« EelmineJätka »
It is thus in the connections of Scripture that the harmony of divine truth is alone perceived." For no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation" (or of self-solution). “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
Therefore is it necessary, with reverence and meekness to wait on the mind of the Spirit; desiring simply to be led by Him who inspired the prophecies, into the knowledge of their scope and meaning. The Lord, in his grace, enable all his children, in the study of his will, more practically to acknowledge the office of the Spirit, as “a guide into all truth !"
We have said, that it is not by the preaching of the gospel, or by the gradual extension of Christianity, until it becomes universal, that this period of earthly and heavenly blessedness is to be brought in. But it is by far different means; as the change to be effected comprehends the deliverance of the creation from its groaning, and the bodies as well as the spirits of the saints, from the power of Satan and the grave. This period is spoken of, as “ the times of the restitution of all things" (and not as some would fain have it, “ the fulfilment of all things”). And it is declared that all the prophets from Samuel, and those that follow after," as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of those days.” They have been the theme of every prophet that has spoken, in a greater or less degree; and they are the times to which all creation is looking forward : “ For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only so, but ourselves also who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” And “the earnest expectation of the creation (also) waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” This “ demption of the body," this “ manifestation of the sons of God,” will take place when Jesus comes in the clouds of heaven. For when he who is our life shall appear [shall be manifested) we also shall appear with him in glory.” The testimony of the Spirit concerning those who believe in Christ, is presented in these blessed words, “ Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be. But we know that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” In the 11th of Isaiah, which describes this blissful period, we have a link of connection, which tells us that the revelation of the man of sin, and his destruction by the coming of the Lord (as presented, 2 Thess. ii.) is coincident, in point of time, with the fulfilment of the prophecy of that chapter. It is said in Isaiah, “ He shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath (or spirit) of his lips shall he slay the wicked one;" and in 2 Thessalonians, " Then shall that wicked one [both are singular) be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.” By this we know that Christ will come, and that he will destroy him whose coming is after the working of Satan, before " the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;" and before the accomplishment of the prediction in the 9th verse, “ They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea."
Another passage which proves there is no millennium until after Christ comes, is the second chapter of the prophecies of Daniel, where we have Nebuchadnezzar's colossal image, symbolical of the four great monarchies, which have risen in succession, and which continue, as to territory, until the present day. We have also the destruction of this image by the falling of the stone cut out of the mountain without hands ; after which the stone becomes a great mountain, and fills the whole earth.
“ The stone undoubtedly is the Lord Jesus Christ, as appears by a reference to Matthew xxi. 44 ; where the Saviour (evidently in allusion to this falling of the stone) says, “ Whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.”. Mark the distinction here between persons falling on the stone, and the stone falling on them ; it is first lying on the ground, and, while remaining in that state, was the cause of stumbling to many; by this we understand the humiliation of Jesus, which we know was a stone of stumbling to the Jews, who were broken in consequence-not destroyed. But observe, this stone is afterwards elevated, as is clearly implied in the phrase, whomsoever it shall fall." Now the elevation of the stone is the exaltation of Jesus, and the falling of the stone can be none other than the second coming of
Jesus in utterly destroying judgment on his enemies; and it is after the stone falls, that it becomes a great mountain and fills the whole earth, or the kingdom of the God of heaven is set up, which breaks in pieces and consumes all these kingdoms, and shall stand for ever. See also Daniel vii. 13, 14, where the prophet has a vision of the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven, which if you compare with Matt. xxiv. 30, you will find to be the second coming; and what is the object of his coming ? Not merely to pass sentence on the human race; but to receive
dominion, and glory, und a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed; and this kingdom is only nigh at hand when the signs indicative of the Saviour's coming are observable (see Luke xxi. 31)."*
As a proof of the practical power of the pre-millennial advent, as well as a testimony to its truth, we refer to the parable of the wise and the foolish virgins, in Matt. xxv. As the evil servant, in the close of chap. xxiv., began to smite his fellowservants (to assume undue authority) and to eat and drink with the drunken (to be immersed in pleasure, and sensual enjoyment), the natural consequence of his saying in his heart,“ My Lord delayeth his coming ;" so in chap. xxv. we are told that the testimony that awakes, and arouses to an attitude of watchfulness and waiting, the whole slumbering Church, is the cry at midnight, “Behold the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him.” At first all the virgins took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom; but “while the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept;" and it was not the sudden coming of the bridegroom that awoke them; then they would all have been found asleep, and“ ashamed before him at his coming." But it was the cry at midnight that awoke both the wise and the foolish virgins, for they were equally asleep. And they all arose and trimmed their lamps ; and that which proved the ground of separation, eternal separation ! was the possession of oil in their vessels by the wise; and the destitution of this by the foolish. Those alone who had the Spirit of God in their souls, could maintain their position of waiting and watching in the darksomeness of night, during the interval that elapsed between the cry that aroused the Church, and the actual coming of the bridegroomthat which is of God, would alone endure. They who were roused by the cry, but had nothing besides profession, or the energies of nature, to rest on, could not maintain their position. Their lamps were gone out, and they could not remain out in the dark night waiting for the bridegroom. And while they were busy repairing their resources, the bridegroom came, and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut !
The Lord grant that this cry at midnight, which has begun to be heard in feebleness, may increase until the whole Church be roused to the position of
men who wait for their Lord.” The promise of Jesus is, “ Behold I come quickly;" may our hearts, gracious Saviour, respond to thy declaration, “Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly!” “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."
REMARKS ON CAMPBELLISM.
CAMPBELLISM is a heresy which has been lately introduced from America. William Jones, the author of " The History of the Waldenses,” an ardent admirer of Mr. Campbell's writings, published, in 1835—1836, a small monthly periodical, entitled “The Millennial Harbinger and Voluntary Church Advocate," of which the principal object was to make the British public acquainted with Mr. Campbell's writings, and to propagate his principles. At that time, however, Mr. Jones was but imperfectly acquainted with Mr. Campbell's real views : he took his estimate of them by some volumes which that notorious writer had published a few years before, not having the means of ascertaining, or more probably not having at that time been informed of the many changes of opinion and variations of doctrine in which Mr. Campbell had
“ The Second Appearing and Personal Reign of the Lord Jesus Christ.” London : Central Tract Depot. 1839.
* Tract on
indulged himself, and which have brought him at last to deny and revile all the fundamentals of the Christian religion.
When, however, the “ Millennial Harbinger" had been extended to two volumes, Mr. Jones perceived his error, and suddenly brought his periodical to a close, following it up immediately by a volume of sermons, of which one chief object certainly was to unveil Mr. Campbell's real merits as a religious instructor. A somewhat umiliating task this, to be obliged to warn the public against that teacher whose surpassing merits had, for the course of two years, by the very person who at last gave the warning, been made the subject of periodical eulogy!
It is, however, from the appendix to Mr. Jones's volume of sermons,* published in 1837, and from the pages of the Millennial Harbinger that we chiefly derive the following information. Alexander Campbell, of Bethany, Brooke County, in the State of Virginia, has been for many years celebrated in the United States as a Reformer, or, as his opponents declare, an Innovator in the religious world. He seems first to have entered the lists with the Presbyterians on the subject of baptism, with whom he held public disputes of many days continuance, and whom he is said to have reduced to silence by his superior abilities and eloquence. He took the side of adult baptism. Afterwards in April, 1829, in the city of Cincinnati, State of Ohio, he challenged Mr. Robert Dale Owen, of Lanark, to a public debate on the subject of Socialism-a debate which lasted eight days, and attracted a crowded auditory. The celebrated Mrs. Trollope was present at this logical tournament, and has given a lively description of it in her book on America.
In the year 1823, Mr. Campbell commenced a periodical, entitled “ The Christian Baptist,” which having run a successful career of seven years, comprising a volume & year, came to its termination in the year 1829. This work, after going through three editions, in its original form of seven volumes, was once more issued from the press in a greatly improved form; the entire seven volumes, with the omission of a few trifling and unimportant articles, being cast into one large volume, of the size of royal octavo, and stereotyped.
In the year 1830, Mr. Campbell commenced a new periodical, of a more elaborate cast, under the title of “ Millennial Harbinger," printed in octavo, of which eight or nine volumes are now published ; and it was from the “Christian Baptist” and the " Millennial Harbinger," that Mr. Jones chiefly made his extracts for the London Millennial Harbinger. The most attractive points of Mr. Campbell's doctrine were, to Mr. Jones, his views of faith, entirely Sandemanian, and his vehement opposition to a paid and educated ministry; on these subjects, Mr. Jones published many very striking and able extracts, without, however, sufficiently inquiring whether his favourite teacher was sound on other points of the Christian religion. By the doctrine of faith, asserted to be nothing more that “the belief of the fact that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he died and rose again for sinners ;” and by his powerful attacks on the system of a paid or mechanical ministry, Mr. Campbell has at least disturbed the repose of many, very many churches in America: some of which have been entirely broken up by secessions en masse to his standard, to the no small consternation of the regular ministry. The feelings of those reverend gentlemen may be pretty well understood by the description of “ Campbellism" given in the pages of Messrs. Reed and Matheson's visit to the United States, who took their impressions of the new sect from the representations of the Ministers, the Doctors of Divinity, Doctors of Laws, and Professors of Colleges, under whose roofs the English deputation inspected and reported the state of religion in America.
Mr. Campbell states, in the year 1834, that in his sect, which he calls “the Reformation, there were one hundred and fifty thousand brethren, and about eight hundred organised churches. About two hundred congregations in Kentucky and Ohio had united themselves with “the disciples"—i. e. Mr. Campbell's sect. At that time, also, he had five periodicals, “The Millennial Harbinger,” edited by himself; “The Evangelist," at Carthage, Ohio, by Walter Scott; “ The Christian Messenger,” by Barton W. Stone, Kentucky; "The Apostolic Advocate," by Dr. John
Primitive Christianity, illustrated in thirty Sermons on various doctrines, ordinances, and duties, taught and enjoined by our Lord Jesus Christ and His Apostles, by Wm. Jones, Elder of a Christian Church. London: Wightman, 1837.
Thomas, (of London); and “The Gospel Advocate," by John T. Johnson, George Town. But it is probable that the power of the sect has gone on increasing since that time. About two years ago it first began to be seen and felt in England.
The founder of Campbellism has, however, his “ Millennial Harbinger," made daring advances into the region of heresy, accumulating many errors in his progress, which he defends with his usual abilities, audacity, and wit. Mr. Jones reckons his chief errors to be these : “1, A bold denial of the corruption of human nature, and the innate natural depravity of mankind. 2, A denial of the necessity of divine influence to give the gospel its saving effect in regeneration and sanctification. 3, Maintaining in the grossest form the doctrine of baptismal regeneration, and the actual washing away of sin by immersion."
On the doctrine of the fall of man, we are taught in the “Millennial Harbinger," that total depravily was christened by Augustin, baptized by Calvin, and immersed by Doctors Gill and Fuller—that it is the honey of a poisoned cup, the sting of a serpent's embrace."
In the “ Evangelist"* the subject is thus elucidated in a dialogue :
“ JONATHAN. --Sir, it would gratify your humble servant not a little, to know what are your views of human depravity, and the relation of that doctrine to the gospel
, reached for the remission of sins. “ EDITOR.My dear Jonathan, I am happy it is permitted, nay, even enjoined us by our holy religion, to study to please, and to edify each other in the great matters of faith and hope. The doctrine about which you enquire, however, comes not within the purvieu (?) of either faith or hope, and cannot, therefore, form a legitimate topic of christian conversation. In fact, it has no foundation either in nature or religion, so far as I am judge: for neither the phrase, nor even the words which form the phrase, are once found in the Holy Scriptures; and, in short, I know nothing about it.
“ JONATHAN.—Brother Scott, you surprise me; are you a preacher of the gospel, and know nothing of human depravity ? and is it possible, that neither the phrase, nor the words that compose the phrase, are found in the whole field of the divine vocabulary. I must have mistaken the phrase: I have mistaken it. I meant total depravity ; yes, it was total depravity I meant.
" EDITOR. --My dear Jonathan, pardon me; but I know nothing about depravily, human or total : the word total is as perfectly an exotic in the field of Christian theology as the word human, or even depruvity itself. None of them all is a Bible word; and therefore their use is very questionable; at all events, I know nothing about the doctrine, and it is most certain I care nothing about it.”
In the year 1835, Mr. Campbell gave to the world a volume, entitled, “ Christianity restored,” professedly comprising the marrow of all his theological writings; it is his chef d'æuvre, according to his own opinion; its object being, as he tells us in
“ to restore the original Gospel and order of things." In page 280, of that work, we have the following passage.
August 1st. I have just now opened the Cincinnati Baptist Journal, of 26th July, from which I read an approved definition of regeneration. It is an orthodox
, spiritual, physical, mystical, and metaphysical regeneration. It is thus defined:
Is the sinner active in regeneration ? Certainly he is. His mind is a thinking, rational principle, which never ceases to act; and therefore, when the word pussire is applied to it by the old Divines, or by Calvinists, they do not mean that it is literally dead, like inert matter, which requires a physical impulse to put it in motion. They only mean to convey the Scriptural idea, that the Holy Spirit is the sole agent in regeneration, and that the sinner has no more efficient agency in accomplishing it, than Lazarus had in becoming alive from the dead. Still they grant that his mind is most active, but unhappily its activity is all against the divine influence: as
the title page,
* The “ Evangelist" is edited by Walter Scott. “ Brother Jones," says Mr. Campbell in a letter, “ tell Scotland that her son, Walter Scott, of Edinburyh, has been my associate for more than twelve years, and now edits' The Evangelist,' in Carthage, Ohio. He came 10 America a Presbyterian, was immersed by one of the Haldanean school, and was the first of our evangelists to republish viva-voce, with effect, the Jerusalem Gospel in the forests of Ohio, reclaimed from the Indians."
the Scriptures assure us, unregenerate persons do always resist the strivings of the Spirit. Every imagination of the thoughts of man's heart is only evil continually. There is none that doeth good, no not one. The sinner, therefore, instead of voluntarily co-operating with the Holy Spirit, does all he can to resist his divine influence, and prevent his own regeneration, until he is made willing by Almighty power.' On this definition, Mr. Campbell exclaims,“ What a comfortable thing is this theory of regeneration! The sinner is to be regenerated, when actively striving against the divine influence. At the moment of regeneration, he has' in one sense efficient agency in accomplishing it, than Lazarus had in becoming alive from the dead,' and in another sense, he is not passive, does all he can to resist the divine influence, and prevent his own regeneration, until he is made willing by Almighty power.' This is standard divinity; and he that preaches this divinity, is a pious, regenerated, regular orthodox Baptist Christian minister! Of how much value, on this theory, is all the preaching in Christendom? The Holy Spirit may be busily at work upon some drunken sot, or some vile debauchee, who is as dead as Lazarus on one side, and on the other resisting the Spirit with all his moral and physical energy, up to the moment that the Almighty arm pierces him to the heart with a sword, and makes him alive by killing him! The absurdity and licentiousness of such a view of the great work of renovation, we had thought so glaring, that no Editor in the West would have boldness to publish it. This is a proof of the necessity of our present Essay, and will explain to the intelligent reader, why we have given to the whole process of renovation, the name of regeneration, which properly belongs to the last act,” p. 280.
The author of sentiments so profane, and of jests so scandalous, may be struck out of the list of Christian writers without hesitation. It is not that he displays ignorance of the fundamental doctrines of Christianity, but, being well acquainted with them, he openly ridicules them from the seat of the scorner ; he systematically opposes the doctrines of grace, and when they are brought within the field of his vision, he would hoot them off the stage with scorn and derision, as unworthy to occupy a place within the reach of his philosophical renovation? How easy it would be even for a moderate intellect thus to turn the most blessed truths of our salvation into a jest! How easy to take hold of the figurative language of Scripture, and to pervert it to the worst purposes ! But we believe the word of God, and not Mr. Campbell, and in that word we find, that men before grace received, are 6 dead in trespasses and in sins," and yet of these dead persons, we read that during their death “they walked according to the course of this world, and fulfilled the desires of the flesh and mind.” Here is an absurdity according to Mr. Campbell ; nevertheless “ dead in trespasses and sins,” “the children of wrath even as others,” is the description which God gives of our state by nature; and if there be in us any actings of the new creation, of that regeneration which is by the Holy Ghost, we shrink not to say, that by them“ we know we have passed from death unto life” (1 John iii. 14). Yes; we who are alive now in Christ, were once dead in the flesh, dead unto the divine life, dead unto all righteousness, buried deep in the sepulchre of our innate corruptions. But this death was not merely the death of stones, for the Almighty could more easily out of stones have raised up sons to Abraham, than out of our rebellious, resisting, revolting nature. No, we walked up and down in our sepulchre, and as beasts of the wilderness do rage against the bars of their cage, so were we mad against the barriers that kept us down amongst the dead. There was an energy in our death, more terrible than that slumber which no man can awake: for we were enemies against the most high God by wicked works; we submitted not to his government; we withdrew the neck from his yoke ; his promises we scorned ; his word we slighted; we were full of curiosity and arrogance in our estimate both of God and of ourselves; we indulged in rash, unprofitable inquiries, foolish and unlearned questions, profane babblings, strife of words, perverse disputes; we were full of pride and contradiction against the truth, and of “ oppositions of science," —that is, setting up of philosophy and vain deceits, imaginations, contumacious thoughts, fleshly reasonings against the spirit of truth which is in Jesus. We were full of domestic and traditional principles, human inventions, contrivances, and suggestions, to serve God in our own way, and so to come forth into a heaven of our own imagination. We either denied that God would judge sin, or we asserted that we could ourselves get rid of it. We stopped our ears to the righteousness which