Alexander Campbell.

The Millennial Harbinger abridged (Volume 1) online

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This has been all that he has asked, and this is what you are disposed
to give. Promise not to-morrow to the Lord, for you will be still less
disposed to give it when it comes; and the Lord has not asked you
for to-morrow. He says. To-day, when you shall hear his voice, harden
not your hearts. But you say, you are willing to come to the Lord
to-day if you knew the way, or if you were prepared! Well, what
does the Lord require of you as preparation? He once said, "Let the
wicked man forsake his ways, and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
and let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him: and to
our God, for he will abundantly pardon." He says also, "Draw nigh
to me, and I will draw nigh to you;" "Cleanse your hands, you
sinners; and purify your hearts, you men of two souls;" Wash you,
make you clean; put away the evil of your doings;" "Reform and
be converted;" "Turn to the Lord;" "Be immersed for the remission
of your sins;" and "Submit to the government of Jesus." "What!
just as I am!" Pray, how are you? Have you such a persuasion in
your heart of the mission of Jesus, as God's own Son, and the only
Saviour; and have you so much confidence in his personal character as
to be willing to surrender yourself to him for the present and tho
future — for time and eternity? "I have," you say. As one that has
heard his voice, I say then, Come and be regenerated, and seasons
of refreshment from the Lord will come to you.

"But I thought I ought to feel like a Christian first, and to have the
experience of a Christian, before I came to the Lord." Indeed' Did
the Lord tell you so? "His ministers taught me so." It is hard
knowing who are his ministers nowadays. His commissioned min-
isters taught you not so. They were not taught to say so. The Master
knew that to wait for health before we went to the physician; to seek
for warmth before we approached the fire; to wait till we ceased to
be hungry before ever we approached the table — was not reasonable.
And therefore, he never asked, as he never expected, any one to feel like
a Christian before he was immersed, and began to live like a Christian.
None but the Ritizens of any country can experience the good or evii


or the government which presides over it. None but the married can
experience the conjugal relation and feelings. None but sons and
(laugiiters can have the experience of sons and daughters; and none
but those who obey the gospel can experience the sweets of obedience.
I need not add, that none but the disobedient can experience the pains,
the fears, and terrors of the Lord, the shame and remorse which are
the first fruits of the anguish and misery which await them in another
world. As the disobedient, who stumble at the word, have the first
fruits of the awful destruction from the presence of the Lord, which
awaits them; so the obedient have the first fruits of the Spirit — the
salvation of their souls, as an earnest until the salvation to be revealed
at the coming of the Lord.

And now let me ask all the unregenerate. What do you propose to
yourselves by either delaying or refusing to come to the Lord? Will
delaying have any tendency to fit you or prepare you for his salvation?
Will your lusts have less power, or sin have less dominion over you
by continuing under their control? Has the intoxicating cup by indul-
gence diminished a taste for it? Has the avarice of the miser been
weakened or cured by yielding to it? Has any propensity been destroyed
by gratifying it, in any other way than as it destroyed the animal
system? Can you, then, promise yourselves that, by continuing in dis-
obedience, you will love obedience, and be more inclined to submit
when you have longer resisted the Spirit of God! Presume not on
the mercy of God, but in the way that mercy flows. Grace has its
channels, as the waters have their courses; and its path, as the light-
ning of the clouds. Each has its law, as fixed as the throne of God;
and think not that God will work a miracle for your salvation.

Think you that the family of Noah could have been saved if they

had refused to enter into the Ark? Could the first born of Israel have

escaped the destroying angel, but in houses sprinkled with blood? or

could Israel have escaped the wrath of Pharaoh, but by being immerse 1

into Moses in the cloud and in the sea? These things are written for

our admonition upon whom the consummation of past ages has come

Arise, then, and be immersed, and wash away your sins, calling upon

the name of the Lord. The many xclio refuse grace will neither prove

you wise nor safe in disobedience.

"MuUiiiulc.-s arc no mark.— That you will v\^\\t. bo found;
A fi'W wcro savod in llu> Ark,— For many millions drownM.
Obiy Ihc gospi'l cull,— Anil enter while you may:
Christ's flock have long boon small,— But none are safe but they."


In 18,59, page 12.5, "H. T. A." (Henry T. Anderson) writes:
What can appear more paradoxical than this: to live, and yet be
dead; to be dead, and yet live? How difficult, how hard to be lu'ard.


was the word of the Messiah — "if a man keep my saying, he shall never
see death." Is it possible that a believer in Christ shall never die?
Jesus said to Mary, "I am the resurrection and the life; he that
believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; he that liveth
and believeth in me, shall never die. Believest thou this?" What
say you, kind reader? Believest thou that thou shalt never die? If thy
faith is not yet established, come, let us reason together.

We will visit first the garden of Gethsemane. "Who is this, that
lies upon the ground and prays — "0 my Father, if it be possible, let
this cup pass from me?" Why is it that he is in such agony? Do you
see that his sweat is, as it were, great drops of blood falling to the
ground? Can it be that he fears the suffering which his bodv must
undergo, while upon the cross? Can the prospect of physical suffering
account for this agony? The thieves, who suffered with him, are they
enduring this intense agony in view of the cross? Where will you find
an instance like this? It can not be found. This is the Saviour of
the world. He has come to the hour which he has dreaded. The sins
of the human family are laid upon him; and he suffers for man. He is
about to become a curse for us, while he bears, in his body, our
sins upon the tree of the cross. He is about to make his soul an
offering for sin, and endure, in mind and body, that curse that is dje
to us. See, now, an angel comes and strengthens him; and he arises
and goes to his disciples, and meets the traitor and his company of
ofticers and men, who have come to take him. He is bound and car-
ried to the High-priest. He is delivered to Pilate, and condemned to
death. There is darkness over all the land, from the sixth till the
ninth hour. Hear him as he cries, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani ?"
What means this? Has God forsaken him? Yes; for he has become
a curse for us; and God withdraws from him while he is a curse.
Sin is upon him. Our sins are counted to him. He dies for us; and
we can never die. He abolishes death. By his death he takes away
death; and we live forever in him. If he dies for us, we can not
die. Strange, would it be, that we should die after that he has suf-
fered death for us. It can not be that we shall ever die. We live
because he lives.

But God had forsaken him only while the curse was upon him.
The wages of sin is death. He has now endured the curse. He has
discharged the debt. The curse is removed, and he rises, no longer
cursed; but now, free from the curse, he is accepted of God, and offers
himself, to God, in the Holy of Holies in heaven. God accepts the offer-
ing, and we are free. We can not die. "If any man will keep my
saying, he shall never see death." "He that believeth on me shall
never die." Do you believe this, reader? If you do not believe this,
then, do you believe that he has died for you? How, then, can you


die? Do you think of the dissolution of soul and body, and rr.nclude
that this has been the lot of the Apostles and Prophets, and of all
the followers of Christ, in all ages? And do you count this the death
from which you are freed? If so, you labor under an error The
dissolution of soul and body is not the death from which you are
freed. Nor was it the dissolution of soul and body that the Messiah
so much dreaded. He was separated from God on account of sin.
Inasmuch as he assumed our nature, and our sins were laiil upon
him, he must endure that which was due to sin — a separation from
God, while he thus endured the curse. This is the death which he
underwent for sin. And, as he took our sins upon him, and died for
our sins, we are surely free from death, being free from sin, whose
wages is death.

The Apostle to the Gentiles reasons thus — "The love of Christ cou-
straineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were
all dead." The human family is dead. Christ died for them, that
they might live. If all have died, there is a cause — the sin of our
first parents. "In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely
die." The fruit was eaten, and our parents died that very day. They
were alienated in mind from God, and, as proof of that alienation, that
inward death, they hid themselves from Jehovah. Man has hid him-
self from God, from the day of transgression until now, being alienated
In mind. Separation from God is the consequence of alienation. Men-
tal alienation, or, if any one wishes, spiritual alienation, is the death
that Adam died on the day on which he ate the fruit. His personal
separation from God was a consequence of that alienation. His pos-
terity have been, and are now, alienated from God; and hence, their
personal separation from him. Sin is the cause of this. Sin is begot-
ten in the spirit. This is spiritual alienation. Sin is brought forth
in an act; and then follows a separation of ourselves, in person, from
God. Adam died in the garden, and was driven out because he was thus
spiritually separated from God.

But now, Christ has died for us, having taken our sins upon him,
and endured that most terrible of sufferings, being forsaken of his God.
What now constitutes the glad tidings of great joy? Christ has died
for our sins. We believe in Christ, and live. We pass from death
unto life. We shall not come into condemnation. "He that heareth
my word, and believeth in him that sent me, hafh everlasting life,
and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto
life. .Jesus is that eternal life which was with the Father, but has
been manifested to us. He came into the world in which darkness
and death reigned without restraint. He is the true light, who, hav-
ing come into the world, gives light to every man. As the sun Is th*(
source of light and life to thf^ natural world, so is .Jesus th" source


of spiritual light and life to the spiritual world. Those who receive
his truth are enlightened in mind, and warmed into life in spirit.
The spirit of man, though an ever-active, ever-enduring, never-perishing
substance, is, as respects God, in a state of death. When the gospel
is heard, which is the word of life, the spirit of man is made alive,
begotten again, and by means of the word of life, has a new life
imparted to it, by which it is enabled to enjoy the reign of God. The
Spirit of God begets life in the human spirit by means of the truth
On the part of the spirit of man, there is a conception of divine life,
which, diffusing itself through the whole inward man, manifests itself
in the production of fruits of righteousness. This divine life, which
is imparted by the Spirit of God, is the everlasting life which the
Saviour promises to those who hear his words. The receiver of this
life can not die, provided he remains faithful to the Lord Messiah.
He is alive, and his life is sustained by the Lord of life.

Now, if the dissolution of soul and body, which was endured by
Jesus, was the death which he suffered for us, it would follow that we
could not suffer thus; for we can not endure that which he endured for
us. We being under the power of death, he came and died for us, that
we might be saved from that in which we were held. He entered the
prison-house and broke its bars and set us free. Delivered from sin and
death, we live to God in Christ.

To be or to exist, is not to live. The human spirit will endure
through the ages of ages. Yet, whether it lives or not depends on its
acceptance of that eternal life, which God gives through the Messiah.
To cease to be, is an idea not to be found in the oracles of God. To
perish or to be destroyed, is not to cease to be. "0 Israel, thou
hast destroyed thyself." Yet Israel was in existence. The righteous
perish, says Isaiah, and no man layeth it to heart. The righteous
can not cease to be. To be dead, is not to cease to be. Death is not
non-existence. It is true that the Sadducee^s used the word in this
sense of non-existence; for they denied the existence of spirits or
angels. When men died, they ceased to exist, in their estimation.
When the Saviour, in reply to a question put by them on the subject
of the resurrection, quoted the words of Jehovah — "I am the God of
Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob;" he most pfirtinently
added, "God is not the God of the dead." If Abraham, Isaac and
Jacob were dead, in the Sadducean sense; that is, if they had no
existence; then, it would follow, that God is the God of nothing, or
of something not existing — which consequence was so obvious and so
manifestly opposed to reason, that even the Sadducees were silenced
by it. God, then, is the God of those who live; therefore, Abraham,
Isaac and Jacob live; and as they live, they will again come forth
to life.


But Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are among the dead. Then, the
dead yet live; and being dead is ceasing to be in a certain state or
condition; in other words, death is a change of state. Dissolutio.i
ol" spirit and body is the death to which we all tend. By this disso-
lution we enter another state of being.

It may be profitable here, to notice the style of the inspired writers.
The distinction between the "me" and the '"not me,"' is made broad
and clear by the inspired men. Hear Paul, in his letter to the Phil-
ippians, "I am in a strait between two, having a strong desire to
depart and be with Christ; which is far better: nevertheless, to abide
in the flesh is now needful for you." There he speaks of himself as
departing and abiding in tLe flesh. Now, if he departed, evident is
it that he would leave behind him that in which he was then abiding
— the flesh; for, surely, no one supposes that Paul went to heaven
In the flesh. It ia, therefore, evident that Paul, and Paul's flesh are
not the same. The "I" that departed; the "I" that abode in the
flesh, certainly was not the flesh. I, and my body, are two things.
The "I" is not the body; but something, which, though abiding in
the body for a while, departs after a while, and leaves the body.
When I say my tody, I speak of that, which, though mine, is not
me or myself. Thus the Ego, and the non-Ego, are distinguished by
the great philosophers of Holy Writ.

Peter also makes the same distinction. "The Lord Jesus has
showed me how that shortly I must put off this, my tabernacle."
Peter, and the tabernacle of Peter, are most obviously distinguished.
Peter is the Ego; the tabernacle of Peter, the non-Ego. Peter is the
true living being; the tabernacle of Peter, that in which he lived.
The pulling down, the destruction of a tabernacle, is not the non-
existence of the inhabitant. Therefore, men, though dead to us, live
to God. They are unseen of us, but known and seen by God.

But there is a life, which the righteous possess, which never dies —
the everlasting life. The spirit of man possessed of the truUi of God,
becomes, as we have seen, alive to God; is possessed of a life which
makes it akin to the divine nature — indeed, the Apostle Peter speaks
of our being "partakers of the divine nature." This divine nature
is the true source of the everlasting life. We receive Christ: and,
from him, is imparted to us the divine nature, which gives that new
life, by which we become victorious over sin and the flesh.

The Apostle John gives these words of John the Baptist: "He that
believeth on the Son, hath life; he that believeth not the Son. shall
not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. ' The wickeil
exist eternally without life — a paradox; be it so: it is true. They
exist eternally; they possess that existence which belongs to th'3
nature of spirits; but without that life, which results from being


partakers of the divine nature. Without the divine nature, no spirit
can love God or be obedient to him. This divine nature is imparted
to us w^hen we believe in Christ. It is not faith which gives us this
divine life. Jesus himself, who is the life of the world, gives us
this life through faith. Strong, indeed, are the words of our holy-
Apostle: — "We are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his
bones." We are to Christ what Eve was tO' Adam. We are his bride.
We partake of his nature, being joint-partakers of his spirit. He
took our nature, and thus raised the human to the divine. He lives
eternally, and we are supported by him. He is our light, our life, our
strength. From him there comes forth a vis activa, a vis viva, a
living, active power, that entering into the spirit of man vivifies,
enlightens, and transfuses life through the whole man.

God is light. God is life. God is love. What must be the con-
dition of that spirit, which is enlightened by this divine light, quick-
ened by this life, and filled with this love? Is it not a partaker of
the divine nature? Has not the divine descended and taken flesh?
Why should not the divine transfusie itself into the human? Is it
credible that the Logos became flesh? Then the divine has united
itself with the human. When we are united to Christ, the human
becomes united with the divine. Else, how is he that is joined to the
Lord, one spirit?

We are to Christ as Eve to Adam, Paul being judge: "We are
members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones." Wonderful words
are these! Wonderful union with the Messiah!

How, then, can we die? Death is abolished. Life reigns in us.
Though our bodies must see the dust, we live, and shall live, forever-
more. The present body is unflt for that habitation, which God has
prepared for the righteous. It must undergo a change, either by
being raised from the dust, or by being changed when the Lord shall
descend from heaven: "For we shall not all sleep," no; some will be
found on earth when the Messiah comes, and these will not sleep, but
undergo a change which is necessary for them, that they may meet
our coming Redeemer. A living, regenerate, sanctified body in which
to live forever — a resurrection, becomes a consequence of the pos-
session of life by "^^he spirit. To the body will be given a life which
is eternal. A pure spirit will inhabit a body that is immortal and
incorruptible. This mortal (body) must put on immortality: this
corruptible (body) must put on incorruption. In this body there Is
nothing that can secure it from corruption. From the dust there
can come nothing that is immortal. That which is immortal and
incorruptible comes from heaven. So our Apostle teaches that, "if
our earthly house of this tabernacle perish, we have a house not
made with hands, eternal in the heavens." This heavenly house, or

rm: milij:xmal iiAi:Hi\ut:n ahuuxjed. 585

body, which is immortal, will swallow up our mortality. Our mortal
body will be clad with an immortal one from heaven, which will thus
swallow up all that is mortal, and then our living spirit will inhabit
forever a living, immortal, incoiTuptible, heavenly body. Death will
then be swallowed up of life. ii. t. a..

In 1864, page 529, W. K. Pendleton writes:

Life and death, it may be truly said, are emphatically Bible themes.
As nothing short of Revelation can give us correct and reliable infor-
mation concerning them, so we do well to take care that our views
and beliefs as to them are derived from the Scriptures. Nothing is
more important to man than the subject of his origin and destiny.
We do not mean to say that nothing actually so much engages hia
attention, for tliis, unfortunately, is not so; but that nothing should
BO much interest his mind and heart, must be admitted by every one
who reflects. Whence am I? whither do I go, and what shall be my
future destiny? Who is not infinitely concerned in these great

Life and death are introduced to us in the opening chapters of
human history. In the first, we are presented with the origin of life;
in the second, with the origin of death. God is the author of the one,
Satan of the other. Life and all that is from God is good; death and
all that is from the devil is evil. Life is a creation; it is derived;
it had a beginning; and hence is not, necessarily and essentially,
eternal. The Scriptures nowiiere assert the essential eternity of
human life. Even before the fall — in the primitive state of paradi-
saical purity and innocence — Adam and Eve enjoyed a life that
required to be nourished and sustained by influences out of itself — a
life that needed food to make it immortal. Hence among the trees
of the Garden, there is one, with virtue above all the rest — "the tree
of life." a life-giving tree.

Whether we regard this tree as literally contributing the pabulum
of life — the essence and element of immortality, directly, as an elixir
vitae; or rather as a sacramental fruit, in and through which, it
pleased the Creator to confer this power of life by endless divine
communication, does not materially affect the question. In the first
case, the fruit of the tree must be supposed to draw this power, not
from the created sources of its own life, for they could not impart
what was not in them, to wit, the power of immortality; but from
the original and eternal fountain of life, which is God himself. In
the second view, this power flows into man through the eating of this
fruit, sacramentally, that is through the divine appointment, and not
by any process which we can call natural. In either case, therefore,
the source of the life is originally in God; but in the latter, there
seems to be a harmony with the conception of elementary simplicity


in the principle of life, that we do not so readily perceive in the
former of these views.

Life is not organization — it is distinct from it. It is rather th<?
cause of organization. The organization of each particular life had
its beginning in a previous life, but it is sustained and perpetuated
by the life that is communicated to it. The organization of Adam
was from God, and was first made before the brea,th of life was
breathed into it by the Elohim. After this, the life thus divinely
communicated, sustained and perpetuated the organization — the body.
But the life itself is not necessarily immortal. It needs the sustain-
ing supplies of the eternal fountain, and for this there is provided
"The tree of life." The difference between this tree and all the
other trees of the Garden of which man was permitted freely to eat,
was this: they sustained the organization by the assimilative and
organific power of the principle of life, but "Tfte tree of life'" sustained
the principle of life itself. Now we can understand how an organi-
zation like the body, which is not simple, but composed of many
elements, can be formed and sustained out of supplies furnished to
the assimilative and organific power of life, in what we call a natural
way; but we can not so understand the support and perpetuation of
life itself, which is simple, and not compound. It must be given, not
as something else, a heterogeneous compound to be digested and
wrought up into the product we call life, but as life itself — simple
and pure, for what is the power that can take of the tree of life and
digest life out of it? It is not the power of life, for this would be
to make a finite power the origin of itself, which is absurd. It is not
the organization, for the organization is itself, the effect of the power
of life, and this would be to make an effect the cause of its own

Online LibraryAlexander CampbellThe Millennial Harbinger abridged (Volume 1) → online text (page 69 of 70)