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aught to say on these matters. This is the true history of the origin of this discussion.
Mr. Jennings was a respectable lawyer, and Dr. Brown in his memoirs informs us that he would have been a pretty good preacher if he had had courage to speak and not to read his sermons. But what no little astonishes me, is, that he could have had the temerity to publish to the world that he carried any one point in that discussion, unless it was that he got matters generally arranged just to his own liking. But certainly his book shows all the strength put forth on that occasion. Yes, he admits himself that it is more forcible than the debate. If, then, in this boek he has not sustained one proposition, all will agree that he did not in the long talk; and that he has not sustained one position in the book we may yet show in its proper place.
I hope I shall be pardoned for passing by his other insinuations, as they are unsupported by any specifications. They are the mere overflowings of an alienated mind, disappointed and chagrined at its own imbecility to refute by reason and argument positions hostile to a favorite system. If my work, and labors, and the reproaches which I have the honor to sustain in my feeble efforts to restore the ancient institution of him who was insulted by the priesthood of his own time, with a very few exceptions; of him who was accused of leagues and treaties with the Devil and his emissaries; I say, if my feeble and improfitable efforts with the calumny and reproach I have to bear, will not sustain me against the imputation of infidelity, unregeneracy, unitarianism, &c. I consider my saying that I am not a mere natural man, an infidel in disguise, an opponent of the true and proper divinity of the Son of God, will be wholly inadequate and unavailing. I may, indeed, deplore that such foul, ungenerous, unmanly, and unchristian imputations may keep some of God's bewildered children from hearing, or reading, or judging any thing which emanates from us; but I bless Emanuel the Lord Messiah, that they only enhance our standing among the saints of God, and cannot injure the cause we plead in the minds of any who either hear us speak, or read what we have to write on the christian institutions.
I am now chargeable with egotism for having spoken so much in my own defence; for the policy of our opponents is to place us in a certain attitude, or to compel us into it, and then to censure us for appearing in that attitude. When my reputation is sought to be identified with the cause of reform, I should, in my judgment, be not only recreant to myself, but to the cause of truth and righteousness, were I not to defend myself from the tongue and pen of the slanderer. Did I avail myself of the documents furnished by the authors of this book to show how hazardous they appear of the responsibility of making round and unqualified assertions, I would be represented as pursuing retaliatory measures. Did they not expose themselves to the detection of a child in this apparent recklessness of truth, it might be more necessary to dwell upon this theme. But I will only give an instance or two to put the reader on his guard,
Brother Jacob Creath whispered something into my ear, or I whis pered something into his, previous to the introduction of one of our night meetings in Nashville; and Mr. Jennings, without presuming to have heard what it was, fearlessly asserts that I was suggesting to him what to say, and choosing my own subject for discussion. If he had said he suspected it, we might have ascribed it to a suspicious mind; but no, he boldly asserts it, p. 32. "Whilst he (Mr. Campbell) selected his own subject, he evidently wished that it might appear otherwise," &c. I simply say it is not a fact.
Again, on page 72, he roundly asserts that Mr. C. "never has offered, and never can with propriety offer the prayer of David, Psalm exix. 18." How did he know what petitions Mr. C. had offered, and what he had not?
On page 82 he avows, "The great object of Mr. C's reformation is not to suppress vice, reprove wickedness, correct abuses of that which is evil, or warn sinners to repent and flee from the wrath to come; but to extirpate the most important doctrines and institutions of the gospel!" The book abounds in assertions and avowals as repugnant to truth, to fact, and to religion as these.
CONTENTS OF THE BOOK.
The remnant of the book contains Mr. Jennings' views of faith, mysteries, divine influence, the natural man, defence of the sects evangelical, and of evangelical sectarianism; disquisitions upon the terms schism and heresy; call to the ministry; dissertations upon the new version, on the words ekklesia and baptismos; the Godhead; regeneration; the uncharitableness of our viewshis views of John iii. 5. and of Titus iii, 5-his explanations of sundry texts of scripture-and baptism not essential to salvation. These are the prominent topics, in which he differs not materially from the great majority of the popu lar sects, whose views, reasonings, and arguments, have repeatedly been reviewed and examined in our pages.
We have coveted objections to the new version, and are much pleased to see that Mr. Jennings has tried his hand as a critic upon it. Mr. M'Calla of Kentucky also tried his hand upon it some time since. We only have to regret that illiberality rather than genius, learning, or taste, characterizes these efforts. But such as they are, we shall make the best use of them in the work now under review. That these gentlemen were most incompetent to a work of this sort, will not require much proof. Mr. Jennings, in the work now be fore me, has, to every impartial linguist, proved his utter incapacity to decide upon even the syntax of a Greek sentence. See his efforts to make touto, Eph. ii. 8. refer to pistis. His remarks on Gal. iv. 19. show that he never was initiated into a Grecian temple, or passed the vestibule of an Athenian forum. But these developements we reserve to our regular numbers of the Harbinger.
His very ingenious and unjust effort to censure the version as leaning to unitarianism, shall be placed in full light, with all his complaints against the association of Doctor Doddridge with Presbyterian doctors. It is the translation of baptisma which provoked his ire. This is what is most obnoxious to Paidobaptists. This is concealed as much as possible, but it is at the root of the whole matter. But the exposition of this management will appear in our future disquisitions upon this part of his book.
The perplexity of the Doctor on John iii. 5. is as apparent in this book as it was in the debate. At one time he says, "If the phrase "born of water" have any allusion to baptism (which it may or may not, for any thing we know,)" p. 182; and in page 183, baptism-"an attendance upon this ordinance it is not denied produces an outward change upon the condition of its subject, inamcuch
as it is the only method of gaining admittance into the visible church or kingdom of God in this world." Reader, remember this. Yet in page 225 he says, alluding to John ii. 5. and to Titus iii. 5. "I think the opinion of others (Westminster Divines, &c.) to the contrary notwithstanding, there is no allusion to baptism in either of these passages." This change in his views 40 pages of his own reasonings was sufficient to effect.
He seems, however, to settle down upon this position, that "born of water" and "born of the Spirit" mean one and the same thing. Hence he that is born of the Spirit is born of water, and he that is born of water is born of the Spirit. The first clause of the same sentence is to be understood figuratively, and the second clause literally!! and to be baptized in fire, in water, and in the Spirit, are all synonimous in the New Testament!!!
But I shall close the present outline of the character of the debate, with a review of that part of his book which treats of faith. Saving faith with him differs in its properties, and not in its quality or strength, from any other faith, page 40. It is the belief of testimony, and not the belief of history. A man can believe in one sense, and he cannot believe without help in an other sense. It is a mystery, and it is not a mystery. It is not historical faith, and yet it includes the belief of history; and what more than history it receives, he has not informed us.
The Doctor represents us as contending for a faith called historic faith, in preference to any other. This is not the fact. But we contend that nothing can be called faith that is not the belief of history, and this ground is assumed to show that they who discredit the belief of God's testimony, whether oral or written, and contend for a faith wrought in the heart diverse from the belief of testimony, are deluded in that one thing, if in no other. If any doctor can tell me any thing which he believes that has not been reported to him in some way, I will concede that faith comes not by hearing, although Paul says it does -but by the Spirit working mysteriously in the heart. This faith he calls natural.
The scriptures on which he chiefly relies to prove his mystic faith, are John xii. 42; James on dead faith; the phrases which speak of "believing with the heart;" faith is the gift of God; and Eph. 1. 19. He has denied the quoting of 1 Cor. xii. 9!! but yet contends for Matth. xvi. 17, and adds to it Gal. 1. 15, 16, and v. 19-25; 1 Cor. ii. 14; Phil. i. 29; Ps. cxix. 18.
He now says that I prudently took no notice of his having quoted and commented on Eph. i. 19. Of this he triumphs no little. Well, I confess I took no notice of it, because I forgot it: but sure I am, he ought rather to have blushed than to have triumphed here; and to thank, rather than to upbraid me for my silence on this passage. I shall now give the reasons for these remarks, and first let me quote the whole passage "The eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of your calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what the exceeding greatness of his power to usward, who believe according to the working of his mighty power which he wrought in Jesus when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.' Jennings viewed this great power towards believers as the power of enabling them to believe: that it requires the same power to work faith in the heart, which was necessary to raise Jesus from the dead. This is his argumentagainst which I give my vote most unhesitatingly. The connexion shows that the power here spoken of is indeed the power of raising dead bodies to life, of reanimating and glorifying them, and that God will display the same almighty power towards them who believe, as he did in raising and glorifying his Son. This is in reference to the glory of his inheritance in the saints-this is the hope of his calling, as Paul assures the Ephesians in the words foregoing, A greater perversion of scripture to a sectarian purpose, I recollect not to have met with, than the Doctor's gloss upon this passage. It is a power towards or in behalf of believers-not a power put forth upon unregenerate men, working faith in their hearts.
The other passages have been so repeatedly shown not to teach that faith is as great a miracle as the raising of Lazarus, that I cannot think of now running the same round in pursuit of this phantom of man's utter inability to believe God, while it is confessed he is able to believe man. "If we receive the testimony of man, surely the testimony of God is greater." Mr. Jennings has not met in the written argument, (to which he acknowledges he has added so much,) the arguments submitted, more fully, or pertinently, or convincingly, than in his viva voce efforts-indeed he has not attempted it.
The faith by which we are justified, we contend, is a belief of the testimony of God, wrought in the heart by the confirmations of that testimony which God has given to all men who hear his Son in the attestations of the Holy Spirit. It is a faith which works by love; purifies the heart; overcomes the world; comes by hearing, and is both supernatural and divine-because the evidence is supernatural and divine. And yet, because we will not say that it is mysteriously wrought in the heart, like no other faith-and that no man can believe, unless the subject of a miraculous power; we are represented as contending for a dead faith, no better than that of demons. Indeed we reformers plead for a living faith, as do not many others: for unless a man's faith is so living and impulsive as so bring him to the water, we affirm it to be no better than a dead faith, or so sickly as little to avail the subject.
We blame the religion, however, more than the man. The father of Presbyterianism was intolerant, and what wonder if his children, although disciplined in a more liberal school, should still inherit a portion of his spirit. Mr. Jennings was of this creation. "A Presbyterian by descent," and I doubt not a sincere one. But his own experience and the testimony of Dr. Brown concur in showing how impotent Presbyterianism is to renovate the man. Mr. Jennings says after he had first eaten the Lord's supper, he regarded himself “as a devil incarnate." "I gave up all for lost, and concluded myself to be a devil incarnate." p. 26. At another time he says, "How delicious, how sweet, how comforting the penitential tear!" This is the genius of the kingdom of which he was a citizen. If any one had then told him that it was the system of his fathers which gave him so much pain and so little enjoyment-that rendered his life little else than an alternation of hope and fear, of confidence and despair, a conflict between the glimmerings of light and the darkness of error, he would no doubt have accused himself and justified the system.
He was at first terrified into the pulpit, and no doubt it was not without reason he had to complain of the fruitlessness of his labors. (p. 11.) If I had an enemy, and could wish for him an affliction, it would not be more grievous than to have the last months of his life doomed to making such a book as that before "O that mine enemy had written such a book!" But how strange the modes of reasoning and influence of party spirit! Had I been summoned into the presence of my Lord, in the midst of such an undertaking to blast the reputation of the leaders of this "evangelical sect," it would have, no doubt, been regarded and published as a judgment upon me and a signal proof of the divine interposition in behalf of that ism, but as Mr. Jennings was snatched off in the midst of an effort to oppose reformation, it is a consummation devoutly to be wished, to die in the harness, fighting the battles of the Lord; or, at least, only a "mysterious providence."
It is to be wished that Mr. Jennings may, in his last moments, with a reference to this his last work, have been able to say, "How delicious, how sweet, how comforting the penitential tear!"
For a more particular examination of other parts of this book, the reader is referred to the September Number of the Harbinger-in which he will find a defence of the New Version, from the imputations of this author.