[Table of Contents]
[Previous] [Next]
Alexander Campbell, ed.
The Millennial Harbinger, Vol. IV, No. IX (1833)




Number IX.----Volume IV.


Bethany, Va. September, 1833.


Signs of the Times


      WE will now briefly examine that ever-memorable prediction delivered upon the Mount of Olives, relative to the destruction of Jerusalem, and the second coming of the Son of Man. Our blundering blind guides have long been foundered on this prediction, in their gigantic strides to make it apply to the close of time and the destruction of Jerusalem. I have no doubt on my mind, but, on the Jewish and Gentile dispensations, the whole prophecy has had, and will have, its complete accomplishment. O! the fatal error of transferring every thing within the lids of the Bible, in which there is any alarm, to the general judgment!

      The first part of the prediction was relative to the dreadful calamities which were to attend the close of the Jewish dispensation, or the typical gospel. The latter part portrays, in strong metaphorical language the destiny of a dispensation, properly and truly the anti-type of the former. Some of the remarks of the Master may properly be considered general, or relative to both dispensations--the one and the other typified--the one developing in type the character and fate of the other. At the time of this prediction the Jewish church had become extremely corrupt and self-righteous. Reader, are you prepared to show how far the past exceeded the present in these very things? The past, just before its downfall, had built the most magnificent house for worship on earth. Like the mistakes of the present, they were going to heaven by show and parade, tithe-paying, long praying, and splendid temples; instead of holy, simple, and [433] ostentatious devotion, deeds of charity and the like. The disciples, fond of showing the meek and lowly Saviour the splendid superstructure, were astonished to hear its fate foretold: "See ye not these things? Verily, I say unto you, there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down." The pompous ceremonies, the splendid buildings in which men now-a-days profess to worship him who had not where to lay his head, will soon share a similar fate.

      "And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be, and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" [conclusion of this state.] The term world, in this very passage, taken in the common acceptation, has been the source of much blundering. If applied to the dispensation, a difficulty is at once removed. How exactly was the fate of the temple foretold! Demolished to its very foundation. How exactly the fate of the Jewish nation! "For there shall be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people." The sack of Jerusalem, the distress of the Jewish nation at the time of its overthrow, has no parallel on earth. "And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." How strongly is the Jewish nation, the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, preaching, in irresistible language, the truth of the Christian religion! Facts are stronger than argument. How exactly have the words of the Messiah been fulfilled! "Thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee." What a picture! We cite to the prophecies which have had an accomplishment, to strengthen the believer's faith that those in the future will as exactly come to pass as that Jerusalem was encompassed by a trench and destroyed by a Roman army, its Temple razed to its foundation, and the Jews slain and scattered among the nations.

      I admit there is a difficulty of no small moment presents itself in the prediction delivered on the Mount--that of drawing a separating line between those relative to the Jewish and Gentile churches. But those of a general nature are applicable to either dispensation, had an accomplishment first on the Jew, will have a second on the Gentile. Those respecting false Christs are not less applicable to the present times, than they were to the age when the Messiah made his first advent into the world. Does it need proof that there are false Christs in the world, in the face of the endless diversities in the Christian religion? The different Christs, Saviours, or salvations, plans of getting to heaven, &c. are almost as different as the differing sects, crying, "Lo! here is Christ!" The signs which preceded the dissolution of the former dispensation, will doubtless precede the dissolution of the present. And just as sure as the typical dispensation was dissolved, fell, smitten by the hand of Omnipotence; so will the typified fall: for the same unchanging God yet holds the destiny of [434] nations, empires, or dispensations in his hand. We may expect false teachers and false prophets to arise and "deceive many." "And ye shall hear of wars, and rumors of wars," &c. "For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places," &c. "And ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake."

      At this very time are not all these forerunners visible? What name is more persecuted, looked at with more suspicion, than the name Christian?1 To say nothing about the odium cast upon it by the nations of the world, the man who wears this name, and only this, is treated with less brotherly love, less forbearance, sooner suspected for unsoundness in the faith, than for any other name or appellative distinction or badge known or heard of in christendom, and despised and rejected by those who profess the religion of Christ! What time when the rumor of war was ever so universal? scarcely a government but is giving indications of internal convulsion, tottering on its foundation, or assuming a posture of defence against invasion. Who can view these things without dreading what to-morrow may bring to pass--without a painful solicitude about the future, about the fate of nations, the fate of millions who are to witness, aye, more than witness, "a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation!" Wo unto Europe, the seat of Antichrist! There are the witnesses to be slain--there the theatre on which is to be fought "the battle of that great day of God Almighty"--there the winepress to be trodden. By pestilence and war, by famine and flame "will the Lord plead with all flesh; and the slain of the Lord shall be many."


Sherlock on Divine Providence.


      3dly. LET us now consider what difference there is between God's absolute government of all events, and necessity and fate; for many men are very apt to confound these two. If no good or evil befall any man, but what God orders and appoints for them, this they think sounds like fate and destiny--that every man's fortune is written upon his forehead--and that it is impossible for any man, by all his care, and industry, and prudence, to make his condition better than what God has decreed it to be in the irreversible rolls of fate. And yet an unrelenting, immutable fate is so irreconcilable with the liberty of human actions, with the nature of good and evil, of rewards and punishments, that if we admit of it, there is an end of all religion, of all virtuous endeavors, of all great and generous attempts: it is to no purpose to pray to God, or to trust in him, or to resist temptations, or [435] to be diligent in our business, or prudent and circumspect in our actions; for what will be, will be: or if any means be to be used, that is no matter of our choice or care; but we shall do it as necessarily and mechanically as a watch moves and points to the hour of the day; for fate has, by the same necessity, determined the means and the end, and we can do no more nor less than fate has determined.

      I shall now trouble you with an account of the various opinions of the ancient philosophers about fate, none of whom ever dreamed of such a terrible fate as some Christians have fancied, which reaches not only to this world, but to all eternity. What I have already discoursed is sufficient to vindicate the doctrine of Providence from the least imputation of necessity and fate.

      For, 1st. Though God overrules the actions of men, to do what he himself thinks fit to be done, yet he lays no necessity upon human actions: men will and choose freely, pursue their own interests and inclinations, just as they would do if there were no Providence to govern them; and while men act freely, it is certain there can be no absolute fate. God, indeed, as you have already heard, sometimes hinders them from executing their wicked purposes, and permits them to do no more hurt than what he can direct to wise ends; but no man is wicked, or does wickedly, by necessity and fate. Though he may be restrained from doing so much wickedness as he would, yet all the wickedness he commits is his own free choice, even when it serves such ends as he never thought of; and therefore he is, and acts like a free agent, notwithstanding the government of Providence.

      2dly. Though God determines all events, all the good and evil that shall happen to men or nations, yet it is no more nor no other than what they themselves have deserved; and therefore they are under no other fate than what they themselves bring upon themselves by the good or bad use of their own liberty; that is, they are under no other fate than to be rewarded when they do well, and to be punished when they do ill: but this is the justice of Providence, not the necessity of fate. Those who do ill, and deserve ill, and suffer ill, might have done well, and have made themselves the favorites of Providence, and therefore are under no greater necessity of suffering ill, than they were of doing ill. The reason why God keeps all events in his own hands, is riot because he has absolutely determined the fates of all men, but that he may govern the world wisely and justly, and reward and punish men according to their deserts, as far as the reasons of Providence require in this world. Now while the liberty of human actions is secured, and the events of Providence are not the execution of fatal, absolute, and unconditional decrees, but acts of government in the wise administration of justice, and dispensing rewards and punishments,--how absolute soever God's government be of all events, it is not necessity and fate, but a wise, and just, and absolute government. This, indeed, is what some of the wisest heathens called fate, and all that they meant by the name of fate, that God had fixed it by an irreversible decree, that good men should be rewarded and the wicked punished; and thus far we must all allow fate; and Providence [436] is only the minister and executioner of these fatal decrees; and to that end God keeps the government of all events in his own hands. Now whether we say that God determines what good or evil shall befall men at the very time when they deserve it, or that foreseeing what good or evil they will do, and what they will deserve, did beforehand determine what good or evil should befall them,--this makes no alteration at all in the state of the question; for if all the good or evil that befalls men, have respect to their deserts, this is not fate, but a just and righteous judgment.

      In a word, God's government of all events is indeed so absolute and uncontrollable, that no good or evil can befall any man, but what God pleases, what he orders and appoints for him; and this is necessary to the good government of the world and the care of all his creatures. But then God orders no good or evil to befall any men, but what they deserve, and what the wise ends of his Providence require; and this is not fate, but a wise and just government of the world.

      4. That the exercise of a particular Providence consists in the government of all events.

      I have often wondered at those philosophers who acknowledged a Providence, but would not acknowledge God's particular care of all his creatures. Some confined his Providence to the heavens, but would not extend it to this lower world; and yet this world needs a Providence as much, and a great deal more, as being a scene of change and corruption, of furious lusts and passions, which need the restraints and government of Providence: no creatures need God's care more than the inhabitants of this earth; and if lie take care of any of his creatures, one would think he should take most care of them who need it most.

      Others, who would allow that the Providence of God reached this lower world, yet confined God's care to the several kinds and species, but would not extend it to every individual; as if God took care of logical terms, of genus and species, but took no care of his own creatures, which are all individuals; or as if God could take care of all his creatures, without taking care of any particular creature; i. e. that he could take care of all his creatures, without taking care of any one of them.

      Thus they would allow God to take care of the great affairs of kingdoms and commonwealths, but to have no regard to particular men or families, unless they made a great figure in the world; as if kingdoms and commonwealths were not made up of particular men and particular families; or that God could take care of the whole, without taking care of every part; or as if there were any other reason for taking care of the whole, but to take care of those particulars who make the whole. To talk of a general Providence, without God's care and government of every particular creature, is manifestly unreasonable and absurd; for whatever reasons oblige us to own a Providence, oblige us to own a particular Providence.

      If creation be a reason why God should preserve and take care of what he has made, this is a reason why he should take care of every [437] creature, because there is no creature but what he made; and if the whole world consist of particulars, it must be taken care of in the care of particulars; for if all particulars perish, as they may do if no care betaken to preserve them, the whole must perish.

      And there is the same reason for the government of mankind; for the whole is governed in the government of the parts; and mankind cannot be well governed, without the wise government of every particular man.

      I am sure that the objections against a particular Providence are very foolish. Some think it too much trouble to God to take care of every particular; as if it were more trouble to him to take care of them, than it was to make them; or as if God had made more creatures than he could take care of; as if an infinite mind and omnipotent power were as much disturbed and tired with various and perpetual cares, as we are. Others think it below the greatness and majesty of God, to take cognizance of every mean and contemptible creature, or of every private man; as if it were more below God to take care of such creatures, than it is to make them; as if numbers made creatures considerable to God; that though one man is below God's care, yet a kingdom is worthy of his care and notice; when the whole world to God is but "as the drop of the bucket, and the small dust of the balance."

      Now it is certain there can be no particular Providence, without God's government of all events; for if any good or evil happen to any man without God's order and appointment, that is not Providence, whatever other name you will give it: so that if God does take a particular care of all his creatures, this is a demonstration that he has the absolute government of all events; for without it he cannot take care of them: and if God have the government of all events, as the Scripture assures us he has, this confirms us in the belief of a particular Providence; for if all the good or evil that happens to every particular man, be appointed by God, that is proof enough that God takes care of every particular man. God's government of all particular events, and his care of all individuals, include each other in their very natures. The care of particular creatures consists in the government of all particular events; and the government of all events is the exercise of a particular Providence, as our Saviour represents it, Matt. x. 29, 30, 31. "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not, therefore; ye are of more value than many sparrows." Where God's particular Providence over all his creatures is expressed by his particular care of all events, which extends even to the life of a sparrow, and to the hairs of our heads.

      Thus much is certain, that without this belief, that God takes a particular care of all his creatures in the government of all events that can happen to them, there is no reason or pretence for most of the particular duties of religious worship. For most of the acts of worship consider God not merely as a universal cause, (could we form [438] any notion of a general Providence without any care of particular creatures or particular events,) but as our particular patron, protector, and preserver.

      To fear God, and to stand in awe of his justice; to trust and depend on him in all conditions; to submit patiently to his will under all afflictions; to pray to him for the supply of our wants, for the relief of our sufferings, for protection and defence; to love and praise him for the blessings we enjoy, for peace and plenty, and health, for friends and benefactors, and all prosperous successes: 1 say, these are not the acts of reasonable men, unless we believe that God has the supreme disposal of all events, and takes a particular care of us. For if any good or evil can befall us without God's particular order and appointment, we have no reason to trust in God, who does not always take care of us; we have no reason to bear our sufferings patiently at God's hands, and in submission to his will; for we know not whether our sufferings be God's will or not: we have no reason to love and praise God for every blessing and deliverance we receive, because we know not whether it came from God; and it is to no purpose to pray to God for particular blessings, if he does not concern himself in particular events. But if we believe that God takes a particular care of us all, and that no good or evil happens to us but as he pleases, all these acts of religious worship are both reasonable, necessary, and just.

BETHANY, Brooke County, Va.      

To Barton W. Stone.

Respected Brother,

      IN my strictures upon your notice of my remarks on N. W's book on the atonement, published in the preceding number, which I intended as a reply to the first, second, third, and fourth items of your letter--my intention was to meet your objections, and obviate your supposed difficulties, not by a formal reply to each of them; but by adducing certain revealed principles of the divine government which go to obviate them all; hoping that I have succeeded to the satisfaction of all concerned, I now proceed to what remains.

      In your 5th item, elicited by my quotation of Heb. ix. 22. and x. 4. you grant "that the blood of Christ does effect the remission of sin, is an undoubted truth. But how? is the question." I answer, By its redeeming efficacy. Rev. v. 9. "Thou hast redeemed us to God by thy blood." "Forasmuch as you know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation, received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." 1 Pet. i. 18, 19. You ask again, "Does the blood of Christ remove legal obstructions, existing between the forgiveness of God and the guilty?" I answer, Yes. "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us; as it is written, Cursed is every one that [439] hangeth on a tree." Gal. iii. 13. The curse of the law, justly denounced against every one that continued not in all things written in the book of the law to do them, was a legal obstruction to the enjoyment of the divine forgiveness, till it was taken out of the way; but this the death of Christ has accomplished; for "he has put away sin by the sacrifice of himself;" and is, therefore, become the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes in him, whether Jew or Greek; for all the world is guilty before God; consequently there is but one way of justification, or acquittal for any; that is, by faith in his blood. "Justified by faith in his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him." See Rom. v. 8, 9. with Heb. ix. 26. Rom. x. 4. and iii. 19-31. But you deny that sin is a legal obstruction to the enjoyment of the divine forgiveness, because that sinners are the only subjects of forgiveness. According to this, sinners have nothing to fear; for forgiveness is an essential attribute of divinity, "an eternal perfection of the divine nature," and therefore must necessarily be exercised; and sinners being the only qualified subjects, it can be exercised upon none else; consequently, sinners have nothing to fear; no, not one of them; for God is no respecter of persons--there is no partiality with him; also, the greater the sinner, the greater the forgiveness; and, of course, the greater the glory of the forgiver; for surely if the forgiveness of a small injury, of a small debt, be a display of kindness, of generosity, of liberality, of compassion, or of any perfection, the forgiveness of one ten thousand times greater must be a display of that perfection, greater in the exact proportion of 10,000 to 1. For we know both by reason and experience that the gratification and glory of any perfection is in exact proportion to the exercise and display of it. Yet, after all, you seem to grant that there may be a legal obstruction. "Not, indeed, the truth of God's word," but his justice may stand in the way of forgiveness, and that not on account of the intrinsic evil and illegality of sin, but merely on account of the disposition of the sinner; for you say, "If the subject be an impenitent sinner, every perfection in God, as well as justice, would oppose his forgiveness." Consequently, if penitent, no perfection in God would oppose his forgiveness; neither wisdom, goodness, justice, truth, nor holiness. Though we learn from his holy word, that all these glorious attributes are opposed to sin, and that three of them, especially, are glorified in the punishment of it: namely, justice, truth, and holiness; and wisdom in the invention of the deliverance--"I have found a ransom." Hence Christ crucified is styled the wisdom, as well as the power of God to salvation, to every one that believes. Now if, as you say, nothing on the part of God stands in the way of the forgiveness of the penitent sinner, what is the use of the gospel dispensation--of the Christian religion? Were there no penitents, no forgiveness for the 4000 years previous to the gospel? And if there were, what was wanting either to the glory of God or to the salvation of sinners? What need of the gospel--that is, of Christ, and him crucified? for this was Paul's gospel. [440]

      But to return to your second and third answers under consideration; I would ask, have the justice and truth of God nothing to do directly and immediately with the transgression of his law, irrespective of the after-thought, or postfactum disposition of the transgressor? Is not his authority rejected, his justice violated, his truth challenged, his holiness insulted, his wisdom and goodness impugned, whatever may be the subsequent disposition or conduct of the malefactor? And has wisdom and goodness, justice, truth, and holiness nothing to do with all this? Surely, if God's law is holy, just, and good; if eternal righteousness is in all his testimonies, and his law is the truth; then must all his moral excellencies be naturally and necessarily enlisted and pledged to vindicate and defend it. It is a physical axiom, that "every thing acts as it is;" that is, according to its nature. From this rule there can be no exception, as long as any thing, justly called nature, is to be found in the universe. It is upon the certainty of this fundamental truth and the perfection of the divine nature, that we predicate the immutability of God. If, therefore, his law may be broken with impunity, that is, without the infliction of a just recompense of reward; then, either the above scripture attributes of the law, or of the lawgiver, are false; or, the above axiom is not true. Here is a trilemma. The objector may adopt what side he please. From this triple choice he has but one conceivable alternative; namely, to assert that the divine law has no penalty but for the impenitent transgressor. But this would do away forgiveness altogether; for such a law would equally justify the obedient subject, and the penitent transgressor. And this, indeed, is that milder evangelic law, which many contend for, who deny the real divinity, and legal substitution of Jesus Christ., In the mean time, I am sorry to see, that this supposed modification of law is, indeed, the alternative you seem disposed to adopt: for finding fault with the supplement "guilty," in the king's translation, (Exod. xxxiv. 7.) you supply the term "impenitent;" and in the sequel admitting Christ's substitution for argument sake, you come to the same conclusion respecting forgiveness that I have done, and must do, by admitting your supplement "impenitent;" namely, that by so doing, there could be no forgiveness at all. But, with what force of argument have you come to this conclusion? Why--If they were cleared from their debts by a surety paying them for them, then they ceased to be subjects of forgiveness, for they had nothing to be forgiven, &c. This we grant would be true in matters of a pecuniary nature, amongst fellow-creatures, under a law recognizing this principle, and who, except by voluntary compact, were mutually independent of each other in these matters: but this is by no means the case between God and his guilty creatures; for they are, first, his absolute property; they owe themselves and all they have to him; absolute unbounded subjection to his will is their indispensable duty; his law recognizes this, consequently makes no provision for any alternative in case of failure, but the absolute endurance of the threatened punishment: therefore, in case of transgression, they have nothing else to expect, having nothing left that is not forfeited--nothing [441] to offer by way of reparation; wherefore they lie absolutely at the divine mercy. But there are also the divine justice, truth, and holiness to be maintained and displayed as well as mercy, if mercy be exercised. To maintain truth the sentence of the law must be executed; to exercise justice, the execution of the sentence must be apportioned to the demerit of the crime; to the display of holiness, the divine aversion to moral turpitude must also be adequately manifested. Now God himself, of his own free love, having made ample provision for all this, in and by the mediation of his own Son, independent of every creature, freely and graciously exhibits and confers his pardons for Christ's sake, and through him;--whom he has set forth, a propitiatory, through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God--to declare at this time his righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of him who believeth in Jesus. Thus we see God has glorified his justice as well as his mercy in the salvation of sinners by the blood of his son; by whose obedience to death, even the death of the cross, he has magnified his law and made it honorable; thus evincing to the whole creation the infinite evil of sin, and also his infinite justice in suffering no instance of disobedience to pass without the infliction of a just recompense of reward. So that the Apostle finds himself authorized, upon the exhibition of this awfully glorious demonstration, to challenge the whole creation; saying, "Do we then make void the law through faith? By no means; but we establish the law." How? By pardoning the penitent? If so, the forgiveness of such must be a part of the law,--it must be law: consequently, the penal clause must read thus;--"Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them, except he repent." If this were the case, not to pardon the penitent would be a violation of the law--to pardon him would be to establish it. Nay, there would be, properly, no pardon in the case; the requirement of the law being fulfilled, the penitent would be justified by the law and not by special favor--not by grace, contrary to the express testimony of the Scripture. And who would willingly commit himself to the protection of such a law! Where would be his safety for life, character, or property? Blessed be God, there is no such law, either in heaven or hell!

      But my respected friend and brother seems difficulted with King James' supplement, Exod. xxxiv. 7. "the guilty," in place of which he would supply "the impenitent:" but as supplements are in a great measure arbitrary, making no part of the text, we are at liberty to reject them, and ought to do so, where they seem to involve insuperable difficulties, as in the present case. In this way the text will read, "The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth; keeping mercy for thousands,--forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and sin; and that will by no means clear;--visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children to the third and fourth." In the second commandment we have the definitive adjunct--"of them that hate [442] me." Now according to the grammatical structure of this long complex sentence, it may, and ought to be pointed as above; by which it is divided into three grand clauses, the second and third of which are divided by a dash (--) into antecedent and consequent; the antecedent expressing what the Lord will do with his people; the consequent showing how he would do it--the latter being explanatory of the former. Thus the Lord would "keep mercy for thousands--by forgiving their iniquity, transgression, and sin;" "and that he would by no means clear;" (that is, absolve or acquit,) which he would do by visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children to the third and fourth [generation] of them that hated him." Understanding the passage thus, your first difficulty vanishes. Your second, respecting the phrase, "by no means," affects not the present argument, and is the result of laying an undue stress upon the form of the expression, which is equivalent to 'not at all'--expressing a strong negation, without any respect to "means," as you may see by consulting the original;--literally, "And that acquitting does not acquit," a Hebraism like that, Genesis ii. 17. "dying, thou shalt die." Upon the whole, the Lord, in this glorious declaration of his great name, gives his people to understand that, notwithstanding he is merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping covenant and mercy for thousands--forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin: yet he would by no means suffer sin to pass with impunity--that those who rejected covenanted mercy, that is, remission through blood, he would account and treat as enemies from generation to generation. We know the event has proved this interpretation true; therefore we are sure we have not mistaken the Lord's meaning. Facts are the infallible expositors of divine predictions, promises, and threatenings.

      Again, dear brother, while I agree with you, that "we must repent or perish;" that "to the impenitent neither the life, the death, the blood, the intercession, the word of Christ, nor any other means, can ever effect remission of sins;" yet I can neither agree with you nor N. W. that "these means, just stated, can avail us nothing farther than to lead us to repentance;" for, as I have already shown, there was acceptable repentance in the world four thousand years before those means were exhibited: nor do I, in so saying, "condemn the doctrine of the moral influence of the blood of the Saviour," nor of any of the means above stated. I only assert that they avail us something farther than merely to lead us to repentance; the blood of Christ leads us to justification through faith in it. Rom. iii. 24, 25. without which repentance could avail us nothing. Then comes adoption through the same channel. Gal. iv. 4. and iii. 26. Then the spirit of adoption. Gal. iv. 6. Then sanctification by the same means. Heb. xiii. 12. Lastly, eternal redemption. Heb. ix. 12. So that Christ crucified, as Paul preached him, "is made of God unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." 1 Cor. i. 30. And as righteousness under the divine government entitles to all good, therefore he is emphatically styled "the Lord our [443] righteousness." Jer. xxiii. 6. For, by virtue of our relation to him, we are actually entitled to all good. Rom. viii. 15-17. and 1 Cor. ii. 22, 23.

      And now why should my dear brother, who has so long and so strenuously contended for a pure scriptural reformation, join issue with N------. W------. to degrade the mediation of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, into a mere moral argument to produce repentance, like the ministry of John, that great Elijah of the New Institution, who also sealed his ministry with his blood? You declare you do not approve of all he has written even upon this subject--much less should I suppose you approve of his other writings; but let me tell you, that this doctrine of the mere moral influence of the mediation of Christ upon the salvation of men, is the very summit and superstructure of them all. Why, then, should you concur with him, in vindicating a doctrine which goes to condemn the redeeming and justifying influence of the blood of Jesus, and which in the article of remission goes to justify both God and man? [see again Rom. iii. 24 26.] without the shedding of which there was no redemption of transgressions from the foundation of the world. Heb. ix. 22. and x. 4. "And for this cause he is the mediator of the new covenant, that by means of death for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant, the called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance." In my former quotation of this text you objected to the insertion of the word "called," after the explanatory clause, (namely, under that covenant) supposing that I meant to affirm that the rst covenant called those that were under it to an eternal inheritance. Howbeit, I neither said nor thought any such thing; but only that many of them were expectants of such an inheritance, (see Heb. xi. 13-16.) and that those came to the enjoyment of it by virtue of his death, without which they must have been disappointed. But let us review the text: "And, for this cause, he is the mediator of the new covenant." For what cause? Is it not for the peculiar efficacy of his priesthood in purifying the conscience from guilt, which no other priest had ever effected? (See the preceding context, from the 6th verse to the 14th.) "That by means of death"--for what?--"for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant." Does not this mean the transgressions that were committed under it? "The called might receive the promise," &c. What called? Why, they that had been called--not those that should be called hereafter. Does the perfect participle passive ever signify future time? and when immediately connected in construction with an adjunct of the past time, must it not be rendered by the sign of the pluperfect tense? And is not this exactly the case here?--"The transgressions that were under the first covenant, they that had been called might receive"--What? Why, the very thing they were looking for; namely, "the promise of the eternal inheritance" For "all these having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise, God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect." Heb. xi. 39, 40. Let us see now how you understand it. You say, "The Mediator by death redeemed from the [444] transgressions of the first Testament." Redeemed whom? You must mean persons; for such only are, or can be, redeemed from transgressions: but, observe, the text says the redemption of the transgressions, not of the transgressors; these were dead and gone, consequently past redemption; but their sins were on file, recorded in blood, according to the law for remission, and the blood of Christ, that is, of the new covenant, balanced the account; so that all the redeemed, from the protomartyr Abel to the end of this world, will all eternally sing one and the same song,--"Thou hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation!" No matter when or where they lived or died. They are all bought with the same price, and are joint heirs of the same inheritance. Glory to God and the Lamb forever and ever!

      Dear brother, my sheet is done. I must take my leave for the present. I hope you will impartially consider what I have written in reply to your favor. You "have, long since lost your pride of opinion?" I hope so have I. You profess to love and seek the truth; and so do I. May the Lord lead and keep us in the truth!

Professor Stuart on the Mode of Baptism.

      TO worship God in spirit and to worship him in truth, is a worship most acceptable in his sight. To this definition of acceptable worship all must assent, on account of the high authority from which it emanates. But is this worship to be understood as our Professor views it, as the Quaker views it, as different from the worship of those who are conscientious to keep all the commandments of Jesus exactly according to his word? Is it impossible for the believer, who, on the confession of his faith, is immersed in water into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, thus to worship God in spirit and in truth; and only possible for him who is wholly indifferent whether the Lord would have him sprinkled or immersed--whether he should himself obey this commandment or his father obey it for him? If so, then the Quaker is the most spiritual worshipper, because he disdains bread, wine, and water, as carnal; and argues that the dumb praises God more acceptably than he who sings psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs!

      Now if Mr. Stuart desires to know how his worship sounds in our ears, and strikes our understanding, he has only to reflect on how he hears and esteems the professions of the Quaker. Were a Quaker to tell the Professor that his views of Christianity teach him to disdain his worship as being according to the letter--as being carnal and not spiritual--let him look for an answer for him, and he will find one for himself. Would he not tell a Quaker friend, 'Sir, you cannot worship God in truth, unless you worship him according to his word: for "his word is the truth." He that keeps not his commandments, and [445] professes to know him, is deceived, or "is a liar, and the truth is not in him." His commandments are expressed in words: these words have a meaning; and he that obeys not according to the word, obeys not at all. It is in vain to talk of worshipping God in spirit, if he is not worshipped in truth.'

      In so answering the Quaker, the Professor furnishes us with an answer to himself. And certainly, if his logic be sound in rebutting the pretensions of the Quaker, it is equally sound in rebutting his own plea for worshipping God in truth, while professing perfect indifference as to the manner of that worship. He will not say, I am persuaded, that "in truth" means sincerely: for that would be to plead for the most absurd principle of religious worship, and would justify every system under heaven; and even set on foot again the long repudiated doctrine that "ignorance is the mother of devotion."

      If sincerity constitute the justifying righteousness of the professed worshippers of God, then may the whole world of sincere Turks, Jews, Deists, Sceptics, and Heretics of every name, be the acceptable worshippers of God. To worship God in truth, then, is not merely to worship God sincerely; but to worship him according to his revealed will. He who substitutes the will of man, or the traditions of men, for the will of God and the traditions of: he Apostles, presents strange fire upon God's altar; and his doing it sincerely only proves that his "eye is not sound"--that he prefers something to the oracles of God--to THE LIGHT of the world; and, consequently, the more sincere the more worthy of reprobation. Were it otherwise, Jesus could not have so repudiated those, who, in the most perfect sincerity, as doing service to God, put his Apostles to death. "He that kills you will think that he does God service." Sincerity, constancy, perseverance, and all of this class are commendable only while associated with truth and goodness. Divorce them from this alliance, and they are of no account; associate them with error, and they are worthy of reprobation. We need not argue this point; for our learned Professor doubtless will agree with us, that, to worship God in truth, means more than to worship him sincerely. If so, then, he can worship God in truth only by keeping his commandments, This being conceded, and then the question returns in all its force, Has God commanded two sorts of baptism--has he commanded both the action of sprinkling and of immersing? If he have commanded both, both are obligatory. If he have left it discretionary, either will be acceptable. But if he have commanded immersion, then sprinkling is an abomination--it is will-worship--it is like offering swine's flesh instead of a lamb.

      We say that Jesus Christ either would not or could not find in the language of mortals a word of definite import--a word that could definitely express the action which he designed. If he could, and would not, then lie willed ambiguity and uncertainty, and intended to divide his followers. If he would, and could not find an unequivocal word, then the language in which he spoke was unfit to be the vehicle of his communication. But this cannot be urged; for no language ever was more definite than the Greek, and no word in that language [446] is more definite than BAPTIZO. We challenge the Professor to name the word in that language more definite than baptizo. He has a thousand witnesses to prove its acceptation; and certainly no figurative or remote meaning will be urged by him as declarative of any ambiguity; for he knows too well that every word of common use has its figurative and remote meanings, as well as its current literal import, and that these are never contrary to it. He has not done this. He is too candid to attempt it; and if he should, all his philological canons of criticism would pass sentence upon him.

      But, perhaps, he may not regard it as the duty of any one to be immersed, but the duty of parents to have their offspring baptized. There is a difficulty here which we do not recollect to have seen fully explained. The Paidobaptists contend that baptism is a duty enjoined only on parents relative to their children, except in the case of pagan or infidel ancestors. Hence in a Christian community, such as the Paidobaptist, it is the duty of no one to be baptized, but to baptize others, or to have others baptized. If a child grow up to manhood without baptism, the sin is not his, but his father's, mother's, or guardian's. It cannot be binding on both father and child. If the duty of the former, it is not the duty of the latter; and if the duty of the latter, it is not the duty of the former. Hence the indifference of many professors about it. They cannot understand how a command to fathers concerning their duty as fathers, can be obligatory on their children; or how it can be a sin in any person to neglect that which was only obligatory on his father. And will every person admit, that if this command be addressed to both parents and children--on the parents absolutely, and on the children only in case of the failure of the parents--it is an anomaly among all the institutions of Heaven. But in the New Testament, it is conceded, that there is not one word or command to parents concerning any such matter. In these circumstances of this extraordinary "rite," I seek (but, perhaps, in vain) to find an excuse for my friend Stuart--I mean an excuse for his indifference as to his own obedience. He, indeed, in this case appears to worship God without obedience at all; for he never was either sprinkled or immersed with his own consent, or upon his own responsibility; and as far as he is personally concerned, he is like a Quaker, worshipping in spirit only, except that as a father, he may have obeyed some commandment in reference to his children.

      The Professor appears, to my optics, at fault on two other counts found in this essay, which may require each an essay from my pen. In the mean while I most respectfully tender the above remarks, and would feign indulge the hope that our very learned and worthy Professor may be induced to put the question to himself, Whether he can worship God acceptably while he worships him without obedience to a command once enjoined by the holder of the keys of the kingdom of heaven--"Be baptized, every one of you, in the name of the Lord Jesus, for the remission of sins"?
EDITOR. [447]      

Converting Power.

WELLSBURG, 2d August, 1833.      

Dear Sir,

      I AGREE with you, that "in all logical discussions there is nothing like coming to the point, and then keeping to it." But you have not convinced me that I have rambled from any point or proposition plainly announced by you, and disputed by me.

      Let us look back to the commencement of our correspondence. In my first communication I advised you of what I understood to be your opinions on the subject of spiritual influence, as set forth in your "Dialogue on the whole work of the Holy Spirit in the salvation of men." I said, in substance, that I understood you to confine the influence of the gospel to the power of moral suasion; or, in other words, that the Author of Christianity no more aids us in understanding and obeying the gospel, than the spirit of Newton or Paley aids us in understanding and practising the truths contained in their works. This I understand to be your theory of Christianity in relation to spiritual influence.

      I was led to this conclusion by a careful perusal of the dialogue. I could draw no other inference from it, without explaining away the design of the work. 1 knew this to be the conclusion of many candid men who had read your writings; in fact, the common belief of all with whom I had any conversation, was, that you denied the doctrine of special influence as held by other churches.

      Supposing you to be consistent, I concluded that you embraced the philosophical hypothesis, which supposes that the Deity has never influenced or suspended the laws of nature, except in cases of miracles, since the foundation of the world.

      Several of your expressions in your reply to your friend Thompson justified me in this belief. His objections to your dialogue were, that your opinions subverted a plain practical duty. He asked you, as every man of common sense must, If all the converting power is in the word, why should we pray, for our unconverted friends? How did you reply to this common sense objection? Did you tell him, that although all the converting power was in the word--that God, by a special providence, might, in answer to prayer, sanctify afflictions, and make them instrumental in awakening our irreligious friends, or that an angel might be sent, who would, by impressions and suggestions, lead them to read and digest the written word, by which they might be converted? No, my dear sir, you gave no intimations of any power or influence out of the word that would, in answer to prayer, be brought to bear on the minds of our irreligious friends, to bring them to God. You said, indeed, that nature is dependant upon God, and yields her influences at his will--but this is said by Bigland and others, who deny a special providence.

      You attributed to prayer no influence, but what I called for distinction's sake, its natural influence. You did not show, or attempt to [448] show that your theory was consistent with your practice in praying for your unconverted friends. You, indeed, admitted prayer to be a duty; but endeavored to get clear of the charge of inconsistency by resolving it into a mystery. I demurred to this course, and said that if what I understood to be your theory of the divine government was true, prayer was absurd.

      After having read many of your essays on the Holy Spirit, and seen your replies to objections, I concluded that your religious opinions on the doctrine of Providence and spiritual influence accorded with the celebrated Dr. Priestly. He denies that men are assisted in any way in the work of salvation, but by the moral influence of the word--this he says is sufficient to account for all the high attainments of the martyrs. The primitive Christians he charges with enthusiasm, because, in their fiery trials, they believed they were specially supported. When asked to reconcile his theory with his practice in praying, he resolves it into a mystery. I have a high opinion of the exalted virtue and varied genius of Dr. Priestly, but have always considered this a great error in his religious opinions.

      In your kind reply to my communication you disavow the doctrine of a general providence, which excludes a particular one, and admit that God exercises a special providence over men. This you think is principally carried on by angels. These heavenly intelligences you admit may influence only by suggestions, motives, and impressions. In your last you say, that ""men, good and bad--evil spirits, angels, good and bad, pestilence, earthquakes, sudden deaths, personal and family afflictions, may become the occasions of conversions to God--but they are not God's converting power."

      By these "becoming the occasions of men's conversion," I suppose you mean that God in his providence designs them to produce this effect, and that in many instances they do. That you agree with the great Butler and Sherlock, that life is a state of trial or moral discipline in reference to a future state--that you view Providence in this light, l infer from the fact, that you approve of Sherlock's work, and are publishing it in the Harbinger.

      But you blame me for calling such influence converting power. It is is no more converting power, you say, "than the pill-box is an essential part of the healing power of the pills it contains." But according to your own admission, angels have access to the minds of men--to their wills, and by assuming the form of a thought or word--turn them to suit their purpose." But pill-boxes are not given by physicians to their patients as a part of their prescriptions--they do not have access to the secretions of the physical system as the spiritual agency of angels do to the operations of the mind--if they did I should not hesitate to call their influence in the cure of the disease healing power, or healing influence.2 [449]

      But to come to the point at issue between us. You admit a special providence--the ministry of angels--and have not denied but what God makes impressions on our minds by his own spirit. You also admit that the various afflictions of life, with all its blessings, may be the occasions of bringing us to God, or converting us; and as I said before, I understand you to mean that they are so ordered by God. All this kind of influence you admit; but you will not call it converting power--that you still contend is in the word--all the converting power of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then it seems that the question at issue between us is not whether there is not influence given us in answer to prayer out of the word--for you admit there is; but what it shall be called. For several reasons I shall call it special influence, or converting power. But you, my dear sir, may call it what you please. I will not controvert with you about the name--although I agree with Dr. G. Campbell, that names are sometimes of great importance in theological disputations.

      1st. I call it converting power, because it is a power exerted by God in direct relation to our salvation. I believe that all the arrangements of Providence in this state of trial have for their ultimate object the salvation of men--in particular, that spiritual agency which is brought to bear immediately in the mind in various ways, and which leads us to understand, and helps us to obey the word of God.

      2d. Because this influence is efficient--it arouses the sinner--it strengthens the grace of the saint, and renders him victorious in the hour of temptation--it gives order to devotion--it opens our eyes so that we understand more fully the word of God.

      3d. Because such are my views of the depravity of the human heart, that if it were not for this kind of influence, which is out of the word, but under the immediate direction of God, the written word--the enjoyment of the Holy Spirit would be of no great importance--its native influence, or moral power, would not make practical Christians.

      4th. Because this kind of agency has been called spiritual agency by some of our ablest and most accurate writers. This will appear from the following quotations:--Dr. Paley, in his sermons on Spiritual Influence, says, "The Spirit may act, and observation affords reason to believe that it does, by adding force and efficacy to instruction, [450] advice, or admonition; a passage of Scripture sometimes strikes the heart with wonderful power, adheres, as it were, and cleaves to the memory till it has wrought its work. An impressive sermon is often known to sink very deep." Mr. J. Specke, in controversy with Doctor Miller, makes use of similar language.3 [451]

      5th. I call it converting power, or spiritual influence, because the Bible often attributes to afflictions and blessings a moral influence. Solomon says we should go to the house of mourning, because it will make our hearts better. Afflictions are said to produce the "peaceable fruits of righteousness;" and so great are their influence or power, that the prophet personifies them and represents them as speaking in the language of strong rebuke: "Hear you the voice of the rod and him that hath appointed it." Now if sanctified affliction and angelic influence are so ordered by God, as to be the means of turning men from sin to God, why should not such special agency be called, converting power or spiritual aid? It is as strictly from God as the written word, and given for the same end. I admit that such aid would not convert men and turn them to God without a previous knowledge of the Supreme Being. Its efficacy depends on a previous knowledge of Deity, made known to us by revelation or reason. Now would any number of words, written or spoken by God himself, ever convert men, and change their hearts, and fit them for heaven, without divine aid--assistance out of the word? for prayer supposes such aid: and a soul converted without prayer would be a strange phenomenon.

      Before you close you give me a text to consider: "The gospel is the power of God to salvation." From this text I suppose you infer that all the converting power is in the written word. But I would ask you if you are certain that Paul alludes exclusively to the written word? This, I presume, you will not say. I suppose he referred to the gospel as "preached by the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven." if I am not mistaken, Paul attributes power to the gospel, because it was accompanied with the Holy Spirit. You will not, I presume, predicate that of written words, unaided by any invisible agency, which Paul predicates of words spoken by living men and attested by miraculous agency. That Paul's gospel supposed spiritual aid, I infer from a passage in the very epistle from which you select your text. [452] How is the sinner to be delivered from the body of sin and death under which the epistle represents him to groan? By a spiritual agency, says Paul. "But if the Spirit of God, who had power to raise Jesus Christ from the dead, dwell in you, as certainly it does, he that raised Christ from the dead is certainly able, and will, by his Spirit that dwells in you, enliven even your mortal bodies, that sin shall not have the sole power and rule there, but your members may be made living instruments of righteousness."--Locke's paraphrase, verse 11, chap. viii. Romans.

      You see from this quotation that our philosopher represents Paul's preaching a gospel that promises a spiritual agency out of the written word. I know you interpret "mortal bodies" to mean dead bodies in the grave, and refer the quickening to the resurrection. But Mr. Locke says that "mortal" is no where in the New Testament attributed to any thing void of life. Your interpretation Mr. L. calls "an uncouth one," and says "it makes St. Paul, in the midst of a very serious, strong, and coherent discourse, concerning 'walking after the Spirit,' skip in a sudden into the mention of 'the resurrection of the dead;' and having just mentioned it, skip back again into his former argument. But I take the liberty to assure him that St. Paul has no such starts from the matter he has in hand, to what gives no light or strength to his present argument"

      So you see I contend that the gospel offers spiritual aid--that spiritual assistance is a part of that gospel which is "the power of God to salvation;" and then we arrive at the point where we started--Is there any aid in the work of salvation out of the written word? You say in your essay "on the whole work of the Holy Spirit in the salvation of men," that there is not; all the "converting power is in the written word." This you affirm, and this is what I deny.

      But I do not wish, brother Campbell, to have ""a war of words" with you; and that we may know in what we differ, I submit the following propositions:--

      Do you admit that God gives us the kind of assistance set forth by Paley and Specks?

      If you do, you may call it what you please--spiritual aid, or influence--spiritual influence, or assisting power, if you will not call it converting power.

      Candor on your part will certainly admit that things only are worthy any dispute. Logomachy is too trifling for a lover of truth. If you differ from me in things, will you show me in what that difference consists? P. S. You intimate that in illustrating spiritual and angelic agency in the conversion of men, I "should have begun with a sinner, and not a saint." And did I not begin with a great sinner--a thief? Now we sectarians, who live in "Babylon," call thieves sinners, and
  Yours sincerely,
J. A. WATERMAN.      


      P. S. You intimate that in illustrating spiritual and angelic agency in the conversion of men, I "should have begun with a sinner, and not a saint." And did I not begin with a great sinner--a thief? Now we sectarians, who live in "Babylon," call thieves sinners, and [453] think they need conversion; and the power which causes them to quit their evil course and turn to God, we call converting power.--Besides, you should recollect that the title of your essay is, "The Whole Work of the Holy Spirit in the Salvation of Men."
J. A. W.      



      Dear Sir--IN the absence of any positive testimony for spiritual influence out of the word, in the work of converting sinners, you very candidly say, that you have no wish to contend about a name, provided we can agree about the thing. So let it be. I have no love for strifes of words, and no time for a war of words. The point now between us is this: Can we call, or regard those occurrences, or providences, which you have named, converting power? You give five reasons why you think they may be regarded as of that nature. These do not, in my judgment, prove that the Holy Spirit ever acts upon the mind of an unconverted sinner out of the word. You would at once convince me of the truth of your theory, could you find any one scripture, in Old Testament or New, which affirms that out of, or independent of, the word written or spoken by Prophets and Apostles, the Spirit of God works faith in the mind of the natural man.

      With me all religion begins in faith, and a religious faith not founded on the testimony of God, is wholly a conceit. "How shall they believe in him, of whom they have not heard?" With Paul and your humble servant this is a rank impossibility.

      I said something about keeping to the point, which you seem to have misapplied; for you still present another point than the one I have before me. You say, "The question at issue between us is not whether there is not influence given us in answer to prayer out of the word; for you admit there is: but what it shall be called." Do you think, my dear sir, that the question between us is, What shall we call the influence given to Christians in answer to prayer? If so, I have wholly mistaken the matter: for, according to my proposition, it is about unconverted persons, and not praying Christians, we are talking. It is about converting power--and surely converted persons, praying to God for his Holy Spirit, are not within the jurisdiction of our premises. With me a person praying to God, through Jesus Christ, is not an unbeliever--an unconverted person.

      Concerning that aid or assistance, or spiritual power bestowed on them in answer to prayer, I have no controversy with you. That the Holy Spirit is given to them who believe in and obey Jesus Christ, that God works in them to will and do what is right, I positively affirm. Peter explicitly declares this, Acts v. 31, 32. But, my dear sir, I will explain to you the things in which, if I mistake not, we do really differ; but previous to my doing this, I will first advert, in general terms, to the whole document you have laid before me.

      In reply to your letter before me, and that we may understand each other and the subject of discussion better, I will introduce an analogy [454] covering the whole area of what you would call this our logomachy about converting power.

      Concerning the pestilence which has recently passed over us, we have had volumes of theory. In these conflicting theories some two or three points are, on all hands, conceded. Those will answer my purpose. It is agreed that the cholera power is in the atmosphere; that some derangement of that fluid, or some foreign element combined with it, is the power that produces cholera. I use this cholera power as analogous to my views of the converting power in reference to our discussion in the following particulars:--

      1. The cholera power is wholly in the atmosphere, and unless that atmosphere is present no cholera can exist. A genuine case of cholera cannot be produced by any other cause. To apply this point as we proceed: You argue that there is a cholera power out of the atmosphere. I argue that it is wholly in the atmosphere, and that without the presence of that peculiar atmosphere no case of cholera can, by any other cause, be produced.

      2. The cholera power equally pervades a certain district at a certain time. In that district, and under that influence, some of the inhabitants become subjects of the disease; but all do not. So of the converting power, or gospel; it pervades a certain district at a certain time; some obey it, or fall under its influence--all do not. On this second point of analogy there is no dispute.

      3. But why do not all fall victims to the cholera on its first appearance? It is agreed that there is a certain predisposition of the body necessary to the production of the disease, even where the cholera power is present. No dispute between Mr. Waterman and me on this point either.

      Those whom the cholera power finds predisposed are the first victims. "But," say the Doctors, "the cholera power will, in some instances, when operating for a while upon the body, so debilitate it, that it falls under the action of the poison or producing power; and," continue the Doctors, "there are some bodies that will resist this influence and remain unhurt by the contagion, unless some excess or some debilitating agent acts in concert with it." All this may be matter of certainty. At all events, and on any hypothesis, it will aptly illustrate our views. There are, then, three or four classes of bodies as respects the cholera influence. Some it finds predisposed on its first appearance; others it reduces to that state favorable to its reception; others will not yield to it unless some concurring cause, some debilitating excess or agent, reduce their bodies below the power of resistance; and there are some, that, during the whole time of its continuance, and under all circumstances, are never very sensibly affected by it. And is not this the history of the fortunes of the converting power as given in the parables of the Messiah? Some obey the gospel on the first hearing of it; others parry its convictions for a while, but eventually yield; others again are reduced by adverse providences, special occurrences, extraordinary events, and brought under its control; and are there not many, who, during their whole [455] lives are but little influenced by it, and concerning whom it will be said, "The day is past, the harvest is ended, and they are not saved?'

      Now for our controversy. You will not say that there are none of the first and second class--you will admit there are some, who, like the Ethiopian eunuch, obey at the first hearing--some, like the Bereans, who, after a little reflection and examination, will obey--there are some, who, like a certain company of the priests, finally become obedient to the faith; and there are some, like Galio, who care nothing about it.

      But, say you, these concurring or exciting causes are of the same nature with the power which converts. Well, look at the analogy before us! Will you call the special excesses, or the debilitating agents which reduce the body, cholera power? On reflection you will say, that these exciting causes could produce no cholera, were the cholera power absent; that they only concur with it; and that often without them the infection takes effect. Just so in the history of the converting power. Some are so stimulated by the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eye, and the pride of life, that they never yield to it. And there are not wanting numerous instances where some special providence, favorable or unfavorable to temporal interests, brings the mind to act conformably with previous knowledge.

      Let me wander so far from the subject before us as to say, that you seemed at one time unable to reconcile my views of the special providence of God with these views of converting power. To me there never appeared any real incompatibility. One reason alone satisfied me. Where there is no testimony of God, and where there can be no faith even amongst the Pagans, there are special providences as amongst Christians. How many savages have been saved from fire and flood, from the arrow and the tomahawk, from the serpent and the lion, by providences as special as any of which Christians can boast? But these never converted them to God. Neither do special providences amongst us, farther than as may appear in the following part of the analogy.

      4. During the presence of the cholera power, it is said, that all animal and vegetable substances are more or less impregnated with that atmospheric influence--are, in fact, cholerafied in different degrees. Hence the free use of such of them as are susceptible of much of the influence, become exciting and concomitant causes. But, mark you, it was the presence of the cholera power that gave them that influence. So in the history of special providences. In districts where the gospel is present, special providences, remarkable calamities, or deliverances, are gospelized, and act as concurring causes with the converting power; but where the converting power is not present these specialties are never seen, felt, or acknowledged.

      I hope we now understand each other; and I will only repeat, that this analogy is intended to illustrate my views so far as this:--That, as the cholera influence or power is wholly in the atmosphere, and as no exciting cause can produce it where that influence is not present; so the converting power is in the gospel, and no special or particular [456] providence can avail any thing to conversion where that gospel is not present. But as under the cholera atmosphere a variety of causes may concur with that influence in producing the disease; so under the power of the gospel, a variety of circumstances may concur with it to the salvation of men. And in both cases, without any concurring cause, other than the natural state of the subject, both the cholera and the converting power will impregnate the system and take effect.

      One word with regard to the divine arrangement of concurring causes: You think that if God intend to use any of these as means to give effect to the word preached or heard, then his design gives them a special character and fitly denominates them converting power. The selling of Joseph and the selling of Jesus were intended by those who sold them for an injury: but God intended them both for the redemption of his people. Shall we then call them the means of redemption! The application is easy as far as the name is concerned.

      Having said so much of the gospel as the converting power--as the power of God to salvation--it may be necessary, with a reference to what you have said about the gospel, to define what we mean by "the gospel." It is not the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit by which it was accompanied when first announced; but the things proved and demonstrated by that Spirit.

      The oak is all in the acorn. The gospel was all in the first promise, or in that made to Abraham; but it was not fully developed till a certain period. No one, then, can understand the gospel from the first promise more than he can see the oak in the acorn. The gospel was the subject of prophecy as to the time and place of its promulgation--and even as respects the person by whom it was to be first announced. By the gospel, then, I mean that word of the Lord which began to be preached in Jerusalem according to prophecy on the day of Pentecost. See Isaiah ii. 3. Micah iv. 2. Luke xxiv. 46, 47. Acts i, 4. Matth. xvi. 19. Its power is found in the remission of sins immediately on obedience, the reception of the Holy Spirit, and in the promise of a resurrection and eternal life. These were demonstrated by the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit which the Lord gives to all who obey him. This is the converting power for which we plead. You may have all the exciting causes which you can find in the circumstances of every individual to awaken his attention to it, and to excite them who believe it to obedience; but call not these the power of God to salvation.

      Our Saviour needed no other philosophy than the parable of the sower to explain its success to his disciples. And there is not in all the Bible a promise of the Holy Spirit to any unbeliever. Mark iv. 26. is worthy of the consideration of all our moral philosophers, not forgetting those you have quoted. I shall transcribe it: "The kingdom of God is like seed which a man sowed in his field. While he slept by night and waked by day the seed shot up and grew WITHOUT HIS MINDING IT. For the earth produces of ITSELF first the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear. But as soon as the grain [457] was ripe he applied the sickle because it was time to reap it." If, then, we would be philosophers of the common sense school, we will scatter the seed--preach the word; and without any theory of the soil or of the process of vegetation, allow it to grow according to the genius of this parable.

      I now come to what I regard as the things in which I fear we differ. Having no promise nor declaration that the Spirit of God, without the word, works faith in unbelievers, by a power independent of the word, I do differ from all who aim at producing faith, or effecting conversion to God, by any other means than producing the testimony of God. God forbid that I should make known any thing among sinners but Christ crucified, as the means of their reconciliation to God!

      My dear sir, the world is full of religion-makers and religion-seekers. One man makes a religion, and others seek to get it. Those who are getting religion, or striving to get religion, and those who are making religion, are equally in error The Christian religion is already made, fully revealed and published to the world; and in it "God is reconciling us to himself," and beseeching us to receive it. Many preach that we are to labor to get religion by propitiating the Deity. They teach sinners to struggle "to bring down Christ from above," while "the word is nigh them." Hence many called converted, are only converted to seek religion. They are converted to seek by prayer and penance to be converted. One would think that all converting power was found in prayers and tears, in sighs and groans, if he were to judge from what is preached and practised at most of our camp-meetings, whether they are Methodistic, Presbyterian, or Baptist camp-meetings: for latterly, you know, that the straw, the altar, and the mourning bench are got into fashion amongst your former enemies. They envy the success of those whom they denounced as enthusiastic Arminians; and now the sons of John Calvin and John Wesley are fighting with the same weapons. I am not sure but we may differ about the propriety of such substitutes for the means of conversion adopted by the Apostles; and about the propriety of teaching persons to pray for aid to be converted.

      The Bible difference amongst men is very simple and intelligible. All are regarded as receiving or rejecting the testimony of God--as believers or unbelievers in the pretensions of Jesus. It is safest, in my judgment, to proceed upon these well established principles, and to accost sinners accordingly. Before any person can pray or come to God, "he must believe that he exists; and that he is a rewarder of them who diligently seek him."

      One of my reasons for insisting so much upon the converting power, is, a conviction that some (nay, many) regard prayer as a means of conversion; and, instead of preaching Christ, preach prayer as the divinely appointed means of reformation and salvation. We, indeed, believe and teach that Christians should pray without ceasing for all things which God has promised; but, inasmuch as no Apostle ever commanded an unbeliever, or unbaptized person, to pray as a means of getting religion or of being converted, we cannot preach prayer as a [458] means of conversion. But as I may be mistaken with regard to your practice in this matter, I await your own statements. Very sincerely your friend,

      P. S. Since writing the above I have turned over to the "Dialogue on the whole work of the Holy Spirit in the salvation of men," vol. 2 of this work, to which you have frequently alluded. In that dialogue there is introduced an idea, which, if carried out fully, explains my views of converting power, and obviates the difficulties which have occurred to you. It is is this: That all rational beings act from motives, and that the power of any argument is the amount of motive which it presents to the mind. Now as the gospel furnishes the highest conceivable motives to excite human action, it would appear very mysterious, indeed, if any document possessing arguments or motives incomparably inferior, should be found more adequate to excite mankind to actions as contrary to the bias of their nature, and as full of heroism and self-denial as any thing which Christianity requires. We would rationally infer, that, if men are moved by motives acting in unison with their love of happiness, that document which furnishes the strongest motives would have the greatest influence on men.

      If, then, we see a man forsake the land of his nativity, the mother that watched over his infancy, the fascinating scenes of his childhood, his relatives and companions of his youth, and hazard life itself upon the tempestuous ocean, visit some foreign land, undergo all dangers and privations, for the sake of some temporary advantage of doubtful acquisition, through faith in human testimony, without any power out of that testimony--why should it be thought a thing incredible with you that the arguments and motives which the gospel presents, without any power out of the gospel, should influence men to that obedience which it requires? We have seen thousands and read of myriads of our race, who have, by sea and land, in a thousand enterprizes for some temporary purpose, denied themselves and exposed themselves to privations and hardships as great as ever Christianity required; nay, much greater than Jesus Christ ever required of any disciple.

      It may be alleged that the same motives do not operate alike upon all. One man visits the West India islands, when the dog-star rages, and jeopardizes his life for the profits on a single cargo, from the motive of gain. Another enters the navy; another enlists in the army; this man devotes his life to mathematics, sculpture, painting, or some of the fine arts; that man seeks literary or political renown; each in his own way, according to the motives presented to his mind, encounters the toils, and privations, and dangers attendant upon his pursuits, without any other power than that of simple motive; but always adapted to his circumstances and peculiar something, called taste, which is itself, perhaps, the creature of motive.

      Now the gospel presents motives which cannot fail to interest all mankind; but in order to this it must be understood and believed. The perishing things of time and sense may, and often do, hide it from the eyes of men; for their minds are filled with these objects. To remove these from the mind afflictions of every sort have a tendency: but often the gospel itself, without these, arrests the attention and captivates the heart. Females, because of their seclusion from the bustle of life, more than males, are more susceptible of the operation of these motives, and therefore proportionally more of them become obedient to the faith.

      No power other than the motive, however, can influence human action; and if the gospel proposes all the motives to holiness and spiritual happiness which can operate upon the human heart, it must possess all the power. If God's Spirit has, out of the word, imparted any other motive to any man, he never has been able to state it to others: for neither yourself, nor any philosopher or Christian, has been able to suggest a motive to another, besides those written in the book. All [459] that is necessary, then, is to regard it as certainly true; and all that circumstances or providences can do towards this, is, to remove interposing objects, that the light may shine upon the mind; unless you contend that the Spirit works faith in the mind independent of testimony--and this I understand you to reject as well as myself.

New Version and Dr. Cleland.

      IN farther illustration and corroboration of Dr. Cleland's candor, honesty, and veracity, we shall again introduce him to our readers, (a favor which our antagonists do not often confer upon us.) We are not afraid to let their preachers enter our synagogues, and deliver all their views of us; nor to let their writers appear on our pages, and publish what they have to write against us. We court examination--they seem to fear it. We can lose nothing in searching after truth--they may lose their salaries and their standing with the people. Prudence then says to them, 'Shut the pleaders for reform out of your meeting houses, and suffer them not to speak in your pages: for we must lose and they may gain if they are heard.' Let us, then, hear the Doctor:--

      "Let us now examine the author's acknowledged and boasted foundation of his new version. On page 396 is found the following declaration:--"We will give no Baptist authorities--But we rest the whole authority of this translation on the criticisms of the Romanists, Episcopalians, and Presbyterians." Now let the candid reader compare this ostentatious declaration with his title page, which ascribes the whole translation of the book to "George Campbell, James Macknight, and Philip Doddridge, Doctors of the Church of Scotland," (in italics,) and then ask himself, What have Romanists and Episcopalians to do, as responsible authorities, with the translation of a book specially ascribed to three learned men of a different denomination? This matter will be further attended to in the proper place. We have another specious statement of our Reformer, which at once destroys the veracity of the title page, and betrays a lack of truth and candor. Let it be well remembered, the book is expressly declared to be "translated from the original Greek, by George Campbell, James Macknight, and Philip Doddridge." So the uninformed of all classes understand it. Especially do the subalterns of Mr. Campbell, in the heat and ardor of controversy, exultingly tell us, "Here is the book translated by your own Doctors--here are their own words--their own admissions," &c. But hear the man who has sent forth this book to the public, patched up from different authors, founded "on the criticisms of the Romanists, Episcopalians, and Presbyterians," altered, amended, and mutilated, with an imposing, hypocritical, lying title page--I say, hear the author himself:--"From a great many sources, and from religious teachers of different denominations, inquiries, suggestions, and criticisms have been received, all directly or indirectly bearing upon the improvement of the new version. From these, and from our own diligent comparison and examination of all the documents furnished, and within our reach, we have been induced to modernize the style of this version very considerably. 2d ed. p. 448. Now if this man has improved and very considerably modernized the style of this new version, how did he have the assurance and effrontery to ascribe this version, in its very front, to Campbell, Macknight, and Doddridge? And if he has so altered and changed the style of the second edition, (from which the above quotation is made,) what may we not expect from the third, as he has had several years to make further improvement?" [460]

      Our first complaint against this statement is, that it tells a gross falsehood by quoting a remark from the Appendix, made on the quotations from Romanists and Protestants; which the Doctor applies not to the subject on which the remark was made, but to the whole work. The case is this:--Simon, Whitby, Hammond, Bishop Taylor, Beza, Luther, and Calvin are quoted in corroboration of immersion, as taught in the notes and criticisms of Campbell, Macknight, and Doddridge. On that single criticism we said (p. 396, 2d ed.) we "would give no Baptist authorities; but we rest the whole authority of this translation (baptisma by immersion) on the criticisms of Romanists, Episcopalians, and Presbyterians. This Mr. Cleland would have the reader to believe is said of the whole version, and with this intent would have the title page compared with this remark in the Appendix on a single word!!

      The next and only item remaining in this extract, is his allegation that the modernizing of the style falsifies the title page. For if we substitute has for hath, and you for ye, it is no longer the translation of the three Doctors! Grave Divine! And why does he call the common version "King James' Bible," when there are many thousand alterations in it? So rare is a pure copy of King James', that I presume Dr. Cleland never saw one. I have not leisure to count, but I will affirm on the comparisons which I have made, taking the ratio of a single book, that there are more than ten thousand alterations made in the Bible Society editions of the King's version, compared with a genuine King James' Bible!

      Thus we dispose of the preceding extract. It is all chaff, without one grain of wheat; but with such food this Pastor feeds his flock!

      But as the subject of change or alteration is to be often heard from these patent Doctors, I will go more fully into its examination. The title page of the third and fourth editions of the new version is wholly exempt from all the imputations of Mr. Cleland. It is set forth as containing various emendations, and is therefore, on the Doctor's premises, more consistent than the popular version: for, according to him, it is "a hypocritical and lying title page." It purports to be what it is not. At least many editions of it are set forth as appointed by the King to be read in the churches, which editions neither King James nor any other King appointed to be read. Some American editions have, from the republican hatred of Kings which is popular here, omitted the King's name, and the ancient prefaces and dedications to his Majesty, and set it forth as the Holy Bible, translated from the original Hebrew and Greek, and with the former translations diligently compared, &c. when this is true only of the first editions of it.

      But we do contend that these changes in the common version were, to a great extent, necessary; for unintelligible as many parts of it yet are, with all these changes, it would have been much more unintelligible if we had now to read it in the pure and unaltered style of King James. [461]

      The ignorant and interested have always made a great noise about changes: for, with them, if an n was upside down in the book their fathers read, it would be a sin to place it right. But while all intelligent, candid, and learned men will deprecate frequent changes in the Book of Books, they will vote for changes when time has rendered them absolutely necessary.

      All translators have found it necessary often to compare and revise their own labors. Dr. George Campbell kept his admirable work lying by him between 20 and 30 years, and was constantly making alterations and improvements in it; and observes that if he had kept it longer, he should likely have still farther improved it. Martin Luther devoted many years to changes and alterations in his own version. Before his time there had been published at Nuremburg versions of a very homely kind, in 1477, 1483, and in 1490; and at Augsburg in 1518. He published the whole New Testament in September, 1522. Soon after the appearance of this version the clergy attacked it with great virulence. The common people read it gladly. But every sort of bad motive was imputed to Luther, and the version decried as full of errors and heresies by those who were on the side of the reigning hierarchy. One Jerome Emser published a critical review of it, and much in the spirit and style of Dr. Cleland. He found no less than fourteen hundred heresies and falsehoods in it. Cochleus, equally hostile, but less presumptuous, exhibited only one thousand misrepresentations in it. Duke George bought up the copies of this translation, and inflicted punishment on those of his subjects who ventured to retain them.

      Luther made numerous alterations and improvements in his version. He was accused of always changing and new-modifying it; but in defiance of the calumnies of his opponents, he still persisted to issue one amended version after another. He gave one amended version in 1534; another in 1541; another in 1545.4 It has, with few amendments, continued to be read to the present time, and was the most powerful instrument in forwarding the Reformation.

      Changes and emendations have been the fortune of every translation of note. Even William Tyndal's Testament, of 1526, was amended by himself in 1534, and again in 1536.

      The Geneva Bible, accomplished by the exiles at Geneva--namely, Coverdale, Goodman, Gilby, Whittingham, Sampson, Cole, Knox, Bodleigh, and Pullain, and printed in 1557, the first ever printed with numerical verses, (of which we have now before us two copies,) underwent its full share of changes and amendments. It was, however, very popular in England amongst the Protestants, and underwent about thirty editions in one reign. It was for a time proscribed by Archbishop Parker; but after his death, in 1576, it was read by authority.

      That the reader may have a specimen of this version, and understand practically what we mean by alterations and amendments in style, while the sense is the same, I will transcribe a few passages:-- [462]

      "The Bible, translated according to the Ebrew and Greeke, and compared with the best translations in diverse languages, &c. Imprinted at London, by Robert Bakker, Printer to the King's Most Excellent Majestie. 1607."

      Titus iii. 4, 5.--But when the bountifulnesse and love of God our Saviour appeared. Not by the works of righteousnesse which wee had done, but according to his mercie he saved us by the washing of the new birth and the renewing of the Holy Ghost.

      1 Peter iii. 21.--Eight souls were saved in the water. To the which also the figure that now saveth us, even baptism agreeth (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but in that a good conscience maketh request to God) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

      Acts ii. 38.--Then Peter sayed unto them, Amend your lives, and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sinnes, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

      Rom. vi. 4.--We are buried then with him by baptism into his death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, so wee also should walke in newnesse of life.

      Heb. vii. 24.--But this man, because he endureth ever, hath an everlasting priesthood.

      Heb. viii. 7.--For if that first testament had been faultlesse, no place should have been sought for the second.


      "The Bible, translated according to the Ebrew and Greeke, and compared with the best translations in diverse languages, &c. Imprinted at London, by Robert Bakker, Printer to the King's Most Excellent Majestie. 1615."

      Titus iii. 4, 5.--But when that bountifulnesse and that love of God our Saviour toward man appeared. Not by the works of righteousnesse which we had done, but according to his mercy he saved us by the washing of the new birth and the renewing of the Holy Ghost.

      1 Peter iii. 21.--Eight soules were saved in the water. Whereof the baptism that now is, answering that figure (which is not a putting away of the filth of the flesh, but a confident demanding which a good conscience maketh to God) saveth us also by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

      Acts ii. 38.--Then Peter said unto them, Amend your lives and bee baptized, every one of you, for the remission of sinnes, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

      Rom. vi. 4.--Wee are buried then with him by baptism into his death, that like as Christ was raised up from the dead to the glory of the Father, so wee also should walke in newnesse of life.

      Heb. vii. 24.--But this man, because hee endureth ever, hath a priesthood which cannot pass from one to another.

      Heb. viii. 7.--For if that first testament had been unblameable, no place should have been sought for the second.

      Such is a mere specimen of the changes and improvements made in eight years in the Geneva Bible--a version the conjoint labors of nine persons. Had they lived to this time, and advanced as far in every 8 years as in those, we should likely now have needed no other version than that of these nine good Calvinists, amended and improved thirty-four times in 276 years.

      I am the more particular in the history of this version, as it belongs, by descent, to Dr. Cleland and his brothers, rather than to me; and when next he talks of changes, alterations, and amendments, let him remember the pit from which he was dug up; and if he continue to inveigh against our labors and to impeach our motives, let him [463] remember that every blow he strikes at us breaks the head of his great grand father before it can break our skin.

      But they were Paidobaptists, and never thought of translating baptizo; and therefore all their labors are of the nature of emendations, but ours are of the nature of corruptions of the text! This is the fatness of Dr. Cleland's argument. It is his love for the bare element of water, without regard to quantity, which hides all the sins of his forefathers in their changing and new-modifying the sacred text. Mr. Cleland goes for the mere element of water, and therefore to him a drop of dew will answer all the purposes of the Pacific Ocean. But in our next we shall attend to his capital objection to the new version.

Letter from Charles Cassedy, Esq.
No. III.

August 28, 1833.                            

Respected Sir,

      I HAVE received number 7, vol. 4, of the MILLENNIAL HARBINGER, containing the publication of my second letter to you, on the subject of the writs of the debate between Mr. Robert Owen and yourself; and also embracing some other matters, connected with what I am compelled reluctantly to believe, touching the wishes of some of the sectarian churches to interfere with the legislative and political concerns of the Republic. In noticing the above subjects, in the manner I have cone in my last communication, I was actuated by a spirit of impartiality and candor, as fearless as my consciousness of justice and rectitude of intention; believing, as I certainly do, that the religious, moral, and political interests and prosperity of mankind, require a prompt and decided rejection of Mr. Owen's theory of religion, as well as of all the theories of politics entertained by the sectarian Doctors of the churches, as connected with their theological professions. I have been informed (whether correctly or otherwise I am unable to say) that, in addition to the late attempt to influence Congress to pass a law for stopping the mails on Sunday, some of the sectarian theological journals, in the plenitude of their zeal for the propagation of their doctrines, and the triumph of their churches over the political energies of the nation, have openly boasted that they already possessed the wealth and numbers, and would shortly possess the POWER to compel Congress to do as they pleased! I trust, sir, for the sake of religion and humanity, and for the sake of our unrivalled political institutions, which guaranty perfect freedom and toleration to all religious denominations, that this imputation of ambition for secular power and dominion, on the part of any religious denomination, may be wholly unfounded. Undue and compulsory influence, from whatever source derived, or with whatever motives exercised over those who are entitled to the high prerogative of self-government, is absolute and [464] unconditional tyranny: and of all usurpations ever yet exercised over the human race, as is evidenced by those of the Church of Rome, ECCLESIASTICAL DESPOTISM is most to be dreaded by mankind.

      If religion involves the high responsibility of man to his MAKER; if it implies a reference of the deeds of men to the lofty and unerring tribunal of Heaven for decision; and if it presupposes, as I think it must, that the Almighty is fully competent to executing those laws which he himself, in the infinity of his wisdom, imposed on the universe at the creation; I cannot conceive, sir, by virtue of what scriptural or other authority, these secularly ambitious sectarians presume to interfere between man and his Creator, or to desire the ultimate triumph of their contradictory and disputatious creeds, by the obliquitous, and too frequently iniquitous co-operation of merely human institutions. Were the government to grant them all they seem to desire, which the political constitutions of the union, and the enlightened liberality and forecast of the American community, will always continue to veto in tones of thunder,--I am something at a loss to distinguish with precision, what use they would make of their politically theological power. Would they establish a NATIONAL CHURCH, and enforce the collection of taxes (tithes) for the support of this LEVIATHAN of their holy and misdirected zeal? Would they trammel the consciences of our citizens, and as far as legislative influence might be made to extend, compel them to attend their popular congregatings, and conform to their external rites and ceremonies? Can they possibly conceive, that the human mind may be forced into the belief and adoption of any theological creed, and compelled to direct itself heavenward by the anathemas of the church, or the energies of municipal law? If they entertain opinions or hopes such as these, they certainly neglected to contemplate the numerous martyrdoms suffered in the early ages, for the establishment of the facts and doctrines which constitute the APOSTOLIC BASIS of their own creeds: they have yet to learn, that although man may sometimes be made a hypocrite, he can never be made a true believer, by compulsory or even painful and cruel measures, as is demonstrated by the whole history of the Inquisition; and they have yet to distinguish, that intellectual freedom is the element of TRUTH, the true parent of mental, moral, and religious enjoyment--and, in fine, that however the human physical system may be subjected to the coercive, and even painful inflictions of municipal or ecclesiastical tyranny, yet that the human SOUL is naturally and essentially free, and always will, under the most painful and excruciating circumstances, exult in its sentiments of unrestrained, and even unbounded LIBERTY OF CONSCIENCE!

      The human mind, in this enlightened age, has attained too great a pitch of elevation, strength, and improvement, to be coerced in its progressive energies by the mere cobwebs of sublunary power; within the last hundred years it has received an irresistible impulse to the fulfilment of its HIGH DESTINIES, which must forever bid defiance to the comparatively feeble efforts of human despotism to restrain its course; and, all attempts to bind it to the servile observance of either political [465] or religious creeds, unsanctioned by the free and conscientious exercise of its own powers, would be as ridiculous, futile, and absurd, as would be human efforts to change the laws of nature, or to coerce and give direction to the winds of heaven! This improvement in intellectual elevation and moral energy, has not been the preternatural and miraculous growth of an hour, like the gourd of Jonah,or even of a single age: it has been the offspring of causes, which have been in progressive and silent operation for a long lapse of preceding ages; and the momentum of its influence on the whole human race, in spite of ignorance, fanaticism, sectarian zeal, and religious as well as political despotism, will not and cannot be diminished, if the art of printing continues to be known and practised, to the end of time. Human degeneracy can never spring from solid acquisitions of intellectual power; these acquisitions are as essential to the spread of vital and unadulterated religion, as they are to the growth of moral virtue and of human happiness; the degeneracy, and retrograde movements of mankind, in all ages, to a state of barbarism and degradation, have sprung from ignorance of their true interests, and the superstitions entailed on them by a barbarous and unenlightened ancestry. But the scene is now changed; mental improvement, and moral elevation of character, through the instrumentality of the art of printing, which can nearly multiply to infinity, and almost perpetuate to eternity, transcriptive records of all the useful discoveries o, science, are now effectuating a permanent moral revolution in the destinies of mankind. The ancient frauds, and mystical influences of superstition, will sink before these progressive illuminations of the human mind; genuine and UNADULTERATED RELIGION will not only have nothing to apprehend from them, but will be sustained in its purity and influence, by their sublime, tolerant, and comprehensive energies; hypocrisy, which is the religion of knaves; fanaticism, which is the religion of madmen; fear, which is the religion of imbecility and cowardice; superstition, which is the religion of fools; and ecclesiastical despotism, which is the religion of TYRANTS, alone will suffer in the ordeal of intellectual elevation and improvement. Man is becoming a reasoning, if not as yet a very reasonable being; he is gradually emancipating himself from the servile yoke of his passions, elevating himself to true intellectual dignity, asserting his real rank in the great scale of creation, and appealing from his childish fears, vindictive bigotries, and disgraceful and absurd superstitions, to the throne of REASON and GOOD SENSE, for testimonials of the truth or error of all creeds, mythological, theological, and secular, which are considered as connected with his prosperity and happiness. This is, in fact, the age of danger to all visionary and unsupported theories, religious and political: and it is not improbable that this view of the present and anticipated state of things, may have given rise to the late attempts to overawe Congress in the matter of stopping the mails on Sunday, as well as to the menace put forth, as I have understood, by some of the sectarian theological journals, that they "had the wealth and numbers, and would shortly possess the POWER to compel Congress to do as they pleased!" [466] And, sir, I have been thus particular in touching with a strong hand the above subjects, that I might exhibit a clear title to require, or if you prefer the phraseology, to demand from your candor, and better information touching all sectarian manoeuvres for the acquisition of power, authentic and public intelligence respecting the above menace, if indeed any such were made. The information I require is by no means unimportant to the people of the United States; very many of whom begin to suspect (and possibly on just grounds) that the late attempt to stop the mails on Sunday, was merely intended to test the popular power of SECTARIAN THEOLOGICAL AMBITION in Congress: and that, had this effort been successful, the next essay would have been to establish, by law, a NATIONAL RELIGIOUS CREED!

      I am perfectly aware of the delicate predicament in which I place you, in making this requisition for correct information; I know that many (if not all) of the sectarian professors are your enemies; and, that any replication you may vouchsafe, however characterized by mildness, candor, and elevated integrity of purpose, will be construed by those who have lavished on you much personal abuse, into malignity of temper and motive. I trust, however, that your moral firmness, and strong sense of public duty and justice, will lead you to disregard defamatory consequences in the cause of truth: and that you will bear in mind the ancient and valuable maxim, "Justice is the queen of virtues."

      With great and sincere respect,
            I am, sir,
                  Your obedient servant,



Respected Sir,

      THE Prince of Peace, when he made his good confession in the presence of Pontius Pilate, the Roman Procurator, explicitly avowed that his kingdom was not of this world, though he has a kingdom in it. Unfortunately, in the blinded zeal of many of his professed adherents, numerous and daring attempts have been made to falsify, or at best to nullify, this unequivocal declaration. During the long dark night of the Catholic ascendency, the standing order of every day, for more than a thousand years, was, to bring the whole world into the church by the potency of infant dedication. So far as the arguments of the Roman Pontiffs prevailed, every thing born of woman was carried nolens volens into the church. All infants were christened in the very act of receiving their names. Thus the doors of the church were made as wide as the gates of life, and all the children of the world were made members of the church. By this stratagem the landmarks of the kingdom of the Messiah--the kingdom of righteousness, purity, peace, and joy, were defaced; and wherever the sword of the civil magistrate extended its jurisdiction, the benedictions and maledictions of the "Holy Father," Christ's Vicar, were regarded with religious veneration. For more than a thousand years it was all church, and no world. Then, indeed, if the Roman Catholic church was Christ's kingdom, it was a kingdom of this world. [467]

      But, sir, we can find on the faithful page of history5 a church that never worshipped the Pope as Christ's Vicar, and that always witnessed, though often in sackcloth and ashes, that the Messiah's kingdom was not of this world. Our ancestors, however, were reformed Papists; and these United States having been nursed in British cradles, were set up on the maxims of English Puritans, Scotch Presbyterians, with some traditions from the church of Saint Harry. Lutherans and Calvinists our progenitors were; and while they laid with great violence the axe to the root of the Papal tree, they never thought of that germ of carnality, infant church membership, but nourished and cherished it with the greatest solicitude. Hence those natural Christians, those carnal spirituals, born after the flesh, being a majority, soon dressed up their bastard Christianity in all the attire of worldly glory: and if their bantling was not treated with courtly respect, they grasped the sword, after the manner of their old mother, and filled the incredulous with fear and trembling.

      By a jure divino sort of argument the King and the Priest were equally the Lord's anointed; and forming a copartnery for better and for worse, they faithfully managed the affairs of both worlds by a standing army of Lords spiritual and temporal--by a pensioned priesthood of secular regulars and regular seculars--of spiritual ecclesiastics and ecclesiastic spirituals--until all things worked together for the good of the King and the Bishop.

      In the days of King James the chorus to every orthodox song in the High Church Psalter, was, "No Bishop, no King;" and our good puritanical fathers, fascinated by these pious melodies, ostensibly got up an image of the beast, and would, in their philanthropy, have all men honor it, as their fathers honored its great prototype at Rome.

      Our pious forefathers hated persecution while they were its unfortunate victims; but so soon as their wounds were healed under the genial influences of an American sun, they thought of erecting to themselves temples and tribunals after the manner of England and Scotland, of France and Italy, only without that imp of horror, a Lord Inquisitor. A few lashes, indeed, at least skin deep, they thought might be good for the soul, and accordingly they made for themselves a few scourges for the spiritual good of their much beloved neighbors and brethren, the Quakers and Baptists; thus showing, that, in their judgment, a few gentle strokes, dealt out by Protestant hands, could have no bad effect when judiciously administered to bodies not their own.

      The sages of the Revolution, admonished by these instructive hints, took special care to keep the civil government out of the church, and thus to remind the preachers that their Master's kingdom was not of this world. They have learned this lesson with a very bad grace; for to this day they will not yield to the civil magistrate the right to teach them. They have, indeed, to subscribe the popular creed, and say, No union between the church and state; but occasionally they too much resemble the royalist, who, in drinking a toast to the Protector Cromwell, would, by a glance of his eye, show that Charles was in his heart.

      Mindful of the flesh pots, the leeks and onions of Egypt, our Paidobaptist brethren, a vast majority of whom received their religion and their name by a few drops of water from the finger of a son of some old hierarchy, are praying for a time when the government shall be on their shoulders, and "kings shall again become nursing fathers and queens nursing mothers to the church."

      But to come at once to the questions which you have so respectfully tendered--I am, from a memory disposed rather to forget historical events, especially when they are only to live within me as new monuments of human folly--unable to refer to the proper authority in attestation of some such saying as that which you have so precisely quoted. I could, indeed, name the man who could give full and authentic information on this head. But unfortunately he committed himself so far in his project to bring 500,000 religious and orthodox voters [468] into the field, that his tongue is tied and his lips sealed on these projects. But as his chivalrous soul hazards the most daring enterprizes, I am not without some misgivings that the Rev. Ezra Styles Eli would own some such bold assertion respecting the future glory of Presbyterianism in these United States.

      Such menaces, sir, I believe have been made, and I believe that the aforesaid gentleman's periodicals will afford as much light upon them as any other print in America.

      If I mistake not, a motion was made in the General Assembly of the Presbyterian church, and actually carried so far as to return thanks, in the name of the church, to Congress for its decision of a certain matter. This I regarded then, and I was pleased to see that it was so regarded by a portion of that august body, as a jesuitical stroke of policy to gain power. For if the authority of the General Assembly is to be felt in Congress, in the way of benediction, it is to be presumed that it would soon expect to be felt in the way of malediction. Many a gallant steed has been saddled and bridled by the charms of a handful of salt, while the wary rider kept the bridle out of sight.

      When I saw this vote of thanks going from Philadelphia to Washington, I thought of a fable in Esop, and saw in vision the salt in the left hand and the bridle in the right. But it was not courteously received; and I hope the good sense of the Assembly will hereafter mind its own business.

      The word nation, sir, is a word of much pomp and splendor in these Republics. Our theologians all know how to make an adjective of it. We have got the National Preacher, Tract Society, Sunday School UNION, and I cannot name how many national objects, religious and political, are in view. A national church, if we could only agree about what it ought to he, would be a glorious desideratum; and then a tax to support it would not be amiss. Did you ever, my dear sir, discover the policy of the General Assembly admitting into its deliberations commissioners every year from the Congregational Associations of New England? This union will always further the prospects of all the sons of hierarchy in the land; and should the happy day arrive that the old leaven will leaven the whole mass, the world will, in the bosom of the church, be astonished how gently it got into its kind embraces.

      Such have been my lucubrations on all the passing incidents of the day, especially since the no-Sunday mail project commenced its career. A church of this world, controlling the literature of the country, and founding great theological and ecclesiastic establishments, boasting of wealth and learning, and gathering under its control all the children of the flesh, exhibits the boldest traits of the proudest hierarchies of the old world; and it would be a new thing under the sun if such an institution would not assume a menacing attitude when fast rising into power.

      Indeed, the old and scriptural adage, "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?" has caused me long since to despair of any "Protestant" sect rising above its fountain, If the mother sect was a tyrant, the daughter will ape her temper; and when of mature age and reason, she will imitate her practice. The Catholic, Episcopalian, and Presbyterian in America, are the same as in Rome, England, and Scotland, only under the control of different circumstances. Assimilate the circumstances here to the circumstances there, and no law of nature will be more consistent with itself than the spirit of these sects. They would be on the throne here, as certainly as the smoke ascends upwards.

      All that have once taken the sword, would take it again; for "all who take the sword must perish by the sword;" and they cannot perish by the sword, unless they take it. These are oracles of reason as well as of revelation. A King of France, tyrannical as he was, could be a subject in England when adverse fates drove him from his throne; but when fortune smiled on him, he could again resume his royal prerogative without a demur. I cannot, therefore, form a more favorable judgment of these American sects than their past history will authorize, and am necessarily jealous of all their movements.

      In them are found many good citizens--men in whom the spirit of humanity rises above the spirit of the party: but as every creed has a soul as well as a [469] body, the spirit of these creeds is as necessarily proscriptive and tyrannical as instinct in a lion. The creed must be changed, and its spirit cast out, before I dare trust my civil liberties in the hands of the best members of any one of these three royal sects. Each of them has its children too; and, as nature never errs, the third generation is to be suspected as well as its progenitors. I fear the Episcopal Methodist as I do his Episcopalian mother.

      But, sir, the Sceptics themselves are as sectarian as the religionists of our country; and while the tablet of my memory has inscribed upon it the deeds of the French Sceptics, I can give no preference to an Atheist above a Pope. I know them too well to trust in them even in an "age of reason." Any government will be mild and kind when all are of one opinion. Our community is mixed, and the wisdom of our institutions is, that, irrespective of sectarian opinions, men of moral worth are eligible to every office, and that our government knows no man according to his faith. This is all we can expect or wish in the present state of the world. Our duty, therefore, as citizens, is, to hand down to posterity the institutions of our country as we found them; and to direct the minds of our contemporaries to that great change which will soon astonish the world--when all the monarchies, republics, and hierarchies, sceptical and sectarian, shall be broken to pieces as a potter's vessel, by the iron rod of the Great King. For this glorious expectation I have a hundred reasons to offer. To submit a few of these to your consideration, would, at a more convenient time, afford me great satisfaction. Our government is eligible only in reference to the three degrees of comparison; for it falls immensely short of doing that honor to human nature, and of conferring those benefits on mankind, which right reason and true religion inculcate, with an eloquence more thrilling than ever fell on Grecian or Roman ear.

With sentiments of very high regard and esteem,
      I have the honor to be your obedient servant,


Methodistic Liberality.

      OUR readers will remember an extract from the Christian Advocate and Zion's Herald, which appeared in No. 6 of the current volume. This document evinced a strong inclination on the part of the conductors of said journal to calumniate us under the charge of Unitarianism. We not only addressed to the editors of said journal our remarks upon their article, but also a previous number containing our reply to Elder Grew, showing how utterly foundationless were the imputations of these gentlemen. We wrote them also a note, complaining of their injustice, and asking for reparation; requesting at the same time, that, if they published the pieces referred to, or said any thing in reply concerning us, they would send us their paper, and we would exchange with them.

      Report says they never published any communication from me, nor extract from the Harbinger, save some of the letters from Mr. Waterman; one of which I accidentally saw on my late tour through Ohio. One thing, however, we do know, that not one of their papers has ever reached our office. If they wish to compel us to subscribe for it, we now inform them that we will not. I believe no law or point of courtesy is more universally established, than the custom of authors and editors forwarding, without solicitation, to those whom they assail, copies of their works. But these gentlemen appear willing to receive ours, and send us nothing in return.

      This is, however, a very small matter in comparison of what follows. They have actually refused to do me justice, and will not permit one of my pieces to reach the eyes of their readers through the medium of their columns. They do falsely accuse us, and actually refuse us, as far as in their power, the right of self-defence. I should have thought this beneath the dignity of any admirers [470] of John Wesley; and, indeed, had I not seen one of Mr. Waterman's letters copied out of the Harbinger, I would rather have inferred that my numbers had failed in reaching their destiny, than that they could at once violate the rules of courtesy and the sacred rights of justice.

      I would complain of their publishing Mr. Waterman's letters without my replies, but these high-handed measures diminish my surprize on witnessing their pusilanimity and cowardice. But "the craft in danger" is an argument which at once overrules all the considerations of politeness, reason, and justice.

      It is presumed that this notice of these champions of Methodism will bring upon my defenceless head a torrent of abuse in the aforesaid columns; but as I never expect to see it, I will escape all the grief which such conduct is wont to produce: for, according to the proverb, "What reaches not the eye, grieves not the heart."

Sectarian Liberality.

      THE Presbyterian in Philadelphia, the Christian Secretary in Hartford, and some Baptist Register in New York, have in part walked in the footsteps of our Methodist friends of the Herald. Each of them has assailed us in its own way, and refused to publish in its own columns our replies--So that all the rights of courtesy are to be denied us heretics; for no other reason, 'we guess,' than that the ancient Christian institutions are more obnoxious to the reprobation of the modern Rabbis, than even the wildest fanaticism or the most brainless superstitions of their contemporaries. We cannot otherwise explain the singular course of these guides of public opinion: for they would rather publish a column from the Pope or a page from Voltaire, than a few paragraphs from the Harbinger.

Progress of Reform.


GREECE, Monroe county N. Y. June 20, 1833.      

      HAVING been a constant reader of the Harbinger for two years, and observing the signs of the times and the agitation there is in the religious world, my eye is delighted and my heart is gladdened to see the march of truth--I mean, that the True Gospel is gaining the ascendancy over the modern gospels. I say gospels, for every sect seems to have one peculiar to itself.--I think, notwithstanding the opposition, that the prospects are, in this section of country, very flattering. Some seven or eight ministers (some of them under my immediate observation) have come out in favor of Reform. I think many of the Baptists have taken friend Powell's advice, to "fight Campbellism by letting it alone."

PAULETTE, Vt. July 4, 1833.      

      WE are progressing some, in this region, in the cause of truth; but our opposers are as active as ever, and the people mostly are ignorant of our real sentiments, and think, or affect to think, that the disciples and the Mormonites are the very same people:--and so long as they will neither hear, nor read, how can they be corrected?

OOTEGELOGE, Cherokee Nation, July 5, 1833.      

      NOT long since, Mr. Pearson, the present Superintendent of the Methodist Missions in this Nation, demanded my parchments. He said he acted under the instructions of the Conference. After I obeyed the mandate, I was informed that if I had refused, a charge would have been preferred against me predicated upon my refusal!

      How mysterious and unbecoming such manoeuvering! Alas for those in bondage to creeds, governments, and isms of human invention! [471]

      1. The Conference decreed that I was a suitable person to preach the gospel, read the Holy Scriptures in the church of God, solemnize the rites of Matrimony, and administer the Sacraments.

      2. That in the year 1832 I should not be located, but left without an appointment.

      3. That I should be stripped of all clerical authority.

      What have I done to merit these decrees?--

      1. I was immersed into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

      2. I published to the world, in the Harbinger, that I believed the Holy Scriptures to be the only divinely authorized and all-sufficient rule of Christian faith and practice, and that I could not in good conscience subscribe to those institutions of Methodism which I believed to be additions to primitive Christianity, &c. &c.

      Now, do these things render me unworthy to proclaim the gospel, &c. &c,.? Who can witness the ecclesiastical movements of the day, without almost involuntarily breathing forth the dying prayer of our blessed Saviour and the holy Stephen.
J. J. TROTT.      

COBOURG, Canada, July 6, 1833.      

      I WILL now give you a short sketch of affairs in this Province. The cause of liberal, or ancient Christianity, has just got a little start in Canada. It has, thus far, been a hard struggle; but I am happy to say that now public opinion generally is in its favor. There are no churches nor preachers who particularly call themselves Reformers, or Disciples; they all take the name Christian, which I believe you acknowledge yourself. The most of the Christian preachers of my acquaintance are decidedly in favor of the principles you write upon, and ever have been since their conversion. We very much want an evangelist possessed of learning and talent sufficient to face the wisdom of the world, to travel through this province to advocate the principles of ancient Christianity. The preachers among us who are most capable of this task, are worn out already; and, as you yourself know that people generally are fond of new things, many would flock out to hear a stranger when they would not any one else.

      There is a man among us from Rochester, by the name of Benj. Howard, who has been expelled from the Christian connexion, and now sometimes says he is a Reformer, Disciple, New Light, Christian, &c. He is a man of a bad character: and thinking probably you might have received, or may hereafter receive some letters from him, I thought it no more than a duty I owe to my Creator and his cause, to let you know, or put you under warning. I think his motive is to raise up a party. I will give you a sample of his career:--A man being considerably agitated concerning the baptism of his wife, fell into a fit, which he is quite subject to. Mr. Howard then stated that it was the power of God that struck him down because he opposed his wife; and further, he said he knew that it would take place, for God had told him so--for says he, "God tells me all that is going to happen."

      I must now give you an account of a man of this place who has recently become convinced of the truth of the reforming principles. Last winter I spoke to him a number of times about the Harbinger, but never could get him to consent even to look at it; for, said he, I am sick of the writings of the world at the present day. A short time after, I presented him with one which I had just got from the post office. He then looked at it, and expressed a desire to read it. I left it, and he in consequence became so forcibly struck with its contents, that he has become a subscriber and is now using his influence in its favor, which is very great, he being the learned Editor of the Cobourg Reformer, a well conducted paper. He had been a Methodist preacher for, a number of years before he left England, and some time in Canada. He has it in contemplation to publish a monthly periodical on reforming principles.
JAMES ASH, Jun. [472]      

MURFREESBOROUGH, Tenn. July 12, 1833.      

      I AM happy to tell you, that in our favored town the Living Word has effectually proven itself to be God's power to the salvation of many. The church of Christ in this place is composed of more than forty disciples, about fifteen of whom have been introduced into the kingdom by immersion since the first of March. A few weeks past, myself and brother Curbee took a tour as far as Alexandria and Statesville, about thirty miles from home. While gone, we had the inexpressible satisfaction of burying with our Lord fourteen intelligent persons; and about the same number (a part of whom had been raised vassals to a sect) professed emancipation, and rallied under the banner of our King.
T. FANNING.      

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. July 26, 1833.      

Brother Campbell,

      I ASK permission through your paper to make a few remarks on the subject of Tracts. My reason for so doing, is, that I have recently found in the post-office several numbers of the Baptist Tract Magazine. It is about a year now since I left Presbyterianism, and was immersed into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Since that time I have been engaged in teaching my brethren the plain import of God's word as is is found in the New Testament. How my name found its way to Philadelphia, I am at a loss to imagine. I suppose that some person has given information that I have renounced Presbyterianism, and the. friends of Baptist tracts supposed that of course I would engage in the good cause under another banner. On the subject of isms, I have renounced them all; and as to tracts, I view them all in the same light. We hear a wailing from one end of the land to the other, as sore as that of Micah when the Danites had stolen his gods and priest. What is the matter? There is not a tract in every house--the voice of these silent preachers is not heard in every habitation! Surely the people will die for lack of knowledge! Societies are found with a progeny as numerous as the sons of Aaron, with Agents, Magazines, &c. &c. all of which is dubbed the Lord's cause; and to be found opposed to this cause, is a sin of the first magnitude, and not to be forgiven in this life. The Lord's cause must be a good cause; but it is yet to be shown that Tract Societies are his cause. The Lord's cause upon earth is the salvation of sinners. To effect this he has taken the most effectual plan; all his means are adapted to the end, and are of his own devising. The means are set forth in the New Testament; but in vain do we seek to find tracts even named in that book of divine instructions. The Lord carried on his cause in the days of Paul and Peter by the sword of truth, which is the sword of the Spirit; but in 1833 the word of truth is not sufficient--there must be something more. Paul was content to preach that Jesus died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he rose again on the third day according to the scriptures. But we must now-a-days have something more. Sinners will die in their sins if they do not read the Dairyman's Daughter, Cottager's Wife, Shepherd of Salisbury Plains, &c. &c. The Lord, it would seem, has become hard beset in these days for means, when he must resort to lies (or fables) to carry on his cause. The old Mother of Harlots used to work miracles for the conversion of the heathen. I ask, where is the difference between a false miracle and a religious fiction?--Now it does seem to me that there is no difference between the two modes of doing the Lord's work. But the old apology may be, I suppose, resorted to--"The end sanctifies the means." If Paul and his coadjutors were here, do those tract-makers suppose that they would become Presidents, General Agents, &c. I will answer for them, and say, they would not. If Paul's preaching should prove to be as successful in our day as it was in the year 60, there would be more trash burnt than was burnt at Ephesus.

      The Presbyterians, Methodists, and Baptists, all have their Tracts and Tract Societies. Now if the Lord's cause consists in tracts, how does it come to pass that we see so much difference in those tracts? We are told that they are a means of grace, and that many have reformed their lives by reading tracts. [473] From reading my Bible I learn that nothing but truth, inspired truth, is sufficient for these things. Who will say that tracts are inspired truth, or even truth at all? Many of the most celebrated are fabrications. If they are inspired by the Spirit, I would ask whether the Spirit inspires the writer or the book after it is written? if the writers were under spiritual influence, it must be some other spirit than that Spirit by which Paul was assisted when he said, "I tell the truth in Christ; I lie not."

      From the wailing and lamentation which we hear in the land, one might suppose that Jesus could not carry on his cause without tracts, and that Satan was in fair prospects of carrying off the inhabitants of the Mississippi Valley, soul and body, and could only be prevented by an inundation of Tracts and Sunday Schools from the East.

      Such institutions as Tracts and Tract Societies may be of use, and no doubt they are; but not to the cause of pure Christianity. They doubtless answer the Methodist, Baptist, and Presbyterian cause a valuable purpose, and may succeed in making many converts to their faith; but that is something else than the faith of the gospel.
  Yours in love,
W. W. STEVENSON.      

PIKE COUNTY, Mo. August 9, 1833.      

      I AGAIN lift my pen to communicate a few things concerning the progress of Christianity here. The congregation which was formed here last winter, numbering at that time 34, has increased since then to nearly double. We meet every first day to celebrate the death and sufferings of our Saviour by breaking the loaf, while the world and sectarians rather scoff and lightly view this manner of proceeding. We bless the Lord that he has ever made it our privilege weekly to celebrate the memorials of our dying Lord.

MONTICELLO, Ky. August 10, 1833.      

      THE cause of reform is still progressing; we seldom meet but additions are made to the household of faith; at this time the number of names together are about 170, who are, with few exceptions, praising God and giving thanks for so great salvation.

BRUCEVILLE, Ind. August 13, 1833.      

      IN April last I advised you of the progress the good word of the Lord had made amongst us. Since that time 8 or 10 were constituted from our body. They now number about 25; and our increase has been between 40 and 50. We are now nearly one hundred in number; and are all striving to walk in the commandments of the Lord blameless. Last evening four of my children returned from a four days meeting in Allison's Prairie, Illinois. They inform me that great attention and good order prevailed. Eighteen or twenty made the good confession; amongst whom I had the pleasure to hear one of my sons obeyed.

      Brother Trimble preaches near the Wabash. The labors of this worthy brother are greatly blessed. He has immersed more than one hundred since lie has been riding amongst us. Persecution rages; but "truth is mighty, and will prevail."
  Yours in hope of immortal life,

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. August 13, 1833.      

      THE cause of reformation is rapidly progressing here and elsewhere in Kentucky. Since the first of June brother Morton and myself have immersed about 75 persons; brother Thomas Smith, about 40 in the adjoining county; brother John Smith, about 300 in the neighborhood of Mount Sterling; besides many others who have been immersed by other brethren around him. [474] Brethren Stone, J. T. Johnston, and J. Creath, Jun. have immersed in George Town, Scott county, and Fayette, about 350, or more; besides others immersed by other brethren. So far as I am able to learn, I would say, there have been not less than 1000 persons immersed during the last two months in a few counties around us. More seriousness than usual is apparent, and the god of this world (with many) has in a great degree lost his bewitching influence. It is high time that men and women be honest.

      But you and our friends abroad will ask, Does the opposition on the part of the sects around us give way? No--far from it; but waxes worse and worse; all of which we look for. Since my observation of the religious world, I have never seen so much prejudice and so much union by the religious sectaries. It has been a common idea with many, that we destroy all union wherever we go; but this is a great error. No; we bind the sects more and more together. The Old Baptists, Methodists, and Presbyterians have joined their opposition, and are making a common cause against the reformation. Yes, they say, 'Come over and help us against this common enemy.' Hence they preach together and for one another; to all of which I give my warmest consent; for the force of Bible truth will require the heads and efforts of all to withstand it.

      But I must make some observations in relation to a circumstance which occurred at Mount Pleasant Meeting House in this county, where Edmund Waller has a large congregation. On the 10th and 11th instant, the brethren, who a short time since (say the 15th of May) organized themselves together as a church of Christ, upon the word of truth only, met according to their standing appointment, at that place to worship. The law of our Legislature gives a positive right to those who may dissent from any church, to use the house in proportion to their numbers; but this privilege has been constantly denied. We have therefore met in the yard of the meeting house lot. On Saturday the brethren hawled two waggon loads of plank and seats to the lot, in order to make the friends who might attend comfortable. We occupied them on Saturday--but, behold! when we came together on Lord's day morning to worship, we found every bench and plank burnt to ashes!! What a spirit of burning these is about this old Regular Baptist orthodox establishment! Edmund Waller6 burnt the New Testament because of his holy indignation against new translations; and his Mount Pleasant brethren, or some imbibing their spirit, have burnt the planks and benches to vent their spleen and holy indignation against the presumption of those who would dare be seated there in order to hear for themselves, "prove all things, and hold fast that which is good." But the old saying is true--"Like Priest, like People." The pupils will always imbibe the spirit of their master or teacher. Edmund burnt the book because he hated it; and those who burnt the benches acted upon the same principle--not because they hated the benches, but the people for whose use and comfort they were intended. It is not, however, my intention to apply the above remarks to all the members of Mount Pleasant church--no, far from it! I know some of them who despise such wicked and outrageous conduct; but "the leaders do cause my people to err." But we are very willing, if they are determined to be wicked, that the people shall see it.

      Notwithstanding this catastrophe, I spoke upon the gospel proclamation to a large audience, who were seated in gigs and other carriages, on rails, rocks, cloaks, and many standing upon their feet. At the close of the worship I had the pleasure of seeing six persons knocking for the privilege of sharing the cross and shame of being found relying upon the one Lord, one faith, and one immersion. Well, let the wicked rage. As fire burnt the book, and the plank and benches, so fire will most assuredly burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire; but the wheat shall be preserved in the garner.

      We number now at Mount Pleasant about 35 or 37 disciples. The church was organized with only 3 present. We expect nothing but opposition. We [475] are ready and prepared to meet it; but not by using the same weapons of defence. No! for one I am resolved to stand or fall upon the claims of the Bible alone, without any adjuncts.

LEXINGTON, Ky. August 19, 1833.      

      THE ancient gospel in this region of country is successful beyond all calculation; yet not more so than it should be. Some individuals among our public teachers, have, within two months past, immersed from two to three hundred persons; and, strange as it may appear, it is nevertheless true, that your unworthy brother and correspondent did recently, within the vicinity of the city of Lexington, immerse a number of persons for the remission of sins, and raised them up to walk in newness of life. This I was called upon by the brethren and sisters to do, and was not disobedient to the calls. The cause of reformation in this place is rather looking up. We have had lately a number of accessions to our congregation after immersion. We do not only labor to convert persons to the ancient and primitive gospel, but to the ancient mode of living, into which our clergy cannot enter, and without which we will have done but little more than our predecessors. As a congregation of disciples, we continue to live as at the beginning, regardless of the opposition of our clergymen.

Washington co. Pa. August 24, 1833.      

      ALTHOUGH so near you, yet not having an opportunity of going to your place, I thought it good to write you a line concerning our affairs in the church to which I am attached. Our beginning and increase have been as follows:--My wife and I had been baptized some years ago. I procured a brother to visit us and proclaim the gospel on the 28th of October last. Three submitted to the government of the Lord; on the 3d of April last, seven; on the 9th of June, six; on the 30th of June, four; on the 11th of August, five; so that our total number now amounts to 29. Our Elders and Deacons are chosen, and we have resolved to follow the word of our Lord alone. It will certainly give you much joy to know that this church is planted in the neighborhood immediately north of Laughlinstown, Westmoreland county, Pa. We have had no visit from any other man, and none, except at the times above mentioned. My object in writing is to ask and encourage you to come or send to our assistance. We shall have a two or three days meeting, commencing on the 27th of September next. Do, if possible, come yourself, or send somebody else, and let the attention of our travelling brethren be turned to us.

LOUISVILLE, September 4, 1833.      

      THE good cause is progressing astonishingly here. Some thousands have been immersed according to the original mode, and the cause is still advancing. May the smiles of heaven be with you!
JOHN R. M'CALL.      

BRUCEVILLE, Ind. September 7, 1833.      

      THE good work is still progressing with us. Brother Trimble has immersed not less than fifty since I last wrote you. A considerable part of them will unite with us at Bruceville. A few minutes ago I witnessed his baptizing four for the remission of their sins at our village. May the good word of the Lord prosper until all flesh may see his salvation!
WILLIAM BRUCE. [476]      

HOWARD, Centre county, Pa. September 7, 1833:      

      MANY, if they prove faithful, will bless God in the day of eternity, for the labors of brother Shepherd among them. He has been indefatigable in his efforts to move the veil that long obscured the Scriptures from the minds of the people in this section of country. The brethren can now see the holy oracles with their own eyes. There are several brethren who labor in the word and teaching in Bradford county.

      After I returned from Bradford county, the next Lord's day I immersed three persons in Beech Creek; the following Lord's day I immersed one at Mill Hall, six miles below Beech Creek. He is the first in the place who has been immersed for the remission of sins. He stated to the congregation that he had been convinced that immersion was essential to baptism from reading Professor Stuart's remarks on baptism and its derivatives.

      Last Saturday we commenced a three days meeting at Beech Creek. Brother Shepherd and several other brethren from Bradford county attended. On Lord's day three persons made the good confession, and were baptized; on Monday thirteen more were immersed for remission, making sixteen in all at that meeting. Such joy and gladness among brethren I have seldom witnessed. The most of those who were immersed are in the morning of life.
N. I. MITCHELL.      


      Dear Sir--ON the 8th instant, on our way to Philadelphia, and on the 15th on our return, we had the pleasure of meeting with the brethren in Baltimore; and seldom have our spirits been more refreshed than on these occasions. The perfect simplicity which their meetings present, and the unaffected piety which appeared to pervade every person in the assembly, and the solemn manner in which every thing was done, is so much in character with the New Testament, that even a superficial observer must be struck with it. The main design of all the remarks made were to lead the congregation more to the Scriptures, and to the obedience of them--to hold in higher estimation correct action, than correct thinking--and the cultivation of love amongst themselves. When we add to this the particular attention paid to us during the other days of the week we remained there, and the desire manifested by them to know every thing about the progress of the Redeemer's cause in the West, we cannot help saying that we think their example worthy of imitation, and that we feel grateful also to our heavenly Father for calling a few to bear testimony to the truth in that city.

      The church now consists of about 50 members, having, during the past year nearly doubled its numbers. They meet every Lord's day morning, at half past 10 o'clock, in a room over the Bazaar, in Harrison street, to break the loaf, &c.--at 3, for singing, prayer, and exhortation--and at candle lighting for preaching the word of life to their fellow-men. Some of the brethren are well gifted, and the church is amply edified by itself.
  Yours in the hope of a glorious resurrection,
J. T. M'VAY.                

      September 23, 1833.

      ----> WE had the pleasure of a tour of twenty days through the Western Reserve, in Ohio, and met with the brethren at Warren, Aurora, Hudson, Wadsworth, and the intermediate places. The yearly meeting at Warren was well attended. Nearly a thousand disciples partook of the loaf on the Lord's day. The meeting house, though of the usual size, was too small for them. They, however, had the pleasure of sitting down upon the grass in the public square, and, in memory of him who fed thousands placed in similar order, joyfully partook of the memorials of his dying love.

      At Wadsworth also a very large concourse of disciples assembled, and, in the presence of many spectators, commemorated the loving kindness of the [477] Lord. The evangelists on the Reserve generally attended these meetings. and from them we learned that the brethren generally were progressing in the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ our Lord, and that still there are additions made to the congregations from all sects, and from those who had become sceptical in all religious systems because of the sectarian wars and bickerings by which they are sustained.

      A want of system in the co-operation of the brethren is still more sensibly felt, and pains will be taken during the current year to remedy these defects. It was the expressed wish of the brethren present from many churches, that there be four annual meetings on the Reserve. There being 14 congregations in Trumbull and 16 in Portage county, the brethren in each county will have an annual meeting. That for Trumbull next year, at the usual time, at Howland. We have forgotten the place for Portage and the others; but will seek information and publish it in proper time. The brethren in the other counties of the Reserve will constitute two meetings. The particulars hereafter.

      On our tour we had the pleasure of seeing more than forty persons introduced into the kingdom of the Messiah.

Catholic Controversy.

      WE have just read a pamphlet of 22 octavo pages, small type, containing a very able philippic against the Ismatic religions of Messrs. Hughes and Breckenridge, the celebrated disputants on the claims of the Pope and John Calvin. This pamphlet, from the pen of our much esteemed brother J. Thomas, M. D. presents a very lucid and forcible view of the true church of Christ and the Christian institutions, and exhibits in bold relief the real merits of the Papal and Protestant controversy. It is a document worthy of a very general circulation for its own sake, and is a striking proof of the irradiating, emancipating, and emboldening influence of the Original Gospel and order of things on the minds of all who cordially embrace the Apostles' doctrine.--Brother Thomas is but an infant of one year old in the Christian church; and here we find him, in the very temple of Apostate Christianity, successfully grappling with the Doctors of the two great parties in the apostacy: and certainly while contending with them, he proves himself, when panoplied with the armor of light, more than a match for the rulers of the darkness of this world, with all their Holy Orders and traditions of the See of Papal Rome.

      Receiving the pamphlet yesterday, we have only given it a cursory reading and have not room to do more than give its title, and the introductory address of its author to the citizens of Philadelphia.

"New Catholic Controversy.--A Mirror for Ismatic Religions, in a Letter addressed to Messrs Hughes and Breckenridge, showing that neither Romanism nor Protestantism is the Religion of the Holy Catholic Church of Christ. By a Royal Priest of God's Heritage.


      The time is at length come, when silence is sinful, and forbearance ceases to be a virtue. Shall we, the citizens of Messiah's kingdom, calmly witness the immolation of the eternal truth of the God of Heaven, so gloriously revealed by the Saviour of the world and his Ambassadors, on the altar of partyism, and not raise the shout of war on the battlements of Zion! Where are the watchmen of the city? Have they not abandoned the defences, forsaken her bulwarks, and ignominiously sounded retreat? "The present crisis" is fraught with events which some affect to "deprecate as injurious to the cause of religion;" and gloomy are the forebodings of those who usurp to themselves the character of your spiritual guides. Controversy is to be hushed into the stillness of death, and the "more useful information" of the "revival" [478] of religious sensations, and implicit faith in "our Zion," are "to supply its place"! "Contend earnestly," says Jude--"Contend not at all," say religious editors: "Combat the good combat," says Paul--"It is non-essential," say divines: "Wield the sword of the Spirit," says the Christian warrior, "and wrestle with the rulers of darkness"--"Let them alone," says spiritual imbecility, "for controversy is fatal to the cause of religion"!

      Such, my readers, appear to be the tactics of the day. A good cause never fears the light. 1 he more the truth is controverted, the more brilliant its polish; but error hates the light, it fears inspection, it denounces disputation. In laying before you the following pages, I am actuated solely by a love of the truth, and a mortal enmity to corruption. I expect to derive no profit, I rather calculate on loss; not so much in a pecuniary sense, as in a fair reputation with those whose worldly weal is implicated in the upholding of religious systems. It is the apostacy foretold by the Apostles, against which I direct my efforts, not against them who are unfortunately its victims.

      Protestantism is unquestionably defeated by Romanism;--its champions cannot prove its identity with the religion of Christ. Romanism, however, is not the less gross. I have been anxious, therefore, to call the attention of the public to the true religion, lest they should rashly conclude, that because these two isms of the "Christian world" are false, there remains none that is true. God brings good out of evil, and thus he overrules the wars of sect against sect, to the destruction of both. The religion of Messiah courts discussion, but ismatic religion dreads it.

      In conclusion, I have only to add, that the faith, order, and institutions of the Holy Catholic Congregation of Christ, as described in this letter, are proclaimed, both in faith and practice, at the Bank street Meeting, where all who feel themselves weary and heaven laden by the oppression and bondage of sin and Satan, may be instructed in the way of truth more perfectly, and find an assurance of the remission of sins.
JOHN THOMAS, M. D.            
95 North Third Street.      

"Human Bones for Manure;
and the End of Human Glory.

      AN article with the above appropriate title is going the round of newspapers. The neighborhood of Leipsic, Austerlitz, Waterloo, and other places where, during the bloody wars of Napoleon, the principal battles were fought, have been swept, it is said, alike of the bones of the hero and the horse which he rode. Thus collected, they have been shipped to the port of Hull, (England,) and thence forwarded to the Yorkshire grinders, who have erected steam engines and powerful machinery for the purpose of reducing them to a granulary state.

      In this condition they are sent chiefly to Doncaster, one of the largest agricultural markets in that part of the country, and there sold to the farmers to manure their lands. The oily substance gradually evolving as the bones calcine, makes a more substantial manure than almost any other substance, particularly the human bones. It is now ascertained beyond a doubt, by actual experiment upon an extensive scale, that a dead soldier is a most valuable article of commerce; and for aught we know to the contrary, the good farmers of Yorkshire are, in a great measure, indebted to the bones of their children for their daily bread. It is certainly a singular fact, that Great Britain should have sent out such multitudes of soldiers to fight its battles upon the continent of Europe, and should then import their bones as an article of commerce to fatten their soil!"
Troy Press. [479]      


      THE catacombs of Paris are supposed to be the largest in the world, exceeding in extent those of Rome, Naples, Malta, and even those of Thebes. The excavations extend beneath the whole of the southern half of the city, and under a small part of the northern division across the Seine. They are the quarries whence Paris was built; the stone is a soft calcareous aggregate, filled with organic remains, of which shells form the principal part.

      Here are vast quantities of human bones collected from the different cemeteries of Paris since 1786, and arranged according to the receptacles from which they were taken. Nothing can be conceived more solemn and affecting, than a visit to these dreary abodes--this place of skulls. It is, as it were, Paris in the grave. Here lie the remains of millions of its once gay and busy people, ranged in their long home, and piled together without distinction of high or low, rich or poor, friend or enemy. One pile alone contains 2,400,000 human skulls, and the different heaps extend a mile in length. Here are chambers, and galleries connecting them, which are lined from the roof to the floor with bones. In whatever direction the eye turns, it rests on rows of skulls. How affecting the contrast between the solemn appearance of this "city of the dead," and the gaiety and dissipation of the city of the living, which is built over it!
Historical Atlas.      

The Jews.

      THE powers of Europe are finding it to their advantage to restore the Jews to their former inheritance in Palestine. The Northern Nicholas and the Pacha of Egypt must be arrested in their course, and if possible, the Russians be prevented from obtaining a footing on the Bosphorus and Asia Minor, and in order to accomplish the extraordinary design, France and England have agreed to establish a free sovereignty in Palestine, like the one they have already succeeded in effecting in Greece. A fleet is to be sent to negotiate peaceably with the Egyptian Pacha or prosecute the intended enterprize by a declaration of war. The leading characters among the Jews of Europe, with Rothchild at their head, are favorable to the design, and we may soon expect to see Jerusalem and Judea no longer desolate, but peopled with the descendants of their primitive possessors. It has been left to the cabinets of Europe to re-people the home of promise, and build up the waste places of the Holy Land. From the banks of Jordan again the Hebrew host shall lift their songs of praise, and the mounts of Carmel and Lebanon, and the rich and pleasant fields of Engedi restored to their rich pristine excellence, shall blossom as the rose. So much for the interest of Europe--Balt. Visitor.

      ----> A LETTER from Mr. Waterman, in reply to my appendix to a former letter, is received, and will appear in our next.

      ----> WE are about leaving home on a tour of a few months to the Eastward. We proceed to Richmond to attend the general meeting in that city, which is to take place on the 25th, 26th, and 27th October. We intend, after spending a few weeks in Virginia, to visit the cities of Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York. As we will have to edit this work from home for three months, some essays in our regular series will probably have to give place to our notices of matters and things connected with the actual condition of society as it may appear to us to require.

      ----> Business will be attended to in our office, in the filling of orders and in all other matters, as usual.
EDITOR. [480]      

      1 Perhaps I should except a name or two. The Shakers are going down to oblivion--the Mormons rising in their stead, no less deceivers--no less deceived--false prophets--false Christs--"signs of the times!" [435]
      2 Again you beg the question at issue.
      Where has God said that all the converting power is in the written word--as you make your physician say that all his healing power is in the medicine? This is the very question at issue between us. And is begging the question [449] what you call "sticking to the point"? Excellent logic, indeed! Grant you this, and you can do finely. But there is a want of analogy in another respect in your medical illustration.
      If the friends of sick persons and nurses bear the same relation to physicians, and were as much a part of their medical establishment as angels and the Holy Spirit is of the divine government in the salvation of men--if they gave counsel for the physician and produced an influence on the operations of the system as important in the case of the disease, as the spiritual influence I con tend for, is to the salvation of men--then I should not hesitate to call their aid healing aid, or healing power. When angels inflict judgment on sinners, is it not called God's work, and said to be done by his power?
      Your analogies, friend Campbell, do not appear to me to be "right to the point." [450]
      3 In this work they believe the Spirit of God aids and guides, encourages, and strengthens. Its influence is efficient or effectual, according to the disposition of every individual, and the efforts which are made to resist evil and conform to the laws of virtue. God is always present with his Spirit to assist those who ask his favor, and who will profit by his counsels. He does not act upon them with a power which they cannot oppose. This would be destroying moral freedom, and rendering the rules and motives of the gospel unnecessary and inoperative.
      Many things conspire to produce the change of regeneration, or a thorough renewal of heart and character. 'Means are used here as in every thing else. The moral discipline, to which all persons are subjected, constitute a very large part of these means. Every occurrence in life, which makes the sinner reflect on the frail tenure of his existence, his dependence on God, the evil of sin, and the danger of a wicked course, contributes something to the work of reformation. Whatever calms the passions, warms the affections, exalts and purifies the character, or promotes goodness in any way, has the same tendency. Hence the advantage of preaching the word, diffusing a knowledge of the Scriptures, and establishing and supporting good institutions; all of which would be unnecessary, if men are to be regenerated, or brought into a state of holiness, by the immediate influence, or irresistible impulse of divine power.--Unitarians believe, and preach, that "without holiness no man shall see the Lord;" and in consistency with this belief, they exhort all men to embrace the conditions of the gospel by a constant observance of its laws, unceasing piety, and rigid virtue.
      In addition to what has been said above, respecting the influence of the Holy Spirit, the following, from a work of high authority and just celebrity, may probably be considered as expressing the views of Unitarians generally:--"They do not reject the notion of a direct and immediate influence of the Spirit of God on the human mind. They believe that there may be circumstances of great trial, strong temptation, and peculiar difficulty, that call for extraordinary assistance, and that those who have manifested a disposition to make a good use of the ordinary means afforded, will have further aid suited to their exigencies, and sufficient, by a proper use, to answer to their necessities. They suppose, also, that extraordinary assistance will be granted only to those who ask it; that it will be granted to previous good disposition, and a sense of need and dependence; that God will give the Holy Spirit to them who ask, to them who have already right feelings, are sensible of their weaknesses and wants, and ask the mercy of God to supply them."
      From what has been said, it is to be inferred that Unitarians differ from Calvinists not in the object to be attained by conversion, but respecting the manner by which it is attained. Unitarians hold a divine influence, and that men are converted by this influence; but they do not believe it to be irresistible, or miraculous. They conceive that God is always ready to second their good intentions and purposes, to aid their virtuous efforts, listen to their prayers, show mercy to the penitent, and to pardon their sins when repented of and forsaken. They believe conversion to be the work of God, not in the way of an arbitrary, irresistible agency, but by the innumerable motives and inducements which he employed to bring men to a just sense of their duty, a deep reverence of his character, love of his laws, and a habitual desire for purity of mind and holiness of life. Whatever leads to these results, may be considered as proceeding from the Spirit of God. This spirit may operate through good instructions, or [451] any thing, in fact, which disposes the mind to thoughtfulness and serious inquiry. Sudden deep afflictions, an impressive sermon, certain passages in the word of God, may, by the agency of the Divine Spirit, be brought down upon the soul with a power which will terminate in conversion, by opening the eyes of men to their true character, and causing them to see the folly and danger of sin. But in these operations there is no force nor compulsion--nothing which may not be resisted, and which is not resisted by all, who, under the same circumstances, receive no impression.
      This is consistent with the Scripture view of the subject. Conversion is never represented there as coming from an irresistible act of divine power, or as being brought about in consequence of a divine decree. We are told, "Grieve not the Spirit of God." But why thus told, unless the Spirit may be grieved, or resisted? "Repent ye, therefore, and be converted," says the Apostle. But why this command, if we have not power to obey it, and are to be passive until it shall please God to raise us up by a miracle? St. Paul's conversion was miraculous, and is the most remarkable one recorded in Scripture; and yet, in his speech before Agrippa, he says that he "was not disobedient to the heavenly vision," intimating, as a learned writer has observed, that his freedom of choice was not restrained, but that his conversion was on his part an act of voluntary obedience and virtue. [452]
      4 See Bowers' Life of Luther, p. 196, 199, 254. [462]
      5 See Jones' History of the Church--a work that every Christian teacher and statesman ought to read at least twice. [468]
      6 We unintentionally substituted George for Edmund Waller, in our last number. [475]


[The Millennial Harbinger, 4 (September, 1833): 433-480.]

[Table of Contents]
[Previous] [Next]
Alexander Campbell, ed.
The Millennial Harbinger, Vol. IV, No. IX (1833)

Back to Alexander Campbell Page
Back to Restoration Movement Texts Page