Walter Scott On the Restoration of the Ancient Gospel, Letter No. 6 (1833)



E V A N G E L I S T ,

Go you into all the world, proclaim the good news to the whole creation:--he who be-
lieveth and is immersed shall be saved; and he, who believeth not shall be condemned.

  NO. 7. CINCINNATI, JULY 1, 1833. VOL. 2.  





            The republication of the Gospel in the style and terms of the Apostles was attended with so extraordinary an excitement as to cause us to forget and sometimes overlook matters and things, which, on common occasions, would have been accounted very singular.

      It was thought, sir, it might minister to your pleasure, to read a letter from a person who first obeyed the faith as now preached in the Reformation. It is inserted here accordingly. After vexations not to be mentioned, it was resolved to make a draught upon the audience, that it might be known why the preacher spoke, and wherefore they came to hear. Accordingly bursting away from prejudices and feelings almost as strong as death, and thinking of nothing but the Restoration of the Gospel, it was proposed to ascertain immediately who would obey God and who would not. The confusion of all, the preacher not excepted, was indescribable. A person, whom I had seen come into the meeting-house about fifteen minutes before the end of the discourse, came forward! This, as often as I thought of it, had always appeared to me wholly unaccountable, for it was most certain the man could not have been converted to Christianity by any thing which he heard during the few minutes he was present. His letter explains the matter, and will enable you, sir, to judge whether this whole business, as well on the side of the hearer as on the side of the preacher, is not resolvable into the good providence of our Heavenly Father, to whom be the glory through Jesus Christ.

      BELOVED BRO. SCOTT: I received your letter of the 21st, and [160] was happy to hear you were well: myself and family are in good health at present, our youngest child excepted. I should be very happy to see you. You request me to write the time of my baptism, my feelings, and the causes why I accepted the invitation. In order to show these things aright, I must go back a piece. I was at that time a member of that strait sect called Presbyterians, taught many curious things, as election, fore-ordination, &c. that belief in these matters was necessary; that this faith resulted from some secret impulse; and worse, that I could not believe; and finally that I must hope and pray that God would have mercy upon me! In this wilderness I became wearied, turned about and came home to the book of God; took it up as if it had dropt down from heaven, and read it for myself just one year.

      This inquiry led me to see, that God so loved the world as to give his only begotten Son that whosoever believed on him might not perish but have eternal life. I then enquired how I must believe. Paul said faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God; also, that faith was the substance of things hoped for--the evidence of things not seen. Peter spoke of election, saying save yourselves. Paul said I must be dead to sin and buried, and raised with Christ Jesus to newness of life. The Saviour said I must be born again if I would enter the kingdom of God.

      Now, here it was I discovered myself to stand in the garden of nature and not in the kingdom of heaven, but I learnt, that of this kingdom Peter received the keys, and I was anxious to see what he would do with them. Jesus said proclaim the gospel to all the nations; he that believeth and is baptised shall be saved, &c. I then moved a little forward till I found these words. were all pricked to the heart and said to Peter and to the other Apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Peter said repent and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins &c.' To this scripture I often resorted; I saw how Peter had opened the kingdom, and the door into it, but, to my great disappointment, I saw no man to introduce me though I prayed much and often for it.

      Now, my brother, I will answer your questions. I was baptized on the 18th of Nov. 1827, and I will relate to you a circumstance which occurred a few days before that date. I had read the 2d of the Acts when I expressed myself to my wife as follows: O this is the gospel--this is the thing we wish--the remission of our sins! O that I could hear the gospel, in these same words--as Peter preached it! I hope I shall some day hear it; and the first man I meet, who will preach the gospel thus, with him will I go. So my brother, on the day you saw me come into the meeting-house, my [161] heart was open to receive the word of God, and when you cried 'The scriptures no longer shall be a sealed book. God means what he says. Is there any man present who will take God at his word, and be baptized for remission of sins'--at that moment my feelings were such that I could have cried out glory to God, I have found the man whom I have long sought for! So I entered the kingdom where I readily laid hold of the hope set before me.*

      Let us, then, dear brother, strive so to live as to obtain an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming--there to join with the heavenly throng in a song of praise to God and to the Lamb for ever and ever. Amen.
  "I remain Yours, &c.

      The above letter is a very simple document, but on the occasion to which it relates, there certainly was resolved, not by words merely, but deeds also, questions the most interesting and important. The Rubicon was passed: and the church of God on that day, had restored to it publicly and practically the ancient gospel, and a manner of handling it, which ought never to have been lost by the servants of Jesus Christ.

      Permit me through this medium to acknowledge publicly, my obligations to our beloved and justly esteemed brother Alexander Campbell, who being the first to plead for a restoration of the ancient order of things, was likewise the first to move for my appointment, which resulted in the restoration of the Ancient Gospel. May God Almighty bless him through Jesus Christ.
W. SCOTT.      

      * The subject was the one fact as confessed by Peter, Matthew, chap. 16,--and the opening of the Kingdom by the same Apostle on the day of Pentecost, Acts chap. 2,--themes handled by thousands before that day if they had known what use to make of them.

[ORAG06 160-162.]


      Walter Scott's "On the Restoration of the Ancient Gospel, Letter No. 6" was first published in The Evangelist, Vol. 2, No. 7, July 1833. The electronic version of the letter has been produced from the College Press reprint (1980) of The Evangelist, ed. Walter Scott (Cincinnati, OH: Walter Scott, 1833), pp. 160-162.

      Pagination in the electronic version has been represented by placing the page number in brackets following the last complete word on the printed page. Inconsistencies in spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and typography have been retained; however, corrections have been offered for misspellings and other accidental corruptions. Emendations are as follows:

            Printed Text [ Electronic Text
 p. 160:    indiscribable. [ indescribable.
 p. 161:    sins &c. [ sins &c.'
 p. 162:    Mathew, [ Matthew,

      Walter Scott's "On the Restoration of the Ancient Gospel, Letter No. 6" is reprinted in part in Life of Elder Walter Scott with Sketches of His Fellow-Laborers by William Baxter (Cincinnati, OH: Bosworth, Chase and Hall, 1874), pp. 111-113. The following apparatus details the textual differences between its first serial publication in The Evangelist and its first book appearance in Life of Elder Walter Scott:

   TE    /   LEWS    The Evangelist [ Life of Elder Walter Scott
 p. 160: / p. 111:   SIR,-- [ "DEAR SIR:
                     Gospel [ gospel
                     Apostles [ apostles
                     pleasure, [ pleasure
                     draught [ draft
                     spoke, and [ spoke and
                     Accordingly [ Accordingly,
                     restoration [ restoration
                     Gospel, gospel,
                     indiscribable. [ indescribable.
                     person, [ person
                     discourse, [ discourse
                     forward! [ forward.
         / p. 112:   Christ. [ Christ:
 p. 161: /           well: [ well;
                     Presbyterians, [ Presbyterians;
                     fore-ordination, &c. [ fore-ordination, etc.;
                     finally [ finally,
                     book of God; [ Book of God;
                     dropped [ dropt
                     see that [ see, that
                     Son that [ Son, that
                     enquired [ inquired
                     word of God; [ Word of God;
                     also, that [ also that
                     saying save [ saying, Save
                     The Saviour [ The Savior
                     learnt, [ learned
                     baptised [ baptized
                     saved, &c. [ saved, etc.
                     these words. [ these words:
                     'And they [ "Now when they heard this they
                     were all pricked [ were pricked
                     heart [ heart,
                     Apostles, [ apostles,
         / p. 113:   said repent [ said, Repent
                     baptised [ baptized
                     sins &c. [ sins," etc.
                     me though [ me, though
                     Nov. 1827, [ Nov., 1827,
                     O this [ "Oh, this
                     O that [ Oh, that
                     gospel, in [ gospel in
                     meet, [ meet
                     will I go. [ will I go."
                     So my [ So, my
 p. 162: /           word of God, [ Word of God,
                     cried [ cried,
                     'The scriptures [ "The Scriptures
                     sins'-- [ sins?"--
                     cried out [ cried out,
                     glory to [ "Glory to
                     God, [ God!
                     for! [ for."
                     for ever [ forever
                     Yours, &c. [ yours, etc.

      Addenda and corrigenda are earnestly solicited.

Ernie Stefanik
373 Wilson Street
Derry, PA 15627-9770

Created 15 December 2001.

Walter Scott On the Restoration of the Ancient Gospel, Letter No. 6 (1833)

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