Alexander Campbell.

The Millennial Harbinger abridged (Volume 1) online

. (page 47 of 70)
Online LibraryAlexander CampbellThe Millennial Harbinger abridged (Volume 1) → online text (page 47 of 70)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

from the 629th to the 588th year before Christ. About the 600th
year before Christ, or 2,445 years ago, he writes the following predic-
tion, chapter xxx. 10-24, "I am with thee, Israel! saith the Lord,
to save thee; though I make a full end of all nations whither I have
scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee; but I will
correct thee in measure and will not leave thee altogether unpunished.'
"All they that devour thee shall be devoured, and all thine advek-
sakies, eveky one of them, shall go into captivity. They that spoil
thee shall be a spoil, and all they that prey upon thee tiill I give
for a prey." Where now are the nations that preyed upon the sons of
Abraham! Where are their adversaries — the Assyrian, the Medo-Per-
sian, the Greek, and the Roman peoplel There lives not the man iu
the four quarters of the globe, who can say that in his veins flows one
drop of the blood of an Assyrian, a Medo-Persian, a Greek, or a
Roman: while millions of the house of Israel, of the seed of Abraham,
of the Jewish people, can severally say that in their veins flows the
blood of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob!! Is not, then, every circum-
cised Jew a miracle, a proof supernatural, that God spake by Jeremiah
and the Prophets! ?

Two predictions are here fulfllled and verified to the letter. All
these great masses are lost, being mingled with, and "devouked" by,
their conquerors. But that they have conquered, disinherited, and
dispersed the Jews, could not devour them; for the Lord said, "/ will
never make a full end of thee." The destruction of the one and the
preservation of the other constitute two witnesses for the Bible, and
literally fulfil a promise made to Abraham when leaving Ur of Chaldea,
three thousand seven hundred and sixty-six years ago. Abraham, said
God, "I will curse him that curseth thee, and I will be a God to thee
and to thy seed after thee."

But not once, but often the same promises and prophecies are
written by the same Prophets in a language somewhat different, and
on that account the more certain of a fair construction. W'e shall take
another example from Jeremiah, chapter xxxl. 35, 36, 37, "Thus saith
the Lord who giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of
the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea
when the waves thereof roar; the Lord of hosts is his name: If those
ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, thcti the seed of
Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. Thus
saith the Ix>rd, If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations
of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of
Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord," Here, then, we


have a solemn promise from God, that while time endures, while the
world lasts, the Jews shall continue as a distinct and i)eculiar people —
a standing miracle, indeed, of the truth of the Bible.

Many other peculiarities of the destiny of this awful and venerable
nation are clearly pronounced by Moses and their other Prophets;
such as the whole details of Deuteronomy, 28th chapter, of which I
have room but for a single example, verse 37: "And thou shalt become
an astonishment, a proverb, and a by-word amongst all the nations
whither the Lord shall lead thee." Is this true of any other nation!
Do we not hear it almost as often as we hear of the Jews? Yet
Moses foretold it three thousand three hundred years ago! "With these
predictions in our hands, and a Jew before our eyes, do we not see
a miracle^ — a demonstration of a power supernatural and divine?

As to the authenticity and the antiquity of the writings of Moses,
we happen to have three copies of them, kept by different nations
centuries before Jesus Christ! — the Samaritan, the Hebrew, and the
Septuagint. He that overthrows these, discredits, or repudiates them,
may, by the same ingenuity and learning, discredit and repudiate all
antiquity, all history, sacred, civil, and ecclesiastical. This prophecy
and the law of Moses are in the keeping of the most ancient people and
languages known to any living man. The case we shall, therefore,
consider as fairly and fully made out, viz.: that it is possible and
probable — nay, absolutely certain that God has spoken to man in the
Law and in the Prophets.

But some one may ask for some miracle now extant in proof of the
inspiration of the Christian Apostles. We might hand suoh a one the
Apocalypse; but being a book of symbols, and not like the prophecies
we have quoted, written in a plain unfigurative historic style, we shall
give one example from the plain unadorned epistles of Paul. We
quote from II. Thess. chap. ii. — "Now we beseech you, brethren, by
the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together
unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither
by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter, as from us, as that the day of
Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that
day shall not come, except there be a falling away first, and that man
of sin be revealed, the son of perdition: who opposeth and exalteth
himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he,
as God, sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these
things? And now ye know what withholdeth, that h^ might be
revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work:
only he who now letteth, will let, until he be taken out of the way.
And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall con-
sume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the bright-


ness of his coming. Even him, whose coming is after the working of
Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all
deceivablenesa of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they
received not the love of the truth, that they might l>e saved."

The case, or the occasion of this prophecy, is this: — In his first
epistle to the Thessalonians, Paul had written of "the day of the Lord
coming as a thief in the night;" and also of the change to be affected
upon those who should be alive at his coming: "For we" said he,
"which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Ivord, shall not
anticipate them that are asleep." From which sayings some then
taught, that the day of the Lord's triumph over his enemies' destruc-
tion was soon to arrive, just as some now teach that souls sleep, because
Paul thus spake of the dead. To correct these errors, Paul, in hia
second epistle, by the spirit of revelation, informs them that the day
of the Lord's triumph and the fall of his enemies was then at a great
distance. This leads him to expatiate on some great intervening events.
That day shall not come till a great apostacy from Christ to another
personage shall have occurred; till that man of sin, or "the man of
sin" — the lawless one, described by Daniel (vii. 25,) shall have been

The Apostle introduces this mysterious personage as one frequently
spoken of among the Thessalonians. He calls him "that lawless one,"
or "the man of sin." He was described by Daniel in these words: —
"He shall speak [impious] words against the Most High, and shall
wear out [or consume] the saints of the Most High, and shall think
[or determine] to change times and laws; and they [the saints] shall
be given into his hand until a time, times, and the dividing of time;
but the judgment [upon him] shall sit, and they shall take away his
doyninion to consume and destroy it unto the end." This mystic man
of sin, the Pope of Rome undoubtedly, is described in the following
particular points: —

1. He was to be the son or creature of an apostacy from the primi-
tive faith and manners taught by the Apostles. As Napoleon the Great
grew out of the French Revolution, so did the Pope grow out of the
metropolitan hierarchies and councils that sprung from the defection
of the ancient church.

2. This man without law opposed, in his pretensions, all that were
called magistrates, or that were held in reverence by the people.

3. He placed himself upon a throne.

4. This throne was not erected in a Pagan temple, but in the church
or temple of God. He is neither a Jewish nor a Pagan, but a Chris-
tian High Priest, Father, or Pope.

5. He shows himself to be, or sets himself up as a Vicegerent of
the Almighty, and calls himself "His Holiness Lord God the Pope."


6. He was not to appear for some time after the Apostle wrote this
letter — not, indeed, while the Roman Cesars called themselves sever-
ally Pontifex Maximiis, or the Great High Priest of the Gods.

7. But the letting or opposing Pagan chiefs are to be taken out of
the way.

8. And when that is done, this mysterious son of perdition and of
iniquity, called by Paul "the lawless one," should be fully

9. He was to appear, after the modus operandi of the Devil, by
good words, fair speeches, pretended senctity — "by all the deceivable-
ness of unrighteousness" — transforming himself into an angel of light,
while at heart as black as Erebus.

10. God, it is affirmed, shall permit all those who loved not the
truth in their hearts, to be deluded by this "wicked one," that they
all might be condemned as reprobate silver, as spurious coin, and
removed from the faithful.

Such is the apostolic profile of the 1st of the Gregories — of him that
plucked the golden mitre from the patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch,
Constantinople, and Jerusalem — who asisumed to himself the govern-
ment of the realms of Purgatory, the disposal of all the crowns of the
heirs of Pagan Rome, and who by miracle of deceit gained the confi-
dence of an apostate church and consolidated it into a politico-eccle-
astic empire — "Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots" — a mon-
ster once the wonder of the world and the terror of all the excellent of
the earth.

Could any one, we may now inquire, not gifted by a plenary inspi-
ration from the sempiternal source of light, to whose eye the past, the
present, and the future are all alike, have thus so clearly, so compre-
hensively, and yet so minutely sketched the portrait of the most unnat-
ural mysterious monster of iniquity the world ever saw?

And what event more unlikely to happen, than that one pretending
to be the Vicar of Christ, who, 20 years before this portrait was
sketched, had been crucified between two malefactors without the gates
of Jerusalem — than that one assuming to be the successor of that
Galilean Peter, the fisherman, who had neither silver nor gold, and
who had forsaken all that he had to partake in the toils, the trials,
and the honors of his Master, would have ever thought of aspiring to
such a giddy and ambitious eminence, much less of attaining it and
transmitting it to hundreds of successors through more than twelve
full centuries of yearsi !

No one can make himself thoroughly acquainted with the origin,
progress, and consummation of the Popedom — as developed in the lives
of the Popes — or spend one year in Rome, holding in his hand Daniel's
portrait of this Man of Sin in his seventh chapter, and that of Paul


in this letter to the Tbessalonians, and not see a stupendous miracle
in the literal and exact accomplishment of predictions so copious and
yet so minute, held by the church of all ages and of all nations, and
now read in all the languages of the civilized world, ail literally veri-
fied in one individual person succeeding another, of the same grand
characteristics, for so many centuries. He that does not, in these
ample and precise specifications, recognize the finger of God in a
clearly developed miracle of the most stupendous dimensions, has cer-
tainly sipped no little of the inebriating cup of delusions by which
this great sorcerer has enchanted and deceived the nations of pagan-
ized Christendom.

Our faith in the gospel, we now conclude from these mere speci-
mens of evidence, rests upon the clearest and most solid basis. It
rests upon miracles well attested by others, and on miracles seen by
ourselves. It rests upon the purity of its doctrine, the majesty and
the excellency of its precepts, the riches, the fulness, and the glory
of its promises. It rests upon the perfect originality, the unity, the
grandeur, and the divine sublimity of its adorable Author. It was
promulged by the purest, the noblest, and the most disinterested her-
alds that ever announced a new doctrine to men. It was sustained
by their godly sincerity, their toils, their privations, their endurance
of evil, and their glorious martyrdom for its sake. It enrols amongst
its believers and defenders the greatest, the wisest, the best, and the
most gifted of mankind. All that we love, admire, and venerate in
human character, appears in the boldest relief in the piety, humanity,
and universal excellence of its friends and admirers. It confers upoa
all its fully initiated disciples the whole circle of graces that adorn
human nature, and fills their lives with the largest and richest clusters
of the delicious fruits of benevolence and mercy. It is just such a
message from the throne of heaven as, had we been duly enlightened,
we might have expected; such a glorious display of divinity and human-
ity as fully and eternally glorifies God, and bestows infinite honor and
happiness on man.

We hope to suggest a profitable manner of reading the volume
which contains this divine philanthropy, in our next Tract. a. c.

In 1852, we have, page 661:

A. CampbeU's Introihiction to the last edition of his Debate on the
Evidences of Christianity.

Christianity is a positive institutiou, and has had a positive exist-
ence in the world for more than eighteen centuries. Infidelity, as
opposed to Christianity, is not an institution, but a mere negation of
an Institution and of the facts and documents on which it is founded
It has no essential formal existence. It ha.s no farts and documents.


and, therefore, it has no proof. It merely assails Christianity, but
offers no substitute for it, and it has none to offer.

In defending Christianity, or in proving that it is a veritable,
benevolent, and Divine institution, we have nothing to do but to
develop it — to show what it is, and, perhaps, what it is not. This can
be done with most effect by showing what it has done, when perspicu-
ously and faithfully propounded, and sincerely and cordially embraced.

When we ask. What has Christianity produced in the soil of our
fallen nature? or, What has Christianity done for man? we do not
institute a comparison between a Christian and a hypocrite, but
between a sincere Christian and a sincere Pagan; or between a sin-
cere Christian community and a sincere infidel community. We do
not institute a comparison between a half-converted Christian and a
half-bred infidel. We ask for a well-developed Christian and a well-
developed infidel; and will then, without debate, submit the question
to a well qualified and disinterested umpire. We are willing to test
the tree by its fruits. Pretended Christians and pretended infidels, or
Christians clothed in the attire of infidels, or infidels attired in the
garb of Christians, form no logical contrast, and come not within the
purview of our premises, our reasonings, or our conclusions. This
would be mere trifling, or worse than trifling, with a grave and tran-
scendently important subject.

I never read, nor heard a philosophic, rational, logical argument
against Christianity; nor have I ever seen or heard a rational, philos-
ophic, or logical argument in favor of any form of scepticism or infi-
delity. Jesus Christ was, and is, a person: not a thing, not a doc-
trine, not a theory. Infidelity is not a person, not a thing, not a
theory. There may be a theory of it, but it is not a theory. It is a
state of mind — an intellectual or a moral imbecility. It is a spiritual
jaundice, sometimes green and sometimes black. They can not be
philosophically, logically, rationally compared. They are neither
logical nor literal contrasts. The infidel is but the incarnation of a
negative idea. He is absolutely but a mere negation. He stands to
Christianity as darkness stands to light. Is darkness any thing? Is
.blindness any thing but the loss of sight? Is unbelief any thing
but the repudiation of evidence? One might as rationally load a
cannon to fight against darkness, as to dispatch a syllogism against
a chimera.

Jesus Christ was a real person, and had personal, positive attributes.
He had a real and positive character, unique, original, transcendent.
It was as fixed, as positive, and as radiating, as the sun in heaven.
The originality and unity oif his character is all-suflScient, in the eye
of educated reason, to claim for him a cordial welcome into our world,
and to hail him as the supreme benefactor of our race.


To my mind, it has long been a moral demonstration, clear as the
sun, that no one could have drawn a character, such as that of Jesus
Christ, from all the stores of human learning, from all the resources
of the human imagination. The simple character of Jesus Christ
weighs more in the eyes of cultivated reason, than all the miracles
he ever wrought. No greater truth was ever uttered than these
words: "He that has seen me has seen the Father also." No mortal
ever could have said so. The wisdom, and science, and learning of
the word, conirarod with his, was, and is, and evermore shall bo, as
a glimmering spark to a radiant star — as a glow-worm of the twilight
in contrast with the splendors of a meridian sun. It is only in the
dark we can admire a glow-worm. We can not see it when the sun
shines. But we might as hopefully lecture to a blind man on the
philosophy of light, as address the mere sensualist, the visionary, or
the dogmatic simpleton, on the originality, unity, transparency, beauty,
grandeur of the character of Jesus Christ. An animal man will not
look, and, therefore, he can not see the light; the true light which
shines in the face of the Lord Jesus Christ He affirms that he sees,
but he sees not what he affirms.

Now, what has dreamy scepticism or presumptuous unbelief to
offer, as an apology for itself, in vindication of its position, or as a
substitute for Christianity? The light of nature, the light of reason,
the dictates of conscience! ! What flimsy sophistry! Where is the
light of nature found? And who in Pagandom has eyes to see it! This
light of reason, these dictates of conscience — where are they found?
Show me, produce me one example of the power of this light of
nature, this light of reason, these dictates of conscience! Show me
this eye of reason with this light of nature, working faith in God;
working out Christian civilization, refinement of manners, temperance,
justice, public virtue, and humanity; to say nothing of piety, and the
love and admiration of the purity of God! and I will lend a willing
ear to such a demonstration. But the annals of the world and the
experience of the present generation afford no such spectacles.

I am told of the wisdom and civilization, and of the moral virtues
of a Solon, a Pythagoras, a Socrates, a Plato, a Xenophon, an Arisr
totle, a Zeno, a Seneca, etc, I also know something about them, and
of the schools in which they were brought up, the schools which they
founded, and the lives which they led. I will not "draw their frailties
from their dread abode."

But they were educated men. In what schools of tradition were
they brought up? They received instruction. They did not create it.
The glimmering, flickering lamp, which gave them light, was kindled
by radiations from a fire that God kindled on Mount Sinai, in Arabia,
from a mystic lamp that shone iu a tabernacle pitched by Moses in


the desert, and from a temple which Solomon the Wise raised in
Jerusalem. Sinai is older than Athens or Parnassus; and Mount
Zion than Mars-hill. Moses was born more than a thousand years
before Pythagoras, Solon, Socrates, Plato, Xenophon, Zeno, or
Seneca. Some of these were contemporaries of the Jewish prophets.
But Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, antedate them all more than fifteen
hundred years. David sang before Homer, and Solomon wrote
his Proverbs and his Ecclesiastes before Solon, the oldest of them,
was born.

We do not always recognize the fact, that the Hebrew, Egyptian,
Grecian, Roman sages, in their different generations, lived around an
almost common inland sea, whose bays, rivers, harbors, coasts, were
continually visited and penetrated by neighboring ships and coasting
vessels; and that as now, news was interesting, and carried orally from
city to city. In this way traditions, public facts, and opinions of
cotemporary chief men, were made more or less common property.
Abraham's steward, for example, was a native of Damascus yet stand-
ing. Solomon's fame was commensurate with all the coasts of the
Mediterranean sea. Hiram, king of Tyre, was in habitual intercom-
munication with him, "and his fame was in all nations round about."
He was known in Egypt as more learned and wise than all the sages
of Egypt — wiser than Ethan, Heman, Ch'alcal, Dardo, and all cotem-
porary princes, known to the Queen of Sheba in all the regions of
Ethiopia. I trace to one family and to one man, whom we call
Father Abraham, all the true moral science and religion in the world.
We have, for a few generations, been sporting with physics and meta-
physics; but that family studied God and man. Indeed, they studied
God in man, and man in God; God in the universe, and the universe
in God.

Sceptics generally are more witty than wise, more pert than pru-
dent, more talkative than learned. I have not had the good fortune
to meet with a learned, well-read, and well-educated infidel, in all my
acquaintance. While they inveigh against Christian sects and their
speculative and dogmatic controveVsies, they are, to say the least,
quite as dogmatic, controversial and sectarian, as Pagans, Jews, or

Pyrrho, the first distinguished sceptic among the Greek philos-
ophers, formed the first Grecian school of free thinkers, and gloried so
much in scepticism that he denominated his school ''The School of
Sceptics.'' His fellow-citizens in Elea, in the fourth century before
Christ, constituted him their high-priest. "He denied the real exist-
ence of all qualities in bodies, except those which are essential to pri-
mary atoms, and referred every thing else to the perceptions of the
jnind produced by external objects."


Hume, among the moderns, was substantially of the same character
of philosophers. "He introduced doubts into every branch of physics,
metaphysics, ethics, and theology." Gibbon, more eloquent but less
philosophic than Hume, drank deeply at the fountain of infidelity in
France and in England. He poisoned his own writings by a large infu-
sion of the same principles.

Since the French Revolution till now, scepticism, in every thing
ancient and venerated, whether true or false, has been subjected to
the same arbitrary inquisition; and Christianity, as well as Judaism,
has largely shared in its indiscriminate crusade.

Kingcraft and priestcraft, unfortunately strongly allied in the dark
ages, became equally obnoxious to suspicion, opposition, and public
resentment, and largely partook of the same fortunes. But, in the
long crusade, it fared worse with religion than it did with politics.
The state must be regarded at least as a commonwealth, and as such,
governed by equal laws and ordinances. But religion was discarded,
not merely from political amalgamation, but from the consideration
and regard of the leading men of that period, as a subject not demand-
ing immediate attention, and, with the great majority, as a matter of
doubtful disputation.

"Free thinking," as it was facetiously called, became fashionable,
and, with the down-trodden and priest-trodden masses, it was aped
and assumed as a characteristic of at least a clever fellow, if not
a philosopher. Thomas Paine began with his book on ''Common
Sense" — next he gave to his countrymen "The Rkjiits of Man," then
ended with "THE AGE OF REASON!" Volney, born twenty years
after him, gave "T7ie Ruins of Empire," or rather his "meditations on
the revolutions of empire," well seasoned with innuendoes against the

Online LibraryAlexander CampbellThe Millennial Harbinger abridged (Volume 1) → online text (page 47 of 70)