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five kings of the five Cities of the Plain; and here we are told by anticipation that Bela is the same as Zoar!
Olympas. Read again the next verse, William?
William. "Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven."
Olympas. This verse is peculiarly important. Here are two Lord's spoken of. Who are they, Reuben?
Reuben. The former is the Lord on earth-"the Judge of all the earth" the visible Lord, who communed with Abraham, Lot, and all the patriarchs. The other is the Lord in heaven-the invisible God, "whom no man has seen or can see." I presume the former is God the Father, and the second is the Lord afterwards incarnate.
Olympas, They are both called Yehovah. The Yehovah rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from Yehovah. It is certain that it is so written; but your inferences from these words may not be so certain. It is indeed plain that the Lord to whom Abraham and Lot spake rained vengeance down from the Lord in heaven; and it is probable, very probable the Lord, the Judge of all the earth, who spoke to Abraham, was indeed the Word that was in the beginning with God, and that was God, who became incarnate and dwelt with men in a human body, whose similitude he so often seems to have assumed when he communed with the ancients. This is the more probable also from the declaration that the Divinity is invisible—that God the Father is the invisible God, of whom the Lord, who punished Sodom, is the express image; and who, therefore, of right, both as respects nature and image, wears his name Jehovah. Still I would have you clearly draw the line between what is inferential merely, and what is expressly affirmed in so many precise words. What next ensued, William, in the narrative?
William. The Lord rained fire and brimstone on those cities, and overthrew them, and all the plains with them, with all the inhabitants, and every thing standing or growing upon the ground. I read the other day that the plain about 70 miles long, and 18 broad, abounding in asphaltes, or bitumen, of which there were many pits, highly in flammable, was ignited by the lightning, and that the ground was burned out like a large saucer, into which the Jordan poured its sluggish waters, and that it became a sea, now called the Salt Sea, or the Dead Sea, anciently Asphaltites. Also, that the water is so thick that a stone will swim in it; that it emits an effluvia fatal to the fowls of heaven; and that its waters are mortal even to the fish that swim in them; that the winds cannot ruffle its dark and pitchy waters; and that the very fruit that grows upon the surrounding trees, though so beantiful to the eye, are filled with ashes.
Olympas. So the love of the marvellous embraces every opportunity of developing itself. It adds fictitious items-exaggerates the true, and new colors all. It is, indeed, true that the Jordan has made a sea, called the Dead Sea, of nearly such dimensions, on the ground once deluged with fire; and it is probable that much of that bituminous earth was consumed. Even in the ordinary processes of nature some times not only nitrous particles exhaled from the earth, but sulphurous also; and these in large volumes coming into contact with the electric spark, are instantly ignited; and by an accumulation of such materials the most terrific scenes sometimes transpire. It is therefore certain that fire and brimstone were rained down on these cities, and that, with all their inhabitants, they were consumed. Jude says, "They are set forth an example of the doom of ungodly men, suffering the vengeance of an eternal fire." What came of Lot's wife, Susan?
Susan. She was converted into a pillar of salt.
Reuben. Struck dead with lightning and petrified into salt rock, as some traveller, Mr. Shaw or Mr. Pococke, says.
Thomas. Josephus says she was still standing in his day, a monument of Heaven's indignation against those that look back with wishful and rebellious eyes at the city of destruction professedly forsaken.
William. Our Teacher of the Sunday School said that Lot's wife was killed by lightning, and a sheet of sulphur and nitre falling upon her, she was indurated and encased in it; so that being protected from the action of the atmosphere and the rains, she remained for ages.
Olymp. There are many ways of speculating upon these curious mat. ters; but it is always foolish to explain a miracle by showing how it might, in harmony with the regular operations of nature have been performed. I wish you could all learn to put the proper emphasis on the right word in that admirable question which one Paul, a very great orator, once propounded to a very splendid king-"Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you that God should raise the dead?" How would you read that verse, William?
William. I would say, raise the dead.
Reuben. Raise the dead.
Thomas. I would read it, "Why should it be thought a thing incredible that God should raise the dead?"
Olympas. You are undoubtedly correct. If you had seen as well as heard Paul pronounce the word God on that occasion, you never would have forgotten. I opine that Agrippa remembers it to this hour.
Well, now, it was a miracle, or it was not. I opine, indeed, that
no more is intended than to say, she was suddenly killed and thus made a perpetual monument of the crime of looking back under certain circumstances; for as "a covenant of salt" certainly means a perpetual covenant, a pillar of salt would only indicate metaphorically that she was made a perpetual monument of impious disobedience. We pass over for the present all that is written of the origin of the two nations of Moab and Ammon. Their incestuous origin it is important to know, to account for some things in their history. A. C.
BAPTISM FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS.
As the true nature and design of the Christian ordinances are obtaining favorable regard amongst the more intelligent professors of the present day, the rigid self-conceited little sectaries who imagine that their own opinions, originated and commended by a partially educated and illiterate class, alike insignificant in number, talent, and biblical reading, are swelling themselves in great boastings of their mighty discoveries of the lack of scriptural evidence in support of the often asserted, ancient, apostolic, and once universal faith in the positive meaning and design of the first of the three grand and sublime positive institutions of Christianity..
Sermons and tracts of all dimensions are continually issuing from the press, containing only reiterations of the opinion of one or two men who happened to live some three hundred years ago-affirming that baptism is not for the remission of sins, but for no reason at all— a dispensable, unmeaning, ceremonial for making a Christian profession. The opposition has assumed singular forms of reason and argument. Now we have learned dissertations on certain Greek particles— such as eis, kai, and en-by preachers who have a little knowledge of the Greek alphabet-affirming that eis means "because of;" and kai, "even," when baptism is alluded to. These ex post facto laws, manufactured at some of the machine shops in Pittsburg or Birmingham, in Wales or New Holland, for the express purpose of proving that Peter meant be baptized because of the remission of your sins,' and that Jesus meant born of water, even of the Spirit,' are most fatally formed by persons who were born both deaf and blind. They are the most suicidal things in the world. For example, Peter says do two things for the remission of sins. Repent and be baptized (eis) for the remission of sins. Well, let these new translators now mend the passage just to suit their theory, and they have it "Repent and be baptized because of the remission of your sins"!! Are they not sapient Doctors and
safeguides of the unlettered hearers who hang upon their lips-telling them to repent because of, or on account of, the remission of their sins!! Be sorry that God has forgiven you!!! This is a just construction of their criticism as clear as the noon-day sun. Jesus also says of the eucharistic blood, "This is my blood shed (eis) for the remission of the sins of many." "Shed," say these sage directors of public worship, "because of, or on account of, the remission of the sins of many.”
And kai, commonly rendered and, with them is always even, when baptism is spoken of 'You shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit, even in fire-You must be born of the Holy Spirit, even of water.' So fire, even water, is symbolic of the same agent; as water, even Spirit, is of the same agency. According to them Peter said, 'Repent, even be baptized every one of you in the name of the Lord Jesus, on account that your sins are already pardoned-even you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit"! What a new sort of Bible these gentlemen would give us if they had it in charge!! A hundred-nay, a thousand instances can be given of such gross impositions and unintentional frauds practised upon the community by ignorant and self-conceited teachers of the community. A. C.
A NEW CALUMNY.
THE Baptists of Kentucky, so far as they are led by the Banner, are setting themselves in battle array, in a war of extermination against reformers. They now represent the reformers as the most servile followers and imitators of one man. Columns of abuse are now being profusely lavished on all prominent actors and pleaders in the great drama of reformation. They always kindly except one or two, whom they would cajole into an approval of Baptist sectarianism, which is fast making itself as decidedly antichristian as any other species of sectarianism, not excepting even that of the first born of Babylon. Our brethren commenced their career under the banner, No Leader but Jesus No Master but the Messiah. They allow none else. They subscribe to none else. The Baptists see a singular unanimity and uniformity among us. This they feignedly or unthinkingly ascribe to their following one man. The true philosophy of this unanimity is, indeed, that we all follow one teacher-the Messiah-have one Book, one Lord, one Spirit, and one hope. We are following no man, nor set of men; we are neither Gillites, nor Fullerites, nor Bunyanites, nor Calvinists, nor Lutherans, nor Arminians; but Christians, disciples of God's own Son. But the policy of this movement is to lessen the influence of one man, and to sow discord among brethren. But that one man is essentially pacific, and therefore has never dwelt on the weaknesses and frailties of Baptist sectarianism, only in so far as to justify the position in which a few of the self conceited and uneducated leaders of that ring-streaked, speckled, and spotted denomination have placed him.
I say, the Baptist Banner since the Union Meeting has been pursu
ing this course. The reason I say so is, because its editors publish with approbation the scurrilous, vulgar, and abusive rhapsodies of J. L. Waller. And although a multitude of the best Baptists in Kentucky despise his course, still so long as they support with their patronage, such a Banner and such a system of warfare, we must view them all in the light of "the colors" under which they choose to sail. A. C.
A RADICAL reformation both in theory and practice, in family, school, and church-teaching, discipline, and training, is wanting all over the land. Personal, family, and church piety are at a low ebb. The times are sadly out of joint. "The whole head is sick, the whole heart faint; from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot the body is covered with wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores." The signs of the times are all in attestation of the need, and indicative of the practicability of a great reformation in all the moral departments of society. The schools, the academies, the colleges, the family, the church, the periodical press, political, moral, and religions—the state, society in all its roots and branches, manners and customs, call for a deeper, broader, and more effectual reformation, than ever yet accomplished since the great defection began.
The world, the church, mankind are gulled, deceived, by mock reformations, sectarian, dogmatic, theoretic-by mock revivals-by camp-meetings, protracted meetings, great conversions, vast accessions, new schemes of proselytism, anxious seats, mourning benches, shoutings, screamings, vociferations, jerkings, swoonings, faintings, dreams, visions, raptures, &c. &c. &c. But where dwell intelligent devotion, piety unfeigned, moral excellence, Christian suavity, urbanity, benevolence-where the stern virtues of truth, justice, moral righteousness, covenant-keeping, truth-telling-where the beauty of holiness, the meekness, mildness, goodness, gentleness, and heavenlymindedness of Christ's religion! Alas! alas! the gold, the fine gold, is dim! The diamond, the sapphire, the ruby, the emerald-graces, beauties, and adornings of the Holy Spirit-ah! whither have they sped! A thousand conversions in a month, in a week, in a day, are empty, vain, deceitful, unless these conversions terminate in intelligence, purity, benevolence, spirituality, and universal holiness, without which who can enter the presence of Jehovah! When I think of all that is yet wanting, I am more and more for reformation than ever. A. C.
From the Western Christian Advocate.
THE following is a true dialogue, of recent occurrence, between a celebrated teacher of Alexander Campbell's party, and a Methodist preacher: