Barton W. Stone|
Note to My Patrons|
|VOL. V.||B E T H A N Y, V A. NOVEMBER, 1841.||NO. XI.|
From the Christian Messenger.
NOTE TO MY PATRONS.
I STATED in my last number that I should give a synopsis of the doctrine contained in the discussion between brother Campbell and myself, and advise brother Campbell to do the same; and print no more in our periodicals on this subject. From the letter of brother Campbell, just printed, no other principle than what has already been discussed in our letters, is brought to view. I am perfectly willing to rest the whole of our discussion with our readers; and if they have received any profit from it, let God have the glory. We have written honestly, I hope; and if we have in any thing erred, (and who but His Infallibility is exempt from error?) we hope it will not be imputed to us for sin.
I verily believe that in the manner our late letters are written, we might continue to write all our lives without any profit to ourselves or to our readers. We should involve every subject of theology. By long observation and experience I have found that when men have exhausted their sum of knowledge in debate, they supply that want with cynical remarks, which, produce strife and angry contention. Brother Campbell and myself have not advanced thus far; but we are men, subject to like passions. I am confident we love each other as cordially now, as we did when we commenced this discussion. I speak confidently of myself. We love the same God and Saviour as fervently as ever, and delight to advance his cause, and to hear of its advance on the earth.
I have declined giving a synopsis of my views, as stated in our discussion; because I view it unnecessary. I do not expect to write more on this subject in the Christian Messenger. Brother Campbell must take his own course. But it is hoped he also will cease. If he should think it proper to continue his letters, I may reply in an extra Messenger hereafter; but not at the expense of my patrons. My days are nearly numbered, and I wish to spend the remnant of them in preparing myself and others for eternity. My path through life has been rough and thorny; yet have I been cheered with the hope of immortality. I am now on the bank of Jordan, awaiting the voice of our great High Priest, to move forward to the heavenly Canaan. Amen!
B. W. STONE. 
SINCE the above was written I have had the painful intelligence that Elder Stone has been stricken with the palsy, and is not likely to recover. From recent accounts, indeed, it is probable that ere now he has passed the Jordan and gone to rest. Under all the circumstances I conceive it inexpedient to prosecute the subject farther at present. The discussion, on my part, was undertaken with a reference to two points: The first, the transcendent importance of the question itself--For what did Christ die? The second, a very general misconception and consequent misrepresentation of our views of it. I did, I confess, expect that brother Stone would have, more fully and satisfactorily relieved himself and the cause of reformation from the imputation of some of our opponents on the subject of Unitarianism in its sectarian acceptation. In this respect, though measurably disappointed, I am persuaded it will not be without advantage to the cause of reformation that so much has been written on the subject in the way of discussion--with one, too, who had spent so many years in debates and discussions on that or some kindred branch of the same subject.
All admit the excellency of the character of Elder Stone, however they may regard him as muddy and confused on some aspects of that all-important question. For my own part, I much desired, that, as he had ceased from all preaching and teaching of his former speculations on this and other questions for which the commencement of his career some forty years ago was distinguished, he would also in writing have given a permanent and full exposition of those points more in harmony with the developments and objects of the current reformation. Some of our readers have thought he has done so, while others are of a contrary opinion. For my own part, I can, and do make great allowance for early and long established habits of thinking and speaking on all religious questions; and therefore, regarding brother Stone as confiding in the sacrifice and death of Christ as indispensable to salvation, although by no means acquiescing in some of his views and interpretation of the meaning and designs of the Messiah's death, I can bear with a difference of opinion on a subject so vital, which many would regard as an insuperable obstacle to Christian communion.
Men may and do hold the Head, Christ, and his death and mediation as indispensable to salvation, who nevertheless have very inadequate conceptions of some of the aspects of these transcendent subjects. And as we are not saved by the strength and comprehension of our views, but through obeying from the heart the apostolic mould of doctrine, more stress ought to be laid upon moral excellence than  upon abstract orthodoxy; especially when all the great facts and documents of Christianity are cordially believed and cherished. Our bond of union is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one body, one spirit, one hope, one God and Father of all. And as many as walk by this rule peace be on them and mercy, and upon the whole Israel of God!
[The Millennial Harbinger (November 1841): 537-539.]
ABOUT THE ELECTRONIC EDITION
Barton W. Stone's "Note to My Patrons" was first published in The Christian Messenger, Vol. 9, No. 10, June 1841, pp. 329-330; it was reprinted, with the previously unpublished "Note" by Alexander Campbell, in The Millennial Harbinger, New Series, Vol. 5, No. 11, November 1841. The electronic version of the notices has been produced from the College Press reprint (1976) of The Millennial Harbinger, ed. Alexander Campbell (Bethany, VA: A. Campbell, 1841), p. 537-539.
Pagination in the electronic version has been represented by placing the page number in brackets following the last complete word on the printed page. I have let stand variations and inconsistencies in the author's (or editor's) use of italics, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling in the notices. Emendations are as follows:
Printed Text [ Electronic Text ----------------------------------------------------------------------- p. 537: myself We [ myself. We p. 538: transcendant importance [ transcendent importance developements [ developments transcendant subjects. [ transcendent subjects.
Addenda and corrigenda are earnestly solicited.
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