« PreviousContinue »
testimony was, by miraculous attesta- | Mis. 21. (Reply, p. 129.) “I will tions) were the only ones who were put a new spirit within you,” &c. pierced with the certain knowledge Ezk. xi. 12. I contend that this text that they had disowned and killed cannot by any ingenuity be applied to their own Messiah, or so made aware the conversion of Gentile sinners. It of their“ need of pardon” as to cry relates to a remnant of the scattered out “ what must we do?” I think Israel, and foretells that they should even G. R. D. must feel ashamed of be gathered and thus blessed, while his reliance on the doubtful word the wicked-hearted should be pushall in John v. 25, “ The dead shall nished. hear.” On what would he have re- G. R. D. seems to think (Reply, p. lied if our translators had rendered 131) it would take an eagle eye to akousontai“ will hear," as they have discover defects in what I called his in other places, and as is considered “ man of straw.” An inspection of equally correct? The confusedness the “Christian System,” chap. 9, sec. 2 with which he speaks of Acts ii. 40, and 3, and chap. 13, sec. 4, will howforbids comment. The apostle says, ever, satisfy the candid, that what is “save yourselves,” and G.R.D. says there intended to say we must do (i.e. it does not mean save yourselves by God does not do for us is by these fleeing to Christ! but he does not writers twisted to say we do FOR OURcondescend to tell us by what other SELVES, (i.e. not for others) in order expedient they could save themselves that they may appear to untwist by from the impending vengeance. What saying “no man liveth to himself." he can mean by saying it " was not Now this is both childish and despia salvation from the guilt of sin,” it is cable. In opposing Mr. Campbell's hard to say, for their sins then were “ things that we must do," the writers certainly committed ; but when they find it tolerably easy to intimate behad repented, had been immersed, lief we do not do, repentance we do had received the Holy Spirit, and had not do, but how to get out of saying joined the disciples, they were ac-baptism we do not do, is their difficounted “the saved.” The Jews culty. If we must do one of the three, who murdered the Redeemer, he sage- why not the other two ? They therely says, “ were once unoffending fore kick a dust of words about bapbabes.” So I should suppose; but tism being " for ourselves,” to cover he adds, “ are we better than they ? their inglorious escape. May we the Apostle answers no, in no wise.” once for all say, “Gentlemen, all these Now this is reckless quoting. The are by and for ourselves.” The HeaApostle gives no such answer respect venly Father neither gives faith, reing those Jews, either when they pentance, nor baptism ; but by His were unoffending babes, or when Holy Spirit in his word commands murderers. It was in noticing the all of us to believe, repent, and be sinfulness of other persons (Rom. iii. baptized. If we disobey, we are lost ; 9) that St. Paul asked, “ Do we ex- but to all who obey Christ, He is the cel ?” and answered, “ Not at all, for author of eternal salvation. we have before proved both Jews Mis. 22. (Strictures, page 14.) and Gentiles to be all under sin.'" Whether we live, we live unto the This should satisfy us as to the sinful- Lord, &c. (Rom. xiv. 8.) This is a ness of mankind, and restrain us from misapplication of the exhortation that attempting to stretch divine words to brethren should neither despise nor the dimensions of our theories. Ljudge one another—to the case of a
I now return to the Liverpool convert putting on baptism, to which Strictures, picking up so much of the the passage has no relation or allusion. “ Reply” as may lie in my way. | The writers quarrel with Mr.
Campbell's expression “ we have as- dominion over the human heart." sumed him (Christ) as our leader,” They thus thoughtlessly misapply to and quote è contra he was “ given a cases of conversion, words spoken by leader to the people.” They are, in- | the Lord respecting the casting out deed, hopelessly hard to please, else of demons, and by which he showed (after the example of the Macedo- | the want of common sense or common nians, 2nd Cor. viii. 5) it might have honesty in his calumniators. seemed to them the most consistent Perv. 26. “It” (being begotten and honoring thing possible, that we by the word of truth) “ is of the dishould yield ourselves to be led by vine will, "his own will,' and thereHim whom the Father has given to fore the will of man cannot be a conlead us.
curring cause.” When will religious Perversion 23. “ He (Christ) writers cease to assert recklessly ? brings many sons unto glory.” This The Apostle James ascribes to God is a random quotation. If we refer the honour of being the Author and to Heb. ii. 10, we shall see that it is giver of salvation to man, but denies not the Son, as these writers say, but not the concurrence of man's will in the Father who brings many sons to receiving that salvation. A parallel glory, by making his Son--the cap-case will make it manifest that man's tain of our salvation—perfect through will must concur with God's will, or sufferings.
there is no begetting. St. Paul says Head III. (page 15) of their Stric- to the Corinthians, “ you have not tures is an endeavour to “ prove an many Fathers, for to Christ Jesus, influence or agency of the Spirit along through the gospel, I have begotten with the word in the conversion of a you.” Subsequently, then, it was of sinner.” It is a hard thing to prove Paui's own vill that the Corinthians by scripture a doctrine not in scrip- were begotten : but did not their ture ; and the writers, finding nothing will concur with his ? Hear him to the point, make a mighty show of again, “ so we preach and so ye benearly twenty quotations, not one of lieved.” They heard his gospel unwhich contains their doctrine. derstandingly, believed it confidingly,
Mis. 24. The writers lay stress on and obeyed it gratefully. the expression, “ when we were dead Perv 27. “ The word is compared in sins, (God) hath quickened us to-to a sword, “the sword of the Spirit ;' gether with Christ,” (Eph. ii. 4) this implies an agent to wield it, that which, however, speaks nothing of agent is the Spirit.” How exceedspiritual agency. That the Father ingly hap-hazardous this assertion ! makes men alive together with Christ, Ilow is it possible that Scotch Bapis divine truth : equally so, that "ittist writers could inake so great a is the Spirit that quickeneth :” equally mistake ? St. Paul is speaking not so, that Jesus' words “are spirit :" | to “ the Spirit,” but to the Ephesian equally so, that “ he who believeth in believers. It is to them that he says, Jesus, though he were dead yet shall“ take the sword of the Spirit :" he live :” so that each “ new crea- meaning, be you (feeble disciples as ture” may say with David, “ Thy you are) the agents to wield it; and, word (Jehovah) hath quickened me." so armed, stand and withstand !
Mis. 25. " When the strong man! Perv. 28. “ The gospel is mighty armed keepeth his palace,” &c. Even through God to the pulling down of this, so foreign to the subject, is strong holds.” Another instance of dragged in to prove divine influence reckless quotation ! The apostle along with the word in conversion, (2nd Cor. x. 4) does not say the gosas strongly representing “ the power pel is, but “ the weapons of our warof Christ in dispossessing Satan of his fare are mighty.” The apostle's
weapons were various, yet each of who seem determined to make them them mighty-namely, the wisdom of speak Calvinism, or rather fatalism ! God, tongues, healing powers, pro Perv. 30. “ Paul planted,” &c. phecy, miracles, gifts of the Holy This much-abused text is here proSpirit, awful judgments on offenders, duced as proof that God gives the &c.
| increase in conversion, when in truth But the writers catch the express the increase he gives, is in the Chrision " through God," to make it ap-tian life. Paul converted the Corinpear that in the absence of divine in-thians to the faith of Christ: Apollos fluence God's word is powerless. This confirmed them in that faith. But is sad perversion, for it would equally God (when they had become his make the apostle say of one of his children) sent the spirit of his Son most mighty weapons against infi- into their confiding hearts, and so delity—the gift of the Holy Spirit produced in them the increase, or that when a divine influence did not fruit, of love, joy, peace, &c. accompany a divine influence it was Perv. 31. “The Scriptures describe powerless! It is also to be noted conversion as a new creature, Eph. here that the phrase "mighty through ii. 10; a resurrection, Col. iii. 1 ; a God,” is regarded by critics as a He-passing from death unto life, John braism, which might be translated iii. 14.” Gentlemen, if these texts “ exceedingly mighty ;" so that the described a converting agency along writers here put their faith upon a with the word, they might be thought doubtful translation.
not so entirely irrelevant. The very Perv. 29. (Is. lv. 10) “The word creating word which spake the world of God is 'as the rain or the snow and the universe into existence does, which descends from heaven. It in the gospel of the grace of God, shall not return unto me void,' says call sinners from the chaos of darkJehovah, “but it shall accomplish that ness into new life and marvellous which I please,' (not which man light; and sinners obeying that call pleases) and prosper in the thing are quickened, are born again of whereto I sent it.'” It is strange water and spirit, and become His that a text which speaks only of God's new creation. Resurrection, too, in word, should be brought to prove the both senses, is by the life giving Spirit's agency in conversion along word. Hereafter, « all that are in with the word! The writers' com- their graves shall hear his voice and mentary is as disgraceful to themselves come forth :” and here, “ The dead as dishonouring to the Father ! “The that hear Jesus' voice shall live." rain and snow may descend to swell Nor is passing from death to life the mountain streams and to cause ascribed to other power than the desolation, but when sent for a gra- Divine testimony. “He that heareth cious purpose they refresh and ferti- my word, and believeth on him that lize the barren soil.” According to sent me, hath everlasting life, and them, God sometimes sends the good shall not come into condemnation, tidings of his grace to do injury, but is passed from death unto life :" only sometimes to do good—not al- so that we are created anew, raised ways for a gracious purpose ! If this with Christ, and pass from death to be not blasphemy it is difficult to say life by hearing, understanding, bewhat is. The text itself speaks of lieving, and obeying the “ word of rain and snow, and of God's word as truth—the gospel of our salvation.” doing good only—as sent expressly to Having thus examined the quotafertilize and cause fruit to be borne ; tions in the Strictures, I am enabled but, unhappily this does not satisfy to repeat emphatically that they do these amenders of Jehovah's words, not amount to a unit of proof.
Perv. 32 (Reply, p. 130.) 1 Thes. things. I now end with one. (Reply, i. 5. “ Our gospel came not unto you p. 131.) “If it," the Gospel, “ is in word only, but in power, and in the power of God, He must make it the Holy Ghost, and in much assur- powerful ;" i. e. He must make his ance.” This is the writers' last and power powerful ! sole hope : if it prove a cipher in In the good hope, J. D. sustaining their theory, their cause is hopeless. The influences or operations of the Spirit in conversion con- | PROPHETIC DEPARTMENT. tended for, are supposed to be either
L (HAVING several articles in our posseggin the hearers previously, or put ion referring to prophecies already fulfilled, within them while the gospel is being as well as to those remaining to be accom
plished, we have determined on devoting a preached ; as though the Apostle
few pages in each number to this important meant—the power of God was in you,
subject. At the saine time we shall not hold the Holy Spirit was in you, and the ourselves responsible for the truth and cormuch assurance was in you, Thessa- rectness of all they may contain. It will be
well to remember, that the prophecies yet lonians. Now, the passage before us
to be fulfilled, are in the hands of Him who countenances none of these supposi- rules and guides the affairs of the universe in tions. If I say, “I come to you in a wisdom, righteousness, and love. Propheclean shirt, a suit of black, and a new cies regarding the future are no doubt par
tially made known in the Bible. But the hat,” would you suppose I meant that
times and seasons—the means and circumthe shirt, suit, and hat were upon
stances by which the ultimatum of all things yourself, either before or at the time is to be reached-are, in some measure, hidof my arrival ? And if I should say,
den from the scan of the highest intelligences.
And even that which is revealed is often “My strictures come to you not by
couched in language highly symbolical, figuword of mouth only, but in a good rative, and poetical: so that, until the events handwriting, in two sheets of paper, transpire, mistakes may, and doubtless have and in an envelope,” would you not
been made, in relation to subjects which, in
their nature and character, are so heavenly understand that my thoughts were
and sublime. To be dogmatical here is prethus clothed, conveyed, and made sumptuous and foolish ; but, to speak the homanifest to you ; and not that the nest convictions of the mind, arrived at by writing, the paper, and the envelope
impartial investigation and careful analogy,
is manly and acceptable to every candid and were within you? We thus ascertain
inquiring mind. In presenting the essays grammatically, and according to com referred to, and which have been only parmon sense, that the power, the Holy tially read over, we may sometimes insert a Spirit, and the much assurance were
note by way of interrogation; but in gene
ral the writers will be left to speak for themnot in the ignorant and idolatrous
selves without either note or comment. Great hearers at Thessalonica before they and sudden events are still expected to tranheard the gospel, nor put into them spire. The kingdoms of this world have yet
to be shaken-an instance of which has been while they did hear it, but were then
recently experienced, and its fearful influence in, and on, and with the Apostles ; felt throughout the whole of the civilized mofor mighty miracles, divine gifts, and narchical countries. This event, in the opinthe very authority of heaven, were in ion of some, is only precursory to others of a and upon them witnessing, proving,
more tremendous and appaling character.
The great men, the nobles and the mighty of confirming, and giving absolute cer | the earth have yet to submit, that the Lord, tainty to their testimony. We cannot, the King of the universe, may be properly therefore, wonder that the Thessa
exalted in the minds and consciences of the
people. The disciples of Christ have nothing lonians should receive such indubitable
to fea1—their portion and kingdom are not testimony. They had heavenly rea- from hence; hut glory, honor, immortality, sons for embracing it, not as being and eternal life, are the rich inheritance prothe word of men, but as truly the
s truly the vided for them. Still the judgment shall
sit. and the ten kings, or their kingdoms, word of God !
shall take away his (the man of sin's) dominIt is my luck to end with curious ' ion, and shall consume and destroy it to the
end : that is, till the work is completed. And I phon, and others, though somewhat then the kingdom, and the dominion, and the exaggerated, no doubt, may be congreatness of the kingdom under the whole heavens, shall be given to the saints of the denty rened on. According to Most High, whose kingdom is an ererlasting these writers, a spectator, on beholdkingdom, aud all dominions shall serve and ing its broad, lofty wallls, its toweroben Him. May the Lord hasten this bless- ling temples, its gorgeous palaces, its ed consummation.-J. W.]
hanging gardens, its hundred massive DESTRUCTION OF BABYLON.
gates of brass, &c. would be induced The predictions of inspired men to exclaim, “ Thou art, and none under the different dispensations else is like thee ; thou shalt not sit as mentioned in the Bible, afford the a widow, nor know the loss of chilstrongest possible evidence that they dren.” Vide Isa. xlvii. 8. The folheld supernatural intercourse with lowing passages indicate the pride the Deity. With due attention to and greatness of Babylon :-Isa. xiii. the fulfilment of prophecy, no man 19; Jer. li. 44, 53, 58. living can for a moment entertain! There could have been no event doubts as to the divine anthenticity pointed out by the prophet, less clearly of so much of the Bible as purports to apprehended by human sagacity, than have been given by inspiration. the destruction of this proud city. It “ Holy men of God have spoken it, was ancient, as well as beautiful and as they were moved by the Holy strong. It had existed full 1400 Spirit.”
years. Kingdoms, nations, and peoTruth always courts candid inves- | ple had successively come and gone, tigation. God has placed his pro- while Babylon defied the ravages of phets in an attitude before the world, time. While exulting in her pride that is well calculated to enable every and imagined security, however, a man, who has the inclination to ex- prophet in Israel declares her doom, in amine for himself, to determine whe- the following oracle—“And Babylon, ther they were actually guided by the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of inspiration. Their predictions do the Chaldees' excellency, shall be as not relate to objects of an obscure when God overthrew Sodom and nature ; but, for the most part, to Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, such as are enduring and highly neither sball it be dwelt in from geconspicuous. They have repeatedly neration to generation : neither shall predicted the fortunes of Kings, Em- the Arabian pitch tent there ; neither perors, Cilies, and Nations.—The shall the shepherds make their fold prophecies in regard to the destruction there. But wild beasts of the desert of the City of Babylon, are, in several shall lie there ; and their houses shall accounts, peculiarly interesting. It be full of doleful creatures ; and owls was the capital of the first of the four shall dwell there, and satyrs shall universal monarchies of antiquity. dance there. And the wild beasts It was not only the seat of universal of the islands shall cry in their desoempires, but its vast dimensions, late houses, and dragons in their (being near 50 miles in circumfe- pleasant places ; and her time is near rence) and unrivalled splendor, ren- to come, and her days shall be prodered it one of the most splendid, longed." Isa. xiii. 19-22. and, to all human appearance, the We now briefly commemorate some most lasting monuments of architec- of the leading specifications of this tural skill, and of natural grandeur remarkable prophecy, which we gaand greatness, that the world ever ther from Isa. Jer. and Daniel. saw. The accounts we have of the 1st. The army by which Babylon vastness and beauty of ancient Baby- was to be destroyed, was to consist lon, as given by Herodotus, Xeno- of Medes and Persians, Jer. l. : 3, 9.