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Bethany, Brooke County

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Rev. Alexander Campbell and Wife Selina (1850s photograph)

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Vol. I.             BETHANY, VA.   JANUARY,  1844.             No. I.

                                      From the Evangelist.

"MORMONISM -- The Means by which it stole the True Gospel.

"IT is well known that the Mormons preach the true gospel and plead for immediate obedience to it on the part of the hearers, as the advocates of original Christianity do. This was not an original measure of Mormonism; for, indeed, baptism for the remission of sins is a phrase not found in their book. A few of their leaders took it from Rigdon, at Euclid, on the Western Reserve, as may be learned from brother Jones' account of their first visit to Kirtland, published in a preceding volume of the Evangelist. Rigdon, we were perfectly aware, had possessed himself of our analysis of the gospel and the plea for obedience raised thereupon; but not, choosing to rely on my own recollection of the means by, and the times at, which they were imparted to him, we wrote to Mr. Bentley, who is his brother-in-law, for the necessary information. Mr. Bentley's letter shows not only whence he received his knowledge of the true gospel; but also that, coward that he was, he had not the independence necessary to preach it in his own vicinity after he had received it. Thus the knowledge of ordering and pleading the elements of the true gospel by that people, is seen to arise near the same time and from the same source as that of our own reformation. Mr. Bentley's letter is as follows: --

                                      "SOLON., January 22, 1841

"Dear Brother Scott -- Your favor of the 7th December is received. I returned from Philadelphia, Pa., on the 10th, and the answer to your acceptable letter has been deferred. I was much gratified to hear from you and family, but would be much more so to see you once more in the flesh, and talk over our toils and anxieties in the cause of our blest Redeemer.

Your request that I should give you all the information I am in possession of respecting Mormonism. I know that Sydney Rigdon told me there was a book coming out (the manuscript of which had been found engraved on gold plates) as much as two years before the Mormon book made its appearance in this country or had been heard of by me. The same I communicated to brother A Campbell. The Mormon book has nothing of baptism for the remission of sins in it; and of course at the time Rigdon got Solomon Spaulding's manuscript he did not understand the scriptures on that subject.*  I cannot say he learnt it from me, as he had been about a week with you in Nelson and Windham, before he came to my house. I, however, returned with him to Mentor. He stated to me that he did not feel himself capable of introducing the subject in Mentor, and would not return without me if he had to stay two weeks with us to induce me to go. This is about all I can say. I have no doubt but the account given in Mormonism Unmasked, is about the truth. It was got up to deceive the people and obtain their property, and was a wicked contrivance with Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith, Jr. May God have mercy on the wicked men, and may they repent of this their wickedness!

May the Lord bless you, brother Scott, and family! Mrs. Bentley is much out of health, and I fear will never be better.
Yours most affectionately,
                                        ADAMSON BENTLEY.

Brethren Scott and Bentley are both mistaken as to the fact of baptism for the remission of sins not having been found in the Book of Mormon; and one of them in the inference contained in the note appended to Elder Bentley's letter.

The conversation alluded to in brother Bentley's letter of 1841, was in my presence as well as in his, and my recollection of it led me some two or three years ago to interrogate brother Bentley touching his recollections of it, which accord with mine in every particular, except the year in which it occurred -- he placing it in the summer of 1827 -- I, in the summer of 1826 -- Rigdon at the time observing that in the plates dug up in New York there was an account not only of the Aborigines of this country but also it was stated that the Christian religion had been preached in this country during the first century just as we were preaching it on the Western Reserve. Now as the Book of Mormon was being manufactured at that time, for the copy-right was taken out in June, 1829, two years according to Elder Bentley, and three years according to me, after said conversation, (and certainly it was not less than two years,) the inference of brother Scott touching the person upon whom the theft was committed would be plausible, if it was a fact that baptism for remission of sins is no part of the Book, but something superadded since from the practice in Ohio in the end of

* Sidney Rigdon accompanied brother Campbell to the M'Calla debate in 1823, and must have heard what was said on baptism on that occasion, and forgot it. This was not wonderful neither; for things presented to the mind apart from an obvious and acknowledged practice, are soon forgotten. But neither Rigdon nor any other person who has seen me baptize for remission, could possibly forget the import of the ordinance. So we think.
                                  W. S.

40                                 MORMONISM.                                

1827 and beginning of 1828, a year or more after Rigdon made the aforesaid statement.

But the truth of this inference depends upon the fact whether baptism as aforesaid is found in the Book of Mormon, or was, as he imagines, borrowed in 1830 from some of our brethren on the Reserve. Baptism for remission is, however, taught in the Book of Mormon, and therefore, according to his own reasoning, the inference is wholly an imagination. It is found variously and frequently stated in the Book of Mormon. On page 479 it is expressed in the following words: -- "Blessed are they which shall believe in your words, and be baptized: for they shall be visited with fire and the Holy Ghost, and shall receive a remission of their sins." Again, p. 581. "Baptism is unto repentance for the fulfilling the commandments unto the remission of sins." Again, p. 582: "The first point of repentance is baptism, and baptism cometh by faith unto the fulfilling of the commandment, and the fulfilling of the commandment is unto the remission of sins." Indeed, as early as page 240 it is plainly taught in the form of a precept -- "Come and be baptized unto repentance, that you may be washed from your sins." Certainly this is testimony enough, without farther readings.

The note on the text of brother Bentley's letter shows how easily men may reason wrong from false facts, or from assumed premises. If the Editor of the Evangelist were not above the imputation of ambition, envy, jealousy, or vanity, the whole affair might be construed disadvantageously. But as it is, it seems to show the necessity of a scrupulous examination of the premises before we presume on such grave conclusions.

Men remember what they hear, as well as what they see. Again, if men are said to "steal" what they see, may they not be said to "steal" what they hear? And if nothing short of seeing an action performed could explain this mystery, how comes the good Baptist Taylor to insert in his history of churches in Kentucky, writing about the time of the aforesaid conversation, the same views on this subject which are contained in the Book of Mormon? It is, therefore, no disparagement of these views of baptism that they are found in the Book of Mormon, more than that they are found in Taylor's History of Ten Baptist Churches in Kentucky, published three years before the Book of Mormon. But that Sidney Rigdon had a hand in the manufacture of the religious part of the Book of Mormon is clearly established from this fact, and from other expressions in that book, as certainly "stolen" from our brethren as that he once was amongst them. Our brother of the Evangelist seems on other occasions, as well as this, to draw conclusions

                                MORMONISM.                                 41

equally false, and as apparently invidious, as will appear from another article from the September Evangelist, to which my attention has been specially called: --

"B A P T I S M.    

"Baptism is for the remission of sins. And when the current plea for obedience was introduced the rite was publicly administered for the remission of sins,' the baptizer saying audibly, 'For the remission of your sins I baptize you,' &c. Was not this enough?* Is it necessary to harp forever on this ordinance as if it were the grand essential? Is baptism the alpha and the omega of reformation?

Some persons seem to have hanged their immortality with posterity upon baptism for remission. We have at present no less than three debates on the subject announced; one already in progress, and two in contemplation.

But what has all this talking, writing, and debating done for the cause? There are several things which it has done. First, it has turned the minds of the brethren very generally outward upon the ordinance, instead of inward upon faith and penitence. Secondly, it has made them very lightly esteem the most evangelical faith and unfeigned repentance in others who do not understand the ordinance as we do. Thirdly, it has made very wrong impressions upon the public mind in relation to our views of the comparative value of gospel truth, for the world both see and feel that in the discourses of many of our evangelists, "Christ and him crucified" -- the pains, and groans, and tears of Calvary -- are made to give way to a silly and irreverent oratory on baptism, its adjuncts, or its corruptions. So that while many persons among us speak and write about baptism for the remission of sins, they have not a syllable to utter concerning a crucified Redeemer. This is a fatal mistake. Finally, this eternal talk about baptism for remission by our more eminent brethren, encourages those among us of no character (and we have thousands such) to argue for baptism, when all the world knows that they have themselves dishonored their baptism."§

* It was not enough, as our experience proves. Had it not been for writing, debating, talking, and harping on the subject,' it would have attracted comparatively but little attention, So testify both history and my experience.

Who those persons are that have hung up their immortality, &c. upon baptism for remission, I know not. Some, indeed, seem to regard the baptizing and being baptized for remission," &c. a very good basis for immortality! But I never knew any of these have any public debate on the subject.

It has in a good measure, and primarily in my knowledge, placed it where it is. The States where these debates occurred have more disciples now, by thousands, than any other States in the Union; and there the cause has always flourished first and last most successfully. Some there are, however, who too much depreciate the labors of others to enhance their own. Now as this is not the case with the Editor of the Evangelist, he ought not to appear to so much disadvantage by thus speaking of other men's labors in contrast with his own.

§ certain portions of this address appear to have been written too much under the influence of Millerism -- too much, at least, to be copied into this work. I do not think that the brethren are worthy of such unmeasured reprobation. Though I admit that there is reason to complain of multitudes being drawn and urged into the Christian profession by an improper preaching of baptism for the remission of sins. But, then, as the brethren say, no man in the nation is more to blame for this than the Carthage Evangelist. I have low remonstrated against the passion for bringing in multitudes of untaught persons into the Christian church. Some of our Evangelists have done much damage to the cause, as well as to men's souls, by pressing them by improper arguments and an anti-evangelical appeals to be baptized. This I am in duty bound to say: and to urge upon our [readers...]

Note 1: The Walter Scott article, with its 1841 letter from Adamson Bentley, was apparently reprinted by Alexander Campbell from the September 1843 issue of Scott's Evangelist. Scott provided no reason as to why he delayed publishing the Bentley letter for over two and a half years. It may have been that, at that time among the Campbellites, that most writers deferred to letting Alexander Campbell publish revealing information regarding his prior association with Sidney Rigdon and other such potentially sensitive accounts. Scott and Bentley, in spite of all of their supposed efforts to counteract the preaching of the Mormon Sidney Rigdon, are both strangely ignorant of the Mormon ordinance of adult immersion for the remission of sins being a major doctrine of the Book of Mormon. Probably neither man had read the book very closely. Scott's calling Rigdon a "coward" in regard to promulgating the 1827 Campbellite innovations in baptism is probably uncalled for. This was doubtless a doctrine, the introduction of which Alexander Campbell closely scrutinized. He preached an early "Disciple" version of the doctrine himself in his 1823 debate with Rev. M'Calla, and as noted in the article, Rigdon accompanied Campbell during the proceedings of that debate. Rigdon's eventual successor in the First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh, Rev. Samuel Williams, accused Rigdon of having advocated the 1827 Campbellite doctrine of baptism as early as 1822-23 in Pittsburgh -- probably in the period just before the M'Calla debate and just before Rigdon's excommunication from the Baptists. Rigdon's pre-1827 advocacy of baptism for the remission of sins probably did not entail Elder Walter Scott's "five-finger exercise" utilization of the "primitive gospel" for calling believers to immediate baptism, however. Rigdon appears to have first adopted that conversion/redemption theology about the beginning of 1828.

Note 2: The recollection voiced by Bentley and Campbell -- that Rigdon had spoken of "the Aborigines of this country, etc.," -- may well be their own conflation from several past conversations with Rigdon. Sidney Rigdon, even prior to his Mormon conversion, was a vocal advocate of the Indians being Israelites and also of the need for a literal gathering of Israel. He probably also supported the then rare notion for a gathering of Israel upon the American continent. Thus, it comes as no surprise that Rigdon was speaking of such things, as early as 1826 or 1827, with fellow Campbellites. Rigdon's hometown newspaper, the Painesville Telegraph printed the Joseph Smith "golden plates" story as early as 1829. In an 1830 article on the topic, its editor recalled having mentioned the same subject in print a couple of years before. Rigdon's close religious associates in Geauga Co., Ohio, Orson Hyde and Eliza R. Snow, knew of the "golden plates" story as prior to 1830. It is entirely possible that Rigdon DID hear of the same "plates dug up in New York" account as early as 1827-28, and thus could have relayed parts of that story to Bentley and Campbell, piecemeal, over several months prior to 1830. The fact that Alexander Campbell did not speak of this disclosure from Rigdon when he wrote his 1830 "Deslusions" article (or at any time thereafter until January 1844) serves to show that he was either uninterested, unwilling or unable to speak of the purported Rigdon account between 1830 and the end of 1839. Most likely, Campbell was so tired of hearing Rigdon talking about the gathering of Israel, Indian Israelites, etc., that he had absolutely no interest in recalling Rigdon's comments upon that subject -- that is, not until about "some two or three years" prior to the beginning of 1844.



Vol. I.             BETHANY, VA.   AUGUST,  1844.             No. VIII.

                                      City of Quincy, Illinois, June 28, 1844.

I have just seen four military companies paraded and put on board the steamboat Boreas, to be transported to Nauvoo to fight the Mormons. Yesterday Joe Smith, and Hiram his brother, and Richards their Secretary, were killed. Joe Smith had fifty balls shot through him. They had been committed to Carthage jail, and the Mormons fired upon the guard and wounded them, and the Smith's fired from the windows upon them and then the citizens broke into the jail and shot them. They are certainly dead. I have never witnessed such excitement and such a cry of war and bloodshed, and such a noise of drums and implements of war, since the war of 1812. It is supposed the Mormons have murdered the Governor of Illinois before this time. My meetings have been interrupted all the time I have been here by military companies parading.
                                 J. CREATH, Jr.

Note: (forthcoming)



Vol. I.             BETHANY, VA.   SEPTEMBER,  1844.             No. IX.


JOSEPH SMITH and his brother HIRAM have been providentially cut off in the midst of their diabolical career. They were most lawlessly and mobocratically put to death. One of the antediluvian signs of the times was, that "the earth was filled with violence." From Boston and Philadelphia to New Orleans this land is filled with violence; and, analogically reasoning, some great catastrophe is coming upon the world. There is no law of sufficient authority in the hands of this government to preserve peace and safety in this country. The sword of the magistrate is worn in vain.

But the money-digger, the juggler, and the founder of the Golden Bible delusion, has been hurried away in the midst of his madness to his final account. 'He died not as a righteous man dieth.' The hand of the Lord was heavy upon him. An outlaw himself, God cut him off by outlaws. He requited him according to his works. He was not persecuted, unless to punish a traitor, a public plunderer, a marauder, be persecution! The killing of Robespierre was not murder. It was the outrages of the Mormons that brought upon the head of their leader the arm of justice. The phrenzy of a fanatic cannot make out of the affair persecution, Religion or religious opinions had nothing to do with it. It was neither more nor less than the assassination of one whose career was in open rebellion against God and man. Still the guilt of his death lies upon those who, in violation of the laws both of God and their country, dispatched him without even the form of a trial.
                                  A. C.

Note: (forthcoming)



Vol. I.             BETHANY, VA.   NOVEMBER,  1844.             No. XI.

                                 Monmouth, W. Co., Illinois, August 22, 1844.

Brother Campbell -- I REGRET to see in the last Harbinger an account of the death of the Smiths, Joseph and Hyrum, written by brother Creath, from Quincey. I regret particularly that such an account as that given by brother Creath should appear in the Harbinger. I impugn not his motives. That statement falls far, very far short of the truth in regard to that unfortunate affair. To give you a history of that transaction, which has covered and should cover the actors with shame and contempt, would require more room than I should have on this sheet, and you, perhaps, more trouble in the perusal than you would like to bestow. Suffice it to say, that the two Smiths were wantonly murdered in the most dastardly manner; while a Mr. Taylor, instead of Richardson, was severely wounded.

The Smiths had been charged with diverse crimes and violations of law, in which charges they had answered, and were in the custody of the law, while the whole matter was undergoing legal investigation. --

The prisoners, .loseph and Hyrum Smith, being arrested under a charge of treason, were committed to prison to await the arrival of some testimony, perhaps, when an assault was made on the jail by a disguised and infuriated mob, not Mormons, as stated in lthe account as given by brother Creath, nor was the guard fired on by Mormons: while the Smiths were, with a few of their companions, quietly, and as they thought, safely lodged within the four walls of a prison, those -- what shall I call them? -- fiends, demons, were under a solemn pledge to the Governor to see the bodies of the Smiths kept and saved from harm. But excited and propelled by causes, whether real or imaginary I know not, a clan, lost to all sense of honor or regard for themselves, about 150 in number, in disguise, made the desperate assault on the jail, overpowering the guard placed over the prisoners by the Exeeutive, and perpetrated the horrible deed -- thus entailing, digrace upon the human character -- thus washing from the page of our statute-book, with the blood of two of our citizens, whether guilty or innocent I care not at present, that time-honored principle of equal rights and a fair and impartial trial by a jury of the country.

I am no Mormon in religion -- I profess to be a disciple of the Great Teacher. But at the same time I profess to be the fearless and unflinching friend of civil rights, equal and alike to all good citizens: and I hope to live to see that spirit of mobocracy, now so rife in the land, banished from earth to its legitimate and native home, never again to drench the earih, the footstool of the great I AM, with the blood of its victims, which mnst cry to heaven against the guilty. and which cries will not be poured out in empty air unheeded before Him that sits upon the throne. ---- Yours truly,
                                 Monmouth, J. W. DAVIDSON.


It is very common for the Mormons, in working miracles, to practise in the following manner:--

One goes out alone in the garb, and with the appearance of a poor traveller; calls at the house of some country farmer at night, leaving some token by which those who are his confederates may detect his whereabouts. Another one, or more, follows on and stops near by, so that in the morning he may soon reach the abode of the first traveller, to which place he proceeds about breakfast time, coming there just as his predecessor needs him. The first traveller, about day. break, makes his piteous noise as of one in deep distress, alarming the inmates, and calling them around his bedside. For awhile the sick man struggles with disease, and apparently dies in a fit. Just at that moment the second traveller enters -- announces himself a disciple of the Mormons, and declares it is in his power to raise the dead man to life: and putting all aside from the couch of death, commences his necromancy, and soon succeeds in raising the dead to life.

A couple of these impostors went out on an excursion of this kind about two years or more since, and in the course of their travels called at a farm house near Gennesee. The forerunner called on the plain looking farmer, and represented himself as a traveller who was poor, yet on a merciful errand. The farmer was an honest-hearted Methodist, making less show than some, but no less intelligent Christian, or shrewd, than most men. The traveller joined with the family in their devotions, and talked of God and heaven as a Christian. No one suspected his hypocrisy.

About 4 o'clock in the morning the family were awakened by groans proceeding from the lodging room of the stranger. The farmer went into the room and was quite shocked to find his guest apparently in the most intense degree of pain. Many remedies were applied, but of no effect; the sufferer grew worse every hour, until about 7 o'clock he appeared to show signs of death. Just at the moment a knock was heard at the door. and another stranger entered on its being opened.

The family were much frightened, and consequently much gratified with the arrival of any person, although it should be a stranger. He was immediately informed of the case, and introduced into the room; upon entering which be announced himself a Mormon priest, and assured the astonished family he could, raise the dying man to life, even should he die -- and, indeed, to convince them of his power. he hoped he would die; which was soon the fact to all appearance. The new comer then ordered all present to stand aside, and not touch the corpse or the bed, but to send for neighbors if they pleased, in order to give full proof of his wonderful work.

Just about that time it crept into the head of the farmer that a trick was about being played upon them of a blasphemous character, and he quickly resolved to test the same. "Hold," said he, "a moment and do not the miracle until I return." He went out, took an axe from the wood pile, and came in without saying a word; walked up to the bed-side. and addressed the man of miracles as follows: --

"You think him really dead?"

"O yes,"

"Well, then, I will just cut off his head to make it sure; for if you can raise him to life from death at all, you can do it as well with his head off as on!" and suiting the action to the word, raised the axe as if he would strike; when lo! with a loud shriek, up jumped the dead man, crying, "Murder! Murder!" at the top of his voice.

Before the proper authorities could he reached, the risen prophet and the prophet baulked put out and fled as from a devouring plague, much to the amusement of the sensible man, who detected their impositions since which time no Mormon finds his way into that region to remain long.     Syracuse Freeman.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. I.             BETHANY, VA.   DECEMBER,  1844.             No. XII.


The melancholy catastrophe of the murder of Joseph Smith, the presiding President, and Hyrum his brother, resulted in leaving one individual only known to the church as pointed out by repeated revelations, as Prophet, Seer, and Revelator for the Church -- viz. Sidney Rigdon.

President Rigdon, who was then in Pittsburg, received instruction from the Lord to repair to this place, and present himself to the church for their acceptance or rejection; which actually did result in his rejection, and the appointment of the Twelve (by a large majority of the church) to the presidency of the whole church and its entire control.

Verily believing as we do, that this was a vital departure from the order of Heaven, and a rejection of the only man who sustained the legal relation of a Revelator to the Church, and who was competent to reorganize the first Presidency, we dissented and lifted our voices against such proceedings, and manifested our adherence to President Rigdon.

In consequence of this rejection, President Rigdon has received a commandment to reorganize the church; and for this reason the Twelve and their adherents have assiduously studied and striven to misrepresent the character and designs of President Rigdon and his friends, and have not scrupled to ascribe to them motives and designs the most base and dishonorable.

We do declare that President Rigdon is above all malevolent aspersions of his reputation, and is known to us as a worthy law-abiding citizen, and a gentleman of unblemished character.

We do, moreover, declare our sincere conviction, that, in rejecting Sidney Rigdon, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints does no longer exist, except in connexion with him; and that God has given no authority for an organization of the church, differing from that contained in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.

Heretofore the accused has had the privilege of a trial and an opportunity to reply to the charges brought against them; but on the memorable 8th of September, 1844, this privilege was denied in open and flagrant violation of all the laws and rules of the church; thus manifesting clearly that the course they pursued towards us is one unsanctioned by law and unallowed by justice.

Samuel James,
Leonard Soby,
J. B. Bosworth,
George W. Crouse,
Lewis James,
G. W. Robinson,
J. H. Newton,
Briggs Aldcn,
Elijah Reed,
John Evans,
William Richards,
George Soby,
Samuel Bennett,
J. A. Forgeous,
G. Bentley,
William Coltien,
T. J. Lanyon,
David Scott,
Thomas Crompton,
J. Hatch, and many others.

                   NAUVOO, September 8, 1844.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. III.                               Bethany, Va.   Sept.,  1846.                               No. 9.

          [p. 493]


Requests have occasionally, during several years, been made for the publication, in this work, of a discourse on the Law, pronounced by me at a meeting of the Regular Baptist Association, on Cross Creek, Virginia, 1816. Recently these requests have been renewed with more earnestness; and, although much crowded for room, I have concluded to comply with the wishes of my friends. It was rather a youthful performance, and is in one particular, to my mind, long since exceptionable. Its views of the atonement are rather commercial than evangelical. But was only casually introduced, and does not affect the object of the discourse on the merits of the great question discussed in it. I thought it better to let it go to the public again without the change of a sentiment in it. Although precisely thirty years this month since I delivered it, and some two or three years after my union with the Baptist denomination, the intelligent reader will discover in it the elements of things which have characterized all our writings on the subject of modern Christianity from that day to the present.

But as the discourse was, because of its alleged heterodoxy by the Regular Baptist Association, made the ground of my impeachment and trial for heresy at its next annual meeting, it is an item of ecclesiastic history interesting. It was by a great effort on my part, that this self-same Sermon on the Law had not proved my public excommunication from the denomination under the foul brand of "damnable heresy." But by a great stretch of charity on the part of two or three old men, I was saved by a decided majority.

This unfortunate sermon afterwards involved me in a seven years' war with some members of said Association, and became a matter of much debate. I found at last, however, that there was a principle at work in the plotters of said crusade, which Stephen assigns as the cause of the misfortunes of Joseph.

It is, therefore, highly probable to my mind, that but for the persecution begun on the alleged heresy of this sermon, whether the present reformation had ever been advocated by me. I have a curious history of many links in this chain of providential events, yet unwritten and unknown to almost any one living -- certainly but to a very few persons, -- which, as the waves of time roll on, may yet be interesting to many. It may be gratifying to some, however, at present to be informed that but one of the prime movers of this presumptive movement yet lives; and, alas! he has long since survived his usefulness. I may farther say at present, that I do not think
[p. 494]
there is a Baptist Association on the continent that would now treat me as did the Redstone Association of that day, which is some evidence to my mind that the Baptists are not so stationary as a few of them would have the world to believe.

But the discourse speaks for itself. It was, indeed, rather an extemporaneous address: for the same spirit that assaulted the discourse when pronounced, and when printed, reversed the resolution of the Association passed on Saturday evening, inviting me to address the audience on Lord's day, and had another person appointed in my place. He providential was suddenly seized by sickness, and I was unexpectedly called upon in the morning, two hours before the discourse was spoken. A motion was made in the interval, that same day, by the same spirit of jealousy or zealousy, that public opinion should be arrested by having a preacher appointed to inform the congregation on the spot that my "discourse was not Baptist doctrine." One preacher replied, that it might be "Christian doctrine;" for this part, it was new to him, and desired time for examination. I was, therefore, obliged to gather it up from a few notes, and commit it to writing. It was instantly called for to be printed, and after one years' deliberation, at next Association, a party was formed to indict me for heresy on the published discourse. A committee met; resolutions were passed on Friday night. The next day was fixed for my trial; and after asking counsel of Heaven, my sermon was called for, and the suit commenced. I was taken almost by surprise. On my offering immediately to go into an investigation of the matter, it was partially discussed; but on the ground of having no jurisdiction in the case, the Association, resolved to dismiss the sermon, without any fuller mark of reprobation, and leave every one to form his own opinion of it. I presume our readers, without any license from an Association, will form their own opinion of it; and, therefore, we submit it to their candid perusal.   A. C.


Delivered before the Redstone Baptist Association, met on Cross Creek, Brooke County Va., on the 1st of September, 1816. By Alexander Campbell, one of the Pastors of the Church of Brush Run, Washington County, Pa.

"The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." -- JOHN i, 17.

"The law and the prophets were until John, since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it." -- LUKE xvi, 16.

P R E F A C E.

To those who have requested the publication of the following discourse, an apology is necessary. Though the substance of the
[p. 495]
discourse, as delivered, is contained in the following pages, yet, it is not verbatim the same. Indeed, this could not be the case, as the preacher makes but a very sparing use of notes, and on this occasion, had but a few. In speaking extempore, or in a great measure so, and to a people who may have but one hearing of a discussion such as the following, many expressions that would be superfluous, in a written discourse, are in a certain sense necessary. When words are merely pronounced, repetitions are often needful to impress the subject on the mind of the most attentive hearer: but when written, the reader may pause, read again, and thus arrive at the meaning. -- Some additions, illustrative of the ideas that were presented in speaking, have been made; but as few as could be supposed necessary. Indeed the chief difficulty in enforcing the doctrine contained in the following sheets, either in one spoken or written sermon, consists in the most judicious selection of the copious facts and documents contained in the Divine Word on this subject.

We have to regret that so much appears necessary to be said, in an argumentative way, to the professed Christians of this age, on such a topic. But this is easily accounted for on certain principles. -- For, in truth, the present popular exhibition of Christianity is a compound of Judaism, Heathen Philosophy, and Christianity; which, like the materials in Nebuchadnezzar's image, does not well cement together.

The only correct and safe course, in this perilous age, is, to take nothing upon trust, but to examine for ourselves, and "to bring all things to the test." "But if any man will be ignorant, let him be ignorant."

As to the style adopted in this discourse, it is such as we supposed would be adapted to the capacity of those who are chiefly benefited by such discussions. "For their sakes we endeavor to use great plainness of speech." As the doctrines of the gospel are commonly hid from the wise and prudent, and revealed only to babes, the weak and foolish; for their sakes, the vail, of what is falsely called eloquence, should be laid aside, and the testimony of God plainly presented to view.

The great question with every man's conscience, is, or should be, "What is truth?" Not, Have any of the scribes or rulers of the people believed it? Every man's eternal all, as well as his present comfort, depends upon what answer he is able to give to the question Pilate of old (John xviii. 38.) proposed to Christ, without waiting for a reply. Such a question can only be satisfactorily answered by an impartial appeal to the oracles of truth -- the alone standard of divine truth. To these we appeal. Whatever in this discourse is contrary to them, let it be expunged; what corresponds with them, may the God of truth bless, to those to whom he has given an ear to discern, and a heart to receive it.


"For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh."
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Words are signs of ideas or thoughts. Unless words are understood, ideas or sentiments can neither be communicated nor received. Words, that in themselves are quite intelligible, may become difficult to understand in different connexions and circumstances. One of the most important words in our text is of easy signification, and yet, in consequence of its diverse usages and epithets, it is sometimes difficult precisely to ascertain what ideas should be attached to it. It is the term law. But by a close investigation of the context, and a general knowledge of the scriptures, every difficulty of this kind may be easily surmounted.

In order to elucidate and enforce the doctrine contained in this verse, we shall scrupulously observe the following

M E T H O D.

1. We shall endeavor to ascertain what ideas we are to attach to the phrase "the law," in this, and similar portions of the sacred scriptures.

2. Point out those things which the law could not accomplish.

3. Demonstrate the reason why the law failed to accomplish those objects.

4. Illustrate how God has remedied those relative defects of the law.

5. In the last place, deduce such conclusions from these premises, as must obviously and necessarily present themselves to every unbiassed and reflecting mind.

In this discussing the doctrine contained in our text, we are then, in the first place, to endeavor to ascertain what ideas we are to attach to the terms "the law," in this, and similar portions of the sacred scriptures.

The term "law," denotes in common usage, "a rule of action." -- It was used by the Jews, until the time of our Saviour, to distinguish the whole revelation made to the Patriarchs and Prophets, from the traditions and commandments of the Rabbis or Doctors of the law. Thus the Jews called the Psalms of David law -- John xii. 34. Referring to the 110th Psalm, they say, "We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth forever." And again, our Saviour calls the Psalms of David law; John x. 34. Referring to Psalm lxxxii. 6, he says, "Is it not written in your law, I said ye are gods." Thus when we hear David extolling God's law, we are to understand him as referring to all divine revelation extant in his time. But when the Old Testament scriptures were finished, and divided according to their contents for use of synagogues, the Jews styled them, the
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law, the prophets and the psalms. Luke xxiv. 44, Christ says, "All things written in the law of Moses, in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me, must be fulfilled."

The addition of the definite article in this instance as well as all others, alters the signification or at least determines it. During the life of Moses, the words "the law," without some explicative addition, were never used. Joshua, Moses' successor, denominates the writings of Moses, "the book of the law;" but never uses the phrase by itself. Nor indeed have we any authentic account of this phrase being used, without some restrictive definition, until the reign of Abijah, 2d Chron. xiv. 4, at which time it is used to denote the whole legal dispensation by Moses. In this way it is used about 30 times in the Old Testament, and as often with such epithets as show that the whole law of Moses in intended.

When the doctrines of the reign of Heaven began to be preached, and to be contrasted in the New Testament with the Mosaic economy, the phrase "the law," became very common, and when used without any distinguishing epithet, or restrictive definition, invariably denoted the whole legal or Mosaic dispensation. In this acceptation it occurs about 150 times in the New Testament. To make myself more intelligible, I would observe that when the terms "the law," have such distinguishing properties or restrictive definitions as "the royal law," "the law of faith," "the law of liberty," "the law of Christ," "the law of the spirit of life," &c., it is most obvious the whole Mosaic law or dispensation is not intended. But when we find the phrase "the law," without any such limitations or epithets, as "the law was given by Moses," "the law and the prophets were until John," "if ye led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law," "ye are not under the law but under grace," &c., we must perceive the whole law of Moses, or legal dispensation, is intended.

I say the whole law, or dispensation by Moses; for in modern times the law of Moses is divided and classified under three heads, denominated, the moral, ceremonial, and judicial law. This division of the law being unknown in the apostolic age, and of course never used by the Apostles, can serve no valuable purpose, in obtaining a correct knowledge of the doctrine delivered by the Apostles respecting the law. You might as well inquire of the Apostles, or consult their writings, to know who the Supralapsarians or Sublapsarians are, as to inquire of them, what is the moral, ceremonial, or judicial law. But like many distinctions, handed down to us from Mystical Babylon, they bear the mark on their forehead that certifies to us,
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their origin is not divine. If this distinction were harmless, if it did not perplex, bias, and confound, rather than assist the judgment, in determining the sense of the apostolic writings, we should let it pass unnoticed; but justice to the truth requires us to make a remark or two on this division of the law.

The phrase, the moral law, includes that part of the law of Moses, "written and engraved on two tables of stone," called the ten commandments. Now the word moral, according to the most approved Lexicographers, is defined "relating to the practice of men toward each other, as it may be virtuous or criminal, good or bad." The French, from whom we have the term moral, immediately, and the Romans, from whom we originally received it, used it agreeably to the above definition. Of course, then, a moral law, is a law which regulates the conduct of men towards each other. But will the ten commandments answer this definition? No. For Doctors in Divinity tell us, the first table of the Decalogue respects our duty to God; the second our duty to man. Why then call the ten commandments "the moral law," seeing but six of them are moral, that is, relating to our conduct towards men? In modern times, we sometimes distinguish between religion and morality; but while we affirm that religion is one thing, and morality another; and then affirm that the ten commandments are the moral law -- do we not, in so saying, contradict ourselves? Assuredly the legs of the lame are not equal!

A second objection to denominating the ten precepts, "the moral law," presents itself to the reflecting mind, from the consideration that all morality is not contained in them. When it is said that the ten commandments are 'the moral law,' does not this definite phrase imply, that all morality is contained in them; or, what is the same in effect, that all immorality is prohibited in them? But, is this the fact? -- Are the immoralities called drunkenness, fornication, polygamy, divorces on trifling accounts, retaliation, &c., prohibited in the ten precepts? This question must be answered in the negative. If it had been asked, is all immorality prohibited in this saying, "thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself"? -- we readily answer, yes; -- but it is the, so called, moral law, we are speaking of. We affirm, then, that the above immoralities are not prohibited in the decalogue, according to the most obvious construction of the words. We are aware that large volumes have been written to show how much is comprehended in the ten precepts. But, methinks, the voluminous works of some learned men on this subject, too much resemble
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the writings of Peter D'Alva, who wrote forty-eight huge folio volumes to explain the mysteries of the conception of the Messiah in the womb of the Virgin Mary! And what shall we think of the genius, who discovered that singing hymns and spiritual songs was prohibited, and the office of the Ruling Elder pointed out, in the second commandment? that dancing and stage plays were prohibited in the seventh; and supporting the clergy enjoined in the eighth!! According to this latitude of interpretation, a genius may arise and show us, that law and gospel are contained in the first commandment, and of course all the others are superfluous. But this way of enlarging on the Decalogue defeats the division of the law of Moses, which these Doctors have made. For instance, they tell us that witchcraft is prohibited in the first commandment -- incest and sodomy in the seventh. Now they afterwards place these vices, with the laws respecting them, in their judicial law: if then their moral law includes their judicial law, they make a distinction without a difference.

There remains another objection to this division of the law. -- It sets itself in opposition to the skill of an Apostle, and ultimately deters us from speaking of the ten precepts as he did. Paul, according to the wisdom given unto him, denominated the ten precepts the "ministration of condemnation and of death" -- 2d Cor. iii. 7, 14. -- This, we call the moral law. Whether he or we, are to be esteemed the most able ministers of Christ, it remains for you, my friends, to say. Paul having called the ten precepts the ministration of death, next affirms, that it was to be done away -- and that it was done away. Now the calling the ten precepts "the moral law," is not only a violation of the use of words; is not only inconsistent in itself and contradictory to truth; but greatly obscures the doctrine taught by the Apostle in the 3d chap. 2d Cor., and in similar passages, so as to render it almost, if not altogether, unintelligible to us. To use the same language of the moral law as he used in respect to the ministration of condemnation and death, is shocking to many devout ears. When we say the moral law is done away, the religious world is alarmed; but when we declare the ministration of condemnation is done away, they hear us patiently, not knowing what we mean! To give new names to ancient things, and speak of them according to their ancient names, is perplexing indeed. Suppose, for example, I would call the English law which governed these states when colonies, the constitution of the United States, and then affirm that the constitution of the United States is done away, or
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abolished, who would believe me? But if the people were informed that what I called the constitution of these states, was the obsolete British law, they would assent to my statement. Who would not discover that the giving of a wrong name was the sole cause of such a misunderstanding? Hence it is, that modern teachers, by their innovations concerning law, have perplexed the student of the Bible, and caused many a fruitless controversy, as unnecessary as that relating to the mark set on Cain. It does not militate with this statement to grant that some of the precepts of the decalogue have been re-promulgated by Jesus Christ, any more than the re-promulgation of some of the British laws does not prevent us from affirming that the laws under which the colonies existed are done away to the citizens of the United States. But of this, more afterwards.

To what has been said, it may be added, that the modern division of the law tends very much to perplex any person who wishes to understand the Epistles to the Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews; insomuch, that while the hearer keeps this distinction in mind, he is continually at a loss to know whether the moral, ceremonial, or judicial law is intended.

Before dismissing this part of the subject, we should observe, that there are two principles, commandments, or laws, that are never included in our observations respecting the law of Moses, nor are they ever in holy writ called the law of Moses: -- These are, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind, and strength; and thy neighbor as thyself." These, our Great Prophet teaches us, are the basis of the law of Moses, and of the Prophets: "On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Indeed the Sinai law, and all Jewish law, is but a modification of them. These are of universal and immutable obligation. Angels and men, good and bad, are for ever under them. God, as our Creator, cannot require less; nor can we, as creatures and fellow-creatures, propose or expect less, as the standard of duty and perfection. -- These are coeval with angels and men. They are engraven with more or less clearness on every human heart. These are the ground work or basis of the law, written in the heart of heathens, which constitute their conscience, or knowledge of right and wrong. By these their thoughts mutually accuse or else excuse one another. By these they shall be judged, or at least all who have never seen or heard a written law, or revelation. But for these principles there had never been either law or gospel. Let it then be remembered, that in the scriptures these precepts are considered the basis
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of all law and prophecy; consequently when we speak of the law of Moses, we do not include these commandments, but that whole modification of them sometimes called the legal dispensation. It must also be observed, that the Apostles sometimes speak of the law, when it is obvious that a certain part only is intended. But this, so far from clashing with the preceding observations, fully corroborates them. For if the Apostle refers to any particular part of the law, under the general terms, the law, and speaks of the whole dispensation in the same terms, without any additional definition; then, doubtless, the phrase, the law, denotes the whole legal dispensation; and not any particular law, or new distinction, to which we may affix the words, the law.

2d. We shall now attempt to point out those things which the law could not accomplish.

In the first place, it could not give righteousness and life. Righteousness and eternal life are inseparably connected. Where the former is not, the latter cannot be enjoyed. Whatever means put us in the possession of the one, puts us in the possession of the other. But this the law could not do. "For if there had been a law given, which could have given life, verily, righteousness should have been by the law," (Gal. iii. 21.) -- "If righteousness come by the law then Christ is dead in vain." These testimonies of the Apostle, with the whole scope of divine truth, teach us that no man is justified by the law, that righteousness and eternal life cannot be received through it.

Here we must regret that our translators, by an injudicious supplement, should have made the Apostle apparently contradict himself. I allude to the supplement in the 10th verse of Rom. 7th chap. From the seventh verse of this chapter, the Apostle narrates his experience as a Jew, under the law, and then his experience as a Christian, under the gospel, freed from the law. The scope of the 10th verse, and its context, is to show what the Apostle once thought of the law, and how his mistakes were corrected. If any supplement be necessary in this verse, we apprehend it should be similar to what follows: -- "And the commandment (which I thought would give me) life, I found (to lead) to death." This doubtless corresponds with the scope of the context, and does not, like the present supplement, clash with Gal. 3d. and 21st. Indeed the law, so far from being "ordained to give life," was merely "added to the promise of life, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made" -- "Moreover the law entered that the offence might abound" -- "For
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by the law was the knowledge of sin." For these reasons we conclude that justification, righteousness and eternal life, cannot by any means be obtained by the law.

2. In the second place, the law could not exhibit the malignity or demerit of sin. It taught those that were under it, that certain actions were sinful -- to these sinful actions it gave descriptive names -- one is called theft, a second murder, a third adultery. It showed that these actions were offensive to God, hurtful to men, and deserved death. But how extensive their malignity, and vast their demerit, the law could not exhibit. This remained for later times and other means to develop.

3. In the third place, the law could not be a suitable rule of life to mankind in this imperfect state. It could not to all mankind, as it was given to, and designed only for a part. It was given to the Jewish nation, and to none else. As the inscription on a letter, identifies to whom it belongs; as the preamble to a proclamation, distinguishes who is addressed; so the preface to the law, points out and determines to whom it was given. It points out a people brought from the land of Egypt, and released from the house of bondage, as the subjects of it. To extend it farther than its own preface, is to violate the rules of criticism and propriety. How unjust and improper would it be, to convey the contents of a letter to a person to whom it was not directed -- how inconsistent to enjoin the items of a proclamation made by the President of these United States, on the subjects of the French government. As inconsistent would it be to extend the laws of Moses beyond the limits of the Jewish nation. -- Do we not know with Paul, that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them that are under the law? But even to the Jews it was not the most suitable rule of life. 'Tis universally agreed, that example, as a rule of life, is more influential than precept. Now the whole Mosaic law wanted a model or example of living perfection. The most exemplary characters under the law, had their notable imperfections. And as long as polygamy, divorces, slavery, revenge, &c., were winked at under that law, so long must the lives of its best subjects be stained with glaring imperfections. But when we illustrate how God has remedied the defects of the law, the ideas presented in this particular shall be more fully confirmed.

But we hasten to the third thing proposed in our method, which is to demonstrate the reason why the law could not accomplish these objects.

The Apostle in our text briefly informs us, that it was owing to
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human weakness that the law failed to accomplish these things -- "In that it was weak through the flesh." The defects of the law are of a relative kind. It is not in itself weak or sinful -- some part of it was holy, just and good -- other parts of it were elementary, shadowy, representations of good things to come. But that part of it written and engraven on tables of stone, which was holy, just and good, failed in that it was too high, sublime, and spiritual, to regulate so weak a mortal as fallen man. And even when its oblations and sacrifices were presented, there was something too vast and sublime, for such weak means, such carnal commandments--such beggarly elements -- such perishable and insignificant blood, to effect. So that as the Apostle saith, the law made nothing perfect, it merely introduced a better hope. If the law had been faultless, no place should have been found for the gospel. We may then fairly conclude that the spirituality, holiness, justice and goodness of one part of the law, rendered it too high; and the carnal, weak and beggarly elements of another part, rendered it too low; and both together became weak through the flesh. Viewing the law in this light, we can suitably apply the words of the Spirit uttered by Ezek. xx. 25, in relation to its incompetence -- "I gave them," says he, "statues which were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live."

We have now arrived at the 4th head of our discourse, in which we proposed to illustrate the means by which God has remedied the relative defects of the law.

All those defects the Eternal Father remedies, by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemns sin in the flesh. "That the whole righteousness which the law required, might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit."

The primary deficiency of the law which we noticed, was, that it could not give righteousness and eternal life. Now, the Son of God, the Only Begotten of the Father, in the likeness of sinful flesh, makes an end of sin, makes reconciliation for iniquity, finishes transgression, brings in an everlasting righteousness, and completes eternal redemption for sinners. He magnifies the law, and makes it honorable. All this he achieves by his obedience unto death. He finished the work which the Father gave him to do; so that in him all believers, all the spiritual seed of Abraham, find righteousness and eternal life; not by legal works of observances, in whole or in part, but through the abundance of grace, and the gift of righteousness, which is by him; -- "For the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus
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Christ our Lord." This righteousness, and its concomitant, eternal life, are revealed from faith to faith -- the information or report of it comes in the divine word to our ears, and receiving the report of it, or believing the divine testimony concerning it, brings us into the enjoyment of its blessings. Hence it is that Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. Nor is he on this account the minister of sin--for thus the righteousness, the perfect righteousness of the law, is fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Do we then make void the law or destroy the righteousness of it by faith? God forbid: we establish the law.

A second thing that we observed the law could not do, was to give a full exhibition of the demerit of sin. It is acknowledged that the demerit of sin was partially developed in the law, and before the law. Sin was condemned in the deluge, in the confusion of human speech, in turning to ashes the cities of the plain, in the thousands that fell in the wilderness. But these, and a thousand similar monuments beside, fall vastly short of giving a full exhibition of sin in its malignant nature and destructive consequences. -- But a full discovery of its nature and demerits is given us in the person of Jesus Christ. God condemned sin in him -- God spared not his own Son, but delivered him up -- It pleased the Lord to bruise him, to pour out his soul an offering for sin. When we view the Son of the Eternal suspended on the cursed tree--when we see him in the garden, and hear his petitions -- when we hear him exclaim, "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me!" in a word, when we see him expiring in blood, and laid in the tomb, we have a monument of the demerit of sin, which no law could give, which no temporal calamity could exhibit.

We sometimes in the vanity of our minds, talk lightly of the demerit of sin, and irreverently of the atonement. In this age of novelty, it is said, "that the sufferings of Christ were so great as to atone for the sins of worlds on worlds,"or at least for the sins of the damned as well as the saved -- that "one drop of his blood is sufficient to atone for the sins of the whole world." That is, in other words, the sufferings of Christ so transcended the demerit of the sins of his people, as to be sufficient to save all that shall eternally perish. These assertions are as unreasonable as unscriptural. In our zeal to exalt the merits of the atonement -- I say, in the warmth of our passions, and in the fulness of our hearts, let us be cautious lest we impeach the Divine wisdom and prudence. Doubtless, if the merits of his sufferings transcends
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the demerit of his people's sins, then some of his sufferings were in vain, and some of his merit unrewarded. To avoid this conclusion, some have affirmed that all shall be saved, and none perish, contrary to the express word of God. Indeed, the transition from these inconsistent views of the atonement, to what is called Universalism, is short and easy. But I would humbly propose a few inquiries on this subject. Why do the Evangelists inform us that Christ died so soon after his suspension on the cross? Why so much marvel expressed that he was so soon dead? -- so much sooner than the malefactors that were crucified with him? It might be presumed his last words solve these difficulties -- "It is finished, and he gave up the ghost." From these and similar premises, it would seem that his life and sufferings were prolonged just so long as was necessary to complete the redemption of his people. We are accustomed, on all subjects that admit of it, to distinguish between quantity and quality. In the common concerns of human intercourse, sometimes the quality of a thing is acceptable when the quantity is not; at other times the quantity is acceptable when the quality is not. If a thousand slaves were to be redeemed and emancipated by means of gold, the person in whose custody they were could not demand any more precious metal than gold -- when one piece of gold was presented to him, he might object to the quantity as deficient, though the quality is unobjectionable. In respect of the means of our redemption, it must be allowed that the sufferings of Christ were they. These sufferings, then, were the sufferings of a divine person -- such doubtless was their quality. And a life of sufferings of any other quality, could avail nothing in effecting redemption for transgressors. If but one of Adam's race should be saved, a life and sufferings of such a quality would have been indispensably requisite to accomplish such a deliverance. Again, if more were to have been saved than what will eventually be saved, the quantity and not the quality of his sufferings would have been augmented. The only sentiment respecting the atonement that will bear the test of scripture, truth, or sober reason, is, that the life and sufferings of Christ in quality, and in length of quantity, were such as sufficed to make reconciliation for all the sins of his chosen race; or for all them in every age or nation that shall believe in him. There was nothing deficient, nothing superfluous; else he shall never see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied; which would be the reverse of his Father's promise, and his own expectation. When the life and sufferings of Christ are viewed in this light, the demerit of sin appears in its true colors --
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all inconsistencies vanish, and all the testimonies of sacred truth, of patriarchs, prophets, and apostles, harmoniously correspond. But if we suppose that the sufferings of Christ transcended the demerit of the sins of "his people," then we have not full exhibition of the demerit of sin. Nor are "his people" under any more obligation of love or gratitude to him than they who eternally perish.

That which remains on this head is to show how the failure of the law in not being a suitable rule of life, has been remedied.

We noticed that example is a more powerful teacher than precept. Now Jesus Christ has afforded us an example of human perfection never witnessed before. He gave a living form to every moral and religious precept which they never before possessed. In this respect he was the distinguished Prophet, to whom Moses and all the inferior prophets referred. In entering on this prophetic office, he taught with a peculiarity unexampled by all his predecessors -- "He spake as never man spake." The highest commendation he gave of Moses was that he wrote of him, and that he was a faithful servant in Christ's house. From the beginning of his ministry to the end of his life, he claimed the honor of being the only person that could instruct men in the knowledge of God or of his will. He claimed the honor of being the author and finisher of only perfect form of religion; the Eternal Father attested all his claims and honored all his pretensions. Respecting the ancient rules of life, the law and the prophets, he taught his disciples they had lived their day -- he taught them they were given only for a limited time. "The law and the prophets prophesied until John" -- then they give place to a greater Prophet, and more glorious law. Malachi, the last of the ancient prophets, informed Israel that they should strictly observe Moses' law, until a person should come in the spirit and power of Elias. Jesus taught us that John the Baptist was he, and that the law and prophets terminated at his entrance upon his ministry; for since that time the kingdom of God is preached and all men press into it. To attest his character, and to convince the church of his being the great Prophet, to whom all Christians should exclusively hearken as their teacher; to weaken the attachments of his disciples to Moses and the prophets, it pleased God to send down Moses and Elias from heaven; the one the lawgiver, and the other the law-restorer, to resign their prophetic honors at the feet of the Messiah, in presence of select witnesses. "Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John into a high mountain, and was transfigured before them, and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as snow, and behold there appeared Moses and Elias talking with him."
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Peter, enraptured with these heavenly visitants, proposes erecting three tabernacles -- one for Christ, one for Moses, and one for Elias. But while he was thus proposing to associate Christ the great Prophet, with Moses and Elias inferior prophets, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice out of the cloud, an indirect reply to Peter's motion -- "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him." Thus when these ancient and venerable prophets were recalled to heaven, Christ alone is left as the great teacher, to whom, by a commandment from the excellent glory, the throne of the Eternal, we are obliged to hearken. That this transaction was significant of the doctrine above stated, must be manifest when we take into view all circumstances. Might it not be asked, 'Why did not Abel, Abraham, or Enoch appear on this occasion?' The reason is plain -- the disciples of Christ had no hurtful respect for them. -- Moses and Elias, the reputed oracles of Jewish nation, were the two, and the only two, in respect of whom this solemn and significant revocation was needful. The plain language of the whole occurrence was this -- Moses and Elias were excellent men -- they were now glorified in heaven -- they had lived their day -- the limited time they were to flourish as teachers of the will of Heaven was now come to an end. The morning star had arisen--nay, was almost set, and the Sun of Righteousness was arising with salutiferous rays. Let us, then, walk in the noon-day light -- let us hearken to Jesus as the Prophet and Legislator, Priest and King. He shall reign over all the ransomed race. We find all things whatsoever the law could not do are accomplished in him, and by him -- that in him all Christians might be perfect and complete -- "for the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."

It now remains, in the last place, to deduce such conclusions from the above premises, as must obviously and necessarily present themselves to every candid and reflecting mind.

1st. From what has been said, it follows that there is an essential difference between law and gospel -- the Old Testament and the New. * No two words are more distinct in their signification than
* There are not a few professors of Christianity who suppose themselves under equal obligations to obey Moses or any other Prophet, as Christ and his Apostles. They cannot understand why any part of divine revelation should not be obligatory on a Christian to observe; nor can they see any reason why the New Testament should be preferred to the Old; or why they should not be regulated equally by each. They say, 'Is it not all the word of God, and are not all mankind addressed in it? True, all the holy Prophets spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, and men were the objects of their address. It is, however, equally evident that God at sundry

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law and gospel. They are contradistinguished under various names in the New Testament. The law is denominated "the letter;" "the ministration of condemnation;" "the ministration of death;" "the Old Testament or Covenant, and Moses." The gospel is denominated "the Spirit," "the ministration of the Spirit," "the ministration of righteousness," "the New Testament, or Covenant," "the law of liberty and Christ." In respect of existence or duration, the former is denominated "that which is done away" -- the latter, "that which remaineth" -- the former was faulty, the latter faultless -- the former demanded, this bestows righteousness -- that gendered bondage, this liberty -- that begat bond-slaves, this freemen -- the former spake on this wise, "This do and thou shalt live" -- this says, "Say not what ye shall do; the word is nigh thee, (that gives life,) the word of faith which we preach: if thou believe in thine heart the gospel, thou shalt be saved." The former waxed old, is abolished, and vanished away -- the latter remains, lives, and is everlasting.
times and in diverse manners spake to men, according to a variety of circumstances, which diversified their condition, capacity, and opportunities. Thus he addressed individuals, and classes of individuals, in a way peculiar to themselves. Witness his address to Noah, Abraham, Daniel, Jonah, Paul, and Peter. Witness his addresses to the Patriarchs, the Jews, and the Christians. Again, men are addressed as magistrates, fathers, masters, husbands, teachers, with their correlates. Now to apply to one individual what is said to all individuals and classes of individuals, would, methinks, appear egregious folly. And would it not be as absurd to say, that every man is obliged to practise every duty and religious precept enjoined in the Bible. Might we not as reasonably say, that every man must be at once a Patriarch, a Jew, and a Christian; a magistrate, a subject, a father, a child, a master, a servant, &c. &c. And, certainly, it as inconsistent to say, that Christians should equally regard and obey the Old and New Testament. All scripture given by divine inspiration, is profitable for various purposes in the perfection of saints, when rightly divided, and not handled deceitfully. But when the above considerations are disregarded, the word of God must inevitably be perverted. Hence it is that preachers deceive themselves and their hearers by selecting and applying to themselves and their hearers such portions of sacred truth as belong not to them nor their hearers. Even the Apostles could not apply the words of Christ to themselves or their hearers until they were able to answer a previous question -- "Lord sayest thou this unto us or unto all?" Nor could the Eunuch understand the Prophet until he know whether he spoke of himself or of some other man. Yet many preachers and hearers trouble not themselves about such inquiries. If their text is in the Bible, it is no matter where; and if their hearers be men and women, it is no matter whether Jews or Christians, believers or unbelievers. Often have I seen a preacher and his hearers undergo three or four metamorphoses in an hour. First, he is a moral philosopher, inculcating heathen morality, next a Jewish Rabbi, expounding the law; then, a teacher of some Christian precept; and lastly, an ambassador of Christ, negotiating between God and man. The congregation undergo the correlate revolutions: first, they are heathens; next, Jews; anon, Christians; and lastly, treating with the ambassadors for salvation, on what is called the terms of the gospel. Thus, Proteus-like, they are all things in an hour.

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2d. In the second place, we learn from what has been said, that "there is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." -- The premises from which the Apostle drew this conclusion are the same with those stated to you in this discourse. "Sin," says the Apostle, "shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law but under grace." In the 6th and 7th chapters to the Romans, the Apostle taught them that "they were not under the law" -- that "they were freed from it" -- "dead to it" -- "delivered from it." In the 8th chapter, 1st verse, he draws the above conclusion. What a pity that modern teachers should have added to and clogged the words of inspiration by such unauthorized sentences as the following: "Ye are not under the law" as a covenant of works, but as a rule of life. Who ever read one word of the "covenant of works" in the Bible, or of the Jewish law being a rule of life to the disciples of Christ? Of these you hear no more from the Bible than of the "Solomon League" or "St. Giles' Day." Yet how conspicuous are these and kindred phrases in the theological discussions of these last three hundred years! But leaving such phrases to those who are better skilled in the use of them, and have more leisure to expound them, we shall briefly notice the reason commonly assigned for proposing the law as a rule of life to Christians. "If Christians are taught," say they, "that they are delivered from the law, under it in no sense; that they are dead to it, will not they be led to live rather a licentious life, live as they list; and will not the non-professing world, hearing that they are not under the law of Moses, become more wicked, more immoral and profane?" Such is the chief of all the objections made against the doctrine inculcated respecting the abolition of the Jewish law, in respect of Christians, and also as this doctrine respects the Gentile or Heathen world. We shrink not from a fair and full investigation of this subject. Truth being the only allowed object of all our inquiries, and the sole object of every Christian's inquiry, we should patiently hear all objections -- coolly and dispassionately hear, examine, and weigh all arguments pro and con.

That the first part of this objection is very natural, has been very often made, and strongly urged against the doctrine we advocate, we cheerfully acknowledge. As this objection was made against the Apostle's doctrine concerning the law, it affords a strong probability, at least, that our views on this subject correspond with his. We shall then hear how he stated and refuted it. Rom. vi. 15. "What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law, but under
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grace?" Here he admits the objection, and in his answer incontestably shows that Christians are not under the law in any sense. If they were in any sense, now was the time to say, 'We are not under the law in some sense, or under a certain part of it; but in one sense we are under it, as a rule of life.' We say the Apostle was here called upon, and in a certain sense bound, to say something like what our modern teachers say, if it had been warrantable. But he admits the doctrine and states the objection, leaving the doctrine unequivocally established. He guards the doctrine against a licentious tendency thus -- "God forbid!" "How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" and in the subsequent verses shows the utter impossibility of any servant of God, or true Christian, so abusing the doctrine we have stated. Now whether the ancient way or guarding the New Testament, or Gospel, against the charges of Antinomianism or a licentious tendency, or the modern way is best, methinks is easily decided amongst true disciples. Not so easy, however, amongst learned Rabbis and Doctors of the Law.

But, query, -- Is the law of Moses a rule of life to Christians?" An advocate of the popular doctrine replies, "Not all of it." Query again -- What part of it? "The ten commandments." Are these a rule of life to Christians? "Yes." Should not, then, Christians sanctify the seventh day? "No." Why so? "Because Christ has not enjoined it." Oh! then, the law or ten commandments is not a rule of life to Christians any further than it is enjoined by Christ; so that reading the precepts in Moses' words, or hearing him utter them, does not oblige us to observe them: it is only what Christ says we must observe. So that an advocate for the popular doctrine, when closely pressed, cannot maintain his ground. Let no man say we have proposed and answered the above queries as we pleased. -- If any other answers can be given by the advocates themselves than we have given, let them do it. But it is highly problematical whether telling Christians that they are under the law will repress a licentious spirit. True Christians do not need it, as we have seen: "how shall they that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" And dare we tell professing Christians, as such, that the law as a rule of life, is a condemning law? If not, then what tendency will the mere affirmation that they are under a law as a rule of life which cannot condemn them, have to deter them from living as the list. Upon the whole, the old way of guarding against immorality and licentiousness amongst Christians will, we apprehend, be found the most consistent and efficacious. And he that has tried the old way and the new, will doubtless say, as was said of old, "No man also having
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drunk old wine, straightway desireth new; for he saith the old is better." And, indeed, every attempt to guard the New Testament, or the Gospel, by extrinsic means, against an immoral or licentious tendency, bears too strong a resemblance to the policy of a certain preacher in Norway or Lapland, who told his hearers that "hell was a place of infinite and incessant cold." When asked by an acquaintance from the south of Europe why he perverted the scriptures, he replied, 'if he told his hearers in that cold climate that hell was a place of excessive heat, he verily thought they would take no pains to avoid going there.'

But as to the licentious tendency this doctrine we inculcate is supposed to have upon the non-professing or unbelieving world, it appears rather imaginary than real. It must, however, in the first instance be ascertained whether the Gentiles, not professing Christianity, were ever supposed or addressed by the Apostle sent to the Gentiles, as being under the law of Moses. We have under the second head of our discourse particularly demonstrated that the Gentiles were never under the law, either before or after their conversion. To what has been said on this subject we would add a sentence or two. It was prophesied of the Gentiles that they should be without law till Christ came. Isai. xlii. 4. "And the isles shall wait for his law." The chief glory which exalted the Jews above the Gentiles, which the Jews boasted of to the Gentiles, was, that to them "pertained the adoption, the covenants, and the giving of the law." They exclusively claimed the law as their own. And why will not we let them have it, seeing him whose law the Gentiles waited for, is come, and has given us a more glorious law. Whatever was excellent in their law our Legislator has re-promulgated. But shall we say that we are under the law as a rule of our Christian life, because some of its sublimest moral and religious precepts have been re-promulgated by him, who would not suffer one tittle of it to pass till he fulfilled it? As well might we affirm that the British law which governed these states when colonies, is the rule of our political life; because some of the most excellent laws of that code have been re-enacted by our legislators. Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, plainly acknowledged in his addresses to them, that they were without law, aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, having no hope, &c. And of them he said that "when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these having not the law, are a law unto themselves." But, in so saying, does he or do we excuse their sins or lead them to suppose that they are thereby less obnoxious to the wrath to come? By no means.
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For we testify that even natural conscience accuses them of sin or wrong in their thoughts, words, and actions, according to its knowledge. And consequently "as many as have sinned without law, shall also perish without law." In so testifying, do we cherish a licentious spirit? By no means. For their stand a thousand monuments in this present world, independent of Jewish law, on which is inscribed these words, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men." But one thing demands our observation, that the Apostle sent by Heaven to preach to the Gentiles, in accusing them of sins of the deepest dye, and of the most malignant nature, dishonorable to God and destructive to themselves; never accuses them of any sin which the light of nature itself would not point out, or natural conscience testify to be wrong. Hence it is that in the long black catalogue of sins preferred against the Gentiles, is never to be found the crime of Sabbath-breaking, or of transgressing any of the peculiarities of Judaism. And now what is the difference between an ancient Greek and a modern American or European who disbelieves the gospel? Under what law is the latter, under which the former was not? Was the former a sinner and chargeable in the sight of God, as well as the latter? Yes. Would not natural conscience according to its means of knowing right and wrong, or work of the law written in the heart, condemn the unbelieving Roman as well as the unbelieving American? Most assuredly. And what is the difference? Not that the latter is under any law that the former was not under; but the means of discerning right and wrong in the later are far superior to the former, and consequently their overthrow or ruin will be more severe. In point of law or obligation there is no difference between the unbelieving American and the rudest barbarian; though the former is polished with science, morals, &c. like the ancient Greeks and Romans, and the latter remains an uncultivated savage. They will be judged and condemned by the same law which condemned the Roman who died 1900 years ago. And the condemnation of the latter shall be more tolerable than the former, not by a milder law, but because his knowledge of right and wrong was much inferior to the former; and having heard the gospel of salvation and disbelieved it, he adds to his natural corruption and accumulated guilt the sin of making God a liar, and preferring darkness to light, because he believed not the testimony of God. This is the sole difference in respect of condemnation between the Indian and the most accomplished citizen. From these few remarks it will appear, we trust, obvious to every person who has an ear to distinguish truth
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from falsehood, that there is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus -- that they are under no law that can condemn them -- that he who was made under the law is become the end of the law for righteousness to them -- that being dead to sin, they should live no longer therein -- that there is no necessity, but a glaring impropriety in teaching the law as a rule of life to Christians -- that all arguments in favor of it are founded on human opinion, and a mistaken view of the tendency of the gospel and Christian dispensation -- that all objections against the doctrine we have stated, as licentious in its tendency, are totally groundless. "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation teacheth us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. Looking for that blessed hope, the glorious appearing of the great God, even our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."

3d. In the third place, we conclude from the above premises, that there is no necessity for preaching the law in order to prepare men for receiving the gospel.

This conclusion perfectly corresponds with the commission given by our Lord to the Apostles, and with their practice under that commission. "Go," saith he, "into all the world, and preach the gospel unto every creature." "Teach the disciples to observe all things whatsoever I command you." Thus they were authorized to preach the gospel, not the law, to every creature. Thus they were constituted ministers of the New Testament, not of the Old. Now the sacred history, called the Acts of the Apostles, affords us the most satisfactory information on the method the Apostles preached under this commission; which, with the epistolary part of the New Testament, affords us the only successful, warrantable, and acceptable method of preaching and teaching. In the Acts of the Apostles, we see the Apostles and first preachers paid the most scrupulous regard to the instructions they received from the great Prophet. They go forth into all nations proclaiming the gospel to every creature; but not one word of law-preaching in the whole of it. We have the substance of eight or ten sermons delivered by Paul and Peter to Jews and Gentiles, in the Acts of the Apostles, and not one precedent of preaching the law to prepare their hearers, whether Jews or Gentiles, for the reception of the gospel.

This conclusion corresponds, in the next place, with the nature of the kingdom of heaven or Christian church, and with the means by which it is to be built and preserved in the world. The Christian
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dispensation is called "the ministration of the Spirit," and accordingly every thing in the salvation of the church is accomplished by the immediate energy of the Spirit. Jesus Christ taught his disciples that the testimony concerning himself was that only which the Spirit would use in converting such of the human family as should be saved. He was not the speak of himself, but what he knew of Christ. Now he was to convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; not by applying the law of Moses, but the facts concerning Christ, to the consciences of the people. The Spirit accompanying the words which the Apostles preached, would convince the world of sin; not by the ten precepts, but because they believed not on him -- righteousness, because he went to the Father -- and judgment, because the prince of this world was judged by him. So that Christ, and not law, was the Alpha and Omega of their sermons; and this the Spirit made effectual to the salvation of thousands. Three thousand were convinced of sin, of righteousness, and judgment, in this precise way of hearing of Christ, on the day of Pentecost; and we read of many afterwards. Indeed, we repeat it again, in the whole history of primitive preaching, we have not one example of preaching the law as preparatory to the preaching of reception of the gospel.

This conclusion corresponds, in the third place, with the fitness of things. * That men must be convinced of sin by some means, prior to
* Indeed we have yet to learn what advantage can accrue from preaching the so called "moral law," to prepare sinners for the gospel. In the nature and fitness of things it cannot prepare or dispose the mind to a belief of the gospel. The Apostle teaches us that "the law worketh wrath." This is inevitably its effect on every mind which does not believe the gospel. It irritates and excites the natural enmity of the mind against God. A clear exhibition of the divine character in the law, apart from the gospel, tends more to alienate than to reconcile the mind to God. When a preacher of the law has labored to show his hearers the immaculate holiness, the inflexible justice, the inviolate truth, and consuming jealousy of Jehovah, manifested in the fiery law, supposing the gospel kept out of view, he has rather incapacitated and disqualified their minds from crediting the gospel or testimony of the condescension, love, mercy, and grace of the eternal Father to mankind. How opposite is the divine wisdom to the wisdom of many modern scribes and teachers of the law! They preach first the law to natural fallen man, then the gospel. But He, who seeth not as man seeth, preached first the gospel to fallen man, and afterwards added the law, because of transgressions, till the seed should come. Eternal life was promised through the seed, and the law added till the seed come.

Nothing can be more inconsistent than the conduct of the law preachers. When they have echoed the thunders of Mount Sinai in the ears of their hearers almost to drive them to despair, and to produce what they call "legal repentance," then they begin to pull down the work of their own hands by demonstrating the inefficacy, unprofitableness, and danger of legal repentance. Might they not as well at once imitate the Apostles and primitive preachers -- preach, the gospel, which, when received, produces repentance

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a welcome reception of saving truth, is generally acknowledged. -- Now as the gospel dispensation is the most perfect revelation of salvation, it must be supposed that it possesses the best means of accomplishing every thing connected with the salvation of its subjects. It must, of course, possess the best means of convincing of sin. This truth, however, does not depend on mere supposition. The fact, that the Holy Spirit makes an exclusive use of it in convincing of sin, is a striking demonstration of its superior excellence for that purpose. But independent of these considerations, it must be confessed that the gospel or testimony concerning Christ affords the fullest proof of divine justice and indignation against sin -- it presents the clearest view of the demerit of sin, and of all divine perfections terrible to sinners -- it exhibits the most alarming picture of human guilt and wretchedness that ever was given, and on these accounts is of all means the most suitable to convince of sin. It was already observed that the eternal Father condemned sin in the person of his Son, more fully than it ever was, or could be, condemned in any other way. Suppose, for illustration, a king put to death his only son, in the most painful and ignominious way, for a crime against the government: would not this fact be the best means of convincing his subjects of the evil of crime, and of the king's detestation of it? Would not this fact be better than a thousand lectures upon the excellency of the law and the sanctions of it? But every similitude of this kind falls infinitely short of affording a resemblance of the eternal Father not sparing his Sole Delight when sin was but imputed to him. Having seen that this conclusion corresponds with the commission given by the Redeemer to his Apostles -- with their practice under that commission -- with the nature of his kingdom, and with the fitness of things; one would suppose that no objection could be preferred against it. But what doctrine of divine truth is it, against which objections numerous indeed, and strongly urged, and by men who profess to be zealous for the truth, have not been made? Is it the doctrine of sovereign, free, and abundant grace? No. Is it the doctrine of the natural sinfulness and corruption of all men. No, no, Against these, many objections, yea, very many,
not to be repented of? Might they not preach Christ crucified, in whom is manifested the wrath and judgment of God against sin; and his condescending love, mercy, and grace to the sinner. Might they not, knowing the terror of the Lord, persuade men by the persuasives of the doctrine of reconciliation, rather than to increase their enmity, awaken their suspicions, and work wrath in their minds, by an unlawful use of the law? But in order to this, their minds must be revolutionized; they must take up a cross which they at present refuse: and what is difficult indeed, they must unlearn what they have themselves taught others.

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are urged. We must not suppose, then, that this doctrine we now maintain shall be free from objections. We shall, then, attend to some of those objections which have been made, or which we anticipate may be made against this conclusion.

It may, perhaps, be objected that there are some expressions in the apostolic epistles, which imply that the law was necessary to convince of sin, as pre-requisite to a welcome reception of the gospel: such as "by the law is the knowledge of sin" -- "for without the law sin was dead." There is no authority from the original for varying the supplements in these two clauses. If it corresponds with the context or with the analogy of faith, to supply was in the last clause, it doubtless corresponds as well in the first clause. But we lay no stress on the one or the other; for before Christ came all knowledge of sin was by the law; and "the law entered that the offence might abound." For the law was added to the promise of life, because of transgression, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made. Now we would suppose that when the Seed is come, and the time expired for which the law was added, it is superfluous to annex it to the gospel, for the same reason it was annexed to the promise made to Abraham. And although it should be allowed that Christians derive knowledge of sin from the law, it does not follow that it is the best means of communicating this knowledge -- that Christians are dependent on it for this purpose -- nor that it should be preached to unbelievers to prepare them for receiving the gospel.

The seventh chapter to the Romans contains the fullest illustration of the once excellence and utility of the law, that is to be found in all the New Testament; and as this chapter will doubtless be the strong hold of our opponents, we shall make a remark or two on the contents of it.

In the first place, then, let it be remembered that in the fourteenth verse of the preceding chapter, the Apostle boldly affirms that Christians are not under the law. To the conclusion of the sixth chapter he refutes an objection made to his assertion in the fourteenth verse. In the first six verses of the seventh chapter he repeats his assertion, and uses an apt similitude to illustrate it. Having, then, demonstrated that Christians are not under the law, in the seventh verse of the seventh chapter he states an objection which had been made, or he anticipated would be made, against his doctrine -- "If Christians are not under the law, if they are dead to it, if they are delivered from it, is it not a sinful thing?" "Is the law sin, then?" This objection against the nature of the law, the Apostle removes in the

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next six verses by showing the utility of the law in himself as a Jew, under that law; and concludes that the law is holy, just, and good. To the end of the chapter the Apostle gives an account of his experience as a Christian freed from the law, and thus manifests the excellency of his new mind or nature by its correspondence to the holiness of the law; so that he most effectually removes the objection made against the law as being sin, and at the same time establishes the fact that Christians are delivered from it. Such evidently is the scope of the latter part of the sixth and all of the seventh chapter. We cannot dismiss this chapter without observing first, that the law, or that part of the law which the Apostle here speaks of, is what modern teachers call "the moral law." If so, then Christians are not under it; for the law which the Apostle affirms Christians are delivered from in the sixth verse, in the seventh verse he shows it is not sin; and the law which he shows is not sin, he demonstrates to be holy, just, and good. So that here, as well as in the third chapter of his second epistle to the Corinthians, Christians are expressly said to be delivered from the so called moral law; and that it is abolished or done away in respect of them. We must remark again, that before any thing said, in this chapter respecting the utility or excellence of the law, can be urged as a precedent for what we condemn -- namely, preaching the law as preparatory to the gospel, or a law work as preparatory to genuine conversion, it must be shown that the Apostle gave this account of his experience under the law as preparative to his conversion. Otherwise no objection can be made from any thing in this chapter to the conclusion before stated. But this cannot be; for the account we have of his conversion flatly contradicts such a supposition. Previous to his conversion he was a very devout man in his own way -- "touching the righteousness which was in the law he was blameless." See the account he gives of himself, Phil. iii. 4, 5, compared with Rom. vii. 7, 12; Acts xxii. 1; xxiii. 1; from which we learn that he was taught according to the most perfect manner of the law, and was a Pharisee of the strictest kind; had clear ideas of sin and righteousness; and, externally considered, was blameless and lived in all good conscience until the day of his conversion. But it was not the law, it was not a new discovery of its spirituality, but a discovery of Christ exalted, that convinced him of sin, or righteousness, and of judgment; and instantaneously converted him. So that nothing in his previous life or attainments, nothing of his experience as a Jew, nothing of his knowledge of sin or of righteousness by the law previous

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to his conversion, can be urged in support of preaching the law or a law work to unbelievers, to prepare their mind for a welcome reception of the truth.

When we shall have mentioned a favorite text of the law preachers, and considered it, we shall have done with objections of this sort. It is Galatians iii. 24. We shall cite from the 23d verse. "Before faith (Christ) came we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith (Christ) is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster." Methinks it looks rather like an insult to the understanding of any person skilled in the use of words, to offer a refutation of the use that is frequently made of the 24th verse. But let the censure rest upon them who render it needful. Every smatterer in Greek knows that the 24th verse might read thus: -- "The law was our schoolmaster until Christ" came; and this reading unquestionably corresponds with the context. Now is it not most obvious that instead of countenancing law-preaching, this text and context condemn it? The scope of it is to show that whatever use the law served as a schoolmaster previous to Christ, it no longer serves that use. And now that Christ is come, we are no longer under it. We see, then, that this conclusion not only corresponds with the commission to the Apostles; with the nature of Christ's kingdom; with the apostolic preaching; and with the fitness of things: but that no valid objection can be presented against it, from any thing in the apostolic epistles.

Some, notwithstanding the scriptural plainness of this doctrine, may urge their own experience as contrary to it. It would, however, be as safe for Christians to make divine truth a test of their experience, and not their experience a test of divine truth. Some individuals have been awakened by the appearance of the Aurora Borealis, by an earthquake, by a thunderstorm, by a dream, by sickness, &c. How inconsistent for one of these to affirm from his own experience, that others must be awakened in the same way? How incompatible with truth for others to preach such occurrences as preliminary to saving conversion!

But the difference between ancient and modern conversions is so striking as to merit an observation or two. Now that the law is commonly preached to prepare men for Christ, it must be expected that modern conversions will be very systematic, and lingering in all. While preachers will not condescend to proclaim the glad tidings until they have driven their hearers almost to despair by the

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thunders of Mount Sinai -- while they keep them in anxious suspense for a time, whether the wounds of conviction are deep enough; whether their sense of guilt is sufficiently acute; whether their desires are sufficiently keen; whether their fears are sufficiently strong; in short, whether the law has had its full effect upon them: I say, when this is the case, conversion work must go on slow; and so it is not rare to find some in a way of being converted for years; and, indeed, it is generally a work of many months. It would be well, however, if, after all, it were commonly genuine. Contrast these conversions with those of which we read in the Acts of the Apostles, and what a contrast? There we read of many converted in a day, who yesterday were as ignorant of law and gospel as the modern Hindoos or Birmans. To account for this we have only to consider and compare the different sorts of preaching and means, by which those were, and these are, effected.

But some may yet inquire, are unbelievers under no law or obligation by which conviction may be communicated to their minds? Or they may ask, in other words, How does the testimony of Christ take hold of them? And why do they welcome the gospel? We have already shown that there is a law written on every human heart, which is the foundation of both law and prophets, under which both angels and men exist; whose obligation is universal and eternal. It is inscribed more or less distinctly on every heathen's heart. It is sometimes called the law of nature, but more correctly called by the Apostle, conscience. This natural conscience, or sense of right and wrong, which all men possess in different degrees, according to a variety of circumstances, but all in some degree, is that in them which God addresses. This natural conscience is fitted to hear the voice of God, as exactly as the ear is fitted to hear sounds. This renders the savage inexcusable. For the invisible things of God, even his eternal power and godhead, are manifested to his conscience in the natural world. Now God addresses conscience in those whom he brings to himself in a variety of ways. Sometimes even where his word is come, he speaks by awful events to the consciences of men. In this way he awakens inquiries that lead to the saving truth. Witness the jailor and his house, of whom we read in the Acts of the Apostles. God spake to his conscience by an earthquake, and put an inquiry in his mouth, that was answered to his salvation and that of his house. That which fits the savage to hear God's voice in the natural world, fits him, or the man of civilization, to hear his voice in the gospel, when it is sent to them in power.

Are we to preach this law of nature, then, some will inquire; or

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Are we to show men that they possess this natural conscience, previous to a proclamation of the glad tidings? I would answer this question by proposing another. Am I to tell a man he has an ear, and explain to him the use of it, before I condescend to speak to him? One answer suits both inquiries. We should consider the circumstances of any people before we address them. Do we address Jews? Let us address them as the Apostles did. Persuade them out of their own law that Jesus is the Messiah. Do we address professed Christians? Let us imitate the apostolic addresses in the epistles. Do we preach to Barbarians? Let us address them as Paul preached to the Lycaonians. Speak to their consciences. Do we preach to polished infidels or idolaters? Let us speak to them as Paul spake to the Athenians. Speak to their consciences.

4th. A fourth conclusion which is deducible from the above premises is, that all arguments and motives, drawn from the law or Old Testament, to urge the disciples of Christ to baptize their infants; to pay tithes to their teachers; to observe holy days or religious fasts, as preparatory to the observance of the Lord's supper; to sanctify the seventh day; to enter into national covenants; to establish any form of religion by civil law: -- and all reasons and motives borrowed from the Jewish law, to excite the disciples of Christ to a compliance with or an imitation of Jewish customs, are inconclusive, repugnant to Christianity, and fall ineffectual to the ground; not being enjoined or countenanced by the authority of Jesus Christ.

5th. In the last place we are taught from all that has been said, to venerate in the highest degree the Lord Jesus Christ; to receive Him as the Great Prophet, of whom Moses in the law, and all the prophets did write. To receive him as the Lord our righteousness, and to pay the most punctilious regard to all his precepts and ordinances. "If we continue in his word, then are we his disciples indeed, and we shall know the truth, and the truth shall make us free -- if the Son shall make us free, we shall be free indeed."

It is remarkable how strong our attachments are to Moses as a teacher; though Moses taught us to look for a greater prophet than he, and to hearken to him! It is strange that three surprising incidents in the history of Moses would not arrest our attention and direct us to Christ. With all his moral excellence, unfeigned piety, and legislative dignity, he fell short of Canaan. So all who cleave to him will come short of the heavenly rest! His mortal remains, and his only, the Almighty buried in secret; and yet we will not suffer his ashes to rest in peace! He came down from heaven to give

[p. 520]
place to the Messiah, to lay down-his commission at his feet; and we will not accept it! Strange infatuation!

If Moses was faithful in Christ's house as a servant, shall not Christ be faithful as a son over his own house! Let us as his disciples believe all he teaches, and practise all he enjoins in religion and morality; let us walk in all his commandments and ordinances; and inquire individually, What lack I yet? If we are then deficient, let us say, with the Jews who disowned him, "We are Moses' disciples, but as for this fellow, we know not whence he is." But let all remember that if he that despised Moses' law, died without mercy, of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who despised Christ as a teacher! His commandments are not grievous to his disciples -- his yoke is easy, and his burden is light.

Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from all iniquity. Let us walk worthy of him. Let us take heed lest by our conduct we should represent Christ as the minister of sin. Let us not walk after the flesh but after the Spirit; and then we shall show that the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us. Then shall no occasion be given to the adversary to speak reproachfully. And if any should still urge the stale charge of Antinomianism, or affirm that we lived in sin that grace might abound; did evil that good might come; or made void the law through faith; let us put to silence the ignorance of foolish men, by adorning the doctrine we profess with a blameless conduct. Let us not merely rebut such insinuations with a -- God forbid! but evince, how shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein.

May he that hath the key of David, who openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and none can open, open your hearts to receive the truth in the love of it, and incline you to walk in the light of it, and then ye shall know that the ways thereof are pleasantness, and all the paths thereof are peace?  AMEN.

Note: This sermon was preached at the Redstone Baptist Association's 1816 annual gathering (held that year at Cross Creek). See the published minutes of that meeting for more details.



Vol. V.                               Bethany, Va.   June,  1848.                               No. VI.

          [p. 344]

Connected with the origin and progress of the current reformation,
some of which have never been before published. --
No. II.

After my baptism, and the consequent new constitution of our church at Brush Run, it became my duty to set forth the causes of this change in our position to the professing world, and also to justify them by appeal to the oracles of God. But this was not all: the position of baptism itself to the other institutions of Christ became a new subject of examination, and a very absorbing one. A change of any one's views in any radical matter in all its practical bearings and effects upon all his views, not only in reference to that simple result, but also in reference to all its connexions with the whole system of which it is a part, is not to be computed, a priori, by himself or by any one else. The whole Christian doctrine is exhibited in three symbols -- baptism, the Lord's supper, the Lord's day institution. Some -- nay, very many -- change their views in some one of these, without ever allowing themselves to trace its connexions with the whole institution of which it is either a part or a symbol. My mind, neither by nature nor by education, was of that order. I must know now two things about every thing, -- its cause and its Hence my mind was, for a time,

                    ANECDOTES  INCIDENTS,  AND  FACTS.                     345

set loose from all its former moorings. It was not a simple change of views on baptism, which happens a thousand times without any thing more, but a new commencement. I was placed on a new eminence -- a new peak of the mountain of God, from which the whole landscape of Christianity presented itself to my mind in a new attitude and position.

I had no idea of uniting with the Baptists more than with the Moravians or the mere Independents. I had unfortunately formed a very unfavorable opinion of the Baptist preachers as then introduced to my acquaintance, as narrow, contracted, illiberal, and uneducated men. This indeed, I am sorry to say, is still my opinion of the ministry of that Association at that day; and whether they are yet much improved, I am without satisfactory evidence.

The people, however, called Baptists, were much more highly appreciated by me than their ministry. Indeed, the ministry of some sects is generally in the aggregate the worst portion of them. It was certainly so in the Redstone Association thirty years ago. They were little men in a big office. The office did not fit them. They had a wrong idea, too, of what was wanting. They seemed to think that a change of apparel -- a black coat instead of a drab -- broad rim on their hat instead of a narrow one -- a prolongation of the face, and a fictitious gravity -- a longer and more emphatic pronunciation of certain words, rather than scriptural knowledge, humility, spirituality, zeal, and Christian affection, with great devotion and great philanthropy were the grand desiderata.

Along with all these drawbacks, they had as few means of acquiring Christian knowledge as they had either taste or leisure for it. They had but one, two, or, at the most, three sermons, and these were either delivered in one uniform style and order, or minced down into one medley by way of variety. Of course, then, unless they had an exuberant zeal for the truth as they understood it, they were not of the calibre, temper or attainments to relish or seek after mental enlargement or independence. I, therefore, could not esteem them, nor court their favor by offering any incense at their shrine. I resolved to have nothing specially to do with them more than with other preachers and teachers. The clergy of my acquaintance in other parties of that day, were, as they believed, educated men, and called the Baptists illiterate and uncouth men, without either learning or academic accomplishments or polish. They trusted to a moderate portion of Latin, Greek and metaphysics, together with a synopsis of divinity, ready made in suits for every man's stature, at a reasonable price. They were as proud of their classic lore and

346                     ANECDOTES  INCIDENTS,  AND  FACTS.                    

the marrow of modern divinity, as the Baptist was of his "mode of baptism," and his "proper subject" with sovereign grace, total depravity and final perseverance.

I confess, however, that I was better pleased with the Baptist people than with any other community. They read the Bible, and seemed to care but little for anything else in religion than "conversion" and "Bible doctrine." They often sent for us and pressed us to preach for them. We visited some of their churches; and, on acquaintance, liked the people more and the preachers less. Still I feared that I might be unreasonably and by education prejudiced against them; and thought that I must visit their Association at Uniontown, Pennsylvania, in the autumn of 1812. I went there as an auditor and spectator, and returned more disgusted than I went. They invited me "to preach," but I declined it altogether, except one evening in a private family, to some dozen preachers and twice as many laymen. I returned home, not intending ever to visit another Association.

On my return home, however, I learned that the Baptists themselves did not appreciate the preaching or the preachers of that meeting. They regarded the speakers as worse than usual, and their discourses as not edifying -- as too much after the style of John Gill and Tucker's theory of predestination. They pressed me from every quarter to visit their churches, and, though not a member, to preach for them. I consented through much importunity, and during the year I often spoke to the Baptist congregations for sixty miles round. They all pressed us to join the Redstone Association.

We laid the matter before our church is the fall of 1813. We discussed the propriety of the measure. After much discussion and earnest desire to be directed by the wisdom which cometh from above, we finally concluded to make an overture to that effect, and to write out a full view of our sentiments, wishes, and determination on that subject. We did so. Some eight or ten pages of large dimensions, exhibiting our remonstrance against all human creeds as bonds of union or communion among Christian churches, and expressed a willingness, on certain conditions, to cooperate or unite with that Association; provided only, and always, that we should be allowed to preach and teach whatever we learned from the Holy Scriptures, regardless of any creed or formula in Christendom. A copy of this document, we regret to say, was not preserved; and when solicited from the Clerk of the Association, was refused.

                    ANECDOTES  INCIDENTS,  AND  FACTS.                     347

The proposition was discussed at the Association; and, after much debate, was decided by a considerable majority in favor of our being received. Thus was union formed. But the party opposed, though small, began early to work, and continued with a perseverance worthy of a better cause. There was an Elder Pritchard, of Cross Creek, Virginia; an Elder Brownfield of Uniontown, Fayette county, Pennsylvania; an Elder Stone, of Ohio, and his son, Elder Stone of the Monongahela region, that seemed to have confederated to oppose our influence. But they, for three years, could do nothing. We boldly argued for the Bible, for the New Testament Christianity, vex, harass, discompose whom it might. We felt the strength of our cause of reform on every indication of opposition, and constantly grew in favor with the people. Things passed along without any very prominent interest for some two or three years.

At the close of 1815 and beginning of 1816, the town of Wellsburg, the capital of our county, had not a meeting-house of any sort whatever. I had often spoken there in the court-house, and was favorably heard. A Baptist church, three miles above, on Cross Creek, under the pastoral care of Elder Pritchard, a Maryland minister, of very high Calvinist views, was the only Baptist meeting-house in the county. We had two or three families in Wellsburg, with some five or six members; and so not only the Bpatist cause, but all forms of Christianity in Brooke county, were very low. -- I proposed the building of a meeting-house in Wellsburg, and volunteered my services for three or four months to raise a portion of the means. To these our few friends in time consented; and accordingly, by our conjoint labors -- I raising 1000 dollars by solicitation -- the house was reared. But this became the cause of my heterodoxy, and of a seven years' persecution. I soon ascertained that Elder Pritchard regarded his little church on Cross Creek, with its little frame building, enough for the Baptists of Wellsburg and Cross Creek also; and that my proposing to build a house in Wellsburg was done with intent to undermine and nullify his influence and church.

I could not at first assent to such a representation. I had, indeed, been repeatedly solicited to speak to his church; but on my second visit, being treated discourteously by Elder Pritchard, I was constrained to believe there was some fleshy principle at work. I never agin visited them as a church. Reports of my hererodoxy began to radiate to Uniontown, Monongahela, and Ohio. A coalition was formed. The next Association convened at Cross Creek.

348                     ANECDOTES  INCIDENTS,  AND  FACTS.                    

On being nominated to preach on the Lord's day, I was objected to by Elder Pritchard on the ground that I was "living in the neighborhood, as it were, and that according to Baptist custom in Maryland, the church at whose house the Association was held always had the privilege of selecting out of all the members present, any one whom they chose to speak on the Lord's day; and that custom decreed that those from a distance ought to be heard rather than those in the neighborhood -- such a brother Campbell -- whom the church could hear at any time." By this objection the Association substituted for my name that of Elder Stone, of Ohio. This I was disposed of from the same principle which inhibited the building of a meeting-house in Wellsburg -- that is, I was too near Cross Creek meeting-house, living only ten miles distant.

But Elder Philips, of Peter's Creek, the oldest and best preacher in the Association, as I thought, called on me next morning and insisted on me to preach because of a multitude that had come from a distance, who had deputed him to have the decision reversed, in in whose behalf he spoke to me. I was constrained to refuse, as I would not violate the decision of the Association on the appeal of Elder Pritchard. He went away with much reluctance. Meanwhile, Elder Stone was suddenly taken sick, and Elder Philips came a second time to urge me to yield to their request. I still refused, unless a special and formal request was tendered to me by Elder Pritchard in person. He assured me it would be tendered me. -- Accordingly, soon as I appeared on the ground, I was invited and enjoined to preach by the Elder Pritchard himself.

Not having a subject at my command, I asked to speak the second discourse. Elder Cox preceded me. At the impulse of the occasion, I was induced to draw a clear line between the Law and the Gospel, the Old Dispensation and the New, Moses and Christ. This was my theme. No sooner had I got on the way, than Elder Pritchard came up into the tent and called out two or three of the preachers to see a lady suddenly taken sick, and thus created much confusion amidst the audience. I could not understand it. Finally they got composed, and I proceeded. The congregation became much engaged; we all seemed to forget the things around us and went into the merits of the subject. The result was, during the interval (as I learned long afterwards) the over-jealous Elder called a council of the preachers and proposed to them to have me forthwith condemned before the people by a formal declaration from the stand -- repudiating my discourse as "not Baptist Doctrine." One of the Elders, still living and still a Baptist, said: "Elder Pritchard,

                    ANECDOTES  INCIDENTS,  AND  FACTS.                     349

I am not yet prepared to say whether it be or be not Bible doctrine; but one thing I can say, were we to make such an annunciation, we would sacrifice ourselves, and not Mr. Campbell."

Thus originated my Sermon on the Law, republished, a year or two since, in the Millennial Harbinger. It was forced into existence; and the hue and cry raised against it all over the country obliged me to publish it in print. It was first issued from the press in 1816, and became the theme of much discussion; and by a conspiracy of the Elders already named, it was brought up for trial and condemnation at the next Association at Peter's Creek in 1817. I may, I presume, regard its existence as providential; and although long unwilling to believe it, I must now think that envy, or jealousy, or some fleshy principle, rather than pure zeal for divine truth, instituted the crusade which for seven successive years was carried on against my views as superlatively heterodox and dangerous to the whole community.

Till this time we had labored amongst the Baptists with good effect -- so far, at least, as to propitiate a very general hearing, and to lay a good foundation for, as we conceive, a more evangelical and scriptural dispensation of the gospel among them. Till this time, however, we had literally no coadjutors or counsellors without the precincts of our little community, amounting only to some hundred and fifty persons.

Sometime in 1814 or 1815, I have not a very certain recollection of the precise date, a certain Mr. Jones, from England, and a Mr. George Forrester, from Scotland, appeared in Pittsburg -- the former an English Baptist; the latter, rather a Haldanian than a Scotch Baptist. They were both much in advance of the Regular Baptists of Redstone Association, and I hoped for assistance from them. But neither of them could found a community in Pittsburg. Elder Jones migrated westwardly, and Mr. Forrester went into secular business. Neither of them, however, had progressed beyond the limits of James Haldane or Andrew Fuller.     A. C.

Note 1: Rev. Campbell continues this line of recollection in his subsequent episode, published in Sept., 1848 There he remarks that he commenced work "to prepare some young men for future usefulness" in either secular or religious pursuits. For a time, he cut back his "reform" evangelizing, and, as he says, "confined my attention to three or four little communities constituted on the Bible -- one in Ohio, one in Virginia, and two in Pennsylvania." Given Rev. Campbell's obvious interest in the religious environment of nearby Pittsburgh, it seems reasonable to conclude that one of his pet congregations in Pennsylvania was the tiny flock in Pittsburgh, just then coming under the leadership of the Scotch Baptist, Walter Scott. Alexander's father, Rev. Thomas Campbell, labored to create an "Independent" following in Pittsburgh between 1815 and 1817, but gave up the effort, leaving his tiny flock under the care of Samuel Church. Mr. Church, in turn, united the group with an equally tiny band of Haldane advocates, led by John Tassey. This combined congregation appears to have made up the bulk of the Haldanean/Sandemanian church presided over by George Forrester, until his death in 1820. At that point Walter Scott inherited its leadership and quickly became an avowed follower of Alexander Campbell.

Note 2: Another congregation which could not have escaped Campbell's continued attention was the Peter's Creek Baptist church, pastored by a man who appears to have been Campbell's friend and ally, Rev. David Philips. It was in Philips' Peter's Creek church that Campbell first had to defend the "Law and Gospel" principles he had voiced to the Redstone Association members the previous year, at Cross Creek. Rev. Campbell's appearance at the 1817 Assocation gathering, at Peter's Creek, no doubt caused something of a sensation among the local Baptists. It goes without saying that the recent convert to the Peter's Creek Baptist, Sidney Rigdon, would have viewed the controversial Rev. Campbell's Aug., 1817 appearance amongst the Peter's Creek group with great interest. Rigdon's biographer, the Rev. Dr. William Whitsitt downplays this Aug. 1817 crossing of Campbell's and Rigdon's paths however -- Whitsitt says: "it does not appear that Rigdon had previously [before 1821] enjoyed the honor of an intimate personal acquaintance with Mr. Campbell. That gentleman was a pretty diligent attendant at the sessions of the Redstone (Association, however and) he was a prominent figure at the meeting that occurred at Peter's Creek in August 1817 (Rich., II:47), and was appointed its secretary for the meeting in August 1818 (Benedict, 2nd ed. p. 615), more than a year after Sidney had become a communicant among the Baptists; but Rigdon was likely at that early time not in the custom of giving strict attention to the proceedings of the body." Given Rev. Campbell's close association with Rev. Philips, as well as Campbell's stated interest in training students, it is not at all unlikely that Campbell took an interest in young Rigdon and kept tabs on his ministerial training during 1818-19.



Vol. V.                               Bethany, Va.   September,  1848.                               No. IX.

          [p. 522]

Connected with the origin and progress of the current reformation,
some of which have never been before published. --
No. III.

With the opening of 1818 commenced Buffaloe Seminary. For at least three objects I resolved to devote a few years to teaching the languages and sciences. One of these was to prepare some young men for future usefulness. Amidst considerable sectarian opposition and strife, I entered on this project, and succeeded greatly beyond all my expectations. But I itinerated less than before in my labors in the gospel, and confined my attention to three or four little communities constituted on the Bible -- one in Ohio, one in Virginia, and two in Pennsylvania. Once or twice a year I made an excursion amongst the Regular Baptists, but with little hope of being useful to the Redstone Association.

Elder John Burch, then of Ohio, while laboring amongst the Baptist churches got into a controversy with the Rev. John Walker, a Presbyterian minister of the Secession fraction of that community. It resulted in a challenge from Mr. Walker to debate publicly the merits of infant baptism. Mr. Burch wrote to me to assist him, or to undertake in his stead to meet Mr. Walker. This occurred in the latter part of 1819. I declined having any thing to do with it, in the opinion that it was not the proper method of proceeding in contending for "the faith once delivered to the saints." It then seemed to me to be rather carnal than spiritual, and better calculated to excite bad passions then to allay them, &c. For several months I declined having any thing to do with it. But on hearing from Elder Burch, again and again, on the subject, my objections were overcome; and accordingly, on the 9th of June, 1820, I appeared on the stage at Mount Pleasant, Ohio, in personal controversy with Mr. Walker. some two or three years older than myself.

The congregation in attendance being very large -- a mixed multitude, abounding with the society called Friends or Quakers, a few Baptists, many Pesobaptists of all parties; I was desirous to bring into it as great a variety of matters and things as I could with any show of bearing on the main questions, for the purpose of sowing broadcast the seeds of truth in the minds of the serious and inquisitive portion of the auditory. We succeeded in all our aims and wishes, as far as could have been exected in a two days combat.

The work had not long gone to the public, till many calls were tendered me from several quarters, requiring visits and discourses on the subjects introduced on that occasion, and in an appendix to

                    ANECDOTES  INCIDENTS,  AND  FACTS.                     523

the volume which appeared in the fall of 1820. Amongst these I proceed to narrate one of considerable importance in the history of this reformation.

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 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 that 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.

After tea, in the evening, we commenced and prolonged our discourse till the next morning. Beginning with the baptism that John preached, we went back to Adam, and forward to the final judgment. The dispensations. or covenants -- Adamic, Abrahamic, Jewish and Christian, passed and repassed before us. Mount Sinai in Arabia, Mount Zion, Mount Calvary, Mount Tabor -- the Red Sea, and the Jordan -- the Passovers and the Pentecost -- the Law and the Gospel; but especially the ancient order of things and the modern, occasionally commanded and engaged our attention.

On parting the next day, Sidney Rigdon, with all apparent candor, said, if he had within the last year taught and promulgated from the pulpit one error, he had a thousand. At that time he was the great orator of the Mahoning Association -- though in authority with the people, second always to Adamson Bentley. I found it expedient to caution them not to begin to pull down any thing they had builded until they had reviewed, again and again, what they had heard; nor even then rashly and without much consideration. Fearing they might undo their influence with the people, I felt constrained to restrain, rather than to urge them forward, in the work of reformation.

With many an invitation to visit the Western Reserve, and with many an assurance of a full and candid hearing on the part of the

[ 524 ]

uncommitted community, and an immediate access to the ears of the Baptist churches within the sphere of their influence, we took the parting hand. They went on their way rejoicing, and in the course of a single year prepared their whole Association to hear us with earnestness and candor.

Ministers' meetings once a year in different parts of that 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.     A. C.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. V.                               Bethany, Va.   October,  1848.                               No. X.

          [p. 552]


Some time in 1820 I was first introduced to brother Walter Scott, lately from Scotland, then a Presbyterian, residing with Mr. Forrester, of Pittsburg, a Haldanian, from Paisley, Scotland. Mr. Forrester was a pure Calvinist in doctrine, an Independent in Christian politics, or church government, a weekly communionist, and a rigid disciplinarian. He had a few brethren in Pittsburg, with whom brother Scott, on his baptism, united.

                    ANECDOTES  INCIDENTS,  AND  FACTS.                     553

On my visits to Pittsburg in those days, being a member and minister of the Redstone Baptist Association, I spoke to the Baptist church in that city. The result was, that, with the exception of some twelve persons, the whole church, over a hundred members, were theoretically reformers.

In 1822 I induced Sidney Rigdon, then a Baptist minister of Ohio, to accept of a call to the Church in Pittsburg. About this time brother Scott had, on the death of Mr. Forrester, under his instruction a small society of very intelligent persons, to whom he delivered admirable lectures on the New Testament every Lord's day. I was at all pains to have Sidney Rigdon and the church in Pittsburg introduced to brother Scott and the brethren with him. They were, however, for a considerable time very shy of each other. Each community was very sensitive on the subject of its own peculiarities. So matters stood in Pittsburg till the meeting of the Redstone Baptist Association in that city [Pittsburgh], September, 1823, in reference to which meeting I have alluded to the above mentioned persons and incidents.

At the meeting of this Association in Pittsburg an event occurred of very great importance in the current reformation. In itself it was a very small matter, yet no event in its whole history, as far as I am informed, was pregnant with so many and so great results. I will, therefore, with considerable minuteness, enter upon its details.

Having for the six preceding years been engaged in teaching and in presiding over a classical and scientific seminary of learning at my present residence, I did not itinerate so extensively as before, throughout the bounds of the Redstone Bpatist Association. The consequence was, that the opposition to reformation in that Association was annually strengthening itself. We still had the majority on our side; but the minority, led on by Elders Brownfield, Pritchard, and the Stones, was full of expedients to gain an ascendancy and to thrust myself and friends out of it. Their last effort came to my ears in August, 1823. It was as follows: --

A bill of heresies was duly made out of my printed Sermon on the Law, and from my oral sermons and lectures. Special brethren traversed the whole Association before its meeting, and very ingeniously contrived to have friends in the churches to nominate for election, as messengers to the Association, such persons as they knew of their party; and by this means had obtained what is usually called a "packed jury," sure to decide against us in the Association. From the intelligence I had received, no doubt remaiend but that

554                     ANECDOTES  INCIDENTS,  AND  FACTS.                    

myself and friends would be, by this manoeuvre, solemnly excommunicated from the Baptist denomination. I had but one month to provide against this event.

The terror of excommunication was to me, indeed, not very formidable; but a debate in Kentucky between the Rev. William L. M'Calla and myself was then agreed upon, to come off in October, one month after the time fixed for my ecclesiastical martyrdom. The value of this decussion to the cause of the reformation, if not the discussion itself, must be frustrated by the sentence of excommunication already determined, if carried out. One expedient alone remained by which I could defeat them, and of the propriety of which I did not doubt.

I had been occasionally pressed by Elder Adamson Bentley, of Ohio, to leave the Redstone Association, and unite with the Mahoning Association. But how could this be effected in four weeks, was now the question. Fortunately the the Mahoning Association met one week before the Redstone. I, therefore, resolved to save my reputation and to stultify the policies of my opponents.

I called a special meeting of the church at Brush Run, Pennsylvania, eight miles from my residence, in which I held my membership, and which church I had always, as one of her delegates, represented at the annual meetings of the Redstone Association. I simply stated to the church that a crisis of great importance had arrived and great interests which it would be imprudent for me the to disclose, were now pending, and that, without giving any other reason for it, I must request for myself and some twenty other persons, members of that church, letters of dismission, drawn up in Regular Baptist style, for the purpose of establishing a church in Wellsburg, Virginia. The brethren, though much excited at the announcement, having full confidence in the validity of my reasons, promptly consented and granted my request. Immediately this new-born church at Wellsburg despatched three messengers to the Mahoning Association, solicting admission into its communion. They were cordially received by the Association, and on a summary declaration of its faith the church of Wellsburg was enrolled in the Minutes as a member of the Mahoning Baptist Association.

Meantime, having set these things in order, and having refused to be sent a messenger to Mahoning, I reserved myself for a visit to the Redstone Association as a spectator, to note its proceedings, my father and two other members being sent as messengers to it to represent the church at Brush Run. Our movements were so rapid

                    ANECDOTES  INCIDENTS,  AND  FACTS.                     555

and so private as to be wholly unknown to a single church in the Redstone Association.

On reading the annual letters sent up to the Association, that from Brush Run, as a matter of course, was called for and read. No mention was made in it of a specific dismission of so many members for the purpose of constituting a church in Virginia. The subject of dismission was only alluded to in general terms. That I was not named in it as a messenger, though present, an event unprecedented, created an evident stare on the part of some leading spirits in the plot; but to them the reason, of course, was quite incomprehensible.

A brother, not in the plot, and much attached to me, at a proper time arose to move that certain ministers from a distance, members of other Associations, should be invited to seats dirung the sessions of the Association, and concluded by observing that brother Alexander Campbell should also be invited to a seat. No objection was made to brother John Rigdon, of an Ohio Baptist Association, and some others present, who were promptly invited to the honor; but one of the party, privy to the plot, if not a member in it, arose and objected to my being invited to a seat, on the ground, that, as the Brush Run church, for some reason, had not, as usual, sent me as one of its messengers, it would be inexpedient, if not unprecedented to invite me to a seat! Just at this moment, to one accustomed to the faces of prominent actors in the plot of excommunication, there was in their features and movements such legible indications of their designs and feelings as enabled me to comprehend the full strength of the party. My friends, as ignorant of the reason why I had not been sent as were my opponents, advocated the motion with much zeal and assiduity, and my opponents with at least equal warmth and power persisted in their opposition to the measure. Much of the day was spent in this very trifling matter, until one of the opposition, as if fearful of their strength to carry out their designs, said -- that "if brother Campbell would state the reasons why he was not as usual elected as a representative of the church at Brush Run, it might enable the Association to decide the matter at once." To this motion both parties assented, and I was requested to inform the body why I was not, as before, a messenger to the Redstone Baptist Association.

After expressing my regret that the Association should have spent so much of its precious time on a matter of such trifling importance, I observed that I would at once relieve them from all farther trouble by simply stating that the reason why I had not been

556                     ANECDOTES  INCIDENTS,  AND  FACTS.                    

appointed a messenger from Brush Run was simply this; -- that the church of which I was now a member belongs to another Association -- the Mahoning Regular Baptist Association of Ohio. Never 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 learning that I was out of their bailiwick, and consequently beyond their jurisdiction. A solemn stillness ensued, and for a time all parties seemed to have nothing to do. They dropped the subject; but after dismissing a few minor matters, they seemed to rally on certain allegations in the letter from a party of dissidents in Pittsburg, preferring against the Baptist church in that city for having departed from the Baptist Confession of Faith under the teaching of Sidney Rigdon. Some twelve persons claimed to be the Baptist church on the ground of holding to the Confession of Faith and Church Covenant. This matter was debated during the remainder of the session; but through the potency of the reasonings and facts alleged by Elder John Rigdon and the Brush Run delegation, they failed in carrying the point, referring it to a committee to report at their next annual meeting.

We gained our object, and in a few days after set out for Kentucky, where we arrived about the middle of October, without the brand of excommunication upon us, which would, indeed, in all human probability, have frustrated all our hopes in pleading the cause of reformation in that state. Thus "the Lord taketh the wise in their own craftiness and disappointeth the expectations of them that rise up against him."

Before noting any incidents relative to the two great fields of labor then opening to the dissemination of the great seeds and elements of reformation, I will tarry in Pittsburg a little longer. From the adjournment of the Redstone Association, owing to the developments of the views and principles of the leading spirits and the attempt made to cast out all members of the church in Pittsburg favorable to reformation, a greater degree of intimacy was cultivated between brother Scott and Sidney Rigdon and their respective friends and admirers -- and finally a union between them was consummated, so that they met together in social worship on the Lord's day as a Christian church. The few Baptists that were attached to the old confession and regimen, on being judged by the committee of the Association the only legitimate Baptist church in Pittsburg, formed a separate church organization. Each community henceforth was separate and distinct as Jews and Samaritans. It was

                    ANECDOTES  INCIDENTS,  AND  FACTS.                     557

worse than "we of the Jews," and "they of the Gentiles" of ancient times.

Under the able instruction of brother Walter Scott, for some two years this new society made rapid progress in the study of the sacred scriptures. Finally, Sidney Rigdon left the city and returned to Ohio; and in the next year, 1826, brother Scott migrated to Steubenville, Ohio, and for a time lectured to the Baptist church in that place. And here we shall leave matters and things in Ohio, and proceed to Washington, Ky., the scene of the discussion with Mr. M'Calla, now the Rev. W. L. M'Calla, D. D., of Philadelphia.     A. C.

Note: Rev. Campbell neglects to mention just who the host pastor was, at the September, 1823 meeting of the Redstone Baptist Association at Pittsburgh. No doubt that honor had been assigned to the Rev. Sidney Rigdon, twelve months before, when the Association ministers first decided upon Pittsburgh for their next annual gathering. Much can change in a year though -- and by the late summer of 1823, a number of the Pittsburgh congregation had joined ranks to protest the continuation of Sidney Rigdon as their assigned pastor. The actions of this band of orthodox "Regular Baptist" protestors appears to have been primarily inspired and led by the Rev. John Winter, who eventually succeeded Rigdon in the pastorate of Pittsburgh's First Baptist Church. Sidney's brother Carvil Rigdon, recollecting in 1843, provided the following information concerning Sidney Rigdon's tenure with the Pittsburgh Baptists: "He... took the care of the first Regular Baptist Church, and there continued to preach till the Baptist Association met in Pittsburgh... [Sept., 1823], at which time they brought some charges against him for not being sound in the faith; brought him to trial, but denied him the liberty of speaking in self-defence, and he declared a non-fellowship with them and began to preach Campbellism." The "trial" spoken of by Rigdon's brother, did not occur until a month after the September, 1823 meeting of the Redstone Association in Pittsburgh. Sidney Rigdon was conveniently out of town (accompanying Rev. Alexander Campbell to a debate in Kentucky), and thus did not make himself available to face the charges brought against him at his October trial in Pittsburgh (a disappearance tactic which Rigdon repeated for his 1844 LDS excommunication trial at Nauvoo). However, Richard S. Van Wagoner reports that "The Winter clique struck first on 11 July 1823. Excluding Rigdon..." (see p. 31 of Van Wagoner's Sidney Rigdon). Possibly both the Rigdon and Winter factions sent messengers to the contentious September, 1823 meeting and Sidney was obliged to refrain from performing the traditional activities of the host pastor at that particular ministerial gathering.



Vol. V.                               Bethany, Va.   November,  1848.                               No. XI.

          [p. 613]

Connected with the History of the Current Reformation.
No. V.

After a ride of eight days through Ohio, accompanied by Sidney Rigdon of Pittsburgh, I safely arrived at Washington, Mason county, Kentucky, early in October, 1823, in pursuance of a challenge from the Rev. William L. M'Calla, to discuss with him the subject and action of Christian baptism.

The preliminaries being settled, the Rev. J. K. Burch, Presbyterian, being chosen by Mr. M'Calla, and Elder Jeremiah Vardeman, Baptist, by myself; and these having chosen Judge Roper to preside with them, I opened the discussion, October 15, 1823, in the presence of a very large assembly of citizens and the clergy of all denominations in the country...

(see Richardson's biography of Campbell for a description of this debate)

Note 1: In his 2003 article, "Sidney Rigdon: The Benedict Arnold of the Restoration Movement?" historian Lloyd Knowles provides these comments: "The feelings of admiration between Alexander Campbell and Sidney Rigdon must have been mutual, for in October of 1823 Rigdon accompanied Campbell for three hundred miles on horseback to his debate with William L. MacCalla in Washington, Kentucky. Earlier that summer Campbell had narrowly averted being evicted by the Redstone Association on charges of Baptist heresy by forming the new church in Wellsburg, Virginia, and joining it with the Mahoning Association. Still somewhat frustrated and angry, Campbell's Redstone enemies transferred their hostility toward some of his colleagues in the reformation. Since Rigdon's church at Pittsburgh was still a member of the Redstone Association, they went after him, even though he had built up his church to be "one of the most respectable and popular churches in the city of Pittsburgh." Possibly Knowles has telescoped his portrayal of historical events here, just a little. It seems that the same Baptist traditionalists who in 1823 were allied in their attempt to excommunicate Alexander Campbell, were also largely the same Redstone Baptist ministers who met in Pittsburgh, during October of 1823, to consider heresy charges brought against the Pittsburgh pastor, Rev. Sidney Rigdon. By accompanying Campbell to Kentucky, Rigdon avoided the spectacle of being defrocked and cast out of the Regular Baptist denomination by his fellow ministers in the Redstone Association. Years later, in 1869 Rigdon himself described the events of 1823 in these words: "About this time he [Sidney Rigdon] married, and with his wife visited Pittsburgh. A Baptist church was then vacant and he was invited to spend the Sabbath and supply the pulpit. The result was an engagement with the congregation to remain as their regular supply. Here he met with great success as a preacher, and built up a strong church. His intense love of investigation and new modes of thought here continued to grow upon him. He claims that he thoroughly reviewed the Scriptures, and reached down to their profoundest depths. Dissatisfied with all ordinary interpretations, he began a series of new and original explanations of doctrine, of history and of prophecy. These novelties soon appeared in his preaching, and at length he announced to his congregation that he could not preach the doctrines or receive the interpretations of Scripture which the church professed to believe. He resigned his charge; but a large number sympathized with him and wished him to form a new congregation."

Note 2: Whether Rigdon resigned his Pittsburgh pastorate, or whether he was first defrocked and excommunicated, history does not well recall -- however, it is safe to say that by the late fall of 1823 Rigdon was no longer functioning as the authorized "Regular Baptist" minister for the Redstone-affiliated First Baptist Church in Pittsburgh. One of Rigdon's early biographers, the Rev. Dr. William H. Whitsitt, summarizes the situation thusly: "Rigdon was only a puppet... [Alexander Campbell was] the person who was manipulating this puppet... Both of these factions [pro-Rigdon and anti-Rigdon] appeared at the Redstone Association which convened that year in Pittsburgh to dispute the question, which of the twain should be recognized as the Baptist church in Pittsburgh, and by consequence be admitted to the seat which belonged to that organization in their body. The Association was prevailed upon to defer immediate action and to appoint a council of ministers and messengers from neighboring churches to assemble in Pittsburgh on the 11th of October 1823 to pronounce which faction should be recognized in that character... Mr. Campbell, on the other hand affirms that this said council was charged with no other duty than to endeavor to promote a reunion of those whom Sidney and his faction had excommunicated... It is evident, however, that the council did not understand their commission in this fashion; nor is it likely that Sidney so understood it, for he incontinently ran away from the meeting. On the 11th of October, the very day when it convened, he made his appearance at Washington, Ky., a point several hundred miles distant from the scene of the action.... On this journey to Kentucky he was performing the function of a squire to his master; Alexander had gone to Washington to enact the role of a Baptist champion in a debate with the Rev. Mr. McCalla of the Presbyterian church. To the best of his ability, which was not very large that way, Sidney performed the part of a reporter; such notices as he was able to set down during the progress of the debate, were handed over to his chief, and when the records of it were published by the latter in May 1824, he was able to give Mr. Campbell a certificate affirming the correctness of the version that was laid before the public... Mr. Campbell complains that the above council was called by the excluded party, and that when it was assembled it left undone the only duty that had been laid upon it by the Redstone Association: 'they proceeded to do that which they were not commanded to do, and did, without any authority from the association, call, or denominate the excommunicated ones a church.' But Rigdon did not dare to remain at Pittsburgh and instruct them in their duty, and the blood of the brethren was up, so that they were prepared to deal out salutary justice not only to the tool but also to the principal in the transactions which gave them so much offense. Evidently the chief blame for Rigdon's evil behavior was laid to Mr. Campbell's account, and the association were now in an excellent temper to cut him off along with his henchman. Perceiving that the exasperation against him was very general and direct, he resolved to take timely measures against it... His gaudium certaminis, usually a prominent feature, was wholly forgotten in the face of this peril; he could think of no expedient but incontinent flight. If he went to the Association with all his recent sins upon him it was beyond question that the organization would withdraw its fellowship from the Brush Run church to which he belonged. On the eve of the meeting of the Association he assembled the Brush Run church and announced to them that 'for special reasons which it was not 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,' which new church would not be under the jurisdiction of the Redstone fraternity. Next day when the matter came up, he announced to the body that he 'was in no sort of connection with them, and quite beyond the reach of their power to legislate against him'.... But for this hasty retreat he would have been overtaken in the like disaster as that which befell Mr. Rigdon."



Vol. VI.                               Bethany, Va.   January,  1849.                               No. I.

          [p. 49]

Connected with the History of the Current Reformation,
never before published --
No. VI.

No remarkable incident or event occurred from the notices and allusions in our last reference to the progress of the cause of reformation, till the year 1827. The only publications then in circulation in the community were our Debates on the first principles in reference to Christian Baptism and the Ancient Order of Things, found in our 'Christian Baptist,' then in its fourth volume.

Brother Scott and myself attended at the Mahoning Baptist Association, meeting in Canfield, in 1826. He was then first introduced to the brethren on the Western Reserve. On the Lord's day he, Sidney Rigdon and myself, addressed a very large congregation, composed of Messengers from all the churches on the Western Reserve, and some from other Associations. I have no distinct recollection of the subject of their addresses. I followed them on the subject of the Progress of Light, from the last chapter of Malachi and the mission of John. It was a discourse upon the star-light, moon-light, twi-light, and sun-light ages of the world, instituting and carrying through a comparison of the developments of divine revelation, with the progress of natural light from midnight to noon. The period from the transgression of Adam to the annunciation of the Seed of the woman bruising the serpent's head, made to our first parents, was the midnight darkness of the human race in the persons of Adam and Eve. The stars that ensued, or that rose upon a benighted world, were Abel, Enoch, Noah, Melchizedeck, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses. The legal dispensation with the subsequent Prophets constituted the moon-light age. The mission and ministry of John was the twi-light age, extending from John's first appearance to the personal coming of the Messiah as a teacher sent from the immediate presence of Jehovah, but not fully developed till he ascended to heaven and sent down the Holy Spirit in the bright radiance of the risen day on the first Pentecost after the crucifixion.

The effect of this presentation of the subject, providentially opportune, was not momentary, but memorable and abiding. It was never forgotten by the ministry then present. But as yet there was nothing done in the way of sending out a proper evangelist to proclaim the word and to convert the people. The spirit, however, of evangelizing was stirred up amongst the brethren, and during the next year the subject was much talked of, but nothing was yet effected.

                    ANECDOTES  INCIDENTS,  AND  FACTS.                     47

In 1827 the Mahoning Association met at Fairfield, Columbiana county, Ohio. On my way thither I called for brother Scott, then teaching a school in Steubenville, Ohio, and preaching once-a-week to a few Baptists in that town. Through much solicitation on my part, he was finally prevailed upon to accompany me to said Association; and while there, after much deliberation, the Association was prevailed upon to appoint an evangelist to labor for one year within its bounds; and brother Scott, too, finally consented to pull up his stakes in Steubenville to locate within its bounds and to become its evangelist. He was commissioned merely "to preach the word," without regard to any creed, or sect, or party; and in a few weeks was actually in the field, calling upon sinners to repent, believe, and obey the gospel.

Little or nothing had been done for some time within that region of country in the work of conversion. But very few additions to any of the churches had been made during the preceding year. The Baptists, ministry and people, were in debate with themselves upon the subject of primitive apostolic Christianity. They were much more in the mood of investigating truth and examining their own tenets and the apostolic writings with reference to their own duties and privileges, than in devising the way and means of proselyting or converting the world.

The people called “Christians,” first in New England, led by Elias Smith of Boston, were zealous, warm, and enthusiastic on the subject of proselyting the people. They were the only people then doing any thing worthy of notice in Ohio in the way of proselyting. Elders Secrest and Gaston, of that people, attended our Association at Fairfield, and professed much respect for the views then in discussion amongst our brethren. The latter was an honest, indefatigable, and very efficient laborer in the word as he then understood it. They were both much pleased with the proceedings of the Mahoning Association and with brother Scott, and appeared willing to meet us on “the Bible alone,” and to labor in the same cause. They had, however, more zeal than knowledge, and knew not how to preach the gospel. Hence the mourning bench, or the praying bench, or some other penitential bench, was that to which they urged sinners to come in order to be prayed for and to be converted to the Lord.

Brother Gaston, indeed, occasionally left his own field of labor and accompanied brother Scott in his. The crisis was all-important, and the people, both Baptists and Christians, were favorably disposed

48                     ANECDOTES  INCIDENTS,  AND  FACTS.                    

to know and do what the Lord desired them to do. They felt that something was wanting, but knew not precisely what.

Brother Scott had long been devoted to the study of his Bible, and with great zeal and much eloquence engaged in the work of the Lord. Ardent, sanguine, and laborious, he preached repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. He had not been long in the field of labor before he felt the need of something to propose to the alarmed and inquisitive sinner, more evangelical, more scriptural, and consoling, than the mourning bench or the anxious seat of modern revivalists. He had thought much of the ancient or original state of things in the church, but now his attention was specially and practically called to the ancient order of things in the proclamation of the gospel in practical reference to the conversion of the world. He repudiated the mourning bench and the anxious seat, and for these substituted what? Baptism for the remission of sins! We had, indeed, agreed that we would say to any person or persons inquiring what they should do, just what Peter said, -- "Repent and be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus in order to the remission of sins." Nay, that we would "tell the disciples," those desiring to serve the Lord, "to rise in haste and be baptized, and wash away their sins, calling on the name of the Lord." * But it was to him, now in the actual field of labor, as a new revelation; and, with great warmth and power, he persuaded the peop]e, and many turned to the Lord.

During that single year many hundreds were baptized; for, with the excitement, the number of laborers increased. The Baptist ministry of the whole Mahoning Association with, I believe, one single exception, and he a weak and irresolute old man, stood by their evangelist, countenanced, and sustained him, and some of them actually and efficiently put their hands to the work. It was a glorious time! That some things were both said and done that had better not been said and done, is only saying what is true of all such occasions and of all human efforts. Even common sense and reason are sometimes but feeble and unavailing remonstrants against the too great warmth of a lawful enthusiasm and the eccentricities of a fervent zeal. But on this occasion I presume there was much less of this than is usually witnessed in great revivals, as Such scenes are sometimes called in the present day.

Many very valullble accessions to the cause of reformation were made during that year and the two following, which still endure as monuments of the power of the gospel. Some, indeed, have apostatized

* M’Calla’s Debate, page 144.

                    ANECDOTES  INCIDENTS,  AND  FACTS.                     49

and many are fallen asleep. But a great community, increasing from year to year, still occupies the theatre of the great achievements af the years 1827, 1828, and 1829.     A. C.

Note 1: In his installment for Oct. 1848, Alexander Campbell mentioned that "Finally, Sidney Rigdon left the city [of Pittsburgh] and returned to Ohio; and in the next year, 1826, brother Scott migrated to Steubenville, Ohio, and for a time lectured to the Baptist church in that place." While Campbell provides some information concerning Elder Scott's subsequent career, as the Mahoning Association's remarkably successful evangelist, he does not discuss the 1825-27 activities of Sidney Rigdon in Ohio -- neither does Campbell disclose what role (if any) he might have played in his two Pittsburgh lieutenants respective decisions to relocate to the Buckeye State. Milton V. Backman, Jr., citing the "Grand River Baptist Association Records," says in his 1983 LDS history, The Heavens Resound, that: "In 1826 Sidney Rigdon accepted a call to become minister of a Baptist congregation in Bainbridge, Geauga County, Ohio, about fifteen miles south of Kirtland. Though the congregation had adopted a Calvinist creed that to him was unacceptable, he was nevertheless invited to serve them without being required to endorse their local articles of faith." Since the tiny Regular Baptist flock located in and around Bainbridge twp., Ohio were affiliated with the Erie lakeshore Grand River Baptist Association, it is not exactly clear how its ministerial needs were conveyed to the ears of Sidney Rigdon, then living in Pittsburgh. Presumably the Bainbridge "call," left unfilled by the Grand River Baptists, was communicated by their messenger to the neighboring Mahoning Baptist Association, in the fall of 1825, (if not before -- see the minutes of the meetings of the Nelson, Ohio "Bethesda Church" for 1824 -- during the meeting of that congregation, held at Hiram on Dec. 11, 1824, the Grand River "sister churches" at "Bainbridge, Auburn...[etc.]" were invited to send representatives to a regional Baptist meeting to be held "in Feb. 1825." Perhaps the Bainbridge flock's needs were thus communicated to their Mahoning Association "brethren" and were passed on by Adamson Bentley, Jeremiah Brooks, Sr., or some other sympathetic Baptist friend, to Sidney Rigdon in Pittsburgh.

Note 2: In his 1972 BYU Studies article, "The Quest for a Restoration: the Birth of Mormonism in Ohio," LDS writer Milton V. Backman, Jr. remarks that, "Members of the Grand River Association were undoubtedly not aware of Rigdon's unorthodoxy in 1826." While it is doubtful that the Grand River Baptists were so cut off from neighboring associations, as to know nothing of the difficulties of Alexander Campbell and Sidney Rigdon among the Redstone Baptists gathered at Pittsburgh during the fall of 1823, it may well be that members of the small congregation located at Bainbridge, in Geauga County, were "not aware of Rigdon's unorthodoxy." If that were indeed the case, the eyes of the Bainbridge Baptists were quickly opened. Appleton's Cyclopedia, in its early editions, reported that, "Sidney Rigdon... In January, 1822, he became pastor of the First Church in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, where he labored successfully. Following the example of Alexander Campbell and Walter Scott, he withdrew from that church and assisted in establishing the Disciples, or Campbell denomination. He began preaching the new doctrine in Bainbridge, Ohio, in 1828 [sic - 1826?], and a year later went to Mentor..." However, Rigdon may have arrived in Bainbridge (about the end of 1825) as a crypto-Campbellite. In the 1843 LDS account of his time at Bainbridge, Rigdon says of himself: "he removed to Bainbridge, Geauga, county, Ohio, where it was known that he had been a preacher, and had gained considerable distinction as a public speaker, and the people soliciting him to preach, he complied with their request. From this time forward, he devoted himself to the work of the ministry, confining himself to no creed, but held up the Bible as the rule of faith, and advocating those doctrines which had been the subject of his, and Mr. Campbell's investigations... success attended his labors. Large numbers invariably attended his meetings. While he labored in that neighborhood, he was instrumental in building up a large and respectable church, in the town of Mantua, Portage county, Ohio. The doctrines which he advanced being new, public attention was awakened, and great excitement pervaded throughout that whole section of country... There were some, however, that opposed the doctrines which he advanced... and endeavored, by ridiculing the doctrines which he promulgated, to suppress them." In this description Rigdon pictures himself rather like a second Walter Scott, who preached "without regard to any creed, or sect, or party." Sidney Rigdon's "reform" precepts were soon apprehended in Bainbridge, as it turned out. According to Lloyd A. Knowles' 2000 doctoral dissertation, "The Appeal and Course of Christian Restorationism...": "During his six-month ministry there, Sidney served as a circuit-riding preacher. Once a month he would preach at Mantua center in Portage county. But usually he preached at the Baptist church in Bainbridge, which began in private homes but was relocated to a school house. Mr. Joel Giles, Sr., who was a member of that body and whose house was 'a temporary house' for Baptist ministers, later complained bitterly that the congregation "was eventually broken up by a wolf in sheep's clothing (Sidney Rigdon, of Mormon notoriety), who entered the fold, and the sheep were scattered abroad.'"

Note 3: Relocation of Bainbridge Baptist meetings from private homes "to a school house," evidently occurred just prior to Rigdon's arrival in the township, at about the end of 1825. Gertrude V. Wickham's 1896 Memorial to the Pioneer Women... records on page 290, that Bainbridge's "The first school house was built of round logs in 1825." In the same section of her book Wickham records the first meeting of Rachel Smith with her future husband, George Wilber, "when Rachel and her mother were on their way to church." The couple were married in 1826 and George Wilber taught school a mile or two south of Bainbridge Center during the winter of 1825-26 -- so a late 1825 completion date for the school that also served as a local chapel appears to be a reasonable conclusion. According to local resident, Charles E. Henry's recollection of George Wilber's oral account, "Wilber... taught school in the winter... [of 1825-26] in a log schoolhouse a mile south of the centre of Bainbridge. Rigdon lived in a log house about two hundred yards from the schoolhouse, and young Wilber, who has heard Rigdon preach before his alliance with Smith, often called on him during the noon hour of recess and sometimes in the evening. Rigdon had acquired the reputation of being something of a Biblical scholar among the pioneers, and was also a very persuasive and eloquent preacher. Some of the keen-sighted people, however, had lost confidence in him. They discovered that... Rigdon was bent on devising some new dogma -- in short, to start a new church or sect... Rigdon did not preach that winter, but was almost constantly engaged upon a manuscript that he was writing or revising." If George Wilber was correct in his memories (and if Mr. Henry conveyed those memories accurately), then Lloyd A. Knowles' assertion, that Rigdon carried on only a "six-month ministry," during his year or more of residence at Bainbridge may be correct. Joel Giles, Sr.'s portrayal of Rigdon's preaching being a disruptive force among the Bainbridge Baptists was as much as admitted to by Rigdon himself. In his 1869 interview Rigdon said that he, "removed to Ohio as an Independent Baptist, preaching what he pleased and contradicting whomsoever he pleased.... he would attend a service and take his seat among the congregation, and after the sermon arise and ask the liberty of adding a few remarks, and then quote passages of Scripture to show the erronous doctrines which the preacher had just uttered, and close by inviting the congregation to come and hear him at his next appointment. This kept the community in a ferment and secured for him crowded houses. He seemed just on the point of forming a new sect..."



Vol. VI.                               Bethany, Va.   December,  1856.                               No. XII.

          [p. 697]

M I L L E N N I U M.

The prosecution of our contemplated essaya on the Millennium commnced in this volume, was suspended primarily on the account that our brother, Professor Milligan, had commenced a Series of essays on the subject of Prophecy, which it was expected would more or less include the eubject of the Millennium. We have had no special conversation on the subject. I desired that he would freely and fully develope his views on the entire premises, as he has done; and, no doubt, with much satisfaction to many of our readers, if not to all. It is a grand theme, and moat worthy of the profound and most devout consideration of all the citizens of the kingdom of heaven. The honors of our king, and the prospects of his kingdom, under the present dispensation, have long been soul absorbing themes in the whole family of God, and the burthen of lheir constant prayers to him who has the government of the universe on his shoulders, and the interest of his people deeply engraven on his heart.

We are deeply penetrated with the idea that christianty, being a new dispensation Of the Holy Spirit to Jews and Gentiles under Christ, a dispensation not of letter, but of Spirit, must continue till the "Fulness of the Gentiles" be consummated. But this clearly intimates that it is not to be forever, or to the final consummation of the drama of Christianity. That Ihe Redeemer shall come out of Zion and turn away "ungodliness" -- impieiy, the fuel of unbelief -- "from Jacob," -- is an express oracle indicative of some special and glorious interposition of the Lord Jeaus -- which may usher in what we usually call "the personal reign of Christ" -- the subjection of all nations to him, of the moral certainly of such an interposition we should not dogmatically affirm in advance of a most cautious and prayerful investigation of both the Jewish and Christian oracles, to which we purpose to devote much attention in our succeeding volume. The essays now before our readers from the pen of Professor Milligan, are a very perspicuous and logical exhibition of the views long cherished by many distinguished Bible interpreters. They have, indeed, been warmly cherished by myself for many years, not, however, with the fullest asaurance of understanding, or with that dogmatical certainty that would close my ears, or embargo my inquisitiveness on the premises. There is an unperturbed, unprejudiced, non-committal state of mind, indispensable to the satisfactory disposition, adjudication and decision of so great a question as the prophetic destiny of the christian institution.

  [p. 697]

A new, or a hitherto unprecedented outpouring of the Holy Spirit, on the first Pentecost after Christ’s ascension; or a personal advent of the Messiah to plead his own cause, and personally administer or execute his own government on earth, are the two essential ideas permeating the views of Millennarians of all Schools, in all their ramifications. Such are my conclusions on all my readings and thinkings upon the Millennarian theories ancient and modern. There are, indeed, a sort of Bastard Millennarians, such as my old friend Robert Owen, of Lanark, Scotland, who benevolently imagines that by changing the accidents, or the political, commercial, and conjugal relations of mankind, a golden age; which they rather facetiously or satirically call "a Millennial or a paradisaic state,” would be the inevitable result.

The Mormons commenced a Millennium under the guidance of the apostate Sidney Rigdon, with whose first wicked, then lamentable career, and sad catastrophe, I am, alas! too well informed. The real High-Priest of Joe Smith, he certainly was, and the available author of the Book of Mormon, as I have, at least to myself, evidences ample and satisfactory.

These are, indeed, monumental men of one category. It is not, alas! the only one. There are the lamented Miller, and his hosts of too self-confident, and too sanguine temperaments. Men, indeed, of deep-toned piety and great moral worth; but not profoundly read in the Sacred Books of Prophecy, nor in the ecclesiastic Records of the past eighteen centuries of the Christian dispensation....

Note: The above paragraph, mentioning Sidney Rigdon, serves to demonstrate that Alexander Campbell remained a believer in the Spalding-Rigdon explanation of Book for Mormon origins, well into the last decades of his life. Campbell says: "of the apostate Sidney Rigdon... I am, alas! too well informed." No doubt Campbell was "well informed" regarding the religious and personal "career" of Sidney Rigdon, but he rarely chose to mention that fact in the pages of his Millennial Harbinger. By 1856, Campbell could have retained little hope of rescuing any fellow "restorationists" from the Mormon ranks, and so he evidently had no reason to step lightly over details of the "Mormon defection" of the early 1830s. Why then, did Campbell never open his columns to a full-fledged exposure of Sidney Rigdon's early "career?" It is likely that Campbell yet felt some personal pain over Rigdon's apostasy from the Campbellite ranks; and, even as late as 1856, the old Reformer was in no mood to tie the orgins of Mormonism too closely with his own efforts among the "Reformed Baptists" of the 1820s. Alexander Campbell was ever content to allow such details of Elder Rigdon's "career" to remain judiciously unexamined.

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