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THOUGHTS IN UNDRESS. Brother Campbell,
When you, doubtless from an active disposition which will not soffer you to sleep till morning, knocked at my door the other night, I was fain to get up, and come forth, half-dressed, to open it for your admission, rather than lose the pleasure of your company. Precisely such a call from your old friend the Harbinger, compels me to make my appearance in mental dishabille. Or, to speak plainly, being too much hurried to write a complete essay, I must needs present a few hasty memoranda from my common-place book, in which, according to custom, I note down any thought which occurs to my mind and appears worthy of being remembered. As these thoughts themselves, then, are scarcely half-dressed, being written down with all despatch and brevity whenever they happen to present themselves—they will be able to keep me and each other in countenance, and accordingly I will venture to offer them at the hazard of having them regarded as a party of mental sans-culottes, CORRECTION.—"All scripture given by inspiration is profitable for
* * correction." There is great necessity for firmness in administering correction. Certainty of punishment is far more effective in repressing crime than severity. There must be a fixed purpose
Didactic is no substitute for disciplinary talent. This is a natural gift. There are some persons who are constituted physicians by nature for the body, and there are some who are equally fitted to be physicians to the soul. Neither a theorist nor a quack will do in either case. In the one, he will ruin the constitution or destroy life; in the other, he will be the cause of the sinner's aposiacy, and will probably break up a whole congregation. The country is filled with quacks of all kinds-medical, political, religious. But to return: Some of the latter in the church, when error appears, instead of enforcing the law, and using the rod of correction, institute a course of severe and harsh lectures a kind of religious scolding which only irritates the offender.
It is just so in the school; and in the FAMILY. The rod is far less offensive, and a thousand times more effective than any temporizing appliances.
*D180BEDIENCE.-Why do men not obey the gospel? The reason is that Satan blinds them by the things of the world. He turns away the mind from the patient consideration of the truth, and induces men to form habits of vicious practice or dissipation of thought. The mind must be concentrated on any matter to understand it, or become inter
* * * *
ested in it. Religious thought with the young is vague and transient. They are full of youthful spirits-fond of variety. Satan does not suffer them to dwell long enough upon religion, but turns them away to vanity. After a time, if they be sensitive, and are conscious that they have resisted their convictions, they do not like to think of the subject, because it brings along with it the sting of self-condemnation. They then perhaps fly to scepticism for relief, and seek to find religion false because they wish it so. Nevertheless religion is, after all, the only true relief to the human mind.
Speculation.—Truth itself is speculative. A speculation is a theory-a mental view_connected deduction from facts. The gospel is no more than a speculation unless it be reduced to practice. A profession of it is but an exchange, with many, of one speculation for another. A good and rational system or theory is very agreeable to an intelligent mind, and many thus prefer the gospel plan because of its consistency, and because it is in harmony with their own minds. But a good practice would seem to be equally difficult to the intelligent and unintelligent; and without this, the best theory in the world would be useless. It were a vain hope, on the part of the idler, that by exchanging his bad watch for a patent lever, which would not lose a minute in a year, he himself would keep better time and be more industrious. Practice involves the formation of new habits. Here lies the difficulty.
Sacred History.--As Natural History takes a view of things as they are, considering their properties merely and distinguishing one thing from another; and Philosophy, on the other hand, considers the reasons why things are as they are, and explains the laws which rule them, and by which they exist as they do; so the scriptures present to us the things of the spiritual world as they are, and form the volume of Sacred or Spiritual History; but men have overstepped the boundaries of scripture and of facts, in entering upon the consideration of the reasons of things—the philosophy of religion. And they have greatly erred in presenting their systems of philosophy as the subject matters of faith, instead of the facts or things of what may be called Spiritual History. As Natural History should be the child's first book of Nature, so the Sacred History should be the first book studied in Religion; and when the facts in either are fully known, it is then time enough for laws' and theories. The latter indeed should never be made essential to the possession of religion, however necessary to a finished religious education. The things of the Spirit are the essentials. There may be philosophy in religion, but there is no religion in philosophy. Nevertheless, for one well skilled in Spiritual Higso
ry, we shall find fifty who are proficient in Spiritual Philosophy, Spiritual Physiology, or Spiritual Chemistry.
The following are from a Literary Magazine:SELF-KNOWLEDGE.-- There are th,ree characters which every man sustains; and these often extremely differ from each other. One, which he possesses, is in his own opinion. Another, that which he carries in the mation of the world; and a third, the one which he bears in the judgment of his Maker. It is only the last which ascertains what he really is. Whether the character which the world forms of him be above or below the truth, it imports not much to know. But it is of eternal consequence that the character which a man possesses in his own eyes, be formed upon that which he bears in the sight of God.
EQUANIMITY.-I am no inore raised or rejected, says Politiano, by the flattery of my friends, or the accusations of my enemies, than I am by the shadow of my own body; for although that shadow may be somewhat longer in the morning and evening, than in the middle of the day, it does not induce me 10 think myself a taller man at those times than at noon. A good and wise man explores the recesses of his own heart daily, and inquires, when kept from vice, whether his innocence proceeded from purity of principle or from worldly motives; whether he has been as solicitous to regulate his heart, as to preserve his manners from reproach. A heart bearing such a scrutiny, shrinks not at the malignity of the world.
MINERAL Green, July 30, 1842. Very dear brother,
Your esteemed favor of the 5th instant, was duly received, and its perusal imparted the highest gratification. It re-opened the sources of a once pure and delightful friendship, which had been in some measure sealed by the influence of factitious causes.
I shall not now mar the pleasure of its return, by pausing to consider the causes by which it was interrupted. Let them ever remain as the things that have been.
I concur with you in believing that the best regulated Christian congregation among us needs reformation; and as age advances upon me, I feel an increasing desire to investigate truth, and learn, if possible, the best means of effecting that reformation, and placing the church of Christ upon the same broad principle of faith and practice on which every lover of the Lord Jesus may co-operate in harmony. Judge, then, the pleasure with which I received the papers which your kindness supplied. I have long desired to read them, and want
of neang has hitherto prevented my being a regular subscriber. I am therefore truly grateful to you for your kindness in sending them. I have attentively read the numbers already received, and so far as I am enabled to understand them, find but little, if any thing, which does not meet my hearty concurrence. The difference between us is certainly not greater than that which exists between myself and many of my Baptist brethren, with whom I am in full communion. Nor do I think there is at this time any sufficient reason why we should be longer separated. True it is, there are some of your members who entertain principles and doctrines which I cannot approve; and it is also true that some of my Baptist brethren are, in my estimation, equally far removed from the simplicity of the gospel, in their feelings and views. But the great mass of both entertaining, as I believe, the same common principles of faith, and agreeing in the main particulars of practice, ought to come together, and mutually aid each other in correcting whatever may be found in the faith or practice of either, inconsistent with the word of truth. And that the time is not far distant when all true believers will be found united in one cominon effort to advance the glory of the Redeemer, and to establish the principles of "peace on earth and good will to men,” I cannot for a moment question; and I am very sure that the investigation of truth in the Harbinger, and other religious periodicals, by rivetting public attention to the subject, will greatly aid in bringing about its glorious consummation.
Indisposition (severe) has delayed this acknowledgment of your favor, and even now renders it less full than I should desire; accept it, however, imperfect as it is, as a small return for your favor, together with the assurances of my sincere regard and Christian affection. May the Lord bless you in all things! Your unworthy brother in Christ,
PHILIP T. MONTAGUE. Elder Thomas M Henley.
REMARKS ON THE ABOVE BY THE EDITOR OF THE CHRISTIAN PUBLISHER.
If all the Baptist preachers possessed the spirit manifested in Elder Montague's letter to Elder Henley, there wonld very soon exist a very different state of things between those who the same Lord obey. We had been apprized for several weeks before the appearance of the letter in the Herald, of its existence, and we rejoice at its publication in that print. E der Montague is a highly respectable preacher. He resides in that part of Eastern Virginia, in which the subject of reformation was first introduced, and in which those proscriptive measures were first adopted. He is acquainted with the characters of those excellent persons who felt it to be their duty to take the stand they did, and by which they suffered so much. Perhaps for a time Elder M. was brought under the influence of that feeling which constrained the majority to cast out and cut off those that insisted upon the necessity of reformation; but since the storm has partially subsided and given him the opportunity of calmly viewing things through a proper medium, he candidly admits that the churches stand in need of reformation, and as age advances upon him, he feels an increasing desire to investigate truth, and learn, if possible, the best means of effecting that reformation, and placing the church of Christ upon the same broad
principle of faith and practice on which every lover of the Lord Jesus may co-operate in harmony. Elder Montague could not seek a more desirable object. "'T'is a consummation most devoutly to be wished." All heaven would rejoice at the sight. Incalculable benefits would accrue to the church, and the world would receive the truth as it is in Jesus. What Christian would not most fervently pray and zealously labor that this might be effected? If all of us realized that we are hastening to the grave, and that we shall soon stand in the presence of Him who will judge us according to what is written in the Book, we would certainly feel anxious to behold that unity for which he prayed, and on which he based the conversion of the world.
The Saviour, in his intercessory prayer, recorded in the 17th chapter of John, prayed particularly for his disciples in all ages. We wonder if professors in this age often read this chapter and meditate upon it? “Neither
pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word, that they all may be one; as thou Father art in me und I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me
We most sincerely pray that all who believe on the Messiah through the word of the Apostles, may unite upon the foundation laid by our heavenly Father, and with all their combined energy bring the artillery of light to bear upon the powers of darkness, and we should be very unhappy if we thought that any thing we believe or practise, stood opposed to this harmonious action. We have searched with the candla of the Lord the house we occupied, and have committed to the flames whatever did not bear the impress of the Divine Architect, seeking to restore that order established by the Lord; but if we have been mistaken in any matter, we are anxious to be corrected, and promise, as soon as convinced, that we will reform.
We coincide with Elder Montague in the opinion that there is no good reason why the Disciples and Baptists should be longer separated; but we very much fear that there are many of the Baptists pos. sessed of such feelings towards us, that there is no prospect of a union taking place. It depends upon the Baptists. They cast us off-they denounced and stigmatized us. It is for them to revoke their decrees and invite a re-union. We are bound by our views of the word of God to co-operate with all true believers in Christ, without regard to differences of opinion
In the meanime let all, who see the propriety of the course pursued by us, be firm and bold. The wisdom that cometh from above is first pure, then peaceable. Some of the Baptists seem to act upon the principle that peace must be maintained in their communion at all events. They would like to see a reformation among them, but they are afraid that opposition and strife might be the result of an effort to introduce it. Some would willingly commune with us, but they dread the consequences. Such are under the influence of men. They are like Erasmus, who thought it better to have a peaceable error than a troublesome truth. We admire Luther, who said, “Let us have the truth at all hazards." There are many Baptists who are concealing their light under a bushel. They have not the moral courage "to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints." Let such consider that among all the abominable characters excluded from the New Jerusalem, the coward will be found.