[Table of Contents]
Alexander Campbell, ed.|
The Millennial Harbinger, Vol. II, No. X (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.
SCEPTICS of every name declaim against the intolerance of christian sects, and array before the world the various feuds, prescriptions, and persecutions, which ecclesiastical history records. They set off these dark blots in the escutcheons of sectarian christianity by the splendor of their professed liberality. They are the philosophers, the liberals, the free-thinkers, the charitable, and the tolerant; who would not hurt the wing of a fly for all the religion which is now or ever has been in the world. They have assumed so much charity, and so long boasted of liberality, that even the pleaders for religion and good morals seem disposed to concede to them an exemption from every thing intolerant, proscriptive, and persecuting. Some christian writers have even attempted to philosophize upon the charities of infidelity, and to account for its boasted liberality upon the principle of apathy or indifference to the whole concern of religion. What king or government would raise an army and levy contributions to wage war with another king or government for the right to pasture on the mountains of the Moon, or for liberty to shoot wild geese on the lakes and fens of Saturn? Who would load a cannon to break the wing of a moschetto?
But yet we are far from prepared to concede to scepticism, atheistical or deistical, any such liberality or charity as they claim. I believe the sceptics, as a class or a sect, are just as intolerant, proscriptive, and persecuting, as they have ever represented the most infatuated religionists in ancient or modern times. I say, we believe both Deists and Atheists to be just as intolerant and persecuting as ever were the Roman Catholics in the worst times of their history. But who can persecute when they are in a minority of one to a hundred or a thousand? We do not expect a serpent to sting us in winter, nor meet a lion in Siberia. We do not fear the cockatrice' egg. Time must mature and develope every thing; and who can bite without an opportunity? 
But let them have the ball at their own feet--let them have the sword in their own hands--and what could we expect? Philosophy or right reason decides the past for the future, or that which shall be must be learned from what has been. And what has been? Who shed the first christian blood? We ask not who made Socrates a martyr, but who made the first christian martyrs? Sceptics will reply, 'Infidel Jews.' But the Jews had no power to put any man to death without the Roman authority. Again: Who was it that made the blood of christians to run in rivers during the first ten persecutions? Atheists and Deists. It is a fact indisputable that countless myriads of christians were sacrificed by the sword of Pagan infidelity, of Roman atheism, deism, and polytheism.
And when had Sceptics power to persecute and did suffer it to sleep? Was it when France became infidel, philosophic, atheistical? Let the bloody scenes of the French Revolution speak out. Let the deeds of Robespierre, Danton, and Marat, on the 2d and 3d of September, 1792--let the fate of the nonjuring priests and bishops of France tell the horrid tale. I say, let the sanguinary deeds of the adorers of Nature, in "the Reign of Terror," portray the generosity, magnanimity and tolerance of Scepticism.
I was led to make these remarks from the indications of the same spirit in the Atheists and Materialists of our times, from reading the narratives of sceptical insolence which are daily meeting our eyes from all corners of the land, and from abroad. Reader, ponder well the following extract from a late paper.--
"At the Rotunda, scenes of unparalleled performances are almost nightly going on. Mr. Taylor, the infidel, appears on a stage, over which is a mimic representation of the Holy Trinity, before which he bows and continues in the attitude of prayer for several minutes; then rises and bursts into a loud laugh. The scriptures are read, and comments the most profane and licentious made upon them: and, to crown all, bread and wine are brought on the stage, and this poor and wretched man comes forward and says, "I drink this in commemoration of Jesus Christ;" and the deluded and miserable multitude exclaim, "well done! Bravo! Bravo!" This is a very brief and imperfect sketch of one night's exhibition."
This is the magnanimous liberality, the high-minded and honorable charity and regard for public sentiment--for the feelings of the most virtuous, benevolent, and useful part of an English community, to which these liberals aspire, and this is the liberty and tolerance for which they plead.
To mention a very humble name as exhibiting in bold relief the same intolerance and persecuting spirit, I would give a conspicuous niche in the temple of atheistic fame to Doctor Underhill of Ohio. The remarks made upon "Anatomy, a Cure for Religion," from the pen of this visionary materialist, in a former number of this work, drew from his sapient pen a pamphlet, falsely called, "Campbell Refuted, being a Correspondence between the Rev. A. Campbell of Virginia, and DR. SAMUEL UNDERHILL, of Ohio, on the subject of the Debate held is Cincinnati, Ohio, between Robert Owen and Mr. Campbell, in April 1829." If a note declining any correspondence with this  "apostate preacher," as he defines himself, can be called "a correspondence on the subject of the debate," &c. according to Walker, Johnson, or Webster, then his title page tells the truth: but if otherwise, then it is as deceitful as his pretensions to reason. The correspondence is all on his side with the exception of said note, which appearing in his pamphlet, is from me a suitable and perfect answer to all he has written, and all he may hereafter write, on religion, morality, or common decency, as long as he may vegetate in this self-existent globe.
But I only bring him up at this time as a proof of my allegata against scepticism. I have some little experimental right to compare the persecuting and slandering spirit of sectaries and atheists, having been the object of both. And of all the barefaced falsehoods ever penned against me by partizan Doctors, in power or out of power with the people, this atheistic Doctor has published the greatest. His words are, "Since I learned the fact," (yes, reader, the fact; the Doctor goes for facts!) "of your selling a blind Negro child in the night, and refusing to make restitution, I have conceived you capable of any species of twistification." This is going as far as, and I presume a little farther, than our laws warrant in persecuting for conscience' sake. But I can well bear this after reading a few sentences before: "You can believe," says he, "of the Holy Ghost begetting a child on a virgin, and of that child cursing a fig-tree for not bearing figs in the winter, and sending six thousand devils into two thousand hogs." Such is the English language, decency, morality, logic, and love of fact adorning DOCTOR SAMUEL UNDERHILL.
From history ancient and modern, from experience and observation, we are warranted to conclude that fatal, not only to the liberties, reputation, property, but to the lives of all non-conformists, would that day be which would give to atheism or scepticism the ascendant in any community. Christians cannot persecute; christians never did persecute. But bloody as have been some of the priests of sectarianisms, and slanderous as are the tongues and pens of schismatics in religion, when I have a choice offered me whether to fall into the hands of Priests or Atheists, I will not long hesitate to prefer the tender mercies of the former to those of the latter.
CO-OPERATION OF CHURCHES.
IN my first essay under this head it was alleged that the geographical and political boundaries of districts of country, were regarded in discriminating the co-operation of churches in the New Testament. "As I have given order to the churches in Galatia, so do you," says Paul to the church in Corinth. He also says the churches in Macedonia very liberally co-operated in their contributions for the poor saints in Judea. He speaks in the same epistle (2 Cor. 8th and 9th chaps.) of one person chosen by the churches to travel with him with the bounty  of the churches; and of others his companions, as messengers of the churches. It has been made sufficiently evident that the churches were distinguished by the political or geographical boundaries which enclosed them, and which must always, less or more, affect the circumstances and condition of all who live within them. It is soil, climate, and government, which create the most prominent diversities in the lot of individuals and churches. These are not arbitrary things, and must in their own nature, furnish incentives and reasons for co-operation.
Agreeably to the reason and nature of things, which must never be lost sight of, and to all that is said or implied in the New Testament, upon this subject, it behoves the churches at this time to regard their location, as respects states and counties, in their efforts to convert the world.
Our political and territorial divisions are counties and states.--The churches in each county should therefore, form an intimate acquaintance with one another, and cooperate first in all means necessary to the conversion of the county in which they are located, and of which they are a part. For example, the churches in this county of Brooke, now amounting to six, beside those on the line, partly in Brooke, Washington, Pa., and Ohio, Va., ought to unite their energies for the conversion of their fellow citizens. Those in Washington, Pa. and those in every other county, ought to do likewise.
We shall not now repeat what has been written, nor attempt again to demonstrate from scripture premises, that the Lord has left it now to the church to convert the world. He no longer employs Angels, Prophets, nor Apostles, as his agents in the work. He has fitted and furnished the church for this ministry, if they do their duty, the work of conversion goes on: if not, it stops.
The only question is, how shall this be done to the best advantage? The New Testament furnishes the principles which call forth our energies, but suggests no plan. This it could not have done, unless the geographical, political, pecuniary, and literary circumstances of every state, county, canton, or parish in all the world, and in all generations, had been located and described in the manner of an Universal Atlas, with directions varying with the soil, climate, government, trade, &c. &c. But, this would be as unnecessary as to have furnished us with a list of all the crimes to be avoided and all the virtues to be practised, which should, in after times, arise in the ever changing habits, circumstances, and relations of society. Hence, we do not think it necessary to find horseracing, cockfighting, bullbaiting, balls, cardplaying, and theatres, &c. &c. described and denounced in the New Testament, to enable us to condemn them--nor to find all the honest and virtuous trades, manners and customs, defined and enforced, in order to our practising them. But we find a finally in the New Testament, that justifies and condemns us, with as much point and perspicuity as a liturgy, a manual, or even a broad precept. "Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, venerable, just, pure, benevolent, and of good fame, attentively consider and practise, and the God  of peace will be with you." This, at the side of all goodness, and "such like," at the side of a catalogue of vices, is enough for all virtue, and all vice.
The churches in every county, have from scripture and reason, all authority to bring their combined energies upon their own vicinity first, and when all is done at home, they may, and ought to co-operate with their weaker neighbors in the same state, and so on increasing the circle of their co-operations, as they fill up the interior, with all light and goodness, until the knowledge of the glory of the Lord cover the whole earth.
Whether then, they shall all meet annually, semi-annually, or quarterly, in one place in each county; or whether they shall appoint persons to visit all the churches in the same bounds, and to call forth all their means to enlighten and reform society at large, are questions which their own discretion must decide.
They may as rationally expect to find a law or rule on such subjects, in the New Testament, as to find a rule for the size and material of the house in which they ought to meet, and the hour of the day at which they shall commence or adjourn, and a hundred other things, purely circumstantial, which have no more faith nor morality in them than in the colors, blue, black, or brown.
Some weak, but honest minds, are for converting the New Testament into a ritual, and expecting to find a code of laws concerning every thing about economy, and co-operation, as if these were parts of christian faith and morals. Some have even thought it a sin to enumerate or enrol the names of the members of one congregation, because David was punished for enumerating Israel and Judah; and because others have written down articles of belief, and bound them on the consciences of men, they arc afraid to write down their own names; or to ascertain how many members compose the church of any one place. Such eccentricities of mind, resemble the conduct of a man who, because his father was drowned, would not pass a shallow ford, and of another, who, because he had been burned when a child, would never approach a fire to warm by it.
We have neither Achaia, Macedonia, Galatia, Philippi, nor Thessalonica in these United States; but we have Pennsylvania, Virginia and Ohio, and we have the counties of Brooke, Ohio, Trumbull, Portage and Jefferson; and all the reason in the world why churches in these districts should know one another as well, and co-operate as fully now, as in the times of the Apostles.
The churches must awake and arise from their supineness in the Lord's work. Only let them think what they might do and how little they are doing.--To begin at home, I shall take this our county of Brooke, for an example. In it there are, say, five hundred disciples, free men in the kingdom of the Messiah. Suppose then, that besides the weekly meetings of these brethren, in their respective churches on every Lord's day for all the purposes of social and Christian worship; suppose they had one general meeting, as central as possible in the county, say annually; at which meeting reports were made of the  moral condition of every vicinity in the county, and that they should agree to select some seven or fourteen stations in the county, to be supplied once every week by some member of these communities, as their agent, whose qualifications will enable him to proclaim reformation towards God and faith in Jesus Christ--who is accomplished to proclaim reformation and forgiveness of sins in such a way as to interest and edify the hearers. One such person might once in each week, visit these seven stations, or in two weeks fourteen stations, covering almost the whole population of the county. Suppose then he labored thus for one year, and made report at the next annual meeting, of his progress, and that the brethren of these congregations supplied him with every thing necessary to life and godliness, what would be the probable result? what would be the tendency of such an arrangement? All the churches in the county, meeting every Lord's day to worship the Lord and to build up one another in faith, hope and love, and to pray for the conversion of their neighbors, for the success of this their agent, whom they patronize, would be, one would think, more likely to diffuse the influences of the gospel through society in one year, than all that is now done in two or three. And can the churches not scripturally, rationally, and honorably co-operate in such an effort to serve the community! Are they not able to find such a person, and cannot 500 disciples labor each one day in the year, to supply him who for them labors 365 days in the year, in proclaiming the word!!
Let the churches in Brooke provoke to emulation and arouse to jealousy, the churches of Trumbull in Ohio; and let the churches in Trumbull, provoke to emulation the churches in Portage, and so on till the praises of the Lord resound from thousands of tongues, which are now mutes in the moral creation. A co-operation of this kind, is worth all the speculations of the day on regeneration, faith and repentance. And indeed, we are at a loss to know how christians can rest contented, while so many of their neighbors, friends and relatives are living without God and without hope in the world. Can they be content to see their own flesh and blood perishing in their sins and not make a single effort--neither devote a day in the year, nor the value of it, to the salvation of their fellow men? We presume it is because the matter is not reflected on, and because some are yet waiting for a law, commandment, or voice from God, authorizing them to exhort and beseech their fellow men to be reconciled to God through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. Let the disciples every where, take this great matter into their most serious consideration, and not only pray the Lord to send forth laborers into the harvest, but thrust in their sickles into the ripe grain.
|For the Millennial Harbinger.|
IN my last communication of extracts from Ecclesiastical History, I withheld the name of the author, in order that your readers may not be influenced by names, but by principles. The language of the  author, proves himself a man of principles. He wrote upwards of one hundred years ago--then belonging to a sect now in existence, who are yet in Babylon. Let us hear him again:--
"Though the controversies amongst christians be very sharp, and managed with great heat and animosity, so that we may hear complaints made on all sides, of very obvious things being denied by some of the contending parties; yet, notwithstanding, there are some things so evident, that they are all agreed in them. And it is no mean argument of the truth of such, that they are received by the common consent of those who are most set upon contention, and most blinded by passion. I do not mean by this, that all other things about which there is any contention, are doubtful or obscure, because all christians are not agreed in them. It may easily happen that that may be obscure to some, which would be very plain, if they were not blinded by passion; but it is hardly possible that the fiercest adversaries, who are most eager in disputing, should agree about an obscure point."
"First then, all christians now alive, are agreed concerning the number and truth of the books of the New Testament; and though there be some small controversy amongst learned men about some Epistles of the Apostles, this is no great matter; for they all acknowledge that there is nothing but truth contained in them, and that the christian doctrine is not at all altered, either by keeping or rejecting them. And this consent is of no small moment in a debate about the undoubted original of divine revelation, if all that have been preserved according to the opinions of some, are called in question by others."
"Further, christians are agreed in many articles of faith which they embrace as things to be believed and practised, and hoped for. For instance, all who have any and understanding (of the scriptures,) believe. (I shall mention only the principal heads here.) 1. That there is one God, eternal, all-powerful, infinitely good and holy; in a word, endued with all the most excellent attributes, without the least mixture of imperfection; that the world and all things contained in it, and consequently mankind were created by the same God; and that by him all things are governed and directed with the highest wisdom. 2. That Jesus Christ is the only Son of the same God; that he was born at Bethlehem of the Virgin Mary, without the knowledge of man, in the latter part of the life of Herod the Great, in the reign of Augustus Cæsar, that he was afterwards crucified, and died in the reign of Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was Governor of Judea; that his life is truly related in the history of the gospel; that he was therefore sent from the Father, that he might teach men the way to salvation, redeem them from their sin, and reconcile them to God by his death; and that this his mission was confirmed by innumerable miracles; that he died as I before said, and rose again, and after he had been very often seen by many who had discoursed with him and handled him, he was taken up into heaven where he now reigns, and from whence he will one day return to pass a final judgment according to the laws of the  gospel, upon those who are then alive, and upon all them that are dead, when they shall be raised out of their graves; that all these things he taught to be believed, and all that be commanded are to be obeyed; whether they relate to the worship of God, or to temperance in restraining our passions, or to charity exercised towards others; that nothing could be appointed more holy, more excellent, more advantageous and more agreeable to human nature, than these precepts; however, that all men (Jesus only excepted) violate them, and cannot arrive at salvation but through the mercy of God. 3. That there is a Holy Spirit, who inspired the Apostles of Jesus Christ, worked miracles to recommend them, and inclines the minds of PIOUS men constantly to OBEY God, and SUPPORT them in the AFFLICTIONS of life; that we are to give the same credit, and in ALL THINGS to OBEY this Spirit speaking by the Apostles, as we do the Father and the Son. 4. That the christian church owes its ORIGIN and preservation from the days of Christ to this time, to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; that all they who believe these things and OBSERVE the PRECEPTS of the gospel, shall obtain mercy of God, whereby they shall be made partakers of the resurrection (if they be dead when Christ shall come) and of a happy life to eternity; on the contrary, all they who have DIMINISHED from the faith of the gospel and have not OBSERVED its PRECEPTS, shall rise (if they be dead) to be punished, and their punishment shall be eternal death. 5. Lastly, that christians ought to profess all these things, both at their BAPTISM, in which we declare that we will lead a life free from the filthiness of iniquity, according to the direction of the gospel; and also at the Lord's Supper, in which we celebrate the death of Christ, according to his command, till he comes; and show that we are willing to be esteemed his disciples, and the brethren of all those who celebrate it in like manner; moreover, that those rites, if they are observed by us as is reasonable, and are celebrated with a religious mind, CONVEY HEAVENLY GRACE AND THE DIVINE SPIRIT TO US."
"These things, and others that are necessarily connected with them, (for it is not to our present purpose to mention them all particularly,) all christians believe, nor is there any other difference but only this, that some add may many other things to these, whereby they think the foregoing doctrines ought to be explained or enlarged with additions; and these such as they imagined were delivered to posterity, not by the writings of the Apostles, but by the tradition and custom of the church, or by the writings of latter ages. Concerning these additions, I shall say nothing more than that I before advised, that christians are not agreed upon them, as they are upon the doctrine now explained, which are put beyond all manner of doubt by their own plainness, if we allow but the authority of the Holy Scriptures, which no christian, in his sense can refuse."
"In this agreement and disagreement amongst christians, prudent men will judge it most safe to take their knowledge of the christian religion from the fountain, which is not in the least suspected, and whose streams, all confess to be pure and undefiled. And this  fountain, is not the creed or the confession of faith of any particular church, but only the BOOKS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, which all acknowledge to be genuine. I confess some christians do sometimes say, that those books cannot be understood, but the doctrine of their church; but others again deny it; and (to mention but this one thing) that opinion is very suspicious, that depends only on the testimony of those that affirm it, and they, such whose chief interest it is that it should seem true. Others say, that there is need of the extraordinary assistance of the Holy Spirit, not only in order to the belief of the scriptures, (which may without any great difficulty, be allowed,1) but also to understand the meaning of the words contained in it; which I DO NOT SEE HOW IT CAN BE PROVED; but we will grant this also, provided they will acknowledge that ALL MEN, who read the books of the New Testament with a RELIGIOUS MIND, INTENT UPON TRUTH, are afforded this spirit by the goodness of God; there is no need for any thing more than this. Every one, therefore, may wisely and safely gather his knowledge of the christian religion from these books."
"Whosoever, therefore, believes that the revelation of the will of God made by Christ, is faithfully related in the books of the New Testament; such an one must of necessity embrace all things which he there meets with, according as he understands them, as matters of faith, practice and hope; for whoever believes in Christ ought to receive with a religious mind, every thing which he thinks comes from him; he cannot defend himself with any excuse, whereby to admit some, and reject others of those things which he acknowledges comes from Christ. And such are all those doctrines I before explained, and concerning which all christians, as I said are, agreed."
|T. M. H.|
For the Millennial Harbinger.
|KING AND QUEEN, VA.|
OF FAITH AND REMISSION OF SINS.
WHILE a spirit of inquiry continues among professors of religion, we may rationally conclude that we are neither absorbed by indolent luke-warmness, nor yet so highminded as to say "we are rich, and have need of nothing." Truly, this is an interesting time; we see a great deal of running to and fro in the world, an apparent disposition to get and to give help. And some are by some means or other set up a little above others, we are told, for the express purpose of helping the many; and among this smaller number, I happen to find myself classed. But so unfortunately discordant am I with the greater number of my class, so exceedingly heterodox, that we get along but unevenly together, to make the best of it. And yet, strange as it may appear, the leading principles avowed by us are almost common; for instance, they profess to be called to the work of the ministry, and so do I--they say that the word of God is their rule of faith and  manners, [ought they not to add the word ONLY, here?] so do I--that all practical exhibitions claiming to be godliness, must be tried and judged by this rule; so do I--that nothing can be exacted of a man, either in or out of the church, beyond what is thus written, and so do I.--Yet after all, we fall out by the way, and often speak evil of each other, and clearly prove to the world that we are not quite as well reconciled to each other, as we are to a wicked world itself. Is not this nearly as bad as to have bitter and sweet water to come from the same fountain? But while we are contending for the truth, if we must need be at some variance, we ought still to recollect that God is over all, and that the sole government happens not to be ours; that we are but subordinate agents, and figuring but a few degrees above puppets, often in their very character, without knowing it, (as your writer is actually supposed by some to be) and should never transcend the limits of sound argument and persuasive measures, leaving the rest to time and to God. But I must return from my wandering, and as I proposed, cast my mite into the common treasury, upon the subjects of Faith, and Forgiveness of Sins. I shall endeavor to be concise on this occasion, so as to fix more particularly the attention of the reader upon the two old subjects before him.
My object in associating faith and forgiveness of sins here is, to point out simply the source of what appears to me to be an erroneous impression of very general prevalence, and so aid those who are desirous of keeping the economy of God in its purity, in the accomplishment of this laudable desire. The world, the christian world, has long entertained the impression, that when an individual exercised faith of the whole heart, commonly called saving faith, his or her sins were at that moment blotted out; and the confirmation of this opinion, (for it is nothing but an opinion) is formed, we are told, in the pleasurable enjoyment and unspeakable happiness of many of those who so believe. Let us weigh this matter fairly. And here permit me to point to what appears evidently a mistake in thousands of those who embrace the christian religion under such previous impression. In a state of high mental excitement, we will suppose a young man of sanguine temperament, to be deeply convicted of his lost condition, that without an interest in the blood of Christ, his sins cannot be blotted out, nor his soul saved;--of these things he feels persuaded; his mind exercising but feeble faith, (but not even recognized by him as such) is mainly brooding over the enormity of his transgressions; his desire is heavenward, and his cry to God is, that for Christ's sake he will have mercy upon him.--He waits upon God not only with his petitions and desires, but in meditation and the use of his words; by the natural operation of which means, the mustard seed of faith increases, or to add another figure, that which was but a little water in his soul, springs and springs until its abundance becomes a full supply, out of which he is enabled with enraptured delight to claim Jesus for his own, "the chief among ten thousand and altogether lovely;" he rejoices with joy unspeakable and full of glory! But ask him to tell you why he thus rejoices and he will not hesitate to declare that  his sins are pardoned! instead of, that he has found a Saviour who is able to save him! The mind fixes upon that which seems not to be authorized by revelation, but the mere result of education, and becomes not unfrequently utterly paralyzed in its operation, and subjects its victim to long, and not unfrequently to gross and endless disobedience to the wise and merciful government of God.
But one will urge as an objection--I felt, and consequently know that my sins were pardoned at such a moment. And here I meet a host: but let me answer. God has given us an infallible rule which shall neither be altered nor amended; no, not so much as by the best feeling of his best saint, for even to such he said, "if any man add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues which are written in this book." And though we are willing to give to feeling its proper place, we cannot consent to elevate it to the seat of an infallible revelation; while we look upon its influence as the luxuries of the rich desert, we cannot agree to forego the benefits of the more substantial blessings of life; the meat and bread of God's word make us to grow and thrive, and to become men and women in the Lord, while these delicacies render us voluptuous, and nothing better than mere dyspeptics in religion, always craving high-toned feelings, well spiced systematic productions, et cetera. But to the point again. By a mere abstract sensation of the soul or spirit, a man cannot certainly tell what his conclusions concerning it ought to be, whether favorable or unfavorable, and therefore must seek aid of contingencies of some sort, which frequently prove such efficient auxiliaries as to aid him most happily in arriving at correct conclusions upon sensations.
In religion, there are two auxiliaries, and only two, which can be called in to the aid of man, in directing him as to his feelings: and these are, the direct teachings of the Holy Spirit, and the written word of God. The first has long ago been withdrawn, and it is to the last only, that we must appeal for instruction upon the subject of religion. Should we not be willing to appeal to so holy an umpire? By it we must stand or fall--it is our holy law of liberty, just and true, reaching every case. What saith it in its sublime unbroken connexion? Does it teach a sinner, that when he believes, his sins are blotted out? Does it teach that when sinners have obeyed the commands to believe, repent, and reform, that they are then in the kingdom of God's dear Son? We cannot think so, for then we distinctly find two sorts of kingdoms on earth, one to be entered without, and the other to be entered by water. But Jesus saith, "verily, verily, I say unto thee, unless a man be born of water and spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." When several acts of a legislature touch the same subject, the highest is to be considered the final and obligatory rule of action. Christ here gives us the highest decree within his government; adds it to the "eleven" on the mountain in Galilee, and hands down to us by the inspired historian, its practical illustration on the day of Pentecost. Other instances are also recorded.
But again the allusion here is most natural and easy in another  particular. "My burden is gone," replies the objector. Your burden was not a physical one, either of brick or stone, but consisted in a mental conviction of right and wrong; to you an unusual view of God's word and ways, and corresponding effects. Were you not a sinner before the commencement of this state of things? But you did not know it, because your attention was mainly directed to other things; in short, your state was one of awful deception; the God of this world had blinded your eyes. Now, why may not this be the case again? You behold Jesus, whose very name signifies Saviour, his fulness is complete--your wants are urgent,--through the eye of faith, the rich fulness of redemption rushes into the inmost recesses of the soul. Jesus is announced, and to all the affections of the bosom, as the most worthy of all beings,--a widespread invitation pervades and absorbs every faculty as well as passion, and in the fulness of the ecstasy of love and gratitude, you forget the inquiry, "Lord what wouldst thou have me to do?" imagining that all is now done! Like the prisoner in his loathsome chains and dungeon, who perceives his deliverer approaching; he forgets for a moment his miseries, absorbed by love, gratitude and the prospect before him: but he must arise and follow his benefactor, if he would enjoy the communication of his design. Though he might be blessed with things to which he had been long and even a stranger, in his dungeon, still a change of state must be realized, before the true blessings of light and liberty could be conferred.
Again: Faith is an action of the mind, and communicates to the soul, sensations corresponding with the objects embraced. Hence our happiness in believing in the Saviour, and in many other good things, and our misery in believing in evil things. While faith is one of the most powerful and common principles existing, it not unfrequently misleads us grossly. But it stands justly at the head of christian principles, for "without it, it is impossible to please God."
Once more, and I have done. The forgiveness of sins, has been looked upon as always connected with a corresponding sensation of the inward man. Fairly considered and intelligibly viewed, a corresponding sensation, I would say, ought to be enjoyed, but not always of the description generally contemplated. It should be of the cast of enjoyment realized by the dutiful son who faithfully performs the service imposed by a kind parent. But, forgiveness of sins is in the bosom of God, and in Heaven from his throne, when Jesus maketh intercession for us. And unless it was to be communicated by an intelligible voice, or some acts or sign addressed to the eye, according to an instituted plan, we should be in perpetual uncertainty. It is by the last named plan, that we learn it. An outward act and sign is constituted the source, the legal source of confidence to us, in the most striking manner. The act of faith, on man's part, is constituted the act of pardon on God's part. According to reason and revelation, a faithful obedience in submitting to immersion, appears essential to the forgiveness of sins. I must not say more at present, though I have only laid the premises.
GENERAL MEETING IN NEW LISBON.
THE congregations composing the Mahoning Association, which, as an ecclesiastical tribunal, dissolved itself last year, met in New Lisbon on Friday, the 26th, and continued till the evening of the 28th August. A goodly number of disciples from most of these congregations met. Friday evening was occupied chiefly in prayer and praise. Saturday forenoon was spent in hearing reports from those who labored in the word and teaching. Brother William Haden was the only person who labored nearly all the year. By "labor in the word," we mean devoting the whole time to proclaiming reformation and remission. He spoke sometimes forty times in one month, and immersed in ten months about one hundred persons. Other brethren labored as much as health and circumstances would permit, and with good success. Brother Secrest, who has been travelling for the last two or three years in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, and the Michigan territory, also attended this meeting. He gave some very interesting details of the various success attendant on his travels. His baptisms averaged about twenty-five per month, including the labors of some brother who generally attended him. Reports from all quarters assured us that the gospel, if proclaimed in simplicity, and without human definitions and appendages, would soon gain the ascendancy over all humanisms, and be as efficacious in purifying the hearts and in reforming the manners of men as in the days of old.
From all the reports made in this meeting, it appeared that about five hundred persons were immersed during the last year by the different laborers who generally attend that meeting.
On Saturday afternoon brother Scott addressed a large audience on the Christian's reason of hope.
On Lord's day, after some five or six hundred disciples had celebrated the Lord's death, a discourse was delivered by the writer of this article on the Christian's relations and character; after which several exhortations were tendered to the congregation. During the meeting eight persons were immersed. On our return home brother Scott and myself held a meeting on the waters of King's Creek, Va. at which ten persons obeyed the gospel.
The most important item which occupied the attention of the meeting was a proposition to adopt some plan of co-operation among the churches in spreading the gospel. A committee was appointed to digest the outlines of a plan proposed in the meeting. On Saturday evening they reported as follows:--
The brethren to whom was referred the consideration of the ways and means most conducive to the co-operation of the congregations in the promotion of the interests of the kingdom of our Lord, beg leave to REPORT--
That, as the Saviour has left the conversion of the world to the citizens of his kingdom, we deem it most expedient, in the present crisis,  to suggest to the brethren the necessity and importance of co-operation, and to take into consideration whether the following arrangement might not be submitted to the disciples in the different congregations for their concurrence and adoption.
1. That the churches in each county, (say, for example, in Columbiana, Trumbull, Portage, and Geauga) and all who publicly labor in the word and teaching, should meet annually in one central place for worship and edification, and to consult on the best means of promoting the cause in each county.
[The second resolution being agreed to for only one meeting, until the brethren shall have finally acted upon the plan suggested, we shall leave it out, only so far as to state, that it was agreed that as many of the disciples residing in these counties as can assemble, shall meet next year on the Friday before the fourth Lord's day of August, in Randolf, Portage county; to continue for four days, or till Monday evening, for worship and public edification, and for co-operation in the ways and means for furthering the gospel.]
3. That these county meetings shall have nothing to do with any church business, of any sort whatever: but shall spend the time in public worship and edification, in hearing reports from the churches, and those who labor in the word, of the success attendant on their operations, and to devise ways and means for giving greater publicity to the word in such places as nay require their particular attention.
4. This arrangement is simply suggested to the consideration of the brethren, to be adopted, continued, or discontinued, as experience may dictate. But as experience is the great teacher of expediency, we would recommend that the experiment may be made, and that thus, until a better arrangement be discovered, correspondence between the brethren be kept up, and information on all subjects of general interest be communicated and received.
The above REPORT was agreed to; or, in other words, the disciples who were present agreed very unanimously to recommend to the consideration of the churches the plan of co-operation above sketched; and if agreed to by the brethren, it is expected before the next meeting in Randolf, that the congregations in each county will have held one meeting and have ascertained how much is lacking to be done, and how much they can do to further the gospel among themselves.
Many advantages will result from this plan if carried out; and if any disadvantages attend it, so soon as discovered they may be remedied. It has nothing to do with either faith or morals, or with the internal concerns of congregations. Its whole and sole object is to concentrate the mercies of the brethren in converting the community among which the Lord has cast their lot.
|For the Millennial Harbinger.|
BETWEEN HUMAN AND DIVINE LAWS.
IT is not my intention, at present, to prove that God has spoken to man, but simply to draw a comparison between human and divine laws. The oracles of God, with which the Jews were entrusted, are frequently called the law. (See Rom. iii. 2; Ps. xix. 7; John x. 34, xii. 34, xv. 25; Rom. ii. 17, 20, iii. 19, 21.) "In all which places the law signifies the whole of the divine revelations, taken complexly as they stand recorded in the Jewish scriptures."
The gospel is sometimes called the law, 1 Cor. vii. 39. James says, there is one Law-giver, (meaning Christ) who is able to save and destroy, iv. 12.--The law of Christ, 1 Cor. ix. 21.--The law of liberty, James i. 25. The word law, then, in this extended sense, comprehends both the Jewish and Christian scriptures, and in this sense we shall use it in this essay.
What is the first requisite in human laws? Answer; Plainness. All legislators, ancient and modern, who have published laws, have published them so plainly that the most simple person, who could read them, or hear them read, could comprehend the meaning of the language used by them. It would be iniquitous, cruel, and unjust, on the part of any earthly legislator, to publish laws in a dead or foreign language, or to use ambiguous, dark, indefinite, and unintelligible words, and then punish his subjects for disobeying laws which they had no means of understanding. So has God published his laws plainly. Simplicity is the characteristic of his laws. He spoke plainly to Adam in the garden, Do not touch this tree, Adam; he spoke plainly to the antediluvians, Come into the ark prepared by Noah, the flood is coming--if you do not enter this ark, yon will all be drowned. Paul says that there is great plainness of speech used under the gospel. God used such language as this to Moses and the Jews: For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off, or hard to be understood--Deut. xxx. 2. At the end of every seven years, in the feast of tabernacles, Moses was commanded to gather together men, women, children, and strangers, and read the law to them, for the following reasons: 1st, that even the children might hear the laws; 2d, that they might learn them; 3d, that they might fear the Lord their God, the author of these laws; 4th, that they might observe TO DO all the words of this law. Here God presumed that he had made his laws so plain that children born between these feasts, held every seven years, could understand these laws, and that they could obey or do them without one prior or calvinistic operation upon them.
According to the popular teaching, God is inferior to all earthly legislators--he has published laws which it is impossible for men to comprehend until they get a second revelation. His oracles are more dark and ambiguous than the heathen oracles; after he speaks once, we must wait for a second oracle, or illumination, to explain the  first, a third to explain the second, and so on ad infinitum, or without end. "This is sound doctrine."
In opposition to the sound doctrine of mysticism, ambiguity, and unintelligibility of the scriptures, God says by the mouth of his prophet Isaiah, chap. xlv. 19, "I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth; I am Jehovah who speak truth; who give direct answers." In opposition to the manner in which the heathen oracles gave their answers, which were generally delivered from some deep and obscure cavern, God says, "I have not spoken in secret," &c. Such were the answers returned by the Cumanean Sybil. Such was the famous oracle at Delphi. Virgil says, "Excisum Cubaicae latus ingens rupis in antrum?" Strabo says, "the oracle is said to be a hollow cavern, of a considerable depth, with an opening not very wide, In this chasm, or cleft in the earth, was situated what was called the Adytum of the temple. Adytum means a cavern, or the hidden part of the temple."
If our position respecting the plainness of the scriptures be correct, what becomes of mysticism, and all the speculations about the meaning of baptism by immersion, by sprinkling, pouring, &c.? If the scriptures are not plain, then God is inferior to all human legislators--then the scriptures are no better than heathen oracles--then God is deficient in wisdom or benevolence: for if he is wise enough to make them plain, and has not done it, then he is deficient in benevolence; if he is benevolent enough to do it, and has not done it, then he is deficient in wisdom; so that whichever horn of the dilemma the mysticisers seize, their system is done. If the scriptures be plain, their system is cut up; if they are not plain, then all the above absurd consequences unavoidably follow. So much for our first position, that all laws, human and divine, are, or should be, plain. This is the first requisite of law. If any thing more was necessary to establish this position, we might add, that all human laws are published in the vulgar tongue of the people who are the subjects of the laws--God published his laws to the Jews in their vernacular tongue--the gospel was published in the Greek, or universal language of that age, The scriptures were to be publicly read when the christians assembled, which is another proof that God designed they should understand them, otherwise it would have been a gross insult to their intellect. Masters, and fathers, and military commanders, and all who are in authority, must speak plainly, or they are cruel tyrants. Our next position is, that no benevolent, wise, or just legislator, ever required his subjects to perform impossibilities--works or actions which were beyond the reach of human agency to accomplish, which none but angels or giants could perform. It is true that Pharaoh required the Israelites to make brick without straw--Potiphar threw Joseph into prison unjustly--Nebuchadnezzar required Daniel to find out his own dreams, and then tell the interpretation; but he was not just, nor wise. God is a just, wise, and benevolent Lawgiver; therefore he never acted like Pharaoh, nor Nebuchadnezzar. He required no more of Adam than he could do; no more of the Patriarchs, no  more of the whole Jewish nation than they could do, which was to believe him, and observe his commands, What God requires of us under the gospel is, that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another as he gave us commandment. This has been done, and can be done again.
In support of the position that we can do all that God requires of us, which is to believe him and obey his commands, I would observe, that the most eminent saints, under both Testaments, are commended for doing this much, to wit: Noah, Enoch, Abraham, David, Job; and all who did not obey him were punished for it, which would have been unjust if more had been required of them than they could perform. God is not unjust, nor did he ever require impossibilities, So much for our second position respecting the equity of divine laws. If these two positions be incontrovertible, they subvert and demolish the two main pillars in the popular doctrine, first, that the scriptures are dark to the natural or unregenerate man; secondly, that men cannot believe nor obey God until regenerated by prior and antecedent, physical and extra operations of the popular Spirits.
Our third position is, that all human laws are or should be published to ALL the subjects of the commonwealth, or realm, and not to a part only. The reason and justice of this is, that it would be iniquitous and unreasonable to publish laws openly to a part of the subjects of the laws, and conceal them from others who were equally interested, and who were to be judged by them. We should bear in mind, that the scriptures were not written for ourselves alone, but for all the nations of the world; for people of the most diverse climates, characters, and habits: and if some parts appear comparatively useless to us, we are not therefore to infer that there are no human beings to whom they may be useful; for are we the standard of the whole world? and must God make the whole human race after our model? The Bible was not originally addressed to us, but to the people of the East; and to their habits, feelings, and modes of thoughts is its costume conformed, and not to ours. Let these things be remembered, and let us read the Bible as men ought to read a book addressed to their common sense, and not designed for themselves only, but for all their race. So much, then, for the position that all human laws should be published universally, not partially, nor clandestinely, but publicly. But some person will object, that the bible is nothing but lampblack and paper, bound with sheep-skin. And what are human laws but lampblack and paper? Yet the power of life and death are in them. It is not the "lampblack and paper" that saves or destroys the man, but the truths expressed in the words; it is the authority impressed upon the laws; it is the highest authority and obligation that has been disobeyed, trampled upon and abused, that subjects the disobedient to punishment. What are the laws of this, and all other modern governments, but "lampblack and paper" yet we have witnessed their force upon criminals. But the popular clergy tell the people they cannot believe, although God has commanded it. The following pertinent supposition will illustrate their  mode of preaching: "Suppose, for a moment, twelve discreet, intelligent men, taken from their congregations, and empannelled to try a cause in a court of justice, in which the whole evidence is written, and of record. The lawyer who has truth on his side, after hinting at the evidence, commences his address to the jury. He very gravely tells them that, owing to their natural weakness, ignorance, and 'total depravity,' they cannot possibly believe that his client has truth and justice on his side; that it is very true that they have evidence enough before them to convince them that he has justice on his side, and that the evidence is written, and of the very best sort--but because it is written, therefore they cannot believe the things which it proves; and that, in order to their belief of the lampblack and paper, it is necessary that the facts recorded be either acted over before their faces, which is not to be expected, or that they must have an immediate inspiration to prove them, or to impress upon their minds the truth of the case. After this orthodox introduction, (which they believe upon "his bare word," without any operation or evidence,) the lawyer proceeds to entreat the jury to believe that his client has truth on his side, and that his cause is a just one, and then finishes his speech by telling them that if they do not so determine he will send every one of them to Satan. After the trial is over, he asserts that those who believed what he told them were influenced and illuminated by divine inspiration, and that he himself had spoken to them by a special call to plead law; and that those who did not believe him were influenced in their decisions by a divine decree." This case represents the preaching of the moderns, which is productive of so little effect, which mode of preaching is the reason that so few of mankind pretend to believe in the gospel, while a majority of those who do adopt the same notions and imaginations about the immediate operations which their lawyer preachers have instilled into them. The present generation will not be able to believe the gospel on its own 'intrinsic evidence;' their minds are too much vitiated with the popular dogmas of the age. How can men believe who court honor, one of another, and the honors of orthodoxy, and of 'sitting in council," and of your associated capacity'? These men are as proud of a pair of saddlebags hung upon their arm, and of 'sitting in councils,' as the politicians are of sitting in the State Legislatures and Congress. Advisory councils are founded in and addressed to the pride and ambition of men, two powerful passions when whetted by popular superstition.
THE WILL OF JOHN CALVIN.
IN the name of God. To all whom it may concern: be it known that in the year 1564 and on the 25th day of the month of April, 1, Pierre Chenelat, citizen and sworn notary of Geneva, having been called in by John Calvin, minister of the word of God, in the church of Geneva, and citizen of the said Geneva; who, being indisposed in body, but of sound and disposing mind, hath declared to me his wish to make his last will and testament: desiring me to write what he should dictate and pronounce; which at his said request I have done, and written what he hath dictated to me, and pronounced word by word,  without omitting or adding any thing thereto, according to what followeth:--"In the name of God, I, John Calvin, minister of the word of God, in the church of Geneva, finding myself so much reduced by various maladies, that I cannot but think that God will shortly remove me out of this world, have ordered to be made and written my testament, and declaration of my last will, in form and manner following:--
"First, I give thanks to God, that, taking pity on me, whom he hath created and placed in this world, he hath delivered me out of the thick darkness of idolatry, into which I was plunged; and hath brought me into the light of his gospel, and made me a partaker of the doctrine of salvation, whereof I was most unworthy. And he hath not only gently and graciously borne with my faults and sins, for which I deserved to be rejected of him and cast out, but hath vouchsafed to use my labors in preaching and publishing the truth of his gospel. And I declare it is my wish and intention to continue in the same faith and religion, having no other hope or refuge but in his gratuitous adoption of me, upon which is founded all my salvation: embracing the grace which he has given me in Jesus Christ, and accepting the merit of his death and passion, that so all my sins may be buried; and beseeching him so to wash and cleanse me in the blood of that great Redeemer which was shed for all poor sinners, that in his image I may appear before his face. I declare also, that, according to the measure of grace bestowed upon me, I have endeavored to teach his word in its purity, as well in sermons as in writings, and endeavored faithfully to expound the Holy Scriptures; and that in all the disputes which I have had with the enemies of truth, I have never used either craftiness or sophistry, but have fairly maintained the truth. But, alas! my zeal, if it deserve the name, has been so cold and unworthy, that I feel myself highly indebted in all, and through all: and if it were not for his infinite bounty, all the zeal I have discovered would appear light as smoke, and the graces which he has bestowed upon me would only render me more guilty; so that my only refuge is, that He being the Father of mercy, I trust he will be and appear the Father of so miserable a sinner. Further, I desire that my body, after my decease, may be interred in the customary manner, awaiting the day of a blessed resurrection. With respect to the property which God hath given me to dispose of, I name and appoint as my only heir, my well-beloved bother Anthony Calvin; nominally leaving to him only the cup which I received from Monsieur de Varennes, begging him to be content therewith, which I am persuaded he will be; knowing that I have no other motive than that what little I leave may descend to his children. Further, I leave to the college ten crowns, and to the purse for poor strangers, the same sum. Also, to Jane, the daughter of Charles Castan, and of my half sister on the paternal side, the sum of ten crowns. Further, to Samuel and to John, sons of my said brother, my nephews, each forty crowns. And to my nieces, Ann, Susanna, and Dorothy, each thirty crowns. As to my nephew David, as he hath proved but light and trifling, I bequeath to him only twenty crowns, for chastisement. This is in sum, all the property which God hath given me, as far as I am able to ascertain it, in books, furniture, and other things. Should it, however, prove more, I desire it may be distributed between my nephews and nieces aforesaid, not excluding my nephew David, should God give him grace to be more circumspect. But I believe that with respect to this, there will be no difficulty, especially when my debts are paid, Which I have given in charge to my brother, upon whom I can depend; naming him executor of this testament, with Laurent de Normandie, giving them full power and authority to make an inventory of, and to sell my goods, to procure money, in order to comply with the contents hereof. Dated this 25th day of April, 1564. So be it.
And so John Calvin died leaving neither wife, son, nor daughter, worth not more than 250 crowns, as merchants and traders would say. But is it not worthy of remark how much moral power a person may have in society accompanied with little or no pecuniary powers?  and how often do we see great pecuniary power associated with me least conceivable degree of moral power? The talents of some men do more for society than the wealth of a Croesus, or the sword of a Cesar.
The will of Calvin furnishes another proof that men often feel free agency one way, and reason another; and that after the verbiage of controversy is pruned off, the points of agreement are more numerous and of incomparably greater magnitude than the points of disagreement, even between the fiercest Protestant antagonists. John Calvin strenuously contended for special atonement; and yet, when dictating his last will and testament, witnessed to by Theodore Beza and other distinguished men, he rejoices to think and feel that Jesus "died for all poor sinners?"
The tincture of the system, the moral tinge of his Institutes, is nevertheless apparent in his feelings as expressed in his will. On the subject of remission he speaks vaguely, and it appears to have been with him rather an object of hope than a matter of fruition.
OF THE NORTH DISTRICT ASSOCIATION,
WHICH MET ON THE 23D OF JULY LAST IN MONTGOMERY CO. KY.
THIS Association reported 1382 members, and agreed at their last meeting to divest themselves of the last attribute of an ecclesiastical tribunal or authoritative council, by dissolving their Constitution. The brethren composing it are to meet on the 3d Saturday of August, 1832, at Sharpsburg, Ky.
The Circular which appears in the Minutes before me is written with so much moderation, christian temper, and good sense, and is so much to the point, that we judge it worthy of a more extensive circulation, and of a more careful perusal, than the great mass of circulars every day issuing front the numerous Sanhedrims, large and small, which are now quaking for their existence over this vast continent.
|ED. M. H.|
IN meeting your expectations in hearing from us, through the medium of a general address, we are glad to embrace this opportunity of presenting you with some matters that have fallen under our observation since the last meeting of North District Association of Baptists. Whilst we would ever earnestly urge upon our brethren love and good works, and for them to keep all the ordinances of the Lord's house blameless, we are sorry to have to address you under circumstances not as propitious as we could wish: for although harmony and christian affection generally prevail in the churches composing our own body, yet we are surrounded by scenes of discord that mar the happiness and interrupt the free intercourse of christian enjoyment. We have not only the united opposition of all the various sects, but are even opposed by brethren of the same hope; and we are assured that nothing can save us from the desolations of this fell destroying tempest of clerical opposition and domination but the rich panoply of that gospel which is "the power and wisdom of God."  Whilst we regulate our lives by a conformity to the word of God, the shafts of opposition will fall harmless at our feet. We have concluded it best, dear brethren, to notice the principal objections urged against us by some of our brethren, who have withdrawn their fellowship from us, and which will form, in part, the subject of this address. And here we beg leave to remark, that let those brethren say what they will concerning us, let us never speak evil of them--never return railing for railing, or reproaches for reproaches--it is unbecoming our characters as christians so to do; for, let them act towards us or speak of us as they may, their improprieties should rather draw forth our christian sympathies and prayers, and can never furnish us with a justification for violating that law of Christ which forbids our speaking evil of any man. To err is human, and we have no doubt but we have many errors to ask forgiveness for; and, whilst that is the case, we should always cultivate a forgiving, kind, and charitable temper, seeing that the scripture saith, that "if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." And whilst we are fully aware that perfection belongs not to any man, or an entire exemption from error to any body of people, we should ever be ready to accord to others that indulgence for their weakness and their improprieties which we ask for ourselves. At the same time we would remark, that to persist in error, if that error can be manifested from the word of God, we utterly disclaim as forming any part of our character. The first item of objections to which we shall call your attention as presented by our brethren of the opposition, is--
1. We are charged with denying "the special operation of the Spirit in quickening the dead sinner." [See their Goshen Minutes.]
In answer to this, we in the first place remark, that the expression "special operation of the Spirit" is no where to be found in the Bible, and in teaching the christian religion in reference to man's receiving the Holy Spirit, we prefer the using of Bible terms to those terms invented by men, because the Apostles would not speak of those things in words taught by human wisdom, but in "words taught by the Holy Spirit." 1 Cor ii. 13. We do not believe, neither have we ever taught, that men could be christians without receiving the Holy Spirit; but the difference between us and our opposing brethren, is this:--We teach that the Spirit is received through faith, whilst we understand them to teach that its first reception and operation is in unbelief. We know of no promise of the Holy Spirit to any person, in the Bible, whilst in unbelief; but, on the contrary, the Apostle Paul expressly teaches that "without faith it is impossible to please God;" and the Saviour says (John xiv. 17.) that the Comforter, or Holy Spirit, which he would send, "the world cannot receive." Our opposers say it can--Jesus says it cannot. Our opponents say that the sinner must be regenerated by the Spirit before he believes. Paul says, (Gal. iii. 14.) "that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith," and not in unbelief. The Saviour says, (John vii. 38. 39.) "He that believeth" [not one that don't believe] "on me as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him" [not those who would not believe] "should receive," [not, had received before they believed.] Again, Paul, (Eph. i 13.) "In whom ye also trusted, after" [not before] "that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, after that ye believed," [not before] "ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise." &c. Again, (Gal. iv. 6.) "Because ye are sons," [not unbelievers] "God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." And Peter, on the day of Pentecost, says, (Acts ii. 38) "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall" [not, that ye had already received, but] "ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." From the foregoing it is evident that neither the miraculous nor common gifts of the Holy Spirit were ever promised to men in unbelief. Now, brethren, we know that if any man has not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his; and we do teach men that  they must believe and obey the gospel, in order to the reception and enjoyment of the Holy Spirit.
The 2d objection is, "that we teach that the mere act of baptism or immersion alone can wash away sins; or, in other words, that mere baptism alone constitutes regeneration."
In answer to this we say, we do not believe, neither do we teach that immersion alone can wash away sins, or that it is regeneration. But we do believe and teach that "he that believeth" [not one that don't believe or can't believe] "and is immersed, shall be saved." Mark xvi. 16. And we do teach that Peter (Acts ii. 38.) did tell the believing Jews, or those who gladly received the word, to "repent and be immersed for the remission of sins;" and that Ananias, by the immediate direction of the Lord, did say unto Saul, (not that his sins were washed away, but) "Arise, and be immersed and wash away thy sins, calling upon the name of the Lord." That the Eunuch, and the Jailor with his household, heard the word, believed it, were immersed, and did rejoice in the Lord, &c. &c &c. And as the Apostles did thus teach, so we believe and so we teach--and those things which God has joined together we will not put asunder.
The 3d objection is, that we receive and administer baptism upon "a bare historical faith;" or that we will baptize any person who merely says he believes that Jesus is the Christ.
As to the term "historical faith," it being an invention of men, of which the Bible knows nothing, we consequently have nothing to do with it; but we do teach that for a man to believe with all his heart, through the teaching or word of the Apostles according to John xvii. 20. and xx. 30, 31, and confess it with the mouth, that no man can forbid water; for proof of which we refer to Acts viii. 37. And we know we are right when we do as the primitive christians did in the Apostles' day, by the Apostles' directions.
The 4th and last objection which we shall notice for the present, is, that we deny "heart-felt religion, or christian experience."
This we do humbly conceive has arisen from a misapplication of terms. We cannot see how a man can have the experience of a christian until he is one--all the workings of his mind before he becomes a christian, we could only call faith and repentance, and not christian experience; therefore, whatever an individual may feel or experience either in mind or body, of either despondency, or hope and joy, before he becomes a christian, we humbly conceive it would be a great prostitution of language to call "christian experience." We therefore do not call it such; yet we believe that every christian has felt these sensations more or less vivid: but we cannot call or recognize (neither do they) any man or woman as a christian until they have, by a confession with the mouth of their faith, and by immersion, become one: They may have felt all the dark and desponding sensations, commonly talked about, and all those happy and joyous feelings, and yet, unless they obey the Lord Jesus Christ, we cannot call them christians or invite them to the Lord's table--neither do, or will any of our opposers. Whilst we admit, then, that those feelings and sensations are experienced by every person, more or less, before they are baptized, we cannot, nevertheless, agree to call it "a christian experience;" for the individual has not as yet put on Christ. We believe that it is by faith and obedience an individual has the promise of the Spirit, and that they do feel and rejoice in the promises of God; and we do set at naught all Babylonish terms and phrases, not found in the word of God, and all traditions, and all commandments, and doctrines of men, and urge all to disregard every thing, as matters of faith or practice, not found in the word of God. We, therefore, profess to be followers of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of no mortal man; and our enemies, who, by way of opprobrium, call us followers of Alexander Campbell, do (while we are following in the footsteps of Christ) insult the King of Saints, by robbing God of his own glory and giving it to man.
You have no doubt heard much about us and against us on the subject of reformation, by all sorts of people, Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, &c. &c.  and you have no doubt had it rung in your ears again and again, that we wanted to reform religion. Now to set this matter in a light so clear that we need not be misunderstood by any person in future, we here say, that this is a mistake or a misrepresentation. We want no reformation of religion. By religion, we mean that divine system of faith and worship delivered us by Christ and his Apostles, a reformation of which no man in his senses can or ought to desire; but a reformation of our lives, as the professed children of God, we do desire; nay, we do most earnestly exhort, admonish, entreat, and persuade men to live as the gospel tells them to live, and not to be running about after the vain and foolish things of men's invention. Brethren, ye know how that the religion of our Lord Jesus Christ was established by him and his Apostles in the world, near 1800 years ago: this fact ought to prove to us that the many religions which are now upon the face of the earth were never authorized by Jesus Christ; and ought not men to be taught to obey God rather than man--to reform their lives and obey God's commandments, not man's? Should not this now be urged upon all?
Take, for example, the Methodist religion. The contradistinguishing traits by which this religion is known from all others, were invented in the year 1729, only 102 years ago, by Mr. John Wesley. Would any man in his senses call this the christian religion? If he did, then the christian religion is only 102 years old, for a Methodist was never heard of before that time. Again, the characteristics of the Presbyterian religion were invented by Mr. John Knox of Scotland, in the time of Mary, Queen of Scots, and Elizabeth, Queen of England, in the year 1561-2, and perfected in its present form in 1643, when the Westminster Divines made them a Confession of Faith. Again, the Episcopal Church of England was established, not by King Jesus or his Apostles, but by an act of the British Parliament, passed the 3d of November, 1534, under Henry VIII. styled by Pope Leo X. "Defender of the Faith," and afterwards perfected in the reign of Edward VI. in the year 1547, though her liturgy has since been frequently revised. Without noticing the little ones, this is the origin of these powerful sects of religionists, the oldest of which is only 297 years old; and should not men be told to reform from these, and turn to the religion of Jesus? And where, pray, can we find that divine system of faith and worship instituted by Jesus Christ, but in his word--the New Testament? the religion of which was established 1800 years ago, by signs and wonders and divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit, God bearing also joint witness. There is where we go; for no Episcopalian, Presbyterian, or Methodist can say that his religion was established by such signs, wonders, miracles, &c. Then men should quit them and let them alone. But some of our Baptist brethren say, 'Why don't you teach them the doctrine of our confession of faith?' Why, brethren, the reason is, from the days of the Apostles we never had any other confession of faith but the New Testament, down to the year 1689, and then it was with great difficulty that our brethren could be persuaded to make one. It was upwards of 40 years after the Westminster Divines had made theirs, before the Baptists could be persuaded to have any thing to do with any but the New Testament--and then but seven churches agreed to that. This took place in the city of London, only 142 years ago; and the Philadelphia Confession was made on the 25th September, 1742, only 89 years ago; and if we were to stop at their dates we should greatly fall short of the date of the christian religion. Now we know that all these things may be reformed; but after they are reformed, what are they? At best it only can be said that it is reformed Methodism, reformed Presbyterianism, reformed Episcopacy, &c. These are all matters of men's invention, and may be reformed, altered, changed, modified, or abolished, (as they all will be,) and yet the christian religion remain unscathed--untouched by their destruction. The world was once without all these religions, and will be so again; but the christian religion, which existed 1500 years before the oldest of them, is destined to live forever; and we are bold to affirm that it NEVER can be reformed; but our lives may be: and we do most earnestly desire all men to shape their conduct--their lives by the word  of God, and not by the word of man. Is this heresy? If it is, then we are heretics. Now we contend for neither more nor less than this--that God's Word should be regarded in all cases, and at all times, and under all circumstances, without glossing or wresting it for any purpose. And now we will tell you why you should also be in favor of such a reformation too. You know [and if you don't, if you will read your book you will know] how that the ten tribes of Israel, after being rent from the house of David 254 years, were, by Shalmanezer, king of Assyria, carried away captive 722 years before the birth of our Saviour, and have not been correctly heard of since. One hundred and sixteen years after, the remaining two tribes, Judah and Benjamin, were also carried off captive to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar, where they remained 70 years. You know also that Malachi foretold the coming of a great and terrible day of the Lord; but that before it came he would send them Elijah the prophet, who should turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and of children to the fathers, lest he smite the earth with a curse. Accordingly John the Baptist (the Elijah) came; and what did he do? He came preaching in the wilderness of Judea the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins--that men should bring forth fruits meet for repentance. He came proclaiming a reformation of life. As a nation the Jews did not reform, and the consequence was, the entire destruction of their temple and nation by Titus the Roman General, on the 10th day of August, in the year 70. Now what do you suppose were the causes of these tremendous displays of God's indignation? By reference to the word of God, it was, first, a neglect, on the part of the Jews, in attending to the law of Moses. Second, by doing or substituting other matters in lieu of the law of Moses. Third, by regarding their traditions or customs (as some of our brethren are now doing) as of equal weight and dignity with the law of God. By examining you will find these things are so; for the Saviour, you know, charged boldly upon the Jewish rulers and teachers the arrogance of sitting in Moses' seat, (that is, making laws like Moses,) of teaching doctrines and commandments of men--of setting aside the law of God by their traditions. And what, let us ask, are all these decorums, confessions of faith, disciplines, rules or formulas, but doctrines and commandments of men? Did Jesus ever command them to be made? Had he wanted any beside the New Testament, would he not, think you, have made them himself? He certainly would. If God, then, punished the Jews in the tremendous manner here spoken of, for their neglect of the law of Moses, and for their substituting their traditions in room of it, how can we expect to escape a punishment of which the foregoing judgments are but types, if we neglect to hear his Son, in whom he is well pleased, or substitute in lieu of, or in addition to his commandments, as they are laid down in the book, any of our traditions, rules, or formulas.
Peter, on the mount of transfiguration, proposed to build three tabernacles--one for Christ, one for Moses, and one for Elias. But what said the voice from heaven? "This is my beloved Son: hear him." To which we respond, Amen! We say, hear the Lord Jesus in all things, regardless of what men have said, or what they may say; and as he never told his Apostles to hear any man, so we teach no man to hear either Wesley, or Knox, or Calvin, or Luther, or Gill, or Arminius, or Campbell; for if we did, it would be teaching doctrines and commandments of men. A greater sin no man can hardly commit, the word of God being judge. John says, "Blessed are they that do his commandments," not these men's commandments just named above, but Christ's commandments, "that they may have right to the tree of life, and enter in through the gates into the city." Brethren, keep yourselves unspotted from the world--live a christian life--adorn the doctrine of Christ our Saviour--neglect not the assembling of yourselves together, as the custom of some is, but be steadfast, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. If reproaches and revilings be ours, let us go forth unto Jesus, without the camp, bearing his reproach; for here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come. By him, therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually; that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to  communicate, forget not; for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. Brethren, pray for us, for we trust we have a good conscience in all things, willing to live honestly. And now the God of peace that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work, to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
OBSERVER & TELEGRAPH, HUDSON, OHIO.
THIS paper is devoted to the interests of Presbyterianism. It is edited by Mr. Warren Isham, and published by Mr. Lewis Ferry. Mr. Isham has obtained the title of Reverend among the sect to which he belongs. And as there are so many more priests than good and responsible congregations, it has become necessary to find posts for men of talents, and to create Offices for distinguished men whose price is not bid up by some wealthy congregation. For it no longer stands true of the poor congregations as of the rich--I was just about to make a wrong application of one of the genuine characteristics of christianity--"the poor have the gospel preached to them." It was not of poor Presbyterian congregations that this was spoken. For had Jesus spoken in accordance with Presbyterianism in our times, he would have said, "Blessed are the rich congregations, for they have the gospel preached unto them; but wo to the poor, for they are behind in both worlds." But to come to the point, Mr. Isham fills one of these offices. He is one of the scribes of the sect, and has the supervision of the above named paper.
In my June tour to the Lakes I delivered two discourses in this same Hudson, and I learned that this Mr. Isham was present taking such notes of my discourses as would enable him in the most acceptable manner to censure and repudiate the reformation which we plead.
Another gentleman of the same cloth heard me at Ravennah. I think he calls himself "Ambrose." But so it is, that from the 16th of June till now these true sons of the church militant have been roasting and frying my discourses in this same Observer and Telegraph. "Ambrose," if I mistake not, for I do not read all his pieces, has written several essays to prove that I am a "perfect Arian," but secretly I manage to conceal it from all but himself. Soon as he heard me pray, he knew perfectly that "I was a perfect Arian." This gentleman is too wise for this world; and having obtained the gift of discerning spirits, we cannot contend with him. So long, however, as I keep it a secret, and am afraid to avow it, it will do no harm. He ought not to have divulged it. He has done all the mischief, in any result from the discovery.
I wonder if this Mr. Ambrose ever read the life of John Calvin? if not, he has fortuitously stumbled upon the plan which the Catholics played with so much success against the founder of his own sect. When his good Father Calvin had bearded the lion in his den, and had made the Vatican tremble, they cried out, "Protestants, beware! Calvin is a perfect Arian!!"
Mr. Isham and his brother Ambrose had better read Mackenzie's  Life of Calvin, if they can get no fuller history of this great' man. For a great man he truly was, and did as much as any man of so choleric a temperament could do in such an age, coming out of the bosom of Popery. It was true of him, as of all who have to oppose a corrupt hierarchy, "Calvin made himself enemies by saying cutting truths." His biographer adds to these words, "Perhaps a consciousness of superiority rendered him severe upon those who disturbed him by ill-founded attacks, or unreasonable obstinacy" But the Catholics accused him of Arianism, and in the year 1535, or 36, "he was obliged to plead his cause with Caroly, at Bern, who (like "Ambrose" of Portage) accused him of Arianism," But this was before he had established his reputation for orthodoxy by the burning of Servetus; and before Beza, his great disciple and admirer, had written a book to prove that the "Magistrates ought to punish heretics by the sword." This wiped off, in the estimation of all good Catholics, the charge of Arianism."
Any man who can think that we, who have asserted the most unpopular of all the tenets of this age, faith and immersion for the remission of sins, can, through shame or fear, conceal our sentiments on such a question, deserves medicine rather than argument; and he that tells such a tale, requires either the discipline of Calvin, or, if that be too severe, a parole of honor from the ranks of gentlemen. Regarding Ambrose, then, in the character of a "false accuser," Paul commands me "from such to turn away."
Mr. Isham wrote some seven or eight columns on my two discourses in Hudson. The last of these I read the other day: a friend handed it to me at Lisbon, on the 28th ultimo. Mr. Isham wrote it for the consumption of Presbyterians, and therefore it found not its way to me. Concerning the whole review, I will only say it is just such a one as a man of Mr. Isham's talents and constitutional frailties could write. A single specimen of the logical character of his mind will excuse me, in the estimation of all men of sense, from paying him any farther attention. In his first attack, he says--
"Mr. C. in this stage of his discourse, had not a little to say about his being a Reformer. It could not be expected, he said, that Luther and his coadjutors would rise up, Sampson-like, and in two or three years, shake off the whole Romish superstition. And yet, he could not say the word 'reform,' but all tongues were in motion. Did not Luther and Calvin live only three hundred years ago? But look, said he, at the fragments of the Lutheran Reformation--Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Episcopalians, Baptists, Methodists, Burghers and Anti-Burghers, Covenanters, &c. &c. Here was proof positive that another Reformation was needed,--and he even went so far as to say, that a Reformation was as much needed now, as at the time when Luther arose: and 'a reformer,' he added, needs to be clothed with the same armor--the same panoply of heaven. But what would Mr. Campbell be at? Would he have but one sect in christendom? Then we must have a Pope, acknowledge his infallibility, and bow to his mandates; then we must have an Inquisition--and for arguments we must resort to the faggot, the pincers, and the rack; then we must take away the 'key of knowledge' from the people, and envelope them in clouds of ignorance, dark as midnight. In this way we might prevent the multiplicity of sects. In this way the Church of Rome  prevented it during that night of dark ages which hung over the world, before the Reformation of the 16th century. But as long as the people have the Bible in their hands, and are allowed to be their own interpreters; as long as their minds are differently constituted, and furnished with different degrees of intelligence, and their hearts in different stages of moral culture, there will be shades of difference in their views of divine truth. Those truths which lie at the foundation of the christian's hope are clearly revealed; and here is common ground. All evangelical sects see alike here. It is in things of less concernment that they differ in opinion; things of so little importance, that the Almighty has but partially revealed them."
That I might place him in bold relief before the reader, I quoted the whole paragraph.
Gentle, and sensible, and courteous reader, must we pursue through all the lanes and avenues of sophistry, a writer who, when he does his best, cannot discriminate between Popery and Protestantism--who either thinks himself, or would have others to think, that if ever the church or christian community be united, we must have a Pope, Inquisition, fire and sword in that united church, to suppress all differences of opinion, &c. &c. &c!!! We italicise the above lines in the extract. Let the reader regard them as emphatic. And can this intellectual editor do otherwise than build up a sect and guard Hudson College, when he avows his conviction that the end of sectarianism will be a universal Pope, an Inquisition, and a night of darkness! The Millennium! What a fearful era, if all christians should constitute but one society!
With such a writer we have no chance, and must permit him to make notes, and comment on his own text, till next we visit Hudson. I think from his increased sensibility we must have done some good in Hudson, and must the sooner visit it again.
|ESSEX, SEPTEMBER 2, 1831.|
Dear Brother Campbell,
YOUR favor of the 19th of August came to hand during my absence on a tour of proclaiming the ancient gospel. I met with six public teachers of the ancient gospel on Saturday last, in King William, where we had a four days' meeting: the two first being rainy weather, the congregations surpassed our expectation. On Saturday bro. Ainslie unsheathed the sword of the Spirit, and threw the scabbard of sectarianism to the moles and the bats--presented the naked sword of the Lord of Hosts--death or submission were the only terms offered to the rebels against the government of King Messiah. The gospel proclamation was made. I never before witnessed such a moving among the people. Seventeen were immersed, the next morning, for the remission of their sins. On the Lord's day and Monday, never slid I hear the naked truth sound so sweet and powerful. The invitation was again given: upwards of forty young men and women came forward and professed--from their exterior, the flower of that section of country. It was a sight, indeed, to see between twenty and thirty young females advance with all that is lovely, bowing to the blessed Jesus. They confessed themselves sinners,  and their faith in Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of God; that then loved him, and wished to be immersed into his name for the remission of their sins. About twenty were immersed that evening; the rest, not having clothes, had to put off their entrance into the kingdom to another day.2 We conversed with many before their profession, as they wished to understand their condition. Many were trammelled by the systems of the day, looking for the Holy Spirit to produce an extraordinary ecstasy--all anxious to follow Jesus. It was a great trial, to some, to forsake their father's creed; but when the truth was affectionately presented to them, as coming from the loving Jesus, it was more than they could withstand. I conversed with a young man and his lady, recently married. They came with locked hands to inquire into the truth of the gospel faith, as many others did in the same way. He professed great anxiety to be saved. I asked his lady if she believed that Jesus was the Christ the Son of God, and was willing to submit to his government, and give up every thing to enjoy his salvation? She replied it was her greatest desire to be saved, but seemed not to understand how sinners could be saved. I asked her if she did not understand her companion when he professed to her his love for her person? whether her heart was not concerned in the offer, and how she consented to accept of his proposals to give her his hand in marriage? Had you seen her sparkling eye, with a tear of gratitude when she looked her companion in the face, after hearing this, you would have had no wonder that tears should flow from his eyes. It seemed to penetrate his soul. There were several young men, with their wives, that came forward and owned Jesus as Lord of all. We do not consider this in the popular phrase the "pouring out of the Spirit," but the unsheathing of the sword of the Spirit from the scabbard of sectarianism. The lower country appears to be alive. Sectarianism must die. Peter Ainslie certainly is a man of uncommon strength of mind, and now a bold advocate for the ancient apostolic gospel. With such men as Ainslie, Duval, and Richards, we fear not opposition upon the New Testament.
According to your request I have sent you a copy of A. Broaddus' Review of the Extra. He, to my judgment, has failed in sustaining his own views, much less in overturning the Extra. He seems as though he sought, not intentionally I hope, to find a refuge for the disobedient, and in doing so, sets Jesus against himself, as well as Paul against himself. However little our opponents may make of baptism, Jesus says, He that breaks one of these least commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
|Yours in the Lord,|
|THOS. M. HENLEY. |
DIALOGUE ON THE HOLY SPIRIT.--Part 4th.
AUSTIN AND TIMOTHY.
Austin. I have just been examining nine essays on the work of the Holy Spirit, in the 2d volume of the Christian Baptist, and have had my attention most arrested to the following sentences: [Jan. 3, 1825, vol. 2, No. 2, page 33, 2d edition.] "This is one distinguishing difference between the disciples of Christ before, and since he was glorified. Those who believed and became his disciples, seeing the miracles he wrought, on the evidence afforded them, had to wait for the promise of the Spirit through faith a good while, and some a long time, till Christ was glorified. But they who became his disciples after he was glorified soon received the Holy Spirit. For after Christ was glorified, in one day thousands born of water and of the Spirit entered into the kingdom, and immediately were filled with love, peace, joy, long suffering, goodness, fidelity, meekness, and temperance--the blissful cluster of heavenly fruits of which the sons of God are all partakers." The other matters in these essays have become familiar. But on this extract I wish to propose a question. It is this: Is there any difference between the manner in which christians enjoy the Holy Spirit since Jesus was glorified, and the manner in which the saints enjoyed the Spirit of God before the appearance of Jesus Christ in the world?
Timothy. As well might you inquire, Were the saints under the law as enlightened and happy as christians under the reign of favor? As to the manner of enjoyment I speculate not; as to the degree of enjoyment, our state, in comparison of the Jewish and Patriarchal, is called "heavenly places," and the government under which we have our citizenship is called "the Reign of Heaven." But in the same page from which you have made the above quotation, a promise uttered by Jesus is quoted in justification of the principal idea suggested in the extract: "He that believes on me, as the Scripture says, shall prove a cistern, whence rivers of living water shall flow." On this an Apostle comments as follows; "This he spoke of the Spirit which they who believed on him were to receive: for the Spirit was not yet (given) because Jesus was not yet glorified."
The glorification or coronation of Jesus in heaven after he had been made perfect through sufferings, is an event of inexpressible importance in the great scheme of our redemption, and the revolution of things in heaven and things on earth consequent thereupon, is a theme on which Prophets and Apostles dwell with admiration. Then it was all angels, principalities, authorities, and powers were subjected to him; then it was, having received the promise of the Holy Spirit in all its gifts, he began to confer these gifts on men. Hence in announcing his exaltation to the throne of God, Peter promised the Holy Spirit to all who submitted to his government, but to none else.
A. But had not Christ, while on earth, power to impart this spirit or, rather, did he not bestow it upon his Apostles before be was  glorified?
T. When he first sent his Apostles to announce his approaching reign, he gave them authority over unclean spirits, to expel them, and to heal all diseases and maladies. He himself had received the Holy Spirit without measure after his immersion, and imparted to his Apostles power to sustain their proclamation by these attestations. But let us now keep our attention fixed upon the principal idea furnished in your extract, of rather in the quotation which authorizes it. Jesus is now glorified, and all who now submit to his government are authorized to expect not new revelations, miracles, or prophetic powers, but that Holy Spirit whose inhabitation resembles a cistern frown which streams of water ever flow. Hence all the joys and consolations which those who obey the gospel experience.
A. I think this is a subject on which there will not be much controversy between us. Since reading those essays in the volume alluded to, I abandon the idea of the Spirit descending through the air, or falling upon persons as in the times of the setting up of the christian institution, and also the popular doctrines on this subject; but that disciples are in some way possessed of the Spirit of God is so plain that I cannot think any person can at all doubt the fact, though none may be able to comprehend how these things can be.
T. It is sometimes useful to reason from analogy though analogy can prove nothing. Analogies may illustrate, but cannot prove any thing in religion. But as the Great Teacher so often reasoned from analogy, illustrated and adorned his heavenly communications by earthly analogies, because we can arrive at the knowledge of things unknown only by the things already known, we may reason analogically upon this subject as well as upon some others; but the nice point is to know how far to follow any analogy.
A. Yes; this is the delicate point--so delicate that few of our annotators in commenting upon the types of the Old Testament, and the parables of the New, have known where to stop.
T. There are some parables which have but one prominent point of similarity to enforce, while others may have several; and so it happens that few sermonizers seem to know how far to pursue or to trace the analogies in these parables--some falling short, and others greatly transcending the design of him who introduced it. All would seem to agree that in comparing the kingdom of heaven to a grain of mustard seed, it was designed only to illustrate the smallness of its beginning, its progress, and extensive growth in the world; and that he who would say a grain of mustard seed is round, brown, and pungent, and seek to find similarities in the kingdom of heaven, would, in the estimation of all, transcend the bounds of sober reason. He also, who in the parable of the sower finds but one point of resemblance, falls as far short of the design of its author, as he who imagines resemblances where there are none.
A. Of these aberrations from right reason I am convinced. But what analogies have you to offer on this subject.
T. Many. The church, or congregated disciples of Jesus Christ, are compared to a human body, a temple, or house, a family, a kingdom,  a sheepfold, a vine, &c. Some of these figures or comparisons represent this institution more forcibly than others in reference to some particular object. And were it not for these various objects we should not have had these various comparisons. It is true that some or all of these may illustrate one or more prominent features in this institution; but yet each one of them seems to have some peculiar object in view, to illustrate which it is primarily intended. The first of these we have already noticed in our second interview; and it is one to which more frequent allusion is made by the Apostle Paul than any other. But as a brother and fellow-laborer, whose praise in the gospel is far spread through the congregations, and whose labors deserve to be highly appreciated, has made much use of this figure in a discourse recently published, and which he is now revising for a second edition, I shall not now dwell upon it, but refer you to brother Scott's discourse on the Holy Spirit.
A. That discourse I read immediately after our second interview, and it gave me much relief on one important item; but I shall read it again when revised; for it seems as if the Printer or Proof-reader had made it almost, if not altogether, unintelligible in some places.
T. The Holy Spirit made the literal body of Jesus by its influences; and afterwards filled it. But it was not until he was born again in the Jordan, that the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove descended upon him; and this Spirit, not in measures, but without measure, ever after abode in him as the spirit of wisdom, power, and goodness. This same Holy Spirit, by its various gifts, creates the figurative body of Jesus, as before illustrated; and when any person is united to the body of Christ, which is ever growing, he receives the Spirit which always dwells in that body. But to refer to other figures.
The tabernacle was built by Moses; but Moses built it by supernatural aid, according to a model which God himself gave him. After this tabernacle was put together, raised, and dedicated to the Lord, a cloud covered, sat upon it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Exod. xl. 33-38.
A. The temple, too, was built by Solomon; and after it was finished and every thing put in its place, and after the Priests had come out of the holy place from putting the ark of the covenant in its place, "the cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the Priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord." The Lord promised to abide there so long as they kept his commandments. He says to Solomon, "My eyes and my heart shall be in that house perpetually. But if you shall at all turn from following me, you or your children, and will not keep my statutes and my commandments which I have set before you; then will I cast out of my sight this house which I have hallowed, and Israel shall be a proverb and a by-word among all people And at this house which is high, every one that passeth by it shall be astonished and shall hiss."
T. Let me add, that Paul tells us that christians are the temple of God, and that the Lord dwells in them--his Spirit inhabits them,  This is the glory of Jesus which fills the house of prayer which he has reared. The Holy Spirit thus glorifies him by filling his house with glory. His eye and his heart are here continually. If any man destroy the temple of the Lord, by polluting it, him will the Lord destroy. If any man love not our Lord Jesus, let him be anathema maranatha. They shall yet hiss at him. The obedient only constitute this house of God, and it is only over them that the Lord's eyes and heart continually preside. The Lord's eyes are over the righteous, and his ear is open to their cry. "The temple of God is holy, which temple you christians are."
These analogies illustrate that promise of the Holy Spirit given to then who reform and are immersed for the remission of their sins. But as the tabernacle was first reared and dedicated, the temple first builded and furnished, before the glory of the Lord filled it, so the Spirit is promised and given to none until they are united to the building of God--the church.
A. Here we have no controversy. I can aid you in these analogies. Let us next contemplate the vine, or the olive tree, as analogous. A branch must be in the vine, or it receives no sap from its root; and a graft must be inserted into the good olive tree before it partakes of its root and fatness. And are we not first engrafted into Christ before we can derive any consolation, peace, hope, or joy from him?
T. True: Jesus says, "'As the branch can bear no fruit of itself, unless it abide in the vine, no more can you my disciples unless you abide in me--I am the vine, you are the branches." He is the root of that goodly vine which the great Vine-dresser has planted in the earth. It requires no reasoning to show that all the powers of the vine flow in the channels originating in its root, and that adhesion to the vine is essential to the life and fruitfulness of every bough. But alas! this vine has been exposed to the wild boar of the forest, and to the wild beast of the field. "Return, we beseech thee, O God of Hosts; look down from heaven and behold and visit this thy vine!--the vineyard which thy right hand has planted, and the branch which thou madest strong for thyself!"
But it is only in reference to the Gentiles that the figure of grafting into the olive occurs in the New Testament. The Westminster Confession of Faith says, "Baptism signifies and seals our engrafting into Christ:" if so, then we cannot expect to partake of the streams which make glad the vine, which clothe it with fragrance, beauty, and fruit, until we are immersed into the Lord. But we cannot farther carry the figure of engrafting than to show that until the scion is engrafted it receives no nourishment from the root, but when engrafted it receives all its health and fatness from it. These analogies illustrate the two great propositions on which our present conversation turns. We ought sooner to have stated them. Sometimes, however it is as satisfactory to prove and illustrate a proposition before it is stated. The propositions to which we allude, are, that the Holy Spirit is promised to no unbeliever, or disobedient person; and that,  since Christ was glorified in heaven, the Holy Spirit is promised to all who believe and obey the gospel, or to all who unite themselves to the family of God.
A. I wonder if this be not all implied in the promises in the New Constitution, as you call it, Heb, viii. 10-13. "I will be their God," is one promise; "I will write my laws upon their hearts," is another; but the reason assigned is the fourth promise, which is the root of the whole matter--"FOR their sins and their iniquities I will remember no more." Remission of these, then, precedes all the promises of the New Covenant.
T. You mean that although remission of sins is last mentioned in the New Constitution, it is laid both by Paul and Jeremiah as the root and foundation of all the blessings promised in it.
A. I do. And let me propose another question--Does it not appear most irrational, inapposite, as well as unscriptural, to represent the spirit, the Holy Spirit of God, as dwelling in the heart of an impenitent, disobedient sinner?
T. But if we seem to agree so well, we shall have no controversy on this subject, and no new light will be elicited. Can you think of nothing in which there is not a perfect concordance in our views?
A. Perhaps I may: but I am called hence at present. I know that on this subject there can be but little difference between us. The difficulty always was about the influences necessary to produce faith; about regeneration anterior to faith, or the infusion of some previous holy principle. But now, seeing how the Holy Spirit has confirmed the testimony, and how faith was produced in the minds of the first converts, I will have little difficulty in agreeing with you in the proposition which affirms that everyone who believes and is baptized receives the Holy Spirit of God, in all its moral and sanctifying influences; but perhaps on reflection I will have something to propose you hereafter on this subject. Adieu.
SINCE our last number was issued we received two letters from our friend Mr. Cohen. One of them contains some objections to our reasonings on the publication now before the public. These we will hereafter lay before our readers. It is due to Mr. Cohen to state, that, in consequence of our limits having obliged us to omit the preface to his apology, he has demurred at the attitude in which he is presented without his preface--appearing rather as volunteering in the cause, than as vindicating his deceased brother from the charge of weakness, or from making concessions which he supposes, under other circumstances, in full possession of his memory and judgment, he would not have made. He also, from a want of time, and from a conviction that little good can be done by controverting the grounds of his disbelief, or our belief in Jesus of Nazareth, declares his unwillingness to write much upon the subject, and therefore rather declines prosecuting the matter much farther; not at all, however, from any doubt he has of the certainty or the validity of his reasons  against Jesus, or of his hopes of a Messiah who will yet gather the dispersed of Israel into one----
These remarks are due to Mr. Cohen, that his course in this publication may be fairly estimated by all who may read our correspondence.
LETTER TO MR. COHEN--No. III.
WHEN I consider the numerous blessings which we Gentiles inherit from your father Abraham, and from your nation, I feel myself in debt to every Jew under heaven, and would rejoice in discharging that debt to the eternal happiness of every person in whose veins flows the blood of the renowned father of many nations, honored with the title of "the Friend of God." Truly we may say that the God of Abraham has already verified, in a very particular manner, one of the greatest as well as one of the first promises made to him, which is not generally regarded as it ought. I allude to that stated in Genesis xii. 9. "I will make thee a blessing"--a public blessing. He not only promised to bless all nations in his seed, but to make him a blessing to all nations.
I am willing to confess that we Gentiles owe all our just conceptions of God, of his being and perfections, and our progress in all useful knowledge, to the pens of Jews. Egypt, Greece, and Rome gave us not a single correct idea of God--of his spirituality, majesty, and true glory. Their sages leavened not our minds with the knowledge of God; their philosophers and philosophy imparted no vigor to our minds, gave no new energies to our thoughts, nor filled our souls with lofty enterprize. Your Moses and your Prophets--your Kings, and Priests, and Poets have shed all the light and all the lustre which morally adorns any of the race to which we belong.
Yes, my dear sir, our New Testament, too, is the work of Jews--all written by Jews. If there be, then, among the Christians any true knowledge of God; nay, if there be among any people in the four quarters of the globe any sacred literature, any true religion or morality, it has come from the children of Abraham. Thus the Lord made Abraham a blessing to all the world in committing to him and his seed all the knowledge of himself and of man, of any importance, in relation to true goodness, greatness, and happiness. The sciences, and all the arts by which christian nations are distinguished and exalted, owe their advancement to that strength of mind which the abolition of idolatry and superstition, through Jewish instrumentality, has effected.
Not only was the first Christian congregation all Jews, but all the writers of the New Testament, were from the loins of Abraham. Your debtors, then, sir, we are. Oh! that, as your Paul and our Apostle has written, through our mercy you also might obtain mercy! You have nothing to promise us by turning us to your nation--by weakening, were it possible, our confidence in the Son of the Virgin as the true Messiah; but we have much to propose to you in turning to the Lord  our Redeemer. He is exalted a Prince and a Saviour to give reformation to Israel and remission of sins. Forgiveness, adoption into the family of God, the Holy Spirit, a glorious resurrection, and eternal life are all held out to you in submitting to him who wept over Jerusalem, and commanded the good news of his salvation to be first proclaimed in the very city where he had been crucified a few days before. "TO THE JEW FIRST" our Apostle Paul always addressed himself. To the Jew first we would feel inclined to tender remission and eternal life in the name of Jesus.
My dear sir, consider what are the sanctions of our religion compared with those of Moses. It is not the loss of Canaan for which you have to weep. We look for a Canaan, a heavenly Canaan, where the Tree of Life forever yields its fruit--where the pure water of life forever flows.
But how feeble--(pardon this word feeble, for when we read the books of the New Testament and scan the evidences which they tender, we say, how feeble all that can oppose!)--how feeble, then, are arguments or objections such as any Rabbi can propose! Yours are as strong as any. But on what slender grounds do you reject the counsel of God against yourselves.
Concerning the sceptre departing from Judah, you say the literal translation of Gens. xlix. 10. is, "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah forever, [though it may for a time;] for Shiloh shall come, and to him shall the nations gather."
The Seventy Jews who rendered the five books of Moses into the Greek tongue, 280 years before Christ, differ from some of your present Rabbis in rendering this passage. Their version of it differs nothing in the capital fact from King James' version. From their version, now before me, it reads thus: "A Prince shall not entirely fail from Judah, nor a leader from his offspring, till all that is laid up for him come; even the Expectation of nations. Binding his colt to the vine, and his ass's colt to the choice vine, he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes." So read the 10th and 11th verses.
I am aware that some modern Jews offer very curious criticisms upon the Hebrew word shebet, translated by King James' translators sceptre. They make it a rod, the emblem of afflictions; and then read, "Afflictions shall not depart from Judah till the Messias come."
But Onkelos, the chief of the Targumists, understood it as christians do; and the Jerusalem Targum, and all the ancient versions, adopted it. In one or two ancient versions it is said sebet, sometimes rendered tribe, is found. But this makes no difference in the meaning, for all the old Rabbis, with the Jerusalem Targum, apply it to the Messiah. The evasions of this passage by many of the modern Jews have given it so many contradictory meanings that the more sensible now begin, like yourself, to admit that it is substantially correct in the common reading. For suppose you should read it, "the sceptre shall not depart forever," it militates much more with your views than with ours: for on your hypothesis it has departed from  Judah nearly 2400 years; but Jesus, being placed upon the true throne of David, still extends his sceptre over all the world, and thus the sceptre has never departed from Judah.
This is perhaps but a gloss upon a gloss. So be it. But your David sings, in his second Psalm, "the Lord Jehovah has set his king upon the holy hill of Zion." He has published the decree--"My Son thou art, to-day have I begotten thee." He has given him the heathen people for his people. "Kiss then the Son, lest he be angry and you perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they who trust in him."
It would be long to trace the leaders of the tribe of Judah from the death of Zedekiah to the time of Herod the Great, and unnecessary too; for the fact that Jesus was born in the 35th year of the reign of Herod the Great, and this Herod being the first foreigner who was placed over the Jews by the Roman emperors, is enough to show that the sceptre, or prince and leader, had just departed from Judah, and that under the government of the first foreigner the long expected king of the Jews was born.
John Hyrcanus died about 481 years after the return from the Babylonish captivity. Josephus regards him in the light of high priest and king. His words are: "He was esteemed by God worthy of the three greatest privileges--the government of his nation, the dignity of the high priesthood, and prophecy." Antiq. Book 13, Sect. 7. His son Aristobulus changed the government into a kingdom, and wore the diadem. I need not inform you of all the contests in Judea after his death, under the tyrannical monarchy of the Assamoneans or Maccabees, till the reign of the Idumean, Herod the Great. Shiloh came at the right time, and was received first by a few, but afterwards regarded as the Messiah by many myriads of your brethren; and since his death, I need not tell you, you have not had a prince or leader from Judah nor any other tribe. Two thousand years will soon have completed their rounds since you had a prophet, priest, or king, or a ruler, religious or political, of your own people.
How, then, my dear sir, can you regard all the sayings of your prophets? on what principles can you explain them? Either they have deluded you, or you have mistaken them. What saying, in all the prophets or the law, authorized you to expect a banishment from Canaan, and a dispersion for 2000 years, before the Messiah came!! But admitting him to have been the person crucified on Calvary, then all your prophets are consistent, plain and intelligible.
The writings of the Christian Jews commend themselves to your conscience. Who of all your prophets surpassed Paul in sincerity, zeal, knowledge, labors, and sufferings? Who was more pious or more humane than James or John? Who more illustrious than Peter? Their writings, their doctrine, their labors, their sufferings, their martyrdoms, prove that they followed no cunningly devised fables. Oh that I could induce one son of Abraham to give these witnesses, these eye and ear witnesses of the life, miracles, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, a candid, honest, and inquisitive hearing!!
|Fayette, September 7, 1831.|
DEAR BROTHER CAMPBELL,
BEING in some measure sensible of the multiplicity of business with which you are pressed, it is with some reluctance that I at this time trouble you. I am, however, the rather induced to do so from having observed the freedom and good nature in which you are wont to respond to the inquiries of the honest minded in quest of truth. Without any further preface or apology, I will come at once to the object I had in addressing you at this time, and that is, to ask your opinion whether it be lawful, according to the will of God as revealed to us, to pray for our unconverted friends--that is, to ask God to convert them to the christian religion? If it be true, as you affirm, (and which I am not prepared to controvert,) that the righteousness of a christian is a righteousness by faith, in Jesus as the Messiah; that that faith comes alone by hearing or reading the testimony concerning Jesus; and that we have no right to expect any influence superinducing the mind to faith, or even causing the sinner to examine this testimony, or place himself in circumstances for the light of Divine Truth to shine upon his mind: I say, upon the supposition that these things are so, what right has any one to expect that God will answer his prayers in the behalf of any of his unconverted friends? Ever since I have felt the importance of divine things, I have felt the most anxious solicitude for many of my relatives and friends who on their part manifested the greatest indifference to these matters, and have often tried to pray for them too, that God would cause them to submit themselves to Jesus as the only Saviour of sinners: but whether these prayers were in accordance to the word of our Divine Master, I confess I am somewhat at a loss to say. When we pray, we are told to pray in faith; and in order that we may pray in faith, as I understand, we should pray for such things as our Heavenly Father has authorized us to expect at his hands, and no other. Now, if the Divine Being exercises no other influence over the minds of men than that influence which is derived to them through the words he has spoken to men, and we cannot prevail upon wicked men to give attention to those words, the question is, Are we authorized to expect that God will answer our requests in the behalf of such an one? Here is my difficulty, and it has long been a difficulty with me; and I find it is no less so with many of my friends, and your friends. If you have opportunity to write me a private letter on this subject, I will esteem it as a singular favor; or if you consider the subject of enough importance, you can, if you please furnish us an essay upon it through the Harbinger.
|WILL. Z. THOMSON.|
|BETHANY, VA. September 15, 1831.|
Dear Brother Thomson.
WHEN our speculations on any doctrine or question in religion become principles of action contravening any express precept or  approved example found in the sacred writings of the Apostles, it becomes us to pause, and rather to question or dissent from our own reasonings than to neglect to do the things that the Lord has commanded us.
It is not uncommon for us poor short-sighted mortals to take such one-sided views of things, and to he so engrossed in contemplating them as not to see at all, or very imperfectly, things of the very greatest magnitude connected with the other side of the subject. As the flying fish, fixing its eye upon the dolphin, endeavoring to elude its pursuit, sometimes leaps into the ship, or darts into the jaws of the shark, so we, in looking intensely upon one error, sometimes plunge into a greater one than we sought to avoid.
It is, however, a happy circumstance that persons who fear God will, whether they comprehend or not some strong sayings, some plain commands, or some approved examples in the good book, rather dissent from their own reasonings, leading in a contrary direction, than emit or wholly neglect some very plain duty. A very striking instance of this we have in the prayers and enterprizes of some very zealous professors in our own time. In their creed and in their reasonings they maintain that "men are so predestinated, foreordained, and so particularly and unchangeably designed to everlasting life and everlasting death, and their number so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished;3 yet they not only pray for the conversion of men, but are active in all "the benevolent enterprizes of the day" for the conversion of sinners at home and abroad. Such inconsistencies prove that men will sooner distrust their own reasonings than the commands and examples laid before them in the sacred writings.
But it does not always happen that apparent incongruities imply actual contradictions in principle or practice. We do not often see the remote, nor indeed always the proximate tendencies of things. Now if persons were never to act in any great question in religion or morals until they saw all the tendencies and results of their conduct, or its agreement or disagreement with other principles and other things, they would perhaps die before they would obey the first christian requisition.
These preliminary observations are not made from the perception or acknowledgment that similar difficulties impinge the question you have submitted, or that even very apparent, much less real incongruities or contradictions, are involved either in its examination or decision. But if even that were the case, we shall find it our wisdom to do the things the Lord commands, whether we can or cannot reconcile them to our own views, or to other things as plainly revealed.
To approach still nearer the subject submitted, please, dear sir, to consider that the Lord Jesus commanded us to pray for them who are our enemies, "who despitefully use and even persecute us." We  are taught that vengeance belongs to the Lord and he will repay our enemies, and that it is just with God to recompense tribulation to them who trouble us. Yet there is nothing incongruous in our repaying their curses with blessings, nor in praying for their reformation and forgiveness.
But the pinching point with many honest minds, and with yours, though somewhat allied to this, is yet quite distinct from it--"If no converting power other than that displayed in the oracles of God is necessary, why pray to God for the salvation of men? And again, if there be no promise nor testimony in favor of those whose salvation we may desire, such as our relatives, friends, &c. how can we pray in faith?
To these two points we shall briefly advert. And to the first, it may be replied that we are taught to pray for food, raiment, health, &c. for ourselves and others, not expecting, nor taught to expect, that the laws of nature are to be changed, suspended, or new-modified, or that we are to become the subjects of any supernatural aid in obtaining these things. But to teach us our dependence, to cause us to exert ourselves in all lawful and reasonable endeavors for the attainment of what is needful, and in case of the failure of these means that God, whose agents are not only the elements of nature, but ten thousands of thousands of angels and men, may, in his benevolent government of the affairs of men, vouchsafe to us all things necessary to life and godliness. These three objects may all be comprehended in the reasons why God, who knows that we need all these things before we ask for them, has commanded us to ask for them.
God has placed all the producing power in the heavens and the earth, as he has all converting power in his holy oracles. But neither of these systems of means, natural or moral, exist independent of him. Of nature, it is said--"I will hear, saith the Lord, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth, and the earth shall hear the corn, the wine, and the oil, and they shall hear Jezreel." Jezreel represents the dispersed Israelites. This is a series of the most beautiful prosopopœias. The heavens, earth, corn, wine, oil, and the nation, are personified. Jezreel calls for corn, wine, and oil. Then the corn, wine, and oil, call upon the earth for nourishment; then the earth calls upon the atmospheric or celestial influences; and last of all, the clouds call upon the Lord. The Lord hears the clouds, the clouds hear the earth, the earth hears the corn, wine, and oil, and these hear Israel and flow into their storehouses. God and man stand at the two extremes of this system of nature. The bounties of his providence pass through many hands, as the law passed through ranks of angels before it came into the hands of Moses. As he created and sustains all, so he presides over all; and therefore, while we call upon him for any favor for ourselves or others, we expect not that he will work a miracle to confer it, but that in subordination to these established arrangements he will bestow it.
Whatever is beyond this is matter of pure faith. Thus if God has promised any special succor to any person, for any purpose, we know  he has classes of intelligent and voluntary agents, who are all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for the heirs of salvation, and with a reliance upon his promise and a knowledge of his means and agencies, we confidently expect the blessing promised.
We know not how the attention of men is fixed upon a thousand subjects, nor by what means, curious and unsearchable, a thousand thoughts arise in our minds. Like ancient Israel, we can trace matters to the clouds, but beyond the clouds, and beyond the three heavens of the Jews, what intellect can pierce!
Besides, there is the moral as well us the natural government of God. They are not the same, though the latter may in many respects be analogous to the former. Minds, or rational agents, are not under the government of only the same laws which govern our bodies. If the universe had been altogether material, its creator might have slept for seven thousand years, to speak after the manner of men, and on awaking have found things just as the evolutions of natural law would have presented them. But minds require supervision; because, all nature is an immense manufactory of motives, which are constantly operating in all directions, upon every thing that thinks, in the universe. But there we approach the shores of that ocean on which no mortal man has made a voyage of discovery; and for us to infer from premises unexplored, is as arrogant as it would be ridiculous to write the details of a voyage round the universe which has never yet been made.
But to descend to the ground on which God's word and government have placed us, we are taught to pray, and taught at the same time that God is unchangeable. We are taught that the word of God is the sword of the Spirit, and that the gospel is both the wisdom and the power of God to salvation; and yet we are taught to pray for all men. But while all converting power is in the word, who can tell the thousand ways in which that word, that great moral instrument, may operate upon the minds of men, or in how many attitudes they may present themselves, or be presented, to its influences! No matter who plants, or who waters, "it is God who makes to grow." But how often does the shower fall on the field of the sluggard; how often does the dew bless the ill-farmed or uncultivated fields of the slothful;--but it fills not his barn. His stalls are empty. He begs in harvest. They only who ply themselves are blessed. The diligent become rich.
But were it not that philosophy has presumed to explain every thing, and to cut the knots which she cannot untie, I would rather have answered your letter in the following style--
God's word is the word of life. Where it is not known, believed, and obeyed, there no life eternal dawns. He that has the Son of God has this life, and he is revealed in this living word. He teaches his disciples to pray for the following things:--For their daily bread; for them that despitefully use and persecute them. Thus, Jesus said. "Father forgive them, they know not what they do"--and Stephen, by the Holy Spirit said, "Lord lay not this sin to their account"--"Lord Jesus receive my spirit. Paul's desire and prayer to God for  Israel was, that they might be saved; and he commanded Timothy to teach the church in Ephesus to pray for all men: for kings, and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For as a reason, he adds--"This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who will have all men to be saved, and to come to an acknowledgment of the truth." If any man lack wisdom, says James, let him ask of God who gives liberally and upbraids not, and it shall be given him. But in one general command, a hundred sayings to this effect are comprehended--Phil. iv. 6: "Be anxiously solicitous about nothing; but in every thing, by prayer and deprecation let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." This is enough for me: how is it for you, brother?
A person who will not pray for the conversion of his children, friends or enemies, because he cannot see how it can be done in conformity to many truths in religion, such as God's immutability, &c. or his views of God's government, oracle, grace, purpose, &c, reminds me of a physician who could not pray for his daily bread because it was incompatible to pray for sickness, or an increase of his practice, and he could not see how his prayer could be answered unless by an increase of the afflictions of men!!
But concerning prayer as a means of communicating the thing sought, or of receiving the blessing desired, a good deal may be said, and with propriety. When Paul commands prayer for kings and governors, that christians might enjoy a quiet and peaceful life, we see that the very fact of offering up these supplications, in public assemblies, would have a tendency to secure the protection of the government. He that prays for the salvation of his children, in their presence, must perceive that it operates both on him to produce more attention to their instruction, and on them, to give more heed to the things commanded. To pray for humility is the shortest and safest means to be humble. To pray for sincerity, goodness, benevolence, love, &c. is the best means to possess them. But God will hear the prayer of the righteous, for his ears are open to their cry. He will answer the prayer of the upright, and when they call upon him he will deliver them. Paul was as much strengthened by his prayers as he would have been by removing the burthen from which he sought deliverance. To increase a person's strength to carry fifty or a hundred pounds, is equivalent to the removing of a burthen of that weight.
A word on praying in faith. We pray in faith, either in reference to general or special promises. For example, God has promised, and has declared himself willing to save all men acknowledging that Jesus is his only Son, and the only Saviour of men. We may therefore pray for all persons coming to Jesus as God's Son. We pray in faith, also, when we pray for any thing the Lord has promised to bestow on them that ask him.
Sometimes, however, we pray without any promise, and without  any testimony; and then we must say, if the Lord will. Paul prayed a long time to have a prosperous journey to Rome. This he desired from the Lord. Jesus said, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." This was simply an expression of his desire. So Stephen desired that his martyrdom might not be avenged on them who shed his blood. Paul desired the salvation of his persecuting brethren. It is lawful, useful, and every way compatible, to express these desires to God in prayer. A father may pray for the salvation of his children when he brings them up in the nurture and correction in the Lord. But I see I have not yet exhausted the subject; and as I promised an essay or two on prayer, I think I will risk this letter in part reply to yours as No. 1. I began it, not deciding whether it should be private or public; and as I am much pressed for time, I will, with all its imperfections on its head, let it pass for what it is worth.
In one word, dear brother, there is all the good reason in the world why christians should always pray and not faint; why they should pray without ceasing. What an honor to be permitted to speak to God in the name of his Son! May we prize it as we ought, and may the incense of our hearts always ascend to the heavens!
THE HOLY KISS.
ALL kingdoms, nations, states, tribes, and even small communities have some peculiar manners and customs of their own. These are generally the offspring of circumstances, the result of long secluded intercourse. Like language or dialect, they are the growth of time and sometimes as unalterable as the provincial pronunciation, gait, or even the features of an individual. These manners and customs principally respect dress, the fireside, the table, the rites of hospitality, feasts, courtship, marriage, salutation, funeral rites, and such like.
The religion of every country gives its tinge to all these. The Jews' religion was more attentive to some of these customs and manners than any other, and hence the people of Israel became more formal than any other nation. Christianity originated no new manners or customs respecting dress, the rites of hospitality, entertainments public or private, courtship, marriage, the rites of sepulture, or even the mode of saluting friends or strangers. This is beneath is sublime character. It stoops not to tell ladies how to fashion their garments nor their head-dresses, but inculcates modest and plain apparel, because of its congruity with the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. It prescribes no rules for the fireside, the table, the couch, or any of the rites of hospitality; but it inculcates the thing called hospitality, and carries it far beyond the circle of friends and relations, even to strangers and foreigners. It prescribes no rules for standing, sitting, or reclining at tables, at entertainments public or private. It says not a word upon some very interesting subjects to many--I mean courtships, marriages, and the nuptial rites. It legislates not  upon kissing, shaking hands, bowing, courtesying, nor even upon the solemn rites due to the dead. But it teaches decency and moderation in every thing: modesty, chastity, purity, and courtesy in all intercourse with society.
Every thing rude, savage, ferocious, and unseemly in the customs and manners of society, wherever it came it softened, mellowed, and refined by its morality and its purity, without passing a law upon the subject. It consecrated and elevated whatever was natural, rational, or even politically good in society, without changing a political maxim or enforcing a single statute. And, what is not a little strange, even in the organization of the christian congregation it took hold of the order of the Jewish synagogue, and adopted every thing in it at analogous to the christian institution, and made it a sort of model of the whole christian economy in the public assembly. Hence the elders, bishops, deacons, and their offices in the christian church correspond in name and function to those in the synagogues. But of this again.
Even when Paul gave orders to the Corinthian church concerning the use of the gifts, especially of tongues and the interpretation of them, he quotes the rule which from the captivity obtained in the synagogue after the language of the book and the nation became in some respects dissimilar. "Let him who speaks in an unknown tongue in the congregation speak two, or, at most, three sentences at a time, and let one interpret."
"In the synagogues, after the Syriac became the mother tongue, the interpreters stood next the minister, or reader, and translated the section sentence by sentence into Syriac: for in the lesson from the law the reader might not read above one verse at a time before the interpreters explained it; but in the lesson from the Prophets he might read three sentences together." This custom exists in many countries to this day.4 Jesus read but two sentences from the Prophet Isaiah, in the synagogue of Nazareth, before he began to interpret and apply it. These readings were preceded by prayer, and all the exercises in the synagogue were concluded by a benediction.
But to another item in the synagogue service bearing upon our subject. The manner of sitting in these synagogues was uniform, and the same which all antiquity declares obtained in the christian meetings. Philo the Jew, as quoted by Brown, says, "The portion of the synagogue devoted to the congregation was divided by a partition or lattice of wire work, of three or four cubits high, extending from near the door to the desk, on one side of which sat the men and on the other the women; a division which is said still obtains in the synagogues."
There were no promiscuous compellations or salutations practised among the Jews in their public worship. Now as christianity consecrated usages which obtained among the Jews, and introduced no new customs, it will follow that such a practice as obtains among some  congregations of promiscuous salutations by what is called the holy kiss, is unwarranted by both the Old and New Testament, as well as by the customs of our country.
No man can infer from any thing said in the New Testament concerning a holy kiss, that it was, even in countries where there was a common kiss among males, ever promiscuously practised. And certainly we have no such custom in our times of males and females promiscuously saluting one another in this way, either in the public assembly or from house to house. We ask, is it comely for married men in public assemblies, or in the private circles, to kiss the wives of other men, some of their husbands too, perhaps not members of the congregation? and is it not full as uncomely and as wholly unprecedented in the sacred scriptures for young unmarried men, either in public or in private intercourse, to salute with a kiss unmarried women? This is a usage at which all civilized society revolts; and for which we are bold to affirm there is no authority in the Old Testament or New.
Let no man say, in relation to this matter, there is neither male nor female in Christ; for it will not apply. He may as well say there is neither husband nor wife, parent nor child, master nor servant in Christ, and thus demolish all social relations, duties, obligations, &c.
There is nothing, however, in reason nor religion, which can forbid females saluting one another, or males saluting one another when a proper occasion calls for it in this way. But neither is there any thing to forbid their changing or their adopting of any customs or manners touching salutation, courtship, marriage, or funeral rites, if they see proper so to do. But right reason and sacred writ seem to say that it is more expedient to sanctify the manners and customs of our country, than to adopt new ones which neither we nor our fathers practised. But if we go for Jewish usages, let us take them all. Let us make all holy and not a part. And, indeed, we must say, that if certain manners and customs should designate the christian kingdom all the world over, we know of none more worthy of consecration and universal adoption than the primitive manners and customs of that people.
MR. ROSS, says the "Christian Messenger," one of the Editors of the Calvinistic Magazine, in co. with Dr. Nelson and Mr. Gallaher of Tennessee, has written an article on faith according to common sense. This Presbyterian Doctor has written in the style of common sense. From many good remarks we select the following:--
"What, then, is the nature of gospel faith? "I answer--It is in its NATURE the same state of soul with that of faith, or belief, we give every day to any other subject WHICH REACHES OUR HEART. The following facts, supplied by the Bible, will support this position:--
"Christ and his Apostles, when they required men to believe, uniformly spoke in such a manner as to show that they knew the requirement was understood by their hearers.
"2. Christ marvelled at the unbelief of those to whom he reached. 
3. The hearers of Jesus did in fact perfectly understand what was meant by faith, or belief.
"If, then, Christ and his Apostles expected to be understood when they required men to believe--if the unbelief of men was a matter of astonishment even to Jesus, and if all to whom the offer of life was made did perfectly know what condition of mind was required of them--then, surely, faith as to its nature is no mystery. It is simply what I have said, viz,--a state of the soul not different from belief in any other subject affecting the heart. Take one of the commonest facts to illustrate this. Every youth, properly nurtured, believes in his father's love. He is, then, (after you have explained to him the fatherly character of God) perfectly prepared to understand you when you tell him he ought to believe that God loves him. Why is he thus prepared? Answer. He knows what that state of mind termed belief, or faith, is. It is in truth the most common condition of his heart, and any attempt to explain its nature would only perplex and confound him.
"If this view of the subject be correct, how useless, and worse than useless, is much that has been written to tell the peculiar nature of evangelical faith. All the information the sinner wants is to be told the truths he ought to believe--the object of faith he needs to know; not what faith is as an intellectual condition of soul. His language should be that of the man restored to sight--Who is the Sun of God that I may believe on him?
4. Is faith the act of man? I have said it is the same thing in nature with our belief in any other subject reaching the heart. Such belief we know to be our act. It is the belief of a son in the kind word of his father, his act? Surely his heart is in it. From the very nature of such a belief, this makes it a voluntary act. So it is in the faith which lays hold upon the promise of God. "With the heart man believeth unto righteousness." Rom. x. It is no spiritual substance, but just the act of man.
"Again; faith is the act of man, because God requires him to believe his word under the penalty of eternal death. Faith is the condition which man is required to meet? If he obeys the requirement, he lives. If he refuses, he dies. Is this not true? How, then, can faith be any thing else than the act of man?
"The sum of what I believe is, then, briefly this--God through grace inclines man by his Spirit. MAN when thus persuaded, BELIEVES the gospel. The instrument by which the Spirit accomplishes his work is the truth.
"Regeneration is often represented as a "something" which the Divine Spirit effects in the soul by his naked influence. This "something" has various names applied to it. It is with one that spiritual substance before mentioned. Others term it a relish or taste for divine things. It is with this class of theologians the new holy nature, or new heart. This "something" is supposed to be infused, or implanted, or wrought, or created, (for these and other similar phrases are used) in the soul while it is in a passive state. It is said to be a something totally distinct from, and previous to, any act of will; and not only so, but entirely different from any state the soul was before adapted or fitted to manifest."--
[This is a good omen for the Presbyterian church in Tennessee. I hope it may benefit Dr. Jennings of Nashville ]
"If, then, the Holy Spirit accomplishes his work with the truth, we ask in the next place, how he causes it to influence the mind? Here, too, we have satisfactory information. The Bible authorizes us to believe that God causes truth to act upon the mind according to its natural laws. Observe the very fact that he renews the heart through the truth, tells us that he employs it in its usual nature unless we are given to understand that he does not so employ it. But there is not a syllable authorising us to think truth is applied in any other way. There is not a word to support the idea that God operates without the truth, and not one to justify the thought that he uses truth in a supernatural manner. Again; God is said to entreat, to beseech, to pray, to persuade men to  be reconciled to him; and when sinners, as in the case of Agrippa, are almost persuaded, they are besought to be altogether persuaded. Hence, when God renews the heart through the truth, and we become not only almost but altogether christians, what is it but the persuasion of truth brought to the desired result? Again; sinners are declared inexcusable, because they will not suffer the truth to enter their minds. Of course, when it does prevail, it enters just in that way in which they ought to have received it. Again; christians arc conscious that divine truth has influenced them according to the ordinary laws of truth, and in no other way."
[I could give many excellent sayings of this sensible gentlemen on the subject of faith; but these evince the current of his soul.]
From the same work we extract the following shakings in the temple of orthodoxy:--
Exhibited against Mr. Barnes, Minister of the First Presbyterian Church in
Philadelphia, with a few extracts from Mr. Barnes' answer.
1. He makes no mention of the cardinal doctrine of justification by faith.
2. He contemptuously rejects the doctrine of the imputation of Adam's sin.
3. He intimates that the first moral taint of the creature is coincident with his first moral action.
4. He denies that Christ sustained the penalty of the law, and employs language on the subject highly derogatory to the character of Christ.
5. He boldly affirms that the atonement of Christ had no specific reference to individuals.
6. He declares that the atonement, in itself, secured the salvation of no man, and possessed only a conditional efficacy.
7. He maintains that the entire inability of the sinner for holy actions consisted in indisposition of the will; and finally, he declares his independence of all formularies of doctrine, notwithstanding his professed adherence to them.
The atonement secured the salvation of no one, except as God has promised his Son that he should see of the travail of his soul, and except on the condition of repentance and faith.
I assume the free and full offer of the gospel to all men, to be one of those cardinal points of the system by which I gauge all my other views of truth. I hold no doctrines--and, by the grace of God, never can hold any, which will be in my view inconsistent with the free and full offer of the gospel to all men; or which will bind my hands, or palsy my tongue, or freeze my heart, when I stand before sinners to tell them of a dying Saviour.
It is supposed that it is an evident reflection on the Deity, of a most serious nature, to say that he has required, under the penalty of eternal vengeance that of man, which he has in no sense power to do.
The great principle on which the author supposes the truths of religion are to be preached, and on which he endeavors to act, is, that the Bible is to be interpreted by all the honest helps within the reach of the preacher; and then proclaimed as it is--let it lead where it will, within or without the circumference of any arrangement of doctrine. He is supposed to be responsible not at all for its impinging on any theological system; nor is it to be cramped by any frame-work of faith that has been reared around the Bible.
It must be acknowledged that the Presbytery had some reason for alarm at the avowal of such a doctrine as that advanced in this last extract. A preacher to interpret the Bible by all the honest helps within his reach, lead where it will; and not be cramped by any frame-work of faith! The "Confession" was in danger. The authority of Presbyteries and Synods, and "the General Assembly," was presumptuously questioned. No wonder Mr. Barnes was assailed and condemned. He, however, found friends. The decision of the Presbytery was carried up to the Synod and thence to the General Assembly,  Which disposed of the matter by a sort of compromise, as stated in a late Register. The division is not healed. It had spread far and wide. Dr. Ely, the editor of the "Philadelphian," having supported Mr. Barnes, a new paper was established under the name of the "Presbyterian:" the two papers may be considered the representatives of the two parties in the Presbyterian Church, and whenever occasion be given to renew the strife, there can be no doubt that they will speak in tones that will shake the walls of a union, which policy, far more than a common faith, has cemented.
STATISTICS OF GREAT BRITAIN.
THE number of men, from 15 to 60 years of age, is 1,244,867, or about 4 to every 17. There are about 90,000 marriages yearly; and of every 63 marriages only 3 are observed to be without offspring. The deaths of every year are about 332,700; every month, 25,592; every week, 6,398, every day, 214; every hour, about 40. The proportion of the deaths of women to those of men is as 50 to 54. Married women live longer than those who are not married. In the country places there are, on an average, four children born of each marriage; in cities and large towns, the proportion is seven to every two marriages. The married women are, to all the female inhabitants of the country, as 1 to 3; and the married men to all the males, as 3 to 5. The number of widows is to that of widowers, as 3 to 1; but of widows who re-marry to that of widowers, as 4 to 5. The number of old persons who die during cold weather is to those who die during a warm season, as 7 to 4. Half of all that are born, die before they attain 17 years. The number of twins is to that of single births, as 1 to 65. The greatest number of births is in February and March. The small pox in the natural way usually carries off 8 out of every 100 it attacks; by inoculation 1 dies out of every 300. The proportion of males born to that of females, is as 26 to 25. In the sea-ports, there are 132 females to 109 males; and in the manufacturing towns, 113 females to 100 males.
LONDON, on the river Thames, is ten miles long from East to West, and six and a quarter broad, from North to South, and fifty miles in circumference. Its population is 1,500,000. It contains 70 squares, 800 streets, 177,000 houses, 146 parishes, as many churches, 82 chapels of Ease, 15 Roman Catholic chapels, 6 synagogues, 7 Quaker chapels, 153 Dissenters' chapels, 13 Theatres, 4 Medical Colleges, 33 Hospitals, 72 Banks, besides numerous other public institutions.
PARIS is four and a half miles long, about three and a half broad, and seventeen in circumference. It contains 750,000 inhabitants, 12 Mayoralties, 12 Palaces, 16 Bridges, 27 Hospitals, 67 Banks, 142 Churches and Chapels, 80 Fountains, 22 Markets, 4 Museums, 9 Prisons, and 14 Theatres, besides numerous other public buildings.
CONSTANTINOPLE is built on seven hills. On the land side it has a strong wall and tribe fortifications, eighteen feet apart, five gates and as many bridges. The fortifications on the side of the river are weak and decaying; on this side are sixteen gates. Its circumference is from twelve to fourteen miles. Its population, 550,000--houses, from 40 to 45,000. It has 300 Mosques, 35 Greek Churches, 130 Baths, and 200 Palaces and Seraglios. The Sultan's Palace, said to be the most splendid in Europe, is three miles in circumference.
CANTON.--It is said that Shoemakers form the most numerous class of operatives in Canton; the number is estimated at 25,000. Of Weavers, there are about 15,900. Of Lapidaries, there are upwards of 7,000. The Carpenters and Cabinet-makers are estimated at 16,000. There are above 17,000 tracing boats of different sizes, which pass along the river from Canton to Whampoa. The tanka, or small boats, in which people live, and which pay an annual fee to the police, are said to be upwards of 50,000.
|N. Y. Gazette |
Brother WALTER SCOTT, who, in the Fall of 1827, arranged the several items of Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Remission of Sins, the Holy Spirit, and Eternal Life, restored them in this order to the church under the title of Ancient Gospel, and successfully preached it for the conversion of the world--has written a discourse on the fifth point, (viz. the Holy Spirit,) which presents the subject in such an attitude as cannot fail to make all who read it understand the views entertained by us, and, as we think, taught by the Apostles in their writings. We can recommend to all the disciples this discourse as most worthy of a place in their families, because it perspicuously, forcibly, and with a brevity favorable to an easy apprehension of its meaning, presents the subject to the mind of the reader. Our opponents, too, who are continually misrepresenting, and many of them no doubt misconceiving our views on this subject, if they would be advised by us, we would request to furnish themselves with a copy, that they may be better informed on this topic; and if they should still be conscientiously opposed, that they may oppose what we teach, and not a phantom of their own creation. A discourse of this sort, detached from other matters, written with so much clearness, point, and energy, we deem better calculated to put this subject to rest than a more elaborate treatise upon it.
The price will be 25 cents each, or 5 copies for one dollar.
Brother Scott wishes, before the second edition is put to press, to ascertain the number of copies he ought to strike off. Orders from our Agents or others, addressed to this Office, will be attended to.
MONTHLY RECEIPTS for the MILLENNIAL HARBINGER.
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[The Millennial Harbinger, 2 (October, 1831): 433-480.]
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Alexander Campbell, ed.|
The Millennial Harbinger, Vol. II, No. X (1831)
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