Изображения страниц

Observer, April 1, '71.

bruised is very manifest, and it has been a dangerous wound. Let the long ages of blasphemy and rebuke bear testimony, with all the fields of carnage and slavery, and all the cries from the oppressed and the oppressor, who are perhaps equally miserable. The slime of the serpent is over all, and all the revels of atheism or superstition, all the works of darkness and cruelty, bear witness to the virulence of his poison and the extent of his dominion. But it, or rather "He shall bruise thy head." Grievous as the wound in the heel has proved it is not fatal or incurable; but the serpent is to be wounded and bruised in a vital region, which admits of no recovery. The Life Restorer came to destroy the works of the devil, and struck such blows of divine force as will eventuate in the utter destruction of the enemy and his sinful kingdom. God will bruise Satan under our feet shortly. He has combined, in some measure, the terrible glory of the fallen angel with the malignity which springs from misery and despair; but his ruin will be as great as his schemes have been vast and daring. We can hear the hoarse murmur, and see the red glare of that lake of fire where the Prince of Evil and his adherents and his works disappear from the fields of mortality and time, without any resurrection in the Age of the City of God.

As to man and his ancient loss. To lose the glories of Paradise and the unquestioned power of monarchy over the visible was a great loss, but how much greater the loss of profound peace within. Death is separation, whether it be in the separation of body and soul which prepares for the grave, or in the separation of the soul from God. The death verily began even then, for the fine gold was dim, and the spiritual lustre faded away. And indeed that moral death or inward ruin which was to terminate in corruption, would have been perpetual had there not been in reserve a higher scheme of Divine compassion, a remedial system of grace and recovery, whose golden splendours began to shine through the glooms.

Immortality would have been no boon, but rather a dreadful thing for persons in sin and disorder. Hence lest the man should put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever, God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. "So He drove out the man, and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way to keep the way of the tree of life." The cherubim guard has been a fruitful field for strange weeds. The theory of Lactantius is a constant succession of thunderstorms. Tertullian resorts to climate, and explains the matter by the "ardours of the torrid zone." Theodore of Heraclea declares the cherubim to be "wild beasts of some formidable kind." Grotius, who never could lift his feet out of Dutch mire, explains the flaming barrier as the "blaze of a spring of bitumen." Herder finds a mountain at the entrance, "full of wild beasts and subterranean fire." Rosenmuller finds his solution in the "burning of the naptha wells in Babylon." All this wretched romance is uncalled for. The holy book leaves us in no doubt concerning the Cherubims or the Shekinah glory, or the pillar of fire-(see the journeying of Israel and the first and tenth chapters of Ezekiel). By theories more modern the terrible glories were to inspire with hope rather than with fear; and "keeping the way of the tree of life" is to let the people in and not to shut them out. But in sober truth, the way was open in the sinless time and closed when sin and revolt came, the banishment enforced by fire and sword, sufficient to scare away all rash intruders. The flashing sword proclaimed in clear accents-No road back

See Divine Providence, by Dr. Croly, chap. x.

Observer, April 1, '71.

to life in this direction! the gates are closed for ever! Though we do not suppose that the Almighty is shut up to one method, yet we should always conclude that what He does is the very best. He might have blasted the tree of life, and reduced the garden of Eden into immediate ruin; but where would the memorial have been? We may surely see the wisdom of God in preserving the place for centuries. The dethroned king could relate the history of his fall and expulsion with tenfold more force while able to point to the eastern gate, with the visible splendour and terror which so powerfully confirmed his story. And while they learned by sight as well as by speech that the primal haunts and fountains of life and beauty were lost for ever, they could learn from his lips that a finer Paradise loomed in the distance, that the seed of the woman would bruise the head of the serpent, that the true golden age was in the future rather than in the past, and that in ripe time, by fortitude and valour for God and truth, they would doubtless come in sight of a more sublime Eden, where no flame or sword would scare away, where no serpent could enter, and where the lost tree of life would flourish again, on each side of the holy river.

That the spectacle in front of Eden was considered the "presence of the Lord," seems more than probable. Cain was driven out from the presence of the Lord. In the large sense that could not be, for whither can we go from His Spirit, or flee from His presence? But in the narrower sense such presence was a visible and local glory, a place where men were wont to gather so long as any measure of reverence and holy fear remained. When Cain was abandoned to his own darkness and impiety he went out from the presence of the Lord, and far away from the memorial of the Divine wrath and the lost inheritance, and pursued his own projects in the arts of the fleshly life. Such geographical separation, though a loss to him was a decided gain to the children afterwards born to his father, as they were saved from the companionship of evil. G. G.

To be continued.


WHAT is the doctrine of this Reformation with regard to meeting every first day of the week, as taught by Thomas Campbell, Alexander Campbell, Walter Scott, Barton W. Stone, John Smith, John T. Johnson, the two Creaths, and the host of men who were originally associated with them in their work of reform? We shall first quote from A. Campbell: 'The sanctification of the Lord's day by meeting in honour of the resurrection of the Saviour, and especially with a reference to the celebration of the Lord's Supper, is essential to the edification, to the spirituality, holiness, usefulness, and happiness of the Christian community.

[ocr errors]

"It is not designed to throw into the shade any other duties of the Christian Chuch while contending for those above stated; but because no society save the disciples of Christ, so regard, observe, and celebrate the Lord's day. We endeavour to arrest the attention of our fellow-professors to the great design of it, and of the coming together of the members of Christ's family on that day. When assembled for this chief purpose, the reading of the Scriptures, teaching, exhortation, prayer, praise, contributions for the poor, and discipline when called for, are all in order and necessary to the advancement and growth of the Christian Church in all the graces

Observer, April 1, '71

of the Spirit and in all the fruits of holiness."-Millennial Harbinger, vol. 1, new series, page 534.

"The most generally true and correct report of the Baptist churches which could be given is as follows: Four congregations or churches are under the pastoral care of one shepherd. He visits them every fourth Saturday and Sunday. In their church capacity they meet once a month. Speculations are then sung, and then prayed, and then preached, and then sung, and then prayed, and then blessed and after being thus fed and feasted, the brethren go home for one month to ruminate and digest this hearty meal. As to the children at home, it is altogether left to heaven when and how to convert them."-Christian Baptist, p. 322.

"One of our earliest objections to popular Christianity is its desecration of the Lord's day. When we first joined the Baptists, we had to stipulate for the privilege of sanctifying the natal day of Christ's church by meeting together on every sacred return of that most memorable of all the days of the week-not only of the week but of all the years of time-to partake of the symbolic loaf and cup. They generously, after some debate, allowed us the privilege **** still our doing so was often alluded to, and with no very kind regard."-Millennial Harbinger, 1841, page 541.

We will now quote from the Christian Messenger, a communication jointly signed by Barton W. Stone and John T. Johnson:


We are happy to announce to our brethren, and to the world, the union of Christians, in fact, in our country. A few months ago the Reforming Baptists (known invidiously by the name Campbellites) and the Christians in Georgetown and the neighbourhood, agreed to meet and worship together. To increase and consolidate this union, we, the elders, and brethren, have separated two elders, John Smith and John Rogers. These brethren are to ride together through all the churches."

To the above, Alexander Campbell appended the following remarks: "With these two brethren we are well acquainted. The one was formerly a Baptist, the other formerly a Christian, in the sectarian import of these words; differing from each other only in some speculative opinions, and were employed in building up congregations perfectly alike in their modes of meeting, and in their dependance on an order of men called preachers to dispense ordinances and perform divine service. Each of these made a Lord's day in a neighbourhood once a month, when they lifted the light of their countenances on the admiring Baptists and Christians."

In Memoirs of A. Campbell by R. Richardson (page 326, vol. ii.), the following notice is found of the result of the above-described movements: "William Morton, John Smith, Jacob Creath, Jr., etc., soon organized a large number of reforming Churches, many of which, especially in towns, adopted weekly communion, while in the country others still continued the Baptist custom of meeting monthly, when only they could have the services of a preacher."

It will be proper to add, that in carrying on this work, Jacob Creath, Sen., and "Raccoon John Smith," like Saul among his fellows, towered a whole head and shoulders above their brethren. But the final issue of that great movement was far from satisfactory. Witness the bitter complaints of some of its most prominent actors. Four years afterwards, Elder James Challen, under date of June 14, 1834, thus writes in the Millennial Harbinger;

“I find the churches in these parts in a very prostrate condition, and how to raise them I know not. I believe the reformation is suffering greatly here from the fact of our having an interest in so many Baptist

Observer, April 1, '71.

meeting houses, which precludes the possibility of meeting in the same place on every first day of the week. I have been almost tempted to pray that the disciples may be entirely excluded from every Baptist house in the land."

Under date of June 7, 1834, Elder O. C. Steele, who had been one of the earliest, one of the most ardent and most prominent actors in the movement among the Baptists that had been inaugurated by Elder John Smith, thus pours out the bitterness of his heart, and confesses his disappointment, in a letter to Bro. Campbell.

[ocr errors]

'I regret that I have no good news to communicate in reference to the advancement of truth and piety among the congregations of this county. Not one of them worships God according to the Word of Truth. Some of them meet twelve times a year to hear twelve sermons from so-called preachers, and break the loaf twice in the time; and thus they grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth. Others meet twenty-four times, and break the loaf twice. One single congregation meets thirty-six times a year, and commemorates the death and sufferings of Christ twelve times. This is the greatest advancement in the county, and we have no good omen that we shall be able to advance much further; for, be it known to you, many of our reformists think this advance much too far, and would be better content to have two communion seasons, and to meet twelve times a year, and be called Réformers, than to meet on the first day of the week to keep the ordinances as delivered by Christ and his apostles. These are the naked truths in reference to the so-called reformed churches in the county of Madison, and I am not sure, Bro. Campbell, that the picture would not suit many other counties, from my knowledge of them. I would now ask you, How far we have advanced in the proposed Reformation?” To this question Bro. Campbell replies:

"I fear the brethren who travel so slowly will die in the wilderness. They would require an antediluvian age to fit them for the kingdom of heaven. It will not do, brethren. Jesus says, I would you were cold or hot; and thus still speaks the Holy Spirit to the churches. No congregation has reformed, according to the New Testament (our creed), which does not meet every week to keep the ordinances as delivered to us by the apostles."

Wm. M. Brown, writing under date of April, 1836, says: "Some of the congregations I visited (in Indiana and Kentucky) were accustomed to meet only once a month. Bro. Campbell, have you anything else you can put before the brethren that will induce them to meet and attend to the ordinances of the Lord's house every Lord's day?”

To this Bro. Campbell replies: "Of all sins of omission and commision the foulest and the blackest is ingratitude. Now, how much of this sin will be found in those who neglect the Christian assemblies, and forget the death of their Redeemer, while they profess to expect eternal life through His death?"


Thomas Potts writes to A. Campbell from Henry County, Tenn: cumstanced as the congregation has been, as yet, we have not found it convenient to meet oftener than once a month."

A. Campbell replies: "The Lord has given us fifty-two feasts in the year. Let no man be cheated out of forty of them by the plea of convenience. Mr. Convenience is the greatest heretic and innovator now living. Take

care of him!"

The Baptist Banner published the following statistics under date of June 3rd, 1837: "We have in the State of Kentucky upwards of five hundred

Observer, April 1, '71.

churches, with but little over two hundred ministers, and an aggregate of at least forty thousand church members, and we know of but seven churches that have preaching every Lord's day."

The foregoing facts and documents are only a drop in the bucket; but they are enough to show that, as in the days of the apostles the Christians that had been Jews were forever tending back into the weak and beggarly elements of the Jewish law, so it has been the frailty of our own brethren, to be perpetually relapsing into the habits which were ingrained into them while they were Baptists.

The name of John Smith was a tower of strength to the Reformers of Kentucky, but neither his great name nor his great fame was sufficient to enable him to induce a majority of the churches to maintain weekly meetings. We quote from the Life of John Smith, by John Augustus Williams: "He had found it very difficult to induce the country churches, whose members were scattered over a widely extended district, and who had been accustomed to meet but once a month, and then mainly to have a sermon, to come together every Lord's day for social worship and mutual instruction. It was not till the year 1836, that the brethren, even at Somerset and Spencer, agreed to meet every Lord's day to observe the ordinances as they were delivered."

Both in the Life of John Smith, and in the Memoirs of A. Campbell, the fact is noted, that the people of the towns and cities more readily adopted weekly meetings than the people of the country. The explanation of this fact is, not that the country people had further to travel if they could go a certain distance once a month, they could travel the same distance every Lord day, provided always they were thoroughly in earnest. The true reason is, that the people of the city possesssed a higher culture and a more advanced civilization, and found in themselves moral, intellectual and spiritual wants which were not yet felt by the people of the country. PARDEE BUTLER.



I AM deeply anxious upon this question and the more so as there appears a disposition in high quarters to supplement the Militia Ballot by compelling everyone drawn to serve, admitting not of escape by fine or substitute. If Christians are not excluded by the law of Christ from such service they ought to take their share of toil and danger in protecting the country, and if they are so prohibited then on no account should they consent to do so. I am not wholly satisfied with the arguments presented by the ultra-peace advocates, and I have sought the strongest statements on the other side. That which is most conclusive I find in an essay published, some time ago, by a Birmingham gentleman. I beg to submit from his pages the following arguments :


"Our Saviour has given us a perfect and comprehensive summary in few words of all Christian morality. It is this, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.' This summary is said to contain all the law; therefore it includes the entire moral code of the New Testament. All other principles and laws are in perfect harmony with it, and are intended to be only so many developments and illustrations of it. Every principle of morality taught in the

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »