Memoirs of Alexander Campbell
(1st ed. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1868)
(2nd ed. Cincinnati: R.W. Carrol & Co., 1872)
A VIEW OF THE ORIGIN, PROGRESS AND PRINCIPLES
OF THE RELIGIOUS REFORMATION
WHICH HE ADVOCATED.
BY ROBERT RICHARDSON.
Near spicy shores of Araby the blest.
A thousand times more exquisitely sweet,
The freight of holy feelings which we meet,
In thoughtful moments, wafted by the gales
From fields where good men walk, or bow'rs wherein they rest.
P H I L A D E L P H I A
J. B. LIPPINCOTT & CO.
[Vol. 1, p. 480]
"Met agreeably to adjournment.
"5. The meeting was opened by singing and prayer, by brother John Patton.
"6. Appointed brother Luce, moderator, and brother Wheeler, clerk.
"7. A letter was presented by brother T. Campbell, from a number of baptized professors in the city of Pittsburg, requesting union as a church to this Association.
"8. Voted, that as this letter is not presented according to the constitution of this Association, the request cannot be granted.
"9. Voted, that brother T. Campbell be invited to take a seat in this Association.
"10. Voted, that a committee be appointed to wait on the persons mentioned in the seventh article, to investigate the subject of their letter. Brethren D. Philips, Luce and Pritchard are the committee to attend in Pittsburg, on the Saturday preceding the first Lord's day in November.
"11. The circular letter prepared by brother T. Campbell was read and accepted without amendment."
Thus it appears that the few members who had been gathered together in Pittsburg by Thomas Campbell, and who were accustomed to meet regularly for worship in his school-room on Liberty street, were denied admission as a church because their letter was "not presented according to the constitution of the Association,"
CIRCULAR LETTER BY T. CAMPBELL. 481
which required a creed or statement of articles of belief from every church, and could not accept in place of it a simple declaration of adherence to the Scriptures. Nevertheless, a committee was appointed to investigate the subject of their letter, or, as was doubtless intended, to bring these simple disciples into regular Baptist "order." From the table of names of churches, etc., composing the Association, it seems that besides those associated with Thomas Campbell in Pittsburg, there was at this time a little society of eight members there, represented by B. B. Newton, as messenger, who, having furnished the required written statement of belief, had been received without difficulty.
It appears, further, that Thomas Campbell presented, on this occasion, the circular letter which he had been appointed to prepare at the meeting the year before. The subject given to him was the "TRINITY," upon which the Baptist preachers were very anxious to elicit the views entertained by the reformers. This circular letter, it seems, was so entirely satisfactory that even the keen vision of the most orthodox enemies in the Association could find no ground of objection, and it was accordingly accepted, we are told, "without amendment," and printed at the close of the minutes as the letter of the Association. In it, this profound subject is treated in a highly interesting manner, and mainly in the simple and express terms of Scripture. In condescension, however; probably to the modes of thought and speech current amongst the party with which he was now associated, the author employs some of the terms of scholastic divinity, such as essence, triune and person, but the word "Trinity" does not once occur in the document. The use of such terms was not in harmony with the principle of the Reformation, which
482 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
required that Bible things should be spoken of in Bible words -- not in "the words that man's wisdom teacheth," but in those which the Holy Spirit has employed. Under the circumstances, however, it gives evidence of a remarkable advance toward soundness of speech on the part of one long accustomed to the language of the schools, and who now addressed a people to whom its terms would have been much more familiar, and doubtless much more acceptable, than those employed in Holy Writ.
This letter, also, in its general style and tone, furnishes a marked contrast with the spirit of the "Sermon on the Law" -- a contrast indicative of that which existed in the characters of their respective authors. The father, full of affectionate sympathy and over-sensitive in regard to the feelings of others, could not bear to inflict the slightest pain, and would rather withhold than confer a benefit which could be imparted only by wounding the recipient. The son, with more mastery of his emotional nature, could calmly contemplate the entire case, and, for the accomplishment of higher good, could resolutely inflict a temporary suffering. The former was cautious, forbearing, apologetic; the latter, decided, prompt and critical. The one displayed the gentle spirit of Melancthon, the other the adventurous boldness of Farel and the uncompromising spirit of Knox. Both were alike anxious to promote the great interests of humanity; but while the father relied perhaps too much upon emollients to remedy the spreading cancer of sectarianism, the son, with less reverence for consecrated errors, but equal love for men and greater sagacity and skill, preferred the knife of the surgeon. Both were equally desirous of winning men away from the idols of religious bigotry, but while the one sought
SUBJECT OF THE TRINITY. 483
to persuade with gentle words, the other would seize with powerful grasp the image at the shrine, and break it in pieces before the eyes of its worshipers. The different methods which each thus employed had doubtless their advantages, and their union tended to effect greater good than could have been produced by either singly. It is certain, however, as formerly intimated, that had it not been for the bold assaults, the incisive logic and the determined spirit of the son, the reformatory movement initiated by the father would speedily have disappeared from view, as the wave created in the river by the passing steamer quickly subsides into the general current.
As the circular letter above referred to presents the views of both upon the most profound subject in the Bible, as it forms a part of the history of the times and of the persons described, and illustrates how entirely sufficient the Scriptures themselves are for the elucidation of the most difficult questions, so far as these can be at all comprehended by the human mind, it deserves to be rescued from the oblivion which would soon engulf the few remaining copies. It will therefore be found in the Appendix to the present volume.
(pages 482-538 not copied)
[ 539 ]
The Redstone Baptist Association, held at Cross Creek, Brooke county (Virginia), August 30, 31, and September 1, 1816, to the Churches they represent, with grace, mercy, and peace:
BRETHREN: The revelation of himself, with which God has been graciously pleased to favor any portion of his rational creatures, must necessarily constitute the leading and all-important subject of their attention, a true knowledge of God being the only foundation of all true religion and morality, and, of course, of all rational perfection and blessedness. Now, the means by which this fundamental and all-important knowledge is communicated are his works and word. "The heavens declare the glory of the Lord;" the earth also with its various productions and inhabitants: but especially that inestimable treasury, his word, in which not only the most glorious and important of all his works is recorded, but that which of all others is the most interesting to us; in this respect, "he has magnified his word above all his name," or above every other revelation which he has made of himself to us. It not only furnishes us with an instructive comment upon the visible creation, in calling our attention to the various and manifold glories of God therein displayed; but also acquaints us with the superior and invisible glories of the sublimer parts of the creation, of which otherwise we should have had no information at all. Moreover, it acquaints us with his moral character as the great King, Lawgiver and Judge of his rational creatures, by exhibiting the statutes of his kingdom, the principles of his government, and of his judicial proceedings both toward angels and men: and which, in the whole compass of what it presents to our thoughts, upon those very interesting, and important subjects, suggests nothing but what is perfectly consistent with the impressions which the august and glorious works of the visible creation are calculated to produce; and leads us still farther into the
deep things of the unsearchable God, by declaring unto us his great name, Jehovah Alehim, which no work, attribute or perfection, known or knowable to us, by any other external means could have possibly revealed. This revelation, therefore, of the unsearchable nature of God, is peculiar to that express declaration, which God has been graciously pleased to make of himself to us in the Holy Scriptures, when the occasion required: that is, when it became necessary to our relief, and to the display of the divine glory in our salvation, so to do. For when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his Son into the world, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem the guilty from the curse of the law. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son for the life of the world. But what is his name; or what is his Son's name, if thou canst tell?--Who by searching can find out God? Who can find out the Almighty unto perfection, is a divine challenge addressed to the vain pride, the presumptuous inquisitiveness of self-ignorant, self-conceited, haughty, aspiring man. Vain man would be wise, "above what is written:" but the sublime and absolute declaration which God makes of himself to his most distinguished servant Moses, when authorizing him to become the deliverer of his chosen people, saying, "I am that I am," prostrates for ever all presumptuous inquiry, removes to an infinite distance all created comprehension, as utterly incompetent to the subject, and intensely prohibits the vain presumption of comprehending the Almighty. What his word and works declare of his being and perfections, it is our province and our privilege to know and acknowledge, to his glory and our own edification and comfort.
By his word, then, we learn that the divine name comprehends in it a plurality. "Alehim said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness." Again, "Jehovah Alehim said, behold the man is become like one of us." Yet he speaks of himself as one: "In the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." Also, where he assumes a plural name, he at the same time uses a singular verb and pronoun; suggesting in the very same phrase the idea of plurality in unity: "Hear, O Israel, Jehovah Alehim is one Jehovah." And, indeed, were not this the very thing intended in the forms of speech alluded to, which are very numerous, they would be quite unmeaning; and the forecited declaration, Deut. vi. 4, would be absolutely unintelligible. But the clear, blissful and satisfactory revelation of this great mystery is reserved for the New Testament dispensation: For "no man hath seen God at any time (so as to have an immediate or intuitive knowledge of him): the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom (or into the secrets) of the Father, he hath revealed him;" so that "No man knoweth the Father, but the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him." It is only in those last
days that God hath spoken unto us by his Son, in a clear, distinct and certain manifestation of him to the world; "declared to be the Son of God, with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by his resurrection from the dead;" who is the image of the invisible God, the Father, the brightness of his glory, the express image of his person, or character of his subsistence; by whom also he made the worlds, or all the various orders of rational intelligences that anywhere exist; "for without him was not anything made that was made; all things were created by him and for him; and he is before all things, and by him all things consist, or stand forth together; who upholdeth all things by the word of his power." Now, most surely, he that made, erected, or built and upholdeth all things, is God--is a distinct intelligent agent or subsistence in Jehovah Alehim, which is one Jehovah.
But moreover, from the same authentic source of divine information, we also learn that there exists another distinct intelligent agent or subsistence in the One Jehovah, who is distinguished to us by the name Spirit of God; Spirit of Jehovah, or the Spirit Jehovah; the Holy Spirit, or Spirit of Holiness; the Eternal Spirit; which was also in the beginning, or when time and things began to exist; who was also an agent in the creation; who with a preparatory energetic influence, as the author of life and motion, acted upon the original chaos brooded or hovered upon the face of the waters; who also garnished the heavens; who formed the human nature of Christ in the womb of the Virgin; who perfectly comprehends all the deep things of God. The author of all holy inspiration, who spake by the prophets, and who in the Old Testament is called Jehovah, a name peculiar to the Alehim, whose name alone is Jehovah; and who is therefore properly called God, as comprehended in the Alehim, to whose immediate agency is peculiarly ascribed all miraculous powers and effects, even to the resurrection of the dead; as also all spiritual and intellectual endowments; hence he is called the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation, of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord, the Spirit of counsel and of might, of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. The one Spirit who distributeth to every one severally as he will. In fine, all divine works, whether of creation, sustentation, gubernation, resurrection or judgment, are ascribed to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; neither is there any other divine agent revealed to us in the Holy Scriptures, as comprehended in the One Jehovah; or to whom any part of the works or worship peculiar to God is ascribed, but only to the sacred three above mentioned; even our Alehim, whose name alone is Jehovah; and into whose name alone we are baptized. Therefore we believe, and are sure, that these three are the one only living and true God.
To us, then, who hold the Christian faith, there is but one God; the Father, of whom are all things and we to him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things and we by him; and one Spirit who worketh all things, who inspires, animates and replenishes the whole body of Christ; dividing to every man severally as he will. And these three are one; even the one Jehovah Alehim, who claims all religious worship and obedience as his proper due, to the exclusion of all other claimants or pretenders whatsoever; who will not give his glory to another, nor his praise to graven images--the infinitely holy, just and jealous God.
It appears to be a query with some who profess to hold this doctrine, whether it be correct to use the term person when speaking of the above distinct characters in the divine essence. As to this, let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. In the mean time, all that we pretend to say in favor of this application of the term is, that although the term person (which, in relation to men, signifies a distinct intelligent agency or rational being, coexisting with others in the same common nature), is not manifestly applied in the Holy Scriptures to any of the Sacred Three: nor indeed can be so applied in strict propriety, according to its literal and obvious acceptation; for when applied to God, instead of meaning a distinct intelligent being coexisting with others in the same common nature, we must mean by it, if we think and speak correctly, one and the self-same individual being so existing as to constitute in and to itself so many distinct or different, real and relative characters, or subsistences, each of which is but another name for the self-same individual essence or being considered as existing in the specified relation of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Yet seeing the Scriptures manifestly declare that the one Jehovah exists in three distinct intelligent agents, each of which is the one Jehovah so existing, for there is but one such being; and seeing that the personal pronouns, I, thou, he, we, us, are assumed and used in the Holy Scriptures, by, or in relation to, each or all of the divine characters; therefore, keeping in view the essential and indivisible unity of the divine nature, we think that we speak intelligibly and consistently with sacred truth, when we thus use the term person; and we presume, when taken in this sense, it will apply to the divine characters with as strict propriety as almost any other term in human language that is applied to God; for it must be granted, that in but few instances, if [in] any, human language will strictly and properly apply to the divine nature; therefore, when so applied, it must, for the most part, be used in a figurative and analogous sense.
Again, it is a query with others, who profess to hold this doctrine, whether the relative terms Father, Son and Spirit, be real or economical. To this we would reply, that if we allow the Holy Scriptures to
speak at all intelligibly upon this most profound and sacred subject, we must understand the above appellation as declarative of real internal essential relations, independent of any external work or economy whatever. For if the terms Father, Son and Spirit, be not declarative of real or essential relations, that is, of relations that have their foundation in the divine nature, and essentially or necessarily belong to it as such, the Scriptures do not reveal to us three distinct characters so related; but three distinct independent divinities or Gods, necessarily self-existent, and absolutely independent of each other; each and every one of them possessing the self-same properties, and of course, each of them so exactly the same in all respects, as to be absolutely undistinguishable one from another, by any means, property or attribute whatsoever; and, of course, three eternal self-existent independent coexistent Gods; each of them infinitely complete or perfect in and of himself, as possessing every possible perfection of being. A supposition this, not less repugnant to our reason than to the most express and unequivocal declarations of Holy Scripture, for the divine characters are constantly represented as coexisting in the most intimate and inseparable unity of essential relationship one with another, and as having the most entire, inexclusive and all-comprehensive interest in each other, as their correlative names most evidently and incontestably declare. Accordingly the Father saith, "This is my well-beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." The Son saith, "I am in the Father and the Father in me;" "I and my Father are one;" "My Father worketh hitherto and I work;" "Whatsoever things the Father doth, the same also doth the Son likewise;" "All that the Father hath are mine." And of the Spirit he saith, "Who proceedeth from the Father;" "Whom I will send unto you;" "He shall take of the things that are mine, and shall show them unto you;" "He shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak, and he will show you things to come;" "For the Spirit searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God. For as no man knoweth the things of a man, save the Spirit of a man which is in him, even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God;" "He hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit;" "They that are after the Spirit do mind the things of the Spirit." Again, "There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are diversities of administrations, but the same Lord; and there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all."
From these, and a multiplicity of declarations that might be educed from the Holy Scriptures, it evidently appears, that so far from being separate independent beings, the sacred three are intimately united amongst themselves in an order and manner of subsistence and
operation of which we can form no distinct, much less adequate idea; but so it is revealed to us by him, whose sole prerogative it is to know and reveal himself.
Moreover, if the above doctrine were not really true, there could be no such thing, as the economy of salvation, wherein one divine character is sent by and from another to redeem, and another divine character sent by and from both, to apply that redemption; for where there is no mutual essential relation, there can be no relative subordination; such as naturally and necessarily subsists between Father and Son, and of course no mission of the one from and by the other, as is manifestly the case in the economy of salvation; "For the Father sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world. He so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son for the life of the world."
Again, if the person sent, however highly exalted in relative dignity, were not more than a creature, there would still remain an infinite distance between him and the Deity, so that he could neither bring himself, nor any one else, nearer to God than his or their nature and circumstances had already placed them; for he could properly or in strict justice merit nothing at the hand of his Creator, Preserver and Proprietor, either for himself or others; everything that he could possibly do in obedience to the divine will, being in strict justice due by him, on his own account, to the sovereign Lord of all, in whom it is an act of condescension to accept or acknowledge the service or worship of men or angels. Therefore, upon principles of reason and justice, as well as according to the most obvious declarations of Holy Scripture, the Redeemer of a lost world can be no other than the Creator and Proprietor of it; of whom it can be truly said, that all things were created by him and for him; that he is before all things, and that by him all things consist. "God is known by his works." "Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works," Ps. lxxxvi. 8. "He that built all things is God." The work of redemption, therefore, manifests the Author to be a divine character, as being manifestly a divine work. But if this same divine character did not really stand related to another divine character, who had not only an equal property with him in all things, but at the same time such an interest in him as that he also should be, in a certain sense, his property, though not his creature, he could neither be sent by him as the greatest possible instance of his love to a guilty world; nor yet would there be another, who by virtue of absolute independent dignity and supremacy possessed such an entire, original, independent right and property in all things, as to be justly qualified and entitled to support the dignity of the supreme claimant; to whom every act of obedience or worship might justly and properly revert, to the glory of the divine nature, and to
the entire satisfaction of all concerned, that is to say, of the Son and Spirit, and of the whole rational creation. So that while the Son actually submitted to a state infinitely beneath his essential dignity, that he might become like one of us, both as to our state and nature (the pollution of sin only excepted), and of course, resigned for a time, and in consequence of this relation, things equal to his essential dignity; there was another into whose hands and to whose glory he could make the surrender; who, as was said above, by virtue of his supreme dignity and dominion, as also of paternal superiority, was duly qualified with every essential qualification to claim and support all the honors of Deity, and ultimately to do justice to all concerned; namely, to himself and to his Son, to his redeemed, and to the obsequious angels, who worshiped their Lord Creator in the manger, in the wilderness, in the garden, and in the tomb. Thus we see that God is not only known by his works; but also in this last great work of redemption, the deep things of God are so clearly manifested, that every rational, intelligent mind that receives the discovery of it is necessarily gratified and delighted with the rationality and beautiful consistency of this work, with the revelation which God has been graciously pleased to make of himself in relation to it.
Upon the whole, by means of this revelation, we clearly and evidently perceive, 1st. That there are three distinct intelligent agents, subsistencies, or personal characters, in one Jehovah our Alehim--the Father, the Word or Son, and the Holy Spirit, mutually, reciprocally, essentially and inseparably related; so that the one naturally and necessarily infers and supposes the other, as Father and Son; and as the Spirit of the Father and the Son, or as the Spirit of Alehim, which latter word being the plural in the Hebrew (a language that has a dual number) must necessarily imply three at least; and we know certainly by subsequent revelation, that it implies no more; wherefore the Spirit Alehim or of Alehim, must necessarily be the Spirit of the Father and the Son. The same thing also is necessarily implied when he is called the Spirit of Jehovah.
2. That in the exercise of one and the same divine energy or efficient will, they are inseparable operators in every work; for the Father created all things by his Son, but not without the influence and operation of the Spirit; for God said, that is Alehim said, "Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness;" "the Spirit of Jehovah hath made me," said Job, "and the breath or spiration of the Almighty hath given me life"--"by his Spirit he garnished the heavens." Again, "The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." "My Father worketh hitherto and I work." "If I by the Spirit of God cast out devils," etc. Thus the Father worketh in and by the Son, and the Son by the Spirit; so that there is one operation
of Father, Son and Spirit, in every work; not indeed a co-operation as of conjoint and coequal workers; but rather a succession, or process of successive and subordinate operation, not in respect of time but of order; for the Son can do nothing of himself but from the Father; also the Spirit can do nothing of himself but from the Son; for whatsoever things the Spirit doth, the Father and the Son do by him. Wherefore the Spirit works from the Father by the Son; for every purpose, act or volition is, primarily and originally, in the Father; derivatively and by essential participation, the same in the Son; next and mediately by or through the Son, the same in the Spirit, and at the very same instant, being one and the self-same act or volition in each of the divine characters; but, as to the external effect, brought forth or accomplished by the immediate efficiency of the Spirit; who is therefore called the Power of the Highest, and the Finger of God. "If I with the Finger of God cast out devils," etc.
3. That the divine characters, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit coexist under such relations as not only necessarily suppose and declare their essential unity, but also, with equal evidence and perspicuity, demonstrate a relative subordination according to the manner and order of their subsistence and operation. For the Son saith, "My Father is greater than I" -- greater than all. "Neither is he that is sent greater than he that sent him." Which necessarily implies that in some respect he is inferior to him. And of the Father only it is said, that he is "the only true God," as possessing absolutely and independently, in and of himself, all the perfections of Deity, of which also the Son and Spirit necessarily partake in and with him, because they are his Son and Spirit, and therefore necessarily partake with him in the self-same individual nature or essence; though inferior to him in the manner and order of their subsistence and operation; as deriving their subsistence from him, and subordinate in their operations to him; for the Son can do nothing of himself; neither doth the Spirit speak of himself, as the prime original and originating principle of the counsels and work which he reveals and exhibits. But the Father, by his only-begotten Son, the brightness of his glory and the character of his subsistence, or express image of his person, made the worlds; and by his Spirit he garnished the heavens, or replenished the visible creation with glory and beauty; also by his Spirit, the Son reveals to us from the Father the purposes and counsels of his unsearchable wisdom and will, even the deep things of God. "The revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants the things that must shortly come to pass: and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John," and immediately, saith he, "I was in the Spirit." Thus we conceive, the Father to be the first and leading distinction, subsistence
or character in the divine nature, the very origin of all will, purpose and operation, which are in and by the Son determined to an actual execution; and in due order and succession, according to the divine purpose, actually accomplished by the Holy Spirit; so that the same will, power and purpose of the Father is in the Son, and in the Holy Ghost, who divideth to every one severally as he will; or who communicates and dispenses to all created beings, whatever degree, excellency or perfection of being they possess. So that, while according to the manner and order of subsistence and operation, the Son is of the Father, and the Holy Ghost of both, by an essential physical influence peculiar to the divine nature, which we pretend not to comprehend, much less to explain, they remain simply and essentially one in nature, will and operation; so that there is but one simple, indivisible and undivided nature, will and operation of God throughout the vast immensity of his works. "Hear, O Israel, Jehovah our Alehim is one Jehovah."
4. Furthermore, from the same source it is evident that each of the divine characters has a power and a glory peculiar to himself, by which they are distinguishable both amongst themselves and to the creatures. It is the glory of the Father to be the first or leading character in the divine nature, the very source and origin of the subordinate distinctions in that nature, and of every external work; it is the glory of the Son to be the second character or distinction in the divine nature, even the express character of the Father's subsistence, in whom every purpose and work comes to be determined to an actual execution, ready to be exhibited or brought forth into actual accomplishment: thus it is written, "According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord, that in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one head all things in Christ." It is the glory of the Holy Spirit to be essentially conscious of all those designs, counsels and purposes, perfectly to comprehend them all, and to exhibit them in their proper times by an actual accomplishment. Again, it is the peculiar glory of the Father to have such a Son: it is the glory of the Son to be the very essential and only-begotten Son of such a Father; to be the brightness of his glory, the very or express image of his subsistence: it is the glory of the Holy Spirit to be the Spirit of Jehovah; the animating principle of creation. "The Spirit or Spiration of the Almighty hath given me life." "It is the Spirit that quickeneth;" yea, it is his peculiar glory to be the immediate efficient of all divine counsels and purposes, so as to give actual birth and being to all the mighty and wonderful works of God. Lastly, it is the glory of the Father to be the ultimate object of all rational worship and adoration; it is the glory of the Son to reveal the Father, and to be the instructive and glorious
medium of all rational worship and adoration addressed to the only true God; it is the glory of the Holy Spirit to prepare, capacitate and qualify rational subjects for these exalted blissful exercises, by filling them with the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, thus exciting and leading them to all holy adoration. So we see, that there is one glory of the Father, another glory of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost: also that to worship acceptably, we must worship the Father through the Son by the Spirit, to whose immediate agency we are directed to look for all holy dispositions and intellectual abilities, to know, to love and adore both the Father and the Son, according to their proper character; also, to love, reverence and adore himself as the immediate author of life and light in us. Wherefore we cheerfully and heartily, gratefully and gladly say, "Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost." To the one Jehovah our Alehim, our Creator, who in the beginning said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness;" and who also said, let us redeem and restore guilty, apostate, rebellious man, to the enjoyment of our justly lost and forfeited image, favor and fellowship; in consequence of which grace, when all things shall be restored to their original state of due subordination and dutiful subjection to their Almighty Author, the three-one God in Christ, who will thenceforth be the fixed centre and adequate medium of the exhibition and fruition of the divine glory, will be the ultimate object of the undivided praises of the whole rational creation of holy intelligences, world without end; "For the Lord God and the Lamb will be the temple and light thereof."
Thus, in the direct and refulgent light of that special revelation which God has been graciously pleased to make of himself to us, we clearly and evidently perceive, not only what God is in and to his creatures; but also what he is in and to himself, as the self-existent, self-sufficient, independent God, infinitely, eternally and unchangeably sufficient to himself; as being the centre, the foundation and fruition of all blessedness and glory in and of himself; perfectly known, comprehended and enjoyed by himself, in the mutual and reciprocal loves, delights and complacencies of a triune Jehovah. The Father delighting in the Son, and the Son in the Father, and the Holy Spirit equally delighting in, and delighted in, by both. "The Lord or Jehovah possessed me," says the Logos (or Wisdom)" in the beginning of his ways, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. Then was I by him, as one brought up with him. I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him, rejoicing in the habitable parts of his earth, and my delights were with the sons of men." "And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine ownself, with the glory that I had with thee
before the world was." "Known unto God are all his works from the foundation of the world."
By this light of the knowledge of the being, blessedness and glory of God, with which he has favored us, we are enabled to detect and avoid the many dangerous errors which are afloat in the world. In opposition to which, we state and infer as follows:
1st. That it is demonstrably evident from what the Holy Scriptures declare concerning Jehovah our Alehim, that those who maintain, that as there is but one divine being or essence, so there is but one divine agent or active intelligence existing in that essence, not only reject the testimony which God has given of himself; but that they do also at the same time reject the very foundation of the Christian religion which depends upon the truth of that testimony. And the same holding the foresaid opinion, seem willing to be thought Christians by accommodating their notion of the Supreme Being to the Christian phraseology, supposing the names Father, Son and Spirit only to mean so many distinct official attributes in relation to the different capacities in which God is pleased to act toward his creatures in the economy of salvation; yet nothing can be more inconsistent with the most express testimony of the Holy Scriptures; for it is most expressly declared that the Father sent the Son; that he came forth from the Father; that he returned to the Father, and that when he should depart, he would send, and actually did send his disciples another Comforter from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth, to instruct and lead them into all truth; and to "convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment" by their ministry.
2d. That those who deny the essential sonship of the Word or Logos, as not being the essential and only-begotten Son of the Father; or the essential derivation of the Spirit from both, as to his subsistence and official character; though they profess to believe, and do acknowledge that there are three distinct intelligent agents, or subsistencies in the one Jehovah; yet they do, nevertheless, virtually and necessarily acknowledge three Gods.
3d. So likewise do all those, who, though they profess to believe the doctrine of the essential relations of the sacred three, declared in the Holy Scriptures, yet deny the relative and necessary subordination of the Son and Spirit, as therein revealed; declaring that, distinctly and separately considered, they are equal to the Father in underived and independent power and glory. Whereas, according to the expressions of a very ancient creed, it appears from the Holy Scriptures, "that the Father is of none, neither made nor created, nor begotten; the Son is of the Father alone, neither made nor created but begotten; the Holy Ghost is of the Father and the Son, neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding." So that,
distinctly considered, they are not equal in respect of underived subsistence, power and glory. Thus they are essentially one, even the one Jehovah, and essentially equal in that respect. Wherefore, it is evident that there is one glory of, or peculiar to the Father, another peculiar to the Son, and another to the Holy Ghost, as above declared. Indeed, were not this evidently the case, there would most certainly be, not three relative subsistencies in the one Jehovah characteristically distinct, but three Jehovahs; or three self-existent, independent and eternal Gods.
4th. That he that receiveth not this doctrine, as it is now revealed, hath not the true God. For whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father; and consequently he that denieth the Holy Spirit, rejecteth both the Father and the Son; for he is essentially the Spirit of them both; the one Spirit that is and works by and from them both, in all external operations; Jehovah working by his Spirit in the hearts of his people, both to will and to do of his good pleasure, according to his promise, Ezek. xxxvi. 27. Now, as the sacred name Jehovah manifestly includes the Father, Son and Spirit, when Jehovah says, "I will put my Spirit within you;" it is manifestly declared, that the Father and the Son send the Spirit, and work by him in the hearts of this people intended in the promise.
As for the objections and difficulties that have been suggested in opposition to the above doctrine, or the attempts that have been made to obviate them by illustrations and explanations of what is not revealed concerning it, Christians have nothing to do with such things. "The secret things belong unto the Lord our God; but those things which are revealed, belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this Law," Deut. xxix. 29. That we may "honor the Son even as we honor the Father." That we may believe, worship and obey a three-one God, into whose blessed and glorious Name we have been baptized. Wherefore, we conceive that we have nothing to do with the definitions and disputes which have originated about the eternal generation of the Son, and procession of the Holy Ghost; nor yet with that semi-Arian doctrine about the pre-existence of the human soul of the Redeemer, before the creation of the world; nor with any such vain speculations. We believe that, whatever God is, the same he always was and ever will be during all duration, world without end, as his peculiar and incommunicable name, Jehovah, manifestly declares. To all those, then, that object to the above doctrine, as unintelligible, irrational, and the like, our only reply is, has God so revealed himself to us in the Holy Scriptures? If so, let God be true; but, in our estimation, every man that opposes his word, a liar. In the mean time, as a solid reply to all such cavils, we assert with the evidence of demonstration, that the
divine essence is as incomprehensible as the manner of the divine existence, or that the natural and essential attributes of Jehovah are as much above, or, if you will admit the expression, as contrary to our reason, as anything contained in the above doctrine. Is it asked, how can one and the self-same indivisible and undivided essence exist in three distinct personal characters? We might as justly ask in reply, how can the divine essence exist at all? or how can there be any such thing as an eternal self-existent being? Again, is it asked how the Divine Being can exist in and to itself, under a threefold relation; or, how one and the self-same being can exist in three distinct intelligent subsistencies or personal characters, each of them still continuing to be the self-same individual Being, actually three, yet severally one? We might, with equal propriety, ask, how something can be produced from nothing? how dead matter can be animated? or how the Almighty could produce, out of mere nonentity, empty nothing, a universe of animate, sensitive and rational beings of the multitude and magnitude of which we can form no conception at all? Is it farther queried, how could the Father bring forth or exhibit his Son in human nature, or how could divinity and humanity be so united as to constitute but one individual person? We might as rationally query, how can soul and body, matter and mind be so united as to make but one individual being or person?
Again, if it be asked, how can the Father, Son and Spirit be distinct intelligent agents, and yet be so united in every work, that one and the self-same work should, in every instance, be equally the work of each? We might as reasonably ask, how can Jehovah fill heaven and earth; yea, the vast immensity of the universe, so as to be really and actually present in every place, or with every creature at all times; and yet have no relation either to time or place? or, how he could so perfectly know every thought, word and action; every state, condition and circumstance of the countless millions of his rational creatures, before they had a being, that he can receive no new information from or concerning them for ever? Yet, all those things we must certainly believe concerning the Divine Being, existence, operations, knowledge, etc., etc., upon the evidence which God has afforded us, without being able to account for any of them, or at all to show how they are or can be. Now, when these and a thousand other queries respecting God and his works, which might be suggested, are satisfactorily solved, we suppose there will then remain no difficulty in relation to the doctrine under consideration. In the mean time, let us reason, believe and act consistently. Let us not reject anything that is revealed because we cannot comprehend it or conceive how it is, while we profess to hold other things, which we must acknowledge to be equally incomprehensible.
Upon the whole, we conclude, that as Christians and rational creatures, we have to do with the divine testimony and works; that what these clearly exhibit to our understandings concerning God, it is our duty and privilege to know and acknowledge; and that for the most part, these resolve themselves into certain truths or facts; which, when perceived and admitted, become to us principles of rational, moral and religious action; and, as such, influence our conduct, in relation both to God, ourselves and our neighbors; and thus designate our characters. That, therefore, it is not so much, if at all, with the HOW that we have to do, as with the WHAT. Thus, what is God; or what has he declared concerning himself? and not how can he be such? Again -- What has God done? What is he doing? What will he do? What would he have us to do? What is our actual condition before him? Must we be born of water and of the Spirit, in order to become the subjects of his kingdom. Will there indeed be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust; and hath God in very deed, appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained? These, and such like inquiries concerning all that we should know, believe and practice, are highly interesting to us. Not so the inquiry, How can these things, be? as was said by some, "How shall the dead be raised, and with what body shall they come?" "How can a man be born when he is old?" etc., etc.
The curious would do well to read, for their reproof and instruction in righteousness, the answers originally given to those foolish and impertinent inquiries.
We conclude with observing, in reference to the subject of this letter, that the discovery which God has made of himself to us in the economy of salvation is quite consistent with our natural notion of the divine blessedness. It is the common impression of mankind, that God is the happiest of all beings; yea, that he is superlatively so. Accordingly, he is revealed to us, not as a solitary, unknown and unknowable being, destitute of the enjoyment of equal and adequate society--a privilege this, which seems so essential to rational satisfaction and blessedness, that, comparatively, we can conceive of but little or no satisfaction or happiness where this is not the case; and that the more perfect the being, the greater the privation; as was evidently the case with Adam, in his paradisiacal state, before God provided a companion, an help meet for him. But according to the revelation which we have of God, he never existed in such a desolate solitary condition; and we are sure that if he had, creation could never have furnished him with a suitable companion. Is he not infinitely more exalted above the most exalted creature than that creature is above nothing? If so, he must find his society in himself:
accordingly, it is written, "In the beginning, God said, Let us make man in our image." "Then was I by him as one brought up with him," saith the Logos, "I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him." "And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory I had with thee before the world was." Again, "Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of Hosts." "No man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; neither knoweth any man who the Father is, but the Son;" also "the things of God knoweth no man but the Spirit of God; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God." Thus the Divinity is revealed to us as possessing in itself such a plenitude of self-sufficiency -- such a perfection of blessedness as to admit of no accession, no addition, as eternally existing in the reciprocation of infinite and ineffable delights. Now, does not this appear to be the peculiar glory, yea, the consummative perfection of the divine nature, to contain within itself such a fullness and blessedness -- by virtue of which, God was essentially, independently and eternally glorified and enjoyed in and by himself before the world was; comprehending and comprehended, loving and beloved in a degree and manner suitable to himself, that is, to an infinite degree, adequate to his infinite perfection; which he can never be by any nature inferior to himself, how exalted soever it may be in its intellectual faculties; nor indeed by all the creatures collectively considered? "Glory be to the Father," etc., etc. "This is the true God and Eternal Life." "And these three are one." "Hear, O Israel Jehovah," etc. "Little children, keep yourselves from idols." Amen.
MATHIAS LUCE, Moderator.CHARLES WHEELER, Clerk.
NOTE. -- Near the close of the fourth inference we have observed, that to worship God acceptably, that is, according to the spirit and tenor of the gospel dispensation, under which we live, we must worship the Father through the Son, by the Spirit. In relation to this we should further observe, that although this way of approaching God affords us the most complete view of the principle, the manner, and ultimate object of gospel worship, which is the Father, through the Son, by the Spirit: yet, it is abundantly evident. that we are by no means restricted to this precise form of address in every act of religious worship; for sometimes the Son himself is the only specified object of address, as in the case of Stephen, whose departing prayer was, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit:" so that as Christians we not only worship the Father through the Son by the Spirit. but also the Son himself through the Spirit; for without the Spirit, we can worship neither the Father nor the Son. Moreover, the Father and the Son, in his mediatory character, are sometimes presented to us as
conjoint objects of religious worship. "To him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb," etc. Whereas the Spirit in his distinct official capacity, is nowhere presented to us as the immediate and specified object of address, though we are everywhere taught to believe in him as a divine character, and to ascribe to him immediate agency -- the entire glory of our immediate and actual salvation, as "God that dwelleth and worketh in us both to will and to do of his own good pleasure." The reason of this distinction in our worship, in relation to the divine Spirit, we humbly presume, is founded in the following considerations. 1st. That he himself being the prime efficient, the immediate exciting cause and principle of all acceptable worship and adoration in us, it would appear inconsistent with this state of the case, to call upon him to perform any part of his office in or toward us; as if we, by virtue of some inherent principle, of which he was not the immediate author, could desire his influence, or act toward him for the obtaining of that, without the possession of which we could not be supposed capable of acting at all in a spiritual manner. 2d. That supposing us excited by his influence to desire farther and higher degrees of his gracious communications, it would appear, nevertheless, inconsistent with his office and the relation in which he stands to the Father and to the Son, to suppose that he would excite and lead us to terminate our worship in himself, as if he sought his own distinct personal glory, and not the glory of those who sent him; even as the Son did not seek his own glory, but the glory of the Father which sent him--and who has also assured us, that the Spirit would act in like manner, and from the same principle from which he himself acted. "When he the Spirit of Truth is come, he will guide you into all truth; for he will not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that will he speak. He will glorify me, for he will receive of mine and will show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine; therefore, said I, he will take of mine, and will show it unto you." Hence it is evident, that the proper and immediate office and work of the Holy Spirit, in the economy of salvation, is to glorify the Father and the Son; even as it is of the Son to glorify the Father and the Spirit; and of the Father to glorify the Son and Spirit; that we, through his grace, might be duly instructed, and ultimately led, to glorify and enjoy distinctly and unitedly a three-one God in a participation of the mutual, reciprocal and ineffable delights of Father, Son and Spirit, which they had in relation to our salvation before the world was. Wherefore, we conclude (that whatever invocations or forms of address, whether hymns or prayers, wherewith men have thought proper to address the Holy Spirit, not expressly contained in the Holy Scriptures, are not of the Spirit, but are innovations in the
worship of God, and therefore ought not to be adopted) that we rightly worship the Holy Spirit, when we ascribe to him whatever the Scriptures declare concerning his character, office and work, and earnestly supplicate the Father, through the Son, or the Son himself, to send forth his Holy Spirit, to abide with us and dwell in us for ever; that we may thus be builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit; and finally, by ascribing to him, together with the Father and the Son, the entire and undivided glory of our salvation. And that, therefore, in the mean time, we ought to reject as unscriptural, all invocations or forms of address immediately directed to the Holy Spirit, as innovations in the worship of God, who alone has a right to prescribe both the matter and manner of his own worship, even of that worship which he will be graciously pleased to accept as right and pleasing in his sight.
[Vol. 2, p. 11 ]
12 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
uniformity that the primitive Church possessed, or that the law of Christ requires."
The view which he thus adopted was, indeed, simply the great fundamental principle of Protestantism itself, as well stated by Chillingworth in the following words:
"Let all men believe the Scripture, and that only, and endeavor to believe it in the true sense, and require no more of others, and they shall find this not only a better, but the only means to suppress heresy and restore unity. For he that believes the Scripture sincerely, and endeavors to believe it in the true sense, cannot possibly be a heretic. And if no more than this were required of any man to make him capable of the Church's communion, then all men, so qualified, though they were different in opinion, notwithstanding any such difference, must be of necessity one in communion." -- The Religion of Protestants a Safe Way to Salvation, p. 23 (Bohn's edition).
The distinction between faith and opinion was here clearly indicated, nothing more being proposed in order to communion and unity than to believe "the Scripture only," and to endeavor "to believe it in the true sense." In laying down this principle, the intelligibility of Scripture was necessarily implied, and it was not for a moment doubted that its true sense could be gathered from its words taken according to their established use and in their just connection; since to have thought otherwise would have been to regard the Bible as having no determinate meaning at all. With Thomas Campbell, therefore, and all who really adopted this principle, a simple appeal to Scripture was regarded as decisive in relation to every matter on which it treated; while, on the other hand, as respects the innumerable religious questions which have been or might be started, aside
CONTROVERSY OPPOSED. 13
from Revelation, these, as merely human inferences and opinions, were to be considered as without authority over the conscience, and as of too little importance in themselves to be subjects of debate or strife. During his whole life, Thomas Campbell was accordingly most careful to avoid all untaught questions. He did not seem indeed to regard them as worthy of even a moment's consideration, and it was usual with him to remark, in reply to any one who proposed such a question, "Well, sir, if you will show me how your inquiry affects in any way your salvation, I will endeavor to answer it." Nor was Alexander less firm in adhering to the principle adopted, though, from the greater discursiveness of his mind and his fondness for investigation, he seemed somewhat more indulgent to such questioners.
In the confident expectation that controversy might thus be wholly dispensed with among believers, it had been stated by Thomas Campbell, in the Address of the Christian Association of Washington, that "controversy formed no part of the intended plan," and that "though written objections to the proposed movement would be thankfully received and seriously considered, verbal controversy was absolutely refused." The utility, indeed, of friendly discussion in order to elicit truth and bring out the whole Scripture testimony in relation to any particular subject, was always admitted, and, in private, constantly experienced; but the feelings of the Reformers were at first decidedly opposed to public oral debates even on scriptural themes, as being not favorable to the promotion of Christian union, since persons thus publicly committed to the support of particular views were too often tempted to strive for victory, rather than for truth, and to refuse to sound argument and
14 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
Scripture proof that candid and dispassionate consideration which they deserved.
Hence it was that, when Alexander Campbell was urged in the spring of 1820, to engage in a public oral debate with Mr. Walker, on the question of Baptism, he at first declined to consent, "not regarding," as he said, "public debates" to be "the proper method of proceeding in contending for the faith once delivered to the saints." He had adopted this conclusion, however, more from deference to his father's feelings on the subject, than from his own matured convictions of expediency or from his natural temperament. Conscious of dialectic power, and possessed of unfaltering courage, he had been characterized even in his boyhood, by his readiness to maintain the right, and to enter the lists in debate with any worthy champion among his schoolmates. His quick perception of logical relations; his wide range of thought; his great fluency of speech and the keenness of his wit, peculiarly adapted him to public discussion; and the struggle was by no means slight when, from respect to existing circumstances, he felt obliged to repress his native ardor, and to keep within the lines which his father's caution had prescribed. His peculiar abilities as a public disputant were not, however, destined to remain inactive in the field of the Reformation. Already had the aggressive course of the "Synod of Pittsburg" led him, while yet a mere youth, to appear in public vindication of the Christian Association, and the time had now arrived when a fresh challenge from Presbyterianism was to call him out fairly and fully into that field of polemical discussion in which he was to find a proper scope for his abilities.
It had happened, during the fall of 1819, that a Mr. John Birch, a Baptist preacher at Flat Rock, near Mt.
MR. WALKER'S CHALLENGE. 15
Pleasant, Ohio, had baptized an unusual number of converts. This success, awakening the zeal of the minister of the Secession church at Mt. Pleasant, Mr. John Walker, induced him to deliver a series of sermons in praise of infant baptism, and in contravention of the principles entertained by the Baptists. On one of these occasions, Mr. Birch was present, and as Mr. Walker, in the course of his remarks, made some quotations from the works of Dr. Baldwin which seemed unfair, he, after sermon, took the liberty of asking Mr. Walker to what portion of Dr. Baldwin's works he referred. Upon this, a short dispute arose as to the meaning of the passage quoted, and this was followed by several interviews and some correspondence, ending in a challenge by Mr. Walker to Mr. Birch, or any other Baptist preacher of good standing whom Mr. Birch might choose, to come forward publicly and debate with him the question of baptism. Mr. Birch readily accepted the proposition, and from his high opinion of Mr. Campbell's ability, at once wrote to him urging him to undertake the discussion.
To this appeal, Mr. Campbell, in the circumstances in which he was placed, was unable to give an immediate reply. He kept it, therefore, for some time under advisement. Mr. Birch meanwhile renewed the application, and finally on 27th of March addressed to Mr. Campbell the following note:
"DEAR BROTHER: I once more undertake to address you by letter; as we are commanded not to weary in well-doing, I am disposed to persevere. I am coming this third time unto you. I cannot persuade myself that you will refuse to attend to the dispute with Mr. Walker; therefore I do not feel disposed to complain because you have sent me no answer. True, I have expected an answer, signifying your
16 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
acceptance of the same. I am as yet disappointed, but am not offended nor discouraged. I can truly say it is the unanimous wish of all the church to which I belong that you should be the disputant. It is Brother Nathaniel Skinner's desire; it is the wish of all the brethren with whom I have conversed that you should be the man. You will, I hope, send me an answer by Brother Jesse Martin, who has promised to bear this unto you. Come, brother; come over into Macedonia and help us. Yours, in the best of bonds,
Being thus called upon by the church, and urged by personal friends, he could no longer refuse to yield to his convictions of public duty. His devotion to the cause of truth, and, as he says, his "unwillingness to appear, much more to feel, afraid or ashamed to defend it," overcame the scruples arising from his aversion to do anything which might be construed into a sanction of modern religious controversy. Having succeeded, accordingly, in convincing his father that, however much the usual unprofitable debates upon human theories and opinions were to be deplored and avoided, no valid objection could lie against a public defence of revealed truth, for which the Scripture afforded abundant precedent, he at length informed Mr. Birch of his willingness to meet Mr. Walker.
These facts are of some importance, because Mr. Campbell, from the numerous public discussions in which he was subsequently engaged, came to be regarded by many as a person disposed to provoke debate, and as seeking opportunity to assail the religious views of others. The history of the case shows, however, that here, as heretofore, he was acting entirely on the defensive; that he was placed under an imperious necessity to appear in behalf of the interests
RULES OF THE DEBATE. 17
of truth, and that he had not in any respect provoked or originated controversy with the Pædobaptists.
As soon as Mr. Walker heard of Mr. Campbell's acceptance, he addressed to him the following note, which, in its style and spirit, shows sufficiently who was the dictating and leading party:
Mr. Walker, it thus appeared, had decided that the moderators should refrain from giving judgment upon the merits of the discussion, and had selected on his side Mr. Findley, who had already, as has been seen, signalized on various occasions his intense hostility to Mr. Campbell. The latter chose, on his part, Mr. Jacob Martin, and the following rules for the discussion were adopted:
"1. Each speaker shall have the privilege of speaking forty minutes without interruption, if he thinks proper to use them all. 2. Mr. Walker shall open the debate and Mr. Campbell shall close it. 3. The moderators are merely to keep order, not to pronounce judgment on the merits of the debate. 4. The proper subject of the ordinance of baptism is first to be discussed, then the mode of baptism. 5. The debate must be conducted with decorum, and all improper allusions or passionate language guarded against. 6. The debate shall
18 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
be continued from day to day till the people are satisfied, or till the moderators think that enough has been said on each topic of debate."
Monday morning, the 19th of June, having been appointed as the time for the commencement of the discussion, the parties assembled, accordingly, early on that day at the place agreed upon, Mr. Campbell being accompanied by his father and a few friends who felt a particular interest in the result. The place selected was Mt. Pleasant, in Ohio, a village some twenty-three miles distant from Mr. Campbell's residence, and situated in the midst of a very beautiful and fertile country, gently undulating and greatly improved by the careful culture and industry characteristic of the Quaker farmers who constituted a large portion of the surrounding population. Comfortable dwellings, rich fields of clover, substantial fences and thrifty orchards greeted the eye on every side, with here and there luxuriant groves or smaller clumps of stately forest trees. This region was quite thickly settled, and as considerable interest in the subject had been already created, and public polemical discussions were at this time quite a novelty, a large and attentive assembly was in attendance.
Immediately upon his arrival, Mr. Campbell was privately informed by several persons that Mr. Walker, under the impression that he was of an irascible temperament, had intimated his intention to throw him off his guard by irritating language, so as to gain the advantage over him. Mr. Walker, however, had been entirely misinformed, as Mr. Campbell, though of an earnest and ardent nature, was remarkably self-possessed and firm; and if he really intended to pursue the course stated, he thought it best to abandon his purpose.
ARGUMENT FROM CIRCUMCISION. 19
An interview of more than an hour which he had with Mr. Campbell before the debate began may perhaps have undeceived him; but, however this may have been, it is certain that he made no such attempt, but acted from the beginning to the end of the discussion in a much more gentlemanly manner than Mr. Campbell anticipated, so that the debate was conducted throughout with a commendable degree of coolness and moderation.
Mr. Walker's first speech was very short, simply stating the argument upon which throughout he chiefly relied.
"My friends," said he, "I don't intend to speak long at one time, perhaps not more than five or ten minutes, and will therefore come to the point at once: I maintain that baptism came in the room of circumcision; that the covenant on which the Jewish Church was built, and to which circumcision is the seal, is the same with the covenant on which the Christian Church is built, and to which baptism is the seal; that the Jews and the Christians are the same body politic under the same lawgiver and husband; hence the Jews were called the congregation of the Lord; and the Bridegroom of the Church says, 'My love, my undefiled is one' -- consequently the infants of believers have a right to baptism."
Mr. Campbell, upon rising, after a modest exordium which was well calculated to gain the favorable attention of the audience, went on to add some remarks in justification of the practice of public discussion which had been recently with himself and his father a subject of careful inquiry. After then referring to his own change of views in reference to baptism, he entered upon the refutation of the argument stated by Mr. Walker, showing that Pædobaptists acted as if they did not themselves believe it true, since, in point of fact,
20 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
they did not put baptism in the room of circumcision, as they did not confine it to males only and extend it to servants as well as children; perform it on the eighth day, etc.; and then proceeded to point out various differences between the two institutions which rendered the supposed substitution of the one for the other impossible. Among these, he particularizes the fact that circumcision required only carnal descent from Abraham, or covenant relation to Abraham, but that baptism demanded faith in Christ as its indispensable prerequisite; and that baptism differed from circumcision in the nature of the blessings it conveyed, which were spiritual and not temporal, etc.
"Baptism," said he, "is connected with the promise of the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit." This utterance is worthy of notice as his first definite and public recognition of the peculiar office of baptism. While, however, he thus, in 1820, distinctly perceived and asserted a scriptural connection between baptism and remission of sins, he seems at this time to have viewed it only in the light of an argument, and to have had but a faint appreciation of its great practical importance. A momentary and passing glance only seems as yet to have been directed to the great purpose of baptism, which subsequently assumed so conspicuous a position in the restoration of the primitive gospel.
As to the differences alleged between baptism and circumcision, Mr. Walker affected to regard them as of little consequence, saying in general that Christ had a right to add or alter as he pleased, and giving as a reason for the selection of the eighth day for circumcision that the Jewish mother was ceremonially unclean seven days, and was not permitted to accompany the child to the sanctuary at an earlier period. Mr.
ARGUMENT FROM THE COVENANTS. 21
Campbell's superior knowledge of the Bible enabled him at once to confute this assertion and to show from Lev. xii. 2-4, that the mother was not permitted to come into the sanctuary until the end of forty days, and furthermore that the eighth day had been appointed four hundred years before the giving of the law which designated the periods of purification. The chief point debated, however, was the identity of the covenants on which the Jewish and Christian institutions rested, as asserted by Mr. Walker. In refutation of this, Mr. Campbell adduced Paul's account of the "new" covenant, founded upon "better promises," and the subject was discussed at considerable length.
Such were some of the principal points brought forward during the first day. As Mr. Walker used considerable repetition and often recurred to his argument from the covenants without considering the refutation given by Mr. Campbell, the latter employed a portion of his time in directing the attention of the audience to some of the general principles of the Reformation he was laboring to establish; which, if admitted, must sweep away the entire foundation of Mr. Walker's system. Some of these were: the supreme authority of Scripture, and the necessity of a positive command for every religious institution, which in no case could be based upon mere reasoning or upon human tradition.
On the following morning, Mr. Walker reiterated his views concerning the covenants, and appealed to the four cases of household baptism mentioned in the New Testament as evidence that infants were baptized in apostolic times. Mr. Campbell, however, showed it to be wholly without proof that there were infants in any of these families. He proved, on the contrary, from incidental circumstances stated in each case, that there
22 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
could have been none. "All the house of Cornelius," as McLean concisely remarks, "feared God and received the Holy Spirit, Lydia's household were comforted as brethren. The word of the Lord was spoken to all in the jailer's house, and they all rejoiced, believing in God as well as himself. All the house of Crispus believed on the Lord, and the house of Stephanas are said to have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints. Now, if these things which are affirmed of all the baptized will not apply to infants, then it is plain there were no infants baptized in those houses."
Finding that Mr. Walker continued to repeat his argument from the covenants, Mr. Campbell resolved to give it a more thorough sifting, especially as Mr. Walker seemed to labor under the impression that he desired to evade it. Intimating, therefore, that it was his purpose to publish the debate, he propounded certain queries to Mr. Walker, in order that he might have a precise statement of the ground he occupied and forestall any charges of misrepresentation. Mr. Walker, admitting that the positions attributed to him were correctly stated as written down by Mr. Campbell, proposed to him in turn certain questions, which he answered in his next speech, in which he again proposed questions to Mr. Walker. At this juncture he was interrupted by Mr. Findley, who objected to this mode of proceeding. He said that, "as the object of this meeting was the edification of the public, he could not conceive how the asking and answering of questions could promote their edification. He desired that we should proceed in some way more conducive to their edification." To this Mr. Campbell replied: "Mr. Findley, you are doubtless an advocate for the Westminster Creed and Catechism, and, I presume, as such, must
THE SPIRITUAL COVENANT. 23
agree with your brethren that the catechetical mode of instruction is the best. As we are now proceeding as the Westminster divines direct, I think you cannot without a dereliction of principle object." This effectually silenced Mr. Findley's objections, and Mr. Walker went on, in reply to Mr. Campbell's queries, to assert:
"That temporal and spiritual blessings were enjoyed under both covenants through the righteousness of Christ, and that the covenants were therefore the same in this respect. He added that all the blessings mankind ever enjoyed, even the very least, were enjoyed through Christ's righteousness."
Mr. Walker asserted also,
"That the duties incumbent upon the subjects of both covenants were the same."
24 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
"That is," said Mr. Campbell, "'an eye for an eye' and 'a tooth for a tooth' is the same as 'resist not evil' -- 'hate your enemy' is the same as 'love your enemies.'... The paying of tithes to the Levites, the buying and selling slaves of the heathen, etc., are all the same in substance with paying stipends to the clergy, buying and selling slaves in the United States, etc."
Mr. Walker affirmed further,
"That there were no penalties under either covenant."
This extraordinary declaration was readily exposed by a reference to the numerous penalties denounced against violations of the Mosaic law (Deut. xxviii.), and to the punishments attached to the New, as in 1 Cor. xi.
Mr. Walker then finally urged,
"That Abraham was not the father of a twofold seed, but of the faithful alone."
Mr. Walker now abandoned, somewhat hastily, his favorite argument from the covenants, which, under Mr. Campbell's inquisition, had led him to make assertions so unwarrantable; and passing to the argument from antiquity, adduced some of the primitive fathers to prove
ARGUMENT FROM ANTIQUITY. 25
the existence of the practice of infant baptism in the early Church.
Admitting that both infant baptism and infant sprinkling were very ancient practices, Mr. Campbell denied that mere antiquity could prove them to be right, since many things were introduced, even in the first and second centuries, which are admitted to be corruptions, and which would have to be received upon the same ground; as, for instance, the divine right of episcopacy, the observance of Easter, the celibacy of the clergy, the doctrine of purgatory, etc. He affirmed, however, that infant baptism was not taught or practiced for many years after the apostolic age, there being no record extant that mentions it for at least one hundred and fifty years after the Christian era, the testimony of the primitive fathers being, up to this time, exclusively in favor of believers' baptism. "The first, indeed, who mentions infant baptism," said he, "is Tertullian, who flourished from A. D. 194 to 216, and is ranked among the writers of the third century. And even he speaks of it to disapprove of it, and says of it, along with other things of a similar nature, 'If you demand a law for these practices taken from the Scriptures, we cannot find one there, but we must answer that it is tradition that has established them, custom that has authorized them and faith that has made them to be observed.'"
During this part of the discussion, Mr. Findley again interrupted Mr. Campbell, and objected to his reading passages from Robinson, on the ground that the latter had impugned the character of St. Cyprian. After some delay, the question was referred to the assembly, which decided, by a large majority, that the extracts should be read. The testimony of the fathers having been fully examined upon the subject of the origin of
26 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
infant baptism, the debate was adjourned for half an hour at two o'clock on Tuesday, with the understanding that, on reassembling, the action, or, as it is termed, the mode, of baptism was to be discussed. Mr. Campbell was surprised to find, when the time arrived, that Mr. Findley, at the instance of Mr. Walker, wished to limit the further discussion to one speech on each side. This desire for so abrupt a termination he had not expected from those who in the beginning had proposed to adjourn from day to day until everything was fully discussed, but he consented to close with two speeches on each side, on the ground that if it was sufficient for them it was quite sufficient for him.
Mr. Walker then went on to adduce the usual arguments to prove that "pouring and sprinkling are scriptural modes of baptism, urging that the expression 'in water' might be rendered with water, and that [Gr: baptize] did not necessarily signify to dip, but to sprinkle or pour, because in some cases it implies 'to wash.'" In reply. Mr. Campbell quoted the eminent Presbyterian translator and critic, Dr. George Campbell, affirming that [Gr: baptize] should be rendered immerse or dip, and that in construction with it the preposition [Gr:] should be translated in, and not with. These concessions he corroborated by the authority of a number of the most eminent scholars and by the standard lexicons of the Greek language. To this Mr. Walker made but a feeble rejoinder, closing with a few remarks to the audience. Mr. Campbell then adduced some additional and overwhelming proofs with regard to the action signified by baptism, and in concluding the debate took occasion to speak thus of the course pursued by Mr. Findley:
"I am sorry I cannot compliment Mr. Findley, Mr. Walker's moderator, for his impartiality on this occasion.
OPINION OF THE CLERGY. 27
His partiality has been so manifest to you all as to require no comment from me. I merely wish to let you know that I am conscious of it, and that my not speaking of it sooner was not from the want of perception, but to preserve that decorum in the course of the debate which I considered comely, and from which I was determined not to be forced, even by treatment still more flagrant.... I freely forgive him, however, attributing it to a misguided zeal, and hope you also will forgive him."
After noticing some other matters, he then thus, in the presence of Mr. Walker and Mr. Findley, fearlessly expressed his opinion of the clergy:
"You have heard," said he to the audience, "and patiently attended to this tedious debate. What are you now to do? I will answer this question for you: Go home and read your Bibles; examine the testimonies of those holy oracles; judge for yourselves, and be not implicit followers of the clergy Amongst the clergy of different denominations, I charitably think, there are a few good men; but, as a body of men, 'they have taken away the key of knowledge from the people.' And how, do you say? By teaching you to look to them for instruction as children to a father; by preventing you from judging for yourselves, through an impression that you are not competent to judge for yourselves. This is a prevailing opinion with many. Of what use, then, is the Bible to the bulk of mankind, if you are not to presume to examine it for yourselves, or to think yourselves capable of judging of it? This is to make you the dupes of haughty leaders, who will cause you to err. To attempt, directly or indirectly, to dissuade you from thinking and examining for yourselves, by putting creeds already framed into your hands, or the works of men instead of the pure Word, is, in my opinion, so far depriving you of the key of knowledge. I do not say that all the clergy are doing so, but I am sure that a vast majority of them are doing so."
It must be confessed that Mr. Campbell's knowledge
28 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
of the existing state of religious society, and his acquaintance with the clergy heretofore, in a good degree justified the conceptions he had formed of them. He had found them, both in Europe and America, opposed to reforms; ever on the alert to repress inquiry; ever seeking to exercise complete control over men's opinions, and ever ready to employ against any who presumed to dispute their authority the unchristian weapons of detraction and persecution. In vain had Luther placed the Bible in the hands of the people, if the clergy alone could comprehend it, and were allowed the exclusive privilege of explaining it. It was, therefore, necessary that men should be exhorted to break the seal thus imposed upon the sacred volume, and to read and examine it for themselves.
"Because I have taken this course," he continued, "which I recommend to you, I have been stigmatized with many opprobrious epithets. Sometimes as being very 'changeable,' although I have to this day undeviatingly pursued the same course which I commenced nearly as soon as I was of age, and have now prosecuted it for almost ten years -- viz., to teach, to believe, to practice nothing in religion for which I cannot produce positive precept or approved precedent from the word of God.... And because I maintain that the New Testament Scriptures are a perfect, complete and perspicuous rule of faith and practice, as far as respects Christianity, I am called an Antinomian and am impeached with utterly throwing away the Old Testament Scriptures. These, and many other insinuations as malicious and unfounded, have been suggested against me, which are as far from my sentiments as the east is distant from the west. These vile slanders may serve the cause of a party for a little while, but will ultimately fall upon the heads of the fabricators of them. If you, then, should think of judging for yourselves, and of following the dictates of the Divine word and your own consciences
MR. CAMPBELL'S CHALLENGE. 29
enlightened by it, you must not think that any strange thing has happened unto you if you should become the objects of reproach. But remember, 'the triumph of the wicked is short,' and 'if ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye.'"
During the progress of this discussion he seems to have become more and more favorable to such methods of public disputation -- a result partly due, perhaps, to his easy triumph over his opponent, and his growing consciousness of the possession of powers peculiarly adapted to such encounters, but still more to the conviction that they afforded a favorable means of diffusing amongst the people a knowledge of those religious principles to which he was himself devoted. On this occasion he felt, moreover, that as the challenge had come from the Pædobaptist ranks, and Mr. Walker had so signally failed to prove infant baptism a divine ordinance, it was becoming in him to return the compliment, and to invite any other Pædobaptist teacher to try to do what Mr. Walker had attempted in vain. He, therefore, in concluding, gave the following general invitation:
"I this day publish to all present that I feel disposed to meet any Pædobaptist minister of any denomination, of good standing in his party, and I engage to prove in a debate with him, either vivâ voce or with the pen, that infant sprinkling is a human tradition and injurious to the well-being of society, religious and political."
Such a challenge as this was well calculated to arrest forcibly the attention of society. This was what Mr. Campbell chiefly designed by it, though he was himself fond of bold and strongly-stated propositions. This was in harmony with the character of his mind, which was disposed to take a wide and exhaustive view of
30 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
every subject and seize at once upon principles and results. He could not be content with the simple and common theme, that "infant sprinkling is a human tradition." He could not confine his thoughts merely to the validity or invalidity of that ordinance, as was customary. He must take a wider view, and believing that this "human tradition carnalized and secularized the Church," "introduced an ungodly priesthood into it" and "prevented the union of Christians," he could well affirm it to be "injurious" to religious "society." And not only so, but knowing that the confounding of the Jewish and Christian institutions which it required led to national religious establishments, and filled the clergy with an eager thirst for political power, and that persecutions had generally proceeded from Pædobaptist parties, he would assert still further that it was "injurious" to political "society" and inimical to public liberty.
In the frankness and fearlessness of his independent spirit, he, from this time forward, held himself in readiness, accordingly, to meet within the lists of public discussion any worthy champion who might appear in opposition to the truths he taught, or in defence of popular religious error. Such was his love for truth that to it he was ever ready to sacrifice ease and reputation, fortune, and even life.
"We ardently wish for," said he -- "we court discussion. Great is the truth and mighty above all things, and shall prevail. We constantly pray for its progress and desire to be valiant for it. Truth is our riches. Blessed are they that possess it in their hearts, who know its value, who feel its power, who live under its influence. They shall lie down in the dust in peace, they shall rest from their labors in hope, and in the morning of the resurrection they shall rise in glory and be recompensed for all their trials and sufferings in its support."
EFFECT OF THE DISCUSSION. 31
As soon as Mr. Campbell had taken his seat, Mr. Findley took it upon himself to give his opinion of the discussion, an when Judge Martin, the other moderator, attempted to express his disapprobation of this violation of the rules agreed upon, Mr. Findley prevented him by telling the audience that the debate was over and that they might now retire. He then took his hat and passed out through the crowd amidst some hisses and other marks of disapprobation. The people, however, with the exception of some two or three persons, kept their places until Thomas Campbell, being called upon to close the meeting, rose and dismissed them in the usual form.
Such were the circumstances and general features of Mr. Campbell's first oral debate, which greatly increased his reputation, and made, at the time, a profound impression on the community around Mount Pleasant. Even the Pædobaptists felt that he had gained the victory, and being greatly chafed at this result, they made various efforts to palliate or remedy the defeat. Mr. Findley was understood to excuse Mr. Walker on the ground of "insufficient preparation." Many, however, were disposed, rather ungenerously, to impute the failure of their cause in his hands to incompetency, and in consequence of the impressions made, Mr. Walker suddenly lost the reputation he had previously enjoyed as a man of superior abilities. The effects of the discussion were much more widely extended by its publication soon afterward from notes of the speeches taken down at the time by Salathiel Curtis, who acted as clerk, and who belonged to neither party. Mr. Campbell added also a variety of curious and interesting matter in the form of an appendix, in which, with his accustomed liberality, he invited Mr. Walker
32 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
by letter to take part, in order that he might have an opportunity of supplying any deficiencies in his portion of the debate. To this, however, Mr. Walker made no response.
It was while awaiting a reply from Mr. Walker, during the month of August (1820), that Mr. Campbell was called to suffer the loss of his youngest child, Amanda Corneigle, who had been born on the 16th of the preceding February. This was the first death in his family, and was deeply felt, for Mr. Campbell was possessed of warm sympathies and strong natural attachments. He found consolation, however, not in dependence upon any religious rite of human invention, but in his firm conviction that the redemption of Christ extended to all dying in infancy and childhood, who were alike incapable of faith and of transgression, but were related to Christ through that humanity which he bore in triumph from the grave, and who were by him even proposed as models to those who sought to enter the kingdom of heaven. Nothing indeed was more striking in Mr. Campbell than his perfect trust in the wisdom, power and goodness of God, so that in all the numerous bereavements he experienced he could say with resignation, "Thy will be done" -- a petition which, when uttered in humility and faith, renders all ordinary means of consolation quite unnecessary. Fond as he was of life, and of those around him in the family circle, no one could be more deeply impressed with the uncertainty and transitory nature of earthly ties. Upon this theme he often dwelt with much feeling, both in social converse and in his prayers, as well as in his public addresses, quoting those touching passages of Scripture which describe man's earthly destiny, with a peculiar emphasis and intonation, which showed how fully he
FAMILY CEMETERY. 33
realized their import, and how familiar such reflections were to his own heart.
It was in harmony with these convictions, and with the event which had just occurred, that he at this time selected a piece of ground upon the farm for a family burial-place. Immediately from the public road in front of the house there rose a sloping hill covered in front by the trees of the orchard and passing at its summit into a broad tract of level table-land. A little to the south of the orchard, where the winding Buffalo swept along the base of a precipitous part of the hill, a slightly-isolated eminence, flanked upon the west by a beautiful clump of native oaks and maples, presented itself as well adapted to the purpose, commanding a charming landscape, and by its elevation and distance being sufficiently retired from the public road below. Upon the side of the orchard, however, it could be readily reached by a pleasant pathway, or farther to the right by vehicles, by means of the winding farm-road which ascended gradually to the cultivated table-land. This spot, being accordingly selected and enclosed, became a favorite place of resort for meditation in the evening hour, and the favorite place of interment for all the branches of the family.
During this year various individuals continued to present themselves for baptism, and were subsequently recognized as members of the church at Brush Run, though some lived at too great a distance to attend regularly. Among these may be mentioned Mrs. Bakewell, an English lady at Wellsburg, who was baptized in the fall of 1820. On the 21st of May following, her daughter, Selina Huntingdon Bakewell, came forward and was baptized by Mr. Campbell at the mouth of Buffalo Creek, the Ohio being very high at
34 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
the time. This young lady had, some years before, become acquainted with John Brown, from seeing him at Mr. Campbell's meetings in Wellsburg. On one occasion he had invited her to accompany him home to see his family, and a warm mutual attachment had grown up between her and Mrs. Campbell, which, a few years later, led to events not less interesting than unexpected.
The first edition of the Debate with Mr. Walker, consisting of one thousand copies, printed at Steubenville, being after some months exhausted, a second one of three thousand copies was published at Pittsburg, to which were appended some severe strictures upon three letters published in the Presbyterian Magazine at Philadelphia, and written by the Rev. Samuel Ralston. These letters professed to review the debate at Mount Pleasant, and labored to defend and maintain the cause of Pædobaptism, but were shown by Mr. Campbell to contain many misrepresentations of his views, and to abound in false criticisms and assertions without proof. To these strictures, Mr. Ralston subsequently replied in a second series of letters, which, together with the first, were published afterward in pamphlet form, and circulated diligently throughout the region of country in which the debate was held. It was soon after this performance that Mr. Ralston received from Washington College the title of Doctor of Divinity.
Mr. Campbell's earnestness to establish correct views of baptism did not proceed from any over-estimate of its importance, but simply from his love of truth and his desire that this institution should be allowed to occupy its proper place in the economy of the gospel. Nor did his pointed exposures of error, or keen retorts in his public discussions of the subject, arise from any
THE SEAL OF THE COVENANT. 35
want of kindly feeling for his opponents, but from his native vivacity and his sincere conviction that the errors he was combating had the most injurious influence upon the interests of religion and of society itself. Upon this point he himself remarked in his printed debate with Mr. Walker:
"With regard to the spirit and temper of mind in which this work was written, I can conscientiously say it was that of benevolence and candor. If any things ironical or acrimonious have been said, it has been owing more to a genius naturally inclined to irony, which I have often to deny, than to a spirit of rancor or bitterness, which I am not conscious of possessing toward any party in Christendom. I sincerely pity and cordially deplore the errors of my Pædobaptist brethren in this important ordinance; not only on account of the perversion of the ordinance, but also on account of its obscuring influence and beclouding effect upon their views of the Church of Christ, its government, its discipline, and, I might add, some of its doctrines."
Among the errors involved in Pædobaptist views, which he discusses in the appendix to the debate, he calls attention particularly to that extravagant conception of baptism which makes it the seal of the covenant of grace. This had been repeatedly asserted by Mr. Walker, as well as by Mr. Ralston in his letters, and, indeed, was the main position of the Pædobaptist system. Adopting the definition of a seal as "a confirmative mark or attestation of some covenant agreement," he shows that baptism could not possibly fulfill this office, and, aware that the best method of confuting error is to present truth, he goes on to exhibit the true seal of the Christian covenant:
"Under the New Testament," says he (Appendix to
36 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
Debate, p. 169-171), "the only seal is that mark or impression which the spirit of God makes upon the heart of the believer; because the subjects of this covenant are personally and not nationally considered. The object of this seal is the personal satisfaction of the individual, and not an external mark set upon him for the confirmation of others, as circumcision was designed more for the satisfaction of others than for the subject of it -- to convince the world that God had actually fulfilled his covenant in raising up a Saviour in the family of Abraham. Hence the seal which is stamped under the New Testament is altogether confirmative of the faith of the subject, and is beautifully described in these words: 'To him that overcometh will I give of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and on the stone a name written which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.'
THE EARNEST OF THE SPIRIT. 37
is visible to himself or to others, in consequence of his obedience to this rite. The Lord's Supper is commemorative of the death of Christ, and an expression of our faith in his atoning sacrifice, by which he has made peace, and by which we enjoy the peace of God in our hearts. It confirms our faith, it promotes our love, it cherishes our hope, and produces benevolence and brotherly kindness. But our participation of it confirms nothing in the covenant of Christ that was not confirmed before. We might, with as much propriety, call all the ordinances of the gospel seals of the covenant of grace as these. The whole blessings of this covenant have been as much enjoyed by many who are now in heaven, who could not, who did not receive these ordinances, as by any other saints in heaven or on earth. The thief upon the cross had as full an enjoyment of them as any other in ancient or modern times. And many, both under the patriarchal and Christian age, have had all the blessings of redemption as fully bestowed upon them as any who have been baptized and have participated of the Lord's Supper. Now, if baptism and the Lord's Supper were the seals of this covenant, it would follow that those who never had received them were deprived of the security for the enjoyment of this covenant; and, of course, had no confirmation of it to them. How much more rationally does the apostle speak of that seal which all true Christians enjoy (Eph. i. 13)!--'In whom also after that ye believed ye were SEALED with that holy spirit of promise which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession unto the praise of his glory.' On these words let it be observed:
38 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
in the same epistle (Eph. iv. 30): 'Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, 'whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.'
It was thus that Mr. Campbell ever sought for truth alone, and ever preferred to be "taught of God" in the infallible revelations of the inspired Word, rather than to adopt the assumptions and dogmas of sectarian theology. Had he sought, indeed, merely to expose the existing errors of religious society, his work would have been defective, and might have tended to promote infidelity rather than religion, since it is in these errors that unbelief seeks its chief apology. But from the first his work was positive. The process of demolition was not with him an ultimate end, for if he sought to remove the awkward and rickety structures of partyism,
A POSITIVE CHANGE. 39
or the broken and accumulated rubbish of human tradition, it was that he might build again upon their ancient sites the bulwarks and towers of Zion. He endeavored, therefore, to replace human creeds and confessions by the Divine Testimony; sectarian division by brotherly union; clerical tyranny by Christian liberty; and the pretended "seal" of infant sprinkling by the reception of that "Holy Spirit of promise" which is, to every true believer, the abiding earnest of a heavenly inheritance.
[ 40 ]
The people, on the other hand, seemed to have quietly surrendered into the hands of the clergy all power of discrimination and all independence of thought in religious matters. It seemed in vain that Luther had
BIBLE FULLY RESTORED. 41
released the Bible from imprisonment and given it into the hands of the people in their mother tongue. Clerical art had succeeded in imposing upon it a seal which the laity dared not break, so that while Protestants were amused with the idea that they were in possession of the Bible, this cherished distinction became little else than an empty boast, so long as they could be persuaded that they were unable to understand it.
"What is the great difference," asked Thomas Campbell, "between withholding the Scriptures from the laity, as the Romanists do, and rendering them unintelligible by arbitrary interpretation, forced criticisms and fanciful explanations, as many Protestants do, or making the people believe that they are nearly unintelligible by urging the necessity of what is called a learned clergy to explain them? If a translation can only be understood through the originals, might it not as well have been withheld? If the labors of a learned clergy be still necessary to render a translation intelligible, upon whose skill and fidelity as translators and upon whose judgment as expositors the people must still rely, and to whom they must still look up as their religious guides and dictators, of what use is a translation?"
The sacred volume, thus trammeled as it was among Protestant parties, had, nevertheless, as in the case of Luther, set free from spiritual bondage individuals here and there, who were more or less successful in their pleadings for reform. Among them all, however, there had been no one who took hold of the leading errors of the time with so bold and vigorous a grasp as Alexander Campbell. It was his great aim to liberate those to whom he had access from the thraldom of human tradition; to restore the gospel to its primitive simplicity and the Church to its pristine unity; and he sought to accomplish these noble purposes by putting men really and fully into possession of the Bible. In this respect
42 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
his work was, as it were, complementary to that of Luther. The German Reformer gave to the people the opportunity of reading the Scripture. It was the part of Mr. Campbell to convince them that they could comprehend it -- a truth which, however plainly asserted in Protestant standards, the clergy of no prominent Paedobaptist party were, at this period, willing practically to concede.
Acting himself upon the principles he taught to others, he was accustomed to contemplate the Bible as if it had just fallen into his hands from heaven, and utterly disregarding all systems and theories, and even his own previous conclusions, he was wont to study it constantly with a free and unbiased mind. He had thus made surprising attainments in his knowledge of the word of God. Contemplating the Bible as a connected whole, and classifying its facts, precepts and promises under the different institutions, Patriarchal, Jewish and Christian, he reached enlarged and clear views of their mutual relations and dependence, and was enabled to eliminate from the gospel the errors with which modern Judaizing teachers had corrupted it. Hence his views of the "Sabbath" and his "Sermon on the Law." Hence those wide and comprehensive views of the divine plan of salvation which constantly confounded mere textuary preachers. Hence that freshness and even startling novelty, and that persuasive truthfulness, which pervaded all his public efforts, and which everywhere incited men to religious inquiry and diligent searching of the Scriptures.
His debate with Mr. Walker, though mainly confined to a special subject, was by no means wanting in these characteristic traits. In his exposition of the covenants; the temporal and temporary nature of the Jews' religion;
ADAMSON BENTLEY. 43
the spirituality and glory of Christ's kingdom; the distinctions between moral and positive institutions; the definite purpose of Christian baptism; the inanity of human traditions and opinions, and the supreme authority of the word of God, he threw into the discussion thoughts and facts as new to the religious mind of that period as they were essential to true conceptions of the gospel of Christ. It was on account of this freedom of investigation -- this undenominational independence of belief -- thatmany, even of the Baptists, when the debate was published, though pleased with the triumph of their cause, remained extremely dubious in regard to the orthodoxy of their champion. Quite a number of them, however, less enslaved to party principles and more earnest in pursuit of truth, were greatly struck with the new views presented and the new spirit in which their favorite tenet had been so successfully defended.
Among these, Adamson Bentley, of Warren, Ohio, deserves particular mention. He had, eleven years before, accidentally met with Thomas Campbell and his family, as formerly related, on the way from Philadelphia, but without receiving any personal introduction. Being a preacher of considerable ability, a man of piety and of thoughtful, inquiring mind, a sincere lover of the Bible and of good men, he had attained great influence among the Baptist churches on the Western Reserve -- a term applied to a large, fertile and remarkably level portion of Northern Ohio, which had been reserved in the original grant of territory by the Government in reference to certain military claims.
Through this now thickly-settled region quite a number of Baptist churches had already been formed, and Mr. Bentley had recently induced a number of their
44 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
preachers to hold annually what were called "ministers' meetings," for the purpose of conversing upon the Scriptures and upon their own religious progress, and improving each other by criticisms upon each other's sermons. In these meetings he acted as secretary, and contributed largely to render them profitable and interesting. It was also agreed upon that the churches should unite to form an association, and on the 30th day of August, 1820, a little more than two months after the Walker Debate, the messengers appointed by the churches met and constituted the "Mahoning Baptist Association." In the spring of 1821, Mr. Bentley obtained a copy of the published Walker Debate, with which he was highly pleased; and learning that the Redstone Association was opposed to Mr. Campbell and was endeavoring to injure him, he said to his friends that, in his opinion, Mr. Campbell had done more for the Baptists than any man in the West, and that he intended, on the first opportunity, to go and pay him a visit. This intention he shortly fulfilled, and the interview led to very important consequences. It is thus detailed by Mr. Campbell (Mil. Harb. for 1848, p.523):
"In the summer of 1821, while sitting in my portico after dinner, two gentlemen in the costume of clergymen, as then technically called, appeared in my yard, advancing to the house. The elder of them, on approaching me, first introduced himself, saying, 'My name, sir, is Adamson Bentley; this is Elder Sidney Rigdon, both of Warren, Ohio.' On entering my house, and on being introduced to my family, after some refreshment, Elder Bentley said, 'Having just read your debate with Mr. John Walker of our State of Ohio, with considerable interest, and having been deputed by the Mahoning Baptist Association last year to ordain some elders and to set some churches in order, which brought us within
MAHONING ASSOCIATION.       45
little more than a day's ride of you, we concluded to make a special visit, to inquire of you particularly on sundry matters of much interest to us set forth in the debate, and would be glad, when perfectly at your leisure, to have an opportunity to do so.' I replied that, as soon as the afternoon duties of my seminary were discharged, I would take pleasure in hearing from them fully on such matters.
46 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
section of Ohio, for the purpose of making public discourses before the people, and then for criticising them in concione clerum, and for propounding and answering questions on the sacred Scriptures, were about this time instituted and conducted with great harmony and much advantage. I became a regular attendant, and found in them much pleasure and profit.
"They were conducted in the following manner: A, B, C, and D were appointed to address the public assembled on the occasion. A at a given time delivered a discourse, B succeeded him. In the evening all the speakers and other ministers met in an appointed room, and in the presence of the more elderly and interested brethren, and those looking forward to public stations in the Church, the discourses of A and B were taken up and examined by all the speakers present, and sometimes strictly reviewed as to the matter of them, the form of them and the mode of delivering them. Doctrinal questions and expositions of Scripture occasionally were introduced and debated. The next day C and D addressed the assembled audience, and so on, until all were heard and all had passed through the same ordeal. These meetings were not appreciated too highly, as the sequel developed, inasmuch as they disabused the minds of the Baptist ministry in the Mahoning Association of much prejudice, and prepared the way for a very great change of views and practice all over those 3,000,000 acres of nine counties which constitute the Western Reserve."
On the 14th of July of this year (1821), about the time of Mr. Bentley's visit, another daughter was born to Mr. Campbell. As her mother greatly admired the articles he had written against social and fashionable follies on his first arrival at Washington, and to which he had appended the signature of CLARINDA, she desired that this name should be given to the child, which was accordingly done. This little incident furnishes a good index to the character of this excellent woman, who highly approved of plainness and simplicity in
SIDNEY RIGDON. 47
dress and manners, and who, like her father, was utterly opposed to the innovations which society was gradually making in the simple customs and modes of life of the early settlers.
Mr. Campbell's attendance at the "ministers' meetings" referred to above gave to them a new and a peculiar interest. His extensive knowledge of the Scriptures, and his clear views of the gospel and its institutions, enabled him to resolve many difficulties presented by the preachers. He led them to perceive that by abandoning the fragmentary and textuary plan of consulting and expounding Scripture, and by taking it in its proper connection, it became its own interpreter and revealed all its truth to the honest heart. Especially did he mark out clearly the important distinction between faith and opinion, previously but dimly perceived, showing that men's conjectures and theories respecting matters of which the Bible does not speak should never be made terms of communion or be allowed to create religious differences.
During this period, Mr. Campbell continued to visit Pittsburg occasionally, and being still connected with the Redstone Association, was accustomed to preach for the Baptist church there, which had now increased to more than one hundred members, many of whom were favorable to reformation. In 1822, through Mr. Campbell's influence, Sidney Rigdon was induced to accept a call from this church to become its pastor. He was a man of more than ordinary ability as a speaker, possessing great fluency and a lively fancy which gave him great popularity as an orator. He was brother-in-law to Adamson Bentley, both having married daughters of a Mr.Brooks, of Warren. As he professed to be favorable to the Reformation, Mr. Campbell was
48 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
desirous of introducing him to Walter Scott, who, at this time, was still delivering weekly lectures on the New Testament to thelittle church over which Mr. Forrester had presided. Mr. Campbell desiredthat the two churches should become united, but these communities continuedfor a considerable time rather shy of each other, each being sensitive withregard to its own peculiarities.
On the 10th November of this year (1822), Mrs. Campbell presented her husband with a son, who was named John Brown, but who died upon the day of his birth. Soon after, Mr. Campbell's own health began to suffer from the confinement and labors of Buffalo Seminary, and as, from his enlarged intercourse with the Baptist churches, the demand for his services as a preacher was becoming constantly more frequent and more urgent, he concluded to discontinue the school. Although he had always plenty of pupils, and often was unable to receive all that desired to come, he found that it did not subserve to any great extent, for reasons formerly given, the chief purpose for which he had established it, which was the preparation of young men to labor in behalf of the primitive gospel. Having realized in publishing the Debate with Mr. Walker the power of the press to disseminate his views, as he was now in consequence often receiving letters of inquiry and solicitation for visits and preaching from many quarters, he began to think of issuing, in monthly parts, a work specially devoted to the interests of the proposed Reformation.
This project marks the era of a very important change in Mr. Campbell's religious history. The failure of his father's endeavors and his own to effect a reformation of the existing parties upon the principles of the Declaration and Address, had caused him to
A WIDER FIELD. 49
despair of ever seeing a favorable and extended change in religious society. He had still labored, it is true, in behalf of the cause he had espoused, but it was without the expectation of being able to do much more than erect a single congregation with which he could enjoy the social institutions of the gospel. His aims were at that time quite limited. He had not the remotest idea of assuming the position of a public reformer, or of involving himself in the strifes of religious society. Influential Baptists, such as Deacon Withington, of New York, and Deacon Shields, of Philadelphia, impressed with his talents, had urged him at the time of his visit to those cities in 1815 to settle in one of them; but he declined on the ground that he did not think any of the churches there would submit to the primitive order of things, and said that he would rather live and die in the backwoods than be the occasion of creating divisions among them. He therefore preferred to pursue the occupation of a farmer, and to instruct gratuitously the people within the range of his personal influence. It was not until after he saw the effect of the debate into which he was reluctantly drawn with Mr. Walker that he began to take new views of his position, and to cherish, for the first time, the hope that something might be done upon a more extended scale to rouse the people from their spiritual lethargy. Guided providentially step by step, he had been brought to an eminence from which he could survey the wide field in which he was destined to labor, and he began at once to nerve himself for the undertaking.
After conferring with his father and with Walter Scott and other friends, who warmly approved his design, he issued in the spring of 1823 a prospectus for the work, which he proposed to call "The Christian
50 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
Baptist" -- a title adopted not without some debate, since the term "Baptist" was a party designation. As the reformers were, however, at this time identified with the Baptists, it was thought expedient, in order to avoid offending religious prejudice, and to give greater currency to the principles which were to be presented, to make this concession so far as the name of the paper was concerned, qualifying "Baptist" by the word "Christian." In the prospectus the nature and objects of the publication were candidly and clearly stated, as follows:
"The 'Christian Baptist' shall espouse the cause of no religious sect, excepting that ancient sect 'called Christians first at Antioch.' Its sole object shall be the eviction of truth and the exposing of error in doctrine and practice. The editor, acknowledging no standard of religious faith or works other than the Old and New Testament, and the latter as the only standard of the religion of Jesus Christ, will, intentionally at least, oppose nothing which it contains and recommend nothing which it does not enjoin. Having no worldly interest at strike from the adoption or reprobation of any articles of faith or religious practice, having no gift nor religious emolument to blind his eyes or to pervert his judgment, he hopes to manifest that he is an impartial advocate of truth."
Although the number of subscribers at first obtained was not large, he determined to go on with the work and, with his usual energy and enterprise, having concluded to set up a printing establishment near his own house, he purchased the necessary type, presses, etc., and erected a building for the purpose near the creek-fording, at the foot of the cemetery hill. Engaging, then, the services of some practical printers, his quick apprehension soon made him familiar with all the details
CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. 51
of the office, which thenceforth occupied much of his attention. He became an expert proof-reader; supplied regularly the paper and materials needed, and continued to conduct the printing business with the greatest economy and with surprising activity and success uninterruptedly from this time forward for more than forty years. It may be here mentioned that during the first seven years, ending July 4th, 1830, he issued of his own works, from his little country printing-office, no less than forty-six thousand volumes.
It was in the month of May of this year, while preparing for the printing of the "Christian Baptist," that Mr. Campbell received a letter from Mr. McCalla, a Presbyterian preacher of Augusta, Kentucky, intimating his willingness to accept the challenge or invitation given at the close of the Walker debate. Mr. McCalla had been a lawyer, and had quite a high reputation among the Presbyterians for his argumentative powers. It was therefore greatly desired by his friends and by the Paedobaptist community that he should have an opportunity to repair, if possible, the injury which had accrued to their cause by the generally admitted failure of Mr. Walker.
After ascertaining, Mr. McCalla's standing, Mr. Campbell agreed to meet him. Mr. McCalla then proposed twenty-one questions to Mr. Campbell, with a view to some modification of the proposition offered. This led to a correspondence, which was continued to the close of the following September, and which was not always distinguished by that becoming courtesy which marked the first communications. From Mr. Campbell's experience with the, clergy thus far, and his views of their position and influence in the religious world, he did not, as may well be supposed, entertain
52 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
the most reverential feelings toward them; and as they on their part naturally felt indignant at the efforts made to weaken their authority, it became difficult for them, in their intercourse with Mr. Campbell, to avoid betraying the hostile feelings by which they were governed. Mr. McCalla accordingly did not fail in the course of the correspondence to refer to various things slanderously reported of Mr. Campbell, and to intimate that until such rumors were corrected, "no minister of the divine Saviour could desire any other intercourse with him than as an adversary." He consented, however, finally to meet Mr. Campbell on the proposition announced at the close of the Walker debate, but without agreeing to any specific regulations or settled order for the discussion. Mr. Campbell, nevertheless, agreed to meet him, and, in his letter closing the correspondence said:
"It appears that your conscience was not too tender on the subject of my character for orthodoxy and piety to prevent you from insinuating, nay, declaring, that 'Dr. Priestly's disciple was my favorite author,' contrary to all evidence or fact from anything in my writings, or from any respectable source. You shall, perhaps, soon know that I have no favorite author in religion except one, and that man who says I am a first or second-hand disciple of Priestley or of any other Socinian author, is a man of no piety or respectability of character, nor is there a man living who can say, or dare say, in my presence, that I ever expressed a sentiment derogatory to the Lord Jesus as a Divine Redeemer -- as Emmanuel, God with us. Such insinuations may be circulated in Kentucky by those who would wish to impair my influence in supporting a truth more hated by those of the 'orthodox and pious' than Socinianism, but here we regard them not. As to my piety, I know I have nothing to boast of; God alone is judge. As to my external deportment, men can judge; and whenever
CHRISTIAN BAPTIST. 53
you bring forward any specific charge of immorality or unchristian deportment, we shall refute it.... I request that you will meet me at Washington the 14th day of October, in order to arrange the business, for you have not agreed to meet me on any of the terms proposed in my last. At least, you have not informed me so. But you have told me that you are to meet me as an adversary -- as 'ho Satanas.' Well, I hope that you will remember that when Michael, the archangel, disputed with the adversary about the body of Moses, he durst not bring against him a railing accusation. As you are celebrated for piety and orthodoxy, and I for the want of them, a great deal will be expected of you and very little from your humble servant, A. CAMPBELL."
During the period of this correspondence, clerical enmity and detraction seemed to be constantly accumulating against Mr. Campbell, who, nevertheless, confident in the possession and in the power of truth, manfully braved the storm, and in the "Christian Baptist, " the first number of which appeared 4th July, 1823, fearlessly began such an exposition of primitive Christianity and of existing corruptions as was well calculated to startle the entire religious community. This, indeed, was what he designed to do, for he conceived the people to be so completely under the dominion of the clergy at this time that nothing but bold and decisive measures could arouse them to proper inquiry. In his Preface, therefore, he openly announced his intention to pursue a perfectly independent course.
We expect to prove," said he, "whether a paper perfectly independent, free from any controlling jurisdiction except the Bible, will be read, or whether it will be blasted by the poisonous breath of sectarian zeal and of an aspiring priesthood." His mottoes, too, prefixed to the work, were characteristic: "Style no man on earth your father, for he alone is your Father who is in heaven, and all ye are brethren.
54 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
Assume not the title of Rabbi, for ye have only One Teacher; neither assume the title of leader, for ye have only One Leader--the Messiah." Matt. xxiii. 8-10. "Prove all things, hold fast that which is good." -- Paul the Apostle.
He commenced the work with a brief view of the Christian religion as first established, showing the lofty expectations entertained from prophecy in relation to the advent of the Messiah, depicting his meek and lowly character as he actually appeared, and the glorious victory be accomplished as a suffering Saviour. He dwelt upon the perfection of his teachings, and upon the conduct and life of the first disciples and of the apostles his ambassadors to the world, so different from those of modern religious teachers. He then described the primitive churches as to their bond of union, the faith and love of Christ; their independence; their mode of acting in a church capacity and not through independent societies, and their devotion to good works. With this picture he then contrasted that of modern Christianity, with its corruptions and divisions.
So great, at this period, was the antagonism between Mr. Campbell and the clergy that he was induced to animadvert with great severity upon their claims and their proceedings. Having entrenched himself in the position that "nothing was to be admitted as a matter of faith or duty for which there could not be produced a divine precept or a Scripture precedent," he made from this impregnable fastness many a sharp foray into the territories over which the clergy had so long
THE CLERGY CENSORED. 55
exercised almost undisputed sway. That caustic sarcasm and playful irony to which he was naturally disposed, but to which decorum forbade him to give utterance as a preacher, found expression through the pen of the editor, and much of the earlier numbers of the paper was devoted to lively sketches of the working of the clerical machinery in the manufacture of preachers; in the securing and enlarging of salaries; in the obtaining of high positions and of pompous titles, and in the extending of authority by means of "confederations in the form of general councils, synods, assemblies, associations and conferences." He was at some pains to expose, from official documents, the large expense and small avails of missions to the heathen as conducted by particular sects, and the petty methods resorted to for the purpose of obtaining contributions, which he conceived to be wholly unworthy the character of the gospel. Costly meeting-houses and organs; selling of pews; "missionary wheels," "stalls" and "boxes;" priestly tithes and offerings, with various other features of modern Christianity, were commented on with unexampled freedom, pungency and vigor. Mr. Campbell had become fully convinced, both by observation and experience, that religious bigotry could not be overcome while the clergy were permitted to use their usurped and factitious power in fostering and supporting it, and he therefore sought to deprive them of an influence which they had consecrated to partyism. In order to accomplish this, he had recourse to the Bible alone, being satisfied that the sectarian spirit which then controlled religious society could be cast out only in the name of Christ; and, though he foresaw the violence of the conflict, he justly thought, to use the language of Macaulay, that "the miseries of continued possession
56 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
were more to be dreaded than the struggles of the tremendous exorcism."
He continued to fulfill his task, therefore, with unfaltering faith and courage. Neither the calumnies by which his opponents sought to excite public odium against him, nor the gentle remonstrances and cautions of timid friends, availed to move him from his purpose. Thomas Campbell, alarmed at the adventurous boldness of his son in handling so roughly things and persons hitherto considered as sacred by the people, expostulated often, and sought by contributing to the paper milder essays (signed T. W.) to soften or extenuate censures whose substantial justness he could not but acknowledge. But the honest and candid utterances of a soul earnest for truth and right could not be repressed. Utterly denying the propriety of the distinction between the clergy and laity, Mr. Campbell believed that the so-called "clergy" had taken away the key of knowledge from "the people," and "kept them in ignorance" by assuming to be the only authorized expounders of the will of God. He found them, therefore, directly in the way of the accomplishment of his great purpose, which was to convince the people that they could understand the Scriptures for themselves. It was necessary, accordingly, that the claims of the clergy should be disproved, and their assumed authority overthrown, before the people could be released from spiritual bondage.
"We wish," said he, "cordially wish, to take the New Testament out of the abuses of the clergy and put it into the hands of the people. And to do this is no easy task, as the clergy have formed the opinions of nine-tenths of Christendom before they could form an opinion of their own. They have, in order to raise the people's admiration of them for their own advantage, taught them in creeds in sermons, in catechisms,
EXPOSURE OF ABUSES. 57
in tracts, in pamphlets, in primers, in folios, that they alone can expound the New Testament -- that, without them, people are either almost or altogether destitute of the means of grace. They must lead in the devotion of the people; they must consecrate their prayers, their praise; and latterly, they must even open a cattle-show or an exhibition of manufactures with prayers and religious pageantry!"
It was this view of the position and doings of the clergy that led Mr.Campbell to condemn Sunday-schools, missionary, education and even Biblesocieties, as THEN conducted, because he thought them perverted to sectarian purposes. In Sunday-schools the denominational catechism was then diligently taught, and the effort was made to imbue the minds of the children with partisan theology. Missionary societies then labored to propagate the tenets of the party to which each belonged, and even Bible societies seemed to him to be made a means of creating offices and salaries for a few clerical managers, who exercised entire control.
"...I do not oppose, intentionally at least," said he (Christian Baptist, vol. i., p. 208), "the scriptural plan of converting the world.... My opponents do represent me as opposing the means of converting the world, not wishing to discriminate, in my case at least, between a person opposing the abuses of a good cause and the cause itself." Of Bible societies he remarks: "In the multiplication of copies of the Scriptures I do rejoice, although I do conceive even the best of all good works is managed in a way not at all comporting with the precepts of the volume itself. And shall we not oppose the abuses of any principle because of the excellency of the principle itself?"
His chief objection, then, to the instrumentalities employed for missionary and other religious purposes was that, in the hands of the clergy, they were perverted to
58 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
denominational aggrandizement and to the perpetuation of the yoke which they had imposed upon the people.
His view, on the other hand, was that God's revelation was complete, and that it was able, as it affirms of itself, "to make the man of God perfect and thoroughly furnished to every good work." He taught, furthermore, that the Church of Jesus Christ, formed and organized according to this word, with its elders and deacons, was appointed to be "the pillar and ground" or support "of the truth," and that such a society is "the highest tribunal on earth to which an individual Christian can appeal."
"The Lord Jesus Christ," said he, "is the absolute Monarch on whose shoulders is the government, and in whose hands are the reins. That his will, published in the New Testament, is the sole law of the Church; and that every society or assembly meeting once every week in one place, according to this law, or the commandments of this King, requires no other head, king, lawgiver, ruler or lord than this Might One; no other law, rule, formula, canon or decree than his written word; no judicatory, court or tribunal other than the judgment-seat of Christ." (Vol. i., p. 69.) Again, page 205, he says: "I am taught from the Record itself to describe a Church of Christ in the following words: It is a society of disciples professing to believe the one grand fact, the Messiahship of Jesus, voluntarily submitting to his authority and guidance, having all of them in their baptism expressed their faith in him and allegiance to him, and statedly meeting together in one place to walk in all his commandments and ordinances. This society, with its bishop or bishops, and its deacon or deacons, as the case may require, is perfectly independent of any tribunal on earth called ecclesiastical. It knows nothing of superior or inferior church judicatories, and acknowledges no laws, no canons or government other than that of the Monarch of the Universe and his laws. This Church, having
RADICAL REFORMS. 59
now committed unto it the oracles of God, is adequate to all the purposes of illumination and reformation which entered into the design of its founder."
Such being his view of the position occupied by a Church of Christ, he found in this an additional argument against such missionary and other societies as acted independently of church control. "Every Christian," said he (vol. ii., p. 97), "who understands the nature and design, the excellence and glory, of the institution called the Church of Jesus Christ, will lament to see its glory transferred to a human corporation. The Church is robbed of its character by every institution, merely human, that would ape its excellence and substitute itself in its place."
Believing that the primitive Church never transferred any of its duties to other associations, but fulfilled them always in its own character that Christ might be glorified, he was jealous of every separate organization formed to accomplish any of the purposes for which the Church was established.
These were among the radical reforms urged at this time by Mr. Campbell, and in his exposures of prevailing errors, as well as in his developments of the primitive faith and order, he was ably seconded by Walter Scott, who furnished a number of articles for the "Christian Baptist," mostly under the signature of Philip. A series of essays which he commenced in the second number of the paper upon the subject of "Teaching Christianity," may be especially mentioned as developing his favorite theme, the Messiahship of Jesus, in which he shows that this majestic truth constituted the rock on which the Church was founded and the great gospel theme to be preached to the world.
Mr. Campbell has been censured by some for the severity of his strictures at this period upon the clergy
60 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
and their proceedings. A milder course and gentler words, they think, would have succeeded better. It is to be remembered, however, that the milder method had already been tried. No gentler words, no kinder remonstrances, no warmer entreaties, no sounder arguments, could have been employed than those addressed to religious society, and particularly to the clergy, by Thomas Campbell and the "Christian Association." But all these well-meant efforts the clergy had treated with disdain. The soft and harmless missiles of forbearance had been employed apparently to no purpose to induce the clergy to come down from the elevated position they had gained, and from the possession of the spoils they coveted, and it had become necessary to use something more solid and effective in order to compel attention.
It should be remembered, moreover, that Mr. Campbell regarded the Church and the clergy from a point of view very different from the popular one, and did not consider all ministers of religion as "clergy" in the sense he condemned. Hence care is to be exercised in giving to his censures an application no more extensive than he designed. The clergy, in Mr. Campbell's view, consisted of those who, claiming, without credentials, to be "ambassadors of Christ," placed themselves upon apostolic thrones; and, having no new divine revelations, assumed to be the sole authorized expositors of the sacred oracles, denying to the people the right or the power of comprehending or interpreting the Scriptures for themselves, and exercising over men, by means of these false assumptions, a powerful influence, largely devoted to the maintenance of their own usurpations and the religious partyism of the times. He had before his vision the lordly prelates of Europe, and
ARROGANT BAPTIST PREACHERS. 61
especially of the Established Church ofEngland, whose revenues, he shows from public documents, were nearly forty millions of dollars, being two hundred and eight thousand six hundred and eighty dollars per annum more than those of all the remaining clergy of the whole Christian world. With these he associated all in other churches who arrogated to themselves similar official claims, and who sought, each in his own sphere, a similar priestly domination. It is to be particularly noticed that he did not include among the "clergy" whom he denounced the ministers of the Baptist and other independent churches. These, being appointed by the churches, and acting as elders and preachers of the gospel in subordination to just scriptural authority, he constantly recognized as a lawful ministry in the Church, for the accomplishment of the purposes for which it was established on the earth. He thought, indeed, there were some preachers even among the Baptists who were disposed to assume "the airs and arrogance of some Paedobaptist priests," placing themselves, when fresh from college, over the heads of "old and experienced members a thousand times better qualified than they to be overseers." "I hope, however," he adds (C. B. for Oct., 1824), "the number of such among the Baptists is small. Perhaps the whole aggregate number is not greater than the aggregate of good, well-meaning men amongst the Paedobaptist clergy." Again, in the same "address," he says: "Amongst the Baptists it is to be hoped there are but few clergy, and would to God there were none! The grand and distinguishing views of the Baptists must be grossly perverted before they could tolerate one such creature."
It is to be noted, also, that his condemnation of the clergy and their undertakings was not indiscriminate.
62 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
In speaking of their worldly ambitions and desire of aggrandizement, he says (C. B., vol. i., p. 48): "To say that every individual of this nation of clergy is actuated by such motives, and such only, is very far from our intention. There have been good and pious kings, and there are good and pious clergy." Again, in speaking of those who sustained the schemes of the clergy, and of his own aims and purposes in opposing them, he says (Id., p. 89):
"Our views of Christianity differ very materially from the popular views. This we fearlessly and honestly avow. But while we remember our own mistakes and the systems and teaching of our time, we must acknowledge many to be Christians who are led away and corrupted from the simplicity of Christ." Referring to the missionary plans, he says (Id., p. 208): "I am constrained to differ from many whom I love and esteem, and will ever esteem, if we should never agree upon this point, as well as from many whom I cannot love for the truth's sake. At the same time I am very sorry to think that any man should suppose that I am either regardless of the deplorable condition of the heathen world or opposed to any means authorized by the New Testament for either the civilization or salvation of those infatuated pagans." Again, of his motives and designs, he thus speaks (Id. p. 90): "Many will, from various motives, decry the clergy.... In opposing and exposing them and their kingdom, it is not to join the infidel cry against priests and priestcraft; it is not to gratify the avaricious or the licentious; but it is to pull down their Babel, and to emancipate those whom they have enslaved; to free the people from their unrighteous dominion and unmerciful spoliation. We have no system of our own, or of others, to substitute in lieu of the reigning systems. We only aim at substituting the New Testament in lieu of every creed in existence, whether Mohammedan, Pagan, Jewish or Presbyterian. We wish to call Christians to consider that Jesus Christ has made them kings and priests to
PERSONAL INTERCOURSE. 63
God. We neither advocate Calvinism, Arminianism, Socinianism, Arianism, Trinitarianism, Unitarianism, Deism nor Sectarianism, but New Testamentism."
Mr. Campbell, furthermore, would be greatly misunderstood if he were supposed to have cherished feelings of personal unkindness toward those whom he so sternly arraigned before the bar of Scripture on account of their assumptions. While he denounced their errors as a class, he had a very high regard for many of them individually, and exercised Christian benevolence toward them all as men, while he repudiated them as clergymen. Among them hehad many warm personal friends, who understood and esteemed him too well totake umbrage at his essays. There was a charm about Mr. Campbell in his personal intercourse which speedily disarmed all the prejudices which his writings were calculated to excite. In these, like Paul, he appeared in a guise wholly different from that which invested his personal character. For religious errors and for classes of errorists he had in his writings nothing but cold, incisive logic; the crushing strength derived from his singular knowledge of unwelcome facts; the shafts of piercing satire and the sharp, two-edged sword of the divine word. But for men, individually, he had the most affectionate and almost reverential feelings. He could say nothing to wound their sensibilities or to detract in any degree from their real or supposed position. He was the same kind, sympathizing friend, and the same lively, agreeable companion to the clergy of his acquaintance that he was to others, and with that delicate courtesy which always characterized him he forbore to make in their company any direct application of his well-known views. He loved, indeed, to converse with them upon the great themes of nature and
64 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
religion; and he delighted to give them a sharp thrust or a sly rub occasionally in his pleasant, humorous way, in order to set them to thinking, but he never exceeded the boundaries of the most cordial good feeling. In this sort of skirmishing he was almost invariably triumphant, and his keen, flashing wit never shone to greater advantage than in such encounters. Occasionally, however, he would be foiled with his own weapons. One day, Dr. Joseph Doddridge, the Episcopal minister at Wellsburg, for whom he had a very high esteem, was out at his house on a visit. As they were taking a stroll in the orchard, the bell rang for dinner. Having been conversing pleasantly on various subjects and nearing the topic of church government, Mr. Campbell said to the Doctor as they were passing over to the house, and with a sly twinkle in his eye: "Doctor, that is a very ugly story they tell us about Harry the Eighth and Queen Boleyn!" The Doctor, perceiving his drift, and that he meant a blow at the origin of episcopacy, replied instantly: "Yes, sir; a very ugly story. But, Mr. Campbell, we have a good many ugly stories in the BIBLE!" At this repartee they both laughedheartily and came to dinner in high humor, and ever afterward Mr. Campbell's cheery laughter would make the welkin ring when he related, as he often did to his friends, how readily and adroitly the Doctor had parried and returned his thrust.
Mr. Campbell's bold attacks upon the popular clergy, roused, as may well be supposed, on their part an intense indignation. Instead, however, of trying to reform a single abuse, they continued to abuse the individual who dared to urge reform, and all their influence was exerted to put down one whom they regarded as a most dangerous "adversary." In attempting to do this,
REAL PURPOSES. 65
they resorted, unfortunately, to personal detraction and misrepresentation, rather than to truth and Scripture argument, and preferred, in general, to circulate privately such reports as were likely to excite public odium against Mr. Campbell, rather than to accept his liberal offer of page for page in the "Christian Baptist" for manly discussion of the questions involved. They reported that he was a Socinian, because he refused to adopt the terms of scholastic divinity. To this he replied: "We regard Arianism, semi-Arianism and Socinianism as poor, blind, miserable and naked nonsense and absurdity" (C. B. vol. i., p. 443). They charged him with being a "disorganizer." But it was not his aim merely to overthrow the existing order of religious society. He was well aware of the vast benefits resulting to mankind from Christianity, even in its most corrupt forms, and was far from proposing, as seen in the above extracts, to accomplish the merely negative work of subverting these. He desired to dethrone the false, that he might re-establish the true; to replace the traditions of men by the teachings of Christ and the apostles, and to substitute the New Testament for creeds and human formularies. Said he (p. 89):
"To see Christians enjoy their privileges, and to see sinners brought from darkness to light, are the two great objects for which we desire to live, to labor and to suffer reproach. In endeavoring to use our feeble efforts for these glorious objects we have found it necessary, among other things, to attempt to dethrone the reigning popular clergy from their high and lofty seats, which they have been for ages building for themselves. While we attempt to dethrone them, it is solely for this purpose -- that we might enthrone the holy apostles on those thrones which Christ promised them; or rather that we might turn the attention of the people to them placed upon thrones by the Great and Mighty King."
66 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
His work was thus, as said before, eminently positive, designed to restore the pure, primitive gospel with all its ordinances and administrations, and he was careful, therefore, in the "Christian Baptist," to present this for consideration and adoption on the one hand, while, on the other, be exposed the errors of modern systems.
Thus to separate truth from error in relation to the most important of all subjects was certainly the greatest service that any one could have rendered to the world. Under the peculiar circumstances of this period, nothing could have been more desirable or more needed than to bring religious teaching and religious enterprises into exact conformity to the Word of God. Providence had evidently raised up in Alexander Campbell the man for the times. It needed one of an intrepid spirit to brave theological odium and clerical denunciation, and to rebuke the bigotry, sectarianism and venality which existed in the religious world. It needed one, too, of supreme regard for truth and uncompromising fidelity to the teachings of the Bible to exhibit boldly the simple apostolic gospel and the primitive Church order, in opposition to the corruption and spiritual despotism which then prevailed. His fine natural abilities; his previous training; his enlarged experience and observation of the actual condition of religious society; his social and worldly circumstances, -- all contributed to fit him for the work assigned him. Even his early resolve to labor in the gospel without charge gave him in the conflict with a salaried clergy a marked advantage, and led him, doubtless, to employ a freedom of censure in which he would not otherwise have indulged. Believing, however, as he did, that a distinct order, such as the clergy, was wholly unauthorized, everything connected with their position became legitimately a subject of
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remark; while on the other hand, taught by the Scripture that every congregation should have its own elders and deacons, and that its divinely-appointed rulers and laborers should be duly honored and supported, he did not fail to urge this duty and to distinguish these officers from the clergy, against whom alone he directed his shafts. On this subject he says (p. 209):
When I arrived a stranger in this Western country, without any other property that my education, I did, from a confirmed disgust at the popular schemes -- which I confess I principally imbibed when a student at the University of Glasgow -- determine that I should, under the protection and patronage of the Almighty, render all the services I could to my fellow-creatures, by means of the Bible, without any earthly compensation whatever. On these principles I began, and having no other prospects than to turn my attention to some honest calling for a livelihood, I prosecuted this design without looking back. At the same time I did not censure nor do I censure any Christian bishop who receives such earthly things as he needs from those to whose edification and comfort he contributes by his labors.
Aware, indeed, of the danger of being misunderstood on this subject, he, in the very first number of the "Christian Baptist," prefixed to an article referring to the clergy, the following: Nota Bene. -- In our remarksupon the Christian clergy we never include the elders or deacons of a Christian assembly, or those in the New Testament called the overseers and servants of the Christian Church. These we consider as very different characters, and shall distinguish them in some future number."
In spite of all the hindrances interposed by the clergy and their supporters, the reformatory views urged by Mr. Campbell found access to many minds, and in various quarters began to produce marked results.
68 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
At the time, however, they were but imperfectly apprehended. They were far in advance of the age, and their spread served but to intensify the opposition of the clergy and their adherents. His opponents in the Redstone Association were particularly incensed and, as for the past six years he had been too much confined by the duties of Buffalo Seminary to visit often the churches belonging to the Association, the opportunity afforded by his absence had been diligently used to increase the prejudice against him. The "Sermon on the Law," which had been printed, furnished a favorite ground for charges of heresy, and the minority, led on by Elders Brownfield, Pritchard and the Stones, was full of expedients to gain an ascendancy in the association, and to thrust Mr. Campbell and his friends out of it. In the month of August, 1823, he learned that they had determined to make a strong effort for this purpose, and, in order to ensure success, that special brethren traversed all the churches in the Association, and had induced many of them to appoint as messengers to the next meeting such persons as were unfriendly to him, in order to secure a majority against him. Considered in itself, Mr. Campbell cared but little for this impending excommunication on the part of the Association, but as he was to engage in a public debate shortly with Mr. McCalla, he thought it best to evade the denominational discredit designed by his enemies, lest this should mar his success, or possibly prevent the discussion altogether. He determined accordingly, though the time for action was but short (the Association having appointed to meet in September), to defeat the project, in a way his enemies little expected, but which was in strict accordance with Baptist usages.
As he had been occasionally pressed by Elder Bentley
WELLSBURG CHURCH. 69
to leave the Redstone Association and unite with the Mahoning, and as a number of the members of the Brush Run Church lived in Wellsburg and its vicinity, he concluded to form there a separate congregation in which he would have his membership, and which might afterward unite with the Mahoning Association. He announced, therefore, to the church at Brush Run that for special reasons, which it was not at that time prudent to disclose, he desired from them letters of dismission for himself and some thirty other members, in order to constitute a church in Wellsburg. This request, in deference to Mr. Campbell's judgment, was granted, and the second church of the Reformation was at once constituted in the town of Wellsburg, and continued to assemble regularly thenceforward in the house which had been previously erected. * The church at Brush Run meanwhile appointed Thomas Campbell and two others as messengers to Redstone, while Alexander resolved to attend the meeting as a spectator. When the letter from Brush Run was, in the usual order of business, called for in the Association and read, a good deal of surprise was manifested that
* The following is a copy of the letter of dismission in the handwriting of Thomas Campbell:
"Be it known to all whom it may concern, that we have dismissed the following brethren in good standing with us, to constitute a church of Christ at Wellsburg, namely:
"Alexander Campbell, Margaret Campbell, John Brown, Ann Brown, Mary Sayres, Mary Marshall, Mary Little, Richard McConnel, Stephen Priest, Mr. Jones, John Chambers, Mary Chambers, Jacob Osborne, Susan Osborne, Mrs. Bakewell, Selina Bakewell, Mrs. Dicks, William Gilchrist, Jane Gilchrist, Mr. Brockaw, Nancy Brockaw, Alexander Holliday, Joseph Freeman, Margaret Parkinson, Jane Parkinson, Mrs. Talbot, George Young, Daniel Babbit, Catharine Harvey, Mrs. Braley, Solomon Salah, Delilah Salah.
"Done at our meeting, August 31st, A. D. 1823, and signed by the order of the church. THOMAS CAMPBELL."
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Alexander Campbell was not named in it as one of the messengers. On this ground objection was made to a motion to invite him to a seat, and a debate ensued which occupied much time. At length Mr. Campbell, who had listened in silence, was requested to state why he was not, as usual, a messenger from Brush Run.
Upon this he arose and expressed his regret that the Association should have spent so much of its precious time upon so trifling a matter, and observed that he would at once relieve them from all further trouble by stating that the reason why he had not been appointed a messenger from Brush Run was simply this: that the church of which he was then a member was not connected with the Redstone Association.
"Never," said he, in relating the incident, "did hunters, on seeing the game unexpectedly escape from their toils at the moment when its capture was sure, glare upon each other a more mortifying disappointment than that indicated by my pursuers at that instant, on hearing that I was out of their bailiwick, and consequently out of their jurisdiction. A solemn stillness ensued, and, for a time, all parties seemed to have nothing to do."
Mr. Campbell, having thus checkmated his opponents in the Association and escaped the excommunication, by which it was hoped the ears of the Baptists would be closed against him, remained still free as before to advocate amongst them those principles of reformation which, he thought, if adopted by them, would rapidly regenerate the whole of religious society.
[ 71 ]
"My Dear Margaret: Through the mercy and kindness of our heavenly Father we have arrived in safety and in health at the ground of debate.... This is a healthy and fine country, and everything is cheerful and animating. I
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have no news relative to the debate. Great expectations on all sides, and much zeal. Too much party spirit. I hope and pray that the Lord will enable me to speak as I ought to speak, and cause the truth to be glorified. I intend, if my health will permit, to visit Lexington and Cincinnati after the debate, and therefore you need not expect to see me for nearly six weeks from my departure from home. I will write in a few days again. Remember me to all the children -- to Joseph Freeman, James Anderson and all inquiring friends. May grace, mercy and peace be multiplied unto you! Your loving husband,
After resting for a time, he was introduced, on the evening of the 14th, to Mr. McCalla by Major Davis, and endeavored to arrange the preliminaries of the discussion. He found Mr. McCalla unwilling to agree to such rules as he thought requisite, or even to leave the matter to the moderators. Finally it was thus arranged:
"1. Each of the parties shall choose a moderator, and these two a third person, who belongs to neither party, for the purpose of merely keeping order. 2. Alexander Campbell shall open the debate. 3. Each disputant shall have the privilege of speaking thirty minutes without interruption, unless he chooses to waive his right. 4. Whatever books are produced upon the occasion shall be open to the perusal of each disputant. 5. The debate shall be adjourned from day to day until the parties are satisfied."
Mr. Campbell chose Bishop Jeremiah Vardeman as moderator on his part. 1 Mr. McCalla chose the Rev.
1 Jeremiah Vardeman was, beyond question, the most popular preacher in Kentucky. Although without much education, he had by his energy and zeal, and his fine hortatory powers, aided by his noble personal appearance and social qualities, acquired immense influence. He had heard many things about Mr. Campbell, and was anxious to see and hear him for himself. He used to relate afterward that as he was on his way to the debate, traveling in a gig, he overtook, about eleven miles from Washington, a man on foot, and, hailing him, inquired whither he was going. He said he was on his way to
James K. Birch; and these two chose Major William Roper, and appointed him president of the board of moderators. The debate was to have been held in the Baptist meeting-house in the town of Washington, but, as the concourse was great and the weather now clear and pleasant, it was concluded to have the discussion, for the time, in an adjacent grove, where a Methodist camp-meeting had recently been held, and where the people were well accommodated.
At the appointed hour (12 o'clock), both parties appeared upon the ground, Mr. Campbell having only a few books with him, such as he could conveniently carry in his portmanteau. In personal appearance there was considerable difference between the two disputants, Mr. McCalla being lower in stature and more slender than Mr. Campbell, with dark hair, a self-possessed and solemn aspect and much of the clerical air.
Mr. Campbell's exordium was as follows:
MEN, BRETHREN AND FATHERS:__________
Washington. "Why," said Vardeman, "you must have very urgent business to walk so far in such roads as these;" for, as it had been raining recently, the roads were very muddy. The man replied that he had no call of business, but that he was going to hear the debate that was to come off on the 15th, Surprised at this, Vardeman took him at once to be a very zealous Baptist. and affecting to be on the other side, he said: "Is not our man likely to whip your man Campbell?" The man gave him a searching look, and asked: "Can you tell me if this is the same Mr. Campbell who debated with Mr. Walker at Mount Pleasant, Ohio?" Elder Vardeman said he believed he was. The stranger then said: "I am not a member of any church. I am going to the debate on the supposition that this is the Mr. Campbell who debated at Mount Pleasant three years ago. I heard that debate and all I have to say is, that all creation cannot whip that Mr. Campbell." Elder Vardeman, who was noted for his power in defending the practice of immersion, was not a little gratified with this unexpected and very decided testimony to Mr. Campbell's ability, and came on to the debate full of cheerful expectation as to the fortunes of his favorite tenet.
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you, at this time and in this place, for the purpose of contending for a part of that faith, and an item of that religious practice, once delivered to the saints. My prayer to God is, that for the sake of his Son Jesus Christ I may speak as I ought to speak; that in the spirit of the truth I may contend for the truth; that with humility and love, with zeal according to knowledge and unfeigned devotion, I may open my lips on every occasion when I address my fellow mortal and immortal creatures on the subject of religion. Expecting that they and I will soon appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, may I speak in such a way that I may not be ashamed nor afraid to meet them there. May I ever act under the influence of that 'wisdom which cometh from above, which is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and of good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.' And may you, my friends, examine and 'prove all things, and hold first that which is good.'"
He then went on to detail the circumstances which led to the discussion, and, after adverting to the importance of the subject, called upon his opponent to point out any advantages resulting from the practice of infant sprinkling.
Mr. McCalla, after some just remarks upon the value of religion, went on to descant upon the propositions in the challenge given by Mr. Campbell, speaking of him as an "adversary," and endeavoring to excite religious prejudice against him. Then, after saying that Mr. Campbell had not as yet offered any argument in proof of his propositions, he announced the method he himself intended to pursue in proving their contraries.
"In the first place," said he, "I will produce a divine command for infant baptism -- a command of God authorizing infants to be baptized--the infants of believers.
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"In the third and last place, under this head, I will produce positive evidence of apostolic practice of infant baptism."
In Mr. Campbell's next speech he expressed his regret that Mr. McCalla should have attempted to prejudice the feelings of the audience by representing his challenge as "an accusation against the whole Paedobaptist world," and as imputing to them "a crime worthy of punishment by the civil law."
"Our design, my Paedobaptist friends," said he, "is not to widen the breach, or to throw stumbling-blocks in the way, by inflaming your passions; but to lead you to understand this most important institution of the Lord of glory, that whosoever of you feareth God may unite with me in keeping his commandments as delivered unto us by his holy apostles."
After some further remarks, he then submitted his proposed method of procedure, laying down, first, certain principles to which he might appeal in any pertinent case. These principles he adopted from the "Confession of Faith," and said he took for granted Mr. McCalla's assent to them, since he had, as a Presbyterian minister, solemnly vowed to teach that Confession and declared it to be, according to his belief, "the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures." He then quoted the Presbyterian Confession:
"'All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.' You will then bear in mind, my friends," added he, "that my opponent considers you all competent judges of Scripture testimony, in a due use of the
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ordinary means; and without any commentator or religious teacher, his Confession of Faith declares that, though you were unlearned, you may attain unto a knowledge of the things necessary to be known, believed and observed for salvation; because all those things are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other. In the same Confession, and in the same chapter, section 9, you will find the following most excellent sentiment: 'The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself; and, therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture which is not manifold, but ONE, it may be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.' This article embraces one of the best rules of interpretation we have seen. The sense of every passage of Scripture is ONE, not two or three or manifold. How many thousands of volumes of sermons and interpretations of Scripture would it send to the flames or to the moths if it were duly recognized and acted upon? There is but ONE meaning in every passage of Scripture, and that one meaning must be always found from its context. This golden rule of interpretation recognized and acted upon, and controversy about the meaning of Scripture becomes fair and easily managed. To these articles we shall appeal in all matters of disputation about the meaning of Scriptures adduced in this controversy. I feel myself happy to think that my opponent must admit them or abjure his allegiance to the Presbyterian Church."
By means of these two principles, that Scripture is comprehensible even by the unlearned, and that its sense is not manifold, but ONE, he subsequently exposed various attempts of Mr. McCalla to impose fanciful and unauthorized meanings upon various passages of Scripture. Taking, furthermore, as a text the declaration of the Confession (chap. xxviii.) that "Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ," and defining "sacrament" as meaning a "holy ordinance," he announced his method thus:
"We will go, then, to the NEW Testament and not to the Old, to ascertain the nature. design and subjects of this ordinance.
He then produced from the New Testament the law of baptism, which requires faith as a prerequisite, and adduced a number of cases showing that in the practice of the primitive Church believers only were baptized, as the law required. He then gave place to his opponent to produce the records of infant baptism from the New Testament.
Instead of attempting this impossible task, however, Mr. McCalla began to read from Robinson various extracts about the baptism of cats and colts, showing how infant baptism had been derided in different ages by those whom he called its "adversaries." In the midst of this tirade he was called to order by Bishop Vardeman for his frequent application of the terms "accuser" and "adversary" to Mr. Campbell, and for representing the Baptists as "accusers" and "adversaries."
"Mr. McCalla must know," said he, "that these are the names given in Scripture to Satan, who is called the 'adversary' and 'the accuser of the brethren.' He thought that Mr. McCalla should treat his opponent as a gentleman and as a Christian, although he differed from him on the questions under discussion. He hoped, therefore, that he would substitute the term opponent, or any term less acrimonious and more consistent with candor and justice, in place of those offensive terms."
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The matter being referred to Major Roper, and he having expressed the hope that Mr. McCalla would dispense with the use of such terms as applied by him to the Baptists, Mr. McCalla consented to desist from using them. He then went on to make a distinction between Divine commands as express and not express, striving to show that many things were divinely commanded which were not express, but were to be learned and taught from the import of sundry declarations in which there was much scope given to the rational faculties of man, and which were to be ascertained by a minute attention to many circumstances.
"For instance," said he, "there is no express declaration of the unity of God to be found in the Old Testament -- no express press in so many words; yet we know this proof to be a part of Divine revelation as certainly as though it were expressly declared in so many words. Nor is there any express command against dueling in all the word of God; yet we are as certain that God has prohibited this mischievous practice as though it were expressly prohibited. Nor is there any express command against gaming in the Bible, and what Christian is there who does not know that it is divinely prohibited? There is no express law authorizing Christians to eat pork, and does not every Christian eat pork with a good conscience, with as much liberty as though God had expressly said, Ye may eat pork! Nor is there any express command for independent church government for which many so earnestly contend as divinely appointed. There is no express law for the observance of the first day of the week as the Christian Sabbath, for female communion, and many other points zealously contended for by the Baptists and Paedobaptists. In the same manner we affirm that although there is no express command for infant baptism, though it is not mentioned in the Old Testament, yet we can find a Divine command for it there. When we propose to produce a Divine command
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for infant baptism, you are not, my friends, to expect that we shall produce in so many words a command for parents to have their children baptized."
He then laid down several propositions, asserting that Abraham and his seed were constituted a true and visible Church of God -- That the Christian Church is a branch of the Abrahamic -- That Jewish circumcision before Christ and Christian baptism after Christ are one and the same seal, though in different forms, etc. Thus, as Mr. Campbell then showed, the Divine command for infant baptism which. Mr. McCalla had in the beginning positively and ostentatiously promised to produce, after first becoming attenuated into one "not express," had finally resolved itself into the old shadowy inference drawn from circumcision. He did not fail to remark also on Mr. McCalla's singular assertion that there was no express affirmation of the unity of God in the Bible. "He would place," exclaimed he, "the unity of God and infant baptism upon the same obscure footing! No express revelation of either! Did he ever read, 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord.' But in fact there can be nothing more absurd than to place the 'eating of pork' and the 'baptizing of infants' upon one and the same footing, or the prohibition of gaming and dueling upon the same basis with the sprinkling of infants."
Upon the propositions which he had laid down, Mr. McCalla had prepared beforehand a large quantity of manuscript, from which he now continued reading day after day, paying little or no attention to the arguments and refutations which Mr. Campbell from time to time presented. There being little needing reply in Mr. McCalla's labored disquisitions upon the Jewish and Christian churches, etc., Mr. Campbell then occupied
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a portion of the time allotted to him in presenting his views of the Christian Church; the calling of the Gentiles, the nature of Messiah's reign, and other grand topics which placed in bold relief the essential differences between the Jewish and Christian institutions, triumphantly overturning the chief foundations of Paedobaptism, and delighting the audience by new and comprehensive exhibitions of the Divine dispensations and their gradual increase in spiritual light, from the starlight patriarchal age to the moonlight age of Moses, and then to that of the twilight and the brilliant day-star of John the Baptist, ushering in the glory of the Sun of Righteousness, the promised Messiah.
It would be unnecessary to detail minutely the progress of this discussion, which continued during seven days. Suffice it to say that Mr. McCalla continued reading from his manuscript most of the time, and that Mr. Campbell, having in vain sought to induce him to reply to his arguments, went on finally, in advance, to establish his own propositions, making short replies occasionally to Mr. McCalla. It would not, however, be proper to omit Mr. Campbell's exposition of the design of baptism, from which he deduced an argument against infant baptism, as he had done in the debate with Walker, but which he now renewed with a definiteness and fullness which marked the progress of his own convictions upon this important subject. Thus, on the second day of the discussion, he said,
"Our third argument is deduced from the design or import of baptism. On this topic of argument we shall be as full as possible, because of its great importance, and because perhaps neither Baptists nor Paedobaptists sufficiently appreciate it. I will first merely refer to the oracles of God, which show that baptism is all ordinance of the greatest importance and
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of momentous significance. Never was there an ordinance of so great import or design. It is to be but once administered. We are to pray often, praise often, show forth the Lord's death often, commemorate his resurrection every week, but we are to be baptized but once. Its great significance can be seen from the following testimonies: The Lord saith, 'He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.' He does not say, He that believeth and keeps my commands shall be saved, but he saith, 'He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.' He placeth baptism on the right hand of faith. Again, he tells Nicodemus that 'unless a man be born of water and of the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.' Peter, on the day of Pentecost, places baptism in the same exalted place. 'Repent,' says he, 'and be baptized, every one of you, FOR the remission of sins.' Ananias saith to Paul, 'Arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling upon the name of the Lord.' Paul saith to the Corinthians, 'Ye were once fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, thieves, covetous, drunkards, rioters, extortioners, but ye are WASHED in the name of the Lord Jesus,' doubtless referring to their baptism. He tells Titus, 'God our Father saved us by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.' See again its dignified importance. Peter finishes the grand climax in praise of baptism: 'Baptism doth now also save us by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.'"
Again he remarks:
"I know it will be said that I have affirmed that baptism saves us. Well, Peter and Paul have said so before me. If it was not criminal in them to say so, it cannot be criminal in me. When Ananias said unto Paul, 'Arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling upon the name of the Lord,' I suppose Paul believed him and arose and was baptized, and washed away his sins. When he was baptized, he must have believed that his sins were now washed away in some sense that they were not before. For, if his sins had been already, in every sense, washed away, Ananias' address would have led him into a mistaken view of himself, both before and after baptism. Now, we confess that the
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blood of Jesus Christ alone cleanses us who believe from all sins. Even this, however, is a metaphorical expression. The efficacy of his blood springs from his own dignity and from the appointment of his Father. The blood of Christ, then, really cleanses us who believe from all sin. Behold the goodness of God in giving us a formal token of it, by ordaining a baptism expressly 'for the remission of sins.' The water of baptism, then, formally washes away our sins. The blood of Christ really washes away our sins. Paul's sins were really pardoned when he believed, yet he had no solemn pledge of the fact, no formal acquittal, no formal purgation of his sins until he washed them away in the water of baptism.
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infants, whom they represented as in great need of it on account of their 'original sin.' Affectionate parents, believing their children to be guilty of 'original sin,' were easily persuaded to have them baptized for the remission of 'original sin,' not for washing away sins actually committed. Faith in Christ is necessary to forgiveness of sins, therefore baptism without faith is an unmeaning ceremony. Even the Confession of Faith, or at least the Larger Catechism, says that baptism is a sign of the remission of sins. How then can it be administered to those without faith? Is it with them 'a sign and seal of engrafting into Christ, of remission of sins by his blood and regeneration by his Spirit,' as the answer to this question declares?
Thus the design of baptism and its true place in the economy of the gospel had gradually become clearer, and its importance proportionally enhanced, in his estimation, since the debate with Walker. Often, during the intervening period, had this particular point been the subject of conversation between him and his father, as well as with Walter Scott, and of careful Scripture examinations, and these utterances in the McCalla debate presented the views they had beforehand agreed upon as the true and obvious teachings of the New Testament. Thomas Campbell had, indeed, in the second or September number of the "Christian Baptist," in an article intended for the first number, but delayed for want of room, briefly stated them in treating of "the primary intention of the gospel," which he
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shows to have been a complete reconciliation of the sinner through the atonement of Christ, and that the effect of this was the belief of a full and free pardon of all his sins received in baptism. Thus, in 1823, the design of baptism was fully understood and publicly asserted. It was, however, reserved for Walter Scott, a few years later, to make a direct and practical application of the doctrine, and to secure for it the conspicuous place it has since occupied among the chief points urged in the Reformation.
Upon the third day, the weather having become colder, the debate was thereafter held in the Baptist meeting-house in the village. Upon the last day a somewhat amusing passage occurred. Mr. McCalla had dwelt at length upon the alleged dangers and indelicacies of immersion, insisting that it was pernicious not only to the subject, but to the administrator. "The administrators," he said, "were exposed to sickness, and it must unavoidably be injurious to them to be plunging into cold water at all seasons, and continuing in it so long as they often did; and miraculous escapes were not to be expected." To this Mr. Campbell replied:
"Benjamin Franklin, when minister in Paris, dined with a number of French and American gentlemen. A learned French abbe, at dinner, entertained the company with a learned disquisition on the deteriorating influence of the American climate on the bodies of all animals, alleging that the human body diminished in size and energy, and that even the mind itself shared in the general deterioration. Dr. Franklin made no reply; but after dinner, having told the company with what pleasure he had heard the learned disquisitions of the philosopher, he moved that the company be divided, observing that the fairest way of testing the correctness of the abbe's theory was to place all the Americans on
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one side of the room and the French on the other. The motion was carried, and behold a company of little, swarthy, insignificant Frenchmen on one side, and a row of little giants on the other! 'Ay,' says the Doctor, 'see, here is a striking proof of the correctness of your theory! ' Now let us take the philosopher's way of testing the correctness of the theory of my opponent. There sits on the bench a Baptist and a Paedobaptist teacher, both well advanced in years; the former has, we are told, immersed more persons than any other person of the same age in the United States; the other, from his venerable age, may be supposed to have sprinkled a great many infants. Now, see the pernicious tendency of immersion on the Baptist, and the happy influence of sprinkling on the Paedobaptist!"
As Mr. Birch, the Presbyterian moderator, was a small and somewhat sickly-looking person, and Bishop Vardeman was of magnificent proportions, being upward of six feet in stature, weighing three hundred pounds and of a remarkably florid aspect, possessing uncommon and undiminished energy and vigor, though fifty years of age, the striking contrast thus presented, and the ironical illustration it furnished, greatly amused the audience at the expense of Mr. McCalla and his argument.
This debate during its continuance took a very wide range, and as Mr. McCalla's discomfiture was manifest notwithstanding his adroitness, the effect of the discussion upon the community was very decided, and many were convinced by it that infant baptism was merely a human tradition. Mr. Campbell, accordingly, near the close, thought it proper to give the Paedobaptists another opportunity to redeem the credit of their cause. He accordingly renewed his challenge, and as his estimate of the clergy had by no means been improved by his experience with Mr. McCalla, he engaged also to
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prove that the clergy were unauthorized as a distinct order in the Church.
On the seventh day, Mr. McCalla stipulated for the last speech, which Mr. Campbell conceded, on condition that Mr. McCalla would make no misstatements of facts; but he nevertheless attempted to excite the prejudices of the people against Mr. Campbell by charging him with being an enemy to all morality, to the observance of the Sabbath, and to the good cause of sending the gospel to the heathen.
He then concluded by giving his challenge -- viz., "that he would never discuss this question again until an opponent would come from the regions discovered by Captain Simmes, and until a moderator would come from Holland weighing five hundred pounds." After haranguing the people a few minutes on these topics he sat down. Mr. Campbell then made these closing remarks:
"Mr. McCalla, in stipulating, before he began to speak, that I should not reply, appeared to have been actuated by good policy, but bad motives. His last effort was to blast my reputation, as the only expedient left to heal the wound inflicted on his pride and on his cause, and thus to weaken the convictions of truth on the minds of the audience. I said that I was no enemy to morals, but that I had remonstrated against those little, persecuting, fining, confining, anti-republican confederations called moral associations: that I advocated the best means, as I conceived, of sending the gospel to the heathen, and was conscientiously opposed to the present popular, moneyed, speculating schemes of hiring missionaries; that I religiously regarded the first day of the week to the Lord, not as the Jewish Sabbath, but according to the spirit and scope of the religion of our Lord. But, said I, if any present wish to become better acquainted with my views or all these topics, as I make no secret of them, they can be made fully acquainted with them by perusing a monthly
publication, entitled the 'Christian Baptist,' which I have lately commenced publishing. I hoped the congregation would know how to appreciate the last accusations of Mr. McCalla, who had now descended to that vile slander which was the dernier resort of those who neither possessed nor could wield the sword of truth."
As Mr. McCalla, for a considerable time prior to the discussion, had greatly annoyed the Baptists by assailing occasionally their distinctive tenets, his defeat gave them great satisfaction and raised Mr. Campbell very highly in their estimation. It was not Mr. Campbell's aim, however, to advocate the peculiarities of the Baptists, or to seek popularity among them by fostering their favorite but defective views of the gospel and its institutions. True to his own special mission, he made no concealment of the principles of the Reformation, or of the great truths which these had already developed; and accepted the discussion in the beginning rather in order to introduce these than merely to defend the baptism of believers. As a large number of Baptists were present at the discussion, and many of their most influential preachers, he felt that a favorable opportunity was afforded of leading them forward to more enlarged and correct views of Christianity, and of promoting the great object of his life, the union of Christians upon the Bible alone. Believing himself, also, comparatively unknown in Kentucky, and having purposely withheld the "Christian Baptist" from this State, he hoped to obtain a more impartial hearing for the views he wished to present. Hence during the debate it was a point of great interest with him to develop the design of baptism, which was quite a novelty to the Baptists. He sought, also, to lead them to a more rational mode of reading, interpreting and using the Bible than that to which
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they had been accustomed under the textuary system, and to more extended and correct views of the nature and polity of the kingdom of Christ. During the progress of the discussion, finding the denominational spirit growing stronger and stronger, and being almost overwhelmed by a profuse outpouring of Baptist compliments, he had thought it best on the evening of the fifth day to state candidly and fairly to the principal Baptist preachers the exact position which he occupied. Being all assembled in a room at Major Davis', where he stayed, he introduced himself fully to their acquaintance in the following manner, as related by himself:
"'Brethren, I fear that if you knew me better you would esteem and love me less. For let me tell you that I have almost as much against you Baptists as I have against the Presbyterians. They err in one thing and you in another; and probably you are each nearly equidistant from original apostolic Christianity.' I paused; and such a silence as ensued, accompanied by a piercing look from all sides of the room, I seldom before witnessed. Elder Vardeman at length broke silence by saying: 'Well, sir, we want to know our errors or your heterodox. Do let us hear it. Keep nothing back.' I replied, 'I know not where to begin; nor am I in health and vigor, after the toils of the day, to undertake so heavy a task. But,' said I, 'I am commencing a publication called the Christian Baptist, to be devoted to all such matters, a few copies of which are in my portmanteau, and, with your permission, I will read you a few specimens of my heterodoxy.' They all said, 'Let us hear -- let us hear the worst error you have against us.' I went up stairs and unwrapped the first three numbers of the 'Christian Baptist' that ever saw the light in Kentucky. I had just ten copies of the first three numbers. I carried them into the parlor, and sitting down. I read, as a sample, the first essay on the clergy -- so much of it as respected the 'call to the ministry' as then taught in the 'kingdom of the clergy,' and especially
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among the Baptists. This was the first essay ever read from that work in Kentucky. After a sigh and a long silence, Elder Vardeman said, 'Is that your worst error, your chief heterodoxy? I don't care so much about that, as you admit that we may have a providential call, without a voice from heaven or a special visit from some angel or spirit. If you have anything worse, for my part I wish to hear it.' The cry was, 'Let us hear something more.' On turning to and fro, I next read an article on 'Modern Missionaries.' This, with the 'Capital Mistake of Modern Missionaries,' finished my readings for the evening.
"On closing this essay, Elder Vardeman said:
'I am not so great a missionary man as to fall out with you on that subject. I must hear more before I condemn or approve.' I then distributed my ten copies amongst the ten most distinguished and advanced elders in the room, requesting them to read these numbers during the recess of the debate, and to communicate freely to me their objections. We separated. So the matter ended at that time."
At the close of the debate the Baptist preachers were so much pleased with the results, and so tolerant of what they found in the "Christian Baptist," that they requested Mr. Campbell to furnish them with the printed proposals for its publication, in order to extend its circulation, and urged him to make an immediate tour through the State. This his engagements forbade, and he could only comply with their wishes so far as to visit and preach at Mayslick, Bryant's Station, in the vicinity of Elder Vardeman's residence, and at Lexington, promising to make a tour, if possible, during the ensuing autumn through a considerable portion of the State.
As Mr. McCalla's character for ability was well established and equally well sustained by his Presbyterian brethren, the result of the discussion was less damaging to his reputation than to the cause he advocated, which,
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throughout the entire West, never recovered from the blow which it then received. Mr. McCalla, nevertheless, labored for some time afterward to change public opinion by preaching upon the subject in various parts of Kentucky, endeavoring, at the same time, to prejudice the minds of the people in advance against the report of the debate, which it was understood Mr. Campbell intended to publish. From his closing remarks in the discussion and his mock challenge, intended as a sarcasm upon Elder Vardeman's portly figure, he was evidently conscious of his own failure, and naturally sought to obviate the results as far as practicable. However unsuccessful in this, his persevering zeal in behalf of the Paedobaptist cause was fully appreciated by his friends, in evidence of which he received the degree of Doctor of Divinity, and, after a time, removed to Philadelphia.
Unlike his opponent, who seemed to be entirely satisfied with his controversial experience, Mr. Campbell was by this debate rendered still more favorable to public discussion. "This," said he afterward, "is, we are convinced, one of the best means of propagating the truth and of exposing error in doctrine or practice. We now reap the benefit of the public debates of former times, and we have witnessed the beneficial results of those in our own time. And we are fully persuaded that a week's debating is worth a year's preaching, such as we generally have, for the purpose of disseminating truth and putting error out of countenance. There is nothing like meeting face to face, in the presence of many witnesses, and 'talking the matter over;' and the man that cannot govern his own spirit in the midst of opposition and contradiction is a poor Christian indeed."
As to the effect of the debate upon Mr. Campbell's
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reputation and influence, these were very largely extended by it. So many preachers from a distance had been present during the discussion, and so many lawyers and other persons of intelligence capable of appreciating Mr. Campbell's extraordinary dialectic power, that his talents became at once generally recognized throughout the State. This result was also largely promoted by his short visit to the interior immediately after the discussion. At David's Fork Church, in Fayette county, one of the four to which Elder Vardeman ministered, Mr. Campbell was astonished at the vast concourse assembled to hear him, and, as the presence of a large audience always roused him to his best efforts and seemed to waken up his latent powers, the people were still more surprised at the extraordinary abilities manifested by the speaker.
Among other points, Mr. Campbell was to visit Lexington, which, in a literary point of view, was, at this period, regarded as the "Athens of the West." Transylvania University was now in a most flourishing condition under the presidency of Dr. Horace Holley, a fine classical scholar, and greatly admired as an orator in a community passionately fond of oratory, and which possessed such men as Clay, Crittenden, Barry, Rowan, S. P. Sharp and Ben. Hardin. As Dr. Holley was a man of popular manners and liberal principles, the University had risen rapidly in public esteem, and was filled with students from the South and West in all its departments -- its school of medicine, which then numbered among its professors Charles Caldwell and B. W. Dudley, being regarded as second only to the Philadelphia medical institutions. Lexington could also. at this time, boast of one of the ablest literary periodicals of the West, edited by William Gibbs Hunt.
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Mr. Campbell was to preach in the capacious meeting house used by the Baptist church in charge of Dr. James Fishback. The doctor was a man of superior talents, elegant manners and remarkably fine personal appearance, being far above the ordinary height, well-proportioned and with dark hair and regular and expressive features. He had fine didactic powers -- was a close reasoner, and independent and somewhat original in his way of thinking. He had been once a successful practitioner of law, but abandoned this for the study of medicine, which, however, he soon left for the Presbyterian ministry. Becoming afterward convinced that immersion was the proper action denoted by "baptism," he did not hesitate to unite with the small and contemned Baptist church at Lexington, which, by means of his zeal, energy and ability, soon became one of the largest, most active and prosperous churches in the West. He had published, some time before, a work on the human mind, which displayed unusual power of thought, and was considered a valuable contribution to mental science. He thus occupied a very high position, not only among the Baptists, but in the intelligent and cultivated society of Lexington, before which Mr. Campbell was now to appear, a comparatively unknown stranger, from an obscure creek called Buffalo among the silent hills of Western Virginia.
At the hour of meeting, the house was crowded to its utmost capacity. When Mr. Campbell rose, he appeared pale and exhausted, owing to the dyspepsia from which he had not yet fully recovered, and was unable to stand entirely erect during the delivery of his discourse. This was based on the first chapter of Hebrews, and led the speaker to dwell upon the divine glory of the Son of God--a theme upon which he was always surpassingly
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eloquent. It lasted two hours, during which the audience sat in rapt attention. Dr. Theodore S. Bell, now a distinguished physician of Louisville, but then a youth, was present, and thus speaks of it:
"I never had heard anything that approached the power of that discourse, nor have I ever heard it equaled since. Under the training of my mother, one of the most thorough scholars in the Bible that I ever knew, and of Dr. Fishback, although I then made no pretensions to Christianity, I was almost as familiar with the Bible as with my alphabet. 'But that speech on Hebrews lifted me into a world of thought of which I had previously known nothing. It has been forty-five years since I heard that pulpit discourse, but it is as vivid in my memory, I think, as when I first heard it."
The impression made upon the entire audience was very marked. They recognized at once in Alexander Campbell the mightiest intellect that had ever visited their city. The freshness of his thoughts, the extent and accuracy of his biblical knowledge, and his grand generalizations of the wonderful facts of redemption opened up trains of reflection wholly new, and presented the subject of Christianity in a form so simple and yet so comprehensive as to fill every one with admiration. Nor were they less struck with the perfect ease with which he developed and illustrated the most profound and enlarged conceptions, seemingly by an inexhaustible interior power, unaided by the slightest gesture or any of the arts of elocution. Nor did his unassuming, humble and unobtrusive deportment in the social circles of the most eminent citizens whom he met, especially in the elegant mansion where Dr. Fishback and his amiable Christian lady dispensed a munificent hospitality, make a less favorable impression; so that from this time forward Mr. Campbell was esteemed
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by the people of Kentucky as great among the greatest of her public men, and without a rival in the department to which he had devoted his powers. The consideration which he thus received from the intelligent citizens of Kentucky, their genial hospitality and frank and simple manners, so accordant with his own, made a deep impression upon him, and he was wont always to speak in the most feeling terms of the kindness and love shown him by the people of Kentucky, whom he often visited in after years, and among whom the reformatory principles soon became very widely diffused.
Prior to the discussion with McCalla, Mr. Campbell, however, was by no means so little known in Kentucky as he imagined. His published debate with Walker had been read by some of the Baptist preachers there, as Wm. Vaughan, Vardeman and others, with great satisfaction, and they had been wont ever afterward to speak of Mr. Campbell in the highest terms. It was these encomiums which as early as the years 1820 and 1821, had made a most favorable impression in reference to Mr. Campbell upon the mind of a young minister, recently from England, P. S. Fall, who had already acquired distinction among the Baptists of Kentucky, and was destined to exert no inconsiderable influence upon the fortunes of the Reformation. His refined manners and unblemished character gave him a high standing in society, while his cogent reasoning, clear enunciation and remarkably correct use of words rendered him popular as a preacher. During 1822, while preaching for a church which he had gathered at Louisville, he met with Mr. Campbell's Sermon on Law, and was led by it to clearer views of the distinction between the law and the gospel. This distinction
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he clearly traced in a discourse delivered to a large audience at Frankfort in the winter of 1823, and which proved quite unpalatable to some Baptist preachers present, with whose theology it conflicted. Continuing his efforts, however, Mr. Fall became the first resident Baptist minister in Kentucky to take his stand openly in favor of the principles of the Reformation.
Upon his return home from the McCalla debate, Mr. Campbell made immediate preparation for its publication from his own notes and those taken at the time by Sidney Rigdon, and, notwithstanding Mr. McCalla's effort to discredit it before its appearance, its general accuracy was fully attested by those who had heard the discussion. With some animadversions on the publications of Messrs. Ralston, Walker and others, it formed a volume of over four hundred pages, containing a large amount of interesting matter in regard to the subject in controversy. Mr. Campbell observed in his Preface: "If the whole of this work were a forgery, it combats every argument advanced by the Paedobaptists, and if the arguments impugned in this volume are refuted, the reader may rest assured there are no others to exhibit." This discussion, indeed, thus reported and circulated, proved to be the severest blow that Paedobaptism had ever received in any part of the world.
At the same time, Mr. Campbell continued to urge his plea for Reformation through the pages of the "Christian Baptist" and in his public addresses with undiminished vigor. Many persons, released from clerical rule, were incited to religious inquiry and were induced to commence the study of the Scriptures for themselves. To these, Mr. Campbell endeavored to render all possible aid, by directing attention to the differences between ancient and modern Christianity,
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and by furnishing useful hints as to the proper method of studying the word of God.
"Such readers of this paper," said he, "as believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and consequently wish to understand his word, to do and to enjoy his will, we address, in a subserviency to our grand design, in the following words:
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from what you read, the necessity of accompanying all your readings with supplications to the Father of Lights for that instruction which he has graciously promised to all that ask him, praying that 'the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him; the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.' Eph. i. 17-20. 'That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.' Eph. iii. 17, 19.
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that 'findeth wisdom and the man that getteth understanding; for the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies, and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand, and in her left, riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her, and happy is every one that retaineth her.'" Prov. iii. 13, 18.
Such directions were really needed at this period by the religious community, as few amongst them deemed themselves authorized or competent to derive religious instruction directly from the Bible. Men had converted religion into the science of theology. Each party had its own theories, which its own clergy were appointed to inculcate, and in harmony with which the Scripture must be constantly explained. "Divinity" had become one of the "learned professions," and as the client presumed not to judge the law for himself, but relied upon the opinion of his lawyer, or the patient upon that of his physician, so the laity ventured not to determine the meaning of the Scripture for themselves, but depended upon their clergy for its interpretation. As each sect, however, had a different theory, and by consequence a different interpretation of the Bible, many were disposed to say to each as Mary Queen of Scots said to John Knox, in referring to his teachings and those of the priests: "You interpret the Scriptures in one way, and they in another; whom shall I believe, and who shall be judge?" Mr. Campbell's response to such inquiries was simply the noble reply which the uncompromising Reformer made to the queen: "You shall believe God," said Knox, "who plainly speaketh in his word; and further than the word teacheth you, you shall believe
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neither the one nor the other. The word of God is plain in itself, and if there appear any obscurity in one place, the Holy Ghost, who is never contrary to himself, explains the same more clearly in other places, so that there can remain no doubt but unto such as are obstinately ignorant." -- McCrie's Life of John Knox, p. 228.
As the "Christian Baptist" began now to be more extensively circulated, and the Scriptures more carefully studied, many minds became freed from the religious systems and theories of the times. In Pittsburg, after the meeting of the Redstone Association in 1823, a greater degree of intimacy took place between Walter Scott and Sidney Rigdon, and their respective congregations, so that, in 1824, a union was consummated between them. A few members of the Baptist church who refused to unite were then recognized by the committee of the Association as the only legitimate Baptist church in Pittsburg. These results of the principles urged by Mr. Campbell greatly provoked his opposers, who renewed their efforts to excite the public against him. Taking advantage of the prejudices thus created, an impostor, called Thomas T. Counceil, claiming to be a Baptist preacher, and with forged credentials in his pocket in the name of Messrs. Frey, Wheeler, Luse and Brownfield, traveled about through Western Pennsylvania, railing against Mr. Campbell and urgently soliciting contributions. Another individual, who made himself quite notorious about this time, was Lawrence Greatrake, a regular Baptist preacher, of a restless spirit and strong passions, who occupied himself in itinerating through the country, wherever he could obtain a hearing, either in Baptist or Paedobaptist congregations, breathing forth misrepresentation and abuse of
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Mr. Campbell and his teachings. The bitter spirit, however, by which he was characterized, rendered his reckless assertions doubtful to thoughtful and impartial hearers, and served rather to further the Reformation by exciting their curiosity to read Mr. Campbell's writings or to hear him for themselves. As to Mr. Greatrake, he continued his itinerant labors for a considerable time, and published a scurrilous pamphlet against Mr. Campbell; but afterward, falling into disgrace, became an apostate, and finally, in passing through a piece of woods on his way to a place of shelter, was suddenly crushed to death by a falling tree.
In the Association on the Western Reserve, meanwhile, the new views were making rapid and comparatively peaceful progress. Hence when, in September, 1824, Mr. Campbell was sent, in conjunction with John Brown and George Young, as a messenger from the church at Wellsburg, now consisting of forty members, to propose a union with that body, he was very kindly received. The meeting this year was held at Hubbard, in Trumbull county. Adamson Bentley, who had been moderator at the previous meeting, preached the introductory sermon from John iii. 16, 17. Thomas Miller was then chosen moderator, and E. Leavitt clerk. Upon the minutes it is entered as the sixth item: "At the request of the Church of Christ at Wellsburg it was received into this Association." In conformity with the rules of the Association, Mr. Campbell presented on this occasion a written statement of belief which he had prepared, and which was duly received and entered upon the records. The simple declarations of this document, and its constant reference to the Scriptures, form quite a contrast with the detailed enumerations of theological and speculative questions always found in the
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church creeds of this period. In the character of the queries sent up from the churches to this meeting the working of the reformatory principles may be readily traced, and their progress may be still more distinctly observed in the answers appended, which, however, were postponed to the next meeting of the Association, and are here added from the minutes of that year (1825):
"Queries from Nelson Church. -- 1. Will this Association hold in its connection a church which acknowledges no other rule of faith and practice than the Scriptures? Answer: Yes, on satisfactory evidence that they walk according to this rule. 2. In what manner were members received into churches set in order by the apostles? Answer: Those who believed and were baptized were added to the churches. 3. How were members excluded from the church? Answer: By a vote of the brethren.
The attention of these churches had thus evidently been strongly directed to the primitive Church as the
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true model for succeeding ages; the spirit of inquiry had been awakened; there was manifestly a searching of the Scriptures, under the impression that these were intelligible to the common mind; and a disposition to call in question such religious customs and opinions as were destitute of Divine authority.
(pages 103-126 not transcribed)
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he sometimes used, "What, my brethren! is the Church to be a' mouth?" " But," said James Foster to him after meeting, "what will you do with the apostle's declaration to the Church, 1 Cor. xiv. 31: 'Ye may all prophesy, one by one, that all may learn and all may be comforted?' The answer given to this inquiry was not fully satisfactory to James Foster, who earnestly desired that everything should be conducted strictly according to Scripture precedent, and who leaned considerably to the views of the Scottish Independents.
Mr. Campbell, however, fully concurred in the justness of Mr. Scott's admonitions on this occasion, being exceedingly desirous that everything should be conducted according to the ultimate or higher law given by the apostle: "Let all things be done to edification." He entirely approved of mutual exhortation and instruction, but thought it best that a general permission to speak should be confined to private or social meetings of the church, and that at the Lord's day meetings, when the public were expected to attend, only those should be set forward who were best able, from their knowledge of the Bible and their natural gifts, to speak acceptably and profitably to the assembly. To discharge this duty properly required, he thought, careful previous study and preparation. In overthrowing clerical power, he sought to check the tendency to an extreme in the direction of individual independency. He endeavored, therefore, to secure to the elders or bishops of the church not only their proper position and authority, but also the pecuniary support enjoined in Scripture. This, accordingly, he took care again to urge in his "Essays on the Ancient Order of Things."
"The bishop of a Christian congregation?" said he, "will find much to do that never enters into the mind of a modern
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preacher or minister. The duties he is to discharge to Christ's flock in the capacity of teacher and president will engross much of his time and attention. Therefore, the idea of remuneration for his services was attached to the office from the first institution. This is indisputably plain, not only from the positive commands delivered to the congregations, but from the hints uttered with reference to the office itself. Why should it be so much as hinted that the bishops were not to take the oversight of the flock 'for the sake of sordid gain,' if no emolument or remuneration was attached to the office? The abuses of the principle have led many to oppose even the principle itself." ("Christian Baptist," vol. iii., No. 9, p. 360.)
In the case of the church at Pittsburg, however, it was some time before this portion of the "ancient order of things" was practically recognized, and before the disorders incident to the transition state were fully corrected. During this year (1825) Sidney Rigdon returned to Ohio, and the church there continued under the care of Walter Scott, who was still engaged in school-teaching, and had some time before been united in marriage to a highly-esteemed member of the church, a Miss Whitsett, who had formerly been a Covenanter. In 1826, however, he removed to Steubenville, Ohio, where he opened a school and lectured to the small Baptist church there. After his departure from Pittsburg, the contentions in the church increased, and unruly and vain talkers, as in the primitive ages, occasioned discord and strife. Repudiating the clergy and the pope, each member became not only his own pope, but disposed to assume this office in regard to others; and it was not until after many dissensions, which greatly hindered the spread of the truth in this region, that Samuel Church, leaving the Independent congregation under Mr. Tassey, united with the disciples at
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Pittsburg, and succeeded finally in reducing them to order.
Another custom, zealously adopted by the church in Pittsburg, which also extended to other churches, was the use of the "holy kiss" as the proper Christian salutation. To this Mr. Campbell was opposed, alleging that the Scripture injunction, "Salute one another with a holy kiss," merely indicated the feelings and motives which were to govern the use of the mode of salutation then common in the East, ana which were equally applicable to whatever kind of salutation obtained in other countries, in which he thought Christianity designed to make no change. The practice, accordingly, was after some time abandoned. The washing of feet was also a custom observed by the Pittsburg Church, not, however, as a church ordinance, but privately, as an act of brotherly affection, humility and hospitality. In this Mr. Campbell agreed, although he did not think that proper occasions for such a duty could often arise in Europe or America, as they did in regions where men wore sandals, and where washing of the feet was a common and daily observance.
The introduction of the primitive order of Christian worship, and especially of the weekly observance of the Lord's Supper, engaged at this time much attention among those Baptist churches which had adopted the principles of the Reformation. Several of them in Ohio and the western part of Pennsylvania, rejecting the Philadelphia Confession, decided to take the Bible as the only standard of faith and practice. A meeting was held also at Warren, Ohio, at the close of May, composed of preachers and brethren from different parts of the country, in order to discuss the "ancient order of things." Mr. Campbell attended this meeting, and
(pages 130-141 not transcribed)
[ 143 ]
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from time to time an enforced readjustment of parties, and upon the whole a certain amount of progress toward simpler and truer views of the gospel....
(pages 144-162 not transcribed)
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and this heavenly gift.... The whole world, with whom the Spirit of God strives in the written Word now, as it once did in the mouths of prophets and apostles, have no excuse for their unbelief or unregeneracy; and those who have put on the Lord Jesus are invited to abound in all the joys, consolations and purifying influences of this Holy Spirit."
Thus the matter ended as before. Both equally believed that salvation was due to the work of the Holy Spirit. Mr. Campbell thought that in conversion the power was in the word of God. Mr. Broaddus supposed that the direct aid of the Holy Spirit was necessary to render that Word effectual. Both equally admitted the presence and influence of the Holy Spirit in believers, and as Mr. Campbell thought it right to pray for the conversion of men, he necessarily admitted that some influence additional to that of the gospel was exerted also in the case of unbelievers. The only point, then, of real difference was simply the nature of this influence, Mr. Broaddus regarding it as a direct work of the Spirit upon the heart, and Mr. Campbell pleading the Scripture declarations that the Holy Spirit could be received only by believers. As to the nature of the influences or aids which the latter virtually admitted in conversion, he at this period offered no opinion, and Mr. Broaddus had brought no Scripture evidence to show that the Holy Spirit could be received by an unbeliever, or that any such theory of spiritual operations had ever been propounded in primitive times.
Pending these discussions, the cause of the Reformation continued to make rapid progress among the Baptist churches. In the fall of 1826, Mr. Campbell attended as usual the Mahoning Association, which convened at Canfield, August 25th, John Brown and John Encell being associated with him as messengers from
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the church at Wellsburg. On the day of assembling, Mr. Campbell preached at one o'clock, P.M., from 2 Tim. iii. 2. Adamson Bentley was appointed moderator, and J. Gaskill, clerk. Those invited to a seat were Corbley Martin, Sidney Rigdon, W. West, J. Osborne, Thomas Campbell and Walter Scott, it being the first visit of the latter to the Western Reserve. The presence of so many able preachers rendered the meeting one of great interest and religious enjoyment. After completing its business with entire harmony, the Association made appointments for preaching on the Lord's day in the Presbyterian meeting-house. At 10 A.m., Walter Scott spoke from the 11th chapter of Matthew; Sidney Rigdon then delivered an address based on 16th chapter of John. After an interval, Mr. Campbell read the last chapter of Malachi, and presented a view of the progress of the light of divine revelation, which was so grand in its conceptions, so striking in its illustrations and so comprehensive in its scope that it made a most profound impression, and was never forgotten by those who heard it.
Having been appointed by the Association its corresponding messenger to both the Stillwater and Redstone Associations, and the latter meeting in the following week, Mr. Campbell, after tarrying at home one day, set out to visit his old associates of disputatious memory. He found that as at the meeting of the previous year they had rejected all church letters which did not refer to the Philadelphia Confession, so now the ruling spirits had resolved to carry out their purposes with unsparing zeal. The Association consisted of twenty-three or twenty-four churches, each entitled to a representation by three messengers. As Elder Brownfield and those acting with him were aware that they could not command
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a majority of all the voters on any motion, they determined to prevent those opposed to them from having any participation in the business of the meeting. Out of seventy-two voters they found only thirty to be in their favor, and these thirty messengers, accordingly, representing ten churches, constituted themselves the Association, and appointing their own officers, proceeded to arraign, under the constitution, those churches which had not formally accepted the Philadelphia Confession. The fate of these churches was not long in suspense. The church at Washington, after having been denounced as Arian, Socinian, Arminian, Antinomian, etc., was first denied admission. Next the Maple Creek Church was brought up for trial and cut off, though the actors expressed great regret for its pastor, the aged Henry Spears, who was deservedly beloved. After this, the church on Pigeon Creek, with Matthias Luse as pastor, shared the same fate, as did likewise the rest, ten churches thus excluding thirteen. These high-handed measures, however," failed of their purpose, and ultimately recoiled upon those who instigated them. The excluded messengers immediately assembled at a house about a half a mile distant and requested Mr. Campbell to deliver a discourse, which he did, and upon their return home, having reported the case to their respective churches, most of these agreed to send messengers to form a new association at Washington in November, which was accordingly done. At the first meeting of this Association, on Friday, September 7, 1827, the constitution drawn up at the convention of churches in November previous was adopted as the constitution of the Association. It was very short, making no mention of the Philadelphia Confession, but declaring as the second article, "We receive
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the Scriptures as the only rule of faith and practice to all the churches of Christ." As it gave four messengers to each church, Brush Run Church was represented by Thomas Campbell, Joseph Bryant, John Kawkins and Joseph Matthews. Matthias Luse was chosen moderator and Ephraim Estep, clerk. James Phillips of Steubenville, John Brown of Wellsburg, S. Williams of Pittsburg and others present, were invited to seats, and after a pleasant meeting the Association adjourned to meet at Peter's Creek in September of the following year. To close the history of the Redstone Association, it may be here added that the party under Brownfield was as far from being at peace after the disruption as before, since it carried within it those discordant elements which had been the cause of dissension in the past. More liberal doctrinal views and a more favorable feeling toward missionary operations had been for some time gaining ground among the churches, and now began to prevail, while the hyperCalvinistic sentiments and narrow policy of the minority became more and more confirmed by opposition. At length overtures were made to form a new association of the churches north of the National Road, and a convention held at the Forks of Yough in May, 1832, framed accordingly the constitution of the " Monongahela Association," with which the churches generally in this region became united, Elder Brownfield and a few others of the "elect" remaining disconnected. These became soon after involved in a suit at law with the others for certain church property, which, after causing them much expense and trouble, was decided against the Brownfield party, so that the "final perseverance" of those who had manifested so much hostility to Mr. Campbell, and so overbearing and self-willed a
BRUSH RUN CHURCH. 167
spirit in the Redstone Association, reduced them at last to a dissevered, discontented and insignificant faction.
The church at Brush Run, after its connection with the Washington Association, did not long maintain itself as a separate organization. It had already been greatly reduced in number by removals. The spirit of emigration and the project of forming a sort of Christian colony in a newer portion of the country, which had once before been decided upon, but not executed, still occupied the thoughts of some of the members. James Foster, at length, in the spring of 1826, concluded to sell his interest in the farm on which he lived, which he had acquired by his second wife, a daughter of Mr. Welsh, to whom, after the death of his first wife, he was married March 25, 1813. John Wilson and some others agreeing to remove along with him, he purchased one thousand acres of land in Marshall county, near what was called Beeler's Station, and here formed a new settlement with his friends and established a small church, which, in process of time, increased and gave origin to others. In this retired and secluded region amidst the hills, whose pure fountains and limpid rivulets, murmuring through deep and rocky dells, constitute the sources of Grave Creek, James Foster continued to reside and to labor in behalf of the Reformation, rearing a numerous family in the simple and industrious habits of the early settlers. After his departure the few remaining members at Brush Run continued for a time in connection with the Washington Association; but as it was more convenient to many of them to assemble in the vicinity of Mr. Campbell's residence, a church was finally constituted there, and the meeting at Brush Run was discontinued.
During the year 1826, Mr. Campbell was again called
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(pages 168-172 not transcribed)
MAHONING ASSOCIATION. 173
courage, and being a very decided and earnest advocate of the ancient order of things, he at once induced the church to commence the practice of weekly communion. This innovation upon Baptist customs became accordingly a matter of complaint at the meeting of the Stillwater Association, which was held at Wills' Creek, near the border of Guernsey county. Among the preachers present, including Elijah Stone, Sedgwick, Pritchard, Headley, Headington and others of Mr. Campbell's old opponents in Redstone, there was but one, a Welsh preacher, Mr. Lee, who was in favor of allowing the practice. As the lay delegates present, however, were in favor of it, they outvoted the preachers, and the opposition failed. Thus, the people, beginning to inquire for themselves, had already advanced beyond those who assumed to be their spiritual guides.
On his way with John Brown to the Mahoning meeting, which was to take place at New Lisbon on the 23d of August, Mr. Campbell called with Walter Scott at Steubenville. Mr. Scott had, during the spring, issued a prospectus for a monthly paper, to be called the "Millennial Herald" and to be devoted to the exposition of his views of the primitive gospel and of the coming millennium, in which latter subject he had become much interested, and on which he had already written several articles for the "Christian Baptist." Mr. Campbell had kindly noticed his prospectus in his June number, and as he had obtained some subscribers, he was, at the time of Mr. Campbell's visit, preparing to have the first number printed. After considerable persuasion, however, he agreed to accompany the latter to the meeting of the Association.
At the first session, Mr. Scott, with Samuel Holmes, W. West and Sidney Rigdon, were invited as usual to
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take seats in the Association. In the evening, Sidney Rigdon delivered a discourse on John viii. On the following day, the first item of business to be considered was a request sent up from the church at Braceville, of which Jacob Osborne was elder, as follows: "We wish that the Association may take into serious consideration the peculiar situation of the churches of this Association, and if it would be a possible thing for an evangelical preacher to be employed to travel and teach among the churches, we think that a blessing would follow." Some other preachers, J. Merrill, with J. Secrest and Joseph Gaston of the Christian party, coming in, were invited to seats, and it was voted "that all the teachers of Christianity present be a committee to nominate a person to travel and labor among the churches, and to suggest a plan for the support of the person so employed." It was also voted "that a circular letter be written on the subject of itinerant preaching, for the next Association, by A. Campbell," and that he deliver the introductory sermon of that year, his alternate being Jacob Osborne, who at this time was the moderator of the Association. After this, the committee of nomination made the following report:
"2. That voluntary and liberal contributions be recommended to the churches, to raise a fund for his support.
"3. That, at the discretion of Brother Scott, as far as respects time and place, four quarterly meetings be held in the bounds of this Association this year for public worship and edification, and that at these meetings such contributions as have been made in the churches in these vicinities be handed over to Brother Scott, and an account kept of the same, to be produced at the next Association. Also, that at any time and
PROVIDENTIAL ARRANGEMENTS. 175
This report being adopted, John Secrest delivered a discourse in the evening from John iii. Next morning, being the Lord's day, the Association met at sunrise in the Baptist meeting-house for prayer. At 11 o'clock, A. M., Jacob Osborne delivered a discourse in the Presbyterian meeting-house, based on first chapter of Hebrews. He was followed by Mr. Campbell in a sermon from the close of the seventh and the twenty-fifth chapters of Matthew. A collection, amounting to $11.75, was then taken up as a commencement in accordance with the report of the committee, and a recess being taken to immerse some who had come forward, the brethren afterward assembled in the Baptist meetinghouse to break the loaf, after which they dispersed, "much edified," as the minutes state, and "comforted by the exercises of the day."
Such are the brief records of a meeting which proved to be prolific of important consequences, not at all foreseen by those who were the actors in it. The unexpected request from the Braceville Church; the unusual course of the Association in appointing an itinerant preacher; the accidental presence of Walter Scott; his willingness to engage in the work; the attendance and co-operation of prominent preachers from a religious denomination known as "Christians," who were now making many converts among the people, -- the whole peculiar combination of circumstances, indeed, was such as Providence alone could have arranged for the accomplishment of a great design.
Mr. Campbell was delighted that one in whom he had so much confidence, and who was, he thought, so
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(pages 176-180 not transcribed)
WALTER SCOTT. 181
now acting as postmaster. Having found it inconvenient to send his letters and publications to West Liberty office, distant four miles, he had induced the post-office department to establish a post-office at his own residence, which was thenceforth denominated Bethany, there being a post-town called "Buffalo" in Mason county. This was highly advantageous to him in many respects. Being appointed postmaster, he enjoyed the franking privilege, and was enabled greatly to extend his correspondence. As he was much occupied, however, and often absent from home, he was under the necessity of employing constantly a deputy to attend to the business of the office, which he continued to retain at his own pleasure for thirty years, through all the different administrations and political changes in the government.
Meanwhile, upon the Western Reserve, the Reformation had received an extraordinary impetus. Placed at length in a field where his religious aspirations and fertile genius had room for development, Walter Scott had entered upon his labors with a fervid zeal which silenced timid counsels and disregarded conventional impediments. He was then in the full vigor of life, being nearly thirty-one years of age, having been born in December, 1796, in the town of Moffat, and his preparation for the work before him had been ample. Educated at the University of Edinburgh, he had largely added to his literary acquirements by assiduous devotion to study and self-culture while engaged in teaching during the ten years preceding his appointment as evangelist. Much more had he accumulated vast stores of accurate Scripture knowledge and enlarged religious observation and experience. His memory was thoroughly furnished with the word of
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God; his faith and love had culminated in an affectionate personal attachment to the Redeemer, who was ever present to his thoughts, and his imagination had been fired by the glorious hopes and promises of the gospel, whfch he ardently longed to see triumphant, in its primitive purity, over the errors and corruptions of the time. Having an agreeable musical voice and graceful manner, a lively fancy replete with classical and sacred imagery and abounding in striking illustrations, he possessed many of the qualities of the successful orator. At the same time, his genius for analysis and classification, and his thorough insight into the nature of the Christian institution, enabled him to present its great and stirring themes with a force and clearness seldom equaled. The circumstances, too, around him were propitious. The churches had already been, in a good measure, liberated from the usages and opinions of the regular Baptists, and prepared to receive the simple teachings of the Scriptures. There was no longer that stagnation of religious thought which characterizes a sect. There had been for some years a spirit of religious inquiry, and, with many, a diligent searching of the Scriptures, which had created a longing for a greater conformity to the primitive standard. There was, in consequence, a considerable increase of knowledge and a corresponding growth of liberality of sentiment, which had extended far beyond the Baptist community, and rendered the people of this whole region more favorable to religious investigation. Other religious movements, too, had been for some time operating to weaken the power of sectarianism and to restore the Bible to its proper position. Prominent among these, was one in many respects nearly allied to the Reformation advocated by Mr. Campbell, and which
CHRISTIAN CONNECTION. 183
was at this time making great progress in Ohio, under the labors of several popular preachers. Two of these, as already mentioned, John Secrest and Joseph Gaston, had attended the late meeting of the Mahoning Association, participating in its exercises and in the appointment of Walter Scott, and sympathizing in the principles of the Reformation. The religious body to which they belonged, had an earlier origin than that which sprung from Mr. Campbell's labors; but as this was the first occasion on which the reformers came fairly into contact with the "Christian Connection," it will be proper here to notice the chief points in its history.
[ 184 ]
REPUBLICAN METHODISTS. 185
(pages 185-204 not transcribed)
PROVIDENTIAL GUIDINGS. 205
deed the great success of the Christian preachers in gaining converts that had awakened the churches of the Association to the importance of making an effort in that direction; for, having largely imbibed the spirit of the movement directed by Mr. Campbell, and being much occupied with their own improvement in Scripture knowledge and with questions of church order, they had neglected for some time to make proper evangelizing efforts, and were receiving, consequently, very few additions. One of the two Christian preachers present at the Association, John Secrest, was particularly noted for the large number of converts he was in the habit of reporting. The other, Joseph Gaston, was distinguished for his piety and his mild and unassuming disposition. He was a young man, tall in stature, with dark hair, a large head, broad shoulders and agreeable features, and possessed a deep, sonorous voice and great powers of exhortation. He was full of affection for men and zeal for the cause of Christ, and devoted himself with great energy to the promotion of Christian union upon the Bible. As soon as he and Walter Scott became acquainted, they formed a warm attachment for each other, and their intercourse tended to modify each other's views and modes of proceeding. Mr. Scott admired Mr. Gaston's powerful appeals to sinners. The latter, on the other hand, was attracted by Mr. Scott's warm feelings and amiable qualities, as well as profoundly impressed by his thorough knowledge of the Scriptures; and being a sincere lover of truth, he listened with interest to the clearer views of the gospel and its institutions which were presented to him.
The providence which had led to the appointment of Walter Scott as an itinerant was not long in developing its meaning. Brought into immediate communication
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with the Christian preachers, who, as remarked, were laboring with much success, he imbibed somewhat of their spirit, but he was still far from approving all their views or modes of procedure. At the same time he perceived the ineffectiveness of the course heretofore pursued by the Haldanean and other churches in the Reformation in presenting the gospel theoretically, so to speak, without making a direct and practical application of its requirements to the unconverted. There seemed to be a link wanting to connect an avowed faith in Christ with an immediate realization of the promises of the gospel. These seemed placed at an almost infinite distance from the penitent, bowed down under a sense of guilt, and longing for some certain evidence of acceptance, which he often vainly sought in the special spiritual illuminations upon which men were taught to rely. The Mahoning Association, being itself in a transition state, had prescribed to Mr. Scott no particular course whatever, simply appointing him as an evangelist "to travel and teach among the churches" partly with a view of bringing them more fully upon Reformation ground, but chiefly in order that, by means of itinerant labor and the quarterly meetings designated, their numbers might be augmented. It was his duty, therefore, to consider how the proclamation of the gospel could be rendered most effective for the conversion of sinners.
This was, in view of all the circumstances, a very difficult and perplexing question. Calvinistic views still lingered to a large extent among the Mahoning churches. Election, effectual calling, theories of regeneration, still occupied the minds of many. Various satisfactory evidences of a true faith were still required before admission to baptism, which was looked upon as a means of admission into the Church -- a command to be
BAPTISM FOR REMISSION OF SINS. 207
obeyed by those who were already converted. No special promises were recognized as connected with it, and it was very unusual to hear this subject presented at all, except when some one was about to be baptized. Mr. Scott, Elder Bentley and some others of the prominent preachers, were indeed aware that Mr. Campbell had spoken of it at the McCalla debate as a pledge of pardon, but in this point of view it was, as yet, contemplated only theoretically, none of them having so understood it when they were themselves baptized, and being yet unable properly and practically to realize or appreciate its importance in this respect. Hence, almost from the first moment of his appointment, Mr. Scott's mind was thrown into a state of great perplexity amidst the discordant and confused views relating to conversion. Baptism still seemed to present itself as in some way intimately connected with the personal enjoyment of the blessings of the gospel, but he was unable as yet to perceive the exact position which it occupied in relation to other requirements.
About this time, Adamson Bentley went down to Braceville, with Jacob Osborne, to hold a meeting. In a discourse which he delivered on the occasion he was led to speak of baptism, and gave the views which Mr. Campbell had presented in the McCalla debate, affirming that it was designed to be a pledge of remission of sins. While they were on their way back to Warren, after meeting, Jacob Osborne said, "Well, Brother Bentley, you have christened baptism to-day." "How so?" said Mr. Bentley. "You termed it a remitting institution" "Well," rejoined Mr. Bentley, "I do not see how this conclusion is to be avoided with the Scriptures before us." "It is the truth," said Mr. Osborne, who was a great student of the Bible; "and I have for
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some time thought that the waters of baptism must stand in the same position to us that the blood of sacrifices did to the Jews. 'The blood of bulls and of goats could never take away sins,' as Paul declares, yet when offered at the altar by the sinner he had the divine assurance that his sin was forgiven him. This blood was merely typical of the blood of Christ, the true sin-offering to which it pointed prospectively, and it seems to me that the water in baptism, which has no power in itself to wash away sins, now refers retrospectively to the purifying power of the blood of the Lamb of God." Soon afterward, meeting with Mr. Scott, they all three went down to Howland, and the discourse at Braceville and subsequent conversation being brought up, Mr. Scott fully coincided in the views expressed. In one of his discourses at Howland, Mr. Osborne again introduced the subject, and proceeded to say further that no one had the promise of the Holy Spirit until after baptism. This remark seemed to strike Mr. Scott with surprise, and after meeting he said to Mr. Osborne, "You are a man of great courage;" and turning to Mr. Bentley, he added: "Do you not think so, Brother Bentley." "Why?" said Mr. Bentley. "Because," said he, "he ventured to assert to-day that no one had a right to expect the Holy Spirit until after baptism." From this moment, Mr. Scott's mind seemed to be engrossed with the consideration of the consecutive order appropriate to the various items in the gospel, and being greatly given to analysis and arrangement, he proceeded to place them thus: 1, faith; 2, repentance; 3, baptism; 4, remission of sins; 5, Holy Spirit. This view relieved at once his previous perplexities, and the gospel, with its items thus regularly disposed, seemed to him almost like a new revelation. He felt
that he had now obtained a clue which would extricate men's minds from the labyrinth in which they were involved in relation to conversion, and enable him to present the gospel in all its original simplicity.
While meditating on these things, and debating with his own irresolution in regard to their presentation to the public, he met with Joseph Gaston, to whom he freely communicated his thoughts, and who, delighted with the new view of the gospel thus given, at once declared it to be the truth, and that it ought to be preached to the world. Thus encouraged, Mr. Scott determined to make the experiment; but fearing to give cause of offence to the churches who had employed him, he sent an appointment outside of the Association ground, and with considerable trepidation, but in an earnest and interesting manner, laid before the audience his analysis of the gospel, and at the close gave a formal invitation to any so disposed to come forward and be baptized for the remission of sins. No one, however, came. The effort was a failure.
This, indeed, might have been anticipated. The whole community were filled with the notion that some special spiritual influence was to be exerted upon men's hearts -- that some supernatural visitation must occur before any one could be a fit subject for baptism. This spiritual operation, too, all had been taught to regard as the evidence of acceptance and pardon, and hence when they were simply invited to come directly forward and be baptized for the remission of sins, they were filled with amazement that any one should thus propose to dispense with all the usual processes to which " mourners" and penitents were subjected. Like the Syrian noble, they were offended because the usual ceremonies were not observed, and because they were
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merely directed to "wash and be clean." None of them had ever witnessed or.heard of such a proceeding. They could find no precedent for it among all the rites and ceremonies of the religious parties, and hence, being without the authority conferred by usage, they could regard it only as an innovation. It was not therefore strange that no one ventured to comply with the invitation, and that the discourse seemed to have been preached in vain. With regard to Mr. Scott himself, however, it was by no means fruitless. He had now broken through the restraints imposed by a general but false religious sentiment. He had assumed a position which required to be maintained, and as he had now overcome the difficulties connected with the first step, he felt encouraged to proceed. More especially had his effort awakened in his own mind new trains of thought and given him wider and better views of the whole subject, so that he felt himself prepared to present it in a much more full and forcible manner. He determined, therefore, to assume the whole responsibility, and to preach boldly in the very place where he had received his appointment the sacred truths which burned within his own heart. He accordingly gave notice that he would deliver in New Lisbon a series of discourses upon the Ancient Gospel.
At the time appointed there was a considerable audience, and the novel manner in which the speaker introduced his theme, along with his own obvious, intense engagedness and excitement, created no little interest and expectation. His discourse was based upon Peter's confession, Matt. xvi. 16, in connection with the same apostle's answer to the inquiry, "What shall we do?" given to the penitents on the day of Pentecost. Acts ii. 38. As the lordship and glory of Christ, the Son of
MYSTERIOUS SUCCESS. 211
God, was his favorite theme, and he was, on this occasion, animated with more than usual fervor, he became most eloquent, and held the audience in a state of rapt attention as he gradually developed the power of the simple but comprehensive Christian creed -- the rock which Christ announced as the foundation on which he would build his Church; the grand proposition proved by the miracles of fulfilled prophecy, supernatural wisdom, divine love, healing power and victory over the grave, detailed by the evangelists, that men might believe, and, "believing, have life through his name." And when he went on to show how this gospel was administered in the beginning, and that believers were baptized into the name and into the death of Christ, and being thus buried with him and raised again to a new life, received in this symbolic act the remission of sins and the promised Holy Spirit, which was the seal of the Christian covenant and the earnest of an eternal inheritance, his hearers, while charmed with such a novel view of the simplicity and completeness of the gospel, were, as on the former occasion, filled with doubt and wonder and were ready to ask each other, "How can these things be?"
Just as he was about closing his long discourse, and while he was exhorting the people to trust in the word of God in preference to all human systems of religion, a stranger entered the assembly, and when, a few moments afterward, the speaker closed by again quoting Peter's words and inviting any present to come forward and be baptized for the remission of sins, this stranger, to the surprise of all, at once stepped forward and presented himself. Here was a singular circumstance. This person had not been enlightened and convinced by the preacher, for he had heard only his few closing
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remarks. Yet he came forward with all the firmness of an assured purpose, and all the tokens of intelligent apprehension, to request baptism for the remission of sins! Mr. Scott knew not what to think of it. The individual, when carefully questioned, seemed perfectly to understand the matter, just as did the preacher himself. There being, therefore, no ground for objection and no reason for delay, Mr. Scott, taking the confession of the candidate, baptized him in presence of a large concourse "for the remission of sins," thus annexing to the usual formula the words of Peter, Acts ii. 38, explanatory of the purpose of the institution. The people were filled with bewilderment at the strange truths brought to their ears, and now exemplified before their eyes in the baptism of a penitent for a purpose which now, on the 18th of November, 1827, for the first time since the primitive ages was fully and practically realized. A great excitement at once ensued; the subject was discussed everywhere through the town, and Mr. Scott, continuing daily to address increasing audiences and developing his views of the gospel in all its parts, succeeded, before the close of the meeting, in inducing in all seventeen persons to accept the primitive faith and baptism. Thus the charm was broken; the word of God had triumphed, and the veil which theology had cast over men's hearts was removed. Henceforth the Reformation, which had already restored to the Church the ancient order of things and the simplicity of the primitive faith, was enabled to make a practical application of the gospel to the conversion of the world. In reflecting upon the circumstances connected with his appointment, and the suggestions and encouragements he had providentially received, Mr. Scott could easily perceive how he had himself been led to decisions
KEYS OF THE KINGDOM. 213
so important. It remained, however, still a mystery that his first two discourses should have failed to convince any one, and that at the close of the second an individual who had heard neither of them should have come forward intelligently with little more than a simple invitation. In order to clear up the matter, he thought best after some time to address a letter to the individual in question, requesting him to explain the reasons which had induced him to present himself. To this he replied as follows:
"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, foreordination, etc.; that belief in these things 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 dropped 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 inquired 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 nations; he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved,' etc. I then moved a little forward
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till I found these words, 'And they 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 baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins,' etc. 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 November, 1827, and will relate to you a circumstance which occurred a few days before that date. I had read the second chapter of Acts, when I expressed myself to my wife as follows: Oh this is the gospel; this is the thing we wish -- the remission of our sins ! Oh 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 heart was open to receive the word of God, and when you cried, 'The Scripture shall no longer 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 the 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 when 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. Wm. Amend."
The enigma was thus satisfactorily solved. So great a matter as the practical restoration of the design of baptism was not to be the result of the private studies or public efforts merely of the preacher. Had persons been convinced and induced to present themselves for
RESPONSIBILITIES AND TRIALS. 215
baptism at his iirst or second discourse, he might have supposed that by his own power or superior intelligence in the Scripture he had caused them to obey. But it was ordered otherwise, that "the excellency of the power" might be seen to be of God and not of man. Mr. Scott's heart and mind had indeed been providentially prepared and strengthened to deliver faithfully the divine message, but it was equally necessary that the hearts of the hearers should be prepared to receive it. Unfitted by false theories of conversion to accept the simple truth, and without one modern precedent to encourage obedience to it, a special adaptation was required on their part, which, under the circumstances, the preacher was unable to supply, and he therefore cast the good seed of the kingdom in vain until it happened to fall upon the good soil which had been prepared by God alone.
The onerous nature of the task assigned to Mr. Scott on this occasion should, however, by no means be underrated. It is impossible for those who have now become familiarized with the primitive method, to conceive adequately of the anxieties and fears and responsibilities which attended its restoration. The sanctions of custom and the complete establishment of the truth before the bar of public sentiment have now taken away the reproach and discredit which attached to the first administration of baptism for the remission of sins. Then, the introduction of such a practice demanded that all the cherished interests which belong to position, character and life should be imperiled, and that all the odium and hostility which exasperated sectarian feeling could excite should be directly and personally encountered. To have been willing to brave such consequences for the love he bore to truth, and from his deep sense of
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religious obligation, must for ever redound to the honor of Walter Scott, and the more when the obstacles arising from his own somewhat vacillating and timid nature are considered. It is true that, as to the import of the ordinance, he had before him the public declarations of Thomas and Alexander Campbell, which had become a part of the teachings of the reformatory movement. But it is equally true that as yet no direct and practical application had been made of these teachings, and that even those who had delivered them were far from having a just sense of their importance. The strange power which the human mind possesses of contemplating things abstractly, and of separating matters which in reality are or should be indissolubly united, had here interposed and had arrested progress at the brink of the chasm which it had itself created between theory and practice. The same illicit severance, indeed, and in reference to the very same question, existed already in the case of the popular religious parties, whose creeds, almost without exception, assigned to baptism the same position and declared it to be for the remission of sins, and who, nevertheless, in point of fact, utterly neglected and denied the legitimate application of their own doctrine. Thus the Presbyterian Confession declared, chap, xxviii., sec. I:
"Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible Church, but also to be to him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, of his engrafting into Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins, and of his giving upv unto God, through Jesus Christ, to walk in newness of life."
Calvin himself had made remission the principal thing in baptism.
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"Baptism," said he (Inst., c. xvi., p. 327), " resembles a legal instrument properly attested, by which he assures us. that all our sins are canceled, effaced and obliterated so that they will never appear in his sight, or come into his remembrance, or be imputed to us. For he commands all who believe to be baptized for the remission of their sins."
John Wesley too had declared, in his "Commentary on the New Testament" (p. 350), that "Baptism administered to penitents is both a means and a seal of pardon. Nor did God ordinarily," he adds, "in the primitive Church, bestow this upon any unless through this means."
The same truth was equally attested by Baptist and Episcopal creeds; but all these theoretic concessions to Scripture teaching remained alike perfectly meaningless and inoperative in a practical point of view; and even the more emphatic averments of the Campbells as to the purport of baptism would probably, like the recorded declaration of Peter himself on Pentecost, have remained fruitless, had not a guiding Providence unexpectedly verified the correctness of the doctrine by a direct and practical application. "We can sympathize" said Mr. Campbell afterward, in reference to this matter, "with those who have this doctrine in their own creeds unregarded and unheeded in its import and utility; for we exhibited it fully in our debate with Mr. McCalla in 1823, without feeling its great importance and without beginning to practice upon its tendencies for some time afterward." It is, hence, proper to estimate aright the agency through which a blessing of such inestimable value as the personal assurance of pardon was placed once more within the reach of believing penitents.
The occurrences at New Lisbon were soon noised abroad, and occasioned a great commotion. From the meeting there, Mr. Scott went at once to Warren and
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held a successful one there with Elder Bentley. Joseph Gaston, entering at once into the spirit of the movement, co-operated earnestly with Mr. Scott at subsequent meetings. All the leading preachers of the Association, as well as others of the Christian Connection, hastened to adopt that primitive order of the different parts of the gospel which was then no less a novelty, and no less important in certain points of view, than the discovery of the practical relations of baptism, to which it had indeed directly contributed. Everywhere the confusion which had involved the subject of conversion was removed; the mourning bench was abandoned; an intelligent obedience was substituted for visionary theories, and a divine assurance replaced delusive frames and feelings. As a great many converts were now made to the primitive faith and received into the churches, those members who were still wedded to Regular Baptist usages, displeased at seeing these wholly disregarded, began to manifest an active opposition, which subsequently, in the case of two or three churches, resulted in division. Mr. Scott, meanwhile, fully conscious of the momentous nature of the issues he had evoked, but confident in the power of the gospel and all aflame with zeal, passed rapidly, like a meteor, throughout the Western Reserve, startling the people by the abruptness and directness of his appeals, but exciting many to inquiry and obedience. As usual under such circumstances, the country was filled with exaggerated rumors and with the grossest misrepresentations of both his doings and his doctrines.
Some of these reports coming to the ears of Mr. Campbell, he began to fear that Mr. Scott's precipitancy had betrayed him into indiscretions which might be prejudicial to the cause; and upon counseling with his father, it was concluded that the latter should visit the
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Western Reserve and examine for himself the progress of affairs. Upon arriving early in the spring, he heard Mr. Scott's presentations of the gospel and witnessed his direct method of procedure in the reception of converts with surprise and pleasure. He saw at once that what he and his son Alexander had plainly taught was now reduced to practice; that the simple primitive method of administering the gospel was really restored, and that the rumors which had reached Bethany were untrue. He therefore concluded to remain for some time in this inviting field, and by his earnest and efficient labors gave additional impetus to the work. From New Lisbon he wrote to his son Alexander on April 9th, giving his impressions as follows:
"I perceive that theory and practice in religion, as well as in other things, are matters of distinct consideration.... We have spoken and published many things correctly concerning the ancient gospel, its simplicity and perfect adaptation to the present state of mankind, for the benign and gracious purposes of its immediate relief and complete salvation; but I must confess that, in respect of the direct exhibition and application of it for that blessed purpose, I am at present, for the first time, upon the ground where the thing has appeared to be practically exhibited to the proper purpose. 'Compel them to come in,' saith the Lord, 'that my house may be filled.'
"Mr. Scott has made a bold push to accomplish this object, by simply and boldly stating the ancient gospel and insisting upon it; and then by putting the question generally and particularly to males and females, old and young -- Will you come to Christ and be baptized for the remission of your sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit? Don't you believe this blessed gospel? Then come away, etc., etc. This elicits a personal conversation; some confess faith in the testimony -- beg time to think; others consent -- give their hands to be
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baptized as soon as convenient; others debate the matter friendly; some go straight to the water, be it day or night; and, upon the whole, none appear offended."
About this time, the Restorationists were making great efforts on the Western Reserve. One of their itinerants was Aylett Raines, a young preacher of much more than ordinary abilities; in stature, five feet ten inches, with light hair, penetrating eyes and features expressive of intelligence. Having heard many strange reports about Mr. Scott's doctrines and occasional eccentricities, he became filled with an irrepressible desire to hear him; and learning that he was to preach on a certain night at Samuel Robbins', in Windham, he resolved to attend. Mr. Raines was somewhat fond of controversy, and as he did not believe in water baptism, but in the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, and had been informed that Mr. Scott was in the habit of calling upon the audience for any objections to his doctrine, he expected to have a discussion with him, as he stated at the time to some of his brethren who accompanied him. Mr. Scott spoke from the first chapter of First Corinthians, and presented the points of the gospel in the order in which he had arranged them. Mr. Raines was so impressed with the correctness of what he heard, and so unable to find any fault with it, that he felt quite confounded, knowing that his friends expected him to reply when Mr. Scott paused for objections. Being unwilling to oppose what seemed to be the truth, he kept his seat, and when called upon to close the meeting, made an excellent prayer, desiring that all might have a spirit of obedience, etc., but taking care to introduce his favorite petition that they might have a Pentecostean season and be baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire. Next day Mr. Raines went to hear Mr. Scott again, hoping that he would now be
POWER OF TRUTH. 221
more successful in detecting errors. The subject of the discourse was the resurrection, and Mr. Scott read the fifteenth chapter of First Corinthians. For this chapter Restorationist preachers had but little use, with the exception of a single sentence in it -- "As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" -- and were generally ignorant of its general scope and purport. In the hands, however, of Walter Scott, who was accustomed to take the Scriptures connectedly, this chapter soon presented itself to Mr. Raines as a thing of life, and made to him a revelation of such lofty trains of thought and unspeakable glories that his heart was touched, and he found his prejudices and his opposition fast melting away. Two days afterward he heard Mr. Scott deliver a discourse upon the two covenants, when he discovered, for the first time, that he had heretofore been unacquainted with the differences between them, and in making "a chaos of them," as he afterward stated, "had been preaching the darkness that was upon the face of the deep." Soon after this he heard Mr. Scott preach on the subject of faith, and the brilliant and happy manner in which he handled the eleventh chapter of Hebrews and expounded the nature and the power of faith, completely swept away from the mind of Mr. Raines every thought of opposition, and fully convinced him of the truth. He concluded, however, not to be precipitate in making a public profession. Having a preaching tour of several weeks before him, he resolved that he would fill his appointments and preach the truth as he now understood it, openly and candidly, giving to his brethren the opportunity of convincing him of any error. Their arguments, however, were so feeble that he became only the more convinced that what he had heard, and now read with
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enlarged vision in the New Testament, was indeed the gospel of Christ and worthy of all acceptation. At the end of his tour, he called upon another Restorationist preacher of high standing, E. Williams, and after a friendly discussion of four days' duration, convinced him also of the truth, and both of them going down to a beautiful little lake in Portage county, and officiating in turn, immediately submitted to immersion for the remission of sins. In the course of five weeks from this time, Mr. Raines baptized fifty persons, and among the number there were, including Mr. Williams, no less than three Restorationist preachers. Soon afterward he met with Thomas Campbell, whose intelligence and Christian graces he greatly admired, and as neither of them had any special engagements, they agreed to travel in company. Thomas Campbell took the deepest interest in his young friend, who gave the highest proofs of sincerity and ability, while the latter was happy to avail himself of the profound scriptural knowledge and enlarged experience of his venerated companion.
While these things were taking place upon the Western Reserve, Mr. Campbell was pursuing his editorial and other labors with his accustomed activity. He had in hand a new edition of the Testament, with sundry improvements suggested by scholars from among even the Pasdobaptists, some of whom were much pleased with the work. New editions also of the earlier volumes of the "Christian Baptist" were called for and put to press. Meanwhile, his ministerial duties were regularly fulfilled at Bethany and Wellsburg, with occasional visits to other points, and he continued to direct and superintend the management of his farm, in which he constantly took a lively interest. Ardently devoted to every species of improvement, he had already brought
CHURCH CORRESPONDENCE. 223
from a distance the fine-wooled Merino and Saxony sheep, to which he thought the grasses and climate of West Virginia well adapted. The experiment proving decidedly successful, he soon had a large flock, and by his representations and example greatly contributed to the introduction of that sheep-husbandry which in a few years replaced, to a large extent, wasteful methods of agriculture and promoted in an eminent degree the prosperity of the entire region. These attentions to material interests, however, though sufficiently extended to have occupied almost the entire time and thoughts of many a one, were with Mr. Campbell mere relaxations from those earnest religious and reformatory labors to which his life was devoted.
During the past year, as a sort of sequel to his essays on the "Ancient Order of Things," he had published some church letters, which, at the time, created much interest. These were occasioned by a circular from the church at New York, transmitted in 1818, to various independent churches in Great Britain and Ireland, giving a sketch of its own order of public worship, along with its views in brief of Christian duty, and requesting in return a similar statement from each of the churches addressed. This circular, with the letters it elicited from the churches at Glasgow and Edinburgh, in Scotland; Tubermore and Dublin, in Ireland, and Manchester, in England, presented a very clear and interesting view of the relative progress of these different churches. The general agreement and the Christian spirit which the letters exhibited served to confirm in a very high degree the advantages of the apostolic order, and tended greatly to promote its adoption among the reforming churches in America. They revealed, however, some differences, which were candidly
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and kindly presented for consideration, each church professing its desire, as well as its entire liberty, to conform still more closely to the apostolic pattern.
In speaking of the views presented in these letters, Mr. Campbell highly commended the manifest agreement in all the essential matters of the primitive faith and practice. As the New York letter, however, revealed a disposition to adhere to a fixed routine in the order of worship, based upon a narrow and textuary method of construing the Scriptures, and to insist upon a unity of opinion, he took occasion to express his dissent from such rules as being relics of popery. "When men," said he, " make communion in religious worship dependent on uniformity of opinion, they make selflove, instead of the love of God, the bond of union, and elevate matters of mere speculation above the one faith, the one Lord and the one immersion." As to a rigid observance of a particular order of worship, after remarking that "the patriarchal age was the infancy, the Jewish age the minority and the Christian age the manhood of the religious world, and that in the latter condition persons are allowed to have a judgment of their own and to exercise it," he deprecates any attempt to prescribe positive rules in matters of mere expediency.
During this year he published a series of essays upon the "Ancient Gospel," which, as he said, consisted in the simple facts connected with the work of Christ in the redemption of man. These facts, as he endeavored to show, again appeared in the symbolic ordinances of the gospel. In the Lord's supper, the Lord's day, and especially in the immersion of a believer, the death, burial and resurrection of Christ were pointed out as the grounds of justification and of hope. Baptized
MILLENNIAL HOPES. 225
into the death of Christ, buried with him in baptism, and therein raised again to walk in a new life, the penitent believer thus "put on Christ," and of necessity entered into the enjoyment of his salvation. Having thus "put on Christ," it now became his duty and his happiness to "walk in him," and to bring forth in life and conduct the fruits of that Holy Spirit of promise which he received upon the obedience of faith. Thus the gospel was discovered to be of so simple a nature as to be perfectly adapted to the understanding of every creature, and yet so effective in its direct and practical application, through its expressive ordinances, as to secure to the penitent the divine assurance of pardon, the renewing power of the Holy Spirit and the indwelling earnest of an eternal inheritance.
The wonderful success which everywhere attended the primitive gospel thus presented by its advocates filled them with the most ardent hopes that the perplexed and erroneous religious systems of the day would be speedily overthrown, and that happy millennial period be ushered in when the gospel would triumph and Christ's people be united. These fond expectations were especially cherished by Walter Scott and some others of a like excitable and ardent temperament. Mr. Campbell, however, while he shared in them to some extent, was too well aware of the nature of the obstacles in the way to anticipate an easy victory. The restoration of the simple gospel and its institutions to the world was by no means all that was to be accomplished. As for himself, there was yet another part of the work for which Providence had destined and peculiarly fitted him, to which he was now about to be called, and which will be considered in the following chapter.
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(pages 227-242 not transcribed)
MAHONING ASSOCIATION. 243
He has fed till he is satisfied, and stands in the shade whisking off the flies, and has neither hope nor fear in death." At this Mr. Owen smiled and evinced some confusion, but was quite unable to deny the justness of Mr. Campbell's inference. As he was now on his way to Europe, and did not expect to return before the beginning of winter, he desired to have the time of the discussion fixed for the second Monday of the following April. This being regarded as a suitable season, and Cincinnati being agreed on as the place of meeting, the amiable philosopher, with the kindest feelings, bade his host farewell.
Shortly after his departure, Mr. Campbell was united in marriage with Miss S. H. Bakewell, whom he chose not only in deference to his first wife's earnest wish, but in accordance with his own deliberate judgment, the wisdom of which the future amply confirmed. On the 24th of the preceding January, his eldest daughter, Jane, had been married to Mr. Albert G. Ewing, a gentleman of high standing and intelligence, residing at Nashville, Tennessee. And as they were at this time on a visit to Bethany, they concluded to accompany Mr. Campbell and his bride to the meeting of the Mahoning Association, at which Mr. Campbell was to deliver the introductory discourse.
This meeting, which was held at Warren, was well attended and was an occasion of great interest. One year before, the Association had appointed Walter Scott as evangelist, little expecting the events which were so soon to follow, and on which many now looked back with thankfulness and wonder. The friends of progress felt that a decisive victory had been gained, and that the primitive method of administering the gospel had indeed reappeared in the Church, restoring to it
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its pristine power to convert the nations. This power had already been demonstrated by the addition of nearly one thousand persons to the churches within quite a limited area, as well as in various signal triumphs over sectarian opposition and in the fraternal union of preachers and people of dissevered parties. They rejoiced that the reformatory principles for some years discussed among them had led to such grand results, and, feeling more and more assured of their importance, were well disposed to carry them out in every particular.
This disposition was soon to be tested in relation to a very important feature of the proposed reform -- the scriptural basis of Christian union. The occasion for this was the case of Aylett Raines, who, though publicly identified with the movement, still retained, as was generally understood, his Restorationist opinions. The opponents of the cause had not failed to reproach its adherents with tolerating these errors, as they had not required a public renunciation of them, and there were many in the Association who were quite sensitive upon the subject, and doubted whether under such circumstances Mr. Raines could be received. As Mr. Campbell was aware of this state of feeling, he took as the subject of his introductory discourse the fourteenth chapter of Romans, dwelling particularly upon the injunction in the first verse: "Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations," or, as in the rendering adopted in the new version from Thompson, "without regard to differences of opinions."
On the following day the case of Mr. Raines was formally brought before the Association by Jacob Osborne, who wished to have the matter definitely settled.
BASIS OF UNION TESTED. 245
Thomas Campbell immediately rose and remarked that such a question was only calculated to create discord among the brethren. "Brother Raines," said he, "has been with me during the last several months, and we have freely unbosomed ourselves to each other. He is philosophically a Restorationist and I am a Calvinist, but notwithstanding this difference of opinion between us, I would put my right hand into the fire and have it burnt ofF before I would hold up my hands against him. And from all I know of Brother Raines, if I were Paul, I would have him, in preference to any young man of my acquaintance, to be my Timothy." To this warm commendation, Mr. Raines at a subsequent opportunity responded that "if he were Timothy, Thomas Campbell should be his Paul." Alexander Campbell then made some remarks, again defining the difference between faith and opinion, stating that Mr. Raines' views on the subject of the restoration of the wicked after a certain amount of punishment could be regarded as nothing but an opinion, since there was not a passage anywhere in the writings of prophets or apostles affirming it. It could never be considered a matter of belief, since there was no testimony to render it such. He therefore proposed that Mr. Raines should express his willingness to preach the gospel as the apostles preached it, and to retain his opinions as private property in harmony with the principles of the Reformation. If he would do this, he assured all present that in a short time all such opinions would fade away out of his mind, and he would see such a freeness and fullness in the gospel that he would not want men saved if they would not obey it. Walter Scott then expressed his entire concurrence in the views given, after which Mr. Raines
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made the declaration proposed by Mr. Campbell, and the question being put "Whether there was any law of Christ by which a brother could be condemned who deported himself as Mr. Raines proposed to do?" the Association decided by a very large majority that there was not. Thus the case was settled, though some of those in the minority felt still so disturbed at the reception of Mr. Raines that nothing but his prudence and careful avoidance of any effort to teach his speculative opinions prevented a schism which at the time might have been attended with disastrous consequences.
On this occasion Mr. Campbell gave a very remarkable proof of his entire freedom from the exacting spirit which then governed religious parties. So far, indeed, was he in advance of the time that some of those associated with him thought he had in some measure compromised the principle of the Reformation itself which required assent to the plain teaching of Scripture, and so much dissatisfied were some who had come to the meeting with a view of uniting with the reformers that they declined doing so. He recognized in Mr. Raines, however, one who sincerely believed the gospel, and who by no means doubted or denied the reality and certainty of the future punishment of the wicked. The only point of difficulty was the duration of that punishment, in regard to which Mr. Raines had adopted a theory to the effect that the benevolence of God would ultimately eliminate from the universe all traces of sin, its punishment included—a view similar to that held by the illustrious Origen and the celebrated John Foster, as well as by other individuals amongst the "orthodox." As Mr. Raines believed that God would reward the righteous and punish the wicked according to their works, Mr. Campbell considered this to be the substance of
FAITH AND PHILOSOPHY. 247
the divine communications on the subject, and that conjectures or theories as to anything beyond this were mere opinions or speculations. As Mr. Raines' agreement to hold these views in private as mere opinions was an admission of their doubtfulness and their want of Scripture authority, and his engagement to teach only what the Scripture revealed was all that the principles of the Reformation demanded, the course pursued was obviously correct. It gave an example, however, of a freedom of thought of which the religious community had never dreamed, and presented in a very striking light the liberality of the basis of Christian union advocated by Mr. Campbell.
The wisdom of his position in this case was fully borne out by the results. Mr. Raines became not only one of the ablest and most successful advocates of the cause, but it was not long until his favorite theory gave place to humbler views of man's ability to resolve the mysteries of the future ; and in order to complete the history it may be here stated that in 1830 he wrote thus to Mr. Campbell:
"I wish to inform you that my 'restorationist' sentiments have been slowly and imperceptibly erased from my mind by the ministry of Paul and Peter and some other illustrious preachers, with whose discourses and writings, I need not tell you, you seem to be intimately acquainted. After my immersion I brought my mind, as much as I possibly could, like a blank surface to the ministry of the new institution, and by this means I think many characters of truth have been imprinted in my mind which did not formerly exist there.... I hope during the remainder of my days to devote my energies, not to the building up of sectarian systems, but to the teaching of the Word." This purpose Mr. Raines has fully accomplished in a faithful and most efficient ministry of more than forty years, and recently thus refers to the cherished remembrance
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of "the great kindness and magnanimity with which," says he, "the Campbells and Walter Scott treated me after my baptism, and before I was convinced of the erroneousness of my restorationist philosophy. They used to say to me: 'It is a mere philosophy, like Calvinism and Arminianism, and no part of the gospel.' They made these isms of but little value, and therefore not worth contending for, and they did not put themselves in conflict with my philosophy, but rather urged me to preach the gospel in matter and form as did the apostles. This all appeared to me to be reasonable, and I did it; and one of the consequences was, that the philosophy within me became extinct, having no longer the coals of contention by which to warm or the crumbs of sectarian righteousness upon which to feed."
Thus has it ever been that while the false value attached to the inferences and deductions of human reason has originated and perpetuated religious strife and division, a sincere submission to the plain teachings of the word of God has promoted the cause of truth, unity and peace.
Immediately after Mr. Campbell's discourse on Friday, it was agreed that the usual forms of the Association should be dispensed with, in order to hear from Mr. Scott a report of his year's labor. This was heard with great interest, and the question of his reappointment coming up afterward, some discussion arose as to restricting his labors within the bounds of the associated churches, and also in regard to his request that the Association would appoint as his fellow-laborer William Hayden, for whom he had formed a warm attachment, and who would, he thought, be eminently useful in this capacity. Some were for having the itineracy confined within the limits of the churches, but Mr. Scott wished to be at liberty to go to any point where there seemed to be a favorable opening. After much
WILLIAM HAYDEN. 249
discussion, he arose finally and said with much earnestness of manner: "Give me my Bible, my head and Brother William Hayden, and we will go forth to convert the world." Sidney Rigdon then moved that "the Association give to Walter Scott his Bible, his head and Brother William Hayden," which was at once agreed to.
William Hayden lived at this time in Canfield. He was about the middle stature, thickset and athletic, with a complexion naturally rather dark and much tanned by exposure; intelligent light gray eyes; light hair; a mouth somewhat large; his countenance expressive of both firmness and kindly feeling, and often wreathed with a winning smile. He was then in his thirtieth year, having been born June 30, 1799, in Rosstrevor township, Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, from which, four years afterward, his father with the family removed to Youngstown, in Ohio, then quite a new country.
Religious questions had engaged his attention at a very early period of life. Before he was twelve he had been first a deist and then an atheist in his sentiments, and had involved himself in great mental perplexity. Possessing good reasoning powers, however, and anxious to discover the truth, he was at length relieved by the reflection that "if nothing had eternally or primarily existed, nothing could have been originated, and that hence a cause uncaused was self-evident." His belief in a God having been thus restored, he was led to the Scriptures by the consideration that, "as God had created us, we were not too insignificant for him to govern and judge us." Delighted with the character of Christ as portrayed in the New Testament, and conscious of his need of salvation, he, for a long
250 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
time, attended religious meetings, and sought conversation with religious persons. He was at length thoroughly aroused by Christ's declaration, Matt. xii. 36, 37: "I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." Being induced to accept the divine mercy in Christ, he was baptized by Elder Joshua Woodworth, May 19, 1816, and united with the Baptist Church, to which his parents already belonged.
He became a reader of the "Christian Baptist" soon after its publication, and rejoiced in that freedom of thought and of investigation which it inculcated, and wThich was so congenial to his own mind. He still, however, fondly entertained the popular views of conversion and when he heard Walter Scott preach in the fall of 1827, his direct method of calling sinners to obedience seemed to him rash and dangerous. Some time afterward, hearing that Mr. Scott was to preach in a school-house near Simon Sacket's, he rode eight miles to hear him. The room was densely crowded. Mr. Scott's first words were: "There is not a man in this house who believes that God means what he says." William Hayden was astounded, and was on the point of rising to say that he was at least one who believed it, when the assured manner of the speaker led him to pause. Mr. Scott went on to show that men come to the Bible with their heads full of religious systems and theories, and that in consequence they were inhibited from taking the Scriptures in any sense inconsistent with these. They dared not take the plain common-sense view of the teaching of the Bible, or the true and obvious meaning of its words, lest their religious system
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should be endangered. That system gave in every case the law of interpretation, and the true sense was neither understood nor believed. He vindicated the authority of God's words as against^ every system, and exalted their sufficiency, their truthfulness, their trustworthiness, showing the propriety of relying upon the divine declarations alone, in which the terms of salvation were presented to us for our immediate acceptance. As he thus discoursed and developed the sad results of the prevailing systems which had closed the ears and the hearts of the people against the plain words of Scripture, William Hayden felt that he was right, and that he himself heretofore had been thus blinded, and had not really believed "that God meant what he said." A complete revolution was at once effected in his mind as he meditated upon the truths he had heard. The Bible was to him now a new book. The gospel was a simple development of God's love, adapted to every creature, and furnishing to every one who believed it a direct and practical assurance of acceptance. To preach was no longer a mockery, pretending to offer salvation to all, yet announcing that this was nevertheless reserved for a definite pre-ordained number known to God alone. On the contrary, the gospel was now seen to be truly the power of God to every one who believed it, and he felt that he could now offer it upon its own simple terms, as such, to sinners.
He was at this time teaching a school in Austintown, and in February, Adamson Bentley came and held some meetings, at which a number were induced to submit to the gospel. Among these was his particular friend, John Henry, born in Chartiers township, Washington county, Pennsylvania, October 1, 1797, and remove4 to Ohio in 1803, where he was raised a strict Presbyterian.
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He was a man of very singular powers and universally esteemed. Like William Hayden, he possessed fine musical talents, great kindness of disposition, an independent spirit and the gift of language. Earnest, truthloving, enterprising and fearless, his accession greatly aided William Hayden amidst the violent opposition which the cause had then to encounter, and encouraged him in his first efforts at public speaking. John Henry himself, some time afterward at a baptism, when evildisposed persons derided and created a disturbance, was impelled to burst forth into an indignant and effective remonstrance, which revealed to him his own latent power over an audience and led him to devote himself to public speaking. Having a remarkable memory and readiness of utterance, though without discipline of mind or the graces of elocution, he could, nevertheless, enchain the people for hours by his rapid and thorough 'expositions of scriptural themes, quoting and applying every passage in the Bible relating to the subject, giving chapter and verse without a moment's pause, with pointed and keen criticisms upon the errors of the popular teaching, and brief but pertinent exhortations to duty. He hence became, after a time, one of the most reliable and effective preachers on the Reserve. The accession of John Henry and his intrepid advocacy of the cause soon led to the formation of a church at Austintown of one hundred and ten members, which was organized by Scott, Bentley and Raines, William Hayden being placed over it.
The arrangement which had been made by the Association in appointing the latter a fellow-laborer with Walter Scott proved to be a most effective one. The two evangelists, earnestly co-operating and wholly devoted to the work, seemed to carry everything before
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them. Crowded audiences were everywhere in attendance in meeting-houses, private dwellings, barns or shady groves; many came from a desire to listen to the charming singing of William Hay den, and were brought over to the truth preached. Throughout this whole region sectarian conversions were soon almost entirely suspended. Preachers who ventured to oppose the "ancient gospel" lost their influence and were forsaken by many of their adherents, who united with the Christian churches. A great number also, who had been bewildered by the inconsistent doctrines of the sectarian world and had become skeptical, were led to believe and obey the gospel, while a number of gifted individuals were raised up even from the humblest walks of life to become efficient and devoted preachers, and to render their powerful assistance to those already in the field.
One of these, Jonas Hartzel (born October 19, 1803, in Northampton county, Pennsylvania, from whence the family removed to Deerfield, Ohio, in 1805), had been brought up a Presbyterian. Some time in 1826, his wife, who was a pious Methodist, said to him, unexpectedly, "What Scripture have you for infant baptism? If you have any, I ask for it; for I have no confidence in my baptism." He replied, "Alice, I can satisfy you on that subject;" and, opening the Bible, he turned to the proof-texts to show that it came in place of circumcision; then to the household baptisms and the saying, "Suffer little children to come unto me," etc.; but, upon considering these passages, his logical mind could find no proof in them, and, greatly mortified and disappointed, he put the subject off for the time. Too honest with himself, however, to controvert the teachings of the Bible, he was, after some further inquiry, fulty convinced
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that infant baptism had no divine authority. He then said, "We have been misled by our religious guides. We have been deceived in a plain case, and if so in reference to baptism, perhaps we have been led into error on other subjects of equal or greater importance. We have taken our religion on trust. We have read the Scriptures to confirm our creeds. We must now read the Bible to form our religious sentiments for ourselves, and go whithersoever it may lead us."
This change of views caused great grief to the relatives on both sides, who expostulated and argued, but Mr. Hartzel and his wife read the Scriptures, and soon found that "faith came by hearing," and that salvation was thus brought within their reach. The controversy grew warmer. Mr. Hartzel argued from Acts ii. 38, "that as baptism was for remission of sins, and to be preceded by faith and repentance, it could have no relation to infants." Hearing some months afterward that Mr. Campbell taught baptism for remission, he became a subscriber to the "Christian Baptist," which he had occasionally read, and was delighted with the grand purpose it held in view -- a return to the primitive gospel -- a restoration rather than a reformation -- the preaching and teaching of Christianity as it was before there were any reformations or any occasion for them. Following out their convictions, Mr. Hartzel and his wife were immersed on the second Lord's day in June, 1828, and in August of this same year, at the annual meeting, he saw Mr. Campbell for the first time, and at once identified him amongst the crowd of preachers by his simple, self-possessed manners, his unclerical appearance and unassuming deportment. When he heard him speak, he was charmed with the artlessness of his delivery and with the singular power of his discourse, and
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was impressed at once with the conviction that he was one of those remarkable men raised up by Providence for the accomplishment of important ends. As it was the custom of the churches now rapidly forming everywhere to adopt at once the primitive order and depend for mutual edification upon the gifts of the members, those of Mr. Hartzel did not remain long concealed. Possessing a vigorous mind, a remarkably clear perception of logical relations, a sincere love of truth and a fine command of language, he soon became distinguished as an effective and able preacher. In person he is tall and erect, grave in manner, in complexion somewhat swarthy, with regular features, intelligent dark eyes, full and handsome lips, and in speaking has a slightly German pronunciation and arrangement of words.
Many others there were who at this period were brought forward by the pressing demand of the times from amidst the pursuits of husbandry and other ordinary vocations to assume the position of preachers of the gospel. However useful to this office the refinements of education, the cause could not now wait for the slow processes of scholastic discipline or the tedious preliminaries of a college course. These advantages, indeed, were far from being essential, since the gospel, now freed from theological speculations, was found to be adapted to the humblest capacity, and to require nothing but' a simple, earnest and faithful presentation in order to the conversion of sinners. Hence, quite a number of individuals of little culture but earnest faith, inspired by the love of truth and of humanity, entered into the field of public labor, and many of them, having fine natural abilities, greatly promoted the progress of the. gospel. To those already mentioned of this class
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may be added a few others who at this period were prominent advocates of the cause. Of these was Cyrus Bosworth, distinguished less as a preacher than as a counselor, and as a man of resolute and decided character, exercising a commanding influence. He was a native of Roxbury, Plymouth county, Massachusetts, born April 12, 1791. He came to Warren in 1813 and engaged in teaching, but afterward carried the express mail along the forest paths of this newly-settled region, and was the first messenger to convey to Pittsburg the news of Perry's victory on Lake Erie. He served afterward as a member of the Ohio Legislature and as sheriff of Trumbull county. He embraced the gospel soon after it began to be preached by Walter Scott, and continued until his death, April 4, 1861, to take an unabated interest in the things of the kingdom of God.
His brother Marcus, three years younger, removed to Ohio from Roxbury and settled in Braceville, Trumbull county, in 1816. Soon after, he experienced a religious awakening among the Presbyterians, but having imbibed Baptist views in early life, could not be persuaded that sprinkling was baptism, though he searched the Scriptures diligently and listened to the arguments of several preachers. He and his wife were finally immersed by Thomas Miller in 1819, and he became a deacon of the Baptist church formed during the following year at Braceville. From his zeal, piety and speaking abilities he was soon after recommended to engage in the ministry, and while attending the "ministers' meetings" became acquainted with Mr. Campbell and with the principles of the Reformation, which he cordially embraced. Being ordained in October, 1827, he gave himself ardently to the work, and when Walter Scott visited Braceville, preaching baptism for
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remission of sins, he, after careful examination, fully adopted this as the plain doctrine of Scripture. He was a man of average height, light complexion and sandy hair, extremely plain and familiar, but unassuming in his manners. As a speaker, he was not boisterous or vehement, but had a rapid delivery, and was so full of feeling that he could not discourse on the themes of salvation without shedding abundance of tears and deeply affecting his audience. He was a very successful preacher, and, as a man, universally beloved, abounding in prayer, in hospitality and in all good works. Appointed by the Association in 1829 to itinerate in connection with W. Scott, A. Bentley and W. Hayden, he was the means of converting many, and continued his labors until June 10, 1847, when, in the triumphs of faith, he yielded up his spirit into the hands of the Lord he had so faithfully served.
Another of those who were actively engaged at this early period of the Reformation was Symonds Rider, a native of Hartford, Connecticut, born November 20, 1792, and settling at Hiram, in Portage county, Ohio, in 1814, where he still lives and has ever been an upright and prominent citizen. He was at an early period much devoted to the Scriptures and particularly solicitous in regard to the subject of conversion. Having marked and carefully considered all the passages relating to this subject, he concluded that if he ever met a preacher who presented the gospel just as he read it in the New Testament, he would yield to it. In June, 1828, he heard Thomas Campbell preach in Mantua, and finding what he heard in perfect accordance with what he read, he came forward promptly at the first invitation and was baptized by Reuben Ferguson, who had recently been a Methodist preacher. Being a man
258 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
of earnest and sincere purpose and a cogent reasoner, Mr. Rider attained considerable distinction as a public speaker, and still remains elder of the flourishing church at Hiram.
To these may be added E. B. Hubbard, also still living, who, born in Duchess county, New York, February 28, 1792, removed to Deerfield, Ohio, in 1802. Uniting with the Methodists there, he nevertheless regarded creeds and all legislation on the part of religious bodies as invasions of Christ's prerogative, and finally, in conjunction with S. McGowan, C. P. Finch, a Methodist preacher, and some others, learned from the Scriptures the true basis of organization for the Church, which they endeavored to carry out into practice amidst a storm of opposition. Hearing then of a similar society in Braceville, Hubbard and Finch were deputed to visit it. Being much gratified with what they saw and heard, Marcus Bosworth was invited to visit Deerfield, which he did in June, 1828, in company with Mr. Bentley, and held a meeting at which seven were immersed, and the church was fairly established. Mr. Hubbard soon engaged in preaching, and has rendered effectual service to the cause by his faithful and longcontinued labors.
In this connection the name of John Whitaker deserves mention. Of Quaker lineage, he became awakened under the preaching of the Christian Connection, but soon afterward, hearing Walter Scott, entered fully into the clearer light, and became quite an able preacher, powerful both in argument and in exhortation. As a man he was eminently social and hospitable, and, though grave in his deportment, possessed a large fund of genuine wit.
Of those from among the Baptists there were also
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many besides the individuals formerly mentioned who distinguished themselves by their efforts in behalf of the primitive faith and order. Among these, William Collins was noted for excellent preaching abilities and extensive usefulness. He had been educated at Hamilton Seminary, New York, and afterward settled at Chardon, Ohio, where he labored for many years, and was deservedly popular, dying a few years since, much regretted. He was succeeded by Ebenezer Williams, formerly mentioned, who, after his conversion from Restorationism, continued to be a faithful and consistent advocate of the truth, dying recently in the fullness of hope. He was a man of great candor, clear, logical and convincing in his discourses, and greatly esteemed by all who knew him. Among others from the Baptists, too, may be mentioned John Applegate, who, after a two years' struggle, became at length convinced of the truths he had heard in 1828 from W. Scott, at Austintown, being greatly helped forward by Jesse Hall, the worthy deacon of the church in Hubbard, where he lived, and who had at an early period embraced the Reformation. Mr. Applegate has labored much for the cause amidst his arduous struggles to rear a numerous family upon a little farm, and his humble, consistent, godly life and remarkably cheerful spirit have made him a great benefaction to the Church. Others, also, there were who, though less regularly engaged in public ministries, or acting merely as elders or deacons of the congregations, contributed much to the furtherance of the gospel. Prominent among these was the venerable John Rudolph, of Garrettsville, in Portage county, who was distinguished for his piety, his firmness and many excellences, and possessed great personal weight. He was especially remarkable for
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his uncommon gift in social prayer, in which he manifested a humility, suitableness and fervency rarely equaled and impossible to describe. He was a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, hospitable, just, sober, yielding up after a hard struggle his favorite Baptist theories, and heartily embracing the simpler views of the gospel which were brought to his attention. His two sons, John and Zebedee, entered also at an early period into the ranks of the Reformation, and have continued faithfully devoted to the interests of the truth -- the former acting as deacon in the church at Garrettsville, and the latter, with more than usual scholarly attainments, self-acquired, rendering efficient aid in the congregation at Hiram.
Nor were there wanting some who were won over from positive infidelity to the public advocacy of the primitive faith. Among these Amos Allerton, of Deerfield, was conspicuous. He was a man of great personal strength and courage, tall, bony, straight as an arrow, and somewhat rough in manners and appearance, but a high-minded, honorable man, tender-hearted, remarkably quick in discernment, and withal conscientious and contemning everything mean or selfish. He was, nevertheless, a bold, fearless infidel, and when he heard the rumor, among many others equally absurd, that Mr. Scott was taking the people by force and dipping them, he declared that such things should not be done in Deerfield. Mr. Scott soon came to fill an appointment there on a week-day, and Allerton attended, publicly avowing his intention to interfere to prevent any imposition upon the people. At the sight of Mr. Scott's feeble frame, his flashing dark eyes, his intellectual features and humble, reverential bearing, he found himself insensibly softened, and soon began to take a deep interest
in the subject presented. On this occasion Mr. Scott had an audience densely crowded, and being animated with more than usual power, he surpassed himself. For three full hours he held the people enchained by his clear developments and vivid descriptions of the patriarchal, Jewish and Christian dispensations, pausing for a few moments between each division while a song was sung by Sister Davis, a fine singer from Wales. Having completed his magnificent oration, and given a comprehensive view of the entire subject of religion in the light of the Bible, he called upon the audience for obedience to the gospel. The instant the invitation was given, Captain Allerton started from his seat and strode toward the preacher, while the people who knew his views and expressed purposes trembled for the results. But when the strong man was seen to bow himself in humble submission to the claims of the gospel, which he had now for the first time learned to understand and appreciate, an intense emotion pervaded the entire assembly, and the eyes of many were suffused with tears. Such was the effect when this "tall oak of Bashan," as Mr. Scott termed him, was felled, that eleven others immediately came forward, and a flourishing church was established at Deerfield, in which Mr. Allerton soon became one of the most efficient members, preaching and baptizing many, noted for his fluency in speech and wisdom in council, and, though variable in the excellence of his public efforts, often more brilliant than others who evinced greater uniformity in the character of their public addresses.
All these were warm personal friends of Mr. Campbell, and much endeared to him by their earnest labors, their self-sacrificing spirit and their zeal for the restoration of the pure and simple apostolic gospel. Under
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the circumstances then existing, it required no small amount of moral courage to oppose the popular religious systems and to brave the public obloquy and social estrangement which resulted. To undertake the public advocacy of the cause demanded then a noble disinterestedness and an unselfish devotion. The things said and written against a salaried clergy, as well as the newly-discovered simplicity of the gospel, had almost entirely suspended all contributions for the ministry, and the recently-formed churches had as yet adopted no co-operative system or regular plan of operations. Hence the individuals who felt impelled to use their efforts for the spread of the truth were obliged to do this not only without the prospect of any present remuneration, but to the neglect of their own affairs and the expenditure of their own limited means. On one occasion one of them, having a series of appointments to meet, and being without a horse to ride, borrowed one from a neighbor, for the shoeing of which he was to pay two dollars. Having filled his engagements and received nothing but compliments, he had, upon his return, to work four days for the blacksmith in order to pay the debt he had incurred. These noble men were, however, the praise of the churches and the glory of Christ. The advancement of the cause seemed to depend upon their free efforts and their aggressive onslaughts upon the corruptions of sectarianism. Denouncing textuary preaching, written sermons and theological theories, they employed universally direct extemporaneous methods of address, and taught the people the Scriptures in their connection, accomplishing a mighty work in the liberation of multitudes from the thraldom of human systems, and in establishing permanently on the Western Reserve the claims of the primitive gospel.
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It cannot be denied that Mr. Owen was in many respects an extraordinary man, and that he performed at this time no unimportant part in the world's affairs. Born at Newtown, Wales, in 1769, he was so precocious
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that, according to his own account, he was a teacher in a school at the age of seven and under-master at nine. He maintained himself as a shopman for some years, and seems to have had something so impressive about him that he was treated with uncommon consideration and liberality. At the age of eighteen he became a partner in a cotton-mill where forty hands were employed, Arkwright's machinery having been recently introduced. He was prosperous, and was raised from one lucrative position to another, so that, after David Dale of Glasgow established the New Lanark mills, Mr. Owen, who had now become his son-in-law, was placed finally at the head of the establishment, upon which some two thousand persons depended for support. Entering fully into all the benevolent projects of Mr. Dale for the happiness and improvement of the working classes, he displayed an uncommon skill in the economy of association and in systematizing the details of subsistence, clothing, education, leisure and amusements, and in the management of the mill, the farm, etc.; so that everything requiring the exercise of the administrative faculties was of a rare quality of excellence. In the course of ten years, while many expected his ruin from his novel schemes, he bought out his partners at New Lanark for $420,000. In four years from this time he and his new partners had gained $600,000, and he bought them out for $570.000—facts no less remarkable than conclusive as to his uncommon ability in the conduct of affairs.
Such was the success of his industrial, social and educational plans that his fame was soon widely extended, and many intelligent theorists in political economy came to him to learn his method. Inspired with the belief that his plans would revolutionize human
INFANT-SCHOOL SYSTEM. 261
society, he became a propagandist....
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by the almost incessant visits of strangers, some of whom often remained for long periods. The presence of sickness, too, during the winter succeeding her marriage, when there were no less than thirteen cases of measles in the family, had greatly added to Mrs. Campbell's cares; but being an excellent nurse, and devoting herself assiduously to the duties she had undertaken, she succeeded in managing and arranging everything so happily as greatly to relieve Mr. Campbell and leave him free to pursue his accustomed labors.
About this time Walter Scott, being on a short visit to Pittsburg, rode out to see his former pupil, young Mr. Richardson, who was now engaged in the practice of medicine, some thirteen miles from the city. During the interview he related many interesting incidents connected with his labors on the Reserve, which excited much surprise on the part of the doctor, who had as yet remained quite uninformed in respect to the character of the religious movement in which Mr. Scott was now engaged, and was still a member of the Episcopal Church, though at the time in communion with the Presbyterian Church in his immediate neighborhood.
The statement that the Christian institution was quite distinct from the Jewish, and had a definite origin on the day of Pentecost (Acts ii.), and that penitent believers were then commanded to be baptized for the remission of sins, seemed to him as a new revelation, accustomed as he had been to the confused ideas of the different parties on these subjects. Upon searching out the import of the word baptism after Mr. Scott's departure, he soon found it to be immersion, and perceived that from trusting to human teachers he had been previously deceived in regard to it. Resolving, therefore, from thenceforth to be directed by the Bible alone, he
FRUITS OF OBEDIENCE. 297
began a careful re-examination of it. Reflecting that whatever might be urged about "apostolic succession," there could be no flaw in the credentials of the afostles themselves, and that they at least knew how to preach the gospel, he was convinced that had he and the whole world been present when Peter said, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, for the remission of sins," all would have been equally bound to obey and that the case was in nowise different now with those to whom this word of salvation came. There could be no danger of deception or mistake in trusting to the words of one who "spake as the Holy Spirit gave him utterance," and he therefore felt it to be his duty to submit to the divine requirements. Setting out accordingly, he, after a three days' journey, found Mr. Scott holding a meeting at a barn in Shalersville, on the Reserve, which he reached about two o'clock on the Lord's day, just after the audience had been dismissed. Six persons had come forward and were preparing for baptism at the farm-house, and the doctor, pressing through the crowd, greatly surprised and delighted Mr. Scott by informing him that he had come to be baptized. After the immersion the meeting was resumed, and William Hayden addressed the people, his discourse being the first the doctor heard from any preacher in the Reformation; nor had he, before going down that day to the banks of the softly-flowing Cuyahoga, ever witnessed an immersion, having been led by the word of God alone to take a solitary journey of one hundred and twenty miles in order to render the obedience which it demanded, and to find in that obedience the fulfillment of the Divine promises, and a happy relief from the illusive hopes and fears, based on frames and feelings, which for several years had constituted his religious experience.
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Soon after his return he became instrumental in forming a church, which led to the organization of a second one in a short time in Washington county, where several of the old Brush Run members still resided, and where the children of Thomas Campbell's ancient friend, John McElroy, now used their influence to promote the cause. Prominent among these was James McElroy, who not only defended the cause with intelligence and zeal, but contributed liberally of his means to sustain Walter Scott in the evangelical field. In his efforts he was earnestly seconded by his devoted brother John, as well as by his intelligent sister Susan, who as early as 1817 had, amidst the peculiar trials of that period, led the way in obedience to the primitive gospel. Subsequently she had been for a considerable time an inmate of Mr. Campbell's family, and then the wife of Jacob Osborne, whose sudden and untimely death by haemoptysis in the spring of this year (1829), in the midst of eminent usefulness on the Western Reserve, was much regretted. The advocacy of the reformatory principles by these intelligent disciples, characterized by an unyielding adherence to the simple teachings of the word of God, contributed much to promote the cause—James McElroy rendering efficient aid to Walter Scott in forming a church at Dutch Fork, and also to William Hayden in constituting another at Braddock's Field, where, at the meeting held, four entire households were baptized, without an infant in one of them. After a time, the church with which the McElroy's were connected, near Hickory, was dispersed, many of the members removing to Knox county, Ohio, where they soon established two flourishing churches at Jelloway and Millwood.
A few months after his union with the church, Dr. Richardson removed to Wellsburg, from which point he
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had the opportunity of often visiting Bethany and enjoying the society of those who assembled around Mr. Campbell's hospitable board. Here he frequently met the revered Thomas Campbell and the beloved Walter Scott, with other pious laborers. Here the sincere Joseph Bryant, who lived on an adjacent farm which Alexander Campbell had lately purchased, together with other members of the old Brush Run Church, was often found. Here, too, Mrs. Bryant, with her fund of Scripture inquiry and original thought, as well as other pious females, added charms to the social circle and a lively interest to those religious conversations and biblical researches which formed the chief enjoyment of all.
However eminent and admired in all his relations to the public, it was at home, amidst his family and friends, that Mr. Campbell always appeared in the most amiable and pleasing light. It was delightful to witness with what unstudied courtesy he welcomed his visitors, and with what genial pleasantry he placed every one at his ease, so that no one could loner feel like a stranger. Without apparent effort he constantly kept up the charm of social converse, adapting the theme to the feelings and circumstances of the company, and always seeking, if possible, to impress some scriptural lesson by an apt and often witty application of a text, or to communicate some truth or information both interesting and useful.
He seemed to be always at leisure to entertain his guests, and that, too, with a mind so full of gayety and free from preoccupation that no one could have suspected for a moment the immense business constantly resting upon him, and which he was regularly and daily despatching with an energy and a facility peculiar to
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himself. His habit of rising very early -- usually at three o'clock -- gave him much valuable time well suited for composition, and at the hour when the house-bell rung for morning worship he would come over from his study, having prepared, often, enough of manuscript to keep his printers busy during the day. When breakfast was over, after arranging the affairs of the morning and kindly seeing off any parting visitors, he would call for his horse or set off on foot, perhaps, accompanied by some of his friends, to view the progress of the printing or the farming operations, and give instructions to his workmen. Delighting greatly in agriculture and its collateral pursuits, he was familiar with all their details, and, while ever eager to gain new thoughts from others, the most skillful farmers and breeders of stock often found in his company that they had themselves something yet to learn. After dinner he usually spent a little time in correcting proof-sheets, which he often read aloud if persons were present, and then he would perhaps have a promised visit to pay to one of the neighboring families in company with his wife or some of the guests. Otherwise he would often spend some hours in his study if engaged upon any very important theme, or occupy himself in his portico or parlor in reading or conversation.
It was the evening that was always specially devoted to social and religious improvement. At an early hour the entire household, domestics included, assembled in the spacious parlor, each one having hymns or some Scripture lessons to recite. After these were heard, often with pertinent and encouraging remarks from Mr. Campbell, the Scriptures were read in regular sequence, with questions to those present as to the previous connection or the scope of the chapter. These
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being briefly considered, he would call upon Mrs. Campbell, who had a good voice, to lead in singing a psalm or spiritual song, in which he himself would heartily join, and then kneeling down would most reverently and earnestly present before the throne of grace their united thanksgivings and petitions for divine guardianship and guidance. Such was the customary order, but the details were often varied to suit the occasion. Family worship was not allowed to become a mere routine. He knew well how to maintain its interest, by making it a means of real instruction and enjoyment; and, by encouraging familiar inquiry on the part of the young, he managed to bring forward and to impress indelibly the most charming practical lessons from the sacred writings, having always something novel and agreeable to impart zest and interest to exercises which in many cases are apt to become monotonous by frequent repetition. In these praiseworthy endeavors to bring up children in the nurture of the Lord, much was due also to the judicious arrangements and hearty co-operation of Mrs. Campbell, who, like her predecessor, made all things subservient to the desired end, and in her husband's absence herself officiated at the family altar when there happened to be no brother present accustomed to the duty. To her, also, Mr. Campbell, as had been his custom with his former wife, was in the habit of reading his essays and other articles for publication, playfully reminding her of the preacher who was wont to read his sermons to his housekeeper before delivering them, in order to judge by their effect upon her what would likely be their reception by his congregation. Mrs. Campbell always took this smilingly, as a standing bit of pleasantry, well knowing the high respect her husband had
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for her judgment. He was well aware of his own satirical vein, and wished to have pointed out anything which might possibly give unnecessary offence, listening attentively to any criticisms Mrs. Campbell was encouraged to make, and not unfrequently adopting her suggestions and softening what appeared to be too tart. He greatly respected those delicate sympathies which women possess, and Mrs. Campbell had an excellent taste, being a lady of considerable reading and culture, of a very serious and religious turn, fond of Young's " Night Thoughts," and the grave poetical and prose English authors ; not at all addicted to gayety, but on the contrary, though cheerful under the surrounding happy circumstances, possessing a constitutional tendency to melancholy, which needed only the presence of calamity for its development.
Mr. Campbell greatly desired that the work he was about to issue should exhibit a milder tone than the "Christian Baptist." He thought the religious world was now sufficiently aroused from its apathy, and that the spirit of inquiry already set on foot would ultimately effect the deliverance of the people from clerical domination. From the rapid spread of the reformatory principles, the union of so many of different parties in the primitive faith, and the evident check given to the progress of the infidel schemes of Mr. Owen and others, he was also much impressed by the conviction that the millennial period anticipated by the Church was nigh at hand. He felt assured that a reformation such as he advocated, which proposed to go back to the very beginning and restore the gospel in its original purity and fullness, could leave no room for any other religious reformation, and must of necessity be the very last effort possible to prepare the world for the
MILLENNIAL HARBINGER. 303
coming of Christ. He did not presume to fix upon any very definite period for this event, Scripture analogies inclining him to the opinion that it would occur at the commencement of the seventh Chiliad, answering to the seventh day or Sabbath when God rested from the work of creation. He did not deem it accordant with the principles of the Reformation to assume dogmatically any position in reference to this point or any other of the vexed questions of eschatology, dimly seen through the veil of prophetic imagery, but as this particular subject was then one of great interest with many, especially with Walter Scott and the other preachers on the Western Reserve, and he intended to discuss to some extent the Scriptures relating to it, he concluded to call his new periodical "the Millennial Harbinger." He intended to embrace in this work a wider range of subjects, and to show "the inadequacy of modern systems of education," and the injustice yet remaining, "under even the best political governments," in regard to various matters connected with the public welfare.
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STATE CONVENTION. 305
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FAULTS IN REFORMERS. 321
were in progress, seriously affecting the relations of the reforming churches to the Baptist community. His kind personal feelings for many of the Baptist preachers, and his strong desire to continue in religious connection with a people whom he greatly esteemed, had induced him to bear with many deficiencies in their s}Tstem, in hopes of leading them forward to better views. It was now becoming evident, however, that the increasing bitterness of those who were opposed to the Reformation and the high-handed measures they were disposed to adopt, would soon result in division. Mr. Brantly, Abner W. Clopton, Spencer H. Clack and others were writing with great acrimony in the Baptist periodicals, and giving such misrepresentations of Mr. Campbell's views as were well fitted to awaken and intensify prejudice and opposition. In Kentucky, John Taylor, an aged Baptist preacher, was preparing to circulate what he called a "History of Campbellism," giving the most distorted views of the teaching and purposes of the proposed Reformation, well calculated to create the most bitter hostility in the minds of the uninformed. In various places, indeed, exclusions and divisions had already occurred with individual churches, and a growing spirit of alienation was making itself evident. In the spring of this year (1830) the Third Baptist Church at Philadelphia excluded a number, who immediately formed an independent church, adopting the ancient order of things. But it was in Kentucky, and in certain portions of Virginia, where the principles of the Reformation had been most widely diffused, that the greatest difficulties occurred. It is not to be supposed that in these the Reformers were always faultless. As Mr. Campbell had formerly said, "When any doctrine is professed and taught by many, when any matter gets
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into many hands, some will misuse, abuse and pervert it." Thus some excited prejudice unnecessarily by declaiming against church covenants, creeds, etc., to the legitimate use of which Mr. Campbell never had objected. Uninformed persons, here and there, gave just offence by dogmatical and crude assertions, nor did a conceit of superior knowledge and an overbearing disposition fail to quench in some that spirit of Christian love and moderation so necessary to success in any attempt to correct the religious errors of mankind. It cannot be truthfully denied, however, that the Reformers in general were conspicuous for the forbearance and patience with which they endured the misrepresentations and injuries of their opponents, who, in their hasty zeal to save from the flames of progress whatever they supposed to belong to the Baptist cause, destroyed by their rashness, in various instances, those precious things which had been so long and so nobly cherished by the Baptists as a people -- the rights of conscience, church independency and Christian liberality.
In the existing state of feeling a slight impulse only was needed in order to precipitate results. This came from an insignificant and unexpected quarter. It had happened that two or three fragments of churches on the Western Reserve, as at Youngstown and Palmyra and the church at Salem, which refused to go into the Reformation, had united themselves with a small Association on Beaver Creek. Here, by the aid of a Mr. Winter, and one or two other preachers who were violently opposed to Mr. Campbell, they induced the Association to publish a circular anathematizing the Mahoning Association and Mr. Campbell as "disbelieving and denying many of the doctrines of the Holy Scripture," of which alleged heresies they went on to
AUTHORS OF DIVISION. 323
present a portentous list. This document was circulated with great diligence, republished in the Baptist papers with commendation, introduced by Dr. Noel into the minutes of the Franklin Association in Kentucky, and its preamble quoted as an introduction to decrees by the Appomattox Association in Virginia, denouncing Mr. Campbell's writings and all persons holding the views expressed in the Beaver publication. These proceedings at once brought matters to a crisis, and induced the Baptists almost everywhere to separate the Reformers from their communion. A spirit of discord and intolerance seemed to sweep over the land, creating everywhere embittered feelings and highhanded and arbitrary decisions on the part of churches and associations. Unable to allay the fury of the storm, Mr. Campbell contemplated its movements with composure, and however much he regretted the extremes into which the Baptists were hurried through the misrepresentations and exaggerations of a few bigoted partisans, he entertained no fears for the results, which he plainly foretold and calmly awaited. After characterizing the Beaver anathema as "a tissue of falsehoods," and exposing, by irrefragable documents, the immoral character of Mr. Winter, one of its chief prompters, he asks:
"Who is making divisions and schisms? Who is rending the peace of the churches? Who are creating factions, swellings and tumults? We who are willing to bear and forbear, or they who are anathematizing and attempting to excommunicate? Let the umpires decide the question. For my own part, I am morally certain they who oppose us are unable to meet us on the Bible; they are unable to meet us before the public; and this I say, not as respects their talents, acquirements or general abilities, but as respects their systems.
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Thousands are convinced of this, and they might as well bark at the moon as to oppose us by bulls and anathemas. If there be a division, gentlemen, you will make it, not I; and the more you oppose us with the weight of your censure, like the palm tree we will grow the faster. I am for peace, for union, for harmony, for co-operation with all good men. But I fear you not; if you will fling firebrands, arrows and discords into the army of the faith, you will repent it, not we. You will lose influence, not we. We covet not persecution, but we disregard it. We fear nothing but error, and should you proceed to make divisions, you will find that they will reach much farther than you are aware, and that the time is past when an anathema from an association will produce any other effect than contempt from some and a smile from others."
These anticipations were fully realized. The rent extended much farther than its originators expected or desired. Many who had been apparently undecided declared for the Reformers, who were found to constitute the larger and the more intelligent portion of many churches, and who, having the sympathy and confidence of the people in general, and the aid of many eminent and influential preachers, were able, after their separation, to sustain and carry on to still greater advantage the reformation in which they were engaged.
Among the distinguished preachers who about this time came publicly forward in support of the Reformation was Jacob Creath, Sr., who had heretofore been somewhat cautious and tardy in defining his position. To his surprise, as he advanced, he met Jeremiah Vardeman coming back. "Hey," said he, "Jerry, what's the matter?" "Oh," replied Vardeman, "if this thing takes, we shall all starve. The Baptists are not too liberal as it is." The diminished contributions from the churches, growing chiefly out of their unsettled and discordant
JEREMIAH VARDEMAN. 325
condition, and falsely attributed to the teachings of the Reformers, had been employed as a successful argument to retain in the Baptist ranks one who was a reformer in sentiment, and who had done much to promote the cause of the Reformation in Kentucky. And as is usual in such cases, he thought it necessary to signalize his renewed zeal for the Baptist cause by urging the most extreme measures, as at the meeting of the Elkhorn Association in August, where through his influence the churches at Versailles, Providence and South Elkhorn were excluded without examination or committees of inquiry, apparently with a view of cutting off a few obnoxious individuals, as the Creaths and Josephus Hewit, who publicly advocated the primitive faith and order. It was on this occasion that Jacob Creath, Sr., delivered a speech to the Association in defence of the rights of the churches, which by Thomas Campbell and other competent judges present was regarded as almost unequaled for eloquence and power. No arguments, however, were of any avail. The majority in the Association, forty-two out of seventy-one, had resolved upon its course, and, much to its discredit with the public, proceeded to cut off the abovenamed churches, without employing any of the usual restorative measures indicated in the Scriptures or sanctioned by Baptist usage. As to Jeremiah Vardeman, his public life in Kentucky closed with these unfortunate proceedings, which at once spread division throughout the churches of the State. Removing immediately to Missouri, where he died in the course of a few years, he seems not to have retained much of his former influence. His name was always mentioned, however, by Mr. Campbell with affectionate regard, and often with the remark, " I knew him well, and if I had been in
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Kentucky at the time, Jeremiah Vardeman would never have been persuaded to abandon the cause of the Reformation." As to Jacob Creath, Sr., from this meeting of the Elkhorn Association in 1830 he devoted himself wholly to the establishment of the reformed views in Kentucky, in which he was eminently successful, converting many sinners and in some cases bringing over nearly whole Baptist churches, and by his prudence and mildness doing much to allay the asperity and embittered controversies which existed at this period. Released from the continued opposition and jealousy of prejudiced brethren, and the trammels of Baptist customs and Calvinistic theories, this faithful laborer rejoiced in the freedom and fullness of the simple gospel, and along with many other able preachers, as William Morton, John Smith, Jacob Creath, Jr., etc., soon organized a large number of reforming churches, many of which, especially in towns, adopted weekly communion, while in the country others still continued the Baptist custom of meeting monthly, when only they could have the services of a preacher.
It was during this year, and about a month before the meeting of the Elkhorn Association just referred to, that Mr. Campbell issued his famous "Extra on the Remission of Sins," in which he presented also the scriptural meaning of regeneration, shortly before discovered by Dr. Richardson, and presented by him to the readers of the "Harbinger" in some essays signed "Discipulus." Entering largely into the whole subject of conversion, Mr. Campbell showed that baptism did not, any more than natural birth, change the nature of the thing born, but its relations, and was simply the means of introducing the new being into a new state. Making some clear distinctions between state and character,
and between the principle of faith and the actions which it produces, he gave, in this remarkable production of sixty pages, written within two weeks, such a presentation of the nature of primitive Christianity, and of the simplicity, completeness, efficiency and excellency of the gospel, as had never been exhibited since apostolic times. A very large edition of it was printed, and being extensively distributed, its effect upon the community was very observable. The simplicity of the gospel and the design of baptism had been already variously presented and illustrated, both in Mr. Campbell's previous publications and in the discourses of the numerous able preachers who were now advocating primitive Christianity; but an exposition of the gospel plan of salvation, so connected, so clear and comprehensive, had never before been presented to the public. About this time the lawfulness of associations became a question of interest with the Reformers. The conduct of the one at Redstone, and the recent anathema issued by that at Beaver, with similar proceedings attempted in Kentucky and Virginia, had exhibited in a prominent light the tendency of such bodies to the exercise of arbitrary power. Many began to fear that such abuses were inherent in the very nature of such organizations, and that they might, however prudently managed for a time, become unexpectedly engines of mischief. Asthere was no positive command for them, others among the disciples regarded their existence as incompatible with the principle they professed of adhering closely to Scripture precept and precedent. Hence, when the Mahoning Association met this year (1830) at Austintown, there was found to exist an almost universal conviction that some public expression on the subject was demanded by the interests of the cause. Mr. Campbell,
328 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
who was present, entertained no doubt that churches had a right to appoint messengers to a general meeting, to bear intelligence to it and bring home intelligence from it, or transact any special business committed to them. He thought such meetings might be made very useful to promote the general advancement of the cause and the unity and love of the brotherhood, and was in favor of continuing the Association, or something like it, which would, he thought, be needed. He censured, indeed, the inconsistent conduct of which associations had been guilty in attempting to impose their decisions upon churches, but felt no apprehensions on this score in regard to the Mahoning Association, where the churches were so fully enlightened and so completely on their guard against encroachments on their rights. A large majority was, however, found to be opposed to everything under the name or character of an association, and it was finally resolved, unanimously, that the Mahoning Association, as "an advisory council" or "an ecclesiastical tribunal" exercising any supervision or jurisdiction over particular congregations, should never meet again. It was then resolved into a simple annual meeting for worship, and to hear reports of the progress of the gospel, and such a meeting was accordingly appointed for August of the next year, at New Lisbon. This closing session of the Association at Austintown was a season of great enjoyment. During its continuance more than thirty persons were baptized. The news from the churches was of the most cheering character, upward of one thousand converts being reported during the year, although out of the ten preachers in the field, not one had been constantly engaged, nearly all being farmers and compelled to labor for their families The entire contributions for itinerant services during the
THE ANNUAL MEETINGS. 329
year had scarcely exceeded five hundred dollars, evincing the spirit of self-sacrifice which prevailed among the preachers and the efficiency of the simple gospel as the power of God for salvation, even when presented by men of the most ordinary literary attainments.
In the same month in which the Mahoning Association resolved itself into a simple annual meeting, the same course was adopted by the Stillwater Association, assembled at Cadiz. Two years before, at its meeting three miles from Morristown, charges had been brought by some of the preachers opposed to the reformatory movement, against Cyrus McNeely, because he had without ordination baptized an individual who presented himself at the Cadiz Church where he presided. Mr. Campbell and his father and James Phillips were all present in the Association when the case was brought up, and defended the course of the Cadiz Church as being not only scriptural, but according to regular Baptist precedent. Elijah Stone, Mr. Pritchard and other opposed preachers, formerly of Redstone, could make no effective reply, and finding themselves baffled, withdrew from the Association and formed another one, which, from its littleness, was appropriately called Zoar. The Stillwater Association met the following year at Well's Creek, above Steubenville, and in 1830, having at Cadiz, as before stated, resolved itself into an annual meeting, has continued ever since to meet in this capacity regularly on the Friday before the third Lord's day in August. The system of annual meetings thus introduced was afterward generally adopted by the churches in various districts throughout the different States. These meetings have been occasions of happy reunions between preachers and members of different churches, and have been usually attended with large
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ingatherings. In no case has any attempt been made to resume the powers exercised by Baptist associations. The assembled messengers, instead of sitting as a court of inquiry to ascertain the standing of churches as to orthodoxy, have occupied themselves much better in laboring to convert sinners to Christ and in exhorting one another to love and good works.
During the spring of 1830, Mr. Campbell paid a short visit to Cincinnati and contiguous parts of Kentucky, attending a very interesting meeting at Mayslick, and in the month of October he undertook a more extended tour through Ohio and Kentucky, to Nashville, Tennessee. Traveling in a gig, in company with Samuel Parmley, of New York, he passed through Zanesville, where he preached, and continued thence through other towns to Wilmington, Clinton county. The whole Baptist church here, with the exception of one member, had embraced the ancient gospel, and within the previous five months about two hundred persons had been added to the churches in that region under the labors of Aylett Raines, Arthur Crihfield and Samuel Rogers, whom Mr. Campbell much rejoiced to meet. Mr. Crihfield was a man of considerable ability, though superficial in his attainments. He seemed much devoted to the cause, and afterward edited for some years a periodical which he called " The Heretic Detector." In this, growing heady and opinionative, as is common with those who consider other people's faults to the neglect of their own, he lost for a time the confidence of the brotherhood. This, however, by an abandonment of his censorious and imprudent course, he subsequently in a good degree regained, for he was a sincere-hearted believer, and falling after some years into a decline, gave ample evidence, not only of his
SAMUEL ROGERS. 331
(pages 331-343 not transcribed)
[ 344 ]
It appears that, while living in Pittsburg, he was connected with one of the printing-offices, and obtained access to the manuscript of a romance written by a former Presbyterian preacher -- a Solomon Spaulding --
PRECONCERTED IMPOSTURE. 345
who, adopting the style of the Bible history, had, for his amusement, given a fanciful account of the nations inhabiting Canaan before the time of Joshua, and described, with great minuteness, their modes of life, wars, migrations, etc. He attributed also in it the settling of North America to the ten lost tribes, and, giving to his work the title of" Lost Manuscript Found," was wont to read portions of it frequently to his friends. Having copied or obtained possession of this manuscript, Rigdon seems to have secretly occupied himself during several years in altering and arranging it to suit his purposes; and discovering, at Palmyra, New York, as early as 1827, a suitable coadjutor in the person of Joseph Smith, a pretended fortune-teller and discoverer of hidden treasure, noted for his idleness and love of everything marvelous and mysterious, he arranged with him the plan of future operations. Accordingly, in 1830, it was duly announced that Smith had by an express revelation disinterred certain golden plates, on which were inscribed, in the "reformed Egyptian character," important divine communications, giving an account of the ten lost tribes, the origin of the North American Indians and revelations designed to usher in "the latter days." These plates Smith professed to have the power to decipher and translate by means of translucent pebbles which had been provided for the purpose, and by the aid of polygraphic angels; and a book in manuscript was speedily produced, called the "Book of Mormon," an edition of which was at once printed at the expense of a Martin Harris, who was so credulous as to believe in Smith's pretensions, and who alone, of those concerned, was able to defray the expense of publication.
Meanwhile, Rigdon had been for some time diligently engaged in endeavoring, by obscure hints and glowing
346 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
millennial theories, to excite the imaginations of his hearers, and in seeking by fanciful interpretations of Scripture to prepare the minds of the churches of Northern Ohio for something extraordinary in the near future. He sought especially in private to convince certain influential persons that, along with the primitive gospel, supernatural gifts and miracles ought to be restored, and that, as at the beginning, all things should be held in common. From his want of personal influence, however, he failed in disseminating his views, except to a very limited extent. In Mentor, where he resided, he was quite unsuccessful, but was more fortunate in Kirtland, the adjoining town, where a flourishing church became much disturbed and unsettled by his plausible theories and brilliant declamations.
Immediately upon the publication of the "Book of Mormon," Smith organized his dupes and abettors at Palmyra into the "Church of Latter-Day Saints," and sent forth his "apostles" to convert the people. Two of these, Cowdery and Pratt, soon made their appearance in Mentor, and were received as old acquaintances by Rigdon, who at once publicly endorsed their claims, and, with several others, was immersed into the new faith, which he immediately endeavored to propagate at Palmyra. The people there, however, knowing too well the character of Smith to believe that he could be charged with a heavenly message, treated the whole affair with contempt and ridicule. It became necessary, therefore, to change the basis of operations to some region where Smith was unknown, and the point selected was Kirtland, where the minds of the people had already become to some extent prepared by Rigdon, and where about one-half of the members of the church were soon led away into the delusion and filled with the
FORTUNES OF MORMONISM. 347
wildest fanaticism. Mormon "elders" and "apostles" were speedily sent forth, who traversed Northern Ohio and gained many proselytes among the ignorant and superstitious, and some even among persons of intelligence, who had been filled with vague expectations of a speedy millennium.
It is unnecessary to relate particularly the progress of this gross delusion or the history of its leaders, who, after erecting a temple and establishing a bank at Kirtland, found it necessary to emigrate to Independence, Missouri, from whence, largely increased in numbers, they were soon driven to Illinois, where they erected another temple and built the city of Nauvoo. Nor is it necessary to detail their introduction of polygamy, their establishment of a grand and successful system of missions throughout the world, their fortunes in Illinois, where open war with the citizens was prevented only by the voluntary surrender of Smith and others to the civil authorities at the instance of the governor; or the subsequent death of Smith at the hands of a mob in the prison to which he had been committed for safe-keeping. Suffice it to say, that upon his death Rigdon and Brigham Young disputed the right to the succession, and Young prevailing, Rigdon was expelled from the community and retired into the interior of New York, where he has since lived in obscurity. Meanwhile, under the guidance of their new and far more competent leader, the Mormons sought an almost inaccessible region amidst the mountains of Utah, beyond the boundaries of civilization, where, by incredible industry and the marvelous power of communism in promoting material interests, they have created, as if by magic, in the midst of an arid waste sown with salt, a magnificent city, through whose streets streams of pure water
348 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
conveyed from the mountains impart freshness and verdure to rows of beautiful shade-trees, and irrigate extensive orchards and fruitful gardens, and where on every side are seen commodious residences and vast public edifices reared by the hands of skillful artisans decoyed from the Old World by the wiles of no less skillful emissaries. Here is presented the strange spectacle of a social, political and religious absolutism in the midst of a free republic, and of an open, legalized licentiousness in the bosom of a Christian nation, which, extending itself around this corrupt community, gradually encircles it as a rapidly-growing tree encloses with its young wood a cureless canker in its heart.
From the first moment of its appearance, Mr. Campbell endeavored to stay the progress of this imposture and to expose the villainy of those concerned in it. Having obtained a copy of the "Book of Mormon," he published both in the Harbinger and in a separate tract of twelve pages a brief analysis of its contents and character, laying bare its flagrant falsehoods and its contemptible absurdities. The timely appearance of this tract, the active opposition of the intelligent preachers on the Reserve, and a visit which Mr. Campbell paid in June to Northern Ohio, where he spent twenty-two days, delivered eighteen discourses and baptized twenty-seven persons, greatly contributed to expose this shameless imposition soon after its first appearance, and to put a stop to its progress in the reforming churches, among which, indeed, with the exception of the one at Kirtland, it was far less successful than with the Methodists and other popular denominations, with whose views of special spiritual operations and communications it possessed a greater affinity.
The schismatic and partisan spirit which in Kentucky
FALSE ACCUSATIONS. 349
and elsewhere had induced the Baptists to exclude the Reformers from their communion, was still steadily extending itself through the denomination. In Eastern Virginia, a conference of eight churches belonging to the Dover Association had been called in December, 1830, at which a report of a committee of nine was adopted, setting forth the alleged errors of "Campbellism," and recommending a declaration of non-fellowship with all who should persist in them. As both R. B. Semple and A. Broaddus were on the committee, it is to be presumed that this report presents as clear and intelligible a statement of the supposed differences between Mr. Campbell's views and those of the Baptists as could be given, and it is interesting as showing how strangely party-spirit can blind the eyes and warp the judgment of good men, and lead them to misconceive and misrepresent the plainest matters. "In principles," the report says, "the errors alluded to may be classed under four heads -- viz., the denial of the influence of the Holy Spirit in the salvation of man -- the substitution of reformation for repentance -- the substitution of baptism for conversion, regeneration or the new birth -- and the Pelagian doctrine of the sufficiency of man's natural powers to effect his own salvation."
"This," said Mr. Campbell, in his notice of the report, "is the bill of indictment, to every item of which we plead not guilty.... The four obnoxious 'principles'" he afterward remarks, "are reducible to two. The whole matter in brief is the denial of their mystic influences of the Holy Spirit and immersion for the remission of sins.... That God has 'his own time' for converting every person is a favorite point with many.... And because we differ from them in this one opinion, they have, if we do not repent of it, assigned us our portion with infidels and hypocrites. I say one opinion, for none of the other charges will at all, in
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any conceivable latitude of interpretation, apply to us. We do not substitute reformation for repentance, except they mean the term and not the thing. But we prefer the term 'reformation' to their distinction between 'legal and evangelical repentance.' Neither do we substitute baptism for conversion. And as for the Pelagian notion of 'man's natural powers to effect his own salvation,' it is a chimera of their own heads. We never said nor thought such a thing."
As Mr. Campbell had the highest respect for Messrs. Semple and Broaddus, and could make all due allowance for their prejudices, he did not entertain or express the least unkindness on account of their misrepresenting him as above and thus holding him up to public odium. On the contrary, he said:
"I sympathize with you, believing you to be the most honorable of my opponents, and to be conscientious as far as any men can be who appeal to proscriptive decrees. I know you appear to fear that vital religion is endangered by our representations of the ancient gospel. We know that the reverse is the fact. Our greatest objection to your philosophy is, that it substitutes an imaginary work of grace upon the heart for that love and peace and joy and purity which a clear perception of, and an unfeigned submission to, the ancient gospel can alone produce and maintain.
"We plead for faith, repentance, reformation, a new heart and universal obedience; and ascribe to grace and the blood of Jesus, to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, everything which the Scriptures teach, in their own words and sentences, in the fullest import and meaning of them, but each in its proper place."
When the report above referred to was submitted to the church at Bruington, to which Bishop Semple ministered, Dr. Duval, in the presence of an unusually large assembly convened upon the occasion, exhibited so forcibly and eloquently the injustice done by it to
CO-OPERATION OF CHURCHES. 351
Mr. Campbell and his friends, that although Messrs. Todd, Semple, Broaddus and others used all their talents and authority to induce the church to receive it and enter its "resolutions" upon their church book, they were unable to prevail. Bishop Semple then insisted that those who would not vote with him should take letters of dismission and join some other church. This the majority declined to do. He then proposed a postponement, and finally a modification of the resolutions, but the meeting closed without any final action. Next day Bishop Semple and A. Broaddus preached, after which Reformers and anti-Reformers broke the loaf together, when the good old bishop's heart relented; he shed many tears and they had quite "a fine time." Such were the conflicts engendered in the hearts of many between the expansive Christian love which the gospel itself inspired and the narrow aims and policies of the spirit of sectarianism -- the former prompting to union with all who trusted in Christ, the latter inducing those possessed by it to recoil from every one who questioned the authority of those human opinions and theories which were the boast and the reliance of orthodoxy.
While these matters were in progress, Mr. Campbell was discussing in the "Harbinger" various subjects of interest having an immediate relation to the existing state of affairs. Among these the co-operation of churches in sustaining preachers of the gospel occupied much attention. As the few overtasked preachers already engaged were poorly supported and wholly unable to supply the demands of the cause, Mr. Campbell strongly urged that the churches should be arranged in districts, as he endeavored to show was the case in primitive times, in order that, by mutual aid, they might sustain a sufficient number of evangelists in the field.
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It was some time, however, before such arrangements could be properly carried out, as but few preachers could be obtained who were able to devote themselves wholly to the work, and vague notions of the "freeness" of the gospel, as well as a misapplication of his remarks on "hirelings" in the "Christian Baptist," and of his example in preaching without charge, still repressed the exercise of the liberality needed to sustain an effective ministry. The subject being brought to the attention of the annual meeting at New Lisbon, in August, 1831, a plan of co-operation by counties was devised and suggested to the churches, care being taken to distinguish it as a matter of mere expediency, "to be adopted, continued or discontinued, as experience might dictate." Mr. Campbell, indeed, in his recommendations to the churches, never presumed in the slightest degree upon his personal influence or authority. He was well aware of the existence among the churches of a spirit of independency and a jealous regard for their liberties, which his own writings had created, and which would not brook even the appearance of dictation; and while he sought on various occasions to guard against an extreme in this direction, he rejoiced to see the churches so much on their guard against that oppressive religious thraldom from which they had been released, and which he never betrayed the slightest desire to re-establish.
In the absence of specific directions in Scripture respecting the appointment and regulation of evangelists or preachers of the gospel, Mr. Campbell regarded these matters as left to the dictates of human prudence. Recognizing the Church as the authorized tribunal in such cases, he thought no one justified in assuming the office of a public laborer without the sanction of a congregation, and esteemed it proper, where several
DEFENCE OF THE GOSPEL. 353
churches existed in the district, that these should, as far as practicable, participate in the selection, recommendation and ordination of preachers whose field of labor necessarily included many churches, and whose conduct and standing might seriously affect the interests of the cause at large. Each evangelist, also, was required to have his membership in some particular congregation, to which he was amenable for the faithful performance of his duties, official or unofficial.
During this period Mr. Campbell continued his able defences of the gospel against the cavils of infidelity, in a series of letters to Humphrey Marshall, a bold and self-sufficient infidel of Kentucky, who had published some animadversions on the debate with Owen, and whose imaginary "Bible Contradictions" Mr. Campbell disposed of with great skill and point. He also defended with great power the divine mission of Jesus of Nazareth against the objections of L. H. Cohen, a rabbi of the synagogue in Richmond, Virginia.*
* This Mr.Cohen was a man of considerable ability, very zealous for the Jews' religion, and supposed to be a descendant of Aaron, his father having acted as high-priest and being succeeded in this office by his son. In youth he had conceived a sudden and violent passion for the granddaughter of Sir Charles Burdette, of London, an orphan, whom he met accidentally in Philadelphia. Her father, Malcolm Campbell, a Scotchman, had been a member of the Presbyterian Church, while her mother was an Episcopalian. Mr. Cohen's father, hearing of the engagement was much distressed, and exacted from his son, in presence of the elders, a binding oath that he would marry none but a Jewess. Perceiving the difficulties which surrounded her affianced husband, Miss Campbell was induced to become a proselyte to Judaism, but after her marriage experienced great depression of mind in consequence, and finally returned to the Christian profession, on account of which her husband separated from her. She was a lady of literary tastes, and published a number of fugitive pieces of poetry in a little volume, which furnished also a touching history of her life and trials, and of the religious transports and death of her son, Henry Luria, who, as well as several others of her children, embraced the faith of Christ. Her sad narrative affords a striking illustration of the unhappy effects resulting from religious disagreements, especially
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As the work of the Holy Spirit in the salvation of man continued to be one of the chief matters of controversy with the Baptists, he, about this time, wrote his "Dialogue on the Holy Spirit," in which he proposed to develop the subject with special reference to the systems of the sects. In this he was led to employ abstractions and philosophical distinctions in relation to
in the marriage relation. Among other matters, the volume contains two letters, addressed to her by Mr. Campbell, from one of which the following is an extract:
"MY DEAR MRS. COHEN: Your letters to Mrs. Campbell and myself were duly received. I am glad to learn that you are about to publish a narrative of your son's conversion from Judaism to Christianity. It will be no doubt a very interesting work. It will afford me pleasure to notice and commend it in the "Harbinger." I have heard my wife often speak with much pleasure of her having met you on the Ohio river and forming a very agreeable and interesting acquaintance with you, such as I once enjoyed in forming the acquaintance of your husband in Richmond....
"Unfortunately, sects and schisms, and consequently controversies, strifes and alienations, have, more or less, through all Christendom, paralyzed the Church of Jesus Christ and greatly prevented the spread and power of the gospel of the great Messiah. As did the Jew, so do the Gentiles, more or less, render ineffectual the word and teachings of the Holy Spirit by their traditions. Christ's gospel is no theory, no philosophy, no mere dogmata, no opinionisms. It is a glorious and yet a simple development of the most significant, splendid and grace-abounding facts, precepts and promises that ever were or ever can be submitted to the human understanding, the conscience and the affections of men. Paul, the great apostle to the Gentiles, as did Peter, the great apostle to the Jews, on the first Pentecost after Christ's ascension and glorification as Lord of all, Jew, Gentile and Samaritan, presented the facts of Christ's death as the only sin-offering; together with his burial, resurrection, ascension and coronation as Lord of the universe, as the foundation alone sufficient and all-sufficient for the salvation of Jew and Greek and Samaritan; and whosoever desires pardon, peace and eternal life may indeed enjoy all the blessings which the largest heart and the most ardent soul in the world can enjoy or entertain. But upon these glorious facts and realities I need not enlarge. You doubtless appreciate them. It is a personal, living faith in a Divine Redeemer; and it is this alone which can meet the essential wants and cravings of enlightened reason. Mrs. Campbell unites with me in kindest regards to you. In all benevolence,
"Yours Most Respectfully.
THE WORD-ALONE THEORY. 355
"moral and physical power," etc., with a view, as he said, to make himself understood, but which only opened the way to new misunderstandings. As these distinctions were unknown to Scripture, and some of the conclusions built upon them seemed peculiarly liable to misconception, Thomas Campbell quite disapproved of the Dialogue as a full and just presentation of the subject, and it was from respect to his judgment that Mr. Campbell subsequently omitted it from a volume labeled "Christianity Restored," in the first edition of which it had been inserted, along with some of the Extras of the "Harbinger." In this Dialogue he had, indeed, applied his reasonings specially to the case of conversion, and had clearly stated in it that while the Holy Spirit operated upon sinners by the demonstrations and evidences of the gospel, he took up his abode in the saints. "The Spirit of God," said he, "the author of these proofs, by them opens men's minds to hear, to obey the gospel. Those who obey the gospel are in that gospel declared to be sons of God, and as such receive the Holy Spirit, promised through faith." The principles from which he reasoned had, however, a much more extensive application than to the case of conversion, and, like all human philosophy in religious matters, were calculated to create difficulties rather than to remove them. Hence, while his opponents raised a clamor against him as denying "the operations of the Holy Spirit," some of those who were professed advocates of the Reformation were led to construct a word-alone theory which virtually dispensed with the great promise of the gospel -- the gift of the Holy Spirit to believers. These persons were found chiefly among those who had been previously skeptical, and who were habitually disposed to rely upon reason rather than to walk by faith; and their
356 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
crude and erroneous doctrines were well calculated to bring a reproach upon the Reformation. They were disposed to resolve religion entirely into a system of moral motivity; to disbelieve the actual indwelling of the Holy Spirit in believers; to deny special providence and guidings, and, by consequence, the efficacy of prayer. Taking Locke's philosophy as the basis of their system, and carrying his "Essay on the Human Understanding" along with the Bible in their saddle-bags, they denied even to its Creator any access to the human soul except by "words and arguments," while they conceded to the Author of evil a direct approach, and had more to say in their discourses about "the laws of human nature" than about the gospel of Christ.
It was to check the effects of such speculations, wholly inconsistent with the reformatory principles, but well suited to a superficial and unspiritual religionism, that Walter Scott at this period wrote and published his "Discourse on the Holy Spirit." In this he endeavored to show that "Christianity as developed in the Sacred Oracles is sustained by three divine missions -- the mission of the Lord Jesus, the mission of the apostles and the mission of the Holy Spirit;" and furthermore that as the personal mission of Christ was to the Jews, and that of the apostles to the world, that of the Holy Spirit was to the Church. Dwelling upon these points, he showed that in each case, as propriety required, the mission terminated upon its proper object; Christ confining his ministry to "the lost sheep of the house of Israel," the apostles going out into the world to disciple the nations, and the Holy Spirit, sent on the day of Pentecost, remaining in the Church or body of Christ, dwelling in all its members, and acting through them in comforting the saints and convincing the world
DISCOURSE ON THE HOLY SPIRIT. 357
of sin, righteousness and judgment. Exposing the incorrectness of the popular notion that the Spirit was sent to the world, as being in direct contravention of Christ's declaration that the world could not receive him, he insisted upon the absolute need of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in every believer in order to real and permanent union with Christ, and to the production of those fruits through which Christ was glorified among men. Finally, he showed that while the personal mission of Christ to the Jews and that of the apostles to the world were limited in duration, the mission of the Holy Spirit to the Church was permanent in its nature, since the Comforter was to abide with it for ever. "There is no member of the body of Christ," said he, "in whom the Holy Spirit dwelleth not; for it will hold as good at the end of the world and in eternity as it does now, and it holds as good now as it did on the day of Pentecost and afterward -- that 'if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.'"
This discourse, being widely circulated in pamphlet form, had a powerful effect in imparting clearness and definiteness to the views of the Reformers upon this important subject. It was the first time it had been publicly brought forward in so particular a manner, and the clear scriptural evidence presented in the discourse was generally received as decisive of the questions involved. This result was much aided by Mr. Campbell's warm commendation of the sentiments which it contained.
"Brother Walter Scott," said he -- "who in the fall of 1827, arranged the several items of faith, repentance, baptism, remission of sins, the Holy Spirit and eternal life, restored them in this order to the Church under the title of Ancient Gospel, and successfully preached it for the conversion of the
358 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
world -- has written a discourse on the fifth point (viz., the Holy Spirit), which presents the subject in such an attitude as cannot fail to make all who read it understand the views entertained by us, and, as we think, taught by the apostles in their writings. We can recommend to all the disciples this discourse as most worthy of a place in their families, because it perspicuously, forcibly and with a brevity favorable to an easy apprehension of its meaning, presents the subject to the mind of the reader. Our opponents, too, who are continually misrepresenting, and many of them no doubt misconceiving, our views on this subject, if they would be advised by us, we would request to furnish themselves with a copy, that they may be better informed on this topic, and, if they should still be conscientiously opposed, that they may oppose what we teach, and not a phantom of their own creation."
It was because Mr. Campbell opposed the popular notions of special illuminations and mystic influences of the Holy Spirit upon the heart, that he became obnoxious to the charge of undervaluing the exercises of the heart. In a very courteous review, published this year, of the Extra on remission, Andrew Broaddus remarked:
"The great error which lies at the bottom of Mr. Campbell's theory, of the actual forgiveness of sins in baptism, appears to consist in an undervaluing of the exercises of the heart, and attaching to external conduct or action the importance which really belongs to those exercises."
"I doubt not," said Mr. Campbell, in reply, "that Mr. Broaddus thinks this is all correct, and yet a more unjust representation of my views was never penned. O cannot blame Mr. Broaddus for censuring in strong terms a view of Christianity against which such a charge could fairly lie. I would join with him and denounce such a representation of Christianity as leaves the heart of man not only out of view, but in the background. How often have we said that the greatest objection we have against the whole system we
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oppose is because of its impotency on the heart? But Mr. Broaddus thinks that his system is the only one which takes the heart of man into good keeping, and consequently he that dissents from him leaves the heart out of view."
"Once for all," said he again, "let it be distinctly noted that we appreciate nothing in religion which tends not directly and immediately, proximately and remotely, to the purification and perfection of the heart. Paul acts the philosopher fully once, and if we recollect but once, in all his writings upon this subject. It is in his first Epistle to Timothy: 'Now the end of the commandment, or gospel, is love out of a pure heart and of a good conscience and of faith unfeigned.'... We proceed upon these as our axiomata in all our writings, reasonings, preachings: first, unfeigned faith; second, a good conscience; third, a pure heart; fourth, love. The testimony of God apprehended, produces unfeigned or genuine faith; faith obeyed, produces a good conscience. This Peter defines to be the use of baptism, the answer of a good conscience. This produces a pure heart, and then the consummation is love -- love to God and man."
Mr. Campbell believed that as in nature the position of the earth in reference to the sun is changed in order to the production of summer fruits, so in religion the internal state of the sinner in reference to God is changed through the faith and obedience of the gospel, so that the heavenly influences might produce their proper effects. "Jesus," said he, "gives us the philosophy of his scheme in an address to a sinner of that time: 'Your sins,' says he, 'are forgiven you; go, and sin no more.' He first changes the sinner's state, not 'external but internal,' and then says, 'Go, and sin no more.' He frankly forgave the debt. The sinner loved him."
These remarks were elicited chiefly by the course pursued by Mr. Broaddus in his review. This was
360 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
largely composed of disquisitions upon "real" and "relative" change, upon "state," "quality," etc., and was permeated throughout by that entire misconception of Mr. Campbell's teaching already adverted to, as neglecting the heart and having nothing in view but external and formal changes. Mr. Campbell showed in his reply that no changes are more real than such as are relative, and that the term "state" was as applicable to internal as to external conditions, to the latter of which Mr. Broaddus erroneously supposed Mr. Campbell to confine it. In his overweening estimate of religious "experiences," and his effort to represent Mr. Campbell as advocating a mere outward work or opus operatum in religion, Mr. Broaddus was led to speak of baptism as "an external or bodily act," and to controvert the view taken by Mr. Campbell that through it the "state" of the sinner was changed. In reply, Mr. C. expresses his surprise that the Baptists should have so long contended with Paedobaptists and broken fellowship with them about a matter which in their view was of so little importance. Entering then into the heart of the subject, he thus ably exposes the shallowness of the philosophy opposed to him:
"1. There are no acts of worship or of religion ordained by Jesus Christ that are at all to be regarded as outward or external bodily acts. 'God is a Spirit, and they who worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.' Vocal prayer and praise, though they are exercises of the larynx, the tongue and the lips; the bending of the knee, or the standing erect or falling upon the ground; the eating of bread, the drinking of wine, or any other exertion of one or more or all of our organs, mental or corporeal, are not to he regarded as acts of religion except they are exercises of the understanding and the heart; and no man of any sense pleads for these, as bodily acts, as of any importance whatever.
REVISION OF NEW TESTAMENT. 361
"2. But the spirit of man cannot think at all without the body; it cannot think if the brain be not exercised; it cannot speak unless the tongue be moved; it cannot feel but by the nerves; it cannot move but by the organs of the body. How unreasonable, then, to separate or to regard human action in reference to the particular organ which operates! Immersion is as spiritual an act when proceeding from faith in God's promise as any act in which a person is either active or passive. FAITH IS AS MUCH A BODILY ACT AS IMMERSION. No man without the exercise of his senses can believe anything. 'Faith comes by hearing,' says a master in Israel."
Thus ever, upon his stronger pinions, Mr. Campbell rose above the highest altitude of his ablest opponents, and from his loftier point of observation was enabled to take wider and better views of truth and duty. His confutation of Mr. Broaddus' "Extra Examined" was throughout triumphant, and became the means of convincing many of the truth of the positions he advocated.
In October of the year 1831 his family was increased by the birth of a son, who was named Alexander. His domestic happiness continued uninterrupted, and at no period were his public labors more incessant. During the year he had been about half the time from home, laboring in word and doctrine, and had immersed about two hundred persons. Everywhere the principles he taught were undergoing the most active scrutiny, and gaining the confidence and the support of unsectarian and intelligent minds. His various publications were constantly gaining a wider circulation, and his incessant activity was still adding to their number. A pocket edition of the New Version of the Testament was about this time projected. Being subjected to a careful revision, in which he received important aid from F. W. Emmons, who had then taken up his abode in Wellsburg.
362 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
It was subsequently stereotyped and published in a small and portable form.
The intolerance with which, in many cases, the Reformers were treated by the Baptists served to illustrate more fully the tendencies and spirit of the sectarianism which Mr. Campbell sought to overthrow, and tended to justify more fully his efforts in the estimation of the people. It was impossible to explain satisfactorily, on Christian principles, the necessity of division where there were so many points of agreement, and the unprejudiced were unable to recognize as just reasons those distinctions which appeared so vast as seen through the magnifying glass of sectarian bigotry, but so minute and trivial in the eyes of Christian love. Mr. Campbell, however, by no means attached the blame to the Baptists as a people, but attributed the whole difficulty to a few individuals, who were bent on maintaining the supremacy of their own favorite theories, rather than the freedom and the clemency which the Baptists were wont to cherish.
These ancient characteristics, however, were at times still exhibited among them, even by Mr. Campbell's opponents, as may be seen in the following instance:
Toward the close of this year (1831), Thomas Campbell had set out upon a visit to the churches in Eastern Virginia. Upon arriving at Fredericksburg on a Friday, he was invited by Elder G. F. Adams, the pastor of the Baptist church there, to preach on the following Lord's day. Bishop R. B. Semple, coming into town on Saturday, was introduced to him, and next morning had another interview with him and accompanied him to meeting. Here the bishop listened to his discourse, and at its close added a few remarks. In the afternoon also he gave a short exhortation when the Lord's
JEALOUSIES AND DIVISIONS. 363
Supper was administered, and afterward returned home, bestowing his parting benediction on Thomas Campbell, who was to preach again at night. In the kind and courteous recognition thus granted by Bishop Semple to Thomas Campbell it is not to be supposed that he intended to compromise in any degree his cherished religious sentiments, or to sanction what he still honestly thought to be defects in Mr. Campbell's teaching. After so much religious disputation, however, it was, under the circumstances, a very pleasing incident, showing that the supposed differences were not such, after all, in the estimation of Bishop Semple, as to preclude fraternal communion. Providence, too, seemed to give to this incident a peculiar significance, for in a few days Bishop Semple was seized with pleurisy, which terminated, on Christmas day, 1831, his long and useful life; and it hence so happened that the last discourse he ever heard was from the lips of the godly man to whom the Reformation owed its origin, and that it was likewise with Thomas Campbell he enjoyed his last communion upon earth -- an antepast, it is to be hoped, of that higher Eucharistic feast where the pious, redeemed from all their prejudices and errors, shall sit down together with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of God.
The jealousies and misconceptions created by Mr. Campbell's opponents among the Baptists continued nevertheless to produce their natural effects, and soon after Thomas Campbell's arrival at Richmond the pastor of the Baptist church there, and those with him, requested all favorable to the Reformation to withdraw and become a separate people. To this sixty-eight members finally assented and formed a distinct church, which met first in the Capitol on the fourth of March, 1832,
364 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
on which occasion Thomas Campbell preached to a large assemblage with great acceptance. He continued for some time successfully his labors in Richmond, where he was at length confined by a serious and protracted illness, during which he received the kindest attentions from his friends and the medical visits of the eminent Dr. Cullen, who conceived a warm attachment for his patient, and would receive nothing for his valuable services. Separations between the Baptists and the Reformers occurred in various other portions of the State, and these were still farther extended by the action of the Dover Association in the fall, excluding six of the most prominent Reform preachers in their body, and recommending the churches to separate all "Reformers" from their communion. The preamble and resolutions adopted on this occasion, couched in terms to which Andrew Broaddus himself objected, contained so many incorrect and unjust statements that they occasioned no little bitterness of feeling between the parties, and tended to increase public sympathy for the worthy individuals, as well as for the cause they were designed to discredit. The consequence was a general division between the Baptists and Reformers, and a rapid increase on the part of the latter, who now met regularly without hindrance to keep the ordinances, and enjoyed the labors of a number of excellent and devoted preachers. A meeting-house was soon erected in Richmond, as well as one in Bowling Green, in Essex and at other points. These were plain, substantial buildings, conveniently arranged, and without any of those expensive and unnecessary ornaments in which vanity and pride so often expend the wealth which ought to be devoted to charitable and religious uses. Such, indeed, has in general been the character of the
CHURCH EDIFICES. 365
meeting-houses built by the Reformers. Mr. Campbell himself, who was extremely simple in all his tastes and habits, was decidedly opposed to everything which savored of show or ostentation in houses, dress or equipage. On the character of church edifices he about this time made the following remarks:
"It is most devoutly to be wished that all who plead for reformation would carry out their principles in the plainness, convenience and cheapness of the buildings which they erect for the assemblies of Christians. No greater satire could be inscribed on marble against the religion of Jesus Christ than are many of the houses called churches, wherever the people have the means of gratifying the spirit which is in them. There is no difference between the Baptists and other sects in this particular. Opulent communities amongst them have stately edifices, with lofty steeples and ponderous bells. There were some Baptist cathedrals on which more than forty thousand dollars have been expended for the sake of showing that the Baptists would be as respectable as any other sect if they had it in their power. The spirit of baptized and sprinkled Calvinism, whether in the Presbyterian or Congregational form, is one and the same, if a thousand arguments could prove such a proposition. Large, convenient and permanent houses may be built for generally half the sum usually expended on the same number of square feet. The Quakers are more exemplary in this respect than any other sect. But even their plan could still be improved. Let there only be a regard to convenience and durability; let all that is merely to gratify the lusts of the eye and the pride of life be left to them who seek to gain influence over the children of the flesh by reducing Christianity to the taste and fashion of this world, and we can build two, three and sometimes four meeting-houses for the price of one of the same dimensions.
"Under the present political influences which govern society it is necessary to have synagogues or meeting-houses large enough for the accommodation of the disciples who can
366 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
meet in any one place, and such of the community as may desire to attend their meetings. But for the sake of the humble Founder of this our religion and the Author of our hope before God, let not the walls of the house nor anything in it reproach our profession."
Similarly, he loved to see the utmost simplicity in the order and worship of the house of God. He delighted in the public reading of the Scriptures, the plain and earnest exhortations of the brotherhood, and in solemn psalms and hymns of praise. He had no relish for anything formal or artificial, such as the repetitions in fugue tunes or the establishment of singing choirs. As to the use of musical instruments in worship, he was utterly opposed to it, and took occasion at a later period to remark in regard to it that it was well adapted to churches "founded on the Jewish pattern of things" and practicing infant sprinkling.
"That all persons," said he, "who have no spiritual discernment, taste or relish for spiritual meditation, consolations and sympathies of renewed hearts, should call for such aid is but natural. Pure water from the flinty rock has no attractions for the mere toper or wine-bibber. A little alcohol, or genuine Cogniac brandy, or good old Madeira is essential to the beverage to make it truly refreshing. So to those who have no real devotion or spirituality in them, and whose animal nature flags under the oppression of church service, I think that instrumental music would be not only a desideratum, but an essential prerequisite to fire up their souls to even animal devotion. But I presume to all spiritually-minded Christians such aids would be as a cow-bell in a concert." M. H., Series iv., vol. i., p. 581.
Shortly before the time of Thomas Campbell's visit to Richmond a slave insurrection in Southampton county, attended with the brutal slaughter of more than sixty persons, nearly half of whom were mothers and
EMANCIPATION OF SLAVES. 367
children, had spread a feeling of alarm and insecurity through that portion of the State exposed to a similar calamity, and every one seemed anxious that something should be at once done to avert impending dangers. The subject of slavery, previously referred to only in the most guarded manner, was now everywhere freely and unreservedly canvassed, and various plans were proposed for its removal, its injurious effects upon the political and social interests of the State being strongly urged in the Richmond papers and in the Legislature. Although far removed from the troubled district and free from the immediate evils of the slavery institution, Mr. Campbell thought it his duty as a citizen to use his influence in favor of emancipation, and to express his sentiments upon the institution itself.
"Slavery," said he, "that largest and blackest blot upon our national escutcheon, that many-headed monster, that Pandora's box, that bitter root, that blighting and blasting curse under which so fair and so large a portion of our beloved country groans -- that deadly Upas, whose breath pollutes and poisons everything within its influence -- is now evoking the attention of this ancient and venerable commonwealth in a manner as unexpected as it is irresistible and cheering to every philanthropist--to every one who has a heart to feel, a tear to shed over human wretchedness, or a tongue to speak for degraded humanity.... We have always thought, and frequently said, since we became acquainted with the general views and character of the people of Virginia, that there was as much republicanism in Virginia, even in the slaveholding districts, as could be found among the same number of inhabitants in any State in the Union. And, moreover, we have thought that if the abolition of slavery was legitimately to be laid before the people of this commonwealth, as it now is, there would be found even among slaveholders a majority to concur in a national system of emancipation.
368 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
"Under this conviction we had digested a plan for the final abolition of slavery in this State, which we intended to submit in the Convention which framed the present constitution; and indeed this was a chief inducement to reconcile us to a seat in that body. But in the more matured judgment of many members of that convention with whom we conferred, and who were as alive to the subject as we could be, it was thought impolitic and inexpedient at that time to urge this subject farther than to guard against the insertion of a single word in the constitution recognizing the existence of this evil. The subject is then constitutionally within the power of the Legislature to take any measures, at any time, which in its wisdom it may think expedient."
As the plan recommended by Mr. Jefferson, which was to colonize beyond the limits of the United States all slaves born after a certain period, was then under discussion, along with other methods of getting rid of the evil, Mr. Campbell on his part proposed this plan: That the ten millions of dollars previously appropriated annually to the payment of the national debt then just extinguished, should thenceforth be applied to the colonization of the colored race, as stated in these terms:
"Be it enacted, That from and after the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-four, the sum of ten millions of dollars shall be annually appropriated to the colonization of all people of color, either slaves or free persons, in _____, until the soil of our free and happy country shall not be trod by the foot of a slave, nor enriched by a drop of his sweat or blood; that all the world may not believe that we are a nation of hypocrites, asserting all men to have certain natural and inherent rights, which in our practice we deny; and shedding crocodile tears over the fall of Warsaw, and illuminating for the revolution of the Parisians, while we have millions of miserable human beings at home held in involuntary bondage, in ignorance, degradation and vice, by a republican system of free slaveholding."
He adds: "Virginia can, and she will, rid herself of this
THE PUBLIC INTERESTS. 369
curse; and we say the sooner she does it, the better for herself, morally, politically, religiously and every other way, But should the nation take it up, how gloriously would the cause triumph! And as sure as the Ohio winds its way to the Gulf of Mexico, will slavery desolate and blast our political existence, unless effectual measures be adopted to bring it to a close while it is in the power of the nation."
Thus it was that Mr. Campbell, ever mindful of the best and highest interests of society, omitted no opportunity of employing his abilities and his influence in behalf of every measure likely to promote them. Prompt but not rash, conservative but not stationary, his plans were usually characterized no less by novelty than by prudence, and his thoughts upon political as well as upon religious and other subjects were marked by that breadth of view, that truthful simplicity and practical sagacity which ever distinguish superior minds.
(the remainder of this text has not been transcribed)
[ 1 ]
It appears that, while living in Pittsburg (Pa.), he was connected with one of the printing-offices, and obtained access to the manuscript of a romance written by a former Presbyterian preacher -- a Solomon Spaulding -- who, adopting the style of the Bible history, had, for his amusement, given a fanciful account of the nations inhabiting Canaan before the time of Joshua, and described, with great minuteness, their modes of life, wars, migrations, etc. He attributed also in it the settling of North America to the ten lost tribes, and, giving to his work the title of" Lost Manuscript Found," was wont to read portions of it frequently to his friends. Having copied or obtained possession of this manuscript, Rigdon seems to have secretly occupied himself during several years in altering and arranging it to suit his purposes; and discovering, at Palmyra,
[ 2 ]
New York, as early as 1827, a suitable coadjutor in the person of Joseph Smith, a pretended fortune-teller and discoverer of hidden treasure, noted for his idleness and love of everything marvelous and mysterious, he arranged with him the plan of future operations. Accordingly, in 1830, it was duly announced that Smith had by an express revelation disinterred certain golden plates, on which were inscribed, in the "reformed Egyptian character," important divine communications, giving an account of the ten lost tribes, the origin of the North American Indians and revelations designed to usher in "the latter days." These plates Smith professed to have the power to decipher and translate by means of translucent pebbles which had been provided for the purpose, and by the aid of polygraphic angels; and a book in manuscript was speedily produced, called the "Book of Mormon," an edition of which was at once printed at the expense of a Martin Harris, who was so credulous as to believe in Smith's pretensions, and who alone, of those concerned, was able to defray the expense of publication.
Meanwhile, Rigdon had been for some time diligently engaged in endeavoring, by obscure hints and glowing millennial theories, to excite the imaginations of his hearers, and in seeking by fanciful interpretations of Scripture to prepare the minds of the churches of Northern Ohio for something extraordinary in the near future. He sought especially in private to convince certain influential persons that, along with the primitive gospel, supernatural gifts and miracles ought to be restored, and that, as at the beginning, all things should be held in common. From his want of personal influence, however, he failed in disseminating his views, except to a very limited extent. In Mentor, where he resided, he was quite unsuccessful, but was more fortunate in Kirtland, the adjoining town, where a flourishing church became much disturbed and unsettled by his plausible theories and brilliant declamations.
Immediately upon the publication of the "Book of Mormon," Smith organized his dupes and abettors at Palmyra into the "Church of Latter-Day Saints," and sent forth his "apostles" to convert the people.
[ 3 ]
Two of these, Cowdery and Pratt, soon made their appearance in Mentor, and were received as old acquaintances by Rigdon, who at once publicly endorsed their claims, and, with several others, was immersed into the new faith, which he immediately endeavored to propagate at Palmyra. The people there, however, knowing too well the character of Smith to believe that he could be charged with a heavenly message, treated the whole affair with contempt and ridicule. It became necessary, therefore, to change the basis of operations to some region where Smith was unknown, and the point selected was Kirtland, where the minds of the people had already become to some extent prepared by Rigdon, and where about one-half of the members of the church were soon led away into the delusion and filled with the wildest fanaticism. Mormon "elders" and "apostles" were speedily sent forth, who traversed Northern Ohio and gained many proselytes among the ignorant and superstitious, and some even among persons of intelligence, who had been filled with vague expectations of a speedy millennium.
It is unnecessary to relate particularly the progress of this gross delusion or the history of its leaders, who, after erecting a temple and establishing a bank at Kirtland, found it necessary to emigrate to Independence, Missouri, from whence, largely increased in numbers, they were soon driven to Illinois, where they erected another temple and built the city of Nauvoo. Nor is it necessary to detail their introduction of polygamy, their establishment of a grand and successful system of missions throughout the world, their fortunes in Illinois, where open war with the citizens was prevented only by the voluntary surrender of Smith and others to the civil authorities at the instance of the governor; or the subsequent death of Smith at the hands of a mob in the prison to which he had been committed for safe-keeping. Suffice it to say, that upon his death Rigdon and Brigham Young disputed the right to the succession, and Young prevailing, Rigdon was expelled from the community and retired into the interior of New York, where he has since lived in obscurity. Meanwhile, under the guidance of their new and far more competent leader, the Mormons sought an almost inaccessible region amidst the
[ 4 ]
mountains of Utah, beyond the boundaries of civilization, where, by incredible industry and the marvelous power of communism in promoting material interests, they have created, as if by magic, in the midst of an arid waste sown with salt, a magnificent city, through whose streets streams of pure water conveyed from the mountains impart freshness and verdure to rows of beautiful shade-trees, and irrigate extensive orchards and fruitful gardens, and where on every side are seen commodious residences and vast public edifices reared by the hands of skillful artisans decoyed from the Old World by the wiles of no less skillful emissaries. Here is presented the strange spectacle of a social, political and religious absolutism in the midst of a free republic, and of an open, legalized licentiousness in the bosom of a Christian nation, which, extending itself around this corrupt community, gradually encircles it as a rapidly-growing tree encloses with its young wood a cureless canker in its heart. -- (Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, Vol. 2, pages 344-348.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~I knew, personally, the writer of the foregoing paragraphs, and knew him as a cautious and conscientious man, capable of writing concerning friend and foe in an impartial manner. He was for a considerable period one of the instructors in Bethany College, W. Va., near which place I visited him at his home many times between 1869 and 1873. He was intimately connected with the period of which he wrote, in regard to Mormonism, and thus had the best of opportunities to learn the facts concerning that ism. Besides the good that he relates of Mormonism shows that he was a reliable historian; and I accept what he declares as being substantially correct in every particular. I am impelled in this direction by the fact that the Book of Mormon has in it many evidences of having been written or shaped by a renegade disciple, just such a man as Dr. Richardson declares that Sydney Rigdon was in regard to ambition, disposition, and education. The style of the book is low, and every chapter of it, except such as were copied from the Bible of God, falls under condemnation when measured by rhetoric, grammar, or logic. This means that it falls under condemnation when
[ 5 ]
measured by truth, and the right method of expressing truth. It has in its own sentences, perhaps, a thousand evidences, of its fraudulent character. I now offer a brief review of that book for the reader's consideration.
REVIEW OF THE "BOOK OF MORMON"The word "Mormon" is from the Greek, and in that language it means "bugbear. monster." Every large dictionary that I have examined thus declares. In view of this we may safely say that the "Book of Mormon" is the Book of Bugbear, Monster. Such it is in name, and such it is in reality.
Men and women that never read with care the Bible, as God has given it to us, might be misled by the "Book of Mormon" (bugbear, monster) because they might not know any better than to give confidence to such a book. But those that have any considerable acquaintance with the Book of God can never believe any such monstrous document as the "Book of Mormon" -- bugbear, monster. The low style, the low efforts to adopt the style of the Book of God, the fanciful names adopted in that bugbearish, monstrous, hook, likewise its mention of "plates," " brass plates" and "golden plates," its mention of civil government and church government, wars and desolations, miracles angels, visions, and dreams -- all written in the low style of an ignoramus, and in the hypocrite's style to imitate the style of the Book of God, especially by an overuse of the word -- "Behold," and the expression -- "It came to pass" -- I say all this gives abundant evidence to those possessing common sense and common honesty. that it is a flagrant forgery.
As an illustration of the absurdity of the names chosen by the writer of that book of the monster and bugbear I mention that the name of the first man of the book under review is Lehi. This is a Hebrew name and means jawbone, and was applied to the place where Samson slew a host of Philistines with the jawbone of an ass. See Judges 15th chapter. In the Bible of God names were generally given by reason of some fact or circumstances. But of the reason why the first man of the Book of Mormon received the name Lehi we are not informed. But as it means jawbone we may safely adopt that
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meaning, and state that a man named Jawbone left Jerusalem in the days of Hezekiah. But the man that wrote of Lehi was his alleged son Nephi, and the name Nephi means "sprout" as far as we can find it in Hebrew. Thus the book begins with an account of a man named Jawbone, written by a man named Sprout, and the entire book is called by a name which means "bugbear," and "monster."
If some one will try to offset this mention of the meaning of names by stating that the word Adam in Hebrew means "red earth," and the name Moses means "drawn out," our answer should be that these names have appropriate meanings, for Adam was made of earth, and Moses was drawn out of the water. And we cannot find anything ridiculous in those names, for they are both of appropriate meaning because of some fact or circumstance connected with both Adam and Moses. And on this principle we may say a man named Sprout wrote a record of a man named Jawbone which record is the first part of a book named Bugbear or Monster. This is what we may safely say of the volume under review, if we adopt the principle on which and by which the names mentioned in the Bible were given. And on this principle we may regard that volume as the book of the Bugbear or Monster, which was begun by a writer named Sprout concerning a man named Jawbone.
Those names were chosen at random, and I am here reminded of the following:
Hits marks the sender never meant,
As gun when fired at duck or plover,
Flies back and knocks the owner over."
Any unscrupulous writer could adopt the method of procedure found in the "Book of Mormon" -- Monster, Bugbear -- and write a history of the first inhabitants of Ethiopia, also of Africa, of Australia, or any other country, not mentioned in the Bible. He could imagine a certain king of Egypt in trouble, and that a certain respectable man of Egypt with his wife and sons went out into a southern district that was not inhabited, and there remained till under the heat of a more southern clime they and their descendants became blacker than they were and then they named that country Ethiopia, which name means black. Then he could
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imagine that in course of time a certain king of Ethiopia became troubled by war, or something else, and then a certain family left him, and went out into the wilderness, and traveled southward till another country was entered, and in course of time that was named Africa. I say any unscrupulous specimen of humanity, who knew a little of war, and law, and traveling, could write such a book, as the one now under review, as far as its historic parts are concerned. How easily might be explained the existence of the first inhabitants of Australia, of the Philippine Islands, and all the other islands of all the oceans. All that would be necessary would he to imagine that a certain family was led by a man that had a dream that he should break off from all others and go into a wilderness, and travel till that family would come to some great water. Then that man could have a dream about some other land, could build a boat and float over to that land. How easy! And that is the plan of the Book of Mormon, Bugbear, Monster. APPROPRIATE NAME!
Then its religious doctrine is such as any one could write that possessed an ordinary acquaintance with the book of Acts, and a slight acquaintance with the records of the Gospel as given by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, also a slight acquaintance with certain parts of the Old Testament. I think that by a critical review of the "Book of Mormon," otherwise Book of Bugbear or Monster, I might find a thousand evidences of that kind of falsehood known as forgery in a historic sense, and at least a hundred evidences that its religious doctrines were, in all probability, written by that man Sydney Rigdon, as indicated by Dr. Robert Richardson, as previously copied for the reader's benefit.
But in all of the Book of Mormon -- Bugbear, Monster -- we don't find any evidence of fraud more evident that what is alleged in that book about the doctrine of John the Baptist and of the Savior, several hundred years before John was born, and before Christ was sent into this world to dwell among men. In the writings of the so-called "Apostolic Fathers" we find many examples of this mistake. Many of those so called "Fathers," including Eusebius the historian, were guilty of attributing to the first
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century of the Gospel Age both doctrines their practices that belonged exclusively to several later centuries. This error on their part makes much of their writings appear ridiculous, as well as erroneous, to the careful student of the Sacred Text. And the same is true when we find in this Book of Mormon -- Bugbear, Monster -- doctrines and practices set forth in the first century alleged to have been preached and urged in North America centuries before they were really made known in Palestine. It is the error of the so-called "Apostolic Fathers" reversed. They attributed humanly arranged doctrines and practices to the period of the personal labors of the apostles, while the writer of the Book of Mormon -- Bugbear, Monster -- attributed to a period of darkness what the Bible declares was made known in the period of the greatest light.
Though the name Mormon seems specially appropriate for the volume under review, yet in view of its contents it might be justly spoken of as the Book of the Brass Plates, or the Book of the Wilderness, or the Book of Wars and Murders, or the Book of False Dreams, Visions and. Revelations, and Pretended Miracles. But the Book of Mormon seems to have been especially written for the purpose of imposing a story about brass plates which are mentioned many times. For instance, on page 3, mention is made of "plates which I have made with mine own hand." On page 5, "upon plates of brass." Page 6, "upon the plates of brass." Page 10 "plates of brass." Page 17, "upon these plates." Page 18 we find "these plates," also "other plates," "these plates," and "other plates," and "these plates," and then "an account upon these plates." The foregoing is a sample of the Book of Mormon on the plate question.
In the beginning of chapter 2nd we find this concerning dreams: "For behold it came to pass that the Lord spake unto my father, yea, even in a dream, and said unto him, Blessed art thou Lehi, because of the things that thou hast done; and because thou hast been faithful, and declared unto this people the thing which I commanded thee, behold they seek to take away thy life. And it came to pass that the Lord commanded my father, even in a dream, that he should take his family, and depart into the wilderness."
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Here we find this Lehi -- this Jawbone was a dreamer. Let the reader examine Jeremiah 23. 16-32, also Ezekiel 13: 1-16, on the subject of dreams and vain visions, and then the value of that Jawbone's dreams and visions will become evident. Besides, according to the Book of Monster, Bugbear, that Jawbone dreamer arose IN THE VERY PERIOD THAT JEREMIAH AND EZEKIEL WROTE IN REGARD TO FALSE VISIONISTS AND DREAMERS. Thus if we could admit that the Jawbone dreamer mentioned in the book now under review really lived and dreamed we could prove that those who broke away from Jeremiah and Ezekiel were FALSE PROPHETS, and DREAMERS OF FALSE DREAMS, AND SEERS OF FALSE VISIONS.
In chapter 10 I find the following: "Yea even six hundred years from the time my father left Jerusalem, a prophet would the Lord God raise up among the Jews; even a Messiah; or, in other words, a Savior of the world... And he spake concerning a prophet who should come before the Messiah, to prepare the way of the Lord; -- Yea, even he should go forth and cry in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight; for there standeth one among you whom ye know not; and he is mightier than I, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose. And much spake my father concerning this thing. And my father said he should baptize in Bethabary beyond Jordan. And he said also he should baptize with water; even that he should baptize the Messiah with water."
The foregoing concerning Christ and John the Baptist is a fair sample of the presumption of that Jawbone dreamer, or of that Sprout recorder, in attributing to the age of the prophets details intended by the God of heaven to be made known only as the events would actually occur. But this Sprout recorder attributed to his father, whose name means Jawbone, the advantage of having those details SIX HUNDRED YEARS BEFORE THEY WERE MADE KNOWN TO ANY ONE ELSE!
John the Baptist drew back from baptizing Jesus, regarding himself as unworthy to do so. But if he had only been permitted to see those brass plates which that Sprout made with his "own hands," and then wrote
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on them, he might have known better than to draw back. Not one of the prophets of the Old Testament knew the meaning of what he wrote concerning the Messiah, and angels desired to look into those things. (See 1 Peter. 1: 10-12.) But this Sprout of the Book of Bugbear declares that God revealed many of those things, even water baptism, to a certain dreamer whose name means Jawbone! In view of all this, what becomes of the doctrine found in God's book that "God is no respecter of persons?" According to the volume under review God respected a certain man whose name means Jawbone, and his son whose name means Sprout, above all other men, and even above the angels of heaven! A volume of considerable size might be written exposing the inconsistencies of the Book of Monster or Bugbear. In so doing the evidence would be advanced in every chapter of that exposure that intelligent belief of the Bible of God and the Bible of Mormons by the same individual at the same time WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE. As belief in the one increases belief in the other must decrease.
If I could have any confidence whatever in the leaders among Mormons, whose chosen name means Bugbear and Monster, I would propose to them that if they would agree to give up their religious system if I would show a thousand evidences of fraud in the volume alleged by them to have been translated from certain plates, I would bind myself to do so.
That a person who is grossly ignorant of the Bible that is commonly accepted as God's revelation to man might have confidence in the book accepted by the Mormons as the basis of, their system, I might admit. But for any one that has even an ordinary acquaintance with the book commonly called "The Bible" to accept the Book of Mormon as true, I regard as utterly impossible. In other words, I feel myself prepared to prove that an intelligent belief of both of those books is impossible by the same person at the same time.
Notice the following which is recorded as the beginning of "The Book of Mormon."
THE FIRST BOOK OF NEPHI
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and his four sons, being called (beginning at the eldest) Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi. The Lord warns Lehi to depart out of the land of Jerusalem, because he prophesieth unto the people concerning their iniquity; and they seek to destroy his life. He taketh three days' journey into the wilderness with his family. Nephi taketh his brethren and returns to the land of Jerusalem after the records of the Jews. The account of their sufferings. They take the daughters of Ishmael to wife. They take their families and depart into the wilderness. Their sufferings and afflictions in the wilderness. The course of their travels. They come to the large waters. Nephi's brethren rebelleth against him. He confoundeth them and buildeth a ship. They call the place Bountiful. They cross the large waters into the promised land, etc. This is according to the account of Nephi; or in other words, I, Nephi, wrote this record.
After leaving Jerusalem Lehi is reported to have dreamed that he should send his sons back to Jerusalem to get certain plates of brass on which were the records of the Jews. and the genealogy of Lehi's forefathers. They went and got them, by murder and hypocrisy and theft, and from what appears later the records were written in the "Reformed Egyptian" language, whatever that may be. Thus we find the history commenced, also the records on plates of brass, also mention of rebellion. And thenceforth we find a record of wanderings, rebellions, and finally wars, and plates of brass, especially wars, and more wars, and more plates of brass. Sometimes reference to the wars exceeds reference to the plates of brass. Yet the plates of brass are kept prominent. Then on the 180th page of the volume now before me I find mention of "twenty-four plates" "of pure gold." On page 210 mention is made of "plates of ore," whatever that may mean.
But the record is burdened, we may say, with an account of mysterious wars, mysterious brazen plates, and a mysterious religious doctrine, which is generally a mixture of certain part of the Old Testament and of the New.
Here I turn from this so-called "Book of
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Mormon," which has a name that justifies all that may speak of it as the Book of Monster or Bugbear. Certainly it is a Monstrosity, whether viewed as a history of an uncertain people; or as a religious document of an uncertain kind. Its winding records remind me of these lines:
Leaving the people still in doubt,
Whether the snake that made the track
Was going south or coming back."
As the peoples mentioned in those records warred with each other until they were near or about all slain, and as the only religious truth that is found set forth in those records is found in the Bible that the God of heaven has arranged and preserved, -- in view of all this, the entire enterprise, as a history, is a FAILURE except the story of the alleged PLATES OF BRASS, the first of which were secured by murder and theft, and the others of which were alleged to have been made under circumstances not only improbable, but strictly impossible. In view of all this, we may further say, THAT THE ENTIRE RECORD FOUND IN THAT BOOK SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN WRITTEN TO GIVE CREDIT TO THE STORY ABOUT ONE JOSEPH SMITH FINDING CERTAIN PLATES. Take the book from beginning to end and scarcely can a dignified paragraph be found in it that was not copied in substance, if not in exact words, from the book that God has given to us. God's book is chiefly concerning the Jews, and they are still living as a great and mighty people, from whom Christ came, and they bear witness to the truth of God's book. But the "Book of Mormon" seems to have been chiefly written concerning an extinct people that destroyed themselves by their wickedness, and from whom we do not find anything except certain alleged plates of brass, certified to by a few disreputable citizens.
Again I say to the reader, examine Jeremiah 23rd chapter and Ezekiel 13th chapter concerning false dreamers and false prophets.
(Price 5 cts., Apostolic Review, Indianapolis, Ind.]
In his 1907 booklet, Three Important Movements, Baptist preacher and author, William A. Stanton, offers this useful clarification of Richardson's reporting:
In Richardson's "Memoirs of Alexander Campbell," Vol. II., p. 99, he says: "A greater degree of intimacy took place between Walter Scott and Rigdon and their respective congregations, so that in 1824 a union was consummated between them. A few members of the Baptist church who refused to unite were then recognized by the committee of the Association as the only legitimate Baptist church in Pittsburgh." This statement is misrepresenting. That there was a union between Scott's church and Rigdon's followers is not to be denied. But if it took place in 1824, as Richardson says it did, it was after, and not before the official recognition of the minority. It was also after the exclusion of Rigdon from the Baptist church. The simple fact was that after their exclusion Rigdon and his followers joined the church of which Walter Scott was pastor. On the other hand, if Doctor Richardson has made a mistake in his date of 1824 and is correct in the rest of his statement, we know that the minority, who protested and did not unite with Walter Scott's congregation, were officially recognized as the Baptist church. Whichever the mistake Richardson made, there never was a union between Walter Scott's church and the First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh. This settles the historic continuity of a Baptist church in Pittsburgh from 1812 until now.
Since Richardson's family were Pittsburgh residents when Alexander Campbell's "reformation" first began to have an effect in that town (primarily among the congregations of the Rev. Walter Scott and the Rev. Sidney Rigdon), it seems more than likely that he could have written a great deal more than he did about Sidney Rigdon and the Baptists. But Richardson kept his reporting in line with the unspoken Campbellite policy to practically erase Rigdon from their historical writings -- thus, he only offers a few crumbs of information concerning this important figure in the "Restoration of the Ancinet Order of Things."
Another Baptist preacher and author, the Rev. William H. Whitsitt, also devotes a few lines in his Rigdon biography to emending Richardson's reporting:
Richardson declares (II:128) that he [Rigdon] returned to Ohio during the year 1825. These different dates can be reconciled with the conclusion that Sidney was engaged at the tannery until near the close of the year 1825, and then made his way towards the west. Walter Scott was left in charge of the church in the court-house (Rich. II:129.) Possibly the position of Rigdon as his fellow-elder had been rendered uncomfortable by the circumstance that, despite his excellent literalistic craze, the "Scotch Baptists" of the community went beyond him in struggling after the "ancient order of things." He might have found it an uncomfortable observance to exchange the kiss of charity as often as the vogue of this fantastic organization demanded (Rich. II:129). They also enjoyed the primitive custom of feet-washing (Rich. II:128) and there is no proof that up to this date Mr. Rigdon had acquired any fancy for that part of the "ancient order."
Dr. Robert Richardson (Professor, Bethany College)Robert Richardson was born at Pittsburgh, Penn., September 27, 1806. His education was carried on principally at his father's house under tutors, but he also attended the schools of the city. When about eighteen years of age he began the study of medicine under Dr. Plummer, finishing his course in Philadelphia. He began a country practice about thirteen miles from Pittsburgh about the year 1828. He was married at the age of twenty-five to Rebecca Encell, of Wheeling, and subsequently lived and practiced medicine in Carthage, Ohio, and in Wellsburg, Va. When in 1841, Bethany college was founded by Alexander Campbell, Dr. Richardson was elected as one of the professors. He filled this position for over twenty years, teaching the various branches of natural science. He also filled the position of vice president and professor of natural science in Kentucky university for four years, being called to that institution in 1858. At the breaking out of the war he removed his family back to "Bethphage," his country home, near Bethany, but continued for one year longer to teach in the Kentucky university, near Bethany; he spent the remainder of his life in writing and in agricultural pursuits.
He was a pioneer in scientific farming in this part of the country, and taught his neighbors the value of a small farm well tilled, as compared with larger ones cultivated by old and unscientific methods. He was also an author of note in the Disciples church. He published "Memoirs of A1exander Campbell," in two volumes; "Principles of the Reformation Urged by A. Campbell and Others," in 1853; "Communing's in the Sanctuary," in 1872; "The Office of the Holy Spirit," in 1873. He also contributed numerous articles to different religious journals. For many years he suffered with his eyes, and was compelled to call upon one of his daughters to act as his amanuensis. Dr. Richardson was a most accomplished and scholarly man, and in all respects a model Christian gentleman. No citizen of Brooke county was more sincerely mourned in his death than was this wise and good physician.
(From: History of the Upper Ohio Valley, Vol. I. 1890)
See also: Richardson Bibliography: 1828-1984