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*I. Cor. vi. 11.


on his journey in the desert, is as striking an example of this as are
the cases named. It was "putting on Christ," as their righteousness.
Baptism, without faith, is of no value whatever; for, in truth, bap-
tism is but the actual and symbolic profession of faith. It is its
legitimate embodiment and consummation. And whatever virtue there
is in it, or connected with it, is but the virtue of faith in the blood
of Christ applied to the conscience and to the heart. The burial in
water is a burial with Christ and in Christ. "For in him shall all the
seed of Israel," the believing children of Abraham, "be justified," and
in him, "and not in themselves, shall they glory." It is, then, the
sensible and experimental deliverance from both the guilt and the
pollution of sin; and for this reason, or in this view of it, believing
penitents, when inquiring what they should do, were uniformly com-
manded by the ambassadors of Christ to be "baptized for the remission
of sins," as God's own way, under the New Institution, of receiving
sinners into favor, through the death, burial, and resurrection of his
Son, into whose name especially, as well as by whose mediatorial
authority, they were commanded to be, on confession, buried in baptism.
Salvation, in the aggregate, is all of grace; and all the parts of
it are, consequently, gracious. Nor do we, in truth, in obeying the
gospel, or in being buried in baptism, make void either law or gospel,
but establish and confirm both. Harbinger, 1851, p. 318-325.


From time to time, Mr. Campbell issued extra numbers of the
Harbinger, devoted to some special theme which he desired to treat
more exhaustively than the space of the regular numbers would permit.
Bearing date of July 5, 1830, we have the following extra on "Remis-
sion of Sins":

Luther said that the doctrine of justification, or forgiveness, was
the test of a standing or falling church. If right in this, she could
not be very far wrong in anything else; but if wrong here, it was not
easy to suppose her right in anything. I quote from memory, but
this was the idea of that great Reformer. We agree with him in this
as well as in many other sentiments. Emerging from the smoke of
the great city of mystical Babylon, he saw as clearly and as far into
these matters as any person could, in such a hazy atmosphere. Many
of his views only require to be carried out to their legitimate issue,
and we should have the ancient gospel as the result.

The doctrine of remission is the doctrine of salvation; for to talk
of salvation without the knowledge of the remission of sins, is to
talk without meaning. To give to the Jews "a knowledge of salvation
by the remission of their sins," was the mission of John the Immerser,
as said the Holy Spirit. In this way he prepared a people for the


Lord. This doctrine of forgiveness was gradually opened to the people
during the ministry of John and Jesus; but was not fully developed
until Pentecoat, when the secrets of the Reign of Heaven were fully
opened to men.

From Abel to the resurrection of Jesus, the just obtained remission
at the altar, through priests and sin-offerings; but it was an itnperfecl
remission as respected the conscience — a shadowy and unconsolatory
remission. "For the law," says Paul, (more perfect in tliis respect
than the preceding economy,) "containing a shadow only of the good
things to come, and not even the very image of these things, never
could, with the same sacrifices which they offer yearly for ever, make
those who come to them perfect. Since being offered, would they not
have ceased? because, the worshippers being once cleansed, should
have had no longer conscience of sins."

The good things to come were future during the reign of Moses and
his institution. They have come; and a clear, and full, and perfect
remission of sins, is the great result of the new economy in the con-
sciences of all the citizens of the kingdom of Jesus. The perfection
of the conscience of the worshippers of God under Christ, is the grand
distinguishing peculiarity in them, compared with those under Moses.
They have not only clearer views of God, of his love, of his character,
and of immortality; but they have consciences which the Jewish and
Patriarchal Ages could not produce.

If faith only were the means of this superior perfection and enjoy-
ment, and if striking symbols or types were all that were necessary to
afford this assurance and experience of pardon, the Jewish people might
have been as happy as the Christian people. They had as true testi-
mony, as much faith, and as striking emblems as we can have. Many
of them through faith obtained a high reputation, were approved of
God, and admired by men for their wonderful achievements.

The difference is in the constitution. They lived under a consti-
tution of lata — we under a constitution of favor. Before the law their
privileges were still more circumscribed. Under the government of
the Lord Jesus there is an institution for the forgiveness of sins, like
which there was no institution since the world began. It was owing
to this institution that Christians were so much distinguished at first
from the subjects of every former institution.

Our political happiness in these United States is not owing to any
other cause than to our political institutions. If we are politically the
happiest people in the world, it is because we have the happiest polit-
ical institutions in the world. So it is in the Christian institution. It
Christiana were, and may be, the happiest people that ever lived, it
is because they live under the most gracious institution ever bestowed
on man. The meaning of this institution has been buried under the


rubbish of human traditions for hundreds of years. It was lost in the
dark ages, and has never been, till now, disinterred. Various efforts
have been made, and considerable progress attended them; but since
the Grand Apostacy was completed till the present generation, the
gospel of Jesus Christ has not been in its original plainness, sim
plicity, and majesty, laid open to mankind. A vail in reading the New
Institution has been on the hearts of Christians, as Paul declares it
was upon the hearts of the Jews in reading the Old Institution towards
the close of that economy.

To take that vail away, since we have discovered it, has been our
constant object. The present essay is intended to develop the Chris-
tian Institution for the remission of sins. We can not promise much
for the method we shall pursue, as we have not the mean^ of tran-
scribing this essay, and must put it to press just as it is written, a
sheet at a time. But this we may say, being full of this subject, that
we shall lay down and prove many propositions in it, which, when
viewed in connection, we hope, will not fail to prove and illustrate
the forgiveness of sins through immersion into the name of the Father,
the Son, and the Holy Spirit, to every proper subject. We apprize the
reader that such is our design, that he may examine with the utmost
care every single proposition and every proof adduced. We do not
wish to take him by stratagem, to captivate him by guile, nor to decoy
him by mere speciosity. To the Law and to the Testimony .' How do
you read? What say the Scriptures? If they hear not these, neither
would they be persuaded though one rose from the dead. We request
the reader to examine the following propositions and their proof: —


The Apostles taught their disciples, or converts, that their sins were
forgiven, and uniformly addressed them as pardoned or justified

John testifies that the youngest disciples were pardoned, (I. Epis.
ii. 12,) "I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven
you on account of his name." The young men strong in the Lord,
and the old men steadfast in the Lord, he commends for their attain-
ments: but the little children, the youngest converts, he addressed
a? possessing this blessing as one common to all disciples, "Your sins
are forgiven you on account of his name.''

Paul, in his letter to the Hebrews, (chapters viii. and x.,) asserts,
that one of the provisions of the New Institution is the remission of
the sins of all under it. "Their sins and iniquities I will remember
no more." From this he argues as a first principle in the Christian
economy. "Now," (says he, chapter x., verse 18,) "where remission
of these is, no more offering for sin is needed." The reason assigned


by the Apostles why Vhrisliuiis have no sin offerings is, because they
have obtained remission of sins as a standing provision in the New

The same Apostle testifies that the Ephesian disciples had obtained
remission, (chap. iv. 32.) "Be to one another kind, tender-hearted,
forgiving each other, even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you."
Here, also, in the enumeration of Christian privileges and immunities
under Christ, he asserts forgiveness of sins as the common lot of all
disciples, (chap. i. 7,) "In whom we have redemption through his blood,
even the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his favor."
In his letter to the Colossians, (chap. i. 14,) he uses the same words
— "By whom we have the forgiveness of sins."

Figurative expressions are used by the same Apostle, expressive
ot the same forgiveness common to all Christians, (I. Cor. vi. 11,)
"And such guilty characters were some of you; but you are tcashed;
but you are sanctified; but you are justified by the name of the Lord
Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." Peter, also, is a witness here,
(I. Epis. i. 22,) "Having purified your souls by obeying the truth
through the Spirit"

But there is no need of foreign, or remote, or figurative expres-
sions, when so literally and repeatedly the Apostles assert it as one of
the adjuncts of being a disciple of Jesus. Had we no other testimony
than that found in a single letter to the Colossians, it would be suf-
ficient to sustain this position. The command given in chapter iii. 13,
assumes it as a principle. "As Christ forgave you, so also do you."
But in the second chapter, he makes this an inseparable adjunct of
being in Christ "You are complete in him — circumcised — buried with
him — raised with him — made alive with him — iiavixg fokgivex you all


These explicit testimonies from the most illustrious witnesses, sus-
tain my first proposition. On these evidences I rely. I shall hence-
forth speak of it as a fact or truth not to be questioned; viz.: that all
the disciples of Christ converted in the apostolic age, were taught by
the Apostles to consider themselves as pardoned persons.


The apostolic converts were addressed by their teachers as justified

We know that none but innocent persons can be legally justified;
but it is not in the forensic sense this term is used by the Apostles.
Amongst the Jews it imported no more than pardoned: and when
applied to Christians, it denoted that they were acquitted from guilt
— discharged from condemnation, and accounted as righteous persons
in the sight of God.


Paul at Antioch in Pisidia assured the Jews, that in or by Jesus
all that believed were justified from all things, (certainly here it is
equivalent to pardoned from all sins,) from which they could not De
justified by the law of Moses. The disciples are said to be justified
by faith. (Rom. v. 1.) By favor of grace. (Rom. iii. 24.) In or by the
blood of Christ. (Rom. v. 9.) By the name of the Lord Jesus. (T. Cor.
vi. 11.) By works. (Jas. ii. 24.) It is God who justifies. (Rom. viii.

Christians are said to be justified by God, by Jesus, by favor, by
faith, by the blood of Jesus, by the name of the Lord Jesus, and by
the Spirit of God — also by works. Pardon and acquittal are the promi-
nent ideas in every application of the term. God is the justifier.
Jesus the Lord as the immediate and connecting cause; and by works
an act of favor it is done; by tJie blood of Jesus, as the rightful and
efficient cause — by faith; as the instrumental cause — by the name of
Jesus the Lord as the immediate and connecting cause; and by works
as the demonstrative and conclusive cause. Nothing is more plain
from the above testimonies, than that all Christians are declared to be
justified under the Reign of Jesus Christ.


The ancient Christians were addressed by the Apostles as sanctified

Paul addressed all the disciples in Rome as saints or sanctified per-
sons. In his first letter to the Corinthians, he addressed them all as
the sanctified under Christ Jesus. "To the congregation of God which
is at Corinth, to the sanctified under Christ Jesus." Paul argues with
the Hebrews that "By the will of God we are sanctified by the offering
of the body of Jesus Christ once only." "For by this one offering he
has for eTer perfected (the conscience) of the sanctified." So usual was
it for the Apostles to address their disciples as sanctified persons, that
occasionally they are thus designated in the inscription upon their
epistles. Thus Jude, addressing indiscriminately the whole Christian
community, inscribes his catholic epistle — "To the sanctified by God
our Father, and to the preserved (or saved) by Jesus Christ, to the
called." "The Sanctifier and the sanctified are all of one family," says
the Apostle to the Gentiles. And therefore the sanctifier addressed
the sanctified as his brethren; and all his brethren, the disciples, a3
sanctified. But once more we must hear Paul, and hear him connect-
ing his sanctification with the name of the Lord Jesus. He says, (I.
Cor. iv. 16,) "But now you are sanctified by the name of the Lord
Jesus and by the Spirit of our God."



The ancient Christians, the apostolic converts, were addressed as
^'reconciled to God."

Paul repeatedly declares that the disciples were reconciled to God,
(Rom. V. 10,) "When enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death
of his Son." To the Corinthians, (II. Epis. v. 18,) he says, "Ood haa
reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ;" and to the Colossians, (i. 21.)
he asserts, "It pleased the Father by him to reconcile all things to him,
having made peace by the blood of his cross; I say, whether they be
things on the earth or things in the heavens. Even you [Gentiles] who
were formerly alienated in mind, and enemies by works which aro
wicked, he has now, indeed, reconciled in the body of his flesh through
death." To the Ephesians he declares, that though "once they were
without God and without hope in the world, far off, they are now,
through the blood of Christ, made nigh." He has made the believing
Jews and Gentiles one, that he might, under Christ, reconcile both in
one body to God, through the cross, having slain the enmity between
both thereby. Indeed, he represents God as in Christ, reconciling a
world to himself; and so all under Christ are frequently said to be
reconciled to God through him: which was the point to be proved.


The first disciples were considered and addressed by the Apostles, as
"adopted into the family of God."

This adoption is presented by the Apostle as the great reason which
called forth the Son of God. "God." (says he, Gal. iv. 6,) "rent forth
his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, that he might buy off
those under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons."
"And because you are S07is, he has sent forth the spirit of his Son
into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." "You are, therefore, now
sons of God."

Indeed, the same writer, in his letter to the Ephesians, goes still
farther, and represents this adoption of Jews and Gentiles into the
rank and dignity of sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty, as the
great object contemplated in God's predestination. (Eph. i. 5.) "Having,"
says he, "predestinated, or beforehand determinately pointed us out,
for an adoption into the number of children by Jesus Christ, for him-
self, according to the good pleasure of his will." Another testimony
must suffice on this point. "Beloved," says the Apostle John, "now are
we the sons nf God ; and what manner of love has God bestowed upon
ur. that we should be called sons of God! If sons, then we are heirs of
God — joint heirs with Christ."



My sixth proposition is, that the first Christians were taught by the
inspired teachers to consider themselves as saved persons.

Because of some ambiguity in the popular import of the term
saved, when applied to the disciples of Christ, we shall define it as
used in this proposition. I need not here descant upon the temporal
saviours and teimporal salvations which are so conspicuous in sacred
history; nor need I mention that Noah and his family were saved from
the judgment inflicted upon the Old World; the Israelites from the
Egyptians, and from all their enemies — as Paul's companions were saved
from the deep, and God's people, in all ages, in common with all man-
kind, from ten thousand perils to which their persons, their families,
and their property have been exposed. It is not the present salvation
of our persons from the ills of this life; but it is the salvation of the
soul from the guilt, pollution, and dominion of sin. "Thou shalt call his
name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." It is the
salvation of the soul in this present life of which we speak. And here
it ought to be clearly and distinctly stated that there is a present and a
future salvation, of which all Christians are to be partakers. The
former is properly the salvation of the soul, and the latter is the sal-
vation of the body, or the whole man, at the resurrection of the just.
There are few professing Christianity, perhaps none, who do not expect
a future salvation — the glory or salvation to be revealed in us at the
last time. Peter, who uses this expression in the beginning of tls first
epistle, and who invites the saints to look forward to the salvation yet
future, in the same connection reminds them that they have tioio
received the salvation of the soul. Indeed, the salvation of the soul
is but the first fruit of the Spirit, and but an earnest until the adoption,
"the redemption of the body" from the bondage of corruption. It was
in this sense of the word that salvation was announced to all who sub-
mitted to the Lord Jesus, and hence it is in this connection equivalent
to a deliverance of the soul from the guilt, pollution, and dominion
of sin. Having thus defined the present salvation of the soul, I pro-
ceed to the proof of my second proposition, viz. — that the first Christians
were taught by their inspired teachers to consider themselves as saved

Peter, on Pentecost, exhorted the Jews to save themselves from that
untoward generation, by reforming and by being "immersed for the
remission of their sins in the name of the Lord Jesus." Luke, in
recording the success attendant on Peter's labors, expresses himself
thus, (Acts ii. 42,) "And the Lord added, daily, the saved to the con-
gregation." Those who obeyed the gospel were recorded by Luke as
''the saved." The King's translators supplied out of their own system


the words ••nhould be." They are not iu any copy of the Greek Scrip-
tures. Such is the first application of the words, -the saved," in the
Christian Scriptures.

Paul uses the same words in his first letter to the Corinthians,
and applies them to all the disciples of Jesus, (chap. i. 18.) "To the
destroyed the doctrine of the cross is foolishness; but to us, the saved.
It is the power of God." In the same letter, (chap. xv. 2,) he says
or the gospel, "By which you are saved if you retain in your memory
the word which I announced to you." In his second letter he uses
the same style, and distinguishes the disciples by the same designa-
tion: "We are to God a fragrant odor of Christ among the saved,
and among the destroyed." The Ephesians he declares are saved
through favor; and to Titus he says, "God has saved us not by works
of righteousness which we have done, but according to his own
mercy." By what means we shall soon hear Paul aflSrm. To mul-
tiply testimonies, when there is no need of them, is only making a
display for its own sake. The above selections are chosen because
they are pointed, express, and unequivocal. Promises of salvation
to the obedient are to be found in almost every public address pro-
nounced by the Apostles and first preachers. For the Saviour com-
manded them to assure mankind that every one who believed the
gospel, and was immersed, should be saved. And, connecting faith
with immersion, Peter averred that immersion saved us, purifying
the conscience through the resurrection of Jesus.

While Christians are taught to expect and hope for a future sal-
vation—a salvation from the power of death and the grave— a sal-
vation to be revealed in the last time— they receive the first fruit
of the Spirit, the salvation of the soul from guilt, pollution, and
the dominion of sin. and come under the dominion of righteousness,
peace, and joy. This is what Peter affirms of all the Christians in
Pontus. Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia Minor, and Bithynia. to whom he
thus speaks: "Jesus, having not seen, you love; on whom, not now
looking, but believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full
of glory, receiving the reward of your faith, the salvation of your

These six propositions, being each and every one of them, clearly
sustained by the unequivocal testimony of God, as adduced, and as
Is well known to the Intelligent disciples, by many more passages,
equally plain and forcible, not adduced; we shall now engross them
into one leading proposition, which we shall in this essay consider
as not to be questioned — as irrefragably proved.

The converts made to Jesus Christ by the Apostles were taught
to consider themselves pardoned, justified, sanctified, reconciled,
adopted, and saved; and were addressed as pardoned, justified, sane-


iified, reconciled, adopted, and saved persons, by all loho first preached
the gospel of Christ.

While this proposition is before us, it may be expedient to remark
that all these terms are expressive not of any quality of mind — not
of any personal attribute of body, soul, or spirit; but each of them
represents, and all of them together represent a state or condition.
But though these terms represent state and not character, there is a
relation between state and character, or an influence which state has
upon character, which makes the state of immense importance in a
moral and religious point of view.

Indeed, the strongest arguments which the Apostles use with the
Christians to urge them forward in the cultivation and display of all
the moral and religious excellencies of character, are drawn from
the meaning and value of the state in which they are placed. Because
forgiven, they should forgive; because justified, they should live right-
ecusly; because sanctified, they should live holily and unblameably
because reconciled to God, they should cultivate peace with all men,
and act benevolently towards all; because adopted, they should
walk in the dignity and purity of sons of God; because saved,
they should abound in thanksgiving, praises, and rejoicings, living
soberly, righteously, and godly, looking forward to the blessed

As this essay is designed for readers of the most common capacity
and most superficial education, I trust I may be permitted to speak
still more plainly upon the difference between state and character.
Childhood is a state; so is manhood. Now a person in the state of
childhood may act sometimes like a person in the state of manhood,
and those arrived at the state of manhood may in character or behav-
iour resemble those in a state of childhood. A person in the state of a
son may have the character of a servant, and a person in the state
of a servant may have the character of a son. This is not generally
tc be expected, though it sometimes happens. Parents and children,
masters and servants, husbands and wives, are terms denoting rela-
tions or states. To act in accordance with these states or relatione,
is quite a different thing from being in any of these states. Many

Online LibraryAlexander CampbellThe Millennial Harbinger abridged (Volume 1) → online text (page 61 of 70)