[Table of Contents]
Alexander Campbell, ed.|
The Millennial Harbinger, Vol. III, No. X (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.
FOR THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER AND MILLENNIAL HARBINGER.
|The justification of sinners and ungodly men by faith,
without works, and the
justification of righteous men by works and not by faith only.
TO A. CAMPBELL, EDITOR OF THE MILL. HARBINGER:
Brother Campbell--I WILL now present to you what I apprehend to be the gospel doctrine of the justification of sinners, or ungodly men, by which they become godly or righteous men in the sight of God; and the justification of righteous men, as distinguished from the justification of ungodly men.
The gospel doctrine of the justification of sinners, is the same as the doctrine of the remission of sins, of forgiveness of sins, and the pardon of sins; and is called the righteousness of God. This doctrine claims to itself a sort of precedency and pre-eminence over all other doctrines, as being the one in which all the other doctrines of grace unite; so that Luther might well pronounce it to be the criterion of a standing or falling church, according as it is held soundly or unsoundly. Respecting those who departed from the gospel views of justification, it was declared by Paul that "Christ should profit them nothing"--to them the gospel had become of none effect, they had fallen from grace.
Justification is a law term, and is taken from the business of Judicial Courts, and denotes the acquittal of a person tried by such a court upon an accusation of crime. The person accused being upon trial found innocent of the charge, is declared to be just in the view of the law; and by an easy and natural figure, is said to be justified; that is, made just. The judgment of acquittal in this case does not make the person innocent of the crime charged against him, but having been innocent, the judgment of acquittal, by which he is said to be justified, declares his innocence.
In the gospel use of the word justification, the meaning is very different from the above, because all have sinned, and all are guilty before God, and therefore it is obvious that no person can be justified  on account of his own personal innocence. Hence the justification of sinners is gratuitous; that is, by grace, and not meritorious, and is provided for in the New Covenant, or in the gospel of the grace of God, agreeably to which they are justified by faith through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. When our Lord instituted his Supper, he took the cup and gave it to his disciples, and said, "Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for many, for the remission of sins." In the New Covenant, by the divine appointment, Christ was made a sin offering for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
The righteousness of God in the gospel, being by the faith of Jesus Christ, the true believer in him is supposed to be put upon his trial--charges of various sorts are pleaded--he has been guilty of the sins charged. How can he be justified, and God be just in his justification? The gospel answers the question by declaring that, "by the law is the knowledge of sin;" but, the righteousness of God, is, by the faith of Jesus Christ, unto all, and upon all them that believe, for there is no difference: for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins, that he might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus, Rom. iii. 19, 30. Therefore, however aggravated and true the charges may be against the true believer in Jesus Christ, Paul asks the question, Who shall presume to condemn, since it is God who justifies him through Christ, who died for him, and, whom he set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to manifest his righteousness for the remission of sins?
The true believer is thus declared by the judge to be just: the judgment of acquittal does not make him just, or innocent, or righteous, in the sight of God, but declares him to be so, and to have been made so, by faith in Jesus Christ; and looks back to the period when he first sincerely believed in him for the commencement of it, and not when he was baptized. The heinous and aggravated sins which he had committed before that period, as an ungodly man, were pardoned at that time. By faith in Christ he obtained redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins; and by that faith he became a child of God, and a new creature. He was born of the Spirit by the incorruptible seed of the word, which by the gospel is preached. All this is provided for in the New Covenant, which excludes all works of righteousness that we can do, in the article of justification. From these views of the subject, it appears that the justification of a sinner, or an ungodly man, by which he is received into the divine favor, is complex, and includes the idea of pardon, as well as of acquittal--The justification of a pardoned sinner gives him a present title to the reward of righteousness, without respect to his past actions, and independent of his future conduct. The present reward of righteousness is fellowship with God, and hope of glory. 
There is a strange kind of notion existing in our day, that sinners are justified, or that their sins are remitted and pardoned by the immediate physical operations of the Spirit, as Naaman was cured of the leprosy, or by immediate impulses. Those who entertain it, do not know that justification is a judicial, and not a physical act of God. God justifies sinners, not by infusing a holy disposition in them, but by imputing their faith in Jesus Christ to them for righteousness. Faith is the only instrument in justification, and consists in the cordial belief of the testimony of God concerning his Son. Before God can hold fellowship with man, his sins must be remitted, as it was sin that destroyed that fellowship in Eden. This is done by faith in Jesus Christ, who is exalted to give reformation and remission of sin. Every thing is given to us in Christ, and nothing is given to us without him, of a spiritual or divine nature. Without Christ a sinner can do nothing, as without him he can know nothing of God, and receive no favor from him.
God views and treats man as a sinner, under a dispensation of grace or favor, through the atonement and mediation of Jesus Christ; and he makes no communication to him, bestows no blessing upon him, and requires nothing of him but through his mediation. Christ is the light and life of the world in its fallen state, and God requires nothing of man, either in the exercise of his natural or moral ability, in the way of love or obedience to him, but through Christ, and by faith in him. The first thing he requires of a sinner, is, to believe in Jesus Christ, as without faith it is impossible to please him. And the first thing presented in the gospel for his faith and reception, is Christ, and him crucified, "through whom is preached the forgiveness of sin; and by him all that believe are justified from all things." Faith is obtained, not by the physical agency of the Spirit, but by the word of the gospel, and consists in the belief of it.
Having shown that a sinner, or an ungodly man is justified by faith without works, and by which he is made a righteous man, I am now to show that a righteous man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
As faith in Jesus Christ justifies the sinner according to the divine constitution of the New Covenant, so there is nothing that can change the moral state, or the heart of man from enmity to God, to the love of him, and love of holiness, but the manifestation of his grace and love, which he has made in the gift of his Son; and all that do sincerely and truly believe in him, realize this change--and thus sanctification begins 'with justification.
Sin lost our title to heaven, and corruption destroyed our qualification for the enjoyment of it. The former is restored by our justification, and our qualification for the enjoyment of it is restored by our sanctification.
Although Paul has said nothing in reference to the justification of a sinner, but only a true and living faith, yet that faith does not shut out its consequences, reformation, hope, love, and the fear of God, and attention and submission to the ordinances of the gospel, baptism,  the Lord's Supper, &c, These are only excluded from the office or instrumentality of justifying a sinner or ungodly man, and in making him a righteous one. Neither does the justification of a sinner by faith only, shut out the justice of God in requiring good works necessarily afterwards to be done. For it is by faith alone that good works can be performed, as it is by faith in Jesus Christ that we are made new creatures, and are qualified for doing good works, or any works that are pleasing to God: "Ye are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which he has before ordained that we should walk in them?' Without faith it is impossible to please God. Through faith we receive the promise of the Spirit; and by faith God works in us, to will and to do according to his own good pleasure. Faith is the fruitful and efficient principle of all good works. Every true believer is inclined to do good works, and finds his happiness in it, and feels himself bound to do them (if he cherishes the spirit of the gospel) all the days of his life; while he attributes his justification to the free favor of God in Christ Jesus, "in whom he has redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace." Eph. i. 5-7; Col. i. 13; Heb. ix. 12; Peter i. 18, 19.
The doctrine of justification by faith alone, so far from being any arrest to the practical influence of it, is felt by every true believer to give all its spirit and scope to the new obedience of the gospel. Under the sacred and constraining influence of that faith, which works by love, and purifies the heart, the question is not, How much must I do to escape punishment, or to obtain salvation? but what can I render to the Lord for all his benefits and goodness? In all ages those who have practically received the doctrine of justification by faith without works, have been more distinguished than any others in denying themselves of all ungodliness and worldly lusts, and being zealous of good works. I his was pre-eminently the case with Abraham and Paul, and is the case now with those who do and suffer most for the advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom, and the salvation of souls.
Abraham believed in God, and his faith was counted to him for righteousness without works; and being thus made a righteous man by faith, he was justified, as such, by works, and not by faith only. This doctrine the Apostle James illustrates. He says that Abraham was justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar. He then adds, "Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was his faith made perfect; and the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him or righteousness?" Now these words, "it was imputed to him for righteousness," were spoken many years before Abraham was called to sacrifice Isaac, and some time before Isaac was born. For proof of this, compare Gen. xv. 6, with Gen. xxii. 9, 12. James therefore did not intend to contradict Moses and Paul, who asserted that Abraham believed God, and his faith was counted to him for righteousness; but meant that the true believer proves his faith to be a living one, and  his profession to be sincere, by the fruits of holy obedience, and is thus justified before men on earth, and will be judged before an assembled universe by his works, when Christ shall justify the world.
James, when he speaks of justification by works, does not use the term justification in the sense of forgiveness of sins, as Paul does when he says that a man is justified by faith without works. At thy last judgment, when men shall be justified by their works, we have no account of the remission of sin there. Justification will be declarative and remunerative; the righteous will be declared by their works to be righteous, and receive a crown of life. There will be the works which faith wrought, and the scripture will be fulfilled, or rather, illustrated and confirmed, in the same way it was in the case of Abraham, by the works of faith in the case of every sincere believer; while the hypocrites, such as James described them, who pretended that they had faith, but which was alone and dead, will be manifested and declared to be hypocrites, by their want of the works of faith, and by their wicked works. The same will be the case with the professedly wicked portion of mankind; they will be judged by their works.
The previous state of those who are said to be justified by faith without works, and those who are justified by works and not by faith only, is different. The previous state of the former is described as being without strength, ungodly, enemies, and sinners; Rom. iv. 5; v. 8-10. The previous state of the latter is a state of deliverance from guilt and ungodliness; and they are saints and the children of God, those who love God and keep his commandments.
I desire to address one more number to you, which will be on "Christian Union and Gospel Reformation."
In publishing my first number, the Christian Messenger has made several typographical errors, particularly in the extract from brother Stuart's letter, and one in a scripture quotation, which I desire you to correct when you print it. The Editors of the Messenger divided my first number; you will oblige me by printing it all together in one number of the Harbinger.
|I am your brother in Christ,|
|March 14, 1832.|
P. S. I ought to have observed that the transaction between God and the soul, and that one upon which God suspends the remission of sin, and the reception of the sinner into his favor as a justified person, and bestows his divine influences upon him, passes in the soul itself, and consists in the cordial faith or belief in Jesus Christ, or in the hearty reception of him, and reliance upon him, as the Son of God and Saviour of sinners, as he is exhibited in the gospel.
The external acts of this faith, and which are consequences of it, are whatever the believer says or does, according to the word of God, as a rule of conduct and duty, whether it relates to the ordinances of the gospel, or to acts of self-denial, good works or worship, or to his living soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world.
|J. F. |
DEAR SIR:--WITH the general contents of your letter before me, I am well pleased. Concerning "the assurance of remission," you assert that "not when he was baptized, but when he first sincerely believed, has the sinner obtained the assurance of remission." This is the only point in your letter which now merits my attention, and the capital point at issue between us. On this you have not shed a single ray in your last series of letters. It is a dark point, and you ought, if light you have to bestow, to shed it forth on this point.
You rely upon such expressions as "by him all that believe shall obtain remission of sins." But so do we; only with this difference, that we take the whole expression, in all its appendages; such as by him, or by his name. Faith with us is always the principle; for example: if a sinner confess the Lord and be baptized for the remission of his sins, he receives pardon by faith in the testimony of God; or if a christian confess any sin, and ask for pardon, he receives pardon only through his faith in the promise of God. So that he is always justified by faith, stands by faith, and walks by faith. Most assuredly you can understand this. Why not, then, come to the point at issue--the naked and precise point? It is this: Is the assurance of remission obtained when a sinner first sincerely believes, before he obeys, and without obedience, by faith alone; or when he is baptized, believing the testimony of God? We assert the latter, and you the former. We have positive testimony, you have none. Our testimony has been often laid before you; your reasonings, only on such expressions as those marked above, are your dependence.
Come, now, and let us reason together upon your reasonings. The assurance of pardon: this is your expression, and it is mine--let us now keep it before our minds. This assurance of pardon is mental, as well as faith; is it not? and it must rest, according to your theory, upon the assurance of faith. In other words, the sinner must not only believe, but be assured that he does believe, before he can be assured that he is pardoned. Now, do you not see that you render assurance of pardon impossible to any sinner, unless you argue that a person can be assured that he does believe without a single act of faith, or without a pulsation of life. You argue that a man is to feel assured that he is alive before he feels one pulsation of his heart, or before his heart moves, lest he should confound his life with its movements. How can a man be conscious of life before he lives or moves? When you can explain this mystery, you can explain all mysteries, and demonstrate how a person can be assured that he does believe before the obedience of faith. We argue that obedience is just as necessary to prove the sincerity of faith, (I say sincerity, for this is your own term) to the believer himself, as it is to society. Can you demonstrate that any person can feel assured that he believes any proposition prior to, or independent of, the workings, movements, or actings of the truth of said proposition!! This will be a new chapter in metaphysics. Stuart of Edinburgh, in his day, could not soar so high nor dive so deep in mentals, as to afford such a demonstration. The  man who can say in the presence of reason, logic, and philosophy, to say nothing of religion, that he is assured that he believes any truth, without feeling the impulses of that truth, is prepared to say that he was assured of life before he felt the air, the earth, the water, or the fire.
Now concede, as I know you must, and I have so much faith in your candor as to say that I know you will--I say, concede that a man cannot be assured that he believes any truth prior to the impulses of that truth upon his moral nature, upon his understanding, will and affections, then the question is, Are not the effects, workings, and actings of the truth believed, the grounds of his certainty or assurance that he does believe? Another question, if you please: And are the inward feelings--call them what you please--as clear, and firm, and safe a ground of assurance, as those moral actions which require the whole man to move; are they, indeed, in any great matter, ever placed as the foundation of confidence?
By this we know that we have passed away from death to life: because we love the brethren. And how do we know we love the brethren, but by the fruits of that love! The man who can feel assured that he loves the brethren, without the acts of brotherly kindness, without the fruits of that love in overt acts, is more of an angel or spirit than I am, or in this mortal state can ever hope to be. And he that can be assured that he believes, before obedience to the truth believed, has attained to a purer air and a clearer sky in mental science than I have ever yet enjoyed. Now remember that you make the assurance of faith prior to the assurance of pardon: so do we. But see the difference:--you make faith itself the assurance of itself, while I demand its movements, its impulses, its acts; or, its obedience, if you please. Your theory, then, of the assurance of pardon resting upon the assurance of faith, and the assurance of faith resting upon itself, is the old theory of the earth resting upon the back of a tortoise, and the tortoise resting upon itself.
But, say you, how do I make faith the assurance of itself? I answer, By alleging that a man has the assurance of pardon when first he sincerely believes, and in assuming that he can be assured that he does believe prior to any act of obedience to the truth believed. And here I beg your attention while I state that by an act of obedience to the truth believed, we mean any assimilation of the mind to the truth believed; such as loving, hating, fearing, hoping, rejoicing, in correspondence with the truth believed. The first emotion of joy, or sorrow, on hearing a report, is an act of the mind in accordance with the meaning or truth of the report, and is a proof to the subject of it that he believes the report. Now if you allow that a person's assurance that he believes depends upon no fruit or act of faith, you make faith the faith or assurance of itself: and if you do not, then you make the fruit or act of faith the ground of assurance that we do believe; and consequently you make the consequences, fruits, or obedience of faith, the assurance of pardon! You will please read this again, and ponder it well; and then make an effort to demonstrate  how a man can have any assurance of pardon on the ground of his faith alone, or on faith without obedience: then you will find and feel the dilemma in which your theory terminates, and the utter impossibility of any person having the assurance of pardon, or the assurance that he sincerely believes, but by obedience.
Then returns the question, Whether are the wisdom, goodness, and grace of God, more apparent in appointing penitents to be baptized for the remission of their sins, and christians overtaken in any fault to confess and pray for remission, than in telling them merely to believe for pardon, or love, fear, or hope for pardon--in appointing an institution for remission which calls for the understanding, will, affections--body, soul and spirit--to act in one mighty concert, never to be forgotten?
Be assured, my dear sir, that obedience is as necessary to prove sincerity in the court of our own understanding, as in the court of public opinion; and without the sincerity of faith, you will not allow the assurance of pardon. Could Abraham have been assured that he sincerely believed the promise of God made to him, if he had not went out of Ur of Chaldea, and crossed the Euphrates, at the command of God? Or when commanded to offer up the Child of Promise, could he have known that he was obedient short of all that transpired on Mount Moriah? The Father of all believers could have had no assurance of his acceptance, if that assurance depended upon the sincerity of his faith, unless there was some test ordained by which he could prove to himself that he sincerely believed. Many idly talk about their faith, and think they have a good stock of it until they set about walking by faith; then they begin to discover that they cannot stand, much less walk by it.
But still it is true that all blessings are received by faith; for if God's promises are not believed, neither pardon nor any spiritual blessing can follow any act of obedience to any command. And when men "sanctify their souls by obeying the truth," the sanctifying influence or power is in the truth believed, and consequently in the grace revealed in that truth; for the saving truth is the grace of God reported to the ear, apprehended by the understanding, and received into the heart.
I am glad that you hit upon the proper phrase in this last communication; for the question is not, Who can be pardoned without baptism? but, Who can have the assurance of pardon, without this institution for remission? You have, in effect, conceded the point in issue, by alleging that sincerity of faith, or a certainty that a person believes, is necessary to the assurance of pardon: and I trust that by this time you are equally assured that no man can be assured that he does believe, unless his faith works the things which the Lord has commanded; that, in one word, faith alone, or faith itself, can never prove its own existence--consequently, no assurance of pardon without the obedience of faith.
|Your obedient servant, for the Truth's sake,|
IN this age of enthusiasm and superstition as well as of free inquiry, I think it would not be amiss for you to publish from Horne's Introduction, vol. 1, pp. 141-2-3, his remarks on enthusiasm.
|J. CREATH, Junr.|
THE characteristics of enthusiasm or fanaticism are, a blind credulity, in consequence of which its subject is led to imagine himself always to be the favorite of Heaven, and actuated by divine inspiration;--disorder and contradiction in the religious system proposed by the enthusiast;--and obscurity and absurdity in his exposition of it, accompanied with dictatorial positiveness, requiring an implicit credence of his pretensions, or at least on grounds as vain and delusive as those which have satisfied himself;--a morose, unsocial, and severe system of morality;--and contempt of all written revelation. But none of these characteristics is to be traced in the character or writings of the Apostles. They became the disciples of Jesus Christ upon rational conviction,--not upon internal persuasion alone, but on the irrefragable evidences of clear and stupendous miracles, proofs submitted to their senses, and approved by their reason, which enthusiasm could not have counterfeited, and never would have required; and at every step of their progress, as their faith was called to signalize itself by new exertions, or to sustain new trials, it was fortified by new proofs. The slowness and caution with which the Apostles received the fact of their Lord's resurrection from the dead, fully exempt them from all suspicion of being the dupes of delusion and credulity. Throughout their various writings, the utmost impartiality, sobriety, modesty, and humility prevail. In the most frank and artless manner they do that which enthusiasts never do; they record their own mistakes, follies, and faults, and those of very serious magnitude, acknowledged to be such by themselves, and severely censured by their master. No example of this nature can be found in the whole history of enthusiasm, and no other such example in the whole history of man. Enthusiasts also, in all their preaching and conversation on religious subjects, pour out with eagerness the dictates of passion and imagination; and never attempt to avail themselves of the facts or arguments on which reason delights to rest. Strong pictures, vehement effusions of passion, violent exclamations, loudly vociferated and imperiously enjoined as objects of implicit faith and obedience, constitute the sum and substance of their addresses to mankind. They themselves believe, because they believe, and know, because they know; their conviction, instead of being (as it ought to be) the result of evidence is the result of feeling merely. If any one attempt to persuade them that they are in an error, by reasoning, facts, and proofs, they regard him with a mixture of pity and contempt, for weakly opposing his twilight probabilities to their noon-day certainty, and for preposterously laboring to illumine the sun with a taper. Hew contrary is all this to the conduct of the Apostles! When a  proof of their mission or doctrine was required of them, they appealed instantly and invariably to arguments, facts, and miracles. These convinced mankind then, and they produce the same conviction now. The lapse of more than seventeen centuries has detected them in no error, and in no degree enfeebled their strength. Their discourses were then, and are now, the most noble, rational, and satisfactory discourses on moral and religious subjects, ever witnessed by mankind. There is not one single instance in them all, in which belief is demanded on any other grounds than these; and on these grounds it is always rightfully demanded: but on these grounds it is never demanded by enthusiasts. There is not in the world a stronger contrast to the preaching of enthusiasts, than that of Christ and his Apostles.
Further, the style of fanatics is always obscure, arrogant, and violent. The style of the New Testament is the very reverse of this. The utmost harmony exists through every part of the system of religion inculcated by its authors. The historical books are plain, calm, and unexaggerated; detailing the facts that establish the unparalleled perfection of their Divine Lord, with the particularity and consistency of truth. Some trifling discrepancies, it is true, are found in the collateral circumstances related by the historians of Jesus Christ, (and this is an evident proof that they did not copy one from another); but in all essential matters they entirely and perfectly agree: and though scarcely one among them had read, or could have read, the writings of the others, yet their histories and doctrines are perfectly accordant. And the Epistles--though written at different and distant times, on various occasions, from different places, and addressed to very different communities, and persons--never contradict each other. On the contrary, they are uniformly, in the highest degree natural, rational, and affectionate, admirably adapted to the occasions which produced them, and the relations which their several writers bore to the various churches and persons whom they addressed:--instructing their ignorance, and encouraging their virtues,--rebuking their offences without bitterness,--vindicating their own character from calumny, without betraying any excessive resentment,--and maintaining their own authority, as religious instructers and guides, without any trace of spiritual pride, any arrogant claims to full perfection of virtue. So far are they from inculcating a gloomy devotion, or a morose, unsocial, or selfish system of morality, that, while they insist on the necessity of sincere, and heartfelt piety to God, without any affectation of rapturous ecstasy or extravagant fervor,--a piety, in short, chastened and controlled by humility and discretion,--they at the same time inculcate the strictest equity and justice in our intercourse with our fellow men, together with the purest, most active, and most diffusive benevolence. While the just pre-eminence is allowed to internal sincerity, outward rites and observances have their due importance preserved; every grace, and every virtue, that can form a part of the Christian character, has its just order and value assigned to it in the Christian scheme; every civil,  relative, and social duty is taught in the clearest manner, and enforced by the strongest motives. So far are the authors of the New Testament from contemning all written revelation, that in their writings they uniformly evince the greatest reverence for the written revelation of the Old Testament, which they exhort their disciples to study diligently, and point out its friendly harmony with the Christian system. And though they insist on the necessity of receiving and believing that system, yet they equally condemn all spirit of persecution, and all religious indifference.
DISCIPLINE OF THE CHURCH--NO. III.
HAVING seen how the primitive apostolic churches became possessed of any other officers than the inspired Apostles, we shall progress a little farther, and then give our views of their proceedings. After Paul and Barnabas had "gathered the church together at Antioch, and rehearsed all God had done by them, and how he had opened d the door of faith to the Gentiles, they continued a long time with thee disciples."
Some men came down from Judea, teaching circumcision. Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them. They did not attempt to exclude them, or close the doors of the synagogue against them. As they were the ambassadors to the Gentiles, they agreed to refer the matter to the Apostles and Elders at Jerusalem. "So Paul and Barnabas, and certain others, it was determined should go up to the Apostles and Elders about this question." What a noble example for us, to go to the Apostles and Elders--THEIR RECORDED ACTS--upon all disputed points. These were inspired men, and their decision was the mind of God. Never can there be a such an association of infallible wisdom as was assembled at Jerusalem. Here were the APOSTLES and Elders, with the whole church at Jerusalem, under the Spirit of inspiration, concurring in the abrogation of circumcision with the Gentiles, "upon whom my name is called," saith the Lord; that is, all that have been by faith immersed I into the name of the Lord: "For as many (says Paul) as have been by faith immersed into Christ have put on Christ." This assemblage is not a precedent for any assemblage of uninspired men on earth. The Apostles sent with Paul and Barnabas, Judas, surnamed Barsabbas, and Silas, to tell the church at Antioch the same things by mouth (being Prophets) as were written in their decrees. After this Paul proposes to Barnabas to go and see their brethren in every city where they had preached the word of the Lord, to see how they were. They carried the decrees drawn up at Jerusalem for the churches, ordained by the APOSTLES and ELDERS. This proves that the Apostles did not assume the government of the churches, but gave laws to them, though the care of all the churches was a matter of great anxiety with them. 
It appears from Acts xx. that Paul sent from Miletus to Ephesus, and called the ELDERS OF THE CHURCH. He reminded them how he had taught them, and that he had not shunned to declare to them all the counsel of God. He therefore warns them to "take heed to themselves, and to all the flock over which the HOLY SPIRIT had made them overseers; to feed the church of God which he has purchased with his own blood. For I know this (says the Apostle) that after my departure shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also, of your own selves shall men arise speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. What remedy does he provide to preserve the faithful disciples against these grievous wolves and intestine enemies? He "commends them to God and to the word of his favor, which is able to build them up and to give them an inheritance among all them that are sanctified:--that he had courted no man's gold or silver." Here we have an important prophecy that the church would be devoured and rended asunder by grievous wolves and ambitious teachers that would draw away disciples after them. We now experience the awful realities of the Apostle's warning.
Let us now attend to his advice, to commit ourselves into the hands of God, and take the word of his grace to build us up. We can see, on the one hand, grievous wolves; and on the other, the intestines enemies of the church's unity, peace, and purity. We are authorized to say by the Holy Spirit, that every church had its plurality of Elders. They were men filled with the mind of Christ and wisdom. They were chosen by the church from among themselves to be overseers over them. Their business was first to take heed to themselves; then to the church of God over which the Holy Spirit had made them overseers. We understand by the Holy Spirit making them overseers, that it is ordained by the Holy Spirit that every church or congregation should, if they have men of wisdom, whose character came up to that Paul describes to Timothy, among themselves, to elect such to be rulers or overseers over them, and submit to the word of God which they were to teach them. Hence the exhortation to the churches: "And we beseech you, brethren, to know them that labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake." A Bishop, or overseer, is to be one that rules well;1 that is, must be just, ruling in the fear of the Lord. Hence the Apostle teaches, "Let the ELDERS that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those that labor in word and doctrine." Again, "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls as they that must give an account; that they may do it with joy, and not with grief; for that is unprofitable for you." Rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil.
PROPHETIC ICONISMS.--No. II.
JERUSALEM. In symbolic or figurative language, the church of Jesus Christ--the Christian Economy. "Jerusalem which is above is free; the mother of us all." "The holy city" is contrasted with "the great city," the true church of Christ with the apostate church. Babylon and Jerusalem--the former represents every professing christian society which submits not wholly and unconditionally to Jesus as sole lawgiver, prophet, priest and king; the latter the society which unreservedly submits to him in all his official power and glory. Jerusalem, New, contrasted with the earthly and literal city, capital of Judea.
ISLANDS, European States. Isles of the Sea, frequently in prophetic language, represent the western parts of the world, particularly Europe. Island sometimes signifies a prince, or the sovereign of any small state, as well as the lesser states themselves.
KILLING, act of, changing the condition from bad to worse; causing a person or state to cease to be what it was before: political death. The recovery of a people is also called their resurrection. The killing of the witnesses, denotes the depriving them of their former state and power.
KING--The supreme power, in whomsoever invested, and by whatever name designated. Seven Kings, seven sorts of supreme power, The four beasts are several sorts of beasts; so the "five senses" denote not five of the same sort, but five distinct species, or sorts.
KINGDOM, the body subject to any head or supreme power.
LAMB--Lamb of God, the well known symbol of the Messiah. A beast with the horns of a lamb, represents a state or person pretending to such power as the Messiah rightfully exercises; spiritual power.
LAMP--Symbol of government, civil or religious.
LEOPARD--"An irreconcilable enemy:" emblem of cruelty.
MIGHT--The well known emblem of knowledge.
LIFE--Alive, having power and activity. To cast the beast and the false prophet alive into a lake of fire, denotes not only the destruction of the persons, but the succession, the existence of such persons. To cast a person alive into a lake of fire, represents, also, the fierce and terrible nature of the judgment.
LOCUSTS--Numerous armies of men pillaging and destroying a country. Joel i. 6. The Persians and Babylonians who laid waste Judea are compared to locusts. "If any king or potentate see locusts come upon a place, let him expect a powerful multitude of enemies there."--Achmetes.
MARK. See Character.
MEASURE. See Balance.
MERCHANTS. Merchants of the earth--Ecclesiastics, or spiritual Persons, in reproach of their worldly character, and because they traffic in religious privileges, are called the merchants of the earth.
MONTH. See Time.
MOON. See Sun and Stars. 
MOUNTAIN--A great and powerful government. "The Mountain of the Lord's House," the kingdom of the people of God: "In all my holy mountain," in all the kingdom of the Messiah. Babylon is called a mountain: Jer. li. 25. "I am against thee, O destroying mountain, saith the Lord, which destroyeth all the earth; and I will stretch out my hand upon thee, and roll thee down from the rocks"--Zech. iv. 7. "Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt be a plain"; i. e. Babylon reduced before Cyrus. The stone cut out of the kingdoms of this world became a great mountain (kingdom) and filled the whole earth.
MOUTH. The words which proceed out of it--Commands and actions. "Out of their mouth issued fire"--Destruction; commands and threats issuing in destruction.
NAKEDNESS--Poverty, shame, and disgrace. "Make her naked," shall bring upon her shame and disgrace.
OLIVE TREES. Trees in the prophetic scriptures are often the symbols of men. The olive, remarkable for its verdure, soundness, and useful oil, is the symbol of the most illustrious and useful men. Moses and Aaron were two olive trees. So were Zerubbabel and Joshua. The good man is like a tree planted by the water courses--the axe lies at the root of the dry tree. The godly by Isaiah are called "trees of righteousness," lxi.3. Thy children are like olive plants: the Jewish people and state, Jer xi. 16. "The Lord called thy name a green olive tree, fair, and of goodly fruit."
PALM, branches of. Carry branches of palm trees--The symbol of joy after a victory attended with antecedent sufferings.
PARADISE--Symbol of happiness and salvation. "Fruits of Paradise," signify divine and useful knowledge.
PILLARS--Princes or nobles in a kingdom or state.
POTION, Cup, or Philtrum--Sorcery, enchantment. "Cup of her fornication"--enchanting or magical influences.
RAIN--Refreshment: peace and righteousness: pure and heavenly doctrine; Deut. xxxii. 2; Ps. lxxii. 6; Hosea x. 12. "All manner of good things."
RESURRECTION, and "Rising from the dead"--A recuperation of lost rights and privileges which have been taken away; a deliverance from persecution and bondage. Ez. xxxvii. 9. "I will open their graves"--raise them into a national and elevated existence. Political and religious exaltation.
RIVERS--Provincial magistrates; revenues. Consolations are also represented by rivers of living waters: the fruits of the Spirit. Drying up of rivers portends death, sorrow and affliction.
SCARLET. Scarlet colored--Emblem of the most bloody cruelty.
SEA--Waters signify people. The gathering together of people into one body politic, constitutes a sea. The winds strove upon the great sea--An empire in agitation.
SELLING. See Buying.
SERPENT. See Dragon. 
SHIP--The symbol of profit.
STARS. See Sun.
SUN, Moon and Stars--Symbol of the high lights and authorities in society, political and religious. The sun denotes the chief, the moon next in authority, and the stars the nobles. Joseph's dream, interpreted by Jacob, gives the true interpretation of those symbols: "Shall I, and thy mother, and thy brethren, indeed, come and bow down to thee!" The moon is the symbol of the Jewish state, the sun of the christian, and the stars are used to represent, sometimes, the lights in general. The morning star is a symbol of the Messiah. The king of Babylon is called Lucifer, Son of the "Morning." "I am," says Jesus, "the bright and the morning star." Angels, too, are symbolized by stars. When the morning stars sang together, even all the sons of God shouted for joy. "Stars falling from heaven," denote the destruction of the nobility. "The stars are usually put for subordinate princes and great men."--Sir Isaac Newton. Political and ecclesiastical heavens have their hosts--their sun, moon, and stars, as well as the natural.
SWORD--Symbol of slaughter. Sword out of the mouth--Threatenings, sharp and severe: his words are drawn swords--piercing and terrific.
TAIL. "Tail of a beast"--Symbol of the train or retinue of the chief authority or state symbolized by the beast whose tail it is.
TEETH--"Large iron teeth," a devouring enemy; rapacious cruelty.
TEMPLE OF GOD, Christian Church. "Man of Sin sitting in the temple of God," represents Christ's pretended Vicar reigning over something called the church. "A pillar in the temple of my God:" a conspicuous member in the church of the Messiah: "a consecrated people, whose profession is christian," say Hammond, Grotius.
THIRST. See Hunger.
THROES. Throes of child birth--Image of great endeavors to bring to pass something attended with great difficulty. Jer. xxx. 6, 7. Is. lxvi. 7.
THRONE. Throne, kingdom, government, authority, dominion and power, are of like signification. "To translate the kingdom from the house of Saul and to set up the throne of David over Israel," is to translate the government from one to the other. "The throne of the beast," is his authority.
THRONE OF GOD. As the trees of God are magnificent trees; the cedars of God magnificent cedars; the mountains of God very large mountains; so, figuratively, and in the Hebrew idiom, "Throne of God" is a magnificent throne.
THUNDER. "There were thunders and lightnings"--The symbol of sudden and terrific dispersion and destruction of the forces of war. As the coruscations of lightning and thunder shake the natural heavens, or air, so symbolic thunders, &c. shake the political and existing governments of men. Is. xxix. 6; Job xxxix. 25; 1 Sam. ii. 10; Ps. xviii. 
TIME, times, and half a time. Time is one annual revolution of the earth; times two such revolutions; and the dividing, or half a time, is half a year: time, times and half a time, denote three years and a half. This is established in Daniel's prophecy. Nebuchadnezzar was to associate with the beasts till seven times passed over him; i. e. seven years.
"Numbering by months or moons is appropriate to the works of darkness; because the moon is the governess of night: numbering by the course of the sun, is appropriate to the works of righteousness, and this is in correspondence with the use of these symbols in the Apocalypse. The continuance of the Beast, and the profaning of the holy city by the Gentiles, are reckoned by months; but the prophecy of the Witnesses by days: the abode of the woman in the wilderness by days, and by time, times, and half a time; three solar years and a half."
TREES. See Olive.
TRUMPET--Emblem of the proclamation of war or peace.
VINTAGE, and Wine Press--Symbol of great oppression, affliction, and effusion of blood. See Joel iii. 12.
WATERS--Symbol of words, languages, and people.
WHEELS--Revolutions and dispensations of God's government.
WHITE CLOTHING--Innocence and purity.
WHORE--The apostate church.
WHOREDOM, Idolatry--Worship of man's inventions, renunciation of allegiance to Jesus Christ as the sole Lord, prophet, priest and king.
WIND. See Sea--Symbol of commotion.
WINE PRESS. See Vintage.
WITNESSES: two witnesses, a few witnesses--The scriptural plurality. That succession of pleaders for God which have stood forth for him during the time, times, and a dividing of time, in which the man of sin sits in the temple of God, and the woman is nourished in the wilderness, according to some. The two witnesses, according to others, are the two distinct bodies of men in succession which plead for the political and religious rights of men, against the usurpations of priests and kings: resembling in their character Moses and Aaron; Zerubbabel and Joshua: or, Revelation and Nature, those witnesses for God's being and perfections; or the Old Testament and the New; the Apostles and the Prophets. Such are the various views taken of the two witnesses. We shall refer the reader to an essay on this subject, intended soon to appear.
WOMAN--A body politic, whether city, state, or church.
WORLD. See Heaven and Earth. The whole frame of things.
WORSHIP--Subjection, homage; political and religious.
ZION--The christian church in her impregnable and triumphant character.
Dear Sir:--IN my last I presented you with two objections, one on the manner in which some preachers teach the "ancient gospel," and one on the manner in which persons are received to immersion. In looking over my pocket book of memoranda and strictures on sermons and preachers, I discover a few such specimens from other preachers beside that given in my last: but my attention is now called to your mode of inducting persons into the work of Evangelists. Permit me now to speak plainly on this delicate point. I have reason to call it a delicate point; for I think that you yourself have been the cause of the errors of which I am about to complain.
There are a set of men, now becoming pretty numerous, going all round the country in the capacity of Evangelists, (they call themselves by this name); some of them assuming to be planters of churches, others waterers; some of them teachers, critics upon the text, commentators, and, though not "text expositors," they are chapter expounders. They speak of the clergy as a set of blockheads, dunces, (one of them I think, in my hearing, called them asses,) impostors, not sent by God, spiritual merchants, traffickers in souls, &c. &c.
One of them and myself fell in company a few months since at an inn: we lodged in the same room, and talked, rather than slept, all night. Not suspecting me to be a preacher of any sort, he felt no restraint in expressing his whole views and abhorrence of the priesthood, as he called all the preachers out of his own fraternity. In the course of a long debate, in which I sustained the clergy (occasionally, however, giving in to his censures) and he impugned them, I asked him, By what authority he preached? as I inferred that he was a preacher. He told me that he had the authority of the Apostle Peter, and received his commission from him. I wished him to explain. He proceeded by telling me that Peter said, "Let every one, according as he has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold favors of God. If any one speak, let him speak as the oracles of God require. If any one minister, let him do it as from the strength which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ; to whom be the glory, and the power, forever and ever: Amen." This, said he, is my commission.
But, said I, have you been accredited and received as one of Peter's preachers by any society? I do not understand you, he responded. Has any community examined your credentials, and concurred in your commission? No; rejoined he, angrily: I am not sent by men. Well, you pretend not to be called and sent by God; and if neither God nor man has sent you out, I am at a loss to understand how you are to be received and regarded as one of Peter's preachers. After a long pause, he observed that the written word justified him in proceeding as he had done, and he wanted no higher authority.
After numerous objections to his application of the words of Peter, In which I attempted to show that this was a spiritual gift of which Peter spake, and that the brethren in the church were the objects of  the exercises enjoined by Peter, and therefore it authorized him not in going out to the world, he introduced some passages from the Acts in illustration of his commission; such as the whole congregation in Jerusalem turning preachers on their escape from persecution, and Philip's journey to Samaria and elsewhere, &c. And here I fell asleep; much, apparently, to the relief of my friend, who in the morning evinced no very strong desire to resume the subject.
Now, sir, this appears not so much as an excrescence upon your system, but as the natural fruit of some essays which I have read in the first volumes of the Christian Baptist. If I mistake not, you encourage every one to speak or preach who feels a desire to engage in such exercises. And, indeed, I know not how, otherwise, so many should be engaged in the work, unless undertaken and assumed upon their own responsibility. But how this experiment is to eventuate, I think it requires no great prescience to foresee. It might have done in the age of prophecy and of spiritual gifts, for every one impelled by the Holy Spirit to go forth, either as a preacher or teacher of christianity. But when you and I agree that the age of such gifts is past, and that men are not now illuminated by immediate revelations, I am the more surprized to see you and others yield to such an economy.
Amongst various sects of Baptists, Methodists, Christians and Quakers, who believe in an immediate and supernatural call to the work of the ministry, it may do very well for them to countenance such; for, indeed, I do not see how they dare resist the Spirit, or quench its workings in such called ones, agreeably to their acknowledged sentiments. But such an economy of things appears to me wholly irreconcilable with the position that no man can have any correct spiritual perceptions, or supernatural ideas, but from the recorded words of the Holy Spirit.
Our preachers, evangelists and pastors, must be created or raised up by the study and knowledge of the holy scriptures. And I presume you will concede that they who wish to be preachers and teachers of others, I mean those who are most eager for such offices, are not generally the best qualified for them. I contend, therefore, that reformation is not more needed in any system in christendom than in your own: for if ever there was a set of preachers and prophets of whom it might be said that they were wholly unsent, either by God or men, it is that class, or at least a part of that class whom I have now in my eye. Let me add, that in some parts of my travels in the Valley of the Mississippi, your opponents have taken great advantage of this order of things; and on it they rely "for the blowing up of your system," as they call it, more than upon their own exertions and I should not acquit my conscience if I should not add, that many who think well of many prominent features of the Reformation, or Restoration as some call it, are so disgusted with this disorder as to stand aloof from it on this account alone.
You published some specimens of the called and sent textuaries; such as the Oysterman, and others, as indicative of the enthusiasm of  those spirits who, from between the handles of the plough, reclined their arms on the sacred desk in obedience to some voice, impulse, or call from heaven to go and preach: and if you would not call it retaliation, I could send you some specimens from my note book as a counterbalance, from the "holdings forth" of those who declaim against such calls from heaven, and eulogize common sense and call themselves Peter's preachers.
Now let me gravely ask you this momentous question--momentous, when the whole train of things consequent upon it is soberly estimated--Whether is he the greater enthusiast who presumes to preach and teach the gospel because he imagined he was divinely called by an immediate impression from the Holy Spirit, or he who presumes to comment upon and expound the holy scriptures without any other preparation than that he believed and was baptized, and has for a year or two read with extraordinary attention the New Testament in the common way? He may have a more rational view of things, and be able to tell a plainer or a straighter story; but for the work of commenting on its meaning, and expounding its doctrine, is he better qualified than he who imagines he is immediately called and commissioned as was Saul of Tarsus?
But dismissing the qualifications of those who run unsent either by a voice from heaven or earth, save their own, let me request your attention to the question, How far you may have contributed to such a state of things by your former essays upon preaching, teaching, and administering ordinances?--and to another subject, emanating from such a state of things, and involving the very principle of the intercommunion of churches.
Every society has some bond of union and communion, which holds its individual members together; and the communities in every kingdom, state or connexion, are held together in one general communion by some bond, consideration or agreement. Now, although I am no slave to human authority, nor pleader for a human creed or liturgy, yet I cannot imagine how any number of societies or churches can rationally and religiously enjoy any intercommunion unless upon some agreement; upon some principle, human or divine. I know you contend for the intercommunion of all the churches which have adopted the New Constitution and united upon the Apostles' doctrine. But how do you know these congregations? and how are they to be known to all of the same connexion? and, let me ask, what is the sign by which they are known? Is it because they adopt the New Testament alone--protest against creeds--hate the sects--baptize for the remission of sins--meet every Lord's day for breaking the loaf? Is it because of any one, two, or all of these peculiarities, that you have agreed to recognize all such as fractional parts of one communion, as societies amongst whom there is to be the most cordial christian communion?
You can now anticipate my difficulty: A B starts out on a mission of his own, peregrinates some new district of country, does the work of an Evangelist, sets up or plants some churches; how are  they to be found out and regarded by the connexion as sisters in the same family? Must we not know their parentage? or do we take them upon trust, and recognize them because he that congregated them went out from one of the churches? If so, why not formally recognize the agent before you recognize his work? or do you first examine the work, and then approve the agent?
I will not be further tiresome to you, at this time. The qualifications and the call, as well as "the holdings forth" of some of the preachers of reform, are matters of primary concern. I will not disguise my conviction that there is some great defect in your economy of things as respects this subject, or that I have been peculiarly unfortunate in meeting with a number of preachers which are exceptions to your general system of operations. Have you any rule or system in such matters?
|In much esteem,|
TO EPAPHRAS.--No. III.
DEAR SIR:--YOU would not throw away an apple because of its core, nor reprobate a good enterprize because some awkward and erroneous efforts were attendant on its execution. Who ever learned to swim walking in a meadow, or to walk without making some awkward movements! These irregularities and incongruities are the inseparable adjuncts of all attempts upon improvement. There never was a revolution in society, religious or political; there never was any valuable improvement in arts or sciences, which terminated in any good and practical results unaccompanied with experiments, and managements, and efforts, which evinced the folly as well as the wisdom, and demonstrated the weakness as well as the strength of the principal agents.
That some honest and well meaning advocates of reform amongst us have rendered themselves worthy of censure, and exposed themselves to the reprobation of some minds gifted with higher discrimination and more refined sensibility on the subject of propriety and decorum, may be admitted without the compromise of any one principle of this reformation, or without the fear of disparagement in comparison with any change made in religious society for a thousand preceding years.
Luther and Calvin, Knox and Wesley, did, without any discrepancy or disparagement, what would have undone many of their contemporaries and successors, because their opportunities and standing gave them a right, in public opinion, to speak and write of religious men and measures in a style which that same public opinion would not have allowed to many others.
To see young men, whether in years or in profession, novices in all ecclesiastic affairs, arise in a public assembly to denounce the clergy, that ancient, learned, and venerable body of men which have, in all Catholic and Protestant countries, controlled the fountains of all  intelligence, formed and fashioned the public mind and manners, given atone to every age, is not to be allowed with any hope of impunity at the bar of public opinion, unless those youngsters possessed gifts so supernatural or extraordinary as to overshadow all the acquirements of the age in which they lived. But when these same young declaimers are manifestly ignorant of the very genius of their own mother tongue, of history, geography, and the whole art of criticism, such efforts not only create general dissatisfaction, but disgust, and subject, them to the indignation rather than to the approbation of all persons of discernment.
Young men, whether in years or in experience in any calling, can never hope to be useful unless they wear the proper costume of their age, diffidence and modesty. They must conciliate rather than denounce; they must speak reverentially when they speak of long established opinions and their authors. If they presume to censure, it must be without the air or semblance of a censorious spirit: they must show all respect for men reputed wise, aid for those who admire them; and even in the clearest matters, it will be better for them to inquire of their audience whether such opinions are not incompatible or erroneous, rather than to assert that they are.
I am bold to say that no man of good sense, no sensible young man at least, will hazard so much for himself as to call the religious instructers in any country either blockheads or asses, no matter how worthy they might be of such titles of honor. And last of all, we must observe that nothing is more inconsistent with the apostolic doctrine and manner. "Render to all their dues," is not more just in political than in the moral and social relations. Had Paul appeared in Corinth, Ephesus, or Athens, as some now appear in all societies; in the same haughty, self-conceited, and dictatorial style; flinging censures and denunciations in the face of every person, there would have been found no Dionysius, Damaris, Crispus, or Sosthenes, in his train; none of the thousands of the pious and devout Jews and Greeks which he won over to the obedience of the faith.
But to attend more in order to the call and qualifications of the preachers of whom you speak, and of the intercommunion of churches. Please observe, that while we contend that every citizen has a right to be heard, as well as to hear, in the christian community; and that every one who, in his intercourse with society, finds an unbeliever, has a right and command to preach to him the gospel, and to baptize him if he ask it of him; yet we have no idea that every disciple is to become a public preacher, baptizer, teacher, critic, commentator, at his own volition, option, or solicitation, by virtue of his discipleship; or to act in any public capacity in any society, or as its agent or functionary abroad, except by special designation and appointment of the community or communities in which or for which he acts. It is not, indeed, of the wisdom which comes from above, nor of even human prudence, to countenance every one who wishes to be heard in the church or in society, or to employ all the members of the community, either at one time or in rotation, to preach, teach, or exhort.  It is folly, and not wisdom. It is the very opposite of prudence and discretion. We know of no society, however, guilty of such an outrage on reason and religion.
We have, indeed, met with some very eager spirits, who, as you say, run wholly unsent and uncalled. But the better way, after remonstrance fails, is to let them alone. They will soon find their level in society; and what they will not learn from the lips of experience, they will be forced to learn with pain and mortification from the suffrage of society at large.
There ever has been, and while this dispensation lasts there ever will be, private and public stations in society. Whatever belongs to the whole community, belongs to the individuals who compose it; and no individual can have more than belongs to the whole. No individual can claim more than belongs to all private members, for it is the suffrage of the community which always makes public men. The offices have their origin in the nature and circumstances of society; but those who fill them are the choice of the whole society. So the Apostles always taught and practised, and so does every society amongst civilized men.
These comets of which you speak belong not to our system; they may, however, purify our atmosphere, and teach us useful lessons which we would not so soon have learned without their aid. But our system is not a system of comets, or wandering stars, though one or two may now and then appear amidst the regular planets as omens of what may be expected should we depart from the ancient order of things.
All who act for our societies, either within them or abroad, have the suffrage of the society. This is our fixed and well defined rule, as a part of the ancient order of things. No man is his own messenger, or institutes his own mission, with the consent of the admirers of the Apostles' doctrine. The churches choose their presidents, deacons, and all their public functionaries; and if any one, two, or three of the congregations, unite in sending forth a brother upon any mission, they give him a letter of recommendation as such. The following is a copy of one lately furnished a brother sent out by the churches in this vicinity:
To all the saints and faithful brethren in Christ Jesus our Lord to whom this letter shall be presented: favor, mercy and peace be multiplied.
BE it known to you, that the Christian congregations of Wellsburg, Bethany, and Hollidays Cove, with other congregations in Brooke county, Virginia, reposing full confidence in the Christian character of HENRY BROWN, and esteeming him possessed of such gifts as qualify him to be a useful laborer in the word, have requested him to devote himself to the work of the Lord as a proclaimer of the gospel in our vicinities to all who may be disposed to hear him: and as such we recommend him to the countenance and support of all our brethren wherever he may labor; being persuaded that he will  continue to be useful, and that he will so walk as to have the confidence of all the disciples of our common Lord.
Signed, by order of the above churches, ROBERT RICHARDSON, Wellsburg;
SAMUEL MAXWELL, Hollidays Cove;
A. CAMPBELL, Bethany.
August 5th, 1832.
Such a document is, in most cases, necessary, and is in accordance with the saying of the Apostle Paul, "Do we (Apostles) like others, need letters of commendation to you, or letters of recommendation from you?" Even in the age of spiritual gifts, while the preaching of the cross was not in high esteem, or a very eligible calling, because of the dangers attendant on this service, it was deemed expedient and necessary, to prevent imposition, for most persons employed by the churches to be furnished with such recommendations.
But the work of criticism and comment on the words of the message, is a work distinct from that of an evangelist. To proclaim the word, and to comment on the word, are as distinct as to preach and teach Jesus Christ. But it must not be understood that commenting upon the message is teaching Jesus Christ. The work of explanation or interpretation may be the work of a teacher when he speaks to those who cannot understand the language, whether he preaches or teaches. But it is a literary work, wholly a literary work. It differs not, whether the text be divine or human. It is the same work, subject to the same laws, and to be performed by the same art, whether Luke, Josephus, Philo, or Tacitus be 'the text. Hence, as there are many more preachers needed than critics or commentators, there are many more fitted for the former work than the latter.
Indeed, there are but few who can with much credit to themselves and satisfaction to the people, perform the work of an interpreter. Many may preach Jesus Christ to sinners; many may teach the disciples all the things he has commanded, but few can either translate the original language, or comment on the translation of another; and just as few can perform the ordinary work of commenting on the scriptures much to the edification of those who can read the book as well as themselves.
Nothing is more offensive to correct taste, to good common sense; nothing more disgusting to all persons of discrimination, than to see an illiterate person assume a literary work. Hence, those preachers who delight in comments and criticisms; who are censuring the interpretations of others, and constantly "explaining scripture," obtain the least credit among the people, and render themselves rather the derision than the admiration of all literary characters.
Concerning the intercommunity of churches, the principle is allegiance to the same Lord, under the same constitution and laws. The difficulty which you institute, I presume, was designed rather to show the evil tendency of the error which you oppose than to solicit aid in removing a real difficulty out of your own way. You know that every  congregation, like every individual, must stand or fall in the estimation of all others, upon its own character. It is not upon who formed or convened them, or upon who converted them, that they are to be estimated; but, upon the proofs which they afford of their attachment to the king, his constitution and laws.
But, you will say, is our communion with them to be suspended till we see how they get along, and is it not to begin upon the intelligence and general reputation of him that converted them? And to do full justice to the case you make out, I should make such a specification as the following: Suppose A B, the person to whom you allude, was a brother in whose intelligence and prudence we had not much confidence, very zealous, however, and somewhat conceited withal, should send himself off some few miles from our village, preach the gospel, and gather a church in his own way; can we immediately fellowship such a society! Not, I think, upon the intelligence and prudence of him who associated them; (though it may not be once in a lifetime that such a case may occur, for such men are not very likely to plant churches) but upon our own acquaintance with them.
To prevent all this, and many such difficulties, it is only necessary that the brethren discountenance all departures from the ancient order of things. Every one who assumes, upon his own responsibility, to act in a public character, must be regarded as a weak and erring brother, unless he should give proof that he is a factionist, anarchist, or disorganizer. A due regard to such scriptures as the following will direct the churches in the right way: I Cor. xvi. 3. Brethren, says Paul, when I come to see you, whomsoever you shall approve by your letters, I will send them to carry your liberality to Jerusalem. 2 Cor. iii. 1. Do we begin again to commend ourselves?--! or, Must we show our letters of recommendation as other preachers? "You are our epistle, (of commendation) written on our hearts, and read of all men."
Apollos, famous for his eloquence and ability in the scriptures, found it necessary to carry, and the disciples found it necessary to give him, letters of recommendation to the brethren whom they desired to receive him. "When he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren WROTE, exhorting the disciples to receive him."
Let our brethren go and do likewise! and if any of them have not attended to such matters in proper time, let them remember that this is one part of the ancient order of things which they have overlooked. The Greeks, the Romans, the Jews, as well as the first christians, furnished their agents with letters. Thus we find Paul carried letters to Damascus, to "the brethren," of the Jews, touching his errand. But why add a word, as if any one hesitated here! Every person not universally known or signalized by some special gift like the Apostles, or extraordinary ministers of ancient time, finds it is as expedient and necessary as it is scriptural to be furnished with such evidence, when he undertakes any business for the christian community. In accordance with your views on this subject, I remain,
NEW VERSION DEFENDED,
And O. Jennings, D. D. Exposed.
MR. JENNINGS, in order to prejudice his readers, as he did his Presbyterian hearers, against the New Version, and myself as its publisher, declaims most vehemently on the injustice done the Presbyterian church in my ranking Dr. Doddridge with two Doctors of the Church of Scotland, in the first edition of that work. On the title page, Campbell, Macknight, and Doddridge, are called "Doctors of the Church of Scotland." Before the second edition of that work was completed, I ascertained that Dr. Doddridge was in England classified with the Congregationalists, and not with the Presbyterians, and accordingly noticed the fact in said edition. Now, as Mr. Jennings had seen the second edition, and used it during our interview in Nashville, he could not be ignorant (indeed he acknowledges) that we had made such a statement, and consequently he had no just ground for censure on that account.
Seeing the works of Dr. Doddridge in almost all the libraries of Presbyterian preachers; hearing him always quoted with approbation from the pulpits of Presbyterians, though I knew him to be an Englishman, I did not at the time of making out the title for the first edition recollect, if I did before know, that he belonged to the Congregational side of the Westminster Creed, rather than the Presbyterian; but as the Presbyterian and Congregational adherents of the Westminster Creed sit in one and the same General Assembly in America, I do not yet consider that any injustice was done Mr. Jennings' church by regarding Dr. Doddridge as a teacher of the Church of Scotland. But in a question of fact as to the sectarian standing of Dr. Doddridge, it is admitted and published in the very book which Mr Jennings used, that he was ranked amongst Congregationalists.
But the real cause of all this outcry is very obvious: Mr. Jennings was a Presbyterian, and violently opposed to rendering the word ekklesia congregation, as Dr. Doddridge had done. He contended for a church representative, and Doddridge for an assembly of professed christians meeting in one place, as filling up the meaning of the word ekklesia. Judging of others from his own rules of action, he supposed, or wished others to suppose, that we willingly concealed the fact for the sake of having the testimony of Dr. Doddridge against the Presbyterians. This would be censurable, indeed. But no man of candor can, from any thing found in the new version, admit it; for Dr. Campbell's translation and rule, so far as we thought necessary, are given in vindication of the translation. And although all Dr. Campbell has written on this word is not quoted, all that he has said is substantially given. And the very reason which Dr. C. gave for retaining the word church in Matth. xvi. 18, affirms the very thing for  which we contend, that it is there unequivocally applied, not to a church representative, but to the whole assembly "who should receive Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of the Living God." I still assert that there is no good reason for departing from the word congregation in any one place, because it is more unequivocal than the word church. And if Dr. Campbell thought that in Scotland, in his time, there was any more ambiguity in the word congregation than in the word church, certainly that ambiguity no longer exists, especially in these United States.
After all, our learned Doctor admits that the word church does not "literally translate the word ekklesia, but that it is an abbreviation of the words Kuriou oikos," but he asserts that it gives the true meaning of the original. That the phrase house of the Lord may be a characteristic representation of the congregation of christians, never has been denied by any one, as far as f know; but that it is not a translation of ekklesia, is just as generally admitted; and that is the only point here in debate.
On this subject there is no lack of authority. I know of no critic who affirms not the following position: "EKKLESIA denotes an assembly met about business, whether lawful or unlawful." This definition is conceded by all parties. All Lexicons, all critics who have ever written upon the subject, affirm this. We wanted not to make Doddridge a Presbyterian for asserting this. The question is, What word in our language best represents this? church, congregation, or assembly?
Let the reader firm a correct estimate of the following facts in deciding whether congregation, assembly, or church should be preferred:--
1. The Greek word EKKLESIA, supposed by some to be derived from ekkalein, to call out, but by others from the Hebrew kahel, an assembly, is found in the Septuagint very generally applied to the whole assembly or congregation of Israel. Now as things that are equal to the same are equal to one another, and as the Greek and Hebrew authors of the Septuagint have made ekklesia translate kahel, and both often represent that which King James' translators call the congregation of Israel, it follows that, in the judgment of the king's translators of the Old Testament, ekklesia represents an assembly or congregation; and therefore, where we have ekklesia in the Septuagint, we often find congregation or assembly in the common version.
2. In the New Testament we have, in the common version, a very arbitrary departure from this rule. Psalm xxii. 22. we have kahel in Hebrew, ekklesia in Greek, and congregation in the common version; and yet the same translators, in quoting the same words in Heb. ii. 12, adopt the word church. Psalm xxii. 22, "In the midst of the congregation--(Heb. ii. 12, In the midst of the church)--will I sing praises to thee."
3. The king's translators sometimes render the word ekklesia, in the New Testament, assembly. In Acts xix. it is found three times translated assembly; for the Greeks used the word ekklesia to denote  any sort of assembly, whether lawful or unlawful, called out by the magistrates or by themselves.
4. The word ekklesia occurs 111 times in the New Testament, and is applied to every sort of assembly; to the Jews in the wilderness, an Ephesian mob, particular congregations or assemblies meeting in cities, villages, and private houses, and to the whole assembly or multitude of the redeemed of the Lord on earth and in heaven.
5. It is translated by the term congregation by Drs. Campbell, Doddridge, Macknight, Parkhurst, Adam Clarke, and by Dr. Stuart, the latest translator who has attempted any part of the volume; and time would fail me to tell by how many others, and on how many occasions.
6. Mr. Jennings, so reckless of assertions, says I have no authority from Macknight for this translation. But let the reader examine Macknight on the Hebrews, vol. 5. p. 59, Heb. ii. 12, and see how much dependence is to be put in the assertions of this violent partizan. It is a fact that Macknight translates the word ekklesia by our favorite term, congregation.
7. The word congregation, with us, covers the whole ground of the original term; but the term church does not. Any assembly, large or small, special or general, lawful or unlawful, good or bad, may be called an ekklesia, a congregation, but every one knows that only one sort of an assembly can be called a church, in our common acceptation of the term. Besides, the word church, in England and America, as often denotes an assembly of bricks, or stones, or logs of timber, as of saints or christians.
Now, courteous reader, put all these facts together, and then see how much the world is indebted to Mr. Jennings for his abusing me for preferring the word congregation to the word church as a general version of the word ekklesia.
But my strongest objection to the word church is because of the abuse of it by some of the sects. It is worried out of all sense and meaning by some of Mr. Jennings' party. With them a kirk session, a presbytery, a synod, and the general assembly, are called a church. "Tell it to the church" means, with them, tell it to the minister and village elders; in the session house, presbytery, synod, or general assembly in Philadelphia. "The church of God" means, with them, all baptized infants and servants, united with the adults; or any thing and every thing, meeting or not meeting for religious purposes--legislative, executive, or judicial.
To avoid all these cabalistic usages and mystic meanings, we prefer, with all authority from the highest literary tribunals, the word congregation, or assembly; leaving it to the epithets to ascertain what Sort of a congregation or assembly it may be.
Church, like the word synagogue, first meant the building; and afterwards the people that met in it began to be designated by the name of the house. With us the term is now so vague that the phrases "Methodist church," "Presbyterian church," "Episcopalian church," as often mean the house belonging to the sect as the sect itself. In  this way the word may be used by those who do not wish to discard it from the English tongue; but unless we use it figuratively, and speak of the christian congregation as the temple or house of the Lord, we can see no propriety in retaining it in an English version of the New Testament, especially as a version of the word ekklesia which it is not, never was, and, from its prostitution in our time, never can be.
Narrative of a few weeks in New York.
[THE writer of the following narrative, a young man just arrived from Ireland on the 5th of July last, confines himself to the religious affairs amongst those who have renounced allegiance to human creeds, and have taken the Scriptures alone for their guide; but some of whom, it seems, have carried so much of the lumber of Babylon with them, that, while they have moved away out of its geographical confines, their houses are furnished with the spoils of the people who formerly held them in bondage. We shall add a few remarks on the narrative when closed in our next number.]
|EDITOR M. H.|
ON my arrival in New York I found that the church that had thrown off the yoke of the clergy, was divided into five sects, no two of which would hold fellowship together. In this state of things I was at a loss how to act. To remain any length of tine in the city without holding fellowship with any church, appeared to me to be wrong; and yet to join any one of the five, might be sanctioning that which was the most blameable for the separation. I conversed with the most influential member in one of them on Sunday morning, the 8th of July, and found that union in every opinion was required by his body. I told him I did not wish to impose any opinion on him or the church with which he was associated, and would expect a similar favor from them. He replied that there were a few doctrines by which they tried all others, and if an applicant did not assent to these, they rejected him as unsound, viz. "The total and entire depravity of man, in consequence of which he would go on to eternity in opposition to God, were he not arrested?" "The sufficiency of the blood of Jesus to save sinners, as such, independent of their faith or obedience." "The salvation of the elect being effected at the moment Jesus expired, so certainly and definitely that none but those elected could be saved; and that the Bible was sent into the world for the very purpose of producing faith in the elect, in believing the truths contained in which they were as passive as stones." "That a man, after believing and obeying the truth, was just as depraved as before, and that no reason existed for his being taken to heaven, but that God so pleased."
I urged the responsibility of man against this theory, and wished to know how the wicked could be sent to hell for not believing and obeying the gospel, when Christ had not given them power to do so.  I was told in reply that God would have been just to have sent the whole world to hell if Christ had never come, and if he pleased to save any, the rest had no right to complain. To this I objected that man, by the fall, did not incur eternal death, and besides it was for unbelief men were now condemned; and that God never placed man under a constitution which he could not obey, and then promise to punish him for not obeying it. In conclusion I told him if the church would not make these opinions a term of communion, I had no objection to their holding them as matters of opinion, and would not ask them to adopt mine before I would join them. He replied we did not believe the same gospel at all, nor worship the same God, or believe in the same Saviour, and consequently could not have any fellowship. I said, there was no fact recorded in the New Testament that I did not believe most firmly; that I believed Jesus Christ to be the Son of God, and that he put away sin by a sacrifice of himself; that God had signified his pleasure with this sacrifice by raising him from the dead; and that those who would believe in and obey him would be raised at the last day and clothed with a body like to his own glorious body, and be for ever with him. He said it was not in our believing the same facts--we should be agreed, but in our views of these facts; and, according to me, when Jesus expired upon the cross it was a matter of doubt whether any human being would ever be benefited by it, as it depended wholly on human contingency whether any believed it or not; but that, according to his views, it was as fixed and certain as the throne of God. I was accordingly rejected for not believing that God would send men and women to hell for not believing a proclamation, to believe which they neither had, nor would be given any power.
Not knowing where any other church met, I went to observe the order of this church on that day. If a man agreed not with them in every thing, faith, practice, and opinion, love, salutation by a kiss, as a church ordinance, he must be treated as a heathen or a publican!
In the evening I went to see another of these churches. On entering, all the people, both members and spectators, were sitting promiscuously; and after singing, prayer, and reading, one of them took out a text, from which, after dissecting it, he spoke for about three fourths of an hour, on many occasions going into the opposite extreme of that I had been engaged in hearing in the morning.
He was the only speaker, as the Bishop allows no one to speak but himself, except by his special license. In attending to the breaking of the loaf, the members rise from amongst the spectators and take the front seats; and if any spectators happen to be seated there, they either retire to the back seats, or have the symbols passed by them. Into this church I could not enter unless no better appeared, as no liberty was given to speak, these abuses could not be very easily corrected. I talked to one of the most influential members during the week, and found him dissatisfied with those things to which I objected, but knew of no way of getting them to rights. 
The next Lord's day I visited another, and was pleased with their order; the brethren enjoying all their privileges. Calvinism was, however, maintained pretty strongly by most of them. It was' not, indeed, made so great a barrier as in the first church I visited. I determined to join this one, and try to get the others to adjust their differences and walk together. One of the other two not described, agreed in every matter with the first, except that one party holds they may dress as they please, and the other that little or no difference should be between the rich and poor in this respect. This was the cause, or the principal and ostensible cause of their separation. I cannot tell the cause which keeps the other and the second named apart, except not liking to be under the dominion of the Bishop, who assumes to lord it over the rest of his brethren.
A question arose some time ago amongst them about the Holy Spirit, which caused a great deal of bad feeling and angry debatings. Two of the present bodies hold that the Spirit of God is God himself, and that when persons were said to receive the Spirit in the first age, it was the power of God conferred upon them--not his Spirit dwelling within them, but his power. Two others hold that the Spirit was the agent in producing all the miraculous displays of power, as well as giving the prophecies, and that men now need no working of the Spirit upon their hearts to prepare them to believe the written word. The other holds that the Holy Spirit, as well as in giving confirmation to the testimony and enabling the Prophets to foretell future events, works upon the hearts of some unbelievers when hearing the word, so as to enable them to believe the word which they are hearing, while this working is withheld from those who do not believe.
In consequence of this, these different parties are wont to accuse the others of denying the Holy Spirit, of denying the operations of the Spirit in the salvation of men, of believing in mystic influences, &c. &c.
On the 22d of July I joined the third, in the order I have described them, not because I thought them less blameworthy for the divisions, (for it would be difficult to draw the line between the two,) but because I thought their order the nearest to the New Testament. The Bishop to whom I applied, said it was unusual to receive members before a previous examination before the church in a private meeting; however, after consulting with one or two near him, it was agreed I should be proposed to the church, which was done, and I was received unanimously. That night week, one of the Bishops being ill and not able to attend, and the other complaining a little, I was requested to attend the meeting in his stead; but declined, as I said I wished rather to hear than to be heard. During the week, ending Saturday, the 18th August, I determined removing to the West, and felt myself bound in duty to lay before them my views upon sectarianism, and the way christians could and should be united, before I would leave them. I had tried in private with a few, to see if any way could be devised for those five churches, or even two of them, to be brought together; but found all averse to such a union. It  appeared to me the more advisable way to make an address to the church on Sunday, the 19th of August, on the subject; laying before them the influence facts have upon men, contrasted with opinions--the truth that all revealed religion was based upon facts--the evils of sectarianism--the things to be believed and obeyed before entering the church--how the gospel was propagated in the first age--what means God had left in the world for its continuance--the bond of christian union--and for what persons should be excluded the church, &c. Accordingly I stood up at the proper time, and commenced; but it is a law laid down that the meeting must begin at half past 10 o'clock and break up at half past 12, so that their dinners may not cool or be too much cooked. I had to be expeditious: but before I was ten minutes on my feet, it was intimated to me to sit down as the time had expired. I of course did so, intending to prosecute it next Lord's day. I spoke of the impropriety of hurrying in this way to the Bishops; but they said, "Things should be done decently and in order; and were people to come out and be detained too long, they would get discouraged." The course I had marked out for myself would have at least occupied one hour and a half. After the evening meeting, was asked by one of the members to take tea with her. I consented, and one of the Bishops came along also for the purpose of speaking to me about certain views he heard I entertained, none of which he ever heard from myself, (as this was the first day I had spoken in the church, and no allusion was made to them in that address.) But certain persons, desirous of promoting strife, had given false representations of my sentiments to him. In our way to the house he said I was a "Campbellite." I told him that was a term of reproach--that I acknowledged no teacher or head but Jesus. After entering the house I was attacked upon Calvinism, Baptism, &c. and instead of allowing me to state my own views, all their arguments were levelled against the views attributed to me. I complained of this as unfair, and with difficulty now and then got edging in a word. For a long time I sat silent, for I could do nothing else; and when they had spent themselves I was then called on to state what I believed. I told them I should have been called on to do so in the first instance, and it would have saved them the trouble of fighting with a phantom of their own make. As I proceeded to state my views, I was interrupted every minute, which I complained of; and as I found a very short time would be allowed me, I told them in so many words, "that I was no advocate for the incredibility of God's testimony--that I believed it wanted no further confirmation, and that the Spirit had done all he ever would do for the conversion of any mortal; but that he had promised to do something for those who, upon what he had done, would believe on Jesus and obey him--that I took the words of Peter on Pentecost, and of Ananias to Paul, as they were written--that I believed that immersion was the institution God had appointed for communicating the assurance of pardon of sin to all believers." The Bishop seemed a good deal vexed that I held such sentiments, and shortly after left the house. The two female members and I  reasoned the matter over coolly for about two hours after his departure, in which I proved that their views ended in the same thing on the subject of immersion, and that in the other in man's irresponsibility. Left them at 10 o'clock P. M. completely in a dilemma, but unconvinced.
[TO BE CONTINUED.]
Progress of Reform.
THE following letters, from brethren Rains and Hayden, communicate information of a very interesting and refreshing character. We always feel more solicitous to learn the progress of the churches, their health in the faith, the perseverance of the saints in their attachment and loyalty to the glorious Chief to whom they have vowed the adoration of their hearts, than for new conversions. To induce persons to enter the kingdom of Messiah only that they may, after a very brief trial, be judged unworthy of the confidence and fellowship of christians, is a very poor service to the cause of truth and good manners. Every thing conducive to the prosperity of the kingdom and the progress of the gospel, is dependent on the behaviour of those who have assumed the high and holy profession. One sinner destroys much good. One backslider exerts a baneful influence on society, and frequently nullifies the exertions of two new converts. The churches who keep the commandments of Jesus, are always growing in numbers as well as in faith, love, and holiness. When the disciples walk in the truth, they are multiplied, as well as edified and comforted.
|ED. M. H.|
|MINERVA, MASON COUNTY, KY. September 4th, 1832.|
Dear Sir--THE gospel of Jesus still continues to triumph. Not only through the "Harbinger," the "Evangelist," and the "Messenger," am I informed of its advancement; but by personal observation. May the good Lord give energy to all his servants, and, through them, success to the word of his grace!
I have recently returned from a tour of four weeks through several counties in the state of Ohio; within which time we received the good confession from forty-three persons, and immersed forty-one. Since last winter, about forty persons have been added to the congregation at Red Oak, Brown county, Ohio; and, as you have faithfully reported in the August number of the Harbinger, a large number has been added to many congregations in Kentucky. Without doubt, there will be many more conversions this year, than were last year; and if I do not very much mistake, this work of gospel conversion will go on, in one increasing ratio, until the kingdom of the clergy will be shaken from its foundations, and the whole earth filled with the glory of the Lord. The arguments used by sectarians, (the chief of which is misrepresentation,) are gradually, with a great number of persons, losing their charms; while the advocates for the primitive gospel are daily increasing in argumentative strength! On these principles, can the result of the present struggle be doubtful? No! Great is the truth, and mighty above all things, and will prevail!
I was much pleased, while on my last tour through Ohio, with the appearance of the disciples. I do not profess to be intimately acquainted with their private deportment; but, if their appearance in their meetings has not greatly  deceived me, they possess much of that religion, which, in the sight of the Father of lights, is "pure and undefiled." Never have I witnessed meetings such as were some of those which I attended in my last tour! There was no distraction, no screaming, no falling, no enthusiasm; but much mild, meek, melting joy! Torrents of tears were shed! 0 how eloquent were these tears, when the eyes of the disciples were turned towards the unregenerate, and it was known that it was their extreme solicitude for the salvation of sinners, that had thus broken up the fountains of their sympathies. To the power of truth, and the ardent desire of the disciples for the conversion of their neighbors and neighbors' children, do I attribute the success with which I met!
I said that there was no distraction in our congregations. One lady did clap her hands once or twice, and utter the word "glory" with some emphasis, when her mother, a Presbyterian lady, about eighty years of age, came forward to confess the Lord. And would not an angel have done the same? pray, do not think me enthusiastic! In shunning the icebergs of Calvinism, I hope to be prevented from running into the wild fire of Antinomianism! At several meetings which I attended, I heard several warm expressions of joy, from some disciples, when sinners came to us, and acknowledged Jesus; but nothing that can be called a violation of the rule, which says, "Let all things be done decently and in order."
Reformation is, I think, a progressive work;--I mean, in the hearts and conduct of the disciples. It is effected by a process similar to that of the silently ferventing leaven,--in a proper time it will leaven the whole mass! No man whose knowledge of the gospel is superficial, can be so deeply and so permanently affected by it, as one who has the word of Jesus dwelling richly in him. Upon this principle, then, do I account for the manifest change for the better in the disciples whom I have mentioned. The gospel has been preached among them with much simplicity for several years; during which, the faithful have been drinking the unadulterated milk of the word, and have consequently grown thereby, and are now exhibiting the blessedness which this glorious gospel has imparted to their souls. May they, through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, abound more and more in love and all good works.
I was exceedingly well pleased that there have been, as yet, but few apostacies. Although there are some hundreds of disciples in Clinton and Green counties, and have been many for several years, the greater part of whom were immersed specifically for remission, yet 1 have heard of not more than one or two who can be said to have apostatized! By some means the disciples of the ancient gospel, I think, view with greater abhorrence apostacy, than do the generality of the votarists of modern gospels; yes, and this is as it ought to be: for it does appear to me to be a crime the most appalling, to profess discipleship, by putting on the Lord, and afterwards, willingly and wilfully going into sin, to deny him!! May every disciple tremble whenever he finds himself inclining to act counter to his holy profession.
Permit me, brother, to conclude this letter by wishing you grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father, and from Jesus our Redeemer!
|STREETBOROUGH, PORTAGE COUNTY, OHIO||}|
|August 28, 1832.|
Dear brother Campbell,
OUR general meeting, advertised some time since in the Harbinger, has taken place, and closed yesterday, having continued four days. Without exaggeration, we certainly had as good, or profitable and agreeable a meeting as I ever witnessed. In our Regular Baptist Association we were wont to think and report that we had a good interview and much union, if we had no angry debates, &c. but such love, such union, (not of opinion, but of faith and Christian feeling, zeal, and intelligence,) I never saw, but among the disciples of the ancient mould--certainly as much as ever at the late meeting. 
We met on Friday at 1 o'clock P. M. and though disappointed by not seeing you, nor any other of our talented or learned brethren, not even brother Bentley, (through indisposition,)--we, ordinary, illiterate, practical farmers and mechanics, proceeded to do as well as we could. Brother Bosworth led the way and gave the first discourse, and seven or eight other brethren spoke during the meeting in day light, besides preaching in four or five places each evening.
On Lord's day brother Rider gave us a masterly discourse from the 2d chapter of 1st Timothy. His first effort was to show the fallacy of Universalism; 2d. of Calvinism. In the third place, an exhortation to prayer; and, finally, female character, and influence as christians--and why? That as the woman was the first in sin, and had ever since been oppressed by the man;--that as the female was by christianity raised and honored with the place, privileges, and influence which naturally and originally belong to her; and that as consequently throughout christendom, and especially where the christianity of the New Testament is most regarded, the female sex is exalted; it by all reasons behoves the sex to honor christianity in turn by showing all contempt for the trifles which charm the eyes of the vain and irreligious; that they should, contrarywise, delight to honor the gospel with a display of benevolence, rather than of dress.
He succeeded in each point to the great satisfaction of all the disciples, and especially the sisters. The discourse was followed by appropriate exhortations: and in short, the whole day filled up with much valuable instruction. Nineteen were immersed during the three days. On Monday our time was devoted to hearing the reports of the itinerants, and making arrangements for future operations. This was the most interesting day of any, and probably more profitable for the interest of the truth, than all the rest together.
It appeared from the reports, which, from personal knowledge, I know to be correct, that the apostolic gospel and order of things are gradually and regularly gaining influence among us; that although in many things, (and in some places and some individuals more than others,) we are quite in the rear of christian perfection; yet one good sign is, that all unanimously see it, and unitedly urge an advance. The present reformation is in this different from all the Protestant reformations, whose leaders, when they had taken a few steps from their former ground, halted, and determined the people of God should learn and do no more of the Lord's will than they had already attained to. The teaching brethren understand christianity better, and the churches are not so readily shocked with difficulties as they were some time since; public opinion is turning rapidly in favor of the ancient gospel and order; and though we have to lament apostates, the sects begin to find it weak and vain to reproach us with this, since they have so many of their own, especially since the revivals of 1831; for this year their efforts have not the same success. And for my own part, I think there is a growing liberality in the brethren.
The subject of itinerancy was spoken of with warmth and an unanimity of judgment and feeling never before equalled among us. The whole community, teachers and taught, were much affected with the great responsibility we are under to present to the world the ancient religion of Christ. It was proposed that the itinerants should go two and two; but when we beat for volunteers, it was found there were but two whose circumstances would permit them at present to make it their sole employ to proclaim the word. These two, (viz. brother Morse and myself,) are to go together wherever a door opens and labor is most needed, and not to neglect the churches. The brethren and sisters present honorably signified their approbation of these laborers, and gave good evidence of their readiness to assist them in all things necessary. Besides these two, brethren Allton, Williams, Henry, Hartzel, Bosworth and Applegate, expressed themselves willing and able to devote a share of their time--some of them, the greater part, and from their known gifts, were assured by the disciples present of their willingness to sustain them. After these matters were dispensed with, an invitation was tendered to any that wished to obey the Lord, when six or seven came forward. We went to the  water, and continued instructing and exhorting until eighteen were immersed, making in all thirty-seven.
Our next annual meeting will be in Warren, Trumbull county, on Friday before the last Lord's day in August, 1833; and for the accommodation of the brethren further West, a similar meeting will be held in Wadsworth, Medina county, on the Friday following, which I hope you will publish.
I had forgotten to inform you that it appeared from the reports that there had been at least four or five hundred immersed since the last annual meeting by the brethren of this section of country.
|Yours as ever,|
TESTIMONY OF A FEMALE ON THE GRACE OF
|Tennessee, Smith county, August 8th, 1832.|
Dear Brother Campbell,
I AM a young woman who has, for some short time past, been engaged in teaching school; and have been, for some few years past, (I think) an acceptable member of the Methodist church; at least I have not understood to the contrary.
I was taken into the church, some way, when quite young--I scarcely can tell how. My friends were mostly of that denomination. But I frankly confess that I never did feel, nor profess to feel, that powerful spiritual operation of which I have heard some persons speak; and which indescribable something our church held was a mark of our acceptance with God--or in other words, as I have often heard our preachers express it, "to know God a pardoning God, and our feelings the criterion to judge it by." I thought, and still think, they preached the doctrine of faith in the Lord Jesus, and a hearty repentance; but what next, I never did nor could understand them. Our preachers would say to the trembling, crying mourner called up into the altar, 'Just believe, and the work will be done in a moment.' I thought they did believe, or they would not have come forward: they are surely tired of sin, or they would not thus be bathed in tears! Is it possible that Jesus requires more than a belief of the testimony, a more vivid impression than a cordial assent to the truth of the gospel!
But I continued with them, and believed them to be nearer right than any other denomination. This conclusion, however, was not drawn from an examination of their doctrine by the word of God, but believed for the heartfelt work and solemn deportment. Still all went on well until the first of June last.
When visiting my relations in Rutherford county, I had an opportunity of hearing the Christians and Reformers, who are united in that neighborhood. They taught me, for the first time, that the Holy Spirit operated in a rational manner, by words addressed to the understanding. In a word, they set me to searching the scriptures, which eventuated in my being immersed for the remission of my sins: and thanks to the Lord, it has afforded me something more firm and durable than a momentary excitement, an evidence that my sins are pardoned which will remain with me while I continue to obey the word, while I continue steadfast in the Apostles' doctrine.
|Your sister, in the hope of eternal life,|
|M. R. M.|
N. B. At a four day meeting last week in Rutherford county, near Readyville, eighty persons came forward, made the good confession, and were immersed for the remission of their sins. The preaching brethren present were Smith, Carlee, Bowman, Berry, Hubbard, Dr. Becton, Sweat, Davis, Griffing, Harris, and Flemming. Not one jarring or discordant note was heard; all was harmony among them.
|M. R. M.|
By a letter from brother Becton, about the same date, we were particularly informed of the results of the four day meeting near Murfreesborough at which eighty persons were immersed for the remission of sins
|ED. M. H. |
A REAL AND A NOMINAL DISCIPLE.
MANY disputations and controversies among christians originate, progress, and terminate in the ambiguity or abuse of terms and phrases. If I am not much mistaken, such is the fact between the brother Inquirer and Philalethes. The former seems to regard the latter as holding the single act of immersion as the whole discipling institution; and the latter contemplates the former as teaching that faith alone, without immersion, constitutes a real disciple. We regret this misunderstanding, for we highly esteem them both, and regard them as both right. The terms real and formal, or nominal, in their various acceptations, seem to lie at the root of this whole matter. A disciple in determination, in purpose, or in heart, is by Philalethes called a real disciple, and one who has publicly confessed the Lord he calls a nominal disciple. Perhaps Inquirer regards these terms as necessarily implying a contrast, and that Philalethes teaches that a person may be a real disciple without immersion, and independent of it. Now, in our opinion there is no necessary contrast between real and formal as applied to a disciple; for while a person may be a formal and not a real disciple, he may be both a real and formal disciple in Philalethes' acceptation of these terms. With us a real disciple is a disciple in fact; not one who determines and purposes to be an avowed and constitutional follower of Jesus, but one who has consummated his purposes by actual and formal obedience.
We contend that a disciple in intention is not a disciple in fact, and that a real disciple is one who not only intends to be a follower of Jesus, but who actually keeps his injunctions. And still we hold that no one institution or act of obedience, however exact and formal, without a previous determination or change of heart, can avail any thing in constituting a disciple, or in finding acceptance with God.
|ED. M. H.|
Philalethes' Reply to an Inquirer.
PHILALETHES' reply to an Inquirer shall be as brief as possible.
1. The Inquirer seems to dismiss with a sneer the distinction which Philalethes has made between the terms commission and command. But will the Inquirer assert that the words commission and command are English synonymies, or are ever used promiscuously by a correct English writer? He presumes not. Commission always implies more or less of a discretionary power with respect to its execution; whereas command excludes every thing of the kind. A commanded action must be performed precisely, or in all respects, as it is commanded; otherwise the command is not obeyed. And Philalethes thinks that all inspired men did, from the beginning of divine revelation, rigidly comply with the commands of their inspirer: that they never substituted their own conceptions for the communications of the Divine Spirit; nor employed any motives,  inducements, considerations, or means of any kind of their own devising, to induce the persons whom they addressed to become disciples or religious persons, instead of the motives, inducements, considerations, or means suggested to their minds by the all-wise God in short, that they exercised no discretionary power, but strictly obeyed in all points the divine will.
2. When Philalethes wrote his essay on Matheteuo, he hoped his words were selected with so much caution, and his meaning expressed so clearly, that it was scarcely possible that they could be subjected to such misrepresentation and distortion as have been their lot. Philalethes never considered the command given to the Apostles to induce by suitable means (means furnished by God) the inhabitants of this world to become christians, to mean that these inhabitants were to become, "not secret or private disciples, but open and avowed disciples." On the contrary, he contends that Christ's command is to induce rational creatures too become first real disciples, a state which Philalethes considers perfectly consistent with either secret or avowed discipleship; and he further contends that unless they become first real disciples, even while their discipleship is yet secret, private, or unavowed; or, in other words, anteriorly to immersion, they can in the very nature of things be only hypocrites, when they proclaim themselves by immersion avowed disciples, as Simon Magus was, when by immersion he became an avowed disciple. And moreover, Philalethes thinks that this was the course which the Apostles pursued, when they proceeded to execute their Master's command. They first induced their hearers to become real disciples, and afterwards avowed disciples. And further he thinks that the examination previous to immersion, to which the Apostles subjected all applicants for immersion in their day, and to which all applicants for immersion, even in our day, have been subjected by those who immersed them, affords conclusive evidence. For if this antecedent examination was not instituted by the Apostles and other inspired immersers, and by all uninspired immersers since their time, for the purpose of ascertaining whether the applicants were or were not real christians, before they were suffered to avow discipleship, it is impossible to conceive for what purpose it was or is instituted. But if instituted for that purpose, it is manifest that the sort of disciples which the Apostles desired to make, and recognized by their solemn permission to be immersed, as made, were real and not immersed disciples. For it is obvious that the Apostles' recognition of disciples rested on a previous examination, and not on immersion. It is therefore untrue, that however real a disciple a person may have been, he would not have been recognized by the Apostles as such unless immersed. For in every instance of subsequent immersion, the Apostles did actually recognize the applicant as a real disciple before they suffered him to be immersed, and his subsequent immersion in every case was an open proclamation of their antecedent recognition: nor is the practice nor the doctrine altered to this day. To ascertain the real christianity of an applicant, an examination is instituted, and if  immersion follows, that immersion is a proof, that in the judgment of the previous examiner, the applicant was anteriorly to immersion a real christian. And this fact, by the by, proves, 1st. That it is not by immersion, but by something anterior to immersion, that a person is made a real christian. 2. That this is the judgment of every examiner. 3. That immersion can only make nominal christians, whether true or false, as it made Simon Magus. Nay, the Inquirer's own language proves that he holds the same opinion. Let us go on, says he, to make disciples, immersing them. Immersing whom? Certainly the disciples which he had made. But if he immersed the disciples which he had made, they surely must have been made before they were immersed. But if he means that to make disciples and to immerse people is all one, why resort to such despicable tautology? For, on that supposition, the word immersing is a mere expletive. For undoubtedly the Inquirer will not assert that we are to make immersed disciples, and then immerse them.
3. As to obedience, Philalethes presumes that, as employed in sacred writ, the term denotes compliance with the whole will of God, giving no preference or precedence to any one part above another, other than he has given. But at the same time Philalethes thinks that this obedience, though in regard to its principle, or a disposition to yield it, it is an instantaneous act; yet in its actual rendition, must follow a natural or prescribed order, emanating from the various degrees of tendency to promote happiness which the several actions of which it is composed possess, and also from the various degrees of capacity to yield compliance which human creatures have acquired. No person, for example, can be considered as bound to perform the act of immersion before he has performed many other acts prescribed by God. God is the God of order, and the very acts of obedience due to him must be done in order. When, therefore, a human being has performed all the actions which God has prescribed as necessary to fit him to perform the act of immersion, he is bound to perform it without delay--and, certainly, not before. God commands no unqualified creature to work for him.
4. In his second paragraph the Inquirer seems to insinuate that Philalethes has departed from the rules of decorum, and it may be so. Humanum est errare. But where in Philalethes' writings has he resorted to such personalities as appear in this paragraph? Philalethes may be an old man, and even a Scotchman; but what has the Inquirer to do with such accidental matters, and what had these fortuitous circumstances to do with the cause of Jesus Christ? Philalethes thinks, extremely little.
5. Now for the inconsistency of Philalethes' sentiments. Every person knows that words are used even by the most correct writers, sometimes in their strict and proper sense, and sometimes in a looser and more popular acceptation. When discussing the subject alluded to in the Inquirer's quotation from the Harbinger, Philalethes conceived himself authorized to avail himself of this concession, and he did so. He used the phrase, "God's own unadulterated, unmixed  message," not in its strict and proper sense, as denoting only God's message as presented to the human family in the original Hebrew and Greek, but in its more loose or popular use, as comprehending translation also. On that occasion Philalethes was discussing not the question, how a man who knows nothing of Hebrew and Greek, the languages in which the Scriptures were originally written and are still contained, can acquire certainty that he utters nothing in his discourses but the unadulterated oracles of the living God, &c. but was endeavoring to maintain the infinite superiority of information derived immediately from sacred writ, even through the medium of an imperfect translation, above that derived from the empty harangues which vain self-conceited men spin out of their own brains and pour into the ears of an ignorant incredulous multitude, calling their human effusions, with no small degree of presumption, and certainly without one particle of truth, God's unadulterated, unmixed message. Philalethes well knows that the illiterate are compelled, great as the disadvantage is, to make the best use of translations that they can, and depend on the information which they convey, though not exempt from error. But what has this case of dire and irremediable necessity to do with the case of the man, who, without a shadow of necessity or authority, arrogates to himself the office and character of a public teacher, and boldly asserts, what it is morally impossible for him in his situation to know, that every word, letter, and syllable which he utters, is divine truth? How can a man ignorant of any language, know that a translation of that language is correct? Impossible!
Remarks on Rev. Dr. Cleland on Campbellism.
SIX essays, headed "CAMPBELLISM," signed, "C." dated from August 1st to September 5th, inclusive, have appeared in the "Western Luminary," published from Lexington, Ky. by Thomas T Skillman, and have been politely forwarded to us, neither by the author nor the publisher, but by a friend in Kentucky. It is a favor which we gratefully acknowledge (as we do not take the Luminary) to be presented with so much light on "Campbellism" by so respectable and so learned a Presbyterian Rabbi, who, to atone for the inability of Dr. Jennings, Dr. Ralston, Messrs. M'Calla, and all other writers of his brotherhood, whose failures, in the judgment of Dr. C. required this free-will offering at this important crisis, has vouchsafed to us six essays on this most interesting theme.
My correspondent informs me that the "C" affixed to these essays, means Dr. Cleland, a very valorous champion of the Kentucky church militant, whose scars in the battles of orthodoxy would have honored any knight in the most chivalrous days of the crusades against the infidels. In the conclusion of his last essay which reached me (No.6.) he says--
"In a word, if I may express my own conviction, every attempt to show that "regeneration," "born of the Spirit," "born of God." and the like, denote  either baptism itself, in any mode, or some immediate effect of baptism, has a direct tendency to expose the simple but sublime religion of Jesus Christ to the derision of its enemies; and ought to be as strenuously exploded as the unscriptural and unintelligible dogmas of transubstantiation and consubstantiation."
He ought (to have reached us) placed the word terms before "regeneration," "born of the Spirit," &c. and have read it thus:--'To show that the term "regeneration," and the terms "born of the Spirit,"2 &c. Then he would have come into our territory; but as it is, he is as far from us, as we are from transubstantiation or consubstantiation.
But we quote the last passage for another purpose. He is averse to expose christianity to the derision of its enemies, and dislikes the views which he ascribes to us, because he conceives them to have that tendency. Well, now, so far we are agreed, that christianity should not be by any of its friends exposed to the derision of its enemies; and here I would beg the indulgence of Doctor Cleland while I propound it to his serious consideration, whether arguing as we do that the term regeneration and the term baptism are at least once used by an Apostle as equipollent representatives of the same thing, hazards so much the derision of the enemies of christianity as the practice of making holy water by the consecrating prayer of Doctor Cleland, who prays over a bason, that so many drops of the water, and no more than what cleaves to the ends of his fingers, shall be sanctified to the spiritual benefit of the infant, whose repentance, faith, and conversion are all found by proxy in the flesh of a Presbyterian ancestry? A grave question, Doctor, deserves a grave answer! As you are very sensitive on this point, I beg you to consider well who most subjects christianity to the derision of its enemies--you who say that a few drops of sanctified water from the fingers of a person on whose head the hands of the priesthood have been laid, dropped on the eyebrows, forehead, or scalp of an infant, born not of the Spirit, but of the flesh; without faith, repentance, knowledge, speech, or volition, except as these are found in the person of a father or a mother, avails to the changing of its state, not of its character, to its introduction into the covenant and church of Jesus Christ!!
I pray you, Doctor, to remember how much stress you lay upon the aphorism, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit," in your strictures on baptism for remission: and then see how your few drops, without knowledge, faith, repentance, speech, or consciousness, can avail to the change of an infant born of the flesh, from the visible kingdom of Satan into the visible kingdom of God! When you have shown how this dogma differs from transubstantiation or consubstantiation, then you may fear for the tendency of our views in subjecting the gospel to the  derision of its enemies! But till then weep not for us, but for yourself and your brethren, who believe in the translating efficacy of two drops of sanctified water!
But to the numbers on "Campbellism" I have made the last first, for two reasons:--first, because I have not read the five first; and, in the second place, because the last ought to have been both first and last.
The last, or No. 6, begins and ends with an attempt to show how some of the scriptures on which we rely for the proper meaning of Christian immersion, may be so explained as to show that remission of sins depends on repentance, and is connected with repentance alone. Now, lest the reader should think we put a wrong construction on the words of this very erudite Rabbi, we shall let him speak for himself. On Acts ii. 38. he remarks in the following words:--
"The first question here is, With what does remission of sins stand connected? With repentance, with baptism, or with both united? The proper answer shall be given by Peter himself: "Repent ye, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come," &c. Acts iii. 19. Here is no mention of baptism in this exhortation of Peter, which would have been an unpardonable omission, if remission of sins and baptism were inseparable. It is therefore plain, the union of repentance and baptism was not an indispensable condition for the remission of sin. Peter's expression in the first passage, to make it consistent with this and other, scriptures, must mean, 'Repent--for the remission of sins, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ." By this simple collocation of the words, not forbidden by just criticism, nor candid interpretation, it will be seen that remission of sins is in consequence of repentance, and baptism is urged as a suitable mode of a testifying that repentance, because an instituted rite of entering into a new visible relation to Jesus Christ, the true Messiah."
When Peter said, "Repent and The baptized for remission,"' he meant to leave out baptism, as not alt all connected with remission, and intended only to say, Repent for the remission of your sins, and "be baptized as a suitable mode of testifying repentance," and not remission!
In Acts iii. 19. we are taught, says he, the meaning of Acts ii. 38. for Peter says, "Repent and be converted for remission." But the Doctor says not one word upon the imperative "Be converted," but "Repent that your sins may be blotted out." "Here," he exclaims, "is no mention of baptism!" No, nor of faith; nor of grace, nor of the blood of Christ; and because not mentioned in this verse, we are to learn that remission of sins is without grace, faith, or the blood of Christ!!!
Now, after all the meditations, readings, and watchings of all his predecessors, from W. L. M'Calla in 1823, to August, 1832--after all the debates which Dr. Cleland has read and heard, this is his learned defence of "Repent for the remission, of sins." From Acts ii. 38. he expunges the words "Be baptized," and from Acts iii. 19. expunges the words "Be converted," from the connexion in which Peter placed them; and because baptism is not mentioned in every verse, from Pentecost to the year 90, and from Jerusalem to Patmos, therefore it ought not to be taken, into the account! 
A word to Doctor Cleland, inter nos. Doctor; to test your logic, please remember that if Acts iii. 19. explains Acts ii. 38. then Acts ii. 38. explains chap. iii. 19.; or, what is equivalent, both must mean, when explained, the same thing. Now how do you dispose of the two interpretations--viz. "Be baptized," and "Be converted?" Apply your own rule, and how reads this last interpretation--Repent for the remission of sins and be converted "as a suitable mode of testifying repentance?" This is your own logic returned to your own bosom.
Again--(pardon my presumption in speaking so plainly to a Presbyterian Doctor!)--again, I say, to use your own logic, if, as you assert, it would have been an unpardonable omission in Peter to leave out the command, "Be baptized," in his second discourse, Acts iii. 19. if connected with remission: I ask you, on your candor, Doctor, was it not an unpardonable omission in Peter's first discourse to leave out the command, "Be converted," if conversion was necessarily connected with remission? Thus you see that your logic equally excludes baptism and conversion from any connexion with remission, and contemplates them both as mere nodes of testifying repentance!
But we can make your logic still more illustrious. The command to believe and repent are not one and the same thing in your theology; nor do the words faith and repentance mean the same thing in any dictionary in the world. This single remark, and we proceed. Paul preached to the Jailor, and when asked by the Jailor what he should do to be saved, Paul said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." Now how unpardonable in Paul to omit the command, "Repent," if, according to you, remission depends alone, or is consequent upon repentance alone. Paul, on your premises, makes no account of repentance, conversion, grace, the blood of Jesus, or baptism in the affair of salvation, if his not mentioning them on one occasion to one who inquired what he should do to be saved, is to be regarded as fair argument and rational proof. By this time, Doctor, I think you will excuse me for pushing you no farther with your own logic!
Thus the Doctor over acts his part, and sets all the Apostles at variance with one another, and the same Apostle at variance with himself, in his attempts to expunge the command, "Be baptized," from the place in which Peter placed it when first he opened the reign of Jesus and announced the glad tidings.
I will treat my readers now and then to a few samples of Doctor Cleland's logic and theology. The Presbyterian Doctors are becoming much more alarmed than formerly; because, in defiance of all their talents and address, the ancient gospel is shining into their congregations, and some of their most intelligent members are removing out of Babylon and submitting to Jesus as the only Lawgiver and King in his kingdom.
The Baptist Doctors are generally taking a nap after the fatigues of their numerous campaigns. It is kind in the Presbyterian Doctors  to keep sentinel at this crisis, especially, as the heresy is now upon their borders, if not actually within their camp.
I will, Deo volente, show that Dr. Cleland is just as much at fault on the four remaining passages commented on in this No. 6, as in the passage now examined. We thank the Doctor for his efforts, as they will prove to the most intractable of our readers, that, with all the superior pretensions of our Presbyterian Doctors, they are nothing more puissant in the volumes of revelation than our Baptist Doctors.
If the Editor of the Luminary will publish my replies, I will publish all Dr. Cleland's essays in the Harbinger. I request the Postmaster at Lexington, Ky. to forward one copy of the Harbinger, containing my replies to Dr. Cleland, as I do not know his address.
THE CHURCH IN RICHMOND, VIRGINIA.
LITTLE has been said by us concerning the separation of the Reformers from the old Baptist church, in the city of Richmond. The brethren in Richmond devoted to the Apostles' doctrine and the original constitution of the christian kingdom, conducted themselves so much in conformity to the mild, gentle, and long-suffering, spirit of our religion, as to have even extorted the admiration of the very persons themselves who, were determined to exclude them or cause them to separate from their communion. Their behaviour during all the trials which they had to suffer required no vindication, inasmuch as it was commended by Messrs. Ball and Sands, the very organs of the intolerant party in Richmond. I say intolerant, with the most conscientious regard to the literal import of the term; for Mr. Ball says, in the positive language of certainty, "We know that the minority did not wish to separate": of course the majority were the intolerant and schismatic party, in Richmond. They compelled the minority to withdraw from their society or to disobey the Lord. Yet the separation was effected with so much Christian decorum, and the minority so firmly and gracefully withdrew, when the crisis arrived, that the same organ of the majority is again compelled to do them honor, affirming that "it was a subject of gratification, that this separation was effected in such an amicable manner." "It is greatly," he adds, "to the credit of both parties." Most certainly the reformers, as they are called, richly deserved commendation, when Mr. Ball himself could thus speak of them.
Notwithstanding all this, he insinuates "that efforts will be made to throw the odium of this separation on the majority." Yet he declares that odium belongs to the majority; for, "he knows that the minority did not wish to separate." And this is not all: he thinks that the majority are worthy "of the applause and thanks of all the Baptist denomination, for [this odium] this firm stand, on this occasion;" for making a concurrence in opinion with them a test and term of communion. Other insinuations, that the time would come when the minority would be the majority and that then the heterodox would  exclude the orthodox, are equally without foundation and a solitary example in the history of this reformation. But we have waited till now, till all excitement has subsided, to place on our pages a record of these transactions. The following narrative has been drawn up by a person on the ground during the whole procedure; and, as it tallies with the statement of the committee of the majority, published in the Richmond Religious Herald of March 9, 1832, it may be regarded as a faithful narrative of the origin of the congregation in Richmond founded on the New Testament alone. Their meeting house will be completed about the 15th of November. The congregation now approaches to one hundred members.
|RICHMOND, Va. September 7th, 1832.|
Dear Brother Campbell,
YOURS of the 9th ultimo came duly to hand, and I now take opportunity to answer it. The material facts connected with the division of the First Baptist Church and our separation therefrom, are, so far as they have come within my knowledge, as follows:--A considerable number of the members of the church had become satisfied that a reform, both in themselves and in the church, was necessary. They applied themselves diligently to the reading of the New Testament; and used frequently to converse with each other, and other members of the church, on these great leading items of the gospel--faith, baptism, and the Lord's supper--endeavoring by presenting in a friendly and christian-like manner, the commands of our Lord and Saviour, and the directions and practice of the Apostles, to induce them to believe and practise as the primitive christians did. We had no idea of separating from our brethren, with whom we considered ourselves in harmony and peace: and our own experience had too severely taught us the powerful force of education and early prejudice, to allow us to fall out with a brother for mere difference of opinion.
Things were in this situation when your father visited us. He arrived here on the 5th of January, 1832. On the next day, in company with a member of the church, he visited our Pastor; a long and friendly conversation ensued, during which he invited Elder Campbell to preach for him that evening. He did so, and several other evenings afterwards, at the Pastor's request. On Sunday evening, the 15th of January, before the meeting at night, several members of the church were together at the house of a brother. Elder Campbell's preaching was talked of, and a general desire expressed that lie should preach often; and three of the brethren were requested to wait upon the Pastor, and ask his permission. They waited upon him that evening, and informed him of the wish of the brethren, that, as he occupied the pulpit but one night in the week, he would give notice for Elder Campbell to preach on the other nights; and that, as many persons in the adjoining country were anxious to bear him, and could not unless he preached in the morning, they wished him to preach on the next Lord's day morning; to all of which he assented. After the services that evening, he gave notice that the venerable old brother in the pulpit with him would preach every night in that place, except Friday night, and on that night both would be present, and one or the other would preach. He said nothing about Sunday morning. We supposed he intended to give that notice on some early night during the week. On Monday night Elder Campbell preached; the Pastor was not present, and there being several persons from the country at meeting, it was thought a favorable opportunity to spread the information; at the request of several members a deacon of the church, therefore, publicly gave notice that Elder Campbell would preach in that place on the next Lord's day morning. Elder Campbell preached on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday night; and no difficulty was apprehended about the preaching on Sunday morning till Friday night, when  the pastor himself preached, and after sermon gave notice that he himself would preach on next Sunday morning. Immediately one of the brethren who had asked his permission for the use of the house for Elder Campbell, went up into the pulpit, and asked him if he had not made a mistake in making the appointment for himself. He said, No; that he had not promised the use of the house. The notice had then been sent to the two daily papers, and the notice of the appointment having been very generally circulated, many of the brethren, upon consultation, decided, if possible, to obtain a place for him (Elder C.) to preach; and upon application to the Universalist preacher, he very readily consented to give up the use of the Capitol, which had been granted him for that morning by the Governor; and the notices were changed accordingly. Many members of the church and others attended, and nothing more was heard by us until next Sunday morning, when the Pastor gave notice that on the next Saturday there would be a church meeting on business of the highest importance. Inquiry was at once made as to the business; when it was understood that our going to the Capitol was highly offensive, and that certain members whom others chose to call "Campbellites," would have to withdraw. The three brethren who had asked the use of the house, thinking it best, if possible, to settle the difference between the Pastor and themselves, so that the question might come before the church unconnected with private differences, waited upon him the next morning; but were unable to come to any understanding, he still maintaining that he had made no such promise, and they that he had.
On Saturday night, the 4th February, the church convened; and after an address of about two hours from the Pastor, he concluded by offering a verbal resolution, that certain members who were said to have imbibed the sentiments of Alexander Campbell, should withdraw. After some discussion, an amendment, also verbal, was offered by a brother, to this effect: That all those members of the church who were so dissatisfied with their brethren on account of their opinions as not to be able to live in harmony with them, be allowed to withdraw. After which the church adjourned to meet again on next Saturday night. On that night the church met; but the Pastor not being present, for that reason the church by a majority of one or two, adjourned.
On Tuesday night, the 14th February, they again met, when the following preamble and resolution, in writing, was offered by the Pastor. See Religious Herald, 9th March, 1832:--
"Whereas it is evident that a party has arisen in this church, entertaining opinions of scripture doctrine and church government materially different from those of the great body of this church, and all the Regular Baptist churches in Virginia: And whereas, out of these discordant opinions and views a state of feeling has grown very unfavorable to the peace, honor, and piety of the church--Therefore,
"Resolved, That this church earnestly recommend to those who have embraced these new doctrines and opinions to withdraw from us, and become a separate people, worshipping God according to their own views of propriety."
"SIMON FRAYSER, Clerk."
The brother who had offered the amendment of the 4th February, then offered it in writing. The amendment appeared to be very unpalatable. Some contended that the brother had no right to offer it; others insisted that he should withdraw it; and many unpleasant things were said. But the brother insisting upon the amendment, it was gotten rid of by the previous question, a thing probably never before heard of in a Baptist church, and the resolution of the Pastor was adopted. The church then adjourned.
On the Monday or Tuesday night following many of the brethren met together to consult as to what would be the best course to be pursued by them. They knew that about eight members, in whom they had high confidence, were the only persons whom they had then determined to get rid of; and being themselves entirely dissatisfied with the proceedings of the majority: and  farther, believing that if these brethren were removed, that they themselves would have to renounce their belief, or in turn be severally excluded, they determined upon the following preamble and resolutions:--
"Whereas a resolution, connected with a preamble, stating that certain members entertain opinions of scripture doctrine and church government materially different from the great body of the First Baptist Church and all the Regular Baptists in Virginia, was, on the 14th February, 1832, adopted by a majority of said church: And whereas we are satisfied that the above preamble and resolution are intended to operate upon the opinions we hold, though we have disclaimed and do disclaim any opinion not founded upon the New Testament: And whereas they have invited us to withdraw--Therefore,
"Resolved, That we, whose names are hereunto subscribed, do withdraw ourselves from the First Baptist Church. "William Dabney, Curtis Carter and wife Letitia, William M. Carter, Curtis Carter, Jun. Joseph Carter, Mary Hyde, George Radford, George R. Myers, Lucy-Ann Myers, Clarissa Hopkins, Burwell Jones, Francis W. Quarles, Benjamin Ellett, Joseph S. Robinson, Julia-Ann Robinson, E. F. Matthews, James Bootwright and wife Priscilla, Charles H. Hyde, Eliza S. Hyde, William Bootwright, J. B. Bragg, V. W. Bragg, Joseph Woodson, Julia A. Woodson, Robert A. Ligon, S. F. Ligon, Robert Hyde and wife Ann, Frances Ayscough, George Sharpe, C. L. M. Howerton, A. B. Gathwright, John Brooks, Thomas J. Glenn, A. Jones, Jane Ellyson, John Hooper, Sarah Bryan, Clotilda Fisher, Ellen Dogget, James Griffin, Edmund Leneve, Jane Leneve, John G. Davis and wife Malinda, Mary A. Dabney, Sampson Jones, Angelica Jones, Mary Eppse, William A. Matthews, Ann B. Matthews, Onan Ellyson, James R. Ratcliff, Garland Hanes, Emeline S. Hanes, Leander Woodson, Edwin A. Mattox, Mary Kinnard, Daniel Totty, Jun. William Booth and wife Miranda, Sarah Epps, Rebecca White, Sarah Page, Thomas Hix, Mary Clarke.
"On motion made by brother Myers, in behalf of the persons above named, they were permitted to withdraw forthwith.
"On motion made by brother Z. Lewis, the following was adopted:--
"Resolved, That as brother John Brown has voluntarily avowed himself as a believer in the leading doctrines and opinions of Alexander Campbell, and as belonging to that party, he be dismissed from the communion of this church in conformity to the resolution adopted on the 14th instant.
"The meeting adjourned after a short address and prayer by the Pastor.
"SIMON FRAYSER, Clerk."
Which were signed by 68 members, as you will see by reference to the Herald of the 9th March; and requested three of the brethren to lay it before the next church meeting. The then First Church accepted the proposition and ordered it to be recorded; and here the matter ended.
It is generally unsafe to conjecture the causes of any given effect; but as they, the majority, have entered upon the field, not only as to causes, but effects also, it may not be amiss to advert to some things which have not appeared in their public expose. We did not desire a separation, they themselves being judges; [see Herald, 9th March.] Another admission is made by them in the same paper, in the following words:--
"We are firmly persuaded if their progress had not been arrested, they would in time have secured a majority, and new-modelled the church, and then excluded all who would not coincide with this new theory."
Now as to our securing a majority, one of two things must be supposed--either that we had the truth on our side; and by suffering it to be presented to their minds, a majority would have been convinced by it; or that the majority were so weak, even under the instruction of the Pastor, and the leaders of the separation, that we should have been able to have made them believe that error was truth. They may make their choice. As to our excluding others, it is a gratuitous assumption, unsupported by any facts; for wherever separations have been forced it has been by the self-styled orthodox; and not a single  instance of the kind has occurred in a church where the Reformers were the majority. There were some sentiments held by us, which possibly had more influence in the matter than any peculiar matters of faith. We did not unite with them in their splendid Missionary schemes among the heathen, while many in our own country were perishing for lack of knowledge, and while professors of religion here so differed about the one Lord, one faith, and one baptism, that to the poor heathen the Missionaries of no two societies spoke the same language. We also thought, and sometimes said, that many preachers were receiving too high salaries for the services rendered; and that where a small part of their time only was devoted to the church, the balance ought to be employed in obtaining their living. Thus upon a view of the whole matter, you will perceive that we were compelled to separate because we preferred the word of God to the opinions of men.
|Affectionately yours in the Lord,|
BAPTISM IN ROOM OF CIRCUMCISION.
A word in season on Essentials and Non-essentials.
|JAMESTOWN, Ohio, September 7th, 1832.|
Dear Brother Campbell,
A LARGE number of persons professing christianity, in this generation, when speaking of Baptism say that it has come in the room of Circumcision, but speak of it as being a non-essential. Did the Jews ever speak thus of circumcision? Were there any males among the Jews uncircumcised? From what I can learn of the Jews' religion, I know of nothing in it to which more importance was attached than to circumcision. All uncircumcised males were to be cut off from among the Jewish people. They were not entitled to any of the promises made to the Jews.
Then (admitting the argument that baptism is come in the room of circumcision to be true) all unbaptized persons must be cut off from the church, for they have broken the covenant, or rather have never been initiated into it; therefore, are not entitled to any of the privileges or promises granted or made to the church. They are, in fact, situated just as the heathen were in relation to the Jews.
I am the more surprized that those who contend that baptism has come in the room of circumcision should speak of it as a non-essential, when they know that, among the Jews, of ALL THINGS, circumcision was the most essential; and that no uncircumcised male was ever admitted into the Jewish church. Then, those who contend for baptism in the room of circumcision, and have admitted unbaptized persons into the church, have broken the covenant, and have defiled themselves by eating with the uncircumcised; especially if males have been admitted without being baptized. They might offer same apology for admitting females without baptism, had it not been written that, in the apostolic age, the practice was to baptize both men and women. Yet those professors do not baptize men nor women, but sprinkle children. When I say they do not baptize men nor women, I allude to a practice among them of receiving men and women into the church who never have been either baptized or sprinkled, (unless the applicants have a desire to be baptized or sprinkled.) In this practice, if none but females were admitted, they might say that they had not broken the law of circumcision, but could not say that they had done as did the Apostles. The reason why I have said baptized or sprinkled, above, is because I do not believe them to be the same thing, and do not believe that sprinkling can be proved to be baptism. I have never seen a translation that rendered the Greek word Baptizw to sprinkle, nor have I ever heard that such a translation was made, by any translators.
|Yours in the cause of Reform,|
|M. W. |
WE attended a meeting, which was formerly called the Stillwater Association, in the vicinity of Cadiz, Obi, in August last. The congregations belonging to this association have all, or nearly all, renounced the Philadelphia Creed, and substituted the New Testament. Great harmony prevailed at this meeting, and the reports made of the state of the churches indicated the growing intelligence of the disciples, and the great need of more co-operation among the congregations in furthering the work of the Lord. A good many additions were made during the year by the individual exertions of the congregations; and one or two new congregations raised up by the instrumentality of some of the private members of the congregations; but for the want of some proclaimers of the word, some persons to do the work of an evangelist, the conversions during the y ear have not been equal to what might have been expected, nor to what is actually realized in all places where laborers in the word are always in the field. A meeting for social worship and the proclamation of the word, as well as to combine the energies of the congregations in the furtherance of the gospel, is to take place in New Philadelphia, on the third Saturday and Lord's day in this present month.
PROPOSALS for three papers have recently been received at this office. One called the Signs of the Times, by Samuel M. M'Corkle, Rockville, Indiana, for one year only--twelve numbers 8vo. one dollar, in advance, or in the first quarter. The Messenger of Truth, by A. P. Jones, Euclid, Ohio--twelve nos. 12mo. at one doll. per annum. And the Gospel Teacher, by S. K. Milton, Charlestown, Ia. of the same size and terms. These proposals we intended to publish in this number; but they were unexpectedly crowded out.
Should our friend, S. M. M'Corkle, fail in finding suitable patronage for his proposed essays, we would inform him that we will give him room for a regular series of essays on the subject proposed, which will ensure for them a much wider circulation than he could promise himself in the contemplated work. And as he declares himself desirous only of being heard, without regard to any earthly remuneration, he will have this advantage of incurring no expense in disseminating his views on the approaching new dispensation, or Millennium. But it is to millenniary matters and things, or the prophecies, to which we limit this proposition. We regard him ass, talented brother, and shrewd in his remarks on such themes: and should his essays possess the merits which we anticipate, we are not afraid of incurring the displeasure of any of our readers in allowing him six or eight pages in each number, till he have finished his developement of prophecy.
Camphor Treatment of Cholera.
IT is due to the public at this crisis to state, that we have seen various accounts of the astonishing efficacy of the Camphor treatment introduced in New York, by W. Channing, M. D. a physician of acknowledged eminence in that city. Dr. Channing, though supported by Dr. Gram of New York, and others, in laying this treatment and the results of his practice before the public has incurred, as is always the case, the opposition of many of his medical brethren. But the astonishing success of this treatment is fast bearing down the' opposition. I would gladly, had I room, copy a long article from the New York papers on this subject; but we can only find room to say, that opium in every form must be discarded, as directly contrary to the efficacy of camphor. In the premonitory symptoms, small doses, from one to four drops of the spirits of camphor, (two ounces in one pint of alcohol is the proportion for the spirits of camphor,) mixed with one table spoonful of water, will hold the disease in check for some time: and if repeated at short intervals, in small doses, keeping the sheets about the face of the patient sprinkled with the same, and also applying it with external friction to the pained parts; will, in almost all instances, affect a cure. The skill of a physician acquainted with this practice, is not, however, to be dispensed with when it can be obtained.
[The Millennial Harbinger, 3 (October, 1832): 481-528.]
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The Millennial Harbinger, Vol. III, No. X (1832)
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