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Experimental divinity' has been your theme, of which divinity neither baptism nor election are, in your judgment, constituents. The Apostles, then, were accustomed to say much and to write much concerning a divinity which was neither practical nor experimental. Baptism is, however, in every sermon, and election in every epistle.
“ Without preaching water, none of the first preachers could preach Jesus : for not to mention the discourses in which it is named, I shall only remind you of the hint of Luke in his account of the preaching of Philip. He tells us in the 8th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, that Philip preached Jesus to the Eunuch. He tells us not a word of the sermon. beginning at a certain passage in Isaiah, “ he proclaimed to him Jesus. The Eunuch first mentioned water, according to the details of this incident. Now the question is, why should the Eunuch have said, . Here is water,' if Philip, in preaching Jesus, had not named immersion? The inference is inevitable (if we had neither command nor precedent, of which, however, there is no lack), that in preaching Jesus, they always preached water. The reason is, a gospel without remission of sins is a misnomer ; and no person, in those undegenerate days, could preach remission without naming water. I agree with you that scholastic, speculative, and polemic theology, are unworthy of the preaching of a reformer of men. I am for principles of action. Therefore I proclaim faith, reformation, immersion, adoption, and eternal life.
I now proceed to the argumentative part of your letter. And here, brother Semple, I could have wished that you had been still more logical and argumentative. I am pleased to see that you go so far back as the year 1816, and commence with my most juvenile Essay in a Sermon on the Law. The sentiment which in this sermon you have the goodness to assail, is, that there is an essential difference between the Old Testament and the New ; that we are not under the same obligation to obey Moses as Jesus and his Apostles. These are the principles you assail. I affirm and you deny. But you are pleased not to assail my arguments in proof of the affirmative, but to convert your negation into an affirmative position, and then to prove your own proposition. This is magnanimous and creditable to you as a candid man. You enter your protest against my affirming that there is an essential difference between the Old Testament and the New, and proceed to affirm that 'the Old Testament and the New are the same as to obligation. In support of this position, in which you put upon yourself the onus probandi, or the burden of proof, by affirming instead of attempting to refute my arguments in the said sermon, you
proceed to reason, but, to my utter astonishment, you call upon no witness, and offer not one argument. You call not upon any prophet or apostle for a single saying, and neither quote Moses nor the Messiah in support of your affirmation. I am sorry, brother Semple, to see you take this course, because of the weight of your example ; it looks so like (though I am far from imputing to you such a thought) placing your name against mine—an example which your experience cannot approve. You know the weight of your name and years is against me; but how often have both name and years been paraded against the truth! These ex cathedra arguments, these argumenta ad modestiam, as logicians call them, are, you must confess, papistical. To make an appeal to my modesty, or an argument from authority, the proof of an affirmative proposition, is not in unison with the spirit of this age. To support any position as we support a favourite candidate at the polls, by giving our vote, is not the present order of the day : for in these Republics one vote counts as much as another, notwithstanding the disparity in the standing of the voters.
“ In support of your solemn protest' and affirmative position, you offer a few other solemn protests and affirmative propositions. But these all need proof. I will notice them in due
-You assert that 'the Old and New Testaments stand in the same relation to each other and to us, as different parts of the New Testament do to each other.' Why not have added, ' and to us ?' This faltering in the conclusion argues distrust in the premises. But this is not that at which I most demur. I must do more than offer my solemn protest against what follows :* Some parts of the Old Testament have been declared in the New Testament as abrogated.' This is also true of the New Testament,' &c. Is it possible, brother Semple, that you teach that some parts of the New Testament are abrogated!! What are your specifications? Here they come ; but all are condensed into a unit :- A Christian feels no more obligation to sell his property and live in common stock with others, than he does to go through the ceremonies of the Levitical law. He feels no compunction of conscience in not obeying either, because he considers both as inapplicable to his day.' This is your proof. Now, my good sir, before you talk of obeying you ought to state the command : for, where there is no command there can be no obedience; and before you talk of abrogating any law in the New Testament, you ought to show that it was once a law of the New Testament, like the Levitical law, for obliging Christians to live in common stock. I need not inform you that the word “abrogation' applies only to law, and the words obedience' to a command : and if there be neither command nor law on this
subject, there can be no abrogation. But is this true of the Levitical ceremonies? Had they no law nor command? Does the common stock' of which you speak, and the Levitical economy, stand upon the same footing? If not, there is no more analogy between these matters than between Noah's leaving the ark upon Mount Ararat, and Paul's leaving his cloak at Troas.
“ The difference between a common stock' church, and a common participation of goods as every one had need, is im
The idea of a common stock for creating either wealth or the means of subsistence, is an idea essentially different from that of a common distribution of joint or particular donations, according to the wants of the brotherhood. Now, to suppose that an example of this sort, in the case of the Jerusalem congregation, is done away, is not only inexplicable upon the received meaning of examples, (for examples can never be abrogated,) but it is teaching, however unintentionally on your part, that the example of liberality afforded by these disciples is an unsafe one, and that it is as unworthy of imitation in any circumstance, and as inobligatory as the Levitical law, priesthood, or services. But, to return.
In your zeal, brother Semple, to place Moses in the same chair with Christ and his Apostles, and to bring us “under the law,' instead of placing us under Christ, do you not seem to yourself to render the New Testament as useless to Christians as the Catholics have rendered both the Old and the New ? Do you not fear to teach that some parts of the law of Christ, as well as some parts of the law of Moses, are abolished ? Does the Old Testament stand in the same relation to the New and to us, as the first Epistle of Peter does the second and If I misunderstand you, it will give me pleasure to be corrected by you ; but, as your words obviously to me import, you teach that we are under the same obligation to Moses, Samuel, and Nehemiah, as we are to Paul, Peter, and John.
“ Now that you may understand me, I teach that the writings of Moses and the Prophets contain not only much useful history and prophecy, but also many communications from God to men of immense importance to us Christians ; and, as my debate with Mr. Owen proves, no man values them more than I. But to teach that we must feel ourselves equally under obligation to obey Moses, a servant in another person's family, as we do to obey Christ, a Son over his own family, which family is the whole Christian assembly, I cannot. And believe me, that I know of few Episcopalians or Presbyterians who have gone so far to Judaize as you have done in this letter. The very question which the Apostles and Elders and the brethren of the
Jews by the Holy Spirit decided in Jerusalem, you seem to have again revived.
“ You will have us Gentile Christians to be as much obliged to obey Moses as Christ--as much under the law as under favour-as much under all the Prophets as under the Great Prophet, of whom Moses in the law and all the Prophets did write. Although Jesus said, “ The law and the Prophets were instructors till John ; but since that time the kingdom of God is announced, and all men press into it :' although both Moses the law-giver, and Elias the law reformer came down from heaven and laid their commission at the feet of Jesus, and the Father then spoke from the magnificent glory, commanding men to obey his Son; although the Apostles reasoned and remonstrated against the Judaizers, telling the people to keep the law as obligatory upon them as the Gospel of Jesus ; and compared the law to Hagar, and them under its obligation to Ishmael; although the Holy Spirit says we are delivered from the law, and that we are under the New Testament, and not under the Old, which now has become, as a rule of life, obsolete and is done away; yet you solemnly protest against the declaration that there is an essential difference between the Old Testament and the New as respects obligations on Christians; and will attempt to prove that we are under the same obligation to obey Moses in every thing not formally excepted in the New, because Moses commanded it. If this be not to dash upon a real rock, while avoiding an imaginary shoal, you will have the goodness to instance it in any thing else?
“ After failing to sustain your own position which you had affirmed, you make an affirmative for me, and throw the onus probandi upon me. I do not, however, exactly approve of the proposition you have made for me, and will merely say in reply, that Jesus, and all the Apostles who have alluded to this subject, plainly and unequivocally teach that the law of Moses is not the rule of life for Christians, in whole nor in part ; but that Jesus is our Lord, Law-giver, Prophet, Priest, and King; and that if we renounce him as a Prophet, we may as well take Aaron for our Priest, Moses for our Law-giver, and David for our King.
« This subject, you are pleased to say, is of vital importance. I am glad you form so high an opinion of it, and hope you will attend to what I offer upon it. As my sheet is full, and I have to despatch per mail, you will please excuse me for postponing the remainder of my answer till the next. « In all the charities, yours,
“ A. CAMPBELL."
THE FOUNDATION OF HOPE AND OF CHRIS
TIAN UNION. [From the Christian Baptist, Vol. I.] Messiah is born in the city of David, in the awful crisis alluded to in the first essay in this number. Science had proved itself systematic folly; philosophy, falsely called moral, had exhibited its utter incompetency to illuminate the understanding, to purify the heart, to control the passions, to curb the appetites, or restrain the vices of the world. A scepticism that left nothing certain—a voluptuousness that knew no restraint- ;-a lasciviousness that recognized no law-a selfishness that proscribed every relation an idolatry that deified every reptile—and a barbarity that brutalized every feeling, had very generally overwhelmed the world, and had grouped those assimilated in vice, under every particular name, characteristic of every species of crime. Amidst the uncertainty, darkness, and vice that overspread the earth, the Messiah appears and lays a foundation of hope, of true religion, and of religious union - unknown
unheard of — unexpected among men.
The Jews were united by consanguinity, and by an agreement in a ponderous ritual.
ponderous ritual. The Gentiles rallied under every opinion, and were grouped, like filings of steel around a magnet, under every possible shade of difference of thought, concerning their mythology. So long as unity of opinion was regarded as a proper basis of religious union, so long have mankind been distracted by the multiplicity and variety of opinions. To establish what is called a system of orthodox opinions as the bond of union, was, in fact, offering a premium for new diversities in opinion, and for increasing, ad infinitum, opinions, sects, and divisions. And what is worse than all, it was establishing self-love and pride as religious principles, as fundamental to salvation; for a love regulated by similarity of opinion, is ly a love to one's own opinion ; and all the zeal exhibited in the defence of it is but the pride of opinion.
When the Messiah appeared as the founder of a new religion, systems of religion consisting of opinions and