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assertions without proof, speculation upon things not revealed, nor intrusions into those things by which the mind of man is vainly puffed up with its own conceitsespecially as it is testified by the unerring Spirit, that "secret things belong to the Lord our God; but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may know and do all the words of his law."

We are receiving communications from the United States almost every week—and our intention is still to select freely from the instructive and luminous writings of A. Campbell and his able coadjutors, who are strenuously pleading for a return to the principles of righteousness and peace.

A few words seem to be necessary in reference to the locality from which the Messenger is issued. Some of our neighbours, and not a few of them, seem to think that Rome, the supposed seat of St. Peter, and his numerous but pretended successors, is the source from whence all religious instruction ought to emanate. Others, again say, that London, being the Metropolis of the world, ought to be the radiating centre of light and love, from whence the truth should flow as a river, if not to the whole world, at least to the British empire-so that this hitherto Great Babylon, the "focus of all iniquity," where scarce any reformation either political or ecclesiastical was ever known to commence, ought now to be the Jerusalem of the world!! Would to God it were so !-and if it be the Lord's will, may that day soon arrive. Another correspondent writes, "It is from the east we must look for the truth. It always flows to the west, and not from it." Now, we ask, is not the root and core of these sentiments found in the old adage, “Can any good come out of Nazareth?" It appears to be a principle of the exalted Governor of the universe, as far, at least, as the history of the world and of the church is handed down to us, that the reformers of abuses have generally been selected from the obscure village, the sheep-fold, the plowtail, the wilderness, the cell of the monk, the humble mechanics, &c. &c. This plan has been adopted, no doubt, that no man should glory in men, but in Him alone who rules over the armies of heaven and among the inhabitants of this world. Let our faith, then, be based upon the power and majesty of his truth, and neither upon Rome, nor London, nor A. Campbell, nor east, nor west, nor any other person or locality in the universe, but upon God and his Divine Oracles alone.

Wherever a church of Jesus Christ is found, that ought to be the radiating centre of light and truth to the surrounding darkness.

J. W.

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From the Millennial Harbinger for September, 1816.


REQUESTS have occasionally, during several years, been made for the publication, in this work, of a discourse on the Law, pronounced by me at a meeting of the Regular Baptist Association, on Cross Creek, Virginia, 1816. Recently these requests have been renewed with more earnestness; and although much crowded for room, I have concluded to comply with the wishes of my friends. It was rather a youthful performance, and is in one particular, to my mind, long since exceptionable. Its views of the atonement are rather commercial than evangelical. But this was only casually introduced, and does not affect the object of the discourse on the merits of the great question discussed in it. I thought it better to let it go to the public again without the change of a sentiment in it. Although precisely thirty years this month since I delivered it, and some two or three years after my union with the Baptist denomination, the intelligent reader will discover in it the elements of things which have characterized all our writings on the subject of modern Christianity from that day to the present.

But as this discourse was, because of its alleged heterodoxy by the Regular Baptist Association, made the ground of my impeachment and trial for heresy at its next annual meeting, it is, as an item of ecclesiastical history, interesting. It was by a great effort on my. part, that this self-same sermon on the Law had not proved my public excommunication from the denomination under the foul brand of

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"damnable heresy." But by a great stretch of charity on the part of two or three old men, I was saved by a decided majority.

This unfortunate sermon afterwards involved me in a seven years' war with some members of the said Association, and became a matter of much debate. I found at last, however, that there was a principle at work in the plotters of the said crusade, which Stephen assigns as the cause of the misfortunes of Joseph.

It is, therefore, highly probable to my mind, that but for the persecution begun on the alleged heresy of this sermon, whether the present reformation had ever been advocated by me. I have a curious history of many links in this chain of providential events, yet unwritten and unknown to almost any one living,-certainly but to a very few persons, which, as the waves of time roll on, may yet be interesting to many. It may be gratifying to some, however, at present to be informed, that but one of the prime movers of this presumptive movement yet lives; and, alas! he has long since survived his usefulness. Ι may farther say at present, that I do not think there is a Baptist Association on the continent that would now treat me as did the Redstone Association of that day, which is some evidence to my mind that the Baptists are not so stationary as a few of them would have the world to believe.

But the discourse speaks for itself. It was, indeed, rather an extemporaneous address: for the same spirit that assaulted the discourse when pronounced, and when printed, reversed the resolution of the Association passed on Saturday evening, inviting me to address the audience on Lord's day, and had another person appointed in my place. He providentially was suddenly seized by sickness, and I was unexpectedly called upon in the morning, two hours before the discourse was spoken. A motion was made in the interval, that same day, by the same spirit of jealousy or zealousy, that public opinion should be arrested by having a preacher appointed to inform the congregation on the spot that my "discourse was not Baptist doctrine." One preacher replied, that it might be "Christian doctrine;" for his part, it was new to him, and desired time for examination. I was, therefore, obliged to gather it up from a few notes, and commit it to writing. It was instantly called for to be printed, and after one year's deliberation, at the next Association, a party was formed to indict me for heresy on the published discourse. A committee met; resolutions were passed on Friday night. The next day was fixed for my trial; and after asking counsel of Heaven, my sermon was called for, and the suit commenced. I was taken almost by surprise. On my offering immediately to go into an investigation of the matter, it was partially discussed; but on the ground of having no jurisdiction in the case, the Association resolved to dismiss the sermon, without any fuller mark of

reprobation, and leave every one to form his own opinion of it. I presume our readers, without any license from an Association, will form their own opinion of it; and, therefore, we submit it to their candid perusal. A. C.

THE SUBSTANCE OF A SERMON, Delivered before the Redstone Baptist Association, met on Cross Creek, Brooke County, Va., on the 1st of September, 1816. By Alexander Campbell, one of the Pastors of the Church of Brush Run, Washington County, Pa.

"The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."

John i. 17.

"The law and the prophets were until John, since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it."-Luke xvi. 16.


To those who have requested the publication of the following discourse, an apology is necessary. Though the substance of the discourse, as delivered, is contained in the following pages, yet, it is not verbatim the same. Indeed, this could not be the case, as the preacher makes but a very sparing use of notes, and on this occasion, had but a few. In speaking extempore, or in a great measure so, and to a people who may have but one hearing of a discussion such as the following, many expressions that would be superfluous, in a written discourse, are in a certain sense necessary. When words are merely pronounced, repetitions are often needful to impress the subject upon the mind of the most attentive hearer: but when written, the reader may pause, read again, and thus arrive at the meaning. Some additions, illustrative of the ideas that were presented in speaking, have been made; but as few as could be supposed necessary. Indeed, the chief difficulty in enforcing the doctrine contained in the following pages, either in one spoken or written sermon, consists in the most judicious selection of the copious facts and documents contained in the Divine Word on this subject.

We have to regret that so much appears necessary to be said, in an argumentative way, to the professed Christians of this age, on such a topic. But this is easily accounted for on certain principles. For, in truth, the present popular exhibition of Christianity, is a compound of Judaism, Heathen Philosophy, and Christianity; which, like the materials in Nebuchadnezzar's image, does not well cement together.

The only correct and safe course, in this perilous age, is, to take nothing upon trust, but to examine for ourselves, and "to bring all things to the test." "But if any man will be ignorant, let him be ignorant."

As to the style adopted in this discourse, it is such as we supposed would be adapted to the capacity of those who are chiefly benefitted by such discussions. "For their sakes we endeavour to use great plainness of speech." As the doctrines of the Gospel are commonly hid from the wise and prudent, and revealed only to babes, the weak

and foolish; for their sakes, the vail, of what is falsely called eloquence,should be laid aside, and the testimony of God plainly presented to


The great question with every man's conscience, is, or should be, "What is truth ?" Not, Have any of the scribes or rulers of the people believed it? Every man's eternal all, as well as his present comfort, depends upon what answer he is able to give to the question Pilate of old [John xviii. 38.] proposed to Christ without waiting for a reply. Such a question can only be satisfactorily answered by an impartial appeal to the oracles of truth-the alone standard of divine truth. To these we appeal. Whatever in this discourse is contrary to them, let it be expunged; what corresponds with them, may the God of truth bless, to those to whom he has given an ear to discern, and a heart to receive it!


"For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh."

WORDS are signs of ideas or thoughts. Unless words are understood, ideas or sentiments can neither be communicated nor received. Words, that in themselves are quite intelligible, may become difficult to understand in different connexions and circumstances. One of the most important words in our text is of easy signification, and yet, in consequence of its diverse usages and epithets, it is sometimes difficult precisely to ascertain what ideas should be attached to it. It is the term law. But by a close investigation of the context, and a general knowledge of the Scriptures, every difficulty of this kind may be easily surmounted.

In order to elucidate and enforce the doctrine contained in this verse, we shall scrupulously observe the following.


I. We shall endeavour to ascertain what ideas we are to attach to the phrase "the law," in this, and similar portions of the sacred Scriptures.

II. Point out those things which the law could not accomplish. III. Demonstrate the reason why the law failed to accomplish those objects.

IV. Illustrate how God has remedied those relative defects of the law.

V. In the last place, deduce such conclusions from these premises, as must obviously and necessarily present themselves to every unbiassed and reflecting mind.

In discussing the doctrine contained in our text, we are then, in the first place, to endeavour to ascertain what ideas we are to attach to the terms "the law," in this, and similar portions of the sacred scriptures.

The term "law," denotes in common usage, a rule of action."

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