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




Number VIII.----Volume IV.


Bethany, Va. August, 1833.


Signs of the Times


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

By S. M. M'CORKLE,--a Layman.      



      UPON a close examination of this parable, it will be found plainly relative to the Jewish and Gentile Dispensations.

      This parable is often descanted on by our teachers. They tell us much about the customs of past ages; much trash about olden times--a thousand years twice told, and gone; without ever dropping a single word about the true meaning of the parable. Some of them have been so grossly ignorant as to fix this marriage in the worlds above. A guest without a wedding garment, without holiness in heaven, would really be as oversight! They tell us many fine things about a fitness, about a wedding garment, &c. but none, no, not one telling us when it is to be. This is one of their non-essentials! Most of the commands of the Master, and many of his precepts too, have, by his professed ambassadors, been turned into non-essentials! Is there not some danger by thus doing, of forfeiting a seat at the marriage supper of the Lamb?

      In all marriage; place and parties are presupposed. In this marriage there are guests spoken of, and a King "who made a marriage [385] for his Son;" besides this, there are servants sent forth ""to call them that were bidden to the wedding." We may not trifle with this parable. Who can go to a wedding without knowing when it is to be? Are the servants doing this? They are calling guests to a marriage, and leaving them to guess the where and the when, &c. It is all-important that the place where this marriage is to be consummated should be known. To say, 'In heaven,' is too absurd for common sense to admit. To say, 'In the human heart,' is not less so.

      If those guests be passions, virtues, or vices in the human heart, the servants have called the whole of them in from the highways: "And they gathered together as many as they found, both bad and good." On this ground the difficulty is not obviated.

      It is hardly possible that this parable can have an accomplishment any where else than on earth; and that these guests can be any thing else than men; aye, really and positively human beings, not principles. Facts are better than arguments; and it is a notorious fact that the Jewish church rejected an invitation to the marriage, slew, and shamefully handled the servants; and the King "sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city."

      The servants were ordered into the highways; the Gentiles are called, are entrusted with a dispensation: guests are to be furnished out of the Gentile world for this marriage: they are to be guests, not the bride: "The bride, the Lamb's wife, will descend out of heaven from God" "And he saith unto me, Write, blessed are they who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!"

      Now, reader, can men be understanding or obeying the precept of the Master, who are so widely mistaking and misapplying the meaning of his parables and predictions? Remember the fate of those who are led by blind guides.

      The parable of the ten virgins is near akin to this respecting the marriage of the King's Son; cannot have a different meaning; cannot be applied to the final judgment, without inconsistencies too barefaced to be palmed on common sense. The first item in this parable corresponds with that of the tares mingled, and growing together with the wheat. That God's kingdom, or moral government, at the present time on earth, will produce as many; count, equal numbers of foolish virgins with the wise. If christendom can count at this time one wise virgin out of the ten, the world is not so near a visitation from the vials of the wrath of Almighty God as we suppose; and not so near an overthrow as present appearances indicate. That this parable is not applicable to the close of time, I will advance the following reasons:--

      First, that in all the predictions relative to the close of time, a trumpet introduces the great event; "great sound of a trumpet; "last trump;" "for the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, with the trump of God."

      In the parable under consideration there is "a cry made, Behold the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him." From the very face of the parable it is plainly to be understood that the cry is to originate [386] among the virgins; the voice is manifestly among them--"Go ye out to meet him!" Not the most distant intimation that any herald had announced his approach.

      No one can give a "thus saith the Lord" for it, that there is to be a preparatory alarm given previous to the time when "the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout." The order of that day will be, "He that is filthy let him be filthy still." But there is an intermediate space of time between the cry, "Behold he cometh," and the closing of the door--an admonition, "Go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves." Will this admonition be given in the eventful hour when the mighty human drama will be wound up, when the voice of Omnipotence will remand from the abodes of death the myriads of human beings who for ages past have been unknown from the trodden soil. Who, with the Bible in his hand, can believe that after the Judge of all the earth has irrevocably fixed the destiny of the human family, shut to the door, that a mistaken half will knock at heaven's gate, and demand admission? Will not the guilty in another state of existence avoid, as far as possible, the presence of the God whose laws they have violated?

      There is another difficulty which I cannot see a possibility of solving. The number of foolish virgins will rivet the fulfilment upon the present dispensation; for it will not apply to millennial perfection, when there is to be nothing to hurt or offend, and all shall know the Lord from the least to the greatest. There is no room for foolish virgins in the universal reign of Christ. Who can be so zeal-smitten as to expect millennial perfection to rise out of the present dispensation; or that a period when the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdoms of our God and his Christ, will afford as much evil as good, or an equal number of ungodly professors as righteous ones? "While the bridegroom tarried they all slumbered and slept." How profound the sleep into which the world is sunk! The world is to be found asleep, unprepared, let the events come when they will. There may be a few midnight sentinels, who will be found watching, with their loins girt, with their shoes on their feet, waiting the return of the Master. "Blessed is that servant whom his Lord when he cometh shall find so doing." But, and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, "My Lord delayeth his coming, and shall begin to smite his fellow-servants," &c. to eat and drink with the drunken. There is no item in prophecy more applicable to the present situation of the world than this. How few are not smiting--are not smitten, with the tongue! If this is not a portrait of the church, or rather the churches, there is no correct conclusion to be drawn from the conduct of men--no such thing as truth, error, or falsehood.

      "While the bridegroom tarried." Can he be said to tarry without a previous appointment? "And while they went to buy the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him into the marriage: and the door was shut." Now who can prepare for an event unexpected, unlooked for? How few believe that this marriage is to take place on earth! How few thinking about washing their [387] robes and making them white, having their hands clean? Do the priests believe these things? Think ye that they can be ready when they are almost universally sceptical on this subject? Will they not be seized with astonishment, taken at surprize, with their lamps gone out--cavilling and questioning the authority, the truth of the Master's return--lulling themselves and their people into sleep--disregarding the monitions of those who may be awake to the signs of the times--clinging to their traditions until they are roused from their dreams and fatal repose by a voice which cannot be mistaken or disregarded. And among the fatal mistakes made by the foolish virgins, will be that of applying for aid to those who have not the power of affording relief: "Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so, lest there be not enough for us and you; but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves." Are the foolish virgins at the close of time to apply for admission into the paradise of God, saying, "Lord, Lord, open unto us. But he answered, and said, Verily, I say unto you, I know you not."

      Here I will make a short digression, and draw a supposition: Suppose the sectarians of the day were called up and interrogated, Who are you? One would answer, A Presbyterian; another, A Methodist, &c. would it be unreasonable if they were repulsed with "I know you not." Would not their very identification stand in judgment against them? Who dare sanctify that ever persecuted name of Master into endurance by a P, an M, or a B. If I dare venture to do this, I would be seriously afraid at the marriage supper he would say unto me, "I know you not."

      Now does this parable, taken together in all its parts, look as if it was to be transacted at the close of time? A part are ordered to go and buy oil for their lamps; they went, they returned, they applied for admission; were once identified with the wise, will begin when it is too late to prepare for the marriage supper.

      The parable of the talents immediately follows that of the virgins, and has, no doubt, a corresponding meaning. The same kingdom is the one which is found in the other. If we can find the proper object for the phrase "kingdom of heaven" in one parable, we have it for the whole.

      "For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants and delivered to them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents; to another, two; and to another, one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey."

      The first part of this parable has been exactly fulfilled; for Christ, after giving his Apostles those precepts and laws relative to his reign in the Christian dispensation, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God, &c. and when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. Here the Master "straightway took his journey." "After a long time the Lord of those servants cometh and reckoneth with them." About eighteen hundred [388] years since this personage took his journey this may be called "a long time;" and probably in less than one year for every hundred, will this very personage return in "like manner" on a cloud, and call the servants to a reckoning. Then will the last part of the parable have its accomplishment in every jot and tittle. "And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents," &c. "His Lord saith unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant! thou hast been faithful over a few things; I will make thee ruler over many things," &c. If this parable is to have its accomplishment at the close of time, over whom are those servants to rule? Are they to rule in the heaven above? A ruler of necessity must have subjects; a subject must be either ignorant or vicious before there can be a necessity for a ruler. There can be no necessity for rulers in a government where there is neither ignorance nor vice. A ruler presupposes a rule, a subject, a possibility of erring. And this cannot apply to the perfection which is expected in another state of existence. This parable of course must relate to this world, where men need rules and rulers too. The only rule which we need is the word of God. Strict conformity to its precepts would supersede all laws or legislation; and where other laws are necessary it is an evidence of bad subjects. Laws or rules are for the lawless and disobedient.

      But farther on this subject, see Luke xix. 17. "Because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities." Are there ten cities in the heaven above? The same journey, the same return, the servant called to account, and authority given to the faithful. See Luke xxii. 28. "Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations; and I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."

      Now at the close of time the kingdom is to be given into the hands of the Father; so says Paul. And who will suppose for a moment that there will be a distinction of tribes in the world above? Compare this with Rev. xx. "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them; and judgment was given unto them." The same thrones and the same authority; and according to Christ's own words, they are to have authority in his kingdom. This must be in the future; for the Apostles have never sat on thrones, judging the twelve tribes.


Sherlock on Divine Providence.


      HAVING thus briefly shown what government God has both of the heart and the actions of men, how easily he can alter their counsels "I'd manage their passions, make them do what good they never intended, and disappoint the evil which they did intend, or turn it into [389] good. This is a sufficient demonstration, how absolute the divine providence is. For he who has such an absolute government of nature, of what we call chance and fortune, and of the wills and actions of men, can do whatsoever pleaseth him. But that we may have the clearer and more distinct apprehension of God's government of mankind to make them the instruments of his providence, I shall more particularly, but very briefly, state this matter, both with respect to good and to bad men.

      1. As for good men, there is no difficulty in their case; for they are the ministers of a good and beneficent providence. They do good out of temper and inclination, and a habit and principle of virtue, and out of reverence to the divine laws, and are ready to obey every extraordinary impression to excite and determine them to such particular good offices as God thinks fit to employ them in. And this is nothing but what is very honorable for God, and what becomes good men; for to do good is the glory of human nature, as well as of the divine providence. And good men will observe the laws; of virtue in doing good; and while good is done by honest and virtuous means, there can be no objection against providence.

      2. But as bad men are most difficultly governed, so the greatest difficulty is in vindicating providence in making use of the ministries of bad men. For it is commonly thought a great blemish to providence when glorious and admirable designs are brought to pass by the sins of men. Now the foundation of this objection is a great mistake, as if God could not serve his own providence by the sins of men without being the cause of men's sins. For there is no color nor reasonable pretence of an objection against God's making the sins of men serve wise and good ends, if he can do this without having any hand in men's sins.

      It is the great glory of Providence to bring good out of evil, and while all the events of providence are just, and righteous, and holy, and wise, and such as become a God, it is much more admirable to consider that all this should be, while there is so much wickedness and disorder in the world.

      The true state of this matter in short is this:--God never suggests any evil designs to men. That is owing to their own wicked hearts, or to the temptations of other wicked men, or of wicked spirits. But when men have formed any wicked designs, he sometimes, as you have heard, changes their purposes, or deters them from putting them in execution. And when he suffers them to proceed to action, he either shamefully disappoints them, or serves some wise and good end! by what they wickedly do. And if providence consists in the care and government of mankind, how can God govern mankind better than to permit bad men not to do more hurt than he can turn to good? God does not govern the world by an immediate and miraculous power, but governs men by men, and makes them help and defend, reward and punish one another. And therefore there is no other ordinary way of punishing bad men (excepting the civil sword which reaches but a few criminals) but to punish them by the wickedness of other bad [390] men. And what can more become the wisdom and justice of Providence than to make bad men the ministers and executioners of a divine vengeance upon each other, which is one great end God serves by the sins of men. I am sure that it is for the great good of the world that God has the government of bad men that they cannot do so much hurt as they would, and the mischief God permits them to do is directed to fall on such persons as either want correction, or deserve punishment. For this is another thing very observable in God's government both of the good and bad actions of men--that as in the government of natural causes God directs where, and when, and in what proportion nature shall exert its influences. That it shall rain upon one city, and not upon another. So God does not only excite men to do good, but directs and determines them where to do it--chooses out such persons as they shall do good to, and appoints what good they shall do, and in what measure and proportions they shall do it. And he not only sets bounds to the lusts and passions of bad men, but when he sees fit to permit their wickedness, he directs where the hurt and mischief of it shall light. We need no other proof of this but the very notion of providence, which is, God's care of his creatures. For that requires a particular application of the good or evil which men do to such particular persons as God thinks fit to do good to, or to afflict and punish, which is the most material and most necessary exercise of the wisdom, and justice, and goodness of Providence. For if God suffered men to do good or evil at random, without directing them to fit and proper objects, the fortunes of particular men would depend upon as great a chance as the mutable lusts, and passions, and fancies of men.

      The only use I shall make of this at present is to convince you how perfectly we are in God's hands, and how secure we are in his protection--what little reason we have to be afraid of men, whatever their power, how furious soever their passions are--how vain it is to trust in men and to depend on their favor, fir they can neither do good nor hurt but as they are directed by God, and therefore he alone must be the supreme object of our fear and trust. "If God be for us who can be against us?" If we make him our enemy who can save us out of his hands? So that we have but one thing to take care of, and we are safe: let us make God our friend, and he will raise us up friends, and patrons, and protectors--will deliver us out of the hands of our enemies, or make our enemies to be at peace with us.

      Secondly. Having thus explained God's government of causes, let us now consider his government of events. And I think it will be easily granted me that if all those causes by which all events are brought to pass are governed by God, God must also have the absolute government of all events in his own hands.

      But the government of causes and events are of a very different consideration, and to represent this as plainly and familiarly as I can, I shall show you, 1st. what I mean by events when I attribute the government of all events to God. 2d. Wherein God's government of events consists. 3d. The difference between God's absolute [391] government of all events, and necessity and fate. 4th. That the exercise of a particular providence consists in the government of all events.

      1. What I mean by events. Now every thing that is done may in a large sense be called an event, and is in some degree or other under the government of Providence, as all the actions of men are. But when I speak of God's government of events, I mean only such events as are in Scripture called God's doings, as being ordered and appoint. ed by him; that is to say, all the good or evil which happens to private men, or to kingdoms and nations in this world. Every thing that is done is not God's doing, for there is a great deal of evil every day committed which God does not order and appoint to be done, but has expressly forbid the doing of it. But there is no good or evil which happens to any man, or to any society of men, but what God orders and appoints for them: and this is God's government of all events. This is the proper exercise of Providence, to allot all men their fortunes and conditions in the world, to dispense rewards and punishments, to take care that no man shall receive either good or evil but from the hand and by the appointment of God. This is the subject of all the disputes about the justice, and goodness, and wisdom of Providence; and all the objections against Providence necessarily suppose that thus it is, or thus it ought to be if God govern the world. For unless Providence be concerned to take care that no men be happy or miserable but as they deserve, which cannot be without the absolute government of all events, the prosperity of bad men and the sufferings of the good, the many miseries that are in the world, and the uncertain changes and turnings of fortune, can be no objection against Providence. And, indeed, were not this the case, Providence would be so insignificant a name, that it would not be worth the while to dispute for or against it. For a Providence which neither can do us good nor hurt, or which cannot always and in all cases do it, is worth nothing, or worth no more than it can do good or hurt. And therefore all the good or evil which does or can befall men or kingdoms, is in Scripture attributed to Providence, and promised or threatened by God as men shall deserve either. Such as length of days, or a sudden and untimely death, health or sickness, honor or disgrace, riches or poverty, plenty or famine, war or peace, the changing times and seasons, the removing kings and setting up kings; and with respect to such events as these, whatever the immediate causes of them be, God is said to do whatsoever pleaseth him.

      2dly. But we shall better understand this by inquiring into the nature of God's government. Now God's government of events consists in ordering and appointing whatever good or evil shall befall men. For according to the Scripture we must attribute such a government to God as makes all these events his will and doing; and nothing can be his will and doing but what he wills and orders.

      Some men think it enough to say that God permits every thing that is done, but will by no means allow that God wills, and orders and appoints it, which they are afraid will charge the divine Providence with all the evil that is done in the world; and truly so it would did [392] God order and appoint the evil to be done. But though God orders and appoints what evils every man shall suffer, he orders and appoints no man to do the evil; he only permits some men to do mischief, and appoints who shall suffer by it, which is the short resolution of this case. To attribute the evils which some men suffer from other men's sins, merely to God's permission, is to destroy the government of Providence--for bare permission is not government; and those evils which God permits, but does not order, cannot be called his will and doing. And if this be the case of all the evils we suffer from other men's sins, most of the evils which men suffer befall them without God's will and appointment. And yet to attribute all the evil which men do to God's order and appointment, is to destroy the holiness of Providence. And therefore we must necessarily distinguish between the evils men do and the evils they suffer. The first God permits and directs; the second he orders and appoints. How God governs men's hearts and actions I have already explained, and this is the place to consider God's permission of evil, for permission relates to actions. Men's own wicked hearts conceive and form wicked designs, and they execute them by God's permission; but no man suffers by them but by God's appointment. God's care of his creatures requires that no man should suffer any thing but what God orders for him; and if such sufferings be just and righteous, how wicked soever the causes be, it is no reproach to Providence to order and appoint them. Suppose a man have forfeited his life or estate, or reputation to Providence, or, though he have made no criminal forfeiture of it, yet God sees fit for other wise reasons to remove him out of the world, or to reduce him to poverty and contempt. Is it any fault in Providence to deliver such a man into the hands of murderers, oppressors, slanderers, who are very forward to execute such decrees when Providence takes off the restraint and sets them at liberty to follow their own lusts? And when, there are so many that deserve or need these or such kind of punishments or corrections, and such vast numbers of bad men who are ready every day to commit such outrages did not God restrain them, is it not very visible how easily God can order and appoint such sufferings for men without ordering or appointing any man's sins? It requires no more than to bring those whom God appoints for suffering into the reach of such men, and to put them into their power, and their own malice and wickedness will do the rest. It is like exposing condemned malefactors to wild beasts whose nature and inclination is to devour; and if God chains up bad men as we do wild beasts, that they cannot touch any one but whom God delivers up to them, and lets them loose only to execute his own just and righteous judgment, can any thing be more honorable to Providence, or a greater security to mankind?

      To form an idea of this in our minds, let us suppose this to be the case of an earthly prince, that he perfectly understood all the deserts and all the inclinations of his subjects, and had such an invisible and insensible authority over them, that, without giving them any directions, or letting them know any thing of his intentions, or offering any [393] violence to their own inclinations, he could determine them to do that hurt which they had a mind to do to those, and to those only, whom he intended to punish; and to do the good they are desirous to do, to those, and to those only, whom he intends to reward: in case such a prince took care that no man should suffer more from the wickedness of others, than what he deserved, and the reasons of government required, would any man charge such a prince with all the wickedness that is committed in his kingdom, only because he so wisely orders it, that some bad men shall execute his vengeance upon other bad men, and serve instead of judge, and jury, and executioners? Nay, would not every man say, that this is the most perfect and absolute form of government in the world? Earthly princes, indeed, cannot do this; but this is the government of God, who accomplishes his own wise counsels by the ministries of men.

      And this may satisfy us in what sense all the good and all the evil that happens either to private men or to kingdoms and nations, is said to be God's will, and God's doing, and what pleaseth him; because no man or nation is rewarded or punished but by God's order and appointment; that as many good men as there are in the world, who are ready to do good to all they can, and as many bad men as there are who are ready to do all the mischief they can, none of them can do either good or hurt to any but to those whom God has appointed for either, which makes God the absolute Lord and Sovereign of the world, since whatever men intend, all men's fortunes and conditions depend upon his will.

      And since God absolutely orders and appoints nothing but the event, if the event be holy, just, and good--that is, if men be rewarded and punished according to their works, as far as the justice and goodness of Providence is concerned in this world, there can be no reasonable objection against Providence; for by what wicked means soever men be rewarded or punished, if the reward or punishment be holy, just, and good, this vindicates the holiness, and justice, and goodness of Providence: of which more hereafter. Let men's wickedness be to themselves, for that is their own; but that the wickedness of men is over-ruled by an invisible hand to accomplish wise and decrees, that is the glory of Providence.

      And this suggests another evident reason why all the good or evil that befalls men, is called God's will and God's doings, because, in a strict and proper sense, it is not man's will nor man's doings. What is done is either what those who did it never intended to do, or else serves such ends, and is ordered by God for such ends, as those who did it never thought of; which proves men to be only instruments, but God the Supreme Disposer of all events. If we must attribute all things that are done either to God or men, then what is not done by men must be done by God; and men cannot be properly said to do what they never intended; and therefore whatever is either beyond or contrary to what men intended, must either be attributed to chance or to a divine Providence. I observed before what different intentions God and men have in the same actions--what is intended by [394] men, is their doing--what is intended by God, is his doing, and wholly his doing, when what God intended was not intended by men. For this reason Joseph tells his brethren that it was not they, but God that sent him into Egypt, (Gen. xl. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.) for they thought nothing of sending him into Egypt; but this was what God intended when he permitted them to sell him to the Ishmaelites. This was their sin, as he adds, Gen. 1. 20. "But as for you, ye thought evil against me;" but the good that was done was wholly God's doings; "but God meant it unto good." And thus it is in other cases, which shows us what the Scripture calls God's doings. The punishment of sinners, and those evils he brings on them, are God's doings, but not the sins whereby they are punished. The punishment of David's adultery by the incest of Absalom, was God's doing, but not Absalom's incest. The sending Joseph into Egypt, and advancing him into Pharaoh throne, were God's doings; but not the sin of his brethren in selling him for a slave. And thus it is throughout the Scripture: nothing is called God's will or God's doing which has any moral evil in it: all wicked actions are men's own will and own doings, which God permits for wise ends, but never orders or appoints; but the good or evil which is done by men's sins, that is God's doing. And I hope by this time you all know how to distinguish between God's government of men's actions, and his government of events; and then we may safely attribute all events to God's order and appointment, without danger of charging God with the sins of men, whereby such events are brought to pass.

[To be continued.]

Letter from Henry Grew--Part 2.

      I UNDERSTAND my respected brother to imagine, that if the Word or Son of God is not the eternal independent God himself, the Father "gives him nothing to do, which the son of Joseph could not have done as well." You ask, "What creature could do more than Abel, Moses, &c. did--tell the truth, the whole truth, lead an exemplary life, and as a martyr offer up his soul to God?" Astonishing! Are there no degrees of ability and perfection among creatures? But let us review your argument. You remark, "If Jesus never was, as to his celestial origin, more than a creature, he could, as a sin offering, effect nothing more than any other creature: his life and death were all due to his Creator on his own account." Ah! brother, was it so? Admitting him to be really the "first begotten," the first born of every creature," the image of the invisible God, the brightness of his glory, perfectly holy, ever delighting to do his Father's will, never, in the least particular, transgressing--was his amazing humiliation, his suffering life, his agonizing death, "all due to his Creator on his own account"? Have you not affirmed prematurely? Do you know of any law or principle of government appertaining to the Righteous Governor of the Universe, which requires a [395] subject of that government who perpetually loves and obeys with all his powers, to suffer and die on his own account? I understand the Law, by which the Holy One maintains his immutable Throne, to be, Do, and live; Disobey, and die. I affirm, therefore, that the Holy Son of God was not obliged to die on his own account; and, consequently, considering the dignity and perfection of the real sufferer, the true Son of God, made before and "better than the angels," his voluntary humiliation and perfect obedience unto death, is perfectly adequate to the design of infinite wisdom to declare the righteousness of God in justifying him who believes in Jesus. (20.)

      And now, for the truth's sake, beloved, I do most earnestly beseech you to consider whether your own views do not necessarily involve the difficulty you aim to avoid. Unless you suppose that the immutable God really changed--emptied himself, suffered and died; all the humiliation, suffering, and death of your Saviour appertain solely to the humanity. It was a human sacrifice. It was not the real humiliation, and suffering, and death of the Son of God, if by this term is understood any thing more than holy humanity. Let your intelligent mind contemplate Phil. ii. 5-11. and try if you can possibly reconcile the affecting truth there exhibited of the real humiliation of the Son of God in not eagerly retaining that likeness he had to God, [see the original,] but humbling or emptying himself, with your present views. Does not the Apostle clearly teach that there was in fact a real change in respect to the highest glory of the Son, which is totally incompatible with supreme and immutable Deity? Did Jehovah become obedient and die? If so, whom did he obey, and who raised him from the dead? "Who hath given to him," as a reward of his humiliation and obedience? Who is that other being to whose glory we are commanded to worship him? Phil. ii. 11. [396]

      If your view is correct, has our Father given any thing more to really suffer and die for us than a perfect man? How can this accord with the affecting representations in the testimony of his great love in giving his own Son TO DIE for us? (21.)

      By what process of reasoning does my dear brother come to the conclusion that the matchless Son of God can do no more than Abel, &c. except he be that very God whose Son he is declared to be? Could not he who was "made so much better than the angels," (Heb. i. 4) speak as never man spake? How do you prove that "the first born of every creature," who is the image of the invisible God, can do no more than a fallible, imperfect man? Do we not contradict the testimony, if we say that he is incompetent, unless he is independent and omnipotent, when he himself assures us, that all the power by which he gives eternal life to his followers, is given him by the Father? John xvii. 2. Shall we affirm this, when the inspired Apostle so plainly teaches us that God our Father and Saviour saves us "through Jesus Christ our Saviour"? Titus iii. 4, 5.

      To my first query you reply, Jehovah is the one only living and true God. But who is Jehovah? Is our Father Jehovah? No, I affirm that he is not, if two other persons or beings equal to himself are necessary to constitute Jehovah. In this case, (I write with reverence,) our Father is only a part of Jehovah. If I say of a mercantile firm of three persons, that the firm is A, B and C, and then say that the firm is A, do I not contradict myself? Must I not say only that A is one of the firm? Now I am happy in the assurance that I am interchanging views with one who will no more allow us to contradict ourselves in speaking of divine things, than in speaking of those which are human; one who will not shield himself from rational and scriptural argument under the covert of mystery. (22) [397]

      I know that Paul in 1 Cor. viii. 6 is contradistinguishing the one God from the "gods many of Paganism;" but this no proof that he is not contradistinguishing the Father, as the one God, from all other persons or beings in the universe. The plain and positive testimony is, that there is but one God, and that this one God is the Father. Systems aside, must not the candid mind allow the truth here plainly revealed, to be, that the Father is the one God in distinction from all other persons or beings in existence? He is particularly distinguished, as the one God, from the very being who approximates nearest to himself in dignity and perfection;--the one Lord by whom are all things. The one Lord BY whom are all things, is clearly distinguished from the one God of whom are all things. I reflected on the imaginary difficulty you suggest, ten years ago. After "a little more reflection," I still affirm, as I did then, that the Father is excluded in the declaration of "the one Lord by whom are all things." The Father is not the medium, or agent, BY whom are all things, but the eternal and independent source, of whom are all things. There is no confusion here. The ideas suggested by the testimony on this important truth, are clear, distinct, harmonious. In another sense, the Father indeed is Lord. He is, as you say, "the one absolute Lord." But, brother, if so, must he not be "greater than all"? (23)

      One thought more, if you please, on this testimony that the Father is the one God. Is there a single declaration in either Testament [398] respecting the one God, that has the shadow of a contradiction to it? Is there any declaration that the one God is any other than the Father? that the one God is three? or that he is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? or that these three are one God? Most surely there is not. Is it not, then, a violation of the just rule of interpretation, to oppose and set aside the obvious import of the plain positive testimony that the one God is the Father, by "inferences" from passages which are susceptible of a different construction? If 1 Cor. viii. 6 furnishes not the answer to the great question, Who is the one God? are we not without revelation on the subject? (24)

      You observe, "The Scriptures no where teach me that the Son, in his highest personal nature had a beginning of being or existence." As proof to the contrary, you have quoted, "the Word was in the beginning with God." But this we have seen is no more evidence of the eternity of the Son, than of the eternity of the earth.

      You further affirm, "My Lord and Saviour is no creature," &c. Ah! beloved, when shall we cease to be wise above what is written? On the authority of eternal truth, I affirm that he is a creature, though of transcendent excellency. Many will go with you here: I go with the testimony. He is "the first born of every creature"--"the beginning of the creation of God"--his "first," his "only begotten" Son. He was, indeed, declared to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead, but he did not then first become his Son. That holy thing which was born of the Virgin was called the Son of God, because the Son of God was then "made flesh," took the body prepared him, (not a human soul); but this is no proof that he then first became the Son of God. The Father sent his Son into the world. He was his Son before he sent him. As a Son he came down from heaven, not to do his own will, which assuredly it behooved him to do as much as the Father's, if he was perfectly equal. John i. 14 clearly teaches that the glory of the Word, and the glory of the only begotten Son, is one and the same glory, as Mr. Fuller justly observed. "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us; and we beheld his glory, [i. e. the glory of the Word,] the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." (25) [399]

      You remark, "'My Father is greater than I' I understand in an economical or restricted sense." Permit me to ask, Does not the connexion forbid such restriction? "If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto my Father, for my Father is greater than I." What is the teaching here? Is it not that the felicity of the Son, when he should return to the Father, and be glorified with the glory of his celestial nature, which he had with him before the world was, would arise from the fact that the Father is greater than himself? If the glory which he had before the world was, which he prayed to be restored, was the glory of Supreme Deity, must not that have been an adequate source of felicity? How could his felicity be a consequence of the superiority of his Father, if no such superiority existed after his return to him?

      Lastly, on the worship to be given to him who hath loved us and washed us in his own blood. On this theme, you have touched a chord in my heart which responds to you with the most thrilling emotion. I say with you, "His be the hallelujahs of the heavens--his the hosannas of the church." In your pious flight of holy and rapturous devotion, I will accompany you, or follow on humbler pinions, to the utmost boundary of truth. If you will soar beyond that holy region, I go not. I worship, not indeed "mathematically," but in spirit and in truth: mark it, brother, not in spirit only, but also in truth. "I would not for the universe weaken the force of a single expression, or subtract from the boldest metaphor aught of its riches designed to set forth" the true glory of the Son of God, or his claims to our affection and worship. I do and will worship him, not according to human systems, but according to the testimony, as the angels and the redeemed do--as the "first begotten," (see Heb. i. 6) as "the [400] Lamb that was slain," (Rev. v. 12) who has redeemed us to God by his blood. I worship him with understanding, in his true character, as the image of the invisible God, whom the Father has begotten, sent, exalted and glorified. I worship him as the testimony requires, "to the glory of God the Father." I worship my Father, my blessed Father, as "the only true God," as my Saviour did, to the glory of none above him; for there is none.

      Your pious and eloquent appeal to the devotional feelings, will be conclusive with many of your readers. I beg your candid considerations of the reasons I offer you why it is not so with me. Through divine favor, I have learned of the Master. I have heard him rebuke a disciple, at the very time devotion and affectionate solicitude for the welfare of his Lord, was glowing in that disciple's bosom, simply because he was not regulated in that devotion by truth. Let us remember, the first article is, "Whatsoever things are true." If truth is violated, no sincerity or devotion will screen us from the rebuke of its "faithful Witness," "Get thee behind me, Satan, for thou savorest not the things which be of God, but the things which be of men."

      I could offer other arguments. It may be worthy of your consideration, whether there can possibly exist a person of infinite dignity, for whose worship, there is not a single precept or example in the divine record. Such you know is the fact, in respect to the Spirit as distinct from the Father. (26) Equally unaccountable is the fact, that the Son always prayed to the Father only, and ever expressed his dependence on the Father only, if it be true that he was united to a second infinite person. Surely, in connexion with such a person, he could have been no more dependent on the Father, than the Father could be on him. Let your intelligent mind take a retrospective view of your reply to me, and sift the argument from the eloquent assertions and illustrations with which you have adorned it. Blessed be God, we shall yet be one, beloved, in this and all truth. I know you bow to the testimony. Truth is our object. Heavenly riches pour upon us when we exchange error for it. When its lucid beams shine on our understanding, it is a mark of true greatness to say, I have been mistaken. I would not be too confident, but with the evidence before me, I feel assured that you will yet believe your own declaration that "the Father is our only God," without the confounding nullification of it, by the opinion that he is not so without two other persons or beings equal to himself. (27)
  Yours, in truth and love,

      No. 20.--"Die on his own account." You certainly will admit that every creature owes his whole being and perfections, whatever they may be, to him that created him. To him he owes life, and that love of life characteristic of animated nature. He owes himself, and therefore we cannot imagine any created being just, who would refuse to lay down, or give back that life which he received when he that gave it requires it. This is the very essence of all obedience: for unless life is given up in every act of obedience, there. is nothing of the nature of obedience in the act. So our Lord taught me to reason: "For he that hates not his own life" (loves it less than my will) "cannot be my disciple." Indeed, an obedience proceeding upon any other principle would demand as a bonus the guaranty of life, or the assurance of life before it would act at all. A creature that owes not its death to the will of God, owes not its life. The giving up of life, as much as any other use of life, is due from every creature to him who gave him life. If any man will agree to rest the merits of any great question on the proof of the following proposition, I will undertake its proof: He that does not hold his life as due to his Creator, never can obey him in any act of his life. I, therefore, fearlessly repeat my affirmation, That if my Redeemer was never more than a creature, he never could do more than pay his own debts; or, in other words, he never could do more than lave and obey God for himself; and if God required his death for any purpose it was but just for him to obey in that act as in any act of his life. On your hypothesis no man owes but a few cents more to Jesus Christ than to any of the ancient martyrs. [396]

      21.--I never separate humanity nor divinity, nor speak in this style of my Saviour. I do not thus submit his person to the metaphysico-theologico dissecting knife. He spoke of himself in accordance with his whole person and nature. But the separating, confounding, confusing, or speculating upon his two natures, is a species of barbarous philosophy, never indulged in by any inspired person, and therefore I cross not the threshold of that temple. Indeed, I speculate not thus upon the body, soul, and spirit of any human being. I ask not whether such an act of obedience was instinctive, purely animal, intellectual, moral--whether the hand moved in obedience to the soul or the spirit, and how much praise is due to the hand, to the soul, and to the spirit in this thing. It is all philosophic trifling.

      22--"Covert of mystery."--I have no idea of shielding myself under the covert of mystery; but I have no use of shield if my brother Grew would not shower his javelins at me. There is too much man-ism or my-ism in all these speculations. But really this is a curiosity--"covert of mystery"! the covert of a secret! And does not brother Grew believe secrets? He believes that Jesus Christ was originally begotten and born before there was any creature. But how long before, and how this came to pass, and how much of eternity had passed before this first born was conceived, is no secret to him; for he would not believe any thing which he cannot comprehend as clear as how his mind can in a moment grasp the two extremes of a million of Jubilees! This is just the reason why we have so many volumes upon the pre-existence of the Messiah, &c. &c. eternal generation, filiation, and their contraries: because [397] great men and gigantic reasoners, philosophers, sceptics, &c. will not take refuge under the "covert of mystery." They will believe no secrets; while my faith begins, like myself, in a great mystery. For I believe there is one infinite, eternal, unoriginated, all-comprehending, and incomprehensible Jehovah! I take covert and find a sanctuary under the shadow of this great mystery. God forbid that I should say to my faith, According to my reason and comprehension, so be it to thee; hitherto shalt thou come, and no farther, and here let thy belief in God, and Christ, and the Holy Spirit, cease.

      I admit nothing contrary to reason; but I do admit there are at least two or three matters in this great creation which I cannot comprehend; and some times both my reason and my faith lay their heads together under "the covert of mystery." Even the Newtonian and Baconian systems of philosophy require us to begin with a secret, and tell us we need not push our inquiries at all unless we admit some postulates and take something for granted. Whence came the law of attraction--and its antagonist principle, repulsion? Why form they so many circles, globes, and spheres in this creation? From what eternal fire is the sun supplied, and how scatters he his influences forever without decay? Has the rain a father, and who has begotten the dew? But I stop. Mathematics has its definitions and its postulates. There is not a science without its incomprehensibles. Therefore I can believe that God exists, and that he ever had his Word and his Spirit.

      But were I, my dear sir, to put a few questions to you on the comprehensibility of your views of God, and Christ, and the Holy Spirit, do you think you could stand upon your principles? Methinks I see your causeway to the skies taken up stone by stone, until, like the earth, you hang upon nothing midway between two opposing powers. A God that we can comprehend is an idol--a thing unworthy of adoration!

      23.--The sense of Scripture is not manifold, but one. You have conceded to me the true meaning of 1 Cor. viii. 6. and therefore it cannot mean any thing else. [398]

      24.--We worship God the Father, as the Father, as our Father who is in heaven, and on him alone all our worship terminates. But we regard Jesus as Emanuel, God with us, God manifested in our flesh, and to the glory of the Father we worship him as the Father has commanded; because he is the delight of his Father, and there is no idolatry in worshipping him in whom the Father delights as his own image--as his own Word--which to us is God: for "the Word is God." It is in the economy of redemption we have the subordination of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit; or Jehovah, revealed in the names of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. By this revelation we are to walk on earth. But in heaven, after the redemption is consummated, we shall have better eyes and better understandings; and when the remedial system terminates we are told that new developments of God will be made. Let us then wait that day.

      25.--My remarks on the phrase "beginning of creation" are already before you Luther was the beginning of the Reformation; Jesus is the author of creation--he too is the Alpha and Omega--he is the first born of every [399] creature; for he has become the first born from the dead, that in all things he might be pre-eminent.

      But now that you have come out in unqualified language, and assert that in your opinion the Word was a creature--the Messiah, the Son of God was only a creature, though of transcendant excellency--where is this said in Scripture? This is wholly an inference. Now, after all, does it come to this--that while you talk of Scripture testimony, and object to all human inferences, and denounce the Calvinists for their "eternal generation," &c. that you affirm the Lord of glory to have been never more nor less than "a creature of transcendant excellency"? What prophet, apostle, or angel has so affirmed? Not one! "The first born of every creature no more means a creature, than the phrase creation of God means God himself. No inspired man ever called him a creature, "by whom all things, and for whom all things were created and made.

      "He was before all things." That had no beginning which was before all things. He is no part of the things which through him consist.

      This is more mysterious than Trinitarianism itself. A creature made before creation! and this same creature living from some indefinite eternity, was again created of the Virgin Mary the Son of God in consequence of his first creation, and the Son of Man in consequence of his second creation. My dear sir, do reconsider this conclusion to which your reasonings have brought you; for in it methinks you will perceive how easy it is in avoiding one extreme to run into another; and while objecting to one system because of its Babylonish terms and phrases, adopting another as replete with mysteries and Babelisms as that rejected. [400]

      26.--No man ever worshipped the Holy Spirit from Moses to John. True, this we asserted many years ago. And what is the reason? Because without the Spirit a man cannot pray at all acceptably to God; and why should a man pray to that which is already in him? We pray to that which is above us--not that which is in us.

      27.--I have to pass over many things unnoticed, because I have not room and never consented to discuss such matters in my pages. But last of all, let me beg your attention to another consideration: The strongest points in my [401] reply to you are not once adverted to in your letter before me. To those which I call stronger points, I would add another. Is there any other love or affection from us due to Jesus Christ, than to our neighbor, or our brother? If he be only a creature, we ought to love him and revere him simply as a creature. I know but two sorts of love as respects the object--the love of the creature, and of the Creator. I speak not of natural affection, or animal feeling; but I speak of intellectual love, moral approbation and delight. I must give my whole affection--my undivided heart to God. All other love is in part and insubordination. With all my mind, my soul, my strength, my heart, my God requires my love. Can any creature, celestial or terrestrial, have a share in this supreme affection? I owe homage and honor to all my superiors--good will to all mankind--love to the brotherhood--gratitude to all my benefactors; but I am not commanded to love, honor, or obey any of them supremely. Is it in measure or in part that I am to love, and, honor, and obey my Lord? No; just as I love, and honor, and worship the Father; so am I to love, and honor, worship the Son. Consequently, my Lord is not a creature, or idolatry is not a sin.

      I am sorry to be obliged so often to remind my friend that the word God is a relative term; and that therefore the Father being our only God, and Jesus our only Lord, is wholly an economical arrangement in the Remedial scheme. If there had been no sin, there could have been no Christianity, no Saviour, no Prophet, no Priest, no King. Sin is the sole cause of Christianity; but it is not the cause of the creation of him that was made flesh.

      When sin is forever put down, and the remedial system has achieved its end, this episode in the history of creation will cease; till then, our wisdom, humility, and our devotion, consist in thinking and speaking of God, his anoint' ed Saviour and the heavenly Advocate, in the words and phrases supernaturally taught us, not blending with these the cabalistic terms of human invention. [402]

New Version and Dr. Cleland.
NO. I.

      SINCE the days of Wickliffe till now, every person who has made an effort to translate the Scriptures into the vernacular tongue, or to revise and improve any former translation, has been censured by the ruling Doctors of the age. We do not, therefore, think that any strange thing has happened to us, when we experience such coarse and unkind treatment for our humble, but well-meant efforts to present the sacred volume in a more intelligible forty, and in a more correct and faithful translation than the popular version. We expected, however, in this age of refinement, not quite so much vulgarity and low invective from a Doctor of Divinity of the state of Kentucky. What the Doctor wants in logic, in evidence, and in fact, he compensates by a profusion of ungentlemanly insinuations, uncourteous epithets, and puerile abuse. We expected to share, at least in part, the fortunes of Wickliffe, of Luther, the authors of the Geneva translation, and indeed of all the reformers: for with every reformation of religion there has been a new translation of the Scriptures. Even Wesley himself, so late as is the date of his reformation, attempted a new translation of the New Testament. I say, then, we expected to be assailed from those quarters from which opposition to such undertakings has generally come. Anticipating this, we are not disappointed; and I hope it will yet appear that we have done nothing [402] rashly, without much deliberation, and without good and relevant reasons; and that we are prepared to defend the new version as far as we are responsible to the community for the publication. We are prepared, in some measure at least, to do more than this;--to show to the conviction of every candid person, how much need there is for such a version as we have given, from an exposition of the numerous errors and palpable imperfections in the King's version. I shall do this not merely upon my own authority, but upon the authority of those whose reputation is already placed beyond the poisoned shafts of such antagonists as my friend Dr. Cleland. If I am constrained to expose the numerous blemishes, and to set in order the many mistranslations and no-translations found in the version of 1611--if, in going into these details and expositions, the faith of any should be weakened in a book consecrated to them by the adoption and prescription of their fathers, the blame (if blame there be) will be due to those who have imposed this duty upon me.

      Our readers will yet see with what caution we have proceeded in weakening the confidence of the community in the common version; they may, perhaps, wonder that we should have proceeded even to a fourth edition and a stereotype edition of the new version, so silently and quietly, without a direct attack upon the common version. But when dragged into the field, and when compelled to sustain ourselves, disclosures may yet be made which may satisfy the intelligent, that conscientiously we could not do less than we have done in giving to our contemporaries the new version in its present improved form.

      We shall, therefore, commence a series of essays in defence of the new version, which, from the variety of facts and documents necessary to our designs, we trust will prove a source of information to those who have not had opportunity to be much informed in matters of criticism, nor on the ways and means by which the present version came into their hands.

      As Dr. Cleland has made it our duty to commence this series, we shall begin with his assault upon the new version, which has just come to hand in the Western Luminary of the 17th and 24th of July. This the Doctor (with his usual courtesy) denominates "Campbellism, Nos. 8 and 9. New Version." That we may do him all justice in the presence of our readers, we shall let him tell them his own story in his own words:--

      "The sacred writings of the Apostles and Evangelists of Jesus Christ, commonly styled the New Testament. Translated from the original Greek by George Campbell, James Macknight, and Philip Doddridge, Doctors of the Church of Scotland, with prefaces," &c.

      This is the lofty, imposing title of a book, in its "second edition," since 1828, and commonly called Alexander Campbell's Testament. The retail price of the first edition in Kentucky was $1 75--that of the second, $1 37 1-2. A considerable tax this, on its admirers and patrons; for at $1 25, the wholesale price of the second edition of this spurious book, the sum required for eight copies will procure one hundred of the common version in Philadelphia--so that one hundred persons can be supplied with the word of God, in the New Testament, with a sum that can supply only eight on the plan of modern reformation. Whether this be a money-making scheme or not, the people must [403] judge for themselves. We state the facts merely for information; and we can assure the reader that information is the principal object in our remarks on this volume--for we certainly know that a number of persons, not in Mr. Campbell's sentiments, are uninformed and imposed on respecting the true state of the case. I remark once more, this pretended translation of Campbell, Macknight, and Doddridge, whose works are entirely separate, written at different periods, and on different portions of the New Testament, now make one book of 456 pages, and is clogged and encumbered with 124 pages of 'prefaces'--'hints to readers'--'introductions'--'prefatory hints'--and 'appendices'--with 'errata,' (in the plural,) noting only 'one omission,' and then closing with the following note of information:--"Since the publication of the first edition we have learned that Philip Doddridge, D. D. was not a Presbyterian, but a Congregationalist, or a Doctor amongst the English Independents," &c. By the reformer's own testimony, therefore, it appears at once, that the title of his book does not tell the truth; and his note, instead of helping him out of the scrape, rather plunges him deeper into the ditch; for if he found out the mistake respecting Dr. Doddridge "since the publication of the first edition," and, by inference, before the commencement of another, why was it retained in the second? Indeed, it is surprising how a man of A. Campbell's pretensions to learning and general information, should make such a gross mistake as to put Doddridge amongst the Presbyterian Doctors of the Church of Scotland, (the very place of our author's nativity and literary acquirements,) and then introduce him as such on the title page of his first edition. He must not censure the better informed, who protest against such conduct, whether from ignorance or design, and who take the liberty of forming their own judgments respecting the motives of the author."

      Be it remembered that the Doctor's strictures are upon the second edition of the new version. He had not probably seen the third or fourth. This is not the title of the late editions of this work. The title of the late editions of this work is in the following words: "The sacred writings of the Apostles and Evangelists of Jesus Christ, commonly styled the New Testament. Translated from the original Greek, by Doctors George Campbell, James Macknight, and Philip Doddridge. With prefaces, various emendations, and an appendix--by Alexander Campbell. Stereotyped from the third edition, revised, 1833." The "errata," not erratum; as he would have it, at the close of the 2d edition, are two--a clause omitted in the London edition, and unnoticed in the first and second editions issued by us; also, the error concerning the Doctorship of Philip Doddridge. The occasion of this error has been before explained, the reason why it was not on the title of the second edition partially given, and its expulsion from the third and fourth edition, justifies our course, and shows how undeserved are the criminations of our erudite Doctor. Reader, please observe how much the Doctor makes of this very unimportant matter, and learn from this fact how hard he has been pushed for grounds of condemnation. This and the word immersion compose the latitude and the longitude of his anathemas against the new version, as far as has yet appeared. He walks in the footsteps of Dr. Jennings in his remarks upon Dr. Doddridge and the word immersion.

      Now the whole matter is this: I had not looked at the title page of Dr. Doddridge's Family Expositor, nor read his life at or before the time of putting to press the second edition of the new version; and seeing his works in the libraries of Presbyterians, hearing him so [404] often quoted and so highly commended by them, and by no others, I ranked him with the Doctors of that church. This was the head and front of my offending. I was corrected in this matter by a letter from my friend, the late Samuel Harris, of England, the exact date of which I do not remember; and just as soon as I could afterwards consistently correct it, I did so.

      The erudite Doctor very courteously, and with all Presbyterian urbanity, calls this "the imposing, hypocritical, lying title page." Now, courteous reader, if I am at fault here, what shall we say of the Doctor's veracity, who positively and unhesitatingly asserts that Scotland is the place of my nativity, and that the wholesale price of the second edition was $1 25 per copy? These are matters which were as much in the power of Dr. Cleland to have ascertained as to me was the Doctorship of Philip Doddridge. Shall I for this say that Dr. Cleland is "an imposing, hypocritical liar," or his performance "an imposing, hypocritical, lying essay"? This would be to measure to him as he has measured; but in this I cannot imitate him, and will only say, How easy it is for a good and honest man sometimes to be mistaken in such little matters!

      While on the price of the second edition of the new version, it may not be irrelevant to pay some attention to the foul imputation of unworthy mercenary motives which this gentleman assigns to my undertaking to introduce the new version. The reader will perceive in the previous extract with what unsparing severity the disinterested Doctor arraigns my motives in publishing this new version.

      Once for all on this subject, I beg the attention of my readers. Let us see what grounds there are for this imputation. When I proposed the first edition of the new version what were the prospects? A bookseller in New York proposed an octavo edition of it at $3 00 per copy to subscribers. I subscribed in the year 1822--3 for 100 copies of it to encourage the publication. He failed in obtaining patronage and gave up the undertaking. His proposition was, to give the London edition, without preface or appendix, at $3 00 per copy. We, finding that it could not be introduced without much hazard and probable sacrifice of property, determined at all risks to introduce it; and proposed it at $1 75 per copy, after the model of the New York prospectus, only adding to it, in prefaces and an appendix, about 75 octavo pages in small type. This edition, in the wholesale way, brought nearly $1 50 per copy; and the second edition, a duodecimo of 456 pages, brevier, was actually wholesaled by us at $1 00 per copy. Deducting from that, in some cases, the transportation and a credit of 6 and 12 months, the whole edition did not average us more that 90 cents.

      Again, we knew as well before we commenced this work as we do now, that uniformly translating bapto and baptisma, IMMERSE and IMMERSION, would as certainly operate against the circulation and sale of the works among all the Paidobaptists; and that the Presbyterian and other clergy would as infallibly, on that account alone, denounce it from Dan to Beersheba, as that a Doctor of Divinity will [405] obey a call to 1000 dollars per annum rather than to one of 500. Moreover, we knew full well that the Regular Baptists themselves, far from as liberal as the Presbyterians, in supporting the works devoted to their sectarian peculiarities, would not thank us for our services, nor reward us for any sacrifice we had to make in their defence. They have not disappointed us, except in a few cases, like that of Edmund Waller, who prayerfully committed the first edition to the flames.

      Such were my golden prospects in putting to press the first edition of this work. I am not more disinterested than I ought to be; yet I am of the opinion that few booksellers, or Presbyterian preachers, would, with the prospects before me, have risked three or four thousand dollars in performing such a service at such a time. How far these facts and documents warrant such imputations is left to the candid reader.

      But insinuations are also made by the same charitable gentleman on the ground of securing the copy-right of this work, as if this were an unequivocal proof of mercenary motives. This will be received by many who understand not these matters, as direct proof of his insinuations. Yet the Doctor would be very far from drawing such an inference from the conduct of his own brethren, or of such worthy, pious, and distinguished authors of translations and editions of the New Testament, or parts of the New Testament, as have recently issued from the presses of Presbyterian and Congregational Doctors of Divinity, some of whom are twice paid for their literary and theological labors before they put them to the press.

      I know some Doctors who are first paid as preachers--who are again paid for the same divinity as theological lecturers in schools of divinity--and a third time paid as editors and publishers, for the same divinity, and every time at a very high price.

      This, however, is rather an evidence of their piety and devotion than otherwise. But if we labor for a life time in similar literary and religious studies, without money and without price; and we publish any thing at from 50 to 75 per cent. lower than the booksellers' regular price for original works, we are then unequivocally demonstrated to be mercenary in our motives, and impious in all our labors.

      Take, for example, the translation and commentary of Professor Stuart on the Hebrews and Romans--copy-right secured--price, eight dollars in boards. How many New Testaments would this purchase from the Bible Society or some other great book manufactory in New York or Philadelphia? Is not the Professor, learned, and pious, and disinterested as he is, paid something for lecturing on these aforesaid epistles? Does not the Theological School of Andover afford him a handsome salary per annum? And is not the same biblical criticism and divinity exhibited in print, at the moderate price of $4 00 an epistle? And would Dr. Cleland thence argue that he is wholly a mercenary theologian?

      Is it proof positive that the Rev. Hervey Wilbur is mercenary because he has published thirteen editions of the common Testament, [406] with some tables, and the copy-right secured, stereotyped in pocket form, at from 50 to 75 cents, according to paper and binding, per copy. But there is no need to adduce instances of this sort; for if not universally, it is very generally the course pursued by all the author, translators, and theologians of the age. Men as purely disinterested as was Charles Thompson, who sold his new translation at 10 dollars, copy-right secured, are in this practice without imputation.

      But, perhaps, the secret is this: Our opponents expect perfection in us, and imperfection in themselves; and therefore a copy-right for a religious work is in us criminal in the first degree!

      We have given our reasons in the preface to the appendix of the stereotype edition. Our object has been to perfect this translation, and to have it as cheap as the common Testament. For this purpose, chiefly, and for the purpose of mere indemnification, we have reserved the copy-right. Some additions to the appendix of the pocket Testament may yet be necessary, and when this is completed we will afford license to any publisher, without any remuneration, to publish as many copies as he pleases.

      We now wholesale the work at 40 cents per copy, neatly and substantially bound; and for cash at 37 1-2 by the quantity. When the extra quantity of matter (which is nearly 100 pages more than the common Testament) is taken into the account, it is already as cheap as the common Testament, done up in the same style. And should we use very coarse paper, and have it bound in the most common style, it may be sold at 25 cents. On very fine paper, and morocco pocket book binding and gilding, at 75 cents, the Philadelphia price of the common Testament, done up in the first style. Thus, after much labor and very great expense, we have got the new version perfected and ready for delivery at the same price of the common version, page for page, and executed in the same style, This is the goal--the desideratum which we have labored to attain.

      These things premised, we are now prepared to take up and examine all objections to the version, and to tender the reasons why we have progressed so slowly in each edition in correcting and perfecting the translation. We shall show that every objection, on the ground of phraseology, lies equally against the common version.--We have now before us two copies of the Geneva Bible, of 1607 and 1615, printed by King James' Printer, the celebrated Robert Barker, exhibiting some thousands of variations in the same period of time which we have spent on the new translation. And this is the strongest and most plausible objection that can be urged against any version. We shall show in the sequel that no version in the English language is more exempt from the imputation of change and emendation than that which we have completed. And whatever change, alteration, or improvement may be found in this version, which cannot be sustained by the established canons of criticism, by the highest literary authorities, we shall as frankly surrender as our mistake concerning the Doctorship of Philip Doddridge; for instead of being a Doctor of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, he was only a Doctor of the [407] Congregational Church of England. And yet, in America, both sit in the same General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church!!

      [Mr. Waterman being in attendance at Conference, and not expecting to hear from him in time for the present number, I proceed to offer a postscript to my last letter, which was cut short for the want of room.]


      Dear Sir--

      SOME minute matters, detached from the main argument in your last letter to me, require a remark or two.

      The pith and marrow of your argument in favor of some insignificant influence (i. e. an influence without words or signs) exerted upon the human mind by the Spirit, is very candidly expressed in the following words: "The source of thought is unknown--of course a foreign agent may act on our minds through mediums unknown to us." But it may not: and thus you very candidly give up the proof of such an agency.

      You, my dear sir, are too good a logician to urge as an argument in favor of any affirmative proposition, its mere possibility. Suppose I should presume to prove that you were the cause of the secession in the Methodist Episcopal Church, called the Radicals: you would doubtless call upon me for positive proof. In reply, I would say that you were a very zealous republican, a very powerful and eloquent pleader for the rights of man, and that you deservedly exercised an immense moral influence in the Methodist society. I would next go on to expatiate on the various ways in which a person may influence others without making use of direct words or signs, to persuade to any particular course; and from a variety of inductions declarative of the mysteriousness of human influence, and the indescribable ways and manners in which one person influenced another, would then very gravely conclude by saying, on the authority of Paley, Reid, and Stewart, that "the source of thought is unknown," and of course in a way which you never thought, you may have acted upon the minds of some brethren to move such a reform as the Radicals contemplate. What would be your reply? Sir, you would say, that is all supposition; a thousand may be's would not make one proof. In so saying, you would reason like a man and a philosopher.

      Having thus disposed of all the evidence adduced in favor of your favorite position, I shall offer a remark on your good humor and raillery upon my saying that angels assume the form of a man, of some creature, of a thought. "The form of a thought." This you call a bran new idea." "I have heard," you say, "of the quality of thoughts, but this is the first time that I have heard of their form." Perhaps you have forgotten. Words are often called the image, or sign of a [408] thought. Language itself is beautifully called "painted thought." Shakspeare says, if I mistake not, that written language gives to thought

"A local habitation and a name."

The transition from sign, image, and local habitation, to form, is short and easy. All symbolic figures, and all historic paintings, are only giving to thought a visible form. And this is precisely what I mean by assuming the form of a thought. By presenting as in visions, dreams, certain figures, images, symbols, or forms of thought in the mind of men, I know not why an angel could not as readily assume a symbol in the mind, as easily, as a painter form his idea of Abraham on canvass. I have seen boys originate thoughts in the minds of their schoolfellows, and tempt them to action, without a word addressed to the ear. And have not spirits got so much acquaintance with the minds of men, as to know their associations of ideas? and can they not, from such acquaintance, lead the mind into any particular train? When then, my dear sir, you talk of forming the mind of a child, (a phrase very current) if you will reflect on the propriety of forming the mind, you will find that the form of the mind, and the form of thought, are all of the same lineage and family.

      Do you not, my dear sir, make an illogical demand of me when you ask me to prove that God always employed signs, or words, in communicating his will to his Son? This is not a case in point. But if it were, I would still hesitate upon its legitimacy: for if I prove that God sometimes communicated his will by words and signs, and you car; bring no case in which he communicated his mind in any other manner, it is wholly unnecessary for me to prove that he always did so.

      Please accept an illustration: Suppose A affirms that a foreigner must, in these United States, be naturalized before he can have a vote; and when put to the proof, he mentions some ten or a dozen cases in which naturalization was actually required in order to the right of suffrage. Suppose his antagonist, B, cannot produce an instance of an unnaturalized person being accepted at the polls--is it necessary, to sustain the position of A, that he must, by an induction of all the foreigners that ever voted, show that always, and in every case, the alien was naturalized before he voted, or are the instances given, and the failure of B to adduce an exception, to he admitted as proof? So reason and logic arbitrate this matter. Or suppose that I find in the New Testament that baptism, in some instances, preceded the right to a seat at the Lord's table, and that no man can show that, since the date of the commission, any unbaptized person eat the Lord's supper; May I not without enumerating and examining every case in the volume, logically conclude that baptism is a prerequisite to a seat at the Lord's table?

      You have as yet failed to convince me that there is a radical difference between the Calvinist and the Arminian. I admit that there is a prodigious war of words between them; but while they both [409] contend for "assistance out of the word" as essential to what they call "saving faith," and that this assistance is special, they are one at the root, while they may differ as to the degree or amount of special aid.

      In attempting to remove this difficulty, you do not begin at the beginning, but in the second chapter of the volume. You say: "They agree that we must have a power or assistance out of the word, and accordingly pray for it." You have given me a praying Arminian, and a praying Calvinian; but are not these both believers! or do you suppose that, without this aid, they can pray acceptably! This is quite out of my chapter. I hold that "without faith it is impossible to please God;" and that prayer before faith, for special aid, is a positive contradiction in fact. If you commence your illustration of the need of special aid in order to faith with a praying person seeking for aid, you begin at the second chapter, and your case is wholly without point; for you have a person praying for what he has got!!

      A greater than Paley, or Reid, or Locke, or Stewart, must arise and found a new system of philosophy, before I can be convinced that special aid is more wanting for the second duty, than for the first. If you have got the man on his knees without special aid, he may get along pretty well. If you have him believing and praying without this special aid, you cannot afterwards regard it as either essential to faith or prayer.

      Your other illustrations have all the same fault with the first;--not one of them comes to the point. You say, "The Arminian believes that by virtue of the remedial scheme of Christianity, all men are, at all times, in possession of a power to believe." "But," you say, "the Calvinist believes that we cannot believe savingly, until we receive what he calls the special call." Well, now, his special call, and your special influence out of the word, are only two names for the same thing: for while with you all men have at all times power to believe, they do not all believe, or they do not all exert that power. They want some aid, out of the word, to exert that power. And does it not come to this: The Calvinist says all men have not power, the Arminian says all men have power to believe, but they have not power to exert that power, without special divine influence!!!

      Notwithstanding all your reasonings, I must still regard you with your special influence out of the word, and the Calvinist with his special call out of the word, as radically, essentially, virtually, and cordially one. And since the days of James Arminius until now, John Calvin and he, with all their armies, have been fighting about shadows, words, signs and forms of ideas.

      You very gravely tell me, "Now my dear sir, you can certainly distinguish between a power to do a thing without any foreign aid, and a power to co-operate with aid when offered." Yes, my friend Waterman, I can very easily see the difference; but do you see that this comes not within the volume of our investigation at all? Or am I to suppose that the Calvinist contends for a power to do without foreign aid, and the Arminian for a power to co-operate with foreign aid? Pray, whom do you thus describe? Which of the belligerents [410] contends for a power to do a thing without foreign aid? and who for a power to co-operate with aid? If the latter be the Arminian, I am sure the former is not the Calvinist. Thus I can see no relevancy in this illustration.

      Dr. Paley, whose words you quote, did not understand the matter as well as yourself--you are better without him. He only weakens your cause: for his whole logic terminates here, "The doctrine is mysterious." His doctrine of "religious states of the soul," and of "the spark" that is wanting; his doctrine of "voluntary endeavor," and "that it may be more ordinarily true that the gift of the Spirit is holden out to the struggling, the endeavoring, the approaching Christian," are wholly human and unapostolic. This "struggling, endeavoring, and approaching Christian," is, like the Sphinx or the Centaur, the creature of imagination. His doctrine of a proposition being ordinarily true, is most unphilosophic. Can a proposition be ordinarily true, and yet extraordinarily false! I know his meaning, but it is no better than his style. I repeat it, my dear sir, these philosophers injure your cause; you can manage it incomparably better without them.

      You tell me of the days of yore, and would assign my obtusity to distinguish between Calvinism and Arminianism, to the influence of my having preached "Blue Stocking Calvinism." Very charitable, indeed! Your perspicacity is, then, to be ascribed to your always having preached pure and unmixed Arminianism. Doubtless you ought, then, to understand it better than Calvinism. But if we could suppose a person who had preached both, he would, on your logic, be unable to understand either. Or, shall we infer that he could understand both better than either of us! You have been dyed in the wool, and are therefore the true blue of Arminianism! This is all good logic with some folks; but, sir, between you and me, it passes for no more than a laugh to please the vulgar, or an attempt to attaint the blood because of the sin of a remote progenitor. Your pristine and primitive Arminianism, and my former and primitive Calvinism, have no logic, and but little rhetoric in an argument upon what says the Bible?

      You are "not trammelled with the prejudices of education"! for it seems you were always as you now are. You say you were taken out of the wild olive, and are not trammelled by the prejudices of education. I am peculiarly happy in having found one correspondent who never had to unlearn any thing, but who was naturally, educationally, and religiously right from the beginning. Rest assured, my dear sir, that it will give me much pleasure to see you still go forward in a straight line, till you terminate in the perfect knowledge of the One Book.

      Having now noticed all the points in your letter, I am prepared to confine myself to the point, the capital point which we have selected.
  Very sincerely yours,
EDITOR. [411]      

Epaphras--No. 9.

Dear Sir,

      IN my intercourse with religious society I hear it often said that you and your fellow-laborers are industriously building a party, a sect as exclusive in its nature, and as illiberal to others, as any Protestant sect in the land. To the latter epithet, "illiberal," I have not hesitated to object as undeserved and gratuitous. I have attempted to show that great liberality (I should say, indulgence) was professed by all the reformers to variety of opinion; and, indeed, I would rather complain of latitudinarianisin, than of illiberality or fastidiousness in respect to the sentiments and opinions of those with whom you fraternize.

      But may I be permitted to say, that there seems an over-zealousness and an over-weaning anxiety for conformity to some views and a too great laxness in regard to others. But that which at present most presses upon my attention, is, the want of uniformity in the order of your meetings. On one of my late excursions through the adjoining counties, I found several congregations which could not be distinguished from those societies you call popular, in any thing I heard or saw; save that the doctrine preached smacked a little of reformation. The same itching ear for a good preacher, and the same listlessness when he was absent, characterised the audience. I saw no Lord's table in two congregations at which I personally attended; and yet they were called Reformers. Indeed, if I had had no other data to guide my judgment than what I there saw, I could not have learned that Jesus shed his blood for our sins, nor that he ever rose from the dead. I heard, it is true, a text, to that effect, once quoted; but as to any thing I saw in the observances of the day, I could not have decided whether the congregation felt any peculiar interest in the Lord's day or the Christian institution. I hope there are not many such in the circuit of the Reformation. But one thing grieved the much--I saw but two New Testaments and one Bible in a congregation which reports 94 members. And in the whole course of the day I heard but one verse read and about seven quoted; of course the people must have a very high regard for the wisdom and knowledge of the orator, and but little for the unadulterated milk of the word. But, perhaps, it would not be altogether fair to estimate their regard for each by the rule of proportion, and say, that as 5 minutes are to 120 minutes, so is the respect for the word of God to that for the word of man.

      The young disciples, or the old either, cannot grow in the knowledge of God under these small rations per day. And from various conversations had with members, who I doubt not are about at par value for information in the societies to which they belong, I think, in all charity, something ought to be done to enlighten them in the Holy Scriptures.

      Do say something on this; and especially on the subject of the sectarian aspect of the Reformation. On this you have said a good [412] deal, which would satisfy me; yet I think you have no where definitely exposed what constitutes a sect, in that sense which Christianity condemns.

      I see you are pretty much crowded with numerous and voluminous correspondents; and that I may not be oppressive on your pages, I will, till you have got more room, make my communications short.
  In all sincerity, yours,

Reply to Epaphras.

Dear Sir,

      IN my last number I mentioned two of yours as being on hand; but forgot that one of them was published, though yet unanswered. In the hundred incidents of every day which call my attention, some of them must be put off with too much despatch. Thus your letter, No. 8, appeared in May, and till this hour it is not answered. Well, what shall I say? for on reading it over, it requires no answer--it speaks for itself; and I see nothing in it to censure--nothing to except--nothing to illustrate--nothing to confirm. I shall, then, let these remarks stand for my answer to it, and proceed to that just now laid before my readers.

      I think you must be sometimes unfortunate in your excursions, and that you fall in with churches and disciples that are not worthy of their profession as Reformers.

      But to attend to the items in order, I would observe that there is more than a mere grammatical difference between the phrases "Christian sect," and "a sect of Christians." Plain as this matter is to you and me, until the Lord comes Christians will be a sect, or there will be a Christian sect in the world. Christians were a sect in the days of Paul--a sect, a heresy, a schism, every where disparaged. But Christian sects, or sects amongst Christians, began soon as the leaven of Antichrist began to work, and they are as rampant, as numerous, and as heterogeneous as ever. Christian sects, or sects among Christians, is as monstrous a growth as two bodies for one soul, or as a plurality of bodies with one head. Nothing can be more unseemly--nothing more unnatural.

      There never can, however, in right reason nor in scriptural propriety, be more than one Christian sect. And that sect, be it found where it may, is the chaste bride of Christ. She is one, and only one, and indivisible. She is wedded to Christ. The New Testament, the living oracles, is her marriage covenant. Remission of sins and an inheritance with Christ is her marriage dowry. She is in fact Christian. And although another may assume that name, still she is an adulteress if she consort with any other, and live not agreeably to the marriage covenant.

      There is but one Lord, one body, and one Spirit. Jesus is that one Lord--the people united to him on the living oracles is the one body--and the spirit which animates that one body is the Holy Spirit of God. All sects but this one are harlots, and their little covenants are [413] only licences to depart from the bed and board of their acknowledged husband.

      To take another figure, the Christian sect is a nation, a holy nation. And, like every other nation, this one has its own constitution, laws, institutions, manners, customs, privileges. They have one immersion, one table, one book, one day in the week, one festival which is national. Every little society has its own by-laws and regulations, not one of which contravene the national institutions--the constitution, laws, ordinances, manners, customs, privileges.

      Now to come to the point: We are zealous for all the national peculiarities; and if this make us a sect, it is positive proof that all others are not zealots for all the national institutions, but have got up some of their own. We cannot sacrifice one of these institutions for the sake of being unsectarian; for should we lose any of the characteristics of the Christian sect, and then be unsectarian in the world's estimation, we would be repudiated by the Head--and be like our neighbors.

      Suppose we should lay aside one institution found in the book, this would make us like some other sect, and we should then be obnoxious to the curse hanging over the daughters of the Mother of Harlots. It cannot be. We are the only society on earth who build upon the living oracles alone. Every society has its own little covenant, creed, or discipline; or leaves out some one or other of the Christian institutions. The Baptist sect formerly held fast the constitution of the Christian kingdom, and had no creed or discipline but the living oracles. But now she, like the others, has played the harlot, and is as wanton as any of her sisters.

      I would define the Christian sect to be those who believe and do the things taught and enjoined by Jesus and his Apostles; and a sect of Christians is a body that acknowledges Jesus to be the Lord, but add to his institutions a few of their own, or subtract from this some one or more which is not acceptable to them.

      Such is every one in this land known to me out of the ranks of this reformation--call there Christian, Methodist, Episcopalian, Baptist, or what you please.

      But you say you find some churches much in the back ground. Well, so were some in the age of the Apostles, who needed milk rather than bread and beef; and for being such the Apostles reproved them.

      A church, meeting for worship and edification, without reading the oracles or hearing the Apostles read every Lord's day, is not in the path of her duty, and cannot grow in the knowledge of the holy Scriptures. But I am relieved from replying directly to this part of your communication, having been very express on this topic in my late Extra, which doubtless you have already seen.

      Every disciple ought to have with him a copy of the New Testament, at least every time he goes to the school of Christ; and, with that book in his hand, he should either read, hear, examine, speak, as the case may be, for his own edification and that of his brethren. [414] This is now, and long has been the case in some congregations of the disciples; and I doubt not it will yet be more general, and finally universal is all the assemblies of the saints.
  In much affection and esteem,

Conversation at Mr. Goodal's.

[Continued from page 314.]

      Mr. Williamson.--BUT, Mr. Reed, in giving so wide a range to the ministry of good angels, must we not necessarily infer that there is a ministry of evil angels on a scale of equal magnitude.

      Mr. Reed. As to the comparative number of evil angels, or the comparative extent of their agency in tempting and opposing our race, revelation is silent. But that there is an immense number of them, and that they never cease their assaults upon our race, is clearly proposed in the Jewish, but especially in the Christian Scriptures.

      Father Goodal. I am glad that you have broached that subject. Let us give to it a practical turn. For the last thirty years of my life I have discovered an increasing reluctance on the part of both preachers and authors to descant much upon Satanic influence. Whether the jibes and sneers of sceptics have prevailed over the good sense, intelligence, and devotion of our teachers, or whether it is to be ascribed to the growing intelligence of the age, I will not rashly affirm; but so it is, that I would be induced to think that Satan had abandoned our race, or made but few and short visits to our world, or had become more friendly to us than in the days of yore, if my judgment was to be formed from the majority of authors and preachers with whom I have formed an acquaintance in these latter years of my life.

      Mr. Reed. Indeed, Father Goodal, I fear we are too much influenced by the growing scepticism of our age. If we have not less faith than formerly, we appear to have less courage. The ridicule cast upon religion in latter years, and especially upon a spiritual religion, has shaped the course of many. They think, perhaps, to make religion more respectable in the eyes of philosophers by dressing it up in their style, and by departing from the style of the old-fashioned Prophets and Apostles--as if they, poor humble souls, lived in an age of darkness and were under the influence of the errors and superstitions of the age! I witness this apostacy from scriptural style and language with much concern; and very often I hear a sermon without the word Christ or Devil in it.

      Father Goodal. Well, brother Reed, I yet believe that our adversary the Devil ever goes about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. I do not think he has reformed or grown less hostile to our race in 6000 years; nay, if he is not more hostile, more cunning, and more active now than when he made his first assault on Eve, I am certain he is no less intent on the eternal ruin of every one that is born of woman.

      Mr. Williamson. Might not, then, the subject of his temptations and assaults be of some service to us all?

      Mrs. Fowler. I have had my mind considerably exercised upon this subject, and for some days past the temptation of Christ in the wilderness has been a common topic in my family.

      Mrs. Reed. And not more than two weeks since I was asking my husband at home whether we were to consider Matthew iv. as allegorical, or as a literal narrative of what had actually happened in the wilderness of Judea.

      Father Goodal. As it fared with the Master, so we may expect it to fare with the servant. Now as the subject of Satanic influence opens in the New [415] Testament history with the temptation of the Messiah, I am of opinion that it is the proper beginning of the subject, if we wish to understand it fully.

      Robert Fowler. While attending the last Assize it the Court of King's Sessions, in our county of Down, at the last term, a criminal was indicted for murdering one of his neighbors; and in reading the indictment, when the words "Without the fear of God before your eyes, and at the instigation of the Devil," &c. were pronounced, a person standing by whispered in my ear, "Is the Devil omnipresent? While he was instigating the criminal, he was charged with a hundred murders in the four quarters of the world, which all happened at the same time." I knew not what reply to make. I have since asked several persons, who seemed to be as much non-plussed as myself. I hope that some light may be thrown upon this subject it the course of the conversation.

      Mr. Reed. I confess there are some difficulties in my way of understanding satisfactorily some things in the temptations offered to the Messiah, yet the general scope appears intelligible enough.

      Father Goodal. Let Maria recite the narrative as it reads in Matthew. I think I heard her repeat off the book the first eight chapters of Matthew a few evenings since.

      Maria Goodal--[after repeating the narrative]--May I be permitted to ask a previous question, which will at least prepare my mind to understand the subject?

      Mr. Reed. Say on, Maria; we have not yet decided where to begin.

      Maria Goodal. What are we to understand by this long fast of forty days? Why was it necessary; and did it become the occasion of this temptation?

      Mr. Reed. All the circumstances must be attentively considered, if we would comprehend a subject of so much difficulty and interest, as the conflict between the Messiah and Satan. The circumstances of this temptation appear to have been the following:--

      The Messiah had just been baptized. While he was ascending from the Jordan the Spirit of God was descending from heaven, and the Father was saying, "This is my beloved Son in whom I delight" Here we have the sacred three--Jesus on earth--the Spirit, in the form of a dove--and the Father, speaking in heaven. After such a bright and glorious display, Jesus retires from the gaze and hides himself in the wilderness, far from the abodes of men; for there was no place nigh the Jordan in which the wild beasts were wont to roam. Unassuming modesty and an ardent desire for communion with God his Father, urged him into the depths of the wilderness. In forty days, like Elijah, he may have gone even to Horeb, and with Moses and Elijah, fasted his forty days on the same ground.

      Mr. Williamson. Where do we learn that Elijah fasted forty days at Horeb?

      Mr. Reed. By referring to 1 Kings, iii. 8. you will find that from Beersheba, the southern extremity of the promised land, Elijah started, and after going one day's journey in the wilderness, and resting under a juniper tree, an angel met him and refreshed him. He then went on to Horeb, the mountain on which Moses fasted forty days, and there he fasted as long. Into the same wilderness our Saviour retired, fasted for the same time, and probably on the very same theatre where these illustrious servants of God fasted and communed with their heavenly Father.

      Mrs. Reed. This is my favorite proof of the importance and utility of fasting. When I read of the mighty Moses, the man of God--and of the renowned and flaming Elijah, of seraphic zeal--and of my Saviour, the Lord of all, fasting forty days each, and communing with the God of heaven in reference to the great labors that lay before them; how my soul approves and delights in this sweet means of communion with God, and of retirement from the world!

      Mr. Williamson. Fasting, Mrs. Reed! What fasting? Would you have Christians to fast?

      Mrs. Reed. Most certainly I would. Did not my Saviour say, "When you my disciples fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may [416] not appear to men, but to your Father; and your Father, to whom, though he is unseen himself, nothing is secret, will recompense you." This is enough for me. My Saviour fasted forty days at one time. It was miraculous, indeed, to continue so long; but he fasted more than this, and he commanded his disciples to fast, and that is enough for me.

      Mr. Williamson. The command seems to me not so clear. He does not say, Fast; but, "When you fast."

      Mrs. Reed. But that is not all, though that for me is enough. Any thing that ever Jesus Christ did, which I can do, is most acceptable and delightful; but he said more than this. He said that when he should leave his disciples they would fast--and they did fast. I have some proofs of this in the Acts of the Apostles and in the Epistles.

      Mr. Reed. Meanwhile let us not forget the subject. You may talk that matter over again; but now we are all engaged in ascertaining the meaning of the temptation of the Messiah.

      Mr. Williamson. One question, Mr. Reed--Was not Jesus led up into the wilderness by Satan, rather than retire there of his own accord?

      Mr. Reed. Not led by Satan; for Mark and Luke explain this leading. The Spirit, recollect, possessed him. It descended upon him and remained on him. Mark tells the whole story in one period:, Immediately after this the Spirit conveyed him into the wilderness; and he continued in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was among the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to him." Luke says, "He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness;" and, indeed, Matthew says the same--"He was led up [from the Jordan] by the Spirit." It was the Spirit of God that thus influenced him. His being among the wild beasts indicates how far he had penetrated the wilderness.

      Father Goodal. You have no doubt observed, brother Reed, that Luke does not place the different attacks of Satan in the same order.

      Mr. Reed. Matthew ends with the high mountain, and Luke with the battlement of the temple. They both relate the same particulars, but not in the same order. Matthew, however, seems to fix his attention upon the order as respects time, while Luke narrates them without respect to that order.

      Mr. Williamson. Did not Satan, think you, know that he was the Son of God?

      Mr. Reed. He had doubtless heard the attestation given to Jesus from heaven; but he seems not to have understood its import, more than the Jews. He uses not the phrase the Son of God, but, a Son of God. And this, perhaps, was the occasion of this trial. Determined to deride the character and standing of Jesus, he accosts him with great address, and in the most natural train of circumstances. Finding him without food, among the wild beasts alone and unaided; enfeebled too, it may be supposed, by abstinence--with all these advantages on his side, and according to the circumstances of the whole case, be adroitly says: "If you be a Son of God, command these stones to become loaves." His confidence in God and resignation to his will, is tried in this appeal. But there is no yielding to the temptation. By It is written, he thrusts his antagonist. Satan doubtless assumes some form, human or angelic; for he never comes, as a tempter, holding forth his cloven foot. There would be no temptation at all if he showed himself to be Satan; for who would think of obeying Satan, if he were to appear in his proper character?

      From this I infer that in all these attempts Satan was concealed, either under the form of an angel of light, or of some human sage or chief. Nor are we to suppose that he instantly seized him and carried him to the battlement of the temple in Jerusalem, nor to Mount Pisgah, but that he invited him to these places of observation by some specious argument; and Jesus, determined to give him a fair opportunity, went from post to post, and gave him his choice of ground, but yielded nothing in the temptation. After finding his confidence in God, and his willingness to live upon any thing which God appointed, unconquerable, he thought next of pushing this confidence into presumption, by inducing him, on the promises of God, to precipitate himself from the battlement of the temple. [417]

      Mr. Williamson. Did not Satan suppress a part of the promise which he quoted from the 91st Psalm?

      Mr. Reed. Yes, like some of our Doctors, he left out what did not suit his purpose; if he had quoted the words "He shall keep you in all your ways," it would at once have discomfitted his attack. But this he cunningly suppresses, and aims at making the victory which Jesus had gained before through his confidence in God, the occasion of such presumption as would have proved his ruin. For in this lies the policy and strength of the temptation. But he is again cut to pieces by the sword of the Spirit.

      There yet remains another side on which to attack him; viz: his ambition. But how will he find a proper bait? He induces him, as Balak did Balaam, to accompany him to a very high mountain; not a visionary mountain from which he could see both hemispheres, the one immersed in night and the other in day, at the same moment; but he takes him up to Pisgah, or to the mountain described by Mariti in his travels round that country, "which overlooks the mountains of Arabia, the country of Gilead, the plains of Moab, the plains of Jericho, the river Jordan, the whole extent of the Dead Sea." The world, by the Jews, was often another name for the whole land which God showed from a mountain to Abraham; for the Hebrew haarets, and the Greek ge, are frequently rendered both land and world.

      At this time this land was divided into several kingdoms, or governments, partitioned under the sons of Herod, Archelaus, Antipas, and Philip.

      This bait was large enough, as Satan thought, for one solitary in the wilderness without food; but had he known him to be the Son of God, all the kingdoms of the four quarters of the globe would have been an insufficient bait, and he would not have tried him with such an offer. Thus his ambition was tried. But Jesus names him out, and by the sword of the Spirit drives him off. Satan, completely routed, leaves him for a while.

      Father Goodal. This well sustains your former position, that spirits, good or evil, aiming at influencing us morally, must always approach us by arguments--words or signs intelligible.

      Mr. Williamson. But can we show that always temptations are thus addressed to us in words or signs?

      Mr. Reed. This is not necessary for us. We can show it in many instances; and who can show one of another sort? We say in reason, it cannot be that moral or immoral actions can be instigated by physical touches or impulses. We must have signs, significant and intelligible, else there can be no temptation.

Stuart on Baptism.

      THE Professor next tries the circumstances attending the administration of baptism;--in the Jordan, and at Enon; and much water, or many waters; and going down to, or into; and coming up from, or out of, &c. all may, by the great force and power of criticism, be explained away, or so explained as merely to leave room for a single doubt, to constitute one pin upon which to hang up sprinkling or pouring. If a word be not forever fixed to one sense, on our Professor's logic, it can never fix any matter on the basis of infallible certainty--and he wants infallible certainty. Suppose, for example, anabaino could be shown to mean emerge; yet, if it cannot be shown to emerge out of fire, or water, or milk, or honey, or air, or some other [418] liquid, it will not produce infallible certainty. And inasmuch as eis does not forever mean into, it never can infallibly prove that Jesus went into heaven, or that the devil shall go into hell. Indeed, there is no possibility of fixing the meaning of any rite, ordinance, or duty, unless the words that teach them have but one meaning. If baptizo one thousand times signifies literally to immerse, in all authors, classical and sacred; yet, if it can be found once metonymically translated wash, then it may be made a question whether that washing was performed by smearing, sprinkling, or pouring!!! If eis mean into 99 times in one hundred, yet if it can only be fairly proved once to mean to, then it is wholly uncertain whether Jesus Christ, or any one else, was ever immersed in Jordan, or at Enon, or in any river, pool, or bath.

      I am sorry to see so much of this sort of criticism coming from a writer whom, in general, I so highly esteem; to see him set up a court of inquiry, a tribunal, before which not a word in Hebrew, Greek, or Latin, could be infallibly ascertained. He frankly acknowledges that baptizo signifies immerse, in classic and sacred use; and that in no instance he has found it rendered, or susceptible of being rendered, sprinkle or pour.

      Many will no doubt ask, How does the Professor, after all the admissions which we have copied into our two previous Nos. justify himself in continuing the practice of sprinkling? or rather, How can he be content to live and die without baptism? The question, be it proposed in whatever words the querist pleases, is fully answered by our liberal Professor in the words following, to wit: "The external mode of an external rite never can, with my present views of Christianity, become to me a matter of any peculiar interest, in any other point of view than merely that of a historical fact. My full belief (opinion) is, that since 'God is a Spirit,' he seeks worshippers in spirit and in truth; and that when the heart is given to him, the manner of external rites can never be essential. These may concern the costume of the church, but never her glorious person."--Biblical Repository, p. 332.

      To this the Quaker would say Amen, if the Spirit would permit him to use a word so external. Why, then, were ever any external rites, or external modes of observing external rites, ordained by God! Why was Uzzah struck dead for touching the Ark externally when his heart was given to God, and so full of zeal for the safety of the sacred chest? Why was there ever any external form appointed for doing any thing in religion, if it matters not how it be externally performed? Why was an external act made the test of Adam's integrity, and the condition on which his life or death was to depend? That all the ruin which has come upon our race has come through an external act in reference to an external institution, speaks a lesson not soon to be forgotten.

      But this phrase, "the external mode of an external rite," is to me wholly unintelligible. I will therefore propound to the learned Professor some questions on it, for information-- [419]

      Is baptism to be considered as an external rite? Suppose that it is answered in the affirmative; then I ask, Can there be any other than an external mode of administering and receiving it? Can an external rite be obeyed any other way than externally? If God, for example, command me to be sprinkled with water, do I obey that command by being immersed in water? or rather, do I obey that command by giving my heart to him? I contend that he that obeys not an external rite externally, obeys it not at all:--that it is as impossible for him to obey it in his heart, as it is by his heart to put clothes on the naked, or food into the mouth of the hungry. If I am right, then there is something at stake of peculiar interest--something of more importance than this essay of 100 pages--to which the Professor would do well to take heed.

      But again--Is baptism an internal rite! Who gave it that name? Dr. Antichrist christened it, by sprinkling it in the name of St. Peter, about the year 1100. From the Pope, and not from Moses, Elijah, Jesus, or Paul, derived we this new nomenclature! What is an external rite? Bowing, kneeling, standing, praying, singing, commemorating the Lord's supper, observing the Lord's day, may all be called, if any one pleases, external rites. So may giving alms, fasting, and every thing that requires the tongue, hand, head, or foot, to move; all may be called external rites, if any one pleases to use words at random.

      But will the Professor please explain to us what an internal rite means? For I reason thus: that if there be rites which are fitly called external, there must be some contradistinguished from them by being filly called internal rites. I wait for light upon this subject; for it is to me, as yet, dark as midnight.

      Again: That I may understand the Professor with all clearness and comprehension, I respectfully ask for an explanation of the internal mode of observing external rites. The Professor will perceive that these are fair consequences from his syllogisms: for if there be an external mode which is of no concern to him, there must be an internal mode which is of infinite importance. I now ask, Can there be expressed in language, can there be a definition given, of the internal mode of observing an internal rite, or an external rite!

      Great and eminent men, as learned as our justly celebrated Professor, have fallen into both great and small errors: and if he is not deceived by a verbiage without ideas--by false reasoning--I shall be most happy in being convinced of it. As at present advised, I regard this sentence, as above quoted, as the fons et principium of the wrong conclusions of our much esteemed and highly celebrated Professor.

      But I have something still more grave to say to the Professor, on the subject of worshipping God in spirit and in truth, by making light of the external mode of an external rite.

      In our last edition of the New Version, as stereotyped, we read--God is Spirit. There is no a in the proposition. Gabriel is a spirit; and this may be said of any spirit in the universe. But Jesus said more than that God is a spirit. He affirmed that God is Spirit, and [420] that they that worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth. Can he be worshipped in truth, while his commandments (whether external actions or internal actions be required) are disobeyed, or held as matters of indifference? On this we may make some remarks in our next.

BETHANY, Brooke co. Va. August 6, 1833.      


      Respected Brother--I AM sorry to find that you disapprove of my remarks upon N. W------'s view of the Atonement. That I did not acquit myself better, you impute to a deficiency in my commencement as a reformer. You say: "You appear, when you entered on reformation, to have had your eye so fixed on a few prominent principles, that you had not time to examine some doctrines that you had before received as truth; and, therefore, have brought them along with you from that vortex in which you had been tossed for years." I must confess myself quite at a loss to perceive how you came to this conclusion from my letter to brother Thompson; and sure I am, had you seen and considered our Declaration and Address published in Washington Pa. 1809, you could not suppose, as you have done, that I "had my eye so fixed upon a few prominent principles, that I had not time to examine some doctrines I had before received as truth," &c. To have acted thus in a matter of such vast importance--of such sacred responsibility, would be highly censurable, indeed. This document, however, is still public property; and to it I can, and do appeal with pleasure, as an insuperable defence against all misrepresentations of the Reformation, for which we constantly and earnestly plead. From this it will appear, that not "a few prominent principles," but a complete scriptural reformation, is urged and defined; having for its specified object, "to inculcate and reduce to practice, that simple original form of Christianity, expressly exhibited on the sacred page; without attempting to inculcate any thing of human authority, of private opinion, or inventions of men, as having any place in the constitution, faith, or worship of the Christian church;--or any thing as matter of Christian faith or duty, for which there cannot be expressly produced a 'Thus saith the Lord,' either in express terms, or by approved precedent." See the said Declaration, page 4. And now, after twenty-four year's opportunity afforded the public to examine the above document, and our practice upon it, we are happy to find none so hardened as to attempt to prove that the proposed reformation is objectionable; nor yet so much as one that has attempted to prove, that we have in any instance departed from it. Moreover, it will appear by the examination of said document, that, instead of bringing with us some doctrines that we had not time to examine, we brought no doctrines with us at all into the area of the proposed Reformation; but, instead of so doing, we assumed the proposition above [421] quoted, as our platform--our fixed dimensions, inclusive and exclusive. So much to prevent and correct mistakes.

      I now proceed to notice the confessed subject of your sorrowful regret on my behalf. You kindly say: "I am sorry to find my old brother, who has so zealously and successfully plead for reformation on Bible facts alone, now attaching so much importance to his opinion of the sacrifice of Christ;--so much, that you believe it impossible, that any of our race can be saved without the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, as you have explained it; for this must be your meaning." Dear brother, when you speak of Bible facts, do you not consider the "sacrifice of the Lamb of God" the chief? and have you no opinion about it? and do you not attach much importance to it? even so much "that none of our race can be saved without it, as you have explained it? for this must be your meaning."--See p. 208.--"Had he not died, then the plan of infinite wisdom for the redemption of man, would have been prostrated; the prophecies respecting his death would have failed; his own predictions of his death and resurrection would have been nullified; and the world's last and best hope forever cut off." So be it, say I. And what have I said, more than this? I have only said, in the conclusion of my letter, "that, believing as I do, that it was not possible, that any one of our race could be saved without the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, I must hold every attempt to explain it away into a mere moral example, or display of love without regard to justice, as tending to subvert the basis of the divine government, and to rob the gospel of all that glorifies the wisdom and power, the justice and mercy of God in putting away sin, and in saving the sinner." It is not, then, the degree of importance that my opinion attaches to the death of Christ, either as it respects the glory of God, or the salvation of man, in which we differ; but about the express scriptural reasons of its vast importance. And here, dear brother, permit me to express, in my turn, my sincere regret, that having lifted up your voice for a pure scriptural reformation, predicated upon the Bible alone, you should ever have been led off that divine platform into the arena of sectarian controversies. But what is past cannot be recalled: and had you not anticipated me in the expression of your kind concern for my inconsistencies, you would, no doubt, think yourself justly entitled to return the compliment, having found me engaged in criticising N. W------. However, in this, I hope I have not transgressed the prescribed bounds; for while we are divinely prohibited from teaching as doctrines the commandments and opinions of men, we are commanded to contend earnestly for the faith formerly delivered to the saints: and this is all I have attempted, or intended, in the letter under consideration; namely, to state and maintain the Scripture account of the cause, nature, design, and effects of the death of Christ, as expressly declared in the Holy Scriptures, in opposition to the false and imposing statements of N. W------.

      But before I proceed to notice your remarks on my humble efforts, I should give you credit for the honor you have done me, notwithstanding all my palpable deficiencies, in classing me with good men [422] in all ages; for you say--"Good men in all ages have done what you have done." For instance: "The Council of Nice denied salvation to all who rejected their unintelligible jargon--Luther and Calvin did the same in fact; and every sectarian establishment proceeds on the same principles." I thank you for the compliment; but cannot receive it, as you have explained it; for while I have no doubt but that good men in all ages, either implicitly or explicitly, ascribed their salvation to the blood of the Lamb; (See Rev. i. 5, 6, and v. 8-14.) yet I cannot admit that good men in any age denied salvation to all who rejected their unintelligible jargon.

      But why all this preamble of controversial subtlety--this superfluity of polemic finesse? How does it at all apply either to the party or the subject? Is it the avowed principle of the "Old Reformer" to make any human opinion a term of communion, much less of salvation? or are the scripture declarations he has cited respecting the cause, nature, design and effects of the death of Christ, unintelligible jargon!!! We hope not. Why then this unmeaning, gratuitous preamble? Gentle reader, it has a meaning; it means to prepare you for what is to follow, by forewarning you of the character of the author and of his performance, which your courteous and faithful polemic guide is about to expose and condemn, that you may be the better prepared to hear with a prejudiced partiality, and so with him to concur, and enjoy the victory. But, dear brother, you will pardon me, if I have given you credit for more than you intended. I do not pretend to insist, that in these prefatory addresses you were actuated by evil motives; especially as you inform me that you write not as a controversialist, but as a lover of truth. Yet, after all, what use in these hard charges? Were they all true, they would neither prove nor disprove a single point that may be at issue between us. They can have no meaning nor leaning but to the prejudice both of mind and character. Wherefore, if we have happily made our escape from the arena of vain janglings, and strifes of words, into the sacred and peaceful enclosure of the holy Apostles and Prophets, let us leave behind us the weapons of that unprofitable and pernicious warfare,--imbibe the spirit, and adopt the phrase, of our divine instructors; that, practising and speaking the truth in love, we may be conformed to them in all things, and thus adorn our holy profession. But to proceed to your animadversions upon my letter.--

      You seem to blame me for not admitting the whole of N. W's proposition respecting the sufferings of Christ; viz. that "in the sacrifice of Christ there was a display of love, not of wrath." The affirmative clause of this proposition I heartily admit; the negative I refuse; and to meet the argument adduced to support it, namely, that "if God has no pleasure in the death and sufferings of the wicked, he surely could have none in the sufferings of his Son," I quote Isaiah liii. 10. "It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief." To this quotation you take exception, as if it were not to be understood literally, or did not mean what it says; yet after a variety of attempts to establish your hypothesis, you come in the close of the investigation to concede all that the said text was quoted to prove; namely, that "for love to the world Jehovah chose his Son to be their Saviour. He inclined to humble him by being born of a woman; suffering the hatred and persecution of the world; enduring the [423] agonies of death; in being buried, and continuing three days under the power of death. He hath caused him to travail in pain, as a woman in parturition. Such were the sorrows of Immanuel on account of the sins of the world." This is conceding all, and more than was intended in the quotation; yes, and much more than the text alone would prove or was intended to convey; for, as appears from the immediate connexion, it is particularly restricted to his crucifixion. Nor does it appear from your appeal to the original that Jehovah was less efficient in the sufferings of his Son; for, according to it, he inclined to humble him; he caused him to travail in pain; yet, strange as it may appear, after your translation and comment, you tell us once and again, that "God had no direct nor indirect agency in the death of his Son." How can this be! Can a person be acquitted of any agency, direct or indirect, in an event which he inclined, and actually caused to come to pass, because he was not the actual and immediate efficient in its accomplishment? If, so, then David, and Joab his chief captain, had no hand, either director indirect, in the death of Uriah; because they neither killed him themselves, nor put it into the hearts of those that did it. Neither had God any hand, direct or indirect, in chastising and humbling his people by the agency of the Assyrian monarch, because he acted freely in doing so, without any respect to the divine intention; for he neither meant to do the thing that God intended, nor so much as thought of it; yet God expressly declares himself the author of the calamities which that tyrant inflicted, and that he was but the instrument in his hand; saying, "O, Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation." See Isaiah x. 5, 6, &c. And here, let it be noted once for all, that this same principle of the divine government, most explicitly avowed and explained in the 10th chapter of Isaiah, will obviate all the supposed difficulties, and afford a key for the just and consistent interpretation of all the texts quoted in the first section of your letter, against the literal interpretation of Isaiah liii. 10. And not only so, but this same avowed principle of the divine government will also solve the apparent difficulty of admitting the literal meaning of certain passages of holy scripture which seem to ascribe the efficiency of moral evil to God; such as the hardening of Pharaoh's heart, (Ex. iv. 21.)--the hearts of the Egyptians, (Ex. xiv. 7.)--blinding the eyes and hardening the hearts of the Jews to their destruction, (Isaiah vi. 10. John xii. 40.)--deceiving the prophets, (Ez. xiv. 9)--deceiving the people, (Jer. iv. 10. Ez. xiv. 4, 5.)--giving them bad statutes and judgments by which they could not live, (Ez. xx. 25, 26.)--sending them strong delusions that they may believe a lie, that they all may be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness, (2 Thess. ii. 11.) The infliction of all these evils, which, in relation to the persons affected, we are wont to call moral evils, the Scriptures ascribe to God; as well as the infliction of all physical evils, (Amos iii. 6. Isai. xlv. 7.) and all on account of sin; for God sometimes punishes sin with sin. See Hosea viii. Rom. ii. 24, 26. 2 Thess. ii. 11. and this of all punishments is the most dreadful. What shall we, then, say to these things? Is there unrighteousness with God? By no means; for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man; but every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed. Jas. i. 13, 14. Hence we see that God neither is, nor can be, the author of moral evil, inasmuch as he neither does nor can instill, suggest, or excite evil dispositions or desires, but only makes use of one sinner to bring about the punishment or destruction of another in this way, as in the case of David and Ahab. The former we are told the Lord moved to number Israel and Judah, because his anger was kindled against them. 2 Sam. xxiv. 1. But we learn that he was provoked to do this by the agency of Satan. 1 Chron. xxi. 1. In the case of the latter, we have the whole of the divine procedure narrated in the same page. See 1 Kings xxii. 16-23. I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him, on his right hand and on his left. And the Lord said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I [424] will persuade him. And the Lord said to him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also; go forth, and do so. Now, therefore, behold the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee." Now this explains the whole mystery of the divine management in the use of evil agents for accomplishing the just and holy purposes of his moral government: and thus is verified that saying, "The Lord has made all for himself; yea, even the wicked for the day of evil," Prov. xvi. 4. The deceived and the deceiver are his. Job xii. 16. He frequently makes use of the one to punish the other: and whenever a people through wickedness are ripe for an evil day, the Lord has in readiness wicked agents to inflict the deserved punishment; and, like the Assyrian monarch, and the lying spirit, only wait for permission. Nor can we think so meanly of the Governor of the Universe, as to suppose than any can act, or that any thing can be done under his government, without his permission; much less that he should permit any thing to be done against his will, whose sole prerogative it is to do whatsoever pleases him in the armies of heaven, and amongst the inhabitants of the earth; especially, and least of all, that any thing should have befallen his beloved Son but according to his determinate counsel and previous approbation. "For of a truth, against his holy Son Jesus, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, to do whatsoever his hand and his counsel determined before to be done. See Acts iv. 27, 28.

      These things duly considered, what comes of your few appalling questions?--of your allegation against my quotations, as if meant to prove that God himself killed his Son? Have I any where said so?--except in quoting the words of Zech. xiii. 7. which immediately follow?--"Awake, O sword! against my Shepherd," &c. But do you not know that wicked men are the Lord's sword? Psal. xvii. 13. "Arise, O Lord! deliver my soul from the wicked, which is thy sword." This is in complete accordance with the key furnished in Isai. x. 5, 6. &c. "O, Assyrian, the rod of mine anger," &c. Your objection to the above quotation as inapplicable, because it is said, "I will turn my hand on the little ones," is of no force; for if this clause means the subsequent persecutions of the disciples by the same wicked hands that crucified their Master, it only goes to show that it was a part of the divine plan, that the disciple should be as his Master, and that these same wicked who were the Lord's hand (Psal. xvii. 14.) in inflicting punishment upon his beloved Son, should be permitted to afflict his followers, though not for the same purpose on God's part, yet with the same disposition on theirs.



The Infidel's Creed.

Mr. Campbell,

      YOU have had a hard scuffle with the various sects, for nearly ten years past, about their different creeds, opinions, and traditions. As the war of creeds has ceased, and peace has been proclaimed in favor of the Bible, I shall send you a short creed, which, for the sake of distinction, I shall call the Infidel's Creed. For you must know that we have a short summary of what we believe and teach.

      Article 1. I believe that there is no God, but that matter is God, and God is matter; and that it is no matter whether there is any God or not.

      Article 2. I believe also, that the world was not made; that the world made itself; that it had no beginning; that it will last forever, world without end. [425]

      Article 3. I believe that man is a beast; that the soul is the body and the body is the soul; and that after death there is neither soul nor body.

      Article 4. I believe that all sectarianism is religion, and all religion is sectarianism; and that there is no religion except sectarianism. Amen.

      Article 5. I believe not in Moses; I believe in the Egyptian and Chaldean philosophy.

      Article 6. I believe not in the New Testament; I believe in all creeds, systems, and heresies.

      Article 7. I believe not in the Bible; I believe in traditions, oral and written. I believe not in revelation; I believe the Talmud; I believe the Koran.

      Article 8. I believe not in Christ; I believe in Socrates, Confucius, in Sanchoniathan, and in Mahomet--in Thomas Paine and Lord Bolingbroke.

      Article 9. I believe in all unreasonableness--in all unrighteousness and wickedness--in all religion and in no religion. In short, I believe in all unbelief. Amen!

The Believer's Creed.

      Article 1. I believe all that is written in the five books of Moses, all that is written in the Prophets and the Psalms.

      Article 2. I believe in, and obey the New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Religious Anecdotes of dying Professors.


      Grotius possessed the brightest genius ever recorded of a youth in the learned world; yet, after all his attainments, reputation, and labor in the cause of learning, he was constrained at last to cry out, "Ah! I have consumed my life in a laborious doing of nothing! I would give all my learning for the plain integrity of John Urick" This John Urick was a religious poor man, who spent eight hours of the day in prayer, eight in hard labor, and eight in meals, sleep, and recreation.


      When Salmasius, who was one of the most consummate scholars of his time, the President of the University of Italy, and the learned antagonist of the immortal John Milton, drew near the close of his life, he exclaimed bitterly against himself. "Oh!" said he, "I have lost a world of time!--time, the most precious thing in the world! whereof had I but one year more, it should be spent in reading David's Psalms and Paul's Epistles! Oh! mind the world less, and God more!" [426]


      Doctor Samuel Johnson, the author of the Dictionary, was grievously haunted with the fear of death all his life. Just before he died, he said to a friend, "The approach of death is very dreadful. I am afraid to think on that which I cannot avoid. I never had a moment in which death was not terrible to me." On his dying bed he exhorted Sir Joshua Reynolds to read the Bible, and to keep holy the Sabbath day.


      That far-famed and greatly renowned Christian philosopher, John Locke, the author of Religious Toleration in 1689, the ornament of his country and of humanity itself, spent the last fourteen or fifteen years of his great and useful life in reading scarcely any other book except the sacred Scriptures. The day before he died, (so earnest was he for the comfort of his friends and the diffusion of Christian knowledge among them,) he exhorted all about him to read the Holy Scriptures, exalting the love which God showed to man in justifying him by faith in Jesus Christ, and returning him thanks for having called him to the knowledge of that divine Saviour. To a person who asked him which was the shortest and surest way for a young gentleman to attain to the true knowledge of the Christian religion, in the full and just extent of it, he replied, 'Let him study the Holy Scriptures, especially the New Testament. Therein are contained the words of eternal life. It hath God for its author--salvation for its end--and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter."--Locke was a friend to God and man. Though dead, he still recommends to us, and to all future generations, to read the Scriptures. He walked with God.
J. C.      

The Death and Testimony of Spencer Clack.

      THE following letter, if genuine, as we have much reason to think it is, presents another proof that most men die as they live; and it also proves that the deceased was sincere in his opposition to reformation. It proves no more than sincerity. And that he was sincerely opposed to reformation, in the present import of that word, we do not doubt; for before he had ever carefully read or heard our sentiments, he said he would oppose us, and on my second visit to Kentucky came to one of my places of speaking in Fayette county for that purpose. But for what purpose is this letter now' going the rounds in all the Baptist periodicals? Do they intend to make his sincerity a test of his views, or ours? This his martyrdom could not do, much less his dictations to a brother amanuensis, who may or may not have solicited him to give such testimony in favor of the mission to which he was devoted, and against the reformation, to which he was as much opposed as Mr. Clack. Are the scribes of the Baptists so hard put to it as to use such weapons in defence of their views? Will they admit such a testimony to be an argument for their cause? Then they must plead that Christ was not a partaker of the flesh of the Virgin Mary: [427] for Joan of Kent, a very sincere and pious Protestant, was burned at the stake, by order of Cranmer, in attestation of the sincerity of her opinion that he was not; assigning as a reason, that "the Virgin's flesh being sinful, he could not partake of it." Will her dying testimony, much stronger than that of Mr. Clack, prove that she was right and Cranmer wrong? Or will the martyrdom of Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer, prove that the Church of England and infant baptism are divine institutions, because they died sincerely in this opinion? While martyrdom and the dying testimony of men may prove a fact, no man of sense will admit that either is any proof whatever of the truth of an opinion.

      But that our readers may have this new argument in all its force, we shall give it to them as we find it in the Vermont Telegraph, which is about the sixth or seventh edition of it that we have seen:--

PALMYRA, Marion county, Mo. June 4, 1833.      

      Dear Brother Going--I am now dying. Since my last communication to you, I have had much affliction in my family;--I want you should pay up my full salary for the year out, else my family must suffer. My trust is in the Lord: he is able to strengthen me and uphold me in my dying hour. "Don't give up the ship." You are engaged in a good cause. You will meet with opposition,--fear not. I have honestly, faithfully and conscientiously defended the cause,--not with the object of making money, for I have sustained pecuniary losses; but for the glory of God and of his cause. Say to all the Missionaries to be faithful, and bear hardships as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. The blood of Jesus his Son cleanseth from all sin. The Mission cause is the cause of God. The Lord loveth a cheerful giver; but he that soweth sparingly, shall reap sparingly.

      My affectionate regards to the churches at Bloomfield, Bardstown, and Little Union. I am going home to meet brother Norris, and the rest of the brethren. Beware of Campbellism. I have been charged with being a Campbellite:--it is without any cause in truth, for I consider it a dangerous heresy.

      Tell brother Vardeman I want him to preach my funeral sermon in Palmyra, and expose Campbellism. I want this letter published as my dying testimony to the truth. This letter is made up of scraps. I am dying:--into the hands of God I resign my spirit.

      Yes, brother Vardeman can "expose Campbellism," and tell how sincere he and Spencer Clack have been in going to Missouri, and in trying to get up a paper to expose it, of which our deceased friend was to have been Editor. All this evidence will be as irresistible as Peter Edwards' on infant baptism, who sincerely repented of his baptistical errors, and died sound in the faith that infant baptism was a divine institution.

      Were we disposed to catch at these incidents, and to draw arguments from the whole history of matters and things in connexion with all the Missouri movements, what very different conclusions could we draw, and how much stronger testimony in favor of the Reformation could we find in those incidents and movements, than the sincerity of our deceased friend, or of his living panegyrists. But this would be unworthy of so good a cause, and therefore we are not allowed to use them.

      But these erudite editors are the best judges of the calibre of the intellect of their readers; and if they think such arguments are the [428] most convincing to them, we have no reason to envy them, nor to complain: for no man who believes the Christian religion upon such evidence as they offer for orthodoxy, is worthy to be enrolled in the ranks of reformation.

Progress of Reform.


CARLOWSVILLE, Ala. July 9, 1833.      

      IT is now 10 o'clock, A. M. The heavens are overspread with portentous clouds. I have been shut up in my studying room over your preface to the four gospels. To-morrow I am called to attend at a congregation over which I have presided 15 months, to show cause why sentence of death should not be pronounced against me, seeing that I have embraced the ancient order of things, contrary to the custom of the clergy. My dear brother, if heaven be not the ultimatum of those who contend for this order, no where else can an equivalent be found.

      You are charged with every thing which falsehood can instigate. You are said to be Arius' friend, Arminius', &c.--but above all, to deny the operation of the Holy Spirit upon the heart of the sinner in conversion; teach regeneration in water; an enemy to textuaries; the Bible's sufficiency; special call, (O how this hurts!!) your salary for mental labor is reported to be worth 50 or 60,000 dollars per annum, &c. &c. &c.

      I am stipulating with an editor who publishes a paper at Cahawba, Dallas county, to publish your essays on the Holy Spirit--Call--Bishop's Office--Missionary Schemes--on Election, &c. I know that your sentiments are public property.

      Every denomination here is on the alert. If a Hewitt or Smith, &c. would consent to spend one or more years in this section, my home should be his. Do write to some of them on this subject.
  In hope of that good reward above, yours,

      N. B. The nature of my trial to-morrow, is, whether my bishopric shall not be taken away and given to another.
J. A. B.      

CARLOWSVILLE, July 10, 1833.      

      Dear brother--ON Saturday last the congregation over which I presided, and at which my membership was, took up my case in the following manner:

      "Brother Butler, you are charged with preaching Campbellism, which we believe to be a great digression from the old orthodox way."

      I asked the brethren if they had acquainted themselves with Campbell's views.

      Ans. "No. But you (replied they) do not preach as formerly."

      I replied I did not, but was prepared to show the reasons why.

      They responded that they "were not able to argue the points with me."

      I replied that they could call a conference of the preaching brethren, before whom I would delight to appear.

      "No, No."

      They asked me to give my views on the Holy Spirit's office. I did so by reading the testimonies of God.

      "Well," responded an old deacon, "that is my belief;" but told the church, with a deep groan, [profound logic here!] that I had strayed.

      I told the congregation that I had truly embraced Campbell's views. They replied. "That is enough." [429]

      The Moderator put this question: "You, brethren, have heard brother Butler. Those who oppose him, rise."

      None rose. I knew that a part would be forced to vote against me. I thought it most expedient to withdraw. Did so. Preached the next day (Isa. ii.) to an over-crowded house. Begged for stated privileges of the house. Two only opposed. But refused acceptance unless they were unanimous. Other houses were proposed for my accommodation, one of which I accepted. Brother Campbell, do the 11th and 17th chapters of Revelation, and 2 Thess. ii. refer to the present time? O Lord, have compassion on Zion!

      My dear sir, were I to depict in a regularly written essay, the present aspect of affairs here, among those denominated religious, your soul would mourn. I do pray that God may hover over me, and especially his good begun cause.
  In hope of immortality,
J. A. BUTLER.      

      ----> Before God, they have not a written specification against me, and they declared they had not aught against my religious character, other than my faith.
J. A. B.      

      [The more good you do, the more you will be reproached. The more slander, obloquy, and reproach, the better for the cause; and the more suffering, the more happiness for the righteous. "Rejoice and exult; for great is your reward in heaven, if you suffer for righteousness' sake." No pity for the man who is commanded to rejoice and exult in his persecutions and reproaches. The more the better for the truth and them who love it!]--Ed.

HOWARD, Centre county, Pa. June 29, 1833.      

      I HAVE been informed that the Methodists and Presbyterians, prior to the exhibition of the ancient gospel in this vicinity, were continually trying to preach down each other's opinions. While they were thus engaged the ancient gospel broke out among them; and before they had time to fix on a plan, more than one hundred persons had obeyed Jesus Christ, to the great detriment of the contending parties. They began to look around them, and cry out, 'Our craft is in danger! These have come hither also who turn the world upside down!' The contending parties have now united their efforts to retard the progress of the reformation by all the usual means they make use of.

DONERAILE, Ky. July 18, 1833.      

      THE good cause is prospering finely with us. The brethren meet often, sometimes every day for several days in succession, and they have happy times and joyful seasons, whilst hundreds are bowing their necks to the yoke of our King.
W. Z. THOMSON.      

BUFFALO, N. Y. June 28th, 1833.      

      THE subject of reformation seems to be attracting increased attention here; and could we have the assistance of some one of our talented brethren, who labor in the word, there cannot be a doubt but an abundant harvest might be gathered in. A number of individuals belonging to the different sects now stand ready to join a New Testament church, as soon as such a church can be regularly organized; but, like persons exposed on a tempestuous ocean, having but a frail plank to preserve them from the foaming abyss, they are unwilling to yield up their feeble support till they can grasp the protecting barge that rides majestically at a distance. We have some hope that brothers Moss and Hayden, who we understand will pass through this city on their way east, will stop here a short time and assist us in forming a church.
M. G. LEWIS.      

STREETSBOROUGH, O. July 12, 1833.      

      Dear Sir--WE are all well, as indeed it is a time of general health in our country. Harvest having commenced, I of course am engaged as other men are. Brother Moss and I have immersed fifty-six since we came home, and [430] the churches where we have spent most time are generally doing well. I wish that Mr. Powell's "soldier's of real hardihood" would come on, and he would find, I think, that in the vicinity of Aurora a church of 100 members might be gathered; but it would be to the apostolic faith, as we have already more than half that number, and a prospect of regular increase; as, indeed, it has been so ever since we commenced here--three years ago. Sister W. A. Lathrop writes good news from Onondaga and Cayuga counties, N. Y. In her letter of April 24th she tells me that a variety of circumstances have contributed to the furtherance of the gospel there. The Methodist society, in one case, at her request readily gave the liberty of their house, and people were very willing to hear. Three Baptist preachers, viz. Bartlett, Tomson, and Lowel, have taken a bold stand. They have many Macedonian calls; and what pleases me much, is, they are not wanting hearts to regard the entreaties of the people. Frequent accessions, either from the Baptists, (many of whom are candid and willing to receive truth,) or by immersion. Brother Frost, of Riga, Monroe county, N. Y. was here in May. He informs us that three or four as able men as were in the Free Will Baptist Conference, Gennessee county, have come fully into the reformation; one was excluded by the Conference, and two obtained letters of dismission. Another was expected to come out soon. They are beginning in the best way there; having a good proportion of able men at the outset, churches composed of the flower of the flocks, and of course possessing an influence that cannot be gainsayed, it must give the cause an impetus, which, with prudence and perseverance, will render it triumphant ere long.
WM. HAYDEN.      

NASHVILLE, Tenn. July 5, 1833.      

      I HAVE had the pleasure of enjoying once more the society of my old friends here. During my visit, fourteen persons have obeyed the gospel--and among them, many most valuable and excellent persons.

      The brethren are standing fast in one faith, and are moving on in harmony and affection. Their number has been gradually increased, and that too by the addition of persons who do honor to the cause.
P. S. FALL.      

WHITE HILL, Williamson county, Tenn. July 5, 1833.      

      I WILL now give a word of good news. The good cause of reform is still progressing very finely in this neighborhood. Thirteen were added to the congregation at Berea last Lord's day; (eleven of whom I immersed on that day;) making in all about 30 added to this church during the first half of this year. Joy, love, and peace, abound in the little family here; thanks and honor be unto the Lord! I hope, my brother, you will remember us when you bow before your heavenly Father.

COLUMBIA, Tenn. July 29, 1833.      

      I WAS at a meeting 12 miles east of Columbia, in this county, of a congregation under the care of Joshua K. Speer. Eight persons came forward on Saturday, and three yesterday, and confessed that Jesus was Lord by submitting to his government. Two of the number were, an old man and his wife, that had been, as I was informed, Presbyterians for a number of years. They looked to be about eighty years old.
T. S. ALDERSON.      

CHARLESTOWN, Va. August 2, 1833.      

      THE Cholera has been in this place about four weeks;--there have been, say 25 deaths, in the country. In some neighborhoods it has been worse, in proportion to the population, than here. There have been no new cases for four or five days. The good work of the Lord is progressing, in every part of this [431] county and state. Next Lord's day, if able, I am to immerse six who have professed their faith in Christ. Several others are expected. O that sinners may continue to bow to the Lamb, and be saved!
M. COLE.      

MT. STERLING, Ky. August 9, 1833.      

      BROTHER Smith has immersed near two hundred and seventy within the bounds of ten miles square, and not exceeding seven miles from this place. May the Good Lord continue to prosper his cause!
E. C. PAYNE.      

PENDLETON COUNTY, Ky. August 8, 1833.      

      I VISITED the brethren at Ketontown, near Claysville, last Saturday and Lord's day. I addressed the assembly on Saturday at three o'clock, from Galatians, 4th chapter. Five confessed the Lord, and were immersed for the remission of sins. On Lord's day at 11 o'clock, I spoke from Titus, 3d chapter, and brother John Roberts followed from John, 1st chapter. Five more confessed and were baptized. The prospects of many more soon, are quite flattering. There was a large and attentive concourse each day.

      At Williamstown, Grant county, Ky. it seems that almost every body will soon confess the Lord. Within a few weeks, (say 9 or 10,) near 100 have joined themselves to the good cause. Many other neighborhoods and towns are filled with joy and gladness, by reason of the reformation of sinners; while others seem to be characterized by a Laodicean spirit, and many of the children of Jezebel, going to and fro, cast more ice into the already frozen chambers of sectarianism. The truth, however, is mighty; and will, I believe, ultimately prevail.
S. K. MILTON.      

ROCHESTER, N. Y. July 6, 1833.      

      MANY public speakers have recently come over to help us. I have just returned from a short visit in Canada, opposite Rochester. I attended a meeting of about 500. About fifty have, within a few weeks, embraced the truth in the love of it, and have been "baptized for the remission of sins."
W. A. SCRANTON.      

MONROE COUNTY, Mo. June 29, 1833.      

      Fifteen or eighteen months since, I removed to this county and commenced proclaiming the gospel of Christ. The ears of the people were soon open to receive it. Brother B. L. Abernethey preached eight or ten times in this county twelve months ago, the effect of which is yet to be seen. He and myself constituted two churches; and at that time, and during last summer, I baptized between twenty-five and thirty. This spring we planted a church in Paris. It commenced with six members--some have been added almost every meeting since. Last Lord's day, brother M'Bride preached and gave an opportunity to confess the Lord; four made the good confession, and were by him baptized immediately. I have baptized six in this church;--the present number is about twenty-five. On yesterday, brother M. Wills preached; one made the good confession, and will be baptized to-day--three others joined by commendation. The prospects here are truly good. Brother Hayden preached three days to one of the churches first named, including last Lord's day; three made confession, and were baptized by him. Several more were added to the church, and the prospects are very good in that church and neighborhood. Brother M'Bride preached in Florida last Wednesday, planted a church, and baptized three or four. These four churches in this county, have been planted on the word of God, and are marching from Babylon to Jerusalem.

      [Much interesting information on the progress of reform has been crowded out of this number.]--Ed. [432]


[The Millennial Harbinger, 4 (August, 1833): 385-432.]

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