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To fear God, and to stand in awe of his justice; to trust and depend
on him in all conditions; to submit patiently to his will under all
afflictions; to pray to him for the supply of our wants, for the relief
of our sufferings, for protection and defense; to love and praise him
for the blessings we enjoy, for peace and plenty and health, for friends
and benefactors, and all prosperous successes: I say, these are not
the acts of reasonable men, unless we believe that God has the
supreme disposal of all events, and takes a particular care of us. For
if any good or evil can befall us without God's particular order and
appointment, we have no reason to trust in God, who does not always
take care of us; we have no reason to bear our sufferings patiently at


God's bands, and in submission to his will; for we know not wbether
our sufferings be God's will or not: we have no reason to love and
praise God for every blessing and deliverance we receive, because we
know not whether it came trom God; and it is to no purpose to pray
to God for particular blessings, if he does not concern himself in par
ticular events. But if we believe that God takes a particular care
of us all, and that no good or evil happens to us but as he pleases,
all these acts of religious worshij) are both reasonable, necessary
and jurt."

In 1855, page 601, Mr. Campljell teaches of


Providence occurs but once in the Christian Scriptures. The Greek
representative of it is pronoia, and found in the Greek Testament but
twice (Acts xxiv. 2). In this occurrence it is represented by provi-
dence, in the common version. In Rom. iii. 14, it is represented by
provision ; literally it means foresight. The verb pronoeo is found
three times, always represented by provide, and providing. In
theological use, it indicates guardianship, guidance, direction, protec-
tion. In our English dictionaries it is defined — "The act of provid-
ing, or preparing for future use or application" (Webster).

Deists, Theists, and speculative Christians, designate what they
call God, or "the Deity," by the term Providence. By the good old
orthodox Presbyterians this was repudiated as irreverent and un-

That God provides for all his creatures, is just as true as that he
created them. This providence is as general as all creation. Though
five sparrows were sold in old Jerusalem for two farthings, yet not
one of them was forgotten or unprovided for by their Creator. He
feeds young lions and tigers, ravens and doves; the animalcule, invis-
ible to the human eye, though so small that millions of them are
found in a cubic foot, and some affirm in a cubic inch!

But that. God's providence is as general or as broad as creation, no
one, of any information or discrimination, can either doubt or deny.

Thirty millions of suns, and one hundred millions of satellites, or
worlds moving round them, each of which is as large as our earth in a
general average, having as many t/cnera and species of animated
beings on them as our planet has; covered with hair or feathers, as
a portion of our tenantry are, and yet so cared for, and provided for
by Him, that not one hair or feather can fall from any one of them
unheeded or unobserved by him. Such are our conceptions of the
sublime, the awful, the incomprehensible grandeur and majesty of
Him that fills immensity, that inhabits eternity, and who can bestow
as much attention to any one animated atom as though it were the


solitary tenant of the entire universe. His creation ana providence
are necessarily, eternally, and immutably co-extensive He opens his
rich and liberal hand, and from his inexhausted and inexhaustible
treasuries, supplies most abundantly the wants of every living thing.
And so happy were they all, that before sin was conceived in heaven
or in earth "the morning stars," in one grand concert, "sang together,
and all the sons of God shouted for joy. '

They who admit a general providence, and, at '.he same time, deny
a special providence, are feeble and perverted reasoners and thinkero.
A general, or universal supervision or providence, necessarily implies
a special or particular providence. The executor of a will, or the
superintendent of an estate, who selected out of either a certain part-
only as worthy of his attention, and who executed or superintended
that alone, would be judged and treated as a defaulter. And shall we
impute to the Lord and Proprietor of heaven and earth that whicn we
could condemn and reprobate in a steward, or in a superintendent of
an earthly estate! But all such reasonings from the analogies of
earth and time to Him that is from everlasting to everlasting, and
as present everywhere and anywhere, are necessarily frail and imper-
fect. "Do not I fill heaven and earth?" says He "who inhabits eter-
nity." "What house can you build for me, and where is the place of my
rest? Has not my hand made all these things?"

But says the great Teacher himself — "Are not five sparrows sold
for two farthings, yet not one of them is forgotten before God!"*
This, methinks, should suffice.

But still we do not comprehend, nor even apprehend, the claims
of one of these objects upon the attention and care of the great Pro-
prietor and Protector of a single sparrow. How many objects in
this one object of his care and protection, must be cared for, provided
for, and protected by this great Proprietor and Preserver of the
sparrow! How many organs has it? As many as a mammoth! Yes!
as many organs as a mammoth.

In order to a full appreciation of this most pregnant theme, so
fraught with instruction to mankind, we shall notice, somewhat in
detail, the history of ihe incidents of this distinguished patriarch, and
the apparent contingencies on which their fortunes turned.

Joseph, the son of the beloved Rachel, for whom his father Jacob
served Laban, his mother's father, full fourteen years, through
paternal partiality, indiscreetly shown, became an object of envy and
hatred on the part of his brethren, afterwards known as eleven of
the twelve distinguished patriarchs, second in rank only to Abraham,
Isaac and Jacob.

• Luke xii. 6.


This partiality consummated its weakness in a coat of variegated
colors, bestowed on Joseph. Joseph himself, gifted with prophetic
dreams touching his own destiny and that of his brethren indis-
creetly told them to his brethren. These dreams intensified their
envy into actual hatred, to such a degree that when, on a mission
from his father to inquire after their welfare, he appeared in the
plains of Dothan, his brethren, with the single exception of Reuben,
conspired to take his life. Meantime a caravan of Ishmaelites
appeared in sight, and Judah proposed to take him out of the pit and
sell him as a slave to these merchants.

Ten of the brethren conspiring to sell him, demanded from them
only two shekels apiece — in all, twenty shekels, equal to about
fifteen dollars. Thus he was carried into an Egyptian market, and
sold to Potiphar, a captain in Pharaoh's service — an eunuch of much
authority in Egypt, who, like many eunuchs in that day, had a wife.
Joseph, by his great moral worth, soon rose in the confidence of his
master; but being assailed by the allurements of his unsatisfied wife,
through his faithfulness to his master and his God, he escaped from
her importunities and blandishments; which so exacerbated her tem-
per that she machinated his ruin, and had well-nigh consummated
it, having him confined in prison. But the Lord sustained him.

He formed an intimate and a happy acquaintance with the chief
baker and the chief butler in Pharaoh's household, who providentially
had each a portentous dream. In the fullness of their hearts, and
with great esteem for Joseph, they told him their dreams. He had
the gift of understanding and interpreting symbols, and most satis-
factorily and truthfully interpreted their dreams, as the sequel proved.

In process of time, on Pharaoh's birthday feast, the chief butler
was restored to his former station and service at the banquet, while
his companion lost his life, as Joseph had foretold.





The whole tone of the Harbinger, the undertone and the overtone,
is that of devotion to Jesus Christ. He is the sun out of which all
Christian light comes; he is the light, the life; he is the full glory
of the New Testament dispensation. There is no symmetrical formal
treatment ot the character of the Christ or of the especial work of
Christ in the Harbinger, but the Harbinger is saturated with the
Christ Spirit. "For forty years," Mr. Campbell says in 1852, "we
have preached Jesus Christ, the only Lord, our Saviour and our King."
In 1862 there is an article as follows on the


Come now, all ye that tell us in your wisdom of the mere natural
humanity of Jesus, and help us to find out how it is that he is only
a natural development of the human. Select your best and wisest
character; take the range, if you will, of all the great philosophers
and saints, and choose out one that is most competent; or if, per-
chance, some one of you may imagine that he is himself about on a
level with Jesus, (as we hear that some of you do,) let him come
forward in this trial and say, "Follow me! be worthy of me! I am
the Light of the world! Ye are from beneath, I am from above! Behold,
a greater than Solomon is here!" Take on all these transcendent
assumptions, and see how soon your glory will be sifted out of you
by the detective gaze and darkened by the contempt of mankind!
Why not? Is not the challenge fair? Do you not tell us that you
can say as divine things as he? Is it not in you, too, of course, to do
what is human? Are you not in the front rank of human develop-
ment? Do you not rejoice in the power to rectify many mistakes
and errors in the words of Jesus? Give us, then, this one experiment,
and see if it does not prove to you a truth that is of some conse-
quence; viz.: that you are a man, and that Jesus Christ is more?


The whole human family is sick. From the days of our progeni-
tors down to the present time, all have been the subjects of an awful
malady. The blighting hand of a disease far more destructive than
pestilence has been laid heavily upon young and old, rich and poor,
king and subject. All have suffered from its terrible ravages. It has
drenched this beautiful world in blood, and made it one vast burying-

ground. It has changed Eden-happiness into burning tears, bitter



lamentations, and insufferable agonies. Sin is in our midst, rioting in
the destruction of body, soul and spirit. We speak not of the reason
why God has permitted it to be introduced into our world, or allowed
suffering and death to follow in its footsteps. We have to do with
facts, not with things fictitious. Speculations may be beautiful and
pleasing, but are of no real value. After all our rounds in idealism,
we must come back to the point of departure, take our stand on terra
firma, and grapple with the difficulties, dangers and sufferings that
environ us.

It can not be questioned that sin has taken a deep hold on our
race, in consequence of which all are sick and need a physician. Man
needs a physician, not only because he is diseased of sin, but because
he is unable, in the absence of assistance, to relieve himself. Though
the loftiest being in the rank of created intelligences, he is far too
weak and short-sighted to devise a plan which will effectually destroy
sin, remove its consequences, and restore him to his lost possessions —
his original greatness. No, man can not do this. His past acts are a
sad verification of the truth of this remark. Can then a physician be
found altogether competent to heal all who will abide his instruc-
tions? Such a physician came into our world eighteen hundred years
ago. He came from heaven in order to heal the sick, and to take
such as would hear his voice and submit to his will to a land where
there is no more sickness, no more death.

Let us look at a few of the leading features in this great and good
physician's character. We trust he may appear to those who need his
aid, the chiefest among ten thousand, and the one altogether lovely:

1. His Wisdom. — All that God knew in the past, Jesus knew; all
that God knows in the present, he knows; all events, great and small,
that shall transpire in coming ages, are known to him as well as to
the Father. He knows man infinitely better than he knows himself..
Man's greatness, weakness, powers of mind, capacities of soul — his
glory, his shame, his nothingness, are open to him. He walked with
man the tedious round of life — is well acquainted with his character
in all its shades and attenuations — is wise enough to instruct the
wisest, and lowly enough to reach the humblest. His sermon on the
mount has been admired by infidel and Christian. The learned and
great have contemplated with astonishment its unfathomable depths
of wisdom and knowledge, while the meek and lowly have found con-
solation from its pure and holy teachings. No sham, no deception
in this sermon. It will bear the severest scrutiny. Infidels say that
Jesus was merely a great philosopher — the wisest and best that has
ever lived. On this supposition, how shall we account for the won-
derful display of wisdom in this inimitable sermon? Did he obtain
it from Moses and the prophets, the bards and holy seers of Israel?


It tan Jiot l>e proved that he did. At least the premises for the con-
clusions to which he arrived, have never yet been brought forward
from Old Testament Scriptures. It is presumable they never will be,
inasmuch as they would long since have been offered to the world,
had they been found there. But it may be said that he obtained his
wisdom from the Gentile world. Satisfactory proof that he did, baa
never yet been produced. His name was never enrolled in a Gentile
school. He never sat at the feet of any philosopher, great or small.
He was never found in the Academy, the Lyceum, or the Porch. Hia
feet never trod on Grecian, Roman, or Persian soil. He never engaged
in metaphysical disquisitions, or in dark, bewildering argumentation,
which so much delighted Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and the wise men
of the East. His wisdom is far above all human wisdom. Nothing
In story or in song is comparable to it. It uproots and grinds into
powder the wise sayings, the proud maxims, the most profound sys-
tems of ethics, ever given to the world by the so-called moral philos-
ophers. Surely the wisdom of Jesus could not have sprung from the
wisdom of this world. Like his kingdom, it is not of this world.
Whence, then, came the wisdom and knowledge of Jesus? He was
not educated as a philosopher, but was born and reared in poverty.
He borrowed not from Jew or Greek. Whence, then, came his wis-
dom and knowledge? Whence that power which enabled him to
speak as never man spoke; that enabled him to give lessons of wisdom
such as had never been given; that enabled him to present views in
regard to the government of body, soul and spirit, such as had never
been lieard; that enabled him to instruct mankind, as having a com-
plete knowledge of the diverse and increasing wants of all, in every
condition, in every circumstance, in prosperity and adversity, in afflu-
ence and poverty, on land, on sea, in all kingdoms, in all lands, and
through all time? We are forced to the conclusion that the immense
and unfailing treasures of wisdom and knowledge possessed by Jesus
Christ, came from above — are of heaven and not of men — and that the
exhibitions of his powers and capacities are worthy his divine origin.
2. His Goodness. — We have no desire to pronounce a eulogy on the
character of Jesus Christ. The poor commendations cf the great and
learned, have added nothing to its excellency. For centuries it has
been before the world, and is at this moment as stainless, pure and
irreproachable, as it was in the beginning. In his ministrations. Jesus
was surrounded by the bitterest enemies — by Pharisees, Sadducees,
Essenes and Herodians — by all the malignant sects and parties of
Judea — and still no blot was ever hxed upon his character. His words
and deeds were closely scanned by his enemies; but nothing could be
detected unworthy his position, or the glorious work in which he
was engaged. The simplicity, beauty, purity, truthfulness and power


displayed in ali his utterances, in all his actions, struck with wonder
and astonishment those who thronged his presence, and induced mul-
titudes to acknowledge him as their Lord and Master.

When John was in prison, he sent to Jesus to know if he was the
One that should come, or should another be expected. "Jesus, answer-
ing, said to those who came, Go your way and tell John what things
you have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the
lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor
the gospel is preached; and blessed is he whosoever shall not be
offended in me." Jesus desired John to know that he was engaged in
doing good — what was the character of his work — and therefore
instructed the disciples of John to tell what they saw and heard.
Doing good was his constant employment. Whether in Jerusalem, in
Nazareth, in Bethany; whether along the winding streams, the fruit-
ful vales, or on the palm-covered hills of Judea, Jesus is seen, he will
ever be found engaged in the same blessed, godlike work — doing good
to all around him. He came to seek and save the lost; he sought them
everywhere, with a deeper solicitude than ever parent sought an err-
ing child. Whenever and wherever found, he administered to their
wants, taught them the way to God, instructed them how to meet the
difficulties of a rough world, and how to bear the many disappoint-
ments and misfortunes to which flesh is heir. In healing the sick,
cleansing the leper, dispossessing the demoniac of the evil spirit, giv-
ing sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, life to the dead; on the
Mount of Olives, at the well with the Samaritan woman, at the grave
of Lazarus weeping with Mary and Martha, walking on the stormy
Sea of Galilee, uttering his sad prophetic lamentation over Jerusalem,
in the garden of Gethsemane, praying to his Father, at the Bar of
Pilate and Herod, going to Calvary, or expiring in awful agonies on
its summit; his majesty, his goodness, his condescending love and
tender compassion to the children of men, shine forth with celestial
glory. How kind, how generous, how magnanimous he was; how pure
his words, how elevated his thoughts, how godlike his deeds. How
simple in his greatness, how truly great in his simplicity! Hard
must be the heart and cold the feelings of him w^ho can contemplate
the sayings and doings of Jesus without emotion. Unnumbered are
the evidences in favor of the goodness and condescending love of the
Lord Jesus Christ. When man had revolted from the government of
God, had wandered from the path of truth and righteousness, had
become bewildered in the thick darkness of a world that knew not
God, Jesus, leaving the communion of his Father, of angels, of seraph
and cherub, came into our world in order to redeem the human family
from the thralldom of sin. Heaven was interested in his advent on
earth. An angel, to Judah's shepherds, keeping watch over their


flocks by night, proclaimed: "Behold, I bring you glad tidings of great
joy, which shall be lo all people;" and "suddenly there was with the
angel a multitude ol' the heavenly host, praising God, and saying,
(Jiory to C!od in the highest, peace on earth, and good will towards
men." Uiisst'ul tidings, joyous announcement, prophetic of the regen-
eration of the world. Great is the work of salvation, great the work
of our redemption; the blessings to be enjoyed transcendently great.

3. His Poicer. — A physician may possess wisdom, goodness, and con-
descension, and still not have sufficient power to accomplish the
intended good. Has Jesus the necessary power? If the New Testa-
ment be a truthful record, he possesses power over all spirits — celes-
tial, terrestrial and infernal; over all things in heaven, on earth, and
under the earth. As vast as is the universe, so far does his power
e.\tend. In contemplating his power, we will glance at a few, and only
a few, of the characteristic features of his miracles.

These features distinguish the miracles of Jesus from all the
pretended miracles of Mormonism, Mohammedanism, or Romanism.
The miracles of Jesus Christ were wrought publicly, not secretly.
They were wrought in the presence of friends and enemies, so that
any fraud, trick, or conjuring, would have been instantly detected.
Foes were ever nigh that slumbered not, nor neglected the slightest
opportunity to entrap him. Yet he constantly mingled with thy
people, and by his stupendous works established his claims to the
Messiahship. He spoke with authority, and acted with authority, and
hence he spoke as never man spoke, and acted as never man acted.
Without pomp and parade, without long and labored effort, or the
tediousness of well-guarded preparatory steps, he performed all his
miracles, beginning in Cana of Galilee, and ending on the shores
of the Sea of Tiberias, after his resurrection. Let the places where
and the circumstances under which the miracles of Jesus were per-
formed, be compared to the places where and the circumstances under
which the pseudo-miracles of Mormonism, Mohammedanism and
Roman Catholicism have been got up, and offered to the world. The
contrast will be striking, the inquiry will prove beneficial, and if faith
in Jesus be weak, it will be strengthened.

But the miracles of Jesus were wrought instantly. Days, weeks,
and months were not required for their performance. In the name
of his Father he spoke the word, and the lame walked, the diseased
were healed, and the dead raised to life. Not so with those whose
object is to deceive. They demanded more time in order to succeed.

Also, the miracles of Jesus were performed for the purpose of
doing good. They were all benevolent in design and character. Not
one that has an evil tendency. This cannot be affirmed of the frauds
and deceptions of Roman Catholicism, Mormonism, Mohammedanism,


and Paganism. These all have a far different object in view — a far
different character — and subserve a far different end. No selfishness
can be found in anything Jesus said or did. His character, as well
as his words and deeds, is free from all accusation. He did not do
good that he might gather up gold or silver. Though rich, for our
sakes he became poor. He astonished all who came Into his presence
by his wonderful words and deeds, and yet he asked no reward — only
required faith in him and obedience to his commands, in order to
the present and ultimate well-being of mankind. He was "great in
goodness and good in greatnesis." In him, for the first and last time
on earth, was perfect goodness, wedded to perfect greatness. Hia
life was, and is, and will forever remain, the brightest display of all
those virtues and graces that ran adorn the life, dignify the char-
acter, and ennoble the soul of fallen humanity. That Jesus is all-
powerful to save, is manifest from his resurrection. He spoke to his
disciples of his death, burial and resurrection. "When he was crucified
and buried, however, all their fond hopes seemed dispelled forever.
They went to their former vocations. But early on the morning of
the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother ot
James, and other women, came to the sepulcher with sweet spices, to
anoint the body of Jesus. They found not their Lord there. An
angel had descended from heaven, rolled back the stone from the
mouth of the sepulcher, and sat upon it. His countenance was like
lightning, and his raiment white as snow. He said to the women,
Fear not; you seek Jesus who was crucified; he is not here, but is
risen; come, see the place where the Lord lay. No, he was not there.
His grave was tenantless. His enemies said that his body was stolen
while the guard was asleep; his disciples declared that he had risen
from the dead. Infidelity has ever been puzzled to account for the

Online LibraryAlexander CampbellThe Millennial Harbinger abridged (Volume 1) → online text (page 9 of 70)