« PreviousContinue »
have found equal ground to have charged us with Catholicism, Episcopalianism Presbyterianism, Methodism, Deism, etc. etc., for of all these persuasions there have been accessions to our party.
Now I ask of what evidence it is to quote the writings of one Mr. Kincade, who never was one of us whose writings I never read, never acknowledged, and, so far as known to me, are of no more authority among my brethren than Mr. Landis himself? Of what use, I ask, in all candor, reason, and truth, to quote the words of such a man to prove that the “majority of the Campbellites” are "avowed Arians or Socinians ?”
Yet such is the only written evidence adduced in support of this most grave and damnatory allegation,—and, indeed, the only evidence, except some things which Mr. Landis says he heard from some preacher who said he was one of us; and yet he said nothing about our views on said subject; from which, if Mr. Landis’ quotations are correct, any one could infer that we are “avowed Arians,” &c. If this professed preacher of our views, to whom Mr. L. listened with such candor, is to be made a witness, although deposing nothing; I wonder, whether Mr. Landis would take my testimony, when I affirm, that I know not one single individual avowed Arian or Socinian teacher or layman in all our ranks, American or European? I again say not one.
But he says a certain Mr. Jamison compelled me to acknowledge that I "did not believe Jesus Christ to be the Supreme God!” What transcendent power of compulsion did this gentleman possess !
Thirty years ago I affirmed that an “eternal Son" presupposed an eternal Father; and that these two eternals were wholly incongruous and irreconcilable, and I now say, that to call “ Jesus Christ the Supreme God” is not only unscriptural but unphilosophic and preposterous. Have we an inferior God! Is there supremacy and inferiority in Divinity !- If Mr. Jamison had asked me if I believed that “ Jesus Christ was a human man,” I should have given him the same answer. I know of no supreme Divinity or supreme humanity. Divinity and humanity, with me, have no degrees of comparison. If any being, or person, be divine, he is neither more nor less than divine; and in reference to him there is neither superior nor supreme divinity. But,
sir, a single quotation from my writings will show how much credit is due to such reviewers as Messrs. Jennings and Landis. The following extract is seven years old, and therefore was not got up for an exigency like the present.
“I must be born again, and be endowed with other reasoning powers, and have another revelation, before I can become an Arian.
• I will give you one reason out of a hundred, and but one ; because I feel that it alone, if I had not another, would for ever preclude the hypothesis: it is, in one sentence, because the Arian philosophy converts the wisdom of God into folly.
“ If I am asked to explain how this can be, I refuse not. The Arian toils and sweats, and taxes his ingenuity to show what a glorious creature the Son of God was in his pre-existent state. He fancies and represents the Son as filling some intermediate rank, more than midway between the Arch Seraphim and the Deity. He thinks he devoutly consults the honor of the Son, when he finds for him some vacant throne, near to the Self-existent and Eternal, beyond the aspirations of the cherubim and seraphim. There he places him, a sort of sub-deity whence he descends to become incarnate. Yet, strange to tell, when this first and high-born One, of unrivalled glory amongst the creatures of God, appears in human flesh, he gives him nothing to do, which the son of Joseph could not have done as well!!! Was ever folly more consummate! What is folly, but the adoption of inadequate means to ends? Is it not folly to give a diamond for a straw?-to raise a tempest to move a feather ?-to discharge the artillery of heaven against a worm? -to hurl the thunderbolts of Omnipotence against a fly? -to despatch the Archangel on an errand which the son of Joseph could have as well performed ?
“What creature could do more than Abel, Moses, John the Baptist, Stephen, Peter, James the Just, or Paul did—tell the truth, the whole truth, lead an exemplary life, and as a martyr offer up his soul to God !*
* We cannot give our reasons in extenso for any of the more important conclusions suggested in these remarks. On this point we shall offer one. In our judgment it matters not whether we regard the sacrifice of Christ as a mere display of love, or as a sin-offering that God might be just in justifying
“What, let me again ask, is folly, if this be not folly ? To waste resources, or squander means, is as foolish as not to provide them. He who provides the materials for a palace, and builds a cottage, is as very a simpleton as he who attempts to build a palace out of the materials of a tent. Could not Gabriel, who waited on Daniel on the bank of Ulai ; nay, could not Paul himself, do as much for the redemption of the world, as the Arian Son of God? When some philosopher appears, who with a dash of his pen can blot out sin, or show me that the tears of the penitent, or the blood of bulls and goats can wash it from the universe, then, but not till then, will I turn Arian.
“For the same, or a similar reason, I cannot be a
him that believeth. On either hypothesis, the Arian or Socinian system is wholly at fault. For should we, with the Arian, imagine that Jesus, as to his pre-existent state, was a creature, however exalted, it avails nothing; because the distance between any creature and his Creator is so immense, (infinite I was going to say,) that all the creation might stand between, and yet no nearer approach to Deity. Now if Jesus never was, as to his celestial origin, more than a creature, he could, as a sin-offering, effect nothing more than any other creature: his life and death were all due to his Creator on his own account. Gabriel never can do more than his own duty. But on the other hypothesis, that his death was a mere display of love, in what, let me ask, does this love consist ? To Omnipotence and Omniscience the creation of any one creature is as easy as another. It required no more, or greater effort, on the part of the Almighty, to create Gabriel than an eaglethis most illustrious creature than a sparrow; and how would the text read, “God so loved the world that he
--for its redemption !!!” May I not infer, then, that the Arian philosophy converts the wisdom of God into folly? The Socinian, who calls Jesus divine, and some others who call him a divine person, because of the gifts of the Holy Spirit bestowed on him, might, in their interpretation of the word divine, find room for Balaam's ass; because that ass was uns der such plenary inspiration as to have the words suggested, and to speak with the gift of tongues, when it reproved the madness of the prophet, and preached reformation to him. Assuredly it was, in their vocabulary, a divine ass !"
Socinian. This is but a new edition of the fable-"the mountain's in labor, and a mouse is born.”
Heaven-taught sages, legislators, kings, prophets, priests, and seers, for four thousand years, filled with the spirit of wisdom and revelation, exhaust all the similitudes, analogies, and imagery of this creation; impoverish the eloquence of heaven and earth, all figures and forms of speech, to raise the expectations of mankind in anticipation of a wonderful child, on whose shoulders the government of the universe was to remain, whose name was written, Wonderful, Counsellor—the Mighty God—the Father of Eternity-the Prince of Peace-Immanuel;" yet when the prediction is accomplished, Mary travails, and the carpenter's son is born-a Son of God, it is true, as Adam was !!!
"With me, consistency must precede faith. I must see types, figures, prophecies, promises, harmonizing ; I must see the means and the end correspondent; I must see wisdom, power, goodness, justice, mercy, love, condescension, truth, and holiness, shining in all the splendors of Divinity, before I can subscribe to any proposition touching the personal dignity and standing of my Lord the King.
“ It will not suffice to puzzle me with hard questions about how this can be, since my faith has in its infancy to master the master truth of revelation-to admit that God is Jehovah, or, that God was, and always is, the self-existent, immutable, and eternal, who never began to be; the eternal inhabitant of eternity. Believing this, I find no difficulty in believing that there was, and is, and evermore shall be, society and plurality -- a literal I, and thou, and he--a we, and our, and us, in one divine nature. This to me is as easy as the idea of self-existent; yea, more easy, when I, and thou, and he, deliberate on creation, providence, and redemption. I cannot, for my life, even fancy a nature destitute of I, and thou, and he. I am certain it is not the human-I am certain it is not the angelic--certain, too, that it is not the Divine.
“In our nature there is no more than I, and thou, and he, as respects primary relation. There is no more in the angelic, and the Bible reveals no more than I, and thou, and he, in the Divine. But not turning aside to answer objections which are anticipated, be it observed that I make not this a matter of inference only; for there is an association of the name of the Father, of the Son, and the Holy Spirit in the revealed relation of the three persons, I, thou, and he, and just in the dignity of these three. • I send thee;' • I and thou send him ;'Jehovah and his Spirit has sent me.' On this principle the Christian economy is arranged and developed.* So I read the volumes of revelation."
Yet with all this, and much more as explicit before him, my charitable and impartial reviewer asks: “Can any one doubt whether Mr. Campbell is to all intents and purposes an infidel under a Christian garb ?” Page 306.
is of us.
“ The Translation of the New Testament adopted by the
Campbellites." In the first place, there is no such translation on earth, unless it be that of King James, that which the Presbyterians have adopted. To that we make our first and last appeal in all cases of controversy, and neither preach nor teach any thing not found in it. Should I have called Campbell's and McKnight's versions the translation adopted by the Presbyterians, how much worse than an infidel would I have been! Yet this is just as true of them as it
In our families and churches we read various translations, but have adopted none as authoritative except that used by all English and American Protestants. Several years since I published in one volume Campbell's Four Gospels, McKnight's Epistles, and Doddridge's Acts of Apostles and Apocalypse, and since that time have in later editions made numerous emendations. For which “ bold, and daring, and awful” undertakings, Mr. Landis has distinguished me with some very courteous epithets and characteristics.
Much is said about a mistake which occurred on the titlepage of the first edition of the new translation. Having always heard Jonathan Edwards, president of Princeton College, and Philip Doddridge, quoted, approved, and adopted as Presbyterian authorities, 1 placed Doddridge on the title
* And yet Mr. C. affirms that the Campbellites disavow Trinitarianism as well as Unitarianism! The reader will not be surprised after this that Mr. Landis found it exceedingly difficult to ascertain the real doctrines of Campbellism. See his article, p. 99.-EDITOR.