[Table of Contents]
Alexander Campbell, ed.|
The Millennial Harbinger, Vol. IV, No. IV (1833)
Number IV.----Volume IV.
Bethany, Va. April, 1833.
SIGNS OF THE TIMES.
CHRIST'S SECOND COMING CONSIDERED, WITH THE
"Behold the Bridegroom comes: go you out to meet him."
|By S. M. M'CORKLE,--a Layman.|
THE SIX SEALS.
WE purpose examining some of the most prominent predictions which are standing unfulfilled--those in the portentous future. Predictions which are past we look at as we view the bow of the great Creator on a cloud which is past; but many of those in the future we view as a gathering storm, rising in dark majesty; charged with thunder, strong with tempest, and stretching widely across our horizon. With these views, dare I be silent? Believing thus, may 1, through fear of blundering, hold my peace? What kind of an excuse will this be when summoned before the tribunal of the KING OF KINGS? How much will a little blunder weigh in the scale of omnipotence--how much, compared to the plaudit of the Master, "Well done good and faithful servant"? If I can but rouse in some few individuals the spirit of investigation in the examination of these matters, l shall not lose my reward. I despair of being generally useful; or of being  impartially heard by very many. Trite repetitions, or the want of method will be pardoned by those who will candidly examine these matters for themselves. A large part of christendom will not believe though one should rise from the dead.
The most alarming and the most misapplied prophecies in the whole Bible, may be found, Revelation chapter sixth, from the twelfth verse to the end. Our priests, almost universally, quote the prophecy as a portrait of the final day: never dreaming that it is to have its special accomplishment on themselves. The passage cannot be applied to the final judgment without involving the rudest absurdities and inconsistencies.
First, this sixth seal, if thus applied, must be prematurely introduced, and inspiration must have made a blunder by transposing the seals--for the seventh evidently relates to this world again. Prayers of the saints, a censer, incense, fire cast into the earth, voices, thunderings and lightnings, and an earthquake; all this after the dissolution of nature under the sixth seal! Now who is to he saddled with this blunder? Inspiration, or the "specially called and sent" embassadors!
A second most insuperable difficulty presents itself in the following: "And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth." The passage plainly implies number, many--"As a fig tree casteth her untimely figs when shaken of a mighty wind." Ask the astronomer how many stars, in the common acceptation, can fall to this earth, many of them larger than our world, and most likely would fall to the sun, if there was any thing like up or down with them. Now if our divines do not misapply God's word, it must clash rudely with the laws of nature. They call the Apocalypse a book of metaphors, yet apply it literally. "And the heavens departed as a scroll when it is rolled together." The passage, if applied literally, takes into its range, a ruin without limit, without parallel, and, with due respect to the opinions of others, without foundation in God's word, which would be but a blot on the face of Deity, and which God, to speak with reverence, can have no pretext for consummating. Is Omnipotence, with a single sweep, to obliterate the innumerable suns and systems which glow and sparkle throughout immensity of space, just for the purpose of giving intelligences a specimen of destroying power! Now, reader, can your imagination grasp the extent of space? Infinity presents itself at once, glowing with suns innumerable, stars in the crown of Deity, lamps illuminating the great house of Omnipotence, pouring light and heat on their numerous worlds and systems revolving round them--multiplied myriads of intelligences inhabiting and animating the immense whole. Think that at some destined hour, the power, who bade these things be, and they existed, who said, "Let there be light, and there was light," is to stretch over his works the "line of confusion;" blot out those living fires which glow with undiminished lustre in his diadem; leave a solitary waste; depopulate space--a destroying God "o'er ghastly ruin, frowning from his throne!" Is his throne to stand unshaken? Where is Omnipotence to plant his hitherto to the ruin he has decreed? The heavens are involved in the universal wreck. And if one single  star is involved in this prophecy, all are. The idea of applying this prediction literally, began and is continued in the most palpable ignorance of the Bible. "And every mountain and island were moved out of their places" For what offence are the literal mountains and islands to suffer these convulsions? Are they to sustain the mighty wreck, and the balance of the globe to remain unhurt. But this difficulty will be solved, as the others are, by saying, We will understand them when they are past. Some of the learned have racked their invention to find out that "heathen temples and their precincts," and "seaport towns and fortified places" were alluded to in the phrase "mountains and islands." But we cannot look for much better when men attempt to explain things they do not understand.
I have shown three or four difficulties in this one prophecy, which cannot be solved if the present system of teaching be true. I am not invalidating the law or the prophets, but the wretched system of exposition which is gulling the word into ruin. If our teachers have mistaken the meaning of this prophecy, why not others--why not all--aye, and the precepts too? If they are mistaken in this, is it not some evidence that they understand none? for the key which unlocks the one will unlock the whole. And these blunders will terminate as did those of the Jewish rabbis.
If the alarming passage under consideration cannot be applied to the close of time without barefaced inconsistencies, where will we find a legitimate object? When the God of truth uses such language, what kind of events must we expect--when and where are they to have their accomplishment? Reader, if you believe your Bible, can you rest while these questions remain unanswered? On whose comment are you willing to risk your all, your seat at the marriage supper of the Lamb, when the eternal God will let the world know again that the judge of all the earth will do right?
But to understand the Apostle's meaning in this sixth seal, we must take the seals in connexion. I offer my opinion--let not man trust to man--"To the law and to the testimony." If I speak not according to it, it is because there is no light in me.
The Apocalypse is a history of the church. The seven seals may properly be considered the platform of that history, embracing seven great items. The first item shows the introduction of christianity, under the figure of a white horse. The second shows the persecutions which followed--a red horse. The third shows Christianity established by civil authority--a black horse. The balances represent the spiritual laws, church tests, creeds, standards, &c. The fourth, under a figure of a pale horse, shows the church corrupt, sickly, pale, death and hell following; the natural consequence of church establishment. The fifth shows the consequence of corruption--the church lifts the sword of persecution herself--slaughters the saints. This seal probably embraces the whole reign of antichrist, which, according to the best calculations we can make, will close about the year 1847. This is a very short, and positively a true history of the Church, thus far. 
The sixth seal presents the last dreadful item in the history of the dispensation committed to the Gentiles. This closes and perfects the analogy between the Jewish and the Gentile churches. I have already shown that churches or dispensations never renovate after becoming corrupt--have shown that two dispensations have fallen on account of corruption--that the present is following, in close step, the fate of the former, for the same cause--that we cannot expect a better fate while the same holy unchangeable God holds the destinies of dispensations or empires in his hands. I have also shown that the commonly received opinions respecting the meaning of this sixth seal, is absurd or inadmissible. I now propose giving the legitimate and natural meaning of the sixth seal, and I invite scrutiny on the subject; for I will always exchange an error for truth.
First, I will offer a few remarks on the word "heaven." No word in the Bible more misapplied. Throughout the Apocalypse the word may be or should be applied to the church, with but few exceptions. Most Divines will admit this until it involves them in difficulties or their churches in ruin. The Bible is the best interpreter of the Bible, and the words of the Master should silence all cavils:--"From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." "He that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." Many passages of the like import might be quoted. To Peter Christ said, "I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven." This cannot relate to the invisible world. And the very climax of Catholic ignorance and absurdities is to give Peter and his successors jurisdiction in another world--in another state of existence.
We must unavoidably apply the term heaven to the church, or admit things that common sense would revolt at. For the Master farther saith, "Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven." Our scrap-mongers and Doctors (except the Catholic) apply, and justly too, this text to the gospel heavens: yet when these very heavens are to be rolled together as a scroll, they will transfer the application to the celestial world--teach things a full match for that of giving Peter the plenitude of power ascribed to him by the Roman church. But to return: A key is an emblem of government. Peter did open the door into the kingdom of heaven, or the Christian dispensation. See Acts, chap. ii.
We have at least an indubitable warrant for applying the term heaven to the church, and to go into the Revelation without this application of the term, we will find little else than a rude bundle of inconsistencies--See Revelation iii. "And I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth, and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit." To him, (the star) an active agent, was given the key, or government of the bottomless pit.
Some conspicuous character in the church fell from heaven, the purity of the gospel, and to him was given the government of the Catholic church. "He that runs may read." See also, Rev. xii. "And there appeared a great wonder in heaven: a woman, clothed  with the sun, &c. and there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon fought and his angels." The word heaven, in this passage, cannot relate to any thing beyond the limits of our globe. An object to which we can apply the figure of the woman, can be found no where else. The woman was persecuted on earth, let her place of residence be where it may. "And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman." "And the earth helped the woman." Remember, this woman appeared in heaven, and the dragon made war in heaven.--Who will say this woman, and the persecution too, related to any thing but the church? The woman fled into the wilderness--Is there a wilderness in the heaven above? Among the rudest absurdities ever palmed on the credulity of the world, is the transfer of this war to the worlds above. It is the production of a poetical imagination, the merest fiction, dressed up in all the beauties and strength of language, spiced by learning, and made savory by the most imposing decorations; surcharged with heathen mythology, sanctified by universal applause, and handed to the world for the meaning of this war in heaven.1 I will quote another passage where the word heaven must relate to scenes which are to be transacted on earth. Rev. xix. "And the armies in heaven followed him on white horses." "And he treadeth the wine press of the fierceness and wrath of almighty God." Now, reader, enquire where the wine press is to be trodden--ascertain this fact, and you will find out where the heaven is, which is so often alluded to in the Apocalypse. A fatal time, a fatal place, and some fatal spell have so stupefied priests and people, that the most perfect security reigns. The spirit of slumber has locked up the senses, precluding investigation--None enquiring where or when these things are to take place--when the dreadful drama is to be brought upon the stage.
I will now take the prophecy contained in the sixth seal. I have shown that the word heaven uniformly relates to the church, in the Revelation; and that the heaven which is to bed rolled together as a scroll relates to it, and perfectly corresponds with the former seals and with the former dealings of the unchangeable God towards corrupt churches. To apply the term heaven indiscriminately to the church or to the world above, as best suits our purposes, is well calculated to produce the most fatal blunders. The heaven from whence the star fell, in which the woman appeared, in which the war was waged, and in which the winepress is to be trodden, is certainly the church. And the heaven which is to be rolled together as a scroll, and all the alarming metaphors coupled with it, indubitably related to the present church.
"And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal; and lo! there was a great earthquake," [political and ecclesiastical convulsions;] and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became  as blood," [a dread eclipse of the gospel heavens;] "and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth," [church luminaries;] "and the heaven" [the church] "departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places," [governments and petty divisions moved out of their places. A mountain is a figure of a government; as, "The Lord's house shall be established on the top of the mountains"] The whole seal, taken together, is a most impressive description of the last dreadful catastrophe which is to close the present dispensation: the consternation which is to seize our great men and nobles in the church--those who have been gulling and blinding us, as well as those who have been gulled and blinded: one common fate, one common wreck of the church and all its appendages.
That these opinions should have a dangerous or demoralizing effect on a single individual on earth, is utterly impossible. Will a good man relax his exertions to promote the cause of the Master, because he sees the day approaching? He will rather double his diligence. Who, in the midst of the battle, will sit down calmly, with folded arms? Who would not relax his otherwise invincible hold on party names, creeds, and distinctions, if he believed that the Lord, for the controversy of Zion and the corruption of the church, would soon "render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire, and by his sword will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord shall be many." Isa. lvi. But the spiritualizers of the day can turn this into a spiritual flame, a spiritual sword, and a spiritual slaughter, when the time for the mighty outpourings of the Spirit takes place! Happy riddance, happy transformation of the most pointed threatening and alarm into messages of peace and good will!
With the sixth seal I will couple Isaiah xxxiv. The passages are near akin, and must have the same object in view: "And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree; for my sword shall be bathed in heaven." The Prophet then takes the animal creation for a figure, the strong as well as the weak--"the great men and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bond man." And the terms Bozrah and Idumea may properly be considered figurative; for they are significant of trouble and bloodshed, and may relate to the downfall of antichrist. [See Bishop Scott's comment on Isa. xxxiv.] "For the land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness. For it is the day of the Lord's vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion." Here is a reason given: In Christian Zion what else but controversy can be found? And couple this with the treading of the wine press. But our peace-preaching Divines will apply this to the destruction of Jerusalem; and if driven from this, they will find a safe and happy application of this and every other alarming word and metaphor in the Bible, to the dissolution of the material world. But how will they  reconcile the following part of the prophecy to the sack of Jerusalem "The streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch?' And with as little propriety can it be applied to the dissolution of nature. "It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up forever; from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it forever and ever: but the cormorant and the bittern shall possess it; the owl and the raven shall dwell in it," &c. "Thorns shall come up in her palaces, nettles and brambles in the fortresses thereof: and it shall be a habitation for dragons, and a court for owls." Can this take place after nature's dissolution? Can it apply to the destruction of Jerusalem? If not, in the name of Reason where or when is it to have its accomplishment? What fatal spot on earth is to be the theatre of these tremendous judgments? It well becomes our peace-predicting watchmen to show that the prophecy has been fulfilled, or that it does not relate to our world, or that we may safely wait a hundred or two years before these questions need be agitated.
Now it is an unquestionable fact, that sore and heavy judgments have always overtaken men unawares, when most corrupt, and least prepared. And the judgments which are hanging over christendom, are to come as a "thief in the night." "As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be at the coming of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage," &c. The present generation perfectly suits the description, exceeds the past, surpasses any thing known before--for ambition, avarice, enterprize, speculation, intrigue, corruption, crime, "hatred, variance, emulation, strife, sedition, heresies," wars, religious as well as political; priest and people equally bitten with a rage for riches--uniting the happy art of serving God and Mammon too--men running to and fro, and knowledge increasing--iniquity abounding, and the love of many waxing cold. These are "signs of the times"; and come the day when it may, it will find the world in the very situation it now is in--unprepared, filled with discord and war. Why unprepared? Because the watchmen will be sunk in deep sleep, or crying, Peace and safety! when sudden destruction cometh.
God forbid that I should indiscriminately apply Isa. lxvi. 10, 11, and 12 to them. There are some honorable exceptions; but lamentable fact is this: the Prophet drew too plain a portrait of the present, while the former priests sat for the picture. It seems that almost the whole of the prophecies have one concentrating point--the dissolution of the present administration, and the introduction of Christ's universal reign. The old Prophet, after foretelling some unexampled calamity, in the most impressive language, breaks out into a description of Christ's universal reign. In his emphatic way of expression, "The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them! and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose!" 
We shall next hear the testimony of Daniel about these things. He, after describing four empires which were to succeed each other, points by the finger of inspiration to a little horn, or dominion, which was to rise in the fourth, the Roman. In this empire, in its metropolis, rose an ecclesiastic authority, exactly suiting the description. And this horn, or authority, according to prophecy, was to make war on the saints until the Ancient of Days should come.
Now it is a fact quite notorious, that the Catholic church has made war entirely on the saints. There may be a few solitary exceptions. The victims which have fallen by this devoted Mother of Harlots have been the most pious, humble, devotional ones of the earth; not for immorality of conduct, but for wrong faith--for believing contrary to the spiritual laws of that church. Mystical Babylon has followed the steps of ancient Babylon--has resorted to fire, as the most powerful argument to produce conformity, or unity of faith. It cannot be the Christian religion that shows no mercy, whose vengeance knows no parallel this side of hell. There is no tribunal on earth that carries such terror, such petrifying dismay with it, as the Inquisition--none other that brings such an association of dreadful ideas. The Inquisition may not be in full force at the present day; but the very sound is like a death-bell toll.
I would ask, by what authority has it been abolished? Who has opened the prison doors, unlocked its dungeons, broken its chains, rendered harmless its racks and engines of torture, or quenched its fires? Has the church in mercy interposed, or the clergy entered a protest against the effusion of human blood? or has the "earth helped the woman?"--to wit: civil authority, men of the world, put a stop to clerical tyranny--to the inhuman conduct of those who profess to be the embassadors of the merciful Saviour of sinners? And this very church, famous for violating every precept of the gospel--famous for its many prayers to Peter and others--famous for murders and debaucheries of every kind, has transmitted to us the precious boon of ordination, succession of authority, &c. and according to the commonly received opinions of the day--aye, this "Mother of Harlots and abominations of the earth" is to be restored to primitive Christian excellence! A vast majority of Christendom, bound, fettered to this ungodly religion--whose spiritual laws preclude investigation--bigotry, armed with the strength of nations, guarding against the possibility of change. Demonstration, the power of raising the dead, healing the sick, opening the eyes of the blind, could produce but a partial reformation in the Catholic church--about as much as these very things did in the Jewish.
Now, is the church to remain a blot in the face of creation, when the universal reign of Christ commences--or is she to be blotted out? Is she to be reinstated to favor, after martyring millions of Christ's followers, and making war on the saints--or is she to be made a monument of divine displeasure? No doubt in my mind, but the very city Rome is to be destroyed by an earthquake or a volcanic eruption. The fate of Sodom and Gomorrah awaits her. "And the streams  thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone and the land thereof shall become burning pitch; it shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever and ever." Isa. xxxiv.
[To be continued.]
TRINITARIANISM, ARIANISM, & SOCINIANISM.
|FOR THE MILLENNIAL HARBINGER.|
Dear Brother Campbell:
THERE are several of your readers, besides myself, in this vicinity, who respectfully solicit, for the truth's sake, and our fellowship in the same, a brief, but definite explanation of your remarks in the last Harbinger, page 9, on the nature of our blessed Lord. Whether it is to be attributed to obtuseness of understanding on our part, or to indefiniteness of statement on yours, the fact is, beloved, that from the closest attention we are capable of giving to all you have written on this subject, we do not yet understand you.
We are equally opposed with you to "Trinitarian, Arian, and Unitarian speculations on the divine essence." From the systems of fallible and erring men, we trust the Son has made us free. Our desire is, simply to understand what the Spirit of truth teaches on this and every other subject.
Most cordially do we unite with you in acknowledging the Messiah as "a divine person, the only begotten of God." Most devoutly would we love, "worship and adore him" AS "the only begotten of the Father, full of favor and truth." But we tremble at the word of HIM who will not give his glory to another, and we obey that word which teaches us to love and worship the Son "to the glory of God the Father."
Will you favor us with a definite answer to the following queries?
1. Who is the One God, besides whom there is none else--who is to be acknowledged, loved, adored and worshipped as the eternal, unbegotten, independent ALL IN ALL, of whom are all things?
If you reply, in the words which the Holy Spirit teaches, 1 Cor. viii. 6, "the Father," we ask--
2. Do you, in the term Father, used in the above sense as "the one God," include, or exclude the only begotten of the Father, who was with him "before the world was"?
3. Do you, or do you not, understand the terms first, only begotten Son, beginning of the creation of God, first born of every creature, "in the full import and meaning of (these) words," as we do, viz: as teaching, that the Son, in his highest personal nature, is a distinct being from the Father, and had a "beginning" of existence?
4. Do you understand our Lord's words, "My Father is greater than I," in a limited, or unlimited sense? Do you understand him to affirm this without any reservation? When the Son, or Word, was with the Father, before he came down from heaven, was he, or was he not as independently wise, powerful, self-existent and eternal, as the Father? 
5. Do you, or do you not, make a distinction in the worship you offer the Father and the Son? Do you not worship the Son as the begotten of the Father? Do you not worship the Father as unbegotten? Do you not worship him as the one God, OF whom are all things; who, by his own infinite, underived wisdom, power, and goodness, creates, upholds, saves, and judges? Do you thus worship the Son, also? or do you worship him as the one Lord BY whom are all things, by whom God made the worlds, by whom he saves, and by whom he will judge us? Do you not worship the Son to the glory of the Father, and the Father to his own independent glory?
I am aware that an answer to some of these questions will necessarily involve an answer to others; but I have thus presented the subject, that we may, by a singleness of eye to truth and the favor of our Lord, obtain an understanding of what is written in our Father's book concerning his best beloved, and that believing we may have life through his name.
I have too much confidence in your kindness and candor to think that you will decline publishing this communication; nor can I imagine that you will excuse yourself from giving a definite answer (which many, for the truth's sake, are wishing to hear) with the plea that we have presented to your vain speculations. It will not be denied that Jesus Christ is the one God of whom are all things, or he is not. Nor can it be denied that it is important for us to know whether he is so or not, that we may worship with understanding and in truth.
|Yours in the good hope through favor,|
|Hartford, Conn. February 6, 1833.|
TO BROTHER HENRY GREW.
WITH that promptitude and candor due to yourself and those of my readers whom you represent, I proceed to answer the questions which you have so affectionately and respectfully propounded to my consideration.
Averse to all speculations which can have no practical influence on the hearts or behavior of men, the only reluctance which I could feel in replying to some of these interrogatories is their apparent propinquity to the high and cold latitudes of metaphysical theology. In our ascent to these high and cold regions of abstract speculation, it is no easy matter to keep the mercury from freezing. I will, however, attempt to give them as practical an aspect as the off-hand and desultory thoughts of an hour snatched from other pressing subjects of examination will afford.
Before replying to your queries in the form of direct answers, I would request your attention to the following preliminary reflections. These considerations will, indeed, explain some of the reasons which influence the answers which I may tender, and therefore I would urge the necessity of giving them due attention. 
The modus of the Divine existence, as well as the modus of the Divine operations in creation, providence, and redemption, is, to our finite minds, the creatures of yesterday, wholly inscrutable and incomprehensible. On both, the Bible is silent. Becomes it us, then to be dogmatical on such a theme, or to stretch our inquiries beyond the terra firma of revelation?
My principal objection to the popular doctrine of "the Trinity" not that it is either irrational, or unscriptural, to infer that there are three Divine persons in one Divine nature. That these three equally have one thought, purpose, will, and operation, and so one God;--or, to use the words of the Westminster Confession, "In the Unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity;" I say, I object not to this doctrine because it is contrary to reason, or revelation, but because of the metaphysical technicalities, the unintelligible jargon, the unmeaning language of the orthodox creeds on this subject, and the interminable war of words without ideas to which this word Trinity has given birth. For example, in the same section from which I have quoted the above words is found the following jargon: "The Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son."
Were any one to ask me, Can there be three distinct persons, even beings, in one God? I would say, Reason informs me not, and revelation does not assert it. But if asked, Can three be one, and one three in the same sense? I reply, Both reason and revelation say No. But then no Trinitarian or Calvinist affirms that the three are one, and the one three, in the same sense.
Language fails and thought cannot reach the relation in which the Father and the Son have existed, now exist, and shall forever exist. But that there is, and was, and evermore will be, society in God himself, a plurality as well as unity in the Divine nature, are inferences which do obtrude themselves on my mind in reflecting upon the divine communications to our race. I will add, that common sense, reason, an revelation, give one and the same testimony, in my ear, upon this subject.
If you ask me how this can be, I will ask you, How can there be one self existent, independent, unoriginated, eternal God? You will say, I believe, but cannot comprehend. So say I. But while our faith has in its first effort to encounter a truth so incomprehensible and to receive it; a truth so mysterious, supernatural, unsearchable transcendent; a truth which, in its stupendous dimensions, encompasses infinite space, an eternity past--the universe, natural, intellectual, moral; a truth which leaves out no existence, past, present, or future; which overwhelms every intellect, and sets at defiance the combined efforts of all created intelligence:--I repeat it, since this must be the Alpha of our faith, where shall we place our Omega, or the mode of the Divine existence? He that comes to God, must first believe THAT HE IS. 
But I am not more confounded than delighted with the idea of the One, Self-existent, and Eternal God. To me, its incomprehensibility is a source of joy. With exultation I ask, "Who by searching can find out God, or know the Almighty to perfection?" My child says, Who made God? and, methinks, I am no wiser in the estimation of my superiors.
But, Sir, the Alpha and the Omega of all the scholastic strifes about trinity, and all the questions agitated for fifteen centuries on the mode of Divine existence, appear to me to spring from one source. None appears to me to have noticed, with sufficient attention, that there is but one word in the language of mortals which is absolute and irrelative. If angels have a language, although I am in perfect ignorance of their stipulated signs, one thing I can affirm, that they too have but one word in their language which is not relative.
All the names of God are, with the exception of this one, the names of relations. God, Almighty, Lord, Creator, Father, King, Governor, Judge--infinite, omniscient, eternal, &c. If no Satan, there could be no God; if no mighty, no Almighty; if no dominion, no Lord; if no creation, no Creator; if no Son, no Father; if no subjects, no King, &c. But what sublimity, what unspeakable meaning, in the address to Moses, Ex. vi. 2, 3: "And God said to Moses, I am Jehovah. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, by the name of God Almighty; but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them." I AM knows no relation to any creature, or being; to past, present, or future; to time or to eternity. It is equivalent to I exist, a name which cannot be given to any being which by nature is not God, or self-existent.
I repeat it, I am not more bewildered than delighted, in the idea of the incomprehensibility of the name JEHOVAH. And while this name is before us, let me ask the wavering to reflect, how man could be created social, and in the image of God; man, having in his nature plurality, incomplete in one person; for man is not without the woman, nor the woman without the man, in nature or religion. I ask, How could man be created in the image of God, incomplete in one person, social, and necessarily plural; and that God, in whose image and likeness he was created, could be a solitary eternal unit, without society and plurality in himself! This I cannot comprehend, when I believe that God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let him have dominion"; and, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
While, then, I do most cordially repudiate the whole scholastic phraseology of the Trinitarian, Arian, and Socinian speculations, I do not, with some Trinitarians, regard my Lord Messiah as having always been an eternal Son; nor can I, with the Arian, view him as some super-angelic creature, filling an immense chasm between Jehovah and the supernal hosts; and still less can I degrade him, with the Socinian, to the rank of a mere man, the son of Joseph. Common sense, reason, and revelation, put their veto on such hypotheses. No my Lord and Saviour is no creature, nor the son of a creature. In  the beginning he was THE WORD OF GOD, is now the Son of God and will, when government is no longer necessary, be again recognized as the Word of God, "a name which no man knows, but he himself."2
I must be born again, and be endowed with other reasoning powers and have another revelation, before I can become an Arian. I will give you one reason out of a hundred, and but one, because I feel that it alone, if I had not another, would forever preclude the hypothesis: it is, in one sentence, Because the Arian philosophy converts the wisdom of God into folly.
If I am asked to explain how this can be, I refuse not. The Arian toils and sweats, and taxes his ingenuity to show what a glorious creature the Son of God was in his pre-existent state. He fancies and represents the Son as filling some intermediate rank more that midway between the Arch Seraphim and the Deity. He thinks he devoutly consults the honor of the Son, when he finds for him some vacant throne, nearest to the Self-existent and Eternal, beyond the aspirations of the cherubim and seraphim. There he places him, sort of sub-deity, whence he descends to become incarnate. Yet strange to tell, when this first and high-born One, of unrivalled glory amongst the creatures of God, appears in human flesh, he gives him nothing to do, which the son of Joseph could not have done as well!!! Was ever folly more consummate! What is folly, but the adoption of inadequate means to ends? Is it not folly to give a diamond for a straw?--to raise a tempest to move a feather?--to discharge the artillery of heaven against a worm?--to hurl the thunderbolts of Omnipotence against a fly?--to despatch the Arch Angel on an errand which the son of Joseph could have as well performed?
What creature could do more than Abel, Moses, John the Baptist, Stephen, Peter, James the just, or Paul did--tell the truth, the whole truth, lead an exemplary life, and as a martyr offer up his soul to God!3 
What, let me again ask, is folly, if this be not folly? To waste resources, or squander means, is as foolish as not to provide them. He who provides the materials for a palace, and builds a cottage, is as very a simpleton as he who attempts to build a palace out of the materials of a tent. Could not Gabriel, who waited on Daniel on the banks of Ulai; nay, could not Paul himself, do as much for the redemption of the world, as the Arian Son of God? When some philosopher appears, who with a dash of his pen can blot out sin, or show me that the tears of the penitent, or the blood of bulls and goats can wash it from the universe, then, but not till then, will I turn Arian.
For the same, or a similar reason, I cannot be a Socinian. This is but a new edition of the fable--the mountain in labor, and a mouse is born. Heaven taught sages; legislators, kings, prophets, priests, and seers, for four thousand years, filled with the spirit of wisdom and revelation, exhaust all the similitudes, analogies, and imagery of this creation; impoverish the eloquence of heaven and earth, all figures and forms of speech, to raise the expectations of mankind in anticipation of a wonderful child, on whose shoulders the government of the universe was to remain, whose name was written' "Wonderful Counsellor--the Mighty God--the Father of Eternity--the Prince of Peace--Immanuel": yet when the prediction is accomplished, Mary travails, and the carpenter's son is born--a Son of God, it is true, as Adam was!!!
With me, consistency must precede faith. I must see types, figures, prophecies, promises, harmonizing; I must see the means and the end correspondent; I must see wisdom, power, goodness; justice, mercy, love; condescension, truth, and holiness, shining in all the splendors of Divinity, before I can subscribe to any proposition touching the personal dignity and standing of my Lord the King.
It will not suffice to puzzle me with hard questions about how this can be, since my faith has in its infancy to master the master truth of revelation--to admit that God is Jehovah; or, that God was, and always is, the self-existent, immutable and eternal, never-began-to-be, the eternal inhabitant of eternity. Believing this, I find no difficulty in believing that there was, and is, and evermore shall be, society and plurality--a literal I, and thou, and he--a we, and our, and us, in one divine nature. This to me is as easy as the idea of SELF-EXISTENT; yea, more easy when I, and thou, and he deliberate on creation, providence, and redemption. I cannot, for my life, even fancy a nature destitute of I, and thou, and he. I am certain it is not the human--I am certain it is not the angelic--certain, too, that it is not the divine. 
In our nature there is no more than I, and thou, and he, as respects primary relation. There is no more in the angelic, and the Bible reveals no more than I, and thou, and he in the divine. But not turning aside to answer objections which are anticipated, be it observed that I make not this a matter of inference only; for there is an association of the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit in the revealed relation of the three persons, I, thou, and he, and just in the dignity of these three. "I send thee," "I and thou send him," "Jehovah and his Spirit has sent me." On this principle the Christian economy is arranged and developed. So I read the volumes of revelation. These reflections premised, I proceed to answer your ingenious questions:--
QUERY 1, ANSWERED.
Jehovah is the one only living and true God. I cannot adopt the answer you suggest, 1 Cor. viii. 6. for that answers not your question. Had you propounded the question which Paul had in his eye, then I would have given his answer. It was not the contradistinguishing of the Father and the Son, as respects divinity, which Paul had in view; but the contradistinguishing of the "gods many" and the "lords many" of Paganism, from the one God and one Lord of Christians.
QUERY 2, ANSWERED.
As the phrase "one God," 1 Cor. viii. 6. is not applied to the Father, but in contradistinction from "gods many;" so we cannot say that in contradistinction from the Son or only begotten, that it either includes or excludes; for that was not in the mind of the Apostle when he wrote to the Corinthians. The phrase "Son of God" in the New Testament imports a participation of the divine nature. A little more reflection, and I presume you will perceive how I should err were I to answer your first question in the words of 1 Cor. viii. 6. Were you asked, 'Do you, in calling Jesus the one Lord, include or exclude the Father from the nature and essential attributes of the one Lord,' what would you answer? Would you not say, 'The Father is not excluded; for certainly he is the one absolute Lord: for so the Prophets have named and addressed him a thousand times. But now he has made Jesus Lord. So that in the new economy the Father is our only God, and Jesus is our only Lord.'
QUERY 3, ANSWERED.
The word "being," in its full latitude, signifies simple existence; but in its appropriated sense here you mean something more than simple existence. I find the personal pronouns always used in the Holy Scriptures, speaking of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit; and therefore, if I must use an abstract term, I will use person rather than being--though I am not much in love with either. The Scriptures no where teach me that the Son in his highest personal nature had a beginning of being or existence; "the word was in the beginning with God," even that word "which was made flesh and dwelt among us." "The word was God;" and as such, I venerate "the word made flesh," "as God manifest in the flesh." 
QUERY 4, ANSWERED.
"My Father is greater than I," I understand in an economical or restricted sense. But it militates not with the dignity of the Son of God, if, in some sense, the Father was always greater than he. The Trinitarians themselves, who make him an eternal Son, fairly concede this; for a Son is, in some sense, inferior to the Father; while, in another sense, he may be superior. But I regard all that was spoken by Jesus of this import as respecting his state of humiliation and its consequences.
QUERY 5, ANSWERED.
In worshipping Jesus I worship him as my Lord and Saviour, as the Son of God, to the glory of the Father. In worshipping the Father, I worship him through the Son; and therefore I honor both the Father and the Son. But, my dear sir, I do not think of worshipping with that exactitude of which you speak, as if I were to pay so much tax to the King and so much tythe to the Priest. I cannot thus mathematically worship either the Father or the Son. The Father and the Son are one in my salvation. The Father is my God, and Jesus is my Lord. They are one in the admiration of my understanding--they are one in the adoration of my heart.
Thus, brother Grew, if compelled to philosophize, I would answer your questions. I own that much depends upon our views of the personal dignity and standing of the Lord Messiah. Indeed, such was the glory which he had with the Father before the world was, and such is the glory which he now enjoys as Lord of all in our nature, that I think we are much more likely to fail in forming too low, than too high, conceptions of his essential dignity. The Father has so glorified him as our head, and has so signified to us his delight in him, that, of all the texts in the Bible, there is none we could misapply in reference to Jesus more than that which says, "Jehovah will not give his glory to another." He has laid no restrictions upon the admiration and adoration of the human or angelic hosts in reference to his only begotten Son; nay, all angels and men are commanded to worship him. No idolatry in worshipping the King of glory!! I would not for the universe weaken the force of a single expression, or subtract from the boldest metaphor aught of its riches, designed to set forth the peerless claims of our Redeemer to the unqualified adoration of my soul. His is the temple of the universe--his the hallelujahs of the heavens--his the hosannas of the church. All things were created by him and for him. He made himself poor that he might make us rich; and shall our tongues falter in his praise, or our hearts not gladly bear their part in the general song? May it be your and my happy lot to stand before him, when he comes in his glory, approved; and to unite with the admiring and adoring throng, singing--
|To him who lov'd us, and has wash'd
Us from our sins in his own blood,
And who has made us kings and priests
To his own Father and his God,
The glory and dominion be
To him eternally. Amen!
In this blissful hope, I remain yours,
THERE are the internal and external evidences of the Christian religion; and there are the internal and external evidences of Christian character. By the internal evidences of Christian character, we mean the evidences which every individual Christian has that he is born of God--that he is a Christian in deed and in fact. By the external evidences of Christian character, we mean those fruits of the Christian faith which distinguish the "Israelite indeed" from one of the nominal Israel of God, in the judgment of all competent and impartial witnesses. But we now speak of the internal evidences of Christian character; and who is the best author on this subject? We answer, John the Apostle. Our "Christian experience," (pardon this accommodation of a modern non-descript phrase,) is best examined in the light of this luminous author on the internal evidences. Of these the following are chief:--
Personal Internal Evidences of Christian Character.
1. We know that we have passed away from death to life, because we love the brethren. He that loves not his brethren abides in death. On this evidence a question arises--viz. How do we know that we love the brethren? The same author settles this question. "By this we know that we love the children of God: when we love God and keep his commandments." chap. v. 2.
2. "By this we know that we have known God, if we keep his commandments:" and "Whosoever keeps his word, truly in this man the love of God is perfected." By this we know that we are in him. "Now he who keeps his commandments abides in him, and he in him; and by this we know that he abides in us, even by the Spirit which he has given to us."
These two witnesses in us are sufficient. Love to the brethren is distinguished from natural affection and common benevolence by the most unequivocal criteria. It is a love active and operative for the Lord Messiah's sake, terminating upon a person because he is Christ's. The keeping of all the commandments, or that spirit of universal obedience, exciting and stirring up a person to do all that the Lord commands, because he commands it, is as distinct from the lashings of conscience and that servile attention to orders, from a sense of duty, as the affectionate regards of a child to its parents is distinguishable from the unwilling and partial obedience of a slave.
These two witnesses are more credible and responsible than the longest experience ever told, which substitutes any thing else as evidence of Christian character, than what is found written in their testimony by the beloved Apostle.
External Evidences of Christian Character.
1. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.--Jesus. 
2. If you know that the Lord is righteous, you know that every one who works righteousness has been begotten by him.--1 John ii. 29.
Internal Evidences that a Person is a Child of the Devil.
1. Whosoever hates his brother, is a murderer; and, like Cain, is of the wicked one. And no one that hates his brother has eternal life abiding in him.--I John iii. 12, 15.
2. He that works sin is of the devil.--1 John iii. 8.
External evidences that a Person is a Child of the Devil.
In this the children of the devil are manifest: whosoever works not righteousness is not of God; neither he who loves not his brother.--1 John iii. 10.
Infallible Evidences of Self-Deception.
1. If we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in darkness, we lie.--1 John i. 6.
2. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.--1 John i. 8.
3. If a man say, I know him, and keep not his commandments, he is a liar, and the truth is not in him.--John ii. 4.
4. He that says that he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness even till now.--ii. 9.
5. If a man say, I love God, and hate his brother, he is a liar.--iv. 20.
Such are the personal evidences laid down by the infallible pen of this distinguished Apostle of Christ. He who is inquisitive to ascertain whether his heart and life be right in the sight of the Sovereign Judge of all, or whether he be a child of God or of the devil--a hypocrite or self-deceived, needs no other treatise than the catholic epistle of John.
The question of personal interest in the salvation of God, is incomparably the most interesting of all questions. Were a person master of the eloquence of men and angels--could he, in the lofty strains of David and Isaiah--in the glowing and seraphic strains of heaven-taught Prophets, set forth the glory and excellency of the salvation of God--could he describe, with supernatural power and beauty, all the glories which the new heavens and the new earth will unfold--the eternity of bliss, the exceeding and eternal weight of glory which awaits all the righteous--what is it to you or me, candid reader, if we cannot feel that we have a personal interest in it--if we cannot be assured that our individual selves will be partakers of the glory to be revealed? Let us, then, give all heed to make our calling and election certain.
More Ecclesiastical Tyranny.
WE are more than tired of noticing the acts of tyranny and oppression on the part of the opponents of reformation. We publish but a specimen of the documents forwarded to this office. We add the following simple narrative, not for the purpose of demonstrating the manner of spirit of the prime actors--for that has been already done; but we wish to preserve for the benefit of another generation such an amount of well documented argument and proof as must convince all the candid of the just grounds and reasons we have to attempt reformation of manners, and a restoration of the original institutions. We are, indeed, aware that few could believe, without the most overwhelming evidence, that in the year 1833, in the state of Virginia, and amongst Virginia Baptists, such acts as the following could find any acceptance. But it is not only possible and probable, but indisputably certain, that men, formerly the advocates of liberty, tolerance, and the rights of conscience, are, when a suitable occasion offers, as prescriptive and proscriptive, as denouncing and intolerant, as overbearing and vindictive, as any other men, according to the measure of their talents and opportunities.
Let the following documents speak; and, courteous reader, when you have heard, read the catholic epistle of John.
|PETERSBURG, Va. 6th March, 1833.|
ON the 4th ult. Mr. Mason, the Pastor of this church, came to me, for the first time for several months, as he said, to have a friendly conversation. In the course of which he asked to know if I would return to the church; and wished to know the terms on which we would unite. I told him, "The New Testament." It met with his approbation. On the Saturday night following the church met, and he made a motion to rescind two resolutions which had been offered by himself, and which he now said he was sorry for; for that he was now satisfied they were both wrong, and he wished to do them away. The first of these resolutions was; to prevent yourself, and others, (adherents,) from being permitted to preach in the church; the other, the approval of the Dover Decrees. That party that heretofore went along with him, now forsook him. The resolutions were rescinded. I then made an effort to return into the church, which was not effected.
On Sunday night, at the close of the service, he (Mr. Mason) announced to the congregation from the pulpit, that he would leave this church and the denomination, and on the next night he would publicly assign his reasons for so doing. The members prevailed on him not to do so for a week. This being agreed to on his part, the church called together a council of ministers, which, on Monday the 18th, met with the church, Mr. Mason being present. Messrs. Ball, Kerr and Taylor composed the council. 
The meeting being opened, Mr. Kerr was chosen Moderator. The Pastor's case was the first taken up. He stated that he knew not how to act; "that in attempting to restore to the church one party, there were others that said they would leave the church, and thus he was, knowing not what to do--almost crazy." Mr. Kerr then made an apology for his situation. After this a motion was made to forgive the Pastor, which was accordingly done. Then a motion to restore him to the pastoral care of the church; this was also agreed to. After this, then came up the following resolution, or law, and which now stands as did the laws of the Medes and Persians, to wit.--
"Whereas this church has been unfortunately thrown into disorder and strife by certain persons who have assumed the name of reformers, and who approve and support the leading sentiments of Alexander Campbell--
"Resolved, That we, as a church, cannot retain or receive into our fellowship any such persons; nor will we commune at the Lord's table with them; nor will we receive into our pulpit any persons who shall privately or publicly approve, countenance, or encourage said sentiments.
"And be it further resolved, having suffered sorely the painful effects of Campbellism, and having deliberately and solemnly adopted the above resolution, we hereby pledge ourselves, individually and collectively, to carry it into full operation; and it shall be deemed a forfeiture of our fellowship for any member to move to suspend or rescind it."
Mr. Mason first addressed the meeting in favor of the passage of this resolution; was again satisfied, from what Mr. Kerr had told him, that the Dover Decrees were right, and that they were passed by that body constitutionally; and that now he was in favor of abiding by them. He having said this, I could not avoid thinking that but a few days had passed since this man had spoken directly the reverse of this; and further, did agree with me, that before any disturbance had broken out here, that if he had shown me the letters which about that time he received from persons in Richmond, he would have found in me a better friend than were the writers; for he believed there would have been no disturbance. But now see him converted again.
Mr. Ball next advocated the passage of the resolution. He spoke much against the Christian Baptist and the Harbinger; and as for the New Testament,--"that black thing," especially the prefaces--could you but see it, (he said,) raising his hand, and at the same time pronounced Unitarianism! Then stopped.
A brother, a member of the church, now arose. He could not vote for the resolution; he had heard Mr. Ainslie preach, and believed he preached the gospel; therefore, was unwilling to become the means of preventing himself and other members from hearing him and such like men preach; at any rate, he wished to hear and judge for himself. 
The Moderator (Mr. Kerr) now arose, and highly complimented the member for his candor. He then explained the intention of the resolution to mean the exclusion of all who should be opposed to its adoption, and who would not be satisfied with it after it was adopted. He, like Mr. Ball, in order to induce the members of this church to act against each other, spoke much against the Harbinger; in doing which he presented views as being in it which are not in it; therefore, it is evident that he makes his representations of your writings the test for brother to act against brother; for sure I am that no one in this church does, or ever did, entertain sentiments such as were spoken by him. He advised the brethren here, as he said he did everywhere else, not to read the Harbinger, saying, "You ought not to read it. It is necessary, said he, that I should read it, I being a watchman on the walls of Zion, and therefore I take it regularly." Most excellent watchman!
Next Mr. Taylor spoke, he said his principle objection against Mr. Campbell was, that he was opposed to all the benevolent institutions of the day. After this the vote on the resolution was taken and passed--three dissenting votes. Next in order was the following:--
"Resolved, That brethren Eaton, Williams, and Mason, the Pastor, together with the ministering brethren present, Ball, Kerr, and Taylor be a committee to draft articles of faith for the government of this church, and report on to-morrow.
19th. The committee's report was to delay for the present the making out the articles of faith as required by the resolution, as such, it was expected, would be published in the Herald that would answer the purpose.
Here is the form, on record, and a copy of a letter for dismissing members, which has been handed to each of those that did not vote for the resolution:--
"Whereas, brethren H. J. Anson, A. Pond, and A. Johnson were opposed to two resolutions adopted by a majority of this church, in relation to the peculiar sentiments of Alexander Campbell, and of those who have embraced and are propagating them. And whereas such Opposition to those resolutions is a tacit acknowledgment of approbation of both the sentiments and their advocates, which this church cannot approve: and whereas the church is anxious to relieve itself from the difficulties that must grow, and have grown, out of the existence of those new doctrines in the church--Therefore,
"Resolved, That the above named brethren be, and are hereby dismissed from the fellowship of this church.
"By order of the Church,
|JOHN KERR, Moderator.|
| "F. H. ROBERTSON, Clerk, pro tem."
19th February, 1833.
Mr. Ball remarks, "The Harbinger comes to his office as an exchange paper, and he reads it because that he hates it."
|M. D. J. ANSON |
Two Reasons for Reading the Harbinger.
"I MUST read, for I am a watchman," says Elder John Kerr. This is just the reason assigned by the Roman Clergy for reading the Bible themselves, and refusing it (in days of yore) to the laity. This reason was not, it is true, the only one; but one which was sometimes, in a great strait, tendered to the inquisitive. What need is there for the watchman reading rather than those whom he watches, unless they have given up their understanding and conscience into the keeping of the watchman? Mr. Kerr will tell his flock what is in the Harbinger, or give them such a version of it as he thinks is good for their souls. But they, poor weak creatures! are not to be trusted with such a dangerous volume, lest they should be deceived, or undeceived!
But, says Mr. Ball, "I read it because I hate it." This is the reason assigned by another watchman. He reads the Bible because he loves it, and the Harbinger because he hates it. And what book cannot he read? You will say, 'One that he neither loves nor hates.' The Devil reads the Bible (for he can quote it,) and Mr. Ball the Harbinger, for one and the self-same reason. I wonder if they do not hate the author as cordially as his work. I leave this for the casuists, and only ask, was there ever more puerile and splenetic reasons offered in extenuation of the most palpable misdemeanors, than those tendered by these over-zealous champions for human traditions, to cover the true principle of their action and co-operation? The time is short, gentlemen, and the flimsy mantle will soon be torn to pieces which hides you--perhaps, from yourselves as fatally as from your admirers.
New Years Evening at Mr. Goodal's.
[CONTINUED FROM PAGE 68.]
CONVERSATION AFTER DINNER.
WHEN the company were again seated in the parlor, Father Goodal, turning to Mr. Reed, said--
Some of the voting people have requested me to solicit from brother Reed his views of the ministry of angels, as the subject of angels came up at table. I have a subject which I intended to propose; but as there is much anxiety to hear you on this subject, I will give place to the wishes of the young people.
On the 4th of June last, the anniversary of the King's birth day, you gave a discourse, at Newtonfields, on the ministry of angels of which I have heard much spoken. Perhaps the substance of that sermon would be highly acceptable to the whole company.
Mr. Reed.--Always willing to minister to the edification and gratification of my young friends, I cannot refuse to answer any questions they may propose, tending to edification; but as that discourse was the first and the last I ever pronounced on that subject, I fear I could not recall its substance; and all the fragments which I could at this date gather up would be rather a mean repast for the present company. 
Mrs. Reed.--Here is sister Fowler, who was talking the other day about that discourse; and if you cannot collect its outlines, I doubt not that she can assist your recollections.
Mr. Reed.--Then I shall rely upon sisters Reed and Fowler; but I think we shall not keep close to the discourse, but intersperse some questions to my young brothers and sisters, and thus make a common meal of it. Here is Thomas Goodal, whom I observed taking notes that day, I dare say be has not yet forgotten the subject. Thomas, can you recollect the method proposed in handling that sublime matter?
Thomas Goodal.--After reading your text from Hebrews, ii. 5. you said, without any introduction you would call the attention of the congregation to the ministry of angels, before you would show why "the world to come" was not subjected to their sway. You then proposed to lay before the audience the sum of your knowledge gleaned from the Scriptures on four points--the nature, the number, the ranks, the ministry of angels.
Mr. Reed.--Was there not something said about the meaning of the word angel?
Thomas Goodal.--You said it was rather the name of an office, than of a nature; for any creature of God employed as an executor of his will, might be called his angel, or messenger, whether that creature was animate or inanimate. Thus he calls the winds and the fire his angels.
Mr. Reed.--Right, Thomas--all right. Will Robert Fowler favor us with his recollections on the first topic--the nature of angels?
Robert Fowler.--The substance only I now remember. You said there were but three intelligent natures of which we know any thing. With one of them we had no acquaintance at all but through the Bible. With another we had a little acquaintance by our experience and consciousness. And of the third we knew only what the Bible and the material universe revealed. The first you called the angelic; the second, the human; and the third, the divine. Indeed, you said, whatever salutary knowledge we possessed of any of these intellectual natures was derived from the Bible.
Mr. Reed.--In speaking of "the nature of angels," did we speak only of the nature of messengers in general, or did we then accept the word in its common usage as expressive of an order of celestial rank and dignity?
Robert Fowler.--As expressive of an order of beings of celestial origin and dignity.
Mrs. Fowler.--Will brother Reed state how far he apprehends the analogy between the human and angelic natures to extend?
Mr. Reed.--1st. It is capable of being possessed in common by many distinct persons. 2d. Each of these persons may possess the whole of it, so far as its essential attributes are concerned. 3d. All the participants of this nature have kindred affections; from which we infer that angels are just as personal in their being and mode of existence as we are: they have their personal peculiarities and names, as well as a common nature. They enjoy communion, possess all the social affections which belong to men, without any sexual peculiarities; and are susceptible of all the sublime, intellectual, and moral pleasures of rational existence. They, indeed, greatly excel us, in our present mode of existence, in wisdom, knowledge, strength, and intellectual dignity; but whether we may not hereafter equal or excel them in these respects, remains among the sublime secrets of eternity yet to be developed. I need not add, that they are perfectly pure and holy, and therefore their moral enjoyments are perfect and complete.
Mrs. Fowler.--Was there not another point concerning which you said something?
Mr. Reed.--I do not remember.
Maria Goodal.--There was something said about the elements of which they were composed.
Mr. Reed.--I offered a single thought on that subject, which amounted to no more than this--that, as the human body was made out of the elements of this globe, so we might infer that the angels were made out of the elements of  the system which they inhabit; and that we might, therefore, regard them as celestial in their nature as well as in their habitation. But their nature maybe better understood through an acquaintance with their ministry, than from analogy. Let me, then, ask sister Maria Goodal what she has to say about their number?
Maria Goodal.--I can only mention the Scriptures on which you relied in illustration and proof of your second point. These were the following:--Matth. xxvi. 53. "Do you think that I could not call upon my Father, and he would send me more than twelve legions of angels?" These, you observed, were only the personal attendants of the Messiah. But I did not apprehend on what grounds you regarded them as his personal attendants.
Mr. Reed.--The number twelve had reference to twelve earthly attendants--the Apostles; and as he chose that definite number already appropriated to his personal attendants, it is but in accordance with a part of the allusion to suppose that it all refers to the same thing. Again, as we have the most ample testimony that 72,000, or twelve legions, is a very inconsiderate proportion of the heavenly hosts, it cannot be supposed that he alluded to the great aggregate, but to that class attached to his person.
Maria Goodal.--This seems to me now the more probable, from the portion of the 68th Psalm, on which you descanted. In the 17th verse a single chariot of God, it is said, consists of twenty thousand angels. You alleged that in the original Hebrew it literally read, "The chariot of God is twenty thousand--even thousands of angels." Of these attendants of God, Daniel gives us still more sublime views. Your third evidence was, if I mistake not, from Daniel vii. 5. The Ancient of Days was attended with an immense retinue. "Thousand thousands ministered to him, and myriads of myriads waited on him." This, you observed, was the largest number of any thing found in the arithmetic of the Bible. You next observed that the Saviour had given us a hint about the angels of little children, which implied an inconceivably large number: "Their angels do always behold the face of my Father in heaven." If all infants are under the guardian care of angels, how immense their number! If I mistake not, you concluded with the testimony of Paul in the 12th chapter of Hebrews, who said that Christians are associated with an innumerable multitude of angels.
Robert Fowler.--My cousin Maria has forgotten the strongest evidence of the immensity of their number, which Mr. Reed said was found in the Bible.
Mr. Reed.--I think Maria has been more minute than I could have been and I do not at present recollect a passage which she has not brought forward.
Robert Fowler.--Have you forgotten Revelations v. 12? "And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands."
Mr. Goodal.--What an inconceivable multitude! What an army has the Lord of hosts! The armies of the sky, how grand and powerful! I am overwhelmed at the thought! And these ten thousand times ten thousand, and the thousands of thousands are all standing before the Lamb that was slain, worshipping our Redeemer. How my soul longs for that glorious sight!--to see my Lord Messiah, who stood before Pontius Pilate, despised and rejected of men, doomed to death by the ruffian hands of Roman soldiers, surrounded with this immense host of worshipping angels, and to hear them tune their lyres to the song, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing"--
|"My soul anticipates the day,
Would stretch her wings and soar away,
To aid the song, and palm to bear,
And bow, the chief of sinners, there."
Ten thousand tunes ten thousand! What a multitude! Can any of my grand children compute how many in our arithmetic is ten thousand times ten thousand? 
Robert Fowler.--One hundred millions exactly!
Mr. Goodal.--An army of one hundred millions, besides thousands of thousands!! And each one of them as powerful as he, who, with the rapidity of a glance of the mind, passed through all Egypt, 700 miles in length, and 250 in breadth, and, at the moment of midnight, struck dead the whole firstborn of man and beast.
What king can compare with our King! His terrestrial army weakest in the front, swarms of insects; locusts, caterpillars, the palmer worm; wild beasts famine, pestilence; winds, floods, and flames; though weak in the detail, how powerful in concert! His celestial army ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of, thousands of angels. Why should Christians tremble or despond: Greater is he, and more numerous are they who are on our side, than all that are against us. How august will be the appearance of the Lord descending in his glory, amidst the acclamations of one hundred millions of angels, the weakest of whom could crush a world more easily than I can crush a moth! If they shouted with joy when the earth was born--if they hailed with hosannas the Babe of Bethlehem, what will be their hallelujahs when accompanying the King in his glory!
|"When the King of kings comes,
When the Lord of lords comes,
We shall have a joyful day
When the King of kings comes!"
Mrs. Fowler.--The phrase "Lord of hosts" now means more with me than ever. Surely to be a child of God and an heir of heaven, is more honorable than to be descended from the most illustrious and imperial line that ever swayed a sceptre!
Mr. Williamson.--I am extremely interested to know what Mr. Reed has to say about the ranks of angels. Their nature and number having been so fully ascertained, I am intensely curious to know what may be said about their ranks.
Mr. Reed.--As my young friends seem to remember more of my sermon than I do myself, I think I had better leave it to them to arrange the ideas offered upon the titles and offices of angels. I shall begin with Thomas Goodal again.
Thomas Goodal.--Here I am stranded, Mr. Reed. You said something about the classification of angels under different Princes, to whom was assigned the dominion of the whole universe. You spoke something of the partitioning off the earth and its inhabitants under certain angelic chiefs. But I cannot now recall, for I did not then understand, what you advanced on the kingdom of angels.
Mr. Reed.--"The kingdom of angels!" This is a curious phrase. Where did you hear it?
Thomas Goodal.--I heard my aunt Fowler speaking of a regularly organized kingdom of angels; and I did not suspect that the phrase was improper.
Mrs. Fowler.--And I got it from Mr. Reed!
Mr. Reed.--I did not know but some writer had used that phrase. I own, indeed, that I have chosen it; but I was not sure that it was a very proper one, and would like to have company. But I know of no better phrase, because there is certainly an organized classification of angels whether we reason from analogy, or from the data which the Prophets and Apostles have furnished. I will arrange my proofs as methodically as the occasion permits:--
1.There are princes (arcai, or principalities,) in heaven as well as upon earth. The highest officers in imperial Rome, like the highest in the empire of Alexander, were by the Greeks called archai. Under these were presidents, authorities, dominions; called in Paul's list of heavenly hierarchies, thrones, governments, dominions, authorities, lordships. We find all the terms denoting the high rank and dignity in Paul's list of honourables in heaven. They are like the Jewish magistrates called theoi, gods; archai, princes; exousiai, authorities; dunameis, powers; thronoi, thrones. See Ep. i. 21. iii. 10.  Rom. viii. 38. 39. Col. i. 16. 1 Peter iii. 22. These are all found in the plural form in references to the governments in heaven. Hence there are many princes, presidents, governors and lords among the angels; consequently, under them classes who owe them allegiance as viceroys of the ETERNAL KING.
2. Paul unequivocally asserts this, Eph. i. 21. Speaking of the exalted Messiah, he affirms that he is renowned not only above the highest titles, or names, in earthly kingdoms, but "is exalted ABOVE EVERY NAME named in the world to come;" that is, to us, in the heavenly world. His titles, names, and honors transcend the hierarchies of heaven as they do all the potentates on earth.
3. The apostacy of Satan, one of the princes, if not the highest dignitary in heaven, with those numerous legions under him, is also a proof to us (as we have the kingdom of Satan, with all the ranks, officers, and organization of a kingdom) that there is a kingdom of angels under thrones, princes, and chiefs. Satan is called the Prince of this world, by one conversant with the affairs of the kingdom of angels.
4. It would appear from the Old Testament, that the tribes of this earth and the affairs of particular countries were assigned to certain chiefs, under whom was a class of angels of different ranks and dignities. Thus Michael was "the prince of the Jews," as Gabriel intimates to Daniel; nay, he calls Michael "one of the chief princes," Dan. x. 13. and adds, verse 21, same chapter, "There is none who holds with me" in your affairs, "save Michael your prince."
Mrs. Foster.--Here let me interrupt you by asking a question: Was the prince of Persia, think you, an angelic chief, who presided over the affairs of Persia? and was the prince of Grecia the presiding angel over the affairs of Greece?
Mr. Reed.--It would appear most probable that the prince of Persia and the prince of Grecia were angelic princes in the kingdom of Satan. That the prince of Persia was not a man is most probable. The circumstance of his opposing Gabriel for twenty-one days, and also because the prince of Persia in the same period is distinguished from the kings of Persia. The words of the prophet are these: 'But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days; but, lo! Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, and I remained there with the kings of Persia." If, then, the prince of Persia was an angelic potentate, good or evil, we have all reason to suppose that the prince of Grecia was of the same order. This is still more probable from the fact that Gabriel proposes to fight with the prince of Persia in behalf of Daniel's people; and unless we admit that it was with the mind of an earthly potentate, he would find a weak antagonist in a Persian prince. Again he adds, "When I am gone forth to fight with the prince of Persia, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come."
Mr. Williamson.--Enough is said to sustain your proposition, be this as it may; and one of two lessons must be taught in these passages--either that a celestial or some infernal prince presides over every nation, or that the celestial hosts are employed in turning the minds of men and effecting all the special providences or influences in nature and society.
Mrs. Fowler.--I am not willing that brother Reed should yet dismiss the third topic. I have another question.--But here comes Maria with a server richly laden with the spoils of the orchard.
I HAVE now carefully, and, I might add, devoutly considered all you have written in reply to my letters. I conditioned in the commencement that I would finish my series before I would reply to  any thing you might reply. I have not forgotten my promise. I have finished my series, or, at least, the first part of it, and now resume my pen to reply to your answers. When I say reply, you must not imagine that I am about to enter into a controversy with you, or to contend for my own views, if in any thing they differ from yours, when fully explained. I will premise, with all emphasis too, that your replies have been generally, very generally, acceptable to my mind. Indeed, there are few, very few matters in which I differ from you, when you fully explain yourself. I have still, however, an item or two for your further consideration; and, to return to the beginning, I will very briefly state the matter on which you have not given me full satisfaction.
Touching the phrase "ancient gospel," and the acceptation of it in 1823 and 1827, I am not fully satisfied. Let me categorically ask you by what authority you and others say, "For the remission of sins and for the gift of the Holy Spirit, I immerse you into ------"? And do you call this practice the restoration of the ancient gospel, which I understand began to be practised in the year 1827? In reading a second time the Christian Baptist, vol. 4. I was forcibly struck with your answer to Paulinus in the April number of said volume, and thought that you had there gone far enough; but the addition of "for the gift of the Holy Spirit," and for the repeating in the water, "for the remission of sins I immerse you," seems to be without authority. Before I give you my views in full on this practice, I must have your explanation.
|In the Lord yours as ever,|
Reply to Epaphras--No. 7.
I AM peculiarly happy to have a single line from you on my replies to your letters, and more especially to learn that in general my explanations have been satisfactory. There is no person whose approbation I desire more than yours. The many years, and the great amount of reading, learning, and diligent attention to the oracles of God, which you have applied to all the questions now agitated amongst us, give to your approbation and your judgment more weight with me than I could allow to those of all my opponents multiplied together. There is another brother and father in Philadelphia, like yourself, well advanced in years, and not excelled in America for real learning and critical information in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, in all biblical criticism; one who has taught the sons of Abraham their own language; one who has devoted many years to primitive Christianity, and sacrificed all honors and emoluments on the altar of his devotion to the Apostles' doctrine; whose approbation and decision in favor of the cause we plead, afford me a satisfaction which more than compensates all the denunciations, anathemas, and reproaches of  the confederated ranks of our opponents. While I can call no man Master or Father in the sense prohibited by our Master in heaven, still I cannot but feel a great deference for the judgment of men uniting in themselves extensive erudition, high mental endowments, and unfeigned piety. Such deference I cannot but feel, and I must occasionally express it.
The matter called up in your letter, (would that it had been much longer!) you admit merits much attention. The authority for pronouncing these words in the water, "For the remission of sins I immerse you," is not that of a positive commandment, nor of a scriptural precedent. Our reasons for so doing are, that Peter commanded the believing penitents to be immersed for remission; and consequently those who immersed them, immersed them for remission, whether it was expressed aloud or implied; and in this gainsaying age, for the sake of impressing it upon the attention of the candidate and the spectators, it is deemed expedient to speak aloud what is understood by the candidate and the immerser at the time. You may say, then, that we have inferential authority, and that equivalent to apostolic precedent. For adding the phrase, "and for the gift of the Holy Spirit," few, if any of the reformers use it. For my part, I never did, because that gift stands not in the same relation to baptism as does remission. It was a something added to the commandment, "Be baptized, every one of you, for remission;" and was evidently sometimes in actual practice wholly disconnected with baptism. Some believed and were baptized, and afterwards received that gift, and some received that gift before they were baptized; but there is no instance of remission not accompanying baptism, except when faith was lacking in the subject. Simon Magus' case affords no exception; for those who contend that faith alone is sufficient for remission, have just as much difficulty in disposing of this case as we can have: for if Simon was not remitted in immersion, neither was he by his faith: yet it is said he believed as well as was baptized. I have some things to add on the words, "for the gift of the Holy Spirit," which I reserve till I hear from you again.
Touching the second question you propose to me, I will briefly state, that, until the close of 1827, there was no person doing the work of an evangelist under the banners of the reformation. We had been preparing the way, and urging it upon others to go to work. In my debate with Mr. M'Calla I exhorted the Baptist preachers not only to baptize for the remission of sins, but to urge an immediate submission to this gracious ordinance. For my part, I did no more than immerse such as came forward at our ordinary church meetings, explaining to them the meaning of baptism for remission. In the April of 1827, four months before we had an evangelist elected, I did, it is true, in my answers to Mr. Broaddus, state in the number to which you have referred, as follows--what I should do were I addressing my fellow-citizens as an evangelist, as under the gospel, and not under the law--in the following words:--"I would, in addressing them, demonstrate that the principles, laws, or light in that volume, would prove their  awful condemnation in the day of vengeance, if they obeyed not. I would assure them that the first commandment obligatory on then was, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ." That disobedience to this commandment would prove their condemnation. If asked for the second commandment, I would reply, "Be immersed, every one of you in the name of the Lord Jesus for the remission of your sins." Until these two commandments were obeyed, I would show them that they were not in the kingdom of Jesus Christ, and that they were worthy of condemnation, if on no other account, on this, that "light was come into the world, and they loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil." These commandments not obeyed, I would endeavor to convince them that they could promise themselves nothing on any rational principle, but an eternal separation from the presence of the Lord and the glory of his power in the day of righteous retribution."4
But it was not until four months from this date that we had an evangelist elected. In the close of the August following I had the inexpressible satisfaction, and I shall ever esteem it as the highest honor conferred on me--I say, I had the inexpressible satisfaction of inducing my fellow-laborer and beloved brother, Walter Scott, now well known as far as this reformation has sounded forth, to accompany me to the Mahoning Association, and of having him elected to be an evangelist for that year. He, with the utmost promptitude, and at the no small expense of his own feelings in leaving his infant family and his academy, casting all his cares upon the Lord, forsook, for the time being, all that binds a man of the loftiest sentiments and the most tender emotions to the wife of his youth and his tender offspring, accepted the call, and soon commenced his operations in the bounds of that Association.
Without consulting with flesh and blood, he was soon led to the practice of these principles. He, with no ordinary ability, zeal, and devotion, enforced these two commandments, and urged an immediate submission to the ordinance. So far, then, as the calling upon persons to act promptly on their faith, to come forward, and to be baptized for remission, and the use of these words in the act of immersion, "For the remission of your sins I immerse you," is the restoration of the gospel, he was not only the first evangelist under the banners of reformation, in point of time; but the first practical restorer of the ancient gospel. This event, then, my dear sir, which happened in the close of the year 1827, gives to that era a new importance and an emphasis in the history of this reformation.
A great excitement prevailed under his labors. Many preachers and many hundreds of hearers thought that old things had become new, and were cordially converted to the primitive faith and practice. His labors and self-denial, his persecutions, and reproaches will never be forgotten; but the success, the triumphant success of the cause he plead, was, to his mind, and would be in the estimation of every benevolent understanding, a reward not only for the toils of a  few months, but for the toils of the longest life. Since that time the number of evangelists has greatly increased, and many thousands have been blessed with the knowledge of salvation through the remission of their sins. The ground having been extensively prepared for the reception of the primitive faith and institutions, the reformation rapidly spread all over this continent, and is hourly extending its conquests, not only under the governments in the New World, but in the Old World, Blessed be the name of the Lord, who alone does all these great things!
The two great and distinguishing traits of the actual restoration of the gospel, are, the calling upon the believers to act promptly upon their faith, and to baptize them forthwith for remission. The apostolic institution without this gospel, or the gospel without these institutions, can effect no permanent good to men, nor glory to the heavens.
But, sir, in answering your second question I have gone too far into details; but I trust you will perceive from this brief sketch, why it is that the year 1827 stands so conspicuous in the history of this reformation; and why the events which it records should be called the practical restoration of the ancient gospel.
Hoping to hear still farther from you on these sublime themes, I remain as before,
To Charles Cassedy, Esq.
YOUR chief difficulty in the way of an implicit surrender to Jesus Christ is embraced in the following item:--
The Mosaic account of creation assigns not to man an object suited to his constitution, alike worthy of him and his Maker; nor does it suitably explain many phenomena in the animal and vegetable creation. This is my own version of the matter, it is true; but I doubt not that you assent to it as a faithful one.
I would travel on foot a hundred miles, at least, to converse with a sensible man, who had carefully read the Old and New Testaments without a preconceived idea on the contents of these volumes. All, all of us, are more or less disqualified to receive with candor and to judge with impartiality the messages of the Prophets, because in our earlier years we have fallen into bad company, and have either imagined some system of perfection in morals and theology, or have been duped by the cunning priests, or have been bewildered by our parents and tutors before reason assumed the throne. The fancies and theories of the pseudo-philosophers, and the dogmas of the pseudo-priests, are equally hostile to the knowledge of these sacred writings. You, my dear sir, more enlarged in your horizon, and consequently more liberal in your views, cannot bow with deference to the ex-cathedra dogmas of baseless science, or of the petit popes of either ancient or modern times. Notwithstanding I am not without my fears that you may  have been seriously injured by the very influence which, of all others, you most denounce. The reason of my fears is, that I find you demurring at the narrative of Moses, because his statements correspond not with the assumptions and dicta of the pseudo-philosophers, and of the patented soothsayers and sorcerers of the temple of reason. For instance, after a very eloquent display of the splendors of the human constitution, after a very philosophical development of the physical, intellectual, and moral powers of man, you ask, "Can it be possible, sir, that man, thus nobly endowed, and thus most exquisitely organized, physically and intellectually, should have been placed in a garden merely to dress it and to keep it?" Now, sir, although it may have wholly escaped you what pseudo-philosopher or priest prompted this difficulty, certain it is that some one, in some unpropitious moment, gave a false direction to your mind on this subject: for Moses never said that Adam, or man, was placed in a garden MERELY to dress it and to keep it. But, sir, his physical and intellectual constitution, which you have so interestingly described, made his dressing and keeping of a garden the only proper and suitable employment for both his physical and intellectual powers. Man, created and endowed with such limbs, and arms, and trunk, with such organs and instruments of labor, would have been most unhappy without some employment. And was it not most kind in the Creator to make that employment the most agreeable and delightful imaginable! Where, think you, ought a being so constituted to have been placed? In a wilderness? In a desert? In the air? On the water? Nay, rather in a garden of delights--in a paradise teeming with all the riches, with all the blooming beauties of the vegetable kingdom, abounding with all that the sensitive nature of man could desire. And for the development of thought--for intellectual enjoyment, what situation could equal Eden? "If labor, if the exercise of our faculties is necessary to intellectual as to physical enjoyment, what labor could you have assigned man more congenial with his whole nature, than the dressing and keeping of a garden. Not doomed to the drudgery and toil which sin has imposed upon our race, his mind was at perfect liberty to seek enjoyments from all the fountains of bliss, sensitive, intellectual, and moral. The delicious breezes of Eden, perfumed with a thousand odors, the spicy breath of morning and evening, the glowing beauties of noon the warbling harmonies of the aerial concerts, the virgin sweets of all the flowers and fruits, opened to him sources of enjoyment, and carried his thoughts to the sempiternal fountain of all good.
Had primitive man been doomed to the labors of the metallic kingdom--had he to tear up the earth with a ploughshare--had he with his bow and arrow, to traverse forests for his food, what time for the cultivation and entertainment of his rational nature? Is not ignorance the inseparable handmaid of servile drudgery and constant toil? And would not such circumstances have led Adam to suspect the motives of his Creator? Were you, my dear sir, with all your stock of good sense and native philosophy, to lay your ingenuity under tribute, you could not find for such a being as you have eloquently described Adam  to have been--a selection so perfectly congruous, so every way indicative of the power, wisdom, and goodness of his Creator, as that in which Moses locates him.
But the pseudo-philosophers have, by some indirect means, done you a greater injury than this. They have led you to suppose that Adam and his progeny were to have been confined to Eden until it would have been too small for them. But who else than crazy philosophers or crazy doctors could teach that God was under any sort of necessity of keeping the race in this planet until it would have covered the whole earth as the grass covers the field. Was that universe and those systems of worlds, of which you spoke with so much admiration, so small, so inaccessible, that man must be doomed in any supposable circumstance to continue forever on this earth! And does this same Moses give us no data from which we might have inferred the happy lot of man had he continued in the friendship of his Maker! Does he not, in the instance which he gives us of the translation of one perfect and righteous man to a brighter and a better world than this ever was, even in its halest and most uncontaminated days, guide our curiosity into another channel, and show us how easy to have found a way of disposing of our race without the necessity of death or even the enlargement of Eden! You will see, then, respected sir, there could be no difficulty in disposing of our race according to the Mosaic account, had it multiplied and increased in accordance with all your calculations, had man maintained his fealty to the crown of heaven. When his loyalty had been fully tested, you will see, by a single thought, upon the premises now before us, how easy it would have been for his kind Father to have given him a larger and better estate, and to have provided the means for his transportation to it. Nothing, then, believe me, sir, but your having approached the first chapters of Genesis under some foreign influence, could have originated in your mind such difficulties--difficulties, too, which the Mosaic account makes of such easy solution.
Another hypothesis oppresses you--a favorite one, too, with the priesthood; which, equally with the others, militates much against your perception of the wisdom and goodness displayed in the Mosaic account. It is assumed that man was necessarily immortal; and, consequently, his apostacy in Eden was a forfeiture of immortality. This is mere assumption; for, unless a new dispensation had been introduced containing immortality, or guarantying it upon some other condition than the conditions propounded in Eden, man's fall could not have subjected him to more than the simple loss of all the earthly blessings of the earthly life which he held upon the tenure of his obedience. But now that immortality is proposed through the second Adam, the Lord from heaven, a non-compliance with the propositions of this Prince of life eternal, subjects man to the loss not merely of his earthly body and life, but to a second death--an eternal excision from another tree of life which grows in the heavenly paradise of God. But this only by the way. Were not your horizon, my good sir, clouded with these mists of a false philosophy, those theoretic and  speculative difficulties could find no abiding in one of such capacity for rational and elevated inquiry.
Another difficulty yet remains with regard to the teeth and claws of many animals, and to the thorns, and briars, and thistles which are found in this afflicted world. This, too, is specifically the same with your other difficulties. Suppose God omniscient, or suppose him not, and yet on either hypothesis the Mosaic narrative is free from this difficulty. First take the more unreasonable hypothesis: say he was not omniscient; and that he did not know what Adam would do; then, I ask, was it not wise to provide for either contingency? The seeds of all poisons and the roots of all bitterness are prepared for the contingency. The limbs and jaws of some animals are armed, and all that is, wanting is a general order to begin the work of death. But that they must, whether or not Adam sinned, necessarily operate as they since have done, is negatived by the fact, that habit begets a second nature; and that man himself, and all the vegetable and animal creation have been changed again and again by a thousand influences, which, on another hypothesis, might have produced quite a different system.
Even as it is, and as our own experience and observation teach when God pleases, the work of destruction, by the agency of these weapons, waxes and wanes to an astonishing degree. The thorn, the thistle, and the briar at one time spread with such rapid strides as if they were to possess themselves of the land; at another time, in the same country, there is scarce a remnant alive to preserve seed. So with the voracious insects and animals. The locust, caterpillar, palmer worm, the fiery serpent, and ravenous beasts of prey, like the plagues of Egypt, at one time swarm over whole countries; at another time they are not to be found. The lion and the lamb, the leopard and the kid once lived on terms of friendship, and they will do so again; a time will come when the lion will eat straw like the ox.5  But take the more rational hypothesis, and say that God foresaw the fortunes of our race; then was it not every way consistent to be prepared for it? 
Volumes might be written in vindication of all these matters; but a word to the wise is sufficient. Were your mind disabused from the hypotheses of the pseudo-philosophers and from the dogmas of the pseudo-priests, I doubt not that you would find a ready answer for one proposing the difficulties which now encompass you!
You are pleased to recapitulate and to comprehend your chief difficulties in the form of questions; and now permit me, in conclusion of my reply, to quote your questions, and to affix to them such replies as these premises will warrant.
1. "Was it intended by the Almighty Creator that our first parents and their innumerable progeny were to confine their whole attention and wonderful energies to the cultivating and dressing of a garden?"
Answer.--Moses no where affirms that they were.
2. "Was that garden circumscribed to definite and insurmountable bounds; or were its environs the ends of the earth, the circumference of the whole globe? In either case, and suppose man had not fallen, by which fall alone we are taught that death came into the world, would there at this day have been room for the numerous race of our first parents in the garden, or even on the surface of our globe? If, on the contrary, those original parents were not invested with procreative powers; or, if endowed therewith, were doomed to perpetual barrenness, was the earth forever to continue an uncultivated wilderness, the undisputed and undivided empire of wild beasts?"
Answer.--No. To this question, in every form which ingenuity can place it, the answer is,--Moses says not one word that necessarily involves any such conclusions. He shows us, in the case of Enoch, how easy it was for Omnipotence to remove all these encumbrances.
3. Did the introduction of death into the world, by the fall of man, change the original conformation of the jaws of carnivorous animals, and make the rivers and the oceans of the globe theatres of robbery, carnage, and bloodshed? In fine, did the original sin of Adam make the earth bring forth thorns, and briars, and noxious weeds, &c."
Answer.--I answer, No: but to the former it gave employment; and to the latter license to proceed in accordance with the new circumstances into which man had, by his apostacy from God, precipitated himself. But that on another contingency the animal and vegetable kingdoms could not by omnipotence have been otherwise regulated and governed, (to say nothing of the volumes of facts which natural history discloses,) is, to one who admits the name ALMIGHTY, wholly inadmissible.
A few reflections on the whole premises now before us, shall, in my next number, close my reply to your letter.
|In all benevolence, &c.|
Mr. Broaddus' Form of a Church Covenant.
|KING WILLIAM, Va. 18th February, 1833.|
Dear Brother Campbell,
AGREEABLY to my promise I send you an authentic copy of the recent proceedings, had in the church at Beulah, to which Mr. A. Broaddus ministers. The same covenant, constitution and rules, were (as I am credibly informed) adopted by the church formed at Mangohick out of the persons who declared non-fellowship with our church. I was present when the church was constituted, and heard the covenant, &c. read, and according to my best recollection, this is a copy; but this is not the evidence upon which I go. The said church adopted and subscribed this instrument of writing after having it once read by Mr. B. and I am confident there were not half a dozen who had even read it before. This you will doubtless think was doing business promptly.
|C. W. TALIAFERRO.|
Memorandum of Beulah Church; made Nov. 1832.
Beulah Church, King William county, was constituted of members, previously belonging to Upper College church, Sept. 26th. 1812.--Elders John Courtney, R. B. Semple, and Chas. Talley attending on the occasion. On the same day, Josh. Gwathmey, Josh. Fox and J. Robinson, were ordained as deacons in the church. Elder Robert B. Semple officiated as pastor in this church for a considerable time. On his resignation, Elder Wm. Hatcheld was called to the office, who has been succeeded by Elder A. Broaddus, who is the present preacher, and acts in the capacity of pastor; Deacons J. Robinson and Josh. Fox of the former appointment; and recently Rich. Gwathmey, Win. S. Ryland and Thos. Dabney.
This church having lately passed a resolution to have the church covenant, constitution and rules of order and decorum revised and amended, a committee was appointed for that purpose, who have reported the following forms and articles, which are now adopted by this church.
THE CHURCH COVENANT.
We whose names are hereunto subjoined (baptised upon profession of faith) being persuaded that it will conduce to the glory of God and our own spiritual prosperity; and therefore, that it is both our duty and privilege to be formed into a gospel church, have resolved in the fear of God, and in the name of Jesus Christ, thus to unite ourselves together in one body, tinder one head, jointly to live and act as a church, according to the Spirit and precepts of the gospel of Christ.
We own and acknowledge the Holy Scriptures as the only standard by which all principles and practices in religion are to be tried. According to this standard we maintain that baptism belongs only to those who give satisfactory evidence of true faith in Jesus Christ; and is rightly performed by immersion in water--that it is not the means by which we actually receive pardon, justification and acceptance with God, but is a declaration of our interest, as believers, in  these great and saving blessings; and at the same time a pledge of our consecration to God, and that it is the proper manner of openly putting on Christ.
That the Lord's Supper is intended for the social commemoration of the death of Christ, and the saving benefits thence resulting; and appears properly to belong to baptised believers in church fellowship. Moreover we consider it proper to add, as touching certain great leading truths held forth in the Holy Scriptures--That we acknowledge and avow the doctrine of the depravity and just condemnation of man, the divine and human nature of Jesus Christ the son of God;--Atonement for sin by his blood shedding and death;--Justification before God by faith in Jesus Christ, on account of his blood and righteousness;--Our dependence on the influence of the Holy Spirit, in leading us to repentance, and in the sanctification of our nature;--and the necessity of holiness of heart, righteousness of life, and (in a word) of obedience to all the known will of God--And lastly that there will be a general resurrection and a general judgment, when the final states of mankind will be decided, according to the deeds done in the body--We own and acknowledge Jesus Christ as the only supreme head and lawgiver of his church; and desire therefore to surrender ourselves in soul and body to him--to his keeping, his government, and his service;--to be guided by the dictates of his holy will, made known in his word, both in our faith and practice.--And we do hereby covenant and agree, that we will endeavor to be subject one to another in the Lord;--to bear each other's burdens;--to promote, as we may be enabled, each other's well being, and to unite our efforts in the common cause of our Lord and Saviour. While thus we would devote ourselves, jointly and severally, to the authority and control of the Great King in Zion, we implore his condescending regard, the acceptance of our persons, and our services, and his efficacious grace, to aid us in the toils, and duties of life's pilgrimage, till we may exchange the church militant for the church triumphant;--to the praise of the glory of God in Christ Jesus--Amen.
Done at Beulah Meeting-House, King William, the ------ day of ------
THE CHURCH CONSTITUTION.
1st. This Church is called and known by the name of Beulah (Baptist) Church.
2nd. Persons are admissible to membership in this church, who have given satisfactory evidence of repentance towards God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ; and have been baptised (that is immersed) in an orderly manner in the name of the sacred Three, as directed by our Lord--and such persons are entitled to continued church fellowship, so long as they are considered not guilty of unchristian conduct, and maintain no serious error to the troubling of the church, and the injury of the cause of religion.
3rd. The government of the church shall be in the hands of the free male members. Other members may assist in the discipline as witnesses,  and in preparing matters for decision, and giving any necessary information. And in the choice of a pastor, the free female members, as well as the males, shall be entitled to vote.
4th. In all questions or cases coming before the church, a majority of the members present shall be sufficient for a decision; except in the reception or admission of members; in which case, the church, if possible, should be unanimous: and in cases of special importance a full church meeting is particularly desirable.
5th. It shall be considered the duty of the church, and especially of the Deacons, to use all proper means for the purpose of keeping up the regular stated preaching of the gospel, and other exercises of Divine worship; to procure (if practicable) a Pastor to dwell among us; and in the want or absence of a Pastor, to encourage the regular meeting together of the church for social worship, reading the Scriptures, exhortation, &c. every Lord's day, when they cannot attend some other place of worship to greater edification.
6th. It shall be considered the duty of all the members of the church possessed of this world's goods, to contribute thereof as God may have prospered them, towards the requisite expenses of the church, whether for the support of the ministry, the assistance of the needy, or any other necessary purpose, and on the Deacons it lies particularly to see that this duty be not neglected.
RESOLUTIONS OR RULES OF ORDER AND DECORUM.
Resolved, That stated meetings for church discipline and public worship be held on the fourth Lord's day and the Saturday preceding at Beulah Meeting-house, or elsewhere. Service to commence between 11 and 12 o'clock
That the Lord's Supper be administered at the monthly meeting in March, May, August, and October, or in case of failure at either of those seasons, then at the next monthly meeting.
That when a free male member shall notoriously neglect to attend the church meetings, he shall be deemed delinquent, and dealt with accordingly, unless sufficient reason be assigned for such omission. Any member living in habitual neglect of the public worship of God, shall likewise be considered delinquent.
That the minister act as moderator in church meetings; or in his absence, that a moderator be chosen by the church, and that due order and decorum be observed in all our proceedings.
That we discountenance extravagance and superfluity in dress, and pomp and vain parade in life, and renounce those amusements and pursuits, which appear inconsistent with the christian character.
That in cases of claim or debt, when one member may have a complaint against another for non-payment &c. the complainant shall state the matter, or have it brought on before the church to be settled by the acting members, or by a committee appointed for the purpose.
That the church covenant and constitution, and these rules and regulations to be read in church meeting twice a year; say, in May  and October, and oftener if circumstances appear to require it. The clerk to remind the church of this rule.
P. S. Baptism is here represented not as the means by which we actually receive pardon, justification and acceptance with God, a declaration of our interest in these blessings.--Quere, Does it me that the person baptised, does by his baptism declare his interest in these blessings, or that baptism declares it to him? If the latter, it is an admission (I conceive) of all we have ever contended for. You may perhaps render the Christian community a service by publishing this covenant, constitution and laws.
|Yours in the Lord,|
|C. W. TALIAFERRO.|
ON PRAYER AND SPECIAL INFLUENCE.
THE following communication from a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of high standing, with whom I have had the pleasure of an acquaintance for some years, though not written for the public eye, (esteeming it to be of public utility,) I take the liberty to lay before my readers.
|WELLSBURG, Va. March 20, 1833.|
YOU are doubtless aware that your opponents charge you with denying the doctrine of Spiritual Influence, as it is held by most of the churches in Christendom, and as they think it is taught in the Word of God. Having promised some of my hearers a discourse on this subject, I was led to examine some of your writings in relation to Spiritual influence, that I might obtain more light, and fully understand your views.
In the second volume of the Millennial Harbinger, page 287, I find "a dialogue on the whole work of the Holy Spirit in the salvation of men." In this dialogue you say, "We plead that all the converting power of the Holy Spirit is exhibited in the divine record;" and again you say, "If, then, the Spirit of God can communicate new light to any mind, it must be by new words or new verbal communications. Words, too, recollect, must be spoken, uttered, or written." From these sentences I infer that you suppose the word of God accomplishes its results over the minds of men in the same way as a system of mathematical truth or any other kind of truth does; or, to be more explicit, the New Testament, according to your views, is no more assisted by the Spirit which originally dictated it, than the mathematical works of Newton are by his spirit.
The converting power of the Principia of Newton is in the words he has written--the arguments he has offered; but his mind exercises no special agency over my mind while I read his book.
This, sir, I understand to be your view of the subject. If I have got your meaning, there is no difference between you and the  celebrated Dr. Priestly on the subject of special aid or spiritual influence. I am not alone in giving this construction to your writings. Your friend W. Z. Thompson I think understands you as I do. He says, "If it be true, as you affirm, that faith comes alone by hearing or reading the testimony concerning Jesus, and that we have no right to expect, any influence superinducing the mind to faith, or even causing the sinner to examine this testimony; I say, upon the supposition that these things are so, what right has any one to expect that God will answer his prayers in behalf of his unconverted friends?" This is a plain common sense question, which every pious mind will ask after reading your dialogue on the Holy Spirit. For it must appear evident that it is as absurd to pray for assistance from heaven in relation to our salvation, or to pray for the salvation of our friends, as to pray to the spirit of Newton that we may understand his works; or to Paley, or any other mental philosopher, that we may be able to practise his system of ethics.
You, however, attempt to show the propriety of prayer, according to your views of the divine government. What you have said is not satisfactory to me. You admit prayer to be a duty, a solemn and important duty; but you have not shown that there is no inconsistency between your opinions and what you admit to be your duty. You say, "We are commanded to pray for food, raiment, and health; but not to expect that the laws of nature are to be changed, suspended, or new-modified; or that we are to become the subjects of any supernatural aid in obtaining these things." If by "supernatural aid" you mean visible miracles, I agree with you; but, sir, is it not in the power of God specially to bless us without a visible proof; and does not our prayer suppose such an agency. I must say that if I believed that all events in the physical world are to be considered as the effects or results of the regular operations of the laws of nature, I should never pray for temporal blessings; because, with such views, prayer would be absurd--palpably absurd.
I know that some great philosophers and divines have held this opinion. It was advanced by Leibnitz, the philosopher. But, sir, I. Newton and other able philosophers opposed his hypothesis, and he was not able to answer their arguments. If you suppose that all the events in the natural world are brought about by laws or fixed principles, 1 differ from you, and I demand proof.
You admit that nature is dependent on God, and cannot exist without him. To prove this you quote a very figurative passage of scripture; but in the conclusion of your explanation, you say, "And when we call on him for any favor for ourselves or others, we expect not that he will work a miracle to confer it; but that in subordination to these established arrangements he will bestow it." If by a miracle you mean a visible interposition, I agree with you; but if you mean by "established arrangements" laws previously established, when the world was made perhaps--I say it is an assumption, a hypothesis.
Some of your expressions in the first of your reply to W. Thompson, some of which I have quoted, appear to imply nearly all I contend  for; but when you come to speak of the way in which our prayers are answered when we pray for kings, and for our children and friends, you attribute no efficacy to prayer but what I shall call, for distinction's sake, natural influence. We pray for the king in the congregation: he hears of it, and concludes we are his friends. We pray for our children: they see and hear us. This affects them, and they are more inclined to be religious; or, to use your own words, "to receive instruction."
And is this, my dear sir, all the influence our prayers have? But, supposing the king should not hear that I pray for him, or my prodigal son should not be present at prayers, what influence would my prayers have? Just none at all. Now, dear sir, this is to me a meagre unscriptural view of prayer.
Your attempt to reconcile your practice with your theory is as unsuccessful as your predestinarian friend, to whom you allude. He says all things are predestinated--gives such a definition of predestination as effectually destroys our agency; but still says we should work. We say not, if his definition of decrees be correct; for we say we must work--we cannot help it. When we ask him to reconcile his practice with his theory, he frankly acknowledges that he cannot; but believes God can. But I do not believe God can or will reconcile absurdities.
That your views of Spiritual influence have a tendency to injure our devotional feeling is clear to my mind.
"Such opinions contradict our most natural sentiments, as well as the plain doctrine of Scripture, and tends to damp every act of devotion." So says a great Christian philosopher, and so I believe.
To conclude this hasty scroll, I believe that God superintends all nature. Matter and mind are under his control. He, as the poet says, "every where has sway;" some, many of the events of the physical and mental world, are brought about by established laws. Of this we have proof--philosophical proof. But many are brought about by special agency, and would not have happened had there been no immediate agency. That this is the case revelation supposes. My faith is founded in God's revelation.
Pardon me, dear sir, if I say that you have not, in my opinion, done this important subject justice. I hope you will review what you have written, and in some future essay place the subject before your readers in a more scriptural and philosophical light.
According to some of your statements, and a statement I heard one of your brethren make the other day in the Baptist church in Wellsburg, I am wholly at a loss to know how the Holy Spirit influenced the disciples on the day of Pentecost--how Peter and others, who were filled with the Spirit, spoke with strange tongues--and were all at once so wise in the things of the kingdom.
You say, and I understood your friend to say, "that the Spirit of God, in communicating light to the mind, does it by words or verbal communications." 
"Words, too, must be spoken, uttered, or written." I ask, what words were spoken to Peter by the Spirit on the day of Pentecost. We read of the appearance of cloven tongues, but we read of no voice. It is an assumption--and you might as well suppose that the Spirit of God could not move a solid body without a lever or machine, as to suppose that God has no way of giving us ideas but by words.
I am no advocate for a spiritual influence that supersedes the necessity of the word--I am not a Quaker in my views of God's agency in the government of mind. But I am a firm believer in a special providence, and in special agency. I could not be a Christian without this belief.
If I should oppose what I understand to be your views of Spiritual influence, and do it in the spirit of candor, I hope you will not think it inconsistent with friendship.
I BELONG not to that school which regards the whole solar system as a piece of machinery somewhat like an eight day clock, which, after it was put together and wound up by its Maker, would just run on for one week of seven days, a thousand years each, without a single touch from the hand of its Maker:--I say, I cannot regard that great system of physical laws, called the material, or solar system, especially when made to be inhabited by rational, or voluntary agents, as detached from the superintendence of its Creator, as if he had no more concern with it. Nor can any process of reasoning which I have been able to institute, or which I have seen instituted by others, warrant me to conclude that the moral system to which we belong, though under the influence of moral laws, operating in a regular series of cause and effect, perhaps as unerringly as the physical laws of the material system, is so perfect as not to require the special notice, care and superintendence of the Father of spirits. Indeed, to me it is perfectly inconceivable how two systems, one of matter, the other of mind, so united, and yet so essentially distinct, could continue to move on for a single day without the providence of the great Author of the universe. Let us suppose a universe of only a million of voluntary agents, moving in all directions from any common center, impelled by a million of impulses, from without and within; and at the same time a million of involuntary agents, impelled by extrinsic law, in regular order, in fixed orbits, or channels, from which they never err, moving in the same area with the others,--would there not be perpetual jars, discords and clashings, until one class of agents was wholly annihilated? The preservation of the universe appears to me to require the exercise of the same wisdom, power, and goodness, which appear in its creation. As rationally might we attribute its creation, as its preservation, to secondary causes. If it be godlike to originate such a universe, it is godlike to sustain it. 
But how this is done, is not to be comprehended by the creatures of yesterday. We know that there is an order of agents in this universe which are now, and have always been employed in the preservation of it. The angels are ministers of God; and now, under the Lord, are employed in the affairs of this system. They have power over things animate and inanimate. They can move both matter and mind. They can save and they can destroy. In answer to prayer, they have been sent in aid of our race.6 "And when we cried to the Lord, he heard our voice, and sent an angel, and has brought us forth out of Egypt?" Num. xx. 16. "And the angel of the Lord which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them." Ex. xiv. 19. An angel accompanied Eleazar of Damascus on his journey to Mesopotamia, where he went in quest of a wife for Isaac. Gen. xxiv. 7. An angel waited on Hagar, in the wilderness. Gen. xvi. 7. An angel counselled Paul, and rescued Peter from prison. But there is no need for specifications. It will be conceded by every student of the Bible, that angels have been employed in every sort of service to our race, from the birth of the world to the end of the New Testament. And that this ministry is yet continued, will appear evident to all who will carefully read the conversations at Samuel Goodal's, in this and the following number.
When, then, we pray to God for any special blessing, it is not for us to inquire how, or by what agency he will accomplish our desires. It is enough to know that he has agents to perform for us all that we can rationally desire, and that such agents have been employed in answer to prayer. For special purposes, he has special agents; and for general purposes, he has general laws.
All special providences are not what are commonly called miracles. But all miracles are special providences, or interpositions. Some special providences, indeed, all that are not visible and sensible miracles, are through the media of natural or moral causes. The salvation of Paul and his companions from shipwreck, was a special providence, yet there was nothing of what is commonly called miraculous in it. Herod was struck by an angel, yet the physicians would have said he died of the morbus pecularis; and in this light, perhaps, Josephus regarded it. How many suggestions, impulses, and motives, may be prompted by angels, good and evil, it would be difficult to imagine; but that both good and evil spirits have made suggestions, and have tempted men to good and evil, is very apparent from what is written by authority.
These hints are merely suggested in justification of our belief in special interpositions in answer to prayer. But that we are to expect any new spiritual light, or moral influence, independent of the moral means divinely instituted, is, to my mind, as fanatical as to look for loaves from heaven, or medicine from the clouds, in answer to prayer.
In this sentiment, my dear sir, we appear to be agreed. Your own experience will, I doubt not, concur with that of all sensible and reflecting  men who habitually call on the name of the Lord, in this capital position, that no new revelation, not a single new idea has, in answer to prayer, been communicated to any man since the apostolic age passed away. The testimony is complete; the love of God, his will, our duty, are perfectly developed. If any man can suggest to me a new thought, or a new idea, on any revealed subject, on any Christian principle, law, or institution, that is not to be found in the words and communications of the Holy Spirit now in our possession, I will engage to show that it is of no account in the affair of salvation, that it tends not to holiness or happiness.
This is no mere speculative matter; it is a practical view of revelation. It calls forth our devotion to the oracles. It leads to a constant attention to the communications of the Holy Spirit. It excites to diligence in searching the Scriptures. It induces us to search for the knowledge of God as for silver, to seek for it as for hidden treasure.
"But the mind of Newton exercises no special agency over the mind of the student of his principles." And why should he, unless he has not fully expressed his mind in said Principia? Grant it, you will say, and then does it follow that the mind of the Author of the gospel exercises no special agency over the mind of the student? If the cases be parallel, he does not. But I do not institute such a comparison. The converting power in morals is argument, argument is motive, and motive is idea, and idea is originated in the mind by words or signs. Now if the Spirit of God produces in the mind, apart from the word, any idea, it must be shown in the fact; it must be proved by the production of the idea. But who can produce such an idea? Not one. But when and where was the promise made that the Spirit of God should exercise any special agency over the mind of the reader, or hearer of the Spirit? I have found, as yet, no such promise. Is it testified, any where, that the Spirit should exercise a special agency over its own word, or over the mind of any person in reading that word? I have not found it.
The advocates of an independent special agency over the mind of the reader, or hearer, have neither the testimony of God, nor any promise, for such an agency; nor can they produce any proof, in fact, of such an agency. I have never found it; and therefore, in the absence of all such evidence, I must contend that it is an assumption got up for explaining a theological or metaphysical difficulty.
But suppose that there is such an independent special agency, apart from the word, promised on any occasion, then it is the duty of all persons destitute of that agency, to seek it in the appointed way. Now if persons destitute of that agency must seek it, or must first believe the promise concerning it, and without it seek it, why can they not do without it altogether? I speak to the philosophers of this age, and in their own style. Some preachers,--and you know, my dear sir, they are not a few,--wish the people to believe that such an agency is necessary to faith, and that, consequently, those destitute of it,  are unable to believe;--yet they must believe in such an agency, and pray for it, without the power to believe, or the ability to ask!!
Amongst this unphilosophic and unscriptural class you would not be ranked. But a question must obtrude itself on the mind of all who have imbibed the notion of an independent, antecedent, or concomitant official agency, concerning the practical utility of such an idea. If persons are to believe and pray without it in order to obtain it, then do not they who contend for such a nondescript agency give it up in practice! For cannot he who without it acceptably believes, and prays for it, acceptably believe and pray for any thing else proposed to the Christian? and if those without it are to be taught the necessity of it, it must be either to work despair in their minds, or to induce them, without it, to obtain it.
So, then, there is nothing gained by those who differ from us on this subject. They wish their hearers to go to work without it, and not to wait for it, and we do the same. The difference, then, is in the consistency of the theory, not in the practice. Two advantages, however, we claim over all opposing theorists. We give to the testimony of God an importance, a power, a majesty, a spiritual energy, transcending very far the views of our opponents. We therefore fix the attention of all upon it, and we shut the door most effectually against fanaticism, Quakerism, and New-lightism of every name.
Circumstances have just at this moment caused me to break off in the midst of my reply. Please excuse my want of method in replying.
|Very respectfully, and in all benevolence,|
|NEW ALBANY, March 1, 1833.|
YOU once complained to me that the fountains of literary education were as much sectarian as the parties under whose auspices they were got up and patronized. You lamented that the youth of our country could no where obtain an education without the danger of becoming infidels or sectarians. I felt the force, because I knew the truth of it, at least in a limited sense; and from that day till now I have been endeavoring to excite an interest in the community in behalf of a literary institution free from those tendencies. I tried it in Ohio, and in Virginia, but without success. I have, however, made a successful effort in Indiana, and have actually succeeded in getting each an institution chartered. It is the most liberal in its provisions, and I hope to all the liberal-minded of the community, it will prove (what I sincerely wish it to be) a real and lasting benefit. A copy of the charter and the by-laws I herewith forward you, and hope they will meet your views. Will you please notice it in the Harbinger? We hope to go into operation soon after the April meeting. Can you attend with us?
In much affection, yours in the Lord,
|JOHN COOK BENNETT. |
YOURS of March 1st now lies before me. The intelligence it communicates was to me wholly unexpected. I heard nothing of this project until it was consummated. I had thought that your failure in Ohio and Virginia had broken your spirits in this enterprize, and that you had given it up. My remarks to you, to which you allude, were not made with a design to enlist you in such an enterprize: for you were then enlisted in it. And as the Christian religion has not much to expect from the literary institutions of this world, except so far as society at large is benefited by them, I never wished to see any institution got up for the purpose of aiding or abetting a cause which needs no such alliance, and which never has been directly benefited by such institutions. The gospel converts men of all ranks, casts, talents, and education, to God; and then their literature and talents and property are consecrated to the Lord. While, then, I have sometimes expressed myself as you have represented, it was rather from a wish to see these fountains of education divested of the power of doing harm to Christianity, than with an expectation or desire to see any one instituted expressly for its benefit.--Whether such an institution could be erected, is, with me at least, very problematical; and were it in its infancy to be a benefit, we have no evidence from any thing past that it could long continue so.
Your project, so far as it facilitates literary improvement, deserves well of the state. But the Christian church can never be made debtors to an institution which has never conferred on it any benefit. It would, upon the whole, have been more respectful to the judgment and wishes of the brethren to have consulted them on the propriety of such a scheme had circumstances permitted you: but I presume such was the pressure of events, that you had not time to confer with many of them upon the matter. It will no doubt be a question with some of them whether you ought not first to have had the concurrence of the Christian church, or "commonwealth of Christ," for whose "benefit" this institution is said to have been got up, before you proceeded in the affair, and to have ascertained whether they needed such an institution. But now that it is founded without such an expression of their will, it will remain for them to signify how far they can give it the countenance of their names and their funds. This is a question which neither you nor I ought to wish to decide for them. To enable them to judge advisedly in the case, I will lay before my readers the charter of said college:--
To incorporate the Christian College, at New Albany, Floyd county, Indiana.
Sect. 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana, That John Cook Bennett, B. H. Miles, B. W. Stone, N. Field, F. E. Becton, S. Woodruff, C. Bosworth, M. Cole, W. Scott, J. Bledsoe, and their associates and successors in office, be, and are hereby constituted and declared to be a body corporate and politic, by the name and style of the "Christian College;" and by that name they shall have perpetual succession, with full power and authority to confer, or cause to be conferred, degrees; to contract and be contracted with; to acquire, hold, enjoy, and transfer property, real and personal, in their corporate capacity. Provided, That said corporation shall not own, at any one time, more than ten thousand dollars worth of real property. To make, have, and use a common seal, and the same to alter at pleasure; to sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded, in any court of law or equity; to receive and accept of any grant, gift, donation, bequest, or conveyance, by any person, company, or corporation, of any property, real or personal, and to hold, enjoy, and dispose of the same, as may be deemed best for the interest of said College; to elect a President and all such other officers, professors, instructers, tutors, and agents as they may think necessary for the benefit of said  University; to make, ordain, establish, and execute such bylaws, rules, and ordinances, not inconsistent with the constitution and laws of the United States, or of this state, as shall deem necessary for the welfare of said institution; and to do all other acts in pursuance thereof, necessary for the prosperity of said University, and the promotion of scientific and literary objects connected with said College.
Sect. 2. The following shall be the fundamental laws of said institution, to wit: All elections shall be by ballot, and the majority of votes shall decide; and the majority of members present, at any meeting of the corporation shall govern in all other cases. There shall be four quarterly meetings of the corporation, to wit: Upon the last Wednesdays of January, April, July, and October, in each year, with power to continue from time to time, if the business requires it. A plurality shall form a quorum to do business at any meeting. No religious doctrine or tenets peculiar to any sect of professing Christians, shall ever be taught the students of said institution, as such, either directly or indirectly, by any of the professors, instructers, tutors, or members of the corporation, or any other person or persons connected therewith, under the penalty of immediate expulsion; and every member of the corporation, and every professor, and officer, and every person connected with the same, students excepted, shall take the following obligation before they enter upon the duties assigned them, which shall be administered by any person duly authorized to administer oaths in this state, to wit: You do solemnly affirm that you will well and truly discharge the duties assigned you, according to the best of your abilities, and that you will support the charter of the Christian College, under the pains and penalties of perjury.
Sect. 3. That John Cook Bennett shall be the first President, B. H Miles, the first Vice-President, B. W. Stone and M. Cole, the first Secretaries, and Seth Woodruff, the first Treasurer, who shall hold their offices until after the first meeting of the corporation, and until their successors are elected and qualified.
Sect. 4. The first meeting of said corporation shall be on some day in the months of January or February, eighteen hundred and thirty-three, as circumstances may suit. This act is declared to be a public act, and the same shall be construed favorably for every beneficial purpose therein intended. Provided, however, That the Legislature reserves the right of altering or amending said charter at any time after the expiration of ten years.
Sect. 5. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage and publication in the Political Pioneer, printed at Charlestown, Indiana.
|JOHN W. DAVIS,
Speaker of the House of Representatives.
President of the Senate.
|Approved January 24th, 1833.|
The by-laws, and some remarks on them, must be postponed for another month.
I will just add, that however desirous I might be to visit New Albany in April next, it will be wholly out of my power to do so. I am for a long time most importunately invited to visit the North and East. These have prior claims. In the mean time adieu.
IT has been customary in all Christian nations to regard and treat this unfortunate people as bad citizens. This is an unworthy and unfounded prejudice. In the recent siege of Antwerp, the gallant  defence of Fort St. Laurent was made by the 10th Dutch Regiment, composed chiefly of Jews. They behaved gallantly. In this country they are, in intelligence, worth, and patriotism, inferior to no class of our citizens.
A great number of religious Jews in Poland are making preparations to visit Jerusalem, in belief that the time predicted by their Prophets has nearly arrived in which they shall be restored to the possession of that country. The Jews generally are watching the movements of the Egyptian army with great eagerness, in the belief that some arrangements will be made which will enable them to return to Judea, and this belief has led to actual associations in Poland.
Progress of Reform.
UNDER this head we have only room to state, that numerous documents are on hand; but they have been crowded out of the present number. We can only state that we had the pleasure, the other day, of receiving the first number of the Christian Gleaner, a periodical, issued in Halifax, N. S. devoted to the cause of reformation. The work is neatly executed--an octavo of 64 pages--four numbers to the volume--at six shillings sterling for one volume. The first number contains liberal extracts from the periodicals in this country, dedicated to reformation.--Ed.
AFTER the Family Testament was out of press and in the hands of the book-binder, the engraver and printer of our maps failed in supplying them at the time expected. His failure was occasioned by the failure of the paper-maker in getting paper suitable for maps. Thus was one month lost. When we got a few maps to commence with, a book-binder, on whom we relied for finishing the work, failed in coming on according to agreement; and thus we have lost two weeks more. Meanwhile, through the sickness of the superintendant of our stereotype plates for the Pocket Testament, and the neglect of commission merchants, we have been detained six weeks in that work. And this same number of the Harbinger had likely not to appear at all in April, owing to a mistake of the paper-maker in furnishing us with a lot of paper too small for it. So that we have been quite ousted of all our calculations for the months of March and April. Thus when we have done our duty, the public are disappointed by a combination of circumstances over which we had no control. We are now recovering from these disappointments, and getting things into regular train. These failures delay my contemplated tour, which to me is no less a grievance than to the brethren who have solicited it.
A. W. CLOPTON, a distinguished preacher of Virginia, departed this life a few days since. 
[The Millennial Harbinger, 4 (April, 1833): 145-192.]
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The Millennial Harbinger, Vol. IV, No. IV (1833)
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