Imágenes de páginas

might be set on foot. When brother Campbell was here last winter, I told him of you, and we had a good deal of conversation about you and others.

"When I landed here in 1828 I was a Baptist, pretty well tired of the English Baptists' Church order; and after remaining in the second Baptist Church of this city long enough to see there were no hopes of a reformation, I came out from them and joined a body of about twenty-five, who broke bread every first day of the week. The privilege of exhortation in the Church soon caused me to improve my gift, so as to be able to address the world by the preaching of the Gospel; and as far as my circumstances have admitted, I have continued to labour in and out of the Church ever since. I go monthly to Harford county, eighteen miles from Baltimore, where I meet with a Church of about sixty members, whom I have succeeded in bringing into scriptural Church order this last summer. I have been there five times this year, and have immersed nine who have been added to the body. I go also about eighty miles in the westerly parts of Maryland. Since last January I have been up five times, and immersed fourteen; besides many whom I, or some of the rest of the brethren, have immersed in Baltimore. We now number in Baltimore 150, and have this year built a Meeting-house, which will hold 1000 people. We have built it ourselves; we neither asked other Churches nor the world for one cent. We have three Elders, three Deacons, and three Deaconesses. The truth is breaking forth in every quarter, and men are utterly astonished at the power of the Gospel. The proclaimers or preachers of it here make themselves well acquainted with the word, and are successful in making it tell on the understandings of their hearers. Ah! me, how glad should I be with my weak abili ties to announce the glad tidings in the land of my Fathers. The Reformers in England need to witness the exhibition of the truth, and see its practical effects; for the gospel is not only to be preached, but it is to be preached for Obedience to the faith.' It is one thing (as you well know) to preach the word, and quite another to talk about it. To prove from the Scriptures that the word is the instrument of conversion, does not make it the converting means to those even who are convinced it is the instrument. The word must be preached, or the doctrine of Christ and him crucified held forth; the atonement which he made must be insisted on, and remission of sins through his name declared, together with all the evidences by which these propositions are sustained, must be forcibly set before the people. And thus the Gospel becomes the power of God unto Salvation to every one that believes it.


"We have a good many young people among us, and we make it a point to excite in them a taste for committing the word of God to memory. Many of them are making rapid progress in this work, reciting (to some of the aged disciples) two or three chapters each first day. Thus we are endeavouring to train up warriors for another generation. There is no substitute for a knowledge of the word of God. This is peculiarly an age of enterprise; and if the Churches on each side of the Atlantic could only unite their efforts, and ultimately send men who should be, at the same time, messengers of the churches, and heralds of the cross, it would be attended with much good. The English brethren, I think, need stirring up to the allimportant work of converting the world. Efforts should be made, bold efforts, for the purpose of bringing to bear all the talents and means of the Church upon society. Our practice is to announce the gospel, and strip it of all the mystifications of the sects, and call upon all to obey. We give no credit to party names or professions, but address all men as unreconciled until they have obeyed. Many deem us exceedingly uncharitable; but the honest-hearted in any place obey the Lord from the heart. We contend, that charity to a man about to fall into a gulf of destruction, is candidly to point out to him the danger he is in; and the Lord has told us that he will punish the disobedient. There is no time for tampering with the souls of men,-'the Lord is at hand!'

"I must now think of concluding, and make an apology for troubling you, dear brother, and putting you to the expense of this letter. But I have a desire to receive a letter from your own hand, that I may carry it into the next generation. Will my brother favour this my weakness? I am a young man, twenty-eight years of age, and hope to see the cause far advanced before I die, if the Lord will. If you could send me a copy of your Lectures on Ecclesiastical History, I would be glad to forward you the money any way you would point out. Perhaps you might safely forward them to Mr. J. Pickering, editor of the Old Country Man," in New York. He is a friend of mine, and would forward them to me. And if you could send me a work on the Canon of Scripture, by Jones, or any of the approved writers, I should take it as a favour. Good books are scarce in this country. There is plenty of popular trash, but I have no taste for it. Please to write me as soon as you can. Our brother Campbell is doing a great deal of good in these states. His labour is immense. We are expecting him to visit our cities, on the Lea Board, this winter. He is a champion over the sceptics of this age. When he comes to the cities, the free-thinkers, of all classes, turn out

[ocr errors]

to hear him. We have five periodicals which plead the good cause: Millennial Harbinger,' at Bethany, by Brother Campbell; The Evangelist, at Carthage, Ohio, by Walter Scott (a Scotchman); The Christian Messenger,' by Barton W. Stone, Kentucky; The Apostolic Advocate,' by Dr. John Thomas (from London), in Richmond, Virginia (a son of Mr. Thomas, a Baptist, from London)—you must know him ; and one just starting in George Town, called The Gospel Advocate,' by John T. Johnson. Excuse this scroll, as I

cannot transcribe it.

[ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]


Not many days after the receipt of the preceding letter, I had the gratification of receiving the following interesting communication from the pen of Mr. Campbell himself :


May favour, mercy, and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God and Jesus Christ our Lord! I acknowledge, with many thanks, the reception of your very acceptable favour of the 3rd of September, on the 15th inst. I esteem it one of the most valuable communications I have received for a long time. 'As cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.' It affords me pleasure to correspond with the wise and good on the affairs of the common salvation, and especially with one in the land of my fathers, who is not only well instructed in the kingdom of heaven as it is developed in the authentic records of the Apostles, but as it has existed from the beginning, and exists in our own time, and amongst our own people. I therefore, gladly take my pen to reciprocate the favour which I have received from you, as far as my ability and circumstances will permit. To begin with your interrogatories in the order in which you have expounded them, you say,- Let me beg the favour of you to explain to me the following passage in your letter to Mr. Wyeth : "The ancient order of things, without the ancient gospel, will not succeed. What God has united ought not to be separated. The world would not be converted in 10,000 years by the system of operations got up by our good Father, M'Lean, and his coadjutors?" Now, sir, am I to understand you as intimating that the Scotch Baptist churches separate the ancient gospel from the ancient order? If so, in what respects does this appear? And again, in what do you consider the system of operations defective among us? We would most gladly be in,

formed, that we might alter it. Please be explicit on this head."

I regret exceedingly that the box of books, which I forwarded to New York for you early in the summer, has not reached you. I sent you a copy of almost every thing I had written. Had you received the seven vols. of the Christian Baptist' and the four vols. of the 'Millennial Harbinger' enclosed in that box, you would have had ample information of our views on this point. I trust you may have received them ere this reaches you; but lest you have not, I will as fully as I can, in the size of a common letter, offer a few suggestions on this subject. The religion of our exalted Redeemer is a perfect whole, and in all its parts, as the universe he has builded. In it there is nothing deficient-nothing superfluous. It is adapted to man as it finds him; and it must be presented to man as he is, and not as he is not. It comes to us in the form of a record, or testimony; which testimony, believed, brings it into the heart. The testimony treats of facts and their meaning. The order of things in the divine economy is, therefore, facts, testimony, faith, a change of views and feelings, called repentance, issuing in reformation, immersion, the enjoyment of the remission of sins, adoption into the family of God, and the light and consolation of God's good Spirit; or to place the leading terms in the proper order, from Alpha to Omega, they stand-facts, testimony, faith, repentance, immersion, remission of sins, holiness, the hope of a glorious resurrection to eternal life, and good works. The facts are the work of God and man; the testimony of God respects the meaning and tendency of these works, divine and human; faith receives the whole as true, because the testimony is confirmed by the power of God; this works in the heart repentance; and this work sobedience; first in immersion; then comes the enjoyment of a personal and plenary remission of all past sins, in the name, or by the authority of the I.ord; and then communion with God by his good Spirit received, holiness of heart and life, the blessed hope, and character corresponding to it. I would not be understood that the preaching of such a theoretic view, or of any theory of the gospel, is preaching the gospel. One of the fatal mistakes in Christendom is the preaching of some theory of the gospel, rather than the gospel itself. To preach the gospel, is to declare the testimony of God, his precepts and promises; it is to declare what we have done, and what he has done-(facts)-to prove it by the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven-by the Prophets and Apostles(testimony,) to convince men that it is true-(faith ;)-to persuade them to change their views, feeling, and behaviour(repentance and reformation ;)-to put off the old man and to

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

put on Christ (immersion ;)-to regard themselves then as Christ's (pardoned, justified, sanctified, regenerated to God); and to walk in Christ as children of God, (led by the Spirit ;) and to adorn their profession-(living soberly, righte ously, and godly in the present world.) All this is done by fairly, fully, honestly declaring the whole testimony of God. This is to preach the old gospel; and this is to preach it as did the old Apostles, who neither were Calvinists, Arminians, Trinitarians, Unitarians, or any thing else but the followers of Christ. The technicalities of Calvinism, Arminianism, and the fanaticism of New Lightism of some sort, have divested the gospel of its ancient simplicity and power. The word of God, which is living and effectual, has been converted into a dead letter;' and the ignis fatuus of some physical or abstract agency on the hearts of unbelievers, working faith in them, is now represented as the power of God to salvation. Thus the word of God is made of none effect; and in this country dreams, visions, and new revelations of the Spirit are substituted for the truth formerly delivered to us by the Saints. Even the English Baptists in America have got up Methodistic camp meetings, anxious seats, mourning benches, clerical intercessions, and all the paraphernalia of passion-stirring operations; shouting, as if God were asleep; swooning, fainting, and metaphysical convulsions, as if God were to be compelled by the vehemence of preachers and hearers to have some sort of mercy upon them. The Scotch Baptists, on the other hand, appear to me to be so straitened by the cords and stays of hypercalvinism, that they are afraid to command all men to repent and obey the gospel, lest they should savour of Arminian works, and make void the grace of God. They are so fettered and manacled, and paralysed by Calvinian metaphysics, that they are unable to utter the strivings of the Holy Spirit, the arguments, remonstrances, and persuasions of Prophets and Apostles. The preachers appear all concern that their hearers should think right, as if men were to be saved by thinking correctly. If at any time they quote such sayings as God so loved the world that he sent his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believes on him might not perish, but have everlasting life.' They are compelled by their theory to neutralise it by foisting in the word elect before the term world, or by such qualifications, explanations, and theories of conversion, effectual calling, &c. &c., as make the gospel a new instrument in the hand of the Spirit for saving the elect. who preach the original gospel are compelled to avoid all such speculations. We have no wish or inclination to prove Calvinism or Arminianism to be true. We only say, that neither



« AnteriorContinuar »