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Benjamin Lyon Smith
The Millennial Harbinger Abridged (1902)



      In New York City, on the 31st of November, 1833, Mr. Campbell says:

      My address this morning was from I. Cor. xi., on keeping the ordinances as delivered to us by the Apostles. It was shown that the gospel was exhibited first in words; second, in ordinances; third, in the lives of its professors. The whole gospel is first pronounced in words; then fully exhibited in Christian immersion, in the Lord's Day, and in the Lord's Supper. We hear it in words; we see it in ordinances; and we exhibit it in works. Our death to sin, or burial with Christ, our resurrection to a new life are shown in immersion; our reconciliation to God, through the sacrifice of the Messiah, is set forth in the supper, and our joint interest and fellowship in him as members of his body, appear in the participation of one loaf. The Lord's day not only commemorates the resurrection of Jesus, but anticipates the morning of the resurrection in which we shall enter into the rest which remains for the people of God.

      Something was also said upon the conspicuity which this institution deserves in the weekly meetings of the family of God. The weekly meeting of the family of God, without any Lord's table or Lord's supper, is one of the poorest and most meagre things in creation. Miserably poor is that family which, when assembled on some important occasion, has nothing to eat--not even a table in the house. Yet so poor is the family of God, if the numerous sects in our land give a fair representation of it. We can not believe it. The disciples of Jesus always assembled on the Lord's day to commemorate the Lord's death and resurrection so long as the Christian religion continued pure and uncontaminated. It was shown that spiritual health, like physical health, requires not only wholesome food, but at proper and regular intervals. Therefore, a person may as reasonably say that he can enjoy good animal health on one meal in four days, as that he can be healthy in the Lord on one Lord's supper in four weeks. And if it be so, that "frequent communion," as it is called, diminishes its value or solemnity, then the seldomer, the better. Once in a lifetime, on that principle, is enough. Where there is no law there is no transgression. Where there is no precedent there is no error; and if it be left to every man's own sense of propriety, there can be no fault in only commemorating the Lord's death once in a lifetime. But if [436] it be said that it is left to our own sense of propriety, then, unless it can be shown that a whole church has one and the same sense of propriety, there can be no communion; for if it should seem fit to ninety in the hundred to commune monthly or quarterly, and not to the ten, then there is a schism in the church, or no communion at all. But the disciples assembled on the Lord's day to break the loaf in the times of the Apostles, as Luke teaches us in his writings, and as Paul urges in this letter to the Corinthians.

[A. C.]      
Vol. 1834, pages 37, 38.      

      We requested the brethren of the three societies in New York City friendly to the union, to meet at Lawrence Street, on the evening after my address at Tammany Hall, being the 6th of December, that we might address them on the necessity of union and co-operation. The meeting was well attended, and various reasons were offered in favor of an immediate union of the three societies. The prayer of Jesus, usually called the intercessory, found in John xvii. was read.

      The chief topic was, that union and co-operation are essential to the conversion of the world. I pray for all that believe on me, through the testimony of the Apostles, that they may be one--that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. To illustrate and enforce this lesson, we reminded the brethren that they had been for many years the professed disciples of Christ--that they had been meeting on every Lord's Day, reading the Scriptures, teaching and exhorting one another, and keeping the ordinances with commendable zeal; but that they had exerted no influence upon their fellow-citizens: and, therefore, in ten years, had scarcely been instrumental in bringing ten persons into the kingdom of God. Such an experience, we argued, ought to convince the most dogmatical that they were wholly at fault--that they were not the lights of the city--that the work of the Lord was not prospering at their hands--that, indeed, they were but cumberers of the ground. We added that they stood in our way in proclaiming the Word; that we had to fight over their dead bodies; and that the more excellent their behaviour and the more respectable their attainments, the more they stood in the way of the cause of the Bible: for that some intelligent gentlemen the other day threw them in my way as an insuperable argument that the Bible alone would never unite Christians, or keep them together; "for," continued they, "these are persons of good reputation for good sense, for their Biblical attainments, and for Christian demeanor; yet, with all these excellencies, they can not harmonize so far as to break the loaf together." Now, brethren, I argued, if you were not so highly esteemed for good sense, and good information, and good character, I could not have got out of the difficulty by alleging that it was owing to the want of [437] these things that the Bible failed to bring you together and keep you together.

      Union is strength, and disunion is weakness. Operation is good, but co-operation is better. Unity founded on opinion, is as unstable as the wind. Unity founded on the mere force of circumstances and temporary interest, is like the momentary peace that obtained in Noah's ark among the antagonist natures of the animal creation. Union founded on kindred feelings and experiences, was self-love, and as fluctuous as the sea; but union based on the facts attested by the holy Apostles was as stable as the mountains--firm as the everlasting hills. Over such an institution the gates of hades, the powers of death and darkness can not prevail. These, with various other positions, illustrations, and arguments, were exhibited and enforced by the speaker, and attentively and acceptably heard by the brethren. Measures were in agitation for effecting a union, and all seemed alive to the importance of union and co-operation.

[A. C.]      
Vol. 1834, pp. 75, 76.      

      On Saturday evening we continued our series of discourses in the Union Chapel, Mott Street. Peter's speech before the council, after his deliverance from prison (Acts v. 29-32), was the theme. The chief topics were:

      1st. The concession or grant of reformation to Israel.

      2d. The proposal of forgiveness of sin.

      3d. The bestowment of the Holy Spirit on those who had obeyed him.

      After the full development of these items, we thought the attentive part of our audience was now sufficiently informed to authorize us to tender an invitation and exhortation to prompt obedience.

      We did so. Ten persons immediately came forward to confess the Lord. Two of the males had formerly been sceptics; one of the females, indeed, an advocate of infidelity. The next morning, at 7 o'clock, being the Lord's day, we repaired to the East River, where, in the open air, we delivered an address on Christian immersion. Brethren Black and Hatfield immersed them into the ancient faith, which they severally confessed as they went down into the water. Greater joy on the part of some of the new converts is seldom witnessed, than appeared on that occasion.

[A. C.]      
Vol. 1834, page 76.      

      On Christmas Day, 1833, we delivered a discourse to a large audience in Callow Hill Street, on the subject of faith (Heb. x. and xi.). On the preceding evening we called in a few minutes to hear Mr. Maffitt, a very celebrated ladies' preacher in the Methodist society. He has a fine voice and performs well as a musician. He gave us two solos in honor of Christmas Eve, as well done (we suppose) as is usual on the stage, and a good commonplace exhortation. He was followed [438] by his good brother, Dr. Cushman, a Baptist preacher, who consecrated his solos by prayer. Mr. Cushman is a very charitable man, and waited upon Mr. Maffitt with all courtesy. He arose after his brother Maffitt had sat down, to express a single thought, "which," said he, "I have not learned from any book, read from any author, nor heard from any preacher!" This, of course, excited all our curiosity, and stirred up all our powers of attention. It was this: "How wonderful the foreknowledge of God, and his faithfulness in keeping his promise! This," continued he, "is Christmas Eve. It reminds us of the nativity of our Lord. Now it was foretold by Jacob that 'the sceptre should not depart from Judah till the Shiloh came.' This prophecy was now within twenty-four hours of expiring without being verified, for had not Jesus been born just that evening on the next day, the decree of Augustus concerning the taxing of Judea would have forever prevented the accomplishment and falsified the promise delivered by Jacob." Original, truly, thought I, and worthy of the age of the preacher. But who that can think, will wonder at the progress of scepticism when such are the champions of the Christian religion! However, the audience seemed to admire the wisdom of the preacher and to be satisfied that it was all as sound as orthodoxy itself.

[A. C.]      

      On the evening of the 27th, in Callow Hill Street, we lectured on Eph. iv., on the constitutional grounds of unity in the Christian kingdom. It was discovered that a latent scepticism greatly obstructed the progress of the gospel in this city; and that, although there was but a very few who dared openly to assemble under the banners of scepticism, yet there was evidently a concealed dubiety lurking within many minds on the pretensions of the author of Christianity. At the solicitations of many of the brethren and friends, we proposed to deliver one discourse at the Musical Fund Hall, on the evidence of the divine authenticity of the gospel. This room, the largest in the city, rents for forty dollars per night. Contributions for defraying the expense were offered, and the appointment was made.

[A. C.]      
Vol. 1834, pages 123, 124.      

      On the Lord's Day morning, the 29th of December, 1833, we addressed the congregation, and as many auditors as could gain admission into the house, on the third chapter of the 1st Epistle to the Corinthians, after which the disciples broke the loaf as usual.

[A. C.]      
Vol. 1834, page 124.      

      On the evening of the Lord's Day we repaired to the Musical Fund Hall, which, though capacious as it is, was found by far too small to admit all those who desired to hear. We trespassed so far upon the patience of a Philadelphia audience as to detain them three hours [439] and twenty minutes on the reasons of the Christian's hope in God, that there shall be a resurrection of the just and unjust, and to them that look for him shall the crucified Messiah appear a second time to their eternal salvation. Thus closed our labors on the evening of the 29th of December in that city. Exhausted with so much speaking, we had no strength nor inclination to make any memoranda of the outlines of our discourses in Philadelphia. We only now recollect the topics.

[A. C.]      
Vol. 1834, page 125.      

      What sermons they must have been! How we envy those who had the pleasure of hearing this mighty man on this mighty theme!

      1. Alexander Campbell. Sermon on Keeping the Ordinances, an Extract from "Notes on a Tour to New
York.--No. 5." The Millennial Harbinger 5 (January 1834): 37-38.
      2. ----------. Sermon on Union and Co-operation, an Extract from "Notes on a Tour to New York.--No. 6." The
Millennial Harbinger 5 (February 1834): 75-76.
      3. ----------. Sermon on Peter's Speech before the Council, an Extract from "Notes on a Tour to New York.--
No. 6." The Millennial Harbinger 5 (February 1834): 76.
      4. ----------. Sermon on Faith, an Extract from "Notes on a Tour to New York.--No. 7." The Millennial
Harbinger 5 (March 1834): 123.
      5. ----------. Sermon on the Constitutional Grounds of Unity, an Extract from "Notes on a Tour to New
York.--No. 7." The Millennial Harbinger 5 (March 1834): 123-124.
      6. ----------. Sermon on I Corinthians 3, an Extract from "Notes on a Tour to New York.--No. 7." The
Millennial Harbinger 5 (March 1834): 124.
      7. ----------. Sermon on I Corinthians 3, an Extract from "Notes on a Tour to New York.--No. 7." The
Millennial Harbinger 5 (March 1834): 125.


[MHA2 436-440]

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Benjamin Lyon Smith
The Millennial Harbinger Abridged (1902)