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



C H A P T E R   X X .

Bethany College--Tours--Declining years--Letters--Visit to James Foster
--Last essays.

B Y incessant effort, Mr. Campbell had at length succeeded in obtaining a respectable endowment for several of the professorships in Bethany College. The institution being thus placed upon a tolerably secure footing, it was naturally expected that he would be, in a good measure, released from his toils in its behalf. It was, however, otherwise ordered. About two o'clock on the morning of the 10th of December, 1857, a ruddy light flashing into the sleeping apartments of some of the students at the Steward's Inn apprised them of the fact that the college building, some one hundred yards distant, was in flames. These had already taken such complete possession of the interior that entrance was dangerous, and the assembled students, villagers and faculty were compelled to witness with unavailing regret its halls, its libraries and its chemical and philosophical apparatus reduced to ashes.

      This calamity, which many thought would prostrate the institution, only aroused Mr. Campbell and its faculty and friends to fresh efforts. Rooms were at once fitted up at the Inn, and the regular recitations were suspended for only a single day. The Board of Trustees met on the 14th of December, and appointed a committee to obtain plans for a new building, and to [632] receive proposals for its erection. They also appointed Mr. Campbell and Professor Pendleton agents to solicit funds to the amount of fifty thousand dollars to repair the loss. In setting out upon this mission, Mr. Campbell remarked:

      "Nothing but the absolute necessity which seems to be laid upon me by the burning of our college building, libraries, apparatus, etc., could induce me at this season and at my time of life, with the many pressing demands calling for my presence at home, to undertake the arduous labors which are now placed before me. If I did not feel that it is the Lord's work, and that he will be my helper, I would shrink from the task. I sometimes feel like asking to be relieved from further services, but it seems I cannot hope to rest from my labors till I am called also to rest with my fathers. Such as they are, or may be, therefore all my days shall be given to the Lord."

      The first visit was paid to the Eastern cities. At Washington City, Mr. Campbell spoke in the Baptist church, the President with some of his Cabinet and many of both Houses being present. While in Washington he enjoyed the hospitalities of Judge Black and family. He spoke also in Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York, and found everywhere a strong sympathy in relation to the college. At Baltimore, Professor Pendleton succeeded in obtaining a large amount of valuable apparatus.

      Soon after returning home, they set out again to the South and West. Of this trip, the following extracts from letters will not only furnish a sufficient narrative, but reveal much of the inner life, the earnest aspirations and noble purposes of Mr. Campbell:

"RICHMOND, KENTUCKY, February 4, 1858.      

      "MY BELOVED WIFE: . . . I am still on the wing, speaking every day, and traveling over sometimes very rough and sometimes good turnpikes. We are still receiving from four [633] to five hundred dollars at the points we visit. It is, however, a very laborious effort. My health has been and is now as good as could be expected. . . . I fear it will keep us longer than we expected to raise fifty thousand dollars. We have not got up half-way to it, but hope in another week or two to rise still much nearer those figures. Were the times such as they were a year ago, we could expect much more. I heard from Sister Pendleton's letters to Mr. Pendleton that yourself and our dear daughters were all in good health. While laboring for the college we preach and teach the Christian religion, and we trust are doing some permanent good in that department also. There is also much need for this. We generally in all places preach twice or thrice, Mr. Pendleton and myself in turn. Remember me to my dear daughters and sons, as I am often thinking of them. Also to James Campbell and family, to Brother Milligan and lady, to Dr. Richardson and family, and to Sister Pendleton.

      "I much regret our absence from Bethany, and especially from your dear self. But perhaps these bereavements may hereafter contribute more to our mutual happiness. I can only say that I forego more in my absence from you than any other earthly privation. But, my dear, we must soon be separated by the unalterable decree, and oh that we may meet in the presence of our beloved Redeemer, where there will be the fullness of joy and pleasure for evermore! Remember me to Robert Gibson and wife. I must close.

      "Your most affectionate husband, A. CAMPBELL."      


"VERSAILLES, KY., February 20, 1858.      

      "MY DEARLY BELOVED WIFE: I am still able to speak once every day, which has been the average of my public labors since my entrance on the territory of Kentucky. Our congregations are large, attentive and much interested. Brother Pendleton also speaks about as often, and is heard with much attention. He is much approved and improved in his pulpit addresses. . . . We have reason to think that we will increase our students and our usefulness very considerably by this tour. We cannot, indeed, sow and reap in the same [634] day. The loss of your society is, with me, indeed, a great privation, and would be, on any other premises, a sacrifice not be tolerated or endured. But we must deny ourselves in this respect, as well as in many others, in order to our duty and our future happiness. It is not for an earthly reward alone that I submit, or that you submit, to our absence from each other. We are both living for the future reward and working for our Redeemer's honor and glory. Be of good cheer, therefore, and cast all your cares and your hopes on the Lord, who left heaven and came to this wilderness of sin to secure for us an inheritance beyond death and the grave. We are joint laborers for the Lord in our absence from each other.

      "I am to deliver an address in this place to-morrow on the present kingdom of Christ, its origin, progress and end; when and where and by whom commenced; its ultimate triumph and glory.

      "On Monday morning at ten o'clock, by special request of all the denominations in town, I am to address the pupils of all the schools male and female, assembled in our meeting-house. So that my labors are abundant. . . .

      "Ever your affectionate husband, A. CAMPBELL,"      


"LANCASTER, KY., March 1, 1858.      

      "MY DEARLY BELOVED WIFE: I have not heard from home for some ten days, and I am very anxious to hear from you all, . . . I will be, according to appointment, at Danville on the 7th and 8th insts. I will then proceed to Harrodsburg--thence to Shelbyville. At both places I will inquire for a letter, and also at Eminence and New Castle and Louisville. I have had a bad cold for some two or three days, and am not yet entirely free from it. I will give directions at these offices to forward my letters to Louisville, and will there and then inform you of my route. Mr. Pendleton enjoys good health, and saves me of much labor in speaking. He preaches for the college, and I for the Church.

      "From Louisville we will proceed to Nashville, and perhaps thence into Mississippi. It is a work of great labor and [635] patience, but we must not give up till we approximate to $50,000, as we intend to erect buildings much superior to that which was destroyed. It is a great labor, but we labor in hope of a reward rich and protracted beyond our day and generation. I am more and more convinced of the utility, and of the necessity of raising up men fit to carry on the great work to which I have devoted so much of my life and labor. May the good Lord prosper our labors and cause them to redound to his glory and the good of multitudes! We must sow plentifully if we would reap plentifully. I regard you as sympathizing in all my labors and trials, and I do hope that you will partake with me in all the good resulting from them. I have you continually in my heart, and that because I know you are like-minded with myself in this grand work, which I have undertaken not for myself, but for the good of humanity and the glory of our Lord, who left the courts of glory and traversed the earth and labored until death for the good of his fellow-men and the glory of his Father and our Father, his God and our God. You have your labors and cares as well as myself, and I trust that we will not labor in vain nor lose our reward. I need not say to you, Pray for my health and protection, for this I know you do, as I often bear you in my heart before our Father and our Redeemer. We are doing good at home and abroad. And may the Lord God multiply our seed sown manifold! I trust you will bear my absence with all patience and fortitude, as you have often done. I need not say to you, Be patient, for I know you are, and that you always sympathize with me in all my trials and labors. My time is so much engrossed that it is with difficulty that I can, in a whole week, find one hour to myself at our lodgings, which are numerous, though sometimes far between. May our Lord and Saviour ever comfort your heart and make you long useful in his service!

      "Your affectionate and devoted husband,
"A. CAMPBELL."      


"STEAMBOAT 'TEMPEST,' March 27, 1858.      

      "MY BELOVED WIFE: I am now floating on the bosom of [636] the Mississippi river on my way to Nashville. I have been writing in my cabin berth for the 'Harbinger,' and when I arrive at Nashville, which I presume will be three days hence, I will forward this and other communications. I have slept on board already two nights. Brother Fall's daughter is under my care from a visit to Louisville. I have never thought more of sweet home in my former life, I so much miss your company and that of our children. But I hope for the not far distant day when I shall be again surrounded with all the pleasures of home, of which you are the centre. But duty is always pleasing, and I feel that I am in the discharge of it while laboring to promote the cause of literature, science and religion. I feel sure that I am laboring for a justifiable, honorable and useful end. And this animates and sustains me in your absence. I have written to-day several pages for the 'Harbinger,' which I hope will accompany this to Bethany. I have missed the company of Mr. Pendleton, and hope to see him soon after my arrival at Nashville. The river is very full, overflowing some of its banks, and much drift-wood. The peach trees are expanding their blossoms, and the early growths of shrubs are showing their early buds, and spring is at work to repair the dreary wastes and ruin of winter. But when shall spring visit the mouldering urn! Ah, when shall day dawn on the night of the grave!

      "Immortality and eternal life without a sorrow, a fear or a tear--how delightful the anticipation! This is the hope that cheers and charms the wastes of time, and meets all the longings of our heavenward aspirations.

      "But perhaps you are not at home; you may be on the way with Mr. Pendleton to take a peep at the Southern sky, and admire the verdure of the Valley of the Mississippi. This being doubtful, I still hail you at the old Bethany mansion, careful and cumbered with your numerous and various domestic cares. If so, you will be glad to see that I can yet make my mark, and that you are not forgotten by one who owes so much to your ever kind and affectionate attentions. If at home, you will make my return the more welcome. If not, [637] you will see that I never forget you amidst all the pressing cares and pleasing scenes through which I pass. Far from it! But I will not dwell on this so fruitful theme.

      "I do not think we can be at home till past the middle of April, at the earliest day. Remember me most affectionately to all my dear children, and say to them that I never forget them amidst all my pressing attentions and labors. Yours ever,
A. CAMPBELL."      


NASHVILLE, April 7, 1858.      

      "MY DEAR WIFE: . . . 1 have been here for one week, and have had the pleasure of delivering several discourses to large and attentive audiences. . . . We expect to leave here in two or three days for Mississippi, and when we have visited Jackson in that State, we will turn our face homeward. I cannot think of the pleasure of returning home--home, sweet home!--without emotions to which 1 can give no adequate expression. I have everything I could wish for in the form of Christian kindness and respect. But you cannot participate with me. We have enjoyed the kindest hospitality from the family of Brother Fall, who is now located here in charge of the church, having given up his school at Frankfort, Kentucky, and emigrated here to labor in the gospel. We expect to leave here to-morrow evening in a steamer for Jackson, Mississippi, where we may spend one week, and then we shall set our face homeward."

      While Mr. Campbell was in Louisville on this trip, the editor of the "Louisville Journal" remarked as follows:

      "ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.--This venerable and distinguished man is now in our city on business connected with his college at Bethany, so recently visited, as our readers know, with a very disastrous calamity. We are gratified to perceive that neither years nor trials--and his Atlantean shoulders support a mountainous weight of both--have seriously impaired his bodily strength or dimmed, much less quenched, the marvelous fire of his spirit. In all the [638] characteristics of manhood he is still in the fullness of maturity. And long may he retain this rare possession of his great powers!

      "Alexander Campbell is unquestionably one of the most extraordinary men of our time. Putting wholly out of view his tenets, with which we of course have nothing to do, he claims by virtue of his intrinsic qualities, as manifested in his achievements, a place among the very foremost spirits of the age. His energy, self-reliance and self-fidelity, if we may use the expression, are of the stamp that belongs only to the world's first leaders in thought or action. His personal excellence is certainly without a stain or a shadow. His intellect, it is scarcely too much to say, is among the clearest, richest, profoundest ever vouchsafed to man. Indeed, it seems to us that in the faculty of abstract thinking--in, so to say, the sphere of pure thought--he has few, if any, living rivals. Every cultivated person of the slightest metaphysical turn who has heard Alexander Campbell in the pulpit or in the social circle, must have been especially impressed by the wonderful facility with which his faculties move in the highest planes of thought. Ultimate facts stand forth as boldly in his consciousness as sensations do in that of most other men. He grasps and handles the highest, subtlest, most comprehensive principles as if they were the liveliest impressions of the senses. No poet's soul is more crowded with imagery than his is with the ripest forms of thought. Surely the life of a man thus excellent and gifted, is a part of the common treasure of society. In his essential character, he belongs to no sect or party, but to the world.

      "We trust that the mission on which Mr. Campbell is now among us may be entirely successful, as it most richly deserves to be, and that, with the speedy complete restoration of his institution at Bethany, he may resume his labors, and prosecute them with undiminished vigor for long and peaceful years to come."

      A sufficient amount having been secured to justify the commencement of the new college building, and a [639] plan for a very elegant structure having been adopted, the cornerstone was laid in the summer of 1858, on which occasion Mr. Campbell delivered an address.

      About this period his strong regard for the Baptists as a people, which was not a little increased by his association with many of them in the work of revision, led him once more to seek a friendly discussion, in hopes that a common basis of agreement might be found. He, therefore, proposed to discuss the matter orally with the president of Georgetown College, Kentucky--Dr. D. R. Campbell. The latter made a somewhat evasive reply, preferring a written discussion. To this Mr. Campbell was willing to consent, if assured that his responses would be laid before the Baptists in one of their papers. Of this, however, he could obtain no satisfactory assurance, and the correspondence which ensued soon degenerated on Dr. Campbell's part into misrepresentation and abuse, so that Mr. Campbell finally refused to publish any more of his letters.

      About this period several of those who had been conspicuous in the reformatory movement died within a few months of each other. Among these were the excellent Samuel Church, formerly of Pittsburg; the devoted William Morton and E. A. Smith, of Kentucky; President James Shannon and the zealous Miss Mary R. Williams, who, having gone at her own expense as a missionary to the Holy Land, finished her course amidst her useful labors at Jaffa.

      As the rebuilding of the college and the completion of the endowment still demanded additional means, Mr. Campbell continued to travel and address the public in various parts of the country. In the spring of 1859 he visited portions of Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama. He made an excursion also to Southern [640] Kentucky, and after preparing an address delivered before the missionary society at Cincinnati, he went to Missouri, and even as far as Kansas, accompanied by Mrs. Campbell, and met with considerable success, being aided by T. M. Allen and Dr. W. H. Hopson.

      It was about this time that Walter Scott published his principal work, a volume of three hundred and eighty-four pages, entitled "The Messiahship," which Mr. Campbell highly commended as a "very readable, interesting, edifying, cheering and fascinating volume from his most estimable, companionable and amiable fellow-laborer in the great cause of Reformation." "For more than the one-third of a century," said he, "we have been communing, conferring and co-operating in an effort to present to our contemporaries the original gospel and order of things as we read them in the Acts of the Apostles and their epistolary communications." This work contained many fine thoughts and interesting analyses of the great themes of redemption, and constituted an earnest plea for the union of Christians in the simple primitive faith.

      In the fall of 1860, Mr. Campbell delivered his regular address as president before the missionary society of Cincinnati. In December following he set out with Mrs. Campbell upon a tour in Indiana, during which he enjoyed also the efficient aid and company of Isaac Errett. During the trip, which extended over a considerable portion of the State, they were received with the utmost kindness, the Methodists and others, with few exceptions, opening their capacious meeting-houses, and giving the most respectful attention to the numerous discourses delivered, averaging at least one each day for a period of nearly eight weeks. Mr. Campbell's health and vigor seemed to be somewhat improved by [641] this trip of two thousand miles, as was usually the case with him in cool weather.

      As many desired to have his numerous addresses collected into a volume, he about this time arranged with the publishing house of Challen & Son to have them printed. This work of six hundred and forty-seven pages, and containing a tolerably good likeness of Mr. Campbell as he then appeared, he dedicated to his wife in the following terms:

      "TO SELINA HUNTINGDON CAMPBELL, my dutiful and affectionate wife, who has greatly assisted me in my labors in the gospel at home and abroad, this Volume of Public Addresses, long solicited by many friends, is DEDICATED as an humble token of my esteem and affection.
"A. CAMPBELL.      
      "BETHANY, Virginia, 1861."

      During his tours at this period, Mr. Campbell's success in obtaining donations for the college was as great as could well have been expected amidst the increasing political discords and dangers which now disturbed society and occupied almost exclusively the attention of the people, so that it was extremely difficult to interest men in religious and benevolent objects. Civil war, indeed, was imminent, and although many still hoped for the peaceful settlement of the disagreement between the Northern and Southern States, Mr. Campbell's sagacity led him to apprehend the worst results. His knowledge of human nature and his enlarged views on most subjects imparted to him a far-reaching foreknowledge of events which was seldom at fault. As early as the time of General Harrison's election he had anticipated the calamities which were now at hand. While on a visit to the Reserve at that period, he one day asked John Rudolph to which of the candidates he [642] thought the vote of Ohio would be given. The latter replied he thought it would be given to General Harrison. "I hope it may be so," said Mr. Campbell. "I will vote for him myself, as he is a personal friend and I approve his policy; but the time will come," said he, "Brother Rudolph, when the controversy will no longer be between Whigs and Democrats, but between North and South. Heretofore the Northern States have yielded to the demands of the South, but they feel their rapidly-growing strength, and the period will arrive when they will refuse any longer their consent to measures for the protection of slavery, and this institution the South will never surrender without bloodshed." Fearful of the approach of the period which he had foreseen, though still hoping for its longer postponement, he thought it his duty to visit Eastern Virginia at this time, in order to complete the endowment he expected from the churches in that part of the State. On this journey also he was accompanied by Mrs. Campbell and by Isaac Errett, but his labors were suddenly interrupted by the outbreak of actual war. After he had filled several of the appointments which had been sent on, news of the attack on Fort Sumter, on the 12th of April, reached him while he was holding a meeting at Charlottesville, and foreseeing that the whole country would be speedily involved in the begun strife, and that no time was to be lost in effecting his return home, he at once abandoned his tour and sought once more the quiet shades of Bethany, noticing on the way ample evidence of preparation for that bloody conflict which he so much deprecated, and against which he failed not in the "Harbinger" to lift up his voice in solemn remonstrance, urging a resort to arbitration as the proper method of settling national difficulties. [643]

      About the time of his return to Bethany his beloved fellow-laborer, Walter Scott, also reached his home near Mayslick, Kentucky, from a preaching tour, greatly distressed on account of the political troubles of the country, and suffering with what he regarded as a severe cold. This, however, soon proved to be inflammation of the lungs, which, rapidly increasing in violence, terminated in a few days the useful services of this eminent and gifted laborer, who bore his illness with patient resignation, and, rejoicing in the hope he had professed, expired on the Tuesday after the taking of Fort Sumter (April 23, 1861). His death was deeply felt by Mr. Campbell, who ever cherished for him the warmest affection; but his regrets were softened by the consciousness that his own failing energies betokened a not far distant and eternal reunion.

      During the continuance of the war, Mr. Campbell's labors abroad were necessarily restricted, but he made occasionally short excursions from home, addressing the public on religious topics. At home, the sudden diminution in the number of students at the college and the departure of some of the faculty threatened to occasion its suspension; but it having been determined to maintain as far as possible the regular operations of the institution, he continued still to act as president, and for a time to meet, as usual, his morning class, as well as to deliver the annual baccalaureate address. As these duties, however, which he endeavored to fulfill from his strong desire to labor to the last, were evidently too great a burden at his advanced age, he was induced at length to relinquish them to the vice-president, who, with the remaining members of the faculty, continued to preserve the order and conduct the business of the college, reserving merely to the president the duty of [644] conferring the degrees and preparing the address for the annual commencement. Though thus released from much of his former labor, he was far from feeling himself freed from that controlling sense of obligation and responsibility which formed so striking a feature in his character. He still visited the college, and sometimes, through force of habit, would prepare to go over to deliver his morning lecture, until reminded that he had been relieved from the duty. Attending punctually at church, he still felt that he was expected to address the public if the pulpit was unoccupied; and his discourses, though discursive and marred by occasional repetitions, were still heard with an interest which was not a little enhanced by his commanding and venerable appearance, with hair and beard of silvery whiteness and a form still tall and erect, though that familiar voice, on which multitudes had so often hung with delight, had now become somewhat tremulous and enfeebled. In the "Harbinger" he continued still to write occasional essays, which, as well as his public addresses, were much shorter than formerly. He obtained, however, for a time, the aid of Isaac Errett as a co-editor, and his able articles added much to the interest of the work, which was still regularly published, notwithstanding its diminished patronage, which had been largely in the South, with which communication was now entirely cut off.

      During the first year of the war he published, in a volume of three hundred and sixty-seven pages, a biography of his father, which he had been latterly preparing, but which by no means met public expectation; for, though it contained many interesting facts and documents worthy of preservation, it was scanty in its details and defective in its arrangement. At the close of [645] this year, December 12, 1861, his eldest sister, Dorothea, wife of Joseph Bryant, died at Indianapolis, in her sixty-ninth year, and her remains were conveyed to the family cemetery at Bethany. Her sister, Mrs. Chapman, had died some years before, and her brother Thomas likewise; so that, at this time, Mr. Campbell had but one brother, Archibald, and one sister, Mrs. McKeever, still surviving.

      In 1862, owing to the scarcity of paper, the "Harbinger" was reduced from sixty to forty-eight pages per number. During this year, in September, he attended the meeting of the New York Missionary Society at Auburn, and in October he delivered his regular address before the missionary society in Cincinnati. In the "Harbinger" the subjects which still seemed chiefly to interest him were those connected with Christology, prophecy, Christian union and education. Earnest as ever in his devotion to the cause of truth and righteousness, he thus speaks in his preface to the "Harbinger" for 1863:

      "Despite of all the hindrances and drawbacks of these gloomy and heart-sickening times, which have fallen so heavily on all the enterprises of Christian benevolence and hope, we are still, though cast down, not utterly forsaken, but laboring on--without it is true, the encouragement and support of many who, in former years of toil and trial, stood so nobly by us, yet with the sustaining power of an unfaltering faith in the help and blessing of Him whose Spirit has so long been our comforter and support, and whose service still calls us to the duties of the foremost ranks in the army of his kingdom."

      On the 7th of April of this year the beloved William Hayden finished his course in his sixty-fourth year. For nearly two years he had suffered with paralysis, [646] and died finally with little pain and with great tranquility, having to the last his heart fixed upon the spread of the gospel. On the same day, Mr. Campbell's youngest daughter, Decima, was married to J. Judson Barclay, setting out immediately for the island of Cyprus, where Mr. Barclay was United States consul. In the fall (October 27, 1863) his only remaining daughter, Virginia, was united in marriage with Mr. W. R. Thompson, a lawyer of Louisville. In the early part of the same month he prepared his address for the fifteenth anniversary of the General Missionary Society at Cincinnati.

      As he was now frequently in receipt of long and interesting letters from Mr. and Mrs. Barclay, giving minute descriptions of the eastern part of the Mediterranean, and especially of the island of Cyprus, with its history, the customs of the people, etc., and as these matters became frequent subjects of conversation in the family circle at Bethany, the idea gradually took possession of Mr. Campbell's mind that he had himself visited Cyprus and the Holy Land, and he would occasionally, in a pause of conversation with his friends, begin to detail to them the incidents of his supposed trip with the utmost seriousness. This hallucination, in which recent description became inextricably associated with the memories of his actual journeyings in Europe and elsewhere, continued to manifest itself occasionally for about two years, when it seemed to disappear. During these years of decline he would also occasionally, when partially awaked in the night, sit up and offer fervent and audible prayer, as though he was engaged in opening the religious services of the Lord's day morning, and would even deliver some exhortations quite connected and pertinent. Here the memories, associations [647] and habits of the past seemed to possess for him greater vividness than even present impressions, and his ever-active mind, released from pressing lifelong labors, made for itself imaginary occasions of exertion. Apart from such hallucinations, however, there seemed to be nothing abnormal in the state of his faculties, mental or bodily. His sight and hearing were quite unimpaired, nor did his conversation manifest any unusual indications of mental failure other than that diminished vivacity, that forgetfulness of names, dates, etc., and that tendency to repetition, common in advanced age. In his style, both in his essays and discourses, there had been for some years an increasing tendency to a multiplication of epithets and an undue compounding of adjectives, which detracted considerably from their effect. These blemishes were much less observable in his familiar letters, one or two of which may be here given as illustrative of the thoughts and feelings with which he was still occupied in his seventy-sixth year. The first was in reply to one from Dr. J. W. Cox, giving an account of the state of the Baptists in Kentucky. The second was addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Barclay, in the island of Cyprus.

"BETHANY, VA., March 21, A. D. 1864.      

      MY DEAR BROTHER COX: Your favor of March 7th lies before me. I gratefully thank you for your beautiful autograph and photograph.

      "I am as busy as usual. Even Sunday shines no Sabbath day to me. Church and college duties must be attended to, though our elders and professors favor me as much as possible. Still, I cannot shuffle off that feeling called responsibility. "This unholy war has, indeed, reduced the number of our students, in common with other colleges in Virginia and elsewhere.

      "I much regret that our Baptist friends are so much [648] enslaved to human traditions and experiences as passports into church-fellowship. One Lord, one faith, one baptism ought to suffice. Facts and theories are the poles apart. Men may assent to theories, but they cannot believe them. Testimony is not theory. Assent to theory is not faith. Thinking is not believing, nor believing thinking. Testimony is essential to faith. 'No testimony, no faith' is axiomatic. Faith comes by hearing testimony. Thence well-attested facts or events are the true and real materials of faith.

      "Faith, hope, love are three, and not two nor one. They are, indeed, three distinct and distinguishable powers. Faith is the belief of testimony, hope is the fruit of promise, and love the offspring of beauty seen and appreciated. The gospel is God's charm in the sinner's ear, conscience and heart. It quickens the soul, charms the ear and allures the heart to God. It is the bread of life to the hungry, the water of life to the thirsty, and the spirit of life to those dead in trespasses and sins. It is, therefore, the power of God to salvation to every sinner who will cherish it in his own heart and life. "We are as a nation and people most sadly out of joint. I do not mean religiously only, but politically, though we enjoy perfect peace in our Western Virginia. From anything said or done in our community, we are in perfect political quietude; and were it not for our weekly news, we would not know that there is a civil war in Western Virginia, or indeed in Eastern Virginia.

      "We have comparatively very few Baptists in Western Virginia and Western Pennsylvania. Calvinism and Arminianism in their numerous and various moods and tenses are the ecclesiastic idols of the living generation around us.

      "The advocates of apostolical Christianity are still moving onward and forward in the even tenor of their way. Both our college and our church are moving along in the even tenor of their way. Better, indeed, than we could have expected.

  "Yours, truly, A. CAMPBELL."      


"BETHANY, VA., May 6, 1864.      

      "MY DEAR SON AND DAUGHTER: We cordially [649] congratulate you in the reception of an heir from the Lord. This is a rich and precious gift from the Lord, which the wealth of the richest monarch on earth could not purchase, though possessed of all the gold of Ophir. It constitutes you parents, and lays upon you an obligation of paramount importance. For such a precious gift kings would sometimes give a kingdom. But all the gold of Ophir could not purchase it. Still, it is to be nourished, cared for, protected and brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Many are the duties incumbent upon us for such a present from the Lord. In the reception of it our heavenly Father virtually says to us: 'Take this child, educate and train it for me, and great shall be your reward.' It is, indeed, withal, a pleasing task. But to secure this, the Lord has wisely, kindly and deeply planted in the maternal and paternal heart--but more deeply in the maternal than in the paternal heart--a paramount affection. Mothers have more generally a deeper and a more enduring natural affection than fathers. Because, we presume, they need it most. Their faithful efforts are, indeed, well rewarded. Children generally love their mothers more than their fathers; and so, methinks, they ought; for a mother's affection is generally stronger and more enduring than a father's.

      "But there are exceptions to all general rules. We have all, if observant, seen some of them in this case. To love and to be loved is, in all the relations of life, the richest and the greatest blessing on earth which we can achieve. We cannot buy it. We must earn it. To be loved we must love. But to love not only our friends, but our enemies, is required by the great Teacher. This is godlike. When we remember this, we cannot but examine ourselves. And, indeed, it is to us all-important that we should habitually examine ourselves, and say to the Lord, 'Search me, O Lord! and try me, and see if there be any wicked way in me, and show it to me, and lead me and guide me in the way everlasting!'

      "We have pace and tranquility in our position in Virginia. College is in session,with a considerable increase of students. And, were it not for our newspaper, we should not know [650] that there was any war in our country; for which blessing we should be most grateful to the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Everything here moves on in its wonted channel. Civil wars are very uncivil things, and wholly contraband to both the letter and spirit of the gospel of the God of peace.

      "Your description of the island of Cyprus, published in the April number of the 'Harbinger,' has been read with great interest and pleasure, as we learn from all quarters. It is, indeed, a feast to us all; when finished by you, we shall dilate more fully upon it. I am not sure, indeed, but that a full history of it from your pen would be a most useful and interesting volume. . . . Think of it, and gather and keep all documents of interest, . . . and on your return give a history of your whole tour. I am constrained, though with reluctance, to close this scroll with an apology. All our family at home unite with me in all affection to you and Decima, father and mother.

  "Most affectionately, A. CAMPBELL."      

      Nothing in Mr. Campbell was more striking than his warm affection for his family and his enduring attachment to his friends. Distance seemed not to remove them from his thoughts, and however numerous his special acquaintances, time failed to obliterate their images from his memory. Of his singular tenacity in this respect many touching illustrations might be given, but the following letter, written many years before, while he was alone on one of his Western tours, may best serve to indicate the habits of his mind:

SMITHLAND, Mouth of Cumberland River,
February 23, 1841.                  

      "MY DEAR SELINA: Through the kind providence of Him who never sleeps, and who has preserved me through so many paths and dangers, I am here waiting for a boat to ascend to Nashville, two hundred miles from this lonely and wicked place. I was landed here at two o'clock this morning, and found my way in the night to a tavern of no very [651] high fame for comfort or for morals. But I hope to get away by the first arrival. Meanwhile I have been walking in the woods, casting my mind over past scenes and past times, conversing one while with the dead, and at another communing with the far-distant living. I have just been concluding that we ought more frequently to reflect upon those of our acquaintance who are gone before us, recall their images, contemplate their virtues, moralize upon their frailties, and whenever their excellences occur to our memory endeavor to make them our own. I have placed myself amidst my domestic group some twenty years ago and the years succeeding, and have revived my family circle with its occasional guests. Those of them who were the partners of my cares, my joys and my labors were well known to you--your excellent and amiable predecessor, the mother of my two eldest daughters, on whom so many hopes and fears once doated--the excellent Dr. Holliday--our good father and mother Brown, who sometimes visited us, with my own dear mother and my beloved sisters, Alicia and Nancy--all now sleeping under the green turf, for ever have left our present earth. Where are they and how employed? Think they never of those they left behind? And shall we never think of them who have gone before? Must we mutually and perpetually forget each other? Ah me! live not their virtues in our memory? Faults they had, but faults have we! Many of their failings grew out of their love and affection for those whom they left behind. If they were too careful to please, too anxious for the future, too busy for the present, was it not more for others than for themselves; as much, at least, for our happiness as for their own? But they acknowledged the same God and Saviour, invoked his name, worshiped in his sanctuary and were enrolled amongst his children. They have all often bowed the knee with me, our voices have often mingled in the same songs of praise--oft have we partaken of the same commemorative loaf and drunk together the cup of blessing. But we are here in this state of temptations and trials many; their race is run and their sun is set for ever. O Lord, teach [652] us to measure our days, to remember our latter end, to discharge faithfully our relative duties, and to profit both by the failings and the virtues of those whom we so much loved and who so much loved us. There is nothing eternally excellent but the Christian virtues, the fruits of righteousness, of faith and hope and holy love, and these are all the avails of time which will be gathered into the garner of heaven.

      "My dear sister and beloved wife, you have many cares and many trials; bear them on your spirit before the throne of God as you bear them on your shoulders, and you will feel either that they grow lighter or that you grow stronger. Feed your soul with the bread of life, and drink, oh drink abundantly of its pure and healing waters. Meditation and prayer are the strength of the soul. O Lord, give us the spirit of grace and supplication, and make thy presence to us always most delightful. We ought often to think of the dead--not only of our own dead, but of the dead saints of other times. Their history affords us instruction, example and motive. Remember, says Paul, the end of their conversation--Jesus Christ the same yesterday, to-day and for ever. . . . In the bonds, not only of holy matrimony, but of the everlasting covenant. I remain your faithful and affectionate husband,

"A. CAMPBELL."      

      It was in entire harmony with this amiable trait in his nature, of remembering absent friends, that, during his latter years, when released from the confining duties of the college, he often proposed to go and see them, and would have undertaken distant journeys for the purpose had not his family deemed it imprudent. His decline, however, had been so gradual as scarcely to be perceived, except at considerable intervals, and he still retained much of his usual activity, as well as his erect port and his love of daily exercise. At length, in July, 1864, it was agreed that he should pay a visit to his ancient fellow-laborer, James Foster, whom he much longed to see once more. Accompanied by Mrs. [653] Campbell, he went accordingly to Wheeling, from whence they took the cars to Glen Easton, where, procuring horses, they rode out across the hills some five or six miles to the simple dwelling of Elder Foster. The meeting between the two aged veterans in the Christian warfare, who had not seen each other for many years, was quite affecting. They rushed into each other's arms and embraced with tears of joyful recognition. After spending the greater part of a day and night in delightful religious conversation and agreeable reminiscences of the past, with much regret they bade each other farewell, without the hope of again meeting on earth.1

      Again, so late as the spring of 1865, accompanied by Mrs. Campbell, he resolved to go and see his daughter Virginia at Louisville. While there he spoke in the Second Christian church very acceptably, and on the following Lord's day delivered a discourse in the First church, which was then in charge of D. P. Henderson. The presence of a very large audience on this occasion seemed to inspire him with unwonted vigor. His subject was the commission given to the apostles, and he spoke with so much clearness and energy as to surprise his friends, who thought they had seldom heard him do better. On his return, while on the Cincinnati packet, two Presbyterian preachers who were on board came and introduced themselves to him, and expressed a strong desire that he should deliver a discourse on board the vessel. Mrs. Campbell, however, urging his fatigue and debility, had him excused. These clergymen appeared very sociable and friendly. They had been in the East, and spent an evening with the [654] American Consul at Beyrout, Mr. Johnson, who had married Miss Julia Barclay, and of whose courtesy and kind attentions they retained a grateful recollection.

      In the commencement of this year (1865) Mr. Campbell had relinquished the editorship of the "Harbinger" to Professor W. K. Pendleton, furnishing, however, himself an occasional short essay upon themes in which he felt a particular interest, as "The Power of the Word of God," "Christian Communion," "The Fruits of the Holy Spirit," etc. One of these appeared so late as November, 1865, on the subject of the gospel, in which, after some remarks upon text-preaching, he says:

      "We shall now propound or declare the seven facts that constitute the whole gospel. They are--1. The birth of Christ, God being his father and the Virgin Mary his mother. 2. The life of Christ as the oracle of God and the beau-ideal of human perfection. 3. The death of Christ as a satisfactory sacrifice for the sin of the world. 4. The burial of Christ as a prisoner of the grave. 5. The resurrection of Christ; 'O grave! I will be thy destruction!' 6. The ascension of Christ; 'He ascended up far above all heavens, that he might possess all things.' 7. The coronation of Christ as Lord of the universe; God his Father constituted him the absolute sovereign of creation."

      In the closing paragraph of this essay he says:

      "The present material universe, yet unrevealed in all its area, in all its tenantries, in all its riches, beauty and grandeur, will be wholly regenerated. Of this fact we have full assurance, since He that now sits upon the throne of the universe has pledged his word for it, saying, 'Behold I will create all things new!' consequently, 'new heavens, new earth;' consequently, new tenantries, new employments, new pleasures, new joys, new ecstasies. There is a fullness of joy, a fullness of glory and a fullness of blessedness of which no living man, [655] however enlightened, however enlarged, however gifted, ever formed or entertained one adequate conception."

      These were Mr. Campbell's last words as a religious writer. These were the hopeful utterances, full of an abiding trust, with which he closed his last essay in the "Millennial Harbinger," to which he had so largely contributed for five-and-thirty consecutive years. Gradually disengaging himself from the concerns of time, he had long before committed the management of the farm to his youngest son William, and now, having finally ended his editorial labors, yet still continuing to preach, awaited, with the most unfaltering faith and the most cheerful composure, the inevitable summons. [656]

      1 James Foster survived Mr. Campbell about three years, dying, in the utmost peace, on the 12th of March, 1869. [654]


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

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