[Table of Contents]
Alexander Campbell, ed.|
The Millennial Harbinger, Vol. III, No. III (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.
REASON EXAMINED BY INTERROGATORIES--No. III.
Querist--ARE there not some truths in revelation, as commonly understood, contrary to thy decisions?
Reason.--No truth in any science is contrary to my decisions. I decide only what is truth. But many notions are called truths of revelation which are not found in revelation, but in the bewildered and confused imaginations of men. Some there are who affirm (and, no doubt, think) that whatever is contrary to their ignorance and prejudice, is contrary to reason; for they imagine that their own prejudices and ignorance are identical with reason. But I own nothing to be truth which is not correspondent with what exists. My definition of historic truth is the agreement of the narrative with the fact; of logical truth, the agreement of the terms of the proposition with one another, or the conclusion with the premises; and of religious truth. whatever God, or some one deputed by him, has spoken. This is the truth concerning which you are interrogating me. Every thing that God has spoken is true: for "God is truth."
Querist--But if God should be reputed as having said any thing contrary to your ascertained decisions on subjects within your scrutiny and jurisdiction, what then? Dost thou affirm it?
Reason.--What God has spoken, and what he is reputed to have spoken, are very different things. I hold it that God has spoken only truth. But he is represented to have spoken very contrary propositions, according to the testimonies of prejudice and imagination. But let me tell thee once for all, there is nothing contrary to me that is not contrary to truth; and my province is simply to decide all pretensions to truth.
To me it appears consistent with the principles developed in the constitution of the mundane system, that God has spoken to man concerning his origin and destiny. And certainly the positive evidence inscribed upon, transfused through, and collateral with, these oracle of God, is as clearly ascertained as that, if there be any design  apparent in human action, there is design apparent in the creation and preservation of the universe.
I have in millions of instances, during four thousand years, decided that God has spoken repeatedly to man; and in millions of instances, during the last two thousand years, I have affirmed "that God, who in sundry times and in divers parcels, spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by his Son." Such is my oracle, because I have decided from many processes of examination and cross-examination of the witnesses for God, with as much assurance as I have ever affirmed any historical fact.
Querist.--For the sake of argument, then, let it be conceded that your decision is accordant to truth. Then I ask, Admitting that God has spoken to man, and that the Bible contains these communications; but amongst the various copies and versions, ancient and modern, there are various readings and interpolations: how, then, do you discriminate the genuine from the spurious readings? What are thy criteria?
Reason.--The narrative of facts is the same in all manuscripts, copies, and versions, in every substantial particular. The facts are not only the basis, but the matter of christian faith; and it is only in the verbal expositions of the meanings and tendencies of these facts, that interpolations or various readings of any importance occur. Comparisons of the more ancient manuscripts and translations, and of the quotations found in the writings of the primitive authors, together with the scope, style, and manner of the inspired penmen, make it not difficult, when proper pains are taken, to ascertain the genuine readings, and to detect the supplements or mistakes of transcribers.
Querist.--But does not the detection of some supplements, interpolations, or erroneous readings, constitute some objection against the authenticity of the religion founded upon these writings?
Reason.--No: no more than the detection of the works of man upon the mountains and plains, upon the lakes, rivers, and seas, weakens the argument that the earth is the Lord's and that he is the maker of it. As soon would I reject all proof of the divine benevolence because there are found vegetable poisons in our gardens, and mineral poisons among our medicines which God has himself created, as reject a communication from him because he has permitted man to transcribe it, and left it possible for him to pervert it; affording, however, sufficient criteria to detect every foreign ingredient, as he has to discriminate the vegetables and minerals favorable to life, or to contradistinguish what are called the works of nature from the works of art.
Querist.--Tell me, then, what use dost thou make of revelation?
Reason.--All its communications are to me as the axiomata of Euclid to the mathematician. I use them all as first and fixed principles never to be called in question, as rules and measures by which all moral principles are to be tried. A "thus says the Lord" settles all debate, and is absolutely authoritative in every question  concerning the spiritual and eternal world. So soon as I ascertain the meaning of the command, promise, or proclamation, I pause not to inquire whether it ought to be regarded, received, or obeyed, but proceed forthwith, according to its tenor and import, to act in accordance with it.
Querist.--But is not this implicit and unconditional surrender of thyself derogatory to thy true dignity, office, and honor?
Reason.--Nothing I conceive so honorable, so dignifying, so congenial to my office, as this implicit acquiescence in all the annunciations of the Great Father of reason and truth. Nothing so certain, so durable, so unchangeable as the word of the Lord. There is no error in it. There can be no error in the most strict and exact conformity to it: for it shall stand for ever. Truth, like its author, is eternal and unchangeable. And when it is ascertained that God has spoken, to bow with reverence and without reserve is my duty and my honor.
Querist.--But is it not alleged by thee that God has always spoken in accordance with thee--that revelation and reason perfectly harmonize?
Reason.--When men speak of revelation and reason according and harmonizing, they cannot mean a faculty of the human soul: for what sense is there in affirming that natural light and the eye harmonize and accord? To say that light and the eye agree, is to say as much as that revelation and reason agree. Reason is that eye of the soul to which the light of revelation is addressed. But the babbling world, perhaps, mean that revelation and experience agree; which is true just as far as we have experience; but as revelation immeasurably transcends our experience, it can only be affirmed that so far as human experience reaches, it accords with revelation; and hence it is fairly to be presumed that experience will continue to agree or correspond with revelation until the terms "revelation" and "experience" will be terms of equal value, and cover the same area of thought.
The improper use of terms, the confounding of words and phrases, is an error as common among sceptics as among christians, and it is equally pernicious to them as to any other class of reasoners, The phrases, "above reason," "contrary to reason," "accordant to reason," when fairly tested, mean no more among those who think, than above or beyond my experience, contrary to my experience, or accordant to my experience. He, therefore, who says he believes nothing above his reason, nor contrary to his reason, simply says he believes nothing above his experience or contrary to it; and therefore revelation to him is wholly incredible. A christian may believe the Alcoran or the writings of Confucius or Zoroaster just as far as many persons believe the Old and New Testament: that is, as far as their experience goes.
I am wholly misapprehended by the great multitude who pretend to adore me. They are burning incense to a phantom which I abhor, find insulting me to my face by ascriptions of praise, which caricature  rather than characterize me. Their philosophy concerning my being and perfections, when stripped of its flimsy veil, represents me as a deity of subcreative power, an independent dependant, originating and originated, creating and created. My worshippers, were they to understand themselves, would be astounded at the grossness of their idolatry and the stupidity of their devotion. One says, "I believe nothing above thee, O Reason!" Another says, "I believe nothing contrary to thee, O Reason!" In derision I have replied, "I see nothing above thee, O Eve?" "I see nothing contrary to thee, O Eye!" Yet they feel not the severity of my reproof, but repeat their unmeaning adorations. A votary of mine, carrying a candle in a dark night, once exclaimed, "I desire no guide but thee, O Reason!" to whom I whispered, "I want no guide but thee, O Eye!" and immediately blew out his candle. He stood confounded; but perceived not the meaning of my remonstrance, and forthwith cried out for a guide. No ear heard him, for he had declared himself independent of the ear; and, plunging into a ditch, he perished!
Reproof, remonstrance, irony, and satire are in vain. This ignoble crowd still throng my courts, and are worshipping they know not what. I renounce them; they belong not to my school--they are not admitted into my secrets. I claim not divine honors. Whatever knowledge I have acquired I have gleaned from two volumes. I read but two--the volume of Nature and the volume of Revelation: the former for the present, the latter for the future destiny of man. I have not an original idea: all that I know of the material system is derived from the volume of Nature; and all that I know of the spiritual is derived from the volume of Revelation. With these lamps I can direct all who submit to my guidance; but without them I cannot move one step, much less guide them in the path of life. I carry two lamps--one in each hand: these guide my true disciples; but the lamps which guide them illuminate my path and show me where to place my foot.
Querist.--Thou now speakest without a parable--and while thou claimest for thyself no higher honors than these, thou wilt ever find me thy advocate when thou demandest my aid.
CAMPBELLISM A QUARTER OF A CENTURY AGO.
THE following CIRCULAR, written 26 years ago, shows that the Regular Baptists have been, in many places, falling off from the peculiarities which were for ages the chief ornament of the denomination. Their testimony was once loud and unfaltering, clear and decided for the spirituality of Christ's kingdom, for the sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures against all human creeds, for the ordinances of the New Institution, and against the assumptions of many Protestant sects and the Roman hierarchy. But having become more  fashionable, and in good standing with the other sects, they have, in conformity to them, lost much of their former spirituality and simplicity.
|NORTH CAROLINA, A. D. 1805.|
The Ministers and Messengers of the Neuse Baptist Association, to the several Churches they represent, sendeth christian salutation.
Dearly beloved Brethren--
Through the providence of God we have had another comfortable meeting, and have had favorable accounts of the work of grace in different churches. We still feel it our duty, by way of letter, to give you some advice in a cautionary manner, with respect to the prevailing evil of the examples and writings of professing men in churches, both ancient and modern; for in them we discover the beast, with the likeness of a lamb's horns, striving to destroy the faith and practice of the christian church. To say but little about their actions may do; for, to do the subject justice, would be beyond the bounds of a circular letter.
To give a few hints:--All mankind are imperfect at best, by reason of which they have self ends and interests in view, and will, in a less or greater degree, form their actions in order to obtain them, and so conform to the customs and fashions of the people with whom they converse, laying aside the exhortation of Paul, which is, not to conform to the things of this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of their minds, that they may prove what is that good, acceptable, and perfect will of God; and leaving the example of Christ, they follow the world, laying aside the austere part of religion, they would make it more easy to enter into the kingdom. By this means, they gain the friendship of the rich and the popular; this procures a rich glebe and plump benefice, which is pleasing to the nature of man, and the dissimulation of a Peter may draw away a Barnabas. So weak minds are led astray, and the cross of Christ reproached, which has been the cause of a misapplication and wrong administration of ordinances. The writings of men of this stamp, have the same and a more pernicious tendency. We mean those that are intended as a rule in any part of the faith and practice of a church--such as canons, creeds, confessions of faith, catechisms, and church histories, with all other scribbles of the same complexion. The impropriety of the above may be seen by the differences among them, and the alterations they have met with in the different centuries, and different churches, prove them an improper rule for christians. Another evil attends them:--As their desire was for the after generations, to lead them into the religion and principles of their fathers, therefore it begets strong prejudices on the mind, and lays them liable to many errors and superstitions, and deprives them from seeing any necessity of searching the Scriptures, believing that their fathers were as good, as wise, and as learned as any men, and so take them for their guide, and learn of man, and not of Christ; and trust in man and making flesh their arm, and so bring this curse of God on themselves.
Again, we are not to take the writings of any mere man in spiritual things, but search the Scriptures whether it is so or not. Then, before we dare to take these writings as a rule, we must examine their references, and compare their inferences with the spirit of the text, and be at as much trouble as the compiler. Why not take the Scriptures? Again, they are a false representation to the world, recommending their authors as almost divine, and their characters unspotted, swelling their good works to an enormous size, while all their misconduct, imperfections, and failings are slightly mentioned or entirely concealed; and men being fond of applause, are still adopting the same measures, which keeps the presses filled with such performances and sacrilegious speculations, carrying on through church and state, robbing God of his honor, and his poor servants of their money, and perpetuating error from one generation  to another. This, we believe, is the foundation upon which bason baptism, giving absolution for sins, preaching funeral sermons, the use of ceremonies at graves, and praying for the dead, first originated, and is still kept up. Another strong objection against the above writings is, that they cast contempt upon the Scriptures, and their authors assuming the prerogative of Christ, they presuppose that the Scriptures are imperfect, and short of being in themselves a sufficient rule for a church; forasmuch as they add traditions that are not to be found in the word of God, and bind them upon their adherents, by which they are led to read and consider those writings more than the Scriptures, thereby lay a greater stress upon them, and so to be like those that seem somewhat in the church, and less regard Christ and his word. This is contempt indeed! And their authors assume the place of Christ, as they make themselves head rulers and lawgivers over the churches, and thereby get the mastery, and are called Rabbi, robbing God of his glory and Christ of his honor. Another strong reason why we should reject, condemn, and cast away all such pretensions, is, that there is not one text in God's word that gives the least liberty, under any pretension whatever, for such writing; but to the contrary, strictly forbids adding to, or diminishing from, under the pain of his curse.
And now, brethren, we have endeavored to lay before you the nature and tendency of those very pernicious performances. We hope you will duly consider them, and avoid the evil by a close search of God's word, and strict attention thereto, as the rule of your lives, knowing that you are to receive nothing without searching the Scriptures to see whether it is approved of by God or not. In this you stand justifiable in the sight of God and man. This, by the grace of God, will support you against the gross and prevailing error of the present day; this will lead you into the peaceable paths of righteousness, and make them pleasant to your souls; these are the paths in which the Patriarchs, Prophets, and Apostles went--they are now with God at rest. May the Lord bring us all thither for Christ's sake!
|FRANCIS OLIVER, Moderator.
SAMUEL BUXTON, Clerk.
ESSAY ON THE CORRUPTIONS OF CHRISTIANITY,
TERMINATING IN POPERY--No. I.
UPON THE POLYTHEISM FROM NOAH TO THE BIRTH OF CHRIST.
THE church of S. Maria Rotunda, in the city of Rome, was reared by M. Agrippa, son-in-law to Augustus Cesar, and was called by him the Pantheon. In this building, in niches all round its walls, stood the images of all the gods of the Pagan world. In honor of them it was reared, and to them consecrated. But Boniface IV, diminished the edifice somewhat, and re-consecrated it to the worship of the Virgin Mary, and all the saints, male and female. In the niches which held the images of every god, now stand the images of every saint and saintess in the Roman Calendar.
The most authentic records of remote antiquity give to Ninus, the son of Nimrod, and founder of Nineveh, the honor or dishonor of first contriving a false God. In a public assembly of the Babylonians he passionately extolled his father, by them called Belus, the founder of their empire; and presented to them a statue of him, to which he commanded them to pay the same reverence as was due to his father alive. He appointed the statue to be a common sanctuary to the miserable, and decreed that every offender who fled to it should be  exempt from punishment. This privilege procured such veneration for the statue, that he whom it represented was revered as a god, and called, according to some, Jupiter; and according to others, Saturn, of the Babylonians. This happened in the two thousandth year of the world, and the last year but one of Noah's life. So idolatry began.
All nations did not worship Belus. Other nations chose for themselves gods after their own hearts. "The Africans worshipped the heavens; the Persians, fire, water, and the winds; the Lybians, the sun and moon; the Thebans, sheep and weasels; the Babylonians of Memphis, a whale; the inhabitants of Mendis, a goat; the Thessalonians, storks; the Syrophenicians, doves; the Egyptians, dogs, cats, crocodiles, and hawks; nay, leeks, onions, and garlic." Of the latter people the satirical Juvenal says--
|"O sanctas gentes quibus haec nascuntur in hortis
Religious nations, sure, and bless'd abodes,
Where every orchard is o'errun with gods!
But worse than all, murderers, adulterers, thieves, drunkards, and robbers were deified and adored.
In the Roman Pantheon the gods were distributed into six classes; the Celestial, the Terrestrial, the Marine, the Infernal, the Minuti or Semones, and the Indigetes or Adscriptitii.
Amongst the celestial Jupiter stood first, next Apollo, Mars, Mercury, and Bacchus; the goddesses of the same rank were Juno, Vesta, Minerva or Pallas, Venus, Luna, and Bellona. In the great arch of the Pantheon was drawn the image of the father of the gods and king of men--"Jupiter, placed on a throne of ivory, under a rich canopy, with a beard, holding thunder in his right hand, which he brandishes against the giants at his feet; his sceptre made of imperishable cypress, symbol of the eternity of his empire. On his sceptre sits an eagle, called his armor-bearer, because it brought him thunder in his battles with the giants. He wears golden shoes, and is covered with a woolen cloak." Thus appeared Jupiter in, ancient Rome.
The names of Jupiter in the different nations which acknowledged him, cannot easily be enumerated. 'The Greeks called him Ammon, or Hammon, which signifies sandy. He obtained this name in Lybia, because in the form of a ram he opened the sands of the desert and water flowed on the petition of Bacchus. The Assyrians and Babylonians called him Belus. In different places and languages from this root he was called Beel, Baal, Beelphegor, Beelzebub, and Beelzemen. He was called in Rome Capitolinus, Tarpeius, Optimus Maximus, Custos. In other countries he was called Diespiter, Dodonoeus, Elicius, Feretrius Fulminator, Gragus, Genitor, Imperator, Opitulus, Olympius, Pistor, Regnator, Stator, Soter, the Saviour, Ultor, Zeus, &c. &c. Out of one god they frequently made many. Thus the Sun, according to the aspect in which he was viewed,  became a new god. "The vernal Sun was the infant Horus, and the Midsummer Sun was Hercules. In autumn he was worshipped as the dying Adonis, and in winter as the dead Osiris. The priests of the Nile gave the figure of every sign to the Sun. Every new month then afforded a new deity. On entering Aries the Sun was worshipped as a ram, as Ammon; on entering Taurus he was worshipped as the bull, and became the celebrated Apis." A volume would not define the names of all the gods of the Pagan world, and volumes would not record the feats, pranks, amors, debaucheries, murders, &c. of the gods of the two thousand years before the christian era.
In worshipping God men looked to the heavens. The heavens, under the name of Jupiter, were worshipped by the ancient Etruscans. Him the Pelasgians invoked as "the dweller in ether, and the driver of the clouds." "Aspice hoc sublime candens quem invocant omnes Jovem." (Behold this lofty and bright expanse, whom they call Jove.) Or, as Virgil sings,
|"Ab jove principium musae: Jovis omnia plena."
(From the great father of the gods above
My muse begins; for all is full of Jove.)
From the adoration of the heavens in general, the mind in its descent next took hold of the Sun under the name of Apollo; next, the Moon, under the name of Diana; then the stars. The Egyptian Osiris was the Sun, or universal fire; and their Isis, the Moon; or, in other words, Osiris with them represented active power, and Isis passive nature. According to Thales, "wherever there was motion there was soul;" hence not only the heavenly bodies were personified, but almost all animated nature. From worshipping the heavens they descended to the worship of ants and roots.
Benefactors and heroes after their decease were first admired and then adored. Frequently these were blended with the worship of the heavenly bodies, insomuch that the same names are given to departed heroes and the host of heaven. Thus Hercules, amongst the Egyptians and Phenicians, was the midsummer sun in the fulness of his strength; and amongst the Greeks he was a piratical adventurer who sailed, depredated, and plundered upon the Grecian seas.
It is an arduous task to form an acquaintance with the complicated machinery of ancient mythology; for when to the gods and goddesses are added the priests and priestesses and all the paraphernalia of their groves, fanes, rites, ceremonies, and hieroglyphics, the acquisition of a foreign language is an easy matter in comparison of an accurate knowledge of the polytheism of the ancient nations.
This idolatry filled the world with every species of crime. When amors, intrigues, debaucheries, rapes, and murders were the pastimes of the gods worshipped by the great mass of human kind, what must have been the morals of such worshippers!!!
From such premises we may judge whether Paul's picture of the Pagan morals be too high wrought: "'Filled with all injustice,  fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, full of envy, murder, strife, cunning, bad disposition, whisperers, revilers, haters of God, insolent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil pleasures, disobedient to parents, covenant breaker's, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful." After this peek into the polytheism of the Pagan world, which so often corrupted and distressed the Jews, let us take a peep into that Pagan philosophy which corrupted christianity soon after its birth. But before we touch upon the philosophy, let us just glance at the priesthood of this idolatry.
The priesthood of polytheism had an inner and an outer religion--one for the common people, and one for the initiated. As a late writer has remarked, "Amongst simple tribes, where there is no regular priesthood, there is nothing complex in the rites of worship and little consistency in the scheme of belief. They worship nature when visible and present to their senses, and make scarcely any use of representative symbols. These are introduced with temples, and are necessary in a service no longer carried on in the face of nature. The priesthood seem always to have been aware of the origin of hero worship and of the political motives on account of which their deceased kings and legislators were admitted among the number of the gods; but this they concealed from the common people, and encouraged in them the gross worship of every idol in the most unnatural and complicated rites."
But knowing that the adoration of the heavenly bodies was the more ancient worship, and that even these were only the representatives of one great being, "the father of all the gods and men," they communicated this their confused notion of but one divinity, to the initiated. Those initiated into their mysteries, amongst whom were many of their legislators and magistrates, were informed of the grounds of the vulgar worship and the reasons for tolerating it. These were very similar to what some of the high and low priests of nature of modern times have to offer for themselves. 'Christianity is necessary,' say they, 'for the uneducated, unphilosophic mind--for the common people: but as for us philosophers, we
|"Look through Nature up to Nature's God,"|
and need not a written revelation nor the institutes of religion to direct our minds or regulate our conduct. Thus did the priests of polytheism teach those in the inner temple introduced into the mysteries of their high school, while the great mass in the outer court were encouraged in all the gross notions of demon worship down to the idolatry of reptiles.
Hence came the philosophers of the Pagan world to have "an outward and an inward philosophy." "The gross superstitions presented to the vulgar, and more refined mysteries reserved for the initiated," being the policy of the priesthood, it is not unreasonable to expect that this should give a turn to the reasonings of their philosophers. But this must be postponed till our next.
ON THE RULES OF INTERPRETATION--No III.
LET us now, for a moment, imagine ourselves to stand in the place of those who were addressed by the prophets. Of course we must suppose ourselves to have the same understanding of the Hebrew language, to have been educated within the same circle of knowledge, and to be familiar with the same objects both in the natural and spiritual world. Should we need lexicons, grammars, and commentaries, in order to understand Isaiah, or any other prophet? The supposition is, upon the very face of it, almost an absurdity. Are our common people, who have the first rudiments of education, unable to understand the popular preachers of the present day? If it is so, it is the egregious fault of the preacher, and not of his hearers. It is because he chooses words not contained in the usual stores of language from which most persons draw, and which he need not choose, and should not select, because he must know that such a choice will make him more or less unintelligible. But who will suppose the prophets to have acted thus unwisely? The inspiration by the aid of which they spake and wrote, surely enabled them to speak and write intelligibly. If so, then were we listeners to them, and in the condition of those whom they actually addressed, we could of course understand them, for just the same reasons, and in the same way, that we now understand the popular preachers of our time. All our learned apparatus of folios and quartos, of ancient and modern lexicographers, grammarians, and critics, would then be quietly dismissed, and laid aside as nearly or altogether useless At the most we should need them no more than we now need Johnson's or Webster's Dictionaries, in order to understand a modern sermon in the English language.
All this needs only to be stated, in order to ensure a spontaneous assent to it. But what follows? The very thing, I answer, which I am laboring to illustrate and establish. If the persons addressed by the Hebrew prophets, understood them, and easily and readily understood them, in what way was this done? Plainly by virtue of the usual principles of interpretation, which they applied in all the common intercourse of life. They were not held in suspense about the meaning of a prophet, until a second interposition on the part of heaven took place, i. e. a miraculous illumination of their minds in order that they might perceive the meaning of words new and strange to them. Such words were not employed. They were able, therefore, at once to perceive the meaning of the prophet who addressed them, in all ordinary cases; and this is true throughout, with exceptions merely of such a nature as still occur, in regard to most of our preaching. Now and then a word is employed, which some part of a common audience does not fully comprehend; and now and then a sentiment is developed, or an argument employed, which the minds of some are not sufficiently enlightened fully to comprehend. But in such cases, the difficulty arises more from the subject than it does from the language. 
The prophets indeed complain, not unfrequently, that the Jews did not understand them. But this complaint always has respect to a spiritual perception and relish of the truths which they delivered to them. 'They heard, but understood not; they saw, but perceived not.' The fault, however, was the want of spiritual taste and discernment; not because the language, in itself, was beyond human comprehension.
Admitting then that the prophets spoke intelligibly, and that they were actually understood by their cotemporaries, and this without any miraculous interposition, it follows of course, that it was the usual laws of interpretation which enabled their hearers to understand them. They applied to their words, and spontaneously applied the same principles of interpretation which they were wont to apply to the language of all who addressed them. By so doing, they rightly understood the prophets; at any rate, by so doing, they might have rightly understood them; and if so, then such laws of interpretation are the right ones, for those laws must be right which conduct us to the true meaning of a speaker.
I can see no way of avoiding this conclusion, unless we deny that the prophets were understood, or could be understood, by their contemporaries. But to deny this, would be denying facts so plain, so incontrovertible, that it would argue a desperate attachment to system, or something still more culpable.
In view of what has just been said, it is easy to see why so much study and learning are necessary, at the present time, in order to enable us correctly to understand the original Greek and Hebrew Scriptures. We are born neither in Greece nor Palestine; we have learned in our childhood to read and understand neither Greek nor Hebrew. Our condition and circumstances, our course of education and thought, as well as our language, are all different from those of a Jew in ancient times. Our government, our climate, our state of society and manners and habits, our civil, social, and religious condition, are all different from those of Palestine. Neither heaven above nor earth beneath, is the same in various respects. A thousand productions of nature and art, in the land of the Hebrews, are unknown to our times and country; and multitudes of both are familiar to us, of which they never had any knowledge. How can we then put ourselves in their places, and listen to prophets and apostles, speaking Hebrew and Greek, without much learning and study? It is plainly impossible. And the call for all this learning and study is explained by what I have just said. All of it is designed to accomplish one simple object, and only one, viz. to place us, as nearly as possible, in the condition of those whom the sacred writers originally addressed. Had birth and education placed us there, all this study and effort might be dispensed with at once; for, as has been already stated, we could then understand the sacred writers, in the same way and for the same reason that we now understand our own preachers. When we do this, we do it by spontaneously applying the laws of interpretation which we have practised from our childhood; and such would  have been the case, had we been native Hebrews, contemporary with the prophets and apostles.
When the art of interpretation, therefore, is imagined or asserted to be a difficult and recondite art, dependent on great learning and high intellectual acuteness, the obvious mistake is made of confounding with it another sort of learning, which is only preparatory and conditional, but does not constitute the principles themselves of hermeneutics.
It seems to my own mind, that we have arrived at the conclusion which it was proposed to examine and confirm, in a very plain, natural, and simple way. The substance of all is, the Bible was made to be understood; it was written by men, and for men; it was addressed to all classes of people; it was for the most part understood by them all, just as our present religious discourses are; and of course it was interpreted in such a way, or by the aid of such principles, as other books are understood and explained.
But there are objectors to this position. Some of them, too, speak very boldly, and with great zeal and confidence. Candor requires that we should listen to them, and examine their allegations.
Obj. 1. 'How can the common laws of interpretation apply to the Scriptures, when confessedly the Bible is a book which contains revelations in respect to supernatural things, to the knowledge of which no human understanding is adequate to attain?'
The fact alleged I cheerfully concede. But the inference drawn from it, I do not feel to be at all a necessary one, nor in fact in any measure a just one. So far as the Scriptures are designed to make known a revelation to us, respecting things that are above the reach of our natural understanding, just so far they are designed to communicate that which is intelligible. If you deny this, then you must maintain that to be a revelation, which is not intelligible; or, in other words, that to he a revelation, by which nothing is revealed.
If you say that a new interposition on the part of heaven is necessary, in order that any one may understand the Scriptures, then you make two miracles necessary to accomplish one end; the first, in giving a so called revelation, which after all is unintelligible; the second, in supernaturally influencing the mind to discern what is meant by this revelation. The reply to this has been already suggested above, viz, it contradicts experience, and it is contrary to the analogy of God's dealing with us in all other respects.
As far then as any revelation is actually made in the Scriptures, so far they are intelligible. But, perhaps, some one will here make another objection, viz.--
Obj. 2 'Intelligible to whom? A man must be enlightened in a spiritual respect, before he can understand the Scriptures. How then can the usual laws of interpretation enable him to understand and to explain them?'
The fact here alleged is rather over-stated; I mean to say, the assertion is too general. That there are parts of the Scriptures which no unsanctified man can fully understand and appreciate, is and must  be true, so long as the fact is admitted that there are parts which relate to spiritual experience. "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." Most freely and fully do I concede what is here meant to be affirmed. How can any man fully understand what is said of religious experience and feelings, who is not himself, and never has been, the subject of such experience and feelings?
After all, however, there is nothing new or singular in this, at least so far as the principle itself is concerned. The same principle holds true, in regard to other things and other books. Before a man can understand them, he must be in a condition to do so. Who can read Newton's Principia or Mecanique Celeste of La Place, and understand them, unless he comes to the study of them with due preparation? Who can read any book of mental or moral science, and enter fully into the understanding of it, unless he is himself in a state which enables him throughout to sympathize with the author, and to enter into all his feelings and views? Who, for example, can read and fully understand Milton and Homer, without the spirit and soul of poetry within him which will enable him to enter into their views and feelings? Who can read intelligently even a book of mathematics, without sympathizing with the writer?
The answer to these questions is too plain to need being repeated. How then does the principle differ, when I ask, 'Who can read the Scriptures intelligently, that does not enter into the moral and religious sympathies of the writers?' I agree fully to the answer which says, 'No one.' The thing is impossible. But is equally impossible in all other cases to read intelligently, without entering into tile the sympathies of the writers.
Those then who are solicitous for the honor of the Scriptures, have in reality nothing to fear from this quarter, in respect to the principle which I have been advocating. A demand for religious feeling, in order fully to enter into the meaning of the sacred writers, rests on the same principle as the demand for a poetic feeling in order to read Milton with success, or a mathematical feeling in order to study intelligibly Newton and La Place. How can any writer be well and thoroughly understood, when there is not some good degree of community of feeling between him and his reader? This is so obvious a principle, that it needs only to be stated in order to be recognized.
But still, it would be incorrect to say that Newton or Milton is unintelligible. They have both employed language in its unusual way: or if not always so, yet they have furnished adequate explanation of what they do mean. The laws of exegesis are the very same, in reading and explaining, Milton, as they are in reading and explaining Pope or Cowper; they are the same in respect to La Place, that they are in respect to Day's mathematics. But in both these cases, higher acquisitions are demanded of the reader in the former instance than in the latter. 
It is incorrect, therefore, to say that the Bible is unintelligible, or to say that the usual laws of interpretation are not to be applied to it, because an individual's feelings must be in unison with those of the writers, in order to understand all which they say.
Let me add a word also by way of caution, in regard to the subject now under consideration. There is a way of inculcating the truth, that "the natural man receiveth and knoweth not the things of the Spirit," which is adapted to make a wrong impression on the minds of men. They are prone to deduce from certain representations of this subject which have sometimes been made, the conclusion that natural men can understand no part of the Bible, and that they must be regenerated before they can have any right views of the Scriptures. But this is carrying the doctrine much beyond its just limits. A great part of the Bible is addressed to intelligent, rational, moral beings as such. All men belong to this class; and because this is so, they are capable of understanding the sacred writers, at least so far as they designed originally to be understood by all, and so far as the great purposes of warning and instruction are concerned. It is the condemnation of men, that "light has come into the world, and they love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil." Our Saviour could not have said, that if 'he had not come and spoken to the Jews, they would not have had sin,' except on the ground that the light which he communicated to them, rendered them altogether inexcusable. Let the preachers of the divine word take good care, then, that they do not so represent the ignorance of sinners as to diminish their guilt. When this ignorance is represented as involuntary, or as a matter of dire necessity, then is this offence committed.
Obj. 3. 'But is it not God who speaks in the Bible, and not man? How can we expect the words of God himself to be scanned by the rules of human language?'
The answer is brief, and like to that which has already been given. When God speaks to men, he speaks more humana, in human language; and this, in condescension to our wants. Does he expect us to understand the language of angels? He does not. The Bible is filled with the most ample illustrations of this. Every where human idioms and forms of speech, common to the Jewish nation and to individuals, are employed by the sacred writers. All the varieties of style and expression are observable in these writers, which we see any where else. The same figures of speech are employed; the same modes of address and instruction. We have historic narration, genealogical catalogues, prose, poetry, proverbs, addresses, sermons, parables, allegories, enigmas even; and all this in a way similar to that found in the works of uninspired writers. It is the matter rather than the manner, which characterizes the superiority of the Scriptures. The manner indeed is sublime, impressive, awful, delightful. But this is intimately connected with the elevated matter, the high and holy contents of the Bible. After all due allowances for this, we may say, that the manner is the manner of men; it is by men and for men. 
We come, then, after canvassing these principal objections against the position which has been advanced, to the conclusion before stated, viz. that the rules of interpretation applied to other books, are applicable to the Scriptures. If their contents are peculiar, (as they are,) still we apply the same laws to them as to other books that are peculiar, i. e. we construe them in accordance with the matter which they contain. If there are peculiarities belonging to individual writers, as is the fact with respect to several of them, we still apply the same principles to the interpretation of them which we do to other peculiar writers, i. e. we compare such writers with themselves, and illustrate them in this way. In short, no case occurs to my mind, in which the general principle above stated will not hold good, unless it be one which has been often proposed, and strenuously asserted, and which still has deep hold on the minds of some in our religious community; I mean the position that some of the Scriptures has a double sense, a temporal and a spiritual meaning at one and the same time. If this he true, it is indeed an exception to all the rules of interpretation which we apply to other books. But whether it be well grounded, in my apprehension may be doubted, salva fide et salva ecclesia. The discussion of the question respecting this, however, would occupy too much room for the present. If Providence permit, it will be made the subject of examination at some future period.
[Under this series the attention of our readers will he called to the Constitution, Ordinances, Laws, and Discipline of the Christian Church; general views of the Church of God, prefatory to the Christian Institution, first demanding consideration.]
LET men say what they please, the church with its affairs, its origin, fortunes, and consummation, is the most ample and elevated theme to which the mind of man, to which the towering hierarchies of heaven can aspire. Displays of divine greatness--of power, wisdom, and goodness, to the amplitude of creation, elevate and astonish all finite intelligence; but the moral effulgence, grandeur, sublimity, in the harmony of truth, justice, mercy, and love, to the amplitude of the eternal redemption of fallen man, present to all intellects a more transcendant glory, a more enrapturing and transporting excellency.
|"'Twas glorious to create--'more glorious to redeem!"|
Let haughty mortals, aspiring to be gods on earth, frown or fret. The eternal glory of the church stands engraven on her gates and towers as the final consummation of God's eternal purpose in creation, providence, and redemption. For this the foundations of the earth were laid, and the curtains of the heavens were stretched abroad, But they all shall wax old as does a garment, and as a vesture shall they be folded up! The pillars of the earth shall crumble down to dust, and the everlasting mountains melt away when this  building of grace shall be completed, when the many sons of God are counted up to be enrolled in heaven. The frame of political society--nay, the frame of the material system, is but the scaffolding to the walls of Zion: for when the last stone is fitted for the heavenly temple, the earth, with all the works of man upon it, its cities, palaces, temples, towers, shall be dissolved, and the new heavens and earth, long foretold by God's holy seers, shall appear to our admiring eyes, amidst the acclamations of the myriads of myriads and millions of millions of the ransomed sons of God.
But now the creation proceeds. The multiplication of our race is in progress. The vegetable and animal generations yield their abundant products in proportion to the wants of man, for whom suns rise and set, moons wax and wane, tides ebb and flow, seasons revolve, and all nature teems with life. God created the farm, built the house, planted the garden, and furnished millions of servants to minister to man, all within the space of six days. But for six thousand years he has been creating, preserving, and redeeming man. The old creation always precedes the new--the natural first, the spiritual second. But as generations and nations increase, God, by the operation of the economy of grace, "takes out of them a people for his name."
This leads us to speak of the society called "the church." In its full import, as inclusive of the nations of the redeemed in all ages, it began in the family of Adam. Abel placed by Paul at the head of the long line of saints of great and eternal renown, was the first who, by faith in God's promise, exhibited in offering more sacrifice than Cain, obtained for himself the reputation of citizenship in this elect assembly. Cain, incited by pride, envy, and a worldly temper, became incensed against his brother. That arch apostate who plotted the revolt and consequent overthrow of Adam and Eve, and occasioned their expulsion from Eden and the presence of the Lord, next machinated the extinction of the church in the person of its first born Son. He instigated Cain, the first born of the flesh, to persecute to death his own brother, a son of Adam, and a son of God. Cain the husbandman, and Abel the shepherd, both appeared at the altar. Abel waked by faith, while Cain walked by his own experience. Cain, like many a graceless sinner, thanked God for food and raiment; While Abel, bringing his lamb also, mindful not only of the common bounties he enjoyed, but in faith of revelations concerning future times, presents a sin offering to the Lord. God testified of his gifts and offerings, graciously receiving them at his hand; while Cain, slighted in his offering, became incensed, and meditated vengeance against his brother, for no fault but that of faith. Abel, to his eternal fame, falls a martyr to his faith in the promises of God.
Faith forsook not the earth with the spirit of Abel. God's church since its birth was never extinct on earth. Eve, in the faith of God's promises to her, on the birth of Seth, said, "God has appointed me another seed instead of Abel whom Cain slew." The God of Abel was the God of Seth. In the time of Enos, son of Seth, the faithful  were designated "the sons of God," in contradistinction from "the children of men." Thus commenced the assembly of which we are about to speak.
Amongst the renowned personages of the patriarchal church, were the following prophets and preachers of righteousness:--Abel, Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mehalaleel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamach, Noah. Adam appears to have been the first who died a natural death, and next to his departure followed Enoch, translated without tasting death The three first members of the invisible church, sometimes called "the church triumphant," entered it each in a different way--Abel by the hand of violence, Adam by natural death in sequence of his fall, and Enoch by translation. The church for six thousand years has rejoiced that the first fruit of death was a martyr or righteousness' sake. What lessons these to the world--to the church! What a meeting in the great unseen! Adam follows his son, and before them next stands Enoch, proof of the resurrection of the dead! Slaughtered Abel, deathworn Adam, and translated Enoch, it appears from all the records before us, became the three first citizens of the church triumphant in the future world. Thus commenced the church on earth and the church in heaven.
Limited as were the revelations bestowed on the patriarchal churches, Enoch, as quoted by Jude, being witness, their light and knowledge greatly transcended what some of us may conjecture. The principles of the divine government in detail and the final consummation were laid open by Enoch before his translation to the blest abodes.
After the flood in the new world, Noah, Shem, Arphaxad, Cainan, Salah, Eber, Peleg, Reu, Serug, Nahor, and Terah, complete the line to Abraham, to whom new and comprehensive revelations are vouchsafed. The world is now 2000 years old.
These venerable and renowned fathers of mankind, with all their faults and imperfections, were the oracles of God to the human race, No written record, they were the great repositories of revelations, promises, commands, and institutions. From them to their contemporaries and descendants, and, indeed, to all mankind, flowed all the knowledge of the unseen and eternal world.
The affairs of the church are the most conspicuous incidents in the slender records of the first 2000 years. Including the "covenant of circumcision" made with Abraham after the promise concerning the Messiah, there are three institutions subsequent to the fall in the period at which we have glanced, connected with the history of redemption. Three covenants, as we are wont to call them, made with man, each signified by an appropriate symbol, deserve attention The symbols are Sacrifice, the Rainbow, and Circumcision. Three Promises are the bases of these institutions. The promise of victory over the serpent, having sacrifice appended; the promise of day and flight, of the seasons, of seed time and harvest, securing to Noah and his descendants deliverance from another deluge, to which the heavens bear witness by a radiant bow; the promise to Abraham  concerning his natural seed, superadded to the intimations of Messiah, having circumcision for its sign, in the prominent developements of God's purposes presented to the faith of men concerning nature and religion. The first two alike interested all the human race; the last the seed of Abraham alone directly and immediately, yet ultimately blessing all nations when the fulness of time came. The first anticipated four thousand years--the last but half that period; while the second extends to the universal conflagration. The second being given to Noah as the father of the human race, concerning the political and temporal concerns of men, and their preservation under the providence of God, effected no change in the worship of the patriarchal church. Hence after the deluge, as before, the same institutions continued with the whole human race until the calling of Abraham--from which period we shall continue our preliminary remarks in our next essay.
THE CHRISTIAN PREACHER--No. II.
THE christian preacher must be a philanthropist. But not such a philanthropist as those who are enrolled on the long list of national benefactors. Nor must he be a philanthropist from such considerations as have obtained for the soldier, the statesman, and the patriot this designation. Their philanthropy is of a different genus. Disguise it as their admirers may, it is but an enlarged and somewhat refined selfishness.
The patriot, whose pretensions are more plausible than those of the others, is unworthy of this honor in its christian sense. He is rather, a lover of the soil, of the mountains and plains, hills and valleys of his native spot, than a lover of men. 'Tis true he associates with the scenery of his country its inhabitants; but yet the foundation of his affection for these, on examination will be found to terminate upon, and to be terminated by, the soil of the province, country, or island which gave him birth. His amor patriæ, (his love of country,) so extolled by the ancients and the moderns, is well depicted and justly celebrated in the following strains of the Swiss Shepherd:--
|O when shall I visit the land of my birth,
The loveliest land on the face of the earth!
When shall I those scenes of affection explore?
Our forests, our fountains,
Our hamlets, our mountains,
With the pride of, our mountains, the maid I adore?
O when shall I dance on the daisy white mead,
In the shade of an elm, to the sound of a reed!
O when shall I visit that lovely retreat
Where all my fond objects of tenderness meet?
The lambs and the heifers that followed my call;
My father, my mother,
My sister, my brother.
And dear Isabella, the joy of them all!
O when shall I visit the land of my birth?
'Tis the loveliest land on the face of the earth! 
To the native of Switzerland this is the sublime of patriotism. And what nation breathes a purer air, or is more renowned for a purer or more ardent patriotism? Such feelings, however, form no element in the definition or composition of christian philanthropy.
The statesman need not boast. The fragrant spices of Arabia the Happy, will sooner grow on the hills of Nova Zembla, than philanthropy be found in affinity with politics. The very soul of politics is cold calculating selfishness. The policy of every measure which the statesman hails with any sort of enthusiasm, is the protective system. It is not the first time that it has been remarked that men can do in confederation, what they would blush to do in the detail. An individual who would apply to his domestic interests in reference to his neighbors, the same arguments which call for loud huzzas in the senate chamber, to the eloquence of a Burke, a Pitt, a Canning, or a Clay, would damn himself at home in the estimation of his neighbors. There is not a drop of generosity in the wine which a statesman drinks. It is ourselves, our country, perdition whom it may. The products of our soil, our industry, our genius must be protected, impoverish whom it may. The unsocial maxim of the English statesman, which has been well studied in this country, is, "Wring from the hand that guides a foreign loom the last farthing, provided only it enhance the value of a domestic shuttle." This is the rightful logic and splendid eloquence which gain unwithering honors to the statesman's tongue. If the native benevolence of his soul should prompt a different policy--if the love of his species should make a single struggle, or if conscience should remind him of "the golden rule," he silences every appeal by the arguments of retaliatory policy or self defensive measures. 'Tis thus that nations become great, and it is thus that the individuals which compose nations "worry and devour each other." The Berlin and Milan decrees justify the British orders in council. Retaliatory measures, letters of marque and reprisal, hostages, and every protective system are of the same kidney. 'Tis said, "We cannot live in Rome and strive against the Pope." Therefore it is all fair play, free trade, sailors' rights, sound policy, good logic. This we do not doubt. Call it all these; but call it not philanthropy.
If the patriot and the statesman fail in making their pretensions to philanthropy, where shall the soldier, crimsoned with the blood of his fellow-man, appear? We select not the hireling legions of an aspiring tyrant, who hire themselves out for a miserable pittance to butcher their own flesh and blood according to the law of nations. We take the volunteer who in some time of peril stands forth, sword in hand, ready to avenge an insult or an injury offered to his country; whose motto is--
|"In times of peace and war pursue thy country's good;
"For her bare thy bold breast and shed thy generous blood."
We take the patriot soldier, who, in defensive war, is willing to lead, or to be led, through all dangers, toils, and deaths, in defending the rights of his fellow-citizens and posterity, to life, liberty, and  independence. Even he most admired by those who share the honors and the immunities which he obtains or defends, knows not the name, feels not the impulse of that philanthropy which is essential to him who successfully pleads the cause of the Prince of Peace, and combats for an eternal crown.
This philanthropy is the love of man, irrespective of country, friends, interests, partialities, sects, divisions, casts. Its meets and boundaries are not leagues and commercial treaties, political alliances, the artificial ties of affinity, nor the stronger natural cords of consanguinity. It regards man as the workmanship of God, once erect in his image, yet capable of immortality, and of again reflecting the moral glories of his Maker, of blessing and being blessed in the fruition of a divine nature. It loves man purely for man's sake It is a transcript of that benevolence expressed in these enrapturing words, "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him might not perish, but have eternal life."
This philanthropy, like the refiner's fire, takes away the dross of selfishness, and endows its subject with the lustre of elevated and disinterested enterprize. It awakens all the sympathies of our nature in argument, remonstrance, and exhortation. It meets indifference, ingratitude, and even opposition, with the expostulations of commiseration, and sheds the chrystal tear of sorrow over those whose blindness and obduracy shut it from their hearts. It is patient and persevering in all its efforts; and when it abandons all hope of conferring its blessings upon the objects of its solicitude, in turning away it casts "a longing, lingering look behind." Even when it threatens the vengeance of Heaven against the disdainful contemners of the warning voice, and with an unfaultering tongue pronounces the recorded judgments of God against them who refuse to obey the gospel, it mingles with these awful arguments the undisguised condolence of heartfelt interest, and would fain avert the threatened doom. It dwells not exultingly upon the errors and vices of mankind while it portrays, with the graphic pencil of Apostles and Prophets, the end of this sad delinquency, and the terrors which await the impenitent and irreclaimable.
Not so the zeal which emanates from the selfishness of a sectarian spirit. The native pride and selfishness of the human heart find ample play in the efforts of a proselyting demagogue. He fights not under the banner of the cross, but under the banners of some favorite dogma. In sustaining his darling shibboleth, he is carried into the confines of every opposing system, and feeds with a voracious appetite upon the faults and errors of others. He is all exaggeration. The excellencies of his own opinions, and the blemishes and frailties of those opposed to them, are all exhibited in hyperbole. Not content with the actual amount of obliquity and dereliction of sound principle in the system he impugns, he seeks to give greater amplitude to its errors; and the chief regret which he exhibits is the want of grounds of impeachment, or of ability to present in stronger colors the deformities which he would wish it to impress upon the imagination of  others. The spirit of such a preacher is proud, proscriptive and denouncing. To the discerning he is more alive to the maintenance of his opinions than to the salvation of sinners.
Therefore, the philanthropy which we claim for the christian preacher stands distinguished from any thing under this name ascribed to the patriot, the statesman, the soldier, and even the preacher of any sectarian peculiarities. But what shall we say of the philanthropy claimed by the moral and literary benefactors of men, the founders of the eleemosynary institutions, the abolitionists, and all that class whose objects are to improve the literary, moral, and temporal condition of men? What shall we say of the philanthropy of a Clarkson, a Lancaster, a Wilberforce, an Owen? It is a philanthropy so far as the animal nature and political condition of mankind is regarded. But it rises not to that which we claim for the christian preacher. This is heaven-born and heaven-descended, and contemplates man in all his relations to matter and mind, to time and eternity.
God, the universal father, is the supreme philanthropist. His Son, the well beloved, brought it down to the senses of mankind, and gave it a living form, a habitation and a name amongst men. The heavenly circles of intelligences, who are all of one mind, derive their views and feelings from the sempiternal fountain of love; and as regards this our race they are all philanthropy. So that man illumined by the day spring from on high, finds himself the focus, the centre of celestial philanthropies. These rays concentrating on his heart, dilate it by the ardor of their intensity with that wide wish and all-comprehending benevolence which regards every human being as a brother, as a fellow-sufferer in one common ruin, and as embraced in the undefined benevolence of all the hosts of supernal light and love. Thus finding himself caught in the arms of divine philanthropy, and saved from going down to the pit, to which he was fast precipitating himself in his wanderings from God, the christian preacher is impelled onwards as a co-worker with God; an adjutant of all the heavenly hosts, in awaking the attention of all his fellows to the voice of God, to the songs of angels, and the rejoicings of all the hierarchies of heaven. "Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, and good will among men!"
This is the rationale, and it is the proof, and the only proof we wish to urge in support of this paper, which is, that the christian preacher, must be a philanthropist, and that, too, in Heaven's own definition of the word. Paul himself, that great philanthropist, was stimulated in all his efforts by his views of this divine philanthropy. "After that the philanthropy of God our Saviour shone forth," says he; "he saved us according to his mercy."
There is no defining nor circumscribing the achievements of a christian preacher, taught, impelled, and animated by this divine and celestial principle. When he rises in the radiance of this heavenly light, in the strength of Judah's Lion, as the sun goes forth from the chambers of the East, he advances, borne on the wings of the angels  of the New Covenant, and transported by the choral symphonies of their triumphant songs, feeling himself uttering the voice of God and the voices of angels, prophets, and apostles, he smites with a rod more potent than that of Moses, the rocky hearts of sinners; and by this heavenly rhetoric, upborne by the Holy Spirit, he opens in their hearts a well of water springing up into eternal life. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are with him in this work. The prayers of all saints, the martyrs of Jesus before the throne, all heavenly tongues bid him God speed. Thus inspired are all they who successfully announce the glad tidings of great joy to all people. Converts, the fruits of such a ministry, are converts to God and to the Lamb.
|"These weapons of the holy war,
Of what almighty force they are,
To make our stubborn passions bow,
And lay the proudest rebel low.
The Greeks and Jews, the learn'd and rude,
Are by these heavenly arms subdu'd;
While Satan rages at his loss,
And hates the preaching of the cross."
DIALOGUE ON RE-IMMERSION.
SINCE the remarks made in reply to an objection urged by Andrew Broaddus, in the 11th number, vol. 2, page 481 of this work, sundry letters have been received; some expressing doubts; some, objections; and others, difficulties arising from that paper, and from other causes. New difficulties have also arisen on the subject of re-baptism, practised in sundry places and on diverse occasions by the Regular Baptists, as some call themselves. These documents to hand are too numerous for our pages, and some of them not of much interest. We have concluded upon the whole premises, to throw their contents into the form of a dialogue, in which all the difficulties, and questions shall be introduced and examined. When we are got through, if any difficulty or objection remain unnoticed, we will, on special request, attend to it. The minds of the disciples, we trust, and the public, will be benefited by the discussion.
ALEXANDER AND RUFUS.
[Rufus speaks for all the doubting and embarrassed. He urges their plea The Editor, under the name of Alexander, attends to all he says.]
Alexander.--I am not a little disconcerted, friend Rufus, to learn that the Regular Baptists are in some places re-immersing some who have been persuaded to separate themselves from the disciples of Christ.
Rufus.--Have there been many instances of this sort?
A.--I have heard of only a few; but these are enough to establish the principle.
R.--I know more than a few of the Regular Baptists who have been reimmersed by the disciples, and I presume it is in the way of reprisals or retaliation that the Baptists re-immerse those of whom you have heard.
A.--Strange, indeed, if any persons professing faith in God's word could so trifle with his name and institutions as to convert them into mere instruments of retaliation!
R.--Perhaps I wrong them. However, I hope these incidents will cause you to reconsider what you have written in the 11th number, vol. 2 on re-baptism. There was a petitio principii (a begging of the question) in that piece, which I  regretted to see; and give me leave to add, I was displeased with both the matter and the manner of that article; and I am glad that you have given me an opportunity to tell you of it.
A.--Please tell me what have you to say against the manner. I know not how that can be offensive to you.
R.--I complain because you wrote it in the manner of a reply to Andrew Broaddus; and it was evident to me that you had others, perhaps, myself in your eye; and over the shoulders of your friend Andrew you gave me and some others a few good philippics. And my evidence, I candidly tell you, is this: You introduce into the body of that piece matters and remarks which were wholly uncalled for, in your reply to the objection extracted from his pamphlet.
A.--I admire your candor, and thank you for the opportunity you have given me to explain. And first let me tell you that I never thought of you at the time of writing that essay, and only intended to show reasons full and satisfactory why I could not be charged with the difficulties which Andrew had created. Besides this, I must also inform you that sundry questions on that subject, from different persons, forwarded to me, led me to give a greater range to my remarks than was absolutely necessary to meet the objections of my friend Broaddus.
R.--This is satisfactory as to the licence you took. But had you not at that time heard that I was, as you call it, re-baptized?
A.--No; nor till this moment. Have you really been re-baptized?
R.--Not re-baptized in my sense of the word; for I regard my former baptism as nothing better than infant sprinkling.
A.--If no better than infant sprinkling, you certainly ought to have been baptized. But you must mistake the meaning of that essay, if you suppose it regarded infant sprinkling as christian immersion. It applies not to such a hypothesis. What I designate re-immersion, is the immersion of one a second time, who had voluntarily and understandingly confessed Jesus to be the Messiah, the Son of God; and as such cheerfully submitted to him, and was immersed into his name as Mediator, as Prophet, Priest, and King. Were you not immersed upon such a profession some ten years ago?
R.--I was about that time immersed without understanding the meaning of it, and had no respect to the remission of my sins in immersion: for I believed that I was forgiven six months before my immersion, through faith in the blood of Jesus.
A.--You had faith, then, in the blood of Jesus, and consequently regarded him as the Messiah.
R.--Yes: I had faith in him, indeed: but I was not immersed for the remission of my sins. I was immersed because Jesus was immersed in the Jordan, and because he commanded all believers to be immersed.
A.--And such a baptism as this you now say is no better than no baptism or than infant sprinkling. Does an infant act at all, does its understanding, will, affections, or conscience feel or act in reference to the example, authority, command, or promise of Jesus Christ? Surely you confound things that differ, the breath and length of heaven?
R.--Oh! there is some difference, indeed! But as touching the remission of sins, an infant as much expected it in its sprinkling, as I in my first immersion.
A.--That may be; for you say that you thought; nay, were assured, that your sins were remitted six months before you were immersed But this, in my judgment, constitutes no reason why you should, after ten years citizenship in the kingdom o Christ, be again immersed When I was naturalized a citizen of these United States, there were certain immunities and privileges attached to citizenship which I had not in my mind at that time, nor were they any inducement to me to be naturalized, any more than to that child now sleeping in the arms of its mother. But did that circumstance annul my naturalization, and leave me an alien? 
R.--Here now again appears the petitio principii, the sophism of begging the question, which matters I had intended to complain of, as well as of the manner--the deceitful analogy, and a too great reliance upon your own reasoning in your former essay.
A.--Well, censure, but hear me; and I hope I shall be as able satisfactorily to defend the matter as I have been, yourself being judge, the manner of that address. But let me just say, in regard to the use of reasoning on this question, that it is a question which must he decided wholly by reasoning: for you will no doubt cheerfully admit, that in the New Testament we have not one command to immerse any person a second time into the death of Jesus. And there is no example in all the New Testament of any person having been a second time immersed in the name, of Jesus, not even of an apostate on his return. The Scriptures are as silent as the grave upon such an occurrence. It is therefore to be inferred from the premises, it is wholly the work of reasoning. But as you have now twice told me of begging the question, or of taking for granted what was not proved, please present your specifications.
R.--You assume that baptism administered by Baptists introduces the subjects of it into the kingdom of Jesus Christ. This I see runs through your essay. And what is nearly the same thing, though sufficiently distinct to make a second specification, you assume that a person may be "intelligently immersed into the faith that Jesus is the Messiah," and have no regard to the remission of sins in his immersion. These I shall now urge as two assumptions--as begging the question twice. Had it not been for these assumptions your reasoning and your analogies would have been good and valid. But, as the case is, they do not apply; and therefore, I have taken the liberty to say in your absence to our common friends, that your essay was sophistical.
A.--In your judgment no doubt, it appeared so, else you would not have said it. I am pleased to see so much independence manifested by those whom I have myself been, in the hand of God, the humble instrument of bringing into the fold of Jesus. I claim no infallibility nor authority over the faith of any disciple, and never will impose my reasonings or my opinions upon any. The motto of every paper which I published for the first seven years in pleading this reformation, prohibits myself, as well as Luther, Calvin, or Wesley from being the master of the faith of any christian. I own that some young converts carry their notions of independence into an abuse of liberty, and claim for their crude and undigested opinions an authority which they are unwilling to allow to others. But of this I do not accuse you: for your age and experience secures to your opinions a respect which is not due to theirs.
R.--True, this is my opinion; I present it as an opinion. But I feel much confidence that it is a correct opinion. These are assumptions, in my judgment, and I have, at least, the concurrence of some others, for whose judgment I entertain a great respect. But let me hear your defence.
A.--I will proceed in order. You say that I assume that "the baptism administered by the Baptists introduced the subjects of it into the kingdom of Christ." I do, indeed, assume this under certain qualifications. But I would not say that the baptism administered, as you call it, by myself, or by the Apostles, always introduced the subjects into the kingdom of Christ. Much depends upon the faith and intelligence of the subject. But I do think that every one immersed by the Baptist preachers, or "laymen." who really believes in his heart and confesses with his mouth that Jesus is the Messiah, understanding the meaning of what he says, is introduced into this kingdom. This I know leads me to what you call my second assumption. But of this I will not now speak. I shall yet take it for granted that some may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, and yet not regard immersion for the remission of sins. But before proceeding farther I will ask you what you mean by the kingdom of Christ.
R.--I mean that "reign of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit," called sometimes "the kingdom of God within men;" and I mean that assembly of persons on earth, the whole aggregate of the disciples of Jesus, who acknowledge Jesus as the only mediator, prophet, priest, and king, and obey  him to the best of their knowledge. I also believe that a particular congregation of disciples, meeting in any one place, may be regarded as the kingdom of God in that place.
A.--Well, you have given sufficient amplitude to your definition; and although it is a little vague, I will admit it, and proceed. But let me just say that I expected that you would have said the immersed disciples.
R.--I call none a disciple who has not been immersed upon the confession of the Eunuch.
A.--Admit it, and what follows upon your assumption? THE PROMISES OF GOD ARE FAILED. His word is forfeited. "The Scripture is broken."
R.--I do not understand you. What promises? What Scripture?
A.--God promised by Daniel the Prophet, that, in the days of the Cesars, in the times of the Iron Empire, he would set up a kingdom on earth WHICH WOULD NEVER BE DESTROYED. That kingdom, on your hypothesis, has been destroyed. Again, it is written, "Upon this rock will I build my congregation, and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it." On your hypothesis the gates of hades have prevailed against it for more than 1300 years.
R.--How is this?
A.--Why on all your definitions of the kingdom, supposing, as you do, that he that is not formally and understandingly immersed for the remission of his sins cannot enter into this kingdom; and it being a fact that before the year 1823, since the fifth century, baptism for the remission of sins was not preached, and not until the year 1827 were many immersed with this apprehension of the subject. The dilemma in which your assumption fairly places you is this--either the promises of God have failed, or such persons as were baptized as you were the first time, are in the kingdom! Choose now for yourself.
R.--I dare not say there was no church of Christ, no kingdom of God all this time. But I will say the church was in the wilderness.
A.--That helps you not. It was still a church, although it was in the wilderness; and this destroys your assumption. I admit that he who understands not fully the Lord's day, the Lord's supper, and christian immersion, cannot fully enjoy the blessings of the gospel of Christ; and that it makes all the difference between the wilderness and the fruitful field to understand fully these institutions: but yet there are degrees both in faith and knowledge; and he that lives in the, wilderness still lives.--A church in the wilderness is surely different from the kingdom of Satan. But, my dear sir, see where your assumption has placed you! My assumption is at least free from this dilemma. This, it is true, is all reasoning; but it is reasoning from such documents as gives great authority to the conclusions. And remember this is a question to be decided wholly by reasoning.
R.--I am candid to confess that I did not foresee this impediment in my way. But, come, does not this greatly detract from the importance which you and others attach to the discovery of the capital item of the ancient gospel--baptism for the remission of sins? This, indeed, is the only item which obtains for the ancient gospel the eminence which it claims.
A.--Not in the least. It stands true that this is its proper meaning. The not understanding of this institution has prevented many christians from enjoying its benefits; but the not understanding it does not make them aliens from the kingdom of Jesus, This is all that is necessary to my assumption. But to keep the point immediately before us, concerning the kingdom, you must perceive that you were not in the kingdom of Satan during the ten years which intervened from your first to your second immersion. While in that kingdom if you confessed your sins, and asked forgiveness, you would have had the same assurance of the pardon of your sins which you imagine your second immersion gives you. Nay, indeed, you would have had more; because on a just foundation. You would have had the direct testimony of God to you addressed assuring you of pardon. This you had not in respect to your second immersion; for God did not promise to forgive your sins committed after your  first immersion in a second immersion. There is no such promise in the New Testament.
R.--I did confess my sins during these ten years: but thinking that I never was constitutionally in the kingdom, I had not the assurance that I wished. I did not know that I could constitutionally expect the interposition of the Christian Advocate, not being constitutionally under his government.
A.--Permit me now to resume the analogy which you were pleased to call "a deceitful analogy." I was constitutionally naturalized, though I did not understand all its benefits, nor seek all the privileges of a citizen. My political new birth, and your christian new birth were pretty much alike. I had thought that living on the American soil, and being well, disposed to the government, I was, before my naturalization, entitled to certain privileges of a citizen. But such misconceptions did not annul the constitutionality of the act. I renounced all foreign allegiance in the words of the act. I ask you, then, did you not confess that Jesus was the Messiah, and did you not cordially renounce every other mediator, prophet, priest, or king? And were you not immersed into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? And can you think that your supposing your sins were pardoned before your baptism, or that your not having all the meaning of baptism before your mind, made your immersion unconstitutional; and left you, an alien from the kingdom of God--indeed, in the kingdom of Satan?
R.--'Tis true I found myself happier after my immersion than before, and had the answer of a good conscience in following the example of Jesus, and in keeping his command; and having had a consciousness that my sins were pardoned before I was baptized, I felt very happy. But many of the Baptists do not require their candidates to make a confession that they believe that Jesus is the Messiah. I did, and--but I will not tell you any more of my experience. I wish you to remember that those Baptists who reimmerse seem to consider immersion for the remission of sins, no baptism, or different from theirs. Does not their re-baptism indicate that they regard our baptism for remission as wholly different from their baptism?
A.--The conduct of those re-baptizers is wholly contrary to the sense of the denomination and their printed views of baptism in their creed. I have learned that some preachers have recently departed from their own creed, and required the candidates to say, before baptism; "that they did not believe there was any connexion between immersion and remission of sins." Such zealots as these are excrescences upon the system. They and their proselytes are not the persons of whom I speak. Some Baptist congregations put me in mind of a saying of the Lord to the Jews. After they rejected his teaching, he told them "the kingdom of God should be taken from them and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof." Those Baptists who now directly oppose the ancient gospel and those persons baptized by them in opposition to it, I regard in quite a different point of view from those formerly immersed or those now immersed, when the attention of neither the preachers nor people has been called to the meaning of the institution. These were not included in my views in that essay. They belong to another chapter in casuistry, on which we have not said any thing.
R.--I think myself there is much difference. But let me ask you, How can one be said intelligently to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, without understanding the meaning of immersion?
A.--This brings up again what you call my "second assumption." And the first being disposed of, I have no objections to make a remark or two upon it before we part. To settle the question with all despatch, I would just say, that the very same reasoning applied to the first assumption, disposes of your objection at once. The meaning of any institution, and the belief in the testimony of God concerning Jesus, his person, office, character, and work, are very different things. Though to the more enlightened they are intimately connected, yet experience proves, and observation attests, that many believe in him who do not understand his institutions, And if a clear apprehension of  the meaning of baptism be indispensable to faith in the Messiah, it will follow there has not been a believer for a thousand years before the recovery of the ancient gospel! Not one adult has been saved if my assumption cannot be proved, which is still more absurd, because contrary to many express oracles in both Testaments. Both my assumptions are true, or else the promises of God have failed!
R.--I have various other objections which I will reserve for another opportunity.
A.--And I have sundry things to say which I deem of much importance on this subject, not yet said. One thing I wish you to reflect upon till next we meet, a proposition of much meaning. It is this--Baptism cannot be repeated unless in its full sense. No person can constitutionally be immersed for remission alone--for the Holy Spirit alone--for coming into the kingdom alone. He must be baptized into Christ, in the whole and full sense of the institution, or not at all. Whether you may think it makes for you or for me, I request you to examine it as an independent proposition.
In conclusion let me remind you of the danger of running into extremes and eccentricities. The sanguine are liable to take detached and isolated views of favorite topics. Let us regard the whole truth in all its connexions, and give to each its proper importance. A sound understanding will always be on its guard against one-sided views of cardinal truths. Let us not be bewitched by the glare of novelty, by the brilliancy of new discoveries, nor obstinately and superstitiously attached to old opinions.
R.--This advice is always seasonable. I go for truth whether old or new.
PRAYER, OR COMMUNION WITH GOD--No. V.
THIS is the spirit of the spirit of true religion. Without communion with God there is nothing gained by faith or hope, by promises or commands, by professions, confessions, or institutions. This is the sanctum sanctorum, the holy of holies, the inmost temple of religion. This was lost by Adam, and if we do not gain this by Messiah we have gained nothing but a name. But what is communion with God? Let us ask, for illustration, what is communion with man? The reciprocation of common sentiment and common feeling. Language fails to define its intimacies. Two sentimental spirits in conversation with each other is its best illustration--two spirits of kindred thought and kindred interests pouring into each other the overflowings of congenial views, feelings, desires.
Speech with us is the channel of thought. In this channel betwixt man and man flows every sentiment, feeling, and desire. And it is not only the circulating medium of spirits on earth, dwelling in houses of clay; but it is the medium of converse 'twixt God and man. Arrayed in words of human language the Eternal Spirit appears to man not now only; for in Eden, blooming in primeval beauty and innocence, the voice of God, in harmonies sweeter than nature knows, fell upon that ear not yet polluted with the serpent's poisonous breath. Since then God has spoken to man through the mediation of angels, celestial and terrestrial; by prophets in times of old; and in later ages by his Son. The stipulated signs of human thought are the stipulated signs of all divine ideas suggested to man. God now speaks to us in his written word, and we speak to him in our  prayers. Thus we have communion with God through his Holy Spirit which is imparted to us. If we listen to God when he speaks (for he speaks first as it becomes him) he promises to listen to us. But if we hear not him, he hears not us. What an honor to be admitted into the audience of the Almighty Father upon such gracious terms! We hear the recorded words of God spoken by him through angels, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, his own Son; and thus having given our ears for a while to the voice of God, we lift up our voice to him. We utter our adorations, confessions, thanksgivings, petitions, and our unconditional submission to the will, authority, wisdom and goodness, mercy and love of him "who is, and was, and evermore shall be!" Thus our spirits ascend to the heavens and commune with God. This is the delightful fellowship which the christian indeed has with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ; "praying always, with all prayer and supplication in the spirit;" in the closet, by the way, in the field, morning, noon, evening, he prays "without ceasing." "My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord! In the morning will I direct my prayer to thee, and will look up." "In the morning shall my prayer anticipate thee." "As for me, I will call upon God, and the Lord shall save me. Evening and morning, and at noon, will I pray and cry aloud, and he shall hear my voice." "Seven times a-day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments." "His praise shall be continually in my mouth." "By Jesus let us offer the sacrifice of praise continually." Thus speak the saints of both Testaments.
Men may talk about religion, about sound doctrine, about ordinances, about institutions, about every thing present and future; but without this communion with God, this habitual devotion of mind, these constant aspirations, ejaculations, and soarings to the throne of mercy and favor, man is unfit for heaven, and unworthy of the christian profession. A zealot he may be, orthodox in doctrine, moral in demeanor; but he wants the life and power of christianity. Meditation on what God has spoken to us, and the outpourings of our spirit to him, is to the moral man what free respiration in a pure atmosphere is to the physical man--life, health, vigor, beauty.
These musings remind me of a devotional reading of the 12th chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, which was over-heard from the closet of an Israelite indeed, reported by a brother who dated his conversion from it. As a specimen which illustrates the above remarks, we shall transcribe it from our pocket-book of memoranda. He read from the common version, and mingled his readings with the following ejaculations:--
"I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God which is your reasonable service." [Yes, Lord Jesus, it is most reasonable that I give myself to thee; not my body only, but my soul: for hadst thou not made thy soul an offering fir my sins and given thyself for me, I had sacrificed myself to my lusts and sold myself for vanity. My body, Lord, is thine--a living sacrifice offered by  my soul to thee. O sanctify it wholly!] "And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." [From the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eye, and the pride of this life, which are of this world--O my Father and my God, deliver me! And let my mind, O Saviour! reflect thy moral image as thou didst reflect on me the brightness of thy Father's glorious image.]
|[Here is a hiatus of six verses.]|
v. 9. "Let love be without dissimulation; abhor that which is evil, cleave to that which is good." [O Lord! thy love to mankind was without dissimulation! so let my love to the saints and my good will to mankind ever be!] "Be kindly affectioned one to another, in honor preferring one another." [May my affection for the saints be as tender and as kind as was that of thy servant Paul, who endured all things for their sakes; and always may I rejoice to see them honored, and to honor them without one envious thought. Lord, thou knowest my natural pride and frowardness; may I regard myself as nothing, that thou mayest be all.] "Not slothful in business." [May I rise betimes and redeem time, that I may by industry in my family, provide for my household, and have something to give to him that needs; and while I do so may I be fervent in serving the Lord!" "Rejoicing in hope" [of being delivered from the bondage of corruption and the evils of this life; may I "be patient in tribulation," and "continue instant in prayer."] "Distributing to the necessity of saints, given to hospitality." [O Lord, may thy poor saints share my bounty, and may I be often honored with showing hospitality to thy people. May they who know me regard my house as thine, and ever feel themselves at home under my roof. Lord bless the labor of my hands and prosper the industry of my family, that I may have it in my power to be more like thee, who went about on earth doing good!]
"Bless them which persecute you; bless, and curse not." [Heavenly Father, forgive all my enemies, if enemies I have, and reconcile them to thyself for Jesus' sake!] "Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep." [O Lord! may I be more full of thy divine sympathy!] "Be of the same mind one to another. Mind not high things; condescend to men of low estate." [Deliver me, O my God! from the spirit of this world! May I choose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the company of those called great and noble here. May I never be ashamed of the poorest of thy poor, but esteem them as rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom!]
"Be not wise in your own conceits." [Lord save me from conceit! May I have a due regard to the attainments of others, and respect the gifts of wisdom and knowledge which thou hast vouchsafed them. To "no man let me recompense evil."] "Provide things honest in the sight of all men." May I not only he honest in fact, in eating, drinking, and wearing my own labors, (and when I give may it be my own which I give,) but may I, by my diligence in business and  constant industry, appear to all men to be honest, lest I should bring reproach upon thee, O Lord! and may I be honorable in my dealings with all mankind!]
"If it be possible, as much as lieth in you live peaceably with all men." [May the God of peace enable me to live peaceably with all mankind. May I rather suffer wrong than be over-righteous in exacting what mere justice awards me, and by civility, courtesy, and all manner of kindness rather propitiate than irritate the evil tempers and dispositions of men.]
"Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place to wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore, if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." [O Lord! this is a lesson not easily learned. May I in spirit and in truth cultivate this temper; and when I am injured by my fellowman, may I not take thy weapons into my hand, nor assume what belongs to thee, the avenger of them who suffer righteously. May the example of thy martyr Stephen, and of my Saviour, be ever before me in such times of trial. And when I have an opportunity of requiting good to them who have injured me, may I do it not in appearance only, but in reality and with all my heart! Lord Jesus, may these excellent precepts, all of which my soul approves, be written on my heart, that I may from the heart yield obedience to them all!"]
This is a pretty fair specimen of that communion with God, and with his Son Jesus Christ, enjoyed in reading his word and in calling upon his name. This is a way of reading the holy oracles which commends itself to all; and incomparably transcends all commentators in giving to the mind the true meaning of the word, and in confirming it in the faith of all its exceeding great and precious promises. Prayer without the use of means necessary to the object desired, and the use of means without prayer, must be equally unsuccessful to the attainment of christian excellence.
STEPHEN GIRARD'S WILL.
STEPHEN GIRARD, late of Philadelphia, the most opulent individual in the United States, as is generally conceded, in his last will and testament did, among many other very benevolent and liberal bequests, appropriate the sum of two millions of dollars to the founding of a college for the education and maintenance of orphans. This most benevolent and judicious appropriation has deservedly excited much attention; and one of the provisions for the education and training of the orphans admitted into this institution, more than any other, has attracted the attention of all, and elicited many curious conjectures and remarks from the editorial corps, religious and political. The provision to which we allude is in the words following:--
"Secondly, I enjoin and require that no ecclesiastic, missionary, or minister of any sect whatsoever, shall ever hold or exercise any station or duty whatever in the  said college; nor shall any such person ever be admitted for any purpose, or as a visiter, within the premises appropriated to the purposes of the said college. In making his restriction, I do not mean to cast any reflection upon any sect or person whatsoever; but, as there is such a multitude of sects, and such a diversity of opinion amongst them, I desire to keep the tender minds of the orphans, who are to derive advantage from this bequest, free from the excitement which clashing doctrines and sectarian controversy are apt to produce; my desire is, that all the instructers and teachers in the college shall take pains to instil into the minds of the scholars the purest principles of morality; so that, on their entrance into active life, they may, from inclination and habit, evince benevolence towards their fellow-creatures, and a love of truth, sobriety, and industry, adopting at the same time such religious tenets as their matured reason may enable them to prefer."
This, for the reasons assigned, is one of the wisest provisions in the whole establishment. Were it not for this exclusion, in a few years this immense capital, in an indirect way, would be building up the interests of some of the aspiring sectarian institutions in the country. But what a reproof is here to the spiritual rulers of this age! The first truly charitable and useful institution (I mean first in magnitude) in these United States, erected by one whom the clergy call a Deist, has to preclude even from its premises that very cast in society whose calling ought to have given them not only free access within its walls, but have made them guardians of its interests. How is this, gentlemen, that the Ruler of the Nations permitted this aforesaid Stephen Girard to amass, in a long life, by his own exertions, such an immense fortune, and then to lay it up for the poor of many generations--for the very persons for whom God has the most tender care, (for he is the orphan's stay,) and not only did not permit you to be his instrument, but permitted this "deist," as you call him, to will and bequeath to you a place without its walls? For what misdeeds of yours did he thus proscribe you? 'For none!' you say. Yes, for your sectarian zeal and efforts to seize the infant mind and pollute it with schismatic dogmas. He respected your calling and professions; but dare not think of meeting the Judge of all unless he had secured the fatherless from your sectarian influence! Tell it not in Gath! But think, we beseech you, how this reflects upon your course--and try to amend your ways!
DEAF AND DUMB, UNABLE TO KNOW GOD BUT BY TEACHING.
|NEW LISBON, January 3rd, 1832,|
Dear brother Campbell,
AS we have no meeting in this place to-day, the Baptist meeting house being occupied by the Reformed Methodists, I take my pen in hand to write to you.
In the fourteenth Report of the Directors of the American Asylum at Hartford, for the Education and Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb, exhibited to the Asylum, May 8th, 1830; speaking of a valuable improvement introduced in the mode of instruction, they say, "The value of such a blessing can only be fully estimated from the  fact, which all the experience of the Asylum serves to establish, that, without instruction, the Deaf and Dumb are never led, by the consciousness of their own intellectual operations, or by the contemplation of the works of Nature, to even a glimpse of the immortality of the soul, the existence of God, or of their moral accountability to him."--p. 17, 18.
The following from the Appendix of said Report, are specimens of uncorrected original composition;--
"By a young Lady, 14 years old, under instruction 4 years.
"A few years ago, my brother's name was Benjamin. I think that he was two years old. He was very pretty. I loved him very much. He was playing about the room and yard. When my mother went away I always kept him from the dangers. One morning my father was absent. My sister Tryphena went to school. The tin basin was full of beans. I sat on the chair near my brother to choose many beans for they were good. I looked at my brother Benjamin who was running from the window to the yard and fro. He was very cheerful. The kettle was hung over the hook, and the swill was in it in order to feed the hogs or pigs. He went to the fire place near the kettle, but I told my mother that her son did so. She forbade him; he left it, and he was again playing about the room and yard. A few minutes he again went to the fire place near the kettle; he stretched out his hands and pulled the border of a kettle. It was almost upset the water was hot to pour from the kettle to Benjamin's arm, fingers, and left or right cheek which were scalded. He cried very much. My mother discovered him crying, and she ran and seized him. She cast his clothes off; she threw water upon his body for his arms, fingers, and cheek were scalded. She brought him to the parlour, and she put him in a cradle. I saw the floor was watery. My mother wept very much. She sent a man to go to the store to bring some oil. He ran from it to the store, and brought a bottle or flask of oil. He returned from it to the house, and gave it to my mother. The cotton was covered with oil; she put it on his arm, fingers, and cheek, which were wrapped by the pieces of cloth. At noon my father and sister came home, and they saw Benjamin who was in a cradle. They were very sorry. She took much good care of him two or three days. In the twilight an old lady came to the parlour, and she sat on the rocking chair, and brought him to her on her lap. My mother went and stood on the floor near the window. She wept very much. My father, sister, and myself saw Benjamin because he was dying. Several hours he was very peaceful, and he died. He lay down on the bed. My parents were grieved for the loss of their son. My mother went to the bureau, and chose a white frock and cap. He wore white frock and cap. In the morning several men went and gathered some tansies; they sprinkled him with the tansies on his body. In the afternoon he was put in the coffin, and it lay down on the table. Many persons came to the house and assembled to visit him. They heard that a minister prayed to God and Jesus  Christ. Then they attended the funeral; they road in the coaches or stages or chaises. My mother, sister, and myself wore black gown and black bonnets. We rode in the stage. We arrived at the burying ground. Benjamin was buried in the grave. We returned home. We were very sorry that he would never see us."
By a Young Man, 21 years old, under instruction three years and nine months.
"Mr. R formerly was a good man, but when he had married he became intemperate. Several years ago he went with many men to raise a large barn for Mr. K. When they had raised up the barn, he ascended on the frame. Some men left it and went a little distance to drink rum. While they were drinking, he fell from it; his father ran with several men to assist him, and laid him on a board near the barn, his head was bruised. One of them took some rum to bathe his head, he could not speak on account of falling from it. After they had finished the barn, they carried him home on a large sled. When they carried him to his house, his wife was very sorry for him, and took care of him. In a few weeks he recovered his health. After he became well he was engaged in his farm. But a few years ago he became a drunkard.
"Two years ago he repaired the shingles on the roof of his building. In the afternoon he fell from it, and broke his leg, but in a few days he died in October, 1828. His wife had no child. She returned to her family.
"Common drunkards in the state of New Hampshire are more intoxicated than beasts. Rum makes them boast or angry. I know that some of them used to swear or passion on the Sabbath day. The Scriptures say that the drunkards shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven, unless they are converted to christianity. They think that some ardent spirits are useful and necessary, but it is false, I must confess, when I was a little boy I worked on the neighbor's farm with several men in the forenoon. While I was sick, they offered me a glass of rum, I said that I did not wish to drink it, lest it would make me increase sickness, and they said no it will make me well. When I drank half of it. But in the afternoon it made me much increased sickness, and I said to them, that I wish to go home, and they permitted me to go. When I came to my house, I laid down myself to my bed. Now I am glad to be a member of the Temperance society."
How simple and unaffected the language of nature. How true it is that no stream can rise higher than its fountain head! How true, too, that education both makes and spoils the man!
I have just room to add, (from my common-place book,)
MR. WIRT'S PRAYER.
"That this truly noble and benevolent plan may be placed under wise and judicious direction, that it may be crowned with success by him who alone has power so to crown it; and that the kingdom of the  Redeemer may come, is the fervent wish and prayer of your fellow-citizen,
Thus wrote the Hon. William Wirt, late Attorney General of the United States, Feb. 16th; 1831, to the Rev. John Breckenridge, enclosing in his letter 50 dollars to promote the cause of Sunday Schools. For this cause his prayer was offered, in connexion with the coming of that kingdom which came about eighteen hundred years ago!
|F. W. E.|
The prophetic portions of the Divine Oracles have long been before us as a subject of occasional examination, and for some time past of more intense and systematic meditation. The reward of our toils in this most interesting field of sacred literature, has been a deeper conviction of the possibility of arriving at a very certain knowledge of the import of a very large portion of the prophetic writings, and that some momentous events are just at hand. We shall proceed to lay before our readers the results of our investigations, expressing confidence and diffidence when and where we feel either of them; and thus afford to our readers, as soon and as far as possible, any aids in our power to their examinations of this increasingly interesting portion of revelation.
"Happy they who read and understand the words of the prophecy of this book; for the time is at hand."
"I say unto all, Watch!"--JESUS.
HISTORY, strictly so called, is the record of the past; but prophecy anticipates the future. The historian and the prophet divide between them the empire of time. The past is under the dominion of the historian, while the future belongs exclusively to the prophet. Every moment of time diminishes the empire of the prophet, and adds to that of the historian: for all history was once, in a certain sense, prophecy; and all prophecy will yet become history. The page which records the birth of time, foretells its termination; and the pages which narrate the creation of man, hold forth the future fortunes of his race.
As the whole destiny of man is connected with, depends upon, or is wrapped up in the person, mission; and kingdom of the Messiah; so we find the testimony concerning him the burthen of all prophecy, and the affairs of man's redemption, as developed in the Jewish and Christian dispensations, entwine themselves around the destiny of every nation and people on the whole chart of prophecy. Kingdoms, empires, and people, occupy a space on this chart proportioned to their connexion with, or opposition to, the Messiah and his kingdom. Hence only the kings and kingdoms of this world which come in  contact with Messiah the Prince, occupy any space on the prophetic map. From this it also follows that prophetic allusions to, denunciations against, or descriptions of dominions, states, or territories, how extensive soever, which come not directly in contact with the kingdom of the Messiah, are not to be found on the pages of prophecy, further than this--that they all shall one day become the kingdoms of the many-crowned Prince of Peace.
Amongst the most distinguished interpreters of prophecy a distinction has obtained entitled to some attention, especially preliminary to an analysis of the prophetic writings. Prophecies are by some divided into the "discursive" and "historical." The discursive are those which, regardless of the conditions of time and place, of our moods of thought, and all our associations of ideas, array before the mind future scenes in quick succession, not in the usual connexion of cause and effect, not coincident with our trains of thought, our views of order, and methods of time and place; but in connexion with the unity of purpose and effect, and similarity of character accordant to the laws of the divine mind. All this is well expressed and set forth in the peculiar style of one of the latest of the interpreters:--
"The prophetic harp," says he, "in the hands of those most lofty of the prophets, is continually employed, as it were, in playing the variations of the same divine piece, whereof the various notes are the acts of God's providence, and the harmony, the heavenly harmony, is the concert of those acts with the attributes of the Divine Spirit, whether in his own personality, or present in the souls of his people. This harp is awakened by some great event about to happen to the earth, and being awakened, it plays through the compass of all the strings, a melody to the glory of God, and the salvation of the church out of the hands of all her enemies.
"Which figures and similitudes my discourse affecteth not, but they present themselves as giving the only intelligible idea of that method of discourse which God employs, in the mouths of these discursive prophets. Hence all events seem confused and blended together, one eclipseth another with its greater glory, and is straightway swallowed up in the greater glory of a third. The first coming and the second coming of Christ; the first destruction of Jerusalem, and the second; the first redemption by Cyrus, and the second by Christ, and to those who receive him, a third greater redemption and deliverance, which hath not yet arrived; a first pouring out of the spirit, and one infinitely surpassing it; a first blessedness and consolation to the earth in the coming of Christ, and a second, whereto the first is but as the shaking of an olive tree, and the dropping of grapes before the vintage is come: all these great events of God's providence to the earth pass before us in the prophetic discourse, with a sublime glory, which is almost inconceivable by the powers of the natural mind, though I believe it to be natural to the spiritual mind, were it redeemed and set free from the conditions of time and place, and the sequency of cause and effect, into the view and comprehension if the mysteries of God. 
"To take the example of one prophet, which will answer for any other, Daniel and John excepted, such a discourse flung off; as it were, in one mood of the Inspiring Spirit, and assimilating to itself all kindred events till the end of the prophetic dispensation, is contained in the first five chapters of Isaiah; and another such carries us to the 13th chapter; where another such begins, with several particular burdens for its text, and carries us forward to the 36th chapter, if it be not broke in twain at the 28th; and thenceforth to the end, the prophet seems altogether out of the conditions of time, and delivered from the ordinary conditions even of prophetic discourse, sailing freely in the ocean of his revelations, as if a portion had been given to him of God's own comprehension, which comprehendeth things with no respect of time, but with respect to his own eternal holiness, and combineth them not by any sequence of cause and effect, but delighteth in them as the offspring of his all-comprehending and all-creating WORD."
All the prophets, with the exception of Daniel and John, are of the discursive character. These two are historical prophets. They deliver to us not in artificial language, but in a natural or emblematical language, that it might be more universally intelligible to the wise of all ages; and comprehend under the expressive symbols of objects in the animal and vegetable kingdoms, in a short compass, the great outlines of all the fortunes of the church in its connexions with this world, and with an exact reference to our arrangements of things, in respect to time and place, and all their circumstances. These two prophets, Daniel and John, set forth the history of the church in the most picturesque symbols in reference to time and place, and lay down upon a map, graduated upon the scale of a day for a year, the great events of all future times. The meridian line of this map shall presently call for our attention.
As yet preliminary to our attempts to set in order certain parts of these historical prophecies, according to our modes of thinking and speaking in the 19th century, we would observe that, although attempts of this sort are brought into disrepute because of the abortive efforts of many sanguine spirits, who, buoyed up by some peculiar fervors in reference to some passing events, great in their eyes, but too small to merit even a location on the chart of more than half the flight of time, have committed blunders and fallen into the most palpable mistakes which have been notorious to all, it nevertheless does not follow that all the labors of past interpreters have been vain; nor do the clashings of them in respect to certain parts of these prophecies, at all weaken or impair their conjoint testimony, or concurrence in the great burthen of Old and New Testament predictions.
If we could not add a new idea to those already entertained, and if we should pass over in silence the most profound the points on which contradictory views have been expressed; yet, in our opinion a service of much value to the saints would he performed if we should only exhibit to them in order the great outlines on which there is a much greater concurrence of opinion than in what constitutes ""the  standard orthodoxy in the essentials of christian doctrine." Men of the first order of intellect, education, literary and scientific fame, though of opposing creeds and opinions on the affairs of church government, and christian doctrine, have admirably concurred in the interpretation of many of the master prophecies of Daniel and John. And so long as the reputation of Mede, Vitringa, Moore, Owen, Daubuz, Whitby, Bengelius, Chandler, Hurd, Bishop Newton, and Sir Isaac Newton, lives in the memory of man, no one can say that only men of inferior or ordinary minds have turned their thoughts to the interpretation of prophecy. A host, of gigantic stature, of which those named are but a sample, have not only shed a very brilliant light upon the prophetic symbols, but have concurred to the admiration of all in the more prominent groups which occupy the high places in the prophetic field.
The meridian line of prophetic events with which we wish to commence, is that vision of Daniel found in the 7th chapter of his prophecy. This we select on three accounts--first, because it was interpreted by an angel to Daniel; in the second place, because of the almost universal agreement of all commentators in understanding it; and, in the third place, because it is both the most comprehensive and particular view of the whole series of events detailed in all the other prophecies of Daniel and John, and serves as the corner land marks of a great plantation, by which we trace all the intervening lines. This carries us forward in a straight line from the first year of the reign of Belshazzar, king of Babylon, to the end of time.
The vision of the image given to Nebuchadnezzar, and interpreted by Daniel, chap. ii. exhibits the same view of the four great Pagan empires, until the time of setting up the kingdom of Jesus under the figure of a little stone, which, while a little stone, before it became a mountain, broke the image to powder. The second vision represents the same four empires with reference to the papacy, or the empire of the little horn, and the Millennium. Thus the golden head of the first vision, and the lion with eagle's wings of the second vision, represent the Assyrian empire. The silver breast and arms of the first vision, and the bear with three ribs in its mouth, denoting its three conquests over Lybia, Armenia, and Babylon, represent the Medo-Persian empire. The brazen body and thighs of the first image, and the leopard with four wings of a fowl and four heads, denote the fleetness and rapid division into four parts, under separate heads, of the Macedonian kingdom. And the iron legs, with feet part of iron and clay of the first vision and the non-descript fourth beast, dreadful and strong exceedingly, with iron teeth which brake in pieces and stamped the residue with the feet of it, having ten horns, of the second vision, represent the Roman empire, its haughty and destructive power, crushing all the prophetic earth, and its final dismemberment into ten kingdoms by the incursion of the northern hordes. As in the first vision the four metals constitute one image, it is indicated that the political power of the first four empires would be actuated by one and the same principle. Hence they were all pagan empires. The  new power, purely mental and moral, indicated by the little stone, rises while this pagan power was in its zenith. Its future increase, its perpetual existence, and ultimate triumph finish the outlines of the first vision.
But the second vision exhibits its fortunes and destiny under new symbols and with remarkable minuteness and perspicuity. The fourth beast, which arose out of the sea, emblem of the political commotions which gave birth to these great empires, is described prospectively as having ten horns, indicative of the ultimate subdivisions of the Western Roman Empire. After it had assumed this form, the prophet saw a little horn arise, which plucked up three of the former horns by the root. The little horn is then described as having human powers, eyes like a man, and speaking great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. This horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them, until the ANCIENT OF DAYS came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High, and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. This denotes the papal power, which "speaks great words against the Most High, and wears out the saints of the Most High, and aims at changing times and laws." The dominion of this power is next described as continuing "a time, and times, and the dividing of a time." The wasting away of this power and its ultimate total extinction are next foretold, and then "the kingdom, and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, is given to the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him. Thus the second vision carries us forward to the ultimate and universal triumph of the christian cause and kingdom.
The other two visions of Daniel concerning the Mahometan and Infidel powers, run parallel with a part of this most comprehensive vision; but having chosen this as an exact and comprehensive outline, we shall confine ourselves to its details until we have arranged under it such prominent parts of the prophecy of John as illustrate it, and are illustrated by it.
I will only add, that, a few Roman Catholic writers excepted, there is a universal agreement amongst all the interpreters in the above outlines of these two visions. Concerning the dragon, the ten-horned beast, and the two-horned beast of John, we shall offer some remarks in our next.
INDIAN SPASMODIC CHOLERA.
THIS terrific pestilence, from recent developements, both contagious and epidemic, has at length visited England on its progress westward and northward. In the year 1817 it first appeared within the Delta on the Ganges in the month of May or June; though it seems not to have attracted much notice till the August following, when it appeared in Jessore, a city 90 miles north-east of Calcutta. In the first seven years of its progress it travelled over ninety-one degrees of longitude and sixty-seven degrees of latitude, an area about 6000  miles in length and 4400 in breadth. During this period it visited many cities and islands, and cut off about six millions of human beings. As a specimen of its ravages take the following:--In Shiraz, the population of which was 40,000, there died 16,000 in a few days. In Bassora 18,000 died, of which number 14,000 died in two weeks. In the Isle of Bourbon, of 267 persons attacked 178 died. At Benares, in two months 15,000 persons died. In 1818, when it reached the grand army of India, under Marquiss Hastings, consisting of 10,000 troops and 80,000 followers, in twelve days from its first appearance nearly 9000 fell victims to it. A change of the location of the army having taken place, 50 miles to the south east, and to higher ground, this pestilence declined. Its ravages in Canton and Pekin in China cannot be estimated. Coffins and funeral requisites were furnished by the public treasury. Many died walking in the streets, in a few minutes after the first attack. Some died as soon as attacked. It is said that "at Billary a tailor was attacked with the cholera, and instantly expired with his work in his hands, and in the very attitude in which he was sitting."1
It travelled in some places at the rate of only two miles an hour; while in others, at the rate of from twelve to eighteen, not covering the whole country, but attacking spots here and there in various directions, pretty much in the current of the winds. In a single season in one country it has visited places distant from each other 500 miles.
In 1823 it invaded Russia and progressed even to the frontiers of Siberia. Its ravages seem not to be affected by the degrees of latitude or longitude. In the torrid zone, and in the Isle of France, Archangel, and Petersburg, in the cold regions of the North, in summer and winter it rages with equal fury. Even at Archangel, out of 1200 Cases there were 800 deaths. In 15 days after its arrival in St. Petersburg, there were 3076 cases, and 1311 deaths. Out of 8130 reported cases in Moscow, 4385 perished. We cannot go farther into the details. In seven years' progress through Russia and all the surrounding countries it has swept as many millions off the stage, as in the first seven years of its history. It has commenced in England with equal malignity, having appeared in Sunderland in November last. Up to the 30th December, there had died in Sunderland 196 persons. Thence it spread to New Castle upon Tyne. Reports up to the 27th December, give of cases in New Castle, 246; of deaths, 93. In North Shields, of the first 13 cases, nine died. In Gateshead, where it appeared on the morning of Christmas day, in two days there were 89 cases and 32 deaths. The number of human beings which have been carried off by this disease are variously estimated from 15 to 50 millions! In Alexandria there died about 800 per day, and in Smyrna the population by death and flight was reduced in a few weeks from 80 to 30,000! It follows the course of all the great rivers in the countries which it has visited, and seems at home on land and sea--on all coasts and shores, having been equally destructive along the Ganges, the Nile, the Vistula, the Volga, along the coast of the Caspian Sea, the Mediterranean, and the German Ocean.
THE IMPUTATION OF UNITARIANISM REPELLED,
As offered by Bernard Whitman.
WE have hastily glanced over a pamphlet of 60 pages, 3d edition, printed at Richmond Va. by Bernard Whitman, a Unitarian Minister of Waltham, Massachusetts; being "A Letter to an Orthodox Minister on Revivals of Religion, May, 1831.
It would be saying but little in commendation of this pamphlet to state, that it is worthy of a candid perusal from all the actors, aiders, abettors, and advocates of the popular excitements called "revivals of religion." The writer  has taken the veil off their pretensions, and shown them to be the fair offspring (not of the Holy Spirit, but) of human machinery, management, and contrivance.
Yet we have a serious complaint to make against Mr. Whitman for the liberty he has taken of introducing our name into the work. To give our readers an idea of the injustice done us, we must inform them that the orthodox minister to whom this letter is addressed, amongst other untenable propositions which he has offered is the following, which stands foremost in his five points in favor of revivals: "None but orthodox sects are favored with revivals." Bernard Whitman makes his first assault upon this proposition, and shows that sects denominated heterodox are more favored with revivals than the orthodox, and in marshalling his evidence he is pleased to give us a place amongst his heterodox sects favorable to revivals, in the words following, to wit:--
"Another very large body have renounced human creeds and the peculiarities of orthodoxy, but still hold to immersion and retain the name of Christian Baptists. Alexander Campbell, who had the controversy with Robert Owen in Cincinnati, is the head of this most respectable class. From him I learned the nature of their belief, which is decidedly anti-trinitarian and anti-calvinistic, and also the probable amount of their professors, which is very large. Most of this party produce these revivals; and even one of their preachers baptized several hundred converts, the fruits of his own preaching, within one year."
To this statement we offer the following objections:--
1st. We who are united in advocating the restoration of primitive christianity, both in faith and practice, do not designate ourselves by, nor "retain the name of Christian Baptists." We profess to be disciples of Jesus Christ, of that school called "Christians first at Antioch." But we know that all persons are passive in receiving a name, and that we cannot secure to ourselves a name farther than we address one another by the designation which we approve.
In the second place Alexander Campbell is not "the head of this most respectable class." We acknowledge no head but the Messiah, and renounce all subordination to any other head than Jesus Christ; and there are many of us who would oppose Alexander Campbell as soon as any other advocate of this reformation, were he to presume to exercise any authority over our minds. Besides there are other advocates and proclaimers of this reformation who have contributed much to its speed and to the developement of its principles, to whom its friends are indebted as well as to Alexander Campbell.
In the third place, this gentleman must have either attended very carelessly to our answers to his questions, or must have forgotten some important suggestions made to him in the very short interview we had with him in Cincinnati, if he did not learn from me that the nature of our belief was as much anti-unitarian, in its sectarian acceptation as it is anti-trinitarian and anti-calvinistic. But in the above representation we are presented as equally heterodox with himself, and as unitarian, anti-trinitarian, and anti-calvinistic as he. Now to this representation we most seriously object--First, because the conversation from which it is extracted occurred without the slightest intimation that it was for publication; and because we are as conscientiously anti-unitarian as we are anti-calvinistic, anti-arminian, anti-trinitarian, and anti-sectarian. To speak for myself, I regard unitarianism, whether arian, or socinian, or semi-arian, as repugnant to the Scriptures and right reason, as I do trinitarianism, hypercalvinism, or hyperarminianism. Christianity, as taught by Jesus, differs from them all.
In the fourth place, it is not in accordance with facts that "most of this party produce these revivals." We have no such revivals amongst us as he has described in his letter. We do, indeed, labor to convert men to Jesus Christ, but not by the machinery of such means as those he denounces; and many persons in the compass of a single year have been converted by the labors of an individual proclaiming the arguments of the gospel of Jesus, sometimes for one day, sometimes for two days, and in some rare occurrences for three days successively in one place; but differing nothing on these occasions from  the uniform proceedings on other occasions, "testifying and exhorting," and beseeching men to be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ; not by working upon the passions of men, nor by the machinery of mourning benches, anxious seats, inquiring meetings, &c. &c. but addressing the understandings of men--by urging the arguments which the Holy Spirit has put into our mouths. Whether our letter-writer can discriminate between such proceedings and those adopted for making sectarians, we can make a difference, and can assure him and the public that there is a middle course between the enthusiasm (not to say fanaticism) of revivalists, and the moonshine speculations of a dreaming metaphysician, or the freezing harangues of a dry moralist.
THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER
HAS re-appeared again, under the conjoint editorship of Barton W. Stone and J. T. Johnson. It is enlarged and improved in its appearance. It will be devoted to the restoration of the christian religion as taught by the Apostles. In the commencement of the editorial department brother Johnson thus speaks:--
"The very worthy, pious, and able editor of the Christian Messenger and myself, have united our efforts in preparing and presenting that periodical to the public. Whether I shall render any efficient or valuable service to the cause of reformation remains to be developed. Already the alarm is sounded, and astonishment seems to be excited in the minds of some, how persons professing the one Lord, one faith, and one immersion, &c. can meet upon the King's highway, recognize each other as soldiers of the cross, embrace each other as heirs of the same kingdom, and determine to press along the mark for the prize, regardless of foes on the right hand or the left.
"All those who profess to be astonished, will be convinced, sooner or later, of the, imbecility of all human devices to bind christians together, and that the word of God alone can do it.
"Keeping in memory the great land-marks of the King of kings, such as "Call no man master," "Be prudent as serpents and harmless as doves," "When you are reviled, revile not again," "If you continue in my word you shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God," &c. &c.--I pledge the exertion of my humble powers in clearing away the cobwebs of speculation--in suppressing conjecture--in discarding from religion all the traditions and philosophy of men--and in enforcing the indispensable necessity of an immediate return to the word of God. Inspiration has recorded of that word, that it is "pure, converting the soul;" and of the testimony, that "it is sure, making wise the simple."
From another article in the same number, signed by the editors, the following extracts are taken:--
"We are happy to announce to our brethren, and to the world, the union of christians in fact in our country. A few months ago the reforming Baptists, (known invidiously by the name of Campbellites,) and the Christians in Georgetown and the neighborhood, agreed to meet and worship together. We soon found that we were indeed in  the same spirit, on the same foundation, the New Testament, and wore the same name, Christian. We saw no reason why we should not be the same family. The Lord confirmed this union by his presence; for a good number was soon added to the church. We agreed to have a four days meeting on Christmas in Georgetown, and on New Year's at Lexington, for the same length of time. A great many elders, teachers, and brethren of both descriptions, assembled together, and worshipped together in one spot, and with one accord. Never did we witness more love, union, and harmony, than was manifested at these meetings. Since the last meeting we have heard of the good effects. The spirit of union is spreading like fire in dry stubble."--
"To increase and consolidate this union, and to convince all of our sincerity, we, the elders and brethren, have separated two elders, John Smith and John Rogers, the first known, formerly, by the name of Reformer, the latter by the name Christian. These brethren are to ride together through all the churches, and to be equally supported by the united contributions of the churches of both descriptions; which contributions are to be deposited together with brother John T. Johnson, as treasurer and distributor. We are glad to say that all the churches, as far as we hear, are highly pleased, and are determined to co-operate in the work."
With these two brethren we are well acquainted. They have both been preaching the ancient institutions for some years, and are very much devoted to the truth. They have both been very successful preachers. Brother Smith, in the years '27 and '28, immersed many hundreds into the faith. In the short period of eleven weeks, from the first Lord's day in February, 1828, till about the middle of April following, he immersed three hundred and thirty-nine! Brother Rogers has also been instrumental in bringing many into the fold of God. We most cordially bid them God speed in their conjoint labors under the present arrangement.
We do this the more cordially, because these brethren need not be told that to convert persons is not merely to baptize them, to loose them and let them go; nor to give them the name christian, and to induce them to protest against human leaders, against human creeds, and to extol the sufficiency of the inspired writings; but "to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance amongst them that are sanctified"--to teach them to observe and do all that the Lord has commanded. The one was formerly "a Baptist;" the other, formerly "a Christian," in the sectarian import of these words, differing from each other only in some speculative opinions; and were employed in building up congregations perfectly alike in their modes of meeting, and in their dependence upon an order of men called preachers, to dispense ordinances, and "perform divine service;" perfectly alike in their modes of preaching, textuary theologues, friends of monthly meetings, having each his four congregations waiting upon his ministrations. Each of them made a Lord's day in a neighborhood,  once-a-month, when they lifted the light of their countenances upon the admiring Baptists and Christians. Each conscientiously preached his own-ism, and the people worshipped by saying, Amen! by singing, praying, and adjourning for a month; behaving themselves, however, decently and morally during the interim. The sublimities of trinitarian calvinism and the sublimities of unitarian arminianism adorned their speeches and animated their strains. But now they have each renounced his own-ism, and have protested against all human isms, (their own amongst the number;) and now they plead the ancient order of things; an item of which, and but an item of which, is the ancient gospel. They are now to make converts to God and the Lamb, and to persuade those called Baptists, those called Christians, and all other sects, christian and infidel, that they must reform and do works worthy of reformation. They now go forth to plead for the long-lost honors of the Holy Twelve--to bring the disciples to keep all the commandments of the Lord and Saviour--to keep the ordinances as delivered by the Apostles.
In such an undertaking, who that loves the Saviour would not bid them God speed? It is not, then, to preach the necessity of union amongst professors, nor to baptize persons and let them fall into the desolating order of things which has so long obtained in the sects to which they formerly belonged:--it is to bring the christians indeed to do the things the Lord has commanded. These brethren will say each for himself, "Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, and my right hand forget its art," sooner than either are employed in preaching any thing but the faith once delivered to the saints, in substituting half-way expedients, professions for obedience, or in advocating any other union than a union in truth and with truth.
From numerous letters received from Kentucky, we were pleased to learn that brethren Smith, Stone, Rogers, and others, at a public meeting in Lexington, Ky, on New-Year's day, renounced their former speculations, declaring that they were not conscious of having effected good, but rather evil, in their debates, preachings, writings, &c. about trinity, calvinism, arminianism, unitarianism, &c. and that they now go for the apostolic institutions. I say, then, from the present aspect of things, we have reason to thank God and take courage, and to bid these brethren God speed.
|"Reign, mighty King, forever reign,
Thy cause throughout the world maintain;
Let Israel's King his triumphs spread.
And crowns of glory wreath his head!"
MISCELLANEA AND NEWS DEPARTMENT.
AN attempt in the Virginia Assembly to postpone indefinitely the discussion on the expediency of legislating on the abolition of the slaves, was lost by a vote of 71 to 60. But on the question whether  it were expedient now to legislate upon this subject, it was decided in the negative by a vote of 58 on the affirmative and 72 in the negative. This was achieving more than the most sanguine friends of abolition could possibly have anticipated. The vote on the question of indefinite postponement showed the strength of the two parties more unequivocally than any other vote during the discussion. The matter is now fairly before the people, and revolutions of this sort never go back.
Maryland, by her representatives now in session, is agitating the same subject, and no doubt will follow, if not anticipate, Virginia in putting out of the state this multiform evil.
FROM a letter received from Samuel Smith, Anderson's District, South Carolina, we learn that the little church which we noticed in a former number as having immersed ten at its first meeting (which was an error, as brother Smith now informs us, the number immersed being three, and the whole number constituting the church ten) has now more than doubled its numbers since it commenced.
These brethren were compelled to commence a separate assembly by the intolerance of Mr. S------ V------, who wished them a to worship the image he had set up. This is usually the case. Those who would rather obey God than man, are proscribed and then denominated schismatics. The preacher makes a party, and very generally takes care to have matters and things so managed as to have a majority to act with him before he commences his operations; then carries his point, and blames the excluded for schisms, and often tells his friends and co-workers to "mark them which cause divisions and avoid them."
The gentleman who compelled this separation, once a Calvinist fierce and vindictive, is now an Arminian bold and denouncing. Among the charges exhibited on the trial of these brethren against them, the following is quoted from the letter before me:--"They read and encourage Campbell's works--works dangerous and heretical, calculated to poison and corrupt the minds of readers. I take this opportunity to warn this congregation against said works. 'Tis true I read them myself, and must confess that I am indebted to them for a fund of information and would rather pay 5--nay, 20 dollars, than do without them. Yet I read more particularly to enable myself to refute the heretical doctrines advanced in them. Our correspondent in the close of his epistle, says, "In justice it must be observed, that the conduct of this very consistent and zealous propagator of his own-ism towards us, is disapprobated by some of the Baptist brethren."
SOMERSET, PA--Sister Graft (February 7) amongst other good news from Somerset, states, "We have comfortable meetings, and much reason to give honor, and glory and praises to the God and Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, for what he has done  for us, and is doing daily. The first persons our brother Forward2 immersed were a lawyer and two young ladies. This fall he has immersed another young lawyer, the most promising young man in town. He took a part in our meeting as soon as he was called on. He has the humility of a disciple, and promises to be a useful member of the church. This fall there have been twenty-seven persons baptized into the faith, and another last Lord's day. Brother C. Forward exhibits the humility and zeal of a real follower of him who humbled himself and made himself of no reputation for our sakes." [In answer to the request of the brethren there, I will try and visit them in May or June next.]--EDITOR.
AUBURN, NEW YORK.--"Brother Campbell--I can truly say I wish you success in your labors to reform mankind and restore the ancient order of things to the saints. I would inform you that notwithstanding the united exertions of all the clergy of all denominations, the light of divine truth is making progress in the different sections of this country. In Butler, Wayne county, there is a church formed of 14 members, intelligent brethren. Brother Dratt has been appointed their Bishop. Brother Wilkinson and myself went out to visit them the 18th of February (instant) and found them travelling in the order of the gospel as we understand it. Several of the brethren and sisters of the old society said they should join them soon. The church which I belong to is progressing in the cause of truth, and our meetings, as to numbers, increase. We have forty-five members belonging to the church. Our opponents defame us; we, however, are desirous to possess the spirit of the gospel, and to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints."
GOOD OMENS IN SCOTLAND.
|PERTH, SCOTLAND, March 29, 1831.|
Dear brother Campbell--IT is with great pleasure that I have read several numbers of the Christian Baptist, and should feel happy to receive the Millennial Harbinger, if an easy and regular plan could be adopted. I think the principles you defend are true, and a restoration of the ancient order of things most desirable, and rejoice at the great success of your efforts, together with those engaged in the same cause. It is now nearly two years since I understood that a church was farmed in Edinburg under the simple name of Christian; that no subscription to articles, creeds, confessions, or catechisms would be required; that all who held the fundamentals of religious doctrine should associate together; that the Scriptures should be the only rule of faith and conduct; and that the preachers supported by the churches should constantly devote their whole time in visiting the sick, preaching in the open air, and laboring in the word. The above principle was first adopted by a few persons and one minister, and the cause  met with great support by the respectable members of various denominations; insomuch that £70 in donations were received in one year to assist the work. Passing through Edinburg I had some conversation with that minister, and, approving heartily of the design, I resigned my charge in London, and immediately united with them. The cause has rapidly advanced. There are now six ministers fully employed, viz.--In Edinburgh, Leith, Kulkoldy, Dundee, Perth, and Newburgh; we also expect another daily to itinerate in the neighborhood of Perth.
That you may form a more general notion of us, I have sent you three numbers of our magazines, and one of each of our tracts; and though we do not go quite so far as you may see requisite, yet I conceive you will be pleased to see any advances towards the order of apostolic times.
Pagans, Infidels, and Mahometans have done much to stop the progress of christianity; but Popes, Priests, and Clergymen much more. They have mixed the muddy streams of human inventions with the water of life, and thus have prevented the spread of vital godliness. Men have contended for creeds and systems more than for the faith of the gospel. They have held forth from the pulpit and issued from the press long harangues in defence of their peculiar views, instead of imitating the Saviour in doing good to the souls and bodies of their fellow-men; and that charity, which is the essence of religion, has merely had a name, without its nature being evidenced or its benevolent influence observed. The Episcopalian has occupied his time and talents in defending the peculiarities of Episcopacy; the Presbyterian, Independent, Methodist, and Baptist, in like manner, in contending for the peculiarities of their own system. This I say they have been doing instead of striving who could display most of the spirit of christianity and who would do most good in diffusing the knowledge of Christ among their fellow-men. I hope the time is near when all that is antichristian in Protestant as well as in the Popish system, will be expelled by the light of truth, as the rising sun disperses the mists of the morning. It is high time for the church to awake from her slumbers. We are near the close of the last dispensation, and yet the world resembles the valley of dry bones exhibited to the vision of the Prophet. Surely every christian ought to pray, "O Lord, revive thy work."
But you, perhaps, would desire to know the state of religion in Scotland. My opinion is, that there is the most of it amongst the Baptists, Independents, and Methodists. There are, however, many pious souls in the "establishment" and amongst the Seceders. But I fear most of the ministers in the last named preach in a style too high for the generality of their hearers to be profited by their labors. They display more of what they have learned in the University, than what they have learned in the volume of truth and the school of the Saviour. There wants a general arousing to duty--a general exertion against the common enemy. 
Hoping you will excuse these remarks, hastily scribbled, embrace an early opportunity in sending me word of the success of christianity in your borders, I remain yours affectionately in the bonds of christian unity.
AMONGST a goodly number of the doubting and wavering who have been fully established in the import and meaning of christian immersion, and have come out boldly and decidedly in the cause of the restoration of the ancient order of things, we are happy to find some talented and influential preachers; one of whom, from Maury county, Tennessee, under date of January 12, thus writes:--
"Brother Campbell--Since you left Tennessee I have read much, reflected much, and often found myself laboring under conflicting feelings and views. But after reading the last Extra, being your reply to brother Broaddus, I saw and understood things as I never had before. I now go for reform in toto."
In the same letter he adds, "The ranting of sectarianism is more intolerable in our country than ever." And from a letter received from him, dated the 18th of same month, we learn that he had from the middle of September till that time immersed about forty persons, and that the prospects of continued additions were flattering. Not only have some of his old Presbyterian and Methodistic neighbors buried their sectarianism in the water and risen to a new life; but what must afford him still greater joy, and on account of which we would rejoice with him, all his children, grown up to the age of discrimination, have also been translated into the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour. Would that all who preach the gospel to their fellow-citizens were equally happy in introducing into the family of God their own offspring! Preachers who toil for the conversion of their contemporaries, ought not to forget that their own children have the strongest claims upon their attention. Some who spiritualize the Song of Solomon, had better take verse 6, chap. i. for a text--"They made me the keeper of the vineyards, but mine own vineyard have I not kept."
A MUCH esteemed brother and fellow-laborer in the kingdom of our Lord, has asked the question--
"How is it that when the ancient gospel is fairly presented to a people, and the work of conversion progresses most joyfully for a time, after it arrives at a certain point it ceases; and afterwards in that place for some time conversions are rather rare?"
An answer to this question is requested from some of our correspondents who have been engaged in proclaiming the word. We will reserve our remarks until we hear from some who have been more in the field than we.
A DOZEN OF APOLOGIES IN ONE.
A DOZEN apologies, principal and interest, are due to our correspondents for delaying some of their communications to the next number. But circumstances required that I should write nearly all this number myself, and give the next chiefly to correspondents. Few can enter into the feelings and labors of one who has to write on a dozen of distinct subjects in the rapidity necessary to keep pace with the calls of the public and the daily calls of a periodical press. By the time we have got ourselves up to the writing point upon any subject, and have got the oil melted on the wheels of the mind, the fastidious taste of the times whispers in our ear, 'This is as much as we can bear, at one sitting, on this subject: let us have something else' One says, 'This is too long;' another, 'It is too short;' and a third, 'It is out of place.' Thus is the mind impeded in its career, and half the time lost in taking off one set of harness and in geering it anew for another car. However, none but authors know the pangs of our travails, and therefore we can expect no sympathy from readers. All we ask is forgiveness when they think we sin against their wishes and taste.
ANDREW BROADDUS has, as one of "the keepers of the faith," as he terms himself and the Baptist ministry, given "an admonition to the Baptist churches in Virginia," to guard against any proposition to reform, no matter how plead, by whom, or in what manner. We have not room for it at this time, but will attend to it in our next.
MONTHLY RECEIPTS for the MILLENNIAL HARBINGER
O. Clapp, Mentor, Ohio, vol. 2 for J Clough and G Hale. P Stout, La Grange, Ala. vols. 1 and 2 for A Jones, vol. 3 for A Ricks and R P Bates, and vols. 2 and 3 for himself. W M'Galliard, Wadsworth, Ohio, vol. 2 for S Green, and 1 dollar for himself. J Trabue, Terre Haute, Ind. vol. 3. J T Johnson, Georgetown, Ky. vol. 3 for J F Johnson, S Elgin, and 1 dollar for R J Ward. J Y Plattenburg, Bethany, Va. vols. 1 and 2. D F Newton, Fife's, Va. vols. 1 and 2 for W B Philips. J Stamps, Port Gibson, Mi. vol. 2 for M Hunter. Elizabeth M'Dogal, L Matthews, G Humphreys, and Mr. Singleton. T E Jeter Jetersville, Va. vols 2 and 3 and 1 dollar on vol. 4. J Westbrook, Jamestown, N. C. vol. 2 for J Backstrom. E Ogle, Somerset, Pa. vol. 3 for A Morrison and Mrs. M Ogle. H E Degarmo, Aurora, N. Y. 1 dollar on vol. 3. H Baldwin, Aurora, Ohio, vol. 3 for G Sheldon, A Baldwin, and himself. W. Bootwright, Richmond. Va. vols. 1 and 2 for E Burton, N M'Curdy, J Redd, A Gathwright. J B Prentis and F W Quarles, and vol. 2 for G Radford, R Wrenn, J Martin, A M Peers. W W Wrenn, L L Montague, and one copy of vol. 1, Extra, for himself. J Wheeler, Martinsburg, O. vol. 2 for J Hills W Green, Henderson, Ky. vol. 2 for J N Hatchett, and vol. 1 and 1 dollar on vol. 2 for himself. C M'Neely, Dublin Hall. Ohio, 2 dollar for vol. 3. F V Sutton, White Chimneys. Va. $20, for whom not stated. N P Goodell, Kirtland, O. vols. 2 and 3. G W Nuckols, Shelbyville, Ky. vol. 2 for W Jarvis, M Redding, and A Chinn, and vols. 2 and 3 for W Standeford. W Hillyard, Prescott, West Canada, vol. 2, and 1 dollar for vol. 3. B S Hendrickson, New York City, vols. 1 and 2 for H Edmonds and J Hatfield, and vol. 2 for W Thompson. (Receipts here omitted shall appear in our next.] 
[The Millennial Harbinger, 3 (March, 1832): 97-144.]
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Alexander Campbell, ed.|
The Millennial Harbinger, Vol. III, No. III (1832)
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