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The Millennial Harbinger abridged (Volume 1) online

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and the favor of God. Thus the church of Christ, inspired with his
Spirit, and having the oracles and ordinances of the reign of heaven,
is fully adequate to the conversion of the whole world if she prove
not recreant to her Lord.

In the work of conversion, her Evangelists, or those whom she
sends beyond the precincts of her weekly meetings, have, under the
influence of the Spirit of God, simply to propose the constitution, or
the glad tidings of the reign, to those without; and by all the argu-
ments which the oracles of God and the times and occasions suggest,
to beseech and persuade men to be reconciled to God, to kiss the Son,
to accept the constitution, to bow to him who is ordained a Prince and
a Saviour to grant repentance and remission of sins to all who submit
to his government. Thus they, and the congregation who sends them
forth and sustains them in the work, beget children of God by the
gospel, and enlarge the body of Christ.

With all these documents before us, may we not say, that, as Eve
was the mother of all living, so "Jerusalem is the mother of us all"?


And thus, to use the language of Paul, "Men are l>egotten to God by
the gospel" through the instrumentality of the congregations of Christ.
Under the present administration of the kingdom of heaven a
great apostacy has occurred, as foretold by the Apostles. As the
church, compared to a city, is called "Mount Zion," the apostate
church is called "Babylon the Great." Like Babylon the type, "Mys-
tery Babylon" the antitype is to be destroyed by a Cyrus that knows
not God. She is to fall by the sword of infidels, supported by the
fierce judgments of God. "The Holy City" is still trodden under foot
and the sanctuary is filled with corruptions. It is, indeed, a den
of thieves; but strong Is the Lord that judges the apostate city. Till
that great and notable day of the Lord come, we can not. from the
prophetic word, anticipate a universal return to the original gospel
nor a general restoration of all the institutions of the kingdom of
heaven in their primitive character; and. consequently, we can not
promise to ourselves the universal subjugation of the nations to the
sceptre of Jesus.

But were we to enter upon the consideration of the administration
of the affairs of the kingdom after the fall and overthrow of the apos-
tate city and the conversion of the Jews, we should have to launch
upon a wide and tempestuous ocean, for which our slender bark is
not at this time sufficiently equipped. This may yet deserve the con-
struction of a large vessel in a more propitious season. Meanwhile,
the original gospeJ is extensively proclaimed, and many thousands
are preparing for the day of the Lord; and these are taught by the
"Faithful and True Witness" that the day of the Lord will come as a
thief in the night, and that their happiness and safety alike consist
in being prepared for his second advent.


Your rank and standing under the reign of the Prince of Peace
have never been surpassed— indeed, have never been equalled by any
portion of the human race. You have visions and revelations of God
—his being and perfections— developments of the depths of his wis-
dom and knowledge, of the counsels of his grace, and the purposes of
his love, which give you an intellectual and moral superiority above
all your predecessors in the patriarchal and Jewish ages of the world.
Secrets of God. which were hid from ages and generations, have been
revealed to you by the Apostles of the Great Apostle and High Priest
of your confession. What Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Moses. David.
Isaiah. Daniel, and all the Prophets, down to John the Harbinger,
rejoiced to anticipate, you have realized and enjoyed. The intellectual
pleasures of the highest and most sublime conceptions of God and of


Christ vouchsafed to you, so far transcend the attainments of the
ancient people of God, that you are comparatively exalted to heaven,
and may enjoy the days of heaven upon earth. You have a book
which contains not only the charter of your privileges, but which
explains a thousand mysteries in the antecedent administrations of
God over all the nations of the earth. In it you have such interpreta-
tions of God's past providences in the affairs of individuals, families,
and nations, as open to you a thousand sources of rational and senti-
mental enjoyment from incidents and things which puzzled and per-
plexed the most intelligent and highly favored of past ages. Moun-
tains are, indeed, levelled; valleys are exalted; rough places are made
plain, and crooked ways straight to your apprehension; and from
these data you are able to form more just conceptions of the present,
and more lofty anticipations of the future, than fell to the lot of the
most highly favored subjects of preceding dispensations. And,
indeed, so inexhaustible are the deep and rich mines of knowledge
and understanding in the Christian Revelations, that the most com-
prehensive mind in the kingdom of heaven might labor in them dur-
ing the age of Methusaleh, constantly enriching itself with all knowl-
edge and spiritual understanding, and yet leave at last vast regions
and tracts of thought wholly unexplored.

But this decided superiority over the most gifted saints of former
ages you unquestionably enjoy. Among all the living excellencies
with which they were acquainted, they wanted a perfect model of all
human excellence. Bright as were the virtues and excellencies of an
Abraham, a Joseph, a David, there were dark spots, or, at least, some
blemishes in their moral character. They failed to place in living
form before their contemporaries, or to leave as a legacy to posterity,
every virtue, grace, and excellence that adorn human nature. But
you have Jesus not only as "the image of the visible God," "an efful-
gence of his glory, and an exact representation of his character,"
but as a man holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sin, exhibiting
in the fullest perfection every excellence which gives amiability, dig-
nity, and glory to human character. You have motives to purity and
holiness, a stimulus to all that is manly, good, and excellent, from what
he said, and did, and suffered as the Son of Man, which would have
added new charms and beauties to the most exemplary of all the
saints of the olden times.

Means and opportunities of the highest intellectual and moral
enjoyments are richly bestowed on you, for which they sighed in vain;
God having provided some better things for Christians than for Jews
and patriarchs. Shall we not, then, fellow-citizens, appreciate and
use, as we ought, to our present purity and happiness, to our eternal
honor and glory, the light which the Sun of Righteousness has shed


so richly and abundantly on us? Remember that we stand upon
Apostles and Prophets, and are sustained by Jesus the light of the
world, and the interpreter and vindicator of all God's ways to man,
in creation, providence, and redemption. All suns are stars; and he
that is now to us in this life "the tiun of Righteousness," in respect,
of the future is "the bright and Morning Star." Till the day of eter-
nity dawn, and the day star of immortality arise in our hearts, let us
always look to Jesus.

But it is not only the felicity of superior heavenly light, though
that is most delectable to our rational nature, which distinguishes
you the citizens of this kingdom; but that personal, real, and plenary
remission of all sin, which you enjoy through the blood of the Lamb
of God, bestowed on you through the ordinances of Christian immer-
sion and confession of sins.

The Jews, indeed, had sacrifices under the law, which could, and
did take away ceremonial sins: and which so far absolved from the
guilt of transgressing that law, as to give them a right to the con-
tinued enjoyment of the temporal and political promises of the
national compact; but farther Jewish sacrifices and ablutions could
not reach. This benefit every Jew had from them. But as respected
the conscience, Paul, the great commentator on Jewish sacrifice,
assures us they had no power. "With respect to the conscience, ' says
he, "they could not make him who did the service perfect."

The entrance of the law gave the knowledge of sin. It gave names
to particular sins, and "caused the offense to abound." The sacrifices
appended to it had respect to that institution alone, and not to sin in
the general, nor to sin in its true and proper nature. The promise
made to the patriarchs and the sacrificial institution added to it.
through faith in that promise, led the believing to anticipate a real
sin-offering; but it appears the Jewish sacrifices had only respect to
the Jewish institution, and excepting their typical character, gave no
new light to those under that economy, on the subject of a true and
proper remission of sins, through the real and bloody sacrifice of Christ.

The patriarch and the believing Jew, as respected a real remission
of sins, stood upon the same ground; for, as has been observed, the
episode institution, or, as Paul says, "the supervening of the law,"
made no change in the apprehensions of remission as respected the
conscience. But a new age having come, (for "these ordinances for
cleansing the flesh were imposed only till the time of reformation,")
and Christ having, by a more perfect sacrifice, opened the way into
the true holy plaros. has laid the foundation for perfecting the con-
science by a real and full remission of sins, which, by the virtue of
his blood, terminates not upon the flesh, but upon the conscience of
the sinner.


John, indeed, who lived at the dawn of the Reformation, preached
reformation with an immersion for the remission of sins; saying that
"they sliould believe in him that was to come after him." Those who
believed John's ^gospel and reformed, and were immersed into John's
reformation, had the remission of sins through faith in him that was
to come: but you, fellow citizens, even in respect of the enjoyment of
remission, are greatly advanced above the disciples of John. You
have been immersed, not only by the authority of Jesus, as Lord of
all, into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy
Spirit, but into the death or sacrifice of Christ. This no disciple of
Moses or of John knew anything about. This gives you an insight
into sin, and a freedom from it, as respects the conscience — a peace
and a joy unutterable and full of glory, to which both the disciples of
Moses and of the Harbinger were strangers. So that the light of
the risen day of heaven's eternal Sun greatly excels, not only the
glimmerings of the stars in the patriarchal age, and the faint
light of the moon in the Jewish age, but even the twilight of the

Your new relation to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
into which you have been introduced by faith in the Messiah and
immersion into his death, verifies, in respect of the sense and assur-
ance of remission, all that John and Jesus said concerning that supe-
riority of privilege vouchsafed under the Messiah in the kingdom of
heaven. You can see your sins washed away in the blood that was
shed on Mount Calvary. That which neither the highly favored John
nor any disciple of the Messiah could understand, till Jeus said, "It is
finished," you not only clearly perceive, but have cordially embraced.
You can feel, and say with all assurance, that "the blood of Jesus
Christ now cleanses you from all sin;" and that by faith you have
access to the Mediator of the New Institution, and to the blood of
sprinkling which speaks glad tidings to the heart. You have an Advo-
cate with the Father, and when conscious of any impurity, coming to
him by God, confessing your sins, and supplicating pardon through his
blood, you have the promise of remission. You now know how God
is just as well as merciful in forgiving iniquity, transgression, and

But superior light and knowledge, and enlarged conceptions of
God, with such an assurance of real and personal remission as pacifies
the conscience and introduces the peace of God into the heart, are
not the only distinguishing favors which you enjoy in the new relation
to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, into which you are intro-
duced under the Reign of Heaven; but you are formally adopted into
the family of God, and constituted the sons and daughters of the
Father Almighty.


To be called "the friend of God" was the highest title bestowed oa
Abraham; to be called the friends of Christ, was the peculiar honor of
the disciples of Christ, to whom he confided the secrets of his reign;
but to be called "the children of God through faith in Jesus Christ, '
ia not only the common honor of all Christians, but the highest honor
which could be vouchsafed to the inhabitants of this earth. Such
honor have you, my fellow citizen, in being related to the only begotten
Son of Cod: "For to as many as received him he gave the privilfge
of becoming the sons of God." These, indeed, were not descended from
families of noble blood, nor genealogies of high renown; neither are
they the offspring of the instincts of the flesh, nor made the sons of
God "by the will of man," who sometimes adopts the child of another
as his own; but they are "born of God" tHrough the ordinances of his
grace. "Behold how great love the Father has bestowed on us that
we should be called children of God!" "The world, indeed, does not
know us, because it did not know him. Beloved, now are we the chil-
dren of God. It does not yet appear what we shall be!"

"Because you are sons, God has sent forth the spirit of his Son into
your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." And if sons, it follows "you are
heirs of God through Christ," the Heir of all things. Is this, fellow
citizens, a romantic vision, or sober and solemn truth, that you are
children of God, possessing the spirit of Christ, and constituted heirs
of God and joint heirs with Christ of the eternal inheritance! What
manner of persons, then, ought you to be! How pure, how holy, and
heavenly in your temper; how just and righteous in all your ways;
how humble and devoted to the Lord; how joyful and triumphant in
your King!

Permit me, then, to ask, Wherein do you excel? — nay, rather, you
will propose this question to yourselves. You will say. How shall vre
still more successfully promote the interest, the honor, and the tri-
umphs of the gospel of the kingdom? Is there anything we can do by
our behaviour, our morality, our piety, by our influence, by all' the
earthly means with which God has furnished us? Is there anything
we can do more to strengthen the army of the faith, to invigorate the
champions of the kingdom, to make new conquests for our King? Can
wo not increase the joy of the Lord in converting souls — can we not
furnish occasions of rejoicing to the angels of God — can we not gladden
the hearts of thousands who have never tasted the joys of the children
of God?

In the present administration of the kingdom of God. during the
absence of the King he has said to the citizens, "Put on the armor of
light" — "Contend earnestly for the faith" — "Convert the world" —
"Occupy till I come" — "Let your light shine before men, that they,
seeing your good works, may glorify your Father in heaven" — "That


the Gentiles may, by your good works, which, they shall behold, glorify
God in the day of visitation." He has thus entrusted to the ctiizens
the great work for which he died — the salvation of men. Let us,
then, brethren, be found faithful to the Lord and to men, that he may
address us at his coming with the most acceptable plaudit, "Well done,
good and faithful servants; enter into the joy of your Lord!"

Great as the opposition is to truth and salvation, we have no reason
to despond. Greater are our friends and allies, and infinitely mora
powerful than all our enemies. God is on our side — Jesus Christ is
our King — the Holy Spirit is at his disposal — angels are his minister-
ing servants — the prayers of all the prophets, apostles, saints, and
martyrs are for our success — our brethren are numerous and strong —
they have the sword of the Spirit, the shield of faith, the helmet of
salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the artillery of truth — the
arguments of God, the preparation of the gospel of peace — our Com-
mander and Captain is the most successful General that ever entered
the field of war — he never lost a battle — he is wonderful in counsel
excellent in working, valiant in fight — the Lord of hosts is his name.
He can stultify all the machinations of our enemies, control all the
powers of nature, and subdue all our foes, terrestrial and infernal.
Under his conduct we are like Mount Zion that can never be moved.
Indeed, under him we are come to Mount Zion, the stronghold and
fortress of the kingdom, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jeru-
salem — to myriads of angels — the general assembly and congregation
of the first born, enrolled in heaven — to God the judge of all — to the
spirits of just men made perfect — to Jesus the Mediator of the New
Constitution — and to the blood of sprinkling, which speaks such peace,
and joy, and courage to the heart. Ought we not, then, brethren, "to
be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might"? If in faith,
and courage, and prayer, we put on the heavenly armor, and march
under the King, sounding the gospel trumpet, the walls of Jericho will
fall* to the ground, and the banners of the Cross will wave over the
ruins of Paganism, Atheism, Skepticism, and Sectarianism —

Nil desperanchim, te diicc Christe.
If a Roman could say, "Nothing is to be feared under the auspices of
Cesar," may not the Christian say, There is no despair under the
guardianship of Messiah the King?

But, fellow citizens, though clothed with the whole panoply of
heaven, and headed by the Captain of Salvation, there is no success
in this war to be expected without constant and incessant prayer.
When the Apostles began to build up this kingdom, notwithstanding
all the gifts they enjoyed, they found it necessary to devote themselves
to prayer as well as to the ministry of the word. And when Paul
describes all the armor of God, piece by piece, in putting it on, he says.


"Take the sword of the Spirit — with all supplication and deprecation,
pray at all seasons in spirit, watch with all perseverance and suppli-
cation for all the saints."

This was most impressively and beautifully pictured out in tho
wars of ancient Israel against their enemies. While Moses lifted up
his holy hands to heaven, Israel prevailed; and when he did not,
Amalok prevailed. So it is now. When the disciples of Christ, tho
heaven-born citizens of tho kingdom, continue instant in prayer and
watchfulness, the truth triumphs in their hearts and in the world.
When they do not, they become cold, timid, and impotent as Samson
shorn, and the enemy gains strength over them. Then the good cause
of the Lord languishes.

It is not necessary that we should understand how prayer increases
our zeal, our wisdom, our strength, our joy, or how it gives success
to the cause, any more than that we should understand how our food
is converted into flesh, and blood, and bones. It is only necessary
that we eat; and it is only necessary that we should pray as we are
taught and commanded. Experience proves that the outward man is
renewed day by day by our daily bread; and experience proves that
the inward man is renewed day by day by prayer and thanksgiving.
The Lord has promised his Holy Spirit to them that ask him in truth;
and is it not necessary to their success? If it be not necessary to
give new revelations, it is necessary to keep in mind those already
given, and to bring the word written seasonably to our remembrance.
Besides, if the Spirit of the Lord was necessary to the success of
Gideon and Barak, and Samson and David, and all the great warriors
of Israel according to the flesh, who fought the battles of the Lord
with the sword, the sling, and the bow; who can say that it is not
necessary to those who draw the sword of the Spirit and fight the good
fight of faith? In my judgment it is as necessary now as then: neces-
sary I mean to equal success — necessary to the success of those who
labor in the word and teaching of Jesus Christ — and necessary to
those who would acquit themselves like men in every department in
the rank of the great army of the Lord of hosts.

Though the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but spiritual.
they are mighty, (only, however, through God, to the overturning of
strongholds,) to the overturning of all reasonings against the truth,
and every high thing raised up against the knowledge of God. and in
leading captive every thought to the obedience of Christ. Let us, then,
fellow citizens, whether as leaders or as private soldiers, abound in
prayer and supplications to God night and day. If sincere, and ardent,
and incessant prayers to God for everything that he has promised;
for all things for which the Apostles prayed, were offered up by all
the congregations, and by every disciple in his family and in his closet


for the triumphs of the truth, then would we see the army of the Lord
successful in fight against atheism, infidelity, and sectarianism — then
would we see disciples gi-owing in knowledge and in favor with God
and man. And is not the conversion of the world, and our own eternal
salvation, infinitely worthy of all the effort and enterprise in man.
seeing God himself has done so much in the gift of his Son and Holy
Spirit, and left for us so little to do^ — nothing, indeed, but what is in
the compass of our power? And shall we withhold that little, espe-
cially as he has given us so many and so exceedingly great and precious
promises to stimulate us to exertion? Has not Jesus said, "The con-
queror shall inherit all things"? — that he "will not blot his name out
of the book of life"? — that he will confess it before his Father and his
holy angels? — that he will place him "upon his throne, and give him
the crown of life that shall never fade away"?

Rise up, then, in the strength of Judah's Lion! Be valiant for the
truth! Adorn yourselves with all the graces of the Spirit of God!
Put on the armor of light; and, with all the gentleness, and meekness,
and mildness there is in Christ — with all the courage, and patience,
and zeal, and effort worthy of a cause so salutary, so pure, so holy,
and so divine, determine never to faint nor to falter till you enter the
pearly gates — never to lay down your arms, till, with the triumphant
millions, you stand before the throne, and exulting sing, "Worthy is the
Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and
might, and honor, and glory, and blessing!" — "To him who sits upon
the throne and to the Lamb be blessing, and honor, and glory, and
strength forever and forever!" Amen.


Whether to regard you in the light of Proselytes of the Gate, who
refused circumcision, but wished to live in the land of Israel, to be in
the suburbs of the cities of Judah, and to keep some of the institu-
tions of the ancient kingdom of God, without becoming fellow citizens
of that kingdom; or whether to regard you as the Samaritans of old,
who built for themselves a temple of God upon Mount Gerizim, held
fast a part of the ancient revelation of God, and rejected only such
parts of it as did not suit their prejudices — worshipped the God of
Israel in common with the idols of the nations from which they sprang
— I say, whether to regard you in the light of the one or the other of
those ancient professors of religion, might require more skill in casu-
istry than we possess — more leisure than we have at our disposal — and
more labor than either of us have patience to endure. One thing, how-
ever, is obvious), that if under the Reign of Heaven it behooved so good
a man as Cornelius ("a man of piety, and one that feared God with
all his house, giving also much alms to the people, and praying to


God continually,") to "hear words by which he might be saved," and
to put on Christ by immersion into his death, that he might enter the

Online LibraryAlexander CampbellThe Millennial Harbinger abridged (Volume 1) → online text (page 33 of 70)