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Robert Richardson
Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, Volume II. (1869)



C H A P T E R   X I I .

Sectarian hostility-Tour to Nashville--Bishop Otey--Discussion with Mr.
Meredith-Tour to the Eastern States.

T HE separation of the Reformers from the Baptists, instead of lessening, had at first only increased, sectarian hostility. At no former period had so great rancor been manifested toward Mr. Campbell or more strenuous efforts made to injure his reputation and excite the animosity of the religious world against him. Although the Reformers had been quite willing to fraternize with the Baptists, and in no case where they had the majority in a church had excluded them, the attempt was made to throw upon Mr. Campbell the odium of a separation which the Baptists themselves had effected, and to excite the sympathy of other religious parties, so as to induce them to refuse him the use of their houses of worship upon his tours, by representing him as having no higher object than to divide the Baptists. Blinded by their attachment to denominational theories and interests, they were unable to perceive the noble purposes for which Mr. Campbell labored, or to appreciate enlarged and synthetic principles which, from the nature of the case, can belong to no religious sect. From the more elevated region of religious thought which Mr. Campbell occupied, he could well look down with pity upon all the vain attempts which were at this time made to arrest the progress of his plea for the restoration [398] of the primitive gospel and the original unity of the Church. Knowing that a little time would correct unjust representations, and that the means employed to prevent the people from hearing him would only the more excite their curiosity to hear, he continued with unabated zeal to expose the errors and evils of sectarianism and to exhibit the excellency of the simple scriptural plan of salvation. Nor was he disappointed in his expectations. It was not long until a calmer state of mind supervened, and many were led to discover that they had been mistaken in regard to. Mr. Campbell's views and purposes. The Reformers, in consequence, began to receive frequent accessions from the Baptist churches in various places, and the community became more and more enlightened as to the real nature of the reform proposed.

      During this period many important practical subjects were treated by him in the "Harbinger" very interestingly in a series of dialogues, entitled "Conversations in Father Goodall's Family Circle," which were continued for several years and were much admired, communicating a large amount of varied and valuable instruction derived from the Scriptures and from the experience of human life. He published also several severe articles upon Roman Catholicism, to which he began now to pay considerable attention, having been long satisfied that it was its purpose to secure the political control of the United States. In occasional essays, too, upon education, he continued to manifest the great interest he felt in this important subject.

      In February, 1835, in company with his daughter Lavinia, he made another tour to Nashville, and spent several weeks in Tennessee in disabusing the public mind of the false impressions made upon it by the [399] misrepresentations of his opponents. Great crowds everywhere flocked to hear him, so that it was seldom any house could be found large enough to accommodate them. While he was in Nashville some twenty persons were added to the church there, which now numbered about six hundred. He found several new churches in the vicinity, established through the influence and labors of a Brother Hardin, of whose piety and devotion he entertained a high opinion. On the 30th of March, accompanied by T. Fanning, he set out for Louisville, where a Brother Gates had been for some time laboring. The church there, however, had not made much progress, having the use of the house of worship only a portion of the time. Recently they had sold out their interest in it to the Baptists and purchased a Methodist meeting-house, where, with the able assistance of the eminent Dr. T. S. Bell, who spoke for them as often as his professional engagements would permit, their prospects were more favorable. Here Mr. Campbell delivered several discourses and afterward visited New Albany, Jeffersonville and Madison, in Indiana, and spent some days at Cincinnati, where the church was progressing under the labors of D. S. Burnet. He also visited Carthage, where Walter Scott and Dr. Richardson then resided. After enjoying a pleasant interview with these and other old friends, he passed thence again into Kentucky and traversed the whole central part of the State, having appointments at all the principal points, and renewing his happy personal intercourse with a great number of his former acquaintances and fellow-laborers. From Georgetown he repaired, in company with the Hon. Richard M. Johnson, to his residence, eight miles distant, where, in the evening, he addressed the Choctaw Indians of the Indian Academy. At Lexington he [400] spoke twice in the hall of Transylvania University to large audiences, and then, setting out with B. H. Payne in his gig, he visited Paris and Mount Sterling, and proceeded to Mayslick, where he held a two-days' meeting, aided by Brothers Gates and Hall. As he was much exhausted by fifty days' continual speaking, he felt quite indebted to these brethren and to Aylett Raines for the effective assistance which they rendered him at various points in Northern Kentucky. At Mayslick he met with John O'Kane, who, some time before, had distinguished himself by his successful labors in Indiana, and had been recently preaching in Mason county, Kentucky. This individual continued for many years to sustain ably the cause of the Reformation in the Western States, and especially in Indiana. Of a tall and commanding figure, having a powerful voice, great earnestness and considerable ability, he became the means of adding great numbers to the churches. From Maysville, where he spoke three or four times, Mr. Campbell returned directly home, where he arrived May 10th, having been instrumental in inducing forty-five persons to embrace the gospel during his tour, besides removing much prejudice and in many ways promoting the interests of the cause.

      While he was absent, his mother, who still resided with her daughter near West Middletown, Pennsylvania, ended her days in great peace and with unshaken confidence in the promises of her Redeemer. Of her last hours, Thomas Campbell, who was present with her, gives an interesting account in a letter to his daughter Alicia, published in the "Harbinger" for 1835, p. 284, in which also he pays a touching tribute to her many virtues.

      During Mr. Campbell's visit to Tennessee he had [401] spent, by invitation, the evening of 18th March very pleasantly with James Otey, bishop of Tennessee, at his hospitable mansion. Amidst their pleasant conversation upon various topics, the bishop introduced the subject of the Christian priesthood in its relations to the Christian ministry. At parting he presented Mr. Campbell with a copy of a work by Bishop Onderdonk of Pennsylvania, entitled "Episcopacy tested by Scripture." Having the subject thus brought to his attention, he addressed afterward a series of eight letters to Bishop Otey, discussing the subject in the most courteous manner, and ably pointing out the fallacies in Bishop Onderdonk's reasoning, as well as in the works of J. Esten Cook of Lexington, and of Chapman, who had written in defence of Episcopal ordination. These cogent and argumentative letters attracted much attention, especially in Tennessee; and though Mr. Campbell courteously proposed to lay before his readers anything which Bishop Otey might feel disposed to say, no attempt was ever made to reply to them. About the same time he became engaged in a discussion with Mr. Meredith, of North Carolina, editor of the "Baptist Interpreter," and subsequently of the "Biblical Recorder," whom he justly designated as "one of the most respectable and honorable of the Baptist ministers in the South, a gentleman of very handsome attainments," and "the ablest editor of the Baptists south of New York." Mr. Meredith had written a series of articles reviewing Mr. Campbell's Extras on Remission of Sins and Regeneration, and now offered to give him page for page in his paper in order to discuss these subjects. This unwonted liberality quite won upon Mr. Campbell, who at once accepted the proposition. Subsequently, however, he was led to think that Mr. [402] Meredith was about to decline adhering to the arrangement as he understood it, and in the July number for 1835 he noticed, in his peculiar way, the supposed fact in an article commencing with the following queer analogy: "The full-moon face with which our friend Mr. Meredith, of North Carolina, looked on us is now gibbous and fast waning into the last quarter." Mr. Campbell, however, was misinformed as to the intentions of Mr. Meredith, who remained quite willing to publish what Mr. Campbell chose to write in defence of his Extras. A discussion accordingly ensued, which, unfortunately, from the want of a clear statement of the propositions in dispute, consisted chiefly in a mere war of words, and proved altogether unsatisfactory. Mr. Meredith objected to Mr. Campbell's proposition in reference to the gospel facts, affirming that "when these facts are understood or brought into immediate contact with the mind of man, as a moral seal or archetype, they delineate the image of God upon the human soul." Taking this sentence apart from its connection, Mr. Meredith understood Mr. Campbell to assert that the gospel facts accomplished this work "of themselves." Mr. Campbell denied stating any such proposition, calling Mr. Meredith's attention to the context in which he had said: "These [facts] are the moral seal which testimony conveys to the understanding and faith brings to the heart of sinners, by which God creates them anew and forms them for his glory." So far from representing the facts as accomplishing this "of themselves," he had here expressly declared them to be a means or instrument in the hands of God, and in the proposition itself had affirmed that these facts delineated the image of God upon the soul, "when understood and brought into immediate contact with the mind of man," thus [403] leaving the question of co-operative agencies entirely open.

      "I do believe," said Mr. Campbell in reply, "and have clearly taught time after time, that the Spirit of God is the regenerator, and that he does it only by his Word; and while I cordially reprobate your theory, or rather that of Andrew Fuller, about his previous holy principle and his regenerated unbeliever, and all that philosophy, I do teach that the Holy Spirit renovates the human mind by the instrumentality of his Word; while you and many others seem to me to contend that the Holy Spirit personally descends from heaven, enters the human heart, and, without his Word, miraculously creates a man anew." . . . "I pretend not to separate the Word and the Spirit of God. I do not say the Word alone nor the Spirit alone enlightens, sanctifies or saves. With the Lord Jesus I would pray to the Father, 'Sanctify them through thy truth; thy Word is the truth.' I would not say with you, 'Sanctify them by thy Spirit alone.'"

      On his part, Mr. Meredith denied holding the sentiment which Mr. Campbell attributed to him, viz.: that regeneration was accomplished without the Word. He believed that there was an immediate and direct influence of the Holy Spirit in aid of the Word, and that the "Word alone, unattended by the Spirit, was insufficient for this work." Again he had said, "It is to the direct action of this omnipotent Spirit that the Word, otherwise powerless, is indebted for its triumphs over the natural heart." This direct divine interposition thus claimed, Mr. Campbell regarded as miraculous and as nowhere promised in the Scriptures. He thought the doctrine most pernicious, because it led men to disregard or undervalue the word of God, looking for sensible "impressions" or "operations" nowhere promised. He therefore utterly refused to commit himself to any positive statement or theory of the influences [404] by which the facts of the gospel were brought into immediate contact with the mind and heart of the sinner. He thought it the duty of all to leave these matters with God and simply to preach the Word. Speaking of regeneration, he said,

      "The human heart must be changed and renovated by some cause; for unless the heart be reconciled to God, purified, cleansed, no man can be admitted into the society of heaven. These views I have always presented to the public. But the question is, How is this moral change to be effected? By the Spirit alone? By the gospel facts alone? By the Word alone? I do not affirm any one of these propositions. I never did affirm any one of them.

      "How the spirit operates in the Word, through the Word, by the Word, or with the Word, I do not affirm. I only oppose the idea that any one is changed in heart or renewed in the spirit of his mind by the Spirit without the Word."

      Thus it was that the matter continued as before, the real question being, all the while, not whether influences accompanied the gospel, but what was the nature of those influences; Mr. Campbell declining to discuss or determine this, or to adopt the popular notions in regard to this untaught question.

      As respects the doctrine of baptism for the remission of sins as set forth in Mr. Campbell's first Extra, there was really no appreciable difference between him and Mr. Meredith. Upon this subject, Professor Ryland of Richmond published about this time a discourse, in which he denied that Peter was to be literally understood to command the people to be baptized for the remission of sins, and endeavored to show that the Greek preposition, eiV , rendered for, should be translated into, so that the meaning of Peter's words might be thus stated: "Be baptized into the confession or [405] doctrine of forgiveness." This discourse Mr. Meredith reviewed, and after disputing Dr. Ryland's criticism upon eiV, went on to say:

      "The proper question to be asked here, it appears to us! is this: What is the scriptural import of the phrase, eiV ayesin amartiwn, in the text rendered 'for the remission of sins?' To answer this question in short we turn first to Matt. xxvi. 28, and read as follows: "For this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many (eiV ayesin amartiwn) for the remission of sins.' This passage is, in our opinion, decisive. That the blood of Christ was shed 'into the remission of sins' or 'into the confession or the doctrine of forgiveness,' we are sure no one will contend. On the contrary, that it was shed for the remission of sins as an end is equally beyond the possibility of a doubt. The same phrase occurs Mark i. 4: "John did baptize in the wilderness and preach the baptism of repentance (eiV ayesin amartiwn) for the remission of sins.' This passage, when interpreted by the former, as it ought to be, is not less certain and decisive in its import. To say that John preached the baptism of repentance into the remission of sins would be to employ language singularly obscure, if not altogether unintelligible. See again Luke iii. 3: "And he came into all the country around Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance (eiV ayesin amartiwn) for the remission of sins.' The same remark applies to this case which was made in relation to the preceding. These, including the passage in question, are the only instances in which the phrase eiV ayesin amartiwn occurs in the New Testament. That the first case is decidedly in favor of the present rendering, for the remission of sins, and that the others are but little less so, it seems to us cannot admit of a doubt. To say the least, there is certainly no evidence in favor of the rendering proposed by the author."

      After objecting, then, to the rendering or paraphrase given by Dr. Ryland, as well as to the theology implied in it, he says, in conclusion, "We object in the last place to the [406] necessary tendency of the argument before us. This argument, if we understand it correctly, goes to show that baptism has no sort of connection with remission; and that although a positive institution of the New Testament, and the only authorized medium of admission into the Christian Church, it is nevertheless a matter in which the sinner's salvation is in no way concerned. Now, when we hear two evangelists speak of the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins--when we hear the King himself in his last commission affirm that "he that believes and is baptized shall be saved"--when we hear an apostle acting under that commission require the people to 'repent and be baptized for the remission of sins'--when we hear Ananias say to Paul, 'And now why tarriest thou? Arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins'--we believe that all these must mean something. And when we call to mind that three thousand were baptized on the same day of conversion; that the household of Cornelius had no sooner given evidence of repentance than Peter demanded their baptism; that the Ethiopian eunuch was baptized in the midst of his journey, and that the Philippian jailer and his household were baptized at midnight,--we cannot but believe that baptism has a much more important connection with salvation and remission than is now generally supposed. At any rate, we cannot but suspect the expediency of any attempt to explain away the force of passages which, if we be not much mistaken, are well sustained by the analogy of faith and the usus loquendi."

      Such plain admissions as these brought, as a matter of course, upon Mr. Meredith charges of "Campbellism" from some of his brethren, but he was too independent and high-minded to yield his convictions of truth to any partisan clamors. Some years after, he thus wrote to a correspondent who accused him of agreeing with Mr. Campbell:

      "That the Scriptures have connected baptism and remission in some sense it is worse than useless to deny. We are [407] aware that attempts have been made to destroy the force of the passages referred to; but always with such success as to betray the nakedness of the land, and at the same time to illustrate the deplorable effects of partisan prejudice. On this point, Mr. Campbell has always had the advantage of his opponents. He has triumphantly quoted such passages as Acts ii. 38, against which nothing has ever been offered better than a flimsy criticism or a palpable perversion of apostolic teaching.

      "Here we have taken different ground from the rest of our brethren. We have promptly conceded to Mr. Campbell everything which candor seemed to demand. We have conceded that the evangelists and apostles, in the places referred to, meant what they said. We have conceded that, in a given sense, and under certain limitations and for certain ends, remission has been connected with baptism." Upon this, Mr. Campbell remarked: "The above concessions contain all that we are anxious to maintain. 'If the evangelists and the apostles meant what they said in the places referred to' for proof by us, we ask no more: for it was always alleged by us that 'in a given sense and under certain limitations and for certain ends, remission has been connected with baptism.' We never went further than this; our opponents said we did, but no man can show from our own language that we have ever transcended the words above quoted from Mr. Meredith."

      The above candid and manly utterances of Mr. Meredith, so far from creating disaffection among the Baptists in North Carolina, only increased their respect for him, and tended to diffuse throughout the extensive Chowan Association to which he belonged a spirit of gentleness and liberality toward the Reformers scarcely found elsewhere. The consequence was, that division did not occur among the churches there, and the Reformers, both preachers and people, continued to hold and to express their sentiments without hindrance. And it is worthy of note that this concession to the [408] ancient spirit of Baptist toleration and freedom enured greatly to the benefit of the Baptists themselves in North Carolina, where the memory of Mr. Meredith, who was distinguished no less for piety and talent than for independence and candor, is still fondly and most deservedly cherished.

      In the spring of 1836, at Mr. Campbell's desire, Dr. Richardson removed from Carthage to Bethany to assist in the editorial duties of the "Harbinger," in order that Mr. Campbell might be enabled to spend more time abroad in answer to many urgent calls. On the 30th of May, he accordingly set out on a tour to the North-east, accompanied by T. Fanning of Nashville, and J. Taffe, of Wilmington, Ohio. Mr. Taffe had some time before abandoned the legal profession and devoted himself to preaching. He was much esteemed by Mr. Campbell for his abilities and many agreeable qualities, and especially for his earnest and intelligent advocacy of the cause of truth, whose interests he labored to promote, not only by his public addresses, but by the publication of various pamphlets, in which he treated some of the important subjects connected with the gospel in a very cogent and effective manner.

      As some leading skeptics were at this time very actively propagating their sentiments in Northern Ohio, Mr. Campbell visited Ravenna, where he spoke six times, exposing the dark and dreary speculations of the Free-Thinkers, who were publishing there an infidel paper, deriving its contents largely from the "Boston Investigator," edited by the apostate Kneeland. Passing thence to Cleveland, he delivered several lectures on the evidences of Christianity, inviting the doubting to state their objections publicly. One of the leaders of the skeptics there, Mr. Irad Kelley, availed himself [409] of this privilege, and Mr. Campbell replied. Great interest being manifested by the people, the discussion was continued, and at the next meeting Mr. Kelley delivered a long tirade against the Bible, full of reckless assertions and incorrect statements. Mr. Campbell having become quite hoarse, requested Matthew Clapp, who had some time before married his sister Alicia, and happened to be on the ground, to reply to Mr. Kelley, which he did with much point and argument.

      In the mean time, Dr. Samuel Underhill appeared on the stage as the defender of skepticism, and requested to be heard. A discussion consequently ensued, taking a somewhat wide range, during some eight or ten half-hour speeches, after which Mr. Campbell was requested to deliver a continuous argument on the subject of miracles before the citizens, Dr. Underhill being allowed to offer a reply. When the time for delivering this discourse arrived, a very large concourse was present, and Mr. Campbell presented a very powerful and overwhelming defence of miracles, dwelling in conclusion upon prophecy as a miracle to those who witnessed its fulfillment, and pointing out the dispersion and present state of the Jews, and the rise of the Man of Sin in the Christian Church, as matters thus clearly foretold and fully verified before the eyes of the present generation. When Dr. Underhill rose to respond, the congregation seemed disposed to adjourn, upon which the doctor appointed a meeting for the next morning, when but few attended, and he made but a feeble reply. Mr. Campbell then recapitulated the points made during the discussion, and contrasted the prospects and ultimate termination proposed in the two systems of Christianity and of infidelity with commanding eloquence and power. After a friendly exhortation to his antagonists, [410] he then closed the discussion, during which the greatest courtesy and good feeling had been preserved, and the effect of which was very marked in checking the progress of infidelity in that quarter.

      It is unnecessary to pursue minutely the incidents of this laborious trip, undertaken in the midst of oppressive summer heats and the still more depressing evidences of the deep and unfounded religious prejudices with which the minds of the communities which he now, for the first time, visited, had been imbued by misrepresentation and bigotry, and which led the religious parties to deny to him everywhere the use of their houses. Some of his private letters written on his way may here furnish sufficient detail, while they will afford a more grateful view of the feelings and affections governing his inner life. That love for man as man, which induced him to undergo so many toils and sacrifices to dispense the blessings of the gospel, manifested itself even in the minutest matters. It led him habitually to send his salutations and kind wishes by name even to his domestics and to the hired blacks and the humblest Roman Catholic laborers on his farm. Nor is the elevated character of his aspirations less evident in the tender solicitude which he ever manifested for the Christian progress and perfection of the various members of his own immediate family and for the happiness of his intimate friends:

"LAKE ERIE, June 11, 1836.      
      "MY DEAR SELINA: The lake at this moment rolls in waves under a very strong wind, about as fierce as when myself and Eliza sailed up the Chesapeake Bay. We are now about sixty miles above Buffalo,and hope to be there to-night. The table rolls so that I can hardly sit up straight. But how pleasing the thought that we are always in the hand of our [411] Father in heaven, who is at all times equally able to save us from danger the most imminent as well as when no harm is visible! . . . I have spoken in Cleveland now for the space of six days in defence of the gospel. I trust much good will result from the discussions we have had with the skeptics of that place.

      "Mr. and Mrs. Hawley and their amiable daughters have much affection for you, because Brother Hawley used to live in Shrewsbury, and was well acquainted with your mother before she was married. Add to this his great regard for the truth and for those who know and obey it.

      "I trust you are all attention, my dear, to your health, and, next to your health, the education and improvement of our dear children. Remember, this is the great business of life: to transmit to those, and through those to whom you have given birth, the knowledge of God and of his Anointed for their sakes and for the good of others yet unborn. In this way alone you can pay your debts. Remember me most affectionately to all my dear children. The elder branches of my family are, I trust, daily improving in useful knowledge and growing up in the study and practice of all that is lovely and excellent.

      "My father left me in good health yesterday morning, and will spend the summer in the Lake country. My kindest remembrance to all my household; and for yourself, accept the repetition of my conjugal and Christian love. Your husband,

      "LEWISTOWN, N. Y. (opposite to Queenstown Heights and General
Brocks' monument in Upper Canada, famous for the Battle
of 1814, Niagara River), June 18 1836.                                      
      "MY BELOVED WIFE AND DAUGHTERS ELIIZA, LAVlNIA AND CLARINDA CAMPBELL greeting: Health and salvation through our God and Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

      "Dearly Beloved: Next to my own personal and eternal salvation through my Lord and Saviour, there is nothing on earth dearer to me than your present, spiritual and eternal [412] good. I wish you to be intelligent, pure wad influential on earth, loving and beloved as far as mortals like you can be; to be ornaments in the kingdom of Jesus Christ, respectful and respected, honorable and honored, good and happy as my wife and daughters ought to be. On you all God has bestowed good mental capacities, powers of acquiring and communicating knowledge, fine feeling and many excellences capable of much improvement and of rendering you very useful in society. Now let me say to you that you are thereby under great responsibilities, and let me remind you that you all seek to be more intelligent, more amiable and more exemplary every day. I do not say this as though I did not think you are as much so now as any of my wide and extended acquaintances, but because I wish you to be of unrivaled excellence.

      "I am just accidentally spending the night at the stage-office, waiting to start in the morning at three o'clock for the canal at Lockport. We have spent three days at the Falls of Niagara on the American and Canada sides, an account of which we will send you in a few days. I have not had such a feast in many years as I have enjoyed for three days. The scenes here beggar all description. This place is visited by men of all nations. One hundred gentlemen and ladies have been at our hotel for the last three days from Boston, Paris and various American cities. I only spoke once since my arrival, and am rather here incognito for recreation. There are many very elegant ladies, highly cultivated and refined, from Boston and New York, as well as from other places, but none for whom God has done more intellectually, morally, and, indeed, in every way, than for my excellent wife and amiable daughters. And, therefore, it is my wish that you should all know how much God has done for you, that you may love, admire and serve him more and more.

      "Take care of your health, your mind, your time, and keep your hearts from forgetting the Chief among the ten thousands--the Lord who has redeemed us. I cannot describe to you my feelings or regrets when I see so many of the fine [413] ladies of the country, and from the first circles, aliens from God and Christ--those who from their commanding eminence in society could influence many, themselves without religious feelings and without the proper knowledge of God. Seeing those of the first class so unapproachable and so dead to the matters of religion stirs up my soul for you and for many others. Seek to shine in all moral excellence and to be valiant for the truth.

      "Remember me to Maria with all affection. I have for her the highest esteem and affection. My younger children are not yet capable of entering into these matters. God knows that I desire that they may be his children as they are mine, and that they will be brought up for him. May he bless them with all grace as he has blessed you all. Remember me most affectionately to Edwin and his Julia, to William and his Selina, to my son Robert and his household, to Mother Bakewell, to Theron especially, and particularly to my cousin Enos, to Betsy, to Susanna, to Charles and to James, and to Hugh McNally.

      "Present my kindest regards to Sister and Brother Richardson, and may the Lord God that has preserved me from a thousand dangers, preserve you all, to his everlasting kingdom is the prayer of your most affectionate husband and father,
"A. CAMPBELL."      

"NEAR ROCHESTER, June 21, 1836.      
      "DEAR BROTHER RICHARDSON: I rejoice with you in the pleasing intelligence that your Brother John has become to you dear in the Lord as well as in the flesh. Of all the joys that mortals taste in this vale of tears, those are the purest which spring from the approbation of our heavenly Father, and from the sight of our fellow-mortals turning with all their hearts to the Lord. They only who have felt the pardoning mercy of God in their own case can rightly appreciate the benefits that accrue to others from their submission to the Saviour, and therefore it is for them to rejoice in company with the angels of heaven over sinners returning to God. We are often solaced with those joys in the blessed work of [414] proclaiming the Word. For a week past, however, we have not, owing to the most unpropitious circumstances--of continual rains and mud opposition--had one such occasion of rejoicing. The towns on the canal are either wholly devoted to mammon and infidelity or to mammon and sectarianism, so far as we have found on an acquaintance of the last few days.

      "I commence to-day, June 24, a series of lectures in Rochester, in the midst of a population of 18,000. In the court-house, too! Indications here are not favorable. The cause has been crucified here by one prominent individual. But I am not discouraged. We shall try. Yours truly and affectionately,
"A. CAMPBELL."      

"SYRACUSE, NEW YORK, July 8, 1836.      
      "BELOVED SELINA: I have never been more busily engaged in all my life than on the present tour. I am like one settling in a new country, where everything is to do. I have labored incessantly since I came into this State, disabusing the public mind and teaching the disciples. There is a powerful opposition consolidated against the truth. I have spoken some thirty-seven times since I left home. I am now at the residence of our Sister Lathrop, who resides with her mother. She is one of the most amiable, intelligent and accomplished ladies in the city, and because of her piety and great talents exercises great influence here.

      "I am really very tired and willing to seek repose, and could wish that my journey and my furlough were completed, but I must patiently bear the toil and endure the pain in hope of the reward. I have the great pleasure of enlightening many, of relieving the distressed and broken in spirit, and of making some rich in the faith and hope of Christ. I have left a good odor for Christ in every place. Yesterday there followed me nine miles a Presbyterian lady from Cicero--where some persons had been immersed--with many tears, desiring to obey the Lord. All the country behind me desire my return. But, unfortunately, I have to leave every place just when I get the prejudices broken down a little. This [415] is a hard, worldly, skeptical place. To-night I speak to the infidels.

      "The New Yorkers are intelligent and shrewd. Generally the ladies are well accomplished; some very refined, but not superior to the Virginia ladies. They read much, work little, but are great economists,

      "A company have just this moment called in. I am called on. My ardent affection for all my children and for yourself.

      "I need not say that on this earth there is to me none so dear as the wife of
A. CAMPBELL.      

      "The Lord bless you, my dear, and all my children. Give my love by name to all of them, and remember me affectionately to all my household.

      "Farewell once more. A. C."      

"SARATOGA SRINGS, July 23, 1836.      
      "MY DEAR SELINA: Through the kindness and constant care of our heavenly Father I have safely arrived at this place. It is now fifty-four days since I bade you, my dear Selina, and my dear children, adieu, and during that time I have delivered fifty-nine public discourses and traveled more than eight hundred miles. I came here on Wednesday, the 20th inst., very much exhausted, and have in company with Father Carman and Brother Taffe taken lodging for one week at a private boarding-house, and am now quite comfortable. We drink of these healing waters and bathe in them every day. I have a shower bath every morning and a warm bath of the mineral waters every evening, and have got my companions all persuaded to follow my example; so that we eat, drink, bathe and recruit ourselves here in good earnest in the midst of all the gayety, splendor, equipage and show of this rich and proud nation. . . ."

      "Here they are from all States and countries, and from Europe. The lame, the halt, the feeble are here drinking the healing streams. But there are more, many more, here who come to show themselves and to be seen rather than for health--many ladies to look for husbands and many men for wives. [416] So that we have beauty and fashion, pride and pomp in full style and glory. . . .

      "We shall leave here on Wednesday, the 27th, and proceed to Vermont, where I expect to preach on the 28th. Then we shall pass on through New Hampshire into Massachusetts, and proceed to the capital of the State. I expect to spend the first week of August at Boston, and then to pass into Rhode Island and Connecticut, and so on to New York city, thence to Philadelphia, thence to Baltimore, thence to Bethany some time in September. I have no doubt my tour will be useful to many, and I think the cause of truth will be much subserved by it; but really it is a very great toil personal, and a great sacrifice of domestic comfort.

      "To one who so much loves his wife and children and the whole family circle, and delights in making them happy, it is not an easy task to forsake them all for so long a time, but when I think of Him who forsook the Palace of the Universe and the glory of his Father's court, and condescended to be born of a woman and to live in an unfriendly world, and to be treated a thousand times worse than I have ever been, to save us from our sins, I think but little of all I have done or can do to republish his salvation and to call sinners to reformation and to build up the cause of life, of ancient Christianity. My success in pleading the cause has been proportioned to the means used and the interest felt by those who co-operate in it, and I have no doubt but so it will continue to be.

      "My dearly beloved, take care of your health and that of our dear children, and see that the minds of the young are not under some evil influence. Watch over our son, and remember he is a precious deposit committed to your and to my care. I have not received one letter from you since I left home--only a few lines at the foot of one. I cannot now say where I could hear from you unless you would write forthwith to New York city, if you receive this eight days after date. If longer, write me at Philadelphia.

      "I need not mention by name any of my children or any [417] brethren and sisters at Bethany, for them all I entertain the esteem and affection due to them, of which you may remind them; while I remain your sovereign husband, liege lord, till God himself dissolves the covenant by taking one of us to himself. In which hope of being taken to the Lord I remain truly and affectionately yours, as you are mine till that day,
"A. CAMPBELL."      

      After spending a week at Saratoga, where he delivered two addresses, he visited several points in Vermont, and after meeting with a church of disciples at Pawlet, took passage for Boston, where he was kindly received by Brother Himes, elder of the Christian church there, to which he delivered several discourses during his stay.

      He was much impressed by what he observed in the New England States, and in his journal pays to them the following just tribute:

      "For general intelligence, morality and good order I need not say that in the New World no city surpasses--I say more, no city equals--the capital of New England. Puritanism, with all its faults and foibles, has stamped a virtuous character on the whole nation of New England, which centuries have not effaced and which centuries to come cannot obliterate. The severe discipline, stern morality and untemporizing conscientiousness of the Pilgrim Fathers demonstrate their excellency in the vigor, health, and prosperity of their sons. And if the fruit of every tree is to test its character, assured I am that no system of education hitherto adopted has more to recommend it, as a whole, than that experimented by those godly Protestants, founders of our free institutions, which has given to the world so virtuous a race as that which yet occupies the soil on which the pious Fathers first offered the unbloody sacrifice of Christian gratitude in the savage tents of Shem. I could not, on surveying the whole premises--the industry, economy, prosperity, wealth, morality and religious regard for the Bible generally apparent in those [418] old States--I say, I could not but congratulate myself and my fellow-citizens of the West that we have so pure a cradle, so healthful a nursery, from which to replenish the new States with sons and daughters, who will transmit to future times the good habits of the most virtuous and prosperous people in the world."

      Visiting Lynn and Salem, he was much pleased with his interviews with many of "the Christians" of New England, whom he found candid and intelligent, and willing to be taught the way of the Lord more perfectly. Remaining in Massachusetts about two weeks, he passed by way of Providence to New York. While on the steamboat on the Sound he greatly admired a sunrise which he witnessed and described. As an illustration of his skill in what is termed "word-painting," his account of it is here given:

      "I awoke with the morning star, and going out on deck from the brilliant and mild appearance of the heavens I anticipated the glories of a sun-rising at sea, and accordingly hastened to awake my companions to enjoy with me the richest of Nature's feasts. Soon as we were all seated on the upper deck at the stern, with our faces to the east, and while yet the morning star beamed in a cloudless sky, we began each to designate that point from which we expected the sun to lift upon us his effulgent countenance. As we gazed upon the pacific and silvery brow of the tranquil sea, which, as a splendid mirror, seemed to reflect the glories of the heavens fresh upon us with every tremulous swell which urged us to the desired haven, we saw a brightness in the orient which indicated to us the near approach of the joyful monarch of the day. The crepuscular glimmerings gradually spread over all the east, and as they swept a loftier arch toward the empyrean, they assumed the brightness of liquid brass; while deeply bedded in the far distant horizon, two pyramidal columns began to rise, as if the clouds from the Atlantic had suddenly formed themselves [419] into pillars for the gates of the morning, erecting a sublime port for the entrance of Nature's luminary. Instantly the empyreal sovereign streaked with gold the inner side of these two colossal pillars, from between which he seemed resolved to enter upon the race of a summer day. Deeper and broader he laid on the molten gold till these two columns, capped with rubies, stood gilded from top to bottom. The curtain of night, which seemed to encircle this glorious arch, culminated over the spot where the eyelids of the morning began to open; but before we could take the dimension of this new portico of day, the sun himself in all the gorgeousness of his own peerless glory, gently raised himself to peep over the silvery deep from which he was about to emerge. After a single glance, which dazzled on the back of every gentle curl on the surface around him, he suddenly. at a single bound, stood upon the sea, and by another effort drew after him from the briny deep a golden pedestal as if from a surface of liquid fire, on which he seemed for a moment to sit, while from his dazzling locks floods of light and splendor began to flow. His yellow hairs, as if baptized in a sea of glory, dropped light and joy upon a world starting into life, while the gradual expanding of his wings proclaimed him about to fly the circuit of the universe. Bidding farewell to sea and land, he began his flight to heaven; and as he onward and upward bent his way, I was reminded of Jesse's son, who while a shepherd-boy used to sing: 'The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. No speech nor language is there where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tabernacle for the sun, who is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of heaven, and his circuit to the end of it, and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.'"

      After speaking several times in Philadelphia and [420] Baltimore, he set out on the 30th of August (1836), and reached home safely, having been absent ninety-four days, during which he traveled two thousand miles and delivered ninety-three discourses, averaging one hour and twenty minutes each. During the trip about seventy persons in all had been immersed and united with the churches. [421]


[MAC2 398-421]

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Robert Richardson
Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, Volume II. (1869)

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