[Table of Contents]
Alexander Campbell, ed.|
The Millennial Harbinger, Vol. IV, No. X (1833)
Number X.----Volume IV.
Bethany, Va. October, 1833.
MY last argument, relative to the dissolution of the present Christian administration, will be drawn from Rev. xi. 7.--"And when they shall have finished their testimony."
We will not, at this time, give an opinion respecting the witnesses, what they are; yet they most assuredly are an appendage of the present dispensation, of the present Christian religion; prophesying in sackcloth since the rise of the son of perdition, or antichrist. Now these very witnesses are to "finish their testimony," be they whom they may. Reader, there is something big with alarm lurking behind this very prediction, which our dosing clergy are overlooking.1 Are the witnesses, to finish their testimony, and the administration go on undisturbed without their aid? When it can be proved that they are a useless appendage of the present dispensation, then may the dispensation go on undisturbed, performing all its functions, and convert the world, after "they shall have finished their testimony?' Compare this cessation of testimony with the "silence in heaven about the space of half an hour," and then remember that God's moral administration is called heaven. 
These witnesses are to finish their testimony and to suffer martyrdom previous to the fall of Antichrist. I leave these things to the serious reflection of those who may read, and take into consideration the subject of Christ's second coming.
Our great object in what we have written has been, if possible, to arouse the attention of our readers, and induce them to examine the prophecies; to inquire into the future--the events which are fast approaching the world; to show the absurdity of the systems of the day, in applying all the alarming predictions to the close of time.
We have been trying to show that the drift, the concentrating point of prophecy, is not the close of time; but the fall of Antichrist--the coming of the Son of Man. We have been showing the insuperable difficulties, contradictions, or absurdities involved in almost the whole of the prophecies, if our teachers have not been rudely mistaken in their meaning.
We have been trying to show that the doctrine commonly preached from our pulpits relative to the dissolution of nature by fire, is unscriptural and unphilosophical; that the world is to be a theatre of action eternally--one of the "many mansions" spoken of in Scripture; that dispensations are alluded to in passages which have been applied to the close of time; that dispensations have closed--therefore, may close again; that none have been renovated--always dissolved; that none have lasted more than two thousand years.
Until these opinions can have a "thus saith the Lord" to their overthrowing--a demoralizing influence shown, resulting from their nature and tendency; a negative is dangerous in the extreme. Carnal reason and the philosophy of the day may gain a momentary triumph over these opinions as enthusiastic, and lose a crown of rejoicing when the King shall appear.
Inseparably connected with the doctrine relative to the dissolution of the present dispensation, and the introduction of a new, is that of Christ's second coming. "This subject deserves more profound attention than any other, except the personal remission of sins." As before observed, who may use one argument in favor of the dangerous negative? I can see no consideration worth a moment's reflection, or that which weighs an atom on one side of the question, while immensity presents itself on the other. The plaudit of the King of kings. It is impossible that any thing can be lost by believing the doctrine of Christ's second coming--much may be gained. By disbelieving, nothing can be gained--much may be lost.
If dispensations have been changed, they may again be changed. They do not change of themselves, nor by the hands of man. No, never. Man is never consulted relative to these matters. It is always the work of God. He alone can repeal or change the administration of his moral government on earth. And if there ever is a new dispensation granted the world, it will be nothing less than a positive, direct, and indubitable communication from the Ruler of the Universe.
Now, reader, one of two things is to take place--the present dispensation, shorn of all its strength, is to evangelize the world, (a  moral impossibility;) or a new dispensation given. I have before shown that the present cannot be renovated. No means on earth can bring or restore the administration back to primitive rectitude; it grows worse yearly in despite of all the efforts that can be made to heal. Vice knows no retrograde.
Is this divided intolerant Christianity--this corrupt and crippled dispenser of the gospel, to be the heritage of him who made his soul an offering for sin, in view of a pledge that the heathen should be given for an inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for a possession? Is this the dispensation which has for ages past been governed by laws made and executed by blind infallibility--blind, erring, presumptuous man, underrating Heaven's high authority by legislating for God's moral government on earth--to be regenerated? Age, as well as human legislation, has contributed no little toward paralyzing the energies of the present administration. If age and human legislation have produced the incurable divisions and corruptions of the Christian world, can time and human legislation cure them? Contrary to all former precedent, this dispensation is to be restored to primitive perfection, or a new one granted the world. Now, judging from the former dealings of God toward the human family, which of these events may we look for? No instance on record of any administration committed to the hand of erring man, becoming pure, simple, and efficient, after becoming corrupted. Now if these things be so, there is a necessity, an imperious necessity for a change of dispensations to take place before millennial perfection can be expected. It is quite absurd to expect perfection, which holy writ warrants us to look for during Christ's universal reign, to rise out of the present dispensation.
As before observed, inseparably connected with the doctrine of a new dispensation, is that of the second coming of the Son of Man. Who but the Master can repeal or change the laws of his house? Who but the Author of the present dispensation can introduce a new one? These things are done upon sovereign principles. The wisdom or convenience of human legislators is not consulted. The constituted laws in the house of the Master must remain in full force until he comes. Any laws substituted for his, is a violation of his authority. Any rites or ceremonies, rules or regulations, creeds or disciplines, other than the positive code, the literal laws of the Master by his unequivocal delegates, are violations and substitutes, instead of the authority of the Lawgiver, and are adopted or followed at a hazard but few would venture upon did they rightly appreciate the worth of the sacred oracles, the character of the Lawgiver, or the dreadful reckoning which is soon to take place about these very things.
We will first consider the positive necessity for the Master's return, rising out of the circumstances into which his heritage is fallen. Second, examine some of the most pointed predictions on the subject.
First, there is a fair contract existing between the Master and the servants; rewards and penalties are fairly understood; conditions fairly entered into. The Master is bound to reward or punish; the  servant is bound to obey as long as the Master affords a rule of obedience suited to his nature or capacity. The Master, either in person or by unequivocal delegation, is bound to furnish this rule of obedience. Has he done this? Are his servants living in obedience to his laws?
Now, reader, look at the glorious effects of human laws and legislation in the church: divided, rent, torn, &c. feuds, broils, animosities, wars and blood. Instead of being one, according to the prayer of the Master, there are probably more than one hundred different communities, regulated and governed in as many different ways. All different--all right; crying, "'Lo! here is Christ!" Different interests will produce hostilities as long as sun and moon endure. These laws, no better than their makers, are administered by a thousand artless hands, loose, rigid, mild or tyrannical--all erring--all infallible, and have produced universal discord--a heterogeneous mass of contradictions; all specially "called and sent" by the one supernatural operation of the one Holy Spirit, to promulge one hundred or more different gospels; a part getting to heaven by the dint of vociferation--another, by mute silence! One party, without respect to faith or morals, Heaven's law, or man's agency, will, or inclination, are making the whole human family proper subjects of God's love--of his plaudit, "Well done, good and faithful servant!" Another party preaching, actually preaching salvation possible only to a few "darlings of Providence, fond Fate's elect;" a number which cannot be added to, or diminished from.
These are but specimens of the endless diversities found throughout Christendom--the irreconcilable jargon in the house of the Master. What but his presence can put these things to rest?
I have already said much about names, distinctions, &c. The day is not far distant that will decide if they be such harmless things as many suppose. They at least cast indignity on the Author of the Christian religion, and form insuperable bars between God's people, and nothing but the presence of the King can obliterate them and gather in one the scattered fold--scattered in the dark and cloudy day.
Now if the laws of the Master be violated, or others substituted, which have thrown his house into confusion; if the confusion be great, beyond the control of his laws, beyond the reach of remedy; if the servants be at the head of the tumult, fanning up the flame, "beating the men servants," &c. usurping authority, forming different parties, marshalling under different names or banners the misguided household, slandering or prosecuting those who may differ from them, administering gall and wormwood instead of the cordials of life; if these things be so, if they be incurable, they imperiously demand the Master's presence.
The very climax of the Christian religion amounts to this, at least the test will be in the great day of accounts, "I was hungry, and ye gave me food; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; naked, and ye clothed me; I was in  prison, and ye came unto me." Now, instead of relieving the distresses and wants of their fellow-creatures, nine-tenths of those called Christians are the procuring cause of nine-tenths of human misery. Instead of peace and good will to man, the religion palming itself on the world for that of Christ comes with a sword in one hand--a creed or cross in the other. Nine-tenths of Christendom, instead of being a house of prayer, is but little better than a den of thieves. Almost the whole system of the gospel is perverted, made void by something that human weakness, wickedness, or folly has substituted in its stead. These things are not said to the disparagement of the Christian religion; the want of the religion of the New Testament has been the procuring cause of these evils. The spirit that dictated the creeds, the spiritual laws for the house of Christ, has been the cause of all the martyrdoms which have taken place in Christendom. The spirit of Christ is all meekness, all submission. The spirit universally prevalent, among all parties, is that of domination, lording it over God's heritage. These things are peculiar to the man of sin, and will remain unsubdued until the return of the Son of Man.
Will you persuade me that it is not the son of perdition, the Antichrist long ago foretold, that seeks the reins of government, that is forever lurking in ambush against liberty of conscience--forever seeking some pretext to unite church and state. Let our spiritual guides answer the question, Why is it that none of the parties might be trusted at the helm of government half an age? Why is scepticism a safer deposit of power than the religionists of the day? The reason is obvious: a large portion of what we see palming itself on the world for the religion of Christ, is in fact some spurious religion in the garb of Christianity. And this spurious religion is forever seeking to govern, to legislate--aye, both in church and state. The laws of Christ are too mild, too simple in their nature; no penalties that man can apply; Antichrist has no use for them; he must have laws which can be brought to bear on earth, such as racks, dungeons, fires, excommunications, and the like, for the purpose of purging the church of Christ!
Now when it can be shown that divisions are harmless, that they will heal themselves, that a house divided against itself may stand; that the simple, pure, and holy law of Christ can be bettered by human legislation; that human authority can keep men to the right when the law of the eternal unerring God has failed; that the Bible is but a constitution, from which laws or inferences may be drawn; that servants may legislate for the household of their Master, although the constitution makes no provision for the like; that the made laws, although widely at opposites, are all reconcilable to the constitution; that from this wonderful constitution laws of all shapes, sizes, or color may emanate, to suit the whim, caprice, or convenience of the legislators, be they Catholic or Protestant, democratical or despotic, all equally suited with this wonderful, wonderful constitution--a moral chameleon, that the spiritual magicians can make suit any color, kind, or form of government or doctrine since sin first made its appearance  on earth. I say, until these things can be shown, the presence of the Master is positively necessary.
If the Bible (as some affirm) be only a constitution, it must of necessity be, because it could not be adapted to the various situations of mankind--that it only can embrace broad and general principles, having specialties to be appended. If that be the case, the Bible is notoriously deficient, not having made the least provision for after legislation. Constitutions always provide for legislation. Human wisdom cannot arrive at perfection but by experiment. Would infinite wisdom leave man to try a thousand experiments in his moral government? Moral government admits of no change--in every clime or soil it is the same. A man cannot be placed in a situation in which the Bible is not suited to his case. A wonderful book of laws, special or general!
If Bible law was generally adopted, Christians, perchance, might come to see eye to eye; perchance might unite, might become one; various identifications might be lost. This would not do the clergy. It would be a death blow to human legislation and clerical usurpation. Being governed by one law, would of necessity produce one interest, one feeling, one name, "one Lord, one faith, one baptism," one kingdom, one universal head.
If the Bible cannot govern the church, it must be deficient, If it can govern, it must be the best. It is as strong to govern as it is to prove a government. If it can govern, what an indignity is cast upon the Lawgiver to substitute human law in its stead. What an indignity, what a reproach on the name of the Master, that the ever-hallowed name Christian must be sanctified into endurance by some other appellation more sacred! If he have the power, he will avenge the reproach of his name--his laws. If he have the love which caused him to lay down his life for the institution called by his name. If he has promised, he will return to his heritage and rectify the otherwise incurable disorders.
Infidelity is on an alarming increase; what but the presence of the King of kings will check the mighty tide? Nothing has contributed more to the growth of Deism, than the divisions and intolerance of professed Christians--and these divisions gaining apace. Christianity is putting forth a crippled, enfeebled effort to evangelize the heathen world. These divided efforts, with an immense amount of filthy lucre to aid in the work, is making, perhaps, one convert yearly, out of every five hundred thousand heathen!! Yet the heathen, according to prophecy, is to be given for a possession. Nothing but the presence of the King can bring this about, or such missionaries as he once commissioned, with demonstration attending their footsteps.
It may be said that God will not bring about by miracle that which can be effected by means. What are means performing now-a-days? Perhaps one convert made yearly out of every five hundred thousand heathen! And these converts, for whom sea and land are compassed,  are perhaps no better than those made at home2--needing a reconversion before they are fit for the kingdom. Now is not miracle necessary when means fail? Is not the presence of the Master necessary if the heathen are to be given for a possession? Without miracle Christendom cannot be united--cannot be christianized. It needs to be evangelized itself before it can evangelize the world. "Physician, heal thyself."
|WELLSBURG, September 2, 1833.|
HAVING a leisure moment, I send you a few remarks on your appendix to your last letter to me. You say you will notice some "minute matters detached from the main argument;" but you begin with what you say is "the pith and marrow of my argument in favor of some insignificant influence--without words or signs."
This argument, you say, is very candidly expressed in the following words: "The source of thought is unknown; therefore, a foreign agent may act on our minds through mediums unknown to us."
This, you say, is "all the proof I offer in favor of my favorite position," and ask me if I am not too good a logician to urge as an argument in favor of any affirmative proposition, its mere possibility.
And when did I offer such an argument? I alluded to a well known fact in the philosophy of mind--not to prove the certainty of such an agency being exercised as I contended for, but to show its possibility, which you in plain language have denied more than once. Will you dispute this fact with me? If so, let me know it, and we are at issue at once. No, sir, I am not such a "cabbage head" to borrow again the Jew's words to Voltaire, as you make me appear. I never supposed a thing certain because it is possible. After your illustration, you say, "Having disposed of all the evidence adduced in favor of your favorite position"--and did I offer no other evidence to show that God exercises what you call an insignificant agency out of the word. To say nothing of the quotation I gave you from Dr. Paley, which you treat with so much contempt, I offered a very important passage from a very important part of the word of God--"abandon us not to temptation?' This I said then, and now say has no meaning if there is no influence given us by God out of the word. You,  my dear sir, and all the Doctors in Christendom will never be able to explain it according to the rules of common sense interpretation, without making it speak a language contrary to your theory.
Having, in your way, disposed of all my argument, you notice what you call my raillery. Now, friend Campbell, whether you are more to blame for penning the unmeaning passage under consideration, or I for noticing it, I leave the reader to judge--perhaps we both stand in need of special grace from our readers. But as you have gravely undertaken to defend it, I will notice it again. The reader will please to observe that you are explaining, in the passage under consideration, the manner in which angels move us to action. This, you say, is by assuming the form of a man--of a thought--of a word.
You now say that, by the form of a thought, you meant a word, and you call in old Shakspeare to help you--a man whose character and works I cordially dislike; but in this matter I admit his authority is high. He says, language gives to thought "a local habitation;" that is, words are signs of thoughts in the language of a poet. Very well, but I could not have supposed you to have spoken even in this poetic way, and to have meant, by the form of a thought, a word--for you distinguish the form of a thought from a word.
Now if by the form of a thought you meant a word, what did you mean by the form of a word? for you distinguish them. But what diverted me was not the angel presenting to the mind the form of a thought--that is, a word; but the angel assuming the form of a thought; for an angel to present a word to the mind, and to assume the form of a word, are not the same things. If I say a man assumes the form of a horse or cow, I mean that he appears in their shape--that is not the same thing as to say a man presents to the mind of another the form of a horse or cow on canvass--as you make the painter draw the likeness of Abraham.
Now to illustrate your illustration--let us suppose a good or bad angel moving a man to action--say the angel mentioned in Daniel, supposed to have influenced Cyrus in letting the children of Israel return to their native land. Now the angel says that he was "withstood by the Prince of Persia three weeks." How many transfigurations Gabriel must have passed through in this time. Or we will take the case of the devil's tempting Judas--if the old fiend could move Judas in no other way to betray his Master by signs or words, or by "assuming the form of a thought"--how many changes of appearance he must have experienced before he finished the temptation, and how rapid the transitions from the form of one word into that of another--far more rapid than those of Milton's devil after he was cast out of heaven, until he appeared in the form of a toad at Eve's ear.
I think, friend Campbell, your mind must have been filled with classic recollections from old Ovid, or some other poet, when you penned this passage. Such things in poetry amuse us, but they are monstrous in philosophy. After this, I hope, however, you will not talk about my "mysterious agency." 
I pass over, at this time, what you say of my reference to God communicating his will to his Son.
I have failed, you say, to convince you that there is a radical difference between the Arminian and the Calvinist, while they both agree that special aid is necessary to salvation. My praying Arminian and praying Calvinist, you say, "are out of your chapter"--they are "both believers;" but is every man who believes in the truth of the Christian religion converted? This I presume you will not say; for you insist on something besides simple belief. You believe men are converted by immersion; but Arminians believe that this change is effected by the Holy Spirit--and they pray for it. I have said that Arminians believe that by virtue of the remedial scheme of Christianity, all men have, at all times, power to believe; that is, to read the word of God, and believe it--that, the Calvinist denies that men can believe savingly, without a special call; and yet you say there is no difference between them. The special grace of the Arminian is another name for special call. Accept of an illustration: Two farmers have each a field to plough: the one believes and acknowledges that he can plough his field at any time; this power has been given him, he says, by his landlord; the other acknowledges the duty to plough his field, but says he cannot plough a furrow until a certain day of ploughing power, when his landlord must give him ploughing power. Are these two men the same in their opinions? or does it follow because God has given all men power to believe the Bible to be a revelation from Heaven, that they need no more special aid, is a simple belief that Christianity is true all that is necessary to salvation? But you say, that if I have him believing and praying without special aid--that he can get along pretty well without it--that is because a man has power to feel his wants, and ask for aid, he can get along without it. Is this the logic of Bethany? If it is, I am sure it was not the logic of Gethsemane. Our Master did not reason so. But, friend Campbell, if all the "converting power is in the word," will you tell me why a man, before he is converted, should ever pray? This is the absurdity of your "word"-converting system.
But you say, while with you all men have at all times power to believe, they do not all believe, or they do not all exert that power--"they want power to enable them to exert that power." These are your words, not mine. When did I say so, or make an Arminian say, that God must give him power to enable him to use the power he already has, or he cannot believe the gospel to be true? My words are, "that Arminians believe that all men always have power to believe." Arminians distinguish between a power and a will or disposition to exert power. A power, to be acted upon, they say with Dr. Reed, is no power. Power to believe, is the gift of God; but a disposition to exert it, after it is given, is our own--a thing under our control, for which we are accountable to God. I give you another illustration:--A was a beggar: he applies for charity to B. B says to him, 'You are needy indeed, sir, and I have a plenty to give; but I have no will or disposition to relieve your wants.' A turns to C, and  makes appeal. C kindly sympathizes with him in his suffering; but says, 'I have nothing to give; you see my nakedness; if I had the means I would relieve you with all my heart.' Would not A have very different feelings towards B from what he had towards C?, C is excused because he has nothing to give; but B cannot be excused because he wants the will. This, Common Sense says, is under his own control. Accordingly our excellent discipline, when exhorting us to do good, says, that "we should trample under foot that enthusiastic doctrine of devils--that we are only to do good when our heart disposes to it;" evidently implying that our will is under our control, or that we have a power to will.
Now, whether you agree with the Arminian that this power was lost by the fall, and restored by Christ's mediation, or not, I presume you will agree with him that all men possess it; and in this you both differ from the Calvinist--I mean, the old school Calvinist--because he denies the freedom of the will. See Edwards and Calvin.
However, lest my homely illustration should fail in giving you and your readers a clear view of what I have always understood to be the difference between the old school Calvinist and the old school Arminian, I will give it to you in the words of the pious and ingenuous Vicar of Madley, the vindicator of Wesley and Arminianism:--"Consider once more the difference still remaining between us--from our mutual concessions it is evident we agree--1st. That the will is always free. 2d. That the will of men, considered as fallen in Adam, and unassisted by the grace of God, is only free to do evil--free to live in the element of sin, as the sea-fish is only free to live in salt water. And, 3d. That when he is free to good, free to choose life, he has this freedom from redeeming grace. But although we agree in these material points, the difference between us is still very considerable; for we assert that through the mediation promised to all mankind in Adam, God by his free grace restores to all mankind a talent (of free will to good) by which they are in a capacity of choosing life or death; that is, of acquitting themselves well or ill at their option, in their present state of trial. This you utterly deny (says Fletcher to Hill) maintaining that man is not in a state of probation, and that Christ died for none but the elect--none but they can ever have any degree of saving grace; that is, any will free to good. Hence you conclude that all the elect are in a state of finished salvation, and necessarily, infallibly, and irresistibly choose life; while all the reprobates are shut up in a state of finished damnation, and necessarily, infallibly, and irresistibly choose death; for, say your Divines, God has not decreed the infallible end without decreeing also the infallible means conducing to that end. Therefore, in the day of his irresistible power, the fortunate elect are absolutely made willing to believe and be saved, and the poor reprobates to disbelieve and be damned"
If this plain illustration of the difference between the Calvinist and the Arminian fails to convince you and your readers that there is a difference between the two systems, I shall despair of being able to  effect it. I will not say now what I said before pleasantly, that it is owing to your former habits of association. I hope you will not take that expression unkind, as I presume no more of you than you presume of our political fathers--the great Washington, with his cool judgment and honest heart; the philosophic Jefferson; the bold Adams; the eagle-eyed and subtle Madison; the comprehensive and statesmanship minded Hamilton, and a host of others--among whom, perhaps, some may think, stands pre-eminently distinguished, the sage Franklin.
You will never make candid men, conversant with the controversy, believe that the Arminians and Calvinists, with their armies, have ben fighting abort shadows, words, signs, and forms of ideas. Mr. Sparks, a very good judge, for he believes neither system to be true, says, "We have seen that the doctrine of election is the key-stone of Calvinism. It was a great topic of discussion at the Synod of Dort, and we may perhaps say it was the sole cause of that Synod being convened. The growing heresy of Arminius consisted in asserting the free will of nan, and the free grace of God, in opposition to the notion of an absolute predestination. In this heresy the Calvinists saw the ruin of their whole fabric. Hence the five points established by a vote of the Synod of Dort; which may all be resolved into the one point of election, for this is the beginning and the end, the form and the substance of all the others."
If ever there was a "war" in religion or politics about things, it is this very war; the Calvinists believe that Christ came to save but a part of the human family; the rest, he says, are passed by, "ordained to wrath for their sin--that is, for Adam's sin. God never did or will give them any power to believe." Now a plain common sense conclusion from this system is, that men are not to blame for their sins. This has always been argued with great force, and has never been answered by any Calvinist. It seems to have awakened the ire of the old gentleman, Calvin himself; and he vainly attempts to answer it in the following words:--"The reprobate (says Mr. Calvin) wishes to be excused from sinning, because he cannot avoid its necessity, especially since this necessity is laid upon them by the ordination of God;" [observe, reader, how merciful John answers this plain objection;] "but we deny this to be a just excuse, because the ordination of God, by which they complain, is guided by equity unknown to us, but indubitably certain." Here he builds his whole argument upon a thing which he acknowledges to be unknown, "but which is indubitably certain;" that is, a man may be certain of a thing because he knows nothing about, or because it appears absurd. Mr. Calvin, however, has another kind of logic, which he uses very freely: he calls the objections of his opponents "intolerable petulance," "audaciousness," the murmurs of impiety," "malicious calumny." When it was urged that if the fate of men was fixed by a divine decree, they have no reason for solicitude about their conduct in life, he answers, "And truly this objection is not altogether destitute of truth; for there are many swine who bespatter the doctrine of predestination with their  impious blasphemies, and with this pretext elude all admonition" Thus he answers this plain common sense objection by calling the objector a hog, and his objection an impudent falsehood. We have often had more decent, but never better logic in favor of this most unreasonable system. But the old gentleman had stronger arguments than these, which he sometimes wielded, as poor Servetus can witness.
I thank you for your Extra on Regeneration. Many parts of it contain fine sentiments. I was much pleased with the part where you exhort the brethren to all the duties of practical piety. This is the kind of reform we want. But I was truly grieved when I met with the sentiments you express in page 376, and beg the privilege of addressing you at some future time my thoughts on the passage.
|Yours in the gospel of our Lord,|
|J. A. WATERMAN.|
Dear Sir--WERE we to make every allusion, quotation, illustration and repartee in our correspondence the subject of discussion and special controversy, it would swell into a volume. Our readers would soon be lost, or they would lose us in a multitude of frivolous replications. You have replied to my appendix to a former letter with much formality; and made some of its items themes of new discussion.
To reply to all these would again call for a reply from you; and then another and another, until the grand topic of discussion would be wholly lost. I will, therefore, only glance at a few items in yours before me, and these are they on which you have laid the chief emphasis, and to which you have given the highest conspicuity.
You complain that I did not formally notice all the argument you gave for the certainty of some special aid, or of a power out of the word; and that I represented your proof as only going to show its mere possibility. Now as the mere possibility of such a power, or aid, is not the question at issue, I regarded that course as illogical. For admitting that I have, in my various remarks on converting power, said that I cannot conceive of a moral power out of the word; yet as you professed to show the certainty of such a power, I expected from you other proof than Dr. Paley and mere possibility.
But you have given positive proof, you say, of the certainty, and not possibility of such a power? And what is it? A petition in the prayer which Jesus taught his disciples--"Abandon us not to temptation"!!
Now, sir, if you suppose that whatever will prove that Christians are liable to temptation, will also prove that God exercises special special power out of the word in the conversion of sinners, you and I can no more reason together than could the builders of Babel go on with their work when God confounded their language. 
This being the only scripture proof of the certainty of a power out of the word in converting sinners, which you have adduced, I have no more to say on this topic. "All the Doctors in Christendom," as you say, twill never be able to convince me" that what proves temptation out of the word and a power in Christians to withstand it, equally proves that God exerts a power out of the word in the conversion of sinners.
I feel no desire to make you a Calvinist, or to prove that your theory and that of John of Geneva are radically one. I only repeat, that while there are many differences in various parts of the theory, yet I cannot see that you clear yourself of a radical identity with the great reformer.
To change the technicalities of the two theories into a plain common sense style, I would express myself thus of the two systems, as it respects the point before us. And first of the Arminian:--
This system represents all mankind as placed in the same state by Adam the first, and on its principles of impartiality regards all mankind as placed in the same state by Adam the second. Hence the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit treat with perfect impartiality every son of Adam in all things connected with conversion. God does nothing more for A, who is saved, than for B, who is condemned, while in the state of nature, or until the former obeys the new economy.
Free grace and equal grace is the grace of Arminianism. Any power out of the word, called spiritual aid, or common grace, or what any one pleases, is perfectly and exactly equal. Those who obey the gospel, and those who reject it, are equally the subjects of Arminian favor, help, assistance, or the power out of the word. Now, as only a minority of those subjects of this power out of the word obey the gospel, and the majority disobey it, then some other reason or cause than this spiritual aid is the cause of conversion. Hence, abstractly considered, it is not converting power: for, of the multitude subjected to it, only a few are converted to God. Now if you make this power special, and suppose that without it the gospel would be inefficient, then you stand upon Calvinian ground.
Sovereign grace and special grace is the grace of Calvinism. That system teaches that the word is a dead letter; that there must be a special and effectual call, aid, or spiritual power, independent of the word, to make it effectual in any instance; that the sinner is so dead and powerless, that, without this special aid, he cannot savingly believe it, The Calvinist contends that God does something for A which he does not do for B, and that this something is the cause of his salvation. This power, out of the word, is the saving power, and therefore it supposes that elect infants, idiots, and even pagans may be regenerated by the Spirit, without hearing or understanding one word written in the book. With him common grace or common aid is no grace, no aid. The instant, then, my dear sir, you contend that God does something special for A, which he does not for B in the affair of his conversion, you stand on Calvinian ground. 
If, then, you go for special aid out of the word, you are a Calvinist; if you say that this aid is common, then it is not converting aid, for but few of the subjects of it are converted, and these are drawn by the motives which the gospel presents; for when they have told what the Lord has done for them, they cannot name a truth, or promise, or threatening which influenced them, that is not quoted from what is written in the volume.
The dilemma, then, in which you are placed, is this: If you affirm that God does any thing out of the word for A, which he does not for B, then you are a Calvinist; and if you say that he does nothing for A more than for B, then the salvation of A is not to be ascribed to any power out of the word, but to something else, whatever we may please to call it.
But, as I have often said, either theory is to me (as far as respects conversion) wholly impotent. No theory can convert any person. I know no greater drones under heaven than those who are always boasting of their power to do every thing which God requires. I have seen Calvinists and Arminians, fighting with great warmth for their respective theories; but when the battle was over and peace proclaimed, they were equally lying upon their oars. The Calvinist would, but could not; and the Arminian could, but would not do what they were commanded.
A person may preach either theory to the day of judgment, and not once preach the gospel, unless philosophy and fact are two names for the same thing.
Allow me to remark, that while I contend for free agency and human responsibility, I cannot understand what you mean by a phrase on which you seem to build much in your wars with the Calvinists. You say, "The will is under our own control." Is not this equivalent to saying that the will is under the control of the will? And how much does this prove in the disquisition on free agency?
Friend Waterman, you do no honor to your own intellect, and no justice to me, while you affirm that I "believe that men are converted by immersion." Surely you have read my Extras in vain. I never said so. You would not say that men are converted by praying; yet you lay much stress upon praying in order to be converted. You would not say that men are converted by hearing or reading, yet you lay much stress upon these exercises. I lay much stress upon immersion, because Jesus said, "He that believes and is immersed shall be saved;" but I never said that men are converted by immersion.
But, my dear sir, there is one saying which opens to me the whole secret of your difficulties and objections, and gives me an insight into your mind of essential importance in directing my future correspondence with you. It is your question, "If all the converting power is in the word, will you tell we why a man, before he is converted, should ever pray? This is the absurdity of your word converting system." And let me ask you, friend Waterman, who of the twelve Apostles ever commanded an unconverted man to pray? Did any Christian teacher, sent by Jesus, ever say to an unconverted man, 'Pray for  faith--pray to be converted'? I am not so much surprised that you call the doctrine of David an absurdity, who said, "The law [or word] of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul;" or the word of Paul, who affirms that the Jewish "Scriptures are able to make a man wise to salvation" through the faith in Jesus--as to find you an advocate for the prayer of unbelief!
Is this too strong? I will tell you why I think it is not. No man, since the resurrection of Jesus Christ, can be heard in heaven, who prays to God, unless he first acknowledge Jesus to he his Son, and "the way, the truth, and the life." A person praying to God through Jesus Christ, without such a faith, without such an acknowledgment of the Messiah, is not found in the New Testament--he is the creature of the Apostacy--the workmanship of scholastic divinity--a perfect nondescript in the vocabulary of heaven., And, sir, this is my folly, or my heresy if you please, that I hold and teach it to be an insult to God and Christ for any one in his sins to ask God to change the economy of salvation to suit his ignorance and caprice; or, if you please, to ask God for any blessing which he refuses to accept in the way which God has proposed it.
Saul of Tarsus,the thief upon the cross, or ten thousand instances of this sort, could they be found, would not constitute an objection, nor even a difficulty, in this case. The time was that the blood of bulls and goats--that the altar and the priest--that Melchisedeck and Aaron--that time, and place, and circumstance were all necessary to acceptance with God.
Time was, that turning the face to the East, or towards the Temple of Solomon, was necessary. Time was, that Daniel opened his window and looked towards Jerusalem while he prayed. Time was, that all the ritual of Moses was necessary to acceptable worship. Time was, that Cornelius might offer up his prayers and his alms acceptably without the name of Jesus or faith in his blood. But, sir, that time is past. The gospel is now preached to Jew and Gentile, and Jesus is exalted a Prince and Saviour to give reformation and remission of sins, without blood, altar, or priest on earth; and no Prophet, Apostle, or Evangelist, since Jesus entered heaven, ever told Jew, Samaritan, or Gentile to pray to God before he acknowledged or confessed Jesus to be the Messiah. "We have an Advocate with the Father." Who? Those, and only those, who are voluntarily under Christ.
I only ask one question and you cannot misunderstand me. Would it have been acceptable to God for any Jew, after the erection of the Mosaic institution, to have worshipped as did the Patriarchs? or would it not have been offering an insult to God for any Jew, under Moses, to have asked God to have pardoned him without his attendance at the altar or upon the priest, or in the way which the law prescribed for remission? Would not such an effort on the part of a Jew be called rebellion?
For what, my friend, would you command a sinner to pray? "God hears not sinners," said one whom Jesus restored to his sight. Would you say, 'Pray that you may believe'? Then Paul affirms, "Without  faith it is impossible to please God: for he that comes to God must believe that he exists, and that he is a rewarder of them who diligently seek him." Would you say, 'Pray for the remission of your sins'? When did an Apostle say so to a sinner? Why not say with Peter to a convicted, to a penitent Jew, "Be immersed for the remission of your sins?" Why ask God to forgive in some other way than the appointed? Is not this virtually to say, 'I desire you, Lord, to forgive me while I continue disobedient, or in some other way than that which you have appointed'?
Far be it from me to oppose prayer--the prayer of faith. I will say to Christians, 'Pray always;' to one who has transgressed, 'Confess, and pray for pardon;' to one who has professed the faith and departed from it, I will say, 'Repent and pray;' but to one who has not acknowledged the Messiah, I will say, 'Believe on the Son of God, reform, and be immersed for the remission of your sins' My reason is, that I have Christian authority for all this; and those who act otherwise have human philosophy for any other way they please.
This is the merit of the controversy; and the question is, Whether we shall obey God, our own philosophy, or that of other men? This is the absurdity of my system, as you please to call it. I confess I am just so credulous as to believe that God's way is the best; and I will add, that to me it appears the most rational. The order of things in this philosophy is, first, the testimony of God; then, faith in that testimony; then, repentance; then, baptism and prayer; then, peace, and hope, and joy, and love; then, all good works.
Thus you have brought me to the right place of beginning; and although I saw this before, I did not choose it till you led me to it. In preaching, then, we first declare the testimony of God--draw our arguments and motives to obedience from the word, accompanied by all the demonstrations of the Holy Spirit, sent down from heaven--then we exhort to obedience from all the promises and threatenings in the gospel--then immerse all the believing penitents, that they may enjoy the remission of their sins and the consolations of the Holy Spirit.
There is a proper beginning and a proper ending of every thing in nature and religion, and indeed in all the affairs of men. To begin right is essentially necessary to a right termination. This is no where more necessary than in preaching and teaching Christ. My wish is, that we may always begin at the beginning, and then, by continuing in the course prescribed, we shall end well.
Professor Stuart on the Mode of Baptism.
OUR Professor laments the zeal of many of his good Baptist brethren for their favorite mode of baptism. He makes very light, indeed, of the merits of any question about "externals;" and, mild as he is, he  uses more than once the term zealot, as peculiarly applicable to those who are very scrupulous about "the costume of the church." Now, without an effort on my part to show that some of his affectionate Baptist brethren might think, and even say, that this term zealot would apply with equal classic force and propriety to any one who writes a hundred pages to show that any mode of keeping the commands of God will be acceptable, provided they are kept at all; for that a person may be a zealot for latitudinarianism as well as for exact obedience--I say, without an attempt on my part to press this matter upon the attention of the Professor, I would ask him gravely to consider whether be can imagine a question of more interest or of more importance to the Protestant cause, than--What means baptism?
Circumstances can make a mere trifle as important as life itself. Now, waving all controversy about the abstract merits and essence of the institution of baptism, let us look at it through the circumstances which now surround it, and thence learn whether it does not require more grave investigation than what has yet been bestowed upon it. What, then, are the circumstances which now attend this question?
In forming a just estimate of these we need not travel out of the United States. We have now half a million of immersed Christians, and say more than half a million of unimmersed Christians, of different denominations, who are in all other matters and things equally creditable professors of Christianity, and sufficiently orthodox to coalesce in one communion. Now if union be as desirable as Jesus Christ represented it in his intercessions for the unity of his disciples, (John xvii.) or if the want of it be as criminal, and as destructive to the character and influence of Christian religion as Paul describes it to the Corinthians, then does not any thing about "rites, forms, or ceremonies," as some would irreverently call some of the commandments of the Saviour, I ask, does not any matter, however small in itself, which becomes the cause of separation, assume an immense importance, and call for the most profound attention of all who regard the union of the church as essential to the conversion of the world? For my part, I have for many years regarded the controversy about baptism, apart from the meaning of the institution, as incomparably surpassing in its consequences upon the destinies of Christianity, every other discussion in Protestant Christendom. It alone presents an impassable gulph between those denominated "Evangelical Christians" of every name. Deserves it not, then, the highest consideration which can be bestowed on any question?
Now if the Paidobaptists are in good earnest in their prayers and their professions respecting the co-operation of Christians, becomes it them to proceed any longer in their attempts to perpetuate a practice which necessarily must defeat all their prayers and efforts for communion, when that practice cannot be regarded by themselves, in the judgment of its most learned supporters, as standing' on the same unequivocal authority with the practice opposed to it? Conceding to them all they have to say in favor of its probability, their  own concessions to the Baptists allow the Baptists to conclude that their practice is not merely more scriptural, but absolutely right in itself. All Christendom, Catholic and Protestant, admits than an immersed believer is baptized according to the New Testament--according to the certain and universally acknowledged import of the term baptizo, and according to the practice of the primitive church in its earliest annals. Now admitting the evidence to be only plainer, more direct and unequivocal in favor of immersion than of sprinkling, the question is, Which of the two parties must yield to the other? Not the stronger to the weaker--the more evident to the less evident--the certain to the probable. But some will say that the minority in numbers must yield to the majority. If so, the Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and Episcopalians must yield to the immersed; for, in these United States, it is presumed from the documents before us, that the immersed adults greatly exceed the sprinkled adults in the whole United States.
In one half century immersion has gained on sprinkling more than four per cent. per annum. From less than forty thousand, the immersed now exceed four hundred thousand; and, in the ratio of late years, they will, in less than fifty years, outnumber the whole Protestant population of this union. But we argue not that the minority should yield to the majority in numbers; but that the less probable should yield to the more probable, our opponents themselves being judges.
Our Professor's essay will satisfy any man of common sense, that, argue the matter on what ground any one pleases, immersion is the most probable. If he take the word baptizo, the preposition in construction with it, the places where the action was performed, the expositions of it in the epistles, and the voice of all antiquity, the whole together, and each section of evidence by itself, is in favor of immersion.
In this view of matters we wave our own views altogether, and reason from theirs; for we do not admit that there is the least probability that ever man, woman, or child was sprinkled by the authority of Jesus Christ: but admitting, as they contend, that there is probable evidence in their favor, and only mere probable evidence in our favor, then the question is, Which party ought in reason and justice to yield to the other?
All the world, Jew and Gentile, Catholic and Protestant, admit that immersion is baptism. We cannot, therefore, in conscience, give up this matter. They may be immersed--we cannot be sprinkled. I say, they may be immersed without injury, because they are more certain that immersion is the action that Christ commanded, than they can be that sprinkling is acceptable in his sight. This I must infer from all that Professor Stuart has to say in his own defence. How much more reasonable, then, would it have been, and how much more consistent for him to have exhorted his brethren, as they pray for union, communion, and co-operation, to put an end to the controversy by being immersed themselves, and then unite cordially with those  brethren whose zeal and constancy in the most trying times, demonstrate, beyond doubt, their regard for the commandments of the Lord, and their willingness to suffer persecution rather than yield their convictions to the commandments of men clothed with a little brief authority.
Enough has been said to show how utterly unavailing every effort to diminish our respect for any divine institution must be, especially by one who tells us as he proceeds, that, in his judgment, we have all classic authority, all antiquity, and most probably the New Testament acceptation of words on our side of the question. With all respect for that judgment, we request him to consider whether, with all these premises and the preceding considerations before us, we may not, in all justice, retort upon him his own words--"Those who are ready to break the church in pieces by contending for rites and forms, seem to me not well entitled to take the position, that others are chargeable with this, who will not succumb to such doctrines"?
But we have still some other things to suggest to the consideration of our much esteemed friend.
The first Christian Emperor a Persecutor.
His Edict against the Arians.
To the Bishops and People.
"Whereas Arius has followed the example of the wicked and irreligious, 'tis but just that he should suffer the same ignominy as they: therefore, as Porphyry, that enemy of piety, for the impious writings he composed against religion, was justly rewarded with lasting infamy, and buried under a load of reproaches, and his profane writings have been entirely destroyed; so it is now our pleasure that Arius and his followers be branded with the name of Porphyrians, that, as they have copied his morals, they may derive their denomination too from him. Moreover, if any of Arius' writings shall be found extant, we order it to be burnt; that not only his wicked doctrine may be utterly abolished, but that there may not be the least monument of him conveyed to posterity. This likewise we declare, that if any person shall be found to have concealed any writing composed by Arius, by not immediately producing the said book, and committing it to the flames, he shall be punished with death. For as soon as be is convicted of the fact, he shall suffer capital punishment. God preserve you."
This is a fair sample of the spirit of all political religious establishments. It is a fact worthy of remembrance, that when something called Christianity mounted the throne, it began to hurl its anathemas against those who dissented from the popular opinions. For our part, we have always regarded the conversion of Constantine as a political affair; and the above bloody decree is full proof of the spirit which he received after his conversion to the faith. We have no better opinion of the Christianity of those who are seeking, by every conceivable exertion, to get into their hands the government of this country. The Great Teacher said, "'All who take the sword shall perish by the sword."
New Version and Dr. Cleland.
IN the press of our affairs on leaving home for a three months' tour, we give the Doctor and our readers an article from a Presbyterian print. It appeared in the "PRESBYTERIAN," without note or comment, on April 10th of the present year. There are many good arguments which may be drawn from this document in favor of a more correct version than the common one. From a careful perusal of this article, the Doctor may, perchance, learn (if not too old to learn) how much credit is due to his candor and remarks upon the King's version and the New. His friend Horne, from whom he has stolen so many encomiums upon the common version, was not more infallible than himself, though much more candid and intelligent on all such matters: I say 'stolen,' because he that borrows liberally from any writer, and passes it off upon the public as his own, is, in the common law of the commonwealth of letters, called a plagiarist, which is the literary name of a thief. How much Dr. Cleland has dealt in contraband goods and in these furtive tricks, we may make appear more evident when we come to that part of his correspondence.
EDITIONS OF THE BIBLE.
The canons of the Protestant Episcopal church provide for the appointment of suitable persons to compare new editions of the Bible, which may be submitted to them for that purpose, with a standard edition, and certify their correctness. The publications of the American Bible Society are also carefully compared with a standard copy. Besides these instances, we know of no other guarantee that the public have of the correctness of the numberless editions which are in circulation. They are commonly printed as any other book, from the most convenient copy, and passed through the press with the usual rapidity. Of course it would be easy for a designing person to mutilate the Scriptures, and the changes might for a long time escape detection. In Great Britain the privilege of printing the Bible is restricted to the King's Printer and the Universities; and being entrusted to a few individuals, the purity of the text is strongly warranted. No such monopoly should be desired in this country; but it would be well to have some responsible name or names attached to every edition, to vouch for its fidelity.
Our attention has been drawn to the subject by having occasion frequently to notice errors which prove the grossest negligence on the part of the publishers. For instance, we have before us a handsome octavo Bible, published in Philadelphia a few years since, in which I Kings i. 21. reads thus, "Otherwise it shall come to pass when my Lord the king shall dagger sleep with his fathers, that I and my son Solomon shall be counted offenders."
The word dagger has been obviously printed by a misapprehension of a correction of the proof-reader, who directed that a dagger () should be placed before the word "sleep," to indicate the marginal reference; but the printer has incorporated the word into the verse, and it has not been revised.
After writing the above paragraph we saw the February number of the London Monthly Review, which notices a pamphlet lately issued, titled, "The existing Monopoly, an inadequate protection of the authorized version of Scripture. In four letters to the Bishop of London. With specimens of the intentional and other departures from the authorized standard." From the facts drawn by the reviewer from the statements of the writer (Thomas Curtis) it appears that the restriction of the right to print the Bible has been far from  insuring the correctness of the impressions. It seems that the office of King's Printer is now in the possession of a barrister, who farms it out for an annual compensation; and that the whole business of reviewing the press is confided to the printer. Twenty years ago, a person in one of the privileged printing-offices detected 731 errors, from Genesis to Jeremiah, in the copy used as a standard. Mr. Curtis has published a list of various errors which he has detected in his own examination of several editions. Some of these are as follows:
Judges xi. 11.--The authorized versions printed "children of Gilead" for "elders of Gilead," for forty-five years before the error was discovered.
Genesis xxxiii. 5.--"She said," for "he said," making Rachel or Leah the speaker, instead of Esau.
Psalm xlii. 1.--"As the heart panteth."
Jeremiah xxvii. 3.--"Come to Jeremiah," for "come to Jerusalem."
Ezekiel xlvii. 10.--"The fishes shall stand upon it," for "fishers." An error which remained seventeen years.
Zechariah vi. 2.--"There came forth," for "four.
Mark vii. 14.--"And said," for "he said;" destroying the sense of several verses.
Mark xii. 14.--"They say unto me," for "him."
Luke xiv. 26.--"Hate his own wife," for "life."
John xvii. 25.--"The world hath known thee," for "hath not known thee."
Romans xvi. 18.--"By good works deceive," for "good words."
Galatians v. 17.--"The flesh lusteth after the spirit," for "against."
Hebrews ix. 14.--"Purge your conscience from good works," for "dead works."
Jude 16.--"These are murderers," for "murmurers."
Revelation xviii. 22.--Two lines omitted.
In Galatians iv. 29. Mr. Curtis discovered a blunder, caused apparently by a similar misunderstanding to that we have noticed in the Philadelphia Bible; the words "to remain" having probably been written on the proof, referring to the comma at the word "Spirit," but which the printer has incorporated with the text.
Of several of the editions thus discovered to be incorrect, it is remarked, "These are the editions which the Rev. Mr. Horne so much commends, and which he states the Episcopal church of North America has resolved to consider standards."
Efforts are now in progress in England to remedy this important evil. A parliamentary committee was appointed in the spring of 1832, to investigate the duties of the King's Printer, and we suppose their report has been lately printed; for we find in the London Advocate of January 28th, a report of the examinations of some witnesses on the subject, though the nature of the inquiry is not mentioned. We take some passages from them:--
Were you brought up a bookseller?
How long did you carry on that business; and when did you retire?
I retired about seven years ago, and I had been in business twenty years.
In point of fact, have you found several errors in the edition that you have?
Yes: I am not aware of any edition I have had to examine, which has been without errors. The fewest errors I have discovered were in an edition printed by Pasham, in 1776, and another printed at Edinburgh in 1811, both of which I have here, [producing the same.] These are the most accurate and most beautiful Bibles I have found.
Have you directed your attention to the editions printed by either of the Universities?
I believe the editions which were usually printed at Oxford have been the most incorrect of all. In one case, a schoolfellow of mine corrected a copy of a nonpareil Bible, and he found upwards of 12,000 errors in it, which he sent to the then Archbishop of Canterbury, who, in return, sent him a handsome letter, and £10 for his trouble. 
Who was the gentleman?
Mr. William Randall. It was about fifteen or sixteen years ago. Did you see the Bible?
I did, with all the errors marked: they included errors of every description, with regard to italic words and errors of punctuation; and every kind of error was marked out.
Had it marginal references?
From what edition did he take his standard?
From Blayney's quarto edition.
In that there are some mistakes, are there not?
Yes, there are some trifling errors.
With regard to the Cambridge Bibles, have you found many errors in the early editions generally?
Cambridge has not been a favorite place for the printing of Bibles; they have not been so extensive in their sale as Oxford.
Has not the monopoly led to the practice of false title-pages, in order to evade the penalties?
Yes, to an immense extent.
What led to the printing of Baskerville's and Pasham's Bible?
It was the wish to give a beautiful and correct edition. The most beautiful book that has appeared by the King's Printer was Baskett's, and that was so incorrect, that they made a blunder even in the head-line, putting "The Parable of the Vinegar," instead of "The Parable of the Vineyard," and a multitude of errors of the same kind.
You have delivered in as almost a standard, certainly as an edition which contains, in your judgment, no errors, the small edition by Pasham in 1776?
When I say 'no error,' I say I have not discovered one; I should think it utterly impossible to print the Bible without an error.
From your general experience as a bookseller, as well as your observations as a collector of Bibles, are you of opinion that, supposing the patent rights were abolished, competition would generally secure fidelity in the text, at least equal to that which exists under the present system?
Yes; I feel confident that there are a great number of persons who would devote their lives, if it were necessary, to producing an immaculate edition of the Bible, if it were possible so to do. Were it not for the existing patent, which prevents its being done, I have known persons who would have done it.
How many editions have you of English Bibles altogether?
I cannot state the precise number; but I suppose about four hundred.
How many editions of the English Bible have you been able to collect?
I have somewhere about four hundred, but I have not collected any common Bibles; the whole that I have are Bibles that are interesting from some peculiar circumstance connected with them.
The observations you have made with respect to errors, apply principally to editions of a more ancient date; have you examined any of the modern editions printed by the Universities or the King's Printers, and can you state whether they contain more or less errors?
I cannot state positively, because I have not looked much to the modern editions, unless there was something particular in them. I observed on Saturday night, in looking into Mr. Longman's edition of 1822, now on the table, that in the 18th Psalm, 50th verse, there is, "to his appointed," instead of "to his anointed."
|[S. S. Journal.]|
What the Churches ought to do.
WE expect to devote more attention to these matters soon. Meanwhile, without note or comment, we shall hear brother Winans: 
|JAMESTOWN, Ohio, September 23, 1833.|
Brother Campbell--I HAVE thought, that it would be well for the congregations to take the following propositions under consideration, viz:--
Major Proposition.--The Apostles taught and authorized the churches to do all things whatsoever Jesus had commanded them to do.--Therefore,
1st. The churches were taught by the Apostles to preach the gospel to the world, and to baptize them that believed.
2d. The churches were taught to teach the baptized believers to observe all the commands of Jesus; to love one another; to break bread together; and to pray and praise in concert.
3d. The churches were taught to set apart of their members men qualified to rule, as rulers; those qualified to teach, as teachers; those qualified to exhort, as exhorters; those qualified to judge, as judges; and those qualified to reclaim, as reclaimers.
4th. All thus set apart by the church, act by authority of the church to the extent of its jurisdiction.
5th. All who are born of the institution appointed of God, (water and the Spirit,) and eat of the same loaf, and drink of the same cup, are bound to obey the laws of the King wherever they be; and for a breach of the laws, the subjects of the King have the right to reprove and punish them according to law.
6th. The churches were taught and authorized to send special messengers to other churches, and to the world, to execute all the social relations and duties commanded by the King--to announce the King's proclamation to the world--and make subjects for the King--and to diffuse charity among his subjects.
In haste I subscribe myself an humble subject of the King of kings,
|BETHANY, Brooke County, Va.|
To B. W. Stone.
IN the close of your letter under consideration, (C. M. page 210,) you object to my refusing to admit N. W's position against the vicarious sufferings of Christ for the sins of his people. Your words are--
"You combat another sentiment of Noah Worcester, who refuses to admit that any being in the universe can be properly said to have a right to transfer a just punishment from the guilty to the innocent." "You think differently; i. e. you think that God has that right, and has exercised it in transferring the just punishment of guilty sinners from them to his innocent Son. To prove this you quote Isaiah liii. 6. and 2 Cor. v. 21. 'All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. For he has made him a sin  offering for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the justified of God by him.' Your opinion is, that Christ was not actually guilty of our iniquities, but was treated as if he had been so; the Father inflicting upon him the just wages of sin; namely, sufferings and death. 'He laid on him the punishment due to us all.'"--
All this I believe and avow, and must, therefore, of necessity, combat the above sentiment of N. W. And, indeed, his first rule of scripture interpretation will amply justify my so doing. [See "Bible News," page 217.]--"The Scriptures were inspired to instruct common readers, by using words according to their common acceptation, and not to confound them by an abuse of language." Now let any one read the above quotations according to this rule; and must he not admit "that God has transferred the just punishment of guilty sinners from them to his innocent son"? Nay, let him read the whole 53d chapter of Isaiah, and say if it can mean any thing else than this.--Then let him read all the correlate passages in the New Testament, one of which I have quoted above, and he must admit, that if language has any common acceptation, any fixed meaning at all, then did Christ, "the holy one of God, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners," having nothing in common with them but the human nature, "suffer for sins, the just for [or on account of] the unjust, that he might bring us to God." And this he did not accidentally, as Uriah suffered for the sin of David; but on set purpose, and by a divine appointment; for "he was made a sin offering for us;" "the Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all; and now once in the end of the world has he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." And here I would appeal to N. W. and his advocates;--Shall we depart from the plain common sense meaning of the concurrent testimonies of the Holy Scriptures, concerning the nature and intention of the death of Christ, to make room for his assumption? I hope not. "Let God be true, and every man a liar," who ventures to contradict him; for--"he laid on his innocent Son the iniquities of us all;" and "by his stripes we are healed." Yet you say, "Were I in this sentiment I would boldly avow myself a Universalian:"--for--"If Christ bore the punishment due to us all, that we might be made the justified of God, who shall condemn one of the human family?" Dear brother, is this supposed consequence a sufficient argument to prove that the Scriptures do not mean what they say upon this all-important subject? I say, all-important; for "whom he justified them he also glorified;" consequently, if not justified, then not glorified. Now God has but one way of justifying the ungodly; namely, "through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiatory through faith in his blood--to declare at this time his righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of him who believeth in Jesus." Rom. iii. 24-26. and iv. 4, 5. Wherefore, "being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him." Rom. v. 9. I say, then, shall we concede this all-important point, which lies at the very foundation of our salvation, to give place to N. W's position; or to avoid the supposed consequence of "Universalianism?" For my  part, in order that we may hold this all-important truth, I see no occasion either to admit the latter or refute the former, unless it be granted that we are to hold nothing as certainly true, as long as there are objections brought against it, that we cannot answer. But this, we presume, will not be granted.
All we shall say, however, in the meantime, with respect to the former, is, that if there can be no just right to transfer a punishment from the guilty to the innocent; then, in justice, there can be no such thing as suretyship: every law that admits it, and every judgment that inflicts it, must be essentially unjust. But it may be said, the surety makes himself guilty, that is, responsible, for he does it wittingly and willingly: we answer, so did our Surety--our Enguos, Heb. vii. 22. our God, Job xix. 25. "Then, said I, Lo! I come to do thy will, O God." Heb x. 5-10.--And, as for the latter,--the avowal of universalism, I must confess I cannot see how the Scripture account of the vicarious sufferings of the Saviour leads to such a conclusion; seeing we are informed by the Saviour himself, that he laid down his life for the sheep,--for those that the Father had given him, for whom also he explicitly prays. John x. 15. & xvii. 2, 9. 20. Now, certainly, to infer the salvation of all these would be scripturism, not universalism: for the Saviour himself says, "All that the Father giveth me, shall come to me: and him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out.--And this is the Father's will who hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me, I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day," &c. John vi. 37, 39. Farther, if we are desirous to know who these happy folks shall be, we are told, verse 40, "This is the will of him who sent me, that whoever recognizes the Son, and believes on him, should obtain eternal life, and that I should raise him again at the last day." So much for the latitudinarian alternative.
I now proceed to notice your last difficulty in the letter before me namely,--"It is admitted that the government of God is perfect; and "must be, therefore, a perfect model for all governments on earth. "Let it be considered as a principle in the divine government, that it "is right for the innocent to suffer in the room of the guilty, and that "the guilty be released from punishment on this account; then should "not the same principle be admitted in all civil governments?" I answer, the word perfect is a relative term; and, therefore, supposes a rule by which the alleged perfection is to be tried: consequently, what would be a perfection in one government, might be an imperfection in another. If so, we presume it will be readily granted in favor of the divine government in the case before us; the relations of the Governor and governed, as well as the variety both of the subjects and objects of the divine government, being so vastly different from those of earthly governments. But, as this might be supposed a kind of begging the question, we shall not insist upon it; nor, indeed, is there any necessity; for there is no such principle supposed in order to justify the substitution of Jesus Christ, nor co much as implied in it. It is quite a peculiar, preternatural, extraordinary case; and,  therefore, can neither be predicated upon the natural relations of things, nor afford any precedent for imitation. Before it, there was nothing like it, nor shall be after it--such a thing shall never take place again; "Christ dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him." Who, then, would argue from such a peculiar--such an extraordinary event, to a general principle? To infer a universal conclusion from a particular occurrence, everybody knows is most illogical. The case before us is most peculiar. It is that of the Father of the universe with his only begotten Son, about the redemption and salvation of a portion of their guilty creatures, to the glory of the divine nature, and of the divine persons subsisting in it; and also to the high and everlasting advancement of the creatures to be thus redeemed, and to the infinite satisfaction and delight of all the holy angels. [See John xvii. 1, 2, 22, 24. Rev. v. 9-13, &c.] Now who would think of making this most extraordinary, unparalleled case, a common example for the administration of human governments, amongst fellow-creatures, where both the parties and the objects are so immensely different as to admit of no comparison. I mean the principle adopted for the accomplishment of all this; namely, the vicarious sufferings of the Son of God. Surely, no rational mind could be so extravagant. Wherefore, I shall proceed no farther in the exposure of this absurd assumption; but go on to notice your remaining objections, contained in your second letter, now before me.
You proceed by saying,
"In the close of my first letter, I was remarking on your exposition of Isaiah liii. 6. and 2 Cor. v. 21. 'He laid on him the iniquity of us all.' This, in your view, means he laid on him the punishment due to us all. You think, by this vicarious punishment we are justified. 'Being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.' Rom. v. 9. You add a little to the text--'that being justified by faith in his blood.' Dear brother, what has faith to do in the justification of which you speak? If A is guilty of murder, and is condemned to die; and if B becomes his surety, and bears the punishment due to A; then is not A clear, whether he believe or not, that B died for him? A's faith produces no effect whatever in the matter of his justification. But why talk of justification or forgiveness at all in A's case? The debt due was fully paid by B, the surety of A. Could the law, or executive now say to A, I forgive or justify you freely by my grace? Not freely, might A say, for my surety has paid my due or debt, fully in my stead--I have nothing to be forgiven--I see no grace or favor shown me, in this forgiveness or justification. In fact, there is none but in the surety;--if there is, I should be glad to see it proved by Scripture testimony."--
Thus you object.
And now, dear brother, do you not perceive that your objection goes to make void the Scripture account both of faith and favor, in the salvation of men by the sufferings and death of Christi and also of the justice of God in our salvation? You charge me with adding a little to the text in Rom. v. 9. My supplement, however, is both contextural and constitutional. The chapter commences with, "Justified  by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ"--"whom God hath set forth to be a propitiatory through faith in his blood." chap. iii. 25. Hence it is through faith in his blood that he becomes our propitiatory, our peace, our righteousness or justification; faith or belief being the constitutional principle both of union, and of enjoyment: for, "as many as received him, to them gave he power [or privilege] to become the sons of God; even to them that believe on his name." John i. 12. And is not his official name Saviour, Redeemer? Matth. i. 21. "Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins"--"In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins" Eph. i. 7. For--"You were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold; but with the precious blood of Christ." I Peter i 18, 19. "Being justified freely, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; whom God has set forth to be a propitiatory through faith in his blood." Rom. iii. 24, 25. "Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation." Rev. v. 9.
Now your statement goes to nullify, most explicitly, this whole scheme of salvation; for, according to it, there can be no price, ransom, or equivalent whatever, for the procurement of our salvation, in consideration of which God might consider it just and reasonable to pardon the guilty, without destroying both faith and favor: whereas, according to the above quotations, "we are justified freely by the divine favor [or grace] through the redemption that is in [or by] Christ Jesus;--redeemed to God by his blood;--saved from wrath through him;--redeemed not with corruptible things, as silver and gold; but with the precious blood of Christ;--who came to give his life a ransom for many." Matth. xx. 28. But, according to your statement, if there be any price, ransom, or equivalent proposed, required, or provided on the part of Heaven, on account of which pardon is granted to the guilty, the exercise of faith on their part, and of sin-pardoning mercy on the part of God, is rendered absolutely and forever impossible; notwithstanding all that is most expressly declared to the contrary in the above passages, and in many others that might be quoted to the same purpose. Yet, after all that has been, or may be objected by erring mortals, it is declared to be a fixed and fundamental principle in the divine procedure, that "without the shedding of blood there is no remission." Heb. ix. 22. And that no other blood can effect this but the blood of Christ. Heb. x. 4. And that "now once in the end of the world he has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." Heb. ix. 26. And that it is by faith in his blood we have access to the enjoyment of the divine mercy. Rom. iii. 25. And that God has adopted this way of showing mercy for the sake of his justice; "that he might be just, and the justifier of him that believes in Jesus." Rom. iii. 26. Wherefore, as I said above, your objection not only goes to destroy the exercise both of faith and favor in the salvation of men, by the sufferings and death of Christ, but also of the divine justice; for the display of which, that he might be "a just God and a Saviour," he has expressly provided, in justifying the believing  sinner through the blood of Jesus. Rom. iii. 25, 26. Whereas, according to your statement, justice can have nothing to do with the salvation of sinners; for if there be any provision made to meet the demands of law and justice, you "see no favor shown in this forgiveness or justification." Nevertheless, it is written, "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us." Gal. iii. 13. And again, "Christ once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh." 1 Pet. iii. 18. Consequently, our redemption is ascribed to his blood, as the price paid for it. 1 Pet. i. 18, 19. Accordingly believers are said to be bought with a price. 1 Cor. vi. 20.
But farther, your objectional statement in the supposed case of A and B, is not a fair parallel; consequently, not to the purpose: for A and B are fellow-creatures, fellow-subjects, with neither of whom the law or government has anything to do, but according to their respective conduct; wherefore, should the latter offer himself to suffer in the room of the former, and the law admit it, the executive governor could be entitled to no thanks, for he had no efficiency in procuring the substitute, nor any peculiar interest in him more than in any other common subject. But is this the case with the great God in the substitution of his only begotten Son for the life of the world? For, first, are not the guilty subjects his absolute property? 2d. Does he not provide and appoint the substitute? 3d. Does not his beloved Son willingly accept of the appointment, having an equal interest in the guilty subjects, and an equal love to them? And, then, have not the Father and the Son a just right to do all this for their guilty creatures if they please? And would not all this be pure favor to the guilty rebels? And would not their pardon upon repentance, through the belief of this, be to them pure mercy? And would not the making of this great sacrifice the sine qua non--the indispensable prerequisite, ground, and reason of forgiveness--and faith in it for this purpose, the sole principle of the enjoyment of this forgiveness, be perfectly consistent with, and declarative of, the divine justice, mercy, truth, and holiness? and, at the same time, equally adapted to the condition and relief of the perishing guilty, as if no such sacrifice had been required?--and also, infinitely better calculated to deter every subject of the divine government from the commission of sin, than if mercy had been exercised without any regard to, or demonstration of, its infinite demerit? For, surely, if there be no forgiveness in the case of fallen man, the mere dupe of satanic subtilty, but at the inestimable price of the life's blood of the Son of God, and that too, exacted in the most degrading circumstances, and with the most terrible and dolorous concomitants--infinitely intense, indeed, must be the divine abhorrence of sin--infinite the inflexible and unsparing strictness of the divine justice in punishing it--and, of course, infinitely dreadful and hopeless the condition of the transgressor, in any portion of the vast dominion of God. Contemplating this awfully glorious display of the divine character, in which mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other--we feel disposed to "serve  the Lord with fear, and to rejoice with trembling" Ps. lxxxv. 10. and ii. 11.
[TO BE CONTINUED.]
|For the Millennial Harbinger.|
To the United Baptist.
YOU have likely seen in the Millennial Harbinger, for May, 1833, a note from me to brother Campbell, in which I promised to give you my reasons for entering the present reformation; which I now proceed to do. In this I wish not to be understood to say, that we attempt to reform religion; but to reform our lives, and restore the religion taught by Christ and his Apostles. Let me farther remark, that there has been a declension from primitive Christianity will be denied by none, but none will admit that they have departed. As this letter is directed to the United Baptists, give me leave to examine some of the doctrines and practices instituted by you. And first, names are instituted among you, and these names keep up a distinction in the kingdom of Christ. Many young people unite themselves to your body, when they know but little; they then read the word and see that names are forbidden; consequently will prefer to obey God rather than man. In order (I mean Baptist order) they are not permitted to withdraw in peace, but they must be excluded, and declared to the world as excluded men from society, because they wish to obey the Lord rather than men. Being confident the followers of Christ could not unite upon the name Baptist, I determined to lay it apart as superfluous, and to receive in meekness the names in the engrafted word. I receive the name Christian, a follower of Christ; Disciple, a learner of Christ; Saint, one set apart; a Brother, one born of the same parents--i. e. the water and the Spirit.
Paul knew names of distinction would be injurious in the kingdom, and therefore forbade the introduction of them, when he this declares, "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus" Gal. iii. 27,.28. Again he declares, "For one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?" now if it rendered a man carnal to be of, or to be called after an inspired Apostle, will it not render us carnal to be called after any man, or any name we may select, not found in the sacred code. In this, brethren, you must see you have departed from primitive custom. You assume to yourselves the authority to make laws in the kingdom of Christ, and to substitute a faith or confession of opinions, which you call the faith once delivered to the saints, and make it a test of fellowship.
To this confession of opinions I could not subscribe,but determined to be in a body formed upon primitive principles, and have no rules  of discipline but such as I found in the New Testament. I was, and am confident, both from observation and experience, that neither order nor purity of character, as a body, could be maintained, in any proportionate degree, without discipline.
But a pure creed and a pure worship, however right in themselves, are not sufficient. A practical observance of the Scripture injunctions is requisite to form a complete character of a Christian church. There are objections to this pure discipline, arising from the bad use that has been made of it, and the wicked purpose to which it has been applied; by many it is not understood--it is but little of their concern--they do not see the utility of it, as they believe it was not addressed to the understandings of men, and therefore turn aside from the mild and wise discipline of Christ, to a fable or the discipline of men. You have not the privilege to make laws in the kingdom. Isaiah says, "Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given; the government shall be upon his shoulder." If the government is to be on Jesus' shoulder, and you make one law in the kingdom, you take so much of the government from Jesus' shoulder and place it upon yours. But you will say, the word is not sufficient to keep us together. Brethren, is it a good work for Christians to dwell together in unity? If it be, Paul says, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." If, then, we are thoroughly furnished to all good works--when we have any more furnishing, it will be unto an evil work; and this accords with the confusion, division, strife, and animosity, that now exist in the different sects of the day. If the word be sufficient, your confessions or laws are superfluous; and if you will take the Apostle's advice, you will lay apart all superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word.
You may say you did not make these laws--your fathers made them, and it is lawful for you to live under them. Paul would not say so. He says, "We dare not make ourselves of the number," &c.--"But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us," &c. 2 Cor. x. 12, 13. When we do any thing, we must do it as did the Apostles. This practice I adopt not by any authority of my own, but as a member of the apostolic church; for while we govern ourselves by the rules, and conform to the practices which the Apostles laid down, I do not think that time produces any separation; but acting upon the same principles with them, we must regard ourselves in the same church;--but not without. You teach men to believe they cannot understand, believe, nor obey the word of God. This, so far as they receive your teachings, produces in them a total indifference and inattention to the living word of God. Can a doctrine be of God, and sanctioned by Heaven, which leads men into this evil?
There is such a mass of evidence that men were saved by believing and obeying the truth, that I am utterly astonished how serious and honest men can read the word of God, and not see that the Scriptures  are able to make us wise unto salvation. As the scheme of salvation is recorded in the Scriptures, they must be the light of men--without them we know little of God--nothing of a world to come, or of our future destiny--they are the only source of information is matters of religion. Of what vast importance, then, are the Scriptures to us--and what is equal to a true, rational understanding of them? How ought they to be reverenced and obeyed, as they only are capable of making us wise unto salvation! Impressed with these sentiments, how painful is it to hear serious men, through the influence of their former teaching, speak of the Scriptures as a sealed book, a dead letter, only ink and paper! &c. which evidently proves the prejudice and weakness of their minds in religious concerns. I cannot but think, notwithstanding great professions and apparent sanctity, that it is a very irreverent manner of speaking, to call the words of the living God a dead letter. It only proves that they who thus speak know but little of the words of eternal life, as will appear from the following scriptures. Our Lord says, "My words they are spirit and they are life." Paul says, "The word of God is quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword;" and thanks God that the Thessalonians received it not as the word of men, but, as it is in truth, the word of God, "which worketh effectually in them that believe." Peter tells the churches that "they were born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever." When men read that the word is the power of God to salvation, and assert it to be a dead letter, does it not prove that they either do not understand or believe that portion of the sacred word?
If you will begin and follow all the holy men of old, who spoke as the Holy Spirit moved upon them, in all their teaching they never once taught them that they could not believe and obey God their rightful sovereign; but entirely to the reverse of this did they teach. Hear the Holy Jesus himself say, "He that believeth not shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him." "He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." And hear it taught, "He that believeth not maketh God a liar, because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son," &c. &c. I say, would they teach us thus the importance of believing the record that God hath given of his Son, if men were not able to believe what God has said is the truth? This would be plainly teaching us that God would condemn men for not doing what he has given them no power to do. It is exactly the same on the other side of the question--"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved"--"He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved"--"He that believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God," &c. &c. But you will say, 'The Spirit must enter the heart of the sinner and produce faith.' Did the Apostles teach thus? I answer, No. In examining the ministry of the Apostles, I never find them saying faith is a gift, nor do I hear them instructing unbelievers to pray for it, or that they must have the influence of the Spirit to enable them to believe or to reveal Christ in their hearts, according to  the language of modern preachers. From time to time I have had much conversation with religious people, and preachers not a few: I have asked them for their authority for teaching that unbelievers must pray for the gift of faith, or the influence of the Spirit; when they would answer, 'they thought there were plenty of such texts, but that just then they could not recollect them.' This was, and is, the common reply. I would allow them three or six months, but still their memories failed them; and no wonder: for that man must have a notable memory, indeed, who can furnish passages of Scripture which are not in the book. The Apostles always addressed men as rational creatures, capable of understanding, believing, and obeying what they taught. Brethren, can you appear before God in judgment, and plead that it was right to teach men they could not obey him, or will you tremble when you reflect that you have taught them the traditions of your fathers, in opposition to the command of Heaven--"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved"--"Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit"? Jesus says, 'Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.' Luke xxiv. 46, 47.
This repentance and remission of sins was preached on the day of Pentecost, at the place where Christ said it should begin; and, notwithstanding he said it was to be preached among all nations, you oppose repentance and baptism for remission, and teach men they must not obey the Lord in baptism until they have received that for which Peter commanded them to be baptized. If a man were to come to you and tell you all that any one told the Apostles, you would not receive him. Is this, brethren, doing the will of the Master? A field of objections to your practices opens to my view; but I must close; my sheet is full. I will conclude by requesting you to read the word; and when God speaks, hear; and when he commands, obey him; recollecting that "many will seek to enter in, and will not be able." May you all enter, accompanied by your unworthy brother, is my prayer for Christ's sake! Amen!
Conversation at Mr. Goodal's.
[Continued from page 418.]
Mr. Williamson.--ALL temptations are motives, you say, Mr. Reed, or arguments addressed to our passions or appetites.
Mr. Reed.--In all my reasonings upon human actions, as respects their good or evil character, I must view them in the light of the motives from which they proceed; for the same action, at different times and under different circumstances, is both good and evil.
Mr. Williamson.--You judge of actions not from their tendency,  but from the principle which dictates them. But are we not right in calling any action good which has a good tendency?
Mr. Reed.--And would you call the selling of Joseph for a slave a good action, because it was good in its tendency--the means of saving millions from famine?
Mr. Williamson.--I now understand you. No action, however good in its tendency, can be virtuous or morally good, if it proceed from an evil motive; and an action having an evil tendency, but proceeding from a good motive, is still a virtuous and praiseworthy action.
Mr. Reed.--This is enough for my purpose. Temptations are arguments, not physical drawings or impulses. These arguments are called motives, because they have moving power. Now if Satan present no unworthy motive, there is no sin in yielding to his suggestions or arguments. The sin is in obeying an unworthy motive; yielding to some bias which is derogatory to the dignity of our nature, which consists in honoring God and our own nature, whether in our own persons or in the persons of others.
Father Goodal.--It would remove an immense pile of learned rubbish from our shelves--of useless lumber from our libraries--it would save the lungs of many preachers, and indirectly the souls of many sinners, if the truth of one proposition was clearly perceived. I will leave it to some of my grand-children to state it from the premises now before us.
Robert Fowler.--Seeing all are silent, I will make a guess at it. Spirits in approaching spirits clothe themselves in arguments, and influence one another by motives.
Father Goodal.--That is substantially the proposition. Spirits operate on spirits only by arguments. These arguments, adapted to the nature of spirits in all their conditions, whether embodied or disembodied, become motives to action; and consequently, as the motive, so the action, in its moral nature and character.
Mr. Reed.--And let me add, that no argument can move to action unless it be understood, or, in so far as it is understood. Any influence, then, which spirits good or evil can exert on human agents, in whatever form it is presented, will be always found to consist entirely in the adaptation of the argument to the understanding--to the passions, appetites, and propensities of the individual.
Mr. Williamson.--I perceive that many of the temptations offered men in ancient times, can easily be explained on this principle; but others require some explanation. For example, when Satan instigated Judas to betray his Master, and sell him for thirty pieces of silver, have we any account of any motive which he presented?
Mr. Reed.--It is not necessary to prove the fact that arguments were used, that we always have the arguments recorded. It is enough that we sometimes have them stated, and that no instance has occurred which can establish any other view of the matter. And what more natural in this case, that seeing Judas was a thief, a covetous person, and fearing he would never have an opportunity of realizing his expectations of gain from his connexion with Jesus, Satan should suggest  that now he must seize the opportunity of gaining something, for that his chief was about to fall into the hands of his enemies. Another suggestion, which the sequel renders probable, was, that,his Master could easily extricate himself out of the hands of his enemies, if, indeed, he could do any thing for himself or his friends; and in that case Judas would do him no injury. So, on all the premises, now was the instant for Judas to do something for himself. I say, what more natural than such arguments, with all the history of Judas and Satan before us?
Mr. Williamson.--I acknowledge it is not improbable; but if on other occasions we are authoritatively informed that such a course was pursued by the tempter, it is not necessary that we should be always told the whole process of every temptation. It has just occurred to me, in corroboration of these remarks, that all God's ministers, whether angels or men, Prophets or Apostles, in executing their various errands with men, have addressed themselves to them by arguments. This being God's way in inclining and inducing men to action, it is not reasonable that he has also a secret and unintelligible way of addressing men's minds in order to give effect to the mode which he has uniformly pursued. Such a double method would only argue the impotency of all that is written in the book--of all the labors of prophets, apostles, and angels, in all their embassies to our race.
Mr. Reed.--It would be still more derogatory to the Spirit which spoke in all these messengers, if it were obliged to adopt a secret method to give efficacy to a public method. It would be making void the latter, and tacitly declaring it wholly inadequate to any good purpose: for without the labors of so many agents, it could have better done the work of persuasion by itself alone, and thus have saved the world from all the frauds which by a written revelation and by the ministry of angels and of men, have been practised upon our race.
Robert Fowler.--Before you dismiss the subject, I must renew my difficulty touching the omnipresence of Satan. How can Satan instigate all the human race at one time to all the evil actions which are ascribed to him?
Mr. Reed.--Satan being the head, commander, and chief of all the evil agents in the universe, it is in strict harmony with universal usage to ascribe to him all that is done by his influence. For example, Cesar, while in Rome, was said to be transacting certain affairs in Germany, in Italy, in Spain, in France, &c. Cesar was doing all these things by his agents; and, in the common sense of all the empire, every thing was ascribed to him. Now as Satan has under him all evil spirits and wicked men, it is in full accordance with the same common sense of mankind, to ascribe to him all that is done by his influence. Thus Satan, like a roaring lion, is represented as going up and down in the earth, seeking whom he may devour.
Mrs. Reed.--Our Divine Master taught his disciples, in an early part of his ministry to pray, "Lead us not into temptation." Now methinks there is a necessity for us to watch and pray that we fall not into temptation. 
Mrs. Fowler.--Let me add, sister Reed, that fasting still appears to me a necessary accompaniment of watching and prayer. These three, each in its proper place and time, seem well adapted to our circumstances.
We must watch, weigh, consider maturely the motives which govern our conduct. We must take heed lest Satan gain any advantage over us; keep our hearts with all diligence; and guard our tongues, which James says are sometimes "set on fire from hell," lest we offend our Lord. Watching is the constant duty in the time of war; while life lasts we are still exposed to the enemy, and therefore it is our duty always to watch.
To pray is also necessary to our success. Jacob prevailed by prayer; while the hands of Moses were uplifted and upheld to the skies, Israel prevailed; when, by his side, Amalek prevailed. "Pray always" is an exhortation which shows its utility in waging the holy war.
And why not fast? Does not the denial of our most reasonable appetites, the controlling of our lawful desires for food, accustom the mind to endure hardships, practise it in the most noble of all arts, that of self-government? It is easy for the mind, trained to govern the body in its most lawful desires, to keep in subjection all inordinate appetites, to resist temptation; and pardon me if I yet express the conviction that the fasting of the Messiah, after his baptism and before his temptation, was designed as the best preparation for the labors he was about to commence, and the best protection and guard against the power of the enemy.
It is of immense advantage to learn to keep the body under, in order to the elevation of our minds and affections to the heavens. This was not lost sight of by the great Apostle to the Gentiles. "I keep my body under," discloses the secret of his brilliant conquests in his career to glory. We pamper ourselves, and pray for humility and self-denial! Do you not think, brother Reed, that this is inconsistent?
Mr. Reed.--I am convinced that the pampering and continued feasting of the body is a sin against nature and against religion. To fast when persons have no appetite to eat, or nothing to eat, is without moral advantage; but to deny our appetites when we have all the means of indulgence, and the keen desires of nature, in full health and vigor, is quite another matter, and has quite a different effect upon ourselves, especially when that fasting is designed to advance our conformity to the Lord.
Thus fasting, our minds are more acute, our judgments less biassed and oppressed by sense, our hearts better prepared for waiting upon the Lord, and our moral strength renewed and increased. I have not one word to say against fasting; but much to say in its favor. Sister Reed can tell you how much my neighbor, Parson W------, of the Church of England, contended with me for my saying that his Bishop was too fat and well favored to be a Christian. Indeed, I have seen many faces in our religious meetings which I thought looked more like the phiz of the worshippers of Ceres and of Bacchus, than of the  God that is spirit, light, and love. We are ruined on all sides by indulgence; our bodies are worn out by the labors of gormandizing; the machinery of nature is oppressed by the weight of luxury and excess which is imposed upon it, and is prematurely worn out by constant and accumulated action. The mind is enfeebled by these excesses, and becomes the prey of every physical derangement; and the whole man incapacitated for enjoyment of any sort, sensitive, intellectual, or moral.
Father Goodal.--A religion without fasting and the restraint of even our most natural and reasonable appetites, would not be adapted to our whole nature. Fasting is just as necessary to spiritual health as exercise is to our corporeal vigor. In all ages of the world, on all great occasions, seasons of sore trial, times of great calamity, public solemnities, the good and faithful and heavenly minded of our race gave themselves to fasting and prayer, as means of sanctification or preparation for the labors and trials that were coming upon them. My maxim on this subject, for the last forty years, has been, that occasional fasting is good for both physical and moral health, and constant feasting or indulgence is good for neither.
Mother Goodal.--Well, my dear, you know that I agree with you in all your views of fasting; but really I think, on this New Year's evening, when you have got so many of your friends and relatives around you, it does not come with so good a grace for us to close the evening with a disquisition upon fasting. Does not Solomon say, "There is a time for every thing"? and surely there is a time for Christians to feast as well as to fast. Are there not 'feasts of love' as well as times for fasting? Maria, have you forgotten your nuts and figs? I am sure some of the young people would rather see some of these than hear an oration upon fasting.
Mrs.Fowler.--To-morrow evening we hope to see all the present company at my house, and I expect them to come to partake with us in a feast of love. It is not at all repugnant to my views of fasting, (and they are now fairly before the company,) that Christians should feast together from house to house, as well as fast, either publicly or privately, as occasion may require. Our blessed Saviour feasted as well as fasted; and I fully agree with Mother Goodal that there is a time for every thing, and that all things are beautiful in their season. My pressing this matter will, I know, be excused by all present: I will, therefore, only add, that I have yet remaining some other matters which I hope to hear discussed more fully at our house to-morrow evening.
Father Goodal.--Mother Goodal, so full of good nature, and sometimes a little inclined to raillery, has suggested to me that we had better prepare for adjournment and repose. Brother Reed, will you give us a song of thanksgiving?
Mr. Reed.--May we not sing,
|"When all thy mercies, O my God,
My rising soul surveys,
Why, my cold heart, art thou not lost
In wonder, love, and praise?"
|Near Braddock's Grave, Oct. 7, 1833. |
Baptism for Obedience.
IN this age of improvement and new discovery, it appears that the ramparts and bulwarks around the faith and obedience of the city of our God, reared by the joint effort of Prophets and Apostles, are likely to interpose but a feeble resistance to that bold and enterprizing spirit of invention and innovation, which, in all the pride of false philosophy, alike contemns all things ancient, whether human or divine, To see the advances of this spirit in those establishments which make and treat religion like a human science, and represent the Bible in the light of a text-book, a volume of proofs, is strange enough, and much to be lamented; but how much more to see one who renounces all human creeds, glorying in the name Christian, and boasting in his liberty to reject all human dogmas, speak in the following terms:--
"October 9--I left my residence on a tour to Virginia. I commenced my labors, and God stood by me; and his Spirit was abundantly poured out upon the people: and, at my second appointment, in Booth Burkholder's neighborhood, between thirty and forty came forward for prayer, and several found peace; and during my stay eleven respectable members united with the church, and seven were baptized in obedience to the command of the Great Head of the church--but not for the remission of sins.3 I think the cause is truly prosperous in that place."
So speaks this Christian preacher. The New Testament is his creed. In this gentleman's Acts of the Apostles, 30th chapter and 60th verse, the following passage is found, which just proves his cause to be apostolic:--
"In those days Peter went down to Azotus, and preached to them the word of the Lord. And the Lord stood by him, and poured out his Spirit upon the unbelievers; insomuch that about forty of them came up to Peter's altar to be prayed for: and, lo! several of these forty found peace there as Peter prayed. While he sojourned among them eleven respectable members of Azotus united with the church; and besides uniting with the church, no less than seven of them were baptized--not for the remission of their sins--but for their obedience to the Lord. For while Peter prayed for them, before they were baptized, they received peace, without any assurance of remission."
With such authority as this before him, our friend Walters may proceed with much confidence of success, and with all assurance that he will have the approbation of his Master. But if the above passage should prove to be an interpolation, and that both the 29th and 30th chapters of the Acts have been added by some more modern hand, then our friend will have much difficulty in getting his forty kneeling, his eleven respectable members of Azotus, and his seven immersed for obedience, with the remainder of his peace-enjoying unimmersed for disobedience, into one and the same church triumphant! 
But one thing is clear, beyond all doubt, that Mr. Walters makes no pretensions to be the successor or vicar of Peter; for while Peter bade every penitent to be immersed for the remission of his sins, Mr. Walters says, 'Come, be prayed for, every one of you; and if any one choose to be immersed, it must not be for remission, but for the sake of showing that he will do any thing he is commanded, whether it be significant or insignificant of any thing.'
|Hillsborough, Pa. October 5, 1833.|
Baptism for Renunciation.
MR. CLOUGH, of New York, Editor of the Gospel Luminary, has recently discovered that aphiesis, translated remission, ought at least once to be translated renunciation, to relieve him from the difficulty of Peter's commandment to the penitent Jews. To command a person, however penitent, to be baptized for remission, is, in the estimation of this Luminary, "consummate nonsense," if I can recollect his expression. But to command a penitent to be immersed for renunciation, is the climax of good sense and reason. He presumes, being a "Greek scholar," to substitute renunciation for remission, on the authority of himself. This is so perfectly ridiculous, as to put it out of the power of any man to offer a grave reply. A word so well established in the estimation of all men of any pretensions to learning, is not to be now proved by the induction of a hundred quotations to offset Mr. Clough's special will and pleasure.
But will Mr. Clough tell us in plain English what he means by baptism for renunciation alone? Can a penitent renounce sin in no other way than by immersion? If so, he ought to be more zealous to have all penitents immersed, than his system, in other parts of it, requires. Being an organ of the "Christian Sect" of New York, and an advocate for baptism, if the candidate requires it, it behoves him to preach its indispensable connexion with the actual renunciation of sin--if, indeed, Peter commanded the believing and penitent Jews to be immersed in order to renunciation.
Perhaps he would take sides with Mr. Lynn of Cincinnati, and would, with this zealous Regular Baptist, prefer a transposition of Peter's words, as well as anew version of "remission" Doctor Lynn would, to suit his views, have it translated so as to make repentance the condition of forgiveness. Hence he thinks Peter ought to have said, 'Repent for the remission of your sins, and be baptized every one of you, because you are pardoned, in order to a formal dedication to the Lord--or renunciation of the world, the flesh, and Satan.' The tears of repentance are better than all the waters of Jordan! But are all penitents pardoned? and how will any penitent know when he is remitted, or when his amount of sorrow for the past, and resolution to amend, will fill up the condition on which remission is granted?
This commandment of Peter greatly confounds these "Gospel Luminaries" Not one of them, however, can offer a rational substitute  for it: the Calvinist and the Arminian, the Athanasian and the Arian, the High Church and the low church join heart and hand to oppose it; yet, when they have tried every mode of torturing Peter to make him recant, he boldly rejoins, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, for the remission of sins." And still more obstinate, in his farewell letter he says, "Immersion does also now save us, seeking a good conscience towards God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ." Thus Peter withdraws from the arena of the gladiators.
But could our friends, Lynn and Clough, strangle Peter on the day of Pentecost, how will they do with him in Solomon's Portico? And how will they do with Ananias, to whom Jesus sent Paul for instruction? Will either of the gentlemen say, "And now why do you tarry, Saul, having washed away your sins, be now immersed to renounce them, calling upon the name of the Lord"? Will this transposition and translation please the Doctors?
A curious book we would have, if these Doctors could be favored with a right to transpose and new-translate every sentence which is opposed to their views.
We would advise our Christian friends, Walters and Clough, to come to an agreement on this subject. The former has a "baptism for obedience"--and the latter, for renunciation; and, for aught I have seen to the contrary, probably they may coalesce with Mr. Lynn in preaching repentance for remission.
We are sorry to see the course pursued by these "no creed New Testament Christians" They have, in name, advocated the Bible alone; but in reality and in fact, they go for all the fooleries of the age. Unless they use the language of Ashdod, with other than the usual ideas attached to it, this is a true saying. I will give a specimen from the July number of the "Luminary," the only one which I have at command here in the mountains of Pennsylvania:--"There the power of God was displayed in a wonderful manner. Numbers crowded to the mourning bench." p. 329. "Let me say to those deeply anxious for salvation--you who have crowded to the anxious seat, all heaven is in your favor." 345. "Proceedings of the Convention of Ministers and LAYMEN of the Christian Connexion, holden in the Chapel of the first Christian Society, in the City of New York; commencing June 4th, 1833.--The Convention was organized by the appointment of Elder J. S. Thompson, Chairman, and J. N. Walter, Secretary." p. 345. "Resolved, That each Local Conference be entitled to two delegates; and for every ten ORDAINED MINISTERS, two additional delegates; and any church of one hundred members, not connected with any Local Conference, may send one delegate." page 316. And what are all these delegates to do? The work of the old, or young man of sin? or what else? These gentlemen talk of "the pure system of Bible Christianity," and cry out for consolidation because they are now no longer "a despised few." "Union is strength." We want "a General Convention." "We believe that by some degree of effort, our friends throughout the country may cause themselves to be generally represented," p. 349.--A church representative! I  forbear.--Is this the glorious ultimatum of your "liberal Christianity"--of your "no creed, New Testament religion"? I wonder not that these gentlemen are opposed to baptism for remission, and all its correlates.
|Wiggins', October 7, 1833.|
|Bowling Green, Caroline county, Va.|
A Hint to the Faithful.
THERE is in all human institutions, whether political or religious, a correspondence to the different periods of human life, with all their attendant circumstances. There are periods in their history as strongly marked as are the states of infancy, childhood, manhood, and old age. When any new religious association starts into life, it commences its march with all the sprightliness and vivacity of youth. Elate and gay, it steps forth upon the theatre of action as if it were beyond the reach of mortality, and feels not in itself one symptom of decay. Sanguine in all its views and feelings, it sees its rivals for public approbation sinking under the weight of years; or imagines that they are so shattered in their constitutions, so enfeebled in their general health, that they cannot long resist the war of elements, but must soon expire under the accumulated force of so many unpropitious circumstances. It soon arrives at manhood; and if its constitution has not yet evinced any weakness, its very vigor (by impelling it to over-exertion) sometimes becomes the occasion, if not the cause, of some irreparable shock, which at length forces upon it the conviction that it too, perchance, may go the way of all the earth, and be yet enrolled amongst the trophies of the King of Terrors.
On entering the ecclesiastic gallery we see a larger group of haggard countenances, in the decline of life, than were ever exhibited there before. They generally appear to have seen their better days, to be bowed down with the weight of cares and years, waiting for their dissolution. Two only in all the group exhibit much vigor, and both are evidently past their meridian.
On surveying the great bodies politic, in the political museum, we are struck with the same alarming prognostics of decline. All the great states are in their dotage, and exhibit the decrepitude of extreme old age. The ancient monarchies, and the once splendid hierarchies, both of the East and of the West, are alike tottering on the brink of the grave. The immediate fall of any one of them would not greatly surprise the survivors. It would be like the demise of an old man who had in common expectation almost fulfilled his day.
There is no hope in their case. The history of all past ages premonishes them of their fate, and the feebleness of their own health confirms their anticipations. The amount of advantage which any of these institutions bestows on man is now clearly ascertained, and more cannot hereafter be expected than has already been realized. We are, therefore, compelled to expect a new order of things if we dare promise  ourselves a larger amount of social happiness than is or can be now enjoyed.
Under our own political and religious institutions we see what an amount of ignorance, crime, and misery exist. In the state what enormous crimes are every day reported; in the church or sectarian establishments, what apathy, indifference, formality, ceremony, and destitution of the power of godliness; what pride, enmity, slander, evil speaking, and injustice; how little of the peace, hope, love, and joy of primitive Christianity! Need we more numerous, more unequivocal, more credible vouchers that the whole head is sick, the whole heart faint, that the whole body is covered with wounds, and bruises, and petrifying sores! Shall we then shut our eyes, close our ears, and bless our stars that we are fully happy, and that the measure of our enjoyment fills the promises and verifies all that is to be expected from all that is written of the reign and government of Messiah the Prince of Peace!
What then is to be done? Wait the coming of the Lord, despair of better times, submit to the rulers of the darkness of this world; or shall we fight on, and combat the good combat, in the firm persuasion that our labor in the Lord shall not be fruitless?
Most assuredly this ought to be our unshaken determination. It is the course, the only course which reason and revelation alike approve. It is, moreover, full of promise that will never make us ashamed. We have the gospel, the original gospel--Jesus is our Captain and our King. We have the promises--we have the throne of mercy and favor. We have the approbation of all the saints in heaven--the aid of all the angels of God. We have the prayers of all good men on earth--even those who oppose us ignorantly pray for our success: for we are doing the work which they desire to see done, but have neither the courage nor the knowledge to undertake. Our success is already greatly beyond our expectation. We have tried the temper of the swords of our opponents. There is not a Jerusalem blade in all the armies of the aliens. We shall be more than conquerors if we lose not sight of the ground we have taken--of the cause we have espoused.
Christianity is still the same thing it ever was. We can restore the ancient institutions--we can build up the breaches in the wall--we can remove much of the rubbish--we can find the foundation of the City--and we can begin the glorious work of rebuilding the ruined places. To him who believes the promises all this is possible; but to those who are desponding in Zion all things are impossible.
Desponding belongs to our opponents--not to us. Their abortive efforts to oppose the progress of reform, might teach them the lesson which Jesus condescended from his throne to teach Saul of Tarsus--"How hard to kick against the goads!" But they will not learn. Let us, then, learn to fight with patience, with perseverance, the good fight of faith.--I thank God and take courage, in passing over the ground on which a few seeds were scattered, only a few years since, in Eastern Virginia.
A NEW translation of the Testament has been recently published by Rodolphus Dickinson, a Presbyter of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States, and Rector of St. Paul's Parish, Pendleton District, South Carolina. The avowed object of this translation is, "to furnish a work better adapted than the old translation to the advanced state of literature and refinement, and correct the errors in grammar and rhetoric, and the harsh and indelicate expressions which are dispersed through the common version." As a specimen of his improvement, we copy the following passages from the translation of Mr. Dickinson:--
"Moreover, there was a Pharisee, whose name was Nicodemus, a senator of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Teacher, we know that thou art an instructer emanated from God; for no one can achieve these miracles which thou performest unless God be with him. Jesus answered and said to him, Indeed, I assure you, that except a than be reproduced, he cannot realize the reign of God. Nicodemus says to him, How can a man be produced when he is mature? Can he again pass into a state of embryo, and be produced? Jesus replied, I most assuredly declare to you, that unless a man be produced of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is produced from the body is natural life, and that which is produced from the Spirit is spiritual life."
This is a specimen of the euphonistic improvements projected by Dr. Webster. Whether the folly or the presumption of this project is most to be wondered at, I leave others to decide; but as to the intelligibility, beauty, and delicacy of this style, I have no hesitation in giving a preference to the common version.
1st. As to the delicacy, (which appears the chief object of the translator,) I would ask whether this squeamishness and fastidiousness do not betray more indelicacy of thought than is found in the simple and unaffected language of nature. The prude is more scrupulous and affected than a woman of unsuspected virtue. The over nicety of the former excites suspicion, while the simplicity and artlessness of the latter exhibit a mind unpractised in the arts of deception. If it be indelicate to speak of being born again, it is equally so to speak of being born; and this translator, to be consistent with himself, ought to exclude this word and all its relatives from the Bible. Instead of "Them who are born of woman," he ought to say, 'Of them that are produced by women;' and instead of "Thou shalt not commit adultery," 'Thou shalt not have criminal conversation with a married lady.' But even this is too coarse for a, gentleman of such refined taste. It would be better to leave out the commandment altogether than to offend the rules of politeness!
2. As to the beauty of this polite style, it seems in no respect superior to the common version. "Said unto him"--"Achieve these miracles"--"Moreover, there was a Pharisee," &c. are poor emendations as repects beauty and neatness of expression. 
3d. But as to intelligibility, the chief consideration, it is far behind the common version. "Realize the reign of God"--"Produced when he is mature"--"Pass into a state of embryo"--"Emanated from God," are more in the style of Plato and the philosophers, than in the style of the common sense of the common people, to whom all attention should be paid. Jesus Christ, who never blushed, never could have spoken in the style of the Rev. Rodolphus Dickinson; for it makes a sinner blush to read it.
|ED. M. H.|
THE following letter from this distinguished revolutionary patriot and sage, to the Rev. Dr. Bancroft, on being presented by the Divine with a volume of his sermons, will be read with interest, not only as the product of his pen, who flourished in our Independence Hall, so successfully, the sword of the Revolution; but as enforcing a great moral duty, which it were well both for clergy and laity to study more effectually to perform. The anecdote with which the letter closes, is admonitory and pointed.
|Quincy, January 21, 1823.|
Dear Sir--I thank you for your kind letter of the 30th December, and, above all, for the gift of a precious volume. It is a chain of diamonds, set in links of gold. I have never read or heard a volume of sermons better calculated or adapted to the age and country in which it was written. How different from the sermons I heard and read in the town of Worcester, from the year 1755 to 1758! As my destiny in life has been somewhat uncommon, I must beg pardon for indulging in a little egotism. I may say I was born and bred in the centre of theological and ecclesiastical controversy. A sermon of Mr. Bryant, minister of the parish, who lived on the spot, now a part of the farm on which I live, occasioned the controversy between him and Mr. Niles, Mr. Porter, and Mr. Bass, and many others; it broke out like the eruption of a volcano, and blazed with portentous aspect for many years. The death of Dr. Mellen, the Episcopal minister of this town, produced the controversy between Dr. Mayhew and Mr. Apthorp, who were so connected with this town, that they might also be considered inhabitants of it. I may say that my eyes opened upon books of controversy between the parties of Mr. Buckminster and Mr. Mellen. I became acquainted with Dyer, Doolittle, and Baldwin, three notable disputants. Mr. M'Carty, though a Calvinist, was not a bigot; but the town of Worcester was a scene of disputes all the time I was there. When I left, I entered into a scene of other disputations at the bar, and, not long afterwards, disputations of another kind in politics.
In later times I have lived with Atheists, Deists, Sceptics, with Cardinals, Archbishops, Monks, Friars of the Roman Catholic persuasion; with Archbishops, Deans, and Priests of the Church of England; with Farmer, Price, Priestly, Kipps, Rees, Lindsey, Dinsey, and Job,  with the English and Scottish clergy in Holland, and especially with Dr. Macdean at the Hague. I have conversed freely with most of the sects in America, and have not been wholly inattentive to the writings and reasonings of all these denominations of Christians and philosophers. You may well suppose, then, that I had controversy enough; but after all, I declare to you, that your twenty-nine sermons have expressed the result of all my reading, experience, and reflection, in a manner more satisfactory to me than I could have done in the best days of my strength.
The most afflictive circumstances that I have witnessed in the lot of humanity, are the narrow views, the unsocial humors, the fastidious scorn, and repulsive temper of all denominations, excepting one.
I cannot conclude this letter without adding an anecdote. One of the zealous mendicants for the contributions to the funds of Missionary Societies, called on a gentleman in Haverhill, and requested his charity. The gentleman declined subscribing; but added, that there are in and about the town of ------, nine clergyman, ministers of nine congregations, not one of whom lives on terms of civility with any other--will admit none other into his pulpit, nor be permitted to go into the pulpit of any other. Now if you will raise a fund to convert these nine clergymen to Christianity, I will contribute as much as any other man.--I am, with great esteem, your friend,
Progress of Reform.
EXTRACTS FROM LETTERS.
|PARIS, Mo. August 1, 1833.|
THE reformation is making considerable progress in this part of Missouri. I have lately baptized thirty upon a confession of faith in Christ.
|ROUNDGROVE PRAIRIE, Marion County, Mo. August 29,1833.|
IT is with pleasure I announce to you the fact, that here, in the remote wilds of the West, where, only four years ago, the wild beasts of the forest were seldom or ever alarmed by the voice of civilized man--is a congregation of disciples, in number thirty-three, nine of whom I have immersed into the name of the Lord Jesus for the remission of their sins, within the last six weeks. One more has confessed, but not obeyed. The subject of the weekly breaking of the loaf is now before us for consideration. The harvest here is truly great, and the laborers are not only few, but do not fully possess the qualifications requisite for reformers; yet they are zealous in the good cause, and will do all they can to promote it. We should be glad if some of our brethren, more able to teach than ourselves, would visit us.
|EASTHAM BALLINGER. |
|CALLOWAY COUNTY, Mo. September 15, 1833.|
AMONGST the numerous accounts you hear of the progress of the reformation, permit me to add, we are still endeavoring to press forward in the service of our King. We number at this time 28; and although great pains are taken by our opponents to prejudice the minds of the people against us, still we find some have the moral courage to come out boldly and confess the good confession, and be immersed for the remission of their sins.
|SWEDEN, Monroe county, N. Y. September 17, 1833.|
PRESUMING that the letter I wrote you in May last has not been received, I take my pen again in hope that this may meet with a safe arrival. In my last I gave some account of the progress of reform in this region, and the anathemas, excommunications, and slanders which are hurled against its advocates. I shall not now repeat them. There are four of us who bore the name of Free-Will Baptists, that are now proclaiming the ancient gospel; and though we have almost every thing to contend against, we find that the "truth is mighty, and," we doubt not, "will prevail." Brother Thomas has the consolation of having with him a considerable number of the church in Batavia, of which he was Pastor, and has also immersed these, and in the vicinity ten others for the remission of sins.
|J. M. YEARNSHAW.|
|COLEMANSVILLE, Harrison Co. Ky. September 18, 1833.|
SINCE my last communication to you, I have baptized and received into membership upwards of fifty persons, (besides attending to my practice, which has been considerable.) These have been chiefly in and near the neighborhood where I reside. The sword of the Spirit, when wielded in its plain and simple style, stript of all human dogmas, will as surely convert sectarians and sinners, as Jesus reigns in heaven; and if all were to read Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, and believe the four first verses of the 15th chapter, there would be but one Lord, one faith, one baptism.
|CREELSBOROUGH, Russell Co. Ky. September 23, 1833.|
KNOWING that you are at all times truly gratified at hearing the progress of the ancient gospel, I now take the pleasure and liberty to inform you of the success it has met with in our section of country.
On Saturday and Sunday, the 24th and 25th days of August last, brother John Steele visited us, and before he left nineteen confessed the Lord, and were immersed for the remission of sins.
The Friday, Saturday, and Lord's day following, brothers John Steele, W. D. Jourdan, and John Mulkey proclaimed the gospel at Burksville, Kentucky; twenty-two there made the good confession, and put on the Lord by immersion.
Brother Steele again attended at this place on yesterday and the day before. Twenty-six more were immersed in the name of the Lord, and nineteen Baptist brethren came forward and united with us. The congregation at this place now numbers fifty-four members. 
When brother Steele visited us, four weeks since, there were but four persons in the neighborhood who believed in the doctrines of the reformation. A large majority of those who confessed the Lord at this place, were young persons, just in the prime of life.
Yours in the bonds of Christian unity, hoping for a meeting in the eternal world of bliss and immortality.
|P. W. DRYDEN.|
|BATH COUNTY, Ky. September 26, 1833.|
WE had a four days meeting at Upper White Oak, a few weeks ago; at which place a number of disciples met, with a large concourse of people. Great harmony prevailed throughout the meeting. Between forty and fifty made the good confession; many more were very much shaken. Such a shaking of the dry bones of Calvinism I have never seen. Brother Smith exhibited the word each day, who is indeed himself a host. Our church constituted with eighteen members, five years ago. We now number about one hundred and twenty. We take the Book for our rule.
|TH. T. SWETNAM.|
|MURFREESBOROUGH, Tenn. October 1, 1833.|
I WILL now proceed to give you a brief account of the progress of reformation in this part of Tennessee. The last week in August I went to Franklin: while gone about twenty were immersed, and five intelligent Baptists met us on the Book. The first Lord's day in September we had a meeting at Berea, in this county, where thirty-three were immersed. The next week I went to Nashville, where I had the happiness of seeing nineteen buried. The third Sunday there was a meeting near Lebanon, and the fourth at Alexandria. Twenty were immersed at each place.
But one of the most interesting meetings we have had was in the town of Franklin, where brother Adams, myself, and some other brethren spent a part of last week. We commenced proclamation there on Tuesday evening, and continued till Saturday morning, 10 o'clock. The sects opposed us with their most puissant weapon, which was to keep as many of their admirers from hearing us as they could. To effect this the Baptists and Methodists had meeting every day and night during our stay; though notwithstanding their opposition, we had crowded and intelligent congregations all the time. We immersed seventeen for remission. And on Saturday morning some of the citizens of town assembled with us at the Masonic Hall to see if it were possible for a church to be formed on the word of God. There, for the first time, did they see sixteen intelligent disciples give themselves to each other to worship according to the Apostles' teaching. After we congratulated the saints we departed. They promised to meet the next day, at the house of brother Anderson, to attend to the ancient order. May the Lord bless the brethren there!
Our congregation in Murfreesborough is still increasing. I look for better times. May all the saints increase in favor and the knowledge of the Scriptures! Amen!
|TOLBERT FANNING. |
|JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ky. October 3, 1833.|
THE gospel which we preach is still successful in bringing many poor sinners into the kingdom of the Lord Jesus amongst us. While the cholera has swept of many, others have taken the alarm, and many have turned to the Lord by seeking a pure heart, a clean conscience, and a clean body. Thus they can draw near to God in full assurance of faith. I attended with brothers Herney and M'Call at a new meeting house in Shelby county, on the first Lord's day in September, where a church was constituted, consisting of nearly forty disciples, fifteen or twenty of whom had been baptized through the summer the others from the Baptist churches in the neighborhood. They seem determined to walk in the footsteps of the ancient flock.
At Flat Rock Church about sixty have been immersed within a short time past. Some have been added to the other churches around, to the amount of nearly one hundred. Blessed be the Lord for his mercy, for all good things are of God!
On last Monday I was sent for to immerse a lady, the wife of Dr. Murray. When I arrived I found her sick in bed, and a good number of the brethren and neighbors called together. She declared her faith in the Lord Jesus, and her desire to obey him. A bath of water was prepared near the bed, in which I immersed her; after which a table was prepared with bread and wine, at her request, and she united with us in breaking the loaf. It was truly a solemn and impressive scene. I learned that just before she had been taken sick, she had been reading the Extra on Reformation. I am sorry I have not a hundred of them to give to my neighbors.
May the God of Elijah be ever your God while contending with the Prophets of Baal!
|Yours in the faith and hope,|
|NASHVILLE, Tenn. October, 4, 1833.|
THE cause of truth is prospering in this town and vicinity. We have immersed about ninety persons since the middle of June last, among whom are many of our most respectable citizens. I seldom fail going into the river twice in a week, and sometimes more frequently.
Our Methodist brethren have immersed a great many here this summer. Not long since, when we repaired to the river, we had to wait until they were done immersing. The two congregations formed a handsome scene on the banks of the river.
Brother Fanning and myself attended a four days' meeting last week in Franklin, Williamson county. Sixteen persons confessed the Lord, and were immersed into his name. A congregation of 16 members was organized before we left them. The Methodists and Baptists held meetings constantly during our stay; yet the independence of the people prompted them to hear for themselves.
|A. ADAMS |
Rocks of Lake Superior.
UPON the southern coast of Lake Superior, about fifty miles from the Falls of St. Mary, are the immense precipitous cliffs, called by the voyagers, Le Pottrail and the Pictured Rocks. This name has been given them in consequence of the different appearance which they present to the traveller, as he passes their base in his canoe. It requires little aid from the imagination to discern in them the castellated tower and lofty dome, spires and pinnacles, and every sublime, grotesque, or fantastic shape which the genius of architecture ever invented. These cliffs are an unbroken mass of rocks, rising to an elevation of 300 feet above the level of the lake, and stretching along the coast for fifteen miles. The voyagers never pass this coast except in the most profound calm; and the Indians, before they make the attempt, offer their accustomed oblations, to propitiate the favor of their Monitas. The eye instinctively searches along this eternal rampart for a single place of security; but the search is in vain. With an impassable barrier of rocks on one side, and an interminable expanse of water on the other, a sudden storm upon the lake would as inevitably insure destruction of the passenger in his frail canoe, as if he were on the brink of the cataract of Niagara. The rock itself is sandstone, which is disentegrated by the continual action of the water with comparative facility. There are no broken masses upon which the eye can rest and find relief. The lake is so deep, that these masses, as they are torn from the precipice, are concealed beneath its waves until they are reduced to sand. The action of the waves has undermined every projecting point: and there the immense precipice rests upon arches, and the foundation is intersected with caverns in every direction.
When we passed this immense fabric of nature the wind was still, and the lake was calm. But even the slightest motion of the waves, which, in the most profound calm, agitates these internal seas, swept through the deep caverns with the noise of distant thunder, and died away upon the ear as it rolled forward in the dark recesses, inaccessible to human observation. No sound more melancholy or more awful ever vibrated upon human nerves. It has left an impression which neither time nor distance can ever efface. Resting in a frail bark canoe upon the limpid waters of the lake, we seemed almost suspended in air, so pellucid is the element upon which we floated. In gazing upon the towering battlements which impended over us, and from which the smallest fragment would have destroyed us, we felt, intensely, our own insignificance. No situation can be imagined more appalling to the courage, or more humbling to the pride of man. We appeared like a speck upon the face of creation. Our whole party, Indians and voyagers, and soldiers, officers, and servants contemplated in mute astonishment the awful display of creative power, at whose base we hung; and no sound broke upon the ear to interrupt the ceaseless roaring of the waters. No splendid cathedral, no temple built by human hands, no pomp of worship, could ever impress the spectator with such humility, and so strong a conviction of the immense distance between him and the Almighty Architect.
|[GOV. CASS.] |
[The Millennial Harbinger, 4 (October, 1833): 481-528.]
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Alexander Campbell, ed.|
The Millennial Harbinger, Vol. IV, No. X (1833)
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