[Table of Contents]
Alexander Campbell, ed.|
The Millennial Harbinger, Vol. IV, No. III (1833)
Number III.----Volume IV.
Bethany, Va. March, 1833.
SIGNS OF THE TIMES.
CHRIST'S SECOND COMING CONSIDERED, WITH
THE RELATIVE EVENTS.
"Behold the Bridegroom comes: go you out to meet him."
|By S. M. M'CORKLE,--a Layman.|
MOST of the prophecies have a two-fold meaning, and are to have a second accomplishment:--the first was on the Jewish church; the second will be on the Gentile. The character and fate of the one, is that of the other. The analogy will hold good in every prominent feature, it was said of the former, "They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity. The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money; yet will they lean upon the Lord, and say, Is not the Lord among us? none evil can come upon us." Could a more striking portrait of the present administration be drawn? We read the character of the present church, in the past; in the name of reason, why not its fate? Have we any warrant, that on the present, the dreadful contrast is not to be consummated in the same degree that the one dispensation exceeds the other in light, magnitude, extent, and corruption? And these dreadful events are to find the world as illy prepared for them, as it was for the flood; or the Jewish church was for the last dreadful catastrophe which closed its political existence, as  well as its existence as a church. And just as sure as there is truth in the Bible, such a day of calamity, of sore visitation, is hanging over the Gentile church, for the one, self-same cause--incurable corruption.
Some may say there is much good doing in the world. Compare the good doing with the abounding wickedness, with the increase of crime, and the subject presents but a gloomy prospect. I admit there are partial revivals; but how short-lived are they, forever quenched by the hand of partyism, with endless broils about enlistments, enrolments, &c.? And this growing evil is never to cease until the present order of things is rolled up like a useless scroll, and laid aside with all its appendages. I grant there is good doing, partial good, or we should soon have the vials of the wrath of Almighty God.
Time has not yet rolled round the number of years allotted to the reign of antichrist. The four winds are not yet fully let loose.1 The accumulating storm is held in 'straitened reins," till the servants of God be sealed in their foreheads. What may we then expect! But blind credulity, and the "downy Doctors," will say, We are in the hands of a merciful God: 'Is not the Lord among us? none evil can come upon us.' So said the antediluvian, so the Jew, until they were awakened up from their delusions by irreparable ruin. Men will frame a thousand excuses, or objections, rather than examine these matters, and will console themselves that these things are not to happen in their day. What ruin, has attended the close of former dispensations by such delusions as are now closing the eyes of the mass of mankind! The day, the very hour which will usher in the terrors of Omnipotence, will find men slumbering, dreaming, hoping these things are not to take place in their day. And what are our watchmen doing at this important crisis--a time which is to furnish with a wedding garment, or a dreadful "Depart you"?--Feeding their famished flocks on stale divinity; dealing out a weakly dole of dry dogmas; or ransacking hell for horrors, by which to frighten people into heaven, instead of obeying the gospel in its plain and simple precepts--converting the blood, inundating the world with periodicals, religious novels, tracts, fables, lies; fabricated in falsehood, and vended in corruption. Shame on Christianity! Has truth lost its efficacy? Has the Bible no charms, that fiction is dressed up in its stead, in nice attire, to suit the vitiated taste of Christendom? And some of these potent tracts are famous for converting hundreds!
Now, serious reader, which do you think God prefers, a lie, or the truth, by which to convert men? They have corruption at the bottom, and stand in the dark catalogue of allegations against the present administration. 
The good doing at present in the churches, is like some momentary and strong pulsations about the heart, when life has entirely left the extremities. Not only disease, but age has contributed its influence toward weakening all the energies of the body; and these energies, divided into a thousand different channels, are forever striving to render the efforts of each other abortive. Think you the Jewish administration was nothing impaired by age? Every thing we see on earth, is preaching the self evident doctrine of decay, of dissolution.
What but the elements maintain their ground unchangeable, unaffected by the mighty roll of succeeding ages? All governments, civil or ecclesiastic, where erring man has had the administration, have been subject to the one invariable fate, disease and death. Governments never renovate, nor is the stamp of eternal duration fixed on any.
Most of the mighty empires which have been, exist only on the page of history; they are buried and lost amidst succeeding revolutions. Where the nation that has stood the wreck of time? Where the empire that holds its head above the mighty wave which has beat down the strength of nations, and annihilated the power of thrones and dominions? The Lord of hosts has fixed the destiny of all: "He looked, and drove the nations asunder." How visionary, to look for institutions unchangeable, incorruptible, where man administers! The elements alone know no change. That which comes into existence, must go into dissolution. A church existed before the flood:--where is it? Buried beneath the mighty waters--for corruption. The administration was then committed to the Jewish nation: has it shared a better fate? it is now standing a blighted monument of divine displeasure--for corruption. Now, taking Christendom in the aggregate, is it less corrupt than the churches which have fallen? Is God pledged to the present Gentile church in stronger terms than he was to the Jewish? Is the Gentile church profiting by the history of the past, or examining the ground on which she is standing?
ANALOGY BETWEEN THE JEWISH & GENTILE CHURCH.
There is a close and striking analogy between the Jewish and Gentile church. The Jewish economy was a shadow of things to come; had its law-giver, its twelve patriarchs, its ordinances, its holy fire, spirit of prophecy, power of working miracles, or demonstration; its Babylon.
The Christian church had Christ a law-giver, twelve Apostles, its Holy Spirit, spirit of prophecy, ordinances, demonstration, &c. its Mystery--Babylon. All admit the former to be a type of the present. If this be true, how far must the antitype agree with the type? In all its points and bearings, or it is not perfect. If each had its day of persecution, its day of perfection and glory, its day of corruption and captivity, who may assert, without a special warrant from God, that the Gentile church is not to complete the analogy, and close with a like visitation? 
If the past were a type of the present, the present must close as did the past. The same fate awaits, the same ruin is unavoidable, as long as the character of the one is that of the other. We may close our eyes to these things, and hope a better fate, regardless of analogy, of prophecy, or the invariable dealings of heaven. Will closing the eyes ward off the shafts of Omnipotence? Will ignorance avail us any thing, when the ministers of God's vengeance are let loose to scourge a guilty world? To those who look for him, and those alone, will he come the second time "without sin to salvation." A remnant are to be saved, no doubt, by the special hand of God, who will discriminate, in the day when he arises to "shake terribly the earth," between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serves God and him that serves him not.
If the Jewish church understood the prophecies relative to the coming of Christ, so will the Gentile church those relative to his second coming, or his Universal Reign. If the Jew was in a state of preparation for his first advent, so will the Gentile be for his second. The reason may be given by a similar question: if the teachers, the priests of the former, were declaring the whole counsel of God, keeping themselves unpolluted from bribes and blood, so will the present be found. Reader, finish the analogy. As far as the two have gone, they perfectly agree.
I speak in general terms, taking Christianity upon the whole. In the one were found a few Israelites in whom there was no guile; in the other will be found a few wise servants, watching, waiting the return of the Master. Now, on the principles of analogy, may we not expect to see priest and people seized with the same infatuation which possessed priest and people at the close of the past? Do we not see the same spirit, the same misguided zeal, the same invincible attachment to tradition, the same misapplication of prophecy, the same scepticism relative to the setting up of Christ's Universal Reign? The Jewish priests applied predictions relative to Christ's reign to temporal government, expected an earthly potentate: the priests of the present order apply all the predictions standing unfulfilled to the close of time, the final judgment, and another state of existence.
If dispensations have closed, may they not close again? I challenge the proof, the text, the single text, within the lids of the Bible, which will warrant the hope, the belief, that the present is not to close. On what reed of hope are we hanging? On bare presumption, on mere perchance that God will not do as he has done formerly; that he will no more scourge the world for corruption; that lawless discord is to drive with slackened reins and headlong fury; that the tide of vice is to know no check; that the rights of man are to be disregarded; that the cries of the oppressed are no more to enter into the ears of the Lord of hosts; that the fetters of tyrants and slavery are to be riveted for eternity; that millions of God's creatures are to serve the few; that power is to be the rule of right: that men, whom God and nature made free, are to be "hammered to the galling oar for life, and plough the winter's wave, and reap despair;" to bear the extremes of  cold and heat, hunger and nakedness; freighted, sold, bartered, regardless of affinities, or the endearing name of father, mother, or child; Christians sold by Christians to the highest bidder! Are these things phantoms, chimeras of the brain--and to be, or not to be of equal weight in the scale, with Omnipotence? No, the Judge of all the earth will do right; the long suspended stroke will soon fall, in the plenitude of omnipotent power. Pestilence and war are standing in dread array against the feeble inhabitants of the earth. The storm may delay; but it will only break with accumulated strength, and sweep with a wider desolation. Who can look at the situation of Europe, without dread?--see the mighty march of pestilence, without dismay?
Europe is an encampment:--a vial poured on the "seat of the beast." What preparations for human slaughter! The treading of the wine press, the great battle of Armageddon, approaching! political earthquakes convulsing the continent! Alas, where is the government free from commotion, calm and undisturbed amidst the gathering storm--that is to survive the general wreck! The 'signs of the times' are ominous of an eventful day. The harbingers appear, forerunners of the day of the Lord's vengeance, and the "year of the recompenses for the controversy of Zion." What time for idle speculations, unprofitable controversies, in the heat of battle? What time to war about names, or creeds, when the Lord's sword is to be bathed in heaven?
Now, reader, these things are just as sure to close the present administration, and precede the Millennium, as there is truth in the Bible. And what are we doing? Sleeping, slumbering, on the brink of ruin! How is Christendom, instead of restorations--instead of being wafted by the gentle gale of prosperity, into the Millennium, to become the theatre of war, pestilence, and fire? Reader! your personal safety demands your personal examination of these matters; they are not phantoms of the imagination. Trust to yourself and your God, "to the law and the testimony?' If you trust to your blind guides, you are undone. "Enter into your closet, and shut the door, till the fierce indignation be overpast."
I have shown from facts, from reason, and analogy, that such things are coming, that they are at the door, that the tokens appear; wars and rumors are the heralds. Civil, as well as ecclesiastic convulsions, betoken the approaching storm. I will presently show, from the prophets, that these things are foretold in strong and pointed language; that no other consistent meaning can be attached to almost the whole of the alarming predictions in the Bible; that they all concentrate on the dissolution of the church, and not on nature at all; that a source of incalculable error is, the compounding of two great events together, the coming of Christ on the clouds of heaven, and the final judgment, or the close of time:--which events are entirely different; upon a close examination, the one before the other at, least a thousand years. 
There are many predictions that we have been applying to the final judgment which, when properly considered, cannot be thus applied, without involving difficulties, absurdities, or contradictions. It will not do to apply predictions to the final judgment because they are big with alarm, and terrible with destruction. The final judgment is rarely taken up, a subject slightly touched, in the Bible; but the judgment of the great Whore, the fall of antichrist, the close of the present administration, and relative events, are often taken up, under different figures and metaphors, and drawn in such lively colors, described in such emphatic language, that our "downy Doctors," our peace-predicting seers, for fear of disturbing their own repose, or that of the world, have applied them, en masse, to the final judgment, and have given themselves no further trouble on the subject.
The present system of things is well adapted to prevent investigation. Fitted out beforehand for reception, the pliant recipient has nothing to do but receive opinions shaped and moulded by some founder of a faction a century or two before he was born. Thus, as it was formerly, the fear of the Lord is taught by the precepts of men. Nowadays, most of the articles of faith, or plans of getting to heaven, are self-devised--at least, of human invention--and to question the tradition of the Fathers, or strongly recommend the sacred oracles, as being entirely sufficient for faith and practice, will alike fix a suspicion of unsoundness in the faith. The Jewish church had its preconceived opinions so strongly fixed, their tradition so deeply riveted, that demonstration, opposed to their prejudice, was entirely impotent: they were "too strong for Omnipotence, they plucked down ruin?' With Moses and the prophets in their hands, they rejected the very personage they were looking for:--with Moses, the prophets, and the Apostles, in our hands, Christ, in some way, is to be rejected again. How weak is reason, and the Bible too, when opposed to the tradition of the day! Could heaven propose any thing that would be received with universal approbation? The Jews, after crucifying the Lord's anointed, after shedding the blood of his saints, after filling up the measure of their iniquity, when ruin and destruction had encompassed them around, blindly infatuated, still looked for the special interposition of heaven: and they despaired not of this, until their city was deluged in blood, and their temple enveloped inflames. Now is there not a dreadful parallel to be carried out on the Gentile church? Who can say there is not, and give a "thus says the Lord," for it? None: no, not one. Is not the same infatuation prevalent, the same unbelief, the same delusion, the same hope of being restored to primitive glory? Not a prominent feature in the one dispensation, without its relative in the other; they go with each other, in character and features, step by step.
We look at the Jewish church with astonishment, that they could so widely mistake the meaning of their prophets. The time is not far distant, when we will view with the same astonishment the fatal mistakes of the Gentile church relative to predictions as plain as the former, and no less important. Would it have been no safeguard to  the Jew, to have understood those predictions which related to, his peace? Will it avail the Gentile nothing, to know and understand the alarming predictions contained in the Bible? The Book says, "Behold I come quickly: blessed is he that keeps the sayings of the prophecy of this book."
What is to be involved in this terrible metaphor, "And the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll"? When is the Lord's sword to be bathed in heaven?--"the wine press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God" to be trodden? When are the vials to be poured out? On whom are these things to have an accomplishment? When is the emphatic cry to be heard, "Babylon the Great is fallen! is fallen!"? When are the thrones to be cast down?--the martyrs raised again?--the new Jerusalem to come "down from God, out of heaven"? Are these questions of such trivial import that they may be answered some fifty years hence? Are they calculated to fill the mind with images of peace, or soothe into slumbers?--to operate as opiates or lullabies on the human race? Alas, what a situation the world is in! Is it to learn the meaning of the most alarming predictions in the Bible, in their dreadful accomplishment! Is it to be roused from the most profound slumber, by the cry, "Behold he comes!" Alas! how few, to all human appearance, will be ready to go in to the marriage supper of the Lamb! And just as sure as there is truth in the Bible, this marriage supper is to be consummated on earth; yet our blundering, guides are transferring it to the worlds above!
Is the astonishing indifference manifested by our teachers respecting the meaning of this mysterious book, to be attributed to their palpable ignorance? or is it that they are following in close step the fatal path of their prototype? Which of them can come under the character, or claim the blessing of Heaven? God in his word is saying, "Blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book;" and our teachers saying, We cannot understand the "sayings"--we must wait the accomplishment before we can understand. God and the Priests at difference!
Now, reader, examine what kind of commentators we are to have, if we are to find out the meaning in the dreadful events. God intends to be understood in the prophecies, or they would never have been given. Nor can I see any other point of safety, but in knowing and doing. Can we keep a saying or prophecy without understanding? or are we to make a merit of ignorance, and hazard the doing, when our weal or woe is inseparably connected--our seat at the marriage supper of the Lamb, or a dreadful "Depart ye" is to be the result?
It may be said, that the wise and learned have failed to understand the Revelations. God has addressed his word to common sense, and commonly brings to naught the wisdom of the wise. Nor will the wisdom of the wise ever decipher the mysterious book. The wisdom of the world has been searching where the meaning is not to be found. The Bible is its own expositor; and the surest, safest commentator on the Prophets, is the Prophets. 
If common sense can understand the precepts of the Bible, why not its predictions too? Those interested in the one are interested in the other. Again, do genius and learning never err? What are the learned doing? Warring about trifles, bubbles, phantoms, their creeds, or formularies, when the Lord is about to sweep the earth with the besom of destruction. Must we (common sense people) sit down in the midst of alarm, and securely wait until the wise and learned have performed all their feats of Christian chivalry, their deeds of knight errantry, their mighty crusades, &c.? The prophecies, big with alarm and trouble--with destruction--are then to be taken up, and common sense relieved from her slow blundering researches, and improbable guesses.
Some of the learned have said, "The intimate and extensive acquaintance with history, requisite to a development of the predictions of Daniel and John, but few men have either leisure or means to acquire." Now if it be a fact that the poor had the gospel preached to them, and that the' common people heard Christ gladly, for whom, think you, are the predictions intended? What class of men are, and have been, the most humble and faithful followers of the meek and lowly Saviour? To his followers, be they poor or ignorant, are the prophecies given.
God does not subject his people to the inconvenience of seeking some learned expositor, instead of searching the scripture. Why do we not hear the true meaning of Daniel and John from some of those who have the leisure and the means, whose dark book-case holds the terrible secret? What! no leisure to inquire into the meaning of the most alarming part of God's word--that which threatens the most tremendous calamity, which the present generation, probably, must see or feel? No means of information respecting the return of the Master, when he is to call his servants to a reckoning?
The events are at the door, and the learned sleeping or quarrelling about their favorite isms--warring about opinions, which, believed or disbelieved, make men neither better nor worse. Are we to ransack the pages of history for the meaning of God's word? Is the history of nations, Greece, Rome, or France, or the learning of the schools, to decipher the handwriting? What reliance are we to place on the wisdom of the wise? Are they agreed? Does demonstration attend their footsteps, or are their absurdities any better than the absurdities of common sense? Some of the learned will tell us that a part of the Apocalypse related to the Huns, Goths, or Vandals, (why not to the Pottawatamies?) to a time remarkable for thunder and hail! Forsooth, was the thunder and hail any better at that time than that which we have now-a-days? Another will tell us the heathen gods, goddesses, temples, and their precincts, were alluded to in another place; that the treading of the winepress had its accomplishment at the destruction of Jerusalem! which is equal to saying, a prophecy had its accomplishment twenty-five or thirty years before it was made! Others will apply scripture prophecy to the French Revolution--to the Spanish Armada! Those who would saddle  France with all the antichristian epithets, and plagues too, have been bad neighbors, and have forgotten that no scripture prophecy is of a private interpretation.
Now is it not high time the learned were trying some other expedient--seeking some other road to the knowledge of Daniel and John--inquiring at the Prophets the meaning of the Prophets?
There is another consideration which I would offer some of our modern Millennium-makers, and those who are dreaming about a gradual Millennium. Say the Millennium is to last a thousand years, who will know when it begun, when to begin its date, when it is to end, or that it is in existence, or any thing about it? Is the universal reign of Christ a matter of such ordinary importance that we are to be left without any data to go by--left to guess--to mere conjecture respecting its commencement? When it is fairly proved that we can arrive at no certainty respecting the introduction of this important event, this long promised time, this coronation of the King of kings--I will prove that it will never be.
Does Heaven leave matters of much importance, much interest, much prophecy, in doubt--fulfilled in an obscure corner, without proof, without demonstration, no visible footsteps of Omnipotence?
God has pledged himself that the heathen shall be given to his Son for an inheritance--the uttermost parts of the earth for a possession--that he shall see of the travail of his soul, and be satisfied--of his kingdom there shall be no end--that righteousness shall cover the earth as the waters do the channel of the sea--that the sword shall be beaten into a ploughshare, and the spear into a pruning hook--that the nations shall learn war no more--that every one shall sit down under his vine and fig tree--that none shall have need to teach his neighbor, saying, Know the Lord; all shall know him, from the least to the greatest--that all people, nations, and languages should serve him, &c. Are the promises to be fulfilled in a corner--these pledges redeemed without producing a new era--without being visible to the universe?
Looking at the face of things as they stand presented to human calculation, what but the most stupendous miracle can consummate what God in his word stands pledged to perform? A dark cloud of war is rising--has risen--is stretched across the political horizon of almost every nation in Christendom--war inevitable--pestilence standing in dreadful array against the human family, slaying its millions--religious discord no less prevalent, forever going the length of its chain. Who will say the four winds are not let loose to hurt the earth? Who may say the unclean spirits, like frogs, have not gone forth to deceive the nations?
Looking at the face of things as they now appear, and the promises respecting the glories of Christ's universal reign, what else but the strong arm of Omnipotence, the most stupendous miracle, will bring about that glorious event? Is the universal reign of Christ to be ushered in with less parade than his birth, the reign of his humility, the era of his crucifixion and suffering? Is he to rule the nations  with a rod of iron? ("As the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to pieces,") and they not be sensible of it? Now, if the universal reign of Christ is to produce a new era, (and I defy proof to the contrary,) what mighty event is to be which will fix its imposing stamp on the annals of time--with its magnitude eclipse the most memorable events on earth--when the epochs of nations and empires will be lost in its mighty blaze of glory--when the King of Kings shall return to his heritage on earth, clad in the ensigns of his royalty, with his retinue of saints and martyred followers?
What a scene rushes on my imagination! How am I rapt, overwhelmed with anticipation! Shall I--shall these eyes "see him for myself, and not for another?" Reader, 'tis not fiction--the scene is touched by the finger of God--the picture is sketched by unerring Truth. His forerunners appear--the tokens of his coming are seen. Ye who look for him the "second time, lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh"--ere it be long his banner will be seen displayed across heaven's vast expanse--his escort, a host from heaven, "ten thousand times ten thousand." At midnight, when men are sunk in deep repose, or revelling and rejoicing in success of human slaughter, the world mad with discord, and reeking with blood--at midnight, sudden "as the lightning that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, and shineth unto the other part under heaven, so shall also the Son of Man be in his day." And while this display of heaven's splendor approaches the astonished world, or stands conspicuous within our hemisphere, the world, the work of his hands, will perform a revolution on its axis and exhibit to every being on its surface the King of kings and Lord of lords. "Every eye shall see him." "Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus."
I will next take up the prophecies, and support these views by the "law and the testimony."
[To be continued.]
A New Mode of Warfare,
Recommended by Mr. R. POWELL,
in the New York Baptist Register
and ELI BALL, of the Religious Herald, Va.
Extract from the "Baptist Register" of November 2.
"Before I close I have a word more to say in behalf of the north-easterly part of Ohio. This is an important field: very few ministers are found in this section; our churches are mostly dispersed and broken by Campbell's pestilential sentiments, which, like the cholera, burst the bands of society. But I believe these sentiments are on the wane. I was earnestly solicited by the different denominations to settle in that region, and lift a standard against these dangerous errors. It was believed that a church of 100 members might be gathered in the vicinity of Aurora, in a short time, by a prudent devoted minister. Had I not already fixed on a location, I should doubtless have concluded to enter this field. I have just received a letter from Col. John E. Jackson, of Aurora, requesting me to come and settle at Auburn, where  favorable offers are made. I mention this, hoping that some brother in the ministry, possessing the hardihood of a good soldier, and is willing to enter a field which demands unremitting activity, prudence, and devotion, may improve this notice, and bend his course that way. But whoever successfully enters that field, must fight Campbellism by letting it alone, especially in public discourses. The victory must be achieved by the simplicity of the gospel both in word and deed.
"Yours in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ,
Extract from the "Religious Herald," of February 8.
"We agree with our brother B. in the belief that a middle course might be devised, which should avoid Antinomianism on the one hand and Campbellism on the other. Both of these extremes have been fruitful sources of evil to our churches, and both ought to be carefully avoided. The surest way to defeat the latter is to hold no controversy with its author or his adherents to take no notice of him or his work, or the communications of his friends. They have grown and prospered by controversy--it has excited an interest and attention to his productions, which their own merits would never have gained for them. It ought to be the first object of our churches to induce his followers to withdraw peaceably from our churches, and then leave them to enjoy their opinions unmolested."
On the above Bulletins of the Retreating Army.
"Fight Campbellism by letting it alone"! "with the hardihood of a good soldier"! "with unremitting activity, prudence, and devotion"!!! It requires great hardihood, valor, courage, unremitting activity, to fight an enemy in this new mode of warfare--by letting the enemy alone! These gentlemen are for fighting; and, of course, fighting an enemy; for, good-natured souls! they would not fight their friends: but, really, their supposed enemies have reason to admire their magnanimity no less than their heroism--their tender mercy no less than their generalship. When I fall into the hands of an enemy, may he be one of this new school of tactics, who will only molest me by letting me alone!
This is not, however, the mode prescribed by the great Captain General of the Army of Martyrs, nor his Field Marshals--the Apostles. Fight Satan by letting him alone, was no aphorism of that gallant hand of soldiers who unsheathed the sword of the Spirit and put to flight the armies of the aliens. Those ancient heroes needed all the armor of God; but had they lived in our days, under this new system, invented by these good soldiers of distinguished "hardihood," they could have saved many a scar, and many a rebuff, and many a wound, by turning their backs, and seeking victory by their heels!
|He that from danger runs away,
May chance to fight another day;
But he that's in the battle slain,
Can never hope to fight again.
"By letting it alone!" Stop, says Mr. Powell, I do not mean to let it alone altogether; but only when any of these heretics are present.  "Let it alone in all public discourses;" but at private firesides we mean to use broadsides, in the presence of women and children, when our enemies are out of the hearing of the thunder of our cannon. Then I would say, "Possess the hardihood of good soldiers, enter the field with unremitting activity, prudence, and devotion" to your offices. Thank you, Mr. Powell, for this explanation! We understood your gallantry long ago; but thought you would never have had the candor to acknowledge it!
But to drop your figurative, and to come to the literal of your chivalrous address to the officers of your army. I cannot but acknowledge, both to you and your associate at the South, the Reverend Eli Ball, who venerates that saying of PAUL, "How can two walk together unless they are agreed"! I say, I cannot but acknowledge the honor you have done us heretics, by giving orders to your officers to let us alone now that we are "on the wane"! Having emptied your magazines of slander, detraction, and abuse--having hurled your anathemas, flaming from the Vatican, and brought us to our knees, you now discover it to be prudence to let us alone! Would that you had learned this lesson sooner, and we should have been waxing instead of waning! Well, 'tis generous not to exult over a fallen enemy, and to say to the conquering legions, "Let him alone!" But still we cannot forget your fine figures. Let us make another effort.
Messrs. Ball & Co. and Messrs. Powell & Co. hare, raillery apart, come to a prudent conclusion. They have seen that their former course has reverted on their own heads, and given such a reaction to public opinion as bids fair to overwhelm them in their own entrenchments. But this is just the very counsel which every Gamaliel would have long ago given; and this was all the boon we asked--"Let us alone!" Nullify your decrees, your denunciations, your anathemas, and interdict your former reproaches, and all divisions will cease, all strifes will terminate, and we shall not say one word about you; your names, if you please, shall neither be pronounced nor written. You, gentlemen, and your followers, or your friends (if you please) are the sole cause of all discord and division. We would never exclude from the kingdom man or woman, but for immorality or profanity--for disobedience or rebellion--for contempt or treason--not for mere opinions, were they even midway between Antinomianism and C------m.
You, gentlemen, have now conceded all we ask. You have honored us more than we ever expected. You now tell us, in language intelligible to all, that you cannot hold your ground with us in the field of investigation, scripture argument, and rational controversy. You have candidly avowed that it was an error in you at first to attempt this--that your prudence, in that best of schools, the school of experience, has convinced you that by controversy we must "grow and prosper," as by it we "have grown and prospered." This places in a singular attitude your representation about our waning. Why, gentlemen, should you propose to abandon a course which caused us  to wane? Why desert the ground on which you conquered? Why throw away the weapons by which you have vanquished us? Have you considered the import of this concession, or has the truth for once, in defiance of your policy, gained an utterance and been published by your own pens?
True; indeed, you can never gain by discussion. But by creeping into houses you may either lead captive, or hold captive, silly, thoughtless women and children, and men as silly as they. You can never prove a proposition nor support a tradition, which any man, who knows how to turn the leaves of a Bible, will impugn. But is it not singular that you should publish to the world that your cause was in danger, if you would continue the controversy? Was ever truth placed in this dilemma before? In the days of the Prophets, in the days of the Messiah, in the days of the Reformation, it grew and prospered by controversy and discussion; and how comes it now that it courts the twilight, and prefers the secret interview to public discussion!
After this avowal, if you will honestly act upon your own counsels, I assure you we will not molest you; provided, however, you will retrace your steps, and nullify as well as stultify your former proceedings. But we want nullification as well as stultification in regard to the past, before we can hold out the olive branch. But allow me to correct one error into which you seem to have fallen. You seem to think, or, at least, would have others to think, that we delight in controversy for its own sake. Not so: If you could read the history of the last ten years, sketched by a faithful hand, you would see that we have acted upon the defensive, and not upon the offensive. We avoided all cause of divisions and anathemas, and were willing to bear and forbear, and to teach you the way of the Lord more perfectly. But your pride would not suffer you to unteach what you have taught, and to bow in all homage to the Apostles.
Now you talk about reform, and Mr. Ball in the Herald lying before me, of the 8th February, calls upon the Baptists to reform, and makes his specifications with such generality as to cover almost our whole area. What is the meaning of this? Is it to blind the eyes of those under his tutelage, or for the purpose of stifling the convictions of those who are half awakened to a sense of their condition? It will not do, gentlemen. Such double and deceitful conduct will soon expose you to the derision of many who may now honor you with their suffrage. But come it will, as sure as the truth was told by the Apostles--the day will come, when shame and confusion will cover you, unless you repent and bring forth fruits worthy of reformation. When you cease to vituperate and slander our humble effort" to awaken the sleeping virgins to a just view of their condition, we shall begin to think that you mean to be as good as your word; but till then, while you let us alone in argument, and load us with slanders, we shall regard you as knavish, imbecile, and self-condemned.
Nota Bene.--A middle party is now proposed in Virginia. They are to steer right in the midst of the channel between the two C isms.  Let them try it; but let none of our brethren be lured by this false flag. It is holding out a bait to some, and a snare to others. Mr. Broaddus, Mr. Ball, and even Mr. Kerr, I presume, are to be the leaders of this semi, demi, midway reformation. One thing I would say to these "let-us-alone"-warriors, if they will pretermit their opposition for one year, we will promise to fill our pages with a variety of matter more in accordance with our own feelings; and which we would humbly hope would he more edifying and salutary to our readers than the exposition of the schemes, managements, decrees, and councils of our prejudiced and uncandid opponents.
Address to the Virginia Baptists.
I NOW hasten to redeem my pledge. I have said that no greater tyranny is known under this government than was exercised by the last Dover Association; and now proceed to state, illustrate, and prove it.
1. That the case may be fairly stated, we shall give from an authority which the authors of the decree of excision will not question, the defined Powers of that Association. I quote from that "Summary of Church Discipline drawn up by the direction of the Dover Association, by a committee, consisting of Messrs. Semple, Broaddus, Bryce, Hyde, and Roper, appointed for that purpose, and recommended by the Association as a help to the churches; printed in Richmond, 1824." On page 8th the following is found as a summary of the rights of each church or congregation:--
"7. All regular gospel churches have, each of them respectively, full power and authority to transact their own affairs, independent of any other church or churches: such as to choose their own officers, receive members, exercise discipline among themselves, exclude disorderly members; and, in general, to do every thing that concerns them as a distinct religious body or society. Matt. xviii. 17. 1 Cor. v. 4, 5, &c. 2 Thess. iii. 14. Acts i. 15-23, and vi. 3, and xv. 4."
Such are the declared powers, rights, and immunities of a Virginia Baptist congregation in the year 1824, by the largest Association in America. Now we shall hear the defined and constitutional powers of that Association:--
"1. An Association consists of delegates or messengers from the different churches, which have agreed to associate together, at stated times, for the purpose of uniting their deliberations and counsels, in order to promote their own spiritual interest and the good of the common cause.
"2. An Association is considered by us merely in the light of an advisory council: for as, according to our views, the independence of churches, and their consequent right of self-government, are clearly established in the New Testament, no authority is vested in an Association to enforce their decisions on the churches; nor can they inflict any other penalty on a church than that of exclusion from their body, as an Association."
We shall now place along side of these classified and well defined powers of the Association, the DECREE, as recorded in the Religious Herald of the 19th October, 1832:-- 
"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 Ainslie, John Du Val, Matthew W. Webber, Thos. M. Henley, John Richards, and Dudley Atkinson, ministers within the bounds of this Association, have voluntarily assumed the name of "Reformers," in its 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."
Now, with these documents before us, of unquestionable authority with our opponents, let its calmly examine this decree. It is declared that the churches have full power and authority to transact their own affairs, to choose their own officers, and that "the Association has no authority to enforce their decisions on the churches;" yet, in the face of these solemn declarations, the Dover Association did positively decree that it cannot in future act in concert with the delegates from any church that may choose for its officer, "or encourage or countenance the ministrations of Peter Ainslie, John Du Val, Matthew W. Webber, Thomas M. Henley, John Richards, and Dudley Atkinson." Is not this in direct contravention of the independence of every church in the Association, and their declared right '"to choose their own officers, receive members, exercise discipline among themselves, and to do every thing that concerns them as a distinct religious body or society"? The Association says they must not choose any one of these six ministers, else they will have no fellowship with them; telling them at the same time, that each church has "full power and authority to transact its own business, choose its own officers, and that the Association has no authority to enforce its decisions on the churches." If this be not insolence, intolerance, and usurpation, will some of the majority give us a definition of these words?
It may be alleged that in the Constitution of the Association there is a power assumed of excluding a church from the body when she ceases to be in favor with the Association but this is defined to be an exclusion from the body only, as an Association. She stands then as an unassociated church, or as she was before she entered the Association. This is fairly indicated in the verbiage of the instrument; but I presume it means more than it says: for it would have been too gross and perceptible to have assumed any power over the churches just in the next period after declaring that the Association disclaimed any such power.
But the Dover Association has not only transcended the letter and Spirit of her charter, and of the charter of the churches, in an attempt to exercise authority over these churches; but she has done more: She has presumed to exercise a species of papistical authority over  those individuals called "ministers of the gospel." She, as far as in her lies, or as far as there is authority in her ordinance, has nullified not only the christian character of these churches, but of those ministers also. Now by what chartered or delegated authority does the Dover Association pronounce sentence of heresy against these ministers? When was she constituted a religious Court of Oyer and Terminer, with power to summon witnesses, examine testimony, to expound law, and pronounce sentence upon all the ministers living within her bounds? Did these six ministers acknowledge such a right in the Association, or in a bare majority of the ministers of that Association? Was there such a written agreement, or was there such a bona fide understanding in the bond of union? If there is no such delegated power, it must have been assumed; and such assumptions are of the very essence of usurpation and tyranny. Certain it is, that there is no such power granted in any printed document which we have seen: nor is it, in our judgment, at all admissible upon the expressed views of English or American Baptists. I do not think that the Baptists of Virginia, who have been so justly celebrated for their republican principles and behavior, could or would ever, intentionally at least, delegate such authority to any set of men. How could they? Do they not declare that legislative, judiciary, and executive powers shall not at one and the same time be reposed in one and the same individual or association of individuals? And are men's religious character, rights, and privileges to be less guarded than their political interests? A Baptist Association, acting as did the late Dover Association, I hold to be a solecism in both political and ecclesiastic law and usage; one of the most dangerous establishments which ever existed under the name of a Court of Christ. An advisory council with power to deprive a person of both religious and moral character, without any responsibility, and allowed to exercise all sorts of powers at one and the same session!
What is dearer to a man than his character--than his religious and moral character? And is that which is dearer than life itself to be committed to a self-created court, responsible to no tribunal under heaven! But it will be asked, Is this the fact in the case before us? I unequivocally answer, to the best of my judgment, in the affirmative.
Reader, examine the aforesaid decree. Is not the following narrative the unvarnished state of the case? Six "ministers of the gospel," as the Dover Association once called them, of irreproachable religious and moral character, and more than as many churches, are condemned and excommunicated for not only holding, but inculcating "doctrines not according to godliness," "disorganizing and DEMORALIZING in their tendency;" and do they not add, "Therefore, ought to be resisted and disavowed by all the lovers of truth and sound piety."2 Yes, demoralizing! Nor do they say that this is the speculative opinion of the Association; but that they have actually discovered this to be their practical influence upon the churches. Their  words are, "We waited long to witness their practical influence upon the churches and society in general." Now, is it a very small matter that six ministers of the gospel be thus held up to public scorn, as demoralizers and disorganizers, inculcating principles whose tendency has been witnessed to demoralize society! principles which, from actual observation of the Association, have been tested, not by theoretic abstractions, but by their practical results, to be disorganizing, demoralizing, and ungodly! I ask the Virginia Baptists, the sons of the fathers of American liberty, the advocates of the trial by jury, of the habeas corpus, of an independent judiciary, of placing legislative, judiciary, and executive powers in different hands; is it republican, is it American, is it safe (to say nothing of the Bible) that such a power should be placed in the hands of any single representative body--of any court, or tribunal of judgment, unguarded by any court of appeal, any superior or controlling, independent tribunal, to which the aggrieved may appeal?
If we are to have courts for trying such causes, I plead for the Presbyterian or Episcopalian, with all their defects. Under these governments, a minister is not to be arraigned, tried, and condemned, at one session, by one and the same body,--acting the treble part of witness, judge, and jury,--without the hope of a rehearing.
But the worst is yet to he told. For admitting that the constitution had given to a part of this Association, either by construction or explicitly, the power of arraigning, trying, and condemning individuals for heresy, ought not the accused to have at least Pagan courtesy extended to them? ought they not to be permitted to be present, in person or by their attorney, and have a hearing on the indictment, before sentence was pronounced against them? And was this the case in the late proceedings of said Association? The accused were not invited, most of them absent, no testimony heard; and even the forms of justice were dispensed with. In all other courts, the allegata must be proved, testimony adduced, the law must be applied, and that before au independent tribunal; but these unfortunate brethren were before-written to condemnation. The sentence was concocted and written in Richmond before the Council sat; and all that was necessary, was to take the vote, and unchristianize the ministers and the churches.
Virginia Baptists, are you prepared for this? Is this your love of liberty, of law, of justice, of religious freedom? I know it is not. But you have said, practically said, that your preachers cannot err; you are willing they should act for you. They are all good men, sound in faith, and therefore in practice can do no wrong. What stronger evidence have they given of love to the Saviour, of devotion to his will, of honesty in their profession, than the persons whom they have excommunicated? What greater self-denial, what greater attachment to truth, what greater sacrifices have they made for conscience sake, than those brethren from whom they have taken their good name as far as it was in their keeping? Compare them in every point, and see whether the strong party are more intelligent and  virtuous than the weak--whether the excommunicators, as far as you can judge, stand higher in the estimation of God and man than the excommunicated?
Do you think that the Judge of all will applaud you for thus treating his followers? will he thank you for thus beating your fellow-servants in his absence? I beseech you to ponder well your doings, and retrace your steps; for if there be any action of your lives, more than any other, that will be more strictly scrutinized, it is that of assuming the judgment seat, and saying to your brethren, Depart, you, from our presence. And, recollect, as long as you sustain the persons which thus usurped these high prerogatives, you are their accessories, and as censurable as they.
The Church of God.
MR. BUTTERWORTH has given us a short, but just description of the church of God in her present militant state. He says, "It is a particular congregation of BELIEVERS IN CHRIST, united together IN THE ORDER OF THE GOSPEL" If this be a correct view of the character of the church of God, then all who are united together upon any other principle than as believers in Christ, cannot have any right to be called the church of God. This I presume no man of common sense will deny. Taking this for granted, we shall in a few words undertake to show what it is to be a believer in Christ, and to be united together in the order of the gospel.
To be a believer in Christ is to receive with implicit confidence the testimony he has given us of himself, and to yield our souls, bodies, and spirits to his commands. No man can be said to be in Christ, who refuses to enter into the reign of his favor.
In the ancient gospel men were taught to know that "so many as were immersed into Jesus Christ, were immersed into his death; therefore, they were BURIED with him by baptism into death; that, like as Christ was raised up by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life:" "for as many as have been immersed into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one IN CHRIST JESUS?" This is the testimony of the Holy Spirit.
To be united together IN THE ORDER OF THE GOSPEL, surely means that the examples of the primitive disciples and the precepts of the gospel should alone be the bond of union among such as are BELIEVERS IN CHRIST. If any thing short of this, or more was intended, it could not be "the order of the gospel," as every man of common sense must admit.
Thus we find to be a BELIEVER IN CHRIST, is to receive and give credence to the testimony which God has given of him, and to be  immersed into his name, in obedience to his command. And to be united together in the order of the gospel, is to make the gospel the rule of our conduct and bond of our union. So says common sense.
But the question has arisen, "Has not the church a right to change the rites somewhat?' We answer, The founders of the orthodox sects, one and all, admit immersion or baptism into the name of Jesus was essentially necessary to our being in him; but "the church did grant liberty to herself, since the beginning, to change the rites somewhat, excepting the substance."
Permit me to adopt the homely language of Procopius, who laughed at the bulls of the Popes of his day. At a council one of the orators called him a heretic. He exclaimed, "That countryman of ours insults us by calling us heretics." The Cardinal said, "he had heard that they taught that the fraternities of the Monks were the invention of the devil, which was an offence to Christian ears." "Very true," replied the General, "for if neither the Patriarchs, nor Moses, nor the Prophets, nor Christ, nor the Apostles appointed monkery, who does not see that the devil was the author of it?" Let this reasoning be applied to those who say, "The church did grant liberty, or has taken liberty to herself, somewhat to depart from the order of the gospel," and we shall find the author.
There does exist among the most evangelical sect (I mean the Baptist) one of the most heretical and destructive principles to the church of God that is practised at this day. It is this, they have evidently dethroned Jesus Christ and his Apostles in the government of the church. Let me prove this. "Government is not a trade, which any man or body of men have a right to set up and exercise for their own emolument or interest, but is altogether a trust in right of those by whom the trust is delegated, and by whom it is also resumable. It has itself no rights--THEY ARE ALL DUTIES. All powers exercised over a church must have some beginning. They must be either DELEGATED or ASSUMED. There are no other sources. ALL DELEGATED POWER IS A TRUST, and ALL ASSUMED POWER IS USURPATION."
"Every delegated authority implies a trust; responsibility follows as the shadow does the substance. But where there is no responsibility, authority is no longer a trust, but an act of usurpation. And EVERY ACT OF USURPATION is either AN ACT OF TREASON or AN ACT OF WARFARE."--Tucker's Blackstone, vol. 1.
Paul said, "For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of: for necessity is laid upon me: yea, woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel. For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed to me, what is my reward then? Verily, that when I preach the gospel I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel." "Not that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joys: for by faith you stand."
I now call upon Messrs. Kerr, Ball, Jeter, Montague, Broaddus, Micou, Taylor, Hill, and E. Montague, with all those who supported  their preamble and resolution, to point out to us the text of Scripture wherein they are delegated in an association to arraign and condemn men, without notice and while absent, who are willing to obey every precept of the gospel and follow the examples of the primitive disciples, as recorded in the New Testament; or even show from the constitution of their Association whether they were ever delegated with power to exclude the churches for exercising their own rights or privileges as independent bodies. If they cannot produce their power of attorney from our King for having so shamefully treated us, we call upon them either to revoke their unrighteous decree, or publicly acknowledge they were unauthorized so to do. If they do not, every man possessed of discernment must see they have assumed this power, and are usurpers of our privileges granted us by our King; and this act of usurpation is to demonstration TREASON or WAR against him.
|THOMAS M. HENLEY.|
On reading Semple's History of the Baptists.
"WHEN the NEW LIGHT STIR broke out, under Whitefield's preaching, the Parish clergy not only refused the preachers of this new light the use of their meeting houses, but actually procured the passage of a law to confine all preachers to their own parishes." p. 1. Query--Who now, in Virginia, most resemble these parish clergy in refusing meeting houses?
"In the county of Spottsylvania, occurred the first instance of imprisonment. On the 4th of June, 1768, John Waller, Lewis Craig, James Childs, &c. were seized by the Sheriff for disturbing the peace of the churches, (society,) and after trial were sent to jail: yet," says Mr. Semple, "in very few sections in Virginia did the Baptist cause appear more formidable to its enemies, than in this same county of Spottsylvania; and, [says he] we may add, so it is at this day." What a pity that A. W. Clopton, J. Kerr, and W. Montague, with their brethren of the late Committee in Spottsylvania, had not read the 16th and 17th pages of Semple's History, before their late proceedings against the Reformers. Will not their tyranny react, in Spottsylvania, as in days of yore?
"No county ever extended its opposition and persecution to the Baptists farther than Chesterfield; and yet, in few counties have Baptist principles prevailed more extensively than in Chesterfield." p. 17. Why then not hear the testimony of two witnesses, and learn moderation?
"When any Baptist fell into any improper conduct, it was always exaggerated to the utmost extent." p. 19. Is there nothing like this, now-a-days, from the Baptists to any unworthy reformer?
Their opposers said, "that they were all in peace and friendship before the coming of the Baptists, but now their houses and neighborhoods were filled with religious disputes." p. 21. Concerning whom did the late Dover Association reiterate this charge? 
"No person was allowed to dispose of, or publish any books or pamphlets containing the tenets of their [Quaker's] religion." p. 30. What is the difference between this and the Baptists' now trying to prohibit the reading of the Millennial Harbinger?
|FREDERICKSBURG, Va. February 5, 1833.|
Dear brother Campbell,
I HAVE drawn out a hasty sketch of the difficulties in the Fredericksburg church, from their commencement up to the doings of the last great council. But although it is a mere outline, without comment, it occupies more space, and is, in my judgment, so uninteresting, that if the readers of the Harbinger could be entertained with it, I should myself feel unwilling that so much space should be taken up to the exclusion of other matter of more importance. I purpose, however, in this to say something of the proceedings of the council which met this place, and which, in a very summary way, settled the previously existing difficulties; and if you think you would like to see what has been set down in regard to former proceedings, it shall he forwarded to you. It may, however, be necessary to premise that a division had taken place previous to the meeting of the council; that a party had, in a most disorderly manner, separated themselves from the church, and retired to the court house, in which they met from time to time.
On the Friday before the third Lord's day in January, the council met at the house of Mr. James Williams, organized themselves, prepared and arranged matters; and after doing this, adjourned by invitation to the meetinghouse. This council consisted of the following Elders, viz.--P. Montague, A. W. Clopton, L. Battaille, C. George, A. H. Bennett, Spilby Woodfork, and John Kerr. Twenty were invited, but the above named seven only attended. A committee, consisting of Elder G. F. Adams, William Harvey, and myself, had been appointed, on the part of the church, to invite them to sit in the meeting-house, and lay before them any evidence they might deem proper.
When the meeting was properly organized, I arose and requested to be informed what object they had in view--in one word, what they thought of themselves. I was given to understand that they were invited here by that part of the church which had separated from the church, to say (after having heard all the evidence in the case) whether they were worthy of the confidence of the Christian community--not for the purpose of expressing any opinion, or passing any censure on either party.
We then said, we wished it distinctly understood that we did not look upon the council as possessing any authority over us, nor were we willing to grant them any, for one or two reasons:--We had no voice in choosing them as a Council, and that they had, or some of them had made up their minds in regard to our Christian character. But added at the same time, that we were willing, if we could have an equal choice, to leave the settlement of the difficulties to brethren. But this was not assented to. They then produced charges, and read them before the congregation, against brothers G. F. Adams, A. Leitch, and myself, copies of which charges were requested and promised to be furnished. Brothers Adams and Leitch were furnished accordingly; but in consequence of their understanding me to say that I did not wish a copy, one was not handed me. The same evening, however, I made application for a copy to brother C. George, which he recollects. After reading the charges, the council adjourned, to meet next day (Saturday) at 10 o'clock, at which time we were to be permitted to answer for ourselves. 
The next day, met according to adjournment. As soon as the meeting was opened it was announced that they were ready to hear the answers to the charges. I arose and said, as I had not been furnished with a copy of the charges, would they permit me now to reply? But they refused to hear only by a written communication. They said, however, that I could, as the charges were the same, get the one furnished brother L.. and reply before their secret session. I replied that they had charged me openly before the congregation, and thought it but justice that I should reply before the congregation to the charges. But I was not to be heard. 1 determined, however, the first opportunity that offered to do so. Brother Adams then arose and ably refuted all the slander and charges brought against him; and so also did brother Leitch. As soon as they adjourned I borrowed of brother L. the paper containing the charges against him, and in the short time allowed me between the adjournment and their secret session, made an answer, and read it before them. But the whole of this business was a party concern. They came to a decision on Saturday night; but although applied to to know the result, they would not divulge it, saying that they had pledged themselves to one another not to make it known until after preaching on Monday. Preaching on Lord's day by Kerr, Clopton, and George. On Monday morning, instead of meeting and making known the decision, they had a long preachment; after which brother A. arose and said that the council had come to a decision, and although he had not heard it in detail, yet the substance had been made known to him; and although it was not altogether such as he could wish, and although in the outset he had denied any power to the council, he was now willing to submit to their better wisdom. After him, brother Kerr got up and prefaced the decision of the council by an attack on C------ism and Alexander Campbell, stating that he had known you intimately for eight years; he had taken you to his bosom; life had given you his pulpit; in fine, he had done every thing to reclaim you. He had read your Christian Baptist and Millennial Harbinger from beginning to ending; that you were a wandering star, a floating luminary, (of some brilliancy he confessed,) but no fixed place; that he must be a wicked man that would read your writings, and many other things to your prejudice.
He then read the decision, and O how different from what they set out upon! I can only give you the substance; for although promised a copy, like other of their promises, they did not fulfil it. They said, after hearing all the evidence from both sides, [not a fact,] they pronounced the part that had separated the Baptist church of Fredericksburg, and that the principles of C------ism were in the other party; that we had introduced innovations into the church; that the church was now willing to forgive all and open its bosom to all who would return, and that they were coming down for the purpose of effecting a union. After he had got through with his attempt to enlist the feelings of the brethren and the congregation against us, I arose (much to their disappointment, it being now 3 o'clock, the congregation having been detained from 10 to this hour.) and said that, notwithstanding all the disadvantages under which I labored, I believed the congregation were disposed to do me more justice than the council. In the course of my remarks I challenged Kerr, or any other man then present, to produce one instance of innovation which had been introduced by us, or any view or sentiment we held that was not in accordance with the oracles of divine truth. I also took occasion to say that we had been charged in the Religious Herald with sentiments that we positively denied, ('that faith was a mere assent of the mind, and denying the operation of the Holy Spirit,") and then gave my views of faith and the work of the Spirit. I called upon the oracle of the council, or any other person present, to produce a passage, (for in all my searching after truth I had never been able to find one,) that said t hat it was necessary for the Spirit of God to operate on the human heart in order to produce faith. I have been told that at this part  of my address the reverend gentlemen shook their beads; but not one could answer to this request; indeed they seemed determined to continue as they had commenced--namely, to condemn without proof.
When brother Kerr was traducing your character, I could have wished that you could have walked up the aisle of the meeting house. I did say for you, that you could do more justice in defending your own character than I had ability to do for you; and that it was no mark of a generous heart, or noble mind, to attack and condemn any man without a hearing. After witnessing all their proceedings, I came to the conclusion that I had never seen so much management and so little Christian dignity of character in any council that I had ever seen.
After brother Leitch had also replied, Kerr and Clopton came down. The former charged brother L. and myself with making angry speeches. He then invited all those who had not embraced or favored your sentiments now to come forward; that the brethren were willing to forgive and open their bosoms to take them back to their fellowship. Three resolutions were read: one declaring non-fellowship with you, one declaring non-fellowship with all who hold you in fellowship, and another that they would not invite into their pulpit any who held your sentiments, &c. Now, sir, they are in one of two dilemmas: they are either constituted on a confession of faith that is not believed by more than one half, or upon a resolution declaring non-fellowship with you. But I must stop, and tell you something of more importance.
On the next Wednesday evening we constituted a church upon the statutes and laws of Christ and his Apostles, as laid down in the New Testament. On last Lord's day this little band met and broke bread, &c. Our number amounts to 15--9 male and 6 female members. We have appointed a committee to solicit subscriptions for building a meeting-house. In this undertaking every exertion is used; but we are poor, and every thing calculated to prejudice the public mind is circulated to our disadvantage. We do not aim at a fine house--all we want is a plain substantial building--one than will hold a congregation when visited by strange brethren who labor in the word and doctrine. Is not Fredericksburg an important point? and will not our brethren at a distance, whom the Lord has prospered, aid us? I feel as if I never felt poverty more sensibly than I do. We have already subscribed 900 dollars. It is thought that if we can get $2500, as large a house as the Baptist meetinghouse in this place can be built. We hope to be visited by all who feel an interest in the progress of reformation who can come; and we hope also to share in the prayers and sympathies of all our dear brethren, that we may be able to endure all the persecution and reproaches that are heaped upon us for the truth's sake.
May the Lord bless you and your exertions in behalf of the ancient order of things, is the prayer of yours in the Lord.
|R. B. FIFE.|
THE angel of this everlasting gospel announces the good news that the suffering days of Christians are numbered--that the hour of judgment has come--that the Lord is about to recompense his enemies, and to commence his reign over all the kingdoms of the world. We closed our first essay on this subject, saying that not one of the kingdoms of this world had become a Christian kingdom--no kingdom of this world has yet become a kingdom of Jesus Christ. Let us now examine this assertion with all attention. 
Christians there are in many of the kingdoms of this world, In all the American states, in all the European kingdoms, in some of the Asiatic and African nations; but not one of these states, nations, or tribes, as such, is a kingdom of Jesus Christ: for one of the very plainest reasons in the world--not one of them is governed in person by Jesus Christ; not one of them acknowledges him as its King and administers his laws. Not one of them became a kingdom by adopting his constitution, and vowing allegiance to him as Governor in all things.
Says one well versed in the policies of nations, and in the laws of Christian ethics, and all the writings of the Christian teachers, 'No nation can be governed by the New Testament alone, nor by the principles which it inculcates; for were we to take Jesus for our King, the Romans or some unchristian kingdom would come and destroy our country and government; for Jesus would not allow us to have a sword or cannon by which to avenge our wrongs--nay, he would have us to turn the other cheek when smitten in the face; and when compelled to go one mile, to make it two.' Grant it in all its force; and what follows? That no one kingdom can become a kingdom of Jesus Christ until all kingdoms become his; and then it follows that the New Testament is only adapted to Christians while citizens of other kingdoms, being under the governments of those who know not God, and obey not the gospel of his Son. Hence the New Testament is only written and adapted to Christians in a suffering state--not as triumphant, not as having the reigns of government in their hands.
But a time will come (and that very soon--sooner than many can be persuaded,) when "the kingdom, and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; and all dominions (kingdoms) shall serve and obey him." But this not until one like the Son of man shall come on the clouds of heaven, and come to the Ancient of Days, and be brought near before him; and there be given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages shall serve him.
The government of no nation is now in the hands of those who acknowledge the rights of Messiah--nay, the best government of this world, (our own,) may be in the hands of a Turk, a Jew, or an Atheist, for aught our Constitution cares. And this very government is indebted for its comparative excellency to the follies of all other governments in making a court religion, and in causing all, both small and great, to bow to the idol or creed which those in power prefer. The New Testament being only adapted to Christians in a suffering state, it never can mount the throne, nor become a court religion; and, therefore, any religion called Christian, which has been by law established, has been an impudent imposition or base counterfeit, and not the religion of Jesus Christ. When Christianity gains the throne, Jesus Christ will place it there himself; and wherever he sets up his throne, from that place shall go forth the law adapted to his subjects in their triumphant state. 
We again repeat it, from the sermon on the Mount, to the 4th verse of the 20th chapter of Revelation, every address delivered to Christians contemplated them as suffering adversity. At different periods of the prophecy we have the anticipated triumph spoken of; we hear the echo from afar, saying, "Alleluiah! for the Lord God omnipotent reigns!" "Rejoice over her, you saints, and apostles, and prophets; for God has avenged you on her." "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his anointed, and he shall reign forever and ever." But till Jesus appears in the clouds of heaven, his cause and people can never gain the ascendant.--Now is the time for fighting the good fight--the time that tries men's souls--the time for the perseverance of saints--the time for suffering with him, that with him we may reign.
No kingdom now on earth can be regarded as a kingdom of our Lord, because they were all founded by the sword. Ambitious aspirants, political demagogues, successful warriors, triumphant military chieftains laid the foundation of them all. Although revolution may have in some instances changed the sceptre, still they were all founded by the sword. We boast of a government purchased with the blood of our ancestors; of institutions founded by the valor and sealed by the lives of our fathers. A seven year's war was the price of our political redemption, and fifty years' taxation the expense of our liberties. The groans of the dying and wounded, the tears of widows and orphans, the millions of dollars, and the years of travail are yet remembered, at which our political birthrights were valued. But do we forget, or do we not believe that "all who take the sword shall perish by the sword"? Is not this the universal fate of all the nations of the world? And can we expect an exemption from this unchangeable law? We cannot. The injustice, cupidity, ambition, oppression, which are found in our political institutions, will doom this nation to the vials of vengeance, and cause it to go the way of all the earth, before the triumphant day of the Lord come. How rapid is the progress of corruption, and how certain its consummation!
This is the age of improvement in every thing--but morals. Labor-saving expedients spring up like the grass that grows upon the field: but is human labor lessened? Are the toils and drudgery of life diminished by it? Not in the least: for as soon as one invention is adopted, it opens a new field for speculation, new objects of enterprize, and the ever active passions in the human breast impel the children of the flesh into everlasting toils. There can be no radical amelioration of society under the influences which now govern the world. The bonds of friendship, the leagues' of society are founded in cupidity or ambition, or in family pride. The social qualities of our nature are all touched with this political magnet, and all our affections move on the hinges of time and sense.
Our religion, if from it were subtracted the cupidity of its teachers, the pride of party, the rage of proselytism, and all the machinery which these propel, would be frittered down to dimensions which  would make the humblest Christian in the land hang his head and be ashamed of himself.
But this state of things is not to survive the message of the angel of an everlasting gospel. He appears as a harbinger of the Millennium. He announce, that the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion has arrived, and assures a sleeping world that the hour of God's judgment has come; that the fate of all the enemies of the reign of Messiah is now sealed, and that consequently a new order of things is to succeed.
Let it be noted, then, that the first and capital item in the everlasting good news, is, that the hour of God's judgment has arrived; that the day of vengeance has come, and that every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people are concerned in it, and to share in its terrors. But how can this be called good news--matter of joy to any people? On this question let us 'ruminate for another month.
To Charles Cassedy, Esq.
IN approaching your second objection to the Christian religion, or rather the second difficulty which lies in your way, when you think of a cordial reception of it, permit me to observe, that there are three things necessarily submitted to the test of reason, in every pretension to a revelation from God. These are, the message, the intellectual and moral character of the messenger, and the supernatural attestations, or the credentials, by which he is supported:--the miracle, the messenger, and the message; or, perhaps better arranged, the message, the messenger, and the credentials.
Some imagine they find reason to object to the three; others, like yourself, exclusively object to the message, as some way, in their judgment, unworthy of God, or unworthy of man. The pith of your second objection appears to be contained in the following proposition: That as the globe we inhabit, and the Bible, are said to come from the same Being, to have one and the same Author, the moral attributes, or general character of the Creator, ought to appear the some in nature and religion; or that the philanthropy which appears in the natural creation, should also appear in the Christian religion. But you infer that the philanthropy which appears in creation, greatly transcends that which appears in the Christian scheme of redemption. Hence you object because, in your judgment, nature and Christianity agree not in their testimony concerning the Almighty; and, if you are compelled to believe but one of the witnesses, you will, though with great reluctance, believe nature rather than Jesus Christ.
In the analysis which I gave of your letter in my former epistle, I did not thus express your second difficulty. According to my former  letter, "the too narrow and exclusive spirit of the Christian religion, compared with the Divine philanthropy developed in the creation and providence of the Almighty Father and Benefactor of our race, constituted your second capital objection to the Christian religion:" this is, however, to the same effect. It is, sir, with me, a matter of the first importance, in every attempt to aid the inquiries, or to meet the objections of any searcher after truth, to come to the precise point at which his mind halts, and to meet the objection in its full force: you will, therefore, excuse the otherwise unnecessary verbiage with which I have spoken of this difficulty. I wish to have it ferreted out, and distinctly placed before my mental vision, that I may not be found beating the air.
Against the messengers of the Christian religion, or the credentials which they submitted to the test of reason, you offer no objection. It is, therefore, wholly impertinent for me to say any thing of these. Nor do you object to the whole message itself, as either unworthy of God or unworthy of man. Nay, you approve the most of it. That God should propose to bestow immortality on mortal man, and that he should honor our apostate race by sending his own Son, in the likeness of sinful flesh, to reconcile us to God and to effect for us an eternal redemption, you cannot think to be either incompatible with the glory of God or the best interests of man. That purity and holiness, sometimes called virtue, should constitute the highway to future and eternal happiness, also fully meets your approbation. But one objection seems, for a moment, to outweigh the ten thousand arguments in favor of the mission, the missionaries, and the divine credentials. This objection, too, is but an inference, drawn from what some have styled the doctrines of Christianity; or rather, from one of those doctrines which represent but a small remnant of mankind as likely to be the participants of this salvation.
In passing, permit me just to say, that Jesus Christ and his Apostles are as silent as the grave upon the relative proportion of the saved and the lost. The relative aggregate of all the generations of men who shall be saved or lost, is no part of the Christian religion. Nothing definite is said or written on this point. It is true that John the Apostle represents an innumerable multitude, which no man could number, of every nation, kindred and tongue, as having attained to immortality; but that many shall be lost, is fully and unequivocally stated, both by our Lord and his Apostles. And let me add, that if you can never submit cordially to the government of Jesus Christ till you discover that every human being shall be saved by him, with the present revelation, and your powers of discrimination, I predict, you will never permit him to be the Sovereign of your heart.
But, sir, I am far from thinking that, with your premises and data, before your mind, you will make such a discovery a condition of your acquiescence in the only rational exhibition of religion submitted to the acceptance of a dying world. That some will be saved, and that some will perish with "an everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and the glory of his power," I do admit is clearly taught  in the Christian scriptures; and that it is not at all incompatible with your own premises and reasonings, from the testimony of nature I hope to make satisfactorily evident to yourself.
But first let me observe, that with the exception of a few Universalists of one particular school, the human race, in all ages, have contended for a future state, of rewards and punishments, of some continuance. The Pagan superstitions, one and all; the Mahometan imposture, the Jews, and the Deists also, have confessed their belief in future punishment. We urge not this almost universal belief, or opinion, as an argument in proof of our position, but rather submit it as an evidence that there is nothing in the idea generally repulsive to the human mind. If not an oracle of reason, it is an oracle to which reason has not found much to object.
But, sir, to approach your difficulty in the direct route of your own premises and reasonings, permit me to call your attention to this very fundamental proposition:--
I. THERE IS NO UNCONDITIONAL FAVOR BESTOWED ON MAN. The enjoyment of life itself depends upon conditions, a disregard of which must of necessity result in a forfeiture of it. Not a single favor, which contributes to the preservation and comfort of life, has been bestowed on man, which he may not forfeit; which he will not certainly forfeit, if the conditions on which it is bestowed are not complied with. Might not, then, my dear sir, a theorist of some ancient or modern school, make this an argument against the philanthropy of the common Father of our race, because he has made life itself, and all its enjoyments, depend upon conditions which may, through ignorance and imbecility, be neglected or violated, and which through either ignorance or neglect, in countless instances, have caused the forfeiture of life, or health, or happiness? Millions of our race have experienced ten thousand times ten thousand calamities, from their ignorance of these conditions, or from their inability to fulfil them.. Could you, my dear sir, place before your eye in one immense group the innumerable multitudes now dragging out a miserable existence, in consequence of having sinned against some law of nature, of having violated the conditions on which health and competence are necessarily consequent;--could you add to these the immense throng who in the morning of life, or in the midst of their days, have been cut off from the generations of the living for refusing obedience to these conditions, or because they were ignorant of them, methinks you would no longer complain that the philanthropy displayed in the gospel differs essentially from that displayed in the works of creation and providence.
But you say, "Exclusive partialities cannot comport with the wisdom, the justice, the all-absorbing love of the Almighty for his feeble and erring creature, man." This is one of your favorite inferences from the works of creation; but I confess I know not from what premises, found in the volume of nature, this is a fair induction. In following you through your contemplations on this terraqueous globe, and on the lot of man upon it, I am compelled to another conclusion,  which I shall here state as a second proposition, only inferior to the first in importance--
II. That something like "exclusive partiality" does appear to be an essential part of the system of creation and providence.
Without examining the circumstances of man in every degree of latitude from Behring's straits to Terra del Fuego, or from Nova Zembla to the Cape of Good Hope; without examining all the influences of climate, soil, government, operating on the physical and moral constitution of man in one hemisphere, if we only select a few we may arrive at sufficient proof to sustain the above proposition.
From the shivering Greenlander to the sun-burnt Moor, what varieties of stature, figure, complexion, beauty, constitution, do we find! what diversities of intellect, moral habits, manners and customs affecting the happiness of man! what various modes of sustaining life from the various products of soil and climate! The human body is known to vary from four feet, as an average stature, to almost seven; and the mind follows it in the same scale of comparative stature, strength, and activity. Here man is an adult of mature age and reason at twelve, and a patriarch at thirty; there his constitution is not formed till twice twelve years have run their race, nor are his days completed till fourscore years have wasted his strength: here he is of a temperament as mild as the genial breath of spring; there, as fierce as the northern blasts which drift the snowy mountains of Spitzbergen: here he pants for breath in the burning deserts of the torrid zone, and there he inters himself under ground to survive the rigors of a nine months' winter: here he is born to affluence, to a throne and a sceptre, and there he sinks into the sordid hut of abject slavery.
His education and moral training are necessarily contingent on all these circumstances, over which he generally has no control. How then infer from these data, from this volume of unequivocal signs, that this "exclusive spirit" of Christianity is at war with the unexclusive philanthropy displayed in creation and providence! The utter impossibility of all men living in the same latitudes, or even in the same temperate zone, lays the foundation of ten thousand diversities in the constitution, character, habits, and circumstances of man, which are as necessary as the law which made this earth a globe. The foundation of this exclusive system is found in the formation of our globe, and in its position to the common centre of our system; and, consequently, is a part of the plan of its omniscient and omnipotent Creator.
Indeed, sir, if we may call all the diversities in the lot of man "partialities;" if all differences found in the family of man must be regarded as tokens of partiality, then is there written on the face of the whole creation nothing so distinctly and so legibly as the partiality of its Creator. The spangled heavens, the myriads of shining orbs of various magnitudes and lustre, the fixed stars, the planets primary and secondary, the comets of every eccentricity, proclaim to the listening ear the partiality, as some would call it, of the Almighty  Creator. The oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, with all their scaly tribes; the mountains, hills, vallies, and plains; the immense continents; the sandy deserts; the vast morasses; the barren cloud-capt peaks; and all the spicy islands, with all their tribes of inhabitants, loudly proclaim that God delights in variety.
The susceptibilities of pleasure and pain, the capacity for sensitive, rational, and moral enjoyment are as diversified as the physical constitution of the spheres and all their inhabitants--no two things alike in all respects, as far as human science can explore. Why, then; should it be thought an insurmountable objection to the word of eternal life, that all will not--that all cannot embrace it? Does not creation, does not the providence of its Almighty Author preach the same lesson in ten thousand varied types, figures, and analogies? Can all of any class become like one of that class, or like one of another class? Making nature (which is but a co-witness) the judge of revelation, trying the oracles of religion by those of reason, comparing the voice which speaks in every creature, with that of Apostles and Prophets, in my ear there is no discord. Nature and the Bible speak the same lesson. My aphorism is, that which is just in little is just in much; that which is unjust in a farthing is unjust in a million. Thus taught the great Prophet. From all of which my reason concludes that if it be compatible with the wisdom, justice, and philanthropy of our heavenly Father to allow these diversities in the children of one family to exist in this state of human existence; if he have made animal life and enjoyment depend on conditions which may easily be broken; if he have so governed this world for six thousand years, as to keep before our eyes a continued scene of varied suffering and distress in consequence of sinning against the laws of nature, who can infer from these premises that it will be incompatible with his whole moral character to save those who honor and obey his Son, and to condemn all who reject the Messiah and despise the salvation of God!
Thus, sir, I am led to the conclusion that nature, which is another name for creation, and christianity concur exactly in their testimony concerning God. If these two witnesses are attentively heard, and their testimony fairly interpreted, it will appear that no two witnesses ever more perfectly harmonized in identifying the character of any person, than do the works and word of God in attesting his character to man.
But, sir, suppose that in interpreting their testimony (for men are just as much divided in interpreting the testimony of the works of God as in interpreting his word) a discord or contradiction should appear, a question arises which of the two witnesses is to be believed. "Neither of them," says the Atheist. "Nature," says the Theist. Both are equally capricious. Could we suppose such a discrepancy in fact, I would undertake to show that revelation is the most credible and intelligible guide. I would find an offset to the allegation that the latter witness is more liable to interpolation and misinterpretation than the former, in the contradictory testimonies of all the polytheists of ancient and modern times. But this is wholly gratuitous: for the  works and word of God give but one and the same testimony, though neither would be intelligible without the other; but when both are fully and fairly heard, there is the fullest assurance given that God is just and merciful, as well as infinite in power, wisdom, and goodness. Your third objection I must defer till another moon. With high consideration and respect, I remain, &c.
Reply to Epaphras--No. 6.
YOUR favor of last month had to appear without a reply. The documents on hand then, and still, if they do not altogether exclude, must limit my replies. But, sir, I would not have you thence infer that your correspondence is not acceptable to myself and others, nor that I view your letters as not demanding the immediate attention of myself and all my readers. Such inferences would do me great injustice; for I assure you that all your letters, and the last especially, are worthy of our most serious consideration. In reply to that before me, which appeared in the preceding number, I would remark, that if these things are so, they merit not only your remonstrance, but the solemn consideration of all concerned. You rightly conclude that our aim is not merely a reformation of opinions, nor of sentiment only--not a reformation of modes and forms of worship, but of moral and religious practice.
You ask, "Where is their self-denying obedience; their edifying conversation and demeanor; their labors of love for the comfort of the more indigent?" &c. Now, sir, much more than you intended may be insinuated by such a question as this; and something may be asked which it would not be agreeable to modesty, humility, and the unostentatious spirit of our profession to answer in terms direct and explicit. You would not expect me to recount the acts of charity, the labors of love, nor to enumerate the instances of self-denying obedience of all the disciples in the ranks of the reformation, which might have come under my observation. But, perhaps, you intended no more than to call the attention of all the disciples to the doing part of their profession; and thus to prevent them from falling into a very common error--the substitution of sound principles for sound practices. I would not, however, that you should regard my answer to this question as an evasion of it, or an expedient to elude a difficulty which might seem to entangle us who plead for a restoration of primitive Christianity. I might, with the utmost truth, and, I think, with the strictest propriety, say, that I know many of the brethren in this reformation as conspicuous for their practical conformity to the precepts of the Lord and his Apostles, as they are zealous for correct views and just conceptions of the doctrine of Christ. But this may not be its general as the reformation principles are acknowledged, and it is not for me to pronounce on such cases as may have come under your  immediate notice. I am sorry to confess that I have found some instances within my own acquaintance, where the zeal for a restoration of primitive usages was not seconded by a corresponding zeal for the self-denied conformity of the first converts. But as there is scope for reformation, and as reformation is the profession of all our brethren, it is to be hoped that in this they will yet reform.
Gaiety, levity, and all fashionable conformity to the world, are, in the common sense of christendom, apostate as it is, directly opposed to the genius of our religion. Some, however, may confound cheerfulness with gaiety and levity; and a due respect for personal and family neatness, with a fashionable conformity to the world. It is not easy to fix a landmark as prominent as the Andes between that apparel and domestic economy and taste which comport with Christian principles, and that of the world so called. It is easy to discover that we are ten degrees north or south of the equator; but not so easy to ascertain the moment we cross the line; so to perceive that we are a few degrees on this side or on that of the equator of Christian decorum requires no extraordinary acuteness of moral vision; but the precise points at which we cross the line, or depart from it, may not unfrequently escape the detection of the most piercing optics. Again, what may be allowable with respect to calling, circumstances, and our connexions with society in general; and what may be absolutely right or wrong, without regard to any relation which may be sustained in reference to society, may require the superior discernment of a gifted few, and cannot always be decided with that easy certainty by which we distinguish truth from falsehood, or a straight line from a curve. But this we may say; When the mind is devoted to such concerns, and the heart cares for them on any other account than as means of becoming useful to certain casts in society, or relishes them for their own sake, it is out of the path which reason and religion alike sanction and approve.
When I see a "Christian" toiling from year to year to keep cast with the world, and straining his utmost to make a good appearance, I am compelled to fear that he has not found in Christ the pearl of great price--that he has drawn a blank rather than a prize in assuming the Christian name. But that Christians are not to become Monks--to assume a long face and a whining tone--to change their costume, and place devotion in the obtusity of the angles of their apparel, I know you are as far from imagining as I am. That there is any thing spiritual or celestial in the shape of a shad more than in the figure of a salmon, or in the color of grey, or brown, or drab, more than in blue or green--that there is any thing more devout in horn or whalebone, than in brass or steels or in the collar, rather than in the skirts of a mantle, I presume is as evident to you as that all colors are alike in the dark.
But you pass from these matters to the family circle and to family devotion. And here you ask, "What do they more than others?" Nay, you affirm, that "many of them, to your certain knowledge, come far short of the attentions to family edification which prevail amongst  the religious of other sects." My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Do you excuse yourselves by saying that you can find no command nor precedent for "family worship?" Some I have heard express doubts upon the propriety of adopting such forms. But what do you call family worship? Is it a morning and evening ceremony of reading, singing, and praying, as a part of the regular business of the family? If this be family worship, indeed you may talk lightly of it. But what is the name? Because the words "family worship" are not found in the book, or expressive of certain forms, are we thence to infer that reading the Scriptures, and teaching them to our children and households--that singing the praises of the Lord, and calling upon his name constantly in our families, is no part of our Christian duty or privilege! Was it from Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, or our Apostle Paul, that you learned this? Surely not from Abraham; for of Abraham his God said, "I know Abraham that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment, that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him." Not from Moses, who commanded the fathers of Israel diligently to teach the oracles to their children; "to talk of them when sitting in the house, when walking by the way, when lying down, and when rising up."3 Not from Joshua, who vowed, saying, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Not from David, who sang upon his harp, that "in the dwellings of the righteous is heard the melody of praise." Nor from Paul, who taught Christian fathers to "bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."
But why seek for examples when Christians are commanded to pray with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and to watch with all thanksgiving--when all Christians are commanded to have the word of Christ dwelling in them richly; and to teach and admonish one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, &c. Nor need we proceed to show that it is utterly out of the power of any person to educate a family in the fear of the Lord, unless he daily and constantly abound in reading and teaching the holy oracles, and continue in prayer and supplications night and day.
As well might one expect to reap without sowing, as to think of bringing up a family to the Lord while neglecting habitually those religious instructions, precepts, and examples, which are the means of consecration to the Lord. And does any one ask a warrant for Christians praying together, and having communion with one another in prayer and praises? What more delightful than to unite with each other on our knees, before the throne of God, in the name of our glorified Lord; or to mingle our voices in songs of praise to him who washed us from our sins in his own blood?
But I need not argue this matter, as I am not personally acquainted with any disciple, who has a believing wife, or who is the head of a family, who says that it is either unlawful or inexpedient to read the oracles, to sing the high praises of the Lord, and to call upon his  name daily and constantly in his family as well as in his closet, And certainly all who have attended to the worship of God and the instruction of their families daily and constantly, have, in their superior domestic enjoyment, and in the comparative intelligence and spiritual prosperity of their households, experienced that it was good for them thus to wait upon the Lord, and that in keeping his commandments there is great reward.
What more interesting scene in this sin worn world than a well disciplined Christian family! How beautiful and influential its order! The parents walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord; the children, like olive plants in the garden of the Lord, under the dew of heaven, growing up in the knowledge and instruction of the Lord! In the morning assembled to hear the words of God's Prophets and Apostles, to listen in profound attention to the voice of the Almighty Father, and to bow upon his footstool at the throne of mercy and favor! The affectionate parents mingling the reading of the word with questions, explanations, and exhortations, and holding up to the admiration of the children the holy men and women of eternal renown, and occasionally calling their attention to the causes of the ruin and destruction of nations, families, and individuals. Thus are they taught to say with David, "My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord! In the morning will I direct my prayer to thee, and will look up." The influence of this morning worship and instruction pervades the day, and at every meal the Father of mercies is invoked and his name adored. The business of the day is despatched in harmony and affection, with all diligence and propriety. In the evening they again assemble around the Family Bible and take another lesson from the Spirit of God. The intelligent and affectionate father, the priest, of his family, makes them understand the reading and pours the heavenly instructions into their minds with all prayer and supplication. They raise the hymn of thanksgiving, and mingle their voices in celebrating the faithfulness of God every evening. Thus they grow in the wisdom which comes from above every day, and lay themselves down to sleep under the protection of the Almighty. Their children arise and call them blessed, and are thus prepared to hand down to their children and generations yet unborn the faith and knowledge which dwelt in their parents; and thus they scatter the seeds of truth and piety far and wide through society.
You well observe, my dear sir, that families are the nurseries of both church and state; and as the plants are reared in the nursery, so will be the trees when planted out in the plantations of nature and of grace:--
|"As the twig is bent the tree's inclin'd."|
This matter we need not argue: I presume it is generally conceded; and if not universally practised by all who profess reformation, will, I doubt not, be, on proper reflection, as universal as the Christian profession.
As to the duties of the congregations professing primitive Christianity, you have left me nothing to say. Many congregations are  only beginning to reform, and most of them need to perfect what they have begun. Until the first day of the week is sanctified to the Lord and his death, resurrection, and ascension be regarded as the business of the day, we must say, before heaven and earth, that, in our judgment, and according to our Christian experience, spiritual health and prosperity cannot be enjoyed by any community.
Your remarks upon the different views with which persons now approach Christian immersion, compared with those of the first converts, explain many difficulties occurring every day, and the want of that joy unspeakable and full of glory, which distinguished the great majority of ancient disciples. To your remarks we will request the attention of our readers again.
|In all esteem,|
|KING & QUEEN, January 7, 1833.|
YOUR views of the word of God, as the grand instrument of salvation, are, in general, entitled to very high respect, being well calculated to edify and confirm the disciples of Christ in the discharge of their numerous and multiform duties. One important idea advanced by you, probably more than a year ago, elicited from me what I designed to be a respectful communication, setting forth objections to that idea. I thought that in your reply you manifested a very different temper from what your calm, profound, and philosophical course of writing had led me to think you possessed. So far from being patient under what you might have considered impertinence in me, and willing to relieve me of my embarrassment as to the scripture doctrine of discipling, by enlightening my mind, you wrote several sharp pages, directly aimed, without, at the same time, seeming to know what I was really at. For in conclusion you know, you requested me to inform you what I designed in objecting to your essay upon discipling. I think that any one may discover, on reading my communication, that I was disturbed by your learned essay upon Matheteuo; in which essay, if you are right, I found myself and a multitude of others radically wrong, and actually misleading many more. The great importance of the subject, then, was my reason for addressing you, and is now my apology for calling up the matter once more in conclusion. But it may be objected, "It is too late; the iron has become cold. Let the subject drop." This is a subject which is not easily worn out before those who are apprised of its magnitude. To believe the truth is good; but to be confirmed and strengthened in it is better: we thus add grace to grace. It so happens, however, that while numerous causes operated to prevent me from being more explicit than I was at first our mutual friend Inquirer interposed and saved me the trouble thus far. And as I find by what he and brother Campbell have together said, your arguments are probably pretty well elicited, it will be unnecessary to propose any thing like premises or argument in addition on my part. I presume that if you have any thing more conclusive on the subject, it will be presented in reply to brother Campbell's last remarks. I felt truly surprized at his reluctance to admit the existence of a real and important difference between yourself and Inquirer, which you so plainly saw and forcibly expressed. The difference is truly great, and of great importance in the reformation now proposed. I pray you, sir, to sift it to the bottom. Though I decline, as just now intimated, to take up this subject formally again, particularly under the aspect in which it was at first presented, I must  still beg leave to call your discriminating mind to the consideration of sectarianism as now existing in christendom, with all its evils, as the natural and unavoidable effect of the cause you are laboring to establish. Let me be fairly understood. I say, then, that it appears to me that merely mental christianity is the true parent of sectarianism. The truth of this position may he deduced from the present state of the christian world. Is there one among all the sects of the world, from those who are so antinomian as to do nothing, to the Shaker in all his ecstacies, who do not make mere mental operations and emotions the main pillar of their systems? And how can it be otherwise? We have a standard, it is true; but how is it to be applied? All sects venture to apply it to the state of the mind, as set forth by the words of the individual. Christianity itself requires this to be done, it is true; but does not, as does sectarianism, stop here; but goes on to propose and enforce its only means of setting up a kingdom on earth, wherein is required a unity of body, spirit, and action. Just for a moment reflect upon the difference between christianity itself and the present state of things. The one in its primitive use and progress actually exhibiting the extraordinary phenomena of one body, one spirit, and one great course of action; while the other presents an inexhaustible fountain of incalculable evils with the good that it accomplishes. And what is the great cause of this? I would say, mere mental christianity? the doctrine so greedily devoured by all who prefer their own ways to the way of the Lord, and will talk of, and teach men, that the heart, the heart is all--set the heart right, and we are christians, whether we go into the kingdom or stay out; who talk of essentials and non-essentials in the Lord's house; of this "bodily" act, and the other mere ceremony! Is Messiah crowned, and yet his subjects treat him thus? But you may reply, "I do not contend for what you have described. I would not only have them real or mental christians, but likewise avowed disciples, by submission even in immersion." But all the mischievous force of your doctrine remains to divide christianity. One professes faith in the Saviour, and you tell him that he is now a real disciple of Christ, a christian to all intents and purposes; but must also teach him that there is one important promise comprised in the last words, most solemn words of the just ascending Saviour, which he cannot as he is, he must not presume to claim on earth, to wit: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." "But, sir, did you not teach me that my heart being duly affected and improved, of which I am the sole judge on earth, I was thereby constituted a real christian? I desire no more; and shall proceed to unite myself to some of the pious sects of the day, who discard as unnecessary, and as you admit it to be, a mere avowal of what I am,--your baptism." And can you venture to say to such a one, that by his course of disobedience to the Lord, you infer that his heart is not divinely changed? Or must you not rather concede that the doctrine which you so honestly and zealously propagate with all the multitude of sects, is of all things the best calculated to make sectarians, distract christendom, destroy the unity of the body of Christ, and make by human tradition the commandments of God of no effect? Such a cause as that for which you contend, can hardly fail to produce the most lamentable effects upon the materials produced by our world Why, sir, so extensively destructive is it of every thing like a submission to the requisitions of the Saviour, that it is now-a-days no strange thing for every upright man, who seems religiously disposed, to be spoken of as a christian. Christianity demands the whole man, soul, body, and spirit; and not only in mind and in word, but also indeed and in truth. She claims him for her own, making him so internally that he may consummate her work by becoming so externally.
This branch of the subject of discipling, being all that I thought it proper to take up, the main question having been pretty fairly settled, is respectfully submitted by
Testimony of an Individual,
IN FAVOR OF THE ANCIENT GOSPEL.
Dear brother Campbell,
AS I have been induced, within the last few weeks, to embrace the principles of the reformation, I wish to present you with a brief account of my religious career, hoping it may prove advantageous to some of your readers. The joy and peace which fill my heart, constrain me to bear testimony to the power of the ancient gospel.
All my endeavors, since I began to think any thing of religion, have been directed to the pursuit of that peace of mind, which I was persuaded the gospel of Jesus was calculated to impart. I sought it, too: in a way in which others told me they had found it, as being nearest to the truth of any. I sought faith by special operation--was buried with Christ in baptism--was orthodox in my sentiments--consistent in my conduct--was prepared in a College for the ministry--and preached, as I thought, the gospel to perishing sinners. But, alas! I found no peace--there was always an aching void within--there was trouble and perplexity, instead of peace and confidence. Arminianism I abhorred, and Calvinism did not suit me. The numerous difficulties and inconsistencies which beset all the doctrines, as held by the sects, were insuperable objections to my receiving them. I was too refractory to submit to human arguments and decisions, while my conscience and judgment could not give them the most unqualified approval.
When I could not find satisfaction in the systems, as taught by men, I turned my attention to the conduct of the Christian world, hoping there to find something satisfactory. I was persuaded that holiness of heart and life was the only true test of the religion of Jesus. But in this respect I was more perplexed than ever. The only conclusion I could make, was either that religion was not true, or that professors were ignorant of its nature and tendency. It seemed that by some means, the fountain of life was corrupted; and, consequently, that all the streams partook of its impurity. Religion was spread extensively, but it was only in name. There was the form of godliness without the power--a great profession of love, but there was little of that spirit of submission to the authority of Jesus, by which love can be evidenced. There was disunion, uncharitableness, want of confidence, envy, strife, underhand dealings, and an almost total conformity to the world--and, awful to relate, among the ministers of the word, who set themselves up as examples to the flock, there was proverbial inconsistency, and greater domestic unhappiness in their families, than is found in the families of the world.
With these considerations there was also another, which filled up the measure of my perplexity--the tendency of all systems to engender bondage. O! I could tell tales of woe, that would move the hardest heart. Many have I known, who, in search of hope and peace, had been driven to despair, and were for years the children of the  deepest affliction. Often has it been my lot to be invited to administer comfort to the broken-hearted; and in directing the weary and heavy laden soul to the Son of the Blessed, the friend of sinners, I have sometimes succeeded and oftener failed. But I enjoyed not myself the peace I was the means of imparting. Every thing, in a word, combined to unsettle my mind and convince me that all was wrong in the Christian world.
In this state I remained a considerable time, and having travelled through various parts of England and Scotland for three years, I resolved on giving up the ministry and proceeding to America. I hoped in Canada to find the state of religion more congenial to my feelings than I had found it at home. It was my design to settle on land, and make myself useful on the Lord's day. I arrived at Upper Canada, September, 1831, and in a short time joined a Baptist church; but I found the state of things nearly the same. In some matters there was a reformation--in a plurality of elders and weekly communion; but the errors at the fountain head were still the same, and consequently there was no change in the state of my mind. I then began more boldly to investigate the systems of men. For some time the system by which my views had been formed prevented me from doing this in a way that promised a satisfactory result. However, one thing led on to another, till I had got to a considerable extent on the principles of the reformation. I opened my mind to a friend, and intimated my intention of renouncing all sects and going forth as a missionary to show men how far they had departed from the truth.
About this time I had a long and interesting conversation with a pious follower of Jesus, who had long renounced all human systems. The popular notion of special influences was the chief subject of our discourse. Prior to this I had been quite unsettled on the subject; but was really afraid of venturing too far on what I thought dangerous ground. He greatly relieved my mind, and at the same time told me of your publications. With the greatest eagerness I obtained as many of them as I could, and read them--O! with what feelings I leave you to conjecture. They were the messengers of peace to me, and with a grateful heart I wish to acknowledge the advantage I have derived from perusing them. I opened my Bible with new eyes--a world of light burst upon my soul--I discovered the beauty and divine simplicity of the gospel of Jesus, so as I had never seen it before--I felt that I only then began to exist--the world was no longer a dreary blank--I saw for what purpose I was placed in it, and my heart became the abode of peace, of purity, and love.
O what a luxury it was to read the blessed words of eternal life, and discover the harmony and tendency of all its parts!--to see Jesus seated on his glorious throne, requiring the unqualified submission of all his followers, as the test of their devotion and love--and to see in a consistent light the reasons and motives by which obedience was enforced and love brought into operation, and faith and hope confirmed. O! blessed is he whose eyes are opened to see the truth as it is in Jesus! He shall enjoy the peace of God, which passes all understanding, and that joy which is unutterable and full of glory. 
I have only now to add, that with much prayer I have given your sentiments a candid and laborious examination. I have not adopted them at the impulse of the moment, but have carefully compared them with the unerring word of truth; and no way is left me, consistent with my duty and happiness, but to adopt them That you may enjoy the peace and satisfaction which is now my portion, in all your labor of love, and be made the means of imparting the same to many, is the earnest prayer of yours, affectionately, in the bonds of the gospel,
|February 16, 1833.|
Progress of Reform
|KING & QUEEN, VA. 1st January, 1835.|
Brother Campbell--ANY thing concerning the present reformation, whether favorable or otherwise, from the different parts of our country, will be considered more or less worthy of a place in the Harbinger. If things go it with us, it is well to be known, that a remedy may be applied if possible; and if well, then we may rejoice, give thanks, and take courage.
I design to furnish a brief sketch of the religious, or some of the religious movements and affairs of this neighborhood. A mere letter is all I wish to offer. But by the way it may be remarked, that the last nine years having developed so many valuable results touching the Christian religion, in this quarter, as well as in many others, ranging from high-toned, strait-jacketed Calvinism, to what is commonly called Campbellism among us; the last to be learned particularly and only among the files of the Religious Herald; ii seems very desirable that something in form of a short history of these important events be prepared faithfully for the use of future generations. If this is not shortly done, the methodus medendi of old diseases will be forgotten and the actual means of cure denied. But it may be better let alone, for aught I know, at least for a while; for some people would choose to remain sick rather than to acknowledge a cure by certain agents; and some who are getting well, might relapse.
A considerable sensation seems to pervade the community of our Baptist brethren. Never, probably, did a more extraordinary state of things exist. While, on the one hand, some of the more conspicuous leaders of the Dover Association, are anathematizing the reformers, the arrogant reformers, and deprecating before Heaven the demoralizing and disorganizing tendency of their views and practices, they are actually thrusting themselves into the very course to which we are endeavoring to point our fellow-creatures. Let it be understood, however, that they are not chargeable with saying all we say, though they require and do the greater part of what we ourselves do. Though they like most of the things very well, they heartily abhor the circumstance that forces them to confess, that while they were dreaming away their twenty, thirty, or forty years, it fell to the lot of others to develope views and practices consonant with the word of life, and most happily adapted to the capacities and wants of men. And now, nothing in the world can more highly offend such, than the suggestion that they have been sleeping: and yet, most strange to tell! many of them will frequently spend an hour in lecturing one another, especially when a particular stir is desired, upon the text, "it is high time to awake out of sleep," &c. without ever imagining that, in a religious sense, they might be as sound asleep as their hearers. But as we would do to others, should we not be willing they should do to us? It is no strange thing to hear from the pulpit a torrent of hard sayings of the reformers and their sayings and doings; and yet the more discerning, who have made themselves acquainted with the course pursued by us, say that these very person:  frequently enforce some of the most prominent features of the reformation; taking care, be it remembered, always to avoid what Peter told the inquiring penitent Jews on the day of Pentecost. Let alone remission of sins, and all else may be said. How long is this state to continue? I should say, until the public mind is fairly enlightened upon these topics, and the brethren who thus act are made ashamed of their perverse course. But we derive great courage from even this state of things. It teaches us that truth is mighty, and may one day or other prevail. We are thus made confident that we are not propagating wicked nonsense, but the simple way of life and salvation; and like Paul we are enabled to rejoice at the promulgation of truth in any quantity or under any circumstances.
Take things all in all in this quarter, and we may say that they promise well. An originally primitive church has been organized in Caroline county; one chiefly from Piscataway church, in Essex; the Lower College church, in King William; another from the Mangohick division in the same county; the Upper College church, in the same county; and what will probably be called the Union church, in this neighborhood, out of Bruington, have all, in one way or another, taken up the reformation. Besides which, it is believed that most of the churches between this section and the bay shore are favorable to the cause. The effects of the proceedings of the late Dover Association, I trust, will be truly serviceable. We humbly hope that the great body of the people within the limits of this body will act for themselves, above the guardianship of this most extraordinary dictator. We hope further, that our Baptist brethren, only a small, very small part of whom, we think, would deliberately take this stand, will likewise do themselves the justice to hear and judge for themselves. I have prepared a reply to the report of the Association, for which a place was sought in the Herald, through whose pages the report had been circulated; but in vain. I asked for a place for the reply of the Lower College church; which was also refused. These documents will probably appear in a few weeks in pamphlet form.
You know the Baptists are admonished not to "encourage" or "countenance" the persons cut off. But I find that the bull is not so readily swallowed. Many of the Baptists in this quarter are the legitimate sons of the fathers of the Revolution;--they feel still the influence of that noble triumph; and while the tree of civil liberty withstands the tempests of time, they will never--no, I feel certain that they will never yield their rights of conscience to the domination of a clerical despotism. You have doubtless ere this seen the worse than abortive effort of Elder Broaddus to clear up this matter.
What a cruel word is persecution! This brother is naturally opposed (in other words, his temperament is altogether contrary) to such grating and harsh charges; and were his premises but sound, or did his exposure of your sayings about the Association possess any premises, then might his conclusions be called arguments of different sorts, as he says they are. As there is certainly no fitness in his illustrations, it would have been beside the power of any other art than sophistry, to produce any thing like an argument from them. He seems not to notice the difference between a schism and a mere division or separation of a religious body; nor, that we neither present the case of an excluded member of a church, (who of course has been charged, proved to be guilty of sin, and condemned by the law of God, not the church or association, without charge, witness, or law)--or the case of the Paidobaptists. Now if Elder Broaddus has laid his charge correctly as to this last argument, alleging that you have excluded the Paidobaptists, I shall be glad to know when and where it happened. But we expect you to do both him and the public justice upon this exposure.
I intended to include the constitution of the congregation recently organized in this neighborhood, but do not find room. The congregation is going on well, meeting and breaking bread, &c. nearly every Lord's day. It has somewhat over thirty members, nearly all from Bruington. Among other strange things, the mother church, Bruington, presents at this time quite an  interesting aspect. Compared with her order ten years ago, it is truly astonishing, and cheering to every friend of a growth in grace and knowledge. Within the last few months her members have been in the habit of meeting every Lord's day, reading the word, praying, giving words of lecture and exhortation, and singing psalms or spiritual songs. "Surely into the very ancient gospel itself," you are ready to exclaim. But not quite; yet so near it, we cannot for our life see why they should not break bread and make regular contribution. And after all, these brethren, many of them at any rate, seem proud to take a stand against the reformation!
With one more remark I must close my letter. It is a fact, which I presume none will deny, that the great mass of the intelligent members who came into the Baptist churches about us, in 1831, stand upon reformation principles. They made no pretensions to extraordinary manifestations, set forth none in their details of experience, and will now, I have no doubt, declare their hope of future happiness not to depend chiefly upon frames of mind, but upon the immutable promises of God and a correspondent deportment. All these things declare our labor not to be in vain in the Lord. Great efforts are made in this quarter to keep down this work. It was so in the days of Christ and the Apostles; and as those efforts then only set off truth more strikingly, so now must great things be accomplished among an intelligent and inquisitive people. I still trust that the Baptist people will he one, and that the day is not very remote when we shall again worship under the same vine. But we must first witness and have to bear much distraction and hard treatment. In accordance with the wishes of the Association, and I apprehend somewhat with the heart of the individual, a respectable minister was requested a few weeks ago to announce notice that I would deliver a discourse at a certain place of worship, free for all parties; which he refused to do, admitting at the same time, that he would treat the reformers as gentlemen and friends, [mark it!] but would not do this thing!
Wishing you grace, mercy, and peace, I remain yours in the hope of the gospel.
|J. DU VAL.|
|JACKSON, Lawrence county,
November 29th, 1832.
THE doctrine of reformation is rapidly progressing in our remote territory. All the preachers of the Baptist denomination, who are men of intelligence, and who know any thing of the ancient order of things, are proclaiming it, fearless of opposition.
Other denominations are beginning to see, "as through a glass darkly," and some are striving to get into the full glow of gospel light. Those who are wedded to the present order of things appear determined to live in Babylon, and to share her destinies; but they are few. All that is lacking with us to restore a pure speech to the Israel of God, is more information. For this, you must know, we are in some degree lacking. Though we have the Bible, the original source of true information, yet the sheep of God's fold have been divided in a dark and cloudy day, and a veil has been cast over all nations by the disquisitions and commentaries of the various sectaries which have spread over Christendom; so that every sectary sees through their respective glasses, so that the Bible must read as does the creed. Thus men are infatuated, and the light extinguished.
|DAVID ORR. |
|FAYETTE COUNTY, Ind. February 12, 1833.|
THE disciples are multiplying, and the proclaimers are becoming more skillful in handling the word of life. A few churches round here have prevailed on brother O'Kane to take the field for one year. He is an indefatigable and faithful laborer; nor does he labor in vain. There has been added to the army of the faith one for every day he has been in the field. He was formerly of the "Christian" body; and I am sorry to say that some of them have joined with the sectarians to bring him into disrepute; but they have overshot their mark, and I have no doubt it will turn out to the advancement of the kingdom. I think, my dear sir, there is a mistake in sending out one by one. The Lord of life sent out two and two. The church at Jerusalem sent out Peter and John; the church, or rather the Holy Spirit, sent out Paul and Barnabas; Barnabas took John Mark, and Paul took Silas; but in all the good book where do we read of their sending out but one? Ought not this to be considered? The question now is, How were the churches able to do this? Now, brother, I want to provoke you in your luminous and forcible manner to answer this question, by setting before the churches the first 8 verses of John's letter to Gaius, and other portions of the same import. Letters of recommendation, then, will be letters of credit; and the brethren bearing testimony of the good deeds of the faithful, will provoke very many. This is surely a part of the new institution. I am sorry I cannot add, that the churches here have become imitators of the churches of God which were in Judea in Christ Jesus. I do not know, nor have I heard of one congregation in this state who are walking in all the commandments and institutions of the Lord blameless. We have middle ground men here. They would be reformers, could they be leaders.
|FAYETTE, Mo. Feb. 9, 1833.|
FROM these western ends of the earth, I have thought proper to write a line or two to you, and inform you that the progress of reform is making some pretty good show amongst us. A small church has been raised up in this town amidst severe opposition, and persecution from professors of different creeds; but hitherto we have stood firm and unshaken on the word of God as the only rule of our faith and practice as disciples of Christ.
On last Lord's day a Methodist Preacher, by name William W. Redman, in high standing in the Methodist Episcopal Church, immersed six adults near this place, four of whom were sprinkled before, one thirty years of age. During the whole time the candidates were immersed, the Presiding Elder and the Preacher in charge of this Circuit, stood on the bank at some distance from the water, with looks and exclamations of considerable disapprobation; but the candidates were determined to be immersed; and the preacher, at all hazards, would not lose them from his church on that account. 
I will now inform you, that not long since there came several papers into this office, directed to the subscribers of the Millennial Harbinger at Fayette. On examining them they proved to be an Extra of the Christian Herald, containing an abusive letter addressed to you by S. C. Jennings, which no doubt you have seen by this time. I took the liberty of returning them to the publisher.
Yours in the bonds of Christian fellowship,
|VICTORY, N. Y. February 10, 1833.|
THE ancient gospel is gaining ground more rapidly that I could have supposed. After a protracted struggle to obtain articles of faith introduced into the church, (for we had not used any for more than three years,) we have finally separated; and the brethren and sisters who wished to be guided by the Scriptures alone, have associated together, elected their officers, and are endeavoring to maintain the ancient order of God's house. Our number is between 30 and 40. Our Baptist brethren are very industrious, laboring to misrepresent our views, and to support their idol of 18 Articles. In the town of Ira, adjoining Victory, the good seed of the kingdom has been sown with good effect. Nine disciples organized by choosing their Bishop and Deacon; one was immediately received, two confessed their faith the next Lord's day, and are only waiting for much water that they may be baptized. Others will soon make the good confession; and a considerable number will soon join them from the Baptist church in Cato and Ira.
|JOHN M. BARTLETT.|
|BEAVERTOWN, O. February 12, 1833.|
THERE was a church planted at this place several years ago by B. H. Miles and some other laborers in the Christian cause, which grew for a season. About four years since brothers Hughes, Rogers, Secrest, and Mitchell, held a three days meeting, proclaiming immersion for the remission of sins. Several came out in the reformation; and the former church would not fellowship those of the late reformation. Their Elder (F. Edward) took a journey into Babylon, and nearly all the disciples followed and fell in with the Reformed Methodists. We endured considerable persecution; met nearly every Lord's day for prayer and exhortation, without much prosperity. Last year our congregations began to increase. In this place and its vicinity there have been between twenty and thirty immersed, several of them belonging to the Methodist Episcopal Church; of course we have been scorched with the fire of zeal. But amidst all this persecution and misrepresentation our congregations continue to increase, and frequent additions are made.
|HENRY J. DEAVER.|
|GENEVA, Morgan county, Ill. February 4, 1833.|
THE good cause is still gaining ground here, and challenging investigation in almost every mind. I am glad to see it so. Brother  Josephus Hewitt has immersed between sixty and seventy persons at Carrolton, Greene county, who are said to be doing well, though they meet with much opposition from their sectarian neighbors. They meet every "first day" to observe all the ordinances of the Lord's house; and there is generally some addition or additions.
At Winchester, 16 miles west of Jacksonville, the disciples formed themselves into a congregation, eight weeks since, in order to worship God, and build each other up in 'the most holy faith.' They number about twenty. Some additions were expected yesterday; but I have not heard whether their anticipations were realized.
At Jacksonville there are occasional additions, and the brethren walk together in love, and grow in favor and in the knowledge of the truth, as even their enemies acknowledge; and the more mild generally remark, "There is one thing in the reformers which, to say the least, I like--that is, the simplicity of their manner and their order." I hope this "simplicity and order" will continue to be their characteristics. If the disciples but do their duty, all will be well.
|HENRY A. CYRUS.|
Pike County, Missouri,
February 7th, 1833.
Dear Brother--SINCE I received the Prospectus you sent me, a number of us have organized under the New Testament alone; and as a congregation we discard all human and authoritative creeds, traditions, and humanisms, believing them to be unscriptural and unworthy bonds of union. Our number is thirty-four, and we look for an increase at our next meeting. The sects have commenced persecution, and are rallying their forces for a crusade against us. May the Lord help us to brook sternly all opposition and sustain the best of all causes! It is beginning to be discovered that the Methodist fortress is not impregnable here, for the ancient gospel has actually penetrated her walls, and several have been immersed for remission. The Baptists, to whom some of us formerly belonged, are very proscriptive; though, I think, to no profit. People are beginning to read for themselves; light is elicited, priestcraft is losing its charms, and of course sectarianism and infidelity must recede. It is not my opinion that the sects will possess themselves of the great valley of the Mississippi, for which they have been striving. There are three congregations of reformers here, viz.--at Ramsay's Creek, Pike county; Culver, Lincoln county; and at Troy, Lincoln county; all within the compass of 20 miles.
Since writing the above I have been informed by a brother, that another congregation has recently been formed in the compass above named.
|FLEMING COUNTY, Ky. January 14, 1833.|
THE Baptists in my neighborhood, unanimously declaring in favor of a restoration to apostolic order in the church, we united on the Bible and organized a church upon the new institution. This union  embraced members from four sects, viz.--Baptists, Methodists, Christian body, and Tunkers. This church consists of about one hundred members, and we are prospering. We are walking in love, and are of the same faith, acknowledging the "one Lord, one faith, and one baptism." Brother Batson, of Millersburg, Ky. visits us monthly. He is an able proclaimer of the ancient gospel. Much remains to be done; but by the grace of God we are for carrying out the principles of the reformation until the church of Christ is purged of all the filth that attends bigotry and sectarian spleen. O that the Lord may help us to cry aloud and spare not, nor rest short of enjoying fully the faith once delivered to the saints!
My mother, now 82 years old, having lived in England during the reformation under the ministry of John Wesley and others, and heard them preach, was made a subject of grace; and now half a century has elapsed, she has embraced the primitive faith and practice more perfectly. She was recently baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. My wife, also, who has been among the Methodists 23 years, has submitted to the government of the great King, and has put him on by baptism. Blessed be the name of the Lord! I rejoice in the truth, and feel that I am the Lord's free man.
|JOHN P. VAUGHAN.|
|MAURY COUNTY, Ten. December 15, 1832.|
I WILL first inform you that the little flock in this settlement, invidiously denominated heretics; but properly the disciples of Jesus, are in sound health. Although their number has not rapidly increased, yet they are living in perfect peace. Now and then one makes the inquiry, "What shall I do?" Peter's answer is in the mouth of every reformer. Obedience to his directions has seldom failed of producing the desired effect--peace of mind. I cannot forbear remarking that an elderly lady, who had been a member of the Presbyterian church 50 years in Ireland and America, observed not long after her immersion, on the subject of remission, that 'whether water washed away sins or not, she did not pretend to say; but since she had obeyed the Lord she enjoyed that peace of mind to which all her lifetime she had been a stranger; that in her moments of distress she had applied to the dead and the living for direction, but not one could give the direction of the Apostles, which she no sooner heard than she obeyed, and found that salvation which she so long earnestly sought.' This woman is intelligent and happy, and an active member of society.
|JAMES N. BROWN.|
|SYRACUSE, N. Y. December 30, 1832.|
I HAVE said nothing of the progress of reform in this vicinity, presuming you will have heard before this from brethren Hayden and Moss, who can doubtless give a more correct account than I can, though their visit was short. We hope to see them again in the Spring. Unfortunately I live at a distance of about 30 miles from a congregation of disciples, and cannot meet with them often. I have no reason to complain. I had rather live alone under the ancient  gospel, than in fellowship with multitudes under any sectarian system. When first arraigned as a heretic, I knew nothing of those brethren who have since associated themselves together in the adjoining counties; nor did I anticipate more than sympathy, at the time, from the brethren and sisters in the church; but some of them went with me, and there was a prospect of many more being convinced of the true state of things: but the sudden death of the Elder who had managed the whole affair, sanctified his measures to some and neutralized them to others. Elder Thomson, then settled in Cicero, a town in this county, attended a council called by this church, which induced him to inquire, "What is C------ism?" The consequence was, he became a subscriber for the Millennial Harbinger, was dismissed from his congregation, and I understand those persons most forward to condemn him are now as "heretical" as he, and that many subscribers are found among them, and also that his place is supplied by another as heterodox as any of them, and he is propagating his sentiments in another place. Thus error always defeats itself.
As another specimen of the signs of the times, I will give an extract from the Minutes of the Onondaga county Association for 1832:--
"Resolved, That whereas reports are in circulation that the Victory Church have by vote abandoned their articles of faith and covenant, to which they professedly adhered when they united with us, thereby giving reasons to suspect that they have departed from the faith; that a committee be sent to visit said church, and inquire into said reports.
"Appointed brethren ------ to visit V. C. Com. to meet, &c. on the second Wednesday in Jan. next, and report at the next session of this body."
That grace, mercy, and peace may attend you and all the advocates of the ancient gospel, is the fervent prayer of yours in the one faith!
|W. ANN LATHROP.|
[The Lord bless all who love his kingdom and appearing!]--ED.
Philalethes to A. B. G.
Dear Sir--IN a letter so short as that of A. B. G. published in the last number of your Harbinger, I have seldom seen so much of something which I forbear to name. The author asks to he pointed to the place in sacred writ, which records the fact, that Adam was made in the image of God. If the gentleman will look at the 27th verse of the 1st chapter of Genesis, he will find the fact asserted and recorded in express terms. And for scriptural evidence that man is an immortal being, he is referred to Rom.2. 7. 1 Cor. 15. 53. 2 Tim. 1: 10. where the immortality of the human being is asserted expressly; and to 1st Thess. 4: 17. 2 Thess. 1: 9. 2: 16. 1 John 5: 11, 43, and other passages innumerable, where man's immortality is affirmed by an implication, yielding a certainty not inferior to express words. For how can that which exists not, be forever with the Lord, or suffer everlasting punishment, or enjoy everlasting consolation, or become the recipient of eternal life? But, without doubt, the immortality which  belongs to God is it many respects very different from that which belongs to man; particularly in this, that it constitutes an attribute of his nature, and is indestructible; whereas the immortality of a creature, being but a gift of the Creator, must, as to its nature, rest on his will for its duration, and of course be liable to be withdrawn or destroyed. There is, then, a sense in which God alone can be said to have immortality, and a sense in which a creature may also possess it.
Here, putting his cobweb wheel in operation, the author gives us some rare productions. He tells us that Christ, after his resurrection, was immortal; Plainly implying that anterior to that event nothing immortal appertained to him. But what sort of mortality belonged to his divine nature, and to that most precious thing, which, when his animal frame was just becoming an unsuitable habitation for it, he so feelingly consigned to the care of his heavenly father, Philalethes is unable even to conjecture. That Adam's body and the bodies of his progeny have been hitherto mortal, is a fact which all admit; but does it follow, that because their bodies have been and still are mortal, that there is nothing immortal belonging to them? Surely not. For scripture assures us that something, at least, of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, continued to live after their bodies were long reduced to dust; and certainly Paul expected that something belonging to him would continue to live after his body should pass into the same condition.
The author tells us that Christ was the image of God, and he alone. And we admit that Christ not only was, but still continues to be the image of God, in a sense in which no mere creature ever was or can be, he being the effulgence of his Father's glory and the exact image of his substance, so perfectly exact, that with truth it could be predicated of him, that he who has seen me has seen the Father--I and my Father are one. But though Christ possesses a universal preeminence, of which the ineffable exactness of his likeness to him Father constitutes a distinguished part, it does not follow that merely human creatures do possess a fainter resemblance; and scripture positively asserts that at least Adam did; and if he did, it was certainly a mental and not a corporeal similitude which he bore to God.
He further informs us, that we infer, (but on what authority beside his own fancy he has neglected to tell us,) that Adam's body was made in imitation of Christ's body; that is, in imitation of a model, which had then no existence, nor for 4000 years afterwards. This is truly tough, hard doctrine. Who can understand it? It so, however, happens that Scripture tells us just the reverse--that Christ's body was made in imitation of Adam's body, or at least of a human body. For he took the form of a bondman, was born in the likeness of men, and fashioned as a man; in short, he assumed our nature and condescended to appear in a body formed in exact imitation of Adam's body; and this most marvellous stoop constituted no small part of his humiliation.
When Philalethes asserted the similitude of man to his Maker, certainly it will not be supposed that he meant a corporeal resemblance; for that would ascribe to God a body like our own; but a mental  resemblance, consisting in intellection and endless duration; the one rendered certain to us by experience or consciousness; the other, by the testimony of sacred writ, which has brought the knowledge of life and immortality into our benighted world.
Had, then, Philalethes no other cause than what appears in A.B.G's short letter4 to glory in his contention for the Scriptures, the whole Scriptures, and nothing but the Scriptures, he presumes he would have enough to justify his exultation, How much more, then, when it is absolutely certain that by this contention, successfully prosecuted, alone can mankind be delivered from the pernicious influence of the senseless ill-founded reveries and dreams of self-conceited men, and the nominally Christian world, from the huge mass of impure faith that floats in it like rotten weeds on the pestilential surface of a stagnant lake. Should, therefore, A. B. G. persist in offering more remarks, it is hoped he will render them more worthy of his time, and better calculated to reward the reader's time and labor in perusing them, than those in his letter.
P. S.--Your last Harbinger came not to hand till Saturday last. When, however, it arrived, it brought abundant compensation for its delay. You cannot conceive the delight which I felt on looking at the three or four letters of my venerable preceptor, the learned, modest, good, and most amiable Dr. Beattie. I am more indebted to these two remarkable men, Beattie and Campbell, than to all the world beside. It was under their instruction and example that I first contracted an aversion to bigotry, and a contempt for bigots of all sorts. Had it not been for their counsel, I would, no doubt, have lived a mean slave to great names all my days. Until I read it in your preface to these letters, I was quite ignorant of the fact that any of Dr. Beattie's were ever published. I should be glad to get a copy of them.
Notice and Apology.
ALTHOUGH I have deferred several pieces in our regular series to make room for our correspondents, we have been unable to publish the one half of the communications forwarded, deserving a place in this work. The crisis in Virginia demands special attention. The posture of affairs in Eastern Virginia, relative to reformation, is rather somewhat extraordinary. Nothing but the press of business in our office, prevents our issuing a few Extras for Virginia on Virginia affairs. Who could have believed, a few years ago, that certain good, and mild, and liberal-minded leaders among the Baptists, could have been compelled to the singular alternative of making it a crime deserving of censure, to read this periodical! Was there ever a victory in argument so unequivocally conceded by the vanquished as this? It is now admitted if our writings are read the cause we plead cannot be resisted. Gentlemen, you cannot long retain a dominion over the faith of those who have any conscience which requires your admirers to shut both their eyes and their ears. Communications on hand, of importance, bearing upon the times, shall appear as soon as we can find room for them.
[The Millennial Harbinger, 4 (March, 1833): 97-144.]
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The Millennial Harbinger, Vol. IV, No. III (1833)
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