Thomas Campbell Declaration and Address (First Edition, 1809)

Declaration and Address.
First Edition, 1809.

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        AT a meeting held at Buffaloe, August 17,
  1809, consisting of persons of different religious
  denominations; most of them in an unsettled state
  as to a fixed gospel ministry; it was unanimously
5       agreed upon, the considerations, and for the pur-
  poses herein after declared, to form themselves
  into a religious association, titled as above--which
  they accordingly did, and appointed twenty-one
  of their number to meet and confer together;
10       and, with the assistance of Mr. Thomas Camp-
  bell, minister of the gospel, to determine upon the
  proper means to carry into effect the important
  ends of their association: the result of which
  conference was the following declaration and
15       address, agreed upon and ordered to be printed
  at the expence and for the benefit of the society.
  September 7, 1809.

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        FROM the series of events which have taken place in the
  churches for many years past, especially in this western country,
  as well as from what we know in general of the present state of
  things in the christian world; we are persuaded that it is high time
5       for us not only to think, but also to act for ourselves; to see with
  our own eyes, and to take all our measures directly and immedi-
  ately from the Divine Standard; to this alone we feel ourselves
  divinely bound to be conformed; as by this alone we must be judg-
  ed. We are also persuaded that as no man can be judged for his
10       brother, so no man can judge for his brother: but that every man
  must be allowed to judge for himself, as every man must bear his
  own judgment;--must give account of himself to God--We are
  also of opinion that as the divine word is equally binding upon all
  so all lie under an equal obligation to be bound by it, and it alone;
15       and not by any human interpretation of it: and that therefore no
  man has a right to judge his brother, except in so far as he mani-
  festly violates the express letter of the law. That every such
  judgment is an express violation of the law of Christ, a daring
  usurpation of his throne, and a gross intrusion upon the rights and
20       liberties of his subjects. We are therefore of opinion that we
  should beware of such things; that we should keep at the utmost
  distance from every thing of this nature; and, that, knowing the
  judgment of God against them that commit such things; we should
  neither do the same ourselves, nor have pleasure in them that do
25       them. Moreover, being well aware, from sad experience, of the
  heinous nature, and pernicious tendency of religious controversy
  among christians; tired and sick of the bitter jarrings and janglings
  of a party spirit, we would desire to be at rest; and, were it possi-
  ble, we would also desire to adopt and recommend such measures,
30       as would give rest to our brethren throughout all the churches;--
  as would restore unity, peace, and purity, to the whole church of
  God. This desirable rest, however, we utterly despair either to
  find for ourselves, or to be able to recommend to our brethren, by
  continuing amidst the diversity and rancour of party contentions,
35       the veering uncertainty and clashings of human opinions: nor,
  indeed, can we reasonably expect to find it any where, but in
  Christ and his simple word; which is the same yesterday, and to-
  day, and for ever. Our desire, therefore, for ourselves and our
  brethren would be, that rejecting human opinions and the inven-

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  tions of men, as of any authority, or as having any place in the
  church of God, we might forever cease from farther contentions
  about such things; returning to, and holding fast by, the original
  standard; taking the divine word alone for our rule: The Holy
5       Spirit for our teacher and guide, to lead us into all truth; and
  Christ alone as exhibited in the word for our salvation--that, by so
  doing, we may be at peace among ourselves, follow peace with all
  men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.--
  Impressed with these sentiments, we have resolved as follows:
10             I. That we form ourselves into a religious association under the
  denomination of the Christian Association of Washington--for the
  sole purpose of promoting simple evangelical christianity, free
  from all mixture of human opinions and inventions of men.
        II. That each member, according to ability, cheerfully and
15       liberally subscribe a certain specified sum, to be paid half yearly,
  for the purpose of raising a fund to support a pure Gospel Ministry,
  that shall reduce to practice that whole form of doctrine, worship,
  discipline, and government, expressly revealed and enjoined in the
  word of God. And also for supplying the poor with the Holy
20       Scriptures.
        III. That this society consider it a duty, and shall use all proper
  means in its power, to encourage the formation of similar associ-
  ations; and shall for this purpose hold itself in readiness, upon
  application, to correspond with, and render all possible assistance
25       to, such as may desire to associate for the same desirable and im-
  portant purposes.
        IV. That this society by no means considers itself a church, nor
  does at all assume to itself the powers peculiar to such a society;
  nor do the members, as such, consider themselves as standing con-
30       nected in that relation: nor as at all associated for the peculiar
  purposes of church association;--but merely as voluntary advo-
  cates for church reformation; and, as possessing the powers com-
  mon to all individuals, who may please to associate in a peaceable
  and orderly manner, for any lawful purpose: namely, the disposal
35       of their time, counsel, and property, as they may see cause.
        V. That this society, formed for the sole purpose of promoting
  simple evangelical christianity, shall, to the utmost of its power,
  countenance and support such ministers, and such only, as exhibit
  a manifest conformity to the original standard in conversation and
40       doctrine, in zeal and diligence;--only such as reduce to practice
  that simple original form of christianity, expressly exhibited upon
  the sacred page; without attempting to inculcate any thing of hu-
  man authority, of private opinion, or inventions of men, as having
  any place in the constitution, faith, or worship, of the christian
45       church--or, any thing, as matter of christian faith, or duty, for
  which there cannot be expressly produced a thus saith the Lord
  either in express terms, or by approved precedent.
        VI. That a standing committee of twenty-one members of unex-
  ceptionable moral character, inclusive of the secretary and treasu-

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  rer, be chosen annually to superintend the interests, and transact
  the business, of the society. And that said committee be invested
  with full powers to act and do, in the name and behalf of their
  constituents, whatever the society had previously determined, for
5       the purpose of carrying into effect the entire object of its institu-
  tution--and that in case of any emergency, unprovided for in the
  existing determinations of the society, said committee be empow-
  ered to call a pro re nota meeting for that purpose.
        VII. That this society meet at least twice a year, viz. On the first
10       Thursday of May, and of November, and that the collectors ap-
  pointed to receive the half yearly quotas of the promised subscrip-
  tions, be in readiness, at or before each meeting, to make their re-
  turns to the treasurer, that he may be able to report upon the state
  of the funds. The next meeting to be held at Washington on the
15       first Thursday of November next.
        VIII. That each meeting of the society be opened with a sermon,
  the constitution and address read, and a collection lifted for the
  benefit of the society--and that all communications of a public
  nature be laid before the society at its half yearly meetings.
20             IX. That this society, relying upon the all-sufficiency of the
  Churches Head; and, through His grace, looking with an eye of
  confidence to the generous liberality of the sincere friends of genu-
  ine christianity; holds itself engaged to afford a competent support
  to such ministers, as the Lord may graciously dispose to assist, at
25       the request, and by invitation of, the society, in promoting a pure
  evangelical reformation, by the simple preaching of the everlast-
  ing gospel, and the administration of its ordinances in an exact
  conformity to the Divine Standard as aforesaid--and, that therefore,
  whatever the friends of the institution shall please to contribute
30       towards the support of ministers in connexion with this society
  who may be sent forth to preach at considerable distances, the same
  shall be gratefully received and acknowledged as a donation to its

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  To all that love our Lord Jesus Christ, in sincerity,
        throughout all the Churches, the following Ad-
        dress is most respectfully submitted.
5             THAT it is the grand design, and native tendency, of our holy
  religion, to reconcile and unite men to God, and to each other, in
  truth and love, to the glory of God, and their own present and eter-
  nal good, will not, we presume, be denied, by any of the genuine
  subjects of christianity. The nativity of its Divine Author was an-
10       nounced from heaven, by an host of angels, with high acclamations
  of "glory to God in the highest, and, on earth, peace and good
  will towards men." The whole tenor of that divine book which
  contains its institutes, in all its gracious declarations, precepts,
  ordinances, and holy examples, most expressly and powerfully
15       inculcates this. In so far, then, as this holy unity and unanimity
  in faith and love is attained; just in the same degree, is the glory
  of God, and the happiness of men, promoted and secured. Im-
  pressed with those sentiments, and at the same time grievously
  affected with those sad divisions which have so awfully interfered
20       with the benign and gracious intention of our holy religion, by ex-
  citing its professed subjects to bite and devour one another; we
  cannot suppose ourselves justifiable, in withholding the mite of our
  sincere and humble endeavours, to heal and remove them.
        What awful and distressing effects have those sad divisions pro-
25       duced! what aversions, what reproaches, what backbitings, what
  evil surmisings, what angry contentions, what enmities, what ex-
  communications, and even persecutions!!! And, indeed, this must
  in some measure, continue to be the case so long as those schisms
  exist, for, saith the Apostle, where envying and strife is, there is
30       confusion and every evil work. What dreary effects of these ac-
  cursed divisions are to be seen, even in this highly favored country,
  where the sword of the civil magistrate has not as yet learned to
  serve at the altar. Have we not seen congregations broken to
  pieces, neighbourhoods of professing christians first thrown into
35       confusion by party contentions, and, in the end, entirely deprived
  of gospel ordinances; while, in the mean time, large settlements,
  and tracts of country, remain to this day entirely destitute of a
  gospel ministry; many of them in little better than a state of hea-
  thenism: the churches being either so weakened with divisions,
40       that they cannot send them ministers; or, the people so divided
  among themselves, that they will not receive them. Severals at
  the same time who live at the door of a preached gospel, dare not
  in conscience go to hear it, and, of course, enjoy little more ad-

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  vantage in that respect, than if living in the midst of heathens.--
  How seldom do many in those circumstances enjoy the dispensa-
  tion of the Lord's Supper, that great ordinance of unity and love.
  How sadly, also, does this broken and confused state of things
5       interfere with that spiritual intercourse amongst christians, one
  with another, which is so essential to their edification and comfort,
  in the midst of a present evil world;--so divided in sentiment, and,
  of course, living at such distances, that but few of the same opinion,
  or party, can conveniently and frequently assemble for religious
10       purposes; or enjoy a due frequency of ministerial attentions. And
  even where things are in a better state with respect to settled
  churches, how is the tone of discipline relaxed under the influence
  of a party spirit; many being afraid to exercise it with due strict-
  ness, lest their people should leave them, and, under the cloak of
15       some spurious pretence, find refuge in the bosom of another party;
  while, lamentable to be told, so corrupted is the church, with those
  accursed divisions, that there are but few so base, as not to find
  admission into some professing party or other. Thus, in a great
  measure, is that scriptural purity of communion banished from
20       the church of God; upon the due preservation of which, much of
  her comfort, glory, and usefulness depends. To complete the
  dread result of our woeful divisions, one evil yet remains, of a very
  awful nature: the divine displeasure justly provoked with this sad
  perversion of the gospel of peace, the Lord withholds his gracious
25       influential presence from his ordinances; and not unfrequently
  gives up the contentious authors and abettors of religious discord
  to fall into grievous scandals; or visits them with judgments, as he
  did the house of Eli. Thus while professing christians bite and
  devour one another they are consumed one of another, or fall a prey
30       to the righteous judgments of God: Meantime the truly religious
  of all parties are grieved, the weak stumbled; the graceless and
  profane hardened, the mouths of infidels opened to blaspheme
  religion; and thus, the only thing under heaven, divinely efficacious
  to promote and secure the present spiritual and eternal good of
35       man, even the gospel of the blessed Jesus, is reduced to contempt;
  while multitudes deprived of a gospel ministry, as has been observ-
  ed, fall an easy prey to seducers, and so become the dupes of almost
  unheard of delusions. Are not such the visible effects of our sad
  divisions, even in this otherwise happy country.--Say, dear breth-
40       ren, are not these things so. Is it not then your incumbent duty to
  endeavour, by all scriptural means, to have those evils remedied.
  Who will say, that it is not? And does it not peculiarly belong to
  you, who occupy the place of gospel ministers, to be leaders in this
  laudable undertaking. Much depends upon your hearty concurrence
45       and zealous endeavours. The favorable opportunity which Divine
  Providence has put into your hands, in this happy country, for the
  accomplishment of so great a good, is in itself, a consideration of
  no small encouragement. A country happily exempted from the
  baneful influence of a civil establishment of any peculiar form of

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  christianity--from under the direct influence of the anti-christian
  hierarchy--and, at the same time, from any formal connexion with
  the devoted nations, that have given their strength and power unto
  the beast; in which, of course, no adequate reformation can be
5       accomplished, until the word of God be fulfilled, and the vials of
  his wrath poured out upon them. Happy exemption, indeed, from
  being the object of such awful judgments. Still more happy will
  it be for us, if we duly esteem and improve those great advantages,
  for the high and valuable ends, for which they are manifestly given;
10       --and sure where much is given, much also will be required. Can
  the Lord expect, or require, any thing less, from a people in such
  unhampered circumstances--from a people so liberally furnished
  with all means and mercies, than a thorough reformation, in all
  things civil and religious, according to his word? Why should we
15       suppose it? And would not such an improvement of our precious
  privileges, be equally conducive to the glory of God, and our own
  present and everlasting good? The auspicious phenomena of the
  times, furnish collateral arguments of a very encouraging nature,
  that our dutiful and pious endeavours shall not be in vain in the
20       Lord. Is it not the day of the Lord's vengeance upon the anti-
  christian world; the year of recompences for the controversy of
  Zion? Surely then the time to favour her is come; even the set
  time. And is it not said that Zion shall be built in troublous times?
  Have not greater efforts been made, and more done, for the pro-
25       mulgation of the gospel among the nations, since the commence-
  ment of the French revolution, than had been for many centuries,
  prior to that event? And have not the churches both in Europe and
  America, since that period, discovered a more than usual concern
  for the removal of contentions, for the healing of divisions, for the
30       restoration of a christian and brotherly intercourse one with another,
  and for the promotion of each others spiritual good; as the printed
  documents, upon those subjects, amply testify? Should we not,
  then, be excited, by these considerations, to concur with all our
  might, to help forward this good work; that what yet remains to
35       be done, may be fully accomplished. And what! Tho' the well
  meant endeavours after union, have not, in some instances, entirely
  succeeded to the wish of all parties, should this dissuade us from
  the attempt. Indeed, should christians cease to contend earnestly
  for the sacred articles of faith and duty once delivered to the saints,
40       on account of the opposition, and scanty success, which, in many
  instances, attend their faithful and honest endeavours; the divine
  cause of truth and righteousness might have, long ago, been relin-
  quished. And is there any thing more formidable in the Goliah
  schism, than in many other evils, which christians have to combat?
45       Or, has the Captain of Salvation sounded a desist from pursuing,
  or proclaimed a truce with, this deadly enemy, that is sheathing its
  sword in the very bowels of his church, rending and mangling his
  mystical body into pieces. Has he said to his servants, let it alone?
  If not, where is the warrant for a cessation of endeavours to have

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  it removed? On the other hand, are we not the better instructed
  by sage experience, how to proceed in this business; having before
  our eyes the inadvertencies, and mistakes of others, which have
  hitherto, in many instances, prevented the desired success? Thus
5       taught by experience, and happily furnished with the accumulated
  instructions of those that have gone before us; earnestly labouring
  in this good cause; let us take unto ourselves the whole armour
  of God; and, having our feet shod with the preparation of the
  gospel of peace, let us stand fast by this important duty, with all
10       perseverance. Let none that love the peace of Zion be discouraged,
  much less offended, because that an object of such magnitude does
  not, in the first instance, come forth recommended by the express
  suffrage of the mighty or the many. This consideration, if duly
  weighed, will neither give offence, nor yield discouragement, to
15       any, that considers the nature of the thing in question, in connexion
  with what has been already suggested. Is it not a matter of univer-
  sal right, a duty equally belonging to every citizen of Zion, to seek
  her good. In this respect, no one can claim a preference above
  his fellows, as to any peculiar, much less exclusive obligation. And,
20       as for authority, it can have no place in this business; for surely none
  can suppose themselves invested with a divine right, as to any thing
  peculiarly belonging to them, to call the attention of their brethren
  to this dutiful and important undertaking. For our part, we enter-
  tain no such arrogant presumption; nor are we inclined to impute
25       the thought to any of our brethren, that this good work should be let
  alone, till such time as they may think proper to come forward,
  and sanction the attempt, by their invitation and example. It is
  an open field, an extensive work, to which all are equally welcome,
  equally invited.
30             Should we speak of competency, viewing the greatness of the
  object, and the manifold difficulties which lie in the way of its
  accomplishment; we would readily exclaim, with the Apostle,
  who is sufficient for these things!--But, upon recollecting our-
  selves, neither would we be discouraged; persuaded with him,
35       that, as the work in which we are engaged, so likewise, our suffi-
  ciency, is of God. But after all, both the mighty and the many
  are with us. The Lord himself, and all that are truly his people,
  are declaredly on our side. The prayers of all the churches; nay,
  the prayers of Christ himself, John 17, 20, 23, and of all that
40       have ascended to his heavenly kingdom, are with us. The bless-
  ing out of Zion is pronounced upon our undertaking. Pray for
  the peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper that love thee. With
  such encouragements as these, what should deter us from the
  heavenly enterpize; or render hopeless the attempt, of accom-
45       plishing, in due time, an entire union of all the churches in faith
  and practice, according to the word of God. Not that we judge
  ourselves competent to effect such a thing; we utterly disclaim the
  thought: But we judge it our bounden duty to make the attempt,

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  by using all due means in our power to promote it; and also, that
  we have sufficient reason to rest assured that our humble and well-
  meant endeavours, shall not be in vain in the Lord.
        The cause that we advocate is not our own peculiar, nor the cause
5       of any party, considered as such; it is a common cause, the cause
  of Christ and our brethren of all denominations. All that we pre-
  sume, then, is to do, what we humbly conceive to be our duty, in
  connexion with our brethren; to each of whom it equally belongs,
  as to us, to exert themselves for this blessed purpose. And as we
10       have no just reason to doubt the concurrence of our brethren, to
  accomplish an object so desirable in itself, and fraught with such
  happy consequences, so neither can we look forward to that happy
  event, which will forever put an end to our hapless divisions, and
  restore to the church its primitive unity, purity and prosperity; but,
15       in the pleasing prospect of their hearty and dutiful concurrence.
        Dearly beloved brethren, why should we deem it a thing incredi-
  ble, that the church of Christ, in this highly favored country,
  should resume that original unity, peace, and purity, which belongs
  to its constitution, and constitutes its glory? Or, is there any thing
20       that can be justly deemed necessary for this desirable purpose, but
  to conform to the model, and adopt the practice, of the primitive
  church, expressly exhibited in the New Testament? Whatever
  alterations this might produce in any or all of the churches, should,
  we think, neither be deemed inadmissible nor ineligible. Surely
25       such alteration would be every way for the better, and not for the
  worse; unless we should suppose the divinely inspired rule to be
  faulty, or defective. Were we, then, in our church constitution
  and managements, to exhibit a complete conformity to the Aposto-
  lick church, would we not be in that respect, as perfect as Christ
30       intended we should be? And should not this suffice us?
        It is, to us, a pleasing consideration that all the churches of
  Christ, which mutually acknowledge each other as such, are not
  only agreed in the great doctrines of faith and holiness; but are
  also materially agreed, as to the positive ordinances of Gospel
35       institution; so that our differences, at most, are about the things
  in which the kingdom of God does not consist, that is, about mat-
  ters of private opinion, or human invention. What a pity, that
  the kingdom of God should be divided about such things!! Who,
  then, would not be the first amongst us, to give up with human
40       inventions in the worship of God; and to cease from imposing his
  private opinions upon his brethren; that our breaches might thus
  be healed? Who would not willingly conform to the original pattern
  laid down in the New Testament, for this happy purpose? Our
  dear brethren, of all denominations, will please to consider, that
45       we have our educational prejudices, and particular customs to strug-
  gle with as well as they. But this we do sincerely declare, that
  there is nothing we have hitherto received as matter of faith or
  practice, which is not expressly taught and enjoined in the word
  of God, either in express terms, or approved precedent, that we
50       would not heartily relinquish, that so we might return to the origi-

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  nal constitutional unity of the christian church; and, in this happy
  unity, enjoy full communion with all our brethren, in peace and
  charity. The like dutiful condescension we candidly expect of all,
  that are seriously impressed with a sense of the duty they owe to
5       God, to each other, and to their perishing fellow-brethren of man-
  kind. To this we call, we invite, our brethren, of all denomina-
  tions, by all the sacred motives which we have avouched as the
  impulsive reasons of our thus addressing them.
        You are all, dear brethren, equally included as the objects of our
10       love and esteem. With you all we desire to unite in the bonds of
  an entire christian unity--Christ alone being the head, the centre,
  his word the rule--an explicit belief of, and manifest conformity
  to it, in all things--the terms. More than this, you will not re-
  quire of us; and less we cannot require of you; nor, indeed, can
15       we reasonably suppose, any would desire it; for what good purpose
  would it serve? We dare neither assume, nor propose, the trite
  indefinite distinction between essentials, and non-essentials, in
  matters of revealed truth and duty; firmly persuaded, that, what-
  ever may be their comparative importance, simply considered, the
20       high obligation of the Divine Authority revealing, or enjoining
  them, renders the belief, or performance of them, absolutely es-
  sential to us, in so far as we know them. And to be ignorant of
  any thing God has revealed, can neither be our duty, nor our pri-
  vilege. We humbly presume, then, dear brethren, you can have
25       no relevant objection to meet us upon this ground. And, we again
  beseech you, let it be none, that it is the invitation but of a few;
  by your accession we shall be many; and whether few, or many,
  in the first instance, it is all one with respect to the event,
  which must ultimately await the full information, and hearty
30       concurrence, of all. Besides, whatever is to be done, must
  begin--sometime--somewhere; and no matter where, nor by
  whom, if the Lord puts his hand to the work, it must surely pros-
  per. And has he not been graciously pleased, upon many signal
  occasions, to bring to pass the greatest events from very small
35       beginnings, and even by means the most unlikely. Duty then is
  ours: but events belong to God.
        We hope, then, what we urge, will neither be deemed an un-
  reasonable nor an unseasonable undertaking. Why should it be
  thought unseasonable? Can any time be assigned, while things con-
40       tinue as they are, that would prove more favorable for such an
  attempt, or what could be supposed to make it so? Might it be the
  approximation of parties to a greater nearness, in point of public
  profession and similarity of customs? Or might it be expected from
  a gradual decline of bigotry? As to the former, it is a well known
45       fact, that where the difference is least, the opposition is always
  managed with a degree of vehemence, inversely proportioned to
  the merits of the cause. With respect to the latter, tho' we are
  happy to say, that in some cases and places, and we hope, univer-
  sally, bigotry is upon the decline: yet we are not warranted, either

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  by the past or present, to act upon that supposition. We have, as
  yet, by this means, seen no such effect produced; nor indeed could
  we reasonably expect it; for there will always be multitudes of
  weak persons in the church, and these are generally most subject
5       to bigotry; add to this, that while divisions exist, there will always
  be found interested men, who will not fail to support them:--nor
  can we at all suppose, that Satan will be idle to improve an advan-
  tage, so important to the interests of his kingdom. And, let it be
  farther observed upon the whole, that, in matters of similar impor-
10       tance to our secular interests, we would, by no means, content our-
  selves, with such kind of reasoning. We might farther add that
  the attempt here suggested not being of a partial, but of general
  nature, it can have no just tendency to excite the jealousy, or hurt
  the feelings, of any party. On the contrary, every effort towards a
15       permanent scriptural unity amongst the churches, upon the solid
  basis of universally acknowledged, and self-evident truths, must
  have the happiest tendency to enlighten and conciliate; by thus
  manifesting to each other, their mutual charity, and zeal for the
  truth:--"Whom I love in the truth, saith the Apostle, and not I
20       only, but also all they that have known the truth; for the truth's
  sake, which is in us, and shall be with us forever. Indeed if no
  such divine and adequate basis of union, can be fairly exhibited, as
  will meet the approbation of every upright and intelligent chris-
  tian: nor such mode of procedure adopted in favour of the weak,
25       as will not oppress their consciences, then the accomplishment of
  this grand object upon principle, must be forever impossible.--
  There would, upon this supposition, remain no other way of ac-
  complishing it, but merely by voluntary compromise, and good
  natured accommodation. That such a thing however will be ac-
30       complished, one way or other, will not be questioned by any that
  allow themselves to believe, that the commands and prayers of our
  Lord Jesus Christ will not utterly prove ineffectual. Whatever
  way, then, it is to be effected; whether upon the solid basis of
  divinely revealed truth; or the good natured principle of christian
35       forbearance and gracious condeseension; is it not equally practica-
  ble, equally eligible to us, as ever it can be to any; unless we
  should suppose ourselves destitute of that christian temper and
  discernment, which is essentially necessary to qualify us to do the
  will of our gracious Redeemer; whose express command to his
40       people is, that there be no divisions among them; but that they all
  walk by the same rule, speak the same thing, and be perfectly
  joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgment? We
  believe then it is as practicable, as it is eligible. Let us attempt it.
  "Up, and be doing, and the Lord will be with you."
45             Are we not all praying for that happy event, when there shall be
  but one fold, as there is but one chief shepherd. What! shall we
  pray for a thing, and not strive to obtain it!! not use the neces-
  sary means to have it accomplished!! What said the Lord to
  Moses upon a piece of conduct somewhat similar? "Why criest

Second Edition (43.13-44.34) Collation Facsimile Edition


  thou unto me? Speak unto the children of Israel that they go for-
  ward, but lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand." Let
  the ministers of Jesus but embrace this exhortation, put their hand
  to the work, and encourage the people to go forward upon the firm
5       ground of obvious truth, to unite in the bonds of an entire chris-
  tian unity; and who will venture to say, that it would not soon be
  accomplished? "Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up
  the stumbling block out of the way of my people," saith your God.
  To you, therefore, it peculiarly belongs, as the professed and ac-
10       knowledged leaders of the people, to go before them in this good
  work--to remove human opinions and the inventions of men out of
  the way; by carefully separating this chaff, from the pure wheat of
  primary and authentic revelation;--casting out that assumed au-
  thority, that enacting and decreeing power, by which those things
15       have been imposed and established. To the ministerial department,
  then, do we look with anxiety. Ministers of Jesus, we can neither
  be ignorant of, nor unaffected with, the divisions and corruptions of
  his church. His dying commands, his last and ardent prayers, for
  the visible unity of his professing people, will not suffer you to be
20       indifferent in this matter. You will not, you cannot, therefore, be
  silent, upon a subject of such vast importance to his personal
  glory and the happiness of his people--consistently you cannot;
  for silence gives consent. You will rather lift up your voice like a
  trumpet to expose the heinous nature, and dreadful consequences
25       of those unnatural and anti-christian divisions, which have so rent
  and ruined the church of God. Thus, in justice to your station and
  character, honored of the Lord, would we hopefully anticipate your
  zealous and faithful efforts to heal the breaches of Zion; that
  God's dear children might dwell together in unity and love--But if
30       otherwise--  *   *   *   *   we forbear to utter it. See Mal. 2, 1--10.
        Oh! that ministers and people would but consider, that there
  are no divisions in the grave; nor in that world which lies beyond it:
  there our divisions must come to an end! we must all unite there!--
  Would to God, we could find in our hearts to put an end to our
35       short-lived divisions here; that so we might leave a blessing behind
  us; even a happy and united church. What gratification, what
  utility, in the meantime, can our divisions afford either to ministers
  or people? Should they be perpetuated, 'till the day of judgment,
  would they convert one sinner from the error of his ways, or save a
40       soul from death? Have they any tendency to hide the multitude of
  sins that are so dishonorable to God, and hurtful to his people?
  Do they not rather irritate and produce them? How innumerable
  and highly aggravated are the sins they have produced, and are at
  this day, producing, both amongst professors and profane. We
45       entreat, we beseech you then, dear brethren, by all those considera-
  tions, to concur in this blessed and dutiful attempt--What is the
  work of all, must be done by all. Such was the work of the taber-
  nacle in the wilderness. Such is the work to which you are called;
  not by the authority of man; but by Jesus Christ and God the

Second Edition (44.34-45.21) Collation Facsimile Edition


  Father, who raised him from the dead. By this authority are
  you called to raise up the tabernacle of David, that is fallen down
  amongst us; and to set it up upon its own base. This you cannot
  do, while you run every man to his own house, and consult only
5       the interests of his own party. Till you associate, consult, and
  advise together; and in a friendly and christian manner explore the
  subject, nothing can be done. We would therefore, with all due
  deference and submission, call the attention of our brethren to the
  obvious and important duty of association. Unite with us in the
10       common cause of simple evangelical christianity--In this glorious
  cause we are ready to unite with you--United we shall prevail. It
  is the cause of Christ, and of our brethren throughout all the
  churches, of catholic unity, peace, and purity--a cause that must
  finally prosper in spite of all opposition. Let us unite to promote
15       it. Come forward then, dear brethren, and help with us. Do not
  suffer yourselves to be lulled asleep by that syren song of the sloth-
  ful and reluctant professor, "The time is not yet come--the time
  is not come--saith he,--the time that the Lord's house should be
  built." Believe him not.--Do ye not discern the signs of the times?
20       "Have not the two witnesses arisen from their state of political
  death, from under the long proscription of ages? Have they not
  stood upon their feet, in the presence, and to the consternation and
  terror of their enemies? Has not their resurrection been accompa-
  nied with a great earthquake? Has not the tenth part of the great
25       city been thrown down by it? Has not this event aroused the nations
  to indignation? Have they not been angry, yea very angry? There-
  fore, O Lord, is thy wrath come upon them, and the time of the
  dead that they should be avenged, and that thou shouldest give re-
  ward to thy servants, the Prophets, and to them that fear thy name,
30       both small and great; and that thou shouldest destroy them that
  have destroyed the earth. Who amongst us has not heard the
  report of these things--of these lightnings and thunderings, and
  voices; of this tremendous earthquake and great hail; of these
  awful convulsions and revolutions that have dashed and are dashing
35       to pieces the nations, like a potter's vessel? Yea, have not the re-
  mote vibrations of this dreadful shock been felt even by us, whom
  Providence has graciously placed at so great a distance? What
  shall we say to these things? Is it time for us to sit still in our
  corruptions and divisions, when the Lord, by his word and provi-
40       dence, is so loudly and expressly calling us to repentance and refor-
  mation? "Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion, put on thy
  beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for henceforth
  there shall no more come unto thee the uncircumcised and the
  unclean. Shake thyself from the dust, O Jerusalem; arise, loose
45       thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion"--
  Resume that precious, that dear bought liberty, wherewith Christ
  has made his people free; a liberty from subjection to any authority
  but his own, in matters of religion. Call no man father, no man
  master upon earth;--for one is your master, even Christ, and all

Second Edition (45.21-48.8) Collation Facsimile Edition


  ye are brethren. Stand fast therefore in this precious liberty, and
  be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. For the vindica-
  tion of this precious liberty have we declared ourselves hearty and
  willing advocates. For this benign and dutiful purpose have we
5       associated, that by so doing, we might contribute the mite of our
  humble endeavours to promote it, and thus invite our brethren to do
  the same. As the first fruits of our efforts for this blessed purpose
  we respectfully present to their consideration the following propo-
  sitions--relying upon their charity and candour that they will nei-
10       ther despise, nor misconstrue, our humble and adventurous at-
  tempt. If they should in any measure serve, as a preliminary,
  to open up the way to a permanent scriptural unity amongst the
  friends and lovers of truth and peace throughout the churches, we
  shall greatly rejoice at it. We by no means pretend to dictate: and
15       could we propose any thing more evident, consistent, and adequate,
  it should be at their service. Their pious and dutiful attention to
  an object of such magnitude will induce them to communicate to
  us their emendations; and thus what is sown in weakness, will be
  raised up in power--For certainly the collective graces that are con-
20       ferred upon the church, if duly united and brought to bear upon
  any point of commanded duty, would be amply sufficient for the
  right and successful performance of it. For to one is given by
  the spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge
  by the same spirit; to another faith by the same spirit; to another
25       the discerning of spirits: but the manifestation of the spirit is
  given to every man to profit withal. As every man, therefore, hath
  received the gift, even so minister the same one to another as good
  stewards of the manifold grace of God. In the face then of such
  instructions, and with such assurances of an all-sufficiency of di-
30       vine grace, as the church has received from her exalted Head, we
  can neither justly doubt the concurrence of her genuine members;
  nor yet their ability, when dutifully acting together, to accomplish
  any thing that is necessary for his glory, and their own good; and
  certainly their visible unity in truth and holiness, in faith and love,
35       is, of all things, the most conducive to both these, if we may credit
  the dying commands and prayers of our gracious Lord. In a mat-
  ter, therefore, of such confessed importance, our christian breth-
  ren, however unhappily distinguished by party names, will not,
  cannot, withhold their helping hand. We are as heartily willing to
40       be their debtors, as they are indispensably bound to be our benefac-
  tors. Came, then, dear brethren, we most humbly beseech you,
  cause your light to shine upon our weak beginnings, that we may
  see to work by it. Evince your zeal for the glory of Christ, and
  the spiritual welfare of your fellow-christians, by your hearty and
45       zealous co-operation to promote the unity, purity, and prosperity of
  his church.
        Let none imagine that the subjoined propositions are at all inten-
  ded as an overture towards a new creed, or standard, for the church;
  or, as in any wise designed to be made a term of communion;--no-

Second Edition (48.8-49.28) Collation Facsimile Edition


  thing can be farther from our intention. They are merely designed
  for opening up the way, that we may come fairly and firmly to ori-
  ginal ground: upon clear and certain premises: and take up things
  just as the Apostles left them.--That thus disentangled from the
5       accruing embarrassments of intervening ages, we may stand with
  evidence upon the same ground on which the church stood at the
  beginning--Having said so much to solicit attention and prevent
  mistake, we submit as follows.
        PROP. 1. THAT the church of Christ upon earth is essentially,
10       intentionally, and constitutionally one; consisting of all those in
  every place that profess their faith in Christ and obedience to him
  in all things according to the scriptures, and that manifest the same
  by their tempers and conduct, and of none else as none else can be
  truly and properly called christians.
15             2. That although the church of Christ upon earth must neces-
  sarily exist in particular and distinct societies, locally separate one
  from another; yet there ought to be no schisms, no uncharitable
  divisions among them. They ought to receive each other as Christ
  Jesus hath also received them to the glory of God. And for this
20       purpose, they ought all to walk by the same rule, to mind and speak
  the same thing; and to be perfectly joined together in the same
  mind, and in the same judgment.
        3. That in order to this, nothing ought to be inculcated upon
  christians as articles of faith; nor required of them as terms of
25       communion; but what is expressly taught, and enjoined upon
  them, in the word of God. Nor ought any thing be admitted, as
  of divine obligation, in their church constitution and managements,
  but what is expressly enjoined by the authority of our Lord Jesus
  Christ and his Apostles upon the New Testament church; either
30       in express terms, or by approven precedent.
        4. That although the scriptures of the Old and New Testament
  are inseparably connected, making together but one perfect and
  entire revelation of the Divine will, for the edification and salva-
  tion of the church; and therefore in that respect cannot be sepa-
35       rated; yet as to what directly and properly belongs to their imme-
  diate object, the New Testament is as perfect a constitution for the
  worship, discipline and government of the New Testament church,
  and as perfect a rule for the particular duties of its members; as
  the Old Testament was for the worship discipline and government
40       of the Old Testament church, and the particular duties of its
        5. That with respect to the commands and ordinances of our
  Lord Jesus Christ, where the scriptures are silent, as to the express
  time or manner of performance, if any such there be; no human
45       authority has power to interfere, in order to supply the supposed de-
  ficiency, by making laws for the church; nor can any thing more
  be required of christians in such cases, but only that they so observe
  these commands and ordinances, as will evidently answer the de-
  clared and obvious end of their institution. Much less has any hu-

Second Edition (49.28-51.15) Collation Facsimile Edition


  man authority power to impose new commands or ordinances upon
  the church, which our Lord Jesus Christ has not enjoined. Nothing
  ought to be received into the faith or worship of the church; or be
  made a term of communion amongst christians, that is not as old
5       as the New Testament.
        6. That although inferences and deductions from scripture pre-
  mises, when fairly inferred, may be truly called the doctrine of God's
  holy word: yet are they not formally binding upon the consciences
  of christians farther than they perceive the connection, and evident-
10       ly see that they are so; for their faith must not stand in the wisdom
  of men; but in the power and veracity of God--therefore no such
  deductions can be made terms of communion, but do properly be-
  long to the after and progressive edification of the church. Hence
  it is evident that no such deductions or inferential truths ought to
15       have any place in the churchs's confession.
        7. That although doctrinal exhibitions of the great system of di-
  vine truths, and defensive testimonies in opposition to prevailing er-
  rors, be highly expedient; and the more full and explicit they be,
  for those purposes, the better; yet, as these must be in a great
20       measure the effect of human reasoning, and of course must con-
  tain many inferential truths, they ought not to be made terms of
  christian communion: unless we suppose, what is contrary to fact,
  that none have a right to the communion of the church, but such
  as possess a very clear and decisive judgment; or are come to a
25       very high degree of doctrinal information; whereas the church
  from the beginning did, and ever will, consist of little children and
  young men, as well as fathers.
        8. That as it is not necessary that persons should have a particu-
  lar knowledge or distinct apprehension of all divinely revealed
30       truths in order to entitle them to a place in the church; neither
  should they, for this purpose, be required to make a profession
  more extensive than their knowledge: but that, on the contrary,
  their having a due measure of scriptural self-knowledge respecting
  their lost and perishing condition by nature and practice; and of the
35       way of salvation thro' Jesus Christ, accompanied with a profession
  of their faith in, and obedience to him, in all things according to
  his word, is all that is absolutely necessary to qualify them for
  admission into his church.
        9. That all that are enabled, thro' grace, to make such a profes-
40       sion, and to manifest the reality of it in their tempers and conduct,
  should consider each other as the precious saints of God, should
  love each other as brethren, children of the same family and father,
  temples of the same spirit, members of the same body, subjects
  of the same grace, objects of the same divine love, bought with
45       the same price, and joint heirs of the same inheritance. Whom
  God hath thus joined together no man should dare to put asunder.
        10. That division among christians is a horrid evil, fraught with
  many evils. It is anti-christian, as it destroys the visible unity of
  the body of Christ; as if he wcre divided against himself, exclu-

Second Edition (51.15-52.34) Collation Facsimile Edition


  ding and excommunicating a part of himself. It is anti-scriptural,
  as being strictly prohibited by his sovereign authority; a direct
  violation of his express command. It is anti-natural, as it excites
  christians to contemn, to hate and oppose one another, who are
5       bound by the highest and most endearing obligations to love each
  other as brethren, even as Christ has loved them. In a word, it is
  productive of confusion, and of every evil work.
        11. That, (in some instances,) a partial neglect of the expressly
  revealed will of God; and, (in others,) an assumed authority for
10       making the approbation of human opinions, and human inventions,
  a term of communion, by introducing them into the constitution,
  faith, or worship, of the church; are, and have been, the imme-
  diate, obvious, and universally acknowledged causes, of all the cor-
  ruptions and divisions that ever have taken place in the church of
15       God.
        12. That all that is necessary to the highest state of perfection
  and purity of the church upon earth is, first, that none be received
  as members, but such as having that due measure of scriptural
  self-knowledge described above, do profess their faith in Christ and
20       obedience to him in all things according to the scriptures; nor,
  2dly, that any be retained in her communion longer than they
  continue to manifest the reality of their profession by their tempers
  and conduct. 3dly, that her ministers, duly and scripturally quali-
  fied, inculcate none other things than those very articles of faith
25       and holiness expressly revealed and enjoined in the word of God.
  Lastly, that in all their administrations they keep close by the ob-
  servance of all divine ordinances, after the example of the primitive
  church, exhibited in the New Testament; without any additions
  whatsoever of human opinions or inventions of men.
30             13. Lastly. That if any circumstantials indispensably necessary
  to the observance of divine ordinances be not found upon the page
  of express revelation, such, and such only, as are absolutely ne-
  cessary for this purpose, should be adopted, under the title of
  human expedients, without any pretence to a more sacred origin
35       --so that any subsequent alteration or difference in the observance
  of these things might produce no contention nor division in the
        From the nature and construction of these propositions, it will
  evidently appear, that they are laid in a designed subserviency to
40       the declared end of our association; and are exhibited for the ex-
  press purpose of performing a duty of previous necessity--a duty
  loudly called for in existing circumstances at the hand of every one,
  that would desire to promote the interests of Zion--a duty not only
  enjoined, as has been already observed from Is. 57, 14, but which
45       is also there predicted of the faithful remnant as a thing in which
  they would voluntarily engage. "He that putteth his trust in me
  shall possess the land, and shall inherit my holy mountain; and
  shall say, cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way; take up the
  stumbling block out of the way of my people." To prepare tho

Second Edition (52.34-54.20) Collation Facsimile Edition


  way for a permanent scriptural unity amongst christians, by calling
  up to their consideration fundamental truths, directing their atten-
  tion to first principles, clearing the way before them by removing
  the stumbling blocks--the rubbish of ages which has been thrown
5       upon it, and fencing it on each side, that in advancing towards the
  desired object, they may not miss the way through mistake, or
  inadvertency, by turning aside to the right hand or to the left--is,
  at least, the sincere intention of the above propositions. It remains
  with our brethren, now to say, how far they go towards answering
10       this intention. Do they exhibit truths demonstrably evident in the
  light of scripture and right reason; so that to deny any part of
  them the contrary assertion would be manifestly absurd and inad-
  missible? Considered as a preliminary for the above purpose, are
  they adequate; so that if acted upon, they would infallibly lead to
15       the desired issue--If evidently defective in either of these respects,
  let them be corrected and amended, till they become sufficiently
  evident, adequate, and unexceptionable. In the mean time let them
  be examined with rigor, with all the rigor that justice, candour,
  and charity will admit. If we have mistaken the way, we shall be
20       glad to be set right;--but if, in the mean time, we have been hap-
  pily led to suggest obvious and undeniable truths, which if adopted
  and acted upon, would infallibly lead to the desired unity, and
  secure it when obtained; we hope it will be no objection, that they
  have not proceeded from a general council. It is not the voice of
25       the multitude, but the voice of truth, that has power with the con-
  science--that can produce rational conviction, and acceptable obe-
  dience. A conscience that awaits the decision of the multitude,
  that hangs in suspence for the casting vote of the majority, is a fit
  subject for the man of sin. This we are persuaded is the uniform
30       sentiment of real christians of every denomination. Would to God
  that all professors were such--then should our eyes soon behold
  the prosperity of Zion; we should soon see Jerusalem a quiet
  habitation. Union in truth has been, and ever must be, the desire
  and prayer of all such--Union in Truth is our motto. The Divine
35       Word is our Standard; in the Lord's name do we display our
  banners. Our eyes are upon the promises; "So shall they fear
  the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising
  of the sun." When the enemy shall come in like a flood the spirit
  of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him." Our humble
40       desire is to be his standard bearers--to fight under his banner, and
  with his weapons, "which are not carnal; but mighty through
  God to the pulling down of strong holds;" even all these strong
  holds of division, those partition walls of separation; which, like
  the walls of Jericho, have been built up, as it were, to the very
45       heavens, to separate God's people, to divide his flock and so to
  prevent them from entering into their promised rest, at least in so
  far as it respects this world. An enemy hath done this; but he
  shall not finally prevail;--"for the meek shall inherit the earth,
  and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace." And the

Second Edition (54.20-56.6) Collation Facsimile Edition


  kingdom and dominion, even the greatness of the kingdom under
  the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the
  Most High, and they shall possess it forever." But this cannot be
  in their present broken and divided state; "for a kingdom, or an
5       house, divided against itself cannot stand; but cometh to desola-
  tion." Now this has been the case with the church for a long
  time. However, "the Lord will not cast off his people, neither
  will he forsake his heritage; but judgment shall return unto
  righteousness, and all the upright in heart shall follow it " To
10       all such, and such alone, are our expectations directed. Come,
  then, ye blessed of the Lord, we have your prayers, let us also
  have your actual assistance. What, shall we pray for a thing and
  not strive to obtain it!
        We call, we invite you again, by every consideration in these
15       premises. You that are near, associate with us; you that are at
  too great a distance, associate as we have done--Let not the pauci-
  ty of your number in any given district, prove an insuperable dis-
  couragement. Remember him that has said, "if two of you shall
  agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be
20       done for them of my Father which is in heaven: for where two or
  three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst
  of them." With such a promise as this, for the attainment of eve-
  ry possible and promised good, there is no room for discourage-
  ment. Come on, then, "ye that fear the Lord keep not silence,
25       and give him no rest till he make Jerusalem a joy and a praise in the
  earth." Put on that noble resolution dictated by the prophet, say-
  ing, "for Zion's sake will we not hold our peace, and for Jerusa-
  lem's sake we will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth
  as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth."--
30       Thus impressed, ye will find means to associate at such convenient
  distances, as to meet, at least, once a month, to beseech the Lord to
  put an end to our lamentable divisions; to heal and unite his people,
  that his church may resume her original constitutional unity and
  purity, and thus be exalted to the enjoyment of her promised pros-
35       perity--that the Jews may be speedily converted, and the fullness
  of the Gentiles brought in. Thus associated, you will be in a capa-
  city to investigate the evil causes of our sad divisions; to consider
  and bewail their pernicious effects; and to mourn over them be-
  fore the Lord--who hath said, "I will go and return to my place,
40       till they acknowledge their offence and seek my face." Alas! then,
  what reasonable prospect can we have of being delivered from
  those sad calamities, which have so long afflicted the church of
  God; while a party spirit, instead of bewailing, is every where
  justifying, the bitter principle of these pernicious evils; by insist-
45       ing upon the right of rejecting those, however unexceptionable
  in other respects, who cannot see with them in matters of private
  opinion, of human inference, that are no where expressly revealed
  or enjoined in the word o. God.--Thus associated, will the friends
  of peace, the advocates for christian unity, be in a capacity to con

Second Edition (56.6-57.27) Collation Facsimile Edition


  nect in larger circles, where several of those smaller societies may
  meet semi-annually at a convenient centre; and thus avail them-
  selves of their combined exertions for promoting the interests of
  the common cause. We hope that many of the Lord's ministers
5       in all places will volunteer in this service, forasmuch as they know,
  it is his favorite work, the very desire of his soul.
        Ye lovers of Jesus, and beloved of him, however scattered in
  this cloudy and dark day, ye love the truth as it is in Jesus, (if our
  hearts deceive us not) so do we. Ye desire union in Christ with all
10       them that love him; so do we. Ye lament and bewail our sad di-
  visions; so do we. Ye reject the doctrines and commandments of
  men, that ye may keep the law of Christ; so do we. Ye believe
  the alone sufficiency of his word; so do we. Ye believe that the word
  itself ought to be our rule and not any human explication of it; so do
15       we. Ye believe that no man has a right to judge, to exclude, or re-
  ject, his professing christian brother; except in so far as he stands
  condemned, or rejected, by the express letter of the law:--so do
  we. Ye believe that the great fundamental law of unity and love ought
  not to be violated to make way for exalting human opinions to an e-
20       quality with express revelation, by making them articles of faith and
  terms of communion--so do we. Ye sincere and impartial followers
  of Jesus, friends of truth and peace, we dare not, we cannot, think
  otherwise of you;--it would be doing violence to your character;
  --it would be inconsistent with your prayers and profession, so to
25       do. We shall therefore have your hearty concurrence. But if any
  of our dear brethren, from whom we should expect better things,
  should, through weakness or prejudice, be in any thing otherwise
  minded, than we have ventured to suppose; we charitably hope,
  that, in due time, God will reveal even this unto them:--Only let
30       such, neither refuse to come to the light; nor yet, through preju-
  dice, reject it, when it shines upon them. Let them rather seri-
  ously consider what we have thus most seriously and respectfully
  submitted to their consideration; weigh every sentiment in the
  balance of the sanctuary, as in the sight of God, with earnest
35       prayer for, and humble reliance upon, his spirit; and not in the
  spirit of self-sufficiency and party zeal;--and, in so doing, we rest
  assured, the consequence will be happy, both for their own, and the
  church's peace. Let none imagine, that in so saying, we arrogate
  to ourselves a degree of intelligence superior to our brethren,
40       much less superior to mistake--so far from this, our confidence is
  entirely founded upon the express scripture and matter of fact
  evidence, of the things referred to; which may, nevertheless,
  through inattention, or prejudice, fail to produce their proper
  effect;--as has been the case, with respect to some of the most
45       evident truths, in a thousand instances.--But charity thinketh no
  evil: and we are far from surmising, though we must speak. To
  warn, even against possible evils, is certainly no breach of charity,
  as to be confident of the certainty of some things, is no just argu-
  ment of presumption. We by no means claim the approbation of

Second Edition (57.27-59.13) Collation Facsimile Edition


  our brethren, as to any thing we have suggested for promoting the
  sacred cause of christian unity; farther than it carries its own
  evidence along with it: but we humbly claim a fair investigation of
  the subject; and solicit the assistance of our brethren for carrying
5       into effect what we have thus weakly attempted. It is our conso-
  lation, in the mean time, that the desired event, as certain as it will
  be happy and glorious, admits of no dispute; however we may
  hesitate, or differ, about the proper means of promoting it. All we
  shall venture to say as to this, is, that we trust we have taken the
10       proper ground, at least, if we have not, we despair of finding it
  elsewhere. For if holding fast in profession and practice whatever
  is expressly revealed and enjoined in the divine standard does not,
  under the promised influence of the divine spirit, prove an adequate
  basis for promoting and maintaining unity, peace and purity, we
15       utterly despair of attaining those invaluable privileges, by adopting
  the standard of any party. To advocate the cause of unity while
  espousing the interests of a party would appear as absurd, as for
  this country to take part with either of the belligerents in the pre-
  sent awful struggle, which has convulsed and is convulsing the
20       nations, in order to maintain her neutrality and secure her peace.
  Nay, it would be adopting the very means, by which the bewildered
  church has, for hundreds of years past, been rending and dividing
  herself into fractions; for Christ's sake, and for the truth's sake;
  though the first and foundation truth of our christianity is union
25       with him, and the very next to it in order, union with each other
  in him--"that we receive each other, as Christ has also received
  us, to the glory of God." For this is his commandment that we
  believe in his son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave
  us commandment. And he that keepeth his commandments dwell-
30       eth in him, and he in him--and hereby we know that he dwelleth
  in us, by the spirit which he hath given us"--even the spirit of
  faith, and of love, and of a sound mind. And surely this should
  suffice us. But how to love, and receive our brother; as we believe
  and hope Christ has received both him and us, and yet refuse to
35       hold communion with him, is, we confess, a mystery too deep for
  us. If this be the way that Christ hath received us, then woe is
  unto us. We do not here intend a professed brother transgressing
  the express letter of the law, and refusing to be reclaimed.--
  Whatever may be our charity in such a case, we have not sufficient
40       evidence that Christ hath received him, or that he hath received
  Christ as his teacher and Lord. To adopt means, then, apparently
  subversive of the very end proposed, means which the experience
  of ages has evinced successful only in overthrowing the visible
  interests of christianity; in counteracting, as far as possible, the
45       declared intention, the express command of its Divine Author;
  would appear in no wise a prudent measure for removing and pre-
  venting those evils. To maintain unity and purity has always been
  the plausible pretence of the compilers and abettors of human
  systems; and we believe in many instances their sincere intention:

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  but have they at all answered the end? Confessedly, demonstrably,
  they have not--no, not even in the several parties which have most
  strictly adopted them--much less to the catholic professing body.
  Instead of her catholic constitutional unity and purity, what does
5       the church present us with, at this day, but a catalogue of sects
  and sectarian systems; each binding its respective party by the
  most sacred and solemn engagements, to continue as it is to the
  end of the world; at least this is confessedly the case with many
  of them. What a sorry substitute these, for christian unity and
10       love. On the other hand, what a mercy is it, that no human obli-
  gation that man can come under is valid against the truth. When
  the Lord the healer, descends upon his people, to give them a
  discovery of the nature and tendency of those artificial bonds,
  wherewith they have suffered themselves to be bound, in their
15       dark and sleepy condition: they will no more be able to hold them
  in a state of sectarian bondage; than the withs and cords with
  which the Philistines bound Sampson were able to retain him their
  prisoner; or, than the bonds of anti-christ were, to hold in captivi-
  ty the fathers of the reformation. May the Lord soon open the
20       eyes of his people to see these things in their true light; and ex-
  cite them to come up out of their wilderness condition--out of this
  Babel of confusion--leaning upon their beloved, and embracing
  each other in him; holding fast the unity of the spirit in the bond
  of peace. This gracious unity and unanimity in Jesus would afford
25       the best external evidence of their union with him; and of their
  conjoint interest in the Father's love. By this shall all men know
  that ye are my disciples, saith he, if ye have love one to another.
  And "this is my commandment that ye love one another as I have
  loved you; that ye also love one another." And again, "Holy
30       Father, keep through thine own name, those whom thou has given
  me that they may be one as we are," even "all that shall believe
  in me--that they all may be one; as thou Father art in me and I in
  thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe
  that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me, I
35       have given them, that they may be one, even as we are one: I in
  them and them in me, that they may be made perfect in me; and
  that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and has loved
  them, as thou hast loved me." May the Lord hasten it in his time.
40             Peace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in since-
  rity. Amen.
THOS. CAMPBELL, Secretary.
THOS. ACHESON, Treasurer.

Second Edition (60.24-62.20) Collation Facsimile Edition



        TO prevent mistakes, we beg leave to subjoin the following
  explanations. As to what we have done--our reasons for so doing
  --and the grand object we would desire to see accomplished--all
  these, we presume, are sufficiently declared in the foregoing pages.
5       As to what we intend to do in our associate capacity, and the ground
  we have taken in that capacity, tho' expressly and definitely declared;
  yet, these, perhaps, might be liable to some misconstruction.--
  First, then, we beg leave to assure our brethren, that we have no
  intention to interfere, either directly, or in irectly, with the peace
10       and order of the settled churches, by directing any ministerial
  assistance, with which the Lord may please to favour us, to make
  inroads upon such; or, by endeavouring to erect churches out of
  churches--to distract and divide congregations. We have no nos-
  trum, no peculiar discovery of our own to propose to fellow-chris-
15       tians, for the fancied importance of which, they should become
  followers of us. We propose to patronize nothing but the inculca-
  tion of the express word of God--either as to matter of faith or
  practice;--but every one that has a Bible, and can read it, can read
  this for himself.--Therefore we have nothing new. Neither do we
20       pretend to acknowledge persons to be ministers of Christ, and, at
  the same time, consider it our duty to forbid, or discourage people
  to go to hear them, merely because they may hold some things
  disagreeable to us; much less to encourage their people to leave
  them on that account;--and such do we esteem all, who preach a
25       free unconstitutional salvation through the blood of Jesus to per-
  ishing sinners of every description; and who manifestly connect
  with this a life of holiness, and pastoral diligence in the perform-
  ance of all the duties of their sacred office according to the scrip-
  tures; even all, of whom, as to all appearance, it may be truly
30       said to the objects of their charge, "they seek not yours, but you."
  May the good Lord prosper all such, by whatever name they are
  called; and fast hasten that happy period, when Zion's watchmen
  shall see eye to eye, and all be called by the same name. Such
  then have nothing to fear from our association, were our resources
35       equal to our utmost wishes. But all others we esteem as hirelings,
  as idol shepherds; and should be glad to see the Lord's flock de-
  livered from their mouth, according to his promise. Our princi-
  pal and proper design, then, with respect to ministerial assistants,
  such as we have described in our fifth resolution, is to direct their
40       attention to those places where there is manifest need for their
  labours; and many such places there are; would to God it were in
  our power to supply them. As to creeds and confessions, although

Second Edition (62.20-64.8) Collation Facsimile Edition


  we may appear to our brethren to oppose them, yet this is to be
  understood only in so far as they oppose the unity of the church, by
  containing sentiments not expressly revealed in the word of God;
  or, by the way of using them, become the instruments of a human
5       or implicit faith: or, oppress the weak of Gods heritage: where
  they are liable to none of those objections, we have nothing against
  them. It is the abuse and not the lawful use of such compilations
  that we oppose. See PROP. 7, page 17. Our intention therefore,
  with respect to all the churches of Christ is perfectly amicable.
10       We heartily wish their reformation; but by no means their hurt or
  confusion. Should any affect to say, that our coming forward as we
  have done, in advancing and publishing such things, have a manifest
  tendency to distract and divide the churches, or to make a new par-
  ty; we treat it as a confident and groundless assertion: and must
15       suppose they have not duly considered, or at least, not well under-
  stood the subject.
        All we shall say to this at present, is, that if the divine word be not
  the standard of a party--Then are we not a party, for we have adop-
  ted no other. If to maintain its alone sufficiency be not a party prin-
20       ciple: then are we not a party--If to justify this principle by our
  practice, in making a rule of it, and of it alone; and not of our own
  opinions, nor of those of others, be not a party principle--then are
  we not a party--If to propose and practice neither more nor less
  than it expressly reveals and enjoins be not a partial business, then
25       are we not a party. These are the very sentiments we have approved
  and recommended, as a society formed for the express purpose of
  promoting christian unity, in opposition to a party spirit. Should
  any tell us that to do these things is impossible without the inter-
  vension of human reason and opinion. We humbly thank them for
30       the discovery. But who ever thought otherwise? Were we not ra-
  tional subjects, and of course capable of understanding and forming
  opinions; would it not evidently appear, that, to us, revelation of
  any kind would be quite useless; even suppose it as evident as ma-
  thematicks. We pretend not, therefore, to divest ourselves of rea-
35       son, that we may become quiet, inoffensive, and peaceable christians;
  nor yet, of any of its proper and legitimate operations upon divinely
  revealed truths. We only pretend to assert, what every one that pre-
  tends to reason must acknowledge; namely, that there is a manifest
  distinction betwixt an express scripture declaration, and the con-
40       clusion or inference which may be deduced from it--and that the
  former may be clearly understood, even where the latter is but im-
  perfectly, if at all perceived; and that we are, at least, as certam of
  the declaration, as we can be of the conclusion, we draw from it--
  and that, after all, the conclusion ought not to be exalted above the
45       premises, so as to make void the declaration for the sake of esta-
  blishing our own conclusion--and that, therefore, the express com-
  mands to preserve and maintain inviolate christian unity and love,
  ought not to be set aside to make way for exalting our inferences

Second Edition (64.8-65.28) Collation Facsimile Edition


  above the express authority of God. Our inference, upon the whole,
  is, that where a professing christian brother opposes or refuses no-
  thing either in faith or practice, for which there can be expressly
  produced a "thus saith the Lord": that we ought not to reject him
5       because he cannot see with our eyes as to matters of human infer-
  ence--of private judgment. "Through thy knowledge shall the weak
  brother perish? How walketh thou not charitably? Thus we rea-
  son, thus we conclude, to make no conclusion of our own, nor of
  any other fallible fellow creature, a rule of faith or duty to our bro-
10       ther. Whether we refuse reason, then, or abuse it, in our so doing,
  let our brethren judge. But, after all, we have only ventured to sug-
  gest, what, in other words, the Apostle has expressly taught;
  namely, that the strong ought to bear with the infirmities of the
  weak, and not to please themselves. That we ought to receive him
15       that is weak in the faith, because God hath received him. In a
  word, that we ought to receive one another, as Christ hath also re-
  ceived us to the glory of God. We dare not therefore, patronize the
  rejection of Gods dear children, because they may not be able to
  see alike in matters of human inference--of private opinion; and
20       such we esteem all things, not expressly revealed and enjoined in
  the word of God. If otherwise, we know not what private opinion
  means. On the other hand, should our peaceful and affectionate
  overture for union in truth, prove offensive to any of our brethren;
  or occasion disturbances in any of the churches; the blame cannot
25       be attached to us. We have only adventured to persuade, and, if
  possible, to excite to the performance of an important duty--a duty
  equally incumbent upon us all. Neither have we pretended to dic-
  tate to them, what they should do. We have only proposed, what
  appeared to us most likely to promote the desired event; humbly
30       submitting the whole premises to their candid and impartial inves-
  tigation: to be altered, corrected, and amended, as they see cause;
  or any other plan adopted that may appear more just and unexcep-
  tionable. As for ourselves, we have taken all due care, in the mean-
  time to take no step, that might throw a stumbling block in the way;
35       that might prove now, or at any future period, a barrier to prevent
  the accomplishment of that most desirable object; either by join-
  ing to support a party; or by patronizing any thing as articles of
  faith or duty, not expressly revealed and enjoined in the divine
  standard; as we are sure, whatever alterations may take place, that
40       will stand. And that considerable alterations must and will take
  place, in the standards of all the churches, before that glorious ob-
  ject can be accomplished, no man, that duly considers the matter,
  can possibly doubt. In so far then, we have, at least, endeavoured
  to act consistently; and with the same consistency would desire to
45       be instrumental in erecting as many churches as possible, through-
  out the desolate places of God's heritage, upon the same catholic
  foundation; being well persuaded, that every such erection will,
  not only in the issue, prove an accession to the general cause; but
  will also, in the mean time, be a step towards it; and of course,

Second Edition (65.28-67.15) Collation Facsimile Edition


  will reap the first fruits of that blissful harvest, that will fill the
  face of the world with fruit. For, if the first christian churches
  walking in the fear of the Lord, in holy unity and unanimity, en-
  joyed the comforts of the Holy Ghost, and were increased and edi-
5       fied; we have reason to believe, that walking in their footsteps will
  every where, and at all times, ensure the same blessed privileges.
  And it is in an exact conformity to their recorded and approved ex-
  ample, that we through grace, would be desirous to promote the
  erection of churches: and this we believe to be quite practicable, if
10       the legible and authentic records of their faith and practice be han-
  ded down to us, upon the page of New Testament scripture: but
  if otherwise, we cannot help it--Yet even in this case, might we not
  humbly presume, that the Lord would take the will for the deed;
  for if there be first a willing mind, we are told, it is accepted, ac-
15       cording to what a man hath, and not according to what he hath not.
  It would appear, then, that sincerely and humbly adopting this model,
  with an entire reliance upon promised grace, we cannot, we shall
  not, be disappointed. By this at least, we shall get rid of two great
  evils, which we fear, are at this day, grievously provoking the Lord
20       to plead a controversy with the churches; we mean the taking, and
  giving, of unjust offences; judging and rejecting each other, in
  matters wherein the Lord hath not judged; in a flat contradiction to
  his expressly revealed will. But according to the principle adopted,
  we can neither take offence at our brother for his private opinions,
25       if he be content to hold them as such; nor yet offend him with
  ours, if he do not usurp the place of the lawgiver; and even suppose
  he should, in this case we judge him, not for his opinions, but for his
  presumption. "There is one lawgiver, who is able to save, and to
  destroy: who art thou that judgest another?" But farther, to pre-
30       vent mistakes, we beg leave to explain our meaning in a sentence
  or two, which might possibly be misunderstood. In page first, we say,
  that no man has a right to judge his brother; except in so far as he
  manifestly violates the express letter of the law. By the law here,
  and elsewhere, when taken in this latitude, we mean that whole re-
35       velation of faith and duty, expressly declared in the divine word,
  taken together, or in its due connexion, upon every article: and
  not any detached sentence. We understand it as extending to all
  prohibitions, as well as to all requirements. "Add thou not unto
  his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar." We dare
40       therefore neither do, nor receive any thing, as of divine obligation,
  for which there cannot be expressly produced a "thus saith the
  Lord" either in express terms, or by approved precedent. According
  to this rule we judge, and beyond it we dare not go. Taking this sen-
  timent in connexion with the last clause of the fifth resolution; we
45       are to be understood, of all matters of faith and practice, of prima-
  ry and universal obligation; that is to say, of express revelation:
  that nothing be inculcated as such, for which there cannot be ex-
  pressly produced a "thus saith the Lord" as above; without, at
  the same time, interfering directly or indirectly, with the private

Second Edition (67.15-69.1) Collation Facsimile Edition


  judgment of any individual, which does not expressly contradict the
  express letter of the law, or add to the number of its institutions.
  Every sincere and upright christian, will understand and do the
  will of God, in every instance, to the best of his skill and judgment:
5       but in the application of the general rule to particular cases, there
  may, and doubtless will, be some variety of opinion and practice.
  This we see was actually the case in the apostolic churches, with-
  out any breach of christian unity. And if this was the case, at the
  erection of the christian church from amongst Jews and Gentiles,
10       may we not reasonably expect, that it will be the same at her resto-
  ration, from under her long antichristian and sectarian desolations?
        With a direct reference to this state of things; and, as we humbly
  think, in a perfect consistency with the foregoing explanations,
  have we expressed ourselves in page 10th; wherein we declare our-
15       selves ready to relinquish, whatever we have hitherto received as
  matter of faith or practice, not expressly taught and enjoined in
  the word of God; so that we, and our brethren, might, by this mu-
  tual condescension, return together to the original constitutional
  unity of the christian church; and dwell together in peace and cha-
20       rity. By this proposed relinquishment, we are to be understood, in
  the first instance, of our manner of holding those things, and not
  simply of the things themselves: for no man can relinquish his
  opinions or practices, till once convinced that they are wrong; and
  this he may not be immediately, even supposing they were so. One
25       thing, however, he may do, when not bound by an express com-
  mand, he need not impose them upon others, by any wise requiring
  their approbation; and when this is done, the things, to them, are
  as good as dead; yea, as good as buried too; being thus removed
  out of the way. Has not the Apostle set us a noble example of
30       this, in his pious and charitable zeal for the comfort and edification
  of his brother, in declaring himself ready to forego his rights (not
  indeed to break commandments) rather than stumble, or offend,
  his brother? And who knows not, that the Hebrew christians ab-
  stained from certain meats, observed certain days--kept the passo-
35       ver, circumcised their children, &c. &c.--while no such things were
  practised by the Gentile converts:--and yet no breach of unity,
  while they charitably forbore one with the other. But had the
  Jews been expressly prohibited, or the Gentiles expressly enjoined,
  by the authority of Jesus, to observe these things; could they, in
40       such a case, have lawfully exercised this forbearance? But where
  no express law is, there can be no formal, no intentional transgres-
  sion; even although its implicit and necessary consequences had
  forbid the thing, had they been discovered. Upon the whole, we
  see one thing is evident; the Lord will bear with the weaknesses,
45       the involuntary ignorances, and mistakes, of his people; though
  not with their presumption. Ought they not, therefore, to bear
  with each other--"to preserve the unity of the spirit in the bond of
  peace; forbearing one with another in love"--What saith the scrip-
  ture? We say, then, the declaration referred to, is to be thus un-

Second Edition (69.1-70.22) Collation Facsimile Edition


  derstood, in the first instance; though we do not say, but something
  farther is intended. For certainly we may lawfully suspend both
  declaration and practice upon any subject, where the law is silent:
  when to do otherwise must prevent the accomplishment of an ex-
5       pressly commanded, and highly important duty: and such, con-
  fessedly, is the thing in question. What saith the Apostle? "All
  things are lawful for me; but all things are not expedient. All
  things are lawful for me; but all things edify not." It seems, then,
  that amongst lawful things, which might be forborne; that is, as we
10       humbly conceive, things not expressly commanded; the governing
  principle of the Apostle's conduct was the edification of his breth-
  ren--of the church of God. A divine principle this, indeed! May
  the Lord God infuse it into all his people. Were all those nonpre-
  ceptive opinions and practises, which have been maintained and ex-
15       alted to the destruction of the church's unity, counterbalanced with
  the breach of the express law of Christ, and the black catalogue of
  mischiefs which have necessarily ensued; on which side, think you,
  would be the preponderance? When weighed in the balance with
  this monstrous complex evil, would they not all appear lighter
20       than vanity? Who then would not relinquish a cent to obtain a king-
  dom! And here let it be noted, that it is not the renunciation of an
  opinion or practice as sinful, that is proposed or intended; but mere-
  ly a cessation from the publishing or preaching of it, so as to give
  offence; a thing men are in the habits of doing every day, for their
25       private comfort, or secular emolument; where the advantage is of
  infinitely less importance. Neither is there here any clashing of
  duties; as if to forbear was a sin; and also to practise was a sin;
  the thing to be forborne being a matter of private opinion; which,
  though not expressly forbidden, yet are we, by no means, express-
30       ly commanded to practise,--Whereas we are expressly command-
  ed to endeavor to maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of
  peace. And what saith the Apostle to the point in hand? "Hast
  thou faith, saith he, have it to thyself before God. Happy is the
  man, that condemneth not himself, in the thing which he alloweth."
35             It may be farther added, that a still higher and more perfect de-
  gree of uniformity is intended, though neither in the first nor second
  instance, which are but so many steps towards it; namely, the ut-
  ter abolition of those minor differences, which have been greatly
  increased, as well as continued, by our unhappy manner of treating
40       them; in making them the subject of perpetual strife and conten-
  tion. Many of the opinions which are now dividing the church,
  had they been let alone, would have been, long since, dead and gone:
  but the constant insisting upon them, as articles of faith and terms
  of salvation, have so beat them into the minds of men, that, in ma-
45       ny instances, they would as soon deny the Bible itself, as give up
  with one of those opinions. Having thus embraced contentions,
  and preferred divisions to that constitutional unity, peace and charity,
  so essential to christianity: it would appear, that the Lord, in right-
  eous judgment, has abandoned his professing people to the awful

Second Edition (70.22-72.9) Collation Facsimile Edition


  scourge of those evils; as, in an instance somewhat similar, he for-
  merly did his highly favored Israel. "My people, saith he, would
  not hearken to my voice. So I gave them up to their own hearts
  lusts, and they walked in their own counsels." "Israel hath made
5       many altars to sin: therefore altars shall be unto him to sin." Thus,
  then, are we to be consistently understood, as fully and fairly inten-
  ding, on our part, what we have declared and proposed to our breth-
  ren, as, to our apprehension, incumbent upon them and us, for put-
  ting an end forever, to our sad and lamentable schisms. Should
10       any object and say, that after all, the fullest compliance with every
  thing proposed and intended, would not restore the church to the
  desired unity, as there might still remain differences of opinion and
  practice. Let such but duly consider, what properly belongs to the
  unity of the church, and we are persuaded, this objection will vanish.
15       Does not the visible scriptural unity of the christian church consist
  in the unity of her public profession and practice; and, under
  this, in the manifest charity of her members, one towards another;
  and not in the unity of the private opinion and practice of every in-
  dividual? Was not this evidently the case in the Apostles' days, as
20       has been already observed? If so, the objection falls to the ground.
  And here, let it be noted, (if the hint be at all necessary,) that we are
  speaking of the unity of the church considered as a great visible
  professing body, consisting of many co-ordinate associations; each
  of these, in its aggregate or associate capacity, walking by the same
25       rule, professing and practising the same things. That this visible
  scriptural unity be preserved, without corruption, or breach of cha-
  rity, throughout the whole; and in every particular worshipping
  society, or church; is the grand desideratum--the thing strictly
  enjoined, and greatly to be desired. An agreement in the expressly
30       revealed will of God, is the adequate and firm foundation of this
  unity; ardent prayer, accompanied with prudent, peaceable, and
  persevering exertion, in the use of all scriptural means for accom-
  plishing it, are the things humbly suggested, and earnestly recom-
  mended to our brethren. If we have mistaken the way, their cha-
35       rity will put us right: but if otherwise, their fidelity to Christ and
  his cause will excite them to come forth speedily, to assist with us
  in this blessed work.
        After all, should any impeach us with the vague charge of Lati-
  tudinarianism (let none be startled at this gigantic term) it will
40       prove as feeble an opponent to the glorious cause in which we, how-
  ever weak and unworthy, are professedly engaged, as the Zamzum-
  mins did of old, to prevent the children of Lot from taking posses-
  sion of their inheritance. If we take no greater latitude than the
  divine law allows, either in judging of persons, or doctrines--either
45       in profession, or practice (and this is the very thing we humbly pro-
  pose and sincerely intend) may we not reasonably hope, that such a
  latitude will appear to every upright christian, perfectly innocent
  and unexceptionable? If this be Latitudinarianism, it must be a
  good thing--and therefore the more we have of it the better; and

Second Edition (72.9-73.28) Collation Facsimile Edition


  may be it is, for we are told, "the commandment is exceeding
  broad;" and we intend to go just as far as it will suffer us, but not
  one hair's breadth farther--so, at least, says our profession. And
  surely it will be time enough to condemn our practice, when it ap-
5       pears manifestly inconsistent with the profession, we have thus pre-
  cisely and explicitly made. We here refer to the whole of the
  foregoing premises. But were this word as bad as it is long: were
  it stuffed with evil from beginning to end; may be, it better belongs
  to those, that brandish it so unmercifully at their neighbors; espe-
10       cially if they take a greater latitude than their neighbours do; or
  than the divine law allows. Let the case, then, be fairly sub-
  mitted to all that know their Bible--to all that take upon them to
  see with their own eyes--to judge for themselves. And here let
  it be observed once for all, that it is only to such we direct our at-
15       tention in the foregoing pages. As for those that either cannot, or
  will not see and judge for themselves, they must be content to fol-
  low their leaders, till they come to their eyesight; or determine to
  make use of the faculties, and means of information, which God
  has given them: with such, in the mean time, it would be useless
20       to reason; seeing that they either confessedly cannot see; or have
  completely resigned themselves to the conduct of their leaders;
  and are therefore determined to hearken to none but them. If
  there be none such, however, we are happily deceived: but, if so,
  we are not the only persons that are thus deceived; for this is the
25       common fault objected by almost all the parties to each other, viz.
  that they either cannot, or will not see; and it would be hard to
  think, they were all mistaking: the fewer there be, however, of this
  description, the better. To all those, then, that are disposed to see
  and think for themselves, to form their judgment by the divine
30       word itself, and not by any human explication of it--humbly rely-
  ing upon, and looking for, the promised assistance of divine teach-
  ing; and not barely trusting to their own understanding.--To all
  such, do we gladly commit our cause; being persuaded, that, at
  least, they will give it a very serious and impartial consideration;
35       as being truly desirous to know the truth. To you, then, we appeal,
  in the present instance, as we have also done from the beginning.
  Say, we beseech you, to whom does the charge of Latitudinarianism,
  when taken in a bad sense (for we have supposed it may be taken
  in a good sense) most truly and properly belong. Whether to those
40       that will neither add nor diminish any thing, as to matter of faith
  and duty; either to, or from, what is expressly revealed and en-
  joined in the holy scriptures: or to those who pretend to go farther
  than this; or to set aside some of its express declarations and in-
  junctions to make way for their own opinions, inferences, and con-
45       clusions? Whether to those who profess their willingness to hold
  communion with their acknowledged christian brethren, when they
  neither manifestly oppose nor contradict any thing expressly re-
  vealed and enjoined in the sacred standard: or to those who reject
  such, when professing to believe and practise whatever is expressly

Second Edition (73.28-75.15) Collation Facsimile Edition


  revealed and enjoined therein; without, at the same time, being
  alledged, much less found guilty, of any thing to the contrary: but
  instead of this, asserting and declaring their hearty assent and con-
  sent to every thing, for which there can be expressly produced a "thus
5       saith the Lord," either in express terms, or by approved precedent.
  To which of these, think ye, does the odious charge of Latitudan-
  arianism belong? Which of them takes the greatest latitude?
  Whether those that expressly judge and condemn where they have
  no express warrant for so doing; or those that absolutely refuse so
10       to do? And we can assure our brethren, that such things are, and
  have been done, to our own certain knowledge; and even where
  we least expected it: and that it is to this discovery, as much as to
  many other things, that we stand indebted for that thorough convic-
  tion of the evil state of things in the churches, which has given rise
15       to our association. As for our part, we dare no longer give our as-
  sent to such proceedings: we dare no longer concur in expressly
  asserting, or declaring, any thing in the name of the Lord, that he
  has not expressly declared in his holy word. And until such time
  as christians come to see the evil of doing otherwise, we see no ra-
20       tional ground to hope, that there can be either unity, peace, purity
  or prosperity, in the church of God. Convinced of the truth of
  this, we would humbly desire to be instrumental in pointing out to
  our fellow christians, the evils of such conduct   And, if we might
  venture to give our opinion of such proceedings, we would not hesi-
25       tate to say, that they appear to include three great evils--evils truly
  great in themselves, and at the same time productive of most evil
        First, to determine expressly, in the name of the Lord, when the
  Lord has not expressly determined, appears to us a very great evil:
30       see Deut. xviii--20. "The prophet that shall presume to speak a
  word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak--even
  that prophet shall die." The Apostle Paul, no doubt, well aware
  of this, cautiously distinguishes betwixt his own judgment and the
  express injunctions of the Lord; See 1st Cor. 7. 25. and 40. Though
35       at the same time, it appear that he was as well convinced of the
  truth and propriety of his declarations, and of the concurrence of the
  holy spirit with his judgment, as any of our modern determiners may
  be; for "I think saith he that I have the spirit of God:" and we doubt
  much, if the best of them would honestly say more than this: yet we
40       see, that with all this, he would not bind the church with his conclusi-
  ons; and for this very reason, as he expressly tells us, because,
  as to the matter on hand, he had no commandment of the Lord.
  He spoke by permission and not by commandment, as one that had
  obtained mercy to be faithful--and therefore would not forge his
45       master's name by affixing it to his own conclusions; saying, "The
  Lord saith, when the Lord had not spoken."
        A second evil is, not only judging our brother to be absolutely
  wrong, because he differs from our opinions; but, more especially,
  our judging him to be a transgressor of the law in so doing: and

Second Edition (75.15-76.34) Collation Facsimile Edition


  of course treating him as such, by censuring, or otherwise exposing
  him to contempt; or, at least, preferring ourselves before him in
  our own judgment; saying, as it were, stand by, I am holier than
5             A third and still more dreadful evil is, when we not only, in this
  kind of way, judge and set at nought our brother; but, moreover,
  proceed as a church, acting and judging in the name of Christ;
  not only to determine that our brother is wrong, because he differs
  from our determinations: but also in connexion with this, proceed
10       so far as to determine the merits of the cause by rejecting him, or
  casting him out of the church, as unworthy of a place in her
  communion;--and thus, as far as in our power, cutting him off
  from the kingdom of heaven. In proceeding thus, we not only
  declare, that, in our judgment, our brother is in an error; which
15       we may sometimes do in a perfect consistence with charity: but we
  also take upon us to judge, as acting in the name and by the autho-
  rity of Christ, that his error cuts him off from salvation; that
  continuing such he has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ
  and of God. If not, what means our refusing him--our casting
20       him out of the church, which is the kingdom of God in this world?
  For certainly if a person have no right, according to the Divine
  Word, to a place in the church of God upon earth, (which we say,
  he has not, by thus rejecting him) he can have none to a place in
  the church in heaven--unless we should suppose, that those whom
25       Christ by his word rejects here, he will nevertheless receive here-
  after. And surely it is by the word that every church pretends
  to judge; and it is by this rule, in the case before us, that the
  person in the judgment of the church stands rejected. Now is
  not this to all intents and purposes determining the merits of the
30       cause? Do we not conclude that the person's error cuts him off
  from all ordinary possibility of salvation, by thus cutting him off
  from a place in the church, out of which there is no ordinary
  possibility of salvation? Does he not henceforth become to us as a
  heathen man and a publican? Is he not reckoned amongst the
35       number of those that are without, whom God judgeth? If not,
  what means such a solemn determination? Is it any thing, or is it
  nothing, for a person to stand rejected by the church of God? If
  such rejection confessedly leave the man still in the same safe and
  hopeful state, as to his spiritual interests; then, indeed, it becomes
40       a matter of mere indifference; for as to his civil and natural privi-
  leges, it interferes not with them. But the scripture gives us a
  very different view of the matter; for there, we see, that those
  that stand justly rejected by the church on earth, have no room to
  hope for a place in the church of heaven. "What ye bind on earth
45       shall be bound in heaven" is the awful sanction of the churches
  judgment, in justly rejecting any person. Take away this, and it
  has no sanction at all. But the church rejecting, always pretends
  to have acted justly in so doing; and, if so, whereabouts does it
  confessedly leave the person rejected, if not in a state of damna-

Second Edition (76.34-78.20) Collation Facsimile Edition


  tion; that is to say, if it acknowledge itself to be a church of
  Christ, and to have acted justly. If after all, any particular church
  acting thus, should refuse the foregoing conclusion, by saying, we
  meant no such thing concerning the person rejected--we only
5       judged him unworthy of a place amongst us; and therefore put
  him away; but there are other churches that may receive him.
  We would be almost tempted to ask such a church, if those other
  churches be churches of Christ; and if so, pray what does it ac-
  count itself? Is it any thing more or better than a church of Christ?
10       And, whether if those other churches do their duty, as faithful
  churches, any of them would receive the person it had rejected?
  If it be answered, that, in acting faithfully, none of those other
  churches either could, or would receive him; then, confessedly,
  in the judgment of this particular church, the person ought to be
15       universally rejected: but, if otherwise, it condemns itself of
  having acted unfaithfully, nay, cruelly towards a christian brother,
  a child of God; in thus rejecting him from the heritage of the
  Lord; in thus cutting him off from his father's house, as the un-
  natural brethren did the beloved Joseph. But even suppose some
20       one or other of those unfaithful churches should receive the out-
  cast, would their unfaithfulness in so doing nullify, in the judgment
  of this more faithful church, its just and faithful decision in reject-
  ing him? If not, then, confessedly, in its judgment, the person
  still remains under the influence of its righteous sentence, debarred
25       from the kingdom of heaven: that is to say, if it believe the
  scriptures, that what it has righteously done upon earth, is ratified
  in heaven. We see no way, that a church acting thus, can possibly
  get rid of this awful conclusion; except it acknowledge, that the
  person it has rejected from its communion, still has a right to the
30       communion of the church; but if it acknowledge this--wherea-
  bouts does it leave itself, in thus shutting out a fellow-christian, an
  acknowledged brother, a child of God!! Do we find any parallel
  for such conduct in the inspired records, except in the case of
  Diotrephes, of whom the Apostle says, "who loveth to have the
35       pre-eminence among them, receiveth us not--prating against us
  with malicious words, and not content therewith, neither doth he
  himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and
  casteth them out of the church."
        But farther, suppose another church should receive this casta-
40       way, this person, which this faithful church supposed itself to have
  righteously rejected: would not, the church so doing, incur the
  displeasure, nay, even the censure, of the church that had rejected
  him? and, we should think, justly too, if he deserved to be rejected.
  And would not this naturally produce a schism betwixt the churches?
45       Or, if it be supposed that a schism did already exist, would not
  this manifestly tend to perpetuate and increase it? If one church
  receiving those, whom another puts away, will not be productive of
  schism, we must confess, we cannot tell what would. That church,
  therefore, must surely act very schismatically--very unlike a church

Second Edition (78.20-80.6) Collation Facsimile Edition


  of Christ, which necessarily pre-supposes, or produces schism, in
  order to shield an oppressed fellow-christian, from the dreadful
  consequences of its unrighteous proceedings. And is not this con-
  fessedly the case with every church, which rejects a person from
5       its communion, while it acknowledges him to be a fellow-christian;
  and in order to excuse this piece of cruelty, says, he may find
  refuge some place else; some other church may receive him?
  For as we have already observed, if no schism did already exist,
  one church receiving those whom another has rejected, must cer-
10       tainly make one. The same evils also will as justly attach to the
  conduct of an individual, who refuses, or breaks communion with
  a church, because it will not receive, or make room for, his private
  opinions, or self-devised practices, in its public profession and ma-
  nagements.--For, does he not, in this case, actually take upon him
15       to judge the church, which he thus rejects, as unworthy of the
  communion of christians? And is not this to all intents and pur-
  poses declaring it, in his judgment, excommunicate; or at least
  worthy of excommunication?
        Thus have we briefly endeavored to shew our brethren, what
20       evidently appears to us to be the heinous nature and dreadful conse-
  quences of that truly latitudinarian principle and practice, which is
  the bitter root of almost all our divisions; namely, the imposing of
  our private opinions upon each other, as articles of faith or duty;
  introducing them into the public profession and practice of the
25       church, and acting upon them, as if they were the express law of
  Christ, by judging and rejecting our brethren that differ with us in
  those things; or, at least, by so retaining them in our public pro-
  fession and practice, that our brethren cannot join with us, or we
  with them, without becoming actually partakers in those things,
30       which they, or we, cannot, in conscience approve; and which the
  word of God no where expressly enjoins upon us. To cease from
  all such things, by simply returning to the original standard of
  christianity--the profession and practice of the primitive church,
  as expressly exhibited upon the sacred page of New Testament
35       scripture, is the only possible way, that we can perceive, to get rid
  of those evils. And we humbly think that a uniform agreement in
  that for the preservation of charity would be infinitely preferable to
  our contentions and divisions: nay, that such a uniformity is the
  very thing that the Lord requires, if the New Testament be a
40       perfect model--a sufficient formula for the worship discipline and
  government of the christian church. Let us do, as we are there
  expressly told they did, say as they said: that is, profess and prac-
  tise as therein expressly enjoined by precept and precedent, in
  every possible instance, after their approved example; and in so
45       doing we shall realize, and exhibit, all that unity and uniformity,
  that the primitive church possessed, or that the law of Christ re-
  quires. But if after all, our brethren can point out a better way to
  regain and preserve that christian unity and charity expressly en-
  joined upon the church of God, we shall thank them for the disco-
50       very, and cheerfully embrace it.

Second Edition (80.7-81.26) Collation Facsimile Edition


        Should it still be urged, that this would open a wide door
  to latitudinarianism, seeing all that profess christianity, profess
  to receive the holy scriptures; and yet differ so widely in
  their religious sentiments. We say, let them profess what
5       they will, their difference in religious profession and practice
  originates in their departure from what is expressly revealed and
  enjoined; and not in their strict and faithful conformity to it--
  which is the thing we humbly advise for putting an end to those
  differences. But you may say, do they not already all agree in the
10       letter, though differing so far in sentiment? However this may be,
  have they all agreed to make the letter their rule; or rather to
  make it the subject matter of their profession and practice? Sure-
  ly no; or else they would all profess and practise the same thing.
  Is it not as evident as the shining light, that the scriptures exhibit
15       but one and the self same subject matter of profession and practice;
  at all times, and in all places;--and, that therefore, to say as it
  declares, and to do as it prescribes, in all its holy precepts, its
  approved and imitable examples, would unite the christian church
  in a holy sameness of profession and practice, throughout the whole
20       world? By the christian church throughout the world, we mean
  the aggregate of such professors, as we have described in props. 1
  and 8th, page 7th; even all that mutually acknowledge each other
  as christians, upon the manifest evidence of their faith, holiness,
  and charity. It is such only we intend, when we urge the necessity
25       of christian unity. Had only such been all along recognized, as
  the genuine subjects of our holy religion, there would not, in all
  probability, have been so much apparent need for human formulas,
  to preserve an external formality of professional unity, and sound-
  ness in the faith: but artificial and superficious characters need
30       artificial means to train and unite them. A manifest attachment to
  our Lord Jesus Christ in faith, holiness, and charity, was the origi-
  nal criterion of christian character--the distinguishing badge of
  our holy profession--the foundation and cement of christian unity.
  But now, alas! and long since, an external name--a mere educa-
35       tional formality of sameness in the profession of a certain standard,
  or formula of human fabric, with a very moderate degree of, what
  is called, morality; forms the bond and foundation--the root and
  reason, of ecclesiastical unity. Take away from such the technia
  of their profession--the shiboleth of party; and what have they
40       more? What have they left to distinguish, and hold them together?
  As for the Bible, they are but little beholden to it; they have
  learned little from it; they know little about it; and therefore de-
  pend as little upon it. Nay, they will even tell you, it would be of
  no use to them without their formula; they could not know a Papist
45       from a Protestant by it; that merely by it, they could neither keep
  themselves nor the church right for a single week: you might
  preach to them what you please; they could not distinguish truth
  from error. Poor people! it is no wonder they are so fond of their
  formula. Therefore they that exercise authority upon them, and

Second Edition (81.26-83.12) Collation Facsimile Edition


  tell them what they are to believe, and what they are to do, are
  called benefactors. These are the reverend, and right reverend
  authors, upon whom they can, and do, place a more entire and
  implicit confidence, than upon the holy Apostles and Prophets;
5       those plain, honest, unassuming men, who would never venture to
  say, or do, any thing, in the name of the Lord, without an express
  revelation from heaven; and, therefore, were never distinguished
  by the venerable titles of rabbi, or reverend; but just simple
  Paul, John, Thomas, &c. These were but servants. They did
10       not assume to legislate; and therefore neither assumed, nor receiv-
  ed, any honorary titles amongst men: but merely such as were de-
  scriptive of their office. And how, we beseech you, shall this gross
  and prevalent corruption be purged out of the visible professing
  church, but by a radical reform; but by returning to the original
15       simplicity, the primitive purity, of the christian institution; and, of
  course, taking up things just as we find them upon the sacred page.
  And, who is there, that knows any thing of the present state of
  the church, who does not perceive, that it is greatly overrun with
  the aforesaid evils? Or, who that reads his Bible, and receives the
20       impressions, it must necessarily produce upon the receptive mind,
  by the statements it exhibits; does not perceive, that such a state of
  things is as distinct from genuine christianity, as oil is from water?
        On the other hand, is it not equally as evident, that not one
  of all the erroneous tenets, and corrupt practices, which have
25       so defamed and corrupted the public profession and practice of
  christianity, could ever have appeared in the world, had men kept
  close by the express letter of the divine law--had they thus held
  fast that form of sound words contained in the holy scriptures, and
  considered it their duty so to do:--unless they blame those errors
30       and corruptions upon the very form and expression of the scrip-
  tures; and say, that, taken in their letter and connexion, they
  immediately, and at first sight, as it were, exhibit the picture they
  have drawn. Should any be so bold as to assert this, let them pro-
  duce their performance, the original is at hand; and let them shew
35       us line for line; expression for expression; precept and precedent
  for practice; without the torture of criticism, inference, or conjec-
  ture; and then we shall honestly blame the whole upon the Bible;
  and thank those that will give us an expurged edition of it; call it
  constitution, or formula, or what you please; that will not be liable
40       to lead the simple unlettered world into those gross mistakes, those
  contentions, schisms, excommunications and persecutions, which
  have proved so detrimental and scandalous to our holy religion.
        Should it be farther objected, that even this strict literal unifor-
  mity would neither infer, nor secure unity of sentiment.--It is gran-
45       ted, that, in a certain degree, it would not; nor, indeed, is there any
  thing, either in scripture, or the nature of things, that should
  induce us to expect an entire unity of sentiment, in the present
  imperfect state. The church may, and we believe will, come to
  such a scriptural unity of faith and practice, that there will be no

Second Edition (83.12-84.31) Collation Facsimile Edition


  schism in the body; no self-preferring sect of professed and ac-
  knowledged christians, rejecting and excluding their brethren.
  This cannot be, however, till the offensive and excluding causes be
  removed; and every one knows what these are. But that all the
5       members should have the same identical views of all divinely re-
  vealed truths; or that there should be no difference of opinion
  among them, appears to us morally impossible, all things consi-
  dered. Nor can we conceive, what desirable purpose such a unity
  of sentiment would serve; except to render useless some of those
10       gracious, self-denying, and compassionate precepts of mutual
  sympathy and forbearance, which the word of God enjoins upon his
  people. Such, then, is the imperfection of our present state.--
  Would to God it might prove, as it ought, a just and humbling
  counterbalance to our pride! Then, indeed, we would judge one
15       another no more about such matters. We would rather be consci-
  entiously cautious to give no offence; to put no stumbling block,
  or occasion to fall, in our brother's way. We would then no longer
  exalt our own opinions and inferences to an equality with express
  revelation, by condemning and rejecting our brother, for differing
20       with us in those things.
        But although it be granted, that the uniformity we plead for,
  would not secure unity of sentiment; yet we should suppose, that
  it would be as efficacious for that purpose, as any human expedient,
  or substitute whatsoever. And here we would ask, have all, or any,
25       of those human compilations been able to prevent divisions, to
  heal breaches, or to produce and maintain unity of sentiment, even
  amongst those who have most firmly, and solemnly, embraced them?
  We appeal for this to the history of all the churches, and to the
  present divided state of the church at large. What good then have
30       those devisive expedients accomplished, either to the parties that
  have adopted them, or to the church universal; which might not
  have been as well secured, by holding fast in profession and prac-
  tice, that form of sound words, contained in the divine standard;
  without, at the same time, being liable to any of those dangerous
35       and destructive consequences, which have necessarily ensued upon
  the present mode? Or will any venture to say, that the scriptures
  thus kept in their proper place, would not have been amply suffi-
  cient, under the promised influence of the divine spirit, to have
  produced all that unity of sentiment, which is necessary to a life of
40       faith and holiness; and also to have preserved the faith and worship
  of the church as pure from mixture and error, as the Lord intend-
  ed; or as the present imperfect state of his people can possibly
  admit? We should tremble to think that any christian should say,
  that they would not. And if to use them thus, would be sufficient
45       for those purposes; why resort to other expedients--to expedients,
  which, from the beginning to this day, have proved utterly insuffi-
  cient; nay, to expedients, which have always produced the very
  contrary effects, as experience testifies. Let none here imagine
  that we set any certain limits to the Divine intention, or to the

Second Edition (84.32-86.18) Collation Facsimile Edition


  greatness of his power when we thus speak, as if a certain degree
  of purity from mixture and error were not designed for the church
  in this world, or attainable by his people upon earth; except in so
  far as respects the attainment of an angelic or unerring perfec-
5       tion: much less, that we mean to suggest, that a very moderate
  degree of unity and purity should content us. We only take it for
  granted, that such a state of perfection is neither intended, nor
  attainable in this world, as will free the church from all those weak-
  nesses, mistakes, and mismanagements, from which she will be
10       completely exempted in heaven;--however sound and upright she
  may now be in her profession, intention, and practice. Neither let
  any imagine, that we here, or elsewhere suppose, or intend to assert,
  that human standards are intentionally set up in competition with
  the Bible; much less, in opposition to it. We fairly understand
15       and consider them as human expedients, or as certain doctrinal de-
  clarations of the sense in which the compilers understood the
  scriptures; designed, and embraced, for the purpose of promoting
  and securing, that desirable unity and purity, which the Bible alone,
  without those helps, would be insufficient to maintain and secure.
20       If this be not the sense of those that receive and hold them, for
  the aforesaid purpose, we should be glad to know what it is. It is,
  however, in this very sense that we take them up, when we com-
  plain of them, as not only unsuccessful, but also as unhappy expe-
  dients; producing the very contrary effects. And even suppose it
25       were doubtful, whether or not those helps have produced divisions;
  one thing at least is certain, they have not been able to prevent
  them; and now that divisions do exist, it is as certain, that they
  have no fitness nor tendency to heal them; but the very contrary, as
  fact and experience clearly demonstrate. What shall we do then
30       to heal our divisions? We must certainly take some other way
  than the present practice, if they ever be healed; for it expressly
  says, they must, and shall, be perpetuated forever. Let all the
  enemies of christianity say amen. But let all christians, continually
  say, forbid it, O Lord. May the good Lord subdue the corruptions,
35       and heal the divisions of his people. Amen and amen.
        After all that has been said, some of our timid brethren may
  possibly still object, and say; we fear, that without the intervention
  of some definite creed or formula, you will justly incur the censure
  of latitudinarianism; for how, otherwise, detect and exclude Arians,
40       Socinians, &c. &c? To such we would reply, that if to profess, in-
  culcate, and practise, neither more nor less, neither any thing else
  nor otherwise, than the Divine Word expressly declares respecting
  the entire subject of faith and duty; and simply to rest in that, as
  the expression of our faith, and rule of our practice; will not
45       amount to the profession, and practical exhibition, of Arianism,
  Socinianism, &c. &c. but merely to one and the self same thing,
  whatever it may be called; then is the ground that we have taken,
  the principle that we advocate, in nowise chargeable with latitudi-
  narianism. Should it be still farther objected that all these sects,

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  and many more, profess to receive the Bible, to believe it to be the
  word of God; and therefore will readily profess to believe and
  practise whatever is revealed and enjoined therein; and yet each
  will understand it his own way, and of course practise accordingly:
5       nevertheless, according to the plan proposed, you receive them all.
  We would ask, then, do all these profess, and practise, neither
  more, nor less, than what we read in the Bible--than what is ex-
  pressly revealed and enjoined therein? If so they all profess and
  practise the same thing; for the Bible exhibits but one and the
10       self-same thing to all. Or, is it their own inferences and opinions
  that they, in reality, profess and practise? If so, then upon the
  ground that we have taken, they stand rejected, as condemned of
  themselves; for thus professing one thing, when in fact and reality
  they manifestly practice another. But perhaps you will say, that
15       although a uniformity in profession, and it may be in practice too,
  might thus be produced; yet still it would amount to no more than
  merely a uniformity in words, and in the external formalities of
  practice; while the persons, thus professing and practising, might
  each entertain his own sentiments, how different soever these might
20       be. Our reply is, if so, they could hurt no body but himself;
  besides, if persons thus united, professed and practised all the same
  things, pray, who could tell, that they entertained different senti-
  ments; or even in justice suppose it, unless they gave some
  evident intimation of it? which, if they did, would justly expose
25       them to censure; or to rejection, if they repented not; seeing the
  offence, in this case, must amount to nothing less than an express
  violation of the expressly revealed will of God--to a manifest trans-
  gression of the express letter of the law; for we have declared,
  that except in such a case, no man, in our judgment, has a right to
30       judge, that is, to condemn, or reject, his professing brother.--
  Here, we presume, there is no greater latitude assumed, or allowed,
  on either side, than the law expressly determines. But we would
  humbly ask, if a professed agreement in the terms of any standard
  be not liable to the very same objection? If, for instance, Arians,
35       Socinians, Arminians, Calvinists, Antinomians, &c. &c. might not
  all subscribe the Westminster Confession, the Athenasian Creed,
  or the doctrinal articles of the Church of England. If this
  be denied, we appeal to historical facts; and, in the mean time,
  venture to assert, that such things are, and have been done. Or
40       will any say, that a person might not with equal ease, honesty, and
  consistency, be an Arian, or a Socinian, in his heart, while subscri-
  bing the Westminster Confession, or the Athenasian Creed, as
  while making his unqualified profession to believe every thing that
  the scriptures declare concerning Christ? to put all that confi-
45       dence in him; and to ascribe all that glory, honor, thanksgiving,
  and praise to him, professed, and ascribed to him, in the Divine
  Word? If you say not, it follows of undeniable consequence, that
  the wisdom of men, in those compilations, has affected, what the
  Divine Wisdom either could not, would not, or did not do, in that

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  all-perfect and glorious revelation of his will, contained in the holy
  Scriptures. Happy emendation! Blessed expedient! Happy, in-
  deed, for the church, that Athenasius arose in the fourth century,
  to perfect what the holy apostles and prophets had left in such a rude
5       and unfinished state. But if, after all, the Divine Wisdom did not
  think proper to do any thing more, or any thing else, than is already
  done in the Sacred Oracles, to settle and determine those important
  points; who can say that he determined such a thing should be done
  afterwards? Or has he any where given us any intimation of such
10       an intention?
        Let it here be carefully observed that the question before us is
  about human standards designed to be subscribed, or otherwise
  solemnly acknowledged, for the preservation of ecclesiastical unity
  and purity; and therefore of course, by no means applies to the
15       many excellent performances, for the scriptural elucidation and
  defence of divinely revealed truths, and other instructive purposes.
  These, we hope, according to their respective merit, we as highly
  esteem, and as thankfully receive, as our brethren. But farther,
  with respect to unity of sentiment, even suppose it ever so desira-
20       ble, it appears highly questionable, whether such a thing can at all
  be secured, by any expedient whatsoever; especially if we consi-
  der, that it necessarily pre-supposes in so far, a unity or sameness
  of understanding. Or, will any say, that, from the youth of seven-
  teen to the man of fourscore--from the illiterate peasant, up to the
25       learned prelate; all the legitimate members of the church enter-
  tain the same sentiments under their respective formulas? If not,
  it is still but a mere verbal agreement, a mere shew of unity. They
  say an amen to the same forms of speech, or of sound words, as
  they are called; without having, at the same time, the same views
30       of the subject; or, it may be, without any determinate views of it
  at all. And what is still worse, this profession is palmed upon the
  world, as well as upon the too credulous professors themselves, for
  unity of sentiment; for soundness in the faith: when, in a thousand
  instances, they have, properly speaking, no faith at all: that is to
35       say, if faith necessarily pre-supposes a true and satisfactory convic-
  tion of the scriptural evidence and certainty of the truth of the
  propositions we profess to believe. A cheap and easy orthodoxy
  this, to which we may attain by committing to memory a catechism;
  or professing our approbation of a formula, made ready to our
40       hand; which we may, or may not have once read over; or even if
  we have, yet may not have been able to read it so correctly and
  intelligently, as to clearly understand one single paragraph from
  beginning to end; much less to compare it with, to search and try
  it by, the holy Scriptures; to see if these things be so. A cheap
45       and easy orthodoxy this, indeed, to which a person may thus attain,
  without so much as turning over a single leaf of his Bible; whereas
  Christ knew no other way of leading us to the knowledge of him-
  self, at least has prescribed no other, but by searching the Scrip-
  tures, with reliance upon his holy Spirit. A person may, however,

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  by this short and easy method, become as orthodox as the Apostle
  Paul (if such superficial professions, such mere hearsay verbal
  repetitions, can be called orthodoxy) without ever once consulting
  the Bible; or so much as putting up a single petition for the Holy
5       Spirit to guide him into all truth; to open his understanding to
  know the Scriptures; for, his form of sound words truly believed,
  if it happen to be right, must, without more ado, infallibly secure
  his orthodoxy. Thrice happy expedient! But is there no latitu-
  dinarianism in all this? Is not this taking a latitude, in devising
10       ways and means for accomplishing divine and saving purposes,
  which the Divine law has no where prescribed; for which the
  Scriptures no where afford us, either precept or precedent? Unless
  it can be shewn, that making human standards to determine the
  doctrine, worship, discipline, and government, of the church, for
15       the purpose of preserving her unity and purity; and requiring an
  approbation of them as a term of communion; is a Scripture insti-
  tution. Far be it from us, in the mean time, to alledge, that the
  church should not make every scriptural exertion, in her power,
  to preserve her unity and purity; to teach and train up her mem-
20       bers in the knowledge of all divinely revealed truth; or to say, that
  the evils, above complained of, attach to all that are in the habits of
  using the aforesaid helps; or that this wretched state of things,
  however general, necessarily proceeds from the legitimate use of
  such; but rather, and entirely, from the abuse of them; which is
25       the very and only thing, that we are all along opposing, when we
  allude to those subordinate standards.--(An appellation this, by the
  bye, which appears to us highly paradoxical, if not utterly inconsis-
  tent, and full of confusion.)
        But however this may be, we are by no means to be understood
30       as at all wishing to deprive our fellow-christians of any necessary
  and possible assistance to understand the scriptures: or to come to
  a distinct and particular knowledge of every truth they contain;--
  for which purpose the Westminster Confession and Catechisms,
  may, with many other excellent performances, prove eminently
35       useful. But, having served ourselves of these, let our profiting
  appear to all, by our manifest acquaintance with the Bible; by
  making our profession of faith and obedience, by declaring its di-
  vine dictates, in which we acquiesce as the subject matter and rule
  of both--in our ability to take the Scripture in its connexion upon
40       these subjects, so as to understand one part of it by the assistance
  of another--and in manifesting our self knowledge, our knowledge
  of the way of salvation, and of the mystery of the christian life, in
  the express light of divine revelation; by a direct and immediate
  reference to, and correct repetition of, what it declares upon these
45       subjects.--We take it for granted, that no man either knows God,
  or himself, or the way of salvation, but in so far, as he has heard
  and understood his voice upon those subjects, as addressed to him
  in the Scriptures; and that, therefore, whatever he has heard and
  learned of a saving nature, is contained in the express terms of the

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  Bible. If so, in the express terms, in and by which, "he hath heard
  and learned of the Father," let him declare it. This by no means
  forbids him to use helps: but, we humbly presume, will effectually
  prevent him from resting either in them or upon them; which is
5       the evil so justly complained of--from taking up with the directory
  instead of the object to which it directs. Thus will the whole
  subject of his faith and duty, in so far as he has attained, be express-
  ly declared, in a "thus saith the Lord." And, is it not worthy of
  remark, that, of whatever use other books may be, to direct and
10       lead us to the Bible; or to prepare and assist us to understand it;
  yet the Bible never directs us to any book but itself. When we
  come forward then as christians to be received by the church,
  which, properly speaking, has but one book, "For to it were
  committed the oracles of God;" let us hear of none else. Is it not
15       upon the credible profession of our faith in, and obedience to, its divine
  contents, that the church is bound to receive applicants for admis-
  sion? And does not a profession of our faith and obedience, neces-
  sarily pre-suppose a knowledge of the dictates we profess to believe
  and obey? Surely, then, we can declare them; and as surely, if our
20       faith and obedience be divine, as to the subject matter, rule, and
  reason of them, it must be a "thus saith the Lord;" if otherwise,
  they are merely human; being taught by the precept of men. In
  the case then before us, that is, examination for church member-
  ship, let the question no longer be what does any human system
25       say of the primitive or present state of man; of the person, offices,
  and relations of Christ, &c. &c. or of this, that, or the other duty;
  but what says the Bible? Were this mode of procedure adopted,
  how much better acquainted with their Bibles would christians be?
  What an important alteration would it also make in the education of
30       youth? Would it not lay all candidates for admission into the church
  under the happy necessity of becoming particularly acquainted with
  the holy Scriptures? whereas, according to the present practice,
  thousands know little about them.
        One thing still remains that may appear matter of difficulty or
35       objection to some; namely, that such a close adherence to the
  express letter of the Divine word, as we seem to propose, for the
  restoration and maintenance of christian unity; would not only
  interfere with the free communication of our sentiments one to
  another, upon religious subjects; but must, of course, also neces-
40       sarily interfere with the public preaching and expounding of the
  Scriptures, for the edification of the church. Such as feel disposed
  to make this objection, should justly consider that one of a similar
  nature, and quite as plausible, might be made to the adoption of
  human standards; especially when made as some of them confess-
45       edly are, "the standard for all matters of doctrine, worship, disci-
  pline, and government." In such a case it might, with as much
  justice, at least, be objected to the adopters; you have now no more
  use for the Bible; you have got another book which you have
  adopted as a standard for all religious purposes--you have no farther

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  use for explaining the Scriptures, either as to matter of faith or
  duty; for this you have confessedly done already in your standard,
  wherein you have determined all matters of this nature. You also
  profess to hold fast the form of sound words, which you have thus
5       adopted; and therefore you must never open your mouth upon any
  subject in any other terms than those of your standard. In the
  mean time, would any of the parties, which has thus adopted its
  respective standard, consider any of these charges just? If not, let
  them do as they would be done by. We must confess, however, that
10       for our part, we cannot see how, with any shadow of consistency,
  some of them could clear themselves, especially of the first; that
  is to say, if words have any determinate meaning; for certainly it
  would appear almost, if not altogether, incontrovertible; that a
  book adopted by any party as its standard for all matters of doctrine,
15       worship, discipline, and government; must be considered as the
  Bible of that party. And after all that can be said in favor of such
  a performance, be it called Bible, standard, or what it may; it is
  neither any thing more nor better, than the judgment, or opinion of
  the party composing or adopting it; and therefore wants the sanc-
20       tion of a Divine authority; except in the opinion of the party
  which has thus adopted it. But can the opinion of any party, be
  it ever so respectable, give the stamp of a Divine authority to its
  judgments? If not, then every human standard is deficient in this
  leading, all-important, and indispensable property of a rule, or
25       standard, for the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government of
  the church of God. But without insisting farther upon the intrin-
  sic and irremediable deficiency of human standards, for the above
  purpose, (which is undeniably evident, if it be granted that a Di-
  vine authority is indispensably necessary to constitute a standard, or
30       rule for divine things: such as is the constitution, and manage-
  ments; the faith, and worship of the christian church)--we would
  humbly ask would any of the parties consider as just, the foregoing
  objections, however conclusive and well founded, all or any of them
  may appear? We believe they would not. And may we not with
35       equal consistency hold fast the expressly revealed will of God, in
  the very terms in which it is expressed in his Holy Word, as the
  very expression of our faith, and express rule of our duty; and
  yet take the same liberty that they do, notwithstanding their pro-
  fessed and stedfast adherence to their respective standards? We
40       find they do not cease to expound, because they have already ex-
  pounded, as before alledged; nor yet do they always confine them-
  selves to the express terms of their respective standards; yet they
  acknowledge them to be their standards, and profess to hold them
  fast. Yea, moreover, some of them profess, and, if we may con-
45       clude from facts, we believe each of them is disposed to defend,
  by occasional vindications (or testimonies, as some call them,) the
  sentiments they have adopted, and engrossed in their standards;
  without, at the same time, requiring an approbation of those occa-
  sional performances, as a term of communion. And what should

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  hinder us, or any, adopting the Divine Standard, as aforesaid, with
  equal consistency to do the same; for the vindication of the divine
  truths expressly revealed and enjoined therein? To say that we
  cannot believe and profess the truth; understand one another; in-
5       culcate and vindicate the faith and law of Christ; or do the duties
  incumbent upon christians, or a christian church, without a human
  standard; is not only saying, that such a standard is quite essential
  to the very being of christianity, and of course must have existed
  before a church was, or could be formed: but it is also saying, that
10       without such a standard, the Bible would be quite inadequate, as a
  rule of faith and duty; or rather, of no use at all; except to fur-
  nish materials for such a work--whereas the church of Ephesus,
  long before we have any account of the existence of such a standard,
  is not only mentioned, with many others, as in a state of existence;
15       and of high attainments too; but is also commended for her vigi-
  lance and fidelity, in detecting and rejecting false apostles. "Thou
  hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast
  found them liars." But should any pretend to say, that although
  such performances be not essential to the very being of the church,
20       yet are they highly conducive to its well being and perfection. For
  the confutation of such an assertion, we would again appeal to
  church history, and existing facts, and leave the judicious and intel-
  ligent christian to determine.
        If after all that has been said, any should still pretend to affirm,
25       that the plan we profess to adopt and recommend, is truly latitudi-
  narian, in the worst and fullest sense of the term; inasmuch as it
  goes to make void all human efforts to maintain the unity and purity
  of the church, by substituting a vague and indefinite approbation
  of the Scriptures as an alternative for creeds, confessions, and
30       testimonies; and thereby opens a wide door for the reception of all
  sorts of characters and opinions into the church. Were we not
  convinced by experience, that notwithstanding all that has been
  said, such objections would likely be made; or that some weak
  persons might possibly consider them as good as demonstration;
35       especially when proceeding from highly influential characters (and
  there have not been wanting such in all ages to oppose, under
  various plausible pretences, the unity and peace of the church)
  were it not for these considerations, we should content ourselves
  with what we have already advanced upon the whole of the subject,
40       as being well assured, that duly attended to, there would not be the
  least room for such an objection: but to prevent if possible such
  unfounded conclusions; or if this cannot be done, to caution and
  assist the too credulous and unwary professor, that he may not be
  carried away all at once with the high-toned confidence of bold
45       assertion;--we would refer him to the overture for union in truth
  contained in the foregoing address. Union in truth, amongst all
  the manifest subjects of grace and truth, is what we advocate.
  We carry our views of union no farther than this; nor do we pre-
  sume to recommend it upon any other principle than truth alone.

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  Now surely truth is something certain and definite; if not, who
  will take upon him to define and determine it? This we suppose
  God has sufficiently done already in his Holy Word. That men
  therefore truly receive and make the proper use of the Divine
5       word for walking together in truth and peace, in holiness and
  charity, is, no doubt, the ardent desire of all the genuine subjects
  of our holy religion. This we see, however, they have not done,
  to the awful detriment, and manifest subversion of, what we might
  almost call, the primary intention of christianity. We dare not
10       therefore follow their example, nor adopt their ruinous expedients.
  But does it therefore follow, that christians may not, or cannot,
  take proper steps to ascertain that desirable and preceptive unity,
  which the Divine word requires, and enjoins? Surely no--at least
  we have supposed no such thing;--but, on the contrary, have over-
15       tured to our brethren, what appears to us undeniably just, and
  scripturally evident; and which, we humbly think, if adopted and
  acted upon, would have the desired effect--adopted and acted upon,
  not indeed as a standard for the doctrine, worship, discipline, and
  government of the church; for it pretends not to determine these
20       matters; but rather supposes the existence of a fixed and certain
  standard of divine original; in which every thing that the wisdom
  of God saw meet to reveal and determine, for these, and all other
  purposes, is expressly defined and determined; betwixt the chris-
  tian and which, no medium of human determination ought to be
25       interposed. In all this, there is surely nothing like the denial
  of any lawful effort, to promote and maintain the churches unity;
  though there be a refusal of the unwarrantable interposition, of an
  unauthorized and assuming power.
        Let none imagine, that we are here determining upon the merits
30       of the overture, to which, in the case before us, we find it neces-
  sary to appeal, in our own defence, against the injustice of the
  supposed charge above specified. To the judgment of our brethren
  have we referred that matter; and with them we leave it. All we
  intend, therefore, is to avail ourselves so far, of what we have
35       done, as to shew, that we have no intention whatsoever of substi-
  tuting a vague indefinite approbation of the Scriptures, as an alter-
  native for creeds, confessions, and testimonies; for the purpose of
  restoring the church to her original constitutional unity and purity.
  In avoiding Sylla we would cautiously guard against being wrecked
40       upon the Charybdis. Extremes we are told are dangerous. We
  therefore suppose a middle way; a safe way; so plainly marked out
  by unerring wisdom, that, if duly attended to under the Divine
  direction, the wayfaring men, though fools, need not err therein;
  and of such is the kingdom of God; "for he hath chosen the foolish
45       things of the world to confound the things that are wise." We
  therefore conclude, it must be a plain way, a way most graciously
  and most judiciously adapted to the capacity of the subjects; and
  consequently not the way of subscribing, or otherwise approving
  human standards, as a term of admission into his church; as a test

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  and defence of orthodoxy; which even the compilers themselves
  are not always agreed about; and which nineteen out of twenty of
  the Lord's people cannot thoroughly understand. It must be a way
  very far remote from logical subtilties, and metaphysical specula-
5       tions; and as such we have taken it up, upon the plainest and most
  obvious principles of divine revelation, and common sense--the
  common sense, we mean, of christians, exercised upon the plain-
  est and most obvious truths and facts, divinely recorded for their
  instruction. Hence we have supposed in the first place, the true
10       discrimination of christian character to consist in an intelligent
  profession of our faith in Christ and obedience to him in all things
  according to the Scriptures; the reality of which profession is
  manifested by the holy consistency of the tempers and conduct of
  the professors, with the express dictates, and approved examples
15       of the Divine word. Hence we have humility, faith, piety, tem-
  perance, justice, charity, &c. professed and manifested in the first
  instance, by the persons' professing with self-application the con-
  vincing, humbling, encouraging, pious, temperate, just and cha-
  ritable doctrines and precepts of the inspired volume, as exhibited
20       and enforced in its holy and approved examples; and the sincerity
  of this profession evidently manifested, by the consistency of the
  professor's temper and conduct with the entire subject of his pro-
  fession; either by an irreproveable conformity like good Zachariah
  and Elizabeth, which is of all things most desirable; or otherwise,
25       in case of any visible failure, by an apparently sincere repentance,
  and evident reformation. Such professors, and such only, have we
  supposed to be, by common consent, truly worthy the christian
  name. Ask from the one end of heaven to the other, the whole
  number of such intelligent and consistent professors as we intend,
30       and have described, and, we humbly presume, there will not be
  found one dissenting voice. They will all acknowledge with one
  consent, that the true discrimination of christian character consists
  in these things; and that the radical, or manifest want, of any of
  the aforesaid properties, completely destroys the character.
35             We have only here taken for granted, what we suppose no rational
  professor will venture to deny; namely, that the Divine Word
  contains an ample sufficiency upon every of the foregoing topics to
  stamp the above character; if so be, that the impressions which its
  express declarations are obviously calculated to produce, be truly
40       received; for instance, suppose a person profess to believe, with
  application to himself, that whole description of human depravity
  and wretchedness which the Scriptures exhibit of fallen man, in
  the express declarations and dismal examples of human wicked-
  ness therein recorded; contrasted with the holy nature, the righte-
45       ous requirements, and inflexible justice of an infinitely holy, just,
  and jealous God; would not the subject matter of such a profes-
  sion, be amply sufficient to impress the believing mind with the
  most profound humility, self-abhorrence, and dreadful apprehen-
  sion of the tremendous effects of sin? Again, should the person

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  profess to believe, in connexion with this, all that the Scriptures
  declare of the sovereign love, mercy, and condescension of God,
  towards guilty, depraved, rebellious man, as the same is manifested
  in Christ, and in all the gracious declarations, invitations, and pro-
5       mises, that are made in and through him, for the relief and encou-
  ragement of the guilty, &c. would not all this, taken together, be
  sufficient to impress the believing mind with the most lively confi-
  dence, gratitude, and love? Should this person, moreover, profess
  that delight and confidence in the Divine Redeemer--that volunta-
10       ry submission to him--that worship and adoration of him, which
  the Scriptures expressly declare to have been the habits and prac-
  tice of his people; would not the subject matter of this profession
  be amply sufficient to impress the believing mind with that dutiful
  disposition, with that gracious veneration, and supreme reverence,
15       which the word of God requires? And should not all this taken
  together satisfy the church, in so far, in point of profession? If
  not, there is no alternative but a new revelation; seeing that to
  deny this, is to assert, that a distinct perception, and sincere profes-
  sion, of whatever the Word declares upon every point of faith and
20       duty, is not only insufficient, as a doctrinal means, to produce a
  just and suitable impression in the mind of the believing subject;
  but is also insufficient to satisfy the church, as to a just and adequate
  profession:--if otherwise, then it will necessarily follow, that not
  every sort of character, but that one sort only, is admissible upon
25       the principle we have adopted; and, that by the universal consent
  of all, that we, at least, dare venture to call christians, this is ac-
  knowledged to be, exclusively, the true christian character. Here
  then we have a fixed point, a certain description of character, which
  combines in every professing subject, the scriptural profession, the
30       evident manifestation, of humility, faith, piety, temperance, jus-
  tice, and charity; instructed by, and evidently answering to, the
  entire declaration of the Word, upon each of those topics; which,
  as so many properties, serve to constitute the character. Here, we
  say, we have a fixed, and at the same time sweeping distinction;
35       which, as of old, manifestly divides the whole world, however
  other ways distinguished, into but two classes only. "We know,"
  said the Apostle, evidently speaking of such, "that we are of God,
  and the whole world lieth in wickedness."
        Should it be enquired concerning the persons included in this
40       description of character, whether they be Arminians, or Calvinists,
  or both promiscuously huddled together? It may be justly replied,
  that, according to what we have proposed, they can be nominally
  neither, and of course not both; for we call no man master on
  earth; for one is our master, even Christ and all we are brethren--
45       are christians by profession: and, as such, abstract speculation and
  argumentative theory make no part, either of our profession, or
  practice. Such professors, then, as we intend, and have described,
  are just what their profession and practice make them to be; and
  this we hope has been scripturally, and, we might add, satisfactorily

Second Edition (100.30-102.16) Collation Facsimile Edition


  defined; in so far, at least, as the limits of so brief a performance
  would admit. We also entertain the pleasing confidence, that the
  plan of procedure which we have ventured to suggest, if duly
  attended to, if fully reduced to practice, would necessarily secure
5       to the professing subject all the advantages of divinely revealed
  truth, without any liability to conceal, to diminish, or to misrepre-
  sent it; as it goes immediately to ascribe every thing to God re-
  specting his sovereignty, independence, power, wisdom, goodness,
  justice, truth, holiness, mercy, condescension, love and grace, &c.
10       which is ascribed to him in his word; as also to receive whatever
  it declares concerning the absolute dependence of the poor, guilty,
  depraved, polluted creature, upon the Divine will, power, and grace,
  for every saving purpose: a just perception and correspondent pro-
  fession of which, according to the Scriptures, is supposed to con-
15       stitute that fundamental ingredient in christian character, true
  evangelical humility. And so of the rest. Having thus, we hope,
  scripturally and evidently determined the character with the proper
  mode of ascertaining it, to the satisfaction of all concerned: we
  next proceed to affirm with the same scriptural evidence, that
20       amongst such, however situated, whether in the same or similar
  associations, there ought to be no schisms, no uncharitable divisions;
  but that they ought all mutually to receive, and acknowledge each
  other as brethren. As to the truth of this assertion, they are all
  likewise agreed without one dissenting voice. We next suggest
25       that for this purpose they ought all to walk by the same rule, to
  mind and speak the same thing, &c. and that this rule is, and ought
  to be, the Divine Standard. Here again we presume there can be
  no objection, no, not a single dissenting voice. As to the rule
  itself, we have ventured to alledge that the New Testament is the
30       proper and immediate rule, directory, and formula, for the New
  Testament church, and for the particular duties of christians; as
  the Old Testament was for the Old Testament church, and for the
  particular duties of the subject under that dispensation; at the
  same time by no means excluding the old as fundamental to, illus-
35       trative of, and inseparably connected with, the new; and as being
  every way of equal authority, as well as of an entire sameness with
  it, in every point of moral natural duty; though not immediately
  our rule, without the intervention and coincidence of the new; in
  which our Lord has taught his people, by the ministry of his holy
40       Apostles, all things whatsoever they should observe and do, till the
  end of the world. Thus we come to the one rule, taking the Old
  Testament as explained and perfected by the new, and the new as
  illustrated and enforced by the old; assuming the latter as the pro-
  per and immediate directory for the christian church, as also for
45       the positive and particular duties of christians, as to all things
  whatsoever they should observe and do. Farther, that in the ob-
  servance of this Divine rule--this authentic and infallible directory,
  all such may come to the desirable coincidence of holy unity and
  uniformity of profession and practice; we have overtured that they

Second Edition (102.16-104.2) Collation Facsimile Edition


  all speak, profess, and practise, the very same things, that are
  exhibited upon the sacred page of New Testament Scripture, as
  spoken and done by the Divine appointment and approbation; and
  that this be extended to every possible instance of uniformity, with-
5       out addition or diminution; without introducing any thing of private
  opinion, or doubtful disputation, into the public profession or prac-
  tice of the church. Thus and thus, have we overtured to all intents
  and purposes, as may be clearly seen by consulting the overture
  itself; in which, however, should any thing appear not sufficiently
10       explicit, we flatter ourselves it may be fully understood, by taking
  into consideration what has been variously suggested, upon this
  important subject, throughout the whole of these premises; so
  that if any due degree of attention be paid, we should think it next
  to impossible, that we could be so far misunderstood, as to be charg-
15       ed with Latitudinarianism in any usual sense of the word. Here
  we have proposed but one description of character as eligible, or
  indeed as at all admissible to the rights and privileges of christian-
  ity. This description of character we have defined by certain and
  distinguishing properties, which not only serve to distinguish it
20       from every other; but in which all the real subjects themselves
  are agreed, without one exception: all such being mutually and
  reciprocally acknowledged by each other, as legitimate members
  of the church of God. All these moreover agreeing in the indis-
  pensable obligation of their unity; and in the one rule by which it
25       is instructed--and also in the preceptive necessity of an entire uni-
  formity in their public profession and managements for promoting
  and preserving this unity--that there should be no schism in the
  body; but that all the members should have the same care one for
  another--yet in many instances unhappily, and, we may truly say,
30       involuntarily differing through mistake and mismanagement; which
  it is our humble desire and endeavour to detect and remove, by
  obviating every thing that causeth difference; being persuaded that
  as truth is one and indivisible wherever it exists; so all the
  genuine subjects of it, if disentangled from artificial impediments,
35       must and will necessarily fall in together, be all on one side, united
  in one profession, acknowledge each other as brethren, and love as
  children of the same family. For this purpose we have overtured
  a certain and determinate application of the rule, to which we pre-
  sume there can be no reasonable objection, and which, if adopted
40       and acted upon, must, we think, infallibly produce the desired
  effect; unless we should suppose that to say and do, what is ex-
  pressly said and done before our eyes upon the sacred page, would
  offend the believer; or that a strict uniformity, an entire scriptural
  sameness in profession and practice, would produce divisions and
45       offences amongst those, who are already united in one spirit, one
  Lord, one faith, one baptism, one hope of their calling, and in one
  God and father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in
  them all; as is confessedly the case with all of this character
  throughout all the churches. To induce to this we have also at-

Second Edition (104.2-105.22) Collation Facsimile Edition


  tempted to call their attention to the heinous nature and awful
  consequences of schism, and to that evil anti-scriptural principle
  from which it necessarily proceeds. We have likewise endeavor-
  ed to shew, we humbly think with demonstrable evidence, that there
5       is no alternative, but either to adopt that scriptural uniformity we
  have recommended, or else continue as we are, bewildered in
  schisms, and overwhelmed with the accursed evils inseparable
  from such a state. It remains now with our brethren to determine
  upon the whole of these premises; to adopt, or to reject, as they
10       see cause: but, in the mean time, let none impeach us with the
  latitudinarian expedient of substituting a vague indefinite approba-
  tion of the Holy Scriptures, as an alternative for the present prac-
  tice of making the approbation of human standards a term of
  communion; as it is undeniably evident that nothing can be farther
15       from our intention. Were we to judge of what we humbly propose
  and urge as indispensably necessary for the reformation and unity
  of the church, we should rather apprehend, that there was reason
  to fear a charge of a very different nature; namely, that we aimed
  at too much strictness, both as to the description of character which
20       we say ought only to be admitted, and also as to the use and appli-
  cation of the rule. But should this be the case, we shall cheerfully
  bear with it; as being fully satisfied, that not only the common
  sentiment of all apparently sincere, intelligent and practical chris-
  tians is on our side; but that also the plainest and most ample
25       testimonies of the inspired volume sufficiently attest the truth and
  propriety of what we plead for, as essential to the scriptural unity
  and purity of the christian church; and this we humbly presume
  is what we should incessantly aim at. It would be strange, indeed,
  if in contending earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints,
30       we should overlook those fruits of righteousness--that manifest
  humility, piety, temperance, justice and charity--without which
  faith itself is dead being alone. We trust we have not so learned
  Christ: if so be, we have been taught by him, as the truth is in
  Jesus, we must have learned a very different lesson indeed. While
35       we would therefore insist upon an entire conformity to the Scrip-
  tures in profession, that we might all believe and speak the same
  things, and thus be perfectly joined together in the same mind and
  in the same judgment; we would, with equally scrupulosity, insist
  upon, and look for, an entire conformity to them in practice, in all
40       those whom we acknowledge as our brethren in Christ. "By their
  fruits ye shall know them." "Not every one that saith unto me,
  Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that
  doeth the will of my father which is in heaven. Therefore whoso-
  ever heareth those sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be
45       likened unto a foolish man which built his house upon the sand.
  Woe unto you scribes and pharisees, hypocrites, for ye say and do
  not." We therefore conclude, that t oadvocate unity alone, how-
  every desirable in itself withou  at the same time purging the
  church of apparently unsanctified characters--even of all that can-

Second Edition (105.22-107.7) Collation Facsimile Edition


  not shew their faith by their works, would be, at best, but a poor,
  superficial, skin-deep reformation. It is from such characters, then,
  as the proposed reformation, if carried into effect, would entirely
  deprive of a name and a place in the church, that we have the
5       greatest reason to apprehend a determined and obstinate opposition.
  And alas! there are very many of this description; and in many
  places, of considerable influence.--But neither should this discou-
  rage us, when we consider the expressly revealed will of God upon
  this point, Ezek. 44, 6--9, with Math. 13, 15--17, I. Cor. 5, 6--
10       13, with many other Scriptures. Nor, in the end, will the multitude
  of unsanctified professors, which the proposed reformation would
  necessarily exclude, have any reason to rejoice in the unfaithfulness
  of those, that either through ignorance, or for filthy lucre sake,
  indulged them with a name and place in the church of God. These
15       unfaithful stewards--these now mistaken friends, will one day be
  considered by such, as their most cruel and treacherous enemies.
  These, then, are our sentiments, upon the entire subject of church
  reformation; call it latitudinarianism, or puritanism, or what you
  please: and this is the reformation for which we plead. Thus,
20       upon the whole, have we briefly attempted to point out those evils,
  and to prevent those mistakes, which we earnestly desire to see
  obviated for the general peace, welfare, and prosperity of the church
  of God. Our dear brethren, giving credit to our sincere and well
  meant intention, will charitably excuse the imperfections of our
25       humble performance; and by the assistance of their better judg-
  ment correct those mistakes, and supply those deficiencies, which
  in a first attempt of this nature may have escaped our notice. We
  are sorry, in the mean time, to have felt a necessity of approaching
  so near, the borders of controversy, by briefly attempting to answer
30       objections which we plainly foresaw would, through mistake or
  prejudice, be made against our proceedings; controversy making
  no part of our intended plan. But such objections and surmises
  having already reached our ears from different quarters, we thought
  it necessary to attend to them; that, by so doing, we might not
35       only prevent mistakes, but also save our friends the trouble of
  entering into verbal disputes in order to remove them; and thus
  prevent, as much as possible, that most unhappy of all practices
  sanctioned by the plausible pretence of zeal for the truth;--
  religious controversy amongst professors. We would there-
40       fore humbly advise our friends to concur with us in our professed
  and sincere intention to avoid this evil practice. Let it suffice to put
  into the hands of such as desire information what we hereby publish
  for that purpose. If this, however, should not satisfy, let them give
  in their objections in writing: we shall thankfully receive, and
45       seriously consider, with all due attention, whatever comes before us
  in this way; but verbal controversy we absolutely refuse. Let
  none imagine, that, by so saying, we mean to dissuade christians
  from affording all the assistance they can to each other as humble
  enquirers after truth. To decline this friendly office would be to

Second Edition (107.8-108.27) Collation Facsimile Edition


  refuse the performance of an important duty. But certainly there
  is a manifest difference between speaking the truth in love for the
  edification of our brethren; and attacking each other with a spirit
  of controversial hostility, to confute, and prove each other wrong.
5       We believe it is rare to find one instance of this kind of arguing,
  that does not terminate in bitterness. Let us therefore cautiously
  avoid it. Our Lord says, Math. 18, 7, woe unto the world because
  of offences. Scott in his incomparable work lately published in
  this country, called his Family Bible, observes in his notes upon
10       this place, 'that our Lord here intends all these evils within the
  ' church, which prejudice men's minds against his religion, or any
  ' doctrines of it. The scandalous lives, horrible oppressions, cru-
  ' elties, and iniquities of men called christians; their divisions and
  ' bloody contentions; their idolatries and superstitions, are, at this
15       ' day, the great offences and causes of stumbling, to Jews, Mahome-
  ' tans, and Pagans, in all the four quarters of the globe; and they
  ' furnish infidels of every description, with their most dangerous
  ' weapons against the truth. The acrimonious controversies, agi-
  ' tated amongst those who agree in the principle doctrines of the
20       ' gospel, and their mutual contempt and revilings of each other,
  ' together with the extravagant notions and wicked practices found
  ' among them, form the grand prejudice in the minds of multitudes
  ' against evangelical religion; and harden the hearts of hereticks,
  ' pharisees, disguised infidels, and careless sinners, against the
25       ' truths of the gospel. In these and numberless other ways, it may
  ' be said, "woe be to the world because of offences;" for, the devil,
  ' the sower of these tares, makes use of them in deceiving the na-
  ' tions of the earth, and in murdering the souls of men. In the
  ' present state of human nature it must needs be, that such offences
30       ' should intervene; and God has wise and ri hteous reasons for
  ' permitting them; yet we should consider it as the greatest of
  ' evils, to be accessary to the destruction of souls; and an awful
  ' woe is denounced against every one, whose delusions or crimes
  ' thus stumble men, and set them against the only method of salva-
35       ' tion." We conclude with an extract from the Boston Anthology,
  which, with too many of the same kind that might be adduced,
  furnish a mournful comment upon the text--we mean, upon the
  sorrowful subject of our woful divisions and corruptions. The fol-
  lowing reply to the Rev. Mr. Cram, missionary from Massachusetts
40       to the Senecas, was made by the principle chiefs and warriors of
  the six nations in council assembled at Buffaloe creek, state of New-
  York, in the presence of the agent of the United States for Indian
  affairs, in the summer of 1805. 'I am come, brethren,' said the
  missionary, 'to enlighten your minds, and to instruct you how to
45       ' worship the Great Spirit, agreeably to his will; and to preach to
  ' you the gospel of his son Jesus Christ. There is but one way to
  ' serve God, and if you do not embr ce the ri ht way you cannot be
  ' happy hereafter.' To which they reply, 'Brother, we understand
  ' that your religion is written in a book. You say that there is but

Second Edition (108.27-109.22) Collation Facsimile Edition


  ' one way to worship and serve the Great Spirit. If there be but
  ' one religion, why do you white people differ so much about it?
  ' Why not all agree as you can all read the book? Brother, we do
  ' not understand these things. We are told your religion was given
5       ' to your forefathers; we also have a religion which was given to
  ' our forefathers. It teaches us to be thankful for all the favors we
  ' receive--to love one another, and to be united. We never quarrel
  ' about religion. We are told you have been preaching to the white
  ' people in this place. Those people are our neighbors; we are
10       ' acquainted with them. We will wait a little to see what effect
  ' your preaching has upon them. If we find it does them good,
  ' makes them honest, and less disposed to cheat Indians; we will
  ' then consider again of what you have said.' Thus closed the
  conference! Alas! poor people! how do our divisions and corrup-
15       tions stand in your way? What a pity that you find us not upon
  original ground, such as the Apostles left the primitive churches!
  Had we but exhibited to you their unity and charity; their humble,
  honest, and affectionate deportment towards each other, and towards
  all men; you would not have had those evil and shameful things
20       to object to our holy religion, and to prejudice your minds against
  it. But your conversion, it seems, awaits our reformation--awaits
  our return to primitive unity and love. To this may the God of
  mercy speedily restore us, both for your sakes and our own; that
  his way may be known upon earth, and his saving health among all
25       nations. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people
  praise thee. Amen and amen.

        THE publication of the foregoing address has been delayed much
  longer than was at first expected, through an unforeseen difficulty
  of obtaining paper of the quality intended. This difficulty and de-
30       tention has also interfered with the publication of the discourse
  delivered at the first general meeting of the society, held in Wash-
  ington, November 2d, in pursuance of the 7th resolution; (see
  page 4th) which discourse the committee has requested Mr. Camp-
  bell to have published, as soon as conveniency may serve for that
35       purpose. At the first monthly meeting of the committee, Decem-
  ber 14, (see resolution 6th, page 4,) the following considerations
  and proposals for the better carrying into effect the highly interest-
  ing and comprehensive object of the foregoing address, were sub-
  mitted, and received with approbation, viz. That considering the
40       very extensive and important design for which we have associated,
  as specified in the foregoing pages; wherein we propose and urge

Second Edition Collation (CE) Facsimile Edition


  the necessity of a thorough reformation in all things civil and reli-
  gious according to the word of God, as a duty of indispensable
  obligation upon all the highly favored subjects of the gospel; and
  especially in this country, where the Lord has been graciously
5       pleased to favor his professing people with such ample opportuni-
  ties, for the prosecution and accomplishment of those blessed and
  desirable purposes; it behoves us, in so doing, to exert our utmost
  energies, in every possible direction that may conduce to render
  successful, this arduous and important undertaking.
10             Besides what has been already agreed upon, and recommended
  in the foregoing pages, there yet remains two things of apparently
  great importance for promoting the grand object of our association;
  which this committee would do well to consider, as they seem to
  fall within the prescribed limits of its operation; and also as it
15       appears to be within the compass of its power to take effectual steps
  for ascertaining the advantages, which the things intended, if duly
  executed, would appear obviously calculated to produce. The first
  of these is a catechetical exhibition of the fulness and precision of
  the holy scriptures upon the entire subject of christianity--an exhi-
20       bition of that complete system of faith and duty expressly contained
  in the sacred oracles; respecting the doctrine, worship, discipline,
  and government of the christian church. The second thing in-
  tended is a periodical publication, for the express purpose of de-
  tecting and exposing the various anti-christian enormities, innova-
25       tions and corruptions, which infect the christian church; which
  counteract and oppose the benign and gracious tendency of the
  gospel--the promotion and establishment of the Redeemer's king-
  dom upon earth; by means of which an infinitely good and gracious
  God has designed to bless the nations--to ameliorate as much as
30       possible the present wretched and suffering state of mankind; upon
  the success and establishment of which depends the spiritual and
  temporal welfare of every individual of the human family. What-
  ever therefore has a tendency to undermine, or in anywise to coun-
  teract and oppose the interests of this benign and gracious institu-
35       tion of infinite goodness and mercy, becomes an evil of no small
  magnitude, how trifling soever it might otherwise appear. "Take
  us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil our vines; for our vines have
  tender grapes." Cant 2, 15. Such a publication from the nature
  and design of it, might with propriety be denominated The Chris-
40       tian Monitor.
        The former of these, namely, a catechetical exhibition of the
  fulness and precision of the sacred scriptures upon the entire sub-
  ject of faith and duty would, if duly executed, demonstrably evince
  their perfect sufficiency independent of human inference--of the
45       dictates of private judgment; and would, at the same time, inevi-
  tably lead the professing subject to learn every thing, respecting his
  faith and duty, at the mouth of God, without any reference to human
  authority--to the judgment or opinions of men. This would, at
  once, free the great majority of professing christians from that per-

Second Edition Collation (CE) Facsimile Edition


  plexing uncertainty and implicit faith, to which so many of them
  are unhappily subjected, by the interposition of human definitions
  and opinions between them and the Bible; many of which are er-
  roneous; and also many of which they are unable to understand, so
5       as to determine certainly, whether they be just and scriptural, or not.
  By such an exhibition, therefore, would professed christians be de-
  livered, not only from these perplexing and dangerous evils ("their
  faith," by this means, "no longer standing in the wisdom of men,
  but in the power of God; not in the words which man's wisdom
10       teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth,") but they would
  also become better acquainted with the scriptures of truth--with
  that all-important word which shall judge them in the last day:--
  and, at the same time, would come to possess a much more ample
  and enlarged view of the alone sufficiency and perfection of the
15       scriptures themselves: advantages these of no small moment to
  the interests of christianity. A performance of this nature might,
  with apparent propriety, be called the Christian Catechism.
        In consequence of these considerations it is proposed and intend-
  ed, with the approbation and under the patronage of the Christian
20       Association of Washington, to forward as fast as possible the pub-
  lication of the works above described, viz. To publish in numbers
  monthly by subscription, commencing with the year 1810--a work
  entitled the Christian Monitor, each number to consist of 24 pages,
  stitched in blue, price 12½ cents, type and paper as in the forego-
25       ing address. The numbers to be delivered to the subscribers at the
  respective places appointed for distribution. The execution of this
  work to commence as soon as 500 annual subscribers can be obtained.
  It is to be understood, that a number for each month will be duly
  delivered; though it is probable that the first two or three numbers
30       may come together, as it is not likely, that the number of subscri-
  bers above specified can be obtained in time to commence the pub-
  lication in the month of January, now so near at hand.
        Also to prepare for the press and proceed to publish as soon as a
  competent number of subscribers can be obtained, a work entitled
35       the Christian Catechism, to consist of upwards of one hundred
  pages, type and paper as above, price 50 cents. There will be pre-
  fixed to this work a dissertation upon the perfection and sufficiency
  of the holy scriptures; in which care will be taken to detect and
  expose, that unhappy ingenuity, which has been so frequently ex-
40       erted to pervert and wrest them, from the obvious purpose for
  which they were graciously designed.
        ERRATA--Page 2, line 5, the comma point should be after
  agreed, and not after upon.
        Do. line 7, for titled read designated.
45             Page 7, line 15, for spurious read specious.
        Page 18, line 3, for grounds read ground.
        Page 29, line 23, for preaching read practising.
        Page 32, line 39, for would read could.

[DA 1-56]


      Thomas Campbell's Declaration and Address was first published by the Washington Christian Association in 1809. The full text was not reprinted until its appearance in Alexander Campbell's Memoirs of Elder Thomas Campbell, published by H. S. Bosworth in 1861. The only known extant copy of the first edition is Thomas Campbell's copy, held by Special Collections, T. W. Phillips Library, Bethany College. This copy, used in the production of the second edition, contains autograph corrections of the author, instructions for the printer by Alexander Campbell, and notes of the compositors of the second edition. The author's copy was issued as a zinc etching reprint in a limited edition for the Centennial Convention of the Disciples of Christ in Pittsburgh, PA, in 1908. The Centennial Committee also issued a line-for-line, page-for-page reproduction of the first edition from a new setting of type in 1908 and 1909. Various printings and states of this Centennial Edition have been noted but not yet studied.

      This electronic version is a page-for-page reproduction, without any emendations, of the first edition of the Declaration and Address. The text has been reconstructed from the Facsimile Edition (1908) and compared to the second edition (1861). Where text is obliterated or obscured by the autograph corrections, or where characters are not fully impressed in the Facsimile Edition, the latest and best printing of the Centennial Edition (designated "Thirtieth Thousand" and bearing the imprint "Centennial Bureau, 203 Bissell Block, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania") has been consulted for the reading. (See editorial notes to the Centennial Edition.) This electronic version, then, attempts to preserve all the features of the first edition, including the typographical errors and inconsistencies in word forms (spelling, punctuation, capitalization, word division, and typography). Inasmuch as the second edition of the book (as edited by Alexander Campbell) contains some 2760 emendations, of which only 115 might be attributed to the author, only the first edition clearly reveals the author's intentions. A collation of the texts of the first and second edition has been issued separately as an online document, A Collation of Thomas Campbell's Declaration and Address. The publication of this online edition and the collation represent the first steps taken in the production of a scholarly edition of Thomas Campbell's book.

      Thanks to Elaine Philpott for providing a Xeroxgraphic copy of the Facsimile Edition held by the Disciples of Christ Historical Society; to Phillips University Library for the loan of the Centennial Edition; to Mary Walsh, for her careful proofreading of the First Edition against the Facsimile Edition.

      Addenda and corrigenda are earnestly solicited.

Ernie Stefanik
Derry, PA

Created 12 December 1997
Updated 8 July 2003.

Thomas Campbell Declaration and Address (First Edition, 1809)

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