GOSPEL BANNER, FEBRUARY 1848

THE

GOSPEL BANNER,

AND BIBLICAL TREASURY:

CONTAINING THE WRITINGS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL AND COADJUTORS

IN AMERICA AND GREAT BRITAIN.

NO. 1. FEBRUARY, 1848 VOL. 1.


CHARITY

Every age is governed by a religious principle. Either by one which ruled the preceding period, or by one which has come into power during the age itself. This principle is constituted of the idea which men entertain of their religion, and of the predominant moral qualities which they derive from it. All men must of necessity have an idea respecting the truth and importance of their religion. And every religion infuses certain qualities into the mind, because they contain those of the founder: for every religious and moral system is a full exemplification of its author's character. The qualities of a religion are impressed upon its disciples by their observance of its laws and institutions. Because every instituted action which man rationally and willingly performs, and every command which he observes, stamp deep upon his own soul that disposition of mind which dictated them. These moral attributes, then, in conjunction with the abovenamed idea, constitute a principle or cause of action. Thus, he who has the idea that his religion is the only true and saving one, and who derives from it the qualities of pride and severity, will be actuated by a spirit of bigotry. But he who holds that idea, and is inspired by his religion with humility and love, will possess the principle of an energetic yet mild and persuasive zeal. The first was the principle of the Scribes and Pharisees; the other of Christ and his Apostles.

A religious principle is truly called a cause of action: for very few are the deeds of its disciples of which it is not either the originator or director. Its power is not confined to the religious sphere. In every circle the principle of the age is the governing influence. Thus in the days of persecution, when intolerance was the ruling power, man was austere and morose in all the relations of life: for every faculty of his soul inhaled a severe spirit which was manifested in all his deeds. When once a principle has established itself in the world, its power is not only extensive, but endurable. One has seen the birth and burial


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CHARITY.

of empires. Intolerance held the souls of men in thraldom for ages. Not many centuries have carried their deeds and generations into eternity, since, with crushing power, it enchained the intellect, destroyed the affections, and spurred on the passions of mankind, so that they murdered each other because their creeds in every shade would not accord. And even now, although that awful night is departed, the moral horizon is skirted with its gloom. But this period is near closed, and a new one is approaching. Already the heavens are enkindled with its blaze. This is called, The Age of Charity. There is mirth and music in the sound; and men congratulate each other as they discern the distant landscape of the age glowing in beauty and smiling in peace. We would not damp the rising joy - but be it known, that charity, like every other moral and religious principle, must be regulated by law.

But we must pronounce no hasty verdict. Our duty is to inquire with candour, What is charity in religion? Charity and love are generally considered synonymous. But a difference certainly exists between them. Charity has a wider extension than love. It begins where the other ends. Thus, in morals, we love the virtues of a friend, but are charitable towards his infirmities. In religion, we love the sentiments which are in unison with our own, but are charitable towards those that differ from them in minor points. We remarked at first, that a religious principle is constituted of the idea which men entertain of their religion, and of the moral qualities which they derive from it. What, then, is the idea which the intelligent Christian has of Christianity? It is this: That it is not so rigorous a system that it is requisite a man should believe all its expressed and implied truths before he can be a Christian, and be entitled to the fellowship of God's people. This idea, then, is the first constituent of Scriptural charity. The moral qualities derived from pure religion, and which make the other constituents are, humility and love. The charitable man, therefore, considers, that although a searcher for truth may not believe the same number of doctrines as he does, that this should not prevent their communion of heart and hand: and that if a bold thinker should express a sentiment which is considered not to be scriptural, yet it may not be of that character as to demand that their fellowship should be forbidden or severed. But there are certain truths in Christianity which must be believed by every one before they can be accounted Christians. No one, we think, will deny this assertion. Consequently there are certain truths, at a denial or perversion of which, Christian charity cannot connive. Christianity is a divinely constructed system of the most immense value of the most solemn importance. Now every system, whether scientific, moral, or religious, possesses certain fundamental truths or facts. Sometimes both these constitute the foundation of a system. But whether there be the first alone, or the latter alone, or both united, those which constitute


7

CHARITY.

the basis cannot be denied or perverted without destroying the whole system. Its supporters, therefore, always strenuously maintain these against all opposition. Neither will they acknowledge any one to be an associate who refuses an acquiesence to them.

Again: the truths and facts which immediately derive their existence or power from the fundamental ones, are as resolutely defended, because these are component parts of the system, and to deny them would be to question the truth of those from which they originate. And although the system might not be destroyed, it would be deranged in its harmony, marred in its beauty, and depreciated in its value. Thus a fundamental fact in Astronomy is, that the planets, of which our earth is one, revolve round the sun. From this fact several others derive their existence. One of which is, that the sun is the regulator of their movements. Another is, that it is the first instrumental cause of their actions. These, and other deductions from that fact, must be believed, and, to an extent, understood, as well as the fact itself, ere anyone can rightfully claim a seat amongst astronomers. Again: In Morality it is a foundation truth, that man is a free agent. One truth derived from this is, that he is an accountable being: and another is, that he deserves punishment, if, in a knowing and deliberate manner, he commit sin. No one who believes these deducted truths can be charitable towards that action or doctrine which attempts to subvert them. Again: Every practical system originates certain operations. - The scientific has experiments, solutions of problems &c.; the moral produces well regulated deeds; and the religious has certain actions, called institutions. Now the workings in every system are but its fundamental principles, or truths, reduced to practice. The mathematician and chemist, in their most complicated operations, do nothing more than work out, to a greater extent, the first principles of their sciences. And every deliberate action of the moral man proclaims his principles. Through these operations, the value of the first truths is obtained. Indeed the worth of any system, is its practical usefulness. A man, therefore, who embraces any system, is not considered by its professors as worthy of the name of associate, unless he is engaged in working out its principles. If he be not often thus occupied, it argues, that either he does not believe and understand them, or else, that he considers they are worthless. Now Christianity being a religious system, has fundamental truths and facts. It also possesses truths deduced from them, and institutions by which the treasures hid in them can be obtained. The truths are, that there is one God, that He is a Spirit, and the personification of Power, Wisdom, Love, and Holiness. These are the strata on which the temple of Christianity is reared. The facts are, "that Jesus died for our sins, that he was buried, and that he rose again for our justification, according to the Scriptures." These constitute the foundation of our


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CHARITY.

religion. Many are the deductions from these truths and facts, especially from the latter. Indeed the attributes of the Divine Being are so strikingly developed through the facts, and so fully exist in them, that the truths which are deduced from the one are also deduced from the other. The precepts and exhortations, which are but a peculiar form of truth, contained in the New Testament, are deductions from the facts. Thus, it is argued, that "If one died for all, then were all dead; and that they who live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him who died for them and rose again." The truths, termed promises, also derive their existence and power from them. "For if he spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also, freely give us all things." These deducted precepts all unite in enjoining love to God and love to man. The exceeding great and precious promises are but parts of the one hope of a resurrection from the dead to life and happiness. The institutions ordained by God are, Reading the Scriptures, Baptism for the remission of sins, Breaking of Bread, Prayer, Singing, and Church Government. It is impugning the wisdom of God to argue that any of these is ordained for no essential purpose. Were it within the compass of our design, we could prove, that the Divine Being has appointed them to be the media through which mankind can obtain the blessings existing in the facts. - Even as by the workings in the sciences philosophers obtain the full value of the first principles. And as the truths are constituted of certain definite terms, and the facts of definite circumstances, so must the institutions be constituted of certain definite attributes. There cannot possibly be contradicting primary attributes to one institution. It would be making it to resemble a misshapen monster, equally as unsightly as any beheld by John the beloved in his prophetic visions. If the institutions are essential to our holiness and happiness, (and assuredly they are,) then their attributes must be clearly stated in God's word. If they be not, who can discern them? and if they be not perceived, then the institutions are lost to us: and if these are hid, so are the blessings of which they are the channels. Christianity, then, is constituted of truths, facts, deductions from them in the form of precepts, promises, and institutions. All these are parts fitted to each other by Divine Wisdom, and compose the system for the redemption of man from sin and misery. Now pure charity cannot forbear with a doctrine which is hostile to one of these. The attributes of the Divine Being must be guarded with jealous care. The facts give us spiritual life and strength. No sentiment, aiming to injure them, can be tolerated. No disobedience, manifested in action, to a command, can be permitted; nor can any violence which seeks to destroy a promise that is a component part of the gospel hope. Neither can charity connive at doctrines or actions which strive to destroy or pervert the institutions. The essential attributes


9

PRIMITIVE STATE.

of these, must be maintained. But some liberalist will say, Who can be sure that his ideas respecting them, are scriptural, amidst the confusion and clamouring of discordant sentiments regarding the ordinances? - and if he cannot affirm with confidence, he ought to be charitable to a belief the reverse of his own. That man, we reply, may know that he is of the truth, who can advance one plain positive law or declaration, respecting an institution; and to remove all doubt, can point to one circumstance in which it was performed according to that law. Such an one need not be afraid of saying that an adverse doctrine cannot be smiled upon by charity.

Be it remembered, that the assertion that charity cannot be exercised towards certain doctrines, is equivalent to this - that religious communion cannot be given him who maintains them. To grant fellowship to any one whose sentiments are obnoxious to charity, is a practice condemned by God and his faithful people. Such a procedure will ever assuredly result in strife and division. And, on the other hand, to be charitable towards certain doctrines, and yet, on account of the self-same doctrines, to refuse any one communion in all the privileges of religion, is one of the greatest absurdities of which intelligent men can be guilty.

Here we leave the subject till another moon hath filled her horns.

EDITOR.

***

Essays on Man in his Primitive State, and under the Patriarchal, Jewish, and Christian Dispensations. - No. 1.

PRIMITIVE STUDY. - No. 1

"THE PROPER STUDY OF MANKIND IS MAN."

"KNOW thyself," was the wisest maxim of the wisest philosopher of the wisest pagan nation of antiquity. "Know thyself" is inculcated by all the Prophets and Apostles of all the ages of revelation. And while the wisest man of the wisest nation in theology taught as his first maxim, that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;" and while the Saviour of the world taught, that "it is eternal life to know the only true God, and his Son Jesus Christ whom he commissioned," both concur in inculcating the excellence, and in teaching the utility and importance of self-knowledge. Our origin necessarily engrosses the first chapter of self-knowledge; and here the Bible begins. This volume, replete with all wisdom and knowledge requisite to the happiness of man during every period of his existence, in time and to eternity, wisely and kindly opens with the history of man's creation, and closes with his eternal destiny. To it we are indebted for every correct idea, for every just sentiment on this subject in all the volumes and in all the intellects on earth. Destroy it and all that has been deduced, borrowed, or stolen from it, and man is


10

PRIMITIVE STATE.

not only a savage in disposition, but as rude and ignorant of his origin as the beasts that perish. This is an assertion made with full knowledge of all that is claimed by sceptics, and alleged by unbelievers, from the days of Celsius down to the era of Mental Independence. And the day is not far distant in which we trust this will be universally admitted.

Considering the Bible, therefore, as the only oracle on this subject; viewing it as containing the sum total of all that mortal man can know of his origin, we shall only hear and attend to its representations of the origin of man. And first we shall attend to his creation:- After God Almighty had formed the heavens and the earth, and fitted the latter for the abode of that creature for whom it was made, he proceeded with singular deliberation to create this most august of all the creatures of his vast empire. When suns were to be lighted, and all the hosts of the heavens and the earth marshalled, he was pleased without a preamble or a preface, to command them into being; but when man, the sovereign of this globe, was to be fashioned, he pauses, and retires within himself for a model, and makes his own image the grand archetype of man. He builds his body from the elements of the earth. He gives him a soul or animal life in common with all the animals created; but he infuses into him from himself directly, without any intervention, a spirit, a pure, intellectual principle. So that man stands erect, one being, possessing body, soul, and spirit. His body was as earthly as that of any other creature, only of more delicate and exquisite organization. His soul or animal life, which gives him all the passions, was like theirs, save that it was not the governing principle; but at the head of all, and above all, his intellect or spirit was enthroned, which placed him incomparably above every other inhabitant of the earth. Thus Adam stood a triune being, having a body, a soul, and a spirit, each of them perfect in every respect, and perfectly united and subordinated in one sublime constitution; the spirit enthroned in the head and as the head; the soul resident in the heart, and not only animating but energising the whole body in perfect obsequiousness to the intellectual department.

By the way, we may observe, that the Jews, the Greeks, the Romans, as well as the English, have had three terms which they used as distinctly expressive of these three. These are the body, soul, and spirit, of the English; the corpus, anima, and animus, of the Latins; the soma, psuche, and nous, of the Greeks; and the nerep, nepesh, and ruth, of the Hebrews. These in each language are representatives of each other; and the most of the modern languages have the same distinctness of phraseology in marking each of the constituents of man. The body is organic mass, animated and pervaded by the soul or animal life, which, as the Scriptures say, is in the blood; and the spirit is that pure intellectual principle which acts immediately upon the soul and mediately upon the body. We know that in popular use, the terms soul and spirit


11

PRIMITIVE STATE.

are generally used as synonymous, and have been so in the practice of all languages; but when we wish to speak with the greatest perspicuity or emphasis, we distinguish these from one another. Thus Paul prays for the Thessalonians, that God would sanctify them wholly, their body, soul, and spirit. The body and soul, in common usage, denote the whole man; but when we speak philosophically, we say, body, soul, and spirit. Each of these has its respective attributes and powers. The spirit has the faculties we call the powers of understanding; the soul has its passions and affections; the body has its organs and their functions. In man reason and all intelligence belong to the spirit, together with volition in its primary character. All the passions and affections belong to the soul, and are identified with animal life; all the appetites and propensities strictly belong to the body. But so united are these constituents of man, that what one does the others do likewise. So that while we define thus, we know that in all the acts of the man there is such a combination of energies that the whole spirit, soul, and body, move in perfect concert in all those acts which are properly called human. A hint or two of this sort, without an elaborate disquisition, illustration, or proof, we suppose necessary to a correct view of man; but to enter largely into this matter would require a volume itself, and would not, perhaps, repay for either the trouble of writing or reading it.

The government belonged to the spirit; its ministers were the passions, and the whole body moved in subordination to these. So intimate were the soul and spirit in all their acts and movements, that they became perfectly identified with each other, and the one term became the representative of both - as one family name represents both husband and wife. But while contemplating man in his first state, we must call in all the helps we have to conceive of him in accordance with his primitive dignity. As a perfect being, then, his reason, his passions, and his appetites existed in the most regular and harmonious connexion with each other. Their natural and necessary dependance was duly felt and acknowledged; and their subordination was founded in perfect reason.

Capable of deriving pleasure from a thousand sources in the material system by means of his senses, he was also qualified to enjoy the most intimate relation and acquaintance with the spiritual system by means of his intellectual faculties. Thus the pleasures and enjoyments of two worlds were made accessible to man in the state in which he was created.

Being thus constituted capable of enjoyments so numerous and multiform, he was the most perfect creature in the universe, as far as human knowledge extends. He was the last, and if we may judge by the regular gradation of all the works of creation, as narrated by Moses, he was the best work of God. But as he was endued not only with powers of acquiring and accumulating enjoyment from two worlds, but with the faculties for communicating it, he was in his very nature social and required


12

THE SPIRIT AND BODY OF CHRIST

co-ordinate beings for the gratification of his powers of communication. Hence from himself God created a co-ordinate being of the same endowments, but of still more delicate constitution.

Kindred society became the consummation of human bliss, because necessary to fill up all man's capacities for enjoyment. A male and a female, possessed of one common nature, mutually dependent on each other for all the higher enjoyments of that nature; in their creation inseparably allied to each other; and in all their wants, desires, and enjoyments, reciprocal, finish the picture of primitive bliss in man's original state. Thus was man created and circumstanced; and after the intelligent, pure and happy pair were introduced to each other, God, their Creator, Inducted them by his own hand into the garden of delights, which for them he had previously formed and beautified with all the exquisite charms which the combined influences of virgin heaven and earth were capable of producing. Then "the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy." And here we shall leave them for the present.

A.C.

***

THE SPIRIT AND BODY OF CHRIST.

A NEW AND FORCIBLE ILLUSTRATION OF THE OPERATION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

THAT the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ, is plain from many places in the New Testament. He is said to be "Lord OF the Spirit," implying that the Spirit is under his dominion; and of the Holy Spirit it said, "Where the Spirit OF the Lord is, there is liberty." The Holy Spirit was to be sent in the name of Jesus; and it was necessary after the Spirit came to have faith in Jesus, to reform towards him, and to be baptized in his name, in order to receive the Holy Spirit.

That the church is the body of Christ, is also equally plain. "For his body's sake, which is the church - we being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another - the bread (loaf) which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread (loaf) and one body - the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church, and he is the Saviour of the body - we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones - ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular - give him to be head over all things to the church, which is his body - he is the head of his body, the church," &c.

It is as equally plain, then, that Christ is the head of the church, as that it is his body, or the Holy Spirit his Spirit. But as there is a consistency preserved in all the figures used in the Bible, Christ is never spoken of as a head, only in reference to the church as a body. The figure is drawn from the human constitution or body, and is a


13

PARAPHRASE ON ROMANS 8:7-25

remarkably appropriate and striking one. It is in the head of man, in his brain, that his spirit or mind sits enthroned, and from which it animates his body. This is the most appropriate place for it in his whole physical constitution, as it is here that the nervous system has its origin or beginning, by which impressions are conveyed to and from the brain, and which branches out from it into the whole body. Here the mind sits, and directs by means of the nerves and muscles, the motions and movements of all the body. But it is not by merely thinking that the mind can perform anything. Although it may conceive a superstructure, or a piece of work of any kind, yet the simple act of conception will not cause the one to rise, or the other to be performed. This is the office of the members of the body, animated and directed by the Spirit, and kept in life and motion.

The figure is in excellent keeping. Christ, the head of his body the church, has the Spirit, and with him is its source or origin. It is from him, as the head, that his body the church is animated, directed and kept alive and in operation by the Spirit. The Holy Spirit thus operates through the church as a body and members, collectively and individually. Hence the important office of the church in the conversion of the world! - and in keeping itself pure and sound and vigorous! - To be animated by the Spirit we must become united to the body, and with it to the Head. Separate a finger, or hand, or arm, from the body, and it dies, withers, and decays. Separate a member from the body of Christ, and spiritual life is extinguished, and spiritual death ensues! When a member becomes diseased it must be healed if possible: but if found to be incurable, must be amputated, or the rest of the body will suffer or die.

J.R.H.

***

PARAPHRASE ON ROMANS 8:7-25.

BY REQUEST.

THE proposition which the Apostle has in design to enforce, is that contained in the last clause of verse 17. viz. "If we believing Jews and Gentiles suffer, without apostacy, the bodily afflictions incident to our obeying the Lord, as he suffered the afflictions attendant on his humiliation, we shall be glorified with him at the resurrection of the just, at which time we shall be fully revealed as the adopted sons of God."

For my part, says Paul, I do not esteem the afflictions of our bodies in the present life as worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be exhibited to us at the resurrection of our bodies from the grave. For such is the transcendant glory to be revealed in us, that the earnest desire of the believing Jew and Gentile looks in hope for the manifestations


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SPECULATION IN RELIGION.

of the sons of God in their glorified bodies, in which they will appear in character as the adopted sons of God. For the believing Jew and Gentiles, as respects the body, were in consequence of one man's sin subjected to corruption in the grave; not, indeed, with their own consent; but they now cheerfully submit their bodies to the dust of death because God has subjected them to it, in hope that these mortal bodies shall be liberated from the bondage of corruption in the grave, and introduced into the freedom of the glorious immortality of the children of God. Besides, we know that bodily suffering is not exclusively the lot of Christians, for the whole human race groan together and travail in pain even yet with all their efforts to escape these evils. And not only the unbelieving Jew and Gentile, but ourselves, who by faith in Jesus, are become the sons of God, who have the chief and most exalted gifts of the Holy Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, anxiously waiting for the full adoption of the sons of God; namely, the redemption of our bodies from the grave at the resurrection of the just. For we are sustained in these bodily sufferings in hope of the glorious resurrection. Now you know, O Romans! that hope which has attained its object is not hope; for what a man sees, how can he hope for it? But if we hope for that which we do not see, then we patiently wait for it, as is the case with respect to the resurrection and glorification of our bodies.

***

SPECULATION IN RELIGION.

BY speculation in religion we mean religious ideas that never enter into practice. Man is a religious creature, because, as an intelligent, immortal, and accountable being, he is dependent on God, and the more dependent he feels himself, the more religious he is, while his speculations in religion bring him no closer to God. Man, therefore, without the knowledge of Jesus Christ as the only mediator between God and man, has no godliness. By godliness we mean, the transformation of mind, passion, and conduct to the will of God as revealed in the gospel. Speculation in religion is that which does not affect, according to the will of God, either the sentiments, passions, or conduct of the religious being.

Speculation in philosophy has been wisely discarded from approved systems. Since the days of bacon our scientific men have adopted the practical and truly scientific mode - That is, they have stopped where human intellect found a bound, over which it could not pass, and have been contented to go no further than material objects, analyzed, gave out their qualities, and left the manner of their existence, as beyond the bounds of created intellect. Since men have been so wise in handling and analyzing material objects, we have heard little or nothing about


15

SPECULATION IN RELIGION.

occult sciences: but the sciences and the arts have advanced with increased velocity to the great good of human kind. We plead for the same principle in the contemplation of religious truth. The qualities of matter are to be found in the great elaboratory of the material world, by inducing matter by every process to give out its qualities, and to deduce nothing from hypothesis; so religious truth is to be deduced from the revelation which the Deity has been pleased to give to man. And as in the elaboratory of the material world, every truth concerning the qualities of matter is to be deduced from the matter itself; so in divine revelation we are to deduce what is practical, avoiding all speculation.

Philosophers have become wise in their generation, and, therefore, we will not even mention the hypotheses of past ages with respect to the material world, which have been scouted by science; but come immediately to our point, namely, that the men of religion have been less wise than the men of science. A few examples shall suffice.

SPECIMENS,

OF SPECULATION IN RELIGION.

God is too good to condemn and punish his creatures.

OF TRUTH.

The Lord God is merciful and gracious, - slow to anger, - longsuffering, - forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin, - and by no means clearing the guilty.

OF SPECULATION IN RELIGION.

Holiness is God's darling attribute. - Mercy is God's darling attribute.

OF TRUTH.

The Lord is holy in all his works, and just in all his ways.

OF SPECULATION IN RELIGION.

God's eternal Son.

OF TRUTH.

That holy offspring which shall be born of you shall be called the Son of God. This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear you him.

OF SPECULATION IN RELIGION.

The Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son by eternal procession.

OF TRUTH.

If I go not away the Comforter will not come, but if I go away I will send him to you - which proceeds from the Father, and he will take of mine and show it to you.

OF SPECULATION IN RELIGION.

The Redeemer came to save the elect.

OF TRUTH.

The Son of Man came to seek and save that which was lost.

OF SPECULATION IN RELIGION.

The Redeemer will only save his elect people.

OF TRUTH.

This is a true saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners - the chief.

OF SPECULATION IN RELIGION.

The elect infants that die in infancy shall be saved.

OF TRUTH.

Suffer little children to come to me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

OF SPECULATION IN RELIGION.

Are there few that be saved?

OF TRUTH.

Strive to enter in at the strait gate, for I say to you that many shall seek to enter in, and shall not be able.

OF SPECULATION IN RELIGION.

The gospel is only good news to sensible sinners.

OF TRUTH.

Good news to all people.

OF SPECULATION IN RELIGION.

The gospel is not to be preached to sinners till they are sensible of their lost estate.

OF TRUTH.

Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature; he that believes shall be saved, he that believes not shall be condemned.


16

SPECULATION IN RELIGION.

OF SPECULATION IN RELIGION.

Sinners in their natural state are dead in sin as the dead in the grave; they can do nothing - they cannot come to Christ, nor repent, nor believe, &c.

OF TRUTH.

You do search the sacred scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life, but you will not come to me that you might have life. The animal man discerns not the things of the Spirit of God, they are foolishness to him, for they are spiritually discerned. This is the condemnation, that light has come into the world, and men have loved darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil.

OF SPECULATION IN RELIGION.

Faith is the gift of God, and, therefore, not the duty of sinners.

OF TRUTH.

He that believes not the Son of God is condemned already, because he has not believed on the only begotten Son of God.

OF SPECULATION IN RELIGION.

Unbelievers cannot believe the gospel, and therefore, they cannot be condemned for that which they are unable to do.

OF TRUTH.

Jesus comes in flaming fire to take vengeance on all those who believe not God and obey not the gospel.

OF SPECULATION IN RELIGION.

Faith includes in it truth, confidence, and many fruits of the Spirit, and, therefore, a man cannot possess faith without the Spirit of God.

OF TRUTH.

Faith is the substance of things not seen, the confidence of things hoped for. He that believes on the Son of God has everlasting life.

OF SPECULATION IN RELIGION.

If you have real faith.

OF TRUTH.

There is one faith.

OF SPECULATION IN RELIGION.

Many believe all that the sacred Scriptures say, and yet perish.

OF TRUTH.

The things verily believed amongst us. He that believes on the name of God is not condemned.

OF SPECULATION IN RELIGION.

Regeneration is an inexplicable mystery.

OF TRUTH.

Seeing you have purified yourself in obeying the truth through the Spirit.

OF SPECULATION IN RELIGION.

In regeneration the soul is passive, and in conversion active.

OF TRUTH.

They were pierced to their hearts, and cried out Men and brethren, what shall we do? Be converted every one of you.

OF SPECULATION IN RELIGION.

Regeneration is the root of all goodness.

OF TRUTH.

Without faith it is impossible to please God - Purifying their hearts by faith.

OF SPECULATION IN RELIGION.

God often hides his face from his people in sovereignty.

OF TRUTH.

Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you.

OF SPECULATION IN RELIGION.

Before that a man can ascertain that he is a child of God, he must love God for what he is in himself as the source of all perfection, without any relation to what he is to believing sinners.

OF TRUTH.

We love him because he first loved us - God is love; he that dwells in love, dwells in God, and God in him.

OF SPECULATION IN RELIGION.

Once in Christ always in Christ.

OF TRUTH.

He that endures to the end, the same shall be saved - Kept by the power of God through faith to salvation.

OF SPECULATION IN RELIGION.

Christ has left no direct nor specific form of government for his church.

OF TRUTH.

Go you into all the world, disciple all nations, baptizing them - and teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo! I am with you always, even to the end of the world.

OF SPECULATION IN RELIGION.

The souls of men sleep with their bodies till the resurrection.

OF TRUTH.

To-day shall you be with me in paradise. I have a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better.


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SPECULATION IN RELIGION.

OF SPECULATION IN RELIGION.

With what body do they come?

OF TRUTH.

You fool! that which you sow is not quickened except it die. And God gives to every seed its own body.

OF SPECULATION IN RELIGION.

It is vain talking - We know that salvation is of God - and we know that if we strive ever so much we cannot be saved except we be elected.

OF TRUTH.

Who are you, O! man that reply against God? To day if you will hear his voice, harden not your heart. Come let us reason together, says the Lord, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as wool. - Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: Let him turn to the Lord, who will have mercy upon him, and to our God, who will abundantly pardon.

It would, indeed, be an arduous undertaking to give specimens of all the ways in which men speculate in religion. The above specimens are given as an example of what is meant by speculation in religion. It is of great consequence to have spiritual discernment to distinguish between that which is speculation in religion and that which is truth. The more especially as such speculations put on the appearance of truth, or seem to have truth for their basis. Such was the first speculation in religion, by attention to which men fell from his original state. "You shall be as God, knowing good and evil," is as true as any speculation that has been proposed since that time.

Speculations in religion may be known by this test: though they could be ascertained, they do no good; and agitated, and discussed, and acted upon, they have the most pernicious consequences. Such are the features of speculation as drawn by Paul - Foolish and untaught questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strife. Of this cast was the first speculation, "You shall be as God." Well be it so. What has been the consequence? Or take any of the above specimens of speculations. Say God is too good to condemn and punish his creatures. Well! agitate the question. Be emboldened in sin, and then find out that he will by no means clear the guilty. Again, say that holiness is God's darling attribute, and then have all your powers heardened in despair. Proceed again to mercy as the favourite of the Most High and speculate yourself into hardened insensibility. Speculate again and say that the Saviour is God's eternal Son, and try if you can believe and act upon it, that the Son, as such, and the Father are equally eternal, as regards the Deity. Or if you try your powers on what men call the eternal procession of the Spirit from the Father and the Son, endeavour to show what you have gained in knowledge of the influence of the Spirit in regeneration, and in that holiness without which no man shall see the Lord. Or say that the redeemer came to save the elect only:- discuss the question in all its bearings - Do you know who are the elect? Or if you contend that the gospel is only to be preached to sensible sinners,


18

CONSTITUTION OF A CHURCH.

the truth leads to inquire who is the sinner that is truly sensible of his sins before he receives the gospel? Or are you such a sensible sinner as to value the gospel without believing it?

The pursuit of speculation leads further from truth and further from God. But the truth is one; always does good, and its practical tendency is happiness to the individual and benevolence to all.

The test of truth is the word of God in its plain sense, addressing itself to every man's conscience. The Word of God is itself the truth, nor is there one speculation in all the Word of God.

Speculations seem to be founded on the Sacred Scriptures. It is, however, only a false appearance. Say that speculation takes up the proposition that men in their natural state are dead in sin, and do nothing pleasing to God, and cannot repent, nor believe the gospel without the Spirit of God. It is all true in a true sense, the Bible says the same things, and much more strongly than men's words can express; but the Bible does not say the same things by way of speculation. It speaks practically; that is, it represents man's entirely helpless state, that he may come to the Saviour, and that in not coming to the Saviour, he may condemn himself as a guilty and depraved enemy to God, and to the gospel, in his mind and by wicked works. Speculation always leads from practice. Men, in their speculations, even about the guilty, depraved, and totally helpless state of man by nature, become vain and proud of their accuracy of knowledge, and thereby are kept from the Saviour, while the reception of the truth of God upon the state of human nature leads to the Saviour, because it is derived from a knowledge of him that came to seek and save that which was lost.

W.B.

***

CONSTITUTION OF A CHURCH.

The following Constitution of a Church lately fell into my hands. - Can any one find fault with it?

A. CAMPBELL.

The Church at ______, believing that the Church of God in the Gospel, in its covenant, constitution, denomination, doctrine, laws, ordinances, offices, duties, and privileges, is the only divinely established order of religious society that now exists in the world; and that all others in reference to it, which differ or are distinguished from it, in any of these particulars are schismatic, and forbidden; disowns any other church covenant than the new covenant in the blood of Christ, or any other constitution or actual state of the church as of divine appointment than that which is built upon the foundation of the doctrine of the Apostles and the Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.

She acknowledges no other bond of church union or principle of


19

THE WHEAT AND THE DARNEL.

Christian fellowship than faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, love, and obedience to him according to the Gospel, and love to his people.

She rejects all human inventions, and sectarian peculiarities, commandments of men in religion, and acknowledges no doctrine or ordinances but those that are revealed in the word of God revealed to the Apostles and Evangelists in the New Testament, as the proper expounder and interpreter of what is written of Jesus Christ by Moses and the Prophets, and in the Psalms of the Old Testament.

She holds Christian fellowship in breaking of bread with all the saints of God who have made a profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and are orderly members of some church, and who hold fellowship with the Apostles and Evangelists in what they heard, saw, looked upon and handled of the word of eternal life, and which they have declared and written 1 John 1:1,4, and who consider themselves as directly under the authority of Jesus Christ as the one lawgiver, and the author and finisher of their faith, and acknowledge the obligation and duty conscientiously to practice the ordinances and duties of the Gospel, as they are, or shall be, made known to them in the word of God: being confidently assured that schism is a sin, and that the Lord Jesus Christ has given no power or authority to any individual, or association of men, to compromise away, or to alter or modify any truth in doctrine, ordinance, or duty, to promote fellowship or union, and that Christian union, through the word of the Apostles, by faith in Jesus Christ and the government of the perfect law of liberty, is the only one practicable for the glory of God, the happiness of the saints, and the conversion of the world as is evinced in the intercessory prayer of Jesus Christ, John 17:20,21.

This church admits none to membership until after they have been immersed on a profession of their faith into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

***

THE WHEAT AND THE DARNEL.

OUR Saviour's parable of the wheat and the darnel (Matt. 13) is often misunderstood and misapplied. This is done whenever it is used to justify fellowship with one who has dishonoured the Christian profession. And the chief reason of it is, that the phrase "kingdom of heaven" and the term "church," are supposed to express the same idea.

This, however, is an error. The compound term "kingdom" always presents at least three cardinal ideas - KING, SUBJECTS, and TERRITORY, without which we cannot conceive of the existence of a kingdom. The


20

THE WHEAT AND THE DARNEL.

word church or congregation in its widest sense in its widest sense can give the idea, only of the subjects of the kingdom. In the attempt to explain this parable, this is to be particularly noticed in the first place.

In the next place it should be remembered that each parable has some special point of application, and is not to be applied in so bungling a manner to the whole subject. A parable or comparison is like a lamp which can enlighten but one side of an object at a time.

To what part of the kingdom of heaven then does the parable of the wheat and darnel apply? In other words, in what respect is the kingdom of heaven like a field in which wheat and darnel grow together and are to remain undisturbed till harvest? It is plain there can be no comparison between such a field and the king - the Lord Jesus. It is, or at least ought to be, equally plain to the least acquainted with the scriptures, that such a comparison cannot be instituted with regard to the subjects of the King, or what may be termed the church. Because, the church of Christ is supposed always to consist of those who are regenerated and have become children of God by faith - who are washed, justified, and sanctified; and amongst whom no iniquity or iniquitous persons who will be tolerated at all. For there is a system of laws and discipline furnished to the church by which any wicked persons who come in unawares can be promptly excluded, and the scripture abounds with exhortations to "purge out the old leaven" to "put away the wicked person," to "turn away from such," &c. Now in the parable, we have both wheat and darnel - the wheat designating the church, the subjects - the "children of the kingdom" as they are styled by the Saviour in his exposition of the parable, and the darnel representing "the children of the wicked one," both growing together and equally conspicuous, and we are expressly prohibited from rooting out the darnel. "Let them grow together" is the command. In this view consequently no discipline can ever be enforced against an offender however notorious - and to suppose then that the parable relates to the church is manifestly absurd and contrary to the whole tenor of the Scriptures.

When, however, the parable is applied to the territory of the kingdom, as the Saviour himself applies it, (for he says "the field is the world,") all difficulty vanishes. We know that as respects its territory, the kingdom of heaven is just like a field containing both wheat and darnel - that the righteous and the wicked exist together in the world, and must of necessity remain together until the harvest of the earth be ripe - until the "end of the world." "I wrote to you," says Paul, 1 Cor. 5, "not to company with fornicators; yet not altogether with fornicators of this world, or covetous, or extortioners," &c. "for then ye must needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company if any called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or a


21

QUERY AND REPLY

railer, or an extortioner," &c. "with such a one no not to eat." It is at the end of the world that the Saviour will give command to the angels, the celestial reapers, who will gather out of the [territory of] the kingdom all that offend, and cast them into the burning lake. In the mean time, however the church be kept purged from offenders by the means divinely appointed, and it argues great ignorance of the genius of the Christian religion, and of the Scriptures, for any one to attempt to justify corrupt communion by any means, and more especially by the parable of the "wheat and the darnel," which is so differently explained and applied by our Lord himself. See Matt. 13.

R.R.

***

QUERY AND REPLY.

Query. Did the Lord never use things that had no real existence in his parables - or, in other words, had all the things mentioned in the parables a real existence?

M.W.

Reply. Illustrations, similitudes, comparisons, and parables, must be drawn from facts, or things real, otherwise they are worse than useless - they are deceptions. To explain, illustrate, or set forth a hypothesis by an hypothesis, would not be more unsatisfactory and powerless, than to explain a fact, a doctrine, an institution, an event by an imaginative creation.

There are the points in a parable or comparison which are to be illustrated or set forth, and these are to be compared with the fact, or the reality, or the thing introduced for illustration. All the rest is but the ornament or drapery of the allegory or similitude. Our Lord's parables are all taken from nature, real life, or acknowledged fact, without a single exception, so far as I can understand them. For example - the parable of the Sower. Have we not the sower, the seed, the different sorts of ground, the different products, &c. in nature and fact? The parable of the Tares - Have we not a field, wheat, darnel, harvest, reapers, &c. and is there not a resemblance between the wheat and darnel at first, and the danger of rooting up the wheat in pulling out the darnel? The parable of the Sweep-net - Have we not such an instrument, fishermen, good and bad fish, and vessels, and dragging the net to the shore? In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus - Have we not rich Sadducees and poor Christians, high living, sudden death, angels, Abraham's bosom, hades, and future torment? The parable of the Prodigal Son - have we not fathers, good and prodigal sons, repentance, amendment, forgiveness, &c.

Those who presume to except one out of all the parables of Christ, because it thwarts their views as an exception to a universal rule, had


22

SORROW FOR THE DEAD.

need to have infallible evidence that they are not grievously mistaken, and wresting his words to get rid of their force against their wild and unlicensed imaginations.

***

REFORM MUST BE GRADUAL.

MANKIND are more frequently swayed by prejudice than by reason. Reason has a clear eye; but prejudice is blind, and either clings tenaciously to old doctrines and time-worn systems, or gropes forwarded in imminent danger of stumbling upon the dark mountains of error. Hence new systems* generally meet with more opposers than advocates; and hence, too, bad systems and false doctrines, on their first promulgation, gain as many proselytes as those that are genuine and useful. We need not wonder, then, that philosophers have been imprisoned, statesmen banished, poets starved, Apostles beheaded, and that the Saviour of men was crucified; while dupes and impostors have been countenanced, honoured, and even deified. Nor need we be astonished that every successful improvement in science and the arts has gained its popularity only by slow degrees. That reformer, therefore, who would succeed, must not attempt, at once, any great innovation. They who have long groped in the darkness of a dungeon, cannot bear to be suddenly ushered into the full glare of a noon-day's sun.

Kirkham.

* An old system revived is new to strangers to it. - H.

***

SORROW FOR THE DEAD.

THE sorrow for the dead is the only sorrow from which we refuse to be divorced. Every other wound we seek to heal - every other affliction to forget: but this wound we consider it a duty to keep open - this affliction we cherish and brood over in solitude. Where is the mother that would willingly forget the infant that perished like a blossom from her arms, though every reflection is a pang? Where is the child that would willingly forget the most tender parents, though to remember be but to lament? Who, even in the hour of agony, would forget the friend over whom he mourns? Who, even when the tomb is closed upon the remains of her he most loved, and he feels his heart, as it were, crushed in the closing of its portal, would accept consolation that was to be bought by forgetfulness? No! the love which survives the tomb is one of the noblest attributes of the soul! If it has its woes, it has it has likewise its delights; and when the overwhelming burst of grief is calmed into the gentle tear of recollection; when the sudden anguish and the convulsive agony over the present ruins of all that we most loved, is softened away into pensive meditation on all that it was in the


23

SORROW FOR THE DEAD.

days of its loveliness - who would root out such a sorrow from the heart? Though it may sometimes throw a passing cloud even over the bright hour of gaiety, or spread a deeper sadness over the hour of gloom, yet who would exchange it even for the song of pleasure, or the burst of revelry? No! there is a voice from the tomb sweeter than song! There is a recollection of the dead, to which we turn even from the charms of the living. Oh the grave! the grave! It buries every error - covers every defect - extinguishes every resentment. From its peaceful bosom spring none but fond regrets and tender recollections. Who can look down upon the grave even of an enemy, and not feel a compunctious throb that ever he should have warred with the poor handful of earth that lies mouldering before him!

But the grave of those we loved - what a place for meditation! Then it is that we call up in long review the whole history of virtue and gentleness, and the thousand endearments lavished upon us almost unheeded in the daily intercourse of intimacy; then it is that we dwell upon the tenderness, the solemn, awful tenderness of the parting scene - the bed of deaths, with all its stifled griefs, its noiseless attendance, its mute, watchful assiduities - the last testimonies of expiring love - the feeble, fluttering, thrilling, O how thrilling! pressure of the hand - the last fond look of the gazing eye, turning upon us, even from the threshold of existence - the faint, faltering accents, struggling in death to give one more assurance of affection!

Aye, go to the grave of buried love and meditate! There settle account with conscience for every past benefit unrequitted - every past endearment unregarded, of that departed being who can never - never - return to be soothed by thy contrition!

If thou art a child, and hast ever added a sorrow to the soul, or a furrow to the silvered brow of an affectionate parent - if thou art a husband, and hast ever caused the fond bosom that ventured its whole happiness in thy arms, to doubt one moment of thy kindness or thy truth - if thou art a friend, and hast ever wronged, in thought, or word, or deed, the spirit that generously confided in thee - if thou art a lover, and hast ever given one unmerited pang to that true heart that now lies cold and still beneath thy feet; then be sure that every unkind look, every ungracious word, every ungentle action, will come thronging back upon thy memory, and knocking dolefully at thy soul - then be sure that thou wilt lie down sorrowing and repentant on the grave, and utter the unheard groan, and pour the unavailing tear, more deep, more bitter, because unheard and unavailing.

Then weave thy chaplet of flowers, and strew the beauties of nature about the grave; console thy broken spirit, if thou canst, with these tender, yet futile tributes of regret; but take warning by the bitterness of this thy contrite affliction over the dead, and be more faithful and affectionate in the discharge of thy duties to the living.

W. Irving.


24

THE HAPPY NEW YEAR.

BE KIND TO EACH OTHER.

Be kind to each other!
The night's coming on,
When friend, and when brother
Perchance may be gone!
Then 'midst our dejection,
How sweet to have earned,
The best recollection
Of kindness - returned!
When day hath departed
And memory keeps
Her watch broken hearted,
Where all she loved sleeps!
Let falsehood assail not,
Nor envy disprove -
Let trifles prevail not -
Against those ye love!
Nor change with to-morrow,
Should fortune take wing,
But the deeper the sorrow,
The closer still cling!
Oh, be kind to each other!
The night's coming on,
When friend and when brother
Perchance may be gone!

***

HAPPY NEW YEAR, AT THE HOUSE OF PATERNUS.

PATERNUS had been accustomed to call together his descendants to celebrate the anniversary of his birth, which happened to be on the first day of the year. On these occasions he was wont to recite to his children and grand children the most interesting incidents of his life, and to deduce such moral lessons as the occasions suggested and the exigencies of the times required. He was now entering upon his eightieth year, and the wife of his youth had more than completed her seventy-sixth. He had assembled the eight families of his sons and daughters, and two families of his grand-sons, amounting in all to seventy-five souls, and all residents of the county in which he lived. The old mansion of his grandfather, and the large dining hall, the scene of this happy new year, was filled with the prattling objects of his parental solicitude and affection. The affectionate greetings of the little cousins, uncles, and aunts, and the little exploits of the young talkers and walkers imparted much gaiety and cheerfulness to the scene. After they had all refreshed themselves with the liberal collations which the season afforded, and had retired from the festive table, they were arranged, according to seniority, around the cheerful fire, which a fierce north wind had made most comfortable. Meanwhile the prattling of the little ones had been lulled to repose, and all who had not capacity for rational entertainment were found at rest in the arms of sleep. Parternus sat in the old fashioned armed chair, in which his own grand father had sat, and the fondest object of his youthful affection, and the comfort of his old age, sat by his side, in the very chair on which she had often sung to repose her first born son. Thus placed, they all sang a hymn of thanksgiving, after which the old patriarch with a clear and tremulous voice, thus began:

"Kind and indulgent Heaven has once more brought us all together under the roof of our ancestors, and surrounded us with his guardian arms, and with favours more than we can tell. I have yesterday completed my seventy-ninth year, hallowed be his name! and yet continue to enjoy both health of body and vigour of mind. But my withered face and hoary locks admonish me that soon I must go the way of all the earth and sleep with my good forefathers. I am glad to see my children and my grand-children all around me on this my birth day; and now that I am permitted to see and salute so many of the objects of my dearest affection, I wish to make this opportunity an occasion of inculcating one lesson upon all of you, which I have often suggested to you before, but now from new considerations and more mature reflections. But to do this with the most advantage, I will give you the history of out family


25

THE HAPPY NEW YEAR.

for three generations, which is as far back as I am able to trace it. This I have often purposed to do, and have occasionally given to some of you some sketches of it, but have never done it fully, nor even partially, to all of you. I do this not to gratify your pride, nor to inflame your worldly ambition; for in our history there is nothing, or very little, adapted to cherish the former or augment the latter. 'Tis true that both my father and my grandfather attained to the distinction of a good name, and left to me the rich inheritance of an unspotted integrity, which I have endeavoured to transmit unimpaired to you. They were respected in their day for their virtues; and their industry and christian morality obtained a patrimony which afforded themselves a competence, and gave to their children a good and useful, though not a learned education. I had two brothers and one sister who shared my father's inheritance with me; and I, being the eldest, inherited this farm and the old mansion, which, for the same reason, my father inherited from my grandfather, who obtained it by his own industry and some little aids which a distant relative extended to him. Our family has, indeed, become numerous. My sister left behind her eleven children, ,and my two brothers have together more descendants than I have. But it is neither the number, wealth, nor political respectability of our family on which I have any desire to expatiate; but the moral virture and Christian excellence of many of your relatives which I desire to lay before you for the purpose which I have supremely in view. Of my grand-father's family seven brothers and three sisters lived and died members of the kingdom of Jesus Christ. My grandmother was reputed to be the most eminent Christian in her vicinity in her day, and is said to have been a sort of mother to the whole church in Hellensborough on the banks of the Humber. My grandfather was proverbially a just and pious man, and some of you have seen and known both my father and mother. Their virtues are known, and, I trust, appreciated by the elder branches of my family, and are yet alive in the memory of many of our neighbours in this vicinity. Sixty-three persons of our family, including my grandfather and grandmother, my own father and mother, uncles, aunts, and cousins, are enrolled in the church books of our parish, as having lived and died members of the family of God; and there are yet living, including those here present, of our family, eight-five persons professing godliness. But why, you will ask me, do I make these enumerations and go into these details? I will answer you. It is to open to your view the instrument and source of all this good, from which I am to draw my moral, and which I am about to present to you all as my new year's gift - and, perhaps, my last new year's gift to my dear offspring. All the Christian excellence and Christian happiness possessed and enjoyed in our family can be traced to the mother of my grand-father, and through her to another disciple of our glorious Master and Redeemer. The history of my great grand-mother is briefly this:- Her father was a wild and profligate character, whose vices brought him immaturely to the grave at the age of twenty-seven. Her mother pined away and died heart-broken and disconsolate, leaving behind her two daughters, my great grand-mother and her sister, the former aged two years, and the latter four, when they lost their mother. A kind and amiable Christian lady, Mrs. Richardson, daughter of the pious and learned William Tindal, took my great grandmother, when two years old, into her own family, and brought her up, when a proud and unfeeling aunt, Mrs. Stockton, refused the trouble. Her sister fell into the hands of another aunt, who had no more religion, but a little more humanity, and a good deal more natural affection than Mrs. Stockton. She brought her up after her own heart and example: and having married an officer in the army, she accompanied him to the Indies, where, in a few years, she died. Concerning her descendants I have no information.

"To return to Mrs. Richardson. This amiable lady, like Job, 'the case


26

THE HAPPY NEW YEAR.

which she knew not she sought out.' She spent the greater part of her time in ministering to the saints, and in acts of Christian sympathy and tenderness. Tradition has informed me that she was one of the most diligent matrons in her day in educating her family in the knowledge of the sacred scriptures. Her husband was a barrister of some note, but not a Christian himself, he left the management of his daughters entirely to his wife. - She is said to have read the scriptures to her children, accompanied with her prayers, in her own closet; and so soon as they could understand the meaning of the most familiar language, she imbued their minds with the knowledge of God and his Son Jesus Christ. She was wont to interrogate them on the subjects which she read to them; and so soon as they could read, she induced them, by every sort of allurement, to read and commit to memory many passages of the evangelical history and of the devotional part of the Old and New Testaments. She brought up my great grand-mother as one of her own children, and it is said that she did not know that Mrs. Richardson was not her own mother until she was in her sixteenth year. She is, moreover, said to have shed many tears of sorrow when she heard, for the first time, that she whom she had always called mother was not her mother, but her benefactress. Mrs. Richardson said to her, 'Mary, Do you not love Jesus Christ?' 'l do,' she replied. 'Why do you love him?' she next asked her. - 'Because I believe that he loved me and died for me,' she rejoined. 'Well, then, was it not I who made you acquainted with him, who first taught you who he was, and what he had done for you; and if you have been born again, as I trust you are, I am your mother in the Lord; and although not your natural parent in the flesh, I am your mother in a relation and sense dearer then nature knows, and more durable than time itself. Weep not, my dear Mary; I am your mother, you are my daughter in the Lord; and I trust that as I have hitherto been to you a mother, I will so continue, and that you shall always be my daughter.' Thus speaking, she fell upon her neck, and embracing her, said, 'The Lord bless you, my daughter, and keep you from evil, and make you a mother to many as I have been to you!' This prayer, said the venerable Paternus, while the tears were rolling down the furrows of his wrinkled face - this prayer has been answered as certainly as I live; for this very Mary was in her nineteenth year married to him who was the progenitor of all those families of which I have told you, and from whom we are all descended. I can trace our history no farther back, and I am glad that so far I can trace it with perfect certainty, through channels the most authentic. - Behold, then, the source of all our nobility, of all that has given respectability to our family, and religion and happiness to so many now living, and so many already dead. I have now, my dear children, told you the history of our family, and I hope you will each of you preserve it with as much fidelity and accuracy, and transmit it to your families with as much precision as I now give it to you.

"But now for the moral. You will, no doubt, have seen that all the good, religious and moral, which our family has enjoyed has been instrumentally derived to us from the piety of Mrs. Richardson. Had my great grandmother fallen into the hands of her who took charge of her sister, how different in all human probability, would have been our lot at this day! 'Tis true she was but the instrument in the hand of our Heavenly Father; but he always works by means; and what a scheme of benevolence is that which honours and rewards the instrument as though it had been the author of so much good! And such most certainly is the scheme of divine philanthropy. Now let me present this matter to you in another light. If it be true, as it most unquestionably is, that all human beings will be rewarded according to their works, how great will be the reward of , those who, like the Christian matron, the benefactress of our family, have originated a cumulative system, which,


27

THE HAPPY NEW YEAR.

as the current of time advances, transmits in deeper and wider channels its blessings and its bounties to men? How long must this stream flow before the actual result can be computed and decided? Perhaps a thousand years may be completed before her good works have ceased to follow her! And if you transmit these blissful influences, precepts, and examples, which have descended by a sort of inheritance to you - I say, if you hand down the cup of bliss to your offspring uncorrupted, I am sure many more will drink of it. But as yet we have not considered the influence which acts collaterally upon our contemporaries. We have only considered those which descend in the direct lines of succession. I cannot form any estimate of the good that has passed from my progenitors to their associates in life. I have heard much, and know a good deal, of what happiness has accrued to other families, and to the neighbourhoods with which they conversed. They were lights in their day and salt to the generation in which they lived; but I am without sufficient data to conclude, or form a correct idea, of how much was acheived by them to the glory of God and the good of men. When the book of God's remembrance is opened I know much will appear to their praise, and honour, and glory, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

"There is another light in which this subject is to be viewed. You are not to think that she who originated this wide diffusive scheme of benevolence is the only individual who is to be rewarded for all that has grown out of it, or is yet growing out of it. God's rewards are not so few, nor his favour so parsimonious, as that he can distinguish but a few of his faithful servants. He can afford to reward the originator of a scheme of benevolence for all the good it produces, and each one of the continuators, as though he had no fellow-servant assisting in the cause. Were it otherwise, the twelve Apostles would have all the rewards for all the temporal and eternal good which Christianity has produced, or is capable of producing. Each and every one of the faithful labourers in the Lord's vineyard will receive a reward for all the good he does and produces, although he had no predecessor nor successor in the work.

"But if, and I know no reason why it should not be so - I say, but if the negligent and the indifferent are to be charged with evil which they might have prevented, and condemned for not having done the good in their power, how cumulative, too, is the system of iniquity, and how awful the condemnation of them who instituted a course or system of sinning, which has increased and is increasing with every revolution of time. The apostles of infidelity, the propagators of error and of schemes of immorality, diffusive and operative in their nature, are as worthy of condemnation for the remote, as well as for the proximate evil effects of their respective systems. And upon the same principles of remunerating justice, the originator and the coadjutor, the continuator and his abettor, will each receive a recompence according to his deeds. Thus it is that we are not like isolated beings, each one acting for himself alone, as angels do; but the condition of this department of the universe, of the human family, is, that we are all standing together in a peculiar chain or concatenation of causes and effects, of parents and children, mutually dependent on, and responsible to one another, and to our common parent, the Creator and Judge of All. It is a department of the universe sui generis, of its own sort, and can be understood correctly only when the parts are viewed in relation to the whole, and the whole in relation to the parts. But the Bible is the best, for it is the only expositor of the whole, and he that is not governed by it in his reasonings, as well as in his conduct, has ever proved himself to be a fool. But I feel disposed to hear in return your views on all that I have suggested, and will yield to you when I have expressed one, and the most ardent wish of my heart, and that is, that you may transmit to your posterity every Christian quality you may have inherited from your ancestors; and that you may not


28

FRAGMENTS FROM MY COMMON-PLACE BOOK.

only yourselves enjoy the blessings of the salvation of God, but that you may hand them down with your names to the remotest times, ever remembering that the mercy of God is upon them that fear him to many generations, even to thousands of them that love him and keep his commandments."

After singing the ninetieth Paslm, the venerable Paternus knelt down and prayed with them all, recounting the mercies of God through many years, and commending his children, grand children and great-grand children, to the God of his fathers, with a fervour and affection that none of the adults present can ever forget.

If you think this incident worthy of reading, I may furnish you with another, of a similar character, on some future occasion.

A.C.

***

FRAGMENTS FROM MY COMMON-PLACE BOOK.

I HAVE found it useful to enter upon my common-place book such thoughts and reflections as occurred to me upon various subjects, and which seemed either forcible or just. If the following fragments be worth of a place upon your pages, they are at your service.

R.R.

"WHEN weak arguments are adduced to sustain a good cause, and are refuted, it is a common error for men to suppose that the contrary side of the question is established. The point at issue is yet untouched. To show the inconclusiveness of an argument is not to adduce one upon the opposite side of the question. * * * It is very important in debate, to introduce but few arguments and sustain them well. In war, Philip of Macedon and Alexander owed their success to the introduction of the phalanx. Napoleon gained his victories by concentrating his forces upon a single point."

"THE existence of an efficient eldership is absolutely necessary to the prosperity of a congregation. It is a vain thing for the Evangelist to attempt to make the whole church proficient in Christianity by weekly discourses. His labour would be more productive if he were to select a few of the more faithful and zealous members, and devote himself for some time to their improvement by giving them lectures daily upon the gospel, church history, chronology, sacred times and places, order, discipline, &c. &c. so that they might after his departure teach the congregation. 'The things which thou hast heard of me,' says Paul to Timothy, 'commit thou to faithful men who will be able to teach others.' These men, having given sufficient evidence of their proficiency and fitness, should be appointed to the elder's office, and should visit the members of the congregation often from house to house to instruct and watch over the flock. The church should be subject to them. Without proper subordination, there can be no proper rule - no union - no strength."

"ANGER. - the feeling of anger or displeasure may be useful if it be properly governed and directed. To be insensible is to be in perhaps


29

FRAGMENTS FROM MY COMMON-PLACE BOOK.

as vicious an extreme as to be irascible. True meekness consists in a medium. Christ once looked round upon the wicked with anger. - God is angry with the wicked every day. This feeling is properly directed against sin. Strong passions are like strong winds - not so dangerous if the vessel be in good trim, and the pilot at the helm. They are certainly better than a dead calm. It is not said of the elder, who is an example to the flock, that he is not to be angry - but that he is not to be 'soon angry.' It is not said that the Christian may not be angry with his brother, but that he must not be 'angry with his brother without a cause.' But when anger gains the ascendancy and produces works of the flesh, it is a most dangerous passion. The Christian, indeed, should carefully watch all strong emotions, nor should he permit himself to be long under their influence. If he do, he gives an opportunity to the devil. The stormy wind may continue so long that the vessel, however prudently guided, may be driven from her course into an unknown and dangerous sea. Hence the Christian precept, 'Let not the sun go down upon your wrath.' In the kingdom of heaven every one must be in a good humour at sun-set. As the angry heats and fervours of noon subside, so should the brief excitements of the Christian give place to calmness and serenity; and while a few tears may be shed, like evening dews, for the frailties of humanity, he will lay his head upon his pillow in peace and charity with all the world."

"IT is an evidence of the divine origin of Christianity that it proposes a state of society not only in advance of the present age, but of any thing the world has ever seen. Society in its present improved condition is far behind it." * *

"IT is a happy condition to be under the influence of good principles. These give a noble triumph to the soul. But when a man is conquered by passion he feels himself enslaved and humbled. He becomes mean in his own eyes and contemptible in the estimation of others. 'Of that by which a man is overcome, of the same is he brought into bondage.'"

"People are wont to admire a speaker who uses high flowing words above their comprehension. They think the stream is deep because they cannot see the bottom, and do not consider that it is owing to its muddiness."

"The popular sects affect to disparage the forms and institutions by which the gospel is received. The reason is that they are all unpossessed of them, and unable to receive them without changing their entire religious polity. This they are predetermined not to do, and consequently, like the fox and the grapes in the fable, pretend to despise as useless and 'non-essential' what their circumstances prevent them from adopting."


30

THE POET'S CORNER.

CHOICE SAYINGS OF NEWTON.

My principal method of defeating heresy, is by establishing the truth. One proposes to fill a bushel with tares; now if I can fill it first with wheat I shall defy his attempts.

Many have puzzled themselves about the origin of evil; I observe there is evil, and that there is a way to escape it, and with this I begin and end.

Apollos met with two candid people in the church; they neither ran away because he was legal, nor were carried away because he was eloquent.

I can conceive a living man without an arm or a leg, but not without a head or heart; so there are some truths essential to vital religion, and which all awakened souls are taught.

A Christian is like a young nobleman, who, on going to receive his estate, is at first enchanted by its prospects: this in a course of time may wear off, but a sense of the value of the estate grows daily.

When we first enter into the divine life, we propose to grow rich; God's plan is to make us feel poor.

A man's present sentiments may not be accurate, but we may make too much of sentiments. We pass a field with a few blades - we call it a field of wheat: but here is no wheat; no, not in perfection: but wheat is sown, and full ears may be expected.

Contrivers of systems on earth are like contrivers of systems in the heavens; where the sun and the moon keep the same course in spite of the philosophers.

We should take care that we do not make our profession of religion a receipt in full for all other obligations.

A man truly illuminated will no more despise others, than Bartimeus after his own eyes were opened, would take a stick and beat ever blind man he met.

***

THE POET'S CORNER.

THE "GOSPEL BANNER."

Lift high the "GOSPEL BANNER"!
With trumpet-voice proclaim,
That Jesus is the King of kings,
And in his holy name,
Call to the faithful from afar,
To gird their armour on;
And join to wage the heavenly war,
That makes his people one.
 
Lift high the "GOSPEL BANNER"!
With steady hand and strong -
With steady hand and strong -
As heralds of a brighter day,
That may not tarry long:
When strife of warring sects shall cease,
The one great contest be,
That acts of mercy may increase,
And Christ exalted be.
 
Lift high the "GOSPEL BANNER"!
We'll plead with one accord
For union on this truth alone
That JESUS IS THE LORD:
Then by our swift obedience show,
His power to save and bless,
That men may be constrained to know
The Lord our Righteousness.

GOSPEL BANNER VOLUME 1 INDEX