriptures as they stand."
On reading the above I thought, and still think, that placing my father's name in opposition to this constitution on the Bible as it stands, was placing his name on the wrong side, and giving his influence where he never placed it, and that it may be determined whether my judgment was correct the following certificates are presented:--
I DO HEREBY CERTIFY, That I was present at Meherron, in Lunenburg county, about the date of 1771, when Jeremiah Walker introduced the Covenant on  Creed, and James Shelburne opposed it and would not consent to it, who was at that time a member of that congregation. Given under my hand this 14th of April, 1831.
BRYAN LESTER, Sen.
Now read the testimony of the Deacons of his church:--
I heard James Shelburne state, that when Reedy Creek Church, in the county of Lunenburg, was constituted; and at the time of his ordination a creed or articles of faith were proposed; but he opposed them, and would not submit. I was under his instruction as a preacher for many years, and can, with propriety, certify, that he ever taught the sufficiency of the word of the Lord for faith and practice. Given under my hand this 16th of April, 1831.
I have been for many years a member of Reedy Creek Church, in Lunenburg County, Va. and acted as Clerk before the death of Elder James Shelburne, and do certify there is no creed or articles of faith on our church book; and have good reason to believe there never has been any in the church, as Elder Shelburne was opposed to them, and even taught that the word of the Lord was sufficient for faith and practice. Given under my hand this 30th of April, 1831.
JAMES WILSON, Clk.
I DO HEREBY CERTIFY, That I have been a member of the Baptist Church, called Reedy Creek, in the county of Lunenburg, Va. during 35 years, part of which time I acted in the office of a deacon, and the remaining part as Assistant Pastor with Elder James Shelburne, Pastor of the said church till his death. I do well know that we never had a creed or articles of faith, but took the word of the Lord as it stands, which Elder Shelburne maintained was sufficient for faith and practice, and was opposed to human creeds. Given under my hand this 20th of April, 1831.
An Extract from Meherrin Church Book.
We, therefore, do hereby testify, that this is a brief summary of our faith and principles, (with some few exceptions not essential to salvation or church communion;) we therefore adopt it as a good human composition in the general, which we agree to observe, both in principle and church government, so long as we shall believe it agreeable to God's word, and no longer, as we believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, is the only standard of truth by which the church is to conduct herself, (whatever respect she may have to good human composition.) For we believe the church of Christ will have more and more discoveries of light into the glorious treasure of God's word; while she continues in her militant state; and so, consequently, it would be presumption before God, and forming chains to fetter our consciences with, to bind ourselves with any set of unalterable, unchangeable principles whatever, except what is written and contained in the glorious unchangeable word of God which liveth and abideth forever.
The above is an explanation given of the articles of faith by Meherrin Church, Lunenburg county. A. D. 1772.
RODERICK R. GREGORY, Clk.
If the above were not sufficient, I could introduce many more. What is there in these certificates to show that Elder Clopton has placed my father's name on the right side? Mill. Harb. No. 9, vol. 2, p. 431. "A voice from Old Virginia testifies that Mr. Clopton has arraigned names of renown as opposed to reform, as friends of creeds, who were just the reverse of what he alleges. The son of one of these ancient worthies alleges that Mr. Clopton puts father Shelburne on the wrong side, and gives his influence where he never placed it." What is there in this extract that will justify the course you have taken?
In your Review of Campbellism, No. 10, Christian Index, of April 2, 1831, you have introduced six certificates, and has one of them testified that my father was a friend to creeds? Not one word on the subject. To show Elder Richards did not intend to convey such an idea, let him now finish his certificate and remarks on the subject:-- 
"The undersigned being fully persuaded that the above certificate is correct, does further certify, That according to my present impression, the said Elder James Shelburne did not hold with human creeds, but maintained the sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for faith and practice.
WM. RICHARDS. "April 26th, 1831."
It appears that Elder Clopton's object in taking certificates was to make a creed for my father: hence he says, "Where is the likeness between the creed of Elder James Shelburne, as clearly expressed in the certificates, and the Campbellite Creed published in my 5th number?" You no doubt found it much easier to make a creed than to prove he placed his name or influence in favor of one. You introduce sundry names as witnesses, and circumstances to prove me a "Campbellite." According to Elder John B. Smith's testimony, with other witnesses, I was opposed to the Appomattox decrees or resolutions against Campbellism. Yes, I thought the articles published as the tests of Campbellism with resolutions, inconsistent with the word of the Lord or the spirit of the gospel. One article to discriminate this heresy (or Campbellism) is, that "no creed is necessary for the church but the Scriptures as they stand." Is this Campbellism? Was my father a Campbellite in 1771, before Alexander Campbell was born? Do the members of the Appomattox Association believe this heresy? You should regret it standing on your Minutes, and time will prove whether it will be the instrument of discord.
In allusion to the certificate published in the Christian Index of April 2d: The fact is, Elder Richards saw the Mill. Harb. No. 9, vol. 1, after he gave that certificate, and forbade its publication or the use of his name in that matter. You also introduce Mr. Thomas Hamlet to prove I am nearly of the sentiments of Campbell on the subject of baptism. Your witness is not known to me or to the people in this section of country. And should it appear that I am very nearly of the sentiment of Abner W. Clopton on baptism, am I therefore a Cloptonite. My sentiments on baptism are not concealed, but publicly proclaimed to hundreds.
As to your extract from my letter to Elder Peter Gayle, there is a misrepresentation. If Alexander Campbell has written a commentary or exposition on the Scriptures, I never saw it. As to your personal reflections and insinuations against me, if you can reconcile them to your conscience, you may: but I will not, I dare not pursue the same course against you: "Michael the Archangel, when contending with the Devil, durst not bring against him a railing accusation; but said, The Lord rebuke thee." Jude i. 9. My Master has set an example; when he was reviled he reviled not again; he has taught the precept, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.
Most sincerely wishing that you may have more of that spirit which was in my Lord and Master, I subscribe myself yours, &c.
[WE have often had occasion to remark how far the Baptists have degenerated and are degenerating from their fathers. No sect, I think, has farther departed from what it once was, than the Baptist denomination. The difference between them now and their progenitors some one, two, and three centuries ago, is much greater than between them now and the Episcopalians and Presbyterians. The offence has ceased. Even within the memory of the present generation Baptists were denounced and persecuted as "damnable heretics," as "soul destroying and God-dishonoring schismatics," and by those very "evangelical sects" for whom Messrs. Semple and Clopton have more affection, and with whom they would incomparably prefer to have  communion than with us, who, "vile as we are," are much more like their own original stock than they are themselves. That they have changed is most evident from the fact now stated; for those with whom they are now fraternizing have not changed in one essential point since the days of the Long Parliament.
The "evangelical" Baptists, and the "evangelical" Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists &c. (and there are the "evangelical" of all sorts,) are very nearly allied in their affections for all the same popular hobbies:--theological schools, religious foundations in colleges, with all and every one of the monied institutions, whether flowing in the channel of tracts, Sunday schools, temperance, foreign missions, or anxious seats and praying benches, &c. &c. The consciences of the popular Baptists revolt at nothing save this thing of sprinkling infants; and that is a matter of christian forbearance with many of them!! These are signs of the Millennium too!!
Our brother Shelburne need not have been at so much pains to expose A. W. Clopton in this one instance. Were we to take the veil off all Mr. Clopton's gasconades, flourishes, facts, certificates, witnesses, and proofs, and be at pains to exhibit his own conduct, in reference to his professions and his labors in the cause of slander, proscription, and exclusion all would exclaim, Where are the fig-leaves?
I have now lying on my able one document of 18 folio pages, attested by unexceptionable signatures, containing an exhibit of the behaviour of one of his Tennessee vouchers for his orthodoxy, in proscribing and persecuting his brethren, together with other matters and things which would place both the principal and his seconds in a very unenviable attitude before the public: but these are only spots in the Sun, in the estimation of those who move round him, in defence of the traditions of their fathers. I have paid little or no attention to the sayings of A. W. Clopton since he refused to redeem the pledge which he gave. To go into a controversy with him either upon the opinions or characters of men who have preached his views, or opposed ours, is mere trifling and vain jangling. Truth alone is eternal. Soon all the opinions and traditions, merely human, with all the passions, worldly interests, and fleshly proceedings in support of them shall be buried in one common reprobation; and they only who feared God, spoke the truth, and wrought righteousness shall shine in the kingdom of God. It is, we own, sometimes necessary to expose the schemes and the characters which oppose reformation: but when men expose themselves they save others the trouble. Some men's sins are manifest going before to judgment, and they that are otherwise cannot long be hid.
It is principles and not men with which we have to do, and with men only so far as their lies will explain their principles. If any man who deserves attention, whose doctrine and whose life agree, wishes to oppugn any thing we have written, we need not repeat for the thousandth time that we are ready to give him a candid hearing and a critical examination; but to run after them through all their  wanderings and mazes, would be as foolish as fox-hunting in harvest. We are, however, thankful for the above documents, inasmuch as they rescue the reputation of a man eminent in his day for New Testamentism, from the aspersions of one who would rank him among those who are making iron bedsteads for their neighbors, and who virtually teach that men are wiser than God, or more benevolent than he. Father Shelburne and the brethren with him contended for the views which the old Baptists always maintained: and all who dissent from them may be regular Baptists now, but they have apostatized from the distinguishing views and practices of the ancient Baptists.
MISSIONARY SUCCESS IN INDIA.
DR. J. MARSHMAN, in a letter to Elder J. Maylin, Philadelphia, dated January 27, 1831, informs his friend that there are 20 churches in India, averaging, as he supposes, 22 members each; and some ten little bodies, or, as he calls them, 'handfuls of praying souls;' in all, amounting to, say, 60 more. Thus the aggregate of Baptist converts on the continent of India is about 500 souls. This is the combined result of all the missionary operations on that continent for 30 years: for in 1830 a church of 11 persons was constituted at Serampore, having called Dr. Carey to be their minister. How many of these 500 disciples are Europeans and Americans living in India is not stated; but there is little doubt that a majority of them are either natives of Europe and America or their descendants. For the satisfaction of Americans it would be well that the number of natives of India sprang from Pagan ancestors who have become members, were stated in the statistics of the Baptist church in India; then there would be some data before us from which to estimate the actual success of this enterprize in India. We have no hesitation in saying, that if 250 natives in India have, in thirty years, with all the sacrifice of treasure and life, been truly converted to God, it is a joyful reward of labor. But how many more might have been converted at home by the same labor, treasure, and lives, in the same time? and how long would missionary exertions, patronized from heaven, as have been the Baptists for thirty years in India? are two questions which deserve the solemn attention of those who are trying to save their antipodes, while their uncles and aunts, brothers and cousins, are perishing at home!
THE BAPTIST TRACT AND YOUTH'S MAGAZINE.
A CORRESPONDENT of this Tract and Magazine concurs in opinion with Samuel Williams. He says, "no church where I have been has received the sentiments of A. Campbell, which had been blest with the labors of a faithful Pastor who was capable of stating the doctrines which we hold with clearness." How far this gentleman has travelled we are not informed; nor is it necessary to inquire whether he considers Messrs. Semple and Broaddus of Virginia faithful pastors and perspicuous proclaimers. But one thing is certain, he has not travelled far; or, if he have, he has insulted some of those who once stood very high for fidelity, erudition, and talent.
THE WONDERS OF PHYSICS.
WHAT mere assertion will make any man believe that in one second of time, in one beat of the pendulum of a clock, a ray of light travels over 192,000 miles, and would therefore perform the tour of the world in about the same time that it requires to wink with our eyelids, and in much less than a swift runner occupies in taking a single stride! What mortal man can be made to believe, without demonstration, that the sun is almost a million times larger than the earth; and that, although so remote from us, a cannon ball shot directly towards it, and maintaining its full speed, would be 20 years in reaching it, it yet affects the earth by its attraction in an inappreciable instant of time? Who would not ask for a demonstration, when told that a gnat's wing, in its ordinary flight, beats many hundred times in a second? or that there exists animated and regular organized, beings many thousands of whose bodies laid close together would not extend an inch? But what are these to the astonishing truths which modern optical inquiries have disclosed, which teach us that every point of a medium through which a ray of light passes is affected with a succession of periodical movements, which, regularly recurring at equal intervals, no less than 500 millions of millions of times in a single second, that it is by such movements, communicated to the nerves of our eyes, that we see; nay, more that it is the difference in the frequency of their recurrence which affects us with the sense of the diversity of color; that, for instance, in acquiring the sensation of redness, our eyes are affected four hundred and eighty-two millions of millions of times; of yellowness, five hundred and forty-two millions of millions of times; and of violet, seven hundred and seven millions of millions of times in a second. Do not such things sound more like the ravings of madmen, than the sober conclusions of people in their waking senses? They are, nevertheless, conclusions to which any one may most certainly arrive, who will only be at the trouble of examining the chain of reasoning by which they have been obtained.
ON a recent tour through the western Reserve, Ohio, of twenty-two days in which we travelled, out and in, 350 miles, and delivered eighteen discourse; after which 27 persons were immersed, we learned that the delusion for 1830 had lost its charms; that a good many of those bewitched by the false Prophets had begun to recover their reason, and desert the ranks of the new Apostle. The lying spirit, which has always been the spirit of false prophets had so generally inspired the worshippers of Joseph Smith, that it alone through the extravagant stories told of miracles, prophecies, and visits of angels, by the witnesses of the golden plates of Nephi, has well nigh inscribed the epitaph upon the tomb of Mormon. Had it not been for the conversion of a Mr. Booth, a Methodist preacher of very considerable standing, many years on the circuit, to the New Bible, the cause had been at this time with the fugitive Smith in pursuit of a city of refuge among the Indians of the remote wilds of the West. But this erudite gentleman, as he said, discovered that there is more than four times as much proof of the book of Mormon than there is for the New Testament: for christians had not one living witness to attest  the apostolic writings, whereas the disciples of Joseph Smith had four living witnesses to sustain the book of Mormon.
The accession of Mr. Booth and a number of his Methodist friends and relations, some two or three months since, prolonged the existence of this new religion a few weeks. The New York converts who migrated after Smith to Ohio, begin to have their eyes opened to discern both good and evil, and some of them, too, have concluded "to follow Smith no farther." The representations given them of the site of the holy city at Kirtland they have now proved to be as unfounded as the religion of their master, and are therefore trying to improve their misfortunes by securing to themselves what remains in their hands of their little plunder brought from their homes. Smith and his inferior prophets are gone to the West to find the site for the New Jerusalem, carrying with them a little of the stuff contributed by those who have sold their possessions and laid their money at his feet, with which no doubt he will purchase some lands in the name of Smith & Co. and then it will be commanded by the Lord that all who do not help to build and inhabit the new city on said lands, shall be utterly destroyed in the impending vengeance. Before all his adherents are cured of their frenzy it is probable Smith and his prophets will have acquired a better estate than he could have acquired in New York in his former profession of money-digger, juggler, and diviner for stolen goods, &c. &c.
So far gone are some of his adherents that nothing but starvation can cure them. Even Sidney Rigdon told me that "were Joseph to be proved a liar, or say himself that he never found the Book of Mormon as he has reported, still he would believe it, and believe that all who do not believe it shall he damned." But a very few, however, have attained to this faith of assurance; and it is more than probable that none of the late converts ever will.
Paul's Translation of his own Epistle to the Romans,
anticipated by Elder Wm. Brantly.
"WE can scarcely wonder that the Epistle to the Romans should be judged unsuitable for family reading without the aid of exposition; but this arises far less, we must contend, from any intricacy or ambiguity in the Apostle's statements or reasonings, than from the highly elliptical character of his phraseology, and the peculiar use of certain terms, which it is the proper business of a translator to make intelligible and perspicuous by equivalent, rather than literal renderings. Were we, however, to fix upon any one of the books of the New Testament as more incompetently translated than the rest, it would be that very one which, more than any other, demanded a masterly hand,--we mean the Epistle to the Romans. Although the text is happily settled, the meaning of the text remains, in many parts entirely unsettled, being exhibited in that indistinct indefinite form by our translators, that affords the widest latitude of theological dispute, and serves to keep alive an endless logomachy. Were St. Paul to rise from the dead, and to translate his own epistle into English, we have no doubt that his version would produce not a little surprise, if it even escaped condemnation from biblical critics and commentators. In the present state of things, the task of an expositor is a delicate one; for he must be, to a considerable extent, the actual interpreter of the text."
Christian Index, p. 8, vol. 5.
Of course Mr. Brantly knows how Paul would translate his epistle, else he could not have felt himself warranted in condemning the King's version so roundly and so unceremoniously. I wish Bishop Semple would admonish his brother Brantly for weakening the authority of the common version, and for justifying the efforts we have made to put into circulation an improved version. Mr. Brantly has no doubt spoken some truth in the above reprobation of the common version; but he has gone too far; and he must have forgotten how much he has censured us for saying much less against the common version than he has just now said.
|Ed. M. H. |
A COMMUNICATION from Spencer Clack was received here some time since, intended for publication. Our friend, and, perhaps, I might add, our brother Clack, has had a very full hearing in our pages, even to the satiety of many of our readers. As the last communication is little else than a reiteration of sentiments and views already avowed by our correspondent, we have not as yet found room for its appearance. Our custom is to give to our readers both sides of every subject discussed; but we do not think it conducive to edification to republish, time after time, the same arguments in a new dress, from the same pen, if arguments they were; and still less, to reiterate the declamations or dehortations of those who have been so liberal in this department.
Such communications as the last from our friend Clack, would be of much value as documents for our logical friend Clopton to fill up his numbers for the Christian Index. He and Mr. Brantly are much pleased with one-sided representations--so much so, that when the preceding documents and certificates from brother Shelburne were forwarded for the Index, it seemed good to Mr. Brantly to refuse them an insertion; at least we may say for ourselves, that we have not as yet seen them in the Index. But the cause which these gentlemen plead requires such a policy; and we cannot expect them to exhibit a courage, a candor, and a liberality, which belong to those, and to those only, who know the truth, and are made "free indeed." Any thing new, argumentative, or even declamatory, from our fiend Clack, will be thankfully received and duly attended to.
DR. JENNINGS has promised us a book, worth 50 cents, containing the history of Campbellism, and a true account of the long talk we had in Nashville in December last. The Doctor having an excellent memory and an intimate acquaintance with Campbellism, is every way accomplished for both works: and cannot fail in finding a market for his performance, as both Baptists and Paidoes will thank him for his homage offering just at this crisis. It is expected by us at Bethany that our friends Broaddus and Jennings will appear in the same moon; and that the two works will make one handsome volume, sufficiently homogeneous as to be bound in the same sheepskin, without any detriment to each other or any danger of a disruption. Regeneration metaphysical will be the rallying point in both, else our skill in astrology is far behind the Egyptian.
PROGRESS OF REFORM.
SIX disciples in the county of Pendleton, S.C. met for the first time, under the New Testament alone, on the first Lord's day in April last, and had the pleasure of receiving by baptism for the remission of sins, ten persons, at their first meeting, among whom was a Methodist preacher. Thus they have obeyed the gospel, and have commenced the christian race. "The crown is yet before."
|"Sure I must fight if I would reign;
Increase my courage, Lord."
FROM the Baptist Chronicle we first heard, but it has since been confirmed in private letters, that on the 29th May brother J. T. Johnston of Georgetown, Ky. had the pleasure of immersing two intelligent professors into the ancient faith, one of whom was Dr. Hath, Professor of Chemistry in the Georgetown College; "a person," as my correspondent states, "of fine talents, and universally esteemed for his correct deportment and urbanity of manners." On the same day the brethren Creaths addressed a large and attentive audience at the Great Crossings. Even in Athens, idolatrous as it was, Dyonisius and Damaris consorted with Paul.
Statistic; of the Franklin Association, from their Minutes for 1830. IMMERSED, 33; dismissed by letter, 94; excluded, 115; dead, 24. Total, 1728.
These Baptists have declared non-fellowship with "all persons who declaim against creeds." This is more intolerant than the Catholics, Protestants, or Presbyterians: for in none of their constitutions is a person refused communion for declaiming against creeds. But the spirit of religion has departed from them. Eleven preachers in this Association have immersed only three persons per head per annum, and the 1723 members have cut off more than three times as many as they have immersed!! It is now the order of the day to make laws for the case and execute them at one and the same session. The annals of christendom cannot furnish out of the walls of the inquisition such flagrant acts of violence against the rights and liberties of conscience, as the last year exhibits in Kentucky, under the guidance of two or three master spirits.
What was with me inference and prophecy when writing against creeds, is now matter of reality and accomplishment. The iron bedstead is no longer matter of raillery, but of sober reality. He that declaims against creeds, and he that commits theft, adultery, and murder, are only involved in one and the same condemnation.--Nebuchadnezzer has the lions in keeping and the furnace in heating. All who do not bow down to the image at the sound of the bugle, may have a choice of evils--the lions, or the furnace. Any "innovations on the customs and usages" subjects a person to excision. If the people long endure these new task-masters, they are more the slaves of the priesthood, and more deeply imbued with the spirit of slumber, than I had before supposed.
IF we could believe the exaggerated reports of "REVIVALS," with which the papers are filled, we would conclude that the Holy Spirit had literally descended as on Pentecost; and that the spiritual gifts of ancient times were restored to men. The following is only a sample from the Christian Index of June 25 and July 2:--
"In Westmoreland, New York, there was a wonderful work of God. The sweet whispers of the Spirit seemed to be moving: the ears of many were opened to hear the word; and at length the Spirit descended like a mighty shower! More than fifty have spoken and prayed in a single meeting." In Elyria, Ohio, "the Spirit came down while they were speaking; and subdued the rebellious." The reason of this singular outpouring, says J. J. Shepherd, "was a seal of God's approbation of long meetings;" for that was the longest ever held in that vicinity. In Plainville, New York, "the influences of the Spirit have descended like rain upon the mown grass."
A JEW, of the family of Aaron, has forwarded a vindication of himself and some of his brethren from some of the concessions of Judah, in the dialogue published in volume 1; and also furnishes his own reasons for rejecting Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah. This, or as much of it as we can suppose interesting to our readers, shall appear in our next number. 
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[The Millennial Harbinger, 2 (July, 1831): 289-336.]
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Alexander Campbell, ed.|
The Millennial Harbinger, Vol. II, No. VII (1831)
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