[Table of Contents]
Alexander Campbell, ed.|
The Millennial Harbinger, Vol. III, No. II (1832)
|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.
AT the special request of the writer, and because we think, upon re-examination, the following essay contains many valuable remarks, we copy it from the Christian Messenger.
The Death of Christ, and the Doctrine of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and their effect and consequences necessary to the existence of Religion in the World.
DR. ELY said some time ago, that a few metaphysical opinions were the occasion of the principal controversies in religion among Presbyterians. I say, that the controversies about the atonement, and the trinity, and the operations of the Spirit, among professed christians, (which have existed for more than fifteen hundred years,) and the almost innumerable systems of religion that have been formed by them, have originated in unscriptural views, and in a false philosophy of the human mind, in reference to religion. What occurred in the Arian controversy in the fourth century, and the unscriptural forms of expression used in the Athanasian or Nicene and Arian Creeds, or articles of faith, formed in that century, and which have been incorporated with, and given character, more or loss, to all the creeds of this day, confirm this observation.
I believe that correct views of the death of Christ, and its effects, and of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as they are connected with the existence of religion in the world, according to the word of God, and the history of mankind, in reference to it, will obviate all difficulties upon these subjects, except what are incident to ultimate principles, and unite all christians: I mean, all those who do in truth and in deed regard the word of God as true, and the only mean and rule of faith and conduct in religion. With my views I cannot see any more or greater occasion for men to differ about the christian religion, and term different sects on account of it, than there is for their dividing and forming different sects on account of their different opinions about light. 
With these remarks I submit the following observations to the intelligent reader, for serious consideration:--
Every doctrine of God in religion is necessary for some appropriate practical end, and, without which, that end cannot be accomplished in the human mind.
The scriptures, the history of the world, and the state of man, indicate that some great catastrophe has happened to the human family in relation to God. The word of God informs us that God created man in his own image and likeness, from which he has fallen. And from the short account that Moses has given us in the three first chapters of Genesis, it appears that the image of God, in which man was made, comprehended the knowledge, love, and fellowship of God, as it consisted in a state of purity, and included the knowledge and use of language in relation to God and spiritual things, as well as the knowledge of natural ones, and the use of language in respect to them. Hence we find Adam conversing with his Maker the Logos, while in a state of innocence, in the use of words and sentences in the most familiar manner, receiving and understanding his instructions and precepts relative to the divine will, and his own duty, expressed in the same way. And after he sinned he knew and felt his guilt, and understood his Maker's voice. In proof that Adam was endowed immediately by his Creator with the knowledge of natural things, and with language suitable to express, and to distinguish them, we are informed that "the Lord God brought unto him every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air, to see what he would call them, and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof." Gen. ii. 19.
The image and likeness of God, in which man was made, and all that appertained to them, (as distinguished from their original natural powers,) which were lost by sin, were coeval endowments, and were bestowed upon him by his munificent Creator, the Logos, or Word, the moment that gave him birth. These coeval endowments, though withdrawn, man's original, intellectual faculties and powers, and native susceptibilities, would remain, though destitute of the means of spiritual improvement. In this case of spiritual desertion, these faculties, and powers, and affections would, of necessity, be employed upon, and engrossed by, the objects of sense, animal appetite and selfishness, and be bounded by time.
In man's primitive, pure estate, to the extent of his limited powers, he saw as God saw, and loved as God loved, and willed as God willed. He corresponded in these respects with his Maker; and, possessed of immortality, he was like him. But this state was lost by sin: the image of God was destroyed, and man became mortal.
The tempter began his operations by seeking to cloud the powers of man's understanding; for without this, he could not corrupt his affections, or pervert his will. He accordingly presented a different view to the mind of Adam and Eve, of the propriety and authority of God's command, from that in which God held them, and had expressed them; and in that way affected their heart, so as to bring it in opposition  to God. Gen. iii. 1-6. ii. 15-18. Now for the first time man's intellect ceased to harmonize with God's intellect, and his affections and will ran counter to God. Man sinned by violating the will o: God, lie broke God's covenant and fell under his curse;' the coeval endowments, in which the image of God consisted, ceased; for, indeed, God left him. That communion with God, on which these principle: depended, ceased, because it would have been utterly improper in itself, and inconsistent with the covenant and constitution God had established, that God should still maintain communion with man after he had become a rebel. Man was left involved in spiritual darkness, guilt, and ruin. In the whole of this transaction God exerted no power in occasioning man's fall, or in promoting the temptation that led to it, but he did every thing that he could do to prevent it. Nor did he infuse any principle of sin or corruption into the fallen state of man. By the abuse or improper use of his moral powers, man sinned against God, and broke his covenant; and God withdrew from him in a spiritual point of view, intellectually and morally speaking, left him flesh without the Spirit; and by the change man became naturally mortal. As the light withdrawn from a room leaves it in darkness, so the withdrawal of God from man left him in spiritual darkness and death, imprisoned within the walls of time and sense, under the dominion of animal appetite and passions, and under the sentence of natural death. In this case the natural presence and operations of God's Spirit did not cease; had that been the case, man would instantly have died a natural death, and the human race would have ended. Job xxxiv. 14, 15. These continued, but these do not give spiritual knowledge or religion. They only sustain the natural existence of man so long as it lasts, and his original and native powers and susceptibilities, which render him capable of religion; but I repeat, they do not give religion, or the knowledge of God: this is given by external, verbal revelation. Religion was natural to man's original estate; but it is supernatural to his fallen state.
The process by which we must be brought to God, to holiness, and heaven, is precisely an inversion of the process of our fall. The devil deceived our first parents, and ruined them by darkening their minds and corrupting their affections by falsehood. Our minds must be enlightened, our guilt must be pardoned, and our affections purified by the merciful truth of God, and that is gospel truth. The Word made man first in the image of God, and gave him speech and knowledge upon spiritual subjects. The word, made flesh in his mediatorial character, under the new covenant, again speaks to man through his own blood, and is the light of life, and renews him by knowledge, after the image of hint that created him. This is done by giving him the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Through faith in him we are justified and sanctified. The light of this knowledge is the gospel character of Cod.
I observed that in man's first estate religion was natural to him--that is, the knowledge of God formed a part of the state natural. Agreeably to the caption of this essay, I now observe that the death  of Jesus Christ, in the divine purpose and conduct, and the fact of the existence and agency of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, have been, since the fall of man, intimately connected with, and concerned in, the divine and spiritual communications to, and in the existence of religion in our world.
I designedly omit the terms atonement and trinity, because they are not properly in the New Testament, and have been the subjects of much unprofitable verbal disputation; and I employ the expressions "the death of Christ," and "the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit," in their place, as they are connected with the revelation and knowledge of God, and the existence of religion in the world.
What I have now said is chiefly preparatory to what I am now about to advance in proof of the necessity of the death of Christ, and of the truth of the doctrine of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and their effects and operations to the existence of religion in our world. By religion I mean a system of truth, affection, and conduct, of which God is the great subject, and supreme object, and which I maintain, since the fall of man, could not exist without supernatural revelation in words.
My method of proof, in this case, will consist in the simple exclusion of the death of Christ, and of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and all their obvious consequences since men fell, in reference to religion, to show that their absence leaves the world without the knowledge of God and religion altogether, and that their existence and operations are necessary to the knowledge of God and of religion in the world.
1. I exclude the death of Christ as it was announced, and promised, and prophesied of, and all its consequences, as it existed in the divine purpose, and was made known by God immediately after the man fell. Gen. iii. 15. By this the promise of the seed of the woman is excluded, who was to bruise the serpent's head, and all the communications and institutions that were made and ordained by God in reference to it. The sufferings of Christ, and the glory that was to follow, of which the spirit of Christ that was in the prophets did speak from the earliest ages of the world, are with the revelations of them blotted out. Abel's offering by faith, and Enoch's prophecies and walk with God, and his translation, and Noah's faith and conduct, and the patriarchal and Mosaical systems and dispensations of religion, and all the bleeding victims and smoking altars, which were typical, are excluded, with every form of worship, and all spiritual ideas, whether true or false, except those which Adam may have remembered of what he knew before the fall, and which he may have communicated to his posterity. In the absence of all that was said and done in reference to Christ, there has been no communication made by God to man intelligibly, since he fled from the presence of his Maker. I will resume the subject of the death of Christ and its effects under the second head of the next division, as it is connected with the existence of religion in the world. 
2. To prove the truth and necessity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as they have been, and are known, and employed in the manifestation and revelation of the knowledge of God, and in the existence of religion among mankind, since Adam fell; I will now exclude the office and agency of each.
1. I exclude the knowledge of the Father, as he has been made known in the system of religion, and all that he has said and done. Then there is no Father so to have loved the world as to give his only begotten Son for its salvation, and no fact has ever occurred in reference to him, or his Son, or this salvation, in word or work, by which the existence of either would be known. No spiritual object of faith, in the scripture use of the term, can be found in the whole bounding circle of human knowledge; within it there is no means of spiritual perception, or discernment without revelation.
2. I exclude the Word, and the word made flesh, who is the Son of God, and all that the scriptures tell us of him, and of all that he did and said before his incarnation and since, and what he is now doing, and will do.
I will not attempt to enumerate all the consequences of this exclusion upon the state of the human mind and the world, in reference to religion or to spiritual light, knowledge, and life; to thought, affection, and conduct. I will mention a few of them. The purpose and grace, given to us in Christ before the world began--the promises and prophecies, made in reference to them--the incarnation of the Word--his appearance in the world--the manifestation of his glory, as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth--his death and resurrection--the establishment of the new covenant--redemption through his blood, and the forgiveness of sin--his ascension into glory--his exaltation to the mediatorial throne, he being invested with all power in heaven and in earth--the new song sung in heaven to him by all the heavenly hosts, and by all that are in the earth, as the Lamb slain, Rev. v.--his return again to judge the world in righteousness, to raise the dead, and save the righteous, and to destroy the world with fire, and to sentence the wicked to eternal woe--the separate existence of the spirit from the body of those that die, until the resurrection, and the termination of the mediatorial reign--all, all these are extinguished from the minds, of men, and from our world!
3. Exclude the Holy Spirit in all that he has said and done; which have been made known in miraculous and supernatural words and works since man fell. There is no spiritual light or knowledge in the world. Before Christ came into the world the testimony of Jesus was the spirit of prophecy; and after his crucifixion and glorification, the office and agency of the Spirit was to glorify him by working miracles in his name, and by speaking in his own words and sentences the things of Christ, and teaching things to come concerning him, and proving that he is in the Father, and the Father in him, and that he is Lord of all, and Saviour of the world--all these are extinguished, and the existence of the Spirit himself, his operations and  influences upon the hearts of men, are unknown; for he is not an object of sense that he can be seen, or felt, as existing distinct from our own minds, or from the phenomena or appearances of nature. He is an object of faith, and is only known to exist by revelations made in words and miraculous works.
4. In the last place: Exclude the revelation concerning all these things, which is found in the recorded word of God, and in oral tradition; and all the knowledge derived from it since the fall of man, and since the birth of Christ, whether pure or corrupted, and the world is of necessity involved in atheism, without an idea, a thought, or a feeling relative to God, except, as I before remarked; so far as Adam may have remembered, and informed his posterity, of what he knew in his primeval state before he sinned; there could, however, be no worship derived from such a remembrance, suited to the fallen state of man, no expiatory offerings or sacrifices, such as have appeared in all the forms of worship that have existed since.
We have now seen what would be the state of man without the death of Christ, and the offices and agencies of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in reference to religion, or the knowledge of God. We see also in what total depravity consists. It is true, that the scriptures assume it as a fact, that the knowledge of God existed in the world at the time they were written; but they never suppose that knowledge to have originated without revelation, but the reverse; and any person, who now may think that it did, is invited to show the process by which the mind can arrive at it from the existence and phenomena of nature, or by analogy, or by the analysis of its own powers. I repeat, that in man's fallen state there is properly no natural religion. The assumption of the truth of natural religion, virtually denies that total depravity, as the loss of the knowledge of God, as well as the love of him, were consequences of the fall. Natural religion also involves the denial of the necessity, and the effects of the death of Christ in the divine purpose and conduct, and the existence and agency of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, to the existence of religion or the knowledge of God in our world, since man fell, in contradiction to what is demonstrably true, and to what we have seen to be, true. God is an object of faith, and not of sight or of sense, and so is the fact of creation. Sense informs us that the worlds are; but faith, or the revelation of God, teaches us that they were made by the word of God. Under the light of this knowledge, the heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handy work. Ps. xix; and so do the frame and constitution of man. Ps. cxxxix. 14.
1. Notwithstanding all the controversies that have existed about the atonement, or the death of Christ, and about the doctrine of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, all true knowledge, that we have of God and religion, is the effect of these doctrines. The Christian religion can no more exist without them, than light can exist without the primitive colors, or vision without light. The exclusion of either of these doctrines, with all its appropriate consequences, destroys the whole system of religious knowledge. Hence all that appertains to  our salvation is the gift of God, and is given to us in Christ, who is the light of the world, and the life of it.
2. All that can be known of divine truth must be found in the nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, &c. in their own statements and connexions, which compose the word of God, and in the cultivation of the faith, hope, affection, and conduct, which that word is the means of producing and promoting in religion. These parts of speech, in their proper meaning, are ultimate principles in religion. Every individual christian, and every christian society, is equally bound to preserve the phraseology of every passage, and to cultivate the meaning and use of it in understanding, temper, and conduct, as God's means for forming the christian character, and for promoting the union, peace, and happiness of all christians, and for his honor and glory.
3. All christians do agree to the extent they believe in, and love the Lord Jesus Christ, and ought to cease their divisions and strife, and cultivate mutual affection, good offices, and fellowship towards each other, according to the gospel.
PHILALETHES' STRICTURES ON JOHN.
THE first remark which Philalethes has to make respecting the communication by John, which appeared in your Harbinger of November last, is, that he is unable to perceive, with any thing like precision, in what your correspondent's objection to the sentiments expressed by Philalethes, in his essay on Matheteuo, consists. John seems to assert that it contains objectionable matter, but certainly fails to state that objectionable matter in such a manner as to render it susceptible of a definite answer. Has John proved or attempted to prove the existence of untruth in a single assertion which Philalethes has made? When John shall have stated his objections with sufficient precision to be understood, Philalethes will attempt to obviate them, or by his silence acknowledge error.
But, in the mean time, Philalethes takes the liberty of proposing a few questions. Is John prepared to deny that a real scholarship is necessary before scholarship be publicly avowed by immersion? Is he prepared to assert that the person who by immersion declares himself to be one of Christ's disciples, does not act the hypocrite, if he be not previously to immersion a real disciple? Is he prepared to assert that water, or any thing else, applied in any quantity or manner to the body of a sinner, is able to alter the legal, intellectual, or moral--or, in short, the mental state of that sinner? If his answers be affirmative, he is requested to specify the evidence which has engendered in his mind this conviction or belief. Is he prepared to assert that any act performable by a transgressor, can release him from the punishment by law annexed to his transgression? 
It is possible, however, that Philalethes and John may entertain very different sentiments respecting the constitution and character of a real disciple, and of the distinction which Philalethes makes between a real and an avowed disciple. In the judgment of Philalethes, Christ came into this world himself, and sent inspired instructers, not only to furnish an ignorant and erring multitude of human beings with correct conceptions concerning God and his creatures, but to teach them also how they were to feel and act towards both; or, in other words, to enlighten their understandings respecting God and divine things, and through that information to beget in their minds those pious and virtuous emotions and dispositions, and in their external conduct that conformity to divine law, which constitute, characterize, and discriminate God's children; or if you will, Christ's genuine disciples, from an unenlightened, unbelieving, or falsely professing, world. When a person, therefore, in the judgment of Philalethes, enters Christ's school, and there commences his scholarship, (and who on earth does more than commence it? shall we, regardless of our own experience and divine declaration to the contrary, doat and dream of intellectual and moral perfection?) that person commences not only the acquisition of correct conceptions, but also of correct dispositions and practice--in short, commences the knowledge, feelings, and conduct of a christian. Certain it is, that Christ recognizes none as disciples but such as study and practise every thing which he offers to teach them. His disciples must think, feel, and act as rational and moral beings, as well as talk.
But further, is John prepared to assert that these acquisitions cannot be made anteriorly to immersion, or a public avowal of them--in short, that it is the act of immersion which confers or creates them? Or that, though made, they do not constitute their possessor a christian or real disciple of Christ? Philalethes has asserted that knowledge, faith, love, and obedience are the elements or constituent parts, or rather principles of a christian; or, in other words, all that is necessary to constitute a christian; and, of course, that whenever all these are present in a human soul, that soul is a christian; but when any one of these is absent, there is no christian. Will John deny this, and assert that more elements are necessary? That beside having read, understood, and believed God's message, and by means of this use of it, having had one's soul inflamed with love to God and man, and one's practice rendered as conformable to divine law as the present imperfection of man will permit, more is necessary to constitute a christian? If he do, surely it behoves him to specify the deficiency--to declare explicitly what is still wanting.
As to the political question proposed by John, Philalethes can assent to every letter and syllable of it, without infringing in the least on the incredulity which he has avowed immediately before it. John seems to think that a human body is made a member of political society by the very same means by which a human soul is made a member of Christ's family. Philalethes thinks very differently. He well knows that membership in a political community can be gained  only by the body being dropt within its territorial limits, the reputed production of its members, or by its being subsequently subjected in a formal manner to the act of naturalization in a foreign state--a process, by the by, in which no respect is paid to intellectual or moral qualities, provided the latter have not degenerated into open rebellion. Very differently, however, is membership in Christ's household attained. By intellectual and moral endowments alone is admission into this enviable community to be procured. To the body and its qualities or localities no regard is paid. It does not, therefore, follow, that because an Englishman, who may in judgment, feeling, and inclination, be in the highest degree an American citizen, cannot actually become such till his body be wafted to the American shore, and his person naturalized as the law directs, that a human soul, which has acquired the intellectual and moral qualities already specified--to wit, knowledge, faith, love, and obedience, is not constituted by their acquisition a member of Christ's happy family, even before the body in which that soul resides has become the subject of immersion, or the owner made any formal avowal of his Christian attainments. Before John, therefore, can reasonably expect that Philalethes will abandon his present conceptions, he must prove that it is something done by immersion, and not before, that produces in a human mind those intellectual and moral qualities which constitute that mind a member of Christ's kingdom.
As to the first difficulty under which John says he labors, Philalethes thinks that it has been created not by any thing asserted by him in his essay on Matheteuo, or elsewhere; but by some indistinct conceptions of John's own. What notions John attaches to the words "confess," or "put on Christ," Philalethes knows not; but as understood by him, they contain no inconsistency with the residue of his creed. Presuming that by the expressions "confess," or "put on Christ," John means immersion, Philalethes will state his views of this action. First, then, he considers it to be the subject of an express and peremptory command. Secondly, that it is the duty, and not more the duty than the interest of all human beings, to put themselves, without delay, in a condition for its performance. And thirdly, that as soon as they know or believe themselves to be in such a condition, to have it performed immediately. But notwithstanding these articles of his faith, Philalethes cannot believe that during the progress of a mind honestly and diligently laboring to acquire a fitness for immersion--or, in other words, to acquire that knowledge, faith, love, and obedience, which constitute, wherever they exist, a soul a Christian, that the progress or acquisitions of such a mind will be of no avail to it, unless it continues to inhabit its body till that body becomes the subject of an actual immersion. True it is, that if a person neglects to acquire a fitness, or after knowing or believing himself to be fit for immersion, continues to trifle with Christ's command, Philalethes dares not meddle with his case, or pronounce the divine judgment respecting it.
How John came to impute to Philalethes the absurdity of  reformation without obedience, when he expressly mentions obedience as one of the elements or constituent principles of a christian, is not of easy comprehension. In the judgment of Philalethes, reformation, in its religious acceptation, embraces the rectification of a sinner's conceptions, feelings, dispositions, and actions, and is equivalent in signification to conformity to God's mind and will.
John tells us that the elements of which a christian may be made do not always necessarily constitute a christian. This is certainly a strange, if not an incomprehensible assertion. Philalethes would be much indebted to John if he would condescend to specify the elements which verify this extraordinary character of them. Can a christian consist of elements at one time, of which he does not consist at all times? If he can, he is certainly not always the same sort of being. Can an element be necessary to his constitution today, which is not necessary tomorrow; or is he to be made up of unnecessary or superfluous parts? This enigma requires ingenuity to solve it.
By the word elements, when used as a general term, Philalethes understands constituent parts; and when he speaks of the elements of any particular thing, he means such parts as are absolutely necessary to its constitution, and when united do constitute it. What ideas John attaches to the word, Philalethes knows not.
As to the difficulty which John first invents, and then argues from, Philalethes considers it as capable of existing in imagination only, and not even there subjected to proper discipline. That a mind disposed to believe and do all that John's supposition admits, should refuse to do the other acts there enumerated, is not only improbable; but, according to the well known laws of the human mind, impossible. To believe and love God, and not obey him, would be an occurrence as yet unknown in our world. It is true, there are many who love God, and yet refuse to be immersed; but they refuse because they have been seduced into the belief that immersion is not the action which Christ has enjoined--that is, they disobey through a mistaken notion of their duty.
John asks, "Is not the man who obeys God in some things, but refuses to obey him in other things, fairly entitled to the character of a REAL disciple as far as he goes?' Philalethes answers, No. How can he who is destitute of the most essential quality of a scholar, a uniform and universal submission to magisterial authority, be entitled to the appellation of a real disciple? Such a person would be deemed not a scholar, but a nuisance destined to expulsion in any seminary.
John seems to dislike the term disciple? But why? The unerring Spirit delights in its use: and certainly to become a learner in Christ's school, is the highest honor, greatest happiness, and utmost attainment that man can reach on this side of the grave.
John appears to be very fond of the clerical cant about plans, a sort of reverie which Philalethes has long abjured. First, because he cannot discover in the divine message the faintest vestige of plan or system. And secondly, because he dreads the liability of his weak, ignorant, and erring mind, to ascribe to his Maker plans and systems  which he never formed. In the judgment of Philalethes, nothing could be more useless, more preposterous, and absurd, than a systematic communication of God's mind and will to such creatures, ignorant, untutored, and utterly incapable of comprehending the nice relations and complex connexion of the component parts of plans and systems, and of course incapable of deriving any benefit from them, as the great mass of human creatures are, for whose instruction and happiness God has sent his message into our perishing world. In sacred writ Philalethes can readily discover many important matters of fact, whose occurrence is certified by divine veracity; many of God's attributes, determinations, intentions, and purposes, explicitly and clearly declared; many offers of the most important things generously and graciously made; the occurrence of many events not yet accomplished, predicted; many beneficent commands clearly and explicitly proclaimed; many salutary restrictions kindly imposed; many powerful motives, earnest exhortations, and tender admonitions, &c. proposed and pressed: but no where can he detect systematic arrangement: it is possible, however, that acuter heads than his may have effected the discovery.
Of John's clerical employment, or of the topics on which he may have delighted for years to dwell, Philalethes knows nothing; but he cannot help considering all such labors as worse than the merest toils of supererogation. The Divine Spirit has certainly attempted to send us information that is plain and intelligible to every creature that stands in need of it. Has his attempt failed? And does human vanity really fancy that it can amend the Spirit's diction, and render his language more intelligible than his infinite wisdom could elect? The necessity, for example, of faith, repentance, reformation to salvation, is so clearly, so positively, so frequently stated and pressed in sacred writ, that for man to attempt to render it clearer or more certain, appears to Philalethes to be as foolish an employment as to pour a drop into the ocean to swell its waves, or light a straw to augment the splendors of a meridian sun.
With John's ability or inability to criticize the original language of the New Testament, Philalethes is not acquainted; but he cannot forbear to pity and feel for the man, who, without any better authority than the authority of a blundering translation, ventures to assure his fellow-creatures that he is publishing to them God's message, and nothing but God's message. Whence he can derive sufficient certainty that this is the case, Philalethes cannot conceive, and would be glad to see John's account of it.
John seems to be very fond of what he calls "illustrations." On this subject Philalethes would observe, that when similes, comparisons, analogies, or other means of illustration are resorted to merely to assist comprehension, they are in their place and office, and may be useful; but when they are employed as proof, as argument, or for the purpose of conviction, they are not only out of place and useless, but they are dangerous--nay, often pernicious. They become the very focus of sophistry, deception, and error: nor need Philalethes  travel farther for confirmation of this truth than to the illustration of John in the paper now before him. Between the sentiments advanced by Philalethes in his essay on Matheteuo, and the cases or assimulations invented by John, there exists not a vestige of resemblance. Here simile not only fails to run on all four, but refuses to limp on one foot.
But to conclude: Had evidence inferior to the occurrence of the fact itself been offered, it would have failed to convince Philalethes that it was possible to pervert and misrepresent his sentiments, or impute to him so many palpable absurdities as your correspondent's paper has done. Has Philalethes ever asserted that mere opinions constituted their holders christians? Surely not. But though Philalethes thinks that christians are not created by mere notions, yet he verily believes that correct conceptions of God and divine things will never fail to produce in the mind in which they are retained, or as Christ says, "in which they abide," the feelings, dispositions, and practice, which, together with correct sentiments, do constitute their owners christians. But further, has Philalethes ever asserted that the gospel was not sent as a rule of faith and life to intelligent and accountable beings? or that discipleship in Christ's school consisted in the insulated or uninsulated liking or approving of plans? Such foolish conceits never entered his brain. Or has he ever denied that God permits his rational creature man to examine the fitness and tendency of his message to do him good? Surely not. But finally, has Philalethes ever diverted a scriptural term, when using it on a religious subject, from its scriptural sense? In whatever sense, therefore, the Divine Spirit uses the term "disciple" in sacred writ, Philalethes uses it in his essays; and he believes that the Spirit uses it sometimes to denote a real disciple, and sometimes only an avowed disciple--the former being created by his knowledge, faith, love, and obedience--the latter by his submission to immersion.
Note.--Perhaps some notice ought to be taken of John's last paragraph; though it has been virtually answered already. Are people made christians by the same means by which they are made Masons? All that is necessary to constitute one a Mason, is to perform certain foolish ceremonies, and be enrolled in a lodge. Does John make his christians in the same way? What John may include among the formalities or externals of the christian institution, Philalethes knows not, and therefore cannot form an accurate estimate of the danger to which christianity would be exposed by their abolition; but he thinks that John will certainly prove a false prophet if he predict that the great realities of christianity would be destroyed by the abolition of any thing that is merely external or consists in mere form.
CONFESSION FOR REMISSION OF SINS.....PRAYER, No. IV
IF Moses taught the Jews any one lesson with more clearness and emphasis than another, it was this, that "without shedding of blood there is no remission." Paul affirms this to be true of the Jewish  economy. The christian institution reveals one sin offering, and assures us that Jesus put away sin by the sacrifice of himself; that he did really what was done by the high priest figuratively under the law; that he did really carry away the sins of many; and by one offering perfect forever the sanctified.
Jesus is now confessed "the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world," and "his blood that which cleanses us from all sin." He is called Jesus "because he saves his people from their sins." And to him who renounces him, there is no sacrifice for his sins There is not under the whole heaven a name given by which any man can be saved from sin, but by this name and person--Jesus.
Remission of sins, therefore, in all ages, depended upon the shedding of blood. But the shedding of blood alone, took not away the sins of any person figuratively or really. Faith was always necessary to lead a sinner to the sacrifice: for who would frequent an altar, or approach a sacrifice in which he did not believe? Faith, then, was the principle of action; but besides faith there was always a personal application: so that neither blood alone, nor faith alone, nor both, without a personal application, ever did, typically or really, take away sin from the conscience, nor guilt from the person.
This personal application was always to be made to the person and place appointed by him who alone can forgive sins: for no person can forgive sins but he against whom they are committed. This he does, or can do, only in person or by a mediator. The priests and their offerings, under the law, constituted this mediation, and to these personal application was made before pardon was granted. But the Jewish or Aaronic priesthood, with all the offerings and ordinances thereunto appended, belonged exclusively, and were accessible only to the circumcised, or to those who constitutionally belonged to the kingdom of God as then established. God permitted all other nations to walk in their own ways. To the Jews pertained the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, the promises, the Fathers, and the body of Jesus. The patterns of things in the heavens were divinely portrayed under that dispensation. Now in reference to our object in this essay, let it be remarked that to those under that economy, whether Jews or proselytes, confession of sin in prayer was as necessary to forgiveness, as either blood, faith, altar, or priest. In confirmation of this position let the following testimonies be examined: Levit. xvi. 21. "After reconciling (or purifying) the holy place, the tabernacle, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat. Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat; and shall send it away (bearing these sins) by the hand of a suitable person into the wilderness." v. 34. "This shall be an everlasting statute to you to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins, once-a-year."
But the confession of the offenders, as well as that of the priest, was necessary to forgiveness. Numb. v. 6 and 7. "When a man or  woman commit any sin that men commit, to do a trespass against the Lord, and that person be guilty; then they shall confess their sin which they have done: and (when any person has been wronged by it) then the sinner shall recompense his trespass with the principal part thereof, and a fifth part more." The Lord promises forgiveness to Israel in their backslidings and chastisements. "If," says he, "they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against;' &c. "then will I remember my covenant and the land," &c. Levit. xxvi. 60.
When the temple was completed, and the whole religion fairly developed and carried out, in his consecrating prayer Solomon supplicates forgiveness for Israel only on the ground of confession. 1 Kings viii. 31-69. "When thy people Israel be smitten down before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee," &c. "if they shall turn again and confess thy name, and turn from their sin; then hear--and forgive." Again, says he, "When heaven is shut up, and there is no rain because they have sinned; if they pray to this place and confess their sin, then forgive," &c. This is either expressed or implied through the whole of this inspired prayer. Ezra's prayer, chap. x. 1. and Nehemiah's, ix. 2. are to the point. So is Daniel's confession, ix. 15-20. "While I was speaking and praying and confessing my sin, and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God, even the man Gabriel swiftly touched me about the time of the evening oblation." Illustrious proof of the utility and necessity of confession in order to forgiveness and acceptance! To these witnesses we shall add from the Jewish scriptures but two others--David and Solomon. Psalm xxxii. 5, 6. "I said that I will confess my transgressions to the Lord, and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin"--(Septuagint version, "the wickedness of my heart.") "For this shall every one that is godly pray to thee in due time." And with Solomon it was a proverb, chapter xxviii. 13. "He that covers his sins shall not prosper; but whoso confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy." I am aware that some of these quotations respect confessing to men our faults against them; but it is equally true whether God or man be the offended party, as none but he against whom an offence is committed can forgive it; so to obtain forgiveness from God or man, it behoves us to remember the principle in the proverb, "He that conceals his sins shall not prosper; but he that confesses and forsakes them shall obtain mercy." In connexion, then, with the priest, the altar, the sacrifice, and faith, confession was an appointed means of remission of sins under the antecedent economy.
Under the christian economy it is an indispensable requisite to forgiveness. It was so during and under the ministry of John. They were immersed by him in the Jordan confessing their sins; for John announced an immersion of reformation for the remission of sins.
Jesus came up from the water, praying--not confessing his sin; for he was holy and undefiled; but while he was praying, the heavens  parted over his head, and a voice from his Father announced him. Paul was commanded by Ananias to be immersed, calling upon the name of the Lord. And, indeed, all who understand baptism, know that in it there is a confession of sins; for there is a death and burial under sin, and a resurrection from its influence exhibited in the action itself.
But confession is to those under the government of Jesus, to those immersed into the faith of Christ, to those in the, kingdom of heaven in its present location, the appointed means of remission of all sins committed after baptism. To the nature of this confession let us for a moment attend. In many things, says the righteous and amiable Apostle James, we all offend. And to this agree all the Apostles. Now while the direct influence and tendency of the favor of God exhibited in Jesus, is to crucify the flesh, with all its affections and lusts; to put to death all the members of the old man, and to inspire with the love of all holiness, goodness, and truth; still it may happen, and often does happen, much to the sorrow and grief of the most exemplary christians, that they are conscious of having sinned, both against man and against God: for, indeed, when we sin against a brother or against our neighbor, we sin against God. Now in all such cases the institution is, confession and supplication, proceeding from repentance.
The promise now is, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just (according to his own promise, "their sins and iniquities I will remember no more,") to forgive us our sins," seeing "the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin." Every one, then, who has put himself under Jesus Christ, who has died, been buried, and raised with Christ--every one who has submitted to him as Prophet, Priest, and King--who is conscious of any sin or sins from any transgression or omission since committed, and who penitently confesses them and asks God for Christ's sake to forgive them, has the remission of those sins as certainly as he had the remission of his former sins in baptism, or as certain as God's promise can render any thing.
Those sins, then, are not to be confessed again; any more than a person is not to confess his sins before baptism and ask for the pardon of them, or be baptized a second time for the remission of them, seeing he has the testimony of God that they are pardoned. The christian has the same testimony, the same assurance that his sins confessed and forsaken are pardoned, as he has that his sins committed before baptism are remitted; and, indeed, the same assurance that he has that Jesus is the Messiah: for all depend upon the same testimony, sustained by the same credentials. From all these premises it would seem--
1st. That christians must always walk by faith. Their assurance is the veracity of God. We always receive the remission of our sins by faith, and by a faith which terminates on the blood of Jesus, whether approached by us through baptism, or prayer. 
2d. That a personal application to Jesus, through his institutions, is indispensable to the assurance of remission and the enjoyment of a good conscience.
3d. That in our prayers, confessions are to be made of all our sins of which we are conscious, and remission asked in the name of the High Priest of our profession; not forgetting that there may be errors of which we are not conscious, which need the forgiveness of our heavenly Father as much as those of which we are conscious. Well did David say, "O cleanse me from faults unknown! Search me, O God, and try me; and if there be in me any wicked way, show it to me, and lead me in the way everlasting!"
4th. That a repeated confession of the same sins, and supplication for pardon of them, argues unbelief or an ignorance of the relation in which we stand under Jesus Christ.
5th. That when any one sins against a brother, he should confess his fault and ask forgiveness; for otherwise he cannot confess his fault to God and expect forgiveness from him according to the genius of the new institution.
6th. How perfect are those christians who can dispense with the confession of any faults, who need never pray to God in secret, nor more than once-a-week or once-a-day in their families! Not so perfect was Paul and the first converts!! They and he needed to pray always, with all prayer and supplication; making supplications, deprecations, and thanksgivings for all saints. Perhaps did we know, as we ought to know, we might think it fitting to go and do likewise.
ON THE RULES OF INTERPRETATION--No II.
SINCE writing my first essay on this topic, I have met with an essay from the pen of Professor Stuart, of the Andover Theological School, on the same subject. Indeed, his essay only reached me today, January 12, in the Biblical Repository for January, 1832. It is an excellent essay, and as it exhibits the views which I entertain on this subject, and intended to develope, I am pleased with the opportunity of substituting an essay (which will make two in our series) from the pen of one so high in authority with the more learned sects in this country, and from one who, in my judgment, stands at the head of biblical literature and criticism in these United States. The essay appearing in two parts, will require to be read again, after we shall have given the whole of it.
|EDITOR M. H.|
Are the same principles of interpretation to he applied to the
as to other books?
A QUESTION this of deeper interest to religion and sacred literature, than most persons would be apt at first to suppose. In fact, the fundamental principles of scriptural theology are inseparably connected with the subject of this inquiry; for what is such theology, except the result of that which the Scriptures have taught? And how do we find what the Scriptures have taught, except by applying to them some rules or principles of interpretation? If these rules are well grounded, the results which flow from the application of them  will be correct, provided they are skilfully and truly applied; but if talc principles by which we interpret the Scriptures are destitute of any solid foundation, and are the product of imagination, of conjecture, or of caprice, then of course the results which will follow from the application of them, will be unworthy of our confidence.
All this is too plain to need any confirmation. This also, from the nature of the case, renders it a matter of great importance to know, whether the principles by which we interpret the sacred books are well grounded, and will abide the test of a thorough scrutiny.
Nearly all the treatises on hermeneutics,1 which have been written since the days of Ernesti, have laid it down as a maxim which cannot be controverted, that the, Bible is to be interpreted in the same manner, i. e. by the same principles, as all other books. Writers are not wanting, previously to the period in which Ernesti lived, who have maintained the same thing; but we may also find some who have assailed the position before us, and labored to show that it is nothing less than a species of profaneness to treat the sacred books as we do the classic authors, with respect to their interpretation. Is this allegation well grounded? Is there any good reason to object to the principle of interpretation now in question?
In order to answer these inquiries, let us direct our attention, in the first place, to the nature and source of what are now called principles or laws of interpretation. Whence did they originate? Are they the artificial production of high-wrought skill, of labored research, of profound and extensive learning? Did they spring from the subtilties of nice distinctions, from the philosophical and metaphysical efforts of the schools? Are they the product of exalted and dazzling genius, sparks of celestial fire which none but a favored few could emit? No; nothing of all this. The principles of interpretation, as to their substantial and essential elements, are no invention of man, no product of his effort and learned skill; nay, they can scarcely be said with truth to have been discovered by him. They are coeval with our nature. They were known to the antediluvians. They were practised upon in the garden of Eden, by the progenitors of our race. Ever since man was created, and endowed with the powers of speech, and made a communicative, social being, he has had occasion to practise upon the principles of interpretation, and has actually done so. From the first moment that one human being addressed another by the use of language, down to the present hour, the essential laws of interpretation became, and have continued to he, a practical matter. The person addressed has always been an interpreter, in every instance where he has heard and understood what was addressed to him.
All the human race, therefore, are, and ever have been, interpreters. It is a law of their rational, intelligent, communicative nature.--Just as truly as one human being was formed so to address another in language, just so truly that other was formed to interpret and to understand what is said. 
I venture to advance a step farther, and to aver that all men are, and ever have been, in reality, good and true interpreters of each other's language. Has any part of our race, in full possession of the human faculties, ever failed to understand what others said to them, and to understand it truly? or to make themselves understood by others, when they have in their communications kept within the circle of their own knowledge? Surely none. Interpretation, then, in its basis or fundamental principles, is a native art, if I may so speak. It is coeval with the power of uttering words. It is of course a universal art; it is common to all nations, barbarous as well as civilized.
One cannot commit a more palpable error in relation to this subject, than to suppose that the art of interpretation is one which is like the art of chemistry, or of botany, or of astronomy, or any of the like things, viz, that it is in itself wholly dependent on acquired skill for the discovery and developement of its principles. Acquired skill has, indeed, helped to an orderly exhibition and arrangement of its principles; but this is all. The materials were all in existence before skill attempted to develope them.
Possibly it may excite surprize in the minds of some, to be told that, after all, hermeneutics is no science that depends on learning and skill, but is one with which all the race of man is practically more or less acquainted. Yet this is true. But so far is it from diminishing the real value of the science, that it adds exceedingly to its weight and importance. That it is connate with us, shows that it is a part of our rational and communicative nature. That it is so, shows also that it is not, in its fundamental parts, a thing of uncertainty, of conjecture, of imagination, or of mere philosophical nicety. If it were a far-fetched science, dependent on high acquisitions and the skilful application of them, then it would be comparatively a useless science; for, in such a case, only a favored few of the human race would be competent to understand and acquire it; still fewer could be satisfactorily assured of its stable and certain nature.
An interpreter well skilled in his art, will glory in it, that it is an art which has its foundation in the laws of our intellectual and rational nature, and is coeval and connate with this nature. He finds the best assurance of its certainty in this. It is only a quack (if I may so speak) in this business, that will ever boast of any thing in it which is secret, obscure, or incomprehensible to common minds.
All which has ever led to any such conclusion, is, that very few men, and those only learned ones, become critics by profession. But the secret of this is merely, that professed critics are, almost always, professed interpreters of books in foreign languages, not in their own mother-tongue. Then again, if they are interpreters of their own vernacular language, it is of such exhibitions of it as present recondite and unusual words. Now in order to interpret a foreign language, or in order to explain the unusual words of one's own vernacular tongue, a good degree of learning becomes requisite. This is not, however, because the rules of interpretation, when applied  either to foreign languages, or to unusual words or phrases in one's own language, are different from the rules which all men every day apply to the common language employed by them in conversation. Learning is necessary to know the meaning of foreign words, or of strange vernacular words, on the same ground, and no other, as it was necessary for us to learn originally the meaning of the circle of words which we usually employ in speaking or writing. The same acquaintance with foreign words that we have with our every-day ones, would of course make them equally intelligible, and equally supersede any studied art of hermeneutics, in order to interpret them.
When a man takes up a book, which contains a regular system of hermeneutics all arranged and exhibited to the eye, and filled with references to choice and rare volumes, he is ready to conclude that it contains something almost as remote from the common capacity and apprehension of men as Newton's Principia. But this is a great mistake. The form of the treatise in question, it is true, may be altogether a matter of art. The quotations and references may imply a very widely extended circle of reading and knowledge. But after all, the principles themselves are obvious and natural ones; at least if they are not so, they are worth but little or nothing. The illustration and confirmation of them may, indeed, be drawn from a multitude of sources widely scattered, and some of them very recondite, and a great display of learning may be made here; but still the same thing is true, in this case as in many other departments of learning and taste. Nature first teaches rules; art arranges, illustrates, and records them. This is the simple truth as to hermeneutics. Systems have digested and exhibited what the rational nature of man has taught,--of man who was made to speak and to interpret language.
I may illustrate and confirm this by a reference, for example, to epic or lyric poetry. Men did not first invent rules by the aid of learned art, and then construct epic and lyric poems by the aid of these rules. Nature prescribed these rules to a Homer, a Pindar, and to others. They followed nature; and therefore wrote with skill and power. That they have become models for all succeeding epic and lyric writers, can be accounted for only from the fact, that they followed the promptings of nature in their respective kinds of composition; and others cannot swerve essentially from their course without swerving from nature; and of course they will offend against what we may truly call the common sense of mankind.
It is the same in hermeneutics. Many a man has, indeed, laid down rules in this science, which were a departure from the principles taught us by our reasonable nature; and where he has had personal influence, he has obtained disciples and imitators But his popularity has been short-lived, or at least he has sooner or later been taken to task for departing from nature, and has been refuted, in the view of sober and unprejudiced men, in regard to such principles as violate the common rules of interpretation which men daily practise. 
There are only two ways in which men come to the knowledge of words; the one is by custom, education, the daily habit of hearing and speaking them; the other is, by studying them in books, and learning them in the way that philology teaches. Now the first method supersedes the second. But as the second is the only way left for all such as wish to understand the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures, so the thorough study of those books which are necessary to impart the knowledge in question, renders a good degree of learning a matter which of course is necessary. All this occupies time, and costs labor and effort. Few succeed, after all, to any great extent, in making the acquisition under consideration; and hence the general apprehension of its difficulty. Hence, too, the idea that the art of interpretation is the result of learned skill, rather than the dictate of common sense.
I do not aver, indeed, that a man destitute of learned skill can well interpret the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures. But this I would say, viz. that his learning applies more to the proper knowledge of Greek and Hebrew words in themselves considered, than it does to the principles by which he is to interpret them. In the estimation of men in general, however, these two things are united together; and it is in this way that hermeneutics comes to be looked upon as one of the more recondite and difficult sciences.
I certainly do not wish to be understood as denying here, that the practice of the hermeneutical art in a successful manner does require learning and skill. Surely this must be true, when it is applied to the explanation of the original Greek and Hebrew Scriptures; because no one can well understand these languages, without some good degree of learned skill. But I say once more, that the learning necessary to understand the meaning of particular words in these languages, and that which is employed in the proper interpretation of them, are not one and the same thing. When the words are once understood, the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures are interpreted by just the same rules that every man uses, in order to interpret his neighbor's words. At least this is my position, and one which I expect to illustrate and confirm, by showing more fully still, that from the nature of the case it must be so, and moreover that it is altogether reasonable and proper.
I have urged at so much length, and repeated in various forms, the sentiments contained in the preceding paragraphs, because I view them as of essential importance in respect to the subject before us. If God has implanted in our rational nature the fundamental principles of the hermeneutical art, then we may reasonably suppose that when he addresses a revelation to us, he intends and expects that we shall interpret it in accordance with the laws of that nature which he has given us. In showing that the science of interpretation is not a production of art and learned skill, but that it is merely developed and scientifically exhibited by such skill, I have shown that the business of interpreting the Bible need not necessarily be confined to a few but may be practised, in a greater or less degree, (if we  except the criticism of the original Scriptures,) by all men who will attentively study it. It is true, that all men cannot be critics upon the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures; for the greater part of them never can obtain the knowledge of the words necessary for this purpose. But still, there is scarcely any man of common understanding to whom a truly skilful critic nay not state and explain the principles of interpretation, by which he is guided in the exegesis of any particular passage, in such a way that this man may pass his judgment on the principle and make it the subject of his approbation or disapprobation. This proves incontrovertibly that the principles of the science in question are in themselves the dictates of plain common sense and sound understanding; and if this be true, then they are principles which may be employed in the interpretation of the word of God; for if there be any book on earth that is addressed to the reason and common sense of mankind, the Bible is pre-eminently that book.
What is the Bible? A revelation from God. A REVELATION! If truly so, then it is designed to be understood; for if it be not intelligible, it is surely no revelation. It is a revelation through the medium of human language; language such as men employ; such as was framed by them, and is used for their purposes. It is a revelation by men (as instruments) and for men. It is made more humano, because that on any other ground it night as well not be made at all. If the Bible is not a book which is intelligible in the same way as other books are, then it is difficult indeed to see how it is a revelation. There are only two ways in which the Bible or any other book can be understood; the one is by miraculous illumination, in order that we may have a right view of contents which otherwise would not be intelligible; the other is, by the application of such hermeneutical principles as constitute a part of our rational and communicative nature.
If you say, now, that the first of these ways is the true and only one; then it follows that a renewed miracle is necessary in every instance where the Bible is read and understood. But, first, this contradicts the experience of men; and secondly, I cannot see of what use the Scriptures are, provided a renewed revelation or illumination is necessary, on the part of heaven, in every instance where they are read and understood, It is not the method of God's wisdom and design, thus to employ useless machinery; nor does such an idea comport with the numberless declarations of the Scriptures themselves, that they are plain, explicit, intelligible, perfect--in a word, all that is requisite to guide the humble disciple, or to enlighten the ignorant.
I must then relinquish the idea of a miraculous interposition in every instance where the Bible is read and understood. I trust that few enlightened christians will be disposed to maintain this. And if this be not well grounded, then it follows that the Bible is addressed to our reason and understanding and moral feelings; and  consequently that we are to interpret it in such a way as we do any other book that is addressed to these faculties.
A denial of this throws us at once upon the ground of maintaining a miraculous interposition, in all cases where the Bible is understood. An admission of it brings us to the position that the Bible is to be interpreted in the same way as other books are.
Why not? When the original Scriptures were first spoken or written, (for very much of them, in the prophets for example, was spoken as well as written,) were they designed to be understood by the men who were addressed? Certainly you will not deny this. But who were these men? Were they inspired? Truly not; they were good and bad, wise and foolish, learned and ignorant; in a word, men of all classes both as to character and knowledge.
If now the prophets, in addressing such men, expected to be understood, intended to be so, (and clearly they did,) then they expected these men to understand them in a way like to that in which they understood any one else who addressed them, i. e. by means of applying the usual principles of interpretation to the language employed. Any thing which denies this, of course must cast us upon the ground of universal miraculous interposition.
[TO BE CONTINUED.]
WE shall permit a man of plain common sense to speak a few words. Hear him give his views of some matters. Good sense and piety are not patented to the learned. The honest, and humble, and devout, though unlearned christian, has a right to speak as well as others.
|For the Millennial Harbinger.|
MEN who believe in a judgment to come, in a state of rewards and punishments consequent thereon, and of the alarming consequences of a wicked and profligate life, cannot but feel the importance of the salvation which is in Christ Jesus; and, possessed as man is, with a social feeling for his fellowmen, having been justified himself by faith, he is desirous that others become like himself saved from their sins. It has been a feeling like this which has actuated every man of public notoriety. This is true of the Deists as well as Christians, whether we look at Hume, Volney, Paine, or the indefatigable Owen, one and all of them possessed more or less of the spirit of reform; but being so confident in their own resources, and, by the by, counteracting each other's influence, they have failed to better the moral condition of mankind; these, moreover, were not conscious that an awful eternity was awaiting their destiny, and yet they were actively employed in spreading their opinions.
Christians, who believe that all men will he rewarded according to the deeds done in the body, ought to be very assiduous to forward the gospel in its progress; because when all the schemes of men are passed away as a cloud, and their nakedness and inadequacy are fully seen, the gospel will arise and astonish the dark benighted world with its glory. 
Every little bubble that arises in the religious world is termed a revival, and every sect is anxiously looking for what is termed "the Millennium," each one believing in the meantime that his party will rule predominant in that day, and that all the rest will become subservient to its control? Alas! how short-sighted man is! With regard to the evil which abounds, both in the natural and moral world, the antidote is prepared, and has been exhibited for eighteen hundred years, and that is the gospel which Christ and his Apostles first preached in the land of Judea. And small as the effects of the gospel may be in this day, yet as it spread in its first appearance with a rapidity which has astonished the world so will it again go forth to prostrate false ideas and vicious practices, as it previously did heathen temples and idols. The first thing that came in contact with it was the inventions of men, and these have continued to neutralize its influence. The only thing, then, which remains, is for that to be removed which impeded it in its way, and it will again move onward with a rapidity equal to its own intrinsic value. Let its friends be careful in contending for it. Think not that it requires us, on the one hand, to use any cunning or deceit in its defence; or, on the other, to use anger, or wrath, or malice, or evil speaking on any occasion; nay, these last are all arrayed in strong opposition to it.
Every christian man that feels bound to preach the gospel should make use of no means to cause revivals but what the gospel sanctions. And if different sects unite in the abundance of their charity--yea, more, if all the parties would for once lay aside their distinctions and take each other by the hand, still the gospel cannot be said to be received, because it is not the author of their differences; and it is not true that they all possess so much of the spirit which the gospel bestows, that if the divisions were removed nothing would remain to be done but to unite together. A greater mistake could not be conceived than to suppose that a reformation is brought about when the different sects abate their opposition; for in fact their opposition is a natural effect proceeding from a cause. They imbibe widely different and contradictory opinions, and therefore it is just as natural for them to wrangle as it is for thunder to proceed from the concussion of two clouds, the one charged with electric fluid and the other containing nothing but water.
There is a certain class of men who declaim against creeds and confessions, and against certain important items in them, (and in their own practice are conformed to the requirements of the New Testament,) who have erected a kind of half-way-house between the law of the Lord and the traditions of men, who seem to meet the prejudices of the people half way. For instance, the people are in Galilee and the proclamation is made of a reviving heart-cheering feast in Jerusalem; but you must pass through the Jordan before you can reach Jerusalem. These men seeing this, and also observing many respectable folks kept from the feast because they did not like to pass through the water, they erected a bridge and brought the people over on dry land. This is, indeed, an age of improvements, and no doubt this is thought to be an improvement by many; however, it appears to me only cutting out work for some other faithful harbingers of another generation. Alas! for man! He fain would be wise, and, indeed, is too often wise above what is written. Would to God that men would confine their inventions to rail roads, steam boats, &c. Here is latitude, here genius is paid for her exercise; but we must receive revelation as it is, complete in all things. Here genius and the inventive faculty must be laid aside, and the judgment, will, and all our affections must be guided by unerring wisdom. The Lord knows them that cross the bridge to avoid the water. He knows them also who erected it. They that pass the old-fashioned way have his promise, but Lord have mercy on the inventors and they who pass over the bridge.
Hoping always for the best, I must quit for the present.
|A REFORMER. |
|For the Millennial Harbinger.|
WE conceive, then, that from a very early period, the world has been deceived by spurious systems of christianity, and that the pure and beautiful religion of the Redeemer has been brought into disrepute by means of these institutions, which, while they assumed its name, have disgraced its character.
It is surprising how soon after the first promulgation of the gospel, the deceiver of the nations began to oppose its progress in his accustomed manner. Trembling for his dominion over the hearts of men, the gospel was no sooner proclaimed than he endeavored to pervert it, and grieving at its success, the apostles no sooner made proselytes than he attempted to seduce them. "I wonder," says Paul to the Galatians, "that you are so soon removed from him who called you to another gospel, which," he adds, "is not another"--that is to say, it is a counterfeit.
For the sake of order we will consider the false systems of christianity as dividing themselves into two classes, the earlier and the later. The difference between them consists in this, that the former more nearly resemble true christianity than the latter. And it was necessary that they should do so. For the degree of resemblance which it is requisite for a counterfeit to bear to the original depends entirely upon the degree of acquaintance which men have with that original. Thus a base coin, poorly executed, may pass current among those who are but little conversant with sterling money, while those who have the standard coin in their possession, or who are well acquainted with its appearance, would readily detect the imposture.
It would have been in vain for Satan to have produced any of the modern systems of christianity during the lifetime of the Apostles, or while the world were well acquainted with the character of the original institution. At that period civico-religious dignitaries, dandled in the lap of luxury, living in magnificent dwellings, surrounded by an obsequious crowd of servants, and deriving a lordly revenue from the sweat and toil of oppressed and starving parishioners, would in vain have assumed the character of Apostles, and pretended to be their successors. Such a deception may well enough pass current now when men generally are ignorant both of what the Apostles were and of what they taught. But then the most ignorant would have readily detected one of these men even if he had presented himself in his powdered wig, his lawn, his surplice, and his cassock. They were then too well acquainted with the cut of Peter's fisherman's coat, and were too well used to the humble plainness and honest simplicity of the true Apostles, to be deceived by the haughtiness of a LORD BISHOP, or the magnificence of a metropolitan. "Your Grace," or "Most, Reverend Father in God,"2 would have  sounded strangely then to those who were used to address a real Apostle as plain "Peter," "James," "John," or "our beloved brother Paul." In those days whenever the apostleship of a Paul was doubted by some,3 and he was under the necessity of appealing to his having seen the Lord, to the great privileges to which he had been admitted, and to the signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds which he had wrought; when the church of Ephesus "had tried those that said they were Apostles, and were not, and found them liars,"4 it would have been entirely impossible for men to succeed who have never seen the Lord; who cannot work a single miracle to prove their pretensions; who, instead of being full of the Holy Spirit, are full of the spirit of this world; who were never sent or acknowledged by Jesus Christ; and who, in short, have no more to do with the apostleship than holiness has to do with the Pope of Rome. "Such truly are false (counterfeit) Apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the Apostles of Christ. And no marvel, for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light; therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works."5
Then young elders, such as are considered quite au fait, would have commanded slight regard. Sent by a distant college and called by the highest bidder; domineering over large congregations, to whom they administer once-a-week the unadulterated milk of sectarianism; and receiving the end of their labors, even wealth and fame, they would have illy borne a comparison with those venerable pastors who are described in the New Testament as "examples to the flock," as "not taking the oversight thereof for filthy lucre's sake," as "laboring with their own hands; as vigilant, prudent, fit to teach, and having, as a necessary prerequisite, brought up families in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."
Then no Pope would have presumed to claim infallibility, to crown kings and to depose them, to levy armies and to divide kingdoms. The thunders of the Vatican and the terrors of the Inquisition were unheard and unknown when men were taught to love their enemies and to bless them, and when "peace on earth and good will among men" was the song of angels.
At that time the decrees of councils, synods, conventions, conferences, presbyteries, and associations, would have been impotent and of no authority among those who were used to listen to Christ and his Apostles, to keep their decrees alone, and to see every congregation attending to its own business. Nor would any religion then have been received as Christian which did not grant peace and salvation to the rebellious, and confer a certain and immediate acquittal of past transgressions upon those who embraced it. For there was no feature in primitive christianity more striking than this. Salvation being what men needed, it was the very boon which christianity proffered to them; and the true ministers of the gospel were not content with telling the people, like some of our modern professors of  divinity, that there was a Saviour, and that they would be condemned unless they, embraced his cross, and at the same time leaving them perfectly ignorant of the way in which they should receive his favor; but were always able to direct the believing penitent to an institution, by obedience to which he could assure himself of acceptance with God, and remission of past sins.
We find accordingly that the first counterfeits did not fail to preserve this characteristic of the ancient gospel, without which they would have entirely failed of success. The judaizing teachers who promulged at Antioch and other places the false gospel which the Apostle notices in his letter to the Galatians, were accustomed to declare that salvation was connected with the observance of the Jewish institution, and that "unless the disciples were circumcised and kept the law, they could not be saved." Here we perceive that salvation was indeed proposed, and the precise means by which it was supposed to be obtained indicated; but it was placed upon a wrong basis, and therefore the Apostle denounces it as spurious and as a perversion of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and anathematizes in the most solemn manner all who would presume to propagate it.
The Church of Rome also owes some of her traits to her early origin. Like true Christianity, she places the remission of sins within the power of her members, and does not hesitate to grant them full absolution, Like the false gospel, however, which we have already noticed, she derives the remission from a wrong source, and places in the hands of men a power which belongs exclusively to God.
There is another point in which these false gospels resemble true christianity--they both claim to be exclusively right. The one declares that unless its requirements were attended to, men could not be saved; the other asserts that she is the only true church, and that those who reject her communion are beyond the pale of mercy. Now it is certain that the Christian religion, like the Jewish, claimed to be what it really was, the only true one; and, indeed, it was this very circumstance which caused the Pagans to regard them both with so much abhorrence. They, like the modern sects, had a great deal of charity. They were willing to admit the pretensions of any god that was presented to them; and lest their courtesy should seem to fail, they could even erect an altar to the unknown God. Indeed, this intercommunity of worship was a most marked characteristic of the heathen world; and in consequence, although they might have been willing to have added christianity to their superstition, whenever it was set up as the only true religion, it excited the most violent antipathy, so much was such a proceeding at variance with all their ideas of civility, charity, and sociability. They considered their gods insulted, and their authority despised by a people who seemed to be obscure and unfriended; and the prejudices of education, the influence of superstition, and the obstinacy of ignorance, all conspired to aggravate the fury of persecution, and to fan the flames in which the martyrs suffered. 
The Church of Rome has preserved these marks of her early origin even to the present time. She still professes to be the only true church, and her priests still presume to bestow absolution at the confessional. But the sects which sprung up at the era of the Reformation present quite different features. Dating their origin at an age when the greatest ignorance prevailed respecting not only the religion of the Scriptures, but the Scriptures themselves, when superstition, bigotry, and intolerance were the order of the day, it was not necessary for them to present a perfect fac-simile of christianity in order to pass current. In the twilight which succeeded the dark ages, they were not easily detected; and it has only been by the aid of increasing light and a more perfect acquaintance with what the Scriptures reveal of the original gospel, that their deformity has been at last discovered.
Rejecting the remission of sins offered by the Romish Priest, they substituted hope for fruition, and left to the uncertainty of futurity that blessing which the ancient christians enjoyed from the moment they acknowledged Christ.6 In this respect they have permitted their mother (who, by the way, is perhaps the most wicked impostor of them all,) to surpass them, and to retain the advantage of being able to bestow upon her deluded followers at least a quiet conscience. They have also allowed her to excel them in consistency, by their having ceased to claim the privilege of being exclusively right. So exceedingly forbearing and sociable have they become, that they make with each other the child's bargain, "Let me alone and I'll let you alone," and concede to each other almost the same degree of respect and consideration which each wishes for itself, allowing of a degree of intercommunion, and careful not to cast stones at each other, as though they were conscious that their houses were made of glass. In short, take them all in all, they present us with perfect CARICATURES of Christianity. Assuming to be following Christ, they do not even bear his name. Affecting to believe in a Saviour, and calling upon men to come to him for forgiveness, they acknowledge in their prayers that they themselves are neither saved nor forgiven. Each denomination meeting together once-a-week under the pretence of celebrating the praises and the power of the "great Physician of souls," declares at the same time, in the face of heaven and of the world, that he has at least done their members no good, by confessing  that they are "all wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores,"7 that they "are miserable sinners,"8 and that "the burden of their sins is intolerable."9
We would here repeat the substance of a remark made above, that the deceiver of the nations has always adapted his various counterfeits to the state of the world, as it regards correct knowledge of the original; and if we trace, in few words, the history of these counterfeits down to the present day, we will find the truth of this observation fully proved.
It has always been, indeed, his first endeavor to prevent the world from knowing what true christianity really was. To accomplish this object he took away the Scriptures (the only source of correct information) from the people, and gave them into the hands of interested priests; involving them in mystery, and forbidding the laity to read them "lest they should imbibe some pernicious error." But when, at the Reformation, in spite of his care for the true doctrines and practice, the people once more obtained the Scriptures, fearing lest he should lose his influence, he finds means to persuade men that they "could not understand them for themselves," and that, although they might read them, that they might assure themselves that they were "a dead letter," and that they must depend entirely upon the clergy for an explanation of them. In this manner he still retained the power of causing, by his ministers, the Bible to say, or rather mean, whatever he himself pleased.
It was by slow degrees that the world lost the remembrance of what the primitive gospel was, and it was in the same ratio that "the man of sin" gained the ascendancy. Deprived of the Scriptures, however, and pressed on all sides by corruption and priestcraft, they did at last forget entirely the nature of the original institution. One change after another was introduced, one assumption of power gradually led to other usurpations, until at length, when the shades of ignorance had sufficiently deepened, that wicked one stood forth sitting in the temple of God, and openly showing himself to be a god. Unblushing and unreproved, the "son of perdition" could then presume to change times and laws, and to alter and abrogate the commandments of the true God; thus claiming a superior authority, and exalting himself above all that was called God or an object of worship.10
It is, indeed, an awful picture which the history of the dark ages presents to us, marked by blood and crime, and without a single redeeming feature. Crosses and relics, beads and pretended saints were then reckoned worthy of more honor than God and Christ. Then the austerities of monkish superstition could pass for christianity, and the most abandoned licentiousness, avarice, and profligacy could be openly indulged, without remark, under the sanction of religion. Then it was that the author of evil sent forth the merciless Inquisition to torture, murder, and devour. Ruthless and insatiable as tigers, the ministers of this institution were wont to lead forth  innumerable victims to the stake, and while they thrust bunches of burning furze into their faces, with the cry of "Let the dogs' beards be made," they burnt them to death by a slow fire, amidst the plaudits and rejoicings of thousands of every age and sex. This ceremony which they called an Auto da Fe, or Act of Faith, may serve as a fair exhibition of the nature of their faith, which might with all propriety be styled, in the language of the opposers of the ancient gospel, "the faith of devils."
After some time, however, the dawning of the day of reformation warned the savage tribes, who had so long rioted in slaughter, to retire; and Satan now found himself obliged to adapt his counterfeits to the increasing knowledge which the world gained of primitive christianity. But as men at this period were still deeply imbued with superstition and intolerance, these traits he was at first enabled to retain among the characteristics of the reformed churches. There was still some "toleration for intolerance" when the Presbyterian leader burnt Servetus at the stake, and when under the reign of James I. many suffered death for their religious opinions beneath the auspices of the English reformers. But now they have drawn in their claws, and have become as innocent and demure in their aspect as sage grimalkin. The intolerant bigotry of the dark ages is seemingly renounced: they have been compelled to abandon the Inquisition with all its horrors, and in every respect they have so transformed themselves to suit the progress of light and civilization, that they affect scarcely to credit the authentic record of the deeds of their ancestors. Since the recovery of the ancient gospel, have not we ourselves witnessed how sedulously the sectaries labor to accommodate themselves to their new circumstances as far as they can without jeopardizing their existence? Have we not heard the Episcopalian Priest enforcing upon his flock the propriety of weekly communion? Have we not known a Presbyterian preacher, disturbed by having a christian congregation in his vicinity, actually venture so far as to sprinkle for the remission of sins? And have we not seen both the accommodating Methodist and the formal Episcopalian (strange to tell!) compelled to go down into the water and administer immersion, which, though according to them, a non-essential, they certainly found at these times very essential, at least to preserve their wonted authority over their followers? To these expedients they are driven by the increase of knowledge which prevails of true christianity and its institutions; and as light is still increasing, their deficiencies will become more evident, and they will be forced to still greater concessions. Soon will the Church of England be compelled to abandon her corrupt union with the state, and all the modern systems of religion find it necessary to polish and brighten up their dross in order that it may bear a better comparison with the standard.
When we turn our attention to the injurious consequences of these false gospels upon the world, and remember how completely they have impeded the progress of the true one, and how effectually they have brought into disrepute that astonishing scheme of God's benevolence  to men, their evil character will more fully appear. Indeed, to frustrate the objects of the christian religion, and to induce men to regard that divine system with contempt and disdain, has been at once the aim and the triumph of Satan. What pleasure, then, it must yield him to be permitted to exhibit the gospel under the form of Roman Catholicism, for instance, where the simplicity of truth is changed into the mystery of error, the order of the christian church into a useless and incomprehensible pantomime, and the thirst for humility and righteousness into a thirst for arbitrary domination and human slaughter. Jesus was not an earthly monarch, his kingdom was not of this world, and his example was one of gentleness, purity, and contempt of worldly grandeur; but the Deceiver is pleased to show him forth in his vicegerent as conferring temporal dignities and privileges, as exciting his followers to torture and murder those who refuse to yield, and as delighting in every thing which is calculated to gratify "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life." When, indeed, we contemplate this meretricious institution, it appears most remarkably evident that every thing connected with it, from the affected ceremony of making the sign of the cross or telling the beads of a rosary, to the vain display of images and showy pictures, or the pompous procession of the host, has been gradually and carefully introduced to catch the eye, to flatter the pride of the human heart, and to gratify and indulge the worst passions of our nature.
Nor has Satan dressed up some of her daughters in a much humbler garb. Here we see him delighted to set forth the plain and simple religion of Jesus under the fashionable form of Episcopacy. In the person of his ministers, clothed with a silken gown, seated aloft upon a carved or gilded throne, and surrounded by all the paraphernalia of clerical importance, with velvet cushions and crimson curtains, we hear him gravely proclaiming the sacred authority of the Priests, the insufficiency of the Scriptures, and the inferior and dependent condition of the laity. There, with a face of still greater longitude, and the somewhat plainer habit of a Presbyterian, he exhibits the christian race, which the first disciples were taught to run with zeal and with rejoicing, as a course along which all are to march "in solemn dump." And while he thus presents christianity to the world under a most gloomy and forbidding aspect, with much ingenuity he teaches his hearers that they "can do nothing of themselves," and actually PERSUADES THEM TO BELIEVE THAT THEY CANNOT BELIEVE. Again we observe him in the character of a Quaker, while talking about the power, carefully abolishing the forms of godliness, and substituting for both the form and the power the mere system of morality and the spirit of this world; and at another time we discover him inflating the minds of men with the fanaticism of a Joanna Southcote, the vagaries of a Jemima Wilkinson, or the idle visions of a Swedenborg.
But it would be in vain to attempt to detail the innumerable forms, inconsistent with each other and with the Scriptures of truth, under which Satan has held up the christian institution to the derision of  the world. It were useless to particularize the ingenious sophistry of Unitarianism, or the unbounded licentiousness of Universalism--the absurdities of Shakerism or the novelties of Mormonism11--for all these systems form a part of that great scheme by which the Deceiver has endeavored to disgrace christianity, and to banish from among men the fear of the Lord. How many Atheists, Deists, and Sceptics have been created by these miserable apologies for christianity? How many men of talent and of upright and honorable intentions, unable, from a neglect of the Scriptures, to learn perfectly what true christianity was, yet unable to discover at once the impotency and imperfections of those institutions which have usurped its place, have been induced to take refuge in infidelity! Supposing from a cursory examination, that these modern gospels were fair representations of the true gospel, and detecting at the same time the priestcraft and the venality of the means by which they are supported, they have been induced to suppose that christianity was a wicked institution and the chief barrier to the happiness of the human family.
In conclusion, then, as such has been the nature and the consequences of the false gospels which have so long deceived the human family, we need not wonder at the earnestness of the Apostle when he said to the churches of Galatia, "If we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel to you, than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that you have received, let him be accursed." We need not, upon reflection, be surprized that the most tremendous judgments are denounced against all who have corrupted or counterfeited Christianity, and that Babylon the Great will one day come into remembrance before God to give her the cup of the wine of his FIERCEST wrath. How great will be the rejoicings of that day, when, with the same suddenness and certainty with which the great mill-stone is hurled into the sea, great Babylon shall be precipitated into everlasting perdition! When the cry is made, "It is fallen! It is fallen! When in one hour her plagues shall come--death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be burnt with fire; for strong is the Lord God who judges her! Then shall the voice of a great multitude be heard in heaven, saying,  Hallelujah! salvation, and glory, and power to the Lord our God! for his judgments are true and righteous, for he has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication, and he has avenged the blood of his servants shed by her hand. And the second time they said, Hallelujah!" Let the people of God, then, beware. Let those of them who have been deceived by the delusions of the harlot and her daughters, listen to the warning voice, and come out from her, that they may not be partakers of her sins, and that they may not be partakers of her plagues; for her sins have followed up to heaven, and her unrighteous actions are come up in remembrance before the Lord.
LOGIC AND CANDOR OF UNIVERSALISM--EXAMINED.
THE reader will find in vol. 2, page 530, a challenge given by the editors of the Universalist paper called the "Sentinel," or "Star in the West," under the gentler name of "invitation," addressed to the editor of this paper, touching their darling peculiarity--in the words following, to wit:--"If Mr. Campbell dare to make the attempt to show that Unitarian Universalist preachers hold to any one point of doctrine with which he implicates them in his attempt to correct "an evil report," our columns are at his service; and if he refuses this invitation to justify his conduct, the christian public will say that our remarks are not uncharitable, and judge of Mr. C. according to his works."
My acceptance of this invitation was announced in the 12th No. vol. 2, of this work, and the conditions fairly stipulated on which I would, in their columns, attempt to show in one sentence, 'that the system of Universalism, as taught by these gentlemen, has no foundation in the Scriptures of truth, nor in the reason and nature of things.'
The conditions proposed were, as I conceived, perfectly reasonable. The gentlemen sought to represent me as misrepresenting their views. I called upon them for their own definitions and proofs, proposing to be governed by the usual laws of discussion and the established rules of interpretation, and thus giving them an opportunity to define themselves and select their proof.
Let us now see how these gentlemen have met my acceptance of their challenge or "invitation." Under date of the 7th January, in the "Sentinel," I am represented as challenging them, and demanding, not accepting, their columns. Hear them express themselves:--"As Mr. Campbell has invited us into the field of battle, and demands of us the use of our columns for his arguments, we now inform him that his challenge is accepted, provided he will also publish our remarks in full in the Harbinger." Here I am brought forward as the challenger, and as demanding their columns, &c. Now, gentlemen, I must be permitted to correct these misstatements of fact: for, if you reason and write thus on the plainest matters of fact, how will you reason on the great questions of life, death, and immortality! My conditions  demand not your columns, but only the continuing them open, as you had declared them open. My first condition repels your insinuations and frustrates your efforts to make me the challenger. Read it again, page 534: "That as you have declared your columns open, you will keep them open to my pieces, until I shall have fully replied to such arguments as you may offer."
In the "Sentinel" for the 14th January, the editor again speaks of "Mr. Campbell's late challenge," as if it was an indisputed fact; and then and there represents me as about to "lay siege to their fortified city."
This is a specimen of the tact of these dexterous polemics, who are denouncing the orthodox as worse than Deists and Atheists. Perhaps this may be thought too strong; but I will ask the reader what means the following sentence:--"Such are our present views of the subject, that if it were possible for Mr. C. to convince us that our system of faith did inevitably lead to Deism, or even to Atheism, we should feel bound to embrace" [retain it; for it is already embraced] "it, unless he should he able to show us something better than orthodoxy." Does not this mean that Deism, or even Atheism, is preferable to orthodoxy? No wonder, then, that the spirit and efforts of Universalism are more directed against orthodoxy, than against Deism or Atheism!
I will not now comment on these words. Let the reader bear them in mind. But this gentleman makes new conditions and appends them to his former challenge. There was no provided in the first invitation; but now it is "provided I publish in the Harbinger." If I do not, then he backs out of the challenge! It was obvious I think to all, that I intended to publish the whole controversy in this work, if it should be interesting: but as the gentlemen did not require me in their first challenge, I did not think it necessary to propose it. It is too late for them now to say, provided I publish their arguments. This omen can easily be interpreted!
I object to all the drapery and imagery of the "Sentinel" in speaking of this discussion. There is no argument in calling me "Goliath of Gath"--"a lion coming out of his lair"--in calling upon me to "draw my sword"--of "blowing Universalism sky-high," &c. &c. This Drury Lane or Grub Street rhetoric illy comports with the gravity and deliberation of religious discussion. Let us have argument and testimony, and not this species of ribaldry and buffoonery.
The new conditions, or rather the ex post facto conditions of the senior editor of the "Star," are thus propounded in the paper of the 14th inst. I give them fully with all that can he considered a reply under the conditions I stipulated. I say, every thing published in the "Sentinel," under the conditions proposed by me in accepting the challenge tendered, is in the following words:--
"But before the dreadful blow is struck, and Universalism blown sky-high, Mr. Campbell's conditions must be attended to. We submit to the following conditions:--
1st. Our columns shall be open to Mr. Campbell's pieces so long as he publishes ours in the Harbinger. 
2. In this piece we are to define what we mean by universal salvation, and enumerate such portions of scripture as we rely on for proof,
By universal salvation, we mean that all men, universally, will be saved by Jesus Christ, i. e. they will be raised from the dead to a state of immortality and incorruption, by virtue of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ--that they will die no more, but be equal to the angels in heaven. For the proof of which we rely--1st. On all that part of the Scripture where the purposes of God, in sending his Son into the world, are brought into view directly or indirectly. 2d. We rely on all that portion where the resurrection of the dead, literally, is spoken of. 3d. We rely on all that portion of the Christian Scriptures which speak any thing concerning the accomplishment of the mission of Christ into this world. 4th. We rely on all that portion of the Scriptures which represent God good enough to desire, wise enough to devise, and as possessing power sufficient to effect the salvation of all men. 5th. We rely on all that portion of the book which speaks of his love and tender mercies to sinners, and his impartial goodness to the just and the unjust: in fine, we rely on the general tenor of the book--and if Mr. Campbell meant we should spread these portions of the Christian Scriptures before him, he can save us much labor by opening his Bible and reading it.
3. As to Mr. Campbell's third condition, let him adopt that method of investigation he recommends, and we will gladly follow the example.
4. We will abide by any rule of interpretation of Scripture warranted by reason, Scripture analogy, and the context.
On these conditions we consider Mr. Campbell is bound to proceed, after answering to the charges preferred against him, to show that our system of the gospel is absurd--contrary to the nature and fitness of things, and inevitably leads to Deism, or something worse.
We shall now wait on Mr. Campbell until he makes his formidable attack."
Whether the senior editor, Mr. Kidwell, intended to say he "would submit to," or submit these conditions, is left for grammarians and critics to decide. Supposing that he intended to submit to them, rather than submit them to us, we shall proceed to notice his first essay in proof of Universalism:--
1st. The Definition--indefinite and ambiguous. Whether all men do suffer in this present life all the punishment due to their offences; or all the punishment which will be inflicted upon them; or whether they suffer in an intermediate or separate state of existence, previous to the resurrection of the just and unjust, are matters very questionable from the definition submitted. It would seem from the ambiguity of the definition, as if the gentleman placed his universal salvation after the resurrection of the dead; so that the bringing of all men to holiness who die unholy, is to be effected between the moment of their death and the resurrection. Whether theirs be the Catholic notion of Purgatory, I know not. But if such be not his opinion, a definition should have been submitted unequivocally asserting his opinion.
But it may be said, that as he asserts the resurrection of all men from the dead, he asserts the salvation of all men. If, then, he holds the resurrection of all men equivalent to the salvation of all men, he should have so informed us: for such is not the received sense of the word resurrection. Upon the whole premises I would infer that his opinion is, that those who die in their sins will be purged from  their sins in the separate state, and that at the resurrection they will come forth immortal and incorruptible in the apostolic import at these terms. But I will not infer for the gentleman, lest he should again accuse me of slander. He must give a definite and unambiguous proposition, which he will pledge himself to sustain. Nor will it do to tell me for proof that I must go and read all the Bible to find his proof, as he has done in the piece above extracted. To go to work upon such premises would be to attempt to cleanse the Augean stable. A vague proposition, and all the Bible for proof! Really, gentlemen, you are fond of sea-room! But you greatly err if you imagine you are about to draw me off into such a wild goose chase as to pursue you over the vasty deep, carrying a cargo of the flags of all nations aboard your ship. A vague proposition, like a Delphic oracle, with all the Prophets and Apostles for proof!!
In the mean time I would make two requests--First, that as you profess ignorance of any established rules of interpretation, you would examine Horne or Ernesti, or some standard work upon the subject. And, in the second place, that you desist, as far as you possibly can, from all that braggadocio declamation and railing accusation, which is so essential to the defence of your tenets. I will make no reply to any thing of that sort. And while I am about to sustain all that I have said of Unitarian Universalism, if you will only give me something tangible, do not again repeat your stale and ungrounded accusations of my misrepresenting you: for a few efforts more like that which you have made, and all men will see the nakedness of your territories.
Letter to the Editor of the Millennial Harbinger.
Dear Brother Campbell,
HORACE, in describing his journey from Rome to Brundusium, speaks of a town which he was obliged to designate by signs, because he could not introduce the name into verse. Although not confined to metrical numbers, I find myself in the same predicament in regard to a late writer in the Religious Herald--not because I could not introduce his name into my prose, (this I could do, however uncouth and immelodious,) but because he has not condescended to give us any name for himself. By signs, then, I must introduce him to your notice.
His production appears in the Religious Herald, 6th vol. 48th No. p. 189, column 2d, headed "Reformation." This writer, it seems, aspires to the character of a reformer of the reformers, and I would that he were indeed; for I do fear, here is need in many instances of reformation, re-reformation, and even re-re-reformation. But, sir, I doubt his qualifications for the task, for several reasons:--
First--Because it appears to me that the first sentence which he has penned, is, to say the least, absurd. Read it:--"In this state of imperfection and sin, of darkness and prejudice, the best of men are liable to depart from the doctrine and practice of true religion, and many do apostatize." Now, I would humbly ask, is it good sense to say that "the best of men are liable to depart from the doctrine and practice of true religion"? Is it not absurd to say that such men depart from the doctrine and practice of true religion? If, then, in this early stage of his production, he has fallen into a gross absurdity, I esteem it needs no argument to show that this is a valid ground upon which to urge his incompetency for the work in which he has engaged.  my second reason is, that I think his model of a good reformer shows that he is a poor judge of what a reformer should be. Melancthon (the Melancthon of the Herald) is his model. Now, sir, you and I both know Melancthon; and although I take pleasure in testifying to the mild christian spirit and deportment of this Melancthon, his good sense, and beautiful, perspicuous, and chaste style of writing; yet I would say, if there can be such a thing as a good physician, who is nevertheless not a good surgeon, a man may possess all the good qualities above named, and yet not make a good reformer; and this remark I would apply to our modern Melancthon. He lacks the bold, steady, surgeon-like hand of a reformer. He is not qualified for deep probing and hard cutting; and these things all experience shows a reformer must do.
In the third place, this writer talks about being "disgusted and provoked," and about a "mixture of disgust and resentment"--towards the reformers I suppose! I have no objection to as delicate a gust or taste in religion as possible; this is no disqualification to a reformer: but this being "provoked," this "resentment" won't do. A reformer must be cool and benevolent.
Fourthly--He says, "To render the attack more triumphant, the assailant" (meaning, I suppose, such a one as yourself,) "has generally pretended that, for himself, he has no creed!--that he draws his sentiments directly from the Bible!" Now, sir, I would ask, did you ever "pretend" that, for yourself you have "no creed"? I know you have frequently said you have no creed (of your own making) to force upon the consciences of others; but did you ever intend to convey the idea that you had no creed for yourself? By creed, etymologically, I understand belief; and he certainly is no christian, and would not pretend to be such, who would say he had no creed according to this acceptation of the term. But this writer would represent you as having only "sentiments" which you "pretend to draw directly from the Bible." Now I must ask you to put this writer right, and let him know that there is a difference between belief and sentiment, and that you have a creed or belief which you draw directly from the Bible, and advise this reformer to go to the same fountain to get his, and not rely upon long aqueducts to bring it to him, inasmuch as there is danger of the pure water becoming impregnated with some of the qualities of the metal through which it is drawn.
Fifthly--He says, "Another artifice of the Reformers has been to assume that the church is in as deplorable darkness as the Catholic church was when Luther rose to dispel the clouds." This is a misrepresentation. We do not assume any such thing. I think you have represented the Protestant churches as not having got far enough from "Mystery, Babylon," to have escaped from the smoke and mists of that great city. Now it is one thing to be in the smoke of a city, and another to be actually in the city. In a loose way of speaking it may have seen said that the Protestant churches are in Babylon, but from the general tenor of what you and others have said, every one, who was willing to know the true state of the case, must have learned that the above is the correct representation--not actually in Babylon, but not far enough from it to have obtained a clear, unclouded atmosphere. If this is a correct statement, then our reformer is guilty of misrepresentation; and this may lie as a fifth objection to him.
In conclusion, I must tell you, although perhaps it is superfluous, that being convinced that I cannot ride in the same vehicle with this nameless reformer, I am obliged to ask a seat in yours. It were certainly desirable that we should be seated side by side, and talk together, and I think I could have given ample assurance that I would have been quite civil and courteous; but it seems to be a law of the vehicle in which this writer has chosen to travel, that none who are not agreed in sentiment shall travel together in it. Safely sheltered, then, from the direct replies and refutations of his antagonists, this "disgusted, provoked, resentful" writer has commenced to hurl forth the thunders of his wrath. I hope, however, if you will give this a place, that somebody who may see it, will, at least, tell him, that some of us poor reformers have heard the  distant thunders of his "resentment," and beg that he will not suffer his ire to wax too hot--that we ask also in the language of the Trojans of old, "Propius res aspice nostras"--examine into our affairs more closely before he commence the dreadful work of extermination. I wish him to be informed that it is unchivalrous to commence the work of "resentment" upon an enemy whose guns are fast spiked, so that we cannot expect even to return a single shot, while some of us are actually compelled to pay some of the expences of the destructive weapon which is playing upon us.
To save the circumlocution which the reformation writer of the Herald obliges us to use, I will just call myself
To the Editor of the Millennial Harbinger.
|CHEROKEE NATION, Dec. 1, 1831.|
Dear Brother Campbell,
IF I am not greatly deceived, it is the prevailing and ardent desire of my heart to know, experience, practise, and proclaim the truth as it is in Jesus. I was born in North Carolina in the year 1800. My parents had me sprinkled in the days of my childhood. About the year 1815 my father moved to West Tennessee. In the fall of 1821 I joined the Methodist Episcopal Church on trial, and in a few months afterwards made a profession of religion. I continued very doubtful upwards of twelve months, when I inferred from my warm and joyful feelings, that I had what is called "the witness of the Spirit." Then my doubts fled. In 1823 I joined the travelling connexionn, in which I have continued ever since, until very recently. During five years past I have been proclaiming what I now believe to be an imperfect gospel, among the Cherokees, as a missionary. This year I have had some difficulties with the Georgians. I have been arrested, chained, imprisoned, condemned, reprieved, and banished the territory of the state, because I refused to take, what I believe to be, an unconstitutional and impious oath! My affliction has also been increased by the loss of a pious Cherokee wife, who died not long since, leaving behind her two little ones, Benjamin and Mary. But the will of the Lord be done. All these things, I have no doubt, will work together for my good, provided I love God.
Ever since I made the christian religion my study, I have had doubts and fears respecting the sectarian gospels of the day, and sometimes almost despaired of understanding the way of the Lord more perfectly; but during two years past my hopes have been reviving. You can scarcely imagine how I have been surprized and delighted since the ancient gospel, like the sun of a cloudless morning, rose upon the eyes of my understanding. I deem it unnecessary to inform you of the means by which I have been led to this important discovery of the truth as it is in Jesus. While we admire the instrument, God must have the glory, through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen. While on a visit to see my relatives in West Tennessee, I was, on the 29th of last October, immersed into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, by brother Payton Smith. I have returned to the Nation, and am now on a tour, proclaiming the glad tidings, with what success (God willing) I will hereafter inform you.
The Cherokees are an interesting people; and with them, (God willing,) whatever their destiny may be, I expect to live and die. My heart's desire and prayer to God is, that the primitive gospel may be introduced, prevail, and triumph among this oppressed people. The days of inspiration have passed away; nevertheless, I believe I am divinely called to proclaim the word of salvation to the Cherokees.
THERE is a time for every purpose and for every work. Words spoken in season are like apples of gold in pictures of silver. We postpone various communications and essays forwarded for this number to make room for the following documents on a question involving the greatest temporal as well as the eternal interests of millions. Slavery, that largest and blackest blot upon our national escutcheon, that many-headed monster, that Pandora's box, that bitter root, that blighting and blasting curse, under which so fair and so large a portion of our beloved country groans--that deadly Upas, whose breath pollutes and poisons every thing within its influence, is now evoking the attention of this ancient and venerable commonwealth in a manner as unexpected as it is cheering and irresistible to every philanthropist--to every one who has a heart to feel, a tear to shed over human wretchedness, or a tongue to speak for degraded humanity. Speeches are now made in the Assembly of Virginia, which, had they been printed in Boston and circulated in Virginia a year ago, might have been considered libellous and even murderous attempts against the peace and dignity of the Old Dominion. But the Rubicon is passed, and the native sons of Virginia, fired by the republican virtues of their ancestors, by the excellent and worthy examples of the framers of our Bills of Rights, of the authors of our national independence--are roused to action, and to exhibit energies which were not supposed to exist in any portion of this state, in behalf of both slaves and slaveholders: for it is hard to say which of the two are most to be pitied, though not in the same sense--the master trembling for his life, and the slave struggling for his liberty--at war in all their feelings towards one another.
We have always thought, and frequently said, since we became acquainted with the general views and character of the citizens of Virginia, that there was as much republicanism in Virginia, even in the slave-holding districts, as could be found amongst the same number of inhabitants in any state in the union. And, moreover, we have thought that if the question of the abolition of slavery was legitimately to be laid before the people of this commonwealth as it now is, there would be found, even among slave-holders, a majority to concur in a rational system of emancipation.
Under this conviction we had digested the outlines of a plan for the final abolition of slavery in this state, which we intended to submit in the convention which framed the present constitution; and, indeed, this was a chief inducement to reconcile us to accept a seat in that body. But in the more matured judgment of many members of that convention with whom we conferred, and who were as alive to this subject as we could be, it was thought impolitic and inexpedient at that time to urge this subject further than to guard against the insertion of a single word in the constitution recognizing the existence of this evil. The subject is then constitutionally within the power of the ordinary legislature to take any measures, at any time, which in its wisdom it may think expedient. 
That time has now come, and the legislature of this state is now investigating this all-absorbing question; and we doubt not, as revolutions seldom or never go back, that a blow at the root will now be stricken which time can never heal.
The following extracts from the speech of Mr. Moore of Rockbridge, a member of the Convention, and now of the Assembly of this state, are a fair specimen of the intelligence and feeling exhibited upon this vital question. As we do not intend to occupy much time upon this subject, nor to call it often up to the attention of our readers, as not being so directly in the train of our labors; and as this is the time to think, and speak, and act with effect on this subject, we ask for the indulgence of our readers out of the precincts of Virginia, whether in the free or slave states, while we give one push to the car of liberty now in motion.
There is one point which has often pushed itself upon our attention, and we wonder why it has not occurred to some of our politicians, or if it have occurred, why it has not been at least proposed for consideration: perhaps, however, it is from our little attention to questions of this sort, or to some constitutional delicacies of which we are ignorant, that it has not been proposed. At all events we will hazard the expression of it. Should it be ascribed to our little experience in such matters, be it so; but let it pass for what it is worth.
The nation is duly informed that the national debt, the debts of two wars for the acquisition and preservation of our liberty, our national independence, is as good as paid: and now the question is, What will be done with the ten millions of dollars annually appropriated to the discharge of that debt? Some wise men say, Collect it from the states, and pay it back to them. Other wise men say, It is better not to pay the collectors and distributors (who are sure to pay themselves well for the trouble) but to let the money stay in the pockets of them who are so fortunate as to have it there. The last policy seems the wiser of the two. But yet we regret to see Mr. Clay urging this project. Rather, infinitely rather, would I have heard him introduce the following resolution with the following preamble:--
'Whereas we have paid the price of our redemption, and by the kindness of the Governor of the nations have now an overflowing treasury, filled inconsciously, and without a single privation felt by a single citizen; and whereas another heavy debt, like an incubus, preys upon this confederacy, and threatens a disruption of some vital organ of the body politic, or a paralysis of the whole system; and whereas it is the interest of North and South, of East and West, and all between, that this debt, this debt which calls so loudly to heaven and earth, he paid--Therefore,
'Be it enacted, That from and after the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-four, the sum of ten millions of dollars shall be annually appropriated to the colonization of all people of color, either slaves or free persons, in ------, until the soil of our free and happy country shall not be trod by the foot of a slave, nor enriched by a drop of his sweat or blood; that all the world may  believe that we are not a nation of hypocrites, asserting all men to have certain natural and inherent rights, which in our practice deny; and shedding crocodile tears over the fall of Warsaw, and illuminating for the revolution of the Parisians, while we have millions of miserable human beings at home, held in involuntary bondage, in ignorance, degradation and vice, by a republican system of free slave-holding.'
I need not tell how wisely these ten millions could be appropriated in sending off those already free, nor in holding out inducements to those now willing to emancipate, nor in purchasing at certain prices female slaves of certain ages from those who would not emancipate. I say, I need not detail these matters; for any gentleman of Mr. Clay's talents and information could prove to all the world, that an appropriation of ten millions per annum, for 15 or 20 years, would rid this land of the curse, and bind the union more firmly than all the rail roads, canals, and highways which the treasury of the union could make in half a century. Verbum sat.
But Virginia can, and she will, rid herself of the curse; and we say the sooner she does it the better for herself, morally, politically, religiously, and every other way. But should the nation take it up, how gloriously would the cause triumph!. And as sure as the Ohio winds its way to the Gulph of Mexico, will slavery desolate and blast our political existence, unless effectual measures be adopted to bring it to a close while it is in the power of the nation--while it is called to-day. But the following extracts speak for themselves:--
"Permit me now, sir, to direct your attention to some of the evil consequences of slavery, by way of argument, in favor of our maturely deliberating on, the whole subject, and adopting some efficient measures to remove the cause from which those evils spring. In the first place I shall confine my remarks to such of those evils as affect the white population exclusively. And even in that point of view, I think that slavery, as it exists among us, may be regarded as the heaviest calamity which has ever befallen any portion of the human race. If we look through the long course of time which has elapsed from the Creation to the present moment, we shall scarcely be able to point out a people whose situation was not in many respects preferable to our own, and that of the other states in which Negro slavery exists. True, sir, we shall see nations which have groaned under the yoke of despotism for hundreds and thousands of years; but the individuals composing those nations have enjoyed a degree of happiness, peace, and freedom from apprehension, which the holders of slaves in this country can never know. True it is that slavery has existed almost from the time of the Deluge, in some form or other, in different parts of the world; but always, and every where, under less disadvantageous circumstances than in this country. The Greeks and Romans had many slaves, but fortunately for them there was no difference in complexion, which placed an impassible barrier between the freeman and the slave, and prevented them from liberating the latter, and raising him to an equality with the former. They exercised an unlimited power over even the lives of their slaves, and being under but little restraint from principles of humanity, they could guard against danger by putting a part of their slaves to death. We appear to be destined to see the evil constantly increasing upon us; whilst we are restrained upon the one hand from raising them to the condition of freemen, by unconquerable prejudices against their complexion; and on the other, from destroying them, by feelings of humanity; which, thank God, are equally invincible! But, sir, I  thus proceed to point out some of the most prominent evils arising from the existence of slavery among us. And among these, the first I shall mention is the irresistible tendency which it has to undermine and destroy every thing like virtue and morality in the community. I think I may safely assert that ignorance is the inseparable companion of slavery, and that the desire of freedom is the inevitable consequence of implanting in the human mind any useful degree of intelligence; it is therefore the policy of the master that the ignorance of his slaves shall be as profound as possible. And such a state of ignorance is wholly incompatible with the existence of any moral principle or exalted feeling in the breast of the slave. It renders him incapable of deciding between right and wrong, of judging of the enormity of crime, or of estimating the high satisfaction which the performance of an honorable act affords to more intelligent beings. He is never actuated by those noble and inspiring motives which prompt the free to the performance of creditable and praiseworthy deeds; on the contrary, his early habits, pursuits, and associations, are such as to bring into action all his most vicious propensities. He is habituated from his infancy to sacrifice truth, without remorse, as the only means of escaping punishment, which is too apt to be inflicted, whether merited or not. The candid avowal of a fault, which a kind parent is disposed to regard in his child as the evidence of merit, is sure to be considered by the master as insolence in a slave, and to furnish additional reason for inflicting punishment upon him. The slave perceives that he can never attain to the least distinction in society, however fair and unexceptionable his conduct may be, or even to an equality with the lowest class of freemen; and that however innocent he may be, he is often liable to the severest punishment, at the will of hireling overseers, without even the form of a trial. The impulses of passion are never restrained in him by that dread of infamy and disgrace which operates so powerfully in deterring freemen from the commission of acts criminal or dishonorable; and he is ever ready to indulge with avidity in the most beastly intemperance, conscious that nothing can degrade him in the estimation of the world. His reason, beclouded as it is, tells him that to hold him in slavery is a violation of his natural rights; and, considering himself as entitled to a full remuneration for his labor, he does not regard it as a fault to appropriate any part of the master's property to his own use. He looks upon the whole white population as participating in the wrongs which he endures, and never scruples to revenge himself by injuring their property, and he is never deterred from the commission of theft, except by fear of the punishment consequent on detection. The demoralizing influence of the indiscriminate intercourse of the sexes among our slave population, need only to be hinted at to be fully understood. Can it be expected, sir, or will it be contended that where so large a mass of the population of the country is corrupt, that the other classes can entirely escape the contagion? Sir, it is impossible! and the dissolute habits of a large number of our citizens, especially of the very poorest class, is too notorious to be denied, and the cause of it is too obvious to be disputed. Far be it from me, Mr. Speaker, to assert that virtue and morality cannot at all exist among the free where slavery is allowed, or that there are not many high-minded, honorable, virtuous, and patriotic individuals even in those parts of the state where the slaves are most numerous. I know there are many such. I only contend that it is impossible, in the nature of things, that slaves can be virtuous and moral, and that their vices must have, to some extent, an injudicious influence upon the morals of the free.
"There is another, and perhaps a less questionable evil, growing out of the existence of slavery in this country, which cannot have escaped the observation, or failed to have elicited the profound regrets of every patriotic and reflecting individual in the Assembly. I allude, sir, to the prevalent, and almost universal indisposition of the free population to engage in the cultivation of the soil, that species of labor upon which the prosperity of every country chiefly depends. That being the species of labor in which slaves are usually employed, it is very generally regarded as a mark of servitude, and consequently  as degrading and disreputable. It follows, of course, that the entire population of the state must be supported by the labor of that half which is in slavery; and it will hardly be denied that it is to this circumstance principally, if not solely, that we are to ascribe the astonishing contrast between the prosperity of the non-slaveholding and slaveholding states of the union. How many cases do we see around us, of men in moderate circumstances, who, too proud to till the soil with their own hands, are gradually wasting away their small patrimonial estates, and raising their families in habits of idleness and extravagance? How many young men (who, were it not for the prevailing prejudices of the country, might gain an honorable and honest subsistence by cultivating the soil,) do we see attempting to force themselves into professions already crowded to excess, in order to obtain a precarious subsistence; and how many of these do we see resort to intemperance to drown reflection, when want of success has driven them to despair? We learn from those who have had ample means of deciding, that the situation of the yeomanry of the middle and northern states, is, in every respect, different from that of the same class of people in the slaveholding states. There the farmer cultivates his land with his own hands, which produces all the necessaries, and many of the comforts of life, in abundance. He rears up his children in habits of industry, unexposed to the allurements of vice; and instead of being a burthen, they assist him in his labors. If, sir, we compare the face of the country in Virginia with that of the northern states, we shall find the result greatly to the disadvantage of the former. We shall see the Old Dominion, though blessed by nature with all the advantages of a mild climate, a fruitful soil, and fine navigable bays and rivers, gradually declining in all that constitutes national wealth.------
"A third consequence of slavery is, that it detracts from the ability of a country to defend itself against foreign aggression. Every slave occupies the place of a freeman, and if we regard them merely as neutrals, they impair the force of the state in full proportion to their numbers. But we cannot rationally regard them as neutrals, for the desire of freedom is so deeply implanted in the human breast that no time or treatment can entirely eradicate it, and they will always be disposed to avail themselves of a favorable opportunity of asserting their natural rights. It will consequently be necessary to employ a certain proportion of the efficient force of the whites to keep them in subjection. What that proportion will be I will not undertake exactly to determine: but it may be safely assumed that, wherever the slaves are as numerous as the whites, it will require one half of the effective force of the whites to keep them quiet, and such is the fact as to the whole of Eastern Virginia.------
"I will now briefly advert to another consequence of slavery, which is highly detrimental to the commonwealth--which is, that it retards and prevents the increase of the population of the state. As proof of this, I may direct your attention to the simple fact, that, in the whole district of country lying on the east of the Blue Ridge, the white population has increased but 61,352 in forty years, much less than either of the cities of New York and Philadelphia have increased in the same length of time. The great effect of slavery in retarding the growth of population will be made manifest by comparing the number of inhabitants in Virginia with the number in New York at different periods. In 1790 the population of Virginia was at least from two to three times as great as that of New York. In 1830 the whole population of Virginia was 1,186,299; that of New York was 1,934,409. From which it appears that the inhabitants of New York have increased at least five or six times as rapidly as the inhabitants of Virginia; and the former has one-third more inhabitants than the latter at this time, notwithstanding the territorial extent of the former is one-third less than that of the latter. If we compare the population of the other slaveholding with that of the non-slaveholding states, we shall find similar results, arising from the same cause; and if we institute the same sort of comparison between some of our oldest and thickest settled counties and some of the counties in the eastern states, we shall find that the inhabitants  of the former never exceed thirty-nine, whilst those of the latter amount to from one to two hundred to the square mile.------
"Having now, sir, (in a most imperfect manner, I admit) attempted to depict some of the many evils of slavery which we already experience, let us inquire what must be the ultimate consequence of retaining them among us. To my mind the answer to this inquiry must be both obvious and appalling. It is, sir, that the time will come, and at no distant day, when we shall be involved in all the horrors of a servile war, which will not end until both sides have suffered much--until the land shall every where be red with human blood, and until the slaves or the whites are totally exterminated. Shall I be told, sir, that these are unfounded apprehensions--that they are nothing but the exaggerations of a heated imagination? Such a reply will not convince me that I am in an error, or satisfy that numerous class of our fellow-citizens who concur in the opinions I have expressed. Let not gentlemen put "the flattering unction to their souls" that it is the voice of fear, and not of reason, which is calling on them from every quarter of this commonwealth, to remove from the land the heavy curse of slavery. If, sir, gentlemen will listen to the remarks I am about to make on this branch of the subject, I humbly hope that I shall succeed in satisfying them, if there be any truth in history, and if the time has not arrived when causes have ceased to produce their legitimate results, that the dreadful catastrophe in which I have predicted our slave system must result, if persisted in, is as inevitable as any event which has not already transpired.
"I lay it down as a maxim not to be disputed, that our slaves, like all the rest of the human race, are now, and will ever continue to be, actuated by the desire of liberty--and it is equally certain, that, whenever the proportion of slaves in this state, to our white population, shall have become so great as to inspire them with the hope of being able to throw off the yoke, that then an effort will be made by them to effect that object. What the proportion between the slaves and the freemen must be which will embolden the farmer to make such an attempt, it is not material for me to inquire; for if it be admitted that any disproportion, however great, will have that effect, it is susceptible of the clearest demonstration that it must be made within a period so short that many of us may expect to witness it. And I need not go into an inquiry whether or not such an attempt can, at any time, or under any circumstances, be attended with success; for it is certain, that whenever it is made, it will be the beginning of a servile war; and from what we know of human nature generally, and from what we hear of the spirit manifested by both parties in the late Southampton rebellion, it is very evident that such a war must be one of extermination, happen when it will.
"Taking it for granted that the positions I have taken cannot be shaken or controverted, I proceed to make a statement of facts, and to submit a table I have made out containing several calculations, showing the relative increase of the white and colored population in Eastern Virginia, and in the counties of Brunswick and Halifax in the last forty years, to the consideration of the house; and from which I expect to be able to prove very satisfactorily--First, that the colored population are rapidly gaining on the whites--Secondly, that that gain must be much more rapid in time to cone than it has been in times past--And, thirdly, that in a short period the proportion of the slaves to the whites, must become so great, that the consequences which I have predicted, and which are so much to be deprecated, must ensue.------
"I have so far, Mr. Speaker, confined my attention to the injurious and dangerous consequences of slavery as they affect the white population exclusively: I must now take a short view of slavery as it affects the slaves themselves. "That all mere are by nature free and equal," is a truth held sacred by every American, and by every republican throughout the world. And I presume it cannot be denied in this Hall, as a general principle, that it is an act of injustice, tyranny, and oppression, to hold any part of the human race in bondage against their consent. That circumstances may exist which put it out of the power of the owners for a time to grant their slaves liberty, I admit to  be possible; and it they do exist in any case, it may excuse, but not justify the owner in holding them. The right to the enjoyment of liberty is one of those perfect, inherent, and inalienable rights, which pertain to the whole human race, and of which they can never be divested except by an act of gross injustice. I may be told, sir, as an argument in favor of retaining our slaves, that their condition is preferable to that of the laboring class of people in Europe. And, sir, it will afford me the most heart-felt satisfaction to declare my belief, that such is the fact; at all events, it is certain that slavery exists in a milder form than it has done in any other portion of the world. But at the same time it must be remembered that slavery is at best but an intolerable evil, and can never be submitted to, except from stern necessity. It must also be confessed, that although the treatment of our slaves is, in the general, as mild and humane as it can be, that it must always happen that there will be found hundreds of individuals, who, owing either to the natural ferocity of their dispositions, or to the effects of intemperance, will be guilty of cruelty and barbarity towards their slaves, which is almost intolerable, and at which humanity revolts. But even if slavery was not injurious to ourselves, and the condition of the slave was ten times as happy as it is, it is enough for us to know that we have no right to hold them against their consent, to induce us to make a vigorous effort to send them from among us. Liberty is too dear to the heart of man ever to be given up for any earthly consideration. One of the most distinguished orators that this country ever produced, said at a time of imminent peril; "Give me liberty or give me death;" and I cannot believe there is one member of this house who would not rather meet death, "with all his sins full blown upon his head," and with the liveliest anticipations of those ills which lie beyond the grave, than to submit to slavery, even in its mildest form. No consideration, then, arising out of the humanity with which slaves are treated in this country can have any weight with me: for palliate it and soften it as you will, it is a monster on which freeman cannot look without abhorrence.
"I must, before I take my seat, be permitted to view this subject of slavery in yet another aspect. Let me inquire, sir, what must be the estimation in which we shall be held by foreign nations, if we fail even to make an effort to send our slaves to some country where they may enjoy the blessings of liberty? Is it not due, sir, to our character, as a moral, a just, a sincere, and a magnanimous people, that we should yield obedience to those principles contained in our Bill of Rights, and which we have solemnly declared to be applicable to, and obligatory on, all mankind? Can we be justified in the eyes of man, or of Heaven, in withholding from our Negroes rights which we have declared to be the common property of all the human race, and that, too, in violation of the fundamental principles of our own government? What must be thought of the zeal which we profess to feel in behalf of those nations which have been struggling for freedom across the ocean? Will not the admiration we expressed at the heroic  exertions of the Parisians, in their recent struggle for liberty, and the sympathy we professed to feel for the suffering Polanders, be regarded as mere hypocrisy and dissimulation by those who know we do not practise the doctrines which we preach? It matters not, sir, whether oppression be exercised over a few individuals, or over many millions; it is as much tyranny in the one case as the other; and, in a moral point of view, the Autocrat of Russia is not more deserving the name of a tyrant for having sent his hordes of barbarians to plant the blood-stained banner of despotism upon the walls of Warsaw, amid the ruins of all that was dear to freemen, than the petty tyrant in any other quarter of the globe, who is equally regardless of the acknowledged rights of man. It is due, not only to our own character, but to the reputation of our ancestors, that we should make a determined effort to free our country from the odium of slavery. On the 29th day of June, 1776, our ancestors, in order to escape the odium which would attach to them in the estimation of foreigners, as the owners of slaves, solemnly declared in the preamble to the Constitution which they then adopted, that the King against whom they were then in rebellion, had prevented them from excluding Negroes from among them by law, by an inhuman use of his negative; and assigned that as one of the grounds on which they justified their rebellion. Should we now refuse even to consider of the means of sending from among us those very slaves whom our ancestors expressed so much anxiety to have excluded from the state, every intelligent foreigner will conclude, either that our forefathers grossly calumniated the King of England, or that we are the degenerate offspring of more worthy ancestors."------
The whole speech is too long for our pages. The extracts appear to disadvantage, not being supported with the tabular views and facts illustrative of some of the more important positions taken. But in its moral attitude, the question as discussed in the speech, stands before our readers. To this especially we call their attention; for as the old adage says, "Honesty is the best policy," so true it is that morality is the best state policy, and the safest and shortest way to national wealth, dignity, and prosperity. Righteousness exalts a nation, but injustice is a reproach to any people.
COLONY IN LIBERIA.
THE foundation of the American Colonization Society was laid in 1516, by the efforts of the Rev. Robert Finley, of New Jersey. Many members of Congress and other gentlemen, persuaded by his arguments, and invited by his zeal, supported the object, but the great body of the people, both in the North and in the South, viewed the project as a mad and chimerical enterprize. The North viewed it as a scheme of the slaveholders to rid themselves of the free colored  population, that they might rivet slavery more securely; the South imagined it a deep-laid scheme to liberate slaves.
Agents were sent to Africa to examine the western coast, and select a site for the intended colony. For the first five years but little could be done. At different times the colony became nearly ruined forever--was reduced to great distress, and the project well nigh abandoned.
In 1821 a tract of territory was bought of the natives and called Liberia. This territory, whose central point is Cape Mesurado, or Montserado, is situated 5 degrees north of the equator, 250 miles south of Sierra Leone. It extends along the coast about 150 miles, and reaches into the interior one day's journey, or from 20 to 30 miles. It is separated from the interior by a tract of heavy timber. Rivers of some size water the country. Immediately back of Monrovia, it resembles the barrens of Illinois, being covered with scattering shrubs, and a heavy coat of grass and weeds, from 6 to 10 feet in height. The soil is extremely fertile. Cotton grows spontaneously. The native tribes in the interior are feeble and friendly. The colony now has a population of nearly 3000 souls, who live in their own houses, and on their own farms, which they cultivate, and carry on all the pursuits of an agricultural and commercial people. Ten years only have elapsed since the purchase of the territory.
The chief city is called Monrovia, in honor of the President under whose administration the colony was established. It is situated on Cape Mesurado, and contains about 100 houses, 3 churches, and 800 inhabitants.
The houses are generally well built, and the city is elevated 70 feet above the sea, where the inhabitants enjoy refreshing sea breezes. The streets are 100 feet wide, and cross each other at right angles. The climate is mild, and the thermometer does not vary more than from 68 to 78 degrees. The harbor of Monrovia is formed by the mouth of the river Montserado, and is suitable for vessels of moderate size.
The commerce of the place is already considerable, and increasing. Some of the inhabitants have acquired property of from 15,000 to 20,000 dollars.
Caldwell is a settlement 7 miles north, on the river St. Paul. This town is laid off on one street, one mile long, and ornamented with two rows of banana and plantain trees, with the fields lying in the rear.
Between Monrovia and Caldwell is another settlement of thirty families. On the opposite side of Stockton bay live 400 Africans who have been taken from slave ships.
Millsburg is situated 25 miles east from Monrovia, contains 200 inhabitants, and is increasing by new colonists.
A regular government and police are established. The executive and supreme power is vested in the hands of the society, and conducted by their agent. A court of justice is composed of the agent and two subordinate judges, which sits monthly. The crimes generally are theft, committed, with few exceptions, by the natives who live within the bounds of the colony. The people elect the  magistrates and inferior officers. Trial is by jury. The laws and judicial proceedings are few and simple, but found to be adequate to the wants of the colony.
Morality and religious feeling predominate in the colony. The Baptists are the most numerous and influential. The Methodists rank next--and the Presbyterian society is small.
An American captain states, that in three weeks which he spent in the colony, he saw no one drunk, nor heard a profane oath. Another white man, who lived seven years at Liberia, says he saw only one fight, which resulted from a political quarrel with a man from Sierra Leone. Instruction in common schools is general, and some are taught higher branches. A public library is established at Monrovia, and a monthly journal published, which has 800 subscribers. Considerable trade is carried on. The articles of export amount to seventy thousand dollars a-year. Rice, palm oil, ivory, gold dust, shells, iron, and coffee, raised by the colonists, are exported. Already the farmers of Caldwell hold agricultural meetings to discuss the best methods of tillage.
For the defence of the colony, the government has 20 field pieces, 100 muskets, and six volunteer companies of militia, of 500 men.
In fine, this colony has experienced less disaster, and fewer deaths, than the early settlement of either of the old thirteen colonies, which now compose the United States; and we hail the day with joyful anticipation, when a nation of christian republicans or freemen, teeming with many millions of souls, will overspread this portion of the African continent, and diffuse the blessings of civilization and christianity throughout that ill-fated and unhappy country.
IN a Nashville paper, of the 14th ultimo, the death of OBADIAH JENNINGS, D. D. is announced. Mr. Jennings was considered at the head of the bar in his circuit while a lawyer; and while a Presbyterian preacher he ranked high, both in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and latterly in Tennessee. In his opposition to us in Nashville, in the close of the year '30, he exhibited a good deal of tact, ingenuity, and adroitness, as a disputant; and appeared to be well versed in the popular doctrines of the Presbyterian church, of which he was no doubt a sincere believer and a zealous preacher.
SUNDRY communications, and among them some arguments for re-baptism, have been detained because of the crisis calling for some matters which now occupy much attention. As many of these communications as are of a general and interesting character, shall be attended to in our next. Several essays in our regular series have also been displaced for the reasons already assigned. 
MONTHLY RECEIPTS for the MILLENNIAL HARBINGER
O Clapp, Mentor, Ohio, paid 1 dollar on vol. 2 for W Corning. A Adams, Hadensville. Ky. vol. 2 for S Mimms and G Miller, and 1 dollar for S Muir. G Carpenter, Hanging Fork, Ky. by E A Smith, vol. 2 for J Bail, G Roffe, and himself. N Waters, Stanford, Ky. by E A Smith, vol. 2. for J Crow, N Dunn, A Helm, M Helm, and himself. E A Smith, Danville, Ky. vols. 1 and 2 for S N Bowman, and vol. 2 for J Hughes. A Kyle. Harrodsburg, Ky. vol. 2. T J Morris. Bethel, Ohio, vol. 3 for J Tingsley. N L Lindsay, North Middletown, Ky. vol. 2 for S Buckner, and vol. 1 and 1 dollar on vol. 2 for A Scott. J W Jeffreys, Jeffreys' Store, Va. vol. 2 for P Glenn, and 1 dollar for S Shelbourne. W Poston, Winchester, Ky. vol. 2 for S Elkin. M Winans, Jamestown O. vol. 3. W Carman, Baltimore, Md. vol. 2 for W M'Pherson, H Pond, W M'Clanahan, vols. 1 and 2 for E McIntosh, and $8 for persons whose names are not given, W R Cole, Wilmington, Ohio, vol. 2 for J Carman, vols. 2 and 3 for J How and himself, and vol. 2 and 1 dollar on vol. 3 for S Rogers. W Churchill, Randolph, Ohio, vol. 2 for J Harget. J B Ryal, Carthage, N. Y. vol. 3 for C Essington, and 1 dollar on vol. 2 for himself. W Clark, Greenville, N. C. vol. 3. O Clapp, Mentor, O. vol. 2 for L Wood. J B Power, Yorktown, Va. paid 10 dollars for whom not mentioned. L Haggard, Burksville, Ky. vols 4 and 2 for W R Barret. J T Johnson, Georgetown, Ky. vols. 1 and 2 for A C Keene, and vol. 3 for S Hatch and himself. M Billings, Moreau, N. Y. vols. 1 and 2. D Wines, Riverhead, N. Y. vol. 3. J B Edwards, King William Court House, Va. vols. 1 and 2 for A Robbins, vol. 2 for W D S Robbins, and vol. 3 for P Johnson and J C Edwards. A Craig, Franklin, Ten. vol. 1 for B Dodson, and vol, 2 for J Carl, W H Hill, S Sparksman, and J Park. J A Ellis, Fredericksburg, Ky. vol, 2 for T Craig, D Hagerty, L M'Can, J F Blanton, H B Partlow, L Smith, J Montgomery, and himself. T M Henley, Lloyd's, Va. some time since, vol.2 for Sarah W Hill, W Dew, L C Gatewood, J Lumpkin, and G W Gatewood. T M Morton, Washington, Ky. vol. 2 for H Smith, vol. 3 for G Mafford, and vols. 2 and 3 for W H Wilson and himself. J Husbands, Somerset, Pa. vol. 1, and 1 dollar on vol. 2. J Cahoon, Dover, O. vol. 2 for J Risdon and Mr. Abbot, and 1 dollar on vol. 3 for C B Hill. J Rudolph, Garrettsville, O. vol. 2 for S Harman. J J Helvenston, Spring Grove, East Florida, vol. 2 for S Girger and E Martin, and 1 dollar on vol. for himself. T Bullock, Rees' Cross Roads, Ky. vol. 2 for J Castleman and T Crutcher, and vol. 3 for J M Dupuy, and vols. 2 and 3 for C B Henry. G W Elley, Nicholasville, Ky. vols. 1 and 2 for S Dillon, G W Brown, W Duncan, J Marrs and J Sale, vol. 2 for W Lowen, J Sacrey and R Roman, and vol. 3 for W Boyce and W M Shreve. W Poston, Winchester, Ky. vol. 2 for W Talliafero, J Bush, J R Turnbull, and vol. 3 for H Jacobs. S Black, La Fayette, Ind. vols. 2 and 3, and 1 dollar on vol. 4. W E True, New Castle, Ky. vols.1 and 2 for J Rice, and 1 dollar on vol. 2 for himself. H E Blaylock, Cayuga, Mi. vol. 2 for W F Dillon, and vol. 2 and 1 dollar on vol. 3 for himself. S E Shepard, Alba; Pa. vol. 3 for B Kingsbury. J Thayer, Waddington. N. Y. 1 dollar on vol 3. W A Seranton, Rochester, N. Y. vols. 1 and 2 for J Spoon and vol. 2 for S Clark, and 1 dollar for C G Hill. J Stapleton, Cincinnati, O. vol. 2 for E Dolph, T Crane and J K Sparks, and vol.1 for T Powers of Milton. New York. J Abbot, Macon, Ga. vols. 1 and 2 for J Davidson, vol. 2 for J Obzendorf, and 1 dollar on vol. 3 for himself. Mr. M'Bride, Hickory, Pa. vol. 3. N Carle, Wellsburg, Va. vols. 1 and 2. T Jackman, Booneton, Mo. vol. 2 for S Stemmons and W Birch. M Meyers, Kingston. Ky. vol. 1 and 2 for A B Meyers; also, vols. 1 and 2, and 1 dollar on vol. 3 for himself; W R Cole, Wilmington, O. vols. 2 and 3 for J Collet, and vol. 3 for W Hibbim, A E Strickle, and $1.50 for J Carman. B Page, Allegany Town, Pa. vols. 1 and 2. W Donaldson, Canonsburg, Pa. vols. 1 and 2 for M Miller. C E Williams, Mount Sterling, Ky. vol. 2 for J Glover, J Hopwood and J Wright, and vol. 3 for himself. S E Shepard, Alba, Pa. vol. 3 for G Kress. P Smith, Murfreesborough, Ten. vols 2 and 3 for K Williams and himself. Receipts here omitted shall appear in our next. 
[The Millennial Harbinger, 3 (February, 1832): 49-96.]
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Alexander Campbell, ed.|
The Millennial Harbinger, Vol. III, No. II (1832)
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