Images de page
PDF
ePub

in favor of much excitement, nor of inflammatory protracted meetings, and calculates on the increase of the body rather after the manner of the oak than of the willow—a gradual and firm, but long growth. It is worthy of remark that the growth of churches, as a general rule, is in the ratio of the views of expediency of those who preside over their destiny. Each administration selects such pasture and discipline as are most apposite to its theory of consistency and advantage. Those who favor a rapid growth and those who are pleased with a more gradual one, will generally reap soch harvests as they sow, and have the results of their theories in the ingatherings of the flock. I am, indeed, less and less in admiration of highly excited meetings. The religion of excitement is of feeble growth and of rapid decline. The force of nature is all expended in being converted. Since the art of getting up revivals has been perfected by the sects, and since ihe master revivalists have shown that the spirit of revivalism is subject to the will of the revivalists, the results are full of disappointment and di-gust. If the fallings away were only half as faithfully recorded and divulged as are the accessions of those severish protracted exciiemenis, revivalism and revivalists would not be in quite so good taste and odor with the people as at present they seem to be. Upon the whole, I am now where I was many years since, strongly in favor of a combination of teaching and exhortation, of addressing the understanding and of stirring up the affections, of much light and some heal, not of great heat and little light, nor of great light and no heat. Pro. tracted meetings, so conducted in the midst of intelligent communities, with an efficient and faithful ministry, will generally eventuate favorably; but where there are not good nurses for the babes in Christ, nor good discipline for the youth of the church, nor good examples among the aged, the fewer great efforts at great ingatherings the better. To this fact my theory, observation, and experience give one concurrent testimony.

In Lexington the brethren are erecting, in one of the most favorable locations, the largest meeting. house in the state. The church in Lexington is large and efficient, and of very considerable enterprize. They have in'elligence, zeal, energy, and good cause, and if their means are made to bear on the intelligence of that city, with the concentration which wisdom and philanthropy would command, they may expect great and happy results. Brother Dr. Pinkerton labors here with much acceptance for one so young. His maturity of character and excellent spirit have supplied the lack of years, and given him an advans tage which few of his compeers in age ever possess. His labors in the city and the country have been greatly blessed. The church in

Lexington is now in the most happy and prosperous state in which I recollect to have seen it.

Our brother, the learned and eloquent Dr. Fishback, has given himself and his influence to the cause of reformation. I had the pleasure of some very pleasing interviews with our venerable brother, who has indeed for many years been laboring in the cause of primitive Christianity with but little between us in all vital matters affecting the sanctification and perfection of the church. Many years since, the Doctor took some very bold and rapid steps in advance of the age,

and indeed laid a foundation for a more sound philosophy on the subject of the Bible and spiritual influence than was either comprehended or appreciated by any of his state contemporaries. The mellowing influence of age and experience has confirmed our brother in what was not only true but useful in these researches, and he is at this time one of the first men of the age in the comprehension of primitive Christianity, as he is in his abijity to communicate to the conviction and edification of those who can be taught the divine excellency and loveliness of Bible Christianity. I trust he will furnish us with some communications for the benefit of our numerous and inquisitive readers.

The anxiety to hear, and the interest taken in the cause of reformation in Kentucky, never was greater than at present. The crowds that in all places overfilled the most spacious buildings, and the profound attention shown in the city and in the country amongst all ranks and classes of society, show that the cause of reformation has not been preached nor heard in vain amongst this intelligent and magnanimous community. Within forty miles of Lexington, during two months immediately preceding my arrival, not less than one thousand persons had been immersed. In Madison, Lincoln, and Garrard they were obeying the gospel by hundreds. Even in Danville, the metropolis of Presbyterian influence, while I was laboring in Woodford and Fayette a few days, some forty or fifty persons obeyed the Lord. In the Green River country, too, the march of the gospel is onward. One brother informed me that he had, within a few months, in the southwestern portion of that district, immersed some three hundred and fifty. The success of brothers. Johnson, Rice, and Elley, another portion of that district, is as usual, rapid and irresistible. People of all creeds and no creed, of all manner of prejudices and antipathies fraternize and amalgamate under the broad banners of apostolic Christianity. But, alı! how much is wanting to bring the churches up to tie standard of Christian piety and morality! In personal, domestic, and congregational piety, in the discharge of all the relative duties, in the practice of the moral and social excellencies of our religion, how

far yet behind the models which the apostolic records deliver to us! We must discuss these subjects with much discrimination, and every one propound to himself the interrogatory, What lack I yet? Are we not, brethren, determined to inherit elernal life! Do we not desire to hear the Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of your Lord!" How rich, how wise, how honorable in the things of earth, we all confess, gives neither precedence nor rank in heaven. There purity and moral excellence alone give honor and distinction. In heaven's nobility are found none but the pure in heart, the greatly good, the divinely excellent of our race. Shall we, then, risk our heavenly peership or jeopardize our eternal fortunes for any distinction, possession, or honor that comes from men or springs from earth! Forbid it, Heaven! Let us, then, seek first the kingdom of God and the righteousness required by him, and sure we are that even in time we shall not lack any good thing.

A, C.

EXCURSION INTO OHIO. After my return from Kentucky, on the 16th of August, I hastened to Ohio, We had a very large and pleasant meeting at East Fairfield: thousands in attendance on Lord's day. During the meeting some fourteen were immersed. The gospel has been glorified in Columbiana county during the last year. In its capital, New Lisbon, a spacious and comfortable meeting-house, after the general outlines of our church architecture—inclined floors, low stand for speaker, much light, windows let down from above, no galleries, ceiling not more than from 16 to 20 feet from the lowest part of the floor; I say, a spacious and substantial meeting house has been erected, and the church augmented to about 250 members. In other parts of the county, also, the cause prevails.

We next visited Warren, the capital of Trumbull. Found a debate on hand between brother Hartsell and the Messrs. Stedman and Lucock, before named. These two Methodistic brothers have been jointly and severally crusading against Christian baptism on the Reserve for the last year or two.

In August, '41, at Newton Falls, in company with a Mr. Waldo, a Congregationalist, they argued for four days against the scriptural action, subject, and design of the ordinance called baptism. Brothers A. S. Haden, Green, Wilcox, and Henry, affirming immersion to a believing subject for remission of sins. Chief speakers, Haden and Green, on the affirmative side.

In February, '42, at Bedford, Cuyahoga county, these two dispu

tants added one Mr. Worello to their side, and for four days contested against our brethren Hartsell, Haden, and Robinson, on the question, Do the scriptures teach that the remission of sins cannot be enjoyed without buptism?"

At Youngstown, in the next month, (March last,) Stedman and Hartsell engaged in single combat, two days and a half, on the ques. tion, “Is baptism in any case necessary to the forgiveness of sins?"'. Stedman on the negative, and Hartsell on the affirmative. Eager to recover lost ground, Stedman and Lucock engage with Hartsell alone at Warren, on the 22d July, on the proposition, “The canon of scripture teaches that to a believing penitent baptism is indispensable to obtain remission.” Our brother Hartsell, confident of the triumph of truth, gave the greatest advantage to this crusader, not only in entering single-handed against two such men, strong in their own peculiar panoply, but more especially in taking a proposition somewhat transcendental-as far beyond the equator as was that of his opponents on this side—Baptism to a believing penitent is not absolutely indispensable to obtain remission of sins in every conceivable case. Brother Hartsell does not so teach. Better, then, had it been expressed in such words as these-Baptism to a believing penilent is indispensable to the full assurance of the remissian of sins under the present administration of favor.' This proposition is nothing ultra scripture testimony and sound reason. Much, indeed all depends upon the precision and perspicuity of the proposition on which we meet an opponent. The half of the best debates I have heard have been either ill-natured logomachies or vain wranglings about points of order and decorum.

After delivering iwo addresses at Warren-one on Christian Union, and one on Education proceeded to Youngstown, a flourishing village on the canal, in the same county. A new church has been providentially raised up in this town by the instrumentality of the Rev. Mr. Landis, of Eastern Pennsylvania. Our readers will doubtless remember this bold and reckless defamer of our views and undertakings. His assaults upon our reputation, endorsed and commended by the Rev. Absalom Peters, of the Biblical Repository, the oracle of New School resbyterianism, were laid before our readers; but our defence, only in a mutilated and decapitated form, was never shown to the Presbyterians. The cowardly Mr. Peters feared to show it to his readers, and only gave such a garbled view of it as he thought the denomination might be permitted to read. But so it has come to pass that this outrage upon morality and religion has providentially redounded to the glory of the gospel. The reader will be curious to know how from such fraud and injustice so much good could be educed.

That he may learn the mysteries of Providence, we shall give the outlines of the story. There lives in Youngstown a very respectable clergyman, of high reputation both at New Haven and the Western Reserve--the Rev. C. A. Boardman by name. This gentleman passes with the community as a learned and eloquent man, who can write and pronounce as learned and as eloquent a sermon as any preacher in the Western Reserve. He is, indeed, regarded both in learned criticism, oratory, and personal dignity, as the oracle of the denomination.

This gentleman was stirred up by Mr. Landis' review to commence a formidable cannonading of our doctrine and manner of teaching. He thoroughly digested the contents of this elaborate production, and soon began to serve it up on his own table to the voracious appetites for slander in his own vicinity. They began to fatten, and were bold in their denunciations of that everlasting thing nicknamed “Campbell. ism." The preacher spoke as though he really himself believed Landis, and sometimes transcended his master in the ribaldry and scurrility of his eloquence. But so matters grew and increased until a regular sermon of extraordinary dimensions and unusual eloquence was formally read to his own congregation. It was so transcendantly eloquent and spiritual that it was encored, and must be delivered a second time for the edification of Methodists and other sectaries as well as the Presbyterians. The whole community came together on another Sabbath to hear this pious effusion; and amid the most profound attention Mr. Boardman read it over again. This reiteration gave an opportunity to some few friends to attend and take down its memorabilia. From one of these authentic memoranda we gather the following extracts:

"By request I send you the following account of a discourse delivered in Youngstown hy the Rev. C. A. Boardlidan in February last, part of which is from notes taken at the time, and part froin recollections. Texi, Delit xiii. Subject, "false teachers.” (The said discourse was at this time repeated by request ). First he described the manner in which false teachers may be known; in which description, among many others, were the following, 10 wit:-By the denial of fundamental doctrines in their leachings; such as the trinity and unity of the godhead-the complex nature of Jesus Christ-the doctrines of the Holy Spirit-evangelical faith, foc.fc-such a denial às will make an infidel.""A certain great leacher,” whoni he designated as Editor of the Millennial Harbinger, Christianity Restored. Great Southern Luminary, fiche affirmed “neither professes Trinitarianizm nor Unitariani m; lie derries the doctrine of Eternal Sonship; the title Supreme God as applicable 10 Jesus Christ, because that presupposes superiority in the godhead." The reverend gentleman then endeavored to make it appear (as I under. stood the matter) that this same false teacher was a Unitarian, by declaring that he knew of a certain B W. Stone, a Unitarian preache', jw bom he patronized as a brother, and referred his hearers to the Millennial Harbinger for proof of this fact; but said that he acknowledged the association of J, Thou, and we in the Divinity, and that he believed Christ never to have been a created being, but that ibe rivals of Trinitarianism were entitled to as much claim to public favor as their opponents And in speaking farther of this false teacher's Unitarian sentiments, he said, “Dr. Priestly has not gone farther"The reverend gentleman then complained that the friends of this false teacher found fault with their opponents for affirming that he had translated the Seriptures He then read the title-page of the stereotype edition of the New Testament, and einphasized on the following words, to wit:-"With Prefaces, various Emendations, and an Appendix, by A. Cainpbell-stereotype edition - Bethany, Brooke county, Va—Printed and pun. ished by A. Campbell." He then spoke of its being aliributed to Drs. George Campbell,

« PrécédentContinuer »