Thomas Campbell Declaration and Address (Second Edition, 1861)

Declaration and Address.
Second Edition, 1861. Edited by Alexander Campbell.

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P U B L I S H E D   B Y   H.   S.   B O S W O R T H,

First Edition (2.1-3.5) Collation Facsimile Edition (2.1-3.5)






        [AT a meeting held at Buffalo, 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 agreed, upon the
  considerations, and for the purposes hereinafter declared, to form them-
5       selves into a religious association, designated as above, which they ac-
  cordingly did, and appointed twenty-one of their number to meet and
  confer together, and, with the assistance of Elder Thomas Campbell,
  minister of the Gospel, to determine upon the proper means to carry
  into effect the important ends of their Association; the result of which
10       conference was the following Declaration and Address, agreed upon and
  ordered to be printed, at the expense, and for the benefit of the society.
  SEPTEMBER 7, 1809.]


        FROM the series of events which have taken place in the
  Churches for many years past, especially in this Western
15       country, as well as from what we know in general of the
  present state of things in the Christian world, we are per-
  suaded that it is high time for us not only to think, but also

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  to act, for ourselves; to see with our own eyes, and to take
  all our measures directly and immediately from the Divine
  standard; to this alone we feel ourselves Divinely bound to
  be conformed, as by this alone we must be judged. We are
5       also persuaded that as no man can be judged for his brother,
  so no man can judge for his brother; 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 bind-
10       ing upon all, so all lie under an equal obligation to be bound
  by it, and it alone; 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 manifestly violates the ex-
  press letter of the law. That every such judgment is an
15       express violation of the law of Christ, a daring usurpation
  of his throne, and a gross intrusion upon the rights and
  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 everything of this nature; and
20       that, knowing the judgment of God against them that com-
  mit such things, we should neither do the same ourselves,
  nor take pleasure in them that do them. Moreover, being
  well aware, from sad experience, of the heinous nature and
  pernicious tendency of religious controversy among Christians;
25       tired and sick of the bitter jarrings and janglings of a party
  spirit, we would desire to be at rest; and, were it possible,
  we would also desire to adopt and recommend such measures

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  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 recom-
5       mend to our brethren, by continuing amid the diversity and
  rancor of party contentions, the veering uncertainty and
  clashings of human opinions: nor, indeed, can we reasonably
  expect to find it anywhere but in Christ and his simple
  word, which is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever.
10       Our desire, therefore, for ourselves and our brethren would
  be, that, rejecting human opinions and the inventions of men
  as of any authority, or as having any place in the Church of
  God, we might forever cease from further contentions about
  such things; returning to and holding fast by the original
15       standard; taking the Divine word alone for our rule; the
  Holy 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 our-
  selves, follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which
20       no man shall see the Lord. Impressed with these senti-
  ments, we have resolved as follows:
        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 evan-
25       gelical Christianity, free from all mixture of human opinions
  and inventions of men.
        II. That each member, according to ability, cheerfully and
  liberally subscribe a certain specified sum, to be paid half
  yearly, for the purpose of raising a fund to support a pure
30       Gospel ministry, that shall reduce to practice that whole
  form of doctrine, worship, discipline, and government, ex-
  pressly revealed and enjoined in the word of God. And,
  also, for supplying the poor with the holy Scriptures.
        III. That this Society consider it a duty, and shall use all

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  proper means in its power, to encourage the formation of
  similar associations; and shall for this purpose hold itself
  in readiness, upon application, to correspond with, and render
  all possible assistance to, such as may desire to associate for
5       the same desirable and important 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 connected in that relation; nor as at
10       all associated for the peculiar purposes of Church associa-
  tion; but merely as voluntary advocates for Church reform-
  ation; and, as possessing the powers common to all individ-
  uals, who may please to associate in a peaceable and orderly
  manner, for any lawful purpose, namely, the disposal of their
15       time, counsel, and property, as they may see cause.
        V. That this Society, formed for the sole purpose of pro-
  moting 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
20       standard in conversation and doctrine, in zeal and diligence;
  only such as reduce to practice that simple original form of
  Christianity, expressly exhibited upon the sacred page; with-
  out attempting to inculcate anything of human authority, of
  private opinion, or inventions of men, as having any place in
25       the constitution, faith, or worship, of the Christian Church,
  or anything as matter of Christian faith or duty, for which
  there can not be expressly produced a "Thus saith the Lord,
  either in express terms, or by approved precedent."{2}

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        VI. That a Standing Committee of twenty-one members
  of unexceptionable moral character, inclusive of the secretary
  and treasurer, be chosen annually to superintend the interests,
  and transact the business of the Society. And that said
5       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 the purpose of carry-
  ing into effect the entire object of its institution, and that in
  case of any emergency, unprovided for in the existing determ-
10       inations of the Society, said Committee be empowered to call
  a special meeting for that purpose.
        VII. That this Society meet at least twice a year, viz.:
  on the first Thursday of May, and of November, and that
  the collectors appointed to receive the half-yearly quotas of
15       the promised subscriptions, be in readiness, at or before each
  meeting, to make their returns to the treasurer, that he may
  be able to report upon the state of the funds. The next meet-
  ing to be held at Washington on the first Thursday of No-
  vember next.
20             VIII. That each meeting of the Society be opened with a

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  sermon, the constitution and address read, and a collection
  lifted for the benefit of the Society; and that all communi-
  cations of a public nature be laid before the Society at its
  half-yearly meetings.
5             IX. That this Society, relying upon the all-sufficiency of
  the Church's Head; and, through his grace, looking with an
  eye of confidence to the generous liberality of the sincere
  friends of genuine Christianity; holds itself engaged to afford
  a competent support to such ministers as the Lord may
10       graciously dispose to assist, at the request, and by invitation
  of the Society, in promoting a pure evangelical reformation,
  by the simple preaching of the everlasting Gospel, and the
  administration of its ordinances in an exact conformity to
  the Divine standard as aforesaid; and that, therefore, what-
15       ever the friends of the institution shall please to contribute
  toward the support of ministers in connection with this
  Society, who may be sent forth to preach at considerable
  distances, the same shall be gratefully received and acknowl-
  edged as a donation to its funds.


20       To all that love our Lord Jesus Christ, in sincerity, throughout all
        the Churches, the following Address is most respectfully submitted.
        That it is the grand design and native tendency of our
  holy religion to reconcile and unite men to God, and to each
25       other, in truth and love, to the glory of God, and their own
  present and eternal good, will not, we presume, be denied,
  by any of the genuine subjects of Christianity. The nativ-
  ity of its Divine author was announced from heaven, by an
  host of angels, with high acclamations of "Glory to God in

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  the highest, and on earth peace and good-will toward men."
  The whole tenor of that Divine book which contains its
  institutes, in all its gracious declarations, precepts, ordinances,
  and holy examples, most expressively and powerfully incul-
5       cates 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 se-
  cured. Impressed with those sentiments, and, at the same
  time, grievously affected with those sad divisions which have
10       so awfully interfered with the benign and gracious intention
  of our holy religion, by exciting its professed subjects to
  bite and devour one another, we can not suppose ourselves
  justifiable in withholding the mite of our sincere and hum-
  ble endeavors to heal and remove them.
15             What awful and distressing effects have those sad divisions
  produced! what aversions, what reproaches, what backbitings,
  what evil surmisings, what angry contentions, what enmities,
  what excommunications, and even persecution!!! And,
  indeed, this must, in some measure, continue to be the case
20       so long as those schisms exist; for, saith the apostle, where
  envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
  What dreary effects of those accursed 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
25       altar. Have we not seen congregations broken to pieces,
  neighborhoods of professing Christians first thrown into con-
  fusion by party contentions, and, in the end, entirely deprived
  of Gospel ordinances; while, in the mean time, large settle-
  ments and tracts of country remain to this day entirely
30       destitute of a Gospel ministry, many of them in little better
  than a state of heathenism, the Churches being either so
  weakened with divisions that they can not send them min-
  isters, or the people so divided among themselves that they
  will not receive them. Several, at the same time, who live

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  at the door of a preached Gospel, dare not in conscience go
  to hear it, and, of course, enjoy little more advantage, in that
  respect, than if living in the midst of heathens. How
  seldom do many in those circumstances enjoy the dispensa-
5       tions of the Lord's Supper, that great ordinance of unity and
  love. How sadly, also, does this broken and confused state
  of things interfere with that spiritual intercourse among
  Christians, one with another, which is so essential to their
  edification and comfort, in the midst of a present evil world;
10       so divided in sentiment, and, of course, living at such distances,
  that but few of the same opinion,{3} or party, can

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  conveniently and frequently assemble for religious 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
5       the influence of a party spirit; many being afraid to exer-
  cise it with due strictness, lest their people should leave

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  them, and, under the cloak of some specious pretense, find
  refuge in the bosom of another party; while, lamentable to
  be told, so corrupted is the Church with those accursed di-
  visions, that there are but few so base as not to find admis-
5       sion into some professing party or other. Thus, in a great
  measure, is that Scriptural purity of communion banished
  from 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 woful divisions, one
10       evil yet remains, of a very awful nature: the Divine dis-
  pleasure justly provoked with this sad perversion of the
  Gospel of peace, the Lord withholds his gracious influential
  presence from his ordinances, and not unfrequently gives
  up the contentious authors and abettors of religious discord
15       to fall into grievous scandals, or visits them with judgments,
  as he did the house of Eli. Thus, while professing Chris-
  tians bite and devour one another, they are consumed one of
  another, or fall a prey to the righteous judgments of God;
  meantime, the truly religious of all parties are grieved, the
20       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 man,
  even the Gospel of the blessed Jesus, is reduced to contempt,
25       while multitudes, deprived of a Gospel ministry, as has been
  observed, fall an easy prey to seducers, and so become the
  dupes of almost unheard-of delusions. Are not such the

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  visible effects of our sad divisions, even in this otherwise
  happy country. Say, dear brethren, are not these things so?
  Is it not then your incumbent duty to endeavor, by all Scrip-
  tural means, to have those evils remedied. Who will say
5       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 and zealous endeavors. The favorable opportu-
  nity which Divine Providence has put into your hands, in
10       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 Christianity;
  from under the direct influence of the antichristian hierarchy;
15       and, at the same time, from any formal connection with the
  devoted nations that have given their strength and power
  unto the beast; in which, of course, no adequate reformation
  can be accomplished, until the word of God be fulfilled, and
  the vials of his wrath poured out upon them. Happy ex-
20       emption, indeed, from being the object of such awful judg-
  ments. Still more happy will it be for us if we duly esteem
  and improve those great advantages, for the high and valu-
  able ends for which they are manifestly given, and sure
  where much is given, much also will be required. Can the
25       Lord expect, or require, anything less from a people in such
  unhampered circumstances--from a people so liberally fur-
  nished with all means and mercies, than a thorough reform-
  ation in all things, civil and religious, according to his word?
  Why should we suppose it? And would not such an im-
30       provement 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 endeavors shall not be in vain in the Lord.

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  Is it not the day of the Lord's vengeance upon the anti-
  christian world--the year of recompenses for the controversy
  of Zion? Surely, then, the time to favor her is come; even
  the set time. And is it not said that Zion shall be built in
5       troublous times? Have not greater efforts been made, and
  more done, for the promulgation of the Gospel among the
  nations, since the commencement 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
10       that period, discovered a more than usual concern for the
  removal of contentions, for the healing of divisions, for the
  restoration of a Christian and brotherly intercourse one with
  another, and for the promotion of each other's spiritual good,
  as the printed documents upon those subjects amply testify?
15       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 be done, may be fully accomplished.
  And what though the well-meant endeavors after union
  have not, in some instances, entirely succeeded to the wish
20       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, on account of the opposition and scanty success
  which, in many instances, attend their faithful and honest
25       endeavors; the Divine cause of truth and righteousness
  might have long ago been relinquished. And is there any-
  thing more formidable in the Goliah schism, than in many
  other evils which Christians have to combat? Or, has the
  Captain of Salvation sounded a desist from pursuing, or pro-
30       claimed 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 endeavors to have it removed? On the other

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  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 accu-
  mulated instructions of those that have gone before us,
  earnestly laboring in this good cause, let us take unto our-
  selves the whole armor of God, and, having our feet shod
  with the preparation of the Gospel of peace, let us stand
10       fast by this important duty with all perseverance. Let none
  that love the peace of Zion be discouraged, much less of-
  fended, 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
15       duly weighed, will neither give offense, nor yield discourage-
  ment to any one that considers the nature of the thing in
  question in connection with what has been already suggested.
  Is it not a matter of universal right, a duty equally belong-
  ing to every citizen of Zion, to seek her good? In this
20       respect, no one can claim a preference above his fellows, as
  to any peculiar, much less exclusive obligation. And, as
  for authority, it can have no place in this business; for,
  surely, none can suppose themselves invested with a Divine
  right, as to anything peculiarly belonging to them, to call
25       the attention of their brethren to this dutiful and important
  undertaking. For our part, we entertain no such arrogant
  presumption; nor are we inclined to impute 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 for-
30       ward and sanction the attempt, by their invitation and ex-
  ample. It is an open field, an extensive work, to which all
  are equally welcome, equally invited.
        Should we speak of competency, viewing the greatness of
  the object, and the manifold difficulties which lie in the way

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  of its accomplishment; we would readily exclaim, with the
  apostle, Who is sufficient for these things? But, upon recol-
  lecting ourselves, neither would we be discouraged; persuaded
  with him, that, as the work in which we are engaged, so,
5       likewise, our sufficiency 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 xvii: 20, 23,) and of all that have ascended to
10       his heavenly kingdom, are with us. The blessing 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 enterprise, or render hopeless the attempt
15       of accomplishing, 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, by using all due
20       means in our power to promote it; and also, that we have
  sufficient reason to rest assured that our humble and well-
  meant endeavors shall not be in vain in the Lord.
        The cause that we advocate is not our own peculiar cause,
  nor the cause of any party, considered as such; it is a com-
25       mon cause, the cause of Christ and our brethren of all de-
  nominations. All that we presume, then, is to do what we
  humbly conceive to be our duty, in connection with our
  brethren; to each of whom it equally belongs, as to us, to
  exert himself for this blessed purpose. And as we have no
30       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

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  unity, purity, and prosperity, but in the pleasing prospect
  of their hearty and dutiful concurrence.
        Dearly beloved brethren, why should we deem it a thing
  incredible that the Church of Christ, in this highly favored
5       country, should resume that original unity, peace, and purity
  which belongs to its constitution, and constitutes its glory?
  Or, is there anything that can be justly deemed necessary
  for this desirable purpose, both to conform to the model and
  adopt the practice of the primitive Church, expressly exhibited
10       in the New Testament? Whatever alterations this
  might produce in any or in all of the Churches, should, we
  think, neither be deemed inadmissible nor ineligible. Surely
  such alteration would be every way for the better, and not
  for the worse, unless we should suppose the divinely-inspired
15       rule to be faulty, or defective. Were we, then, in our
  Church constitution and managements, to exhibit a complete
  conformity to the apostolic Church, would we not be, in that
  respect, as perfect as Christ intended we should be? And
  should not this suffice us?
20             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 holi-
  ness, but are also materially agreed as to the positive ordi-
  nances of Gospel institution; so that our differences, at most,
25       are about the things in which the kingdom of God does not
  consist, that is, about matters 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 among us to give up human inventions in the worship
30       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 con-

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  sider that we have our educational prejudices and particular
  customs to struggle against as well as they. But this we do
  sincerely declare, that there is nothing we have hitherto re-
  ceived as matter of faith or practice which is not expressly
5       taught and enjoined in the word of God, either in express
  terms or approved precedent, that we would not heartily
  relinquish, that so we might return to the original constitu-
  tional unity of the Christian Church; and, in this happy
  unity, enjoy full communion with all our brethren, in peace
10       and charity. The like dutiful condescension we candidly
  expect of all that are seriously impressed with a sense of
  the duty they owe to God, to each other, and to their perish-
  ing brethren of mankind. To this we call, we invite, our
  brethren of all denominations, by all the sacred motives
15       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 love and esteem. With you all we desire to unite in
  the bonds of an entire Christian unity--Christ alone being
20       the head, the center, his word the rule; an explicit belief
  of, and manifest conformity to it, in all things--the terms.
  More than this, you will not require of us; and less we can
  not require of you; nor, indeed, can we reasonably suppose
  any would desire it, for what good purpose would it serve?
25       We dare neither assume nor propose the trite indefinite dis-
  tinction between essentials and non-essentials, in matters of
  revealed truth and duty; firmly persuaded, that, whatever
  may be their comparative importance, simply considered, the
  high obligation of the Divine authority revealing, or enjoin-
30       ing them, renders the belief or performance of them abso-
  lutely essential to us, in so far as we know them. And to
  be ignorant of anything God has revealed, can neither be
  our duty nor our privilege. We humbly presume, then,
  dear brethren, you can have no relevant objection to meet us

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  upon this ground. And, we again beseech you, let it be
  known that it is the invitation of but 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
5       ultimately await the full information and hearty concurrence
  of all. Besides, whatever is to be done, must begin, some
  time, somewhere; and no matter where, nor by whom, if
  the Lord puts his hand to the work, it must surely prosper.
  And has he not been graciously pleased, upon many signal
10       occasions, to bring to pass the greatest events from very
  small 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
  unreasonable nor an unseasonable undertaking. Why should
15       it be thought unseasonable? Can any time be assigned,
  while things continue 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
20       of customs? Or might it be expected from a gradual de-
  cline of bigotry? As to the former, it is a well-known 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,
25       though we are happy to say, that in some cases and places,
  and, we hope, universally, bigotry is upon the decline; yet we
  are not warranted, either 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
30       it; for there will always be multitudes of weak persons in
  the Church, and these are generally most subject to bigotry;
  add to this, that while divisions exist, there will always be
  found interested men who will not fail to support him; nor
  can we at all suppose that Satan will be idle to improve an

First Edition (12.7-38) Collation Facsimile Edition (12.7-38)


  advantage so important to the interests of his kingdom.
  And, let it be further observed upon the whole, that, in
  matters of similar importance to our secular interests, we
  would by no means content ourselves with such kind of
5       reasoning. We might further 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
  toward a permanent Scriptural unity among the Churches,
10       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 mu-
  tual charity and zeal for the truth: "Whom I love in the
  truth," saith the apostle, "and not I only, but also all they
15       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
  Christian, nor such mode of procedure adopted in favor of
20       the weak 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 accomplishing it, but merely by
  voluntary compromise, and good-natured accommodation.
25       That such a thing, however, will be accomplished, 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
30       Divinely-revealed truth, or the good-natured principle of
  Christian forbearance and gracious condescension, is it not
  equally practicable, 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 neces-

First Edition (12.38-13.20) Collation Facsimile Edition (12.38-13.20)


  sary to qualify us to do the will of our gracious Redeemer,
  whose express command to his 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
5       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 us."
        Are we not all praying for that happy event, when there
  shall be but one fold, as there is but one chief Shepherd?
10       What! shall we pray for a thing, and not strive to obtain it!!
  not use the necessary means to have it accomplished!! What
  said the Lord to Moses upon a piece of conduct somewhat
  similar? "Why criest thou unto me? Speak unto the
  children of Israel that they go forward, but lift thou up thy
15       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
  ground of obvious truth, to unite in the bonds of an entire
  Christian unity; and who will venture to say that it would not
20       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 acknowledged leaders of the people, to go
  before them in this good work, to remove human opinions
25       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 authority,
  that enacting and decreeing power by which those things
  have been imposed and established. To the ministerial de-
30       partment, then, do we look with anxiety. Ministers of
  Jesus, you can neither be ignorant of nor unaffected with the
  divisions and corruptions of his Church. His dying com-
  mands, his last and ardent prayers for the visible unity of
  his professing people, will not suffer you to be indifferent in

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  this matter. You will not, you can not, therefore, be silent
  upon a subject of such vast importance to his personal glory
  and the happiness of his people--consistently you can not;
  for silence gives consent. You will rather lift up your voice
5       like a trumpet to expose the heinous nature and dreadful
  consequences of those unnatural and antichristian 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
10       efforts to heal the breaches of Zion; that God's dear chil-
  dren might dwell together in unity and love; but if other-
  wise *   *   *   we forbear to utter it. (See Mal. ii: 1-10.)
        O! that ministers and people would but consider that
  there are no divisions in the grave, nor in that world which
15       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 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
20       mean time, can our divisions afford either to ministers or
  people? Should they be perpetuated till the day of judg-
  ment, would they convert one sinner from the error of his
  ways, or save a soul from death? Have they any tendency
  to hide the multitude of sins that are so dishonorable to
25       God, and hurtful to his people? Do they not rather irritate
  and produce them? How innumerable and highly aggra-
  vated are the sins they have produced, and are at this day
  producing, both among professors and profane. We entreat,
  we beseech you then, dear brethren, by all those considera-
30       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 tabernacle 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 Father, who raised him from the

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  dead. By this authority are you called to raise up the
  tabernacle of David, that is fallen down among us, and to
  set it up upon its own base. This you can not do, while
  you run every man to his own house, and consult only the
5       interests of his own party. Until you associate, consult, and
  advise together, and in a friendly and Christian manner
  explore the subject, nothing can be done. We would there-
  fore, with all due deference and submission, call the atten-
  tion of our brethren to the obvious and important duty of
10       association. Unite with us in the 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
15       finally prosper in spite of all opposition. Let us unite to pro-
  mote it. Come forward, then, dear brethren, and help with
  us. Do not suffer yourselves to be lulled asleep by that
  siren song of the slothful and reluctant professor: "The
  time is not yet come, the time is not come; saith he; the
20       time that the Lord's house should be built." Believe him
  not. Do ye not discern the signs of the times? 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
25       consternation and terror of their enemies? Has not their
  resurrection been accompanied with a great earthquake?
  Has not the tenth part of the great city been thrown down
  by it? Has not this event aroused the nations to indigna-
  tion? Have they not been angry, yea, very angry? There-
30       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 reward to thy servants the prophets, and to
  them that fear thy name, both small and great; and that
  thou shouldest destroy them that have destroyed the earth.

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  Who among us has not heard the report of these things,
  of these lightnings and thunderings and voices; of this tre-
  mendous earthquake and great hail; of these awful convul-
  sions and revolutions that have dashed and are dashing to
5       pieces the nations, like a potter's vessel? Yea, have not the
  remote vibrations of this dreadful shock been felt even by
  us, whom God 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
10       his word and providence, is so loudly and expressly calling
  us to repentance and reformation? "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
15       thyself from the dust, O Jerusalem; arise, loose thyself from
  the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion." Re-
  sume 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
20       father, no man master on earth; for one is your master,
  even Christ, and all ye are brethren. Stand fast, therefore,
  in this precious liberty, and be not entangled again with the
  yoke of bondage. For the vindication of this precious liberty
  have we declared ourselves hearty and willing advocates.
25       For this benign and dutiful purpose have we associated, that
  by so doing we might contribute the mite of our humble
  endeavors 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 fol-
30       lowing propositions, relying upon their charity and candor
  that they will neither despise nor misconstrue our humble
  and adventurous attempt. If they should in any measure
  serve, as a preliminary, to open up the way to a perma-
  nent Scriptural unity among the friends and lovers of truth

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  and peace throughout the Churches, we shall greatly rejoice
  at it. We by no means pretend to dictate, and could we
  propose any thing more evident, consistent, and adequate, it
  should be at their service. Their pious and dutiful atten-
5       tion 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 cer-
  tainly the collective graces that are conferred upon the
  Church, if duly united and brought to bear upon any point
10       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 the discerning of spirits: but the mani-
15       festation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
  As every man, therefore, hath received the gift, even so min-
  ister the same one to another as good stewards of the man-
  ifold grace of God." In the face, then, of such instructions,
  and with such assurances of an all-sufficiency of Divine
20       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 to-
  gether, to accomplish anything that is necessary for his glory,
  and their own good; and certainly their visible unity in
25       truth and holiness, in faith and love, 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 matter,
  therefore, of such confessed importance, our Christian breth-
  ren, however unhappily distinguished by party names, will
30       not, can not, withhold their helping hand. We are as
  heartily willing to be their debtors, as they are indispensably
  bound to be our benefactors. Come, 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

First Edition (15.43-16.24) Collation Facsimile Edition (15.43-16.24)


  your zeal for the glory of Christ, and the spiritual welfare
  of your fellow-Christians, by your hearty and zealous co-op-
  eration to promote the unity, purity, and prosperity of his
5             Let none imagine that the subjoined propositions are at
  all intended as an overture toward a new creed or standard
  for the Church, or as in any wise designed to be made a
  term of communion; nothing can be further from our inten-
  tion. They are merely designed for opening up the way,
10       that we may come fairly and firmly to original ground upon
  clear and certain premises, and take up things just as the
  apostles left them; that thus disentangled from the accru-
  ing embarrassments of intervening ages, we may stand with
  evidence upon the same ground on which the Church stood
15       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 essen-
  tially, intentionally, and constitutionally one; consisting of
  all those in every place that profess their faith in Christ and
20       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.
        2. That although the Church of Christ upon earth must
25       necessarily 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 purpose they ought all
30       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

First Edition (16.24-17.6) Collation Facsimile Edition (16.24-17.6)


  terms of communion, but what is expressly taught and en-
  joined upon them in the word of God. Nor ought anything
  to be admitted, as of Divine obligation, in their Church con-
  stitution and managements, but what is expressly enjoined
5       by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ and his apostles
  upon the New Testament Church; either in express terms
  or by approved precedent.
        4. That although the Scriptures of the Old and New Test-
  aments are inseparably connected, making together but one
10       perfect and entire revelation of the Divine will, for the edi-
  fication and salvation of the Church, and therefore in that
  respect can not be separated; yet as to what directly and
  properly belongs to their immediate object, the New Testa-
  ment is as perfect a constitution for the worship, discipline, and
15       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
  of the Old Testament Church, and the particular duties of
  its members.
20             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 authority has power to interfere, in order to
  supply the supposed deficiency by making laws for the
25       Church; nor can anything more be required of Christians in
  such cases, but only that they so observe these commands
  and ordinances as will evidently answer the declared and
  obvious end of their institution. Much less has any human
  authority power to impose new commands or ordinances upon
30       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 among Chris-
  tians, that is not as old as the New Testament.
        6. That although inferences and deductions from Scripture

First Edition (17.6-36) Collation Facsimile Edition (17.6-36)


  premises, when fairly inferred, may be truly called the doc-
  trine of God's holy word, yet are they not formally binding
  upon the consciences of Christians farther than they perceive
  the connection, and evidently see that they are so; for their
5       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 belong
  to the after and progressive edification of the Church.
  Hence, it is evident that no such deductions or inferen-
10       tial truths ought to have any place in the Church's confes-
        7. That although doctrinal exhibitions of the great system
  of Divine truths, and defensive testimonies in opposition to
  prevailing errors, be highly expedient, and the more full
15       and explicit they be for those purposes, the better; yet, as
  these must be in a great measure the effect of human rea-
  soning, and of course must contain 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
20       right to the communion of the Church, but such as possess a
  very clear and decisive judgment, or are come to a 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.
25             8. That as it is not necessary that persons should have a
  particular knowledge or distinct apprehension of all Divinely-
  revealed 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;
30       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 way of salva-
  tion through Jesus Christ, accompanied with a profession
  of their faith in and obedience to him, in all things, accord-

First Edition (17.36-18.19) Collation Facsimile Edition (17.36-18.19)


  ing to his word, is all that is absolutely necessary to qualify
  them for admission into his Church.
        9. That all that are enabled through grace to make such
  a profession, and to manifest the reality of it in their tem-
5       pers 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 the same price,
10       and joint-heirs of the same inheritance. Whom God hath
  thus joined together no man should dare to put asunder.
        10. That division among the Christians is a horrid evil,
  fraught with many evils. It is antichristian, as it destroys
  the visible unity of the body of Christ; as if he were divided
15       against himself, excluding and excommunicating a part of
  himself. It is antiscriptural, as being strictly prohibited by
  his sovereign authority; a direct violation of his express
  command. It is antinatural, as it excites Christians to con-
  temn, to hate, and oppose one another, who are bound by the
20       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 ex-
  pressly revealed will of God, and (in others) an assumed
25       authority for making the approbation of human opinions
  and human inventions a term of communion, by introduc-
  ing them into the constitution, faith, or worship of the
  Church, are, and have been, the immediate, obvious, and
  universally-acknowledged causes, of all the corruptions and
30       divisions that ever have taken place in the Church of God.
        12. That all that is necessary to the highest state of per-
  fection 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

First Edition (18.19-19.1) Collation Facsimile Edition (18.19-19.1)


  profess their faith in Christ and obedience to him in all
  things according to the Scriptures; nor, secondly, that any
  be retained in her communion longer than they continue to
  manifest the reality of their profession by their temper and
5       conduct. Thirdly, that her ministers, duly and Scripturally
  qualified, inculcate none other things than those very articles
  of faith and holiness expressly revealed and enjoined in the
  word of God. Lastly, that in all their administrations they
  keep close by the observance of all Divine ordinances, after
10       the example of the primitive Church, exhibited in the New
  Testament; without any additions whatsoever of human
  opinions or inventions of men.
        13. Lastly. That if any circumstantials indispensably ne-
  cessary to the observance of Divine ordinances be not found
15       upon the page of express revelation, such, and such only, as
  are absolutely necessary for this purpose should be adopted
  under the title of human expedients, without any pretense
  to a more sacred origin, so that any subsequent alteration or
  difference in the observance of these things might produce
20       no contention nor division in the Church.
        From the nature and construction of these propositions, it
  will evidently appear, that they are laid in a designed sub-
  serviency to the declared end of our association; and are
  exhibited for the express purpose of performing a duty of
25       previous necessity, a duty loudly called for in existing cir-
  cumstances 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 Isaiah lvii: 14, but which is also
  there predicted of the faithful remnant as a thing in which
30       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 the way for a permanent Scriptural unity among

First Edition (19.1-32) Collation Facsimile Edition (19.1-32)


  Christians, by calling up to their consideration fundamental
  truths, directing their attention to first principles, clearing the
  way before them by removing the stumbling-blocks--the rub-
  bish of ages, which has been thrown upon it, and fencing it
5       on each side, that in advancing toward 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 toward an-
10       swering 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 inadmissible? Considered as a pre-
  liminary for the above purpose, are they adequate, so that
15       if acted upon, they would infallibly lead to 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,
20       candor, and charity will admit. If we have mistaken the
  way, we shall be glad to be set right; but if, in the mean
  time, we have been happily led to suggest obvious and un-
  deniable truths, which, if adopted and acted upon, would
  infallibly lead to the desired unity, and secure it when ob-
25       tained, we hope it will be no objection that they have not
  proceeded from a General Council. It is not the voice of
  the multitude, but the voice of truth, that has power with
  the conscience; that can produce rational conviction and
  acceptable obedience. A conscience that awaits the decision
30       of the multitude, that hangs in suspense for the casting vote
  of the majority, is a fit subject for the man of sin. This,
  we are persuaded, is the uniform sentiment of real Christians
  of every denomination. Would to God that all professors
  were such, then should our eyes soon behold the prosperity of

First Edition (19.32-20.14) Collation Facsimile Edition (19.32-20.14)


  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 word
  is our standard; in the Lord's name do we display our ban-
5       ners. 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 desire is to be his standard-bearers, to
10       fight under his banner, and with his weapons, "which are
  not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of
  strongholds;" even all these strongholds of division, those
  partition walls of separation, which, like the walls of Jeri-
  cho, have been built up, as it were, to the very heavens, to
15       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
20       peace." "And the 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 can not be in their present
  broken and divided state; "for a kingdom or a house di-
25       vided against itself can not stand; but cometh to desolation."
  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
30       follow it." To 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

First Edition (20.14-45) Collation Facsimile Edition (20.14-45)


  these premises. You that are near, associate with us; you
  that are at too great a distance, associate as we have done.
  Let not the paucity of your number in any given district,
  prove an insuperable discouragement. Remember Him that
5       has said, "If two of you shall agree on earth as touching
  anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them
  of my Father who 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
10       of every possible and promised good, there is no room for
  discouragement. Come on then, "ye that fear the Lord;
  keep not silence, and give him no rest till he make Jerusa-
  lem a joy and a praise in the earth." Put on that noble
  resolution dictated by the prophet, saying, "For Zion's sake
15       will we not hold our peace, and for Jerusalem's sake we will
  not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as bright-
  ness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth."
  Thus impressed, you will find means to associate at such
  convenient distances, as to meet at least once a month, to
20       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 prosperity, that
  the Jews may be speedily converted, and the fullness of the
25       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 before the Lord--who hath said: "I will go and
  return to my place, till they acknowledge their offense and
30       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 everywhere justifying, the
  bitter principle of these pernicious evils; by insisting upon

First Edition (20.45-21.25) Collation Facsimile Edition (20.45-21.25)


  the right of rejecting those, however unexceptionable in other
  respects, who can not see with them in matters of private
  opinion, of human inference, that are nowhere expressly re-
  vealed or enjoined in the word of God. Thus associated,
5       will the friends of peace, the advocates for Christian unity,
  be in a capacity to connect in larger circles, where several
  of those smaller societies may meet semi-annually at a con-
  venient center; and thus avail themselves of their combined
  exertions for promoting the interests of the common cause.
10       We hope that many of the Lord's ministers in all places
  will volunteer in this service, forasmuch as they know it is
  his favorite work, the very desire of his soul.
        You lovers of Jesus, and beloved of him, however scat-
  tered in this cloudy and dark day, you love the truth as it
15       is in Jesus; (if our hearts deceive us not) so do we. You
  desire union in Christ with all them that love him; so do
  we. You lament and bewail our sad divisions; so do we.
  You reject the doctrines and commandments of men, that
  you may keep the law of Christ; so do we. You believe
20       the alone sufficiency of his word; so do we. You believe
  that the word itself ought to be our rule, and not any human
  explication of it; so do we. You believe that no man has
  a right to judge, to exclude, or reject his professing Chris-
  tian brother, except in so far as he stands condemned or
25       rejected by the express letter of the law; so do we. You
  believe that the great fundamental law of unity and love
  ought not to be violated to make way for exalting human
  opinions to an equality with express revelation, by making
  them articles of faith and terms of communion; so do we.
30       You sincere and impartial followers of Jesus, friends of
  truth and peace, we dare not, we can not think otherwise of
  you; it would be doing violence to your character; it would
  be inconsistent with your prayers and profession so to do.
  We shall therefore have your hearty concurrence. But if

First Edition (21.25-22.8) Collation Facsimile Edition (21.25-22.8)


  any of our dear brethren, from whom we should expect bet-
  ter things, should, through weakness or prejudice, be in
  anything otherwise minded than we have ventured to sup-
  pose, we charitably hope that, in due time, God will reveal
5       even this unto them; only let such neither refuse to come
  to the light, nor yet, through prejudice, reject it when it
  shines upon them. Let them rather seriously consider what
  we have thus most seriously and respectfully submitted to
  their consideration; weigh every sentiment in the balance of
10       the sanctuary, as in the sight of God, with earnest 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
15       saying, we arrogate to ourselves a degree of intelligence
  superior to our brethren; 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
20       prejudice, fail to produce their proper effect, as has been the
  case with respect to some of the most 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
25       confident of the certainty of some things is no just argument
  of presumption. We by no means claim the approbation of
  our brethren as to anything we have suggested for promoting
  the sacred cause of Christian unity, further than it carries
  its own evidence along with it; but we humbly claim a fair
30       investigation of the subject, and solicit the assistance of our
  brethren for carrying into effect what we have thus weakly
  attempted. It is our consolation, 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

First Edition (22.8-38) Collation Facsimile Edition (22.8-38)


  about the proper means of promoting it. All we shall ven-
  ture to say as to this is, that we trust we have taken the
  proper ground; at least, if we have not, we despair of find-
  ing it elsewhere. For, if holding fast in profession and
5       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 utterly despair of
  attaining those invaluable privileges, by adopting the stand-
10       ard 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 belliger-
  ents in the present awful struggle, which has convulsed and
  is convulsing the nations, in order to maintain her neutrality
15       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 factions,
  for Christ's sake, and for the truth's sake; though the first
  and foundation truth of our Christianity is union with him,
20       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 com-
25       mandments dwelleth 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
30       him and us, and yet refuse to 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.

First Edition (22.39-23.20) Collation Facsimile Edition (22.39-23.20)


  Whatever may be our charity in such a case, we have not
  sufficient evidence that Christ has received him, or that he
  has received Christ as his teacher and Lord. To adopt
  means, then, apparently subversive of the very end pro-
5       posed, means which the experience of ages has evinced suc-
  cessful only in overthrowing the visible interests of Chris-
  tianity, in counteracting, as far as possible, the declared
  intention, the express command of its Divine author, would
  appear in no wise a prudent measure for removing and
10       preventing those evils. To maintain unity and purity has
  always been the plausible pretense of the compilers and
  abettors of human systems, and we believe, in many in-
  stances, their sincere intention; but have they at all an-
  swered the end? Confessedly, demonstrably, they have not;
15       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 the Church present us with, at this day, but a catalogue
  of sects and sectarian systems--each binding its respective
20       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 love! On the other hand, what a
  mercy is it that no human obligation that man can come
25       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 dark and sleepy
  condition, they will no more be able to hold them in a state
30       of sectarian bondage than the withes and cords with which
  the Philistines bound Samson were able to retain him their
  prisoner, or than the bonds of Antichrist were to hold in
  captivity the fathers of the Reformation. May the Lord soon
  open the eyes of his people to see things in their true light,

First Edition (23.20-24.5) Collation Facsimile Edition (23.20-24.5)


  and excite 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
5       unanimity in Jesus would afford 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 you are
  my disciples," says he, "if you have love one to another."
  And "This is my commandment, That you love one another
10       as I have loved you; that you also love one another." And
  again, "Holy Father, keep through thine own name those
  whom thou hast 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
15       be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent
  me. And the glory which thou gavest me, I have given
  them; that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them,
  and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and
  that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast
20       loved them as thou hast loved me." May the Lord hasten
  it in his time. Farewell.
        Peace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ
  in sincerity. Amen.


        To prevent mistakes, we beg leave to subjoin the follow-
25       ing explanations. As to what we have done, our reasons for
  so doing, and the grand object we would desire to see accom-
  plished, all these, we presume, are sufficiently declared in the
  foregoing pages. As to what we intend to do in our associ-

First Edition (24.5-25) Collation Facsimile Edition (24.5-25)


  ate capacity, and the ground we have taken in that capacity,
  though 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
5       to interfere, either directly or indirectly, with the peace and
  order of the settled Churches, by directing any ministerial
  assistance with which the Lord may please to favor us, to
  make inroads upon such; or by endeavoring to erect Churches
  out of Churches, to distract and divide congregations. We
10       have no nostrum, no peculiar discovery of our own to propose
  to fellow-Christians, for the fancied importance of which they
  should become followers of us. We propose to patronize noth-
  ing but the inculcation of the express word of God, either as
  to matter of faith or practice; but every one that has a Bible,
15       and can read it, can read this for himself. Therefore, we have
  nothing new. Neither do we 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
20       less to encourage their people to leave them on that account.
  And such do we esteem all who preach a free, unconditional{4}

First Edition (24.25-25.11) Collation Facsimile Edition (24.25-25.11)


  salvation through the blood of Jesus to perishing sinners of
  every description, and who manifestly connect with this a
  life of holiness and pastoral diligence in the performance of
  all the duties of their sacred office, according to the Scrip-
5       tures, of even all of whom, as to all appearance, it may be
  truly 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 hasten that happy period
  when Zion's watchmen shall see eye to eye, and all be called
10       by the same name. Such, then, have nothing to fear from
  our association, were our resources equal to our utmost wishes.
  But all others we esteem as hirelings, as idle shepherds, and
  should be glad to see the Lord's flock delivered from their
  mouth, according to his promise. Our principal and proper
15       design, then, with respect to ministerial assistants, such as
  we have described in our fifth resolution, is to direct their
  attention to those places where there is manifest need for
  their labors; and many such places there are; would to God
  it were in our power to supply them. As to creeds and con-
20       fessions, although 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 or im-
25       plicit faith, or oppress the weak of God's 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 Proposition 7, page 50.
  Our intention, therefore, with respect to all the Churches of
30       Christ is perfectly amicable. We heartily wish their ref-
  ormation, but by no means their hurt or confusion. Should

First Edition (25.11-42) Collation Facsimile Edition (25.11-42)


  any affect to say that our coming forward as we have done,
  in advancing and publishing such things, has a manifest ten-
  dency to distract and divide the Churches, or to make a new
  party, we treat it as a confident and groundless assertion, and
5       must suppose they have not duly considered, or, at least, not
  well understood 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 adopted no other. If to maintain its alone suf-
10       ficiency be not a party principle, 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 ex-
15       pressly reveals and enjoins be not a partial business, then are
  we not a party. These are the very sentiments we have ap-
  proved 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
20       without the intervention of human reason and opinion, we
  humbly thank them for the discovery. But who ever thought
  otherwise? Were we not rational subjects, and of course
  capable of understanding and forming opinions, would it not
  evidently appear that, to us, revelation of any kind would be
25       quite useless, even suppose it as evident as mathematics?
  We pretend not, therefore, to divest ourselves of reason, 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
30       every one that pretends to reason must acknowledge, namely,
  that there is a manifest distinction between an express Scrip-
  ture declaration, and the conclusion or inference which may
  be deduced from it; and that the former may be clearly
  understood, even where the latter is but imperfectly if at all

First Edition (25.42-26.24) Collation Facsimile Edition (25.42-26.24)


  perceived; and that we are at least as certain of the decla-
  ration as we can be of the conclusion we draw from it; and
  that, after all, the conclusion ought not to be exalted above the
  premises, so as to make void the declaration for the sake of
5       establishing our own conclusion; and that, therefore, the
  express commands to preserve and maintain inviolate Chris-
  tian unity and love, ought not to be set aside to make way
  for exalting our inferences above the express authority of
  God. Our inference, upon the whole, is, that where a pro-
10       fessing Christian brother opposes or refuses nothing either
  in faith or practice, for which there can be expressly pro-
  duced a "Thus saith the Lord," that we ought not to reject
  him because he can not see with our eyes as to matters of
  human inference, of private judgment. "Through thy knowl-
15       edge shall the weak brother perish? How walkest thou not
  charitably?" Thus we reason, 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 brother. Whether we refuse
  reason, then, or abuse it, in our so doing, let our brethren
20       judge. But, after all, we have only ventured to suggest 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 that is weak in the faith, because God has received him.
25       In a word, that we ought to receive one another, as Christ
  hath also received us to the glory of God. We dare not,
  therefore, patronize the rejection of God's dear children, be-
  cause they may not be able to see alike in matters of human
  inference--of private opinion; and such we esteem all things
30       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 can

First Edition (26.24-27.7) Collation Facsimile Edition (26.24-27.7)


  not be attached to us. We have only ventured 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 dictate to them what they should do. We
5       have only proposed what appeared to us most likely to pro-
  mote the desired event, humbly submitting the whole prem-
  ises to their candid and impartial investigation, to be altered,
  corrected, and amended, as they see cause, or to adopt any
  other plan that may appear more just and unexceptionable.
10       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, that might prove now, or at any future period, a
  barrier to prevent the accomplishment of that most desirable
  object, either by joining to support a party, or by patronizing
15       anything as articles of faith or duty not expressly enjoined
  in the Divine standard; as we are sure, whatever alterations
  may take place, that will stand. That considerable altera-
  tions must and will take place, in the standards of all the
  sects, before that glorious object can be accomplished, no
20       man, that duly considers the matter, can possibly doubt. In
  so far, then, we have at least endeavored to act consistently;
  and with the same consistency would desire to be instru-
  mental in erecting as many Churches as possible through-
  out the desolate places of God's heritage, upon the same
25       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 to-
  ward it, and, of course, will reap the first-fruits of that bliss-
  ful harvest that will fill the face of the world with fruit. For
30       if the first Christian Churches, walking in the fear of
  the Lord in holy unity and unanimity, enjoyed the comforts of
  the Holy Spirit, and were increased and edified, we have rea-
  son to believe that walking in their footsteps will everywhere
  and at all times insure the same blessed privileges. And it

First Edition (27.7-37) Collation Facsimile Edition (27.7-37)


  is in an exact conformity to their recorded and approved
  example, that we, through grace, would be desirous to pro-
  mote the erection of Churches; and this we believe to be
  quite practicable, if the legible and authentic records of their
5       faith and practice be handed down to us upon the page of
  New Testament Scripture; but if otherwise, we can not 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 accord-
10       ing 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 can not, we shall not, be disappointed. By this,
  at least, we shall get rid of two great evils, which, we fear,
15       are at this day grievously provoking the Lord to plead a
  controversy with the Churches: we mean the taking and
  giving of unjust offenses; judging and rejecting each other
  in matters wherein the Lord hath not judged, in a flat con-
  tradiction to his expressly-revealed will. But, according to
20       the principle adopted, we can neither take offense at our
  brother for his private opinions, 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 presump-
25       tion. "There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to
  destroy: who art thou that judgest another?" But further,
  to prevent mistakes, we beg leave to explain our meaning in
  a sentence or two, which might possibly be misunderstood.
  In the first page we say, that no man has a right to judge his
30       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 revelation of faith
  and duty expressly declared in the Divine word, taken to-
  gether, or in its due connection, upon every article, and not

First Edition (27.37-28.18) Collation Facsimile Edition (27.37-28.18)


  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, therefore, neither do nor receive anything as of
5       Divine obligation for which there can not be expressly pro-
  duced 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 sentiment in
  connection with the last clause of the fifth resolution, we are
10       to be understood, of all matters of faith and practice, of pri-
  mary and universal obligation; that is to say, of express rev-
  elation; that nothing be inculcated, as such, for which there
  can not be expressly produced a "Thus saith the Lord," as
  above, without, at the same time, interfering directly or indi-
15       rectly with the private 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; but in
20       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, without any breach of Christian unity; and if this
  was the case at the erection of the Christian Church from
25       among Jews and Gentiles, may we not reasonably expect that
  it will be the same at her restoration 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
30       explanations, have we expressed ourselves in the thirty-ninth
  page, wherein we declare ourselves ready to relinquish what-
  ever 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 mutual concession, return

First Edition (28.18-49) Collation Facsimile Edition (28.18-49)


  together to the original constitutional unity of the Christian
  Church, and dwell together in peace and charity. By this
  proposed relinquishment we are to be understood, in the
  first instance, of our manner of holding those things, and not
5       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 thing, however, he may do: when not
  bound by an express command, he need not impose them
10       upon others, by anywise 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 this in
  his pious and charitable zeal for the comfort and edification
15       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 abstained from certain meats, observed certain
  days, kept the passover, circumcised their children, etc., etc.,
20       while no such things were practiced 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 such a case, have law-
25       fully exercised this forbearance? But where no express law
  is, there can be no formal, no intentional transgression, 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 weak-
30       nesses, the involuntary ignorances, and mistakes of his peo-
  ple, 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 an-
  other in love?" What says the Scripture? We say, then,

First Edition (28.49-29.31) Collation Facsimile Edition (28.49-29.31)


  the declaration referred to is to be thus understood in the
  first instance; though we do not say but something further
  is intended. For certainly we may lawfully suspend both
  declaration and practice upon any subject, where the law is
5       silent; when to do otherwise must prevent the accomplish-
  ment of an expressly-commanded and highly-important duty;
  and such, confessedly, is the thing in question. What says
  the apostle? "All things are lawful for me; but all things
  are not expedient. All things are lawful for me; but all
10       things edify not." It seems, then, that among lawful things
  which might be forborne--that is, as we humbly conceive,
  things not expressly commanded--the governing principle of
  the apostle's conduct was the edification of his brethren of
  the Church of God. A Divine principle this, indeed! May
15       the Lord God infuse it into all his people. Were all those
  nonpreceptive opinions and practices which have been main-
  tained and exalted 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
20       ensued, on which side, think you, would be the preponder-
  ance? When weighed in the balance with this monstrous
  complex evil, would they not all appear lighter than vanity?
  Who, then, would not relinquish a cent to obtain a kingdom!
  And here let it be noted, that it is not the renunciation of
25       an opinion or practice as sinful that is proposed or intended,
  but merely a cessation from the publishing or practicing it,
  so as to give offense; a thing men are in the habit of doing
  every day for their private comfort or secular emolument,
  where the advantage is of infinitely less importance. Nei-
30       ther is there here any clashing of duties, as if to forbear was a
  sin and also to practice was sin; the thing to be forborne being
  a matter of private opinion, which, though not expressly for-
  bidden, yet are we by no means expressly commanded to prac-
  tice; whereas we are expressly commanded to endeavor to

First Edition (29.31-30.11) Collation Facsimile Edition (29.31-30.11)


  maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. And
  what says the apostle to the point in hand? "Hast thou
  faith," says he; "have it to thyself before God. Happy is
  the man that condemneth not himself in the thing which he
5       alloweth."
        It may be further added, that a still higher and more per-
  fect degree of uniformity is intended, though neither in the
  first nor second instance, which are but so many steps toward
  it; namely: the utter abolition of those minor differences,
10       which have been greatly increased, as well as continued, by
  our unhappy manner of treating them, in making them the
  subject of perpetual strife and contention. Many of the
  opinions which are now dividing the Church, had they been
  let alone, would have been long since dead and gone; but
15       the constant insisting upon them, as articles of faith and
  terms of salvation, have so beaten them into the minds of
  men, that, in many instances, they would as soon deny the
  Bible itself as give up one of those opinions. Having thus
  embraced contentions and preferred divisions to that constitu-
20       tional unity, peace, and charity so essential to Christianity,
  it would appear that the Lord, in righteous judgment, has
  abandoned his professing people to the awful scourge of
  those evils; as, in an instance somewhat similar, he for-
  merly did his highly-favored Israel. "My people," says he,
25       "would not hearken to my voice. So I gave them up to
  their own hearts' lusts, and they walked in their own coun-
  sels." "Israel hath made many altars to sin: therefore
  altars shall be unto him to sin." Thus, then, are we to be
  consistently understood, as fully and fairly intending, on our
30       part, what we have declared and proposed to our brethren,
  as, to our apprehension, incumbent upon them and us, for
  putting an end forever to our sad and lamentable schisms.
  Should any object and say that, after all, the fullest com-
  pliance with everything proposed and intended would not

First Edition (30.11-42) Collation Facsimile Edition (30.11-42)


  restore the Church to the desired unity, as there might re-
  main 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. Does not
5       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 toward
  another, and not in the unity of private opinion and practice
  of every individual? Was not this evidently the case in the
10       apostles' days, as 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
15       its aggregate or associate capacity, walking by the same rule,
  professing and practicing the same things. That this visible
  Scriptural unity be preserved without corruption, or breach
  of charity, throughout the whole, and in every particular
  worshiping society or Church, is the grand desideratum--
20       the thing strictly enjoined and greatly to be desired. An
  agreement in the expressly-revealed will of God is the ade-
  quate and firm foundation of this unity; ardent prayer,
  accompanied with prudent, peaceable, and persevering exer-
  tion, in the use of all Scriptural means for accomplishing it,
25       are the things humbly suggested and earnestly recommended
  to our brethren. If we have mistaken the way, their charity
  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.
30             After all, should any impeach us with the vague charge of
  Latitudinarianism, (let none be startled at this gigantic term,)
  it will prove as feeble an opponent to the glorious cause in
  which we, however weak and unworthy, are professedly en-
  gaged, as the Zamzummins did of old, to prevent the children

First Edition (30.42-31.24) Collation Facsimile Edition (30.42-31.24)


  of Lot from taking possession of their inheritance. If we take
  no greater latitude than the Divine law allows, either in judg-
  ing of persons or doctrines--either in profession or practice,
  (and this is the very thing we humbly propose and sincerely
5       intend,) may we not reasonably hope that such a latitude will
  appear, to every upright Christian, perfectly innocent and un-
  exceptionable? If this be Latitudinarianism, it must be a
  good thing, and, therefore, the more we have of it the better;
  and may be it is, for we are told, "the commandment is ex-
10       ceeding broad;" and we intend to go just as far as it will suffer
  us, but not one hair-breadth further; so, at least, says our
  profession. And surely it will be time enough to condemn
  our practice, when it appears manifestly inconsistent with the
  profession we have thus precisely and explicitly made. We
15       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, especially if
  they take a greater latitude than their neighbors do, or than
20       the Divine law allows. Let the case, then, be fairly submit-
  ted 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 attention in the foregoing pages. As for those
25       that either can not or will not see and judge for themselves,
  they must be content to follow 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 to reason, seeing that
30       they either confessedly can not see, or have completely re-
  signed 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

First Edition (31.24-32.6) Collation Facsimile Edition (31.24-32.6)


  is the common fault objected by almost all the parties to
  each other, namely, that they either can not or will not see;
  and it would be hard to think they were all mistaken; the
  fewer there be, however, of this description, the better.
5       To all those, then, that are disposed to see and think for
  themselves, to form their judgment by the Divine word itself,
  and not by any human explication of it, humbly relying upon
  and looking for the promised assistance of Divine teaching,
  and not barely trusting to their own understanding--to all
10       such do we gladly commit our cause, being persuaded that,
  at least, they will give it a very serious and impartial con-
  sideration, 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
15       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 that will
  neither add nor diminish anything as to matter of faith and
  duty, either to or from what is expressly revealed and en-
20       joined in the holy Scriptures, or to those who pretend to go
  further than this, or to set aside some of its express declara-
  tions and injunctions, to make way for their own opinions,
  inferences, and conclusions? Whether to those who profess
  their willingness to hold communion with their acknowledged
25       Christian brethren, when they neither manifestly oppose nor
  contradict anything expressly revealed and enjoined in the
  sacred standard, or to those who reject such, when profess-
  ing to believe and practice whatever is expressly revealed and
  enjoined therein, without, at the same time, being alleged, much
30       less found guilty, of anything to the contrary, but instead of
  this asserting and declaring their hearty assent and consent
  to everything for which there can be expressly produced a
  "Thus saith the Lord," either in express terms or by approved
  precedent? To which of these, think you, does the odious

First Edition (32.6-37) Collation Facsimile Edition (32.6-37)


  charge of Latitudinarianism 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 to do? And we
5       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
  conviction of the evil state of things in the Churches, which
10       has given rise to our association. As for our part, we dare
  no longer give our assent to such proceedings; we dare no
  longer concur in expressly asserting or declaring anything in
  the name of the Lord, that he has not expressly declared in
  his holy word. And until such time as Christians come to
15       see the evil of doing otherwise, we see no rational ground to
  hope that there can be either unity, peace, purity, or pros-
  perity, 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
20       if we might venture to give our opinion of such proceedings,
  we would not hesitate to say, that they appear to include
  three great evils--evils truly great in themselves, and at the
  same time productive of most evil consequences.
        First, to determine expressly, in the name of the Lord,
25       when the Lord has not expressly determined, appears to us
  a very great evil. (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 dis-
30       tinguishes between his own judgment and the express injunc-
  tions of the Lord. (See 1 Cor. vii: 25 and 40.) Though,
  at the same time, it appears that he was as well convinced of
  the truth and propriety of his declarations, and of the con-
  currence of the Holy Spirit with his judgment, as any of our

First Edition (32.37-33.19) Collation Facsimile Edition (32.37-33.19)


  modern determiners may be; for "I think," said he, "that I
  have the Spirit of God;" and we doubt much, if the best of
  them could honestly say more than this; yet we see that,
  with all this, he would not bind the Church with his con-
5       clusions; 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 command-
  ment, as one that had obtained mercy to be faithful, and
  therefore would not forge his Master's name by affixing it
10       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 abso-
  lutely wrong, because he differs from our opinions, but more
  especially, our judging him to be a transgressor of the law in
15       so doing, and, 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 thou.
        A third and still more dreadful evil is, when we not only,
20       in this kind of way, judge and set at naught 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 connection with this, proceed so far as to determine the
25       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 king-
  dom of heaven. In proceeding thus, we not only declare, that,
  in our judgment, our brother is in an error, which we may
30       sometimes do in a perfect consistence with charity, but we
  also take upon us to judge, as acting in the name and by the
  authority 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

First Edition (33.19-34.1) Collation Facsimile Edition (33.19-34.1)


  --our casting 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 re-
5       jecting him,) he can have none to a place in the Church in
  heaven--unless we should suppose that those whom Christ
  by his word rejects here, he will nevertheless receive hereaf-
  ter. And surely it is by the word that every Church pre-
  tends to judge; and it is by this rule, in the case before us,
10       that the person in the judgment of the Church stands re-
  jected. Now is not this, to all intents and purposes, determ-
  ining the merits of the 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,
15       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 among the number of those
  that are without, whom God judgeth? If not, what means
  such a solemn determination? Is it anything or is it noth-
20       ing, 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, in-
  deed, it becomes a matter of mere indifference; for as to his
  civil and natural privileges, it interferes not with them. But
25       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 shall be bound
  in heaven" is the awful sanction of the Church's judgment,
30       in justly rejecting any person. Take away this, and it has
  no sanction at all. But the Church rejecting, always pre-
  tends to have acted justly in so doing, and, if so, where-
  abouts does it confessedly leave the person rejected, if not
  in a state of damnation? that is to say, if it acknowledge

First Edition (34.1-32) Collation Facsimile Edition (34.1-32)


  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 judged him unworthy
5       of a place among 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 account
  itself? Is it anything more or better than a Church of
10       Christ? 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
15       Church, the person ought to be universally rejected; but if
  otherwise, it condemns itself of having acted unfaithfully, nay
  cruelly, toward 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 unnatural brethren
20       did the beloved Joseph. But even suppose some 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 rejecting him? If not, then, confessedly, in its
25       judgment, the person still remains under the influence of its
  righteous sentence, debarred 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
30       awful conclusion, except it acknowledge that the person it has
  rejected from its communion still has a right to the com-
  munion of the Church; but if it acknowledge this, where-
  about does it leave itself, in thus shutting out a fellow-
  Christian, an acknowledged brother, a child of God? Do we

First Edition (34.32-35.14) Collation Facsimile Edition (34.32-35.14)


  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 pre-eminence among them, receiveth
  us not, prating against us with malicious words: and not con-
5       tent therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren,
  and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the
        But further, suppose another Church should receive this
  castaway, this person which this faithful Church supposed
10       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 pro-
  duce a schism between the Churches? Or, if it be supposed
15       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 can not tell what would. That
  Church, therefore, must surely act very schismatically, very
20       unlike a Church of Christ, which necessarily presupposes
  or produces schism in order to shield an oppressed fellow-
  Christian from the dreadful consequences of its unrighteous
  proceedings. And is not this confessedly the case with every
  Church which rejects a person from its communion while it
25       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-
30       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 managements; for does he not, in this

First Edition (35.14-45) Collation Facsimile Edition (35.14-45)


  case, actually take upon him to judge the Church which he
  thus rejects as unworthy of the communion of Christians?
  And is not this, to all intents and purposes, declaring it, in
  his judgment, excommunicate, or at least worthy of excom-
5       munication?
        Thus have we briefly endeavored to show our brethren
  what evidently appears to us to be the heinous nature and
  dreadful consequences of that truly latitudinarian principle
  and practice which is the bitter root of almost all our divi-
10       sions, 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 Church, and acting upon
  them as if they were the express law of Christ, by judging
  and rejecting our brethren that differ from us in those things,
15       or at least by so retaining them in our public profession
  and practice that our brethren can not join with us, or we
  with them, without becoming actually partakers in those
  things which they or we can not in conscience approve, and
  which the word of God nowhere expressly enjoins upon us.
20       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 scripture, is the only possible way
  that we can perceive to get rid of those evils. And we humbly
25       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 perfect
  model, a sufficient formula for the worship, discipline, and
30       government of the Christian Church. Let us do as we are
  there expressly told they did, say as they said; that is, pro-
  fess and practice as therein expressly enjoined by precept
  and precedent, in every possible instance, after their approved
  example; and in so doing we shall realize and exhibit all that

First Edition (35.45-36.26) Collation Facsimile Edition (35.45-36.26)


  unity and uniformity that the primitive Church possessed,
  or that the law of Christ requires. But if, after all, our
  brethren can point out a better way to regain and preserve
  that Christian unity and charity expressly enjoined upon the
5       Church of God, we shall thank them for the discovery, and
  cheerfully embrace it.
        Should it still be urged that this would open a wide door
  to latitudinarianism, seeing all that profess Christianity pro-
  fess to receive the holy Scriptures, and yet differ so widely
10       in their religious sentiments, we say, let them profess what
  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
15       end to those differences. But you may say, Do they not
  already all agree in the 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? Surely not, or else
20       they would all profess and practice the same thing. Is it
  not as evident as the shining light that the Scriptures exhibit
  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
25       precepts, its approved and imitable examples, would unite
  the Christian Church in a holy sameness of profession and
  practice throughout the whole world? By the Christian Church
  throughout the world, we mean the aggregate of such professors
  as we have described in Propositions 1 and 8, pages 48 and 50,
30       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 of Chris-
  tian unity. Had only such been all along recognized as the
  genuine subjects of our holy religion, there would not, in all

First Edition (36.27-37.9) Collation Facsimile Edition (36.27-37.9)


  probability, have been so much apparent need for human
  formulas to preserve an external formality of professional
  unity and soundness in the faith, but artificial and superficial
  characters need artificial means to train and unite them. A
5       manifest attachment to our Lord Jesus Christ in faith, holi-
  ness, and charity, was the original criterion of Christian char-
  acter, 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 educational form-
10       ality 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 technicalness of their profession, the shibboleth of party,
15       and what have they 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 depend as little upon it.
  Nay, they will even tell you it would be of no use to them
20       without their formula; they could not know a Papist 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
25       fond of their formula! Therefore they that exercise author-
  ity upon them and 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
30       the holy apostles and prophets; those plain, honest, unassum-
  ing men, who would never venture to say or do anything in
  the name of the Lord without an express revelation from
  Heaven, and therefore were never distinguished by the vener-
  able titles of Rabbi or Reverend, but just simple Paul, John,

First Edition (37.9-39) Collation Facsimile Edition (37.9-39)


  Thomas, etc. These were but servants. They did not assume
  to legislate, and, therefore, neither assumed nor received any
  honorary titles among men, but merely such as were descrip-
  tive of their office. And how, we beseech you, shall this
5       gross and prevalent corruption be purged out of the visible
  professing Church but by a radical reform, but by returning
  to the original simplicity, the primitive purity of the Chris-
  tian institution, and, of course, taking up things just as we
  find them upon the sacred page. And who is there that
10       knows anything 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 im-
  pressions it must necessarily produce upon the receptive
  mind by the statements it exhibits, does not perceive that
15       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 so defamed and corrupted the public profession and
20       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 and corruptions upon the very
25       form and expression of the Scriptures, and say that, taken
  in their letter and connection, 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 produce their per-
  formance, the original is at hand; and let them show us line
30       for line, expression for expression, precept and precedent for
  practice, without the torture of criticism, inference, or con-
  jecture, 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

First Edition (37.39-38.21) Collation Facsimile Edition (37.39-38.21)


  please, that will not be liable 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.
5             Should it be further objected, that even this strict literal
  uniformity would neither infer nor secure unity of sentiment;
  it is granted that, in a certain degree, it would not; nor,
  indeed, is there anything either in Scripture or the nature
  of things that should induce us to expect an entire unity of
10       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 schism in the body, no
  self-preferring sect of professed and acknowledged Christians
  rejecting and excluding their brethren. This can not be,
15       however, till the offensive and excluding causes be removed;
  and every one knows what these are. But that all the mem-
  bers 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
20       considered. Nor can we conceive what desirable purpose
  such a unity of sentiment would serve, except to render use-
  less some of those gracious, self-denying, and compassionate
  precepts of mutual sympathy and forbearance which the word
  of God enjoins upon his people. Such, then, is the imper-
25       fection 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 another no more about
  such matters. We would rather be conscientiously cautious
  to give no offense; to put no stumbling-block or occasion to
30       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 dif-
  fering with us in those things.
        But although it be granted that the uniformity we plead

First Edition (38.21-39.3) Collation Facsimile Edition (38.21-39.3)


  for would not secure unity of sentiment, yet we should sup-
  pose 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 of those human compilations
5       been able to prevent divisions, to heal breaches, or to pro-
  duce and maintain unity of sentiment even among 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
10       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 pro-
  fession and practice that form of sound words contained in
  the Divine standard, without, at the same time, being liable
15       to any of those dangerous 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 sufficient, under
  the promised influence of the Divine Spirit, to have produced
20       all that unity of sentiment which is necessary to a life of
  faith and holiness; and also to have preserved the faith and
  worship of the Church as pure from mixture and error as
  the Lord intended, or as the present imperfect state of his
  people can possibly admit? We should tremble to think
25       that any Christian should say that they would not. And if
  to use them thus would be sufficient for those purposes, why
  resort to other expedients; to expedients which, from the
  beginning to this day, have proved utterly insufficient; nay,
  to expedients which have always produced the very contrary
30       effects, as experience testifies. Let none here imagine that
  we set any certain limits to the Divine intention, or to the
  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

First Edition (39.3-34) Collation Facsimile Edition (39.3-34)


  earth, except in so far as respects the attainment of an angelic
  or unerring perfection, much less that we mean to suggest
  that a very moderate degree of unity and purity should con-
  tent us. We only take it for granted that such a state of
5       perfection is neither intended nor attainable in this world, as
  will free the Church from all those weaknesses, mistakes, and
  mismanagements from which she will be completely exempted
  in heaven, however sound and upright she may now be in her
  profession, intention, and practice. Neither let any imagine
10       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 under-
  stand and consider them as human expedients, or as certain
  doctrinal declarations of the sense in which the compilers
15       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. If this be not the sense
  of those that receive and hold them, for the aforesaid pur-
20       pose, we should be glad to know what it is. It is, however,
  in this very sense that we take them up when we complain
  of them, as not only unsuccessful, but also as unhappy ex-
  pedients, producing the very contrary effects. And even
  suppose it were doubtful whether or not those helps have
25       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, to heal our
30       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

First Edition (39.34-40.16) Collation Facsimile Edition (39.34-40.16)


  subdue the corruptions 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
5       intervention of some definite creed or formula, you will justly
  incur the censure of latitudinarianism; for how otherwise de-
  tect and exclude Arians, Socinians, etc? To such we would
  reply, that if to profess, inculcate, and practice neither more
  nor less, neither anything else nor otherwise than the Divine
10       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 amount to the pro-
  fession and practical exhibition of Arianism, Socinianism,
  etc., but merely to one and the self-same thing, whatever it
15       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 further objected that all these
  sects, and many more, profess to receive the Bible, to believe
  it to be the word of God, and, therefore, will readily profess
20       to believe and practice whatever is revealed and enjoined
  therein, and yet each will understand it his own way, and of
  course practice accordingly; nevertheless, according to the
  plan proposed, you receive them all. We would ask, then,
  do all these profess and practice neither more nor less than
25       what we read in the Bible--than what is expressly revealed
  and enjoined therein? If so, they all profess and practice
  the same thing, for the Bible exhibits but one and the self-
  same thing to all. Or, is it their own inferences and opinions
  that they, in reality, profess and practice? If so, then upon
30       the ground that we have taken they stand rejected, as con-
  demned of themselves, for thus professing one thing when in
  fact and reality they manifestly practice another. But per-
  haps you will say, that although a uniformity in profession,
  and it may be in practice too, might thus be produced, yet

First Edition (40.16-47) Collation Facsimile Edition (40.16-47)


  still it would amount to no more than a mere uniformity in
  words, and in the external formalities of practice, while the
  persons thus professing and practicing might each entertain
  his own sentiments, how different soever these might be.
5       Our reply is, if so, they could hurt nobody but themselves.
  Besides, if persons thus united professed and practiced all the
  same things, pray who could tell that they entertained dif-
  ferent sentiments, or even in justice suppose it, unless they
  gave some evident intimation of it? which, if they did,
10       would justly expose them to censure or to rejection, if they
  repented not; seeing the offense, in this case, must amount
  to nothing less than an express violation of the expressly-
  revealed will of God--to a manifest transgression of the
  express letter of the law; for we have declared, that except
15       in such a case, no man, in our judgment, has a right to 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
20       any standard be not liable to the very same objection? If,
  for instance, Arians, Socinians, Arminians, Calvinists, Anti-
  nomians, etc., might not all subscribe the Westminster
  Confession, the Athanasian Creed, or the doctrinal articles
  of the Church of England. If this be denied, we appeal to
25       historical facts; and, in the mean time, venture to assert that
  such things are and have been done. Or, will any say,
  that a person might not with equal ease, honesty, and con-
  sistency, be an Arian or a Socinian in his heart while sub-
  scribing the Westminster Confession or the Athanasian
30       Creed, as while making his unqualified profession to believe
  everything that the Scriptures declare concerning Christ? to
  put all that confidence 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

First Edition (40.47-41.29) Collation Facsimile Edition (40.47-41.29)


  undeniable consequence, that the wisdom of men, in those
  compilations, has effected what the Divine Wisdom either
  could not, would not, or did not do, in that all-perfect and
  glorious revelation of his will, contained in the Holy Scrip-
5       tures. Happy emendation! Blessed expedient! Happy,
  indeed, for the Church that Athanasius arose in the fourth
  century to perfect what the holy apostles and prophets had
  left in such a rude and unfinished state. But if, after all,
  the Divine Wisdom did not think proper to do anything
10       more, or anything 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
  afterward? Or has he anywhere given us any intimation
  of such an intention?
15             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 many excellent performances, for the
20       Scriptural elucidation and defense of Divinely-revealed truths,
  and other instructive purposes. These, we hope, according
  to their respective merit, we as highly esteem, and as thank-
  fully receive, as our brethren. But further, with respect to
  unity of sentiment, even suppose it ever so desirable, it
25       appears highly questionable whether such a thing can at all
  be secured, by any expedient whatsoever, especially if we
  consider that it necessarily presupposes in so far a unity or
  sameness of understanding. Or, will any say, that from the
  youth of seventeen to the man of fourscore--from the illit-
30       erate peasant, up to the learned prelate--all the legitimate
  members of the Church entertain the same sentiments under
  their respective formulas? If not, it is still but a mere verbal
  agreement, a mere show of unity. They say an amen to the
  same forms of speech, or of sound words, as they are called,

First Edition (41.29-42.10) Collation Facsimile Edition (41.29-42.10)


  without having, at the same time, the same views 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
5       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 say, if faith necessarily
  presupposes a true and satisfactory conviction of the Scrip-
  tural evidence and certainty of the truth of the propositions
10       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 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
15       so correctly and intelligently as to clearly understand one
  single paragraph from beginning to end, much less to com-
  pare it with, to search and try it by the holy Scriptures,
  to see if these things be so. A cheap and easy orthodoxy
  this, indeed, to which a person may thus attain, without so
20       much as turning over a single leaf of his Bible, whereas
  Christ knew no other way of leading us to the knowledge
  of himself, at least has prescribed no other, but by searching
  the Scriptures, with reliance upon his Holy Spirit. A person
  may, however, by this short and easy method, become as or-
25       thodox 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 put-
  ting up a single petition for the Holy Spirit to guide him
  into all truth, to open his understanding to know the Scrip-
30       tures; for, his form of sound words truly believed, if it hap-
  pen to be right, must, without more ado, infallibly secure his
  orthodoxy. Thrice happy expedient! But is there no lati-
  tudinarianism in all this? Is not this taking a latitude, in
  devising ways and means for accomplishing Divine and saving

First Edition (42.10-41) Collation Facsimile Edition (42.10-41)


  purposes, which the Divine law has nowhere prescribed, for
  which the Scriptures nowhere afford us either precept or
  precedent? Unless it can be shown that making human
  standards to determine the doctrine, worship, discipline, and
5       government of the Church for the purpose of preserving her
  unity and purity, and requiring an approbation of them as a
  term of communion, is a Scripture institution. Far be it
  from us, in the mean time, to allege that the Church should
  not make every Scriptural exertion in her power to preserve
10       her unity and purity; to teach and train up her members in
  the knowledge of all divinely-revealed truth; or to say that
  the evils above complained of attach to all that are in the
  habit of using the aforesaid helps; or that this wretched
  state of things, however general, necessarily proceeds from
15       the legitimate use of such; but rather and entirely from the
  abuse of them, which is the very and only thing that we are
  all along opposing when we allude to those subordinate
  standards. (An appellation this, by the by, which appears
  to us highly paradoxical, if not utterly inconsistent, and full
20       of confusion.)
        But, however this may be, we are by no means to be un-
  derstood 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
25       of every truth they contain, for which purpose the West-
  minster Confession and Catechisms may, with many other
  excellent performances, prove eminently useful. But, having
  served ourselves of these, let our profiting appear to all, by
  our manifest acquaintance with the Bible; by making our
30       profession of faith and obedience; by declaring its Divine
  dictates, in which we acquiesce, as the subject-matter and
  rule of both; in our ability to take the Scripture in its con-
  nection upon these subjects, so as to understand one part of
  it by the assistance of another; and in manifesting our self-

First Edition (42.41-43.23) Collation Facsimile Edition (42.41-43.23)


  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 those subjects. We take
5       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 un-
  derstood 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
10       terms of the 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 the evil so justly com-
15       plained 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 expressly
  declared in a "Thus saith the Lord." And is it not worthy
  of remark, that of whatever use other books may be, to
20       direct and 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,"
25       let us hear of none else. Is it not upon the credible pro-
  fession of our faith in, and obedience to its Divine contents,
  that the Church is bound to receive applicants for admission?
  And does not a profession of our faith and obedience neces-
  sarily presuppose a knowledge of the dictates we profess to
30       believe and obey? Surely, then, we can declare them, and
  as surely, if our 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 precepts of men. In the case then before us,

First Edition (43.23-44.4) Collation Facsimile Edition (43.23-44.4)


  that is, examination for Church-membership, let the question
  no longer be, What does any human system say of the primi-
  tive or present state of man? of the person, offices, and rela-
  tions of Christ, etc., etc.? or of this, that, or the other duty? but,
5       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 youth? Would it not lay all candidates for
  admission into the Church under the happy necessity of
10       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 diffi-
  culty or objection to some, namely, that such a close adher-
15       ence 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 necessarily interfere with the public
20       preaching and expounding of the Scriptures for the edifica-
  tion of the Church. Such as feel disposed to make this ob-
  jection, 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
25       confessedly are, "the standard for all matters of doctrine,
  worship, discipline, 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
30       religious purposes; you have no further 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

First Edition (44.4-35) Collation Facsimile Edition (44.4-35)


  have thus 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
5       of these charges just? If not, let them do as they would be
  done by. We must confess, however, that for our part, we
  can not 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
10       it would appear almost, if not altogether incontrovertible,
  that a book adopted by any party as its standard for all
  matters of doctrine, 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
15       called Bible, standard, or what it may, it is neither anything
  more nor better than the judgment or opinion of the party
  composing or adopting it, and, therefore, wants the sanction
  of a Divine authority, except in the opinion of the party
  which has thus adopted it. But can the opinion of any
20       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 in-
  dispensable property of a rule or standard for the doctrine,
  worship, discipline, and government of the Church of God.
25       But, without insisting further upon the intrinsic and irreme-
  diable deficiency of human standards for the above purpose,
  (which is undeniably evident if it be granted that a Divine
  authority is indispensably necessary to constitute a standard
  or rule for Divine things, such as is the constitution and
30       managements, 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 equal consistency hold

First Edition (44.45-45.17) Collation Facsimile Edition (44.45-45.17)


  fast the expressly-revealed will of God, in the very terms in
  which it is expressed in his holy word, as the very expres-
  sion of our faith and express rule of our duty, and yet take
  the same liberty that they do, notwithstanding their professed
5       and steadfast adherence to their respective standards? We
  find they do not cease to expound, because they have already
  expounded, as before alleged, nor yet do they always con-
  fine themselves to the express terms of their respective
  standards, yet they acknowledge them to be their standards
10       and profess to hold them fast. Yea, moreover, some of them
  profess, and, if we may conclude 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
15       same time requiring an approbation of those occasional per-
  formances as a term of communion. And what should 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
20       say that we can not believe and profess the truth, understand
  one another, inculcate 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 say-
  ing that such a standard is quite essential to the very being
25       of Christianity, and, of course, must have existed before a
  Church was or could be formed, but it is also saying, that
  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 furnish materials for such a work; whereas the Church of
30       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, and of high attainments too, but
  is also commended for her vigilance and fidelity in detecting
  and rejecting false apostles. "Thou hast tried them which

First Edition (45.17-48) Collation Facsimile Edition (45.17-48)


  say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars."
  But should any pretend to say that although such perform-
  ances be not essential to the very being of the Church, yet
  are they highly conducive to its wellbeing and perfection.
5       For the confutation of such an assertion, we would again
  appeal to Church history and existing facts and leave the
  judicious and intelligent Christian to determine.
        If after all that has been said, any should still pretend to
  affirm that the plan we profess to adopt and recommend is
10       truly latitudinarian, 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 testimonies, and
15       thereby opens a wide door for the reception of all sorts of
  characters and opinions into the Church. Were we not con-
  vinced 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 dem-
20       onstration, especially when proceeding from highly influ-
  ential characters, (and there have not been wanting such in
  all ages to oppose, under various plausible pretenses, the
  unity and peace of the Church,) were it not for these con-
  siderations, we should content ourselves with what we have
25       already advanced upon the whole of the subject, 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 can not be done, to
  caution and assist the too credulous and unwary professor,
30       that he may not be carried away all at once with the high-
  toned confidence of bold assertion, we would refer him to the
  overture for union in truth contained in the foregoing ad-
  dress. Union in truth, among all the manifest subjects of
  grace and truth, is what we advocate. We carry our views

First Edition (45.48-46.29) Collation Facsimile Edition (45.48-46.29)


  of union no further than this, nor do we presume to recom-
  mend it upon any other principle than truth alone. Now,
  surely, truth is something certain and definite; if not, who
  will take upon him to define and determine it? This we
5       suppose God has sufficiently done already in his holy word.
  That men therefore truly receive and make the proper use
  of the Divine 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,
10       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, therefore, follow
  their example, nor adopt their ruinous expedients. But does
  it therefore follow that Christians may not, or can not take
15       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 con-
  trary, have overtured to our brethren what appears to us
  undeniably just and Scripturally evident, and which, we
20       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 govern-
  ment of the Church, for it pretends not to determine these
  matters, but rather supposes the existence of a fixed and cer-
25       tain standard of Divine original, in which everything that
  the wisdom of God saw meet to reveal and determine, for
  these and all other purposes, is expressly defined and determ-
  ined; between the Christian and which, no medium of human
  determination ought to be interposed. In all this there is
30       surely nothing like the denial of any lawful effort to pro-
  mote and maintain the Church's 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

First Edition (46.29-47.11) Collation Facsimile Edition (46.29-47.11)


  merits of the overture to which, in the case before us, we
  find it necessary to appeal in our own defense against the
  injustice of the supposed charge above specified. To the
  judgment of our brethren have we referred that matter, and
5       with them we leave it. All we intend, therefore, is to avail
  ourselves so far of what we have done, as to show that we
  have no intention whatsoever of substituting a vague indefi-
  nite approbation of the Scriptures as an alternative for creeds,
  confessions, and testimonies, for the purpose of restoring the
10       Church to her original constitutional unity and purity. In
  avoiding Scylla we would cautiously guard against being
  wrecked upon Charybdis. Extremes, we are told, are dan-
  gerous. We therefore suppose a middle way, a safe way,
  so plainly marked out by unerring wisdom, that if duly
15       attended to under the Divine direction, the wayfaring men,
  though fools, need not err therein, and of such is the king-
  dom of God: "For he hath chosen the foolish 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
20       most judiciously adapted to the capacity of the subjects, and
  consequently not the way of subscribing or otherwise approv-
  ing human standards as a term of admission into his Church,
  as a test and defense of orthodoxy, which even the compilers
  themselves are not always agreed about, and which nineteen
25       out of twenty of the Lord's people can not thoroughly un-
  derstand. It must be a way very far remote from logical
  subtilties and metaphysical speculations, and as such we have
  taken it up, upon the plainest and most obvious principles
  of Divine revelation and common sense--the common sense,
30       we mean, of Christians, exercised upon the plainest and most
  obvious truths and facts divinely recorded for their instruc-
  tion. Hence we have supposed, in the first place, the true
  discrimination of Christian character to consist in an intelli-
  gent profession of our faith in Christ and obedience to him

First Edition (47.11-42) Collation Facsimile Edition (47.11-42)


  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 dic-
  tates and approved examples of the Divine word. Hence
5       we have humility, faith, piety, temperance, justice, charity,
  etc., professed and manifested, in the first instance, by the
  persons professing with self-application the convincing,
  humbling, encouraging, pious, temperate, just and charitable
  doctrines and precepts of the inspired volume, as exhibited
10       and enforced in its holy and approved examples, and the
  sincerity of this profession evidently manifested by the con-
  sistency of the professor's temper and conduct with the en-
  tire subject of his profession, either by an irreprovable
  conformity, like good Zachariah and Elisabeth, which is of
15       all things most desirable, or otherwise, in case of any visible
  failure, by an apparently sincere repentance and evident
  reformation. Such professors, and such only, have we sup-
  posed to be, by common consent, truly worthy the Christian
  name. Ask from the one end of heaven to the other, the
20       whole number of such intelligent and consistent professors as
  we intend and have described, and, we humbly presume, there
  will not be found one dissenting voice. They will all ac-
  knowledge, with one consent, that the true discrimination
  of Christian character consists in these things, and that the
25       radical or manifest want of any of the aforesaid properties
  completely destroys the character.
        We have here only taken for granted what we suppose
  no rational professor will venture to deny; namely: that the
  Divine word contains an ample sufficiency upon every one of
30       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 received; for instance, sup-
  pose a person profess to believe, with application to himself,
  that whole description of human depravity and wretchedness

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  which the Scriptures exhibit of fallen man, in the express
  declarations and dismal examples of human wickedness
  therein recorded, contrasted with the holy nature, the right-
  eous requirements, and inflexible justice of an infinitely holy,
5       just, and jealous God, would not the subject-matter of such
  a profession be amply sufficient to impress the believing
  mind with the most profound humility, self-abhorrence, and
  dreadful apprehension of the tremendous effects of sin?
  Again, should the person profess to believe, in connection
10       with this, all that the Scriptures declare of the sovereign
  love, mercy, and condescension of God toward guilty, de-
  praved, rebellious man, as the same is manifested in Christ,
  and in all the gracious declarations, invitations, and promises
  that are made in and through him for the relief and en-
15       couragement of the guilty, etc., would not all this, taken
  together, be sufficient to impress the believing mind with
  the most lively confidence, gratitude, and love? Should this
  person, moreover, profess that delight and confidence in the
  Divine Redeemer--that voluntary submission to him--that
20       worship and adoration of him which the Scriptures expressly
  declare to have been the habits and practice 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 rever-
25       ence 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 revela-
  tion; seeing that to deny this, is to assert that a distinct per-
  ception and sincere profession of whatever the word declares
30       upon every point of faith and duty, is not only insufficient,
  as a doctrinal means, to produce a just and suitable impres-
  sion in the mind of the believing subject, but is also insuf-
  ficient to satisfy the Church as to a just and adequate pro-
  fession; if otherwise, then it will necessarily follow, that not

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  every sort of character, but that one sort only, is admissible
  upon the principle we have adopted; and that by the uni-
  versal consent of all that we, at least, dare venture to call
  Christians, this is acknowledged to be, exclusively, the true
5       Christian character. Here, then, we have a fixed point, a
  certain description of character, which combines in every
  professing subject the Scriptural profession, the evident
  manifestation of humility, faith, piety, temperance, justice,
  and charity, instructed by, and evidently answering to the
10       entire declaration of the word upon each of those topics,
  which, as so many properties, serve to constitute the charac-
  ter. Here, we say, we have a fixed, and at the same time
  sweeping distinction, which, as of old, manifestly divides the
  whole world, however, otherwise distinguished, into but two
15       classes only. "We know," said the apostle, evidently speak-
  ing of such, "that we are of God, and the whole world lieth
  in wickedness."
        Should it be inquired concerning the persons included in
  this description of character, whether they be Arminians or
20       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, are Christians by profession;
25       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, sat-
30       isfactorily 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 to the professing subject all the ad-

First Edition (49.5-36) Collation Facsimile Edition (49.5-36)


  vantages of divinely-revealed truth, without any liability to
  conceal, to diminish, or to misrepresent it, as it goes imme-
  diately to ascribe everything to God respecting his sov-
  ereignty, independence, power, wisdom, goodness, justice,
5       truth, holiness, mercy, condescension, love, and grace, etc.,
  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 per-
10       ception and correspondent profession of which, according to
  the Scriptures, is supposed to constitute 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
15       ascertaining it, to the satisfaction of all concerned, we next
  proceed to affirm, with the same Scriptural evidence, that
  among such, however situated, whether in the same or simi-
  lar associations, there ought to be no schisms, no unchari-
  table divisions, but that they ought all mutually to receive
20       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 that for this purpose
  they ought all to walk by the same rule, to mind and speak
  the same thing, etc., and that this rule is, and ought to be,
25       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 allege that the New Testa-
  ment is the proper and immediate rule, directory, and formula
  for the New Testament Church, and for the particular duties
30       of Christians, as the Old Testament was for the Old Testa-
  ment Church, and for the particular duties of the subject
  under that dispensation; at the same time by no means ex-
  cluding the Old as fundamental to, illustrative of, and insepa-
  rably connected with the New, and as being every way of

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  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
5       holy 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 proper and immediate directory
10       for the Christian Church, as also for the positive and par-
  ticular duties of Christians as to all things whatsoever they
  should observe and do. Further, that in the observance of
  this Divine rule, this authentic and infallible directory, all
  such may come to the desirable coincidence of holy unity
15       and uniformity of profession and practice, we have overtured
  that they all speak, profess, and practice 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
20       instance of uniformity, without addition or diminution, with-
  out introducing anything of private opinion or doubtful dis-
  putation into the public profession or practice 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
25       which, however, should anything appear not sufficiently ex-
  plicit, 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
30       should think it next to impossible that we could be so far
  misunderstood as to be charged 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 ad-
  missible to the rights and privileges of Christianity. This

First Edition (50.18-48) Collation Facsimile Edition (50.18-48)


  description of character we have defined by certain and dis-
  tinguishing properties, which not only serve to distinguish it
  from every other, but in which all the real subjects them-
  selves are agreed, without one exception, all such being
5       mutually and reciprocally acknowledged by each other as
  legitimate members of the Church of God. All these, more-
  over, agreeing in the indispensable obligation of their unity,
  and in the one rule by which it is instructed, and also in the
  preceptive necessity of an entire uniformity in their
10       public profession and managements for promoting and pre-
  serving 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, involuntarily differing through mistake and
15       mismanagement, which it is our humble desire and endeavor
  to detect and remove, by obviating everything that causeth
  difference, being persuaded that as truth is one and indivisi-
  ble wherever it exists, so all the genuine subjects of it, if
  disentangled from artificial impediments, must and will
20       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 presume there can be no reasonable objection,
25       and which, if adopted and acted upon, must, we think, infal-
  libly produce the desired effect; unless we should suppose
  that to say and do what is expressly said and done before
  our eyes upon the sacred page, would offend the believer,
  or that a strict uniformity, an entire Scriptural sameness in
30       profession and practice, would produce divisions and offenses
  among 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

First Edition (50.49-51.30) Collation Facsimile Edition (50.49-51.30)


  throughout all the Churches. To induce to this we have
  also attempted 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
5       have likewise endeavored to show, we humbly think with
  demonstrable evidence, that there is no alternative but either
  to adopt that Scriptural uniformity we have recommended,
  or else continue as we are, bewildered in schisms and over-
  whelmed with the accursed evils inseparable from such a
10       state. It remains now with our brethren to determine upon
  the whole of these premises, to adopt or to reject, as they
  see cause; but, in the mean time, let none impeach us with
  the latitudinarian expedient of substituting a vague, indefinite
  approbation of the holy Scriptures as an alternative for the
15       present practice of making the approbation of human stand-
  ards a term of communion; as it is undeniably evident that
  nothing can be further 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
20       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 we say ought only to be admitted, and also as to the
  use and application of the rule. But should this be the
25       case, we shall cheerfully bear with it, as being fully satisfied
  that not only the common sentiment of all apparently sincere,
  intelligent, and practical Christians is on our side, but that
  also the plainest and most ample testimonies of the inspired
  volume sufficiently attest the truth and propriety of what we
30       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, we should overlook those fruits of righteousness, that

First Edition (51.30-52.12) Collation Facsimile Edition (51.30-52.12)


  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
5       different lesson indeed. While we would, therefore, insist
  upon an entire conformity to the Scriptures 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 equal scrupulosity, insist
10       upon and look for an entire conformity to them in practice,
  in all 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
15       in heaven. Therefore whosoever heareth those sayings of
  mine, and doeth them not, shall be 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 to advocate unity alone, however
20       desirable in itself, without at the same time purging the
  Church of apparently unsanctified characters, even of all
  that can not show 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
25       carried into effect, would entirely deprive of a name and a
  place in the Church, that we have the greatest reason to ap-
  prehend 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 discourage
30       us, when we consider the expressly-revealed will of God upon
  this point, Ezek. xliv: 6, 9, with Matt. xiii: 15, 17; 1 Cor. v:
  6, 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

First Edition (52.12-43) Collation Facsimile Edition (52.12-43)


  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 unfaithful stewards,
  these now mistaken friends, will one day be considered by
5       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, upon the whole, have we briefly attempted to point out
10       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, giv-
  ing credit to our sincere and well-meant intention, will chari-
  tably excuse the imperfections of our humble performance,
15       and by the assistance of their better judgment correct those
  mistakes, and supply those deficiencies which in a first at-
  tempt of this nature may have escaped our notice. We are
  sorry, in the mean time, to have felt a necessity of approach-
  ing so near the borders of controversy, by briefly attempting
20       to answer objections which we plainly foresaw would, through
  mistake or prejudice, be made against our proceedings; con-
  troversy 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
25       them, that, by so doing, we might not 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 pretense of zeal for the truth--religious contro-
30       versy among professors. We would, therefore, 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

First Edition (52.43-53.25) Collation Facsimile Edition (52.43-53.25)


  satisfy, let them give in their objections in writing; we shall
  thankfully receive, and seriously consider, with all due at-
  tention, whatever comes before us in this way; but verbal
  controversy we absolutely refuse. Let none imagine that by
5       so saying, we mean to dissuade Christians from affording all
  the assistance they can to each other as humble inquirers
  after truth. To decline this friendly office would be to
  refuse the performance of an important duty. But certainly
  there is a manifest difference between speaking the truth in
10       love for the edification of our brethren, and attacking each
  other with a spirit of controversial hostility, to confute and
  prove each other wrong. 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
15       Lord says, Matt. xvii: 7: "Woe unto the world because of
  offenses." Scott, in his incomparable work lately published
  in this country, called his Family Bible, observes in his notes
  upon this place, "that our Lord here intends all these evils
  within the Church which prejudice men's minds against his
20       religion, or any doctrines of it. The scandalous lives, hor-
  rible oppressions, cruelties, and iniquities of men called
  Christians; their divisions and bloody contentions; their
  idolatries and superstitions, are at this day the great offenses
  and causes of stumbling to Jews, Mohammedans, and pagans
25       in all the four quarters of the globe, and they furnish infi-
  dels of every description with their most dangerous weapons
  against the truth. The acrimonious controversies agitated
  among those who agree in the principal doctrines of the
  Gospel, and their mutual contempt and revilings of each
30       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 heretics, Pharisees, disguised infidels,
  and careless sinners against the truths of the Gospel. In

First Edition (53.25-54.8) Collation Facsimile Edition (53.25-54.8)


  these and numberless other ways, it may be said: 'Woe un-
  to the world because of offenses,' for the devil, the sower of
  these tares, makes use of them in deceiving the nations of
  the earth and in murdering the souls of men. In the present
5       state of human nature, it must needs be that such offenses
  should intervene, and God has wise and righteous reasons for
  permitting them; yet we should consider it as the greatest of
  evils to be accessory to the destruction of souls; and an
  awful woe is denounced against every one whose delusions
10       or crimes thus stumble men and set them against the only
  method of salvation." 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
15       woful divisions and corruptions. The following reply to the
  Rev. Mr. Cram, missionary from Massachusetts to the Sene-
  cas, was made by the principal chiefs and warriors of the
  six nations in council assembled at Buffalo creek, State of
  New York, in the presence of the agent of the United States
20       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 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
25       not embrace the right way, you can not be happy hereafter."
  To which they reply: "Brother, we understand that your
  religion is written in a book. You say that there is but one
  way to worship and serve the Great Spirit. If there be but
  one religion, why do you white people differ so much about
30       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 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

First Edition (54.8-26) Collation Facsimile Edition (54.8-26)


  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 ac-
  quainted with them. We will wait a little to see what effect
5       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 corruptions stand in your way! What a pity that you
10       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 de-
  portment toward each other and toward all men, you would
  not have had those evil and shameful things to object to
15       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
20       saving health among all nations. Let the people praise
  thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. Amen, and

      {1} This "Declaration and Address" was not the constitution of any Church existing then or now, but a "Declaration" of a purpose to institute a society of "Voluntary Advocates for Church Reformation." Its sole purpose was to promote "simple Evangelical Christianity," and for this end resolved to countenance and support such ministers, and such only, as exhibited a manifest conformity to the original standard, in conversation, doctrine, zeal, and diligence; such as practiced that simple, original form of Christianity expressly exhibited upon the sacred page; without inculcating anything of human authority, of private opinion, or of inventions of men, as having any place in the constitution, faith, or worship of the Christian Church; or anything 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."
      {2} On reading the proof-sheets of this "Declaration," as they issued from the press, immediately after my arrival in Washington, Pennsylvania, direct from Scotland, I observed to its author: "Then, sir, you must abandon and give up infant baptism, and some other practices for which it seems to me you can not produce an express precept or an example in any book of the Christian Scriptures!"
      After a considerable pause, his response was to this effect: "To the law and to the testimony" we make our appeal. If not found therein, we, of course, must abandon it. But, he added: "we could not unchurch ourselves now, and go out into the world and then turn back again and enter the Church, merely for the sake of form or decorum."
      But, we replied, if there be any virtue, privilege, or blessing in submitting to any ordinance, of course we can not enjoy that virtue, privilege, or blessing, whatever it may be, of which it is an ordained, a Divinely-appointed instrumentality or medium. "Without faith it is impossible to please God" in any act, or in any formal obedience to any precept, ordinance, or institution; and equally true that without this faith we can not enjoy any act of obedience to either a moral, a positive, or a religious ordinance of any class whatever. There is a promised reward, or, rather an immediate blessing, attendant on every act of obedience to the Divine precepts; and, as you have taught, "the blessings attached to, or connected with the moral positive, are superior to those connected with the moral natural." And, as for an assent to an opinion, there is no virtue in it.
      {3} "Opinions" were, in those days, and even yet are very popular in the pulpits and in the presses of religious sectaries of all the denominational religions of the living world. Yet the word "opinion" is not once found in the Christian Scriptures, nor even in the Jewish records, except once by Elijah, in a case pending between the worshipers of Baal and those of Jehovah. No man ever believed an opinion or a doctrine! He may assent to them, but to believe an opinion or a doctrine is simply absurd.
      The discriminating reason has to do with opinions. They are tried by reasoning upon, them, pro or con. Hence, they are debatable alone in the court of reason. But faith has to do with testimony, as hope has to do with a promise, and fear with a threatening. We believe, when reported, well authenticated facts and events. We hope in promises believed. We fear and tremble at threatenings enunciated. We obey precepts when propounded, and not, before, and only when they emanate from legitimate authority.
      Such is a practical view of the constitution of the human mind, as God created it. And such is the well-authenticated meaning of these words in the currency of those who properly appreciate and understand our language.
      The corrupt language of Ashdod has fearfully invaded the pulpit and the press of the living world. It is well illustrated by Nehemiah, chapter xii, in his history of the Jewish captivity. One passage will suffice: "In those days also, I saw Jews who had married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab. And their children spoke half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jewish language; but, according to the language of each people." "And," says Nehemiah the reformer, "I contended with them and reviled them."
      Babylon the great, is the antitype of old Babylon. And most Protestants that have come out of her still speak, and preach, and teach in a mixed and confused dialect.
      No one of Elder Campbell's cotemporaries known to me more earnestly contended and labored than he for "a pure speech," a Scriptural dialect, or the calling of Bible themes by Bible names. "The restoration of a pure speech" was with him a cardinal theme, and a petition in many a prayer.
      How many debates, schisms, and alienations of heart and life have grown out of the articles of faith," or "the doctrines" of the present generation. "Doctrines," like "articles of faith," are wholly uncanonical. In the Christian Scriptures we never read of the "doctrines of Christ." It is always singular, never plural. "Doctrines," like "articles of faith," are unprecedented in the New Testament, except in the case of demons, and those under their influence. And how many more in the generations past and gone! According to the apostolic style the Christian faith is called "The doctrine of Christ," and all other faiths or theories are called "the doctrines of men," or "of demons."
      There is a pride of opinion more subtile, and more permeating the religious world than is generally supposed or imagined. A zeal wholly sectarian and selfish is more easily detected in others than in ourselves. Our premises and our observations of the religious world, for at least one half a century, more than justify this opinion.
      The strength or spiritual power of the apostolic Gospel is now, has been heretofore, and will, till time shall end, continue to be, "the power of God to salvation," to every one who clearly appreciates and embraces it in his affections, and consequently acts, in harmony with its spiritual and eternal obligations. Indeed, we can not conceive of higher claims and demand on the heart, the life, the devotion of man to his Creator and Redeemer, than are found in the doctrine of Christ, duly appreciated and cordially embraced.
      It presents to us transcendent facts to be believed, precepts to be obeyed, threatenings to be feared, promises to be hoped for, and an ineffably beautiful person and character to be loved, admired, and adored. It effectually addresses all the rudimental elements and cravings of our nature, and ministers to them all; as light to the eye, music to the ear, peace to the conscience, and joy to the heart, so it meets and provides for every rational, moral, and religious appetency of our nature in all its conditions and circumstances. It is, indeed, infinitely worthy of God to be the author of it, and of man to be the subject and the object of it.
      {4} "Unconditional" salvation. There is neither conditional nor unconditional salvation so designated in holy Scripture. As respects procurement, there is no condition. It is of grace. But, like life and heath, there are conditions of enjoyment. We could not procure, merit, or purchase it at any price. But when justified by faith and not by works, sanctified by the Spirit, or separated from the world, we are commanded to give "all diligence to make our calling and election sure."
      There are means of spiritual life and health, as well as means of temporal or animal life and health. The latter are not more necessary than the former. God's whole universe is one great system of means and ends--physical, intellectual, moral, and religious. The means and the ends are alike of Divine institution, and are, therefore, inseparable.
      The word means is found in the common version of the Christian Scriptures only twenty-one times. Two thirds of these are found in Paul's writings. Poos or cipoos--"how," or by what means--are equivalent terms. The how case and the why case are quite dissimilar. The why case demands the cause. The how case demands the means. Our English dictionaries authenticate these distinctions. They are, however, frequently unheeded in the pulpit and in the press.


      Thomas Campbell's "Declaration and Address" was first published as a separate publication, Declaration and Address of the Christian Association of Washington (Washington, PA: Printed by Brown & Sample at the Office of "The Reporter," 1809). Its appearance in Alexander Campbell's Memoirs of Elder Thomas Campbell (Cincinnati, OH: H. S. Bosworth 1861) is the first publication of the work containing Thomas Campbell's corrections and Alexander Campbell's notes on the text.

      In the printed text, Alexander Campbell's remarks and Thomas Campbell's writings are distinguished by the latter's work being set in a smaller type; in the electronic edition, Thomas Campbell's writings have been set off as extended quotations. In the printed text, footnotes are indicated by asterisks; in the electronic text, the notes have been numbered sequentially and treated as endnotes, following the "Appendix." Pagination has been represented by placing the page number in brackets following the last complete word on the printed page. I have let stand variations and inconsistencies in the author's use of italics, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling.

      Thanks to David Lipscomb University Library for the loan of the book from which the article has been transcribed, and to Carol Reiner of Adams Memorial Library for arranging the interlibrary loan.

      Addenda and corrigenda are earnestly solicited.

Ernie Stefanik
Derry, PA

Created 3 November 1997.
Updated 8 July 2003.

Thomas Campbell Declaration and Address (Second Edition, 1861)

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