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here have rented the Mechanics' In-Christianity. Besides many other stitute, the finest and largest hall in expenses now incidental and common, the city ; it is said to accommodate they, though having a spacious house something over 2000 persons. It of their own, are paying 10 guineas was crowded with the most attentive for four evenings' rent of the hall in auditors. It has now been occupied which I now address the public. three successive evenings, and is still These fifty dollars are paid for the enwell attended. The subject on Lord's lightenment of their fellow-citizens, day evening was the kingdom of and not for themselves. The congreheaven ; on Monday night, the Holy gation being so much larger than they Spirit; on Tuesday night, the Gospel ; or we had any reason to expect, seems and to-night it will be the principles to more than compensate their labor of Christian union.
and expenditures on this occasion. I need not tell you that I am resid- To succeed in any country in the ing at brother Wallis's most hospitable proclamation of the gospel and the abode ; this, of course, you expected : principles of the reformation, it is only nor need I tell you anything of this necessary to obtain for them a canmost amiable and interesting family. did and full hearing; for how shall You were here, and I can only say, they believe that do not listen, and that your testimony and that of Mr. how shall they learn who will not Pendleton were no exaggeration. I apply their minds to that which is need only say to you, that they are taught ? all well, and glad to hear of your Brother Henshall labored in Liverimproved health, and of everything pool and in Chester after I left. I interesting of which you conversed did not inform you of the prevailing when here ; and that, of course, I sickness a very contagious and morjust feel myself as much at home as tal typhus fever, which prevails in I could possibly feel myself any where Liverpool. The poor refugees from out of Bethany.
famine in Ireland carried it to this " Blest be the tie that binds
and several other cities in England Our hearts in Christian love; and Scotland. Indeed it prevails The fellowship of kindred minds more or less in many regions in EngIs like to that above."
land. While I was in Liverpool I I wish that all who are called the was informed by a very respectable enemies of our cause of reformation citizen, that the doctors reported ten were both auditors and spectators of thousand cases, and that it was still all that has been said and done in increasing. Brother Henshall, who this Christian family since my arrival spoke twice there since I left, informs here. The whole family are now at me that it still increases and is spreadhome and in excellent health. ing among the citizens. Pestilence
If our English brethren have learn-generally succeeds famine, and thus ed something from our side of the At- the poor become a rod in the hand of lantic, our American brethren might the Lord to punish the rich for their learn something from them on this neglect of them. He reports favorside of the Atlantic. They are much ably of appearances in the fields in more laborious, incessant, and un- which we have been sowing the seed wearied in their efforts to impart the of the kingdom. Though several blessings of the gospel of Christ to seem to be convinced, he had only their countrymen than most of our one immersion at Mollington. There American churches. They spend are some good indications. more time, more money, more effort You may expect to hear from me than we, with a very few exceptions, in my next more particularly of the proportionally devote to primitive cities and counties through which we
have passed. I have, indeed, little my numerous kind and indulgent time to write ; but I will redeem as readers. many moments as I can to note what-) In all affection, your father, ever I may think to be agreeable and
A. CAMPBELL. useful to yourself, my family, and|
REFORMATION_No. IV. The rejection of human creeds by (and one which was at least first in the originators and promoters of the action, if not in influence, was their present reformation, was mainly due influence in producing and perpetuato a deep reverence for the Divine ting religious dissensions. This is the Scriptures, a just reward for the su- point which we wish now to consider. premacy of the Lord Messiah. It It may be asserted, we presume, as was esteemed a desecration of the a truth at length established by the Sacred Oracles to bring them down world's experience, that the various to the level of human opinions, or to parties or divisions which constitute make them the vehicle through which Christendom can agree only in the the dogmas and speculations of men general truths and facts of Christianity. were to be imposed upon the con- To these there has always been a science ; and it was regarded a pre- marked and obvious assent. But sumptous usurpation that uninspired when we descend to particularize ; to and fallible teachers should, in solemn the minutiæ which may be descried conclave, venture to change the laws by minds of microscopic intelligence"; of Christ's kingdom, and establish new to the nice distinctions which may be regulations for the government of his drawn by the acumen of metaphypeople. Hence originated the strong sicians, we find as marked and striking opposition that has been made to a contradiction. The history of clerical assumption, and the urgent Christianity, indeed, from its origin appeal to the word of God itself as until now, might surely suffice to show the only tribunal to be admitted or how utterly vain and hopeless is the acknowledged in the decision of re- attempt to induce the world to adopt ligious questions.
any particular set of opinions or sysThere were various other reasons, tem of doctrines which can be dehowever, which co-operated with this vised by human skill. Yet this is a veneration for divine authority. The lesson which men have been slow to evil effects and tendencies of creeds learn. This is a discovery which the were so obvious and numerous as to religious world at large appears to furnish abundant motives to opposi- have only just now made, if we may tion. Some of these we have already take the Evangelical Alliance as an particularized, as, the impediment index to its present convictions. It they offer to progress in divine know- is, however, one of the leading truths ledge ; the obstacle they interpose urged upon the community from the between the human and the divine very commencement of the present mind; the unlawful power which effort at reformation. they throw into the hands of the Were we, indeed, asked to define clergy ; and the discredit which they theoretically, in terms the most brief bring upon the fundamental principle and expressive, the reformation which of Protestantism—the right of private we urge, we should denominate itor individual judgment in respect to A generalization of Christianity. It the meaning of scripture. Another is in this character that it presents a reason for the opposition to creeds, basis of Christian union. It is in this
point of view that it lays aside the religion of Protestants." Yet we are differences, the peculiarities, the dis- not guilty of such inexactness, and tinctions, which disunite and mark out such a want of discrimination, as to sects; and retains the agreements, propose the Bible as the Christian's and universalities, the identities which creed. The whole Bible is certainly secure harmony and peace. It pro-Ito be believed the Bible alone is to poses the macrocosm of Deity, as a be received as the standard and founsubstitute for the microcosm of man. dation of divine truth; but it is not It regards Christianity as a boon to be forgotten that the Bible contains designed for all, and fitted to secure much more than Christianity, and the happiness of the entire family of much more even of Christianity itself man, and prefers to see blissful influ- than is necessary to the object now ence, like the sun's best radiance, before us Christian union and codiffused throughout the whole com- operation. To say that the Bible is munity, rather than to have only a lour religion, is true in the sense that few of its rays concentrated here and the Bible contains our religion. But there by the burning-glass of Sec- Judaism is as much a religion of the tarianism.
Bible as Christianity; and if we make We by no means propose, however, no just distinctions, circumcision is as a basis of Christian union, such a as scriptural as baptism, and flesh as generalization as would render Christi- orthodox as faith. There needs no anity vague and indefinite. To do more fruitful source of error and conthis, would be to dishonor the human fusion than the Bible alone, if every mind, and Christianity itself. It portion of it be regarded as equally would be to propose a union in doubt, binding upon the Christian, and rather than a union in faith. We equally important to Christianity. regard Christianity as a system, Who does not know that the chief infinite, indeed, in its details, yet errors of Protestant sects consist in So complete in itself, so harmo- thus confounding things that are difnious in all its parts, that it may be ferent, and in corrupting the New comprehended almost in a single Testament by the Old ? And, certhought, and be clearly defined by tainly, there can be no fact more the simplest terms. And we would humiliating to the pride of intellect propose such a view of it as would than this, that knowledge itself may permit a union upon the religion be thus converted into ignorance, and itself, without involving controversies that truth may be made the means of about its minutiæ or its appendages, perverting truth, just as the rays from and such as would present a clear two luminous points may, by interunderstanding of its nature, claims, ference, destroy each other, and result and objects, without any scholastic in darkness. dogmatism upon particular tenets, To take the Bible alone, then, in and, least of all, upon those remote religion, is well ; but it will not sufpoints, those mysteries inscrutable fice, if at the same moment we take from their very nature, which are leave of common sense and common declared, but not explained, and fully reason. To disregard the distinctions within the grasp of Faith, though which it makes, based upon the beyond the power of Intellect. lessential differences of things ; to
It is true, indeed, that we earnestly lose sight of subjects while poring plead for the adoption of the Bible over words ; to form such crude alone, and that we concur with the notions of the sacred volume as to whole Protestant world in admiring suppose it a compilation of texts and the celebrated saying of Chilling- proverbs ; or to imagine that Christiworth, that “ the Bible alone is the anity, like light from a luminous centre, shines forth equally from from the Father of lights ; as wisdom every part of it, is to abandon all from above; as a book around which just principles of judgment, and in- all men might assemble to hear and volve ourselves in inextricable confu- learn the way of salvation. It was sion. The Bible is an illuminated to become a common centre of attraccircumference, rather than a luminous tion, and consequently of union, as centre ; it is an effect, rather than a the fountain in the desert to thirsty cause ; it is an expansion, rather than travellers from every quarter. It a condensation of divine truth. It is was to be a book to be studied, and a detafled, and not a general view not merely erected as a standard of that it presents ; it does not confine party. And all men were to gather itself to one, but embraces several around it, and unite as learners, as religions; and contains such immense disciples, to aid and assist each other and varied stores of divine knowledge in acquiring a knowledge of divine as may for ever occupy the loftiest things. No one was to dogmatise, to intellect. It was quite natural, then, theorise, to speculate, to intrude into that Protestants, in mistaking the things unseen, to introduce questions Bible for a creed, should find it ne- untaught. Nothing, in short, was to cessary to add their own expositions be regarded as a matter of faith or of its meaning, and their confessions duty unless there could be produced of faith, to let the public know, and for it, from the scriptures themselves, to ascertain for themselves, whether a “ Thus saith the Lord,” either in they were Patriarchs, Jews, or Chris- express terms, or by approved pretians, or a medley of them all ; and|cedent. what particular set of opinions they This, then, was not to adopt indewere pleased to adopt by way of dis- finitely the Bible as "our religion,” tinction, or for the sake of theory. but to look for our religion in the The Bible then ceased to be their Bible. It was to “search the scriponly rule of faith and practice, when tures,” in order to be made “wise to human dogmas and opinions were salvation,” “ perfect and thoroughly engrafted upon its teachings ; and it furnished to every good work.” It became an empty boast that “the was with this object, and in this Bible was their religion ;" when, in spirit, that all were invited to abandon consequence of the paramount im- creeds and all human theories of reliportance given to these opinions, it gion, as the causes of dissension, and contained the smallest and least essen- unite in a diligent search for divine tial part of their religion.
truths, worthy of universal acceptaIt was not proposed, in this refor- tion. And it was this method which mation, to take the Bible alone in the led to that sublime and comprehensive general and indefinite sense of Pro- view of Christianity, and to those testantism. It was not to be regarded simple and just views of the gospel, as a great creed, requiring commen- which constitute the glory of the taries and expositions ; nor as a Reformation, and its power in the store-house of proof-texts to sustain subversion of sectarianism and in the any and every doctrine which might conversion of the world. be broached by men. It was to be As we have before remarked, whentaken as an instructor, a guide-book, ever a community thus discards creeds, a revealer of the secrets of heaven. and thus receives the Bible alone to It was to be approached with rever- direct their way, it may be regarded ence as containing the infallible ora- as fairly engaged in the reformation cles of God, and as being the only for which we plead, of which this abanauthoritative expression of his will. donment to the divine guidance is the It was to be viewed as divine light primordial element. And under this guidance, it would not fail gradually relations, it must be necessarily comto attain those comprehensive, yet plex in its associations; yet as the definite views of Christianity which last of the Divine Institutions, and may be well proposed as the only just designed for the whole race of man, and proper basis of union for Chris- Jew and Gentile, bond and free, tendom. It would soon be discovered learned and ignorant, it must be most that the sacred volume, amidst its simple in its elements, and most inrecords of the past, contains the his- telligible in the propositions which it tory of various institutions, which, offers for such universal reception. as they fulfilled the purposes of their This we find upon examination, to creation, were superseded by fuller be the case ; and we perceive that developments of the divine character the divisions of Christendom arise and purposes, and the attention would from overlooking this characteristic be at length fixed upon Christianity of Christianity, and from presenting, as the perfection and final end of all. as bonds of union, in place of its It would be a great matter thus to grand, comprehensive, and all-impordistinguish clearly from each other tant principles which might be rethe Primitive, the Patriarchal, the ceived by all, those minor details and Jewish, and the Christian institutions, humanized expositions of special docand to assign to each its peculiar trines, which, in the very nature of principles and laws its facts, ob- things, can be adopted but by few. servances, and promises.* And it The very abundance of the reliwould be a still greater achievement, gious information furnished by the after having thus extricated Christi- Bible, the multiplicity of its details, anity from amidst the confusion in the sublime developments of its divine which modern theology had involved mysteries, seem to have led religious it, to lay hold of its own grand and teachers to encumber the gospel with comprehensive truth, upon which not unnecessary aid, to complicate it with only the institution itself is based, remote and refined deductions, and but which can constitute the only to conceal, at length, its beautiful legitimate creed of Christendom, and simplicity beneath the appendages the only true foundation of Christian by which they sought to protect or union.
to adorn it. Men seem to have lost There is nothing whatever that will sight of the obvious distinction which admit of the most rigid scrutiny, and is to be made between the Bible and the most exact analysis, better than the Gospel. As the Bible contains Christianity. Whether regarded as the gospel, and its ancient records a unit in its details—whether con- are important in elucidating and considered in its principles or in its de- firming it, they have become so intiductions its simplicity or its com- mately associated in the mind of the plexity-its internal structure or its religious public, that they have lost external adaptations—it is found to sight of the just distinction between be everywhere perfect, wonderful, them. The Bible is distributed every and divine. As fitted to man in his where at home, and in foreign lands, varying circumstances and manifold as a means of spreading the gospel,
and we have reason to bless God for • It was quite a novelty in the religious this distribution, and for its blissful community when Brother Campbell first clearly drew these distinctions in 1828, vol. results. Yet it might be a very 28 of Christian Baptist, and it will not soon proper inquiry whether the conversion be forgotten how great an uproar was occa- of the world might not be more rapidly sioped amongst the “divines” of that day and effectually accomplished by preby his Sermon on the Law, in which he denied their right to combine the Law with the senting, in the first instance, the Gospel.
gospel itself, in its own simple and