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imagination, without a local habitation or a name.

There is a pleasure in being bewildered in a paradise; in being
lost in a rapture of glory; or, like Paul, in not knowing "whether in
the body or out of the body;" whether in the first or in the seventh
heaven, in the heaven of heavens, or beyond them all.

There is no relation between the finite and the infinite, and yet
neither of these could be without the other. There are, therefore, but
two ideas in the universe of the genus generalissimum — two distinct
conceptions, and yet dependent on each other for a revelation of them-
selves. These are creature and creator.


Father and child aro equally dependent on each other for their
being and manifestation. A lather without a child, or a child without
a father, is not within the grasp of human reason or of angelic
thought We may aa well, then, pause here as go any farther in this
direction. For all the philosophers of earth, and all the philosophies
of the universe, are stranded and silenced just here, because of the
impotency of boasting, boastful reason.

We are, because God Is. And God is, because God was, and God
will ever be, because he always was, the one only self-existent, und-i-
rived, unbegotten, uncreated One, indicated in the ineffably sublime
utterance, I a.m. Thia is our Rock of Ages. And in speaking of the
joys and pleasures of true religion, we must have a clear and clean
arena for its full manifestation, in order to its full enjoyment

Religion (I use the term because of its consecration in the dialects
of earth) being wholly of a remedial character, and to be appreciated
and enjoyed as such, must be adapted to man as he now exists in this
world. It must, therefore, have a body, a soul, and a spirit, to meet
all the demands of his being and of his well being. Hence, Chris-
tianity must have a body, a soul, and a spirit, if it be at all adapted to
the conditions of a lost, bewildered, and ruined world.

In heaven and in hell there is no religion. None in heaven, because
all its inhabitants are reconciled to God; and none in hell, because
its inmates are not under a remedial dispensation. The whole nee-l
neither a physician nor his medicine. Neither do the dead. Religion,
therefore, is for man in the flesh, or for man fallen and undone, but
yet placed under a remedial system.

Angels or spirits in no realm of the universe, are the subjects or
the objects of religion. Adoration and praise belong only to those in
holy communion with God; and these in heaven constitute natures
on earth, they are the fruit of religion, or reconciliation to God.
Light is not love, neither is love light It is but the fruit of it.
Before we admire or love beauty, we must see it. And before w-?
can love God, we must know him as he is — absolute, supreme, essen-
tial beauty.

But in this lower world, and in all its mists and fogs of philosophy
and religion, so called, there is a vocabulary as frail, and feeble, and
erratic as man. The reason is clear — the stream can not rise above
its fountain; and man can never, at one glance, see himse'f. There
is, of his senses, not one that can recognize its own acts. The eye
sees not itself, the ear hears not itself, and neither of these can take
cognizance of any one of the other senses, nor any one of them take
cognizance of either of them. The gustatory nervp, the olfactory
nerve, nor any nerve of sensation, ran take any coernizance whatever
of Itself or of the acts rf its fraternity. Hence, mind and spirit are


mysteries, on which myriads of philosophers have, in vain, racked
their brains for thousands of years. But shall the eye of man nullify
its own being because it never saw itself, or the ear, because it never
heard itself! Talk not of mirrors. There are neither eyes nor ears
in mirrors. They but adumbrate material orbs or structures. Senses
have no shadows, no lights, no colors, no forms, no images of them-
selves or of one another. Organs are not senses. But if they were,
not one of them could recognize another.

So of all the inner faculties of the mind. Indeed, the mind and
the spirit require the sharp two-edged sword of the Spirit of God to
separate them. None but a sword manufactured in heaven, can dis-
tinguish or separate these. That sword is the Word of God. Hence
Paul, who saw all this by a spiritual intuition, eloquently declares
that "The "Word of God is quick and powerful, [living and effectual,]
sharper than any two-edged sword, and is a discerner [or a detector]
of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Hence the metaphysical
or animal man never did, never can, discern himself.

No mere philosopher, unaided by revelation, in writing or in tra-
dition, ever knew himself — his origin, his relations to the universe,
his ultimate destiny. So reason we, and so affirms Paul by a plenary
inspiration. Now, then, after this excursion, let us return to our

We have said that Christianity, like man, has its subject and its
object. Man himself is the subject of it — man, in his whole being,
constitution and character, is the subject of this Divine institution.
He was in being before it was in fact. It was originated and con-
summated for him as a fallen, degraded, ruined being. It contem-
plates his entire regeneration in body, soul and spirit. This is, there-
fore, its object. This consummated, its design is perfected. This
not consummated, he dies a wretch undone — lost, ruined, degraded
forever. It is, therefore, the greatest subject, or theme, within the
limits of human thought, of human aspiration. Compared with it,
the physical universe is an atom unappreciable. Possessed of it, and
of its full effect upon his Intellectual and moral constitution, his
whole spiritual being is the most sublime spectacle we have ever seen,
or can see, by the light of this world, whether we call it physical,
Intellectual, or spiritual light.

But man being a miniature trinity — possessing a body, a soul, and
a spirit — Christianity assumes a similar constituency, and, therefore,
it has a body, a soul, and a spirit. Its body is the ordinances of the
Christian faith. Here I would not call them the ordinances of relig-
ion, for religion is God's one grand ordinance, the centre of which
is the propitiatory sacrifice and the propitiatory intercession — the
latter based on, and emanating from, the former. The sun has been


turned into blood, in the Son of God having become a slain lamb.
Blood is the envelope of life, the mystery of mysteries, in the organ i-
za'aons of this physical and moral universe. But that I.anib of God
having been slain a siacrifice for us, there needs no more sacrifice for
sin. Hence, this blood is embalmed, preserved, and shadowed forth
in that which we have called the body of Christianity — its ordinances.
And of these, there are three distinct embodiments. These are, bap-
tism, the Lord's supper, and the Lord's day. These are pregnant
institutions, filled with the grace of God. Forms, without meaning,
are nothing. Form is but a mode of l>eing. It is not being. In
Christian baptism there is more than words and water, and the action
of immersion. There is a grace, a special grace. Baptism is valid
grace, and no more. There is, indeed, implied, and solemnly expressed
in it, a death, a hurial, and a new life. There is, too, a solemn prepa-
ration for it. There is a spiritual illumination terminating in faith,
a."? preparatory to it, or to the enjoyment of its spiritual provisions.
This faith itself is not a physical impression on the senses or the soul
of a man, in a state of death or torpidity, but an actual giving up of
the heart, the conscience, the will, to the Redeemer, on the verity and
fidelity of the Holy Spirit, who always testifies to the Divine and
moral grandeur of the Son — the Incahxate Wokd of the Livixq Goo.
This is baptismal faith, terminating in a literal immersion in
water, into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Hence its inappreciability to insensible, unappreciating babes and

There is then a resurrection out of the mystic grave, by the arm of
the administrator — a second birth into a new world — the church or
family of God. Born thus of the water and of the Spirit, a new and
formal life begins. Communion with the Father, and with the Son.
and with the Holy Spirit, here commences, in the spirit of adoption,
by which those mystically regenerated in body, soul, and spirit, crp,
Abba, Father!

There is. also, besides the quickening of the Word or Spirit of
God. the resurrection to a new life, not only in the symbolic form of
emersion, but in the spiritual, and holy, and joyful aspirations of th"
soul to God, in the pure and holy spirit of personal consecration to
the service and the honor of the Lord who redeemed us by his own
blood, and constituted us kings and priests to God. This sublime
confession of our faith in the death, burial, resurrection, and ascen-
sion of the Lord Jesus, is followed up by a sacred regard to the other
constituents of the Christian gospel— the Lord's day and the Tx)rd'3

Christianity is pre eminently For^ial. Hence its social institutions.
These are its social prayer meetiagc and congratulations, its social


praises, its social thanksgivings, its social communings, its social

Its standing occasions and festivals are ordained for this purpose,
for the cultivation and manifestation of a spiritual and holy union
and communion, in joint participation of its prospective and retro-
spective ordinances and institutions.

Hence the necessity of a church state. A Christian can no more
live out of a church state than can a physical man live out of a
physical universe. He as much, needs the Spirit of God as he needs
breath. He needs the bread and the water of life as much, as his
body demands for the sustenance the literal bread and water of earth.
Were this not so, the church and its institutions would be unmeaning
and barren appendages, without reason, without object, without good.
They are silly philosophers, who seek to live without physical ele-
ments; and quite as silly Christians, who dream of spiritual life,
spiritual health, or spiritual comfort, without the ordinances which
God has instituted for the life spiritual and divine. The communion
of saints is the exquisite of human happiness. Without employment
there is no enjoyment, and no enjoyment without employment.
Heaven is not a mere state of repose. Its raptures and ecstacies of
bliss are all activities of the soul, in wonder, love and praise expressed.

A philosophic speculative repose is a state of soulless apathy and
inactivity. A human being can not live on ether, however pure,
unearthy, and unelementary it may be alleged to be. There are ordi-
nances of worship even in the heavens. And there are worshipers
there who unite and commune in the full radiation and fruition of the
Divine presence. But they are not mere thinking Quakers, specula-
tive philosophers, or ranting enthusiasts, but admiring, worshiping,
adoring saints. They tune their golden lyres to the song of Moses
and the Lamb.

It is not only in the apocalyptic visions that we read of "harpers
harping with their harps," in rapturous choirs above; but there, also,
we hear of the "song of Moses" repeated; and, better still, that of
the slain lamb echoing in choral symphonies through, all the vaults
of heaven.

But in the earthly state of the church we now live, and move, and
have our membership. Its social ordinances are, one and all, of Divine
appointment. And they are severally and collectively designed to
instruct and to comfort, to encourage and strengthen us for the work
of faith, and labor of love, and the patience of hope.

A Christian living out of the Church of Christ — unless in exile on
some Patmos, or in some prison, banished from the sanctuary of the
Lord — is a conception so far out of my premises, that comprehend it
I can not; nor do I envy that man who attempts to justify it, under


fjretense of liiRh spiritualism, or because of some canonize<T shibbo-
leth of factitious importance, made sacred only by some sectarian
enactment or prescription.

The Church of Jesus Christ and its Divine ordinances are now the
only Bethel — the only social antitype of the tabernacle of Israel, of
the temple of Solomon, of the Mount Zion where stood the Ark of the
Covenant, the citadel of the great King.

Till- foundutioiis of Zion are on the holy mouiilaius.

Ji'hovah lovi'th the gates of Zion

More than any of the ilwcllings of Jacob.

Glorious things are spokt-u of thee, City of GodI


Yt-a, Concerning Zion it shall be said,

This and that man was born in her!

For the most high shall himself establish her.

la the records of peoples Jehovah shall relate,

This man was born there.

They shall sing as those leading the dance;

Each shall say, All my springs are in thee. [Psalm rxxxvii.

But in clearer vision, with Paul we say to the Christian Church,
and to its holy brotherhood — "You are come to Mount Zion, even to
the city of the Living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innu-
merable company of angels; to the general assembly and church of
the sons of Cod, who are enrolled in heaven, and to the Judge, who
is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect; to Jesu.^,
the Mediator of the New Covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling,
that speaketh better things than that of Abel."

In such society as this

My weary soul would rest;
The man that dwells where Jesus is

Must be forever blest.

What a contrast between a citizen of Zion and a mere citizen of
any state or empire founded in blood, usurpation, tyranny, or on any
of the forms of philosophy or theology, ancient or niodernl

A. c, 1854, page 121.

In 1832, in an extra, Mr. Campbell says of

73. Q. What constitutes a Christian?

A. Faith in Jesus as the Messiah the Son of God, and obedience to

76. Q. What is faith in Jesus?

A. An assurance, founded on the testimony of Apostles and Proph-
ets, that he is the Messia'i t'''' Pon of God.

77. Q. Does not thi.s assurr.ncp draw mankind to him. and cause
them to repose confidence in him?

A. All who know his name and character will put their trust in


78. Q. What are the privileges of Christians as respects this life?
A. They are all reconciled to God, justified, sanctified, adopted into

the family of God, saved, and constituted heirs of God through Christ.

79. Q. Are all these blessings, honors, and hopes, secured to ail
in Christ?

A. Yes, by the promise and oath of God. God sware to Abraham
that he would bless all the families of the earth in his So)i.

80. Q. What do the Scriptures mean by being reconciled to God?

A. Just what is implied in being reconciled to man. When a mis-
understanding, alienation, or enmity exists in both parties, they are
said to be reconciled to each other, when the causes are removed, and
when they are restored to mutual confidence, love, and affection.
When alienation exists only in one of the parties, he is said to be
reconciled to the other, when his alienation or the causes of it are

81. Q. Whether do the Scriptures represent that God has recon-
ciled us, or that we have reconciled him?

A. "God has reconciled us to himself,'' is the language of the book.

82. Q. How did God reconcile us to himself?

A. By teaching us that he could not approve or delight in us as
sinners, by making his Son a sin-offering for us; thereby making it
every way honorable and gracious in himself to forgive us our sins
through the blood of his well beloved Son, whom he sent forth from
his own bosom in proof of his love to the world.

83. Q. What is meant by being justified?

A. It is to have the remission of all our sins, and to stand as
righteous persons in the sight of God.

84. Q. Is it not, then, equivalent in effect to being pardoned?

A. It is so used by the Apostles: "By him all that believe are
justified from all things from which no one could be justified by the
law of Moses."

85. Q. What do the Scriptures mean by the word sanctified?

A. To be sanctified is to be separated to God as respects our rela-
tion to him, and to have a purification of heart conformed to that
state. Thus Christians are said to be holy as respects both their
state, dispositions, and behavior.

86. Q. What do the Scriptures mean by being adopted?

A. Adoption, or receiving into the relation of a son, is the same
act, whether God or man be the adopter. On as many as receive Jesus
in his character as God's Son, he bestows the honor of an induction
into the relation of children — of sons and daughters to the Lord
Almighty. And more; he communicates to them the spirit of children,
so that they can, with feeling, say, "Abba, Father!"

87. Q. In what sense are Christians caved in this life?


A. From sin. "He shall save his people from their sins;" from
the guilt, pollution, and dominion of sin in this life, and from its
punishment in the next.

88. Q. In what consists the inheritance or heirship of Christians?
A. "All things arc theirs." Angels, Apostles, and Prophets; the

world, life, death, and immortality; Christ himself, "the heir of all
things," is theirs, and they are his. Their inheritance is in the
heavens — "incorruptible, undefiled, and unfading."

89. Q. How many salvations are spoken of as belonging to Chris-

A. Three. The salvation of their persons from all the dangers of
the kingdom of nature; the salvation of their souls from the guilt,
pollution, and power of sin; the salvation of their bodies from the
grave and from all the punishment of sin. God is the saviour of all
men, especially believers, from physical dangers; he saves the souls
of them that fear him from sin and Satan. And he has a salvation
to be revealed at the last day, an eternal salvation of the whole person,
of which all who are found faithful to death shall be partakers.

90. Q. What are the chief constituents of the present salvation?
A. The remission of sins and the Holy Spirit. Pardon of all past

sin is necessary to peace of conscience, and is God's free and first gift
through faith in his Son, and immersion into his death and resurrec-
tion. When the heart is sprinkled from an evil conscience, and the
body washed with cleansing water, ours is the spirit of love, joy,
peace; for the reign of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in th.?
Holy Spirit. Thus in the order of nature the reception of the Holy
Spirit is necessarily subsequent to the remission of our sins.

The chief promises to the Christian are:

"I. Come out from among them, and be ye separate, and I will
receive you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord

"H. I will be their God and they shall be my people.

"HI. My Father will love him, and we will come and make our
abode with him.

"IV. I will never leave you nor forsake you.

"V. Christ in us the hope of glory."

In 1844, page 481, the llarhingcr said:


The following synopsis of the grand outline, elements, and design
Of Christianity, was written by Tiiom.vs C.xmi-mkli., in the 82d year
of his age. He desires its publication as the result of all his thoughts
on the great subject — as a very summary view* of its cardinal features,
sustained by a very liberal collation of Scripture quotations. Its chief


object is to demonstrate that Christianity is a development of the
infinite, eternal, and immutable love of God to man — of that love
partially exhibited in the creation of man and in the providence for
his w^ants; but perfectly and completely displayed in his eternal re-
demption from sin and death.

The apparent redundancy of quotations and proofs in all his essays
is the effect of a seventy years' devout study of the book, until it has
become part and parcel of the mind of the writer. Himself an old
man, he is fond of the old style of expressing himself, as well as the
ancient and commendable custom of dealing out liberal portions of the
sacred documents in explanation as well as in confirmation of his
views. ' A. c.


Christianity is emphatically, supereminently — yea, transcendently,
the religion of love: that is, of affectionate attachment, benevolence,
and beneficence; for its Divine Author, subject matter, and effects, are
all love in the highest possible degree. For, first, God its author, is
love. (I. John iv. 8.) So are all its grand fundamental facts, the
effects of divine love. Namely, 1st. The divine assumption of our
humanity in its present debased, degraded condition. 2. The personal
gift of the Holy Spirit to inhabit our nature, thus assumed. 3. The
deep humiliation, cruel maltreatment, tremendous sufferings, and
ignominious death of this glorious personage, our Divine Emanuel.

4. His glorious resurrection and infinite exaltation above all heavens.

5. The mission and descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples on
the day of Pentecost, to dwell in them, and to be with them for ever;
and likewise in and with all them that should believe through their

Now, as those five fundamental gospel facts are all transcendent
effects of divine love, so are all its gracious declarations, invitations,
and promises, effects of the same divine principle; for they are not
only completely adapted to our wretched, guilty, polluted, perishing
condition — presenting us with seasonable redress for all our griev-
ances, and healing for our diseases; but also — with an everlasting
portion of glory, honor, and immortality, in the possession of an inher-
itance incorruptible, undefiled, and unfading, reserved in heaven for
them, who, through the belief and obedience of the gospel and law of
Chris*, are kept by the power of God, to the enjoyment of the prom-
ised salvation, which is yet to be revealed in the last time. And lastly,
the law of Christ, which, together with the gospel, constitutes the
subject matter of Christianity, is also pure and perfect love.

Now, if it be Scripturally evident to demonstration, from the above
mentioned facts and documents, (as we humbly presume it is.) that
our holy religion, in its Divine Author, subject matter, and effects, is


pure and perfect love; what remains, then, but that we so avail our-
selves of it, as to get into the actual possession of this blissful attain-
ment? We say blissful attainment — for perfect love is perfect hap-
piness; provided, the beloved object be perfectly adapted to the lover's
capacity for enjoyment; and such is really and perfectly the case in
the subject before us.

We shall, therefore, proceed to a Scriptural investigation of this
all-important subject; taking every item in the order of the above
synopsia We have assumed that our holy religion is emphatically,
supereminently — yea, transcendently, the religion of love. Our first
argument is taken from the revealed character of its Divinn Author;
all whose works are naturally and originally works of love: "For God
is love." (I. John iv. 8.) Now, the history of the divine proceedings,
from the very beginning, evinces this blissful truth: the first chapter
of which is the work of creation, of which we have a particular record
in the first chapter of Genesis. In this chapter the divine intention
is emphatically marked by a seven-fold repetition of the word — good —
applied successively to the various productions of almighty power,
wisdom, and goodness., and expressive of the divine intention; namely,
the happiness of all his sensitive and intelligent creatures. For the
term — good — embraces the whole circle of enjoyment; as we call every
thing good, that gives us pleasure. And here it is very remarkablo,
that God, upon a review of the whole creation, pronounces it super-
eminently GOOD. See verse 31st. "And God saw everything that h^
had made; and, behold, it was very good." That is, perfectly adapted
to the gratification and happiness of every creature capable of enjoy-
ment. And, last of all, in the chapter of creation, the divine benevo-
lence is most eminently manifested in man. For, "God said. Let us
make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have domin-

Online LibraryAlexander CampbellThe Millennial Harbinger abridged (Volume 1) → online text (page 38 of 70)