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The Millennial Harbinger abridged (Volume 1) online

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kingdom of heaven, and enjoy the remission of sins and the hope of an
inheritance among all the sanctified — certainly it is both expedient and
necessary that you also go and do likewise.

Every sectarian in the land, how honest and pious soever, ought to
bury his sectarianism and all his other sins of omission and commis-
sion in "the bath of regeneration." It is a high crime and misde-
meanor in any man, professing to have received the Messiah in his
proper person, character, and office, to refuse allegiance to him in
anything; and to substitute human inventions and traditions in lieu
of the ordinances and statutes of Prince Immanuel. Indeed, the keep-
ing up of any dogma, practice, or custom, which directly or indirectly
supplants the constitution, laws, and usages of the kingdom over which
Jesus presides, is directly opposed to his government, and would ulti-
mate in dethroning him in favor of a rival, and in placing upon his
throne the author of that dogma, practice, or usage which supplants
the institution of the Saviour of the world.

It is to you, then, who, in the name of the King, are changing his
ordinances and substituting your own expedients for the wisdom and
authority of the Judge of all, we now propose the following consider-

Every kingdom has one uniform law or institution for naturalizing
aliens; and that institution, of whatever sort it be, is obligatory by
the authority of the government upon every one who would become a
citizen. We say it is obligatory upon him who desires to be a citizen
to submit himself to that institution. But does not your practice and
your dogma positively say, that it is not the duty of an alien to be
born again, but that it is the duty of his father or guardian to have
him naturalized? Now, although many things are in common the duty
of brother, father, and child, yet those duties which belong specifically
to a father can not belong to his child, either in religion, morality, or
society. If it be the father's duty to "offer his child to the Lord." to
speak in your own style, it is not the duty of the child to offer himself.
It was not Isaac's duty to be circumcised, but Abraham's duty to cir-
cumcise him. If, then, it was your father's duty to have made you
citizens of the kingdom of heaven, it is not your duty to become citi-
zens, unless you can produce a law, saying, that in all cases where the
father fails to do his duty, then it shall be the duty of the child to do
that which his father neglected.

Again — if all fathers, like yours, had upon their own responsibility,
without any command from the Lord, baptized their children, there
would not be one in a nation to whom it could be said. "Repent and
be baptized" — much less could It be said to every penitent, "Be bap-


tized, every one of you, by the authority of the Lord, for the remission
of sins." These remarks are only intended to show that your insti-
tutions do, in truth, go to the subversion of the government of Christ,
and to the entire abolition of the institutions of his kingdom. On this
account alone, if for no other reason, you ought to be constitutionally
naturalized, and be legally and honorably inducted into the kingdom of
heaven. It is a solemn duty you owe the King and his government-
and if you have a conscience formed by the Oracles of God, you can
have no confidence in God, nor real peace of mind, so long as you give
your support — your countenance, example, and entire infiuence to break
down the institutions of Jesus Christ, to open his kingdom to all that
is born of the flesh, and to prevent as far as you can every man from
the pleasure of choosing whom he shall obey — of confessing him before
men — of taking on his yoke — of dying, being buried, and raised with
Christ in his gracious institution. If Jesus himself, for the sake of
fulfilling all righteousness, or of honoring every divine institution,
though he needed not the reformation nor the remission which John
preached, was immersed by John — what have you to say for yourselves
— you who would claim the honors and privileges of the kingdom of
heaven, refusing to follow the example of Jesus, and who virtually
subvert his authority by supporting a system which would, if carried
out, not allow a voluntary agent in all the race of Adam to do that
which all the first converts to Christ did by authority of the commis-
sion which Jesus gave to all his Apostles?

Again — whatever confidence you may now possess that you are
good citizens of the kingdom of the Messiah, that confidence is not
founded upon a "thus saith the Lord," but upon your own reasonings,
which all men must acknowledge may be in this, as in many other
things, fallacious. Jesus has said, "He that believes and is immersed
shall be saved;" and Peter commanded every penitent to be immersed
for the remission of his sins. Now he who hears the word, believes it,
and is on his own confession immersed, has an assurance, a confidence,
which it is impossible for you to have.

Let me add only another consideration, for we are not now arguina;
the merits of your theory, or that of any party: it is your duty, as you
desire the union of (what you call) the church, and the conversion of
the world, forthwith to be immersed and be born constitutionally into
the kingdom; because all Protestants, of every name, if sincere
believers in Jesus as the Christ, irrespective of every opinion found
in any human creed, could, if they would, honor and obey his insti-
tutions, come into one fold, and sit down together under the reign of
the Messiah. If all would follow your example, this would necessarily
follow; if they do not, you have done your duty. In being thus
immersed, all the world, Catholic and Protestant, admit that you are


truly and Scripturally baptized; for all admit that an immersed peni-
tent is constitutionally baptized into Christ: but only a part of the
professing world can admit that rite of infant affusion on which you
rely, as introducing you, without previous knowledge, faith, or repent-
ance, into the family of God. Acquit, then, your conscience; follow
the example of Jesus; honor and support his authority; promote the
union and peace of the family of God; do what in you lies for the
conversion of the world; enter into the full enjoyment of the blessings
of the kingdom of heaven by confessing the ancient faith, and by being
immersed in the name of Jesus, into the name of the Father, and of
the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, for the remission of sins. Then you
may say as Jesus said to the Samaritan woman. Although the Samari-
tans have a temple on Mount Gerizim, a priesthood, and the five books
of Moses, "salvation is of the Jews." Although the sects have the
Oracles of God, human creeds, many altars, priests, and religious
usages, the enjoyment of salvation is among them who simply believe
what the Apostles wrote concerning Jesus, and who, from the heart,
obey that mould of doctrine which the Apostles delivered to us.

In so doing you will, moreover, most wisely consult your own safety
and security from the signal calamities that are every day accumu-
lating, and soon to fall with overwhelming violence on a distracted,
divided, alienated, and adulterous generation. If you are ''the people
of God," as you profess, and as we would fain imagine, then you are
commanded by a voice from heaven, "Come out of her, my people, that
you partake not of the sins of mystic Babylon, and that you receive
not a portion of her plagues."* If affliction, and shame, and poverty,
and reproach were to be the inalienable lot of the most approved serv
ants of God, it is better, infinitely better for you to suffer with them,
than to enjoy for a season all that a corrupted and apostate society can
bestow on you. Remember who it is that has said. "Happy are they
who keep his commandments, for they shall have a right to the tree
of life, and they shall enter in through the gates into the city!"


To him who, through the telescope of faith, surveys your camp,
there appears not on the whole map of creation such a motley group.
such a heterogeneous and wretched amalgamation of distracted spirits,
as are found in actual insurrection and rebellion, in a mad and
accursed alliance against the reigning Monarch of creation. In your
lines are found every unclean and hateful spirit on this side the fath-
omless gulf, the dark and rayless receptacle of fallen and ruined intel-
ligences, who, in endless and fruitless wailings. lament their own fol-
lies, and through an incessant night of despair anathematize themselves

'Rev. xviii. 4, 5.


and their coadjutors in the perpetration of their eternal suicide. Yes,
in your ranks are found all who wilfully reject the Son of God, and
will not have him to reign over them; whether they are styled the
decent moralist, the honest deist, skeptic, atheist, infidel, the specu-
lating Sadducee, the boasting Pharisee, the supercilious Jew, the
resentful Samaritan, or the idolatrous Gentile. All ranks and degrees
of men in political society — the king and the beggar — the sage phil-
osopher and the uneducated clown — the rich and the poor, who disdain
the precepts of the Messiah, unite with you in this unholy alliance
against the kingdom of heaven. You may boast of many a decent fel-
low soldier in the crusade against Immanuel; many who.when weighed
in the balances of the political sanctuary, are not found wanting in
all the decencies of this present life; but only look at the innumerable
crowds of every sort of wretches, down to the filthiest, vilest matricide,
who in yonr communion are fighting under your banners — stout-
hearted rebels! — leagued with you in your attempts to dethrone the
I.i0rd's Anointed. If you boast of one Marcus Aurelius, you must frar
ternize with many a Nero, Domitian, Caligula, and Heliogabulus. It
you rejoice in the virtues of one Seneca, you must own the vices of
ten thousand murderers, robbers, adulterers, drunkards, profane
swearers, and lecherous debauchees, who have rejected the counsels of
heaven, because the precepts of righteousness and life forbade their

If, then, my friends, (for I now address the most honorable of your
community,) you boast that you belong to a very large and respectable
synagogue, remember, I pray you, that to this same synagogue in
which you have your brotherhood, belongs everything mean, and vile,
and wretched, in every land where the name of Jesus has been
announced. What a group! Have you so much of the reflex light of
the gospel falling upon your vision as to flush your cheek with the
glow of shame when you look along the line of your alliance, and
survey the horrible faces, the ragged, and tattered, and squalid, and
filthy wretches, your companions in arms — members toith you in the
synagogue of Satan — and confederates against the Prince of Peace f
If you can not blush at such a spectacle, you are not among them to
whom I would tender the pearls of Jesus Christ.

What do you then say? "I am ashamed of such an alliance — of
such a brotherhood; and therefore I have joined the Temperance
Society — I belong to the Literary Club — and I carry my family regu-
larly to church on every Sunday." And do you think, O simpleton!
that these human inventions, which only divide the kingdom of Satan
into castes, and form within it various private communions, honorable
and dishonorable associations, learned and unlearned fraternities,
moral and immoral conventicles, change the state of a single son of


Adam as respects the Son of God I ! Then may Whig and Tory, Masonic
and Antimasoni<r clubs and conclaves — then may every political cabal,
for the sake of elevating some demagogue, change the political relations
in the state, and make and unmake American citizens according to
fancy, in despite of constitution, law, and established precedents. No,
sir; should there be as many parties in the state as there are days in
a month, membership in any one of these affects not in the least the
standing of any man as a citizen in relation to the United States, or to
any foreign power. And by parity of reason, as well as by all that is
written in the New Testament, should you join all the benevolent socie-
ties on the chequered map of Christendom, and fraternize with every
brotherhood born after the icill of man, this would neither change nor
destroy your citizenship in the kingdom of Satan — still you would be
an alien from the kingdom of the Messiah — a foreigner as respects all
its covenanted blessings — and, in the unbiased judgment of the uni-
verse, you would stand enrolled amongst its enemies.

In character there are many degrees as respects any and every
attribute which enters into its formation; but as respects state there
are no degrees. In the nature of things it is impossible. Every man is
either married or single, a brother, a master, a citizen, or he is not.
Every man is either Christ's or Belial's; there is no middle power, and
therefore no neutral state. Hence the King himself, when on the
present theatre of war, told his companions to regard every man as
his enemy who w^as not on his side. Amongst his professed friends
they, who in works deny him, are even counted as enemies.

What a hopeless struggle is that in which you are engaged! Dis-
comfiture, soon or late, awaits you. Have you counsel and strength
to oppose the Sovereign of the Universe? Do you think you can frus-
trate the counsels of Infinite Wisdom and overcome Omnipotence?
Your master is already a prisoner — your chief is in chains. The fire
of eternal vengeance is already kindled for Satan and all his subjects.
Mad in his disappointed ambition, and implacable in his hatred of
him against whom he rebelled, he only seeks to gratify his own malice
by involving with himself in irremediable ruin the unhappy victims
of his seduction. He only seeks to desolate the dominions of God,
and to ruin forever his fellow creatures. WMU you, then, serve your
worst enemy and war against your best friend?

But your rebellion can effect nothing against God. His arm is too
strong for the whole creation. You can not defeat his counsels nor
stay his almighty hand. The earth on which you stand trembles at
his rebuke; the foundations of the hills and mountains are moved and
shaken at his presence. You fight against yourselves. God's detes-
tation of your course arises not from any apprehension that you can
injure him; but because you destroy yourselves. Every triumph which


your inordinate desires and passions gain over the remonstrances of.
reason and conscience, only precipitates you into deeper and deeper
misery, matures you for perdition, and makes it essential to the good
order and happiness of the universe that you should suffer an "ever-
lasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and the glory of
his power."

What, then, infatuates you, that you should choose death rather
than life, and prefer destruction to salvation? "I am not sure that the
gospel is true; I love my companions, and I can not see any criminality
in gratifying those passions and appetites which my Creator has
planted in my constitution."

You admit there is a God your Creator, but you doubt whether the
gospel is true! What an abuse of reason and evidence! Can you
infer from any premises in your possession, that He, whose creation
man is, who has exhibited to the eye and ear of man so much wisdom,
power, and goodness in all his grand designs already accomplished,
and daily accomplishing, in the heavens and in the earth, teaching
man to sustain the present life, to anticipate the future, and to provide
for it, has never intelligibly addressed him on a subject of incom-
parably more importance — his own ultimate destiny! That God should
have been at so much pains to elevate man in nature — to furnish him
with such an organization — to bestow on him reason and speech,
admirably qualifying him to acquire and communicate instruction on
all things necessary to his present animal enjoyments; and at the
same time to have never communicated to him any thing relative to
his intellectual nature — never to have addressed him on the themes
which, as a rational creature, he must necessarily most of all desiro
to know; to have done everything for his body and for the present,
and nothing for his mind, nor for the future, is, to say the least of it,
the most improbable conceit that the most romantic fancy can enter-

That the Creator could not enlighten him on these topics is wholly
inadmissable. That he could, and would not, is directly contrary to
every analogy in creation — contradictory to every proof we have of his
benevolence, an inexplicable exception to the whole order of his gov-
ernment: for he has provided objects for every sense — objects for every
intellectual power — objects for every affection, honorable passion,
appetite, and propensity in our constitution; but on your hypothesis
he has only failed in that which is infinitely more dear to us, more
consonant to our whole rational nature, and most essential to our hap-
piness!! 'Tis most contrary to reason..

But the folly of your skepticism is still more glaring when we open
the book of the gospel of salvation. In the history of Jesus you have
the fulfillment of a thousand predictions, expressed by numerous


prophets, for 1,500 years before he was born. These recorded prophe-
cies were in the possession of his and our most bitter enemies when he
appeared, and are still extant in their hands. How can you dispose
of these? All antiquity confirms the existence of Jesus of Nazareth i i
the times of Augustus and Tiberius Cesar. No contemporary opponent
denied his miracles: they explained them away, but questioned not
the wonderful works which he wrought. His character was the only
perfect and unexceptionable one the world ever saw, either in print
or in real life; and yet you imagine him to have been the greatest liar
and most infamous impostor that ever lived. You must admit him to
have been the teacher of everything moral, and pure, and gocTTrke — to
have lived the most exemplary life — to have employed his whole lifi
in doing good — while, to countenance your skepticism, you must
imagine him to have been the greatest deceiver and most blasphemous
pretender the world ever saw! Truly, you are fond of paradox!

His Apostles, too, for the sake of being accounted the offscourings
of the world and the filth of all society — for the sake of poverty,
contumely, stripes, imprisonment, and martyrdom, you imagine trav-
eled over the earth teaching virtue and holiness — discountenancing
every species of vice and immorality, while telling the most impudent
lies, and that, too, about matters of palpable fact, about which no man
having eyes and ears could be mistaken! How great your credulity!
How weak your faith!

And to consummate the whole, you admit that in the most enlight-
ened age, and amongst the most disputatious and discriminating popu-
lation, both Jewish, Roman, and Grecian, in Jerusalem itself, the very
theatre of the crucifixion of the Chief, and in all Judea, and Samaria,
and in all the great towns and cities of the whole ancient Roman
Empire, Eastern and Western, these rude and uncultivated Galileans
did actually succeed in persuading hundreds of thousands of persons,
of all ranks, sexes, ages, and intellects, to renounce their former opin-
icns and practices — to encounter proscription, confiscation of goods,
banishment, and even death itself in numerous instances, through
faith in their testimony, while everything was fresh, and when the
detection of any fiction or fraud was most easy!

Now if it were possible to place your folly in an attitude still more
Inexcusable, I would ask you to show what there is in the gospel that
Is not infinitely worthy of God to bestow, and of man to receive'
And where under the canopy of the skies, in any country, language,
or age of time, is there anything that confers greater honor on man,
or proposes to him anything more worthy of his acceptance than the
gospel ?

Could there have been a more acceptable model proposed, after
which to fashion man, than that after which he was originally created?

280 THm] millennial HARBINGER ABRIDGED.

When he was beguiled and apostatized from God, could there have
been deputed a more honorable personage to effect his reconciliation
to God, than his only begotten and well beloved Son? And could there
even be imagined a more delectable destiny allotted to man than an
immortality of bliss in the palace of this vast universe, in the presence
of his Father and his God forever and forever? Now with all these
premises, will you object to this religion that it requires a man
to be pure and holy, in order to his enjoyment of this eternal
salvation? Then lay your hand upon your face, and blush, and be
ashamed forever!

But you say you love your companions! And who are they? Your
fellow rebels, foolish and infatuated as yourselves. The drunkard, the
thief, the murderer, love their companions, the partners of their crimes.
Conspirators and partisans in any undertaking, kindred spirits in
guilty and daring enterprise, confirm each other in their evil machin-
ations, and either from mutual interest or from some hateful affinity
in evil dispositions, coalesce and league together in bands of malicious
depredation. A Cataline, a Jugurtha, Robespierre, had their confeder-
ates. The rakes, the libertines, the freebooters of every color, form
their own fraternities and have a liking of some sort for their com
panions. But wherein does your attachment to your companions differ
from theirs? A congeniality of disposition, a similarity of likings and
dislikings, all springing from your love of the world and your dislike
of the authority of the Messiah. And will not a change of circum-
stances convert your affection into hatred? Soon or late, if you do
not repent and turn to God, you that are leagued in the friendships
of the world, those friendships arising from the lusts of the flesh, tha
lusts of the eye, and the pride of life, will not only become enemies,
but mutual tormentors of one another. Your warmest friends in your
opposition to the Son of God will become King's evidence against you,
and exasperate the flame that will consume you forever and ever.
Break off, then, every friendship, alliance, and covenant which you
have formed with them that disdain the grace of God and contemn the
Saviour of the world, and form an everlasting covenant with the people
of God, which shall never be forgotten. Then, indeed, you may love
your companions with all the affection of your hearts, and indulge to
the utmost every sympathy and social feeling of your nature. Then
may you embrace, in all the ardor of fraternal love, those kindred
spirits that with you have vowed eternal allegiance to the gracious
and rightful Sovereign of all the nations of the redeemed in heaven
and on earth. Such companions are worth possessing, and their
friendship worth cultivating and preserving through all the journey
of life; for it will be renewed beyond the Jordan, and flourish with
increasing delight through the countless ages of eternity.


But you have said that the gratification of all the impulses and
propensities of your nature must l>e innocent, because they are the
creation of God, and were sown in the embryo of your physical consti-
tution. If under the control of that light and reason under which Go<l
commanded your affections and appetites to move, your reasoning
would be sound and safe; but if they have usurped a tyranny over
your judgment and captivated your reason, they are not to be gratified
They are like successful rebels that have dethroned their sovereign,
and, because by violence and fraud in possession of the throne, they
plead a divine right to wield the sceptre over their dethroned Prince.
Such is the meaning of the plea which you urge in favor of your re-
bellious affections. When man rebelled against his Creator, the beast?
of the field, till then under his dominion, rebelled against him; and
all his passions, affections, and propensities partook of the general dis-
order — of that wild and licentious anarchy which ensued upon man's
disobedience. And have you not in your daily observation — nay. have

Online LibraryAlexander CampbellThe Millennial Harbinger abridged (Volume 1) → online text (page 34 of 70)