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contest represented as very doubtful, and sometimes thought to be
almost suppressed; but, like a smothered fire, it broke out again with
all-conquering power. The enemies of liberty and equal rights in the
old country, speaking through their representatives in Parliament,
often said, "A few more ships of the line, and a regiment or two more
dispatched to the colonies, and the rebels are vanquished." They
raised new armaments, and equipped new ships, and sung, "Down with
the insurgents!" but all in vain. The rights of man triumphed, and
will triumph again!

Luther's Reformation was often represented as expiring in agonies.
Still it lived and progressed. The councils of the Pope and his
Cardinals were held often and at short intervals. The lesser
and the greater excommunications were threatened, and relied
upon. But what did they avail? The "bull" of excommunication is
issued to gore Luther and his friends; but what of that? The very
instant the councils had done all they could, the cause began to tri-

Even yet the enemies of reform rely upon such measures; and
because some of the reformers have suffered the greater excommuni-
cation from the hands of the general union councils de propaganda
fide, the Luminary of the anti-reformists proclaims the speedy desola-
tions of New Testamentism in Kentucky. A few months are allowed
for the funeral obsequies, and the days of mourning for the reformers
shall be ended.

But as soon will the Baptist Chronicle and its friends prevent the
rising of the sun, as suppress the progress of reform in this common-
wealth. There is a redeeming principle in this community which no
man nor set of men can impede. Since my last visit to this country
the conquests of the spirit of inquiry and research, everywhere appar-
ent, and the progress of many great minds in the knowledge of the
Christian institution, far surpass anything I had learned from the
most flattering communications. The immense congregations which
we meet in every town and village, as well as in the country, which
no inclemency of weather nor unpleasantness of the roads prevents,
with the crowds of inquirers flocking to the hospitable firesides of the
friends of reform, constitute one of the signs of the times here, which
no perversity of mind can misinterpret.

The chain of Xerxes did as much fetter the sea, as the Franklin
Decrees can restrain the Inquisitiveness which is everywhere abroad.
The minds of the Kentucky reformers have done as much homage to
the Frankfort triumvirate as Mount Athos did to that vain and
haughty monarch, who presumed to command it into obeisance. Some
men are slow to leaxn, even in the school of expedence, or they would


ere now have learned that the human mind can not be restrained by
prohibitions, nor made to think per orders of those in power.

PREFACE.— 1833.

Time, the material of which life is made, never pauses. In its
onward current to the ocean of eternity, it carries with it all the busy
tribes of men. Our fathers — where are they? and the Prophets — do
they live forever? Lord, teach us to number our days, that we may
apply our hearts to wisdom and understanding!

The year One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty-three has
arrived. Almost eighteen full centuries are completed since life and
incorruptibility arose from the darkness of the grave, in the person of
Messiah, to bless a dying world. The Apostacy is in its dotage, and
the Man of Sin tottering on the brink of the grave. The world is
in travail; a new age is soon to be born; and the great regeneration
is at hand. The parchments, the leagues and covenants that bind the
nations in their social and unsocial compacts, are moth-eaten. The
foundations of the political mountains and hills are crumbling down
to dust; and the imbecilities of all human policies to give to man the
knowledge of his rights and the enjoyment of them, are becoming
manifest to all. A solemn expectation, an eager longing for some
great change, the sure prelude of a mighty system of revolutions, is
marked in the pensive countenances of all who think and believe that
the Lord Almighty reigns. Expectation is on tiptoe, stretching forward
into the mysterious future, ready to hail with acclamation the har-
binger of better times. Jew and Gentile now unite in the anxious
anticipation of a great deliverer, whose right to rule the nations none
dare dispute.

Our little party jealousies and strifes, our ecclesiastical bickerings
and feuds, are all arguments of irresistible demonstration that the
Christian profession has, in the long, dark night of error, mistook its
way, and been jostled off the foundation of God.

The voice of reformation has been lifted up, and the banners of the
ancient constitution of Messiah's kingdom have been unfurled. The
ancient standard has been dug up out of the ruins of the ages of
delinquency; but of the immense multitudes who acknowledge its the-
oretic excellence and practical utility, how few are inspired with that
holy spirit of unconditional submission to the authority of the Prime
Ministers of Messiah's realm, which distinguished the soldiers of the
cross in the days of uncorrupted Christianity.

A remnant has always been found in times of the greatest delin-
quency; and in the close of the times of the Gentiles we have reason
to rejoice, that there is a goodly number of the Gentiles who rally
under the testimony of Jesus, and are zealous for his institutions.


The theory of reformation is, however, far in advance of the practice,
and to this fait special rcyard icill be had in the volume which voe have
just commenced. It is no common thing to be, in the constitutional
import of the word, a practical Christian, or, ratlier, a Christian in
fact. To admire and commend such a one is easy and pleasing to
all; but to exhibit and fill up all the outlines of a child of God, a
citizen of heaven, and an heir of immortality, is not the result of a
wish or a prayer, but of the untiring efforts of an enlightened under-
standing, and a pure heart, to be conformed to the whole declared will
of our I'^ather who is in heaven. Euitok.

PREFACE.— 1835.

Every day's experience develops more fully the profound depths
of the philosophy of the Divine Author of the Christian faith. Wis-
dom, knowledge, and goodness infinite appear in all his aphorisms.
Errors of some sort may be found, have been found, and will be
found in some of the maxims and sayings of the wisest of the wise
men of all times, either ancient or modern; but no man's age, wisdom,
knowledge, or experience has yet found one flaw in the reasonings,
one error in the conclusions, one mistake in all the recorded sayings
of Jesus the Nazarene. Moreover, it is, to me at least, most clearly
evident, that if human life were extended for the term of seven thou-
sand years; and if one man's experience were so enlarged as to
engross within it the experience of all the men that have lived or
shall live in that long period, he would at the close of his life have as
much reason as w-hen he first began to think for himself, to exclaim,
C the depths both of the wisdom and knowledge of Jesus Christ!
How infinite! How unsearchable!

This fact constitutes no weak argument in proof of his celestial
and divine descent. We might stake our hope of eternal life upon
the inability of man. philosopher or sage, to detect an error or a
falsehood in all that is recorded of him. But it was not for this
purpose that we have made this remark; we have been led to it when
about to quote a maxim from Jesus as pertinent to the commencement
of a new volume. That maxim is, "F!ufpricnt for every day is its
own trouble." From which I learn, first, that every day has its oicn
trouble; and, in the second place, that its own trouble is sufficient for
every day. This I did not know some twenty-five years ago.

In the bright sketches of a vivid imagination I foresaw, in the
glowing visions of the future, many clear and cloudless days, without
a sorrow or a sigh. But I was as one that dreamed. Every day,
with all its pleasures and its joys, has had its troubles, too.

Though by kind nature happily inclined ever to contemplate the
bright side of the picture, the (iiFapi)ointnients of every day have at


length thrown some dark clouds into all my paintings of the remnant
of life. There are no moue golden days, free from cai-es and fears,
within the horizon of my future anticipations. But the philosophy
of Jesus happily interposes in my behalf, and admonishes me not to
increase the troubles of to-day with those of to-morrow; but to regard
the troubles of the present as sufficient without the addition of the
anticipated evils of the future. While, then, the maxim of the Great
Teacher assures us that every day "has its own trouble," it kindly
admonishes us to regard its own trouble as sufficient.

From the preface to the volume of 1838 we extract this: The
theory and practice of Christianity are as distinct as the theory and
practice of medicine. Few persons are eminent in both. The busy
theorist has not time to practice; and the busy practitioner has not
time to theorize. We teach that right thinking must precede right
speaking and right acting; but should we stop at the end of right
thinking, and be satisfied with ourselves, we should prove ourselves
to be wrong thinkers of no ordinary type.

We have had the Gospel and Christianity restored on paper and
in speech; we want to see them living, moving, and acting on the
stage of time, on a larger scale and with more brilliant light and
power than has hitherto appeared.

To extend the Christian profession, rather than to elevate it, has
been too much the spirit of modern enterprise. To extend it is,
indeed, most desirable and most consonant to the suggestions of the
Christian spirit; but few seem to apprehend that to elevate it is the
surer and speedier way to extend it. The boundaries between the
church and the world are not sufficiently prominent to strike the
attention of the truly inquisitive. The heavenly character of Christ's
religion is so deeply veiled under the garb of expedient conformity
to worldly maxims and worldly interests, that it is too dimly seen
to command the attention of even those who ardently seek for some
substantial joys to fill an empty mind.

Our brethren in the cause of reformation are indeed surrounded
with some unpropitious circumstances. They began with theory, and
their opponents are determined always to keep them in it. The
reformer is too often regarded as the assailant, and the objects of
his benevolence feel as though they ought to stand upon the defen-
sive. So have we been often regarded. But while we earnestly
contend for the faith anciently delivered, we ought to remember
that even that faith was delivered for the sake of its living, active,
and eternal fruits.

In 1840 he says: "Years roll on: the pulse of time never ceases,
the wheels of Nature carry down all the living with a constant and
rapid motion. We are born, we live, we die, and are forgotten amidst


the bustle of coming years. We are now. the actors — the dramatis
pcrsonae on the stage of time. Each one plays his part, and retires
behind the curtains of death. But the sequel is on another theatre,
before other spectators and auditors. The plaudits and the hissings
are eternal. We play for crowns and kingdoms — for deathless fame
and imperishable treasures. A heaven is lost, or a heaven is won
at the close of the last act.

"There are many subordinate parts in the great drama of human
e.xistence. There are also very conspicuous and high places — great
responsibilities — immense prizes — while every one has his own destiny
at stake, and all are to be rewarded according to their works.

"Such reflections crowd upon us on the commencement of a new
volume in the progress of a great revolution — a reformation — a
change for the better in the ecclesiastic and moral relations and
positions of society. We feel our obligations and responsibilities to
be very great. The cause on hand is above all causes now before
the bar of public opinion. It demands all our powers — it calls for
all our resources. The question is variously propounded; but the
substance is, Who shall rule in Zion? — Jesus or the Pope? — Christ or
Antichrist? — the twelve Apostles or twelve hundred Synods and Coun-
cils? — the New Testament or a human creed? — the Word of the Lord
or the Opinions of men? — Union or Schism? — Catholicity or Sectari-
anism? — one Lord, one faith, one baptism, or three Lords, three
faiths, and three baptisms?"

Preface, 1841: "In the present volume some points claim our
special attention: such as, the necessity of a more conciliatory spirit
towards the more evangelical professors — the necessity and practica-
bility of the enjoyment of larger measures of spiritual influence —
education in all its branches, domestic, scholastic, and ecclesiastic."

In 1843 we find: "There is yet, however, much wanting in very
many of our churches to bring them up to their own acknowledgments.
We want a thorough church organization, a more efficient ministry,
in and out of the church; Elders, Deacons, and Evangelists; and,
above all, more spirituality and moral excellence; much less con-
formity to the world — and a more cordial, devout, and unreserved
submission to the Lord, are points in which we are very generally
yet wanting; to all of which, especially to the subject of church
organization and family education, shall we devote, the Lord being
our helper, the pages of the present volume."

In 1S44 he says: "Had I the means of accomplishing my desires,
I would have a Quarterly Christian Review, of solid and substantial
reading, composed of sacred literature, various Biblical criticism,
reviews of new publications on Theology, notices of persons and
things ecclesiastical."


In 1848 Mr. Campbell says: "Still we would not have our readers
ilor the public conclude that we do not think that, in several instances
and in some points, certain matters have had an exaggerated impor-
tance given to them by over-zealous and less informed brethren —
that there has been much mismanagement, also some unchristian
developments and speculations promulged amongst us, as well as a
too dogmatical spirit displayed on the part of certain writers, editors,
and preachers. We have, indeed, had as little of these as could have
been rationally expected amongst so many disconnected and unasso-
ciated editors, writers, preachers, and teachers, coming from parties
and schools as numerous and as various as all the parties and schools
of Protestant Christendom. Had we not had cohorts of other minds
well read and better balanced, zealous, indefatigable, and influential,
we must have been greatly disappointed or signally defeated. It is
all, indeed, the Lord's doing and marvellous in our eyes."

In 1849 he says: "It was well for the cause that no one presumed
to print anything for many years, till its main principles were well
matured by a few. During the first ten years, while matters were
under investigation and oral discussion, but one single pamphlet
appeared on the legal and evangelical dispensations. We did not then
grow so rapidly into scribes and editors as we have since done. Some
amongst us, converted in their minority, very soon after their major-
ity deem themselves competent to enter upon the responsible duties
and calling of editors and teachers of old men and fathers."







Dr. Robert Richardson, as "K. R.," writes in the Millennial Har-
binger, 183G, page 219, et seq.:

The existence of a Supreme Being, necessarily presupposed in the
consideration of the preservation and government of the world, is so
extremely evident, that it can scarcely with propriety be considered
a matter to be seriously argued. It is the amiable Fenelon who
observes, "that so far from being a thing that wants to be proved,
it is almost the only thing of which we are certain." It is indeed a
remarkable instance of human weakness and folly, that so obvious
a truth should ever have been doubted, and more especially by some
persons of erudition and high attainments.

It must be confessed, however, that very few have openly pro-
fessed Atheism, the far greater number of Freethinkers having
attempted to conceal their hatred of religion under the garb of Deism,
ar. being more specious, and therefore less abhorrent to the universal
reason of mankind. On this account Deism has been regarded as
Atheism under another name, and with great propriety; for as the
admitted existence of the sun brings along with it that of light and
heat, by which only we are enabled to know that such a thing as the
sun exists, so a sincere belief in the existence of God, naturally and
necessarily involves an acknowledgment of the truth of revelation,
and ol his regard for his creatures in the preservation and govern-
ment of the world, which the Deists have refused to admit. Hence
the doctrines of Epicurus, who supposed that the gods spent their
time in luxurious ease, and that they did not concern themselves in
tne affairs of mortals, were regarded even by Plato as amounting to
Atheism. And many of the Deists have upon their death-beds either
acknowledged the error of their system and the truth of revelation,
liKe Voltaire, or like Hume, who when dying seemed to amuse him-
self with a game of chess, and have hy thus over-acting their part,
betrayed the secret misgivings and forebodings of conscience.


In later times, infidelity has assumed a different form, and modern
philosophists have become so chary of committing themselves, and
so exceeding modest, that they will neither affirm nor deny the exist-
ence of God; but, affecting to be governed solely by their senses and
their experience, confess themselves wholly ignorant of the matter.
They absurdly imagine that they are independent of all reasonings
and inferences, when they reject faith and testimony, together with
the proof of the divine existence drawn from nature, and depend
solely upon the knowledge derived through the senses; while at the
same time they are unable to attain conclusions even from the impres-
sions made upon their own senses without a process of reasoning from
effect to cause, precisely similar to that which they reject in regard
to the Divine Being.

But it were vain to argue either with thosie who imagine the world
to have been made and preserved by chance, thus making Chance put
an end to Chance and introduce order, design, necessity, and fate;
or with those who disbelieve the existence of God without denying it,
for none of them will believe any more than they can help on this
subject,* or what suits their theory; and their reason consists only in
contradicting the universal reason of mankind. For if the proposition
that there is a Supreme Intelligent First Cause is not believed by
them, though it be sustained by the wonderful marks of design and
contrivance in the universe in the nice adaptation of the most delicate
machinery to the most important and useful purposes, whether iu
the human mind with its various co-operating faculties of curiosity,
attention, imagination, memory, and judgment; or in the material
part of creation with all its infinite variety of skill and purpose; they
are wholly without the pale of argument, and beyond the reach of

To the Christian, however, the volume of nature is full of mean-
ing. He perceives the impress of an almighty and beneficent Being
in everything around him. To him God is all and in all. His whole
employment is to study and to imitate the divine character. In his
view, indeed, the universe is but a revelation of the attributes of God,
and his studies of nature are an investigation of the power, wisdom,
and goodness displayed by the Author. Every new discovery of his
perfections fills his bosom with delight, and animates his soul with
pure and elevated principles, and he rejoices to know that eternity '
is a period fitted to the lesson he is to learn — the nature of the Infinite

•In other matters many of the Sceptics have been the most credulous of mankind.
Charles II., on witnessing the credulity of tlic younger Vossius when on his visit to
England, exclaimed, "There is nothing which Vossius refuses to believe except the


The Christian, therefore, is a constant and an improving pupil.
His is not the bigotry wliich fixes upon a few imperfect dogmas, as
containing all that can be known of God; nor is his the enthusiasm
which a proud and vain imagination leads beyond the confines of
nature, reason, and revelation. For him the darkness of Ignorance
is no refuge; but he loves the light of Truth. The investigations of
science, and the true knowledge of nature only serve to impress still
more deeply his convictions of the power, wisdom, and goodness of
Him who "created all things and for whose glory they were and are
created." It is indeed always the effect of true science to develop
the purpose and skill of the Divine Architect. Thus the reason of the
peculiar formation of the human eye was not understood till Newton
discovered the nature and laws of light, when it was found that these
fixed laws had been understood and acted on by him who made the
eye, which is so perfectly accommodated to these laws that the most
ingenious artist could not imagine an improvement of it. Nor was
i*. known why the bee should in all countries, and at all times, shape
its cells precisely in the same manner, the proportions accurately
alike and the size the very same to the fraction of a line; till the most
refined mathematical analysis discovered that this form and size were
of all others best adapted to the purposes of saving room, and work,
and materials. "This discovery," says Brougham, "was only made
about a century ago: nay, the instrument that enabled us to find it
out — the tlmional calculus — was unknown half a century before that
application of its powers. And yet the bee had been for thousands of
years, in all countries, unerringly working according to this fixed rule,
choosing the same exact angle of 120 degrees for the inclination of
the sides of its little room, which every one had for ages known to be
the best possible angle, but also choosing the same exact angles of
210 and 70 degrees for the parallelograms of the roof, which no one
had ever discovered till the eighteenth century, when Maclaurin solved
that most curious problem of maxima et viinima. the means of inves
tigating which had not existed till the century before, when Newton
invented the calculus, whereby such problems can now be easily

But it is not alone the deep researches of science which confirm
the Christian, for the evid'^nces of an intelligent and designing Being
are displayed in bold relief to the eyes and understandings of men,
even the most illiterate, in the wise and beneficent arrangements upon
the face of nature. He marks, therefore, not merely the adaptation
of the eye to light, but its adjustment to the conditions and circum-
stances of different animals, as in the case of the bat and the mole,
the eagle and the lynx. He admires the wisdom which has given to
those creatures which live in mud, not only a hard and horny eye,


but furnished them instead of eyelids with a little brush to clean the
eye; and which, while it has given to man eyelids to moisten and
protect the eye, has omitted them entirely, as unnecessary, in fishes
whose eyes are washed by the water in which they swim. He con-
templates with delight the beautiful proportions of the deer and ths
swift antelope upon the mountains; and while, on the lake he loves
to view

"The pilot swan majestic wind,
With all his cygnet fleet behind,
So softly sail, or swiftly row
With sable oar and silken prow " —

he considers the design and skill shown in the formation of that
"sable oar" — the web-foot, which the inventors of steamboat paddles
have never yet been able even to imitate.

While the Christian thus regards the proofs of design and con-
trivance manifested in creation, he reasons that "had he to accom-
plish such purposes, he should (if possessed of sufficient power and
skill) have used some such means," and therefore concludes that these

Online LibraryAlexander CampbellThe Millennial Harbinger abridged (Volume 1) → online text (page 3 of 70)