« PreviousContinue »
Philosophy of Means
23, iii. 269, iv. 326
Voting for Legislators
Whisper to Husbands
Whisper to Wives
Having much valuable matter, and many important essays on the religion of Jesus still in our possession, and others in anticipation of an original and interesting character, in the perusal of which our readers will not be disappointed, we have concluded to furnish another volume of the Christian Messenger and Reformer. This, if the brethren will sustain us, we propose to continue for eight months, thus making the volumes nearly all the same size and price.
That some of our readers have found and acknowledged us to be welcome messengers we have abundant proof in our possession ; that others may speedily do the same is our anxious desire. This will operate as a motive for us to select such articles as are instructive, convincing, and calculated (if acted upon) to lead to the most blissful results.
We profess to be not only“ messengers” but“ reformers.” This expression implies that we have not at present arrived at perfection; but that our march is onward and progressiveintellectually and morally. Personal and social reform is that for which we have and still hope to contend. Already we may affirm, without either presumption or egotism, we have reformed and are reforming both in theory and practice.
This we hope is true of the brethren in general. If the great Apostle of the Gentiles could personally say after many years' standing in the Christian profession, “ Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect.” How much more applicable is the remark Christians of the present day, even of those who are only just emerging from systeins of ignorance, superstition, and disobedience.
With equal truth may it be said of all the congregations with which we are acquainted, They are not perfect either in their order, discipline, or character, so far as presenting to the world a practical exhibition of pure Christianity. The one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one body, one united pure spirit, one God and Father in and over all the disciples as revealed by the apostles, and comprehended in the prayer of the Messiah, is not at present in existence except in an incipient state. There is then still much need that we plead for reformation.
We are quite aware that there are some whom we would gladly own as brethren who are opposed to the course we pursue. The standard, say they, which you have adopted as a bond of union, is not that high and perfect model presented by the Spirit of God: it is only half coming out of Babylon; and therefore, unless you think as we think, and do as we do, we shall keep onrselves separate from you. To such we would say, the standard given by the Spirit of God for Christian union, is in our judgment, definite, clear, and perfect. One part of its beauty is, it is social-entirely social-in its character; and therefore the apostles embraced all in their fellowship who were teachable, humble, and obedient, however small their attainments. They were ever anxious for the disciples of Christ to abide in the truth, that they might be saved in the day of the Lord. Let us, therefore, tread in their footsteps, and we shall be approved by Him when he appears.
MR. CAMPBELL'S FIFTH ADDRESS ON
Friday, December 1, 1843. (For the instruction of those who have not a copy of the Debate between A. Campbell and N. L. Rice, we shall, in the forthcoming volume, insert a few articles chiefly from the pen of brother Campbell. The following is his fifth address, verbatim, on the subject of Creeds, which no doubt will be read with interest and edification by all the disciples.-ED.]
MR. PRESIDENT,-Before I sat down I promised a consecutive argument or two that should occupy half an hour, without turning aside to notice objections. Before doing this I must add a few remarks to the argument introduced at the close of my last speech. I had just placed before you a divine precept, authoritatively commanding the holding fast of the inspired form of sound words, delivered by the apostles. Now a confession of faith is not “the form of sound words,” but only the form of the construction put upon them by uninspired men. Nothing is more latitudinarian than the word Substance, if I might exemplify by the last two discourses of Mr. Rice. This notion of holding fast the substance is a perfect delusion; and more especially when we hold fast that substance through a printed book,
called a confession of faith, or a summary of Christian doctrine. In all such cases we have two summaries, two confessions, and two forms of the constructive sense of Paul's form of sound words. We have first the written form--the printed confession: we have, again, our mental form of that confession, that is, our ideas of the ideas expressed in the book. Our views of the Bible on this mode of procedure, are but our views of certain men's views of the Bible. This is a demonstrable fact. Here is Paul's form of sound words. There is the confession, or the form of construction of the sense of Paul's form of sound words; and, in my mind, are my views, or the mental form of the confession. The Bible is the first form; the confession the second form; and my own views of the last book, the third form of the same idea. There is the form— the Bible; there is a view of that form
the confession; and there is my view of the confession, which is to me the influential form. Nothing, then, is more slily deceptive; and yet, when canvassed to the bottom, nothing is more glaringly delusive than to represent a confession as a final expression, or our own individual expression of our views of the Bible. When you tell your views of the Bible to A, he forms his views of your words and interpretations, and then, through these, he comes to certain conclusions concerning the book. But his conclusion is the third version of the matter, and not the second. You may imagine that it is the same in substance with the second; but suppose it were--it is a new form. Some say to us, you have your views of the Bible, and the Bible too, and, therefore, you have a confession of faith. Grant it, then, for the sake of argument, and follows it not that he has two confessions--the written one and the mental one?
In Scotland, the burgher and the anti-burgher Presbyterians wrote their testimony expressive of some of their views of the confession. Now have they not, being founded on this testimony, a different foundation from other Presbyterians ? and if so, they are a distinct community. So are. the Presbyterians built upon the confession, different from those builded on the Bible. Should Mr. Rice write his views, and some one write his views of Mr. Rice's views, and another write his views of the reviewer's views, what would be the colour of the mind that receives the last, compared with the mind that received the first ? As various often as his