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Alexander Campbell, ed.
The Millennial Harbinger, Vol. IV, No. V (1833)





Number V.----Volume IV.

Bethany, Va. May, 1833.


To Charles Cassedy, Esq.


      YOU have as much at stake as any man living in deciding whether Jesus of Nazareth was an impostor, or the Son of God and the only Savior of the world.--One, or the other, he certainly was. And, methinks, you will say, it would be rather miraculous if the author of the purest and most sublime system of morality and virtue which the world ever saw, should have been the most infamous impostor that ever appeared in human form. And this he was, if it be not true that "whosoever believes in him and is baptized, shall be saved," and whosoever disbelieves and rejects his salvation will be condemned. This was his last testimony, and this his last charge to the apostles. For alleging this he suffered death. And if the apostles are not the most impudent liars, after his resurrection and before his ascension, he commanded it to be promulged to you, and me, and all mankind.

      Language has no meaning, and the apostles deserved to be put to death, and to be execrated by all the sons of men, if it be not true that whosoever despises and rejects the mediation of Jesus will be punished with an everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord. Now, Sir, this being the fair and unvarnished state of the question, I put it to your intelligence and your candor, whether or not, it be not most worthy of every rational man to decide by all the lights of the volumes of creation, providence and redemption, whether a sinner--whether poor, weak, and short-sighted man, ought, or ought not, to commit himself into the hands of Jesus of Nazareth: to submit himself to his philosophy, logic, morality, and religion, rather than to his own wayward fancy, or the imagination of any man that ever appeared on earth.

      This, my dear Sir, is the single question, on the decision of which, all depends. To decide this question in the affirmative makes the christian: to decide it in the negative, leaves us in this world without God, and without hope. And is that man rational or philosophic who can devote all his powers to the questions, what shall I eat, and drink, and [193] with what shall I be clothed; who can devote all his powers to the things of time and sense, while his future and eternal destiny is deferred to some more convenient season?

      We are so constituted and so circumstanced, that our individual and personal happiness must be the paramount consideration. Now, was it not kind in our Creator to place us under an insuperable necessity of willing and seeking our own happiness? We may err in imagining the ways and means, but we are infallible in the wish to be happy. A man must unmake himself before he can will his own ruin. But if man be a rational or a free agent, he must have it in his power to ruin himself--or he could not have it is his power to be virtuous, pious, and happy. This, reason asserts; and we see it accords with our observation and experience, as well as with the oracles of the Great teacher.

      Judge you then, is it wise, is it prudent to balance, or to outweigh the united testimony of apostles and prophets, of saints and martyrs, of the wisest and the best, for four thousand years, by our own artificial and imaginative difficulties? Shall we place in the one scale, the great luminaries of the world--the patriarchs, the prophets, the apostles--the great moral revolutionists of our race--the splendid memorials of their genius, their inspiration, and their devotion to truth and humanity: I say, shall we place in the one scale the splendid monuments of the inspiration and philanthropy of all the independent authors of fifteen centuries, whose works are collected in the volumes called the Bible and Testament, and put in the opposite scale our own imaginations and fancies about how things might have been otherwise created or managed, and thus seek to counterpoise mountains with feathers? No, you reply, sooner will I reject the testimony of my own senses, that the sun is the fountain of light, because I cannot explain the meaning of those black or dark specks on its surface, than renounce Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, &c. &c., of the Jewish school; and Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, Paul, and James, of the Christian school, as knaves and impostors, because they have not written upon geology, astronomy, chemistry, and the modern sciences;--or because they have not anticipated and answered every question which in six thousand years might be propounded by a thousand million of querists, speculating on what might have been done if the earth had been flat instead of round; or if man had had the wings of an eagle, and been sixty instead of six feet high, physically, mentally and morally!--Rather, you will say, let me stand in the ranks with prophets and apostles; with the saints and the martyrs; with the pure and holy men and women of all ages--with the Newtons, the Lockes, the Butlers, the Boyles, the Fergusons, the Bentleys, the Beaties, the Lardners, the Ushers, the Taylors, the Seldons, the Erskines, &c. &c., with those constellations of Poets that have sung, those orators that have defended, those philosophers that have demonstrated the claims of revelation, and those poor and humble, but virtuous millions, who have proved its consolations, and triumphed in its hopes, amidst all the [194] afflictions and trials, the sorrows and griefs, which have hitherto been the lot of the largest portion of our race. Yes, with these you will say, let me live and die, rather than with the Voltaires and the Volneys, the Mirabeaus and Altamonts, the Humes and the Paines, the Hobbes and the Chesterfields, the Dantons and the Robespierres, who boasted of reason and common sense, and shewed how little they had of either in renouncing the only light of the world and the only Saviour of men.

      My dear Sir, this question,--Shall I or shall I not put myself under the guidance of Jesus the Messiah, is one of too much importance to be slighted by any man of good sense, of a sound and discriminating judgment. His promises and his threatenings are too momentous to be treated with indifference; his claims and his pretensions are too well supported, and too magnificent to be trifled with; and therefore, reason, if unbiassed and unbribed by the passions and the appetites, decides that this is the immediate duty which every man owes to himself and society. 'Tis to you and me, comparatively, of no consequence, who reigns on earth, if Jesus reigns in heaven; what policy is adopted by the state, if Jehovah has sworn by himself, that every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess, to the honor of Jesus who was crucified. We may he happy under a despotism, and wretched in the best republic. Our allegiance to Jesus as the great King is our felicity, our allegiance to his rival, be he on a golden throne, or be he seated in our passions, is our disgrace and ruin. If on his side all is well; if opposed to him we are undone forever. But, Sir, his religion has been greatly corrupted, and many of his professed friends have been his real enemies. The gospel has been made an engine of power in the hands of kings and priests, converted into a matter of state policy, made subservient to the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eye, and the pride of life. Several attempts at reformation, have within the last three centuries, introduced many important changes into society, but only since the beginning of the present century, has there been a vigorous effort made to reinstate the apostles and prophets on the seats assigned them by the author of the christian religion. The inquiry now is, what was the primitive gospel--the original order of things in the kingdom of Jesus? To these questions, more attention has been paid within the last thirty years, than since the great apostacy. In divesting the gospel and its institutions of the meretricious attire in which the mother of harlots had arrayed them, in leaving off the ceremonies, the doctrines and commandments of men, with which the pimps and panders of this insatiate adulteress have ministered to her lewdness, we have found the simplicity, intelligibility and suitableness of the gospel, and its institutions, to be truly astonishing, and admirably worthy of God. The light of the sun is not more admirably adapted to our eyes, or the sensible properties of things to our external senses, than is this message of our heavenly Father, suited to our nature, condition and circumstances. Well attested facts--facts of immense moral power--sustained by testimony which no honest and rational man can after full examination, doubt, constitute the materials of Christian faith. This faith in testimony so supernatural and divine, [195] becomes the impulsive principle of action, leading men to reformation: and this belief in God's philanthropy leads us on to Jesus the Messiah as "the way, the truth, and the life"--and coming to him as our prophet, our only high priest, law-giver and judge, we receive in the first act of submission to him, the remission of all past sins--an adoption into his family, and the promise of his Holy Spirit, with the hope of eternal life, to which we shall certainly attain, provided we hold fast our allegiance to him, unshaken to the end. Why then, my dear Sir, should you, or any sensible man, hesitate on the question, whether it is more worthy of us to serve God than the Devil, or obey the gospel rather than our corrupt lusts:--Whether we ought to join the congregation of Apostles, Saints and Martyrs; the pure, and holy, and renowned fathers of mankind, the excellent of the earth of all ages and nations, or remain under the dominion of that spirit, which reigns in the hearts of the children of disobedience, in open communion with all the infidelity, scepticism and atheism of the Epicureans and Sadducees of this age. I know, indeed, that some are wont to look around and flatter themselves in their refusal to honor the Saviour, because of the respectability of many of their associates in rebellion against the Lord's anointed. But they forget that while here and there they can count up a few individuals of political integrity and honor, whose fraternity may do them some credit, still to the same communion belongs all the irreligionists of every shade of infamy, from Nero and Caligula and Heliogabalus, down to the veriest sensualist and debauchee that dishonors human nature. If, then, some sceptics and non-professors boast of some honorable and distinguished brethren, they ought to look around at the immense brotherhood of all that's filthy and abominable in the same great community with themselves, which constitutes what some call the big church. From this association, my dear Sir, I ardently desire to see such men as you divorced. You countenance and encourage many to adhere to their delusions, who, by your example, might be rescued from the snare of the Devil. And will you suffer such difficulties and embarrassments as would equally be against every thing rational and excellent in the election of man, to prevent you from honoring yourself, by honoring the Son of God, who has conferred such honors upon our race. For let me ask you--is there in the annals of the world, in all records and in all kingdoms, any system, or law, or tradition, which does such honor to our race, as does the Bible! Who assigns to man a more illustrious origin than Moses? Who proposes to him a sublimer destiny than Jesus? What system so rational, so pure, and so full of benevolence to man and adoration to God? At the head of what institution is there found one of such peerless excellency and glory, as he who redeemed the church, and governs it by the law of love? Who ought to feel ashamed of Jesus Christ in his earthly race to glory? And who ought to be ashamed of him, now the head of this Universe? Kings would do themselves infinite honor, in giving him the allegiance of their hearts, and in casting their crowns at his feet. To learn that such is your veneration for him, I assure you, would afford me great satisfaction: [196] incomparably more than to see you on the most renowned throne in the four quarters of the globe.

      With sentiments of benevolence and high consideration,
  I remain your friend,
      April 24th, 1833.

An Important Query--answered.

DAYTON, O. April 6th, 1833.      

Brother Campbell,

      IN the 3d volume, on the 143d page of the Millennial Harbinger, there is a very important Query, which has not, I believe, been yet answered. It reads as follows:--

      "How is it that when the ancient gospel has been fairly presented to a people, and the work of conversion progresses most joyfully for a time; after it arrives at a certain point it ceases; and afterwards in that place for some time conversions are rather rare?"

      In relation to this query, you say, "An answer to this question is requested from some of our correspondents who have been engaged in proclaiming the word. We will reserve our remarks until we hear from some who have been more in the field than we."

      This request of yours, as well as the importance of the query, were, I thought, well calculated to elicit an answer; and hence I have been expecting one from the time of the publication of the query. The query certainly merits an answer: because it relates to a lamentable fact, the future existence and influence of which might be prevented by the instituting of a consistent course of conduct on the part of the reformers. This belief, as well as a desire to hear your sentiments in relation to the evil concerning which complaint is made in the query, I offer as an apology for presenting you at the present time with this paper.

      The evil alluded to is an effect produced not by merely one, but many causes: and these causes are to be found partly among the enemies, and partly among the friends of reformation. I shall, therefore, proceed to speak of these causes, or rather some of them, as they have come under my observation at various times. The first cause of this evil which I shall mention, is--

      1. The prejudice of our opponents.--This prejudice does not unusually bring forth its bitter fruits at any place until some time after the commencement of the preaching of the gospel at that place! Consequently, the gospel obtains a considerable weight of influence in many minds, enough to urge them into obedience, before our opponents can bring their artillery to bear against it. No sooner, however, do they perceive sinners in multitudes obeying the gospel, than they are aroused to action. Then follows almost every species of vituperation and misrepresentation. The doctrine which we preach is called by hard names; scraps of Scripture, wrested from their connexion, [197] are brought into requisition, by which to show the fallacies of our teaching; the antiquity and popularity of sectarian establishments are appealed to as divine establishments, while the ancient gospel is held up as a thing of yesterday; the aberrations of the members of our congregations are magnified and trumpeted; slander, with her thousand tongues, vilifies the public proclaimers; all these means are resorted to and used by one or another of our opponents, and not without effect! Many of the multitude are misled by them; others, although in despite of all the fiery darts of the wicked one, they continue to believe that we preach the true gospel, yet are not without a sufficiency of a certain kind of dubiety, and, in some instances, love of popularity, to prevent their submission to the gospel. Powerful, however, as are these means, they would fail of neutralizing the gospel, did they not find auxiliaries within the ranks of the reformation. Some of the auxiliary neutralizing causes found among us, are as follows:--

      2. Many of our public proclaimers have been too sarcastic and severe. The writer of this article acknowledges himself to be implicated by this charge; but he has been endeavoring for some time to reform in this respect; not, he thinks, without success. Public proclaimers should be as conciliatory as the nature of the truth will permit. Love to all men should be in them a prominent characteristic. But if, instead of this, we indulge in the constant use of biting sarcasms against sectarians and sectarianism, we shall inevitably increase the quantum of the prejudice of our opponents instead of lessening it; and we shall meet thousands beyond the reach of our voices, and consequently beyond our influence, who, had we pursued a conciliatory course, would have heard us gladly, and would ultimately, under our ministry, have become the happy subjects of gospel conversion. We therefore say, that the severity and sarcasms of many of our preachers have constituted a part of the means by which the evil complained of in the query has been produced.

      3. The severity and sarcasms of many reformers who are not public proclaimers. A preacher, if he is an influential one, is very apt to inspire his hearers with his own spirit, especially if it be a bad spirit! At any rate, we do know that there have been too much severity and sarcasm used by reformers, in conversation and controverted points. While the gospel has been bringing many into obedience, the people, as a matter of course, would take sides--some for, and some against the gospel as we preach it. Well, in many cases controversy between the contending parties waxed exceedingly warm, and many things were said on both sides calculated to hurt feelings, and to engender incurable prejudices; and the reformers, it may be, played their part in this war of words as warmly as did their opponents. What but mischievous prejudice and bitterness of spirit could be expected to result from this awful deviation from the genius of the Christian institution? If seriousness and love on the part of the reformers, such as Christianity demands, had always been used by them in their [198] addresses to their opponents, the truth would have rolled onward like a mighty torrent; nor would all the vituperative and argumentative energies of anti-reformers been able to retard, much less to stop it. I say, seriousness; because when we converse with friend or foe on a subject so serious as is the subject of the Christian religion, solemn seriousness becomes us; nor can all our witticisms concerning long-facedness, alter, much less destroy the nature of this obligation.

      4. The reformers have frequently contributed to the production of the evil complained of in the query, by an unskillful use of the sword of the Spirit. Nothing is more common than for young disciples, in private at least, to attempt the propagation of their sentiments before they themselves understand the Christian religion; arid, in scores of instances I have known them advance most extravagant errors; which errors were immediately caught up and trumpeted by the opposition as fixed articles of our creed. Now, when young disciples, who are not well informed, permit themselves to circulate their fancies in this way, and to do so too in some cases with considerable asperity, what can they expect but to injure the cause of truth? The most of us are probably rather prone to give ourselves credit for more knowledge than we really possess; and hence liable to become inflated with a kind of spiritual pride. Young disciples should most assiduously court humility--not pride;--they should never suffer themselves to be puffed with a belief that they possess much spiritual knowledge, when indeed they have not advanced beyond the Christian Alphabet! Much injury has also been done in some congregations, by speakers who have not been careful to confine their discourses within the sphere of their knowledge; and who have consequently given to the people their own speculations and fancies instead of the word of the Lord. I am willing that all the brethren should teach in the congregations, who can teach so as to edify; but I do insist that no man should attempt to teach that which he does not himself understand. Teaching should by all be considered a matter of fact work. But if, when a speaker tells his congregation that he goes for facts, and blames in terms of awful severity the whole religious world for its speculations, it should be ascertained that he himself is as speculative as those whom he blames, what will the shrewd hearer say of him? Will he not say that the reformers are in this respect as others--only they have a class of speculations peculiar to themselves? I do indeed think that if the brethren of our congregations would confine themselves on their First Day meetings to the breaking of bread, singing, prayer, exhorting one another to a holy life, and would have less to do with chapter-commenting, it would be infinitely better for us and for the world! We have done much harm by the unskillful use of the sword of the Spirit. But the mammoth evil, that which contributes more than all others to the obstructing of truth in its progress, is--

      5. That reformers do not, in their every day deportment, conform, with sufficient strictness, to the Christian religion. We have by profession taken an elevated stand. We call ourselves Christians, New [199] Testament Christians, Reformers, &c. We proclaim these things abroad every where. The world is consequently on tiptoe to see what holy livers, what paragons of Christian purity these reformers are going to be! Now, suppose that after they shall have looked on us for some time, and with good intention too, they should be puzzled to tell in what kind of holy living we excell our neighbors; think you it would not have a tendency to keep them at a distance from us? The more so, as we have made so much ado about practical reformation. Tens of thousands of non-professors are now sick of the immoralities and impurities of sectarian churches, and are looking towards us with intense solicitude, hoping to behold in us what they have long desired to see--a congregation of faithful men and women, holy, harmless, undefiled--walking in the truth! O! shall we not drive them into infidelity if we do not permit them now to behold in us the peaceable fruits of righteousness? We do know that the shortcomings of reformers have had, in many places, an immense, and a deleterious influence upon the people of the world. We will not say that in such instances no injustice has been done to our cause by the people of the world. In converting sinners, and constituting churches, we are dependent upon the world for materials; and really many of these materials have been so spoiled in and by the world, before ever the gospel found them, that we can make nothing of them that will redound to the credit of the Christian religion! For this reason I do not think that the people of the world do either themselves or us justice, when they blame either the Christian religion or the church for the aberrations of those dishonest and depraved beings whose moral maladies are beyond the reach of the gospel materia medica! Many of the people of the world seem to excuse their own disobedience by pleading the disobedience of professors--just as if two wrongs, one in themselves and one in a professor, would make one right!! But so it is; and it ought to make us all more circumspect.

      I have merely hinted at what I consider the chief causes of the evil lamented in the query. It will remain for the public to judge whether my answer is true or false. If it shall be of no further benefit, it may attract attention to the point to which the query relates, and eventuate not only in eliciting information from other men more competent than the writer of this article, but in the removal, to some extent, of those evils upon which I have animadverted. But this paper ought not to be closed, without saying that however great may be the evils which we deplore, the reformation carries with it much sterling virtue--much pure and undefiled religion--much native talent and high intellectual endowments; and as its advocates have put themselves under a divine church discipline, one made for them by Jesus Christ--the New Testament, we may expect that the evils of which we complain will be perpetually, though perhaps imperceptibly diminished; and that ultimately the truth, either by its own efficacy, or by collateral supernatural aid, will obtain a complete and never-to be-forgotten triumph. May the Lord grant it!
A. RAINES. [200]      

Where is there a Primitive Church?

      THE views of this writer may be somewhat exaggerated--he may propose a model which would unchurch every church in the New Testament, save the one on which he comments. I say this is possible, but yet it is not to be lost sight of, that, to a high degree, the things which he expects from a church of such a profession, must, in a good degree, be found in every church worthy of the faith of the original gospel and order of things.

April, 1833.      

Dear Sir,

      BY way of mental refreshment, the other day I read over the first written letter of the Apostle to the Gentiles, and the question arose in my mind, "What are the marks of ministerial usefulness?" If you consider the following to be a true reply, be kind enough to insert it in your next Harbinger.

      1. That the word preached exerts a divine power, through the Holy Spirit, filling the hearers with abundant assurance. The power is known to be divine from the practical effects, viz.--a working faith, a laborious love, and a persevering and increasing progress in all the efforts of godliness, sustained by the "hope" of eternal life.

      2. That the hearers become "imitators" of the Apostle Paul, in his self-denials, zeal, and "afflictions" for the gospel' sake; and in being filled with holy spiritual "joy," tribulations notwithstanding.

      3. That, the professors be influenced by his teaching, to cause the joyful sound to be heard in all the surrounding country--as widely, indeed, as their means can possibly carry it--so that the population all around them shall speak of them as a people redeemed from "idols," "the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eye, and the pride of life"--and as being in the attitude of expectants of "Christ's second coming."

      4. That the preacher should be shamefully handled for his "bold" fidelity--the truth, purity, and plainness of his doctrine--his manifest aim to please a heart-searching God, and not men--his refusing to modify or withhold the truth from a wish to flatter men, and for the love of money--his fleeing from the honor that cometh from men, whether they be of the world or of the church--and his inflexible adherence to this course, though it be attended by the bitterest persecutions.

      5. That the professors should conduct themselves affectionately and respectfully towards him, as well educated children towards a parent; so that their intercourse is of the most confidential, tender, and loving character.

      6. That his instructions and exhortations to holiness and conformity to the perfections, example, and character of Christ, shall be of the most noble and elevated description; and yet, by the professors so gladly "embraced," and fully complied with, that the teacher's employment and privilege shall be that of "giving God thanks without ceasing" on account of their obedience.

      7. That, in short, the results and fruits of his labors among the people, shall constitute an exemplification of the gospel axiom, "The word of God worketh effectually in them that believe." [201]

      8. That in their social, congregational, or church capacity, they shall resemble the first planted congregations, (in Judea for instance,) in their order, institutions, and sufferings--and in patient endurance of hardness for the hope of the gospel. And lastly, that in the discharge of all relative duties, and in the cultivation of the fruits of the spirit of goodness, they shall be a people of whom the teacher could "glory"--as destined to prove and establish the soundness of his hope, of a crown of rejoicing, in the presence of Christ the Judge!

      Now, sir, when these effects are produced, the religious teacher has an attested call to the ministry. He has been useful to the people. They are manifestly "the election of grace." They are Christ's brethren; saved by the wisdom of God, and the power of God; and are become joint heirs with Christ and all saints, of the glory of the one body, and "the fulness of him who filleth all in all." To understand the value of the labors of the present generation of clergy, and religious proclaimers of every grade, it is only necessary to compare their disciples, of all denominations, with the foregoing scriptural characteristics. Do the churches, in any true sense, resemble the New Testament portrait? Who that has a decent measure of self-respect dare answer in the affirmative? The Saviour teaches us to ascertain the valuable and the worthless among religious leaders, as we estimate the character of fruit trees--"By their fruits shall ye know them." It is of no weight to plead that the man teaches truth, and is besides a pious, moral individual himself: if the scriptural attainments and qualities are not possessed by the people under his care, or moulded by his influence, whether by speech or printing;--they are not savingly profited. Names or nicknames are nothing--the pretensions and professions of men, or sects, are nothing. Whether it be among Romanists or Reformers, if the professing disciples do not agree to the standard, which the word has erected, they are not SAVED!

      The country is full of evangelical preachers--and of churches claiming to be pure, primitive, and apostolic in origin and order--and there is no lack of devout professors--that is, believers of the gospels (gospels?) they read or hear--and what is the profit? Look at the religious world, in the light of the New Testament, and say, have these professors realized the great salvation!? Are they manifestly the "imitators" of the meek and lowly Jesus? Are they willing to be POOR, despised, unknown in the world, and by the world? Do they understand the fact that the Son of the Highest laid down his life for them, because they are conscious of a readiness to lay down their own lives, if necessary, for their brethren in the same church? Why, sir, you know, that if it were not a most solemn and awful theme, the question taken in connexion with the existing facts, would be ridiculous--that is to say, their religion is a caricature, and their hope is the baseless fabric of a deluded imagination. But I will not further specify, as the sentiment may be expressed in a few words. I ask, then, Where is the body of people, on this continent, that can look the New Testament in the face, and not be sensible, that "if the Word means [202] what it says," they have not, as yet, been SUBJECTED to the effectual, sanctifying, and ALL-subduing power from on high? Yea, the Prophets are not profitable to them, to the extent of a salvation for eternity--they have employed an instrument, which is not of God, because the divinely described and required effects do not follow its use. The people are moralized, and civilized, and humanized, &c. but all that is eternally distinct from creating a "new man" who is "righteous AS Christ is righteous."
  I remain, dear sir, yours, &c.
      Good Friday.

CINCINNATI, March 19, 1833.      

To the Rev. Dr. Joshua L. Wilson.


      IN your lecture of the afternoon of to-day (Sunday, March 17,) you quoted a passage of the Sacred Scriptures in the following extraordinary, and, I must say, Jesuitical manner:--

      "Except a man be born of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God--I may as well give the whole," (you continued, as if your conscience accused you at the time of handling the word of God deceitfully)--"Except a man be born of water, or of the word of truth, as I [Dr. Joshua Wilson] take it, and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God."

      In a subsequent part of your lecture you remarked--

      "Inasmuch as the churches have access to the Scriptures through the medium of translations only, that church is most happy which has the best translation, containing the nearest import of the words originally used by the inspired writers."

      Now, reverend sir, I beg leave to ask you the following questions founded on the foregoing citation from your lecture:--

      1. Does not the Greek word hudoor signify, literally, substantially, and simply, water; and do not all words compounded with it signify something in relation to water; and is it not used in this common acceptation by all Greek authors, both sacred and profane?

      2. Is not the same word, hudoor, used for water in the following passage:--"Having your hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and the body washed with clean water, hudati katharoo?" Hebrews x. 22.

      3. Does it not also occur in the following text:--"The long suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was preparing, wherein few, that is eight souls, were saved by water, (hudatos;) the like figure whereunto baptism doth now save us"? 1 Peter iii 20.

      4. Is not the phrase genneethee EX HUDATOS kai Pneumatos, be born of water and of the Spirit, that used in the quotation you cited?

      As an observation on this question, I would say, that the words ex hudatos ought to he translated OUT of the water. The preposition ex or ek, which are convertible particles, has three definite significations, as, out of, from, after; thus--

Aias ek Salaminos agen neeas.--Homer.
[Ajax brought ships out of Salamis.]

Now if we refer to the original, and read the text literally, we shall see a beauty in the passage which the translation does not develope; and considerable light will also be shed over the question of Nicodemus, "How can a man be born when he is old?" It reads thus: "Except a man be born out of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." Hence, Dr. Wilson, you [203] perceive that in order to be born again, or regenerated, it is necessary to pass under the influence of two things, which must nut be separated; namely, of the water and the Spirit; for a man cannot come ex out of the water, or, as our Savior expresses it, "be born out of water," except he first enter EIS into it. Doctor, you see your dilemma. Have you been born out of water and the Spirit? Let conscience answer. If you have not, you cannot enter the kingdom, even though you shall have cast out devils in the name of Christ. Do not say that I separate the water and the Spirit; no! what God hath joined let no man put asunder, even should it tend to the bouleversement of his creed. There is but one baptism consisting of water and Spirit. Thus you perceive that this law of naturalization, instituted by Christ, very accurately defines the boundary line between the kingdoms of light and darkness--between the territory of the Prince of this world and that of the Prince of peace. Mind, Doctor, "you must be born again" in the way appointed by Christ the lawgiver of his kingdom; Christ himself says so, and it must be in the way that he has instituted. I know "the church" has established another way of being born again, or regenerated; but Christ is above the church; and to any man, be he priest or layman, who shall obey the church, or men, rather than Christ, whose will we can only learn by his word, and not by the interpretation of any set of men, it shall be said by the righteous Judge of all, "Depart from me, for I never knew you." Remember, Doctor, that "not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." He must do that which Christ told Nicodemus he must do--he must be born again, and in the way he had shown him. Paul says not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified; and James exhorts the scribes to be "doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving their own selves."

      5. What is "the will of the Father"--"the law"--and "the word?"

      Was it not the code of the kingdom given by Christ, of which one law was, that none should enter the kingdom of God except they were born ex hudatos out of water and the Spirit? This I apprehend, is one of the important decrees which went forth out of Zion, and which, Reverend Doctor, you took upon you to mutilate and corrupt in the lecture referred to. You said, truly there is a sin against the Holy Spirit which shall not be forgiven. Take care, take care, Rabbi Wilson, lest the plagues spoken of in the book be added unto you for adding to and taking from the word of God!

      6. Seeing, then, that the same word is used in all these instances, by what authority, human or divine, classical or otherwise, do you presume to "take" the word hudoor, or water, as meaning "the word of truth?"

      If you translate it thus in one of these passages, you must do so in all. The Scriptures speak sense, and were written by men of good understandings under the dictation of the Holy Spirit. But, according to your version, you make them talk nonsense, and reduce the whole to an absurdity. For example, your translation would read thus: Except a man be born of the pure word of truth and of the Spirit, &c. You know what James says, (ch. i. v. 18.) "Of his own will begat he us." How did the Father beget us? The Apostle replies, "With the word of truth." Now as to beget does not signify to be born, this cannot refer to the new birth or being born out of water--we are "begotten by the word" and born out of water and Spirit; or, in other words, regenerated.

      Again--"Having the body washed with the pure word of truth." Washing the body with words!

      While the ark was preparing eight souls were saved by the pure word of truth, &c. An ark floating on the waters of the deluge, with eight persons, besides a large number of clean and unclean beasts, with stores for many months; according to you, learned sir, should be read, An ark floating upon the pure word of truth, &c. By what law of hydrostatics such a flotilla could swim on true words, I am utterly at a loss to conceive! Joshua L. Wilson, D. D. can perhaps explain.

      I agree with you that that assembly of Christians is much blessed, where the word of God is best interpreted. But really I do think (judging from the specimen [204] with which you have favored us of your philological exegesis) your congregation has no claim to that beatitude. Nothing can be more simple than that to be born again, or regenerated, consists in being "born out of water and the Spirit." This hydropneumatic baptism, if I may be allowed the expression, is very aptly compared to a burial and resurrection. When a man dies and is buried, and comes to life again, he is very correctly said to be born again, or "to arise to newness of life." When a man becomes dead to the world, nothing is so natural as that he should be "buried with Christ in" this hydropneumatic "baptism;" or, in plain English, baptism composed of water and spirit. He disappears for a time from the eye of sense, he is in the womb of water as the dead are in the womb of the grave. When he re-appears he enters into the kingdom of God out of this hydropneumatic tomb; and as our Lord was born, or rose out of, or from, the Jordan, or waters of death, into the kingdom of heaven; so he was born or rose out of, or from, "the laver of regeneration," through which he entered into the kingdom of God. How beautiful the analogy! how sublime the figures!

      Doctor, you darken counsel by words without knowledge. It is such teaching as yours that has led mankind astray. Priestcraft and monachism first subdued the independence of the human mind, and taught it to trust its spiritual concerns to a set of men, whom God, it was said, had appointed to think for it. The Reformation but partially knocked off these fetters. The Morning Star of that memorable day soon began to wane; and has been fast sinking behind the clouds of human tradition and devices, which you, Doctor, contribute in generating to the darkening of the truth, and the perversion of the right use of reason; and unless a miracle be wrought to prevent it, it bids fair to set in the haze of indifference, lukewarmness, fanaticism, and infidelity.

      The Scriptures are written that they may be understood, not perverted. Their style is plain, simple, easy and intelligible. They mean what they say, and have no secret or private interpretation. When they speak of water they mean water, and of spirit, spirit. But you make them mean what they do not say; thus you teach the traditions of men for the commandments of God.

      Excuse me when I say you paid your hearers no compliment, and gave them very little credit even for common intelligence, when you paraphrased the scriptures as described. For my own part I felt the manner in which you glossed over the word of truth an insult to my understanding; and had it not been for the sake of decorum, I should have taken my hat and walked.--What! "a minister of the gospel," as you style yourself, and manifest such want of candor--such disingenuousness! But, alas for your hearers! I could see plainly you were bound by the square rule of your creed, which seemed susceptible in your own view of mathematical demonstration. Take the advice of one, though in youth, and a layman too. Throw away your creeds, school divinity, and catechisms; they are all human inventions, first devised by the worse than Pagan Church of Rome as a substitute for revelation; take the Scriptures, acknowledge no authority but them, for they contain the mind of God; search them, and make them explain themselves; fear not to declare the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, even though it should lead you to proclaim "one Lord, one faith, one baptism for the remission of sins" Acts ii. 38.

Sherlock on Divine Providence.

Brother Campbell,

      IT is supposed by many that the time is fast approaching, and not very far distant, when Atheism will prevail over the earth, and openly exalt itself against the government of the Most High. They believe it to be the last of those great unholy influences, by which [205] man is to be led to rebel against his Creator; and they consider it nothing but the ultimate and natural result or effect of false and wicked government, and corrupted religion, to produce a total disbelief in the providence and existence of God, and the truth of religion and revelation. The rapid increase of scepticism and infidelity of late years would seem to give some probability to these expectations; but among the signs of their approaching fulfilment, there is, perhaps, no circumstance more worthy of attention than that disposition which now so generally prevails among even the professors of religion, to explain every thing that occurs upon rational principles, and to attribute even the most striking events to the common and ordinary operation of natural causes. I have lately met with Sherlock on Providence, and have been much pleased with the able and scriptural arguments by which he exposes this prevalent error; and I have thought it would be useful and acceptable to the readers of the Harbinger to have before them the following extracts:--

      NEXT to preservation, as that signifies God's upholding all things in being, and preserving and actuating their natural powers, we must consider God's government of the world. For God is the supreme and sovereign Lord of the world, who doeth whatsoever pleaseth him both in heaven and in earth; and therefore the absolute government of all things must be in his hands, or else something might be done which he would not have done.

      This all men grant in general words, who own a Providence; but when they come to particulars, there are so many excepted cases, which they will hardly allow God to have any thing to do in, that they seem to mean little more by God's government than a general inspection of human affairs, his looking on to see the world govern itself; for three parts of four of all that is done in the world they resolve into bare permission as distinguished from an ordering and disposing providence; and then it can signify no more than that God does not hinder it. And if this be all, God governs the world in such cases no more than men do. The only difference is, that God can hinder when he does not; but men do not hinder because they cannot; but still not to hinder does not signify to govern.

      But rightly to understand this matter, the best way is to consider how the Scripture represents it; and because there are great variety of acts in the government of the world of a very different consideration, I shall distinctly inquire into God's government of causes, and his government of events.

      1. God's government of causes. And we must consider three sorts of causes, and what the Scripture attributes to God with respect to each. 1st. Natural causes. 2d. Accidental causes, or what we call chance, and accident, and fortune. 3d. Moral causes and free agents, or the government of mankind.

      1st. Natural causes, or God's government of the natural world, of the heavens, and earth, and seas, and air, and all things in them which move and act by a necessity of nature, not by chance. Now [206] the Scripture does not only attribute to God all the virtues and powers of nature which belongs to creation, and to a preserving Providence, but the direction and government of all their natural influences to do what God has a mind should be done. God does in some measure govern the moral by the natural world. He rewards or punishes men by a wholesome or pestilential air, by fruitful or barren seasons. He hinders or promotes their designs by winds and weather, by a forward or a backward Spring, and makes nature give laws to men, and sets bounds to their passions and intrigues; to overthrow the most powerful fleets and armies; to defeat the wisest counsels, and to arbitrate the differences of princes, and the fate of men and kingdoms. And if God govern men by nature, he must govern nature too; for necessary causes cannot be fitted to the government of free agents without the direction and management of Divine Providence, which guides, exerts, or suspends the influences of nature with as great freedom as men act. Men do not always deserve well or ill; and if the kind or malign influences of nature must be tempered to men's deserts, to punish them when they do ill, and to reward them when they do well, natural causes, which of themselves act necessarily without wisdom or counsel, must be guided by a wise hand.

      Thus reason tells us it must be if God govern the world, and God challenges to himself this absolute and sovereign empire over nature. God has bestowed different virtues and powers on natural causes, and in ordinary cases makes use of the powers of nature, and neither acts without them nor against the laws of nature, which makes some unthinking men resolve all into nature without a God or a Providence. Because excepting the case of miracles, which they are not willing to believe, they see every thing else done by the powers of nature. And if it were not so, God had made a world and made nature to no purpose, to do every thing himself by an immediate power, without making use of the powers of nature. But the ordinary government of nature does not signify to act without it or to overrule its powers, but to steer and guide its motions to serve the wise ends of his providence in the government of mankind.

      For as God does not usually act without nature, nor against its laws, so neither does nature act by steady and uniform motions without the direction of God. But while every thing in the material world acts necessarily and exerts its natural powers, God can temper, suspend, direct its influences, without reversing the laws of nature. As, for instance, fire and water, wind and rain, thunder and lightning, have their natural virtues and powers, and natural causes, and God produces such effects as they are made to produce by their natural powers. He warms us with fire--invigorates the earth by the benign influences of the sun and moon, and other stars and planets; refreshes and moistens it with springs and fountains and rain from heaven--fans the air with winds, and purges it with thunders and lightnings, and the like. But then when and where the rains shall fall and the winds shall blow, in what measure and proportion, times and seasons natural causes shall give or withhold their influences [207] this God keeps in his own power, and can govern without altering the standing laws of nature; and this is his government of natural causes in order to reward or punish men as they shall deserve. Thus God reasons with Job concerning his power and providence. Job xxxviii. 31, 32, &c. "Canst thou bind the sweet influences of the Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season, or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons? Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven, or canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth? Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds that abundance of waters may cover thee? Canst thou send lightnings that they may go and say unto thee, Here we are?" This is above human power, but belongs to the government and providence of God. "Fire and hail, snow, and vapor, and stormy winds fulfil his word." Psalm cxlviii. 8. Sometimes God restrains the influences of nature, "shuts up heaven that it shall not rain." 2 Chron. vii. 13. And at other times he "calls to the clouds that abundance of water may cover the earth. He gives the former and the latter rain in its season, and preserveth to us the appointed weeks of harvest." Jer. v. 24. as he promised to Israel, (Deut. xi. 14, 15.) "I will give you the rain of your land in due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine and thy oil; and I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full." He prescribes in what proportions it shall rain, (Joel ii. 23, 24.) "Be glad, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God; for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the former rain and the latter rain in the first month." Nay, God appoints on what place it shall rain, (Ezek. xxxiv. 26.) "And I will make thee and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the flower to come down in his season; there shall be flowers of blessing." Amos iv. 7, 8. "And also I have withholden the rain from you when there were yet three months to the harvest. And I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city. One piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered; so two or three cities wandered to one city to drink water, but they were not satisfied."

      It is impossible to give any tolerable account of such texts as these, without confessing that God keeps the direction and government of all natural causes in his own hands. For particular effects, and all the changes of nature can never be attributed to God, unless the divine wisdom and counsel determines natural causes to the producing such particular effects. Great part of the happiness or miseries of this life is owing to the good or bad influences of natural causes. That if God take care of mankind he must govern nature; and when he promises health and plenty, or threatens pestilence and famine, how can he make good either if he have not reserved to himself a sovereign power over nature?

      The sum is this, that all natural causes are under the immediate and absolute government of Providence--that God keeps the springs of nature in his own hands, and turns them as he pleases. For mere [208] matter, though it be endowed with all the natural virtues and powers which necessarily produce their natural effects; yet it having no wisdom and counsel of its own, cannot serve the ends of a free agent without being guided by a wise hand. And we see in a thousand instances what an empire human art has over nature--not by changing the nature of things, which human art can never do; but by such skilful application of causes as will produce such effects as unguided, and, if I may so speak, untaught nature could never have produced. And if God have subjected nature to human art, surely he has not exempted it from his own guidance and power.

      This shows how necessary it is that God, by an immediate providence, should govern nature. For natural causes are excellent instruments; but to make them useful they must be directed by a skilful hand. And those various changes which are in nature, especially in this sublunary world, (which we are most acquainted with) without any certain and periodical returns, prove that it is not all mechanism; for mechanical motions are fixed and certain, and either always the same or regular and uniform in their changes.

      It is of great use to us to understand this, which teaches us what we may expect from God; and what we must attribute to him in the government of nature. We must not expect in ordinary cases that God should reverse the laws of nature for us; that if we leap into the fire it shall not burn us; or into the water, it shall not drown us. And by the same reason the providence of God is not concerned to preserve us when we destroy ourselves by intemperance and lust; for God does not work miracles to deliver men from the evil effects of their own wickedness and folly. But all the kind influences of heaven which supply our wants, and fill our hearts with food and gladness, are owing to that good providence which commands nature to yield her increase; and those disorders of nature which afflict the world with famines, and pestilence, and earthquakes, are the effects of God's anger and displeasure, and are ordered by him for the punishment of a wicked world. We must all believe this, or confess that we mock God when we bless him for a healthful air and fruitful seasons, or deprecate his anger when we see the visible tokens of his vengeance in the disorders of nature. For did not God immediately interpose in the government of nature, there would be no reason to beg his favor, or to deprecate his anger upon these accounts.

      2d. Let us consider God's government of accidental causes, or what we call chance and accident, which has a large empire over human affairs. Not that chance and accident can do any thing, properly speaking, (for whatever is done has some proper and natural cause which does it;) but what we call accidental causes, is rather such an accidental concurrence of different causes, as produces unexpected and undesigned effects: as when one man, by accident, loses a purse of gold, and another man, walking the fields, without any such expectation, by as great an accident, finds it. And how much of the good or evil that happens to us in this world, is owing to such undesigned, surprising, accidental events, every man must know who has [209] made any observations on his own or other men's lives and fortunes, The wise man observed this long since, (Eccles. ix. 11.) "I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong; neither yet bread to the wise; nor yet riches to men of understanding; nor yet favor to men of skill: but time and chance happeneth to them all." Some unusual and casual events change the fortunes of men, and disappoint the most proper and natural means of success. What should conquer in a race but swiftness; or win the battle but strength? What should supply men's wants and increase riches, but wisdom and understanding in human affairs? What more likely way to gain the favor of princes and people, than a dexterous and skilful application and address? And yet the preacher observed in his days, and the observation holds good still, that it is not always thus: time and chance, some favorable junctures, and unseen accidents, are more powerful than all human strength, or art, or skill.

      Now what an ill state were mankind in, did not a wise and merciful hand govern what we call chance and fortune? How can God govern the world, or dispose of men's lives and fortunes, without governing chance, all unseen, unknown and surprising events, which disappoint the counsels of the wise, and in a moment unavoidably change the whole scene of human affairs? Upon what little unexpected things do the fortunes of men, of families, of whole kingdoms turn! And unless these little unexpected things are governed by God, some of the greatest changes in the world, are exempted from his care and providence.

      This is reason enough to believe, that if God governs the world, he governs chance and fortune; that the most unexpected events, how casual soever they appear to us, are foreseen and ordered by God.

      Such events as these are the properest objects of God's care and government, because they are very great instruments of Providence. Many times the greatest things are done by them, and they are the most visible demonstration of a superior wisdom and power which governs the world. By these means God disappoints the wisdom of the wise, and defeats the power of the mighty; "frustrateth the tokens of the liar, and maketh diviners mad; turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish." Isa. xliv. 25. Did strength and wisdom always prevail, as in a great measure they would were it not for such unseen disappointments; mankind would take less notice of Providence, and would have less reason to do it, since they would be the more absolute masters of their own fortunes. A powerful combination of sinners, managed by some crafty politicians, would govern the world; but the uncertain turnings and changes of fortune keep mankind in awe, make the most prosperous and powerful sinners fear an unseen vengeance, and give security to good men against unseen evils, which cannot befall them without the order and appointment of God.

      That there are a great many accidental and casual events, which happen to us all, and which are of great consequence to the happiness or miseries of our lives, all men see and feel. That we cannot defend [210] ourselves from such unseen events, which we know nothing of till we feel them, is as manifest as that there are such events; and what so properly belongs to the divine care, as that which we ourselves can take no care of? The heathens made fortune a goddess, and attributed the government of all things to her tuche kuberna panta; whereby they only signified the government of providence in all casual and fortuitous events; and if Providence govern any thing, it must govern chance, which governs almost all things else, and which none but God can govern. As far as human prudence and foresight reach, God expects we should take care of ourselves; and if we will not, he suffers us to reap the fruits of our own folly; but when we cannot take care of ourselves, we have reason to expect and hope that God will take care of us. In other cases human prudence and industry must concur with the divine providence in matters of chance and accident, providence must act alone and do all itself, for we know nothing of it; so that all the arguments for providence do most strongly conclude for God's government of all casual events.

      And the Scripture does as expressly attribute all such events to God, as any other acts of providence and government. In the law of Moses, when a man killed his neighbor by accident, God is said to deliver him into his hands. Exod. xxi. 12, 13. "He that smiteth a man so that he die, shall be surely put to death. And if a man lie not in wait, but God deliver him into his hands, then I will appoint thee a place whither he shall flee:" where "God's delivering him into his hands" is opposed to him that smiteth a man so that he die," and "to him that comes presumptuously upon his neighbor to slay him," (15th verse,) and therefore signifies one who kills his neighbor by mere accident, as it is explained in Deut. xix. 4, 5. "And this is the case of the slayer that shall flee thither," (i. e. to the city of refuge;) "whoso killeth his neighbor ignorantly, whom he hated not in time past,--as when a man goeth into the wood with his neighbor to hew wood, and his hand fetcheth a stroke with the axe to cut down the tree, and the head slippeth from the helve, and lighteth upon his neighbor that he die,--he shall flee unto one of these cities, and live." What can be more accidental than this? And yet we are assured that this is appointed by the divine providence; that God delivers the man who is killed into the hands of him that killed him.

      Is any thing more casual than a lot? And yet Solomon tells us "The lot is cast into the lap, but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord," (Prov. xvi. 33;) which is not confined to the case of lots, but to signify to us that nothing is so casual and uncertain, as to be exempted from the disposal of Providence. For what seems accidental to us, is not chance, but providence--is ordered and appointed by God to bring to pass what his own wisdom and counsel has decreed: as is very evident from some remarkable instances of providence which are recorded in Scripture.

      By how many seeming accidents and casual events was Joseph advanced to Pharaoh's throne? His dreams, whereby God foretold his advancement, made his brethren envious at him, and watch some [211] convenient opportunity to get rid of him, and so confute his dreams. Jacob sends Joseph to visit his brethren in the fields, where they were keeping their sheep. This gave them an opportunity to execute their revenge, and at first they intended to murder him; but the Ishmaelites, accidentally passing by, they sold Joseph to them, and they carried him into Egypt and sold him to Potiphar. Potiphar's wife tempts him to uncleanness, and being denied by Joseph, she accuses him to his lord, who casts him into the king's prison. Whilst he was there, the king's butler and baker were cast into the same prison, and dreamed their several dreams, which Joseph expounded to them, and the event verified his interpretation. The butler, who was restored to his office, forgot Joseph, till two years after, when Pharaoh dreamed a dream which none of the wise men could interpret; and then Joseph was sent for, and advanced to the highest place of dignity and power next to Pharaoh. The years of famine brought Joseph's brethren into Egypt to buy corn, where they bowed before him, according to his dream. This occasioned the removal of Jacob and his whole family into Egypt, where Joseph placed them in the land of Goshen, by which means God fulfilled what he had told Abraham: "Know of a surety, that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them, and they shall afflict them four hundred years" Gen xv. 13. How casual does all this appear to us! But no man will think that prophecies are fulfilled by chance; and therefore we must confess, that what seems chance to us, was appointed by God.

[To be continued]



"Behold the Bridegroom comes: go you out to meet him."

By S. M. M'CORKLE,--a Layman.      


      I WILL now return to the proposed prophecy. [See Daniel vii.] "I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of Days did sit." This vision, with many others too terrible for endurance, is handed over to the close of time, a time the most remote. But the same difficulties which present themselves in the other alarming predictions are manifest in this. It foretells an overthrow of governments, at least of imperial; and to connect the passage with Cor. xv. 24. there seems but little room to expect that any are to survive the general wreck. What room for civil authority when Christ is to reign universally? He is to put down all rule and all authority. "The judgment was set and the books were opened." This passage [212] looks as if the final day was its object. It may have an allusion to the close of time, but this cannot be the meaning of the passage.--This is admitted, by the most learned divines. It is much easier to reconcile the prediction to the judgment of the great whore, the fall of antichrist, than to reconcile the latter part of the vision, to the final judgment.

      If great names have weight, a Newton may be cited among those who believed in the personal appearance of Christ, and that the judgment would continue a thousand years. Peter too, may with much propriety, be quoted in support of the opinion; when he says, that "one day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day."

      "I beheld then, (at the very time of this judgment,) because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed and given to the burning flame." Now if this horn, this beast, be a figure of the anti-christian, imperial authority, which rose in the church, and I challenge a different construction, then must this horn, this anti-christ, this son of perdition, reign till the final close of time; if the final judgment, be the meaning of the vision. For the downfall, the entire destruction of this horn, this beast, and the judgment alluded to, are evidently to be at the same time. "As concerning the rest of the beasts, (the first empires which rose,) they had their dominion taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time." What! lives prolonged, for a "season and time," after the close of time! And the latter part of the vision is still more difficult to reconcile to the final day; for the universal reign of Christ is manifestly alluded to; "And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve him." Is there to be people, nations, and languages after the final judgment! And farther, every prediction relative to the kingdom of Christ, is to have an accomplish meat on earth; for at the close of all things, the kingdom is to he given into the hands of the father--so says Paul. "I beheld and the same horn made war with the saints and prevailed against them; until the ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High," &c. "But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion to consume and destroy it unto the end."

      Now, to the sitting of this very judgment, is this very horn, or the anti-christ, to make war on the saints, and to " overcome them, according to John; let the judgment, sit when it may, and is to "wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time." This is the precise time that anti-christ is to reign. See Rev. 12. 14. "for a time, and times, and half a time." Also, the forty and two months, the twelve hundred and sixty days--all corresponding, respecting the length of time that this horn, the beast hat rose out of the sea. The son of perdition, should reign, and wear out the saints of the Most High. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end." [213]

      From the tenor and bearing of this vision, taken as a whole, the judgment spoken of, and the destruction of the horn, or the persecuting authority, are to be contemporaneous events, and cannot be separated. If the horn be a figure of anti-christ, (and to nothing else can it be applied) then is this judgment to sit previous to his final destruction. If the vision be relative to the final judgment, according to the commonly received opinion, it will involve in difficulties, which can never be solved: for, during the reign of Christ, the sword is to be beaten into a plough-share, and the spear into a pruning hook; and men learn war no more. This precludes the very existence of any authority or power, making war with the saints and overcoming them.

      During the reign of Christ, the saints are to possess the kingdom; the twelve hundred and sixty years preceding this judgment, is to be marked with persecutions, famous for martyrdoms, and the blood of saints.

      How illy prepared is the world for such events as these, they are to come as a thief in the night. How wide is this judgment to extend its inexorable jurisdiction? Who may set a limit? Who stand the shock, when the eternal God ariseth to "shake terribly the earth?"

      Now reader, just as sure as there is truth in the prophecy of Daniel, this vision in its magnitude, its "fiery stream, its burning flame, its judgment and its relative events, are all to have an accomplishment, previous to the introduction of the Millennium, or Christ's universal reign: and there is a strong probability, that the present generation is not to pass away until all these things be fulfilled.

      With this prophecy of Daniel, couple Paul's second letter to the Thessalonians, first and second chapters. The very same event is pointed at, "when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God."

      The general conflagration of the material world, with the heavens, &c. is a hackneyed subject, and forms a part of almost all those things call sermons. Among the first impressions which we receive, is something about the dissolution of nature, the world on fire, "melted rocks and mountains," "the war of elements," &c. These things have made a false impression on the mind, forming a part of our religion, held sacred; almost as dear as immortality--and to question these things almost amounts to heresy. Thus every passage we find in the Bible, threatening fire or alarm, is turned over to the final judgment. If we trace these blunders back to this source, we will find them originating where most of our blunders do, among the priests.

      Upon a close and impartial examination of the Bible, I have settled down in the belief, that the doctrine of universal conflagration of the material world, is not tenable from philosophy or scripture--my motive is not to shew, that the doctrine of world burning, is untrue; but to shew the misapplication of those metaphors by our teachers,--that they have mistaken all the metaphors in the Bible, (and most of its commands and precepts too--) would to the Lord, I could induce men to depend on themselves and their God! No doctrine can be true, [214] when fairly at opposites with the laws of nature--and, if those passages in the Bible, on which the doctrine of world burning is predicated, be metaphors, the whole theory will go overboard at once.

      No doubt but we are to have a deluge of fire, probably from some foreign source, perhaps a comet; but it is to have a very different commission to perform, than the destruction of our globe.

      Upon the constituted laws of nature, the world can never be destroyed by fire--it cannot be supported upon philosophical principles--it is impossible that the most intense action of fire for ages, could make the world a pound less ponderous than it is. The common elements are not combustible. You cannot set the air on fire, earth cannot burn--every body knows the power of water over fire--more than three-fourths of our globe is water--not one particle can be annihilated--not a particle made--fire cannot destroy it--it may be changed into steam, but it instantly returns to water, when the action of heat is suspended. On what principles are the heavens to be set on fire? Is there combustible matter in open space? Fire has only a relative existence. First, while it is supplied with suitable materials, could the world on fire affect the planets, or all the planets on fire communicate fire to the earth? Impossible. It is probable, that fire would no more exist beyond the atmosphere, than it would in the ocean. It is absurd and ridiculous, to think that the heavens above, can undergo a conflagration; and equally so, to believe the earth can, from any thing arising out of its component parts, or its relative connexion with the starry heavens. If, then, our earth be destroyed, it will not rise out of any constituted laws in nature. I admit he who created can destroy; but who can give a reason why this beautiful world is to be destroyed,--because its occupants are sinners!

      The only passages, which can fairly be applied, to the final judgment, or the close of time, has not the most distant allusion, to a destruction of the material world; and those which threaten fire, have considerations coupled with them, which render their application to the final day, very doubtful.

      Sacred writ tells us, the world was destroyed by a flood. Now, the material world was not destroyed, but the people: so will it be, in the destruction threatened by fire, The term world, in the Bible, is often applied to dispensations. The meaning of many places, is entirely mistaken, if the term be considered as relative to the material earth. In the parable of the tares, the meaning is entirely lost, if the passage, " So shall it be in the end of this world," be not considered, relative to the dispensation. The principal scripture upon which the doctrine of world burning, is predicated, is found in Peter's second Epistle, third chapter. To take the whole chapter together, and by a proper regard to relative scripture, a very different construction may be put upon it, and the passage applied to entirely a different object. Peter has an allusion, to a heaven and earth, which were of old. "Whereby the world, that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: but the heavens and the earth which are now, by the same word, are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of [215] ungodly men." This evidently has a reference to a heaven and earth which are not, which are past, or there is inconsistency in the writer; and this very construction is couched in the passage taken together. Now if we can find out what kind of heaven and earth were destroyed by water, we can know what kind is involved in the destruction by fire.

      To be consistent, the terms heaven and earth must be considered metaphors, (the church and the people of the world;) and, taken thus, there is no inconsistency in the ease. "Reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men." Is this a different judgment from that which Daniel saw--a different fire from the "fiery stream which issued and came forth from before him"? Is it a different heaven from that which "departed as a scroll"? I have before shown that these predictions do not relate to the close of time--"in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise." I have also shown that the word heaven in most of the prophecies does relate to the church. Now will the fall of Antichrist, the most corrupt, tyrannical, bloody, ungodly church that ever existed, be blotted out of existence without noise? Will the crush of thrones, the removing of the present generation with all its appendages--the pompous retinue of ten thousand times ten thousand attendants--the blaze of glory which is to accompany the descent of the King of kings, take place without "a great noise"? A great sound of a trumpet will proclaim the approach of him who is to rule the nations with a rod of iron. "The elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also, and the works that are therein shall be burned up." Now is not the body of Antichrist composed of elements--his body is to be destroyed and "given to the burning flame"? And farther, there is no doctrine of much importance found in the sacred oracles, but is supported by two or three witnesses; and this doctrine of burning the earth, if Peter's prediction is to have a literal fulfilment, has no other backing, plainly and pointedly to the purpose, in all the holy book; and to make the matter worse, it is at opposites with the very laws of nature--and more, this given principle which is to destroy the world, can never perform that which is allotted to its office, with the combustible matter a thousand such worlds as this would afford.

      Let me not be misunderstood in these matters. The doctrine of world-burning, abstractly considered, is not worth a serious argument. But as it has drawn, and is drawing into its channel, and swallowing up all the alarming predictions within the lids of the Bible, thereby producing a misunderstanding of the sacred oracles, it is high time it were assailed; for it is fraught with much danger, and will end in the most fatal consequences, for the reasons above stated.

      I will here offer to the thinking, intelligent reader, another reason connected with this subject. Are stars, worlds, suns, those lamps of Omnipotence, illuminating his "many mansions," to be blotted out or destroyed for the purpose of congregating a boundless universe to worship an Omnipresent God? Where is heaven? Where is God? Heaven is as boundless as creation; yet heaven often, in the sacred pages, just means God's moral government on earth. [216]

      I am not invalidating the law or the testimony, but trying to show that Peter is unquestionably speaking in metaphorical language; and his heaven, which is to be destroyed by fire, is none other than the heaven which is to be rolled together as a scroll; and his "earth and the works that are therein," is none other than such a world as was destroyed by water--to wit, the inhabitants of the world at large, in contradistinction from the church. Just such a destruction by fire is awaiting the world as it once suffered by water; and it will be repeopled again during the Millennium. Let any one who may choose make the calculation, and the doctrine of the Millennium, with the present number of inhabitants, will probably destroy itself; say it is to last only a thousand years, with the present population increasing at the common rate, without war, natural or moral evil--"Let him that hath understanding count the number."

      I would ask if there are no elements composing the body of Antichrist, on which this fire can act with effect, "his body (is to be) destroyed and given to the burning flame." "Nevertheless, we, according to his promise, look for a new heaven and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." This furnishes a reason; aye, it fairly gives the cause, why the "heavens and earth which are now" are to be destroyed. A charge of unrighteousness is fairly implied. Can this relate to the heavens above or the earth beneath--the material world?

      Unrighteousness brought a flood upon the world, a scourge upon the Jewish church, and will soon pull down the fire of Omnipotence on the "heaven and earth which are now." But the material earth will remain inconscious, unhurt, while its puny and wicked inhabitants are taught the meaning of these alarming metaphors in the terrible events.

      Now, if we will go into the heavens from whence the Star fell, the heaven wherein the woman appeared clothed with the sun, the heaven which is to be rolled together as a scroll, where the personage is to appear on a white horse, with a sharp sword, treading "the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God:" I say, if we go into the heaven, or moral administration, where these things have been, or are to be transacted, (for they cannot be transacted in the worlds above,) we will find objects upon which the whole may have an accomplishment, and perfectly coincide with Scripture, with relative predictions, with reason, and with the former dealing of God toward corrupt dispensations.

      Paul's second letter to the Thessalonians, 1st and 2d chapters, are among the most prominent predictions in the New Testament relative to the rise and fall of the son of perdition. They should be read In close connexion; also, in connexion with the preceding epistle, wherein the Apostle gave them to know that the day of the Lord so "Cometh as a thief in the night," and at a time when men would be preaching peace and safety, then destruction should be at the very door.

      Paul in his former epistle, had caused some uneasiness about the day which was coming on the world as a thief. "To you who are [217] troubled," says he, "rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ," &c. "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him," &c. "that ye be not soon shaken in mind," &c. "as that day of Christ is at hand," &c. "for that day shall not come except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed," &c. "whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming."

      These passages present some very important considerations. First, a falling away; second, the rise of the man of sin. These are evidently antecedent to the following items of the highest importance. First, Christ being revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance," &c. Second, "our gathering together unto him"--[no Lo, here! or Lo, there! in that day.] Third, the destruction of Antichrist, "whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming." These latter items are evidently to be contemporaneous in their accomplishment, and are to come as a thief in the night, when the world is least prepared and most corrupt. These items correspond with the other prophecies. The Apostles and Prophets strengthen each other's hands, confirming each other's evidence by corroborating testimony. Their testimony seems all to have the same great concentrating point--the return of the Master to his home, the fierce indignation which is to attend the event, and the setting up of his universal reign. This seems to be the tenor of all the prophecies we have examined--their evident bearing. The subject relative to the return of the Master we propose taking up hereafter.

(To be continued.)

Epaphras--No. 8.

Dear Sir,

      WHATEVER propriety yourself and others may see in prefixing the epithet original or ancient to the term gospel, I am not yet convinced of its necessity or utility. All that I could admit, is, that it may, in some instances, be expedient. But I fear that, with all your definitions and explanations, the phrase will denote a theory or an institution--perhaps, "baptism for remission," or some other leading view of faith, reformation, or "the gift of the Spirit." "Another gospel" than that announced on Pentecost, there cannot be. A modern gospel is no gospel; and as I always give my vote for the Apostles, I say, Let us have the gospel without adjunct or epithet other than the apostolic. It is called "the gospel of God," "the gospel of the grace of God," "the gospel of salvation," and "the gospel of Jesus Christ." These are sufficient for me and for all who read with veneration the Apostle's word. If, indeed, you write or speak of the things called [218] "gospel" now-a-days, and admit them to be gospels at all, then you may speak of the ancient, the original, the apostolic gospel; or if you call them counterfeits, then you may call it the genuine gospel, &c. But with me there is now but one gospel, as there is but one faith and but one immersion. However, as I before said, for the sake of contradistinction it may he tolerated to use the epithets ancient and modern before "gospel;" but this ought to be of necessity, and not of choice.

      Your history of the phrase "restoration of the ancient gospel," and the incidents of 1827, are so far satisfactory as respects the practice of those principles, and the use of the "phrase, "For the remission of your sins I immerse you," &c. But, sir, this with me stands on the same footing as the epithet ancient. Expediency and circumstances may justify the pronunciation of these words for a testimony to others but I am fastidious (you will say) in keeping to the text. If any addition is made to any institution, in word or action, for the sake of testimony or explanation, who shall say how far this is to be carried? Who will fix the "hitherto shalt thou come, and no farther"? I certainly believe that the gospel, as explained on Pentecost, led all the baptized to expect remission on their burial with Christ in the institution; but I do not think that Peter or the other Apostles did then, or at any other time, say, in the actual immersion of the candidates (as we moderns call them,) 'For this, or any other special purpose, I immerse you.' It was no doubt so understood by the parties; but there was no specification of this or any other object in the administration of the ordinance. I admit, however, that when any ordinance is in a great measure lost, or so metamorphosed by tradition and human appendages, as to have lost its primitive signification, it ought to be set before the people in as clear and impressive a manner as possible; and, therefore, for the present distress, such explanations may be allowed; but let them be understood to he mere explanations, depending on the understanding of him who adopts them; and let none presume to judge them who may hesitate on their expediency.

      We are all apt to lay more stress on some truths, facts, and opinions than on others, according to the bearing they may have upon ourselves, when there is not, abstract from our own feelings, perhaps, any greater comparative importance in the one than in the other. Hence with one, faith; with another, repentance; with a third, immersion, with a fourth, the operation or inhabitation of the Spirit, is reckoned the most fundamental doctrine or truth. In the history of this reformation I have observed something of this sort. I have found some emphasising upon one institution, one point of order, one doctrine, as more cardinal than any other. To me for a time this was also as natural as to any one else. I have always thought that the most cardinal and important position elicited and proved in the last ten years, is that found in the first paper which appears in the first number of the Christian Baptist. The article in which it is found is headed, "The Christian Religion;" and the position I find in capitals on page 14--"THE ONLY BOND OF UNION AMONG CHRISTIANS [the Primitive] [219] WAS FAITH IN THE MESSIAH AND SUBMISSION TO HIS WILL." The development of this "ONLY BOND OF UNION" appeared to me then, and for years afterwards, the most important position discussed and settled in this long controversy. But perhaps this was because I had stumbled on that idea myself before it appeared from your pen, I have, from my own experience, been led to suspect that the relation in which we stand to certain truths, and opinions, and practices, gives them very bright charms in our estimation, and makes them appear to us cardinal; whereas, were it not for this, perchance they would stand like privates in the great army of truths, facts, or opinions.

      This hint has been of use to myself, and I would hope that it might be of some use to others. There is no doubt a relative importance in truths, and this may allowably influence our esteem and veneration for them; but care should be taken that this esteem be for the truth's sake, and not for our relation to it--as its discoverer or propagator. Such attachments are fleshly and savor of the flesh. Touching the gift of the Holy Spirit, as added to the phrase, "For the remission of sins," &c. I am pleased to find you do not defend it. To me it appears quite apochryphal; and very certain do I feel that the Apostles never put a man into the water for the purpose of receiving the gift specified in Acts ii. 38. If they did, then were all the believers in Samaria, and among the Gentiles in Cesarea, deceived in their immersion. But as you have something more to say on the import of this promise, I shall close for the present.
  Yours as ever in the Lord,

      [Reply to Epaphras in our next.]

New Years Evening at Mr. Goodal's.



      Mrs. Fowler.--CAN brother Reed inform us in what way angels could contend with one another?

      Mr. Reed.--This question arises from the words of Gabriel to Daniel, concerning his fighting with the Prince of Persia, who, it appears, was the presiding angel of Persia. But should we fail in forming a definite idea of the mode of such warfare, still it is to be acquiesced in, provided it is a clearly established fact that angels can fight or contend with each other.

      Mrs. Fowler.--This will be conceded. But does it not appear to you, brother Reed, somewhat too bold to found such a doctrine on the symbolic book of Daniel?

      Mr. Reed.--I do not found this doctrine on the book of Daniel, though I cannot well explain the passages quoted from Daniel on any rules of interpretation, otherwise than as intimating the presidency of angels over the affairs of mortals; and this very presidency over human affairs implies that there are two classes of such angels, the good and the evil; and if they have not power to contend with each other, I cannot understand how they can preside [220] advantageously over our affairs. But I have other testimony than the passages quoted from Daniel. Have you forgotten that Michael and Satan had a battle in the land of Moab about the body of Moses?

      Mrs. Fowler.--I frankly acknowledge I did not think of this. But pray what did they dispute about?

      Mr. Reed.--"About the body of Moses" Jude informs us.

      Mrs. Fowler.--And what did Satan want with the body of Moses?

      Mr. Reed.--This, sister Reed, is another question. The one before us is rather, Did Michael and Satan contend?

      Mrs. Fowler.--They did; and therefore I admit that Michael, or any other Prince, (Gabriel if you please,) might contend with Satan or any other potentate in his kingdom--the Prince of Persia, the Prince of Grecia, or of any other country.

      Mr. Williamson.--Really, Mr. Reed, my curiosity is up on the subject of Satan and Michael's contest in the valley of Moab. If this matter could be explained, it might throw light upon some other passage, or upon the whole subject of the ministry of angels.

      Mr. Reed.--I will put it to the present company; or, if you please, to Father Goodal himself, whether such a question be edifying; and if decided in the affirmative, then may I not take the opinion of all present upon the merits or meaning of the dispute between Michael and Satan?

      Father Goodal.--Brother Reed, I do not think that such questions tend to godly edifying, unless so far as they may illuminate our minds on the whole subject of revelation; and as we have got up this curious and interesting subject it may be expedient to go through with it.

      Mr. Reed.--Well, Father Goodal, have you ever thought upon the cause of the controversy in that valley in the land of Moab?

      Father Goodal.--I have generally acquiesced in the views of an old acquaintance, who has long since gone to rest. He was a layman, it is true; but he was the most skilful layman in the word of righteousness I ever knew. His persuasions were, that Satan having succeeded in gaining a strong establishment in every country by the deification of dead men, he wished to have a similar institution in Judea, and thought that if he could begin with Moses, and have a monument erected over his body, in process of time the nation would worship in the temple of Moses; and thus the true God would have a temple in no nation under heaven.

      Michael, then, according to your views, the presiding angel of Judea, was deeply interested in this matter, and at least as potent in policy and power as Satan himself, anticipated the enemy, and secreted the body where Satan himself could not find it. How long they contended is not told us; but though the controversy was extremely hot and fierce on both sides, Michael never waxed so wroth as to forget himself, and therefore reviled not his adversary; but in the name of Jehovah routed him with, "The Lord rebuke thee, Satan."

      The battle being won, the body was interred, by order of the Lord, in a spot at the foot of the mountain in this valley of Moab; which Satan, and, as a consequence, no man knows even to this day. Thus through the presidency of Michael over the affairs of Judea, Moses was never deified.

      Mr. Reed.--And if I may be allowed to add a word, by the same, or another Prince, Satan was defeated when he contended for the deification of Jesus by the evil angel who presided over Roman affairs, when the Roman Senate were debating about the apotheosis or deification of Jesus Christ. This is the only plausible and rational exposition of one of the most marvellous things in the history of the deification of heroes and great men, viz.--that Moses and Jesus, the most illustrious in universal history, should be the only two of all the race of national founders and saviours, that were not deified in the countries and by the people amongst whom they lived and died.

      Mrs. Fowler.--I feel amply rewarded for my persisting in my demands on the good nature of brother Reed; and were it not that I have engrossed so [221] much of the time with my questions about the ranks of angels, I would propose another question.

      Mr. Reed.--Say on.

      Mrs. Fowler.--Of what nature are the contests of angels? Are they mere arguments, or do they use violence or force?

      Mr. Reed.--Arguments and reproofs are, it appears, their chief weapons with one another; but how far and in what manner they may use their strength, analogous to ours, is among the incomprehensibles to us dwelling in the outer court of this magnificent creation.

      Father Goodal.--It is of more consequence for us to understand, if we can, their modes of assault upon us, than upon one another; and therefore I would urge attention to brother Reed while he illustrates his fourth point--the ministry of angels; for I think in discussing this topic he will throw much light upon all the others.

      Mr. Reed.--I feel the necessity of sustaining my remarks on the nature, number, and ranks of angels, by the developement of the ministry or works of angels, as far as goes the Bible on this subject.

      Mrs. Fowler.--I will reserve my other difficulties until I have heard brother Reed on this most interesting subject.

      Mr. Reed.--To understand this subject; as far as revealed let us pursue the synthetic mode of reasoning; let us, by a particular examination of the various works and words ascribed to angels, collect into one view all that is ascribed to angels in the sacred scriptures, and see what they have done. But can any one suggest the best method of doing this?

      Father Goodal.--Let brother Reed pursue his favorite course. Let him divide the sacred history into so many ages, and then inquire what angels have done in each of these ages.

      Mr. Reed.--Well, be it so. The book of Genesis alone extends over the map of time more than one-third its whole flight. Moses, in fifty chapters, gives us the history of almost 2500 years.

      During the patriarchal age, or from the creation to the descent into Egypt, angels are said to have performed the following services:--One called "the or an angel of the Lord," appeared to Hagar (Gen. xvi. 7.) and spoke to her. "An angel of the Lord spoke out of heaven to Abraham." (Gen. xxii. 11.) Two angels visited Lot in Sodom, eat with him, conversed with him, tarried all night with him, smote some of the Sodomites with blindness, gave Lot directions as to his course, took him by the hand, and led him, his wife, and his daughters out of the city. (Gen. xix. 1.) An angel of the Lord accompanied Eleazar of Damascus on his journey to Mesopotamia to the city of Nahor, and assisted him in finding a wife for Isaac. (Gen. xxiv. 7, 40.) The angels of God met Jacob on his way to meet his brother Esau, and assisted him on his journey from the country of Laban. (Gen. xxxii. i.) Jacob, in blessing Joseph, speaks of the angel of the Lord who had redeemed him from all evil. (Genesis xlviii. 16.)

      Mr. Williamson.--Some of these angels, I have understood from the American Divines, have been understood as God himself. Thus "the angel of the Lord," (Gen. xvi. 7.) which appeared to Hagar, is understood by some of them to be the Lord himself; because, in the 10th verse of the same chapter, be says, "I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude." The question with them is, With what propriety could an angel of the Lord say this, if be was not the Lord himself? Again, this angel predicts the future destiny, and promises the future fortunes of Hagar's son; and she herself avows her conviction that it is the Lord himself who addresses her, for she exclaims, "Thou God seest me," or "She called the name of the Lord that spoke with her, Thou God seest me."

      Mrs. Reed.--I have also pondered much upon the angel of the Lord that spoke to Abraham. (Gen. xxii. 11.) This person, called the angel of the Lord, says to Abraham, (verse 12,) "Lay not thy hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing to him; for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not [222] withheld thy son, thy only son, from me." Again, the 15th verse intimates that the angel of the Lord called a second time out of heaven, and said, 'By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord: for because thou hast done this thing--in blessing I will bless thee," &c. "And in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed--because thou hast obeyed my voice."

      Mrs. Fowler.--That we may throw all our difficulties into one pile, let me add the man with whom Jacob wrestled till the breaking of the day, and who blessed Jacob when he asked his name; Jacob understood to be not merely an angel of the Lord, nor a man, but God himself; for he called the place Penuel, which signifies the face of God: for, adds be, "I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved."

      Mr. Reed.--If some of the passages quoted do not refer to the angels of God, properly so called, certainly they ought not to be relied on in ascertaining the services of angels. I do admit that there is some plausibility in that theory which represents the angel of the Lord, or maleak Yehovah, as the same person called in the Septuagint Megales Boules Angelus, (the Angel of the Great Counsel.) Isaiah ix. 6. But even that view of "the angel of Jehovah" precludes the idea that it is God himself: for the angel, or the messenger of the King, is not the King himself. This phrase is by many supposed to be the word of God which was made flesh; and it is not to be doubted that "the angel of the Lord" in these passages represents or personates the Lord himself. He speaks in the name of Jehovah.

      That an angel of the Lord, personating the Lord himself, is the more natural view of these passages, I infer from two considerations:--First, because in other places, where there can be no doubt that an angel is intended, the angel speaks in a style above himself. Thus spoke Gabriel to Daniel, and to Zechariah the father of John. And in the second place, the angel who spoke out of heaven to Abraham, and who promised to do such great things for Abraham, in his exordium shows that he speaks for, or in the name of, Jehovah. v. 16. chap. xxii. The passage reads, "The angel of the Lord called out of heaven to Abraham, and said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord; for because thou hast done this thing," &c. The phrase "saith the Lord," implies that the angel speaks in the name of Jehovah, and that the angel of Jehovah is not Jehovah himself.

      Mrs. Fowler.--But I own it seriously affects not the argument whether we understand the angel of the Lord, mentioned Gen. xvi. 7. xxii. 11. and some other places, to represent some extraordinary messenger of Jehovah, or one of his ordinary messengers sent to represent his government and will; provided brother Reed can show from other passages that similar sayings and doings are ascribed to the ordinary angels of God.

      Mother Goodal.--But there is another passage in the book of Genesis on this subject, which brother Reed has not mentioned; perhaps he intends it. On it I would ask a question.

      Mr. Reed.--I have not intentionally omitted any passage which speaks of angels in that book; indeed I have quoted one passage in which the name is not found. Jacob wrestled, it is said, with a man, and not with an angel. But as this is generally taken to mean not a man literally, but an angel, I have without debate so applied it.

      Mother Goodal.--The passage to which I allude is found in Gen. xviii. 2.--"Lo three men approached Abraham's door;" and these three men are addressed as the Lord. It is said, "The Lord appeared to him in the plains of Mamre," &c. and this appearance of the Lord is described as the visit of three men, who were refreshed by Abraham under the tree. Now my question is, Was one of these three the Lord, and the other two his attendants?

      Mr. Reed.--It would seem that but two of the three went on to Sodom after eating and being refreshed under the tree of Abraham; and that one of the three, called the word of the Lord, (Gen. xv. 1.) and here the Lord, continued with Abraham, and described to him his purposes concerning Sodom. [223]

      The two men or angels that went to Sodom, appear to be of the three who called upon Abraham; and while they are spoken of as angels, they appear to the Sodomites as men. They eat with Lot as they had done with Abraham.

      Thomas Goodal.--Can angels eat the food of men?

      Mr. Reed.--When they assume the form of men, they can assume all the actions of men.

      Mrs. Fowler.--You say, brother Reed, that one of the three was called the word of God, (Gen. xv. 1.) and here the Lord. How do you prove this?

      Mr. Reed.--The first time that DEBAR, Yehovah, corresponding to LOGOS, Theou, 'the word of God,' (John i. 1.) occurs in the Bible as representing a revelation from God, is found in Genesis xv. 1. and here it seems to be some messenger or person in a vision, saying to Abraham, "I am thy shield and thy great reward." This word, or messenger of the Lord, Abraham addresses as his Lord in the next verse. The same person is represented as appearing to him in the plains of Mamre, and is called the Lord; but on a second look it appeared as if three men were approaching him. But this is going too far from our subject, and is rather speculating than reasoning on the import of words. In the mean time will sister Maria gather up the fragments gathered from the book of Genesis on the ministry of angels.

      Maria Goodal.--Waving the doubtful and disputable passages, the following appear to be incontrovertible:--They have assumed the form of men, did speak in our language, and can do all the acts and deeds which men can perform. In the form of men, they have guided by their counsel and led by their power, the people of God in the midst of great trials and difficulties. On special errands they gave original revelations, and predicted future events to the illustrious fathers of our race. In the book of Genesis alone they appear to have performed all the services which man could require in reference to all the circumstances in which he lives.

      Mr. Williamson.--So far is clear. But does not Jacob allude to one angel, called his redeeming or guardian angel, who redeemed him from all evil; and may it not have been from this that the idea of a guardian angel is assigned to every individual?

Everlasting Gospel--No. 3.

      NO kingdom of this world has yet become a kingdom of Jesus Christ. The constitution, laws, and customs of each and every kingdom of this world contemplates a state of society wholly unlike that which the constitution, laws, manners, and customs of the Christian religion would mould and fashion. The first aim of all communities is to get up an efficient system of defence against the infractions of other societies, and to defend the individual members of it from the inroads and frauds of their fellow-citizens. In the formation of every kingdom of this world, it is presumed that the laws of Jesus Christ are wholly inadequate to its preservation and government. Hence the parade of armies, navies, arsenals, munitions of war, swords, spears, prisons, gibbets, with all the paraphernalia of courts, judges, fines, and penalties. Could we imagine a kingdom under the entire control of Jesus Christ, governed solely by his maxims, we would be astonished at the contrast. We should find the citizens without not only taxes, but without all and every thing for which taxes are levied. The toils and burthens of society would be so diminished, were the whole of any society under the exclusive sovereignty of Jesus Christ, [224] that none of us can imagine how easy it would be to obtain all that is necessary to the comfortable enjoyment of life. Could we subtract from our present expenditures of labor, and toil, and care, all that rebellion against the Lord's Anointed now costs these United States, doubtless we would be astonished to find that scarce a tithe remained. The whole machinery of our state and federal government would be a public nuisance were the citizens all under Christ, and neighboring kingdoms reconciled to his supremacy over all. The hordes that now live upon the vices of men, from him who manufactures the lock and key up to him who commands the army and the navy, with all the thousands of leeches that fatten upon our individual and national sins, would be engaged in some more honorable employments, and society relieved of not only all these taxes direct, but of a thousand others directly accruing from the present systems and acts of rebellion against the rightful sovereignty of Jesus, constituted Lord of all.

      Wars are the curses of nations: foreign or domestic wars have always been ruinous to those long exercised in them. But our fightings with neighboring states and nations, grievous as they are, occasionally cease; and the piping times of peace afford a breathing interval, in which we recruit our national finances: but in this long war, in this untiring rebellion against heaven's rightful sovereign, there has not been a moment's respite now for two thousand years, and this has made bankrupt our happiness and involved us in ten thousand evils which no politician has ever yet thought of. The annual expences of this our national war against Messiah are greater than the annual revenues of the richest kingdom under heaven. The friends of the Great King are so few in comparison of the many in power, that they can only remonstrate against this rebellion, and plead for the rights of the Redeemer to reign over those whom he ransomed at so high a price. But the majority will not hear us, and are determined to make us pay the expences if we will not take up arms in the cause. Thus they who would shout hosannas to the rightful sovereign, and whose joy would be complete if he were the only King, are groaning and travailing in pain, waiting for the adoption car redemption promised at the coming of the Lord.

      When, then, an angel is heard announcing the everlasting good news that the hour of judgment is come, all Christian ears are attentive, and every Christian heart dilates with joy, anticipating what is to follow the dethronement of all the rivals of our Lord Messiah. He shall put down all rule, all authority, and all power opposed to the benign spirit and tendency of his reign.

      The nature of this judgment is the first thing that claims our attention. It must be observed that various days of judgment are passed. The destruction of the antediluvians by water--of Sodom and Gomorrah by fire--of Babylon--of Jerusalem by an accumulation of vengeance, are set forth as emblems of the fiercer wrath which is to be poured out upon Babylon the Great--the antichristian hierarchies which oppress the earth. [225]

      In her indictment what a recital of treasonable acts--what an enumeration of crimes of the deepest dye! She is charged with deceiving all nations with her sorceries, and with having shed the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth. She enticed all the kings of the earth into fornication; for uncleanness he surpasses Sodom; for tyranny and oppression she transcends Egypt and her Pharaohs; for horrid and relentless cruelty she outrivals Jerusalem in the last days of her delinquency. On each of these items she is to be judged. We shall scan the outlines of these accusations, that we may understand the nature of this judgment.

      "Her sorceries."--Sorcery was carried to great perfection in Egypt. There the literal sorcerers practised their arts of deception in the presence of the court and Moses. Those who by drugs, philtres, fumigations, tricks, sleight of hand, pretended to produce supernatural effects by supernatural agency in Egypt and other idolatrous countries, became the types of those spiritual and mystical sorcerers who have deceived the nations by their pretended extraordinary powers--holy orders, images of Christ bleeding, miracles wrought at the tombs of saints, holy relics of the cross, &c. &c. double meanings, apostolic succession, official power, transubstantiation, consubstantiation, holy water, holy places and holy days, &c. &c. By these figments nations have been drawn into the blind adoration of a set of spiritual guides who, having put out their eyes, enslaved them to their interests, and have kept them in bondage until now. The annihilation of spiritual sorcery would be a consummation most devoutly to be wished for. As by it hierarchies were got up, and Christianity for a time put down, as was Moses for a time by the Egyptian clergy, its judgment would be the emancipation of all the world from faith in, and obedience to, any set of men, titled and enthroned as they may be, as the representatives or successors of the apostles of Christ; or to the doctrines and views of privileged orders in the kingdom of Jesus Christ, however specious and imposing they may render their pretensions to the credulous and uninstructed. Welcome the day when sorcerers shall practise their enchantments no more!

From the "Presbyterian"--Philadelphia, April 10.

      "CAMPBELLISM.--The name of Alexander Campbell is probably well known to most who will take up this paper. The scene of his labors has been laid chiefly in the western country, and few living errorists have done so much to rend and corrupt the church in that region. We have not had our attention drawn to this subject in an equal degree with our Baptist brethren, and therefore we write with some diffidence, and hold ourselves subject to correction; yet the following particulars are, we think, well ascertained. The ravages which the Campbellites have committed upon the orthodox Baptist churches of the south and south-west, are almost incalculable. Campbell boldly proclaims that immersion is 'the regenerating act.' It appears from his publications, that having been asked whether a person can have evidence that his sins are pardoned before he is immersed, he answered by inquiring whether a person can be [226] clean before he is washed. His system is exceedingly subtile, and his character admirably suited to a work of public delusion.

      The following method is commonly pursued, as we have learned from a friend. A shrewd follower of Campbell comes to a certain village where these errors are unknown. He at first calls himself a Baptist, and no one suspects the contrary. He professes great liberality of sentiment towards other denominations, preaches so as to please all, and appears full of zeal. After a little he announces that on such a day he will preach a sermon on Christian Union. At the appointed time he portrays in glaring colors the evils of sectarianism, and traces them all to creeds and confessions. He then proposes a plan in which all can unite, viz.--to lay aside all creeds and take the Scriptures as the only guide. The only question to be asked in order to church membership, is, 'Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ; and are you willing to be governed by his laws alone?' A simple affirmative is the only reply. At the close he commences in a whining tone to call on all who are willing to unite, to come forward. In the instance witnessed by our informant every Baptist who was present went forward. When this had taken place, the preacher began to declare what he called 'the ancient gospel'--simple belief that Jesus is the Christ--and then immersion for the remission of sins.

      The Campbellites profess no regard for the Old Testament any further than as it is a history of the new dispensation, or an introduction to it, which could very easily be dispensed with. They deny the obligation of the moral law as contained in the Old Testament, and say that the method of salvation is to be sought only in the Acts of the Apostles; uniformly referring to chapter ii. verse 38. They hesitate not to declare that faith is simple belief that Jesus is Messiah, and that baptism is a saving ordinance."


      THIS Editor, it seems, writes from public rumor, not from his own reading. Had he lived in Damascus, in the year of Christ 40, and published the rumors of that age against any one of the Apostles, he could have told full as good a tale, and sustained it full as well by one-sided testimony against the very persons whom he now thinks an honor to quote in favor of his views. But there is a degree of candor (at least apparent candor) in his professed subjection to correction; and therefore, as he has rather solicited information on the subject, and thought our humble efforts to recommend "the Apostle's doctrine" worthy of a passing notice, I would very respectfully inform him that he has done us great injustice in the notice above quoted.

      We complain not so much of his style, nor of his array of epithets, such as "errorists," "rending and corrupting churches," "the ravages incalculable," "his system is exceedingly subtile," "his character admirably suited to a work of public delusion:" I say, we complain not so much of this mode of warfare, because any Rabbi, or respectable Gamaliel could have said all this, and more than this, of either Peter or Paul, or, perhaps, of one still more illustrious than either. But we complain of such assertions as the following:--"The C------s profess no regard for the Old Testament any farther than as it is a history of the new dispensation," &c. "They deny the obligation of moral law as contained in the Old Testament; and say that the method of salvation is to be sought only in the Acts of the Apostles." These assertions are without foundation, and just as gratuitous as [227] theirs who said and affirmed that Paul taught, "Let us do evil that good may come." We teach no such doctrines. We can show from numerous passages of our works, written at different intervals, for ten years, that we hold the Old Testament in the highest veneration--most devoutly read it in our families and churches. We contend that every moral precept which the law of Moses contains, is in its nature immutable. And as for "the method of salvation" being all found in the Acts of the Apostles, chap. ii. 38. the Presbyterian is the first and the only person I have heard or seen utter such a sentiment. His friend who tells him of "the shrewd follower of Campbell," has betrayed this gentleman into the grossest errors, and for his own reputation's sake he ought to be more cautious in publishing such unfeasible tales, as neither Presbyterian, Baptist, nor Methodist, who knows any thing of the reformation in faith and manners for which we contend, can believe him in other matters, having found him guilty of such palpable blunders (to give them no worse name) in a matter so well understood by all of them who will either read what is written, or hear what is spoken by those who are competent to announce the apostolic institutions.

      His references to our views on faith, baptism, and submission to the laws of the Messiah, are only partially correct; and in the attitude in which they are placed before the reader, they must mislead him, if he have no other information than the rumors of "the Presbyterian." It is true that we define the word faith, as importing no more than the belief of testimony; but as a principle of action, it is defined to be confidence in the promises of God: or, according to Paul, "the confidence of things hoped for; the conviction of things not seen."

      "Baptism as the regenerating act," must always deceive a Presbyterian; because, though we might use such a phrase, it is not, in their import of the word, regeneration. We would not say that in their import of the word regeneration, baptism is the regenerating act; because we agree with them, that a person must be quickened or made alive by the Spirit of God, before he is born. This they call regeneration; but we contend that this is not what is called regeneration by the apostles. There is a begetting, as well as being born, if we may believe Peter, Paul, John, or James, on this subject. Being born of water, and regenerated, were, indeed, Paidobaptists themselves being judges, anciently, convertible terms. "Of his own will, (says James,) he has impregnated or begotten us by the word of truth"--"Born again, (says Peter,) not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which ever lives"--"Except a man be born of water and Spirit, (says Jesus,) he cannot enter into the kingdom of God"--and Paul says, "He has saved us by the washing of regeneration, and the renewal of the Holy Spirit" These, and many other testimonies, we do think, sustain us in regarding immersion only as the regenerating act. Our Extra No. 1, on Remission, July 1830, and our Extra Defended, October 1831, are the documents to which we refer all who are desirous to understand these matters, or to do us justice before the public. [228]

      We lay much stress, it is true, on Peter's Pentecostian sermon, Acts ii; not as if the method of salvation "were wholly developed there," or in the Acts of the Apostles; but because the gospel is fully preached, and the method of enjoying this salvation, first fully developed there. Peter, to whom the Lord gave the keys of his kingdom, first announced the gospel to the Jews, and to the Gentiles; and as he had the power of remitting and retaining sins, we go to the Acts of the Apostles, to learn how Peter remitted and retained sins. "The word of the Lord went forth from Jerusalem," as said the prophets; and to that word we do, indeed, call the attention of all men who wish to know what the Apostles taught. If any one will read the Acts of the Apostles regularly through at one sitting, without note or comment, and repeat it for only a few times,--say one week,--if then he is not convinced that the Apostles' doctrine of conversion and remission differs very essentially from the Presbyterian, and all who have descended from the "Rev. J. Hughes' Holy, Apostolic, and Catholic Church," then I say to that man, Be a Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Catholic, or what you please.

      Will "the Presbyterian" be so candid as to permit his readers to see this brief notice of his remarks "on Campbellism"?

Bishop M'Ilvaine's Opinion of the Reformation.

      "Those called Campbellites, heretics of a peculiarly plausible and antichristian character, hare led away a large portion of the western Baptists."

      SO decides the lately appointed, called and sent Bishop of the whole state of Ohio. This is an extract from a letter from him to the Rev. Dr. Fyng, January 19, 1833, originally appearing in the Episcopal Recorder. There are some other matters set forth by the bishop which call for more than his bare opinion. He quotes too much from a gentleman of no good fame, whom he calls IT IS SAID, and thus wounds his own reputation in other matters. "It is said," says bishop McIlvaine, "that there are thirty sects of Baptists in the west;" or, "as many as thirty divisions of Baptists may be counted in the west." he seems to regard the divisions among the Presbyterians and Methodists as quite innocent matters; much to be deplored, but as not involving any essential doctrine of vital godliness--(the more condemnable, then, say I)--but these "plausible heretics of a peculiarly antichristian character," are to be anathematized.

      Yes, indeed, the bishop will soon learn, if he have not already, that these plausible heretics will give him and his clergy more trouble than the innocent Presbyterians and Methodists with all their opinions. They are such matter of fact people, and will have the testimony of Apostles for whatever they teach, that the bishop will find [229] them much more plausible than any of his brethren in the opinions and doctrines of men. They are so peculiarly antichristian, too, that a word of the Messiah will go farther with them than all the denunciations of all the Bishops from C. P. McIlvaine's diocese to the end of King Harry's realm.


      IT has been proposed by the organs of the Regulars, that, in order to admission into the Baptist church, the candidate should have actually first joined a temperance society. Who could have thought, a few years ago, that such a test of fellowship, or such a preliminary condition, could have been proposed to Baptist churches? How imperfect must that system be to reform men, when membership in a temperance society is thought to be an indispensable prerequisite to admission into the church!! What avails the late boasted revivals, if such expedients to preserve sobriety are yet thought of!


BALTIMORE, 13th April, 1833.      

Mr. Editor:

      PLEASE insert the 18th verse of the sixteenth chapter of Luke, as it reads in the new translation, Thompson, and in the old.--

      "Whoever divorces his wife, and takes another, commits adultery; and whoever marries the divorced woman, commits adultery." New Translation, 3d & 4th editions. "Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery. And whoever marrieth her who hath been divorced, committeth adultery"--Thompson. "Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband, committeth adultery."--Common Version.

      The Bishop's Bible (A. D. 1607) reads as does the common.

On Prayer and Special Influence.

(Reply to Mr. J. W.)--Concluded.


      WITH all who tremble at the word of God--with all who regard Jesus as the Light of the world, and his Apostles as the only divinely authorized teachers under him; who by the Holy Spirit utter infallible oracles,--the only question, in deciding all matters of religious belief and practice, must be, What say the Scriptures? This, as you very happily expressed the other day, is a question of fact, which is, to the honest and diligent student of the book, of no very difficult solution. [230]

      In this book we are commanded to hear the voice of God, to believe it, and to obey it at the hazard of the loss of a blissful immortality. God, in this volume, teaches us that he is the Creator and Preserver, or Saviour, of all men, especially of them that believe. He addresses us according to the relation in which he stands to us, with all dignity and authority, and with all regard to our constitution and circumstances. He approaches us through the medium of our senses, and speaks to our understandings and our hearts in language perfectly adapted to our apprehension. If he address our eye, our ear, or any of our senses, it is for the purpose of communicating ideas, or giving us suitable impressions of his glory, and of our dependence upon him for every thing. He has taught us that "we live, are moved, and do exist in him;" and that without him we have no being. He has taught us in nature, and by his word, that "he gives to all, life, and breath, and all things;" and that he has his own established ways and means of giving us all things. Hence, all his bounties are to be sought in his appointed way.

      Grapes are not to be found, nor sought, on thorns, nor figs on thistles:--neither are the means of eternal life to be found in Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, or Seneca, nor in volumes of opinions. If a man would enjoy any blessing, temporal or spiritual, he must seek it in the way in which the Common Benefactor is pleased to bestow it. We must not refuse the honey because it is gathered and concocted by a very humble insect; nor the wool, because the creature which carries it to our door has first worn it till it has become a burthen. We must, then, read the word of God for knowledge, believe it for faith or confidence, and obey it for holiness and righteousness. If we lack any thing, we must pray for it, but not cease to labor for it. If we are not philosophers enough to explain how God can bestow a favor in answer to our prayers, we may be Christians enough to believe that he has said, "Ask, and you shall receive; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you." Whether he sends Gabriel, Uriel, or Raphael; the wind, or the fire--whether he sends an animate, or an inanimate agent; or whether he does it himself, without any agent, is not first to be known, before we ask a favor.

      We have been taught to look for the staff of life, and its comforts too, from the earth; and for the bread of life, and the water of life, from the Bible--God, and the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms, for our animal life, and health, and riches--God, the Bible, and the kingdom of grace, for our spiritual life, health, and riches:--the means for the end, and the means like the end, in nature and religion. God once fed a nation for forty years with bread from heaven, and made a rock a perennial fountain of water. He has on special occasions sent food and raiment by special messengers. Garments have grown new, and not old, on the backs of Israelites, and a handfull of meal has become a barrel. All this he has done: but ordinarily, he feeds us by our industry and the laws of nature; by the processes of the kingdoms, animal, vegetable, and mineral; by the clouds, the fire, the water, the air, and the earth. So he has sent forth light and salvation. [231] He specially elected and called an Abraham, an Isaac, and a Jacob. He gave his inspiration to a Moses, a Joshua, a Samuel, and a David. He has spoken at sundry times, and in diverse manners, to the fathers and the patriarchs of our race. He now speaks to us by his Son, and invites us, in all times of need, through him, to call upon his name.

      I am much pleased, my dear sir, with one of your objections, because it would be my own--because it is my own--to every system which I could suspect of a bearing that way. Need I now state what it is?--"that your views of spiritual influence have a tendency to injure our devotional feelings." This would be with me an insuperable objection to any system of religion. Devotion to God, and communion with him, are the very life and soul of religion. A profession without this, is, to me, a body without a spirit--a dead carcase. The Bible and the Throne of Favor are, in my estimation, inseparable in true devotion. The Bible leads us to God, through Jesus Christ;--the more it is honestly read, the oftener will we be translated to the skies.

      But the doctrine of physical and mystic spiritual influences, I have proved to have the tendency which you and I so much dread. No more prayerless and Christless nominalists in the bounds of my acquaintance, than many who are always looking for special interpositions. The doctrine of fate, of total depravity, and effectual calling, go hand in hand. The one implies the other, and the tendency of all is to alienate the mind from God.

      But to harmonize our theories of special providence and special favor, spiritual influence and free agency, &c. are the tasks which philosophers, mental and moral, are for imposing upon us. Yes, my dear sir, the question how this can be, is, with the speculators of the world, the vital question: yet not one of the philosophers of mother Nature can explain any one of her processes from first to last, nor explore any one of her creations from beginning to end. They say, however, Break up the fallow ground, and cast the seed into the bosom of the earth, and ask God to rain upon it. They learned this, not from philosophy, but from the husbandman. We say so in the kingdom of grace, because we see the Lord's laborers did so in his field.

      Now, my dear sir, your question of fact settles the whole matter. What has God said to sinner and to saint? Not, What can we reason, prove, comprehend, demonstrate a priori? but, What has God said? If he says to the sinner, First pray for the Spirit, wait for the Spirit, I will convert you by the Spirit, effectually call you by the Spirit;--then let us say so too. But if he has not said so, we ought not to say it. What then has he said to the sinner?--Hear, believe, repent, be baptized, separate yourselves, and I will receive you, and be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters. He has not said, First pray:--nay, he says, "How shall they call on him in whom they have not believed"! He says, "Without faith, it is impossible to please God"--"He that comes to God, must believe that he is;" and more than this, "he must believe that God is the rewarder [232] of them that diligently seek him. No promise to the disobedient in all the book of God, except exclusion from his presence. Scorners are even addressed, and commanded to turn at the reproof of God: "Turn at my reproof, and I will pour out my Spirit upon you. I will make known my words to you." There is a melancholy, mystifying, nullifying, confounding, and Babel-building spirit in the heads of this generation. They put the cart before the horse, and the harrow before the plough. They tell men to pray before they know to whom, and in what manner.

      Order is heaven's first law, the Bible's first law, and the Christian preacher's first concern. Nature, reason, and the Bible, say, First hear, then believe, then reform; or, to go into the details, First hear, then believe, then repent, then be baptized, calling upon the name of the Lord; pray, ask, seek, knock--add to your faith courage, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, love.

      We ought not to expect special interpositions, only when appointed means fail, or when we have done our duty; for special interpositions, on every hypothesis, are only designed for such cases as come not under the regular operation of established laws.

      I am much pleased, sir, to learn that you intend calling the attention of your hearers to the subject of spiritual influences. No age, nor people, required more setting to rights on this subject, than the present. Only think, sir, of the events of the last half century--Anna Lee, Jemima Wilkinson, and Joe Smith. Only think of Quakerism, Shakerism, the jerkings, barkings, dancings, swoonings; the dreams, visions, and new revelations. Think, my dear sir, of men dreaming, sleeping, waiting for descents of the Holy Spirit, baptism in fire, in order to conversion. Wonder not, then, that such men as Priestly became Socinians; such men as Jefferson, Franklin, and Paine, deists; and that the thinking part of the community have been rapidly verging towards a religion without any Holy Spirit, without any feeling of devotion, without communion with God, and the power of godliness.

      I shall be glad to hear from you, on any of these great matters, as often as opportunity will permit. Excuse the informal manner of my reply, and accept the assurance of my high consideration and esteem.

The Bone of Contention.

JAMESTOWN, O. 9th March, 1833.      

Dear brother Campbell,

      THE bone of contention in the religious community is about the operation of the Holy Spirit. Each sect ascribes to him a different modus operandi. One will have it that he operates physically; another, that he operates morally; one says he operates directly; another that he operates by means; one, that he operates on the feelings; another, that he operates on the understanding; one says he operates [233] before faith; another, that he operates through faith; one says the Holy Spirit brings faith; another, that faith brings the Holy Spirit; one says he enters the heart and casts out sin; another, that he enters the heart because sin is cast out, &c. &c.

      How is this boiling pot to be calmed? Will it increase till it boils over, and puts the fire out? or will it throw off its contents in vapor, and become empty? or would a dash of cold water into the pot, or the withdrawing of fuel have the effect? Suppose we try by drawing the fuel. Then we would ask the contending parties the following questions:--

      Has the Holy Spirit ever operated on any independent of the word, or where the word had not been proclaimed? Ans. No.

      Has the proclamation of the word, in a language not understood by the heart; ever effected a reformation? Ans. No.

      Have not all Christians been made by the proclamation of the gospel? Ans. Yes.

      These questions being answered as above, then it will appear to all, that the gospel, or word, is the sword of the Spirit, by which both sinner and saint are operated upon. In the former it produces obedience, and in the latter, holiness.

      Then let us quit disputing about the modus operandi, and be guided by facts. By the gospel sinners have been made saints; and by it saints have been made holy; and without it sinners have not been made saints, or saints made holy. Therefore, the word of God, heard, understood, and obeyed, has effected all; and without it, nothing has been done since the apostolic age.
M. W.      

Progress of Reform.

WHITE HILL, Williamson Co. Tenn. February 28, 1833.      

      I AM truly glad to see that the practice of immersing people and leaving them scattered like sheep without fold or shepherd, has produced some complaining. Without doubt the reformation is suffering greatly on this account. I fear that too many of our proclaimers are (like Paul said of Peter) to be blamed upon this subject. The people ought to be taught to count up the cost, and if we cannot prevail on them to observe and do all things commanded by Zion's King to be done, we had better quit immersing them; and how they can obey the Son of God in all things, without being congregated, is something which is too hard for me. The ancient gospel is becoming quite familiar with most of our "preachers," so far as I have knowledge; but the ancient order of living the gospel "lies hid in the remote depths of antiquity."

      The reformation is progressing as well in this section of the country (I expect) as in any other. There are a few congregations which meet on the first day of the week to worship their Heavenly Father. These are more spiritually minded than those who meet monthly; and what is still more encouraging. I hear same saying they would go farther to hear the oracles of God, than to hear the greatest preacher on earth. Brother Hopwood and myself (with some little help) immersed something over two hundred last year in our section of the country. I have immersed several this year at Berea, the place of my membership, and the signs in favor of reform are much more flattering than at any former period.
  Your brother in hope,
JOSHUA K. SPEER. [234]      

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ky. March 1, 1833.      

      THE good cause is still gradually progressing among us. Within a little better than two weeks past, there have been immersed in the waters of Harrod's creek, on the good confession, twenty-two--in part under the labors of our worthy brother Gilbert Herney, late of Franklin Association; and also under the labors of brother John Roberts, who has paid us several visits. Brother Z. Carpenter also has immersed ten or twelve lately in the bounds of Chinoweth Run church; four have been immersed in Louisville lately, and two at La Grange But I think the practical effects of the ancient gospel are far, very far ahead of the ancient order amongst us. We want more humility, sobriety, gravity, and sincerity--more holiness of life--more established order in discipline and in our worshipping assemblies.
  Yours in hope of eternal life,
B. ALLAN.      

PATTERSON, N. J. March 1, 1833.      

      THERE is a man called Mr. S. C. Jennings, who writes what he calls a Christian Herald Extra. Where he lives I know not. There is a kind of prospectus at the end of it, stating "The Christian Herald is published by S. D. Baird, at the S. W. corner of Wood and Fourth street," what town, county, state, or kingdom, I cannot tell. One thing I am bold to assert, that it is different from the Christian Herald issued from that meeting held at the day of Pentecost, and must be by a different spirit. I think it might be styled the spirit of slander. I found one of those Extra Heralds in the post-office here, directed to me. I have read it all, and cannot find what brought it here. If the writer has any thing to say against you, he had better say it to yourself; for my part, I do not consider myself amenable for your deficiencies, if you have any. I acknowledge no master on earth. I am led by none, implicitly, (in spiritual things,) but by the four gospels and the writings of the apostles.

      I differ from him in respect to translations. I have C. Thomson's, P. Doddridge's, Louth's, G. Campbell's, and the New Testament printed by yourself; and from reading them altogether, in connexion with King James, I think I can glean more biblical knowledge than from all the time-serving hirelings of all the isms in christendom. These are the Christian Heralds I depend on. And if I knew where the Extra came from, I would very willingly direct it home again.

      I have been reading your writings now nearly ten years. I have got the ten volumes all bound. I think I have taken heed to the reading of them, for I have often looked at them with a jealous eye; and I believe that in you the cause of gospel reform has found not only a sincere friend but useful vindicator, and one who has been instrumental in recommending and making it known to many. I wish you every success for the gospel's sake.
  Yours in hope of immortality,

VICTORY, N. Y. March 11, 1833.      

      I WAS credibly informed yesterday that the Baptist church in Cato and Ira held a meeting on Saturday last to deal with some of their members for heresy, as they call it. The crime is, they refuse to bow to human laws, and acknowledge no master but Christ--no constitution but the Scriptures; and they obtained the lean majority of one to consider the brethren under censure.

      We had a good day yesterday in celebrating the death and resurrection of our King. Some appearances that the walls of sectarianism begin to tremble.

FAYETTE, Howard co. Missouri, March 12, 1833.      

Brother Campbell,

      I AM entirely unacquainted with you, and but little acquainted with what you have written upon the gospel of Christ; yet I hesitate not to say, from what [235] I have seen and read of your writings, that they exhibit more light and are better calculated to restore primitive Christianity than any writings I have ever seen.

      I was for some two or three years a student of brother Clack, Bloomfield, Ky. from whom I received much good advice. He always advised me to call no man Master on earth, for one was my master in heaven, even Christ.

      I was ordained to preach the gospel in November, 1831, and in February, 1832, set out for this place. When I arrived I commenced preaching in this place and vicinity. By those who call themselves orthodox I was called a heretic. They would say tome, "You will become very unpopular." This caused me to search the testimony God had given concerning his Son.

      Last September I was a member of the Mount Pleasant Association, where a query came in, written by T. Fristoe, the Moderator of the Association, to know what was to be done with those persons who had embraced the doctrines taught by A Campbell in his Christian Baptist and Millennial Harbinger; which was answered, "Exclude them." This produced strange feelings within me, when I reasoned thus:--Should it be the fact that A. Campbell teaches nothing but what is taught in the word of God, these people have rejected it; and if they reject his word, they reject him; and where will they stand in the judgment, having rejected the Christ and his word?

      The proceedings of this Association influenced me to see what you did teach, (for before this I would not read your writings.) I obtained the loan of the first and second volumes of your Millennial Harbinger, which I examined, and to my surprise I saw nothing to controvert, unless I opposed the word of God. When I became satisfied that these things were so, I thought it best to leave the Baptist church of which I was a member, in peace and without confusion. So I obtained a letter of dismission; and finding four disciples of the faith of the New Testament, we gave ourselves to one another by the will of the Lord. I commenced proclaiming the gospel in greater simplicity than before, and soon the good effects were seen. I had through the Summer and Fall preached in this place and vicinity, and had not the opportunity of immersing one individual, nor did I see but one immersed through the past Summer and Fall. But the first time we met as a church I immersed two; on the next Lord's day two others came forward and desired to be immersed, which I accordingly did. A short time after I was called from my daily occupation to immerse two more; and at our last meeting three were added to the congregation. My spirit is stirred within me. I shall, if the Lord will, commence riding through the state in a few weeks. We have great opposition here; but the truth will prevail. The Methodist circuit preacher lately immersed six, the most of whom had been sprinkled, and some since grown.

      I intend to prepare an address to my Baptist brethren, in which I will give them my reasons for reforming.

      You would do me, and likely your readers, a favor by giving us an essay on the duty of deacons, &c.
  Yours affectionately,

GLASGOW, Ky. March 26, 1833.      

      IN this place there is a congregation of disciples, between sixty and seventy in number, who live in perfect peace, harmony, and union. They have adopted the New Testament for their only guide in all matters of faith and manners--meet every Lord's day for the purpose of refreshing their memories with the incidents of Calvary--for edifying one another, and keeping up all the forms of worship instituted by Jesus and the Apostles.
  Your brother in the kingdom and patience of Jesus,

CALLOWAY COUNTY, Mo. March 22, 1833.      

      SURROUNDED with opposition by all sectarian societies, and far in the wilds and forests of the West, we, a few names, constituted ourselves on the second Lord's day in December, 1832, into a congregation of the Lord; then being only nine in number, three males and six females. We have since increased to twenty-three in number, and I am of opinion that the prospect is somewhat flattering for gaining many more. Our friends of the Baptists and other denominations have many hard sayings concerning our belief, but utterly refuse investigation. But I have succeeded in getting some of them to read for themselves, and they confess that they can find no such views in your writings as are attributed to you. I received a request a few days ago to visit a Methodist society, 20 miles distant. They had got hold of the Harbinger, and in spite of all their priests can do, are about to blow up. Light is spreading, and men's minds cannot be much longer manacled by sectarianism.

NEW YORK, March 30, 1833.      

      WE now consist of about seventy members. Three from Elder M'Clay's church, about three weeks ago, united with us; namely, brethren Daniel Monroe and his wife, and a young man lately from London. Brother Monroe had been a long time a deacon in Elder M'Clay's church, and was considered one of the pillars of his church. Those persons leaving, has raised a great persecution by slander against them and, us, saying all manner of evil against them and us falsely.

      Last Sunday, in the midst of some hundreds of spectators, we immersed four persons for the remission of their sins; namely, Dr. Barkers, the Elder's wife, a most amiable disciple, and a young married man, who 6 months before had been a deist, had scouted revelation and blasphemed in his public harangues in their halls, the only Saviour of men, but is now coming to that very cross he despised and humbly confessing his sins to his Saviour, wondering at the mercy which saves such a wretch through that precious blood that was shed on the cross to wash away his sins. A young woman was also baptized, and an elderly woman, between 60 and 70. Both had been members of Presbyterian churches. It was a joyful day for the disciples to see those different descriptions of character entering the visible kingdom through water, with songs of joy and praise to their blessed Redeemer and King.

      We then assembled in the afternoon at 3 o'clock, as a church, to give our new brothers and sisters the right hand of fellowship, bidding them, as fellow-disciples of Jesus, a hearty welcome to a participation with us in all the privileges and blessings of the church of Christ on earth preparatory to entering the kingdom of glory above, where there will be fulness of joy and perfect happiness, without any alloy, forever and ever.

ELIZABETHTOWN, East Tenn. March 30, 1833.      

      WE have said but little from this place with regard to the reformation in any public manner. Notwithstanding we are endeavoring to teach and practise the doctrine and commands of the Apostles, as they began to proclaim at Jerusalem. Our congregation at Buffaloe Creek, Carter county, in nine months has increased from about forty to near one hundred members; and I need not add that great efforts have been made to counterbalance our labors, for that seems to be the lot of all in the reformation. But truth is prevailing, and will prevail from the rising of the sun to the place of its going down.
  Yours in the hope of eternal life,

GENEVA, April 3, 1833.      

      THE good cause is gaining ground. Many of our most influential men are submitting to the government of King Jesus. As a proof take the following [237] from a Methodist preacher, living near Carrolton, Green county, to a friend near Jacksonville:--

      "I have never seen such a time for joining the church since my recollection. Some are uniting with the Methodists--some with the Presbyterians; but the great mass of the people, good, bad, and indifferent, are joining the Campbellites. Their great Apostle is one Josephus Hewitt," &c.

      This is from a most violent opposer; and we could scarcely suspect him of over-rating the success of Campbellism, as he calls it.
H. A. CYRUS.      

BRUCEVILLE, Ind. April 9, 1833.      

      ON the 4th of March, 1832, we were constituted a church, with 27 members, the most of us having been previously dismissed from Moriah church. Our platform is the word of God. We have experienced considerable persecution, particularly from our orthodox Baptist brethren, Presbyterians, and Methodists; but hitherto the Lord has helped us. Reform progresses with a steady hand. Brother M. R. Trimble commenced proclaiming the ancient gospel (and I hope in its purity) about Christmas last, and since that time about twenty-five have been immersed on a profession of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The greater part have been added to our little body. Also, a number of our brethren and sisters from Moriah Creek Church have felt themselves constrained to break off from that church and to unite with us, making our number now upwards of sixty. We have great reason to be thankful for the harmony and love that appear to exist among the brethren; not the least difficulty has presented itself to us as yet. May the good Lord preserve us and keep us in peace, is the prayer of your unworthy brother in the Lord.

SOMERSET, Pa. April 9, 1833.      

      THE kingdom of our heavenly father is moving on through this region, from South to North, and from East to West. Although brother Forward has baptized but forty-four persons since January 30, for want of help, the authority of our King will be made known notwithstanding all the efforts of the prince of darkness. Brother Forward was compelled to go last Lord's day to Westmoreland county to preach to the Seceders and Presbyterians, the place I wrote to you about last Fall. The priest rode all the day before to caution his people against going to hear the heretics or Campbellites, or he would session every one. A friend replied that he would have soon to fall to work, as there had been already 50 or 60 of his members out to hear the word of the Lord, and that he saw nine persons baptized into Jesus Christ. There is no doubt a glorious work begun!
MARY T. GRAFT.      

GEORGETOWN, Ky. April 15, 1833.      

      THE good cause is opening very finely this Spring in this county. We have immersed several recently, four came forward yesterday at one of our meetings; and it seems as if we were about to have double increase to what we had last year. Our young brethren are exerting themselves to good purpose.
J. T. JOHNSON.      

FREDERICKTOWN, Md. April 15, 1833.      

      WE have had two young men here, who say they preach the ancient gospel. They are about 24 years of age. The name of one is Joshua Webb, from Ohio; the other, Samuel Jacobs, of this state. They preached several times not far from this. There never were such gatherings on such occasions in this neighborhood. They immersed seventeen persons in the course of three days, and these of the most respectable order. They were opposed by old clergymen of the old stamp, who thought to put them down; but J. Webb beat them all with their own weapons. There was nothing the opposition could raise that [238] was able to stand before him in point of argument. J. Webb is to preach in this town the first of next month, and I have no doubt but there will be crowds to bear him.

HOWARD, Centre Co. Pa. April 15th, 1833.      

      THE Presbyterians in this vicinity can preach regeneration, the new birth, and every thing relative to remission of sins and an acceptance in Christ, and the creature remain as inactive as the Blue Ridge in Virginia. God does all the work, just as he spoke the universe into existence by his omnipotent fiat. This they call a harder way of being saved than in obeying the gospel. Excellent logic truly! The disciples need much encouragement in this vicinity, the sects redoubling their efforts to do that which they say God alone can do. No proclaimer of the ancient gospel but one in the county, you may easily guess the opposition he meets with. The Harbinger I believe will do much good in this part.

FAYETTE, Mo. April 10, 1823.      

      Brother Campbell--There is a small mistake in my communication of the 9th February last, as published in the Millennial Harbinger, which must have arisen from my inattention to my diction (not expecting my communication would be published) which you will do me the favor to correct in your next number of the Harbinger.

      The communication ought to have read thus:--"On Monday a Methodist preacher, by name W. W. Redman, in high standing in the Methodist Episcopal Church, immersed six adults near this place, three of whom had been sprinkled before, and one of the three had been sprinkled since thirty years of age."
J. GILL.      

Hereditary Total Depravity.

      IF any one desires to see an intelligible, scriptural, lucid, and irrefragable refutation of the doctrine of total hereditary depravity, or rather of hereditary total depravity, he will find it in a pamphlet recently published from Dayton, Ohio, and written by Aylett Raines, a brother of a good degree (Verbum Dei Magister) and great boldness in the faith. This faithful and laborious fellow-laborer in the kingdom of our common Lord and Saviour, has found how much the notions and speculations designated "total depravity," have operated against the reception of the gospel; and with great intellectual vigor, has laid the mattock to the root of this tree. He has not merely cut it down, but eradicated its bitter roots from the soil; so that, I think, it will never germinate in the mind of any one who gives this volume of 96 12mo. pages, a candid and faithful perusal.

Letters of Recommendation.

      NO cause has been more injured by a set of travelling impostors, than the cause we humbly plead. We frequently receive letters inquiring into the character and pretensions of certain persons passing themselves off for Reformers. Much injury has been done already by these hypocrites and pretender advocates of the primitive institutions. The brethren will please take this matter into their most serious consideration, and examine whether those who are approved evangelists ought not, when travelling out of the immediate bounds of their personal acquaintance, to have letters of recommendation such as the lurches in the apostolic age were wont to give their travelling brethren? The approved now, as in the olden time, need letters of recommendation to and [239] from the churches, because the honest and competent are liable to be suspected when impostors are so common. The last year's success and prosperity of the cause seems to have greatly increased these impudent pretenders; and unless precautionary measures are adopted to preserve the public and the brethren from imposition, we may expect them to increase in the ratio of the conquests of the truth.

The Elder's Office.

      A WORK of much merit, titled, "A Treatise on the Elder's Office; showing the Qualifications of Elders, and how the first churches obtained them; also, their Appointment, Duties, and Maintenance; the necessity of a Presbytery in every Church; and Exhortation, and the Observance of every Church Ordinance on the Lord's Day, amongst other ends, to the obtaining of Elders--By William Ballantine;"--is now almost out of press. It is being printed and shall have been printed and published in a few days. It was written many years since, is now a little revised, and with a few notes from the publisher, makes a treatise of about 72 pages, the size of this work. It will be sold at 25 cents. A few copies can be sent per order in the boxes containing Testaments. It is worthy of the perusal of all who wish to understand the nature of the Elder's or Bishop's office, and the discipline of a Christian congregation. It answers many questions which have been propounded to us on these matters, in a way which must commend itself to the understanding of the intelligent.

      ----> THE brethren who visit Philadelphia from the West, are informed that the disciples who have resolved to keep the ordinances of Jesus Christ, as delivered by the Holy Apostles, hold their weekly meetings in Bank street, in that city. Our venerable and beloved brother Ballantine presides over and edifies this little congregation in the great city.

Christian College.

      WE are glad to learn that some of the by-laws of the Christian College are about to be amended, and that it will be a purely literary institution. This will explain our not publishing them at this time. As a literary institution, liberal and antisectarian, we wish it all success.

      ----> WE are now forwarding the Family Testament as fast as bound, in reference to the dates of the orders received; which is the rule proposed in distributing the work, as far as conveniencies for transportation offer.

      ERRATUM.--By some strange casualty a whole line from some other page appears between lines 7 and 8 from top of page 201. The words "skillful application of causes as will produce such effects as unguided," were interposed from another page before "the faith of the original gospel." It is fortunately in a larger type.

      ----> Communications from Philalethes, and a reply to one of his by A. B. G. unexpectedly have been crowded out of this number. [240]


[The Millennial Harbinger, 4 (May, 1833): 193-240.]

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