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Alexander Campbell, ed.
The Millennial Harbinger, Vol. III, No. XI (1832)


{ Vol. III.  
      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.

Epaphras--No. 4.


      NEXT to the objections and difficulties suggested in my last, relative to the mission and indiscretion of certain teachers, and the obvious consequences of such a procedure:--disgust and alarm at the apparent sectarianism of a reformation, the proposed object of which is to eradicate that root of bitterness, provoke me to resume again my pen, and expostulate.

      Antisectariansectarianism is, I confess, a term so awkward and confounding, so absurd and monstrous, both in sound and sense, as to appear almost inconceivable. Yet there appears something so like it in the exhibition of the present reformation; that I know not by what other term it can be properly distinguished. And as this inconsistent characteristic (if such it be) must be imputed to the teachers and the taught, and not to the thing proposed to be inculcated;--and, as you confessedly take the lead, and are considered as the founder of this new antisectarian sect, which almost every where bears your name, I feel myself authorized, with your permission, to submit to your consideration certain items upon which the above imputation is founded. In order to this, I shall first state the principle and object of the proposed reformation, as I understand it; and then adduce the items of sectarian inconsistencies, (as I conceive them to be,) that, being duly understood, I may correct, or be corrected, as the case may require.

      To proceed, then, I would remind you, that my conception of the proposed reformation is founded upon the essay recorded in the September number of the Christian Baptist, of 1823, largely quoted in my first letter; the substance of which essay you have, in said volume, styled "the Ancient Gospel." The restoration, then, of this ancient apostolic gospel, and the order of things divinely connected with it, with their blissful effects, as expressly defined in the New Testament; I have understood (as you have all along declared) to be the principle and object of said reformation: consequently, that the inculcation of this alone, as the sole matter of belief and practice, to the exclusion of every thing besides, was the very thing intended; also, that whilst [529] the belief and practice of these things were retained and manifested, no inferior consideration of accidental difference in opinion or practice could, or should divide, separate, or estrange the professing subjects, from that mutual love and esteem for each other, which the word enjoins. This was my understanding of the matter, and these were my anticipations. But, alas! in the teaching department how oft have I found myself disappointed! For instead of a scriptural exhibition of the things supposed, with arguments evincive of their all-sufficiency and alone-sufficiency, and an exhibition of the divine motives, calculated to produce a rational and hearty obedience, I have been occupied (not edified) in hearing a dry argumentative discussion of some of the old worn out controversies about faith, free grace, free will, human ability, special election, supernatural agency, the new birth, &c. &c.; and these digressions, (as I always consider them) not unfrequently accompanied with harsh epithets and severe reflections upon those sects who differed from the opinions of the speaker. Now the obvious tendency of such a course, however well intended, is to propagate sectarian feelings, to keep alive the old controversies, perhaps to create new ones; or, at best, to make the hearers wise to disputation. Let it not be imagined that I speak thus to spare or favor sectarianism; I consider it to be a very bad thing, even the root of all manner of bitterness; but do most seriously object to the above way of opposing it, for the aforesaid reasons. The best way of opposing error is to exhibit the truth, the whole truth with which we are divinely furnished, upon each and every subject; consequently, upon the subject of sectarianism, as well as others; which last mentioned the apostolic wrings most severely condemns. But this most surely may be done to advantage, without taking a side on any controverted subject at issue, unless it expressly contradict some express item of faith or duty; and, even then, the scriptural exhibition of that subject with all its evidence, will be sufficient for every purpose, without descending to polemic strife. Besides, if in opposing sectarianism, the speaker descends to particulars, it will become an end endless business; and not only so, but, of course, in taking a side, he will identify himself with the sect with which his opinions may happen to agree, and whose side of the argument he defends: and thus attach to the reformation a sectarian epithet; an event much to be deprecated, and which has already happened to a reforming body in this country, who, no doubt, meant well; but for want of this precaution, became identified with ancient sectarians; though, perhaps, undeservedly; and, without doubt, unintentionally. I might farther add, that any opinion, not expressly contradictory to some item of the faith at first delivered to the saints, or to any of the duties enjoined upon them, falls not in the way of the Christian teacher, except to show that it makes no part of the religion he is bound to believe and teach.

      To close this apparently severe remonstrance, I would lastly observe, that, as according to the old scripture maxim, "there shall be like people like priest;" so have I found it. In my acquaintance with [530] several of the churches of this reformation, I have found many as captious and opinionative as their neighbors; and as liable to take offence at each other on account of minor differences, that could in no wise have affected their Christian character, if they had not unhappily differed about them. Could I but once see the people of this reformation, teachers and taught, really practising, in word and deed, the divine platform which they have professedly adopted, 1 should greatly rejoice; and, as a proof of the lively interest I take in its success, I shall, with your indulgence, continue my animadversions upon whatever has, to me, appeared amiss, either in your publications, or in the public conduct of those who fall under my notice, whom you are supposed to approve as fellow-laborers in the good cause; without intending to hurt the feelings, or, in the least, to impair the usefulness of any; being persuaded that, in so doing, I shall most effectually contribute to its prosperity.

Reply to Epaphras--No. 4.


      THAT we are denominated a sect, and I a sectarian; and that the advocates of the New Institution, as it came from the lips of its founder, and from the pens of the Apostles, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, are slanderously dubbed my followers, must all be acknowledged; but then a serious question arises--Whose sin is this? Do we so denominate ourselves? Do we own it, as do Calvinists and Lutherans, Wesleyan Methodists, &c.? It is no slander to call a person by the name he has assumed, or to ascribe to him his real views, sentiments, and practices: but was not the motto on the banners under which we commenced our march, "Style no man on earth your Father, for he alone is your Father who is in heaven: and all you are brethren. Assume not the title of Rabbi: for you have only one teacher. Neither assume the title of leader; for you have only one leader--the Messiah." Now, because some person must begin every thing, and say to others, Come; does it follow that all who unite with him upon the same principle, and agree to walk by the same rule, are the followers of him, who may have been but the occasion of their enlistment under the command of the Great Leader of the Christian Army; or but a concurring cause of their forsaking the doctrines and commandments of men?

      But, in this sectarian age, every man is supposed to belong to a party, commenced by some person; for every real son of a human creed, conscious that he himself is led, in his sectarian career, by some demagogue, political or religious, imagines that no person can follow the Apostles alone, or be guided exclusively by the authority of the Messiah; and, therefore, imputes to others his own follies and faults. That we are thus traduced is to he attributed to this bias of the age, or to some unhallowed motive. We would, indeed, be blind, not to see that many of our opponents design and toil to stigmatize the thousands who have vowed allegiance to Jesus as their [531] Commander and King, with epithets most revolting to their feelings, and with a character of which they are most unworthy--that of being the followers of men instead of Christ!

      I did not esteem it a compliment when a Moderator, who presided over a discussion in which I was engaged, said, "that I could prove a crow to be as white as a swan;" because his object was to ascribe the defeat of his partizan, not to the force of truth, but to the ingenuity with which he was assailed. It was a mere stroke of policy, to beguile, or quiet the consciences of his party. In the same light we must regard the calumnies intended for the friends of reform, in calling me their leader, and them the led; in dubbing them Campbellites rather than Christians; in representing them the disciples of men, rather than the disciples of Christ.

      I am unwilling to be a sponsor for a single individual, or to be responsible for any one, as a follower of mine. Such are not the company which we choose, nor the confederates which we seek, in restoring the ancient order of things. But we can say, in behalf of many, very many of our own acquaintance, that they have a higher sense of Christian character and dignity, than to be the followers of any man: and there are not a few who would not call themselves Paulites or Apollosites, if both Paul and Apollos were now living among them. Nay, many of them are so jealous of the honor of Jesus, and so elated in him as their only leader, that they would not, for the world, assume the name of man or angel, and avow themselves his followers.

      The stale slander that I am seeking to be the head of a party; and that the friends of reform are partizans of myself, or any one else, was set on foot by the greatest enemies of reform;--by those who wished to represent this reformation as differing from other attempts, only as the Protestant sects differ from one another, in some matters of opinion, or in the forms and ceremonies of religion. We aim much higher, and look much farther, than did the founders of these systems. We substitute no half-way expedients; we adopt no amendments of old systems, nor attempt putting new patches upon the tattered and filthy garment of sectarianism. The New Testament facts are the things believed by us, and constitute our faith; the New Testament exposition of these facts is our doctrine; the New Testament rules of behavior are our moral system; and the New Testament institutions of consecration to God are the worship which we practise. Such is our profession; and until we fully attain to this, we set no boundaries to our views, aims, and pursuits.

      If, then, we are made a sect, it will be no sin, nor mischievous contrivance of ours; nor can we be in any other sense a sect, than as the first Christians were a sect, contrasted with those who nicknamed them "The Sect of the Nazarenes." We do receive every man and woman to immersion, on the identical confession of faith made by those whom the Apostles and their attendants immersed. We immerse them for the very same purpose; and use, on such occasions, the precise words of Peter, who opened the door of faith to [532] Jew and Gentile. We celebrate the Lord's death and resurrection, and solemnize the Lord's day, as did the first Christians; and exclude from our fellowship none but those who, by their behavior, refuse to submit to the morals and positive institutions of the New Testament. We ask not after the private opinions of any man, nor do we repudiate his profession of the faith, because he may hold some of the opinions of Calvin or Wesley. So long as he holds the head, Jesus, as the Son of God, as the only Lord, Lawgiver, Prophet, Priest, and King--so long we hold him and treat him as a brother. But we cannot receive, as Christian brethren, Mahometans, Jews, Samaritans, Pharisees, Sadducees, nor those who deny the divine excellency and glory of the person, mission, and sovereignty of the Lord who bought us; nor can we look upon Sceptics, Deists, and Atheists, however polished in their exterior, in any other light, than as under the condemnation of God. Now if this constitutes a sect, then do we glory in it; and will, with Paul, say, "I confess that according to the way which they call a sect, so do I worship the God of my Fathers; believing all things which are written in the law and in the Prophets," and in the New Institution.

      Pardon me, my good sir, if I have extended my remarks beyond the letter of your kind hints and benevolent fears, inasmuch as we are so often assailed with imputations most abhorrent to our feelings; because intended to place us on the same footing with the sectarian reformers of popery, and to represent the believers in the ancient and apostolic gospel and order of things, as a new, or co-ordinate sect; with all the rival interests, policies, and feelings which belong to such human establishments. Such never was, such is not now, and, we trust, such never will be our aim and object. The world has had sufficient time to test what these systems and sects can achieve; and if the experiments already made, will not convince this generation of their impotency and inadequacy, the judgments of God and the vials of his fierce indignation against an apostate age, will make us feel the wickedness and folly of our wanderings from the Christian Institution.

      But that some of those who have abandoned the doctrines of men, and come over to the help of the Lord against the captivators of his people, should occasionally occupy the ears of saints and sinners with such disquisitions, as were the marrow and fatness of the systems which they have renounced, is no doubt true, and worthy of all you have said against it. As we have no defence to offer for such a course of procedure, will you accept of an apology? Nurtured and educated in a religion of opinions, brought up in the school of orthodoxy, rather than in the Christian Institution, it is not surpassing strange that some teachers, skilled in the tactics of that warfare, should sometimes be found fighting the same old battles over again, and presenting the artillery of their logic and rhetoric against the opinions, rather than the sins of men.

      Against this course, and against theorizing, in the manner of some, upon the ancient gospel, your remonstrance is in exact accordance with the views and sentiments of a great proportion of the more [533] intelligent and discriminating pleaders for a restoration of the apostolic faith and practice.

      Doctors may require theories to guide them in practice; but he that goes about among his patients, preaching his theories of medicine and of cure, will sooner make them doctors than restore them to health and vigor. Now if every patient must be a physician before he can be persuaded to take medicine, then is he a sound reasoner and a skillful preacher, who would justify the exhibition of a theory of the ancient gospel, instead of administering the word of life--because physicians cannot prescribe medicine without a theoretic knowledge both of it, and of the disease which it is intended to cure.

      He that theorizes upon the ancient gospel, and he who opposes the theories of modern gospels, would be better employed in teaching a theological school, than in addressing sinners; provided he could persuade his students when he gave them their diploma, that outside of the threshold of his school they were never to open their lips on such themes. We place the theories of the Five Points, whether sharp points or blunt points, old points or new points, where the Eleusinian mysteries were placed--in the archives of the inner temples, for the benefit of the initiated; and with the same injunctions, that they be kept from the public ear; and the plain, sober, palpable matters of fact--the threatenings, promises, and proclamations of the New Testament be relied on, in addressing sinners, and in beseeching them to he reconciled to God, through Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world.

      Your remonstrances, I hope, will be well received by all those who are unwittingly giving a sectarian aspect to the faith once delivered to the saints; and who, in their zeal, are building again the things which they have destroyed in protesting against the corruptions and corrupters of the Christian Institution.

And O. Jennings, D. D. Exposed.--No. III.


      THE foul imputations which we have had to endure, because we presumed to translate this word, might have made it the bitterest word, to us, in the language of Greece, Rome, or England. What a heat and effervescence of passion has this question about water created! It has kindled fires which all the water in the ocean cannot quench. We had all our sympathies and predilections, as well as our interests and reputation, on the side of retaining it in Greek, and allowing it to be translated sprinkling, pouring, or dipping, as every one willed. But the Monitor from above, as well as that from within said. 'Not so:' and we obeyed. But while obedience is always [534] pleasant to the soul, it is often painful to the flesh; and we have been tortured, as in the Inquisition, for our presumption. If we were to be covered in parchment, scrolled over in the finest hand, the mantle would not contain the opprobrious epithets, hard speeches, and slanderous imputations which have been uttered against us for this our daring contempt of the authority of the Long Parliament, and the Court of St. James I.

      One of those delicious morsels, spiced and seasoned by one of our warm-hearted friends, yet stands upon record. Jennings' Debate, p. 144:--"Mr. C. pleads the authority of two of his Presbyterian Doctors in justification of this alteration [immersion for baptism] from the old version." Drs. Campbell and Macknight have not only occasionally translated baptismos and baptisma by the word immersion, but have contended in their notes that such is their meaning.

      "What judgment will the reader form, not merely of the candor, but of the veracity of Mr. Campbell, when he is informed, that after a careful examination of every passage in the epistles, (the books of the New Testament translated by Doctor Macknight,) there is not found one instance of a translation of either of the Greek words contained in the foregoing quotation, by the word immersion, nor one instance in which the Greek verb BAPTIZO, or any of its variations, is translated by the word immerse.

      "The only ground which the Bishop seems to have had for the above assertion, so far as it relates to the translation by Doctor Macknight, of the words BAPTISMOS and BAPTISMA, by the word immersion, is his commentary upon 1 Cor. 15:29. Both the translation and the commentary are here given, that the reader may see upon what slender grounds Mr. Campbell can make a round assertion, when it suits his purpose. The translation reads thus: "Otherwise what shall they do who are baptized (UPER TON NEKRON, supply ANASTASEOS,) for the resurrection of the dead, if the dead rise not at all? and why are they baptized (UPER TON NEKRON,) for the resurrection of the dead?" The commentary upon this verse is as follows:--"I told you, verse 22, That by Christ all shall be made alive: and ver. 25,26, That he must reign till death, the last enemy, is destroyed by the resurrection, otherwise what shall they do to repair their loss, who are immersed in sufferings for testifying the resurrection of the dead, if the dead rise not at all? And what inducement can they have to suffer death for believing the resurrection of the dead?" Further remarks upon this part of the Bishop's assertion, or plea in justification of his conduct, are deemed unnecessary. A discerning public can not but see that here is a clear developement of a part of that system of deception which he has, by means of his new version, practised upon the public."

      Veracity! aye, veracity! What a beautiful word!--The want of it, what a frailty! But the contrary, what a vice in any man, and most of all in him who handles the word of God, who is truth, light, and love! With how much apparent pleasure do some spirits attempt to filch away the character, moral and religious, from those whose sentiments differ from their own. If so good a mart as Mr. Jennings could so [535] delight in such foul imputations, alas for those who by him were taught Christian good manners!

      But what is the matter? We said in note 4th, new version, that Doctors Campbell and Macknight have occasionally translated baptismos, &c., immersion. Mr. Jennings says this is not veracious not true as respects Dr. Macknight. But yet he, discovering his error, or, perhaps, cooling down a little, finds, before he gets to the end of the paragraph, one place where Doctor Macknight, when he comes to explain, in his commentary, the word BAPTIZO, renders it immersion and in fact, quotes from Dr. Macknight, the phrase, the identical phrase, which might have put him to the blush--"What shall they do who are immersed in sufferings, for testifying the resurrection of the dead." Now Mr. Jennings, foreseeing the tendency which this quotation would have to expose his imputation of the want of veracity, prefaces it with the words "slender ground." Now if a person have slender ground for an assertion, he has ground; and unless an assertion be groundless, it is not false. Well, we will give him credit for this contrition, for this repentance, slight as it is. But, gentle reader, the careful perusal which our author says he gave Macknight, and from which he would have you judge of our veracity, is, indeed, but slender ground for your faith in his assertions. "The only ground," he says, "which the Bishop (with him a term of contempt,) seems to have had for the above assertion, so far as it relates to the translation, of the words BAPTISMOS and BAPTISMA, by Dr. Macknight, is his commentary upon 1st Corinthians, xv. 29" To say nothing of the extracts given in note 4th, new version, I will give a new quotation, which shows what sort of careful examination of every passage in the epistles, this gentleman bestowed, on which he imputes so great a fault to me. Will the reader take Macknight's translation, vol. 5, page 181, (Boston edition, in six volumes octavo,) and read Hebrews ix, 10, both translation and comment. I will print it, literatim et punctuatim, as it stands in the copy before me--

      "Only with meats, and drinks, and diverse (zarlismoiV) immersions1 and ordinances concerning the flesh, imposed until the time of the reformation." And in his comment, which is always a paraphrase or more liberal translation, he thus speaks, "Which nothing but meats, and drinks, and diverse immersions and ordinances respecting the purifying of the body, impose." &c.

      Now, courteous reader, this is the gentleman who impugns my veracity, and who positively affirms that "there is not to be found one instance of a translation of either of the Greek words contained in the foregoing quotation, by the word immersion--nor one instance in which the Greek verb BAPTO, or any of its variations, is translated by the word immerse."!! Comment is wholly unnecessary.

      But in the first, second, and now in the third edition of the new version, the following note is found, taken from Dr. Macknight's explanation of the word baptism, as the antitype of the water which [536] saved Noah and drowned the world. We thought it better, in the first edition, as we could only give a few extracts, to give those which most fully signify the views of the translators. In tracing the type and the antitype the greatest accuracy is necessary, and here we find Doctor Macknight giving his view of BAPTISMOS in the most full and unequivocal style. As all who read this have not access to the note, we shall extract a part of it--

      "Adam is called the type of Christ, who, on that, account, is called the second Adam. Thus also the water of baptism is here called the antitype to the water of the flood, because the flood was a type or an emblem of baptism in the three following particulars:--First, As by building the ark and entering into it, Noah showed a strong faith in the promise of God, concerning his preservation by the very water which was to destroy the antediluvians for their sins; so, by giving ourselves to be buried in the water of baptism, we show a like faith in God's promise; that, though we die and are buried, he will save us from death, the punishment of sin, by raising us from the dead at the last day. Secondly, As the preserving of Noah alive, during the nine months he was in the flood, is an emblem of the preservation of the souls of believers, while in the state of the dead; so the preservation of believers alive, while buried in the water of baptism, is a prefiguration of the same event. Thirdly, As the water of the deluge destroyed the wicked antediluvians, but preserved Noah, by bearing up the ark in which he was shut up, till the waters were assuaged, and he went out of it to live again on the earth; so baptism may be said to destroy the wicked, and to save the righteous, as it prefigures both these events: the death of the sinner it prefigures by the burying of the baptized person in the water; and the salvation of the righteous, by raising the baptized person out of the water to live a new life. These things considered, may not our Lord's words to Nicodemus, Except a man be born again of water, be an allusion to the history of the deluge, and a confirmation of its typical meaning. For Noah's coming forth from the water to live again on the earth, after having been full nine months in the water, might fitly be called his being born of water. Consequently, as baptism is the antitype, or thing signified by the deluge, a person's coming out of the water of baptism, may have been called, by our Lord, his being born of water."

      Mr. Jennings, as a matter of course, took no notice of this. With these documents before him, the reader will judge what sort of spirits they are with whom we have to wrestle, in rescuing the people from the deceptions which are, through a false zeal, attempted to be practised upon them. If so good a man as Mr. Jennings did act thus in the plainest matters of fact, what opinion must we form of those who, because of their Presbyterian blood and lineage, are induced to defend the sect and the system, as his nephew of Pittsburg lately boasted?

      But we will not, on this subject, further defend ourselves from such wanton and imbecile attacks. The reader, if to be convinced at all, must perceive the grossness of slander, and the recklessness of truth, by which sectarianism defends itself, and assails those who oppose its Proselyting career.
EDITOR. [537]      

Remarks on Rev. Dr. Cleland on Campbellism.
No. 2.

      THE same 6th number yet lies before me; and here it must lie till its merits are fairly and fully tested. The Doctor attempts to meet us on the Scriptures, and in this number takes up some of the passages on which we rely. We have, in our previous number, examined some of his interpretations; and as this is now before our readers, we shall proceed.

      We shall again introduce the Doctor, and let him speak for himself. On the term regeneration his views are as follows:--

      "The term "regeneration" is used by the inspired and ecclesiastical writers, to express any great change, whether mental' or corporal, physical or supernatural, where any resemblance is discovered between that change and a birth: and as baptism is a sign of entering out of the world into the church, and out of a sinful into a holy state, it became customary to express that great change by regeneration, born again, &c. It is plain then, that to be "born of water" is to be baptized, by which we quit a former mode of existence and enter upon a new one, i. e. into a new state of relative existence, or enjoyment of external privileges, and consequently of corresponding obligations: whereas to be "born of the Spirit" is an effect of some operation of the Spirit of God in the mind distinct from and superior to the baptismal rite. In a word, by being "born of water" we become externally and visibly related to the Christian dispensation, we "enter" into the visible church, or kingdom of God. So that as without the external rite of baptism, the outward and visible sign of regeneration, no one can "enter" the visible kingdom of the Messiah; so, also, without the thing signified, even regeneration by the Holy Spirit, no man can become a true subject of his kingdom, or be admitted into it; as belonging "to the church of the first born, whose names are written in heaven."

      The discriminating reader will, no doubt, perceive that Dr. Cleland and we are agreed in several important matters:--

      1. That the term (oh! that the reader would remark and remember the TERM) regeneration is used by inspired and ecclesiastical writers to express ANY great change; and as baptism is a sign of entering into the church, and into a holy state, it became customary to express that great change by regeneration, born again, &c. It is plain, then, that to be born of water is to be baptized. Now this is so far our controversy with Dr. Jennings. We have Dr. Cleland with us against his Presbyterian brother Dr. Jennings.

      Cleland says that "the phrases to be born again and to be regenerated are equivalent;" and that "it is plain that to be born again is to be baptized;" hence regeneration and immersion are two TERMS representing the same thing. We are much gratified to see a Doctor so learned and pious as Dr. Cleland, give his testimony in favor of the true meaning of the term, however he may talk about his theory. To settle the meaning of Bible terms is more than half our business in this generation. If any Presbyterian should ever happen to read this page, I would ask him one question, viz.--Whether two Doctors of the same church, moved and enlightened by the same spirit, taught and accomplished in the same school, can both be credible authority in a question of criticism, when they expressly contradict each other on the import of a word of cardinal import, and in the application of the [538] whole passage in which that word occurs? Dr. Jennings not only says, but undertakes to prove, p. 225, that there is no allusion to baptism in the phrase "being born of water," or in the phrase "washing of regeneration." And Dr. Cleland says, "It is plain, then, that to be born of water, is to be baptized!"

      To return to the extract:--The reader will also observe that Dr. Cleland agrees with us in two other important items:--

      2. That without baptism no one can enter the visible kingdom of the Messiah.

      3. That by baptism "we quit a former mode of existence, and enter upon a new one." The unbaptized or unregenerate are, then, out of the visible kingdom of the Messiah, and have not entered upon this new mode of existence.

      I will not pause to debate with the Doctor the principles on which he justifies himself in living out of the visible kingdom of the Messiah, and in not entering upon this new mode of existence, as he yet refuses to be baptized. He has never, on his own showing, come into the visible kingdom of the Messiah; for he never came to be baptized. And certainly if his father had carried him, while an infant, into a Turkish Mosque, and had circumcised him according to the Mahometan custom, he would not, on that account alone, claim the privilege of being a Mahometan, nor think it reasonable that he should be condemned to such a profession, because his father had him circumcised. But I will not now debate this question, but proceed to the subject before us.

      The Doctor very discreetly says, "There must be a resemblance between a change and a birth, before we can denominate that change a being born." Now it devolves upon him to show what resemblance there is between any operation upon the mind of an adult, or upon the face of an infant, and a birth; before he can call the throwing of two drops upon the face a being born of water, or any operation upon the mind a being born of the Spirit. But on these difficulties I will not now press him too hard.

      Baptism brings a man, he says, into the visible kingdom. Is there any spiritual blessing in belonging to the visible kingdom? If there be, what is it? If there be not, why baptize any person? It is easier for me to ask these questions than for the Doctor to answer them. I confess it. But his views make them necessary and pertinent. The Doctor felt these difficulties; and therefore he says--

      "Without the rite of baptism, or the external administration of baptismal water, we are not initiated--do not visibly and legally "enter" the kingdom of God here below; yet the absence of this rite will not, of itself, preclude the man who is "born of the Spirit," from the kingdom of God above."

      He does not help the matter much here; for he says, "The absence of this rite" is no detriment in the way of admission into the heavenly kingdom. Of course, then, all the blessings of his baptism are worth nothing to the baptized; and unless they are some interest to the baptizer, they are good for nothing. What a cypher Dr. Cleland's baptism! It has nothing to do with salvation, neither here nor hereafter. It secures no spiritual blessing in this life; has no connexion [539] with the remission of sins here; and the absence of it will not preclude admission into heaven. It is necessary to legal admission into the church below; but in this visible church there is neither pardon of sin, nor adoption into the family of God, necessarily connected with it. Certainly his definitions and comments have respect to the sprinkling of infants, and not to the immersion of one begotten by the Spirit!

      On Titus iii. 5. he says--

      "According to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost." By a careful examination of every passage in the New Testament, in which the term regeneration is used, or words of similar import, it will be found that this text and John iii. 5. are the only ones in which there can be supposed any direct allusion to baptism. And after a candid examination, had we nothing else to guide us but the abstract view of these texts, they might well be deemed ambiguous; but if so, we could not allow them to be at all decisive. There are other texts which are sufficiently plain and explicit on the subject; and therefore, according to all just rules of criticism, what is ambiguous ought ever to be interpreted by what is not ambiguous."

      Yes, Doctor; and you know as well as I, that the word regeneration occurs only in this passage, and in another, which we both agree has reference to another subject. Why, then, blindfold your reader by saying, "every other passage in which the term regeneration is used!" The ambiguity complained of in Titus iii. 5. is wholly of your own creation; and even when you have done your utmost, it is only ambiguous whether you have even made the term ambiguous in this instance. There is not another text in the book, less ambiguous, by which you can decide its meaning here. To say that the washing of regeneration and the renewal of the Holy Spirit are one and the same thing, is a mere begging of the question in dispute. This passage you admit may, after all, mean both baptism and the renewing of the Holy Spirit, and as you have to concede this, its evidence is directly against you in this discussion.

      On 1 Peter iii. 21. he says--

      "Another text adduced for the same purpose, is 1 Peter iii, 21: "The like figure, whereunto even baptism doth also now save us," &c. With this text right under his eye, Mr. Campbell makes the Apostle Peter speak what he never intended, and utter a meaning which his own words will not justify. He says, "Peter averred that immersion saved us, purifying the conscience through the resurrection of Jesus." Again, "Peter taught all the saints in Pontus, &c. that the water of baptism saved them, as the water of the deluge saved Noah in the Ark; and that in immersion a person was purged from all his former sins." Such a perversion as this--such a libel on an inspired Apostle, appears almost akin to the sin against the Holy Spirit. By such an invention as this, every hypocrite, from Judas and Simon Magus, down to the present day, are taught "that in immersion they are purged from all their former sins."--

      Now, candid reader, mark the apparent wrath and the glaring slander couched in these terms, "Almost akin to the sin against the Holy Spirit!" What an ebullition of wrath! But observe the slander: We say, "Peter taught every saint in Pontus," &c. and "by such an invention as this," says Dr. Cleland, "we teach that every hypocrite, from Judas and Simon Magus down to the present day, are [is] taught that in immersion their former sins are purged." Is not this slander of the first degree--to say, that because we teach that the sincere believers have remission of their former sins in immersion, therefore we [540] teach that all hypocrites, like Judas, &c. are purged from their sins in immersion? In this way, and in this way only, Dr. Cleland can dispose of our argument from 1 Peter iii. 21.

      I will now treat the reader to Dr. Cleland's gloss on this passage:--

      "Christ is the true Ark. Being convinced of sin and danger, and moved with fear, into this Ark do men enter by faith, and are saved. Upon a profession of their faith in the "resurrection of Jesus Christ," as he was delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification, they art admitted into the Christian church by baptism. This baptismal water forms, as it were, the sign of their safety; and is subsequent to their entrance into the spiritual Ark, as the waters of the deluge were subsequent to Noah's entrance into the temporal Ark. And as the water could not save him without the ark, nor bring him into it; so neither does the mere outward administration of baptism save any one without a saving interest in Christ, nor can it possibly avail to effect a spiritual union to him, nor procure a saving interest in him."

      The pith of this gloss is in one sentence exposed. "He says, water could not save him without the ark." And who says it could? But, take notice, reader, the ark could not have saved him without the water! So reads the gloss.

      Baptismal water is the sign of the safety of infants. Illustrious sign, without any thing signified! A sophism, to which Paidobaptists are prone, is conspicuously set before us here. The allusion is not to "baptismal water;" but to immersion in water. "The like figure, baptism," (and not "baptismal water,") "now saves us," says Peter. But Dr. Cleland says, "baptismal water!" This attempt to correct the diction of the Spirit is not almost any sin in Dr. Cleland!

      A treatise on signs would be of some use to such Doctors as my friend Cleland. The Confession and Catechism say, "Baptism is a sign of engrafting into Christ, and of the remission of sins;" but where is the thing signified in the case of infants? Does it signify that they were before baptism, at baptism, or after baptism, engrafted into Christ and washed from their sins? Dr. Cleland will have to write six essays on the solution of the question, Whether at, before, or after the sign, the thing signed is to be expected.

      By the potency of signs, without meaning or any thing signified, he despatches Acts xxii. 16. "Be baptized and wash away thy sins, Paul;" "Be baptized, Paul, as a sign or token that your sins are washed away"!! There are probably but three sorts of signs as respects time: These are commemorative, prophetic, and concomitant signs. The first are memorials, and may be often repeated; such as the passover and the Lord's supper. Concomitant signs cannot be repeated, but must accompany the thing signified. Prophetic signs may be often repeated, and exist long before the thing signified, as the various sacrifices of the Jewish and Patriarchal Institutions. A sign may be also a seal viewed in two aspects. It may be a seal of the past, and a concomitant sign, as was circumcision to Abraham, a seal of what he before possessed, and a sign of his actual separation to God. This is to us the plain doctrine of signs; and if we make baptism a sign only, it can be neither commemorative nor prophetic, but must be concomitant. If, then, Paul's baptism was only a sign the [541] thing signified was the actual and personal remission of his sins; of which his immersion was a concomitant sign. It was neither commemorative of a previous remission, nor prophetic of a future remission.

      Mr. Cleland mistakes, or grossly misrepresents our views. I, will, for his benefit, state them once more to him, with all brevity, and, I hope, with all perspicuity. We regard the blood of Jesus Christ, as the procuring cause of the remission of sins; faith in God's testimony as the principle of our enjoyment of remission; and immersion as the means divinely appointed for our actual enjoyment of this first and greatest of present blessings. Immersion, nor faith, procures remission. The blood of Jesus, through the favor of God, procures; faith apprehends; and baptism takes hold of the boon of Heaven, or is the means of our enjoyment. "What God has joined, let no man separate." "He that believes, and is baptized, shall be saved."

Mr. Brantly's Gospel of Total Inability.


      IN looking over the Christian Index, vol. 7, No. 14, pages 109 and 110, my attention was arrested by an anonymous essay, written on "Ability and Inability," by W. T. Brantly, I suppose; in which he calls in question the ability of the unregenerate to perform those things which God requires of them.

      After some preamble, the writer says: "If it be maintained and proved, that unrenewed men have power to believe and repent, and to do all those works necessary to salvation; then it must follow, that such have no reason to be uneasy about their salvation." This writer concludes that the sinner, by feeling himself in conscious possession of those capacities and resources, which are necessary to enable him to turn to God, will therefore remain perfectly at ease until it may suit his convenience to embrace the religion of Jesus Christ. Again, "To tell men that they have the power to be religious, is by no means an incentive to present action; but rather a motive to inaction and supineness; for surely they will reply, If we have the power, we will use that power at our own discretion."

      Now, if I conceived or felt that conversion to God is at all necessary to happiness, either in the present or future life; and at the same time believed that a turning to God and embracing this inestimable treasure, is a matter of volition, and completely within the compass of my power; and also viewed an approaching period when this attainment will be impracticable, and the remoteness or contiguity of that is to me unknown; I am decidedly of opinion that, under such circumstances, I would have inducement to lead me to embrace christianity forthwith, lest I should lose the opportunity; and this incentive would be far more operative than any which could possibly arise from the idea of total inability to do any thing, until some [542] uncontrollable agent shall work something as an essential prerequisite to my conversion to God.

      The doctrine of inability is, with me, highly objectionable on two accounts particularly. First, it reflects too ungenerously upon the character of God, and obscures his wisdom, philanthropy, and benevolence. And, secondly, it has a signal tendency to impede the conversion and salvation of sinners. It is, most assuredly, very absurd to suppose that infinite Wisdom and Power, in his procedure towards mankind, ever did give a precept; to his creatures, requiring them to perform that of which they were totally incapable, and annex to that precept inexorable punishment to be inflicted upon the transgressor. Mr. Brantly, however, conceives incapability more fruitful of incentive; but surely every suggestion of sound logic, and all the dictates of common sense, say the reverse is true.

      By the contrast of things we ascertain their reality, and this presents a kind of demonstration of quality., In order that this matter be presented with greater evidence, I will now propose two cases:--First, suppose a young man, just entering on the business of life, were told by his instructer that there is a station in life truly desirable; but, says the instructer, it is an unhappy fact that you cannot attain to it by any exertion of yours: you cannot arrive at that station but by the vicissitudes of fortune, which may possibly operate favorable to your introduction to that desirable state. Now I ask, What would be naturally this young man's conclusion? Would it not be something like this: I can do nothing, therefore I may as well remain at ease, and quietly submit my happiness to the auspices of fortune; for the course of events will move on irrespective of any thing acted on my part?

      Another is also told, that there is a highly respectable and excellent station in life, to which he would do well to aspire,--a state every way desirable. And, says his instructer, this state you may attain by pursuing a certain routine of conduct; all of which he particularly points out to him; and tells him further, that means are placed in his power, by the use of which he will surely attain the desirable object. He adds, Now is the time to begin; for if you neglect it, you may be deprived of the opportunity--it will be placed beyond your reach. Will not this young man, deeply enamored with the prospect, set out for the prize?

      If Mr. Brantly's apprehension of incentives and motives be correct, then there are great inducements for men in this Republic to aspire to the elevation of King, because it is utterly impracticable to attain it. I cannot raise the dead, nor hasten the wheels of time; I therefore have strong motives or inducements to try. For surely these things are not more impracticable to me than Mr. Brantly would have conversion for the sinner. It is unnecessary to spend much time in refuting a position so palpably absurd as Mr. Brantly's doctrine of Ability and Inability. For as well may we expect that fortune will make us rich without industry and frugality, as that God will make us good and happy, unless we keep his commandments. Though once a strenuous advocate and proclaimer of this doctrine, I could [543] never reconcile, to my satisfaction, the doctrine of responsibility; and this irreconcileable inconsistency contributed greatly to influence my relinquishment of this theory.

      The Index says, "The unregenerate, without exception, regard as evil the requirements of Christ and his religion; and if they ever think of submission to Christ, it is only the adoption of one evil to avoid a greater one." I here beg leave to correct our heart-searching Doctor; for however true this assertion may be of many, it is quite extravagant to say, "without exception." I find in myself at least one exception. I never considered the religion of Jesus an evil. At 10 years of age I desired religion, and even tried to obtain it; but being ignorant of the right way, I found it not. I sincerely desired it, not as one evil to avoid another; but as truly desirable in itself--an attainment admirably calculated to adorn and happify in time and in eternity. If I had then been taught the pure, simple, apostolic gospel, instead of human opinions and mysticisms, I might have embraced the truth of salvation at that early period of life; and thus 9 or 10 years spent in wickedness would have been spent in the service of God. Since the fogs of mysticism have been dissipated from before my eyes, I can apprehend the gospel in its true character. It is an intelligible address to mankind in their helpless, sinful, degraded condition; offering to them salvation in a tangible manner. It addresses them as being capable of hearing, understanding, believing and doing all that is required; capable of receiving it, and, with it, all the blessings which it promises. The whole reason why men and women are not converted, is because they will not. Hence the business of the preacher, as far as relates to the unconverted, is, to persuade them to he willing to accept of salvation; and not that they are incapable of obeying the gospel.

      The next thing which seems worthy of notice, is, the Doctor's inquiry:--"After all, what is the amount of the strength and ability which the sinner can put forth towards his salvation?" "The reply," says he, "is obvious--he is able to feel uneasy; his power lies in the simple ability to know himself powerless and wretched." Is it not somewhat astonishing that a powerless being has the power, to know himself powerless and wretched; but, alas! no power to escape his wretchedness! He has power, too, to become disquieted, restless, and uneasy; yes, even to approach the verge of despair; but no power to flee the yawning gulph. Our writer undertakes to illustrate the sinner's case by a mariner, tossed upon the tempestuous ocean until his vessel is thrown into the danger of a whirlpool; "who is in need of a fair wind to save him from the all-absorbing vortex, within the circling whirl of which he has already come." This unfortunate mariner is thrown to the verge of the whirling vortex; he clearly sees that recovery is beyond the compass of his power; he despairs of escape, without some supernatural interposition, and that the aid which he needs is beyond his control. He is therefore, by unavoidable necessity, brought to submit to the threatening disaster. But we will change the position, and see how matters operate then. This mariner, [544] though thrown into this awful dilemma, is placed in hopeful circumstances; i. e. he conceives that by assiduous exertion he may escape the devouring whirl. He is therefore encouraged to exert every faculty--he has every inducement to activity.

      I come now to notice those remarks on 2 Cor. iv. 3. Be it observed that the Apostle does not say positively that the gospel is hid or veiled; "but if, therefore, it be veiled, it is veiled or hid by those perishing things with which the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers," &c. Thus we see that this text does not prove moral inability; it is, therefore, irrelevant to Mr. Brantly's purpose. Perish does not allude to persons, but to things; to such things as might veil the gospel. I concur with Mr. Brantly that Jesus came to seek and save the lost. And he accomplished his mission, and then reascended to his glory.

      Mr. Brantly asks, How is the salvation of any sinner ever secured? As this question stands in the present tense, I suppose the object is to ascertain the process by which the sinner may now obtain salvation. If this were asked by an infidel, I would answer thus: Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved; but if by a believing penitent then I would answer: Reform and obey the gospel, or be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. But should this be objected to on account of impurity on the part of the inquirer, then I would introduce Peter again, saying: "Ye have purified your souls by obeying the truth."

      Mr. Brantly urges very strenuously the importance of planting in the sinner's mind a knowledge of his dependent state; his perishing and wretched condition; and his self-insufficiency. Whence the necessity, and what the utility of such conviction or knowledge in the absence of power to escape? "This method of preaching has been always found successful," says our writer. But according to Mr. Brantly's thesis, it seems to me that there cannot be any importance in any preaching; for nothing can accelerate nor impede the march of our conversion.

      Now suppose a man fallen into a pit, from which he could not by exertion extricate himself, and he convinced of his helpless condition The pit is so deep that he cannot leap from its bottom; the walls are too steep for him to climb; he conceives no escape. Does it seem any way probable that he would attempt any exertion? I think not. But suppose there were some means of escape sent down to him by a benefactor, would he not speedily grasp it, and assiduously strive to come out, and bless his kind benefactor?

      Man was once by sin thrown into an awful and helpless condition; but Jesus came down to his relief; done for man what he could not do for himself; and placed before him the necessary means of salvation by the use of which he might have eternal life. He does not compel man to the use of them, but has submitted the matter to his volition. We do not, however, in the exercising of our volition, achieve our [545] salvation, but only accept or receive the salvation which Jesus has achieved for us.

      Shall I be told that I cannot believe, repent, and obey the gospel? I can and do believe the declarations of men, how much more the declarations of God who cannot lie? If I trespass upon the feelings of my friend or fellow-man, I am expected, upon conviction thereof, to repent; and that upon the hypothesis that I can do so. The person who supposes himself incapable of believing the testimony of God, must have very limited views of God's veracity. It is a strange idea this, that we can believe human testimony, but cannot believe divine testimony. We can repent of our trespasses against each other, and yet for our trespasses against God we cannot repent. We can reform our conduct towards men, but towards God we cannot reform. We can obey our civil rulers, but we cannot obey God. Such views are too absurd for any sober mind. They are wholly repugnant to sound logic, and contrary both to reason and revelation. They stand in opposition to the tenor of revelation, and are at war with the beneficent character of the divine procedure toward man, in the instituting of a system every way adapted to the condition and circumstances of fallen degraded man. The Christian Institution was made for man, and not man for the Christian Institution. It is evident, therefore, that God proceeded upon a plan every way compatible with the interest of man, and presented to him means of salvation, fully accommodated to his capacity and circumstances.

      I am decidedly of opinion, that, were it not for the obstructing tendency of the doctrines of total inability and spiritual operations, scores would speedily obey the gospel and be saved; who now, under the influence of this paralysing system, sit still and perish. 0 that the truth may go forth in its majesty, and wield its mighty sceptre to the utter demolishing of every error! to the pulling down of every fabric which our heavenly Father has not built up, and to the plucking up of every plant which he has not planted !
  Yours in the hope,
S. K. MILTON.      
      October 17th, 1832.


      ALL matters of superior importance, pertaining to this version, and some which are of less moment, only as affording principles and rules of interpretation, or a vindication of them, are to be found in the appendix to this edition. Every thing is not formally defended by arguments, and the laws of criticism; but enough, in our judgment, to assist the reader in examining and judging the whole work. Doctor Stuart gives us a new version of the epistle to the Romans, on twenty-seven octavo pages; but in vindicating and illustrating his version, and views of the epistle, he has given us about five hundred and fifty octavo pages. He has also given us a new version of the epistle to the Hebrews, in twenty-four pages, and added to it, for the same purpose, six hundred and fifty pages of the same dimensions. Had we been at the same pains in [546] justifying our amendments, according to the rule of proportion, our appendix would have contained exactly twelve thousand octavo pages. And who is prepared for such a tax? His works on the two epistles are sold for eight dollars. On this ratio the whole New Testament would cost eighty dollars, (for these two epistles are not more than a tenth part of the whole volume,) and would require ordinary readers some eight or ten years to read and digest.

      We have condensed much information in the form of alphabetical tables. Of these there are found, in the appendix to this edition, the following:--

      I.--A table containing the proper names which are found in the New Testament, etymologically explained, and accented for pronunciation, according to the most approved standards.

      II.--A Geographical Index.

      III.--A table exhibiting the different views of eminent writers on the chronology of the books of the New Institution.

      IV.--A Chronological Index, containing a variety of events, political and religious, connected with the Christian History, from the nativity of Jesus to the death of the Apostle John.

      V.--A table of time.

      VI.--A table of measures of length.

      VII.--A table of measures of capacity.

      VIII.--A table of the precious stones mentioned in the apostolic writings.

      IX.--A table of the Hebrew, Grecian, and Roman coins, mentioned in the New Testament.

      X.--A table of the sects, offices, and officers, mentioned in the New Testament.

      XI.--A miscellaneous table of such things as cannot be classified in the preceding tables.

      XII.--A table of the interpolations and spurious readings found in the common Greek Testament, according to Griesbach, and others.

      XIII.--A table of prophetic symbols.

      XIV.--A table of the principal Greek terms yet in controversy, showing their various occurrences, and acceptations in the common version, and others of reputation.

      The judicious reader will perceive that, in these vocabularies, arranged alphabetically, an amount of information can be communicated, which would require a volume of notes to give in detail. Of course, then, not much is left for particular notes, critical and explanatory. The principal notes which we annexed to the first and second editions are, however, continued, and some new ones added. These are wholly of a literary character, and every thing, of what is called theological or sectarian aspect, is cautiously avoided.

      We have to add, that, in making out the tables in this appendix, we have availed ourselves of the labors of our predecessors; correcting and enlarging, abridging and new modifying, where, in our judgment, it appeared necessary and expedient. Amongst those to whom we are [547] most indebted, the following are chief: Horne, Lardner, Adam Clarke, Michaelis, J. E. Worcester, Collins, Doctor More, Benson, H. Wilbur, Cruden, and Greenfield's Greek Concordance.

      In the department of notes, critical and explanatory, we have not, in any instance known to us, departed from the canons of criticism, and the laws of interpretation of the authors of the basis of this version:--viz. Doctors Campbell, Macknight, and Doddridge; nor from those recommended and enforced by Horne, Michaelis, Ernesti, Bishops Pierce and Benson, Locke, Stuart of Andover, Mill, Wetstein, and Griesbach. If, in any point, we have given a different result from some of them, we always wrought by their own canons of criticism. We have neither made nor adopted any by-laws, or rules of interpretation, unsanctioned and unapproved by the constitution of the commonwealth of letters.


      WHEN we analyze the human constitution, we discover, that it has been endowed, by its liberal and beneficent author, with various susceptibilities of happiness. It has been enriched with five distinct senses, each of which is susceptible of peculiar gratification; and moreover with a general or common sensibility, also capable of specific gratification. It has also eight appetites, or forms of desire, which are also susceptible of distinct gratification. They are the desire of food, of drink, of fresh air, of moderate temperature, of motion, of rest, of certain evacuations, and of exemption from disease and injury. Besides these sources of pleasure, which seem to belong chiefly to the body, and grow out of its operations, there are, appertaining to man, many emotions or modifications of desire, the creatures of thought, that crave, each its own gratification, and yield pleasure, when gratified. But beside these inferior sources of gratification implanted in the human frame, there is a principle in man, called mind, which is susceptible of a more intense, refined, and permanent felicity. This principle derives its happiness entirely from its own exercises, and its felicity, thus obtained, depends, both for its intensity, constancy, and duration, on the nature or qualities of the object or objects, about which it thinks or occupies itself.

      For the gratification of each of these susceptibilities of pleasure, God has made a suitable and appropriate provision. For the gratification of the eye, he has formed visible objects and light; and, to please the ear, he has appointed sounds of boundless variety. To gratify the organ of smell, odors innumerable have been prepared; and tastes not less diversified, to delight the palate. For the production of pleasant sensations in the organ of touch, substances capable of making an endless variety of impressions on it, have been created and spread around it. And for the gratification of those animal cravings, called appetites, what diversity of food, and of drink; what a mass of suitable vivifying air; what different grades of temperature; what different modifications of motion; what diversified postures of rest; what means of relief [548] from the distressing retention in the body of substances either superfluous or noxious; and what lengthy periods of exemption from disease and injury, have the boundless goodness and power of a wise and kind Creator provided and offered? Nor has his liberality been less abundant in providing for the gratification of those desires and feelings which originate from mental conception, or thought; usually styled emotions, affections, or passions. For each of them, and even for every grade of them, a suitable and adequate object of gratification has been devised and furnished. But copious as the provision, which God has made for gratifying these inferior principles of our nature, has been; the objects which he has provided and offered for the gratification of man's superior power, are immensely more numerous. Whatever exists in reality, or even in fancy, offers to contribute its part. But the contributions offered differ vastly, both in intensity and duration. Objects afford pleasure to the mind which contemplates them, or occupies itself in thinking about them, in proportion to the utility, beauty, grandeur, duration, and intellectuality which they exhibit. If objects be useless, hurtful, or of uncertain or short duration, no matter what their other qualities may be, they afford, to the contemplator, but little gratification. Hence it is that the objects with which we are conversant in this world please so little. Between the inutility and short duration of many of them, and while they last the uncertainty of their retaining their fitness or disposition to yield gratification, their power to confer happiness is greatly impaired. Hence the necessity, if permanent felicity is to be secured to a rational and moral creature like the human mind, that an object or objects of the greatest possible utility, beauty, grandeur, duration, and intellectuality be exhibited to it, as the constant objects of its contemplation or thought. With what strict truth and propriety, then, does Christ pronounce the knowledge of the true God, and of him whom he has sent into our world a messenger to man, to be the only certain source of eternal life and happiness to man: for the objects of this knowledge alone possess the properties, which can give to a rational being, confident of its own immortality, fearless and supreme delight?

      Does any question the truth of Christ's assertion? Let him put it to the test. Let him despatch his swift messenger, send out quick as thought his excursive fancy, and let that fancy wing' its rapid flight over hill and dale, over mountain and valley, over tea and land, through earth and air, and select the object or objects, God alone excepted, to which he dare confide the endless felicity of his immortal soul. Alas! vain would be the excursion, abortive the senseless attempt. Why then do intelligent beings, endowed with the noble gifts of reason and reflection, stupidly and obstinately pervert and abuse their rational nature? Why do they perversely persist in vain attempts to extort from creatures a happiness which is not theirs to give? Does not every creature resent the insulting demand? Do not all, with one voice, exclaim, 'Insult us not; ascribe not to our impotence a power which God alone commands. What you solicit is not ours to give. It is from friendly uninterrupted intercourse with your [549] Creator, not with us, that your happiness must come. It is his character, not ours, that must delight your souls. It is on his inexhaustible resources, and not our scanty acquisitions, that you must depend.' In short, nothing but the attributes of God, exhibited to the human mind, can give it that enjoyment which it incessantly and urgently craves. Why such an awful degree of mental restlessness every where displayed among the wretched inhabitants of our world? Can any reason be assigned for it, but the absence of God's perfections from their thoughts? Introduce these perfections, let them occupy the creature's thoughts, and all is quietude, peace, and rest. The mind has got just what suits it, and what it wanted.

      How precious, then, is that volume, which clearly exhibits to our contemplation these divine attributes, and puts it in our power, at all times and in every condition, to sit down and enjoy this intellectual feast. Little do they know what peace, what enviable repose, what transcendant gratification they deny to their restless, distracted, miserable minds, who refuse them the ineffable delight which the know ledge and habitual contemplation of the divine character are capable of imparting to them.

      It is further manifest, that there exists no remedy for any portion of the mental misery, for much of the physical wretchedness, and for all of the moral depravity, that have long disgraced and tormented the human family, and still continue to disgrace and torment it, but the knowledge of God, and the habitual employment of their thoughts on his nature and character. There can be no doubt, that the superior enjoyment derived from this occupation of their thoughts, if once tasted, would effectually eradicate from their souls all those desires, all those cravings, all those incessant pantings for the inferior gratification which men derive from employing their thoughts, desires, and corporal exertions about temporal things, and leave their minds at liberty to pursue their supreme felicity, without interruption or molestation.

      It is also evident, that this enviable, this all important knowledge, can be acquired only by diligent, nay, incessant recourse to God's original information, to the divine message, just as it came from heaven, and stands recorded in sacred writ; and not to the endless and variant modifications, transformations, and misrepresentations of it, diffused through the world by self-conceited, self-authorized mortals; in their dogmas, creeds, confessions, formulas, commentaries, expositions, sermons, lectures, discourses, orations, arguments, tracts, &c. &c., by which they have left scarcely a vestige of God's original, plain, simple communication, in its original, intelligible state. Let no man dream, that recourse to these human figments is to transform his soul, into the intellectual and moral image of its maker, or pour into it that exquisite delight, which the unadulterated, unmixed milk of the divine word is intended and fitted to impart. God has, by means of his own information contained in his own word, interposed, between himself and the human mind, the thinnest veil, the most transparent medium that could be devised; but men have, by their daring interference with it, and clumsy operations on it, destroyed its heavenly texture, and [550] totally ruined its original transparency. Subjected to their pernicious operations, it no longer reflects, to the human mind, those heavenly objects whose likeness it was intended to exhibit distinctly, clearly, and correctly; but, in their stead, exhibits the dreams, reveries, fancies, and phantasms of doating religious demagogues, in endless succession.

      THE following communication we submit to the curious, as a new subject is submitted to the student of the anatomy of the human constitution. Any thing so strongly marked with the attributes of good sense, reason, and philosophy, will give an impulse to the mind, and may probably be the occasion of some useful reflections.--Ed.

To Archippus.

      IN the judgment of Philalethes you have, in a few words, and with great accuracy, stated, at least, the principal sources of all that tremendous mass of error, nonsense, superstition, and falsehood, which have long deluged, and still continue to deluge the nominally christian part of this world. Hideous and pernicious as this mass is, it has, no doubt, been produced chiefly by unscriptural views, and a false philosophy of the human mind. But whether by the phrase unscriptural views, Archippus and Philalethes mean precisely the same thing, is, perhaps, doubtful. Philalethes considers all views, all conceptions as unscriptural, which are not expressly announced in the explicit declarations of the divine message. When men cease to regard God's explicit declarations as the boundary of their religious knowledge, and venture to add to these declarations cobwebs spun out of their own brains, among which Philalethes ranks all facts not explicitly asserted in sacred writ, all inferences which have no better foundation than human sagacity, all conjectures, conceits, and constructions fabricated by the human fancy; Philalethes regards all this additional work as unscriptural, that is, as not contained in, nor sustained by scripture. But to render his meaning still more certain, and the line of discrimination, which he has drawn, still more clear, he will advert to some facts, recorded in the first pages of Genesis, respecting Adam's creation and other occurrences, which he regards, as among the explicit declarations of God on these topics, and as containing all the certain information which God has thought fit to communicate to us respecting them.

      In the 27th verse of the first chapter, the divine spirit informs us expressly, that God created man in his own image or likeness, or, in other words, that God was the original or pattern in imitation of which man was formed. But as to the degree of resemblance which existed between the original and the copy, or in what properties the resemblance consisted, the spirit has given us no information. All, therefore, which men have advanced respecting the degree and nature of this resemblance is mere fiction, entirely devoid of certainty, and unworthy of belief. Nay, it is even worse, it is an impious allegation [551] that God has not given us satisfactory information on this subject, and a presumptuous declaration, that we will have more, whether he would or not. It is true, that in other parts of sacred writ, we are informed that God is an intelligent and immortal being, and from experience, we discover that man is an intelligent, and from scripture, that he is an immortal creature. That there was, then, a resemblance between man and his maker, with respect to intelligence and immortality, established in the act of creation, we cannot doubt; though not formally asserted by the divine spirit, in his account of man's creation. There is another point in which man bore some resemblance to his maker; but it was generated not by the act of creation, nor constituted any part of God's image impressed on the nature of man at his creation; but by an act subsequently performed: I mean the resemblance between God's universal sovereignty, and man's limited dominion ever the terrestrial animals. The above certainly contains all the divine information, which God has communicated to us, respecting the resemblance to himself which he impressed on his creature man, when he created him. All beside is mere human reverie, with which no Christian ought to suffer the purity of his faith to be polluted.

      In verses 19th and 20th, second chapter, the spirit of truth tells us, that the great absolute Sovereign, soon after Adam was created, commanded all the animal tribes resident on the earth or in the air, to appear before their newly constituted sovereign to receive names, and that Adam performed the work proposed to him with ease. This is evidently all the information, which the divine spirit has judged it proper to communicate respecting this occurrence. But men, not satisfied with God's scanty allowance, have added to it dreams, fancies, reveries, conjectures and fictions of their own, in marvellous quantity. They tell us, that in order to enable Adam to perform this most simple operation, which thousands of his posterity perform with the utmost facility every day, it was necessary not only to make him an intelligent being capable of exercising his rational nature, and of acquiring information in the ordinary way, and through the ordinary means, and of performing his mental operations as other intelligent beings do; but to endow his mind with innate, or rather connate information, that is, to make him not a human being, but a being of an order of whose existence we have never heard. For my part, to enable Adam to perform this feat, which many seem to regard as a superhuman achievement, I can conceive nothing necessary but such a measure of intellect as has been bestowed on millions of his posterity, who are never at a loss to invent a suitable name for any unnamed object that may be presented to them. That God bestowed at his creation on Adam's mind a capacity to perform all the operations which the human mind is now able to perform, we cannot doubt; but that he endued it with any peculiar sort or degree of intellection is a fiction nowhere asserted in scripture, and utterly incredible. God, when he created Adam, gave him the necessary capacity and left him to make his acquisitions, as he has left all his posterity, by attention to offered information, and observation of objects presented to his notice. [552]

      But men have not been contented with ascribing to Adam's mind, when just created, intellectual properties, which neither it, nor any other created mind, so far as we know, ever possessed; but they have ascribed to it, what is physically impossible, moral qualities, such as knowledge, righteousness, holiness, &c.; that is, anteriorly to action, they ascribe to it what can be acquired only by action. Who ever acquired knowledge without mental action? Who ever became righteous, but by acting conformably to a prescribed rule? And who or what ever became holy, but by being separated to some particular object or purpose? How different are these epithets, from that which God applies to Adam's mind among the other creatures, which he had, formed? God, when he viewed it among his other works, pronounced it good, fit to perform all the functions for whose performance it was made; but says nothing of its knowledge, righteousness, or holiness: for these were qualities not yet possessed by it; nay, properties of which it was absolutely incapable, before it had performed the actions necessary to their acquisition. Neither knowledge, righteousness, nor holiness is natural or inherent, but are acquired or contingent properties of the human mind. Adam's mind, therefore, when it was created, had to acquire these contingent qualities, as all other minds have.

      Over the innumerable fictions and fancies, which men have added to the brief and simple account, which the spirit gives respecting the vegetable kingdom, Gen. ii. 5, 6., I pass in silence; and proceed to notice the proof which many produce in support of their ascription to Adam's mind, not only of uncommon, but miraculous endowment, The proof consists in this, that when Eve was first presented to his sight, he perceived that she bore no resemblance to any female among the inferior animals, but exhibited the very image, or rather duplicate of himself; or, in other words, distinguished a human being from a brute.

      We have now to notice the most marvellous scene of dreaming, fiction, and fable, to which the spirit's simple account of Eve's deception disobedience, and its consequences, has given occasion.

      1. With respect to the animal which apparently deceived Eve, the divine spirit has told us, that it was the most sagacious, acute, or cunning of all the inferior animals; and that it possessed the faculty Of speech is also certain, for it exercised it on that occasion: but men, not contented with this limited portion of divine information, have spun endless cobwebs about it out of their own heads, and wearied themselves in abortive attempts to ascertain, what God had determined they should never ascertain, the sort or species of animals to which it belonged, and the artifices which it practised on that occasion. Such attempts, however, are not only vain and contemptible, but they are impious. Had God thought more extensive information concerning this animal and its actions, necessary or useful to man, he would, no doubt, have imparted it: his withholding it, then, is a proof that he thought differently. [553]

      2. With respect to the manner in which the sagacious animal deceived Eve, the Spirit has declared it in a very few plain words. He tells us, that this artful creature misrepresented to Eve (who, by the by, seems to have had no direct information of God's prohibition) her Creator's object in refusing them the use of the fruit of the forbidden tree. God had told Adam, and no doubt Adam had told Eve, for she was acquainted both with the prohibition and its object, that his reason or design was to preserve his newly formed creatures from incurring the evil couched in the term die; or in other words, that his prohibition proceeded from a tender solicitude for the happiness of his offspring. But the deceiver suggested to Eve, that it was not her Creator's concern for their happiness, which moved him to deny them the use of the fruit of the prohibited tree; but his wish to keep them in a state of ignorance, and of comparative degradation and infelicity: a misrepresentation, which Eve rashly credited, and disobeyed. But, to this simple, plain, and satisfactory statement, what endless suppositions, conjectures, fictions, and fancies have clerical men invented and added; and, what is truly astonishing, have had the art to procure, from a stupid and credulous multitude, to their own invented fictions, as implicit confidence in their truth, as is given to the Spirit's own declarations, if not more.

      Our divine informant tells us, that Eve gave to her husband of the forbidden fruit, and he did eat; but says nothing of any arguments, motives, or inducements used by her to procure his compliance; nor of his reasons or motives for so doing. But what the Spirit has neglected to do, dreaming clergymen have done abundantly. They have told us many ingenious, but incredible stories on this subject.

      4. Concerning the evils, which the deceiver, the woman, and Adam brought on themselves by their disobedience, our Maker has condescended to give us information at some length; but how brief is it, compared with the reveries of human fancy that have been annexed to it? With respect to the deceiver we are told, that he should he more miserable and degraded than any domesticated or wild beast; that he should move on his belly, and eat the dust; and moreover, that he should incur the enmity of the human family. With respect to the woman we are told, that, by her disobedience, she subjected herself to abundance of sorrow, particularly in gestation and parturition, and from the severe empire of the other sex. With respect to Adam we are told, that, on account of his disobedience, the earth was sterilized, and sorrow made his constant companion: that the barren earth should produce thorns and thistles, and the herbs of the field become his food that severe toil should be his portion; and, worst of all, that mortality had fastened its unrelenting fangs upon him. This is evidently all the information given, in this portion of sacred writ, respecting the evils which these offenders brought on themselves by their disobedience; and is it not presumption of the highest order, for an ignorant, uninspired creature to dare to add more? and when more is added, to what confidence or credit are his vagaries entitled? [554]

      5. That, from the time of his first transgression, man ceased to resemble, in both his mental and external action, the moral character of God, is rendered certain by the experience of all ages, and needs no super-human information to establish it. But that man lost or was deprived of any part of that, whatever it might be, which made him when created, resemble his Maker; or, in other words, constituted the image or likeness of God, is not asserted in this place, nor, so far as I remember, in any other part of sacred writ. This loss or privation, is therefore, a daring fiction, altogether unentitled to belief. The human soul, by its disobedience lost neither its intellectuality nor its immortality, the only properties, so far as we know, which constituted its resemblance to its Maker, when formed by him: for resemblance to God's moral nature must necessarily be a subsequent acquisition, to be made by acting conformably to his, revealed will.

      6. But no fact, asserted in sacred writ, has proved a more prolific field of clerical fiction, nor become the occasion of more cobweb spinning than that, contained in Genesis v. 3. There, we are told, that Adam, like millions of his male descendants, begot a son in his own likeness, according to his own image. And this is all the information which the words convey, and all the information which an unperverted, unprejudiced mind would derive from them. But the clergy have invented many wonderful tales about this event. They tell us, that Adam begot the soul of his child, as well as its body, and made it as like the devil as possible: that he made it without a particle of resemblance to the deity: that he transfused into it all the evil qualities, propensities, and habits, which his own mind had ever acquired, without a vestige of any that was good: that he made it a rebel, an enemy to God, before it had ever acted, or was capable of action: that God hated the unfortunate, miserable thing, and was determined to render it eternally wretched, before it had done, or was capable of doing any thing to offend him. Whence the clergy got all these goodly stories, I pretend not to assert; but I hesitate not to say, that sacred writ knows nothing of them, and common sense as little. That Adam begot the soul of his baby is, to my mind, a most incredible fiction: a fiction which destroys all pretension, in the human soul, to immateriality and immortality. And as the moral qualities of Adam's mind were not innate or implanted in him at his creation by God, but subsequently acquired by himself, what induced him to communicate all the bad qualities of his mind to his boy, and none of the good, of which he certainly possessed some; or how he contrived the, accomplishment of this super-human deed, namely, the conveyance of that to his son, which, in the very nature of things, could only be acquired by his son's own exertions, is rather too hard for an ordinary mind to conceive: clerical ingenuity, however, may find it out--for in the cobweb loom surprizing fabrics are produced. At any rate, enough of absurdity and nonsense has been spread out about this simple and plain fact, to show us the great danger of becoming wise above what is written, and of adding reveries of our own to the explicit declarations of God's word. Strange! that men cannot be content with [555] what God has plainly and explicitly told them. Surely he is the best judge of the quantity of information of which we stood in need, and could really be useful to us.

      Let these examples suffice to show what I account unscriptural views. Everything is to me an unscriptural view, which is not plainly and explicitly declared in sacred writ. Among unscriptural views, then, I must rank all fictions, fancies, conjectures, suppositions, constructions, inferences, additions, &c.

      As to the second source of religious error and dissension, false philosophy of the human mind, Philalethes can say but little, because he knows not what sort of intellectual philosophy may now prevail among the clergy: some years ago, as their publications still prove, it was of the meanest character. They were then grossly ignorant of the connexion which exists between the understanding and the passions or affections, and the dominion which the former exercises over the latter. They never suspected that every emotion is the creature of thought; nay, that each emotion is the production of a peculiar modification of thought: that the several conceptions of the understanding as certainly execute their own appropriate feelings or emotions, as light attends the rising sun. They seem to have but little knowledge of the power and necessity of those propositions called motives. And they divided the human mind into as many parts, which they called faculties, as they divided the body into parts called members or organs. In short, they mistook operations for faculties; and actually ascribed to the mind faculties which it never possessed. For example, they ascribed to the mind faculties which they called judgment and will, terms which always denote not constituent parts, but acts of the mind. The term judgment sometimes denotes capacity to judge, sometimes the act of judging, and sometimes the decision which has taken place. And the term will always denotes either determination, desire, or command. But these are all acts or operations of the mind, not faculties or parts. In short, the human mind is a simple indivisible substance, capable of performing a variety of distinct and dissimilar operations, and not a compound. It can attend to external impressions, it can perceive external objects, it can conceive or join simple ideas together, it can analyze or separate the component parts of compound bodies presented to it, it can comprehend or trace the relations of things; it can reason or detect the connexion of causes and effects, it can remember and recollect, it can imagine or combine simple ideas in new assemblages, it can compare or try things by a pre-existing standard, can believe, or feel the irresistible force of evidence, it can love or delight in agreeable objects, repent or regret the commission of hurtful actions, and feel the influence of motives, &c. but it knows nothing of faculties or parts, and is utterly insusceptible of the clerical divisions which have been ascribed to it. From ignorance, therefore, of its nature, and erroneous conceptions of its action, no doubt, much religious absurdity and delusion have been produced.
PHILALETHES. [556]      

Of the Virginia Baptists in 1811 and 1832.

      SEVERAL correspondents from Virginia have expressed a wish that we would publish Mr. Ball's address to the members of the Dover Association, advising and dictating to that body the 'necessity of casting out of their connexion all reformers. As a specimen of the times, (had we not published so many similar documents,) we might have been induced to give it an insertion; for I presume so much ignorance and arrogance in an Editor (who has by the force' of circumstances been made the organ of a faction of the Virginia Baptists in the year 1832,) will, in a few years, be regarded as rather incredible and marvellous. But we cannot make room for it at this time.

      It is, however, a fact, that this champion of orthodoxy actually quoted the Old Testament as a part of the New--put into the mouth of Paul the words of Amos, and ascribed them to the great Apostle to the Gentiles? He also advised the packing of the jury for the late meeting of the Dover Association; and admonished the brethren not to send any one as a representative of the churches, suspected of having any attachment to the principles of reform, that they might make sure work of it, in casting out the reformers. Is it possible that the progress of reform is such in the Dover Association, as to make such highhanded measures necessary? How handsomely does this prove the gloomy pictures he has drawn of the sinking fortunes of reform in Virginia! This organ of the antireformers fears the chances of a fair election, and has to violate all moral usages among Christians, in infringing upon the liberties of the churches to transact their own affairs, agreeably to the mind of a majority.

      Had ever the good, mild, persuasive, and peaceable genius of the ancient gospel to resort to such measures? Packed juries belong to the policies of corrupt courts, and the intrigues of lawless men. But I will not at this time not enlarge on the men and measures, which are rendered conspicuous solely by the force of circumstances--from no manly attribute in the actors, from no noble characteristic in the measures.

      Some churches have, however, succumbed to the dictation of the Herald; and, in selecting their messengers, have attempted, (but unsuccessfully, in some instances at least,) to send their portion of representatives from the ranks of them who are pledged to sustain the opposition, right or wrong. When this campaign is ended we may be more particular in the details. The foundation of God stands safe, having this seal, "The Lord will make known who are his."

      The following hasty sketch from a correspondent, shows what a dereliction of principle is manifest in these movements.


      SOLOMON says, "The thing that hath been, is that which shall be; and that which is done, is that which path been done: and there is nothing [557] new under the sun." Paul says, "WHICH THINGS HAVE, INDEED, A SHEW OF WISDOM, IN WILL WORSHIP AND HUMILITY, AND NEGLECTING OF THE BODY, NOT IN ANY HONOR TO THE SATISFYING OF THE FLESH." What things were these, which were all to perish?, They were the ordinances of men, or the traditions of the elders, INTRUDING into those things which they had not SEEN, vainly puffed up by their fleshly mind.

      In 1811 some of us inquired for the true church of God. We were then taught the following language:--

      "As many are going to and fro, crying, Lo, here! and Lo, there! and claiming the name and character of God's peculiar people; saying, "We are the true church of Christ:" being apprehensive that many may be embarrassed by such CONTRADICTORY CLAIMS, we offer you our present annual address on this subject, hoping we shall be able to point out by SCRIPTURAL CHARACTERISTICS WHO ARE THE TRUE CHURCH OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST." [See Minutes, 1811.]

      "In order to know whether a work be agreeable to rule, we must first know the proper rule by which it ought to be tried. The work of the mason must not be tried by the carpenter's rule, nor the carpenter's by the mason's: each work must be tried by the rule adapted to it. A church ought to be the workmanship of God; and, consequently, ought to be tried by GOD'S RULE, not by man's; by REVELATION, not by uninspired reason. For it will doubtless be often found, that "that which is highly esteemed among men, is an abomination in the sight of God." [Very good!]

      "THE FAIREST AND ONLY PROPER MODE OF ASCERTAINING THE VISIBLE, CHURCH IN THE PRESENT DAY, IS TO SEARCH FOR THE VISIBLE CHURCH IN THE DAYS OF INSPIRATION; and then, inquire among what people her characteristics, as laid down in the Bible, may be discovered."

      "By the visible church, we mean to convey the idea that there is, and always has been, a peculiar people, gathered by the power of God, WHOSE PRINCIPLES, ORDINANCES, AND CUSTOMS ARE OF DIVINE AUTHORITY, against whom the gates of hell shall not prevail," &c.

      "True holiness is an immanent seed, abiding within, and bringing forth fruit of like nature. It is not puffed up; but humble and unassuming. So refined a principle is genuine holiness, and so contrary to the natural propensity, that few, either in the Old or New Testament, are represented as having attained to high degrees of it. Job, Moses, and the three in the plains of Dura, continued immoveable, and would not bow to the king's golden image."

      "Balak said, "Curse me this people;" and Haman, "There is a certain people, whose laws are diverse from all people's. It is not for the King's [the Clergy's] profit to suffer them."

      "Paul was told, "As for this sect, it is every where spoken against.' View this feature of the true church, beloved brethren, and see whether it is visible in any people now extant." [Agreed.]

      "The true church is often known by her liberty. God is always best pleased with free-will offerings; for which reason he wishes his [558] people to be left free "to do that which is right in their own eyes." Judges xvii. 6. He forbids all from lording it, over his heritage. Compare this feature of Christ's bride with the churches of the present generation, and judge ye to whom it applies"--[We are constrained to say, not to the proscribing Baptists of this generation.]

      "Paul was jealous of the Corinthians, lest their minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ."

      "Inquire, brethren, for the people who take the simple unadulterated word of God for their guide, whose doctrines, ordinances, and customs stand just as they were handed flown from above. If you see such a characteristic in any people, you should not hesitate to acknowledge it as a strong evidence of their being the true church."

      Thus, sir, reformers were, in the year 1811, in Virginia, acknowledged to be the true church of our Lord Jesus Christ; and in 1830, decreed to be excluded from among those, and by those who drew their characteristics. Such has been the lot of all the faithful servants of God. See Paul's letters to Corinthians and Galatians.

      In 1831 the Baptist oracle says, "We have no hesitancy in saying, and we hope to make it clearly appear, that sentiments or opinions of revealed truth constitute the ONLY BOND OF UNION among members of the same church. See Herald of 18th November, 1831.

      "We have often heard it asserted, that the Bible was the bond of union among church members; and we have heard, too, of churches being constituted upon a bare declaration of their members, that they took the BIBLE FOR THEIR GUIDE. We do not doubt the sincerity of such brethren; but we think they are under a VERY GREAT MISTAKE."

      "It is idle for any man to pretend he has no creed. We have always regarded those efforts, which we have often witnessed, to sweep all creeds and confessions of faith, as the work of intruders, who wished to build a new theory on the ruins of those already in existence. But to our subject: Opinions or sentiments are the bond of union among church members. Let this be sundered, and the church (the sect) will soon fall to pieces." In 1811 the church was gathered by the power of God; her principles were of divine authority, against which the gates of hell cannot prevail; but differing in opinion now prevails in crumbling it to pieces!!!

      In 1832 we find in the same oracle the following language, "Advocates of a new theory unknown in former days to our denomination, and on some fundamental points directly opposed to sentiments held and cherished by us as Baptists, have sprung up."

      Thus it appears, by this oracle, there is no fixed principle with the Baptists. This oracle must be either ignorant of what was the language of the Baptists in 1811, wilfully misrepresenting those he wrote against; or has cast upon the Baptists the deepest reproach that I have read. I have shown what was their language in 1811. We have published in sight of his door, that we were only contending for the all-sufficiency and alone-sufficiency of the word of God for our salvation, "as it was handed down to us from above." If this theory [559] was "unknown in former days to the Baptists," it is a deep reflection upon them. But we think the oracle has slandered the Baptists, and proves he knows but as little of them as he does of the New Testament.

      "Except two be agreed, how can they walk together, is the language of an inspired Apostle!" This oracle, it seems, can make a revelation when it suits his theory, and inform his readers that it is the language of an inspired Apostle! No such language has ever been handed down to us by any one of the inspired Apostles of Jesus Christ. We do agree with God; and can say with an inspired Apostle; "Let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, that thou mightest, be justified in thy sayings, (not in opinions of uninspired men,) and mightest overcome when thou art judged."

      Does this oracle assume the character of God, and then ask, Except we agree with him, how can two walk together? Now this is nearly the language of God to the children of Israel, that had made their "sentiments or opinions of revealed truth a bond of union among them." Consequently, had done worse than the nations around them--Gaza, Tyrus, Edom, Ammon, Moab, Damascus, and Judah. God then informs them, "You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities." Then asks, "Can two walk together except they be agreed?" God informs them that he had overthrown some of them as he overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, "And ye were a firebrand plucked out of the burning; yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord. Therefore, thus saith the Lord, will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel" Thus our Baptist brethren ought to remember it was those that made their own opinions or sentiments the rule of their conduct, that God asks, "Can two walk together except they be agreed?" There is no "how," nor "Apostle," then. Will this oracle assume the character of God, to punish us because we agree with God and not with him? Then he must usurp the authority of God, who forbids all from "lording it over his heritage. This oracle admits, if the advocates for the ancient apostolic gospel remain among them; or, "Whenever the new theory [New Testament] has prevailed in any church, one of two consequences has followed--the church has been revolutionized, or it has been divided." Candid admission that error cannot stand before truth. I never knew it until this oracle endeavored to reveal it, that truth would yield to error, that darkness banished light. Thus the order of things--yea, the foundations of nature are out of joint according to this new theory. Here we have the confession that truth cannot be maintained where error is propagated. What a reflection upon the author of our salvation! What a perversion of principles! Truth banishes error--light, darkness. But these men of truth reverse the order of things, and say, There is no need of reformation.

      Do, my dear sir, hand down to posterity the revelation of the Richmond oracle, of the 21st September, 1832; and you will oblige all your readers in Old Virginia.
ONE OF YOUR READERS. [560]      


      IN my last, I noticed those scriptures that had immediate bearing upon the subject under consideration. There is one or two more, to which I would call the attention of the reader. The church at Philippi certainly had its "bishops and deacons." There is something remarkable in this Epistle. This church, with all her officers, was the first that communicated with the Apostle, as concerning giving and receiving. This goes to show that a church of Jesus Christ was not constituted for the sole purpose of paying a preacher to preach statedly to them, but to edify one another, and unite their resources in sending the glad tidings to all men. The Apostle speaks in the most respectful terms of the character of this church, and requests them to be followers together of him, and mark them which walk so, as they had them for an example "'Those things," says the Apostle, "which ye have both learned and received, and heard and SEEN IN ME, DO; and the God of peace shall be with you." Here we have an important lesson. There were many who, the Apostle said, did walk differently from the above advice; yes, when he wrote of it he wept.--Hence we see the danger in departing from apostolic example or precept. He says "such are the enemies of the cross of Christ; whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame; who mind earthly things." Those spiritual and heavenly lessons taught by the Apostle were not so captivating to them as the lessons and precepts of men; they blended spiritual and earthly things together.

      The other passage is recorded in Matthew xviii. where our Lord teaches his disciples how they are to conduct themselves towards a brother that should trespass against them. This passage has been so much perverted by those who claim dominion over the faith of others, that much mischief has grown out of not attending to the language of the Saviour.

      Some contend that there are no private trespasses; therefore this rule must be applicable to all cases. Others contend that there are public and private trespasses; that the same offence committed privately by a brother, would not justify our proceeding against him according to our Saviour's directions, Matth. xviii. if it had been committed publicly. Others again make a contradiction of their own whims, passions and prejudices, a trespass against them. Hence the discord and divisions among members of the same church.

      We have known a church to exclude a brother for no other cause than that of his Arminian sentiments,--saying they were hurt with him, because he had trespassed upon their feelings by his Arminian sentiments. The word reformation used by a teacher instead of repentance, hurt the feelings of one member; the church was called together to settle the matter: though several years ago, it has not been settled as yet, nor I expect ever will be. One member would not commune with the church because he had not notice that a church meeting was to be held to hear experiences; saying, they had hurt his feelings by trespassing against him, in permitting a man to be baptized without his consent. Another refused to [561] commune with his brother because he wore a cravat, when the rest did not feel themselves able to do so; saying, they were not all of one mind, and he had trespassed against the church. Another refused to commune with the church, because one member had on a pair of pantaloons; saying, the fashion came from the devil, and would carry him to the devil; therefore he could not fellowship such a transgressor. In all these cases, when brought before the church, nothing but wrangling and disorder followed. Instead of the individual being rebuked for his officious and intolerant spirit, it was too often considered a mark of strict piety, he being, as they termed it, a conscientious man. This has contributed no little to the intolerant spirit of this age and generation. All trespasses are transgressions, or unlawful entrance on another's rights. Christian's rights are all defined in the gospel; and without a violation of some principle or practice laid down there, it cannot be considered a trespass. The trespass spoken of by our Lord may be against a brother, such as whispering, evil surmising, backbiting, &c. &c. But all trespass of moral law, so called, whether done in private or public, cannot be forgiven by a brother before there is a public confession and repentance made to the church. To say I can, upon a brother's confession of repentance to me, forgive him for that drunkenness, &c. and let the matter rest there, would be attended, in my judgment, with the most baneful consequences to society. Thus it appears, that if a brother trespass against me, by evil speaking, malice, guile, hypocrisies, envies, these cases not being ripe for discipline, I am to proceed according to the Saviour's instructions; and should I, after having done as I am commanded, fail to gain my brother, I am then to make it a matter of discipline, in order to peace and unity.


      I HAVE shown the impropriety of men's making their own opinions or passions a matter of discipline. The discipline of the church of Jesus Christ is as necessary, and of as much importance to its peace, purity, and unity, as the administration of, any government on earth. No government would be sustained by an intelligent people, where the peace, happiness, and rights of others were to be sacrificed to the whims and prejudices of any and every ignorant and intolerant man or woman. Whenever a church proceeds to censure, condemn, or exclude for difference of opinion, or through passion, prejudice, or ignorance, discipline is rendered useless.--It reminds me of a fretful mother; who scolds, threatens, and knocks her children about for every error or action they perform: the consequence of such conduct is, she loses her authority over her own children, and they lose their regard for her. Society, with us, now begins to see that what was once of so much importance among the sects, is a useless thing. Many care no more for being excluded from them, than they would from among the wicked. Thus an important part of the gospel is made of none effect by the traditions of men. I have known some to rejoice that the separation has taken place, in consequence of the unrighteous conduct of the church, so called. [562]

      Brethren, these things ought not to be. "Let not your good be evil spoken of," was an exhortation of an Apostle. No person ought ever to be excluded from the church of Jesus Christ for any thing said or done by him, unless the gospel shows that his conduct would exclude him from heaven. Though some walked so as to cause the Apostle to weep, he did not command the church to exclude them, or say they ought to be excluded; but urged the church to be followers together of him, and mark them which walk so, as they had him for an example. He urged it upon his brethren, "THOSE THINGS WHICH YE HAVE BOTH LEARNED AND RECEIVED, AND HEARD AND SEEN IN ME, DO; [what then?] AND THE GOD OF PEACE SHALL BE WITH YOU."

      It does not appear that the primitive churches called on every member to decide whether this or that member should be excluded from among them. It is contrary to all civilized governments. The very circumstance of the church having rulers, or officers, goes to show that these officers were to attend to the preservation of order, and see that the law of Christ was obeyed, or executed upon every incorrigible transgressor. No kingdom is governed by every subject. The King rules by his lawful authorized agents. Our President rules according to constitution and law, by his authorized agents. And our heavenly Father rules in his church according to his gospel, by agents appointed as therein directed.

      The Elders and Deacons are the officers of a church. Then it follows that it is their duty to decide upon the testimony of any transgression, and that in the presence of the whole church, that the church may acquit the accused, or enforce their decision, as the case may be. All this is to be done according to the written word of Jesus Christ and his Apostles. Any member refusing by example or advice to enforce the law of Christ, is a rebel against our King, and ought to he dealt with accordingly. Any member that attempts to arrest the execution of law, when pronounced in obedience to law, subjects him self to the penalty of the law. It is absolutely necessary for the preservation of order and good government, that every good citizen should sanction the execution of the law upon every incorrigible transgressor. It is also absolutely necessary that no sentence should be pronounced upon any one, without first being able to produce, from the word of God, what is required of a church in the case before them. To wrest and torture the Scriptures, in order to make them suit the prejudices of rulers, is a perversion of law; and the church should dismiss such rulers, and seek for those that would rule in the fear of God. This is the order of all good government. This will restore peace, purity, and unity, under the reign of King Messiah. No man would have his Christian character sacrificed upon the dogmas of any man or set of men. Then would the Redeemer's words, by his servant Isaiah, be fulfilled, "O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then should thy peace be as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea." Let us remember this, brethren. Farewell.
DIDYMUS. [563]      

One Book, One Speech, One Mind;
Illustrated in a letter from brother Hall.

LITTLE Rock, September 18th, 1832.      

Brother Campbell,

      I HAVE just read No. 2, on the Millennium, in the 4th No. of the first volume of the Millennial Harbinger. Reading the letter from brother A. Rains to you, brought to my recollection a circumstance which happened with him and myself several years ago. It was at the time he passed through Kentucky on his way to the state of Ohio, for the purpose of commencing a periodical in favor of Universalism. I was at that time a member of the Christian Church, and was what is popularly called a Unitarian. Alas! on that subject I have delivered some hundreds of discourses, and written several essays. Brother Rains and I met not far from Lexington. We were introduced to each other. I delivered an address on the Universal Judgment one forenoon. In the evening he spoke on Universalism. He invited me to conclude: I did so, and made some remarks in opposition to his discourse. After meeting, it was proposed by some of the people, that brother Rains and myself should discuss the subject of Universalism. We agreed to do so; but could not agree on the time to meet and debate the question. As we were going the same direction, we travelled some days together. I found him to be a gentleman, and a man of talent, with a good stock of information. In a word, I was delighted with the man, and regretted that such talents should be employed in pleading a cause so unworthy of them. We parted: he went to the state of Ohio, and I to Alabama. I went preaching antitrinitarianism; and he, I presume, Universalism. I heard of him no more until I saw his name announced in the Harbinger as a reformer. Long before I heard of him, I had also embraced the same sentiments; and as the people with whom I was connected would not cease their speculations, and finding a church of Baptists who held the same sentiments I did, I joined them. Since then I have been teaching the ancient gospel and ancient order of things. And I can say of my former notions, as brother Rains says of his Universalism--I have not only not inculcated them since, but I have also forgotten the arguments which I used to advance in favor of them. My mind has been entirely taken up with primitive christianity. Thus brother Rains and I have arrived at the same point by taking the Scriptures as they stand for our rule of faith and conduct, and ceasing from speculation. Brother Rains and I might have theorized and contended for our speculations till doomsday, and never would have thought the same thing; but by dropping every thing of this nature, and contenting ourselves with the "faith once delivered to the saints," we have become of "one mind." This is an additional argument in favor of your position in the number referred to.

      I am still in this place, though when brother Collins wrote you I expected to remain but a short time. Since I came here I have immersed and introduced into the kingdom just 40 persons. More will be immersed soon. [564]

      I have just returned from a meeting on the Saline, 30 miles distant. I had the happiness while there of seeing the church unanimously renounce their human creed, and agree to be governed by the gospel alone. I also saw four persons immersed for the remission of their sins on Lord's day. Two of them had been Methodists. The prospects of reform are flattering throughout the territory.
R. F. HALL.      


Regeneration--No. 1.

      I HAVE recently been favored with three numbers of the Western Luminary, (published at Lexington, Kentucky,) by a friend of mine, who is a patronizer of said paper, and who resides in Kentucky. These numbers contain Campbellism, Nos. 3, 4, and 5; and until I read these numbers I did not know that any man, possessing the intelligence of said writer, could be so ignorant of what is taught in the scriptures as I conceive him to be. The writer says, that without regeneration it is impossible to enter into the kingdom of heaven; but does not say what we are to understand by the kingdom of heaven. If he mean the kingdom of eternal glory, (which I think is his meaning, by his saying that the malefactor entered into it,) he would be at a loss to sustain his position: for he cannot show that any person was ever regenerated before the advent of Jesus. No such idea can be found in the Bible, (Old Testament.) If, then, any of the Old Testament saints ever reached the kingdom of eternal glory, they reached it without regeneration: for there were none regenerated in their day, nor do the scriptures of the Old Testament say one word about regeneration or being born again, which I suppose to be synonymous. Unless men could be born into a kingdom before it was set up, there never was any person regenerated, or born again, before the kingdom of heaven was set up. To say that men were born into the world before the world was created, is not more absurd than to say that men were born into the kingdom of heaven, before it was established on the earth. For it was the kingdom of heaven on earth, that men were born into, when they were born of water and the Spirit; 2 and not into the kingdom of eternal glory. The malefactor did not ask admission into the Kingdom on earth--for he was, at that time, undergoing crucifixion--the kingdom on earth was not yet established--the constitution or covenant by which it was to be governed was not yet sealed--the blood was then about to be shed for the ratification of it. So soon, then, as the writer in the Luminary gets to understand, that no person was ever born of water and the Spirit, into the kingdom of future glory, and that no person was ever born into the kingdom on earth, by being born of a woman; he will probably see the necessity of the birth spoken of by our Saviour, when speaking to Nicodemus of the kingdom [565] about to be established on the earth. This Luminary writer has yet to learn that there are three births spoken of--to be born of a woman, brings us into the kingdom of nature, or the animal kingdom; to be born of water and the Spirit, brings us into the kingdom of heaven on earth, or the church; and to be born from, or of the grave, brings us into the kingdom of future glory.
M. W.      

Regeneration--NO. II.

      THIS learned writer in the Luminary has not observed that the kingdom of heaven, regeneration, being born again, baptism, &c. are terms brought into use about the same time, and that none of them was in use before the advent of Jesus; or before the appearance of John the Harbinger. He would make us believe, that these things all existed from the foundation of the world. He would, from his mode of reasoning, make us believe that children could be born into the world, if woman were annihilated: for he attempts to prove, that children can be born into the kingdom of heaven, independent of the institution appointed by God to bring children into it--that is, they can be born into it, without being born of water and the Spirit. He summonses the Apostle John to prove what he asserts--because John, in writing to such as had been born of water and the Spirit, says that he that believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God. All the Jews believed in a Messiah, or Christ; but all did not believe that Jesus was the Christ. Those who believed Jesus to be the Christ, proved their belief of that fact by being buried and raised, in the likeness of his burial and resurrection. Thus the Jews, after they had been baptized, were said to be converted, (to the faith that Jesus was the Christ;) and after the Gentiles had been baptized, they also were said to be converted. Why did Peter, when about to introduce the Gentiles, into the kingdom, say to the Jews who went to the house of Cornelius with him, "Who can forbid water?" if water were not necessary to bring them into the kingdom? It would seem that water was the only thing the Jews were disposed to object to--it appears, therefore, that all who were brought into the kingdom, were brought in by water.
M. W.      

Narrative of a few weeks in New York.


      NEXT Lord's day went to the meeting, determined to prosecute my address which I had commenced on that day week. After being there a few minutes the Bishop and a number of the members came in. The Bishop with whom I had conversed, as stated above, called me to him, and said, that he and his brother Elder had agreed, that, as my views did not correspond with theirs, I had better not address the church to-day. I said, I neither had addressed, nor intended to address the church upon any matter that was likely to create strife, as the very reverse was what I aimed at. He said I had better not address them at all, as the church would not like to hear me. I told [566] him I was not aware of that; and were it so, I should be very sorry to obtrude myself on them; but that I thought it hard and unfair to be condemned as a heretic without being first heard. "The church," said I, "have never heard my sentiments from myself, and from your charging me with denying the influence of the Spirit in the salvation of men, (which he had just done a minute before,) I know I will be subject to gross misrepresentation when I go away, which you know is my intention to-morrow. I think, then, instead of the church hearing the misrepresentation of my views, (not that I think either you or any of the church would wilfully and intentionally misrepresent; but, from not knowing what my views are, will be attributing to me what I do not believe,) they should hear my views from myself." We cannot allow it in the church," said he. "Well," said I, "will an opportunity be given me this evening to correct the present misconception, and to allow me to make such a statement as will prevent misrepresentation after my departure?" He consulted with his "brother Elder," and both agreed that it would be dangerous to allow me to address the church at any time: but that I might speak to them individually in private. "That," said I, "you know is impossible, as I leave town to-morrow; and must say your decision is very arbitrary and despotic." He said, "You know we have a very peculiar duty to perform here." I said, "I knew that, but that I thought they were exceeding that duty by gagging my mouth before the church had decreed me a heretic, which they could not do without first hearing me." I then went to my seat, determined at the time of exhortation to tell the church the reason why I did not continue the discourse I had commenced on the Lord's day before, as I was aware none of the members of the church knew any thing of the Bishop's objections, except one or two; for I had not addressed the church publicly, except on the Sunday before, and had no particular conversation with any of them, except four or five; so that they must be in entire ignorance of my views, or had misrepresentations of them from those who spoke to me. I say, misrepresentations; for on speaking to me, these very persons charged me with holding things as opposite to my sentiments as heaven and hell. One of the Bishops and I never had one word of religious conversation; yet he decided on report, when he had the opportunity of hearing for himself from my own mouth.

      At the time of exhortation the most complete manoeuvre was practised to prevent me addressing the church. It is a principle received amongst them, that the brethren have a right, and of course a liberty, to exhort. They read three chapters after the supper, and then exhortation follows. This day, as the member who read the last chapter, was finishing the last verse, one of the Bishops stood up, and said, "We will read another chapter in addition to our usual course;" and accordingly read the 13th chapter of 1st Corinthians; and when done, commenced a lecture on love--the evils of contention in the church--quoted the 1st chapter of 1st Corinthians, and a variety of others--that persons were to get into the church who were wolves in [567] sheep's clothing--and that of their own selves men should arise speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them; and quoted Paul's address to the Ephesian Bishops, Acts xx. This occupied all the time allotted for exhortation; and, without ceasing to speak, lifted up the hymn-book to give out a hymn. I rose, but he kept his head turned to the other side lest his eyes should come in contact with mine. I remained on my feet for about one minute without speaking, when he commenced giving out the hymn, and I sat down.

      After singing and prayer, the business of the church was over, and, of course, the power of the Bishops. I stood up, and said, "May I take the liberty of requesting as a favor, that the church will take their seats for five minutes?" About three-fourths of them sat down, apparently much astonished. One of the Bishops having commenced to speak to a few near him on rising from prayer, continued to talk on without taking any notice of my request; said I, "Mr.------, I have requested an audience of the church for five minutes, and they seem willing to hear me: may I request that you will not interrupt me?" "It is quite out of order, sir," said he. "I presume, sir," said I, "that your presidency over this meeting ceased when you dismissed them, and that if they be willing to hear me, they may do so without liberty from you." "I cant allow it," said he; and in an instant the whole body were in knots of three and four talking through the room. I said, I thought myself badly treated, having neither received the courtesy due to a christian or a gentleman. The two females in whose house I had been the Sunday evening before, came to speak to me. I said to them, I never saw such infamous treatment, either given or received in my life, under the name of religion; that it only wanted the red hot pincers and boiling lead to be the Inquisition revived. They appeared shocked at the strength of my language, but not at all shocked at my treatment, though they condemned it a little. While we were talking, one of the Bishops came up to me, and said, "We think it not quite right to allow sentiments opposed to our views of the gospel to be spoken." "It is not, sir," said I, "the gospel, or the Bible, or Bible truth, that is the matter of difference; but your inferences from the Bible which you wish to impose on others. I have no objections to your drawing your own inferences from the Bible, but a very serious one to your imposing them upon me as a term of communion." "We should have had a church meeting previous to your reception," said he, "and that would have prevented any unpleasantness." "I think otherwise," said I; "but a better plan for you to adopt, would be to write out all the inferences you draw from the Scriptures, and ask the candidate for admission, will he subscribe them; and then the unfortunate creature will know what he is about: for an unwritten creed is the worst of all creeds." He turned away quite displeased, saying, "We can settle it without all that." I then told those two females that it was due to myself to let the world see the matter, and would have the whole published if I could get an insertion for it. In the evening I went to see them, and had a long [568] conversation on the subject. They said I had been badly treated, and that most of the church thought so; and said most of them knew nothing of the matter during the time of morning meeting, and wondered what could be wrong. I told them my mind pretty freely, for I believed they were privy to (if not a party in getting up) the whole plot.

      The most respectable man in the church, in the things of this world, and whose wealth and station has an undue influence over the minds of many in this church, was absent on this day, for what cause I cannot tell, unless he knew what was to be on foot, and did not wish to be present. He was walking the streets, in perfect health, both Saturday and Monday.

      What a pity that such sectarian feelings should exist, and that love should grow out of unity of opinion, instead of unity of faith. Before they were aware our opinions on these matters were not the same, love towards me was manifest by all of them; but so soon as they discovered it, without any other fault, the greatest coldness was manifest by many of them. When will the saints be out of Babylon?
I. T.      

Progress of Reform.

      Nicholasville, Ky. October 9th, 1823.--I IMMERSED one on Lord's day last, the 7th; and one on the 8th. Brother W. Morton immersed sixteen, on the Monday after the second Lord's day in September, at Sabblett's Ferry, on the Kentucky river, in Woodford county--and brother J. Creath, Sen. immersed thirteen, at Buckley's Ferry, on the same river, on Monday after the fourth Lord's day in September; each of which places is from five to six miles from Versailles. The good work is still progressing.

      --The Boon's Creek Association met in last month, three miles and a half east of this place. The whole number of churches composing the same is about six or seven. From one or two there was no letter. During the last year four persons were immersed, and thirty-one dismissed and excluded. The consumption is fast preying upon its vitals. They received one newly constituted church into their body, consisting of from nine to thirteen members--having been constituted upon a creed acknowledged to be genuine, I suppose, by the clergy present, viz. John Brice, Mr. Garman, and Edmund Waller.--At the bottom of their letter to the association in which they seek a residence, they affix a note, saying, "We discard A. Campbell and his doctrine."--This was by the way of giving additional claims to their appeal for admission. So, you see, they deny that Jesus is the Christ, the Saviour of sinners--the final salvation of all who continue faithful to the end--and the eternal condemnation of those who obey not the gospel of our Lord: or else you discard this as a part of your faith. During the last three years, I do not recollect of hearing of twelve additions to all the old sectarian churches, in twenty-five miles square--whilst from three to four hundred have been added, by faith and immersion, to the reformation, since May last. I do not wonder that there should be such a barrenness amongst them, while their every effort is to convince the people that they cannot believe the gospel, and that the gospel is a sealed book, and a dead letter.
G. W. E.      

      Somerville, Ten. September 19th, 1832.--I have been absent from home, part of the summer, and have recently returned--since which time a few of us, who profess to believe in the one Lord, one faith, and one immersion, met together, for the purpose of uniting in social worship. After adoration and thanks-giving were offered up, it was enjoined on me, to speak to the [569] congregation, on the importance of believers in the one Lord, &c., uniting themselves together. I did so; and while on the subject, I contended that the union should be on the New Testament, and that alone. After contending earnestly for the faith for about two hours, I came down from the stand, and proclaimed aloud, that I would unite with the King's children, to observe his laws and obey him in all things, and if there were any in this congregation who were disposed to give themselves to the Lord and to one another, they could manifest it by meeting and giving me the right hand of fellowship: remarking, at the same time, that we wanted no isms nor ites. There were, as well as I recollect, about ten who came and gave each other their hands--some of them I had immersed, and, I suppose, they were the first who were immersed for the remission of sins, in the Western District. The fourth Sunday in May last I spoke to a large congregation, on the great and grand design of the ordinance of immersion, contending that it was instituted for the remission of sins. After coming to a close I remarked, that if there were any persons in the congregation that wished to obey the Lord, I would immerse them at any time and place that they might designate. There was a lady of intelligence came forward, and made the good confession that Jesus was the Messiah. She left home, not having any such thing in contemplation, and of course had not a change of apparel with her: but such was her desire to obey the Lord, that she sent and got apparel; and we repaired to the water side, which was crowded with spectators to witness a scene they had never seen before. Thus the water was troubled, for the first time in these parts, by christian immersion.

      My labors have been so scattered about, that I have done but little for the advancement of Messiah's kingdom. But for the future we design to meet together every first day of the week, which I hope will prove a blessing.
W. T. M.      

      Hines County, Miss. Aug. 20th, 1832.--I have nothing very interesting to communicate, neither do I wish to trouble you with many words. We have a few names even in Mississippi, who do not defile themselves with the traditions of men. They have only had to bear their portion of that persecution which has been poured upon all those who prefer primitive Christianity in its purity and power, to the latter day fashionable names, &c. &c.

      There is a congregation of disciples near the Grand Gulf, who meet every Lord's day, to worship God according to his own directions. They request all the disciples who may be passing, to call upon them: especially those who teach the word. The congregation here, with which I am connected, is engaged in the same manner, and makes the same request. The disciples in Wilkerson County, and adjoining, have been progressing rapidly since they shook off the yoke, and entered the perfect liberty of the kingdom.
G. H. N.      

      Maysville, Ky. Aug. 30th, 1832.--Since I wrote to you, I have, in conjunction with others, in my private tours and at large meetings, immersed sixty-four persons--who will generally make intelligent disciples of our Lord Jesus. Nineteen of these at May's Lick and vicinity, in two visits. The result of these accessions of numerical and moral strength is a general revival of hope, and faith, and cheerfulness. Not that the church did not possess these fruits of the Spirit before, nor that the angels did not before rejoice; but that saints and angels rejoice anew, at the reformation of near one hundred and fifty sinners in three months.
D. S. B.      

      Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, August 25th, 1832.--I have just returned from a two months tour through Nova Scotia, and have had an opportunity of witnessing something more of the evils of sectarianism, and of trying to do a little towards reform. I now stand connected with ten preaching brethren, who have agreed to take the scriptures as the only standard of faith and practice--and there are the same number of churches; but they have not all yet laid aside their creeds, and adopted the ancient mode of coming together to break the loaf on every Lord's day. The prospect is beginning to brighten in this country. [570]

      The brethren united with me have formed into a conference, and I am appointed to travel and labor in the word and doctrine, this year. I baptized a number during my late tour, and found many more who felt it to be their duty thus to put on the Lord, but are waiting to feel better. In the spring I wrote to Dr. J. Johnston, of Halifax, and sent my copy of your writings. I have lately received an answer from him--they have had the desired effect upon his mind, and he is very anxious to obtain more information on all divine things.
W. W. A.      

      Christian County, Ky. Oct. 1st, 1832.--The good cause is progressing in this vicinity. Brethren Davenport and Collins have, within the last two months, immersed about thirty persons. This is the effect of the debate of which I informed you. Brother E. A. S. left us about a week ago. We found him truly an amiable, interesting, and lovely brother. His deportment, his simplicity, and zeal are truly praiseworthy, and an example for all disciples of the great King. May the Lord bless him, and all who are engaged in the cause of God.
I. B. R.      

      CHURCHES IN IRELAND.--I cannot speak with much precision of the number of members in all the congregations in the counties of Tyrone and Londonderry, Ireland, which are zealous for the ancient order of things. Of the following I can speak with some degree of certainty: Common Green, near Omagh, has about 35. Dungannon, 30. Knockonay, near Ballygawly, 25. Crilly, near Aughnacloy, 20. Mullycarn, near Dungannon, 40. Moree, near Dungannon, 20. Augavvay, near Cough, 25. City of Londonderry, 15. Besides these, there are others, such as that at Tubermore, Carindaisy, and the city of Colerain, of which I cannot speak particularly. There is great need of public proclaimers of the word in these counties. Almost all that is done, is effected by private members.
J. T.      

      Brother Nathan Mitchell, on a visit to Bethany, informed us that in Centre county, Pennsylvania, where he had labored about seven months, from March till October, he had immersed about ninety persons.

      Brother John Mendal, late of Wellsburgh, under date of October 17th, writes, from Springfield, Sangamon county, Illinois, as follows:--

      "I arrived here yesterday, and last night heard brother B. W. Stone, of Kentucky, deliver a discourse in the court house. This morning I was introduced to him, and to brother Farris. They were glad to see me, and to hear from you. They expect to immerse six this morning. Brother Stone was in Jacksonville a few days since, and informed me that a church of one hundred disciples was congregated there, and another, a few miles from this place, of fifty. He requested me to inform you that the cause of our Redeemer is prospering in this country, and that there is much scope for doing good."

      A brother in Baltimore, long devoted to the cause of truth, and of much experience in the things of the kingdom, expresses the following fears--and they deserve to be considered. Old men for counsel, and young men for war.

      "I do not rejoice as much as some others, in the large numbers immersed. I fear the much preaching at large meetings, often induces many to consent to practise what they do not understand. Again, I fear that when the excitement produced by these meetings is over, there will be a reaction, and that these converts, not satisfied with the plain and simple fare of the Lord's family, that is, the exhortations of the brethren, and the keeping of the commandments and ordinances of the Lord; the itching ear will not be satisfied, and there will be a forsaking of the assembly of the saints, and then apostacy. I cannot pierce far into futurity, but I have seen many revivals among the Baptists, and at the end of seven years, not one in thirty retained his integrity. I like to see the brethren stay in their own neighborhoods, and meet on the Lord's day, at their own place, even if they have nothing there but the reading of the word of God, and his ordinances: If they cannot enjoy these provisions of the Lord's family, it would be well for them to question whether they have received the truth in the love of it."
W. C. [571]      

      Nashville, Ten. Oct. 1832.--The family of God, at this place, are generally in the enjoyment of health, and the hope of eternal life. That portion who are in the habit of coming together to wait on the Lord, not only seem to have their strength renewed, but to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus the Christ. The unity of faith and love, which appears to me to exist, is, I can truly say, my brother, comforting indeed. But it is not only amongst the family at this place that we behold unity. We had, on the first week of this month, a visit from many of our brethren, the various congregations in this part of our state, who came up to worship with us at a set time. And I can truly say, that, to me at least, it was a pleasant time. There was no shyness, either in the conduct or looks of any part of the family present. No one manifested any desire to be called Rabbi--no one seemed to feel as though he were an intruder; but all seemed to be at home, and as conscious there were no spies in the camp. It was the first meeting of the kind I ever witnessed, where I did not think some one of the brethren a little uneasy. But on this occasion, all spoke the same language--all manifested the same feeling. Faith, and hope, and love was the apparel worn. It was the heavenly armour. It was not Calvinism, nor Arminianism, nor Campbellism. There was no appointing of clerks, nor moderators, nor preachers to occupy the stand on Lord's day. Each seemed to esteem others better than himself--and all seemed slow to speak, and anxious to hear others speak. In short, it looked to me as if our Father had been heard to speak, and had been teaching his children. I do not feel disposed either to boast as a partisan, or to cultivate the feelings of a party religionist; but I do rejoice in being of what the Jews called a sect near eighteen hundred years ago--a disciple of the Nazarene. And to see all such disciples healthy by faith, by love, by oneness of speech, gratifies me more than any thing else. To see our fellow-beings bowing to the peaceful yoke of Jesus; and to hear of their kissing the Son, in every neighborhood, is truly pleasing. This news the brethren brought us. Perhaps from three to five hundred have been baptized in five or six of the adjoining counties, the last six months. I was not particular in ascertaining the precise number. Eight were immersed here on the first Sunday in this month, five on Monday night, and two since. But this news, joyful as it is, is nothing, when contrasted with the health of our Father's family. If the disciples were, indeed, as a city set on a hill, what would five hundred conversions be, for six months, in a population of two hundred thousand? Almost nothing. O may the Father's children, with you and I, learn to realize our high calling, and become able to put in practice his will in all things. But, blessed be the name of the Lord, we have a glorious leader and helper; so that when we do come short, there is no necessity for flagging--We will, then, prove faithful till death, and afterwards receive the crown.

      The Lord bless all the holy brethren! May he lift upon them the light of his countenance, and give them peace!--Editor.

The Dover Decree.

      THE Dover Association of Virginia passed the following decree at its last session:--

      "We, therefore, the assembled ministers and delegates of the Dover Association, after much prayerful deliberation, do hereby affectionately recommend to the churches in our connexion, to separate from their communion all such persons as are promoting controversy and discord, under the specious name of "Reformers." That the line of distinction may be clearly drawn, so that all who are concerned may understand it, we feel it our duty to declare, that, whereas Peter Ainsley, John Du Val, Matthew W. Webber, Thomas M. Henley, John Richards, and Dudley Atkinson, ministers within the bounds of this Association, have voluntarily assumed the name of "Reformers," in its [572] party application, by attending a meeting publicly advertised for that party; and by communing with, and otherwise promoting the views of the members of that party, who have been separated from the fellowship and communion of Regular Baptist Churches--

      "Resolved, That this Association cannot consistently and conscientiously receive them, nor any other ministers maintaining their views, as members of their body; nor can they in future act in concert with delegates from any church or churches, that may encourage or countenance their ministrations."

      In the preamble to this decree there is no one fact or truth of the christian religion specified, which the above brethren are said to deny--no one error stated which they are said to hold But they are said to differ "in their views of faith, repentance, regeneration, baptism, the agency of the Holy Spirit, church government, the christian ministry, and the whole scheme of christian benevolence"--from those who, have debarred them from their communion.

      The excommunicated brethren, with whom we are proud to fraternize, view "sin" as the transgression of law; "faith," as the belief of the testimony of God; "repentance," as sorrow for sin; "regeneration," as being born again; "baptism," as an immersion into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, on confession of faith in Jesus, for the remission of sins; "the agency of the Spirit," as essential to the demonstration of the mission of Jesus, and to our faith in the testimony of God; "church government," as the government of the church by the laws of Jesus, executed by the public servants of the church; "the christian ministry," as the ministers of Jesus Christ, called and sent by his authority; "the whole scheme of christian benevolence," as the church of the living God. But such, it appears, are not the views of John Kerr; who, it is published by Eli Ball, had the honor to pen this preamble and decree; nor of those who voted with him in excluding these brethren from what they call "the kingdom of God."

      What a dangerous matter it has become, to think differently from Messrs. Kerr, Ball, Broaddus, and Erastus Montague! How perilous to view sin, faith, baptism, &c. differently from these "keepers of the faith" of Virginia! This alone exposes a person to the greatest anathema in the power of Virginia Baptists. They can do no more in Virginia, as yet, than treat a dissentient as they would a murderer, or a vile adulterer. The committee, or managers of the bull of excommunication, can neither banish, burn, nor imprison those who differ from their views of sin, faith, and baptism. There is no Patmos, jail, or pillory known in Virginia law, for those who think differently from John Kerr or Eli Ball. But they can place Peter Ainslie, John Du Val, M. B. Webber, T. M. Henley, John Richards, and Dudly Atkinson in the same society, as respects the Lord's table, with all the inmates of the Penitentiary, now under the care of my friend Col. C. S. Morgan: yes, they can tell all the sects in Virginia, that they view these virtuous and exemplary men as unfit for the communion of Eli Ball and John Kerr, as were the infamous actors in the Southampton insurrection. We ask what difference have they made? What more could they do than exclude such from the kingdom of heaven? and do they not teach that the kingdom of heaven is theirs? If they think that what they have bound on earth is bound in heaven, where stand these anathematized preachers? Are they not blotted out of the book of life? But, perhaps, they will say, that what they have loosed on earth, in the house of Miles Turpine, is not loosed in heaven! Nor can they pray to the Lord to ratify in heaven what they have done on earth! What a farce then is it? And how will they answer to the Lord for casting out of his church on earth (as they call the Dover Association) those whom they have every reason to think are esteemed as much the children of God as themselves?

      Mark them who now cause divisions? The Reformers, (invidious name!) rather the disciples of the excommunicated chief, preferred forbearance either to separating themselves from their once acknowledged brethren, or to separating the minority of any church from their communion. This is one of [573] the points in which they differ from their brethren as respects sin! And as respects righteousness, they would rather see good manners than sound opinions!

      Liberty, religious liberty, that liberty which alone deserves the name, it is not a little remarkable, has expired in the Dover Association in the same month, fifty-one years after the surrender of Lord Cornwallis, which was the consummation most devoutly to be wished in the war for the rights of the head and of the heart. Elder John Kerr has had the honor, too, of writing, and Editor Eli Ball of publishing the decree, which ecclesiastically slew six of the most worthy men in Virginia.

      But they must not call this persecution! It is apart of "that scheme of christian benevolence" to which these brethren are not proselyted! Besides, in complaining against Eli, and John, and Andrew, and Erastus, they are reviling called and sent ministers, and sinning against "the christian ministry"' of Richmond, Essex, William and Caroline. No, these brethren must not call it persecution; but say they are suffering the just reward of their evil deeds for daring to think they could understand the Acts of the Apostles as well as John Kerr or Eli Ball. Presumptuous men, who would dare to dissent from a simple majority; seeing majorities are known to have been on the right side more than once since the Fall!

      But the preamble says that they ought to have gone out themselves: yes, indeed, they ought not to have done as Luther, Calvin, Wesley, and all reformers have done?

      But the Rubicon is passed. We have an address for all the Baptists in Virginia, and especially for those of the Dover Association, which we reserve for our next number. In this we only announce the fact, that six ministers of the first standing are excommunicated, with more than the same number of churches, from the Dover Association, because they choose to obey God rather than men.

      The deed is done. They have now assumed the character of all the Sanhedrims opposed to the kingdom of Jesus. But we hope the brethren will suffer evil treatment with christian dignity, and that they will regard this as the work of three or four sons of the hierarchy, and not as the deed of the great aggregate of the professing community among the Baptists.

Luther's Catechism.

      THE following extract from Luther's Catechism shows how great heretics we are on the meaning of immersion. Though we derived our views from no man on earth, but from the holy oracles alone: for at the time we first promulgated them, we did not know that any of the reformers, nor any man living or dead, since the great apostacy, held such views--we have, since the year 1823, discovered that many very distinguished men have expressed the same sentiments, in almost the very same words: and certainly, if any of the reformers were now to write on the subject, in the form of a catechism, they could not express themselves more fully nor more clearly than in the following extract. We came into possession of this catechism in June last; and at the request of a sister in Somerset, who handed it to us, we have published a small edition of it, for the benefit of the German population of that county. We had it faithfully translated, by Charles Artzt, of Pittsburgh, and now present our readers with the following extract, which contains the whole article on baptism.

      "1st. What is Baptism? "A. Baptism is not common water all alone, but it is a water of God's institution, and combined with the word of God.

      "Q. Which is that word? "A. It is the testimony of Matthew, last chapter, where our Lord Jesus says: Go ye out into the world, and teach all nations, and baptize them into the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. [574]

      "2d, What gift is bestowed, or what advantage obtained, by baptism.

      "A. By its effects our sins are forgiven, our souls are delivered from the power of death and Satan, and eternal happiness is bestowed to all who believe that God means to do what he has said and promised.

      "Q. Which are these sayings and promises of God?

      "A. Our Lord Jesus Christ says, according to Mark's record, in the last chapter:--He who believes and is baptized, shall be saved; but he who believes not, shall be condemned.

      "3d. How can water do such great things?

      "A. Sure enough, it is not the water that does it, but the word of God which is with and by the water, and the faith which believeth that such word of God in the water is true: for without the word of God, the water is simply water, and no baptism; but with the word of God it is become a baptism; that is, a most gracious water of life, and bath of regeneration by the Holy Spirit, as Paul says in the Epistle to Titus, chapter iii. 'God saves us through the bath of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit, which he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour. That being Justified by his favor, we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.' This doctrine is true.

      "4th. Such water immersion, then, what does it mean?

      "A. It means that the old Adam within us, through daily repentance and reform, must be drowned, and die with all the sins and bad affections; and that daily there must come out and rise up a new man, to live in righteousness and purity before God to all eternity.

      "Q. Where is this written in scripture?

      "A. Paul in the Epistle to the Romans, chapter vi. says: 'We have been buried together with him by immersion into his death, that like as Christ was raised up from the dead, by the glory of the Father, even so we also shall walk in anew life.'"

Arguments for Young Disciples.--NO. I.

      LITTLE children, you will be often assailed by those who resist the truth; it is, therefore, expedient that you be furnished with arguments, that you may know how you ought to answer every man. These short papers we devote to your assistance in this necessary duty. Avoid a captious and contentious spirit; and in meekness instruct those who oppose you. Remember that knowledge puffs up; but love builds up. Regard intelligence as valuable only in so far as it tends to purity, and purity as the essential prerequisite to happiness. "Happy the pure in heart, for they shall see God."


      Faith is the ruling principle of action in the Christian institution, without which you cannot move towards God and heaven at all; therefore we begin with it.

      You are taught from the holy scriptures, and from the great masters of human language, to define the term faith, by the phrase--the belief or persuasion of the truth of a report, testimony, or witness: in one sentence, it is the assurance that a report is true. You therefore define faith--the belief of testimony. From this arises your favorite corollary, or conclusion.


      When any one begins to mystify you with double meanings, and to tell you of something wrought mystically in the heart, without the testimony of God, independent of, or prior to, the hearing or apprehension of it, tell him that thing, whatever it may be, is not faith. Then you may ask him to tell you any thing which he believes, that he never heard or read; for you know that reading by the eye, or by signs addressed to it, as in the case of the deaf and dumb, is exactly equivalent to hearing the testimony of others by the ear. Your opponent never can tell you any thing that he believes, which he did not first bear, [575] or learn from the testimony, of others, and until be performs this impossibility, he must bow to your definition of the term. This is enough--for one unanswerable argument is as good as ten thousand. Your definition is proved: and your proposition stands like the everlasting mountains.


      But there are others who will not; presume to reason with you. They ask for authority. So much the better. Then open the book, and summon always two or three substantial witnesses. Give them double measures on this point. Summon Isaiah, John the Harbinger, John the beloved disciple, and venerable apostle of Jesus, and Paul the teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. Isaiah says, "Who hath believed our report?" No report, no faith. The prophet complains of the infidelity of that day. Unbelief is, then, the not believing a report. Faith is, therefore, the belief of a report, Isaiah being witness.

      John the Immerser says, "He that has received his testimony has set to his seal that God is true." To say that testimony is true, is, in the common sense of every one, to believe it: for if testimony is received as true, it is believed. To reject testimony, is to disbelieve it; and to receive testimony, is to believe it.

      To the same effect John the Apostle: "If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater"--stronger or more credible. Again, "He who believes not God, has made him a liar; because he believes not the testimony which God has given of his son." Thus to believe is to receive testimony, or to affirm it to be true; and to reject testimony, is to disbelieve it--to hold it to be a lie, and to pronounce the author of it a liar.

      Our teacher, Paul, is decisive on this point. So, then, says be, "FAITH COMES BY HEARING." And who could hear if no one speaks? Therefore, "hearing comes by the word of God." One lesson at one time. Thus reason and revelation teach. No testimony, no faith.

Professor Stuart's New Version and Commentary on
the Romans, and the Family Testament.

      WE received, in September last, from the Andover press, this learned and valuable work. Our documents are now complete for perfecting the third edition of the New Testament. We have got 236 pages of it worked off, and are only at the 12th chapter of the Acts of Apostles. The impression is very fair, the type large, and the paper of an excellent color. One hundred pages of the matter printed, contain the Prefaces and a part of the Appendix. It cannot be out of press till about the first of January. The fourth, or stereo-type edition, pocket size, very small type, is also progressing; it will contain all the prefaces to the previous edition, and whether any, or how much of the Appendix, depends on circumstances yet contingent.

      Professor Stuart's work is a great acquisition, full of valuable criticism. It is true he is one of the most evangelical of Calvinists; and his Commentary exhibits a fair view of his system. It is not, however, for the system; but for his critical disquisitions, we value the work. We intend to present a few specimens of these, with some remarks, in our subsequent numbers.

      ----> BARNABAS and some other communications designed for this number will appear in our next.

      1 Doctor Macknight puts in Italics the words he prefers to those found in the common version. [536]
      2 None were ever in the kingdom on earth, except those who were born of water and the Spirit--otherwise Jesus told Nicodemus a falsehood. [565]


[The Millennial Harbinger, 3 (November, 1832): 531-576.]

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