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persons enter into the state of matrimony, and yet act unworthily
of it. This is true of many other states. Enough, we presume, is
said to contradistinguish state and character, relations and moral

It is scarcely necessary to remark here, that, as the disciples of
Christ are declared to be in a pardoned, justified, sanctified, recon-
ciled, adopted, and saved state, they are the only persons in such a
state; and all others are in an unpardoned, unjustified, unsanctifled,
unreconciled, unadopted, and lost state.


Whe/i, then, is a change of state effected, and by what means? Thio
is the great question soon to be discussed.

We are constrained to admit that a change in any one of these
states necessarily implies, because it involves, a change in all the
others. Every one who is pardoned is justified, sanctified, reconciled,
adopted, and saved; and so every one that is saved, is adopted, recon-
ciled, sanctified, justified, and pardoned.

To illustrate what has already been proved, let us turn to some of
the changes of state which take place in society as at present consti-
tuted. A female changes her state. She enters into the state of
matrimony. So soon as she has surrendered herself to the affectionate
government and control of him who has become her husband, she has
not only become a wife, but a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a niece, etc.,
and may stand in many other relations in which she before stood nol.
All these are connected with her becoming the wife of a person who
stands in many relations. So when a person becomes Christ's, he is a
son of Abraham, an heir, a brother, or is pardoned, justified, sancti-
fied, reconciled, adopted, and saved.

To be in Christ, or under Christ, then, is to stand in th3se new-
relations to God, angels, and men: and to be out of him, or not under
his mediatorship or government, is to be in, or under Adam only. It is
to be in what is called "the state of nature," unpardoned, unjustified,
unsanctified, unreconciled, and an alien from the family of God, lost
in trespasses and sins.

These things premised, the question presents itself. When are per-
sons in Christ? I choose this phrase in accommodation to the familiar
style of this day. No person is in a home, in a ship, in a state, in a,
kingdom, but he that has gone or is introduced into a house, into a
ship, into a state, into a kingdom; so no person is in Christ but he
who has been introduced into Christ. The Scripture style is most
religiously accurate. We have the words "in Christ" and the words
"into Christ" often repeated in the Christian Scriptures; but in no
one place can the one phrase be substituted for the other. Hence in
all places, when any person is said to be in Christ, it refers not to
his conversion, regeneration, or putting on Christ, but to a state of
rest or privilege subsequent to conversion, regeneration, or putting on
Christ. But the phrase "into Christ" is always connected with conver-
sion, regeneration, immersion, or putting on Christ. Before we are
justified in Christ, live in Christ, or fall asleep in Christ, we must
come, be introduced, or immersed into Christ. Into belongs only to
Terba implying motion towards; and in to verbs implying rest, or
motion in. He eats, sleeps, sits in the house. He walks into ^he field,
he rides into the city. "Into Christ" Is a phrase only applicable
to lonversion. immersion, or regeneration, or what is called puttin;;


on Chrisi, translation into his kingdom, or submission to his gov-

Presuming on the intelligence of our readers, so far as to suppose
them assured that this is no mere verbal criticism, but a discrimina-
tion that detects one of the pillars of an apostate church, I proceed to
another preliminary proposition which I choose to submit in the fol-
lowing words, to wit: —

• To prevent mistakes I shall here transcribe a part of a note found in the Appen-
dix to the second edition of the new version of the Christian Scriptures, page 452 :

" I am not desirous of diminishing the difference of meaning between immersing
a person in the name of the Father, and into the name of the Father. They are quite
different ideas. But it will be asked, Is this a correct translation? To which I an-
swer, most undoubtedly it is. For the preposition eis is that used in this place, and
not en. By what inadvertency the King's translators gave it in instead of iiito in this
passage, and elsewhere gave it info when speaking of the same ordinance, I presume not
to say. But they have been followed by most of the modern translators, and with
them they translate it into in other places where it occurs, in relation to this institution :
For example— I. Cor. xii. 13, 'For by one spirit we are all immersed into one body.'
Eom. vi. 3, ' Don't you know that so many of you as were immersed into Christ, were
immersed into his death?' Gal. iii. 27, 'As many of you as have been immersed into
Christ, have put on Christ.' Now for the same reason they ought to have rendered the
following passages the same way. Acts viii. 16, ' Only they were immersed into the
name of the Lord Jesus.' Acts xix. 3, ' Into what were you then immersed? When
they heard this they were immersed into the name of the Lord Jesus.' L Cor. i. 13,
' Were you immersed into the name of Paul? Lest any should say, I had immersed into
my own name.' I. Cor. x. 1, ' Our fathers were all immersed into Moses in the cloud
and in the sea.' Now in all these places it is eis, and en is clearly marked in the last
quotation. They were immersed into Moses— not into the cloud, and into the sea, but in
the cloud, and in the sea. To be immersed into Moses is one thing, and in the sea is an-
other. To be immersed into the name of the Father, and in the name of the Father, are
just as distinct. 'In the name' is equivalent to hy the authority of. In the name of the
. king, or commonwealth, is by the authority of the king or commonwealth. Now the
question is, ' Did the Saviour mean that disciples were to be immersed by the authority
of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? If by the authority of the Father, for what pur-
pose were they immersed? The authority by which any action is done is one thing, and
the object for which it is done is another. None who can discriminate, can think that
it is one and the same thing to be immersed in the name of the Lord, and to be im-
mersed into the name of the Lord Jesus. The former denotes the authority by which
the action is performed — the latter the object for which it is performed. Persons are
said to enter into matrimony, to enter into an alliance, to go into debt, to run into
danger. Now to be immersed into the name of the Lord Jesus was a form of speech in
ancient usage as familiar and significant as any of the preceding. And when we ana-
lyze these expressions, we find they all import that the persons are either under the
obligations or influence of those things into which they are said to enter, or into which
they are introduced. Hence those immersed into one body, were under the influences
and obligations of that body. Those immersed into Moses, assumed Moses as their law-
giver, guide, and protector, and risked every thing upon his authority, wisdom, power,
and goodness. Those who were immersed into Christ, put him on, or acknowledged
his authority and laws, and were governed by his will: and those who were immersed
into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, regarded the Father as the fountain
of all authority— the Son as the only Saviour— and the Holy Spirit as the only advocate
of the truth, and teacher of Christianity. Hence such persons as were immersed into
the name of the Father, acknowledged him as the only living and true God — Jesus
Christ, as his only begotten Son, the Saviour of the world — and the Holy Spirit as the
only successful advocate of the truth of Christianity upon earth."


riujro.siiio.N VII.

A change of heart, though it necessarily precedes, is in uo case
equivalent to, and never to be identified with, a change of state.

In all the relations of this life, in all states or conditions of mer.
we feel tho truth of this; and I would to Heaven that our readers
could see as plainly what is of infinitely more importance to them,
that no change of heart is equivalent to, or can be substituted for.
a change of state! A change of heart is the result of a change of
views; and whatever can accomplish a change of views may accom-
plish a change of heart or feeling, but a change of state always calls
for something more.

Lavinia was the servant of Palemon, and once thought him a har.l
master. She changed her views of him, and her feelings were also
changed towards him; still, however, she continued in the state of
a handmaid. Palemon offered her first his heart, and then his hand,
and she accepted them. He vowed and she vowed before witnesses,
and she became his wife. Then, and not till then, was her state
changed. She is no longer a servant — she is now a xcife. A change of
views and of feeling led to this change in state; but let it be noted
that this might not have issued in a change of state; for Maria, who
was another handmaid of Palemon, and changed her views of him
and her feelings towards him as much — nay, more than did Lavinia;
yet Maria lived and died the servant maid of Palemon and Lavinia.

William Agricola and his brother Thomas, both Canadians, were
once much opposed to the constituted government of New England
They both changed their views, and, as a matter of course, their feel-
ings were changed. William became a citizen of Rhode Island; but
Thomas, notwithstanding his change of heart, lived and died a colonial
subject of a British King.

John and James Superbus became great enemies to each other.
They continued irreconciled for many years. At length a change of
views brought about a change of heart; but this change for more than
a year was concealed in the heart, and by no overt act appeared.
They were not reconciled until mutual concessions were made and
pledges of a change of feeling were tendered and reciprocated. From
enemies they became friends.

A thousand analogies might be adduced, to show that though a
change of state often — nay, generally results from a change of feel-
ings, and this from a change of views, yet a change of state does not
necessarily follow, and is something quite different from, and can not
be identified with a change of heart. So in religion a man may change
his views of Jesus, and his heart may also be changed towards him*
but unless a change of state ensues he is still unpardoned, unjustified,


unsanctified, unreconciled, unadopted, and lost to all Christian, life
and enjoyment. For it has been proved that these terms represent,
states and not feelings, condition and not character; and that a changf.
of views or of heart, is not a change of state. To change a state is to
pass into a new relation, and relation is not sentiment, nor feeling.
Some act, then, constitutional, by stipulation proposed, sensible, and
manifest, must be performed by one or both the parties before such
a change can be accomplished. Hence, always, in ancient times, tht'
proclamation of the gospel was accompanied by some instituted act
proposed to those who changed their views, by which their state was
to be changed, and by which they were to stand in a new relation
to Jesus Christ.

This brings us to ''the obedience of faith." From the time the
proclamation of God's philanthropy was first made there was an act
of faith proposed in it by which the believers of the proclamation were
put in actual possession of its blessings, and by conformity to which
act a change of state ensued.

To perceive what this act of faith is, it must be remarked that
where there is no command there can be no obedience. These are cor-
relate terms. A message or proclamation which has not a command
in it, can not be obeyed. But the gospel can be obeyed or disobeyei,
and therefore in it is a command. Lest any person should hesitate m
a matter of such importance, we will prove,


That the gospel has in it a command, and as such must be obeyed.

And here I need not ask, "Where are they who shall be punished with
everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord? Paul replies,
(II. Thess. i. 8,) "They who know not God, and obey not the gospel
Of his Son." To "obey the gospel," and "to become obedient to the
faith," were common phrases in the apostolic discourses and writings.
Rom. i. 5, "By whom we have received apostleship, in order to the
obedience of faith in all nations, on account of his name." Rom. xv\.
26, "By the commandment of the everlasting God the gospel is made
known to all nations for the obedience of faith." Acts vi. 7, "A great
company of the priests became obedient to the faith." Rom. x. 8,
"But they have not all obeyed the gospel." And I. Pet. iv. 17, "What
shall be the end of them who obey not the gospel?" From those say-
ings it is unquestionably plain, that either the gospel itself, taken as a
whole, is a command, or that in it there is a command through the obe-
dience of \fliich salvation is enjoyed.

The obedience of the gospel is called the obedience of faith com
pared with the obedience of law, faith in God's promise through
Jesus Christ being the principle from which the obedience flows. To


present the gospel in the form of a command is an act ot favor
because it engages the will and the affections of men and puts it in
their power to have an assurance of their salvation from which they
would be necessarily excluded if no such act of obedience was enjoined

Whatever this act of faith may be, it necessarily becomes the line
of discrimination between the two states before described. On this
side, and on that, mankind are in quite different states. On the one
side they are pardoned, justified, sanctified, reconciled, adopted, and
saved: on the other they are in a state of condemnation. This act
ih sometimes called immersion, regeneration, conversion; and that
this may appear obvious to all, we shall be at some pains to confirm
and illustrate it.

That a relation or a state can be changed by an act, I need scarcely
at this time attempt to prove; especially to those who know that the
act of marriage, of naturalization, adoption, and of being born, changes
the state of the subjects of such acts. But rather than attempt to
prove that a state is, or may be changed, by an act; I should rather
ask if any person has heard, knows, or can conceive of a state being
changed without some act? This point being conceded to us by all
the rational, we presume not to prove it. But a question may arise
whether faith itself, or an act of obedience to some command or insti-
tution, is that act by which our state is changed.


That it is not faith, but an act resulting from faith which changes
our state, ice shall now attempt to ■prove.

No relation in which we stand to the material world — no political
relation, or relation to society, can be changed by believing, apart from
the acts to which that belief, or faith, induces us. Faith never made
an American citizen, though it may have been the cause of many thou-
sands migrating to this continent, and ultimately becoming citizens
of these United States. Faith never made a man a husband, a father,
a son, a brother, a master, a servant, though it may have been essen-
tially necessary to all these relations, as a cause, or principle prepara-
tory, or tending thereunto. Thus, when in Scripture, men are said to
be justified by faith, or to receive any blessing through faith, it is
because faith is the principle of action, and as such, the cause of those
acts by which such blessings are enjoyed. But the principle without
those acts is nothing, and it is only by the acts which it induces to
perform, that it becomes the instrument of any blessings to men.

Many blessings are metonymically ascribed to faith in the sacred
writings. We are said to be justified* sanctified, and purified by faith —
to walk by faith, and to live by faith, etc., etc. But these sayings as
qualified by the Apostles, mean no more than by believing the truth of


God, we have access into all these blessings. So that as Paul explains,
"by faith we have access into the favor in which we stand." These
"words he uses on two occasions (Rom. v. 2; Eph. iii. 12) when speaking
oi the value of this principle, contrasted with the principle of law; and
in his letter to the Hebrews, when he brings up his cloud of witnesses
to the excellency of this principle, he shows that by it the ancients
obtained a high reputation — that is, as he explains, by their acts of
faith in obedience to God's commands.

That faith by itself neither justifies, sanctifies, nor purifies, is
admitted by those who oppose immersion for the forgiveness of sins.
They all include the idea of the blood of Christ. And yet they seem
not to perceive, that in objecting to immersion as necessary to forgive-
ness in connection with faith, their own arguments preclude them from
connecting the blood of Christ with faith. If they admit that faith,
apart from the blood of Christ, can not obtain pardon, they admit all
that is necessary to prove them inconsistent with themselves in oppos-
ing immersion for the remission of sins; or immersion, as that act by
which our state is changed.


But that an act of faith, and not faith itself, changes our state; we
prove, not by reasoning analogically, but from the apostolic wHtings
And to these we shall now attend. This proposition is, we think, sus-
tained by the following testimonies: —

The Apostle Peter, when first publishing the gospel to the Jews,
taught them, that they were not forgiven their sins by faith; but by
an act of faith, by a believing immersion into the Lord Jesus. That
this may appear evident to all, we shall examine his Pentecostian
address, and his Pentecostian hearers.

Peter now holding the keys of the kingdom of Jesus, and fpeaking
under the commision for converting the world, and by the authority
of the Lord Jesus, guided, inspired, and accompanied by the Spirit-
may be expected to speak the truth, the whole truth, plainly and
intelligibly, to his brethren the Jews. He had that day declared the
gospel facts, and proved the resurrection and ascension of Jesus to
the conviction of thousands. They believed and repented — believed
that Jesus was the Messiah, had died as a sin-offering, was risen from
the dead, and crowned Lord of All. Being full of this faith, they
inquired of Peter and the other Apostles, what they ought to do t:>
obtain remission. They were informed, that though they now believed
and repented, they were not pardoned; but must ''reform and he
immersed for the remission of sins." Immersion for the forgiveness
of sins, was the command addressed to these believers, to these peni-
tents, in answer to the most earnest question; and by one of the


most sincere, candid, and honest speakers ever heard. This act ol
faith was presented as that act by which alone they could oe par-
doned. They who "gladly received this word were that day im
mersed;" or, in other words, that same day were converted, or regen-
erated, or obeyed the gospel. These expressions in the Apostles' style,
when applied to persons coming into the kingdom, denote the same
act as will be perceived from the various passages in the writings
of Luke and Paul. This testimony, when the speaker, the occasion,
and the congregation are all taken into view, is itself alone sufficient
to establish the point in support of which we have adduced it.

But the second discourse, recorded by Luke from the lips of the
same Peter, pronounced in Solomon's Portico, is equally pointed,
clear, and full in support of this position. After he had explained
the miracle which he had wrought in the name of the Lord Jesur,
and stated the same gospel facts, he proclaims the same command —
"Reform and be converted that your sins may be blotted out;" or,
"Reform and turn to God, so that your sins may be blotted out,
that seasons of refreshment from the presence of the Lord may come,
and that he may send Jesus whom the heavens must receive till thu
ai coraplishment of all the things which God has foretold," etc. Peter,
in substituting other terms in this proclamation, for those used on
Pentecost, does preach a new gospel, but the same gospel in terms
equally strong. He used the same word in the first part of the com-
mand, which he used on Pentecost. Instead of "be immersed," he
has here "be converted," or "turn to Ood;" instead of "for the remis-
sion of your sins" here it is, "that your sins may be blotted out;"
and instead of "you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit," here it
is, "that seasons of refreshment from the presence of the Lord may
come." * On Pentecost, it was, L "Reform." 2. "Be immersed." 3.
"For the remission of your sins." And 4. "You shall receive the gift
of the Holy Spirit." In Solomon's Portico, it was, 1. "Reform." 2.
"Be converted." 3. "That your sins may be blotted out." And }.
"That seasons of refreshment from the presence of the Lord may
come;" that "you may have righteousness, peace, and joy, in a holy
spirit." So read the different clauses in these two discourses to thj
Jews, expressive of the same acts.

There is yet, in this discourse in the Portico, a very strong expres
sion, declarative of the same gracious connection between immersion

•There is no propriety in the common version of this member of the sentence—
viheii, insteiiii of that, " seasons of refreshment." Some make modern rcrirnls " seasons of
refreshment," such as these here alluded to. Then it would reail, "That your sins may
be blotted out in the times of revivals"— when revivals shall cornel The term is opo»,
which, in this construction, as various critics have contended, is equivalent to " thai '* in
our tongue. To promise a future remission is no part of the gospel, nor of the apos-
tolic proclamation. All Christians experience seasons of refreshment in cordially
obeying the gospel.


and remission. It is the last period in the discourse. "Unto you, first,
brethren of the Jews, God having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him
lo bless you, every one of you, in the act of turning from your iniq-
uities;" or, as we would say, in the act of conversion. Why the Apos-
tle Peter should have used "converted," or "turning to God," instead
of "be immersed," is, to the candid and unprejudiced reader of this
narrative, very plain. After Pentecost, the disciples immersed on that
day, having turned to God through Jesus, were spoken of by their
brethren as discipled or converted to Jesus. The unbelieving Jews,
soon after Pentecost, knew that the disciples called the immersed,
"converted;" and immersion being the act of faith which drew tiie
line of demarcation between Christians and Jews, nothing could be
more natural than to call the act of immersion the converting of a
Jew. The time intervening between these discourses was long enough
to introduce and familiarize this style in the metropolis; so that
when a Christian said, "Be converted," or, "Turn to God," every Jew
knew, the act of putting on the Messiah to be that intended. After
the immersion of some Gentiles into the faith, in the house and neigh-
borhood of Cornelius, it was reported that the Gentiles were converted
to God. Thus, (Acts xv. 3,) the Apostles, in passing through the
country, gave great joy to the disciples from among the Jews, "telling
them of the conversion" or immersion of the Gentiles. Indeed, in a
short time it was a summary way of representing the faith, reforma
tion, and immersion of disciples, by using one word for all. Thus,
(Acts ix.,) "All the inhabitants of Sharon and Lydda turned," or
"were converted to the Lord."

While on the subject of conversion, we shall adduce, as a fourth
testimony, the words of the Lord Jesus to Paul, when he called him.
Paul is introduced by Luke in the Acts, telling what the Lord said
to him when he received his apostleship. Acts xxvi. 17, 18, "I send
you Paul, by the faith that respects me, to open their eyes; to tur7i or
convert them from darkness to light; and from the power of Satan
to God; that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and an inheritance

Online LibraryAlexander CampbellThe Millennial Harbinger abridged (Volume 1) → online text (page 62 of 70)