EMBRACING A VIEW OF THE ORIGIN,
PROGRESS AND PRINCIPLES OF
THE RELIGIOUS REFORMATION WHICH HE ADVOCATED
Originally By ROBERT RICHARDSON
Annotated by NewtonStein
CINCINNATI - STANDARD PUBLISHING COMPANY.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1897, by ROBERT RICHARDSON, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for the District of West Virginia.
OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL
EMBRACING A VIEW OF THE ORIGIN,
PROGRESS AND PRINCIPLES OF
THE RELIGIOUS REFORMATION WHICH HE ADVOCATED.
By ROBERT RICHARDSON
CHAPTER 8 - ORIGINAL PAGES 701-800
CINCINNATI. STANDARD PUBLISHING COMPANY.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1897, by ROBERT RICHARDSON, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for the District of West Virginia.
ACTUAL PAGES 526-537 &
VOL-2, Pages 12-75
526 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
In subsequent essays, he takes the ground that "officers of the church have no right to interfere with the execution of the law, or to supercede civil officers, legally appointed, as, in presuming to do so, they assume that the civil officers are insufficient. It is, however, made the duty of the magistrates to be vigilant in enforcing the law, as they are appointed for the very purpose of maintaining the good order of society, being ordained of God for the punishment of evil-doers and the praise of those who do well." Con- tinuing his essays during the winter, Candidus criti- cises Judge Rush's charge upon the institution of the "Sabbath," in Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, and shows that there is no law in the New Testament pre- scribing the first day of the week as the "Sabbath." Hitherto the writers against Candidus had displayed so little ability that they had not offered even a plausi- ble refutation of one of his arguments, and the cause of the Moral Societies seemed to be in quite a hopeless state. But on the 12th February, there appeared against 'Candidus" a new writer of a different stamp, who signed himself "Timothy," and whose articles were written in much superior style. They were clear and argumentative, entering into the merits of the question and discussing the matters involved, with a manliness and vigor, which formed quite a contrast with the feeble- ness which had heretofore characterized the writers upon that side. In these essays, Timothy referred to Candidus as "Mr. C," and continued them for several weeks without any reply from the latter. The impres- sion hence became general that, feeling himself unable
CANDIDUS AND TIMOTHT. 527
to meet the reasoning of "Timothy," "Candidus had abandoned the discussion ; and it was then whispered round that "Timothy" was none other than Rev. Andrew WyHe, D. D., who had some time before be- come President of Washington College.* At length, upon the i6th April, Candidus reappears, reviewing the progress of the discussion up to that time. To this Timothy replies, admitting that the pre- vious opponents of Candidus had injured their cause. In the same paper, another article appears from Candi- dus, who appears to be conscious that he has now an opponent worthy of regard, and therefore takes hold of Timothy's arguments with more than usual power. In subsequent numbers he ably exposes the plausible sophisms of "Timothy," and sustains the positions he had himself taken, while the replies of Timothy be- come feeble and are at last discontinued. Candidus, accordingly, on the 6th August, 1821, sums up the controversy, and, supposing that Timothy had retired, challenges him to debate the whole question from the beginning, either orally or in the Reporter. To this, on the 20th, Timothy replies, saying he had not retired, but would continue to write as long as Mr. C. advanced anything worthy of notice, and endeavors then to show that Mr. C.'s reasoning was fallacious. This he fol- lowed up in two long articles, which were devoted to invective rather than argument, and treated side-issues * Dr. Wylie had previously occupied the position of President of Jeffer- son College at Canonsburg, to which he was appointed in 1812 ; but after some years resigned and was succeeded by the Rev. W. McMillan. The resignation of Mr. Brown at Washington was occasioned by the action of the trustees rendering Mr. Brown's duties as President incompatible with those due to his congregation, he preferring to adhere to his congregation. The election of Mr. Wylie to succeed him gave rise to a very bitter con- troversy between the friends of the two institutions.
528 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
rather than the main question. Resuming the subject on the 17th of September, Candidus addresses the public through the Reporter, apologizing for the dis- cursive style of the previous discussion, during which he had been induced to follow his opponents into matters irrelevant. He charges Timothy with having pursued an improper course in his articles, and with having written a scurrilous poem which had appeared in the Reporter. He further says that he has made an ar- rangement with his friend Mr. Sample to have the controversy conducted thenceforth in a proper style, and that he will now furnish a column regularly, as a new series of articles. The first of these accompanies this address, and states the argument (which, at this time was confined to the "Sabbath" question) as follows : " The whole of the precepts or commands of the Christian religion are contained in the New Testament. " But there is no precept or command in the New Testa- ment to compel by civil law, any man who is not a Chris- tian to pay any regard to the Lord's day, any more than to any other day. "Therefore to compel a man who is not a Christian to pay any regard to the Lord's day, more than to any other day, is without authority in the Christian religion." The statement of his second argument is as follows : " The gospel commands no duty which can be performed without faith in the Son of God. ' Whatever is not of faith is sin.' " But to compel men destitute of faith to observe any Chris- tian institution, such as the Lord's day, is commanding duty to be performed without faith in God. " Therefore, to command unbelievers or natural men te observe, in any sense, the Lord's day, is anti-evangelical or contrary to the gospel."
EFFECTS OF THE DISCUSSION. 529
In subsequent papers, Candidus now proceeds regu- larly, in a clear and cogent manner, to refute Timothy's arguments and sustain his own, paying no attention to scurrilous pieces which occasionally appeared against him. On the 29th of October, Timothy announces that he will not reply regularly, but will review the whole when Candidus is done. In November, Candidus con- tinues the subject in able articles, and in January, 1822, Timothy reviews his pieces at some length and with considerable ingenuity. Candidus appears again in an able refutation on the 28th of January, and finally on the 25th of February, as no further articles appeared from Timothy, who had evidently exhausted his re- sources, and whose arguments had been clearly over- thrown, Candidus closes the discussion with an apology for any inadvertent expressions, and with kind expres- sions in reference to his ingenious opponent, thus re- maining the acknowledged victor in the controversy which had now continued during nearly two years. The effect of these essays upon the public mind was great. Men, whose minds had been previously bewil- dered and confused upon the subject, now perceived clearly the nature of the questions at issue, and though the " Moral Societies" continued their operations with even more than usual zeal, there were many who only waited for a favorable opportunity in order to put their authority to the test. This was not long wanting. A man named Isaac Jones, a citizen of Wellsburg, had been attending to some business at the court in Wash- ington, which detained him until it was too late on Saturday evening to reach home that day. As his wife was in delicate health, he thought it necessary to sel out early next morning. But on approaching West Middletown he was met, near Davis' tavern, by five
VOL. I. — 530 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
men, who demanded to know where he was going. He told them he was going home to Wellsburg, and asked in turn where they were going. They replied that they were going to meeting, and as he was violating the law against "Sabbath-breaking" by traveling on that day, he must go back with them to Washington. This Mr. Jones found himself compelled to do, though, as may be well supposed, not in a very devotional frame of mind. Upon coming up to the steps of the hotel at Washington, they found standing there several of the lawyers who had been in attendance upon the court, as James Ross of Pittsburg, Philip Doddridge of Wells- burg, and with them, Judge Baird of Washington, who was a warm friend of Mr. Jones. Mr. Ross, surprised to see him back, inquired the reason, and when informed of his arrest, became very indignant, and told the men that they should pay dearly for their conduct. As James Ross was a lawyer of great eminence, they be- came alarmed and were about to go away, when they were informed that they must not depart until their names and residences were duly taken down. Suit was at once brought against them for unlawful arrest, and the matter being adjourned from time to time in the court at Washington, was at length transferred to Pitts- burg, where it was finally decided against the persons making the arrest, who were adjudged to pay consider- able damages. These Mr. Jones refused to accept; but so great had been the costs and expenses of the suit that the convicted persons became quite impover- ished in their circumstances, and the questions at issue being now legally determined, the operations of the •* Moral Societies" totally ceased from that time, so that these organizations were heard of no more. That Mr. Campbell's exposure of the spirit and pur
DEVOTION TO TRUTH. 531
poses of these societies, and of the unscriptural and anti-republican character of their principles, had largely contributed to this result there could be no question. The same desire of being serviceable to society, which led him, in the essays of Clarinda, to attempt the correc- tion of the social evils he found existing upon his first arrival at Washington, or, in those of Bonus Homo, to subserve the interests of collegiate education, had now induced him to attempt the rescue of the community from the civil tyranny which bigoted religionists had been seeking to establish in the name of morality. Such was his nature, that he was ever ready to enter the lists in defence of truth and right, and sought ever to instruct, liberate and elevate society in spite of all the obloquy, calumny and reproach constantly heaped upon him. In the uncalculating and unselfish spirit of a true reformer, he sought for truth alone, and in its defence he feared no opposition. Though, in common with noble minds, he was not insensible to fame, as an advo- cate of right he was indifferent to censure. Though lenient to the mistakes and frailties of men, his feelings revolted against deliberate schemes to acquire arbitrary power ; and though ever ready to grant the largest liberty of opinion in matters of indifference or mere expediency, in those of morality and religion he would admit no standard but the Bible. With him, personal considerations were of little moment compared with the great issues affecting the welfare of mankind, and hav- ing no partisan religious interests to subserve, he was free from that narrow-minded bigotry which claims for its opinions a sort of infallibility, and will never consent to change. Hence he was never ashamed to acknow- ledge errors, but, in his progress toward clearer views, openly acknowledged them in renouncing the prejudices
532 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
of his religious education, and publicly professing a truer faith. Hence, too, it was that every honorable opponent he met in his numerous discussions soon learned to regard him with respect, and, notwithstand- ing the severity of his logic and the keenness of his sarcasm, to entertain for him, after the contest was over, the most friendly personal feelings. Of this. President Wylie affords a marked example, for, after the discussion about the " Moral Societies," he became a warm friend of Mr. Campbell ; and when, some years after, he removed to the West, where Mr. Campbell had by this time acquired great influence, he received from the latter introductory and commendatory letters which contributed to place him at once in the position for which he was fitted by his learning and abilities. He soon became President of the State University of Indiana, and during the remainder of his life kept up a familiar and friendly correspondence with Mr. Campbell, who always retained a high regard for him, and often spoke in terms of high praise of his scholarship and talents. And it is worthy of remark, also, that such impressions had been made upon the mind of Mr. Wylie that, after the discussion with Mr. Campbell, he ceased to advocate the claims of any religious sect, and gradually made such advances that, after his removal to the West, he began to oppose partyism altogether, and reached pretty nearly the conclusions of the Christian Association, becoming a strong advocate of Christian union, and even leaving the Presbyterians and attending the worship of the Episcopal Church as more liberal in its spirit. With regard to the questions involved in the debate about the "Moral Societies," it seemed not a little strange, as was shown by Candidus, that a people pro-
CHIEF OBJECT OF THE SOCIETIES. 533 fessing Christianity should betray such ignorance of its principles as to think of making men moral by legal enactments. Unlike Judaism, which demanded only an external conformity, Christianity addresses itself to the heart, the fountain of human motives and actions, and seeks to make "• the tree good" in order that " its fruit may be good," since " an evil tree cannot bring forth good fruit." But the miscalled "Moral Societies" sought not to cherish or strengthen any moral principle, but rather to repress the indulgence of one evil passion by bringing into exercise another, that was perhaps worse ; as when they wished to correct intemperance or profanity by an appeal to the love of money. True morality must proceed from principle, not from law ; and it is here the power of conscience that is to be invoked, instead of that of the magistrate. It became evident, however, during the progress of affairs, that it was the leading object of these societies to establish by law their views of the "Sabbath," and it was this point which occupied, therefore, the larger share of the discussion. This effort to replace republi- can liberty by religious thraldom, would appear not less strange than to attempt to inspire men with moral principles by means of fines, were it not a familiar fact in history that representative religious bodies, as for- merly remarked, have an inherent tendency to exercise arbitrary power and to trample under foot the dearest privileges of mankind. In the case under considera- tion, the so-called "Moral Societies" of Washington county could by no means plead ignorance of the Constitution and laws of Pennsylvania as an apology for their proceedings ; for, in the United States, nothing could be more clearly drawn than the line separating Church and State, and it was but a short time before 45 • 534 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL. the establishment of these *' Societies" that a case had come up in the Washington court, which brought this particular subject prominently before the minds of the people. It happened that a suit for slander had been brought against an individual who was charged with having circulated, to the injury of a political candidate, that the latter, in contempt for religion, had "administered the sacrament to a dog." This brought up the question whether or not such words were actionable, and Lawyer Mountain, in his speech upon the occasion, which was published in the Washington Reporter^ after referring to opinions given by Lord Chief Justice De Grey in a similar case in England (Onslow against Horn, 3 Wil- son, 178), went on to lay down the law of Pennsylvania in regard to this class of alleged offences : " Could a man," he said, "be indicted under the Constitution and laws of Pennsylvania for this shameful abuse of this most sacred ordinance? The counsel for the plaintiff allege that Christianity is part of the common law, and in this they are supported by a maxim of law and by opinions of the judges of England. But what has the common law of England, in this respect, to do with the common law of Pennsylvania? Does tlie Christian religion derive any support from our Con- stitution or our laws? No. It is left to its own native and intrinsic excellence, uncontaminated by the constitutions and laws of man, with whose constitution error seems to have been interwoven by an immutable law. Religion requires not the aid of legislatures and judges. Like our globe, librata -ponderibus suis, poised by its own weight, it rises above the ruins of empires, and, like the lightning of heaven, pursues the direction of its eternal Founder. Religion loves its own chaste simplicity. Bind it to the State, and you bind the living to the dead ; it becomes an engine in the hands of fools and of knaves, and leads to the temporal degradation SABBATH QUESTION IN CONGRESS. 535 of every man of candor and of honesty. History shows this important truth. Many of us have seen the effects of this unnatural union in Europe, and we have all seen the happy effects of their separation in Pennsylvania — may that separa- tion be perpetual ! " Could a man be indicted in Pennsylvania who would declare himself in favor of a plurality of gods, and who would worship them in his own way-f" Could a man be indicted in this State who would deny the divinity of Jesus Christ, and publish a book in opposition to the same? Thomas Paine was indicted in England for his Age of Reason; could he have been indicted in Pennsylvania.? A statute passed in the first year of the reign of Edward VI., repealed in the first year of the reign of Mary, and revived in the first of the reign of Elizabeth, enacts that whosoever shall deprave, despise or contemn the most blessed sacra- ment of the Lord's Supper, in contempt thereof, by any con- temptuous word or words of depraving, despising or revil- ing ; or shall advisedly in any other wise contemn, despise or revile the same, contrary to the effects and declarations aforesaid, shall suffer imprisonment and make fine and ran- som at the king's pleasure. Is this statute in force in Penn- sylvania.? No. It and all similar statutes are swept away like cobwebs by the Constitution of the State. The man, then, who would commit this act, this impious act, could not be indicted, but would remain a monument of his own folly, of his own indiscretion and impiety, and of our unex- ampled separation of Church and State, of things human and divine." Notwithstanding the failure of the Presbyterians to establish by law in Washington county their views of the "Sabbath," as above related, another and more general effort was made, a few years later, to get these notions of the proper observance of the "Sabbath" sanctioned and established. For this purpose, in the year 1829, Congress was suddenly overwhelmed with
536 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL. numerous petitions, coming in from all parts of the country, and from various ecclesiastical bodies, praying that the public mails might all be stopped upon the Sabbath day ; and every possible influence was brought to bear upon the National Legislature in order to obtain the passage of an act to this effect. The matter assumed so important a phase that it was referred to a committee, and its chairman, Richard M. Johnson, after some time made a report which was regarded at the time as a very remarkable document, and excited so much interest, and received so much applause, that it was published throughout the country, and largely distributed also in the form of handbills, which were framed and hung up in dwellings, like a new Declara- tion of Independence. As it was perfectly well known that Richard M. Johnson possessed neither the education nor the ability to write such a document, a great desire was manifested by the people to discover its real author; and public sentiment was not long in deciding that it could be no one else than Alexander Campbell. Those best acquainted with him recognized it at once by its style, as well as by the character of the arguments urged against granting the petition. It was known that Mr. Campbell was on terms of friendly acquaint- ance with the chairman of the committee, and in inti- mate religious fellowship with his brother, John T. Johnson ; so that nothing appeared more natural than that Mr. Campbell should have been privately re- quested to prepare such a document upon a subject to which it was well known he had already devoted great attention. If this was the case, it was, of course, a matter entirely confidential ; and Mr. Campbell was too honorable ever to acknowledge himself the author.
SAFEGUARD OF CIVIL FREEDOM. 537
It is proper to say, however, also, that when the author- ship was charged upon him, as it often was, by his intimate friends, he was not known in any case posi- tively to deny it, but always evaded giving a direct reply. These being the facts in the case, the docu- ment in question, will be placed in the Appendix, in order that the reader may judge for himself, especially as it is itself worth}' of preservation, and is closely related to the subject of the present chapter. (See Appendix B. First or Library edition.) It is not to be supposed that the failure of the efforts above spoken of, to impose religious observances upon the people by law, has at all changea the principles or purposes of any religious party concerned in such movements ; and it is doubtless an important safeguard to freedom that no one denomination possesses sufficient strength and unity to control the councils 6( the nation. No party of religionists, who have already yielded up the citadel of the soul to spiritual tyranny, are fit to legislate for a free people. Hence, there was nothing that Mr. Campbell feared more, as to its probable effect upon public liberty, than the preponderance of a reli- gious sect, and especiall}'^ that of the Roman Catholic Church. He therefore constantly sought to weaken the power of existing hierarchies, to expose the schemes of priestly ambition, and to support all just claims of freedom both in Church and State.
EMBRACING A VIEW OF THE ORIGIN, PROGRESS AND PRINCIPLES OF THE RELIGIOUS REFORMATION WHICH HE ADVOCATED.
By ROBERT RICHARDSON.
More sweet than odors caught by him who sails Near spicy shores of Araby the blest, A thousand times more exquisitely sweet. The freight of holy feeling which we meet. In thoughtful moments, wafted by the gales From fields where good men walk, or bow'rs wherein they rest. Wordsworth.
CINCINNATI. STANDARD PUBLISHING COMPANY.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1898, by ROBERT RICHARDSON, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for the District of West Virginia.
MEMOIRS OF Alexander Campbell.
Religious dissensions, now to be ended — Public oral debates — Discuswnon with Mr. Walker — Its origin — Its progress — Its results — First family De- reavement — The family cemetery — The Holy Spirit the true seal oi the New Covenant
TO put an end to religious controversy had been one of the chief aims of the Reformation proposed by Thomas Campbell. It was his conviction that, if men would adopt the Bible as the only standard of religious truth, and accept the meaning of its words as deter- mined simply by the rules of language, its true sense would be sufficiently obvious, and there would be uni- versal agreement in relation to the things which it re- vealed. It was his fond hope that religious dissensions might be thus brought to a close, and that there would be thenceforward no occasion whatever for controversy except with those who denied the divine authority of the Bible. Speaking of the primitive Church as de- scribed in the New Testament, he said : " Let us do as we are there expressly told they did ; say as they said ; that is, profess and practice, as therein expressly en- joined by precept and precedent, in every possible instance after their approved example, and in so doing we shall realize and exhibit all that unity and uni-
12 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
formity that the primitive Church possessed, or that the law of Christ requires." The view which he thus adopted was, indeed, sim- ply the great fundamental principle of Protestantism itself, as well stated by Chillingworth in the following words : " Let all men believe the Scripture, and that only, and en- deavor to believe it in the true sense, and require no more of others, and they shall find this not only a better, but the only means to suppress heresy and restore unity. For he that be- lieves the Scripture sincerely, and endeavors to believe it in the true sense, cannot possibly be a heretic. And if no more than this were required of any man to make him capable of the Church's communion, then all men, so qualified, though they were different in opinion, notwithstanding any such dif- ference, must be of necessity one in communion." — T'he Religion of Protestants a Safe Way to Salvation^ p. 23 (Bohn's edition). The distinction between faith and opinion was here clearly indicated, nothing more being proposed in order to communion and unity than to believe " the Scripture tfw/y," and to endeavor "to believe it in the true sense J* In laying down this principle, the intelligibility of Scrip- ture was necessarily implied, and it was not for a mo- ment doubted that its true sense could be gathered from its words taken according to their established use and in their just connection ; since to have thought other- wise would have been to regard the Bible as having no determinate meaning at all. With Thomas Campbell, therefore, and all who really adopted this principle, a simple appeal to Scripture was regarded as decisive in relation to every matter on which it treated ; while, on the other hand, as respects the innumerable religious questions which have been or might be started, aside
CONTROVERSY OPPOSED. 13
from Revelation, these, as merely human inferences and opinions, were to be considered as without authority over the conscience, and as of too little importance in themselves to be subjects of debate or strife. During his whole life, Thomas Campbell was accordingly most careful to avoid all untaught questions. He did not seem indeed to regard them as worthy of even a mo- ment's consideration, and it was usual with him to re- mark, in reply to any one who proposed such a ques- tion, "Well, sir, if you will show me how your inquiry affects in any way your salvation, I will endeavor to answer it." Nor was Alexander less firm in adhering to the principle adopted, though, from the greater dis- cursiveness of his mind and his fondness for investiga- tion, he seemed somewhat more indulgent to such questioners. In the confident expectation that controversy might thus be wholly dispensed with among believers, it had been stated by Thomas Campbell, in the Address of the Christian Association of Washington, that ** contro- versy formed no part of the intended plan," and that " though written objections to the proposed movement would be thankfully received and seriously considered, verbal controversy was absolutely refused." The utility, indeed, of friendly discussion in order to elicit truth and bring out the whole Scripture testimony in relation to any particular subject, was always admitted, and, in private, constantly experienced ; but the feelings of the Reformers were at first decidedly opposed to public oral debates even on scriptural themes, as being not favor- able to the promotion of Christian union, since persons thus publicly committed to the support of particular views were too often tempted to strive for victory, rather than for truth, and to refuse to sound argument and
14 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
Scripture proof that candid and dispassionate consider- ation which they deserved. Hence it was that, when Alexander Campbell was urged in the spring of 1820, to engage in a public oral debate with Mr. Walker, on the question of Baptism, he at first declined to consent, " not regarding," as he said, ''public debates" to be "the proper method of proceeding in contending for the faith once delivered to the saints." He had adopted this conclusion, however, more from deference to his father's feelings on the sub- ject, than from his own matured convictions of expe- diency or from his natural temperament. Conscious of dialectic power, and possessed of unfaltering courage, he had been characterized even in his boyhood, by his readiness to maintain the right, and to enter the lists in debate with any worthy champion among his school- mates. His quick perception of logical relations ; his wide range of thought ; his great fluency of speech and the keenness of his wit, peculiarly adapted him to pub- lic discussion ; and the struggle was by no means slight when, from respect to existing circumstances, he felt obliged to repress his native ardor, and to keep within the lines which his father's caution had prescribed. His peculiar abilities as a public disputant were not, however, destined to remain inactive in the field of the Reformation. Already had the aggressive course of the " Synod of Pittsburg" led him, while yet a mere youth, to appear in public vindication of the Christian Association, and the time had now arrived when a fresh challenge from Presbyterianism was to call him out fairly and fully into that field of polemical discussion in which he was to find a proper scope for his abilities. It had happened, during the fall of 1819, that a Mr. John Birch, a Baptist preacher at Flat Rock, near Mt.
WALKER'S CHALLENGE. 15
Pleasant, Ohio, had baptized an unusual number of converts. This success, awakening the zeal of the minister of the Secession church at Mt. Pleasant, Mr. John Walker, induced him to deliver a series of ser- mons in praise of infant baptism, and in contravention of the principles entertained by the Baptists. On one of these occasions, Mr. Birch was present, and as Mr. Walker, in the course of his remarks, made some quota- tions from the works of Dr. Baldwin which seemed unfair, he, after sermon, took the liberty of asking Mr. Walker to what portion of Dr. Baldwin's works he re- ferred. Upon this, a short dispute arose as to the meaning of the passage quoted, and this was followed by several interviews and some correspondence, ending in a challenge by Mr. Walker to Mr. Birch, or any other Baptist preacher of good standing whom Mr. Birch might choose, to come forward publicly and de- bate with him the question of baptism. Mr. Birch readily accepted the proposition, and from his high opinion of Mr. Campbell's ability, at once wrote to him urging him to undertake the discussion. To this appeal, Mr. Campbell, in the circumstances in which he was placed, was unable to give an imme- diate reply. He kept it, therefore, for some time under advisement. Mr. Birch meanwhile renewed the appli- cation, and finally on 27th of March addressed to Mr. Campbell the following note : " Dear Brother : I once more undertake to address you by letter ; as we are commanded not to weary in well-doing, I am disposed to persevere. I am coming this third time unto you. I cannot persuade myself that you will refuse to attend to the dispute with Mr. Walker ; therefore I do not feel disposed to complain because you have sent me no an- swer. True, I have expected an answer, signifying your ac-
16 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL. ceptance of the same. I am as yet disappointed, but am not offended nor discouraged. I can truly say it is the unanimous wish of all the church to which I belong that you should be the disputant. It is Brother Nathaniel Skinner's desire ; it is the wish of all the brethren with whom I have conversed that you should be the man. You will, I hope, send me an answer by Brother Jesse Martin, who has promised to bear this unto you. Come, brother ; come over into Macedonia and help us. Yours, in the best of bonds, "John Birch." Being thus called upon by the church, and urged by personal friends, he could no longer refuse to yield to his convictions of public duty. His devotion to the cause of truth, and, as he says, his "unwillingness to appear, much more to feel, afraid or ashamed to defend it," overcame the scruples arising from his aversion to do anything which might be construed into a sanction of modern religious controversy. Having succeeded, accordingly, in convincing his father that, however much the usual unprofitable debates upon human theo- ries and opinions were to be deplored and avoided, no valid objection could lie against a public defence of re- vealed truth, for which the Scripture affoided abundant precedent, he at length informed Mr. Birch of his will- ingness to meet Mr. Walker. These facts are of some importance, because Mr. Campbell, from the numerous public discussions in which he was subsequently engaged, came to be re- garded by many as a person disposed to provoke debate, and as seeking opportunity to assail the relig- ious views of others. The history of the case shows, however, that here, as heretofore, he was acting en- tirely on the defensive ; that he was placed under an imperious necessity^ to appear in behalf of the interests
RULES OF THE DEBATE. 17
of truth, and that he had not in any respect provoked or originated controversy with the Paedobaptists. As soon as Mr. Walker heard of Mr. Campbeirs ac- ceptance, he addressed to him the following note, which, in its style and spirit, shows sufficiently who was the dictating and leading party : " New Athens, May 30, 1820. "Mr. Alexander Campbell, Buffalo Setninary: " I think proper to intimate to you that I have chosen the Rev. Samuel Findley to preside at the time of our public dis- pute : you have the privilege of choosing another ; you will please to make such choice, and let him meet with Mr. Findley prior to the day of public dispute, that we may not be de- tained. They should determine the manner of dispute, and fix rules by which we should proceed, and preside, not to give judgment, but to keep order. " Yours, with respect, "John Walker." Mr. Walker, it thus appeared, had decided that the moderators should refrain from giving judgment upon the merits of the discussion, and had selected on his side Mr. Findley, who had already, as has been seen, signalized on various occasions his intense hostility to Mr. Campbell. The latter chose, on his part, Mr. Jacob Martin, and the following rules for the discussion were adopted : '> I. Each speaker shall have the privilege of speaking forty minutes without interruption, if he thinks proper to use them all. 2. Mr. Walker shall open the debate and Mr. Campbell shall close it. 3. The moderators are merely to keep order, not to pronounce judgment on the merits of the debate. 4. The proper subject of the ordinance of baptism is first to be discussed, then the mode of baptism. 5. The debate must be conducted with decorum, and all improper allusions or passionate language guarded against. 6. The debate shall TOL. 11.— B 2 * 1 8 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL. be continued from day to day till the people are satisfied, or till the moderators think that enough has been said on each topic of debate." Monday morning, the 19th of June, having been ap- pointed as the time for the commencement of the dis- cussion, the parties assembled, accordingly, early on that day at the place agreed upon, Mr. Campbell being accompanied by his father and a few friends who felt a particular interest in the result. The place selected was Mt. Pleasant, in Ohio, a village some twenty-three miles distant from Mr. Campbell's residence, and situ- ated in the midst of a very beautiful and fertile country, gently undulating and greatly improved by the care- ful culture and industry characteristic of the Quaker farmers who constituted a large portion of the surround- ing population. Comfortable dwellings, rich fields of clover, substantial fences and thrifty orchards greeted the eye on every side, with here and there luxuriant groves or smaller clumps of stately forest trees. This region was quite thickly settled, and as considerable interest in the subject had been already created, and public polemical discussions were at this time quite a novelty, a large and attentive assembly was in attend- ance. Immediately upon his arrival, Mr. Campbell was privately informed by several persons that Mr. Walker, under the impression that he was of an irascible tem- perament, had intimated his intention to throw him off his guard by irritating language, so as to gain the ad- vantage over him. Mr. Walker, however, had been entirely misinformed, as Mr. Campbell, though of an earnest and ardent nature, was remarkably self-pos- sessed and firm ; and if he really intended to pursue the course stated, he thought it best to abandon his purpose ARGUMENT FROM CIRCUMCISION. 19 An interview of more than an hour which he had with Mr. Campbell before the debate began may perhaps have undeceived him ; but, however this may have been, it is certain that he made no such attempt, but acted from the beginning to the end of the discussion in a much more gentlemanly manner than Mr. Campbell anticipated, so that the debate was conducted through- out with a commendable degree of coolness and moder- ation. Mr. Walker's first speech was very short, simply stating the argument upon which throughout he chiefly relied. " My friends," said he, " I don't intend to speak long at one time, perhaps not more than five or ten minutes, and will therefore come to the point at once : I maintain that baptism came in the room of circumcision ; that the covenant on which the Jewish Church was built, and to which circum- cision is the seal, is the same with the covenant on which the Christian Church is built, and to which baptism is the seal ; that the Jews and the Christians are the same body politic under the same lawgiver and husband ; hence the Jews were called the congregation of the Lord ; and the Bridegroom of the Church says, ' My love, my undefiled is one' — conse- quently the infants of believers have a right to baptism." Mr. Campbell, upon rising, after a modest exordium which w^as well calculated to gain the favorable atten- tion of the audience, went on to add some remarks in justification of the practice of public discussion which had been recently with himself and his father a subject of careful inquiry. After then referring to his own change of views in reference to baptism, he entered upon the refutation of the argument stated by Mr. Walker, showing that Paedobaptists acted as if they did not themselves believe it true, since, in point of fact, 20 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL. they did not put baptism in the room of circumcision, as they did not confine it to males only and extend it to servants as well as children ; perform it on the eighth day, etc. ; and then proceeded to point out various dif- ferences between the two institutions which rendered the supposed substitution of the one for the other im- possible. Among these, he particularizes the fact that circumcision required only carnal descent from Abra- ham, or covenant relation to Abraham, but that baptism demanded faith in Christ as its indispensable prerequi- site ; and that baptism differed from circumcision in the nature of the blessings it conveyed, which were spirit- ual and not temporal, etc. '♦ Baptism," said he, "is connected with the promise of the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.** This utterance is worthy of notice as his first definite and public recognition of the peculiar office of baptism. While, however, he thus, in 1820, distinctly perceived and asserted a scriptural connection between baptism and remission of sins, he seems at this time to have viewed it only in the light of an argument, and to have had but a faint appreciation of its great practical im- portance. A momentary and passing glance only seems as yet to have been directed to the great purpose of baptism, which subsequently assumed so conspicuous a position in the restoration of the primitive gospel. As to the differences alleged between baptism and cir- cumcision, Mr. Walker affected to regard them as of little consequence, saying in general that Christ had a right to add or alter as he pleased, and giving as a reason for the selection of the eighth day for circum- cision that the Jewish mother was ceremonially unclean seven days, and was not permitted to accompany the child to the sanctuary at an earlier period. Mr. Camp- ARGUMENT FROM THE COVENANTS. 21 hell's superior knowledge of the Bible enabled him at once to confute this assertion and to show from Lev. xii. 2-4, that the mother was not permitted to come into the sanctuary until the end oi forty days, and further- more that the eighth day had been appointed four hun- dred years before the giving of the law which desig- nated the periods of purification. The chief point debated, however, was the identity of the covenants on which the Jewish and Christian institutions rested, as asserted by Mr. Walker. In refutation of this, Mr. Campbell adduced Paul's account of the " new" cove- nant, founded upon "better promises," and the subject was discussed at considerable length. Such were some of the principal points brought for- ward during the first day. As Mr. Walker used con- siderable repetition and often recurred to his argument from the covenants without considering the refutation given by Mr. Campbell, the latter employed a portion of his time in directing the attention of the audience to some of the general principles of the Reformation he was laboring to establish ; which, if admitted, must sweep away the entire foundation of Mr. Walker's system. Some of these were : the supreme authority of Scripture, and the necessity of a positive command for every religious institution, which in no case could be based upon mere reasoning or upon human tradition. On the following morning, Mr. Walker reiterated his views concerning the covenants, and appealed to the four cases of household baptism mentioned in the New Testament as evidence that infants were baptized in apostolic times. Mr. Campbell, however, showed it to be wholly without proof that there were infants in any rf these families. He proved, on the contrary, from incidental circumstances stated in each case, that there 22 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL. could have been none. *' All the house of Cornelius," as McLean concisely remarks, '''feared God and re- ceived the Holy Spirit. Lydia's household were com- forted as brethren. The word of the Lord was spoken to all in the jailer's house, and they all rejoiced, believ- ing in God as well as himself. All the house of Cris- pus believed on the Lord, and the house of Stephanas are said to have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints. Now, if these things which are affirmed of all the baptized will not appl}' to infants, then it is plain there were no infants baptized in those houses." Finding that Mr. Walker continued to repeat his argument from the covenants, Mr. Campbell resolved to give it a more thorough sifting, especially as Mr. Walker seemed to labor under the impression that he desired to evade it. Intimating, therefore, that it was his purpose to publish the debate, he propounded cer- tain queries to Mr. Walker, in order that he might have a precise statement of the ground he occupied and fore- stall any charges of misrepresentation. Mr. Walker, admitting that the positions attributed to him were cor- rectly stated as written down by Mr. Campbell, pro- posed to him in turn certain questions, which he an- swered in his next speech, in which he again proposed questions to Mr. Walker. At this juncture he was inter- rupted by Mr. Findley, who objected to this mode of proceeding. He said that, " as the object of this meet- ing was the edification of the public, he could not con- ceive how the asking and answering of questions could promote their edification. He desired that we should proceed in some way more conducive to their edifica- tion." To this Mr. Campbell replied : '♦ Mr. Findley, you are doubtless an advocate for the Westminster Creed and Catechism, and, I presume, as such, must THE SPIRITUAL COVENANT. 23 a^ree with your brethren that the catechetical mode of instruction is the best. As we are now proceeding as the Westminster divines direct, I think, you cannot with- out a derehction of principle object." This effectually silenced Mr. Findley's objections, and Mr. Walker went on, in reply to Mr. Campbell's queries, to assert : '•''That temporal and spiritual blessings were enjoyed under both covenants through the righteousness of Christy and that the covenants were therefore the same in this re- spect. He added that all the blessings mankind ever enjoyed, even the very least, were enjoyed through Christ's righteousness." " This diesis," said Mr. Campbell in reply, " the Cov- enanters of Europe maintained, and the Seceders opposed it. The Seceders in Scotland maintained that it was derog- atory to the redemption of Christ to suppose that he died ' to purchase food and raiment for mankind, which the Almighty had given to the brutes that perish.' Moreover, the Seceders affirmed that it was an error of a very pernicious tendency to say that wicked men, dying impenitent, had enjoyed any part of the purchase of Christ, which, upon the Covenanters' hy- pothesis, they must, if their food and raiment, houses, lands and tenements were a part of his purchase. Mr. W., then, abandons the ' Mother Kirk ' of Scotland and joins the Cov- enanters, in order to maintain that the covenant of circum- cision is the same as the covenant of grace. This, with me, however, is a small matter, if he did not also oppose Moses and Paul." He then showed that the claim of privilege under the covenant of circumcision was simply carnal descent from Abraham. " We have Abraham to our father," was the claim urged by the Jews. On the other hand, the spiritual covenant placed the enjoyment of its blessings on a very dif- ferent basis. " If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed and heirs, according to the promise." Mr. Walker asserted also, . " That the duties incumbent upon the subjects of both COV' enants were the sa?}ie." H MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL. "That is," said Mr. Campbell, " 'an eye for an eye' and ' a tooth for a tooth ' is the same as ' resist not evil ' — ' hate your enemy ' is the same as ' love your enemies.' . . . The paying of tithes to the Levites, the buying and selling slaves of the heathen, etc., are all the same in substance with pay- ing stipends to the clergy, buying and selling slaves in the United States, etc." Mr. Walker affirmed further, " That there were no penalties under either covenant^* This extraordinary declaration was readily exposed by a reference to the numerous penalties denounced against viola- tions of the Mosaic law (Deut. xxviii.), and to the punish- ments attached to the New, as in i Cor. xi. Mr. Walker then finally urged, ''''That Abraham was not the father of a twofold seed^ but of the faithful alone." " That," said Mr. Campbell, " is the most flat contradiction of plain Scripture testimony I have heard from the lips of a professed teacher of religion. ' I have made thee (by cov- enant) the father of many nations,' Rom. iv. 17; and verses II, 12. 'And he received the sign of circumcision, . , . that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised ;' and ' the father of the circumcision,' not only as their natural father, but to such of them ' as walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham.'' . . . That he was the natural father of the whole Jewish nation and the spiritual father of all true believers, whether Jews or Gentiles, Mr. Walker himself, I am convinced, has often observed ; and it is now owing to the confusion of his mind and the per- nicious tendency of a corrupt system that he does not con- fess it." Mr. Walker now abandoned, somewhat hastily, his favorite argument from the covenants, which, under Mr. Campbell's inquisition, had led him to make assertions so unwarrantable ; and passing to the argument from antiquity, adduced some of the primitive fathers to prove ARGUMENT FROM ANTI^UITT. 2$ the existence of the practice of infant baptism in the early Church. Admitting that both infant baptism and infant sprink- ling were very ancient practices, Mr. Campbell denied that mere antiquity could prove them to be right, since many things were introduced, even in the first and second centuries, which are admitted to be corruptions, and which would have to be received upon the same ground ; as, for instance, the divine right of episcopacy, the observance of Easter, the celibacy of the clergy, the doctrine of purgatory, etc. He affirmed, however, that infant baptism was not taught or practiced for many years after the apostolic age, there being no record ex- tant that mentions it for at least one hundred and fifty years after the Christian era, the testimony of the primi- tive fathers being, up to this time, exclusively in favor of believers' baptism. ''The first, indeed, who men- tions infant baptism," said he, '• is Tertullian, who flourished from A. D. 194 to 216, and is ranked among the writers of the third century. And even he speaks of it to disapprove of it, and says of it, along with other things of a similar nature, ' If you demand a law for these practices taken from the Scriptures, we cannot Und otie there, but we must answer that it is tradition that has established them, custom that has authorized them and fat th that has made them to be observed.' " During this part of the discussion, Mr. Findley again interrupted Mr. Campbell, and objected to his reading passages from Robinson, on the ground that the latter had impugned the character of St. Cyprian. After some delay, the question was referred to the assembly, which decided, by a large majority, that the extracts should be read. The testimony of the fathers having been fully examined upon the subject of the origin of 26 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL. infant baptism, the debate was adjourned for half an hour at two o'clock on Tuesday, with the understanding that, on reassembling, the action, or, as it is termed, the mode, of baptism was to be discussed. Mr. Campbell was surprised to find, when the time arrived, that Mr. Findley, at the instance of Mr. Walker, wished to limit the further discussion to one speech on each side. This desire for so abrupt a termination he had not ex- pected from those who in the beginning had proposed to adjourn from day to day until everything was fully discussed, but he consented to close with two speeches on each side, on the ground that if it was sufficient for them it was quite sufficient for him. Mr. Walker then went on to adduce the usual argu- ments to prove that " pouring and sprinkling are scrip- tural modes of baptism, urging that the expression ' in water ' might be rendered with water, and that ^anxi^oi did not necessarily signify to dip, but to sprinkle or pour, because in some cases it implies ' to wash.' " In reply, Mr. Campbell quoted the eminent Presbyterian translator and critic. Dr. George Campbell, affirming that ^anri^io should be rendered immerse or dip, and that in construction with it the preposition sv should be translated in, and not with. These concessions he cor- roborated by the authority of a number of the most eminent scholars and by the standard lexicons of the Greek lanoruag-e. To this Mr. Walker made but a fee- ble rejoinder, closing with a few remarks to the audi- ence. Mr. Campbell then adduced some additional and overwhelming proofs with regard to the action signified by baptism, and in concluding the debate took occasion to speak thus of the course pursued by Mr. Findley : " I am sorry I cannot compliment Mr. Findley, Mr Walker's moderator, for his impartiality on this occasion. OPINION OF THE CLERGY. 27 His partiality has been so manifest to you all as to require no comment from me. I merely wish to let you know that I am conscious of it, and that my not speaking of it sooner was not from the want of perception, but to preserve that decorum in the course of the debate which I considered comely, and from which I was determined not to be forced, even by treat- ment still more flagrant. ... I freely forgive him, however, attributing it to a misguided zeal, and hope you also will for- give him." After noticing some other matters, he then thus, in the presence of Mr. Walker and Mr. Findley, fearlessly expressed his opinion of the clergy : " You have heard," said he to the audience, " and patiently attended to this tedious debate. What are you now to do? I will answer this question for you : Go home and read your Bibles ; examine the testimonies of those holy oracles; judge for yourselves, and be not implicit followers of the clergy Amongst the clergy of different denominations, I charitably think, there are a few good men ; but, as a body of men, ' they have taken away the key of knowledge from the people.* And how^ do you say .? By teaching you to look to them for instruction as children to a father ; by preventing you from judging for yourselves, through an impression that you are not competent to judge for yourselves. This is a prevailing opinion with many. Of what use, then, is the Bible to the bulk of mankind, if you are not to presume to examine it for yourselves, or to think yourselves capable of judging of itf This is to make you the dupes of haughty leaders, who will cause you to err. To attempt, directly or indirectly, to dis- suade you from thinking and examining for yourselves, by putting creeds already framed into your hands, or the works of men instead of the pure Word, is, in my opinion, so far depriving you of the key of knowledge. I do not say that all the clergy are doing so, but I am sure that a vast majority of them are doing so." It must be confessed that Mr. Campbell's knowledge 28 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL. of the existing state of religious society, and his ac- quaintance with the clergy heretofore, in a good degree justified the conceptions he had formed of them. He had found them, both in Europe and America, opposed to reforms ; ever on the alert to repress inquiry ; ever seeking to exercise complete control over men's opinions, and ever ready to employ against any who presumed to dispute their authority the unchristian weapons of de- traction and persecution. In vain had Luther placed the Bible in the hands of the people, if the clergy alone could comprehend it, and were allowed the exclusive privilege of explaining it. It was, therefore, necessary that men should be exhorted to break the seal thus im- posed upon the sacred volume, and to read and examine . it for themselves. " Because I have taken this course," he continued, " which I recommend to you, I have been stigmatized with many op- probrious epithets. Sometimes as being very ' changeable,' although I have to this day undeviatingly pursued the same course which I commenced nearly as soon as I was of age, and have now prosecuted it for almost ten years — viz., to teach, to be- lieve, to practice nothing in religion for which I cannot pro- duce positive precept or approved precedent from the word of God. . . . And because I maintain that the New Testa- ment Scriptures are a perfect, complete and perspicuous rule of faith and practice, as far as respects Christianit}', I am called an Antinomian and am impeached with utterly throw- ing away the Old Testament Scriptures. These, and many other insinuations as malicious and unfounded, have been suggested against me, which are as far from my sentiments as the east is distant from the west. These vile slanders may serve the cause of a party for a little while, but will ultimately fall upon the heads of the fabricators of them. If you, then, should think of judging for yourselves, and of following the dictates of the Divine word and your own consciences en- MR. CAMPBELL'S CHALLENGE. 29 lightened by it, you must not think that any strange thing has happened unto you if you should become the objects of re- proach. But remember, ' the triumph of the wicked is short,' and ' if ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye.' " During the progress of this discussion he seems to have become more and more favorable to such methods of public disputation — a result partly due, perhaps, to his easy triumph over his opponent, and his growing consciousness of the possession of powers peculiarly adapted to such encounters, but still more to the con- viction that they afforded a favorable means of diffusing amongst the people a knowledge of those religious principles to which he was himself devoted. On this occasion he felt, moreover, that as the challenge had come from the Pasdobaptist ranks, and Mr. Walker had so signally failed to prove infant baptism a divine ordi- nance, it was becoming in him to return the compliment, and to invite any other Peedobaptist teacher to try to do what Mr. Walker had attempted in vain. He, therefore, in concluding, gave the following general invitation : " I this day publish to all present that I feel disposed to meet any Pasdobaptist minister of any denomination, of good standing in his party, and I engage to prove in a debate with him, either vivd voce or with the pen, that infant sprinkling is a human tradition and injurious to the well-being of society, religious and political." Such a challenge as this was well calculated to arrest forcibly the attention of society. This was what Mr. Campbell chiefly designed by it, though he was him- self fond of bold and strongly-stated propositions. This was in harmony with the character of his mind, which was disposed to take a wide and exhaustive view of 3* 30 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL. every subject and seize at once upon principles and results. He could not be content with the simple and common theme, that " infant sprinkling is a human tradition." He could not confine his thoughts merely to the validity or invalidity of that ordinance, as was customary. He must take a wider view, and believing that this "human tradition carnalized and secularized the Church," " introduced an ungodly priesthood into it" and *' prevented the union of Christians," he could well affirm it to be " injurious" to religious " society." And not only so, but knowing that the confounding of the Jewish and Christian institutions which it required led to national religious establishments, and filled the clergy with an eager thirst for political power, and that persecutions had generally proceeded from Pa^dobaptist parties, he would assert still further that it was " injuri- ous" to political " society" and inimical to public libert}'. In the frankness and fearlessness of his independent spirit, he, from this time forward, held himself in readi- ness, according!}', to meet within the lists of public dis cussion any worthy champion who might appear in opposition to the truths he taught, or in defence of popular religious error. Such was his love for truth that to it he was ever ready to sacrifice ease and repu- tation, fortune, and even life. " We ardently wish for," said he — " we court discussion. Great is the truth and mighty above all things, and shall pre- vail. We constantly pray for its progress and desire to be valiant for it. Truth is our riches. Blessed are they that possess it in their hearts, who know its value, who feel its power, who live under its influence. They shall lie down in the dust in peace, they shall rest from their labors in hope, and in the morning of the resurrection they shall rise in glory and be recompensed for all their trials and sufTe'-ings in its support." EFFECT OF THE DISCUSSION. 31 As soon as Mr. Campbell had taken his seat, Mr. Findley took it upon himself to give his opinion of the discussion, and when Judge Martin, the other modera- tor, attempted to express his disapprobation of this viola- tion of the rules agreed upon, Mr. Findley prevented him by telling the audience that the debate was over and that they might now retire. He then took his hat and passed out through the crowd amidst some hisses and other marks of disapprobation. The people, how- ever, with the exception of some two or three persons, kept their places until Thomas Campbell, being called upon to close the meeting, rose and dismissed them in the usual form. Such were the circumstances and general features of Mr. Campbell's first oral debate, which greatly in- creased his reputation, and made, at the time, a pro- found impression on the community around Mount Pleasant. Even the Pasdobaptists felt that he had gained the victory, and being greatly chafed at this result, they made various efforts to palliate or remedy the defeat. Mr. Findley was understood to excuse Mr. Walker on the ground of " insufficient preparation." Many, however, were disposed, rather ungenerously, to impute the failure of their cause in his hands to in- competency, and in consequence of the impressions made, Mr. Walker suddenly lost the reputation he had previously enjoyed as a man of superior abilities. The effects of the discussion were much more widely ex- tended by its publication soon afterward from notes of the speeches taken down at the time by Salathiel Curtis, who acted as clerk, and who belonged to neither party. Mr Campbell added also a variety of curious and in- teresting matter in the form of an appendix, in which, with his accustomed liberality, he invited Mr. Walker 32 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL. by letter to take part, in order that he might have an opportunity of supplying any deficiencies in his portion of the debate. To this, however, Mr. Walker made no response. It was while awaiting a reply from Mr. Walkei during the montli of August (1820), that Mr. Camp- bell was called to suffer the loss of his youngest child, Amanda Corneigle, who had been born on the i6th of the preceding February. This was the first death in his family, and was deeply felt, for Mr. Campbell was possessed of warm sympathies and strong natural at- tachments. He found consolation, however, not in dependence upon any religious rite of human invention, but in his firm conviction that the redemption of Christ extended to all dying in infancy and childhood, who were alike incapable of faith and of transgression, but were related to Christ through that humanity which he bore in triumph from the grave, and who were by him even proposed as models to those who sought to enter the kin<rdom of heaven. Nothing indeed was more striking in Mr. Campbell than his perfect trust in the wisdom, power and goodness of God, so that in all the numerous bereavements he experienced he could say with resignation, "Thy will be done" — a petition which, when uttered in humility and faith, renders all ordinary means of consolation quite unnecessary. Fond as he was of life, and of those around him in the family circle, no one could be more deeply impressed with the uncer- tainty and transitory nature of earthl}' ties. Upon this theme he often dwelt with much feeling, both in socia' converse and in his prayers, as well as in his public addresses, quoting those touching passages of Scripture which describe man's earthly destiny, with a peculiar emphasis and intonation, which showed how fully he FAMILT CEMBTERr. 33 realized their import, and how familiar such reflections were to his own heart. It was in harmony with these convictions, and with the event which had just occurred, that he at this time selected a piece of ground upon the farm for a family burial-place. Immediately from the public road in front of the house there rose a sloping hill covered in front by the trees of the orchard and passing at its sum- mit into a broad tract of level table-land. A little to the south of the orchard, where the winding Buffalo swept along the base of a precipitous part of the hill, a slightly-isolated eminence, flanked upon the west by a beautiful clump of native oaks and maples, presented itself as well adapted to the purpose, commanding a charming landscape, and by its elevation and distance being sufficiently retired from the public road below. Upon the side of the orchard, however, it could be readily reached by a pleasant pathway, or farther to the right by vehicles, by means of the winding farm- road which ascended gradually to the cultivated table- land. This spot, being accordingly selected and en- closed, became a favorite place of resort for medita- tion in the evening hour, and the favorite place of inter- ment for all the branches of the family. During this year various individuals continued to present themselves for baptism, and were subsequently recognized as members of the church at Brush Run, though some lived at too great a distance to attend regularly. Among these may be mentioned Mrs. Bakewell, an English lady at Wellsburg, who was bap- tized in the fall of 1820. On the 2ist of May follow- ing, her daughter, Selina Huntingdon Bakewell, came forward and was baptized by Mr. Campbell at the mouth of Buffalo Creek, the Ohio being very high at
VOL. II. — 34 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
the time. This young lady had, some years before, become acquainted with John Brown, from seeing him at Mr. Campbell's meetings in Wellsburg. On one oc- casion he had invited her to accompany him home to see his family, and a warm mutual attachment had grown up between her and Mrs. Campbell, which, a few years later, led to events not less interesting than unexpected. The first edition of the Debate with Mr. Walker, con- sisting of one thousand copies, printed at Steubenville, being after some months exhausted, a second one of three thousand copies was published at Pittsburg, to which were appended some severe strictures upon three letters published in the Presbyterian Magazine at Philadelphia, and written by the Rev. Samuel Ralston. These letters professed to review the debate at Mount Pleasant, and labored to defend and maintain the cause of Paedobaptism, but were shown by Mr. Campbell to contain many misrepresentations of his views, and to abound in false criticisms and assertions without proof. To these strictures Mr. Ralston subsequently replied in a second series of letters, which, together with the first, were published afterward in' pamphlet form, and circu- lated diligently throughout the region of country in which the debate was held. It was soon after this per- formance that Mr. Ralston received from Washington College the title of Doctor of Divinity. Mr. Campbell's earnestness to establish correct views of baptism did not proceed from any over-estimate of its importance, but simply from his love of truth and his desire that this institution should be allowed to oc- cupy its proper place in the economy of the gospel. Nor did his pointed exposures of error, or keen retorts in liis public discussions of the subject, arise from any
THE SEAL OF THE COVENANT. 35 want of kindly feeling for his opponents, but from his native vivacity and his sincere conviction that the errors he was combating had the most injurious influ- ence upon the interests of religion and of society itself. Upon this point he himself remarked in his printed debate with Mr. Walker : "With regard to the spirit and temper of mind in which this work was written, I can conscientiously say it was that of benevolence and candor. If any things ironical or acrimonious have been said, it has been owing more to a genius naturally inclined to irony, which I have often to deny, than to a spirit of rancor or bitterness, which I am not conscious of possessing toward any party in Christendom. I sincerely pity and cordially deplore the errors of my Pa^dobaptist brethren in this important ordinance ; not only on account of the perversion of the ordinance, but also on account of its obscuring influence and beclouding eflfect upon their views of the Church of Christ, its government, its dis- cipline, and, I might add, some of its doctrines." Among the errors involved in Paedobaptist views, which he discusses in the appendix to the debate, he calls attention particularly to that extravagant concep- tion of baptism which makes it the seal of the covenant of grace. This had been repeatedly asserted by Mr. Walker, as well as by Mr. Ralston in his letters, and, indeed, was the main position of the Paedobaptist sys- tem. Adopting the definition of a seal as " a confirm- ative mark or attestation of some covenant agreement," he shows that baptism could not possibly fulfill this office, and, aware that the best method of confuting error is to present truth, he goes on to exhibit the true seal of the Christian covenant : " Under the New Testament," says he
(Appendix to De- 36 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL. bate, p. 169-171),
" the only seal is that mark or impression which the spirit of God makes upon the heart of the believer ; because the subjects of this convenant are personally and not nationally considered. The object of this seal is the per- sonal satisfaction of the individual, and not an external mark set upon him for the confirmation of others, as circumcision was designed more for the satisfaction of others than for the subject of it — to convince the world that God had actually fulfilled his covenant in raising up a Saviour m the family of Abraham. Hence the seal which is stamped under the New Testament is altogether confirmative of the faith of the subject, and is beautifully described in these words : ' To him that overcometh will I give of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and on the stone a name written which no man knoweth saving" he that receiveth itJ " The only seal spoken of in the New Testament as the guarantee and property of all Christians is ' this seal of the Holy Spirit? Neither baptism nor the Lord's Supper is ever so called, nor can it be so called in conformity to the meaning of words ; yet we admit that both are confirm- ative of the faith and hope of the Christian. These ordi- nances have, for a long time, been called ' seals of the cove- nant of grace ;' with what propriety, I confess, I never yet could see. One thing is certain : there is no authority from the Scriptures for so calling them. Nor can I understand how any human being could use them as seals, or as ' sealing ordinances.* I should be glad to see a scriptural and rational explanation of them as such. I do not wish to derogate, nor do I, in my opinion, derogate, anything from either their solemnity or importance by saying that I do not conceive how they can be called ' sealing ordinances.* Baptism is an ordinance by which we formally profess Christianity. It is the first constitutional act in the profession of Christianity. It confirms nothing in the covenant of Christ that was not confirmed before. It is no stamp nor confirmative mark of that covenant, for it was ratified by the blood of Christ. The baptized person carries no mark, no seal of confirmation, that
THE EARNEST OF THE SPIRIT. 37 is visible to himself or to others, in consequence of his obe- dience to this rite. The Lord's Supper is commemorative of the death of Christ, and an expression of our faith in his atoning sacrifice, by which he has made peace, and by which we enjoy the peace of God in our hearts. It confirms our faith, it promotes our love, it cherishes our hope, and pro- duces benevolence and brotherly kindness. But our partici- pation of it confirms nothing in the covenant of Christ that was not confirmed before. We might, with as much pro- priety, call all the ordinances of the gospel seals of the cove- nant of grace as these. The whole blessings of this covenant have been as much enjoyed by many who are now in heaven, who could not, who did not receive these ordinances, as by any other saints in heaven or on earth. The thief upon the cross had as full an enjoyment of them as any other in an- cient or modern times. And many, both under the patri- archal ar?d Christian age, have had all the blessings of re- demption as fully bestowed upon them as any who have been baptized and have participated of the Lord's Supper. Now, if baptism and the Lord's Supper were the seals of this covenant, it would follow that those who never had received them were deprived of the security for the enjoyment of this covenant ; and, of course, had no confirmation of it to them. How much more rationally does the apostle speak of that seal which all true Christians enjoy (Eph. i. 13) ! — ' Li whom also after that ye believed ye were sealed with that holy spirit of promise which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession unto the praise of his glory.' On these words let it be observed : " I. That all believers, after believing the gospel, are sealed by the Holy Spirit. " 2. That this seal or impression of the Spirit is their sole earnest or pledge until they enter into the enjoyment of the inheritance of the saints. " 3. That this seal is a sufficient guarantee and earnest, and requires not any external ordinance to perfect it. " This testimony is further confirmed by the same apostle and 4 3 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL. in the same epistle (Eph. iv. 30) : ' Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of re- demption.' " So full, so uniform in his testimony, and so explicit is the apostle upon this topic, that in his First Epistle to the Corin- thians (i. 22) he expresses it very clearly in these words : ' God who hath also sealed us and given us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.' This inward mark or seal is explained to be an impressing of the image of Him who hath created us anew. 2 Cor. iii. 18. " Such is the seal of which the New Testament speaks. This is sufficient without our factitious seals, which at best are a prostitution of language unwarrantable in the highest degree, and tending to perplex and confuse, rather than to compose and enlighten the mind of the Christian. • *««««• " I expect to hear it said that I have denied the ' seals of the covenant of grace' to maintain my cause. Yet the truth is, I have merely volunteered these remarks. My views are established long since in respect to the subject under discus- sion : and I deny not, but contend for the true seal of the covenant of Christ, which I maintain in a few words to have ever been the satne in substance.^ it never having had any other seal than that of the Spirit" It was thus that Mr. Campbell ever sought for truth alone, and ever preferred to be " taught of God" in the infallible revelations of the inspired Word, rather than to adopt the assumptions and dogmas of sectarian the- ology. Had he sought, indeed, merely to expose the existing errors of religious society, his work would have been defective, and might have tended to promote infi- delity rather than religion, since it is in these errors that unbelief seeks its chief apology. But from the first his work was -positive. The process of demolition was not with him an ultimate end, for if he sought to remove the awkward and rickety structures of partyism, A positive: change. 39 or the broken and accumulated rubbish of human tra- dition, it was that he might build again upon their ancient sites the bulwarks and towers of Zion. He en- deavored, therefore, to replace human creeds and con- fessions b}' the Divine Testimony ; sectarian division by brotherly union ; clerical tyranny by Christian liberty ; and the pretended '* seal" of infant sprinkling by the reception of that " Holy Spirit of promise" which is, to every true believer, the abiding earnest of a heavenly inheritance. CHAPTER II. The Bible and the clergy — Mr. Campbell's chief aim — An important inter- view — Ministers' meetings — Sidney Rigdon — Seminary discontinued — Mr. McCalla — Christian Baptist— Its character — The clergy and their meas- ures — Redstone Association foiled. THE Bible which set the soul of Luther free was itself fastened by a chain in the cloister at Erfurth. In like manner, each religious party had sought to secure the Bible within its own narrow sectarian cell, not indeed by a metal or material chain, but by the spiritual fetters of partisan interpretation. The clergy of each denomination, arrogating to themselves the claim of being its divinely-authorized expounders, caused it to speak only in the interests of their sect, and the sacred volume was made, in effect, an armory of proof-texts for the defence of each particular creed. Detached sentences, relating to matters wholly distinct and irrelevant, were placed in imposing array in sup- port of positions assumed by human leaders ; while in the pulpit a single clause of a text would often be elaborated into a speculation or fanciful theory which would spread itself abroad in a form as expanded and misty as that of the Genius who, in Arabian story, issued from the fabled vase of Solomon. The people, on the other hand, seemed to have quietly surrendered into the hands of the clergy all power of discrimination and all independence of thought in religious matters. It seemed in vain that Luther had 40 BIBLE FULLY RESTORED. 4I released the Bible from imprisonment and given it into the hands of the people in their mother tongue. Cleri- cal art had succeeded in imposing upon it a seal which the laity dared not break, so that while Protestants were amused with the idea that they were in possession of the Bible, this cherished distinction became little else than an empty boast, so long as thej'^ could be per- suaded that they were unable to understand it. " What is the great difference," asked Thomas Campbell, " between withholding the Scriptures from the lait}', as the Romanists do, and rendering them unintelligible by arbitrary interpretation, forced criticisms and fanciful explanations, as many Protestants do, or making the people believe that they are nearly unintelligible by urging the necessity of what is called a learned clergy to explain them ? If a translation can only be understood through the originals, might it not as well have been withheld? If the labors of a learned clergy be still necessary to render a translation intelligible, upon whose skill and fidelity as translators and upon whose judgment as expositors the people must still rely, and to whom they must still look up as their religious guides and dictators, of what use is a translation ?" The sacred volume, thus trammeled as it was among Protestant parties, had, nevertheless, as in the case of Luther, set free from spiritual bondage individuals here and there, who were more or less successful in their pleadings for reform. Among them all, however, there had been no one who took hold of the leading errors of the time with so bold and vigorous a grasp as Alexander Campbell. It was his great aim to liberate those to whom he had access from the thraldom of human tra- dition ; to restore the gospel to its primitive simplicity and the Church to its pristine unity ; and he sought to accomplish these noble purposes by putting men really and fully into possession of the Bible. In this respect 4* 42' MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL. his work was, as it were, complementary to that of Luther. The German Reformer gave to the people the opportunity of reading the Scripture. It was the part of Mr. Campbell to convince them that they could com- prehend it — a truth which, however plainly asserted in Protestant standards, the clergy of no prominent Paedo- baptist party were, at this period, v^\!Ci\n^ -practically to concede. Acting himself upon the principles he taught to others, he was accustomed to contemplate the Bible as if it had just fallen into his hands from heaven , and utterly disregarding all systems and theories, and even his own previous conclusions, he was wont to study it constantly with a free and unbiased mind. He had thus made surprising attainments in his knowledge of the word of God. Contemplating the Bible as a connected whole, and classifying its facts, precepts and promises under the different institutions, Patriarchal, Jewish and Christian, he reached enlarged and clear views of their mutual relations and dependence, and was enabled to eliminate from the gospel the errors with which modern Judaizing teachers had corrupted it. Hence his views of the "Sabbath" and his "Sermon on the Law.** Hence those wide and comprehensive views of the divine plan of salvation which constantly confounded mere textuary preachers. Hence that freshness and even startling novelty, and that persuasive truthfulness, which pervaded all his public efforts, and which every- where incited men to religious inquiry and diligent searching of the Scriptures. His debate with Mr. Walker, though mainly confined to a special subject, was by no means wanting in these characteristic traits. In his exposition of the covenants; the temporal and temporary nature of the Jews* religion ; A DAMS ON BENTLEY. 43 the spirituality and glory of Christ's kingdom ; the dis- tinctions between moral and positive institutions ; the definite purpose of Christian baptism ; the inanity of hu- man traditions and opinions, and the supreme authority of the word of God, he threw into the discussion thoughts and facts as new to the religious mind of that period as they were essential to true conceptions of the gospel of Christ. It was on account of this freedom of investigation — this undenominational independence of belief- — that many, even of the Baptists, when the de- bate was published, though pleased with the triumph of their cause, remained extremely dubious in regard to the orthodoxy of their champion. Quite a number of them, however, less enslaved to party principles and more earnest in pursuit of truth, were greatly struck with the new views presented and the new spirit in which their favorite tenet had been so successfully defended. Among these, Adamson Bentley, of Warren, Ohio, deserves particular mention. He had, eleven years be- fore, accidentally met with Thomas Campbell and his family, as formerly related, on the way from Phila- delphia, but without receiving any personal introduction. Being a preacher of considerable ability, a man of piety and of thoughtful, inquiring mind, a sincere lover of the Bible and of good men, he had attained great influence among the Baptist churches on the Western Reserve — a term applied to a large, fertile and remarkably level portion of Northern Ohio, which had been reserved in the original grant of territory by the Government in reference to certain military claims. Through this now thickly-settled region quite a num- ber of Baptist churches had already been formed, and Mr. Bentley had recently induced a number of their 44 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL. preachers to hold annually what were called " ministers' meetings," for the purpose of conversing upon the Scriptures and upon their own religious progress, and improving each other by criticisms upon each other's sermons. In these meetings he acted as secretary, and contributed largely to render them profitable and inter- esting. It was also agreed upon that the churches should unite to form an association, and on the 30th day of August, 1820, a little more than two months after the Walker Debate, the messengers appointed by the churches met and constituted the " Mahoning Baptist Association." In the spring of 1821, Mr. Bentley ob- tained a copy of the published Walker Debate, with which he was highly pleased ; and learning that the Red- stone Association was opposed to Mr. Campbell and was endeavoring to injure him, he said to his friends that, in his opinion, Mr. Campbell had done more for the Bap- tists than any man in the West, and that he intended, on the first opportunity, to go and pay him a visit. This intention he shortly fulfilled, and the interview led to very important consequences. It is thus detailed by Mr. Campbell (Mil. Harb. for 1848, p. 523) : "In the summer of 1821, while sitting in my portico after dinner, two gentlemen in the costume of clergymen, as then technically called, appeared in my yard, advancing to the house. The elder of them, on approaching me, first intro- duced himself, saying, 'My name, sir, is Adamson Bentley; this is Elder Sidney Rigdon, both of Warren, Ohio.' On entering my house, and on being introduced to my family, after some refreshment, Elder Bentley said, ' Having just read your debate with Mr. John Walker of our State o'Ohio, with considerable interest, and having been deputed oy the Mahoning Baptist Association last year to ordain some elders and to set some churches in order, which brought us within MAHONING ASSOCIATION. 45 little more than a day's ride of you, we concluded to make a special visit, to inquire of you particularly on sundry matters of much interest to us set forth in the debate, and would be glad, when perfectly at your leisure, to have an opportunity to do so.* I replied that, as soon as the afternoon duties of my seminary were discharged, I would take pleasure in hearing from them fully on such matters. " After tea, in the evening, we commenced, and prolonged our discourse till the next morning. Beginning with the bap- tism that John preached, we went back to Adam and forward to the final judgment. The dispensations — Adamic, Abra- hamic, Jewish and Christian — passed and repassed before us. Mount Sinai in Arabia, Mount Zion, Mount Tabor, the Red Sea and the Jordan, the Passovers and the Pentecosts, the Law and the Gospel, but especially the ancient order of things and the modern, occasionally engaged our attention. " On parting the next day, Sidney Rigdon, with all appar- ent candor, said, if he had within the last year taught and pro- mulgated from the pulpit one error, he had a thousand. At that time he was the great orator of the Mahoning Associa- tion, though in authority with the people second always to Adamson Bentley. I found it expedient to caution them not to begin to pull down anything they had builded until they had reviewed again and again what they had heard ; nor even then rashly and without much consideration. Fearing they might undo their influence with the people, I felt constrained to restrain rather than to urge them on in the work of refor- mation. " With many an invitation to visit the Western Reserve, and with many an assurance of a full and candid hearing on the part of the uncommitted community, and an immediate access to the ears of the Baptist churches within the sphere of their influence, we took the parting hand. They went on their way rejoicing, and in the course of a single year pre- pared their whole Association to hear us with earnestness and candor. "Ministers' meetings once a year in diflTerent parts of that 46 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL. section of Ohio, for the purpose of making public discourses before the people, and then for criticising them m condone clerum^i and for propounding and answering questions on the sacred Scriptures, were about this time instituted and conducted with great harmony and much advantage. I became a regu- lar attendant, and found in them much pleasure and profit. " They were conducted in the following manner : A, B, C, and D were appointed to address the public assembled on the occasion. A at a given time delivered a discourse, B suc- ceeded him. In the evening all the speakers and other min- isters met in an appointed room, and in the presence of the more elderly and interested brethren, and those looking for- ward to public stations in the Church, the discourses of A and B were taken up and examined by all the speakers present, and sometimes strictly reviewed as to the matter of them, the form of them and the mode of delivering them. Doctrinal questions and expositions of Scripture occasionally were in- troduced and debated. The next day C and D addressed the assembled audience, and so on, until all were heard and all had passed through the same ordeal. These meetings were not appreciated too highly, as the sequel developed, inasmuch as they disabused the minds of the Baptist ministry in the Mahoning Association of much prejudice, and prepared the way for a vei-y great change of views and practice all over those 3,000,000 acres of nine counties which constitute the Western Reserve." On the 14th of July of this j^ear (1821), about the time of Mr. Bentley's visit, another daughter was born to Mr. Campbell. As her mother greatly admired the articles he had written against social and fashionable follies on his first arrival at Washington, and to which he had appended the signature of Clarinda, she de- sired that this name should be given to the child, which was accordingly done. This little incident furnishes a good index to the character of this excellent woman, who highly approved of plainness and simplicity in SID NET RIGDON. 47 dress and manners, and who, like her father, was utterly opposed to the innovations which society was gradually making in the simple customs and modes of life of the early settlers. Mr. Campbell's attendance at the " ministers* meet- ings" referred to above gave to them a new and a peculiar interest. His extensive knowledge of the Scrip- tures, and his clear views of the gospel and its institu- tions, enabled him to resolve many difficulties presented by the preachers. He led them to perceive that by abandoning the fragmentary and textuary plan of con- sulting and expounding Scripture, and by taking it in its proper connection, it became its own interpreter and revealed all its truth to the honest heart. Especially did he mark out clearly the important distinction be- tween faith and opinion, previously but dimly perceived, showing that men's conjectures and theories respecting matters of which the Bible does not speak should never be made terms of communion or be allowed to create religious differences. During this period, Mr. Campbell continued to visit Pittsburg occasionally, and being still connected with the Redstone Association, was accustomed to preach for the Baptist church there, which had now increased to more than one hundred members, many of whom were favorable to reformation. *In 1822, through Mr. Campbell's influence, Sidney Rigdon was induced to accept a call from this church to become its pastor. He was a man of more than ordinary ability as a speaker, possessing great fluency and a lively fancy which gave him great popularity as an orator. He was brother-in- law to Adamson Bentley, both having married daughters of a Mr. Brooks, of Warren. As he professed to be favorable to the Reformation, Mr. Campbell was desir- 48 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL. ous of introducing him to Walter Scott, who, at this time, was still delivering weekly lectures on the New Testament to the little church over which Mr. Forrester had presided. Mr. Campbell desired that the two churches should become united, but these communities continued for a considerable time rather shy of each other, each being sensitive with regard to its own peculiarities. On the loth November of this year (1822), Mrs. Campbell presented her husband with a son, who was named John Brown, but who died upon the day of his birth. Soon after, Mr. Campbell's own health began to suffer from the confinement and labors of Buffalo Semin- ary, and as, from his enlarged intercourse with the Bap- tist churches, the demand for his services as a preacher was becoming constantly more frequent and more urgent, he concluded to discontinue the school. Although he had always plenty of pupils, and often was unable to receive all that desired to come, he found that it did not subserve to any great extent, for reasons formerly given, the chief purpose tor which he had established it, which was the preparation of young men to labor in behalf of the primitive gospel. Having realized in publishing the Debate with Mr. Walker the power of the press to disseminate his views, as he was now in consequence often receiving letter-s of inquiry and solicitation for visits and preaching from many quarters, he began to think of issuing, in monthly parts, a work specially de- voted to the interests of the proposed Reformation. This project marks the era of a very important change in ^^r. Campbell's religious history. The failure of his father's endeavors and his own to effect a reformation of the existing parties upon the piinciples of the Declaration and Address, had causea iiim to A WIDER FIELD. 49 despair of ever seeing a favorable and extended change in religious society. He had still labored, it is true, in behalf of the cause he had espoused, but it was without the expectation of being able to do much more than erect a single congregation with which he could enjoy the social institutions of the gospel. His aims were at that time quite limited. He had not the remotest idea of assuming the position of a public reformer, or of in- volving himself in the strifes of religious society. In- fluential Baptists, such as Deacon Withington, of New York, and Deacon Shields, of Philadelphia, impressed with his talents, had urged him at the time of his visit to those cities in 1815 to settle in one of them ; but he declined on the ground that he did not think any of the churches there would submit to the primitive order of things, and said that he would rather live and die in the backwoods than be the occasion of creating divis- ions among them. He therefore preferred to pursue the occupation of a farmer, and to instruct gratuitously the people within the range of his personal influence. It was not until after he saw the eflfect of the debate into which he was reluctantly drawn with Mr. Walker that he began to take new views of his position, and to cherish, for the first time, the hope that something might be done upon a more extended scale to rouse the people from their spiritual lethargy. Guided providen- tially step by step, he had been brought to an eminence from which he could survey the wide field in which he was destined to labor, and he began at once to nerve himself for the undertaking. After conferring with his father and with Walte Scott and other friends, who warmly approved his df sign, he issued in the spring of 1823 a prospectus 1 the work, which he proposed to call "The Christian Baptist.
VOL. II. — 65 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL. — a title adopted not without some debate, since the term " Baptist" was a party designation.
As the reformers were, however, at this time identified with the Baptists, it was thought expedient, in order to avoid offending religious prejudice, and to give greater cur rency to the principles which were to be presented, to make this concession so far as the name of the paper was concerned, qualifying " Baptist" by the word "Christian."
In the prospectus the nature and ob- jects of the publication were candidly and clearly stated, as follows : " The ' Christian Baptist* shall espouse the cause of no re- ligious sect, excepting that ancient sect ' called Christians first at Antioch.' Its sole object shall be the eviction of truth and the exposing of error in doctrine and practice.
The editor, acknowledging no standard of religious faith or works other than the Old and New Testament, and the lat- ter as the only standard of the religion of Jesus Christ, will, intentionally at least, oppose nothing which it contains and recommend nothing which it does not enjoin. Having no worldly interest at stake from the adoption or reprobation of any articles of faith or religious practice, having no gift nor religious emolument to blind his eyes or to pervert his judg- ment, he hopes to manifest that he is an impartial advocate of truth."
Although the number of subscribers at first obtained was not large, he determined to go on with the work and, with his usual energy and enterprise, having c. eluded to set up a printing establishment near his ovrn house, he purchased the necessary type, presses, etf , and erected a building for the purpose near the creek brding, at the foot of the cemetery hill. Engaging, then, the services of some practiv-al printei his quick apprehension soon made him famih,*r witn all the
CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. 51 tails of the office, which thenceforth occupied much of his attention. He became an expert proof-reader ; supplied regularly the paper and materials needed, and continued to conduct the printing business with the greatest economy and with surprising activity and suc- cess uninterruptedly from this time forward for more than forty years. It may be here mentioned that dur- ing the first seven years, ending July 4th, 1830, he issued of his own works, from his little country printing- office, no less than forty-six thousand volumes. It was in the month of May of this year, while pre- paring for the printing of the " Christian Baptist," that Mr. Campbell received a letter from Mr. McCalla, a Presbyterian preacher of Augusta, Kentucky, intimating his willingness to accept the challenge or invitation given at the close of the Walker debate. Mr. McCalla had been a lawyer, and had quite a high reputation among the Presbyterians for his argument- ative powers. It was therefore greatly desired by his friends and by the Paedobaptist community that he should have an opportunity to repair, if possible, the injury which had accrued to their cause by the gener- ally admitted failure of Mr. Walker. After ascertaining Mr. McCalla's standing, Mr. Campbell agreed to meet him. Mr. McCalla then proposed twenty-one questions to Mr. CampbelL, with a view to some modification of the proposition offered. This led to a correspondence, which was continued to the close of the following September, and which was not always distinguished by that becoming courtesy which marked the first communications. From Mr. Campbell's experience with the clergy thus far, and his views of their position and influence in the religious world, he did not, as may well be supposed, entertain
52 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL. the most reverential feelings toward them ; and as they on their part naturally felt indignant at the efforts made to weaken their authority, it became difficult for them, in their intercourse with Mr. Campbell, to avoid betray- ing the hostile feelings by which they were governed. Mr. McCalla accordingly did not fail in the course of the correspondence to refer to various things slander- ously reported of Mr. Campbell, and to intimate that until such rumors were corrected, " no minister of the divine Saviour could desire any other intercourse with him than as an adversary." He consented, however, finally to meet Mr. Campbell on the proposition an- nounced at the close of the Walker debate, but without agreeing to any specific regulations or settled order for the discussion. Mr. Campbell, nevertheless, agreed to meet him, and, in his letter closing the correspondence said : " It appears that your conscience was not too tender on the subject of my character for orthodoxy and piety to prevent you from insinuating, nay, declaring, that ' Dr. Priestley's dis- ciple was my favorite author,* contrary to all evidence or fact from anything in my writings, or from any respectable source. You shall, perhaps, soon know that I have no favorite author in religion except one, and that man who says I am a first or second-hand disciple of Priestley or of any other Socinian author, i§ a man of no piety or respectability of character, nor is there a man living who can say, or dare say, in my presence, that I ever expressed a sentiment derogatory to the Lord Jesus as a Divine Redeemer — as Emmanuel, God with us. Such insinuations may be circulated in Kentucky by those who would wish to impair my influence in supporting a truth more hated by those of the ' orthodox and pious' than Socinianism, but here we regard them not. As to my piety, I know I have nothing to boast of; God alone is judge. As to my external deportment, men can judge ; and whenever ''CHRISTIAN BAPTIST." 53 you bring forward any specific charge of immorality or un- christian deportment, we shall refute it. ... I request that you will meet me at Washington the 14th day of October, in order to arrange the business, for you have not agreed to meet me on any of the terms proposed in my last. At least, you have not informed me so. But you have told me that you are to meet me as an adversary — as ' ho Satanas.' Well, I hope that you will remember that when Michael, the arch- angel, disputed with the adversary about the body of Moses, he durst not bring against him a railing accusation. As you are celebrated for piety and orthodoxy, and I for the want of them, a great deal will be expected of you and very little from your humble servant, A. Campbell." During the period of this correspondence, clerical enmity and detraction seemed to be constantly accumu- lating against Mr. Campbell, who, nevertheless, confi- dent in the possession and in the power of truth, man- fully braved the storm, and in the " Christian Baptist," the first number of which appeared 4th July, 1823, fear- lessly began such an exposition of primitive Christianity and of existing corruptions as was well calculated to startle the entire religious community. This, indeed, was what he designed to do, for he conceived the peo- ple to be so completely under the dominion of the clergy at this time that nothing but bold and decisive mea- sures could arouse them to proper inquiry. In his Preface, therefore, he openly announced his intention to pursue a perfectly independent course. "• W^e expect to prove,'* said he, " whether a paper per- fectly independent, fiee from any controlling jurisdiction ex- cept the Bible, will be read, or whether it will be blasted by the poisonous breath of sectarian zeal and of an aspiring priesthood." His mottoes, too, prefixed to the work, were characteristic : " Style no man on earth your father, for he alone is your Father who is in heaven, and all ye are brethren. 5* 54 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL. Assume not the title of Rabbi, for ye have only One Teacher ; neither assume the title of leader, for ye have only One Leader — the Messiah." Matt, xxiii. 8-10. " Prove all things, hold fast that which is good." — Paul the Apostle. " What a glorious freedom of thought do the apostles recommend ! And how contemptible in their account is a blind and implicit faith ! May all Christians use this liberty of judging for themselves in matters of religion, and allow it to one another, and to all mankind." — Benson. He commenced the work with a brief view of the Christian religion as first established, showing the lofty expectations entertained from prophecy in relation to the advent of the Messiah, depicting his meek and lowly character as he actually appeared, and the glorious victory he accomplished as a suffering Saviour. He dwelt upon the perfection of his teachings, and upon the conduct and life of the first disciples and of the apostles his ambassadors to the world, so different from those of modern religious teachers. He then described the primitive churches as to their bond of union, the faith and love of Christ ; their independence ; their mode of acting in a church capacity and not through independent societies, and their devotion to good works. With this picture he then contrasted that of modern Christianity, with its corruptions and divisions. So great, at this period, was the antagonism between Mr. Campbell and the clergy that he was induced to animadvert with great severity upon their claims and their proceedings. Having entrenched himself in the position that " nothing was to be admitted as a matter of faith or duty for which there could not be produced a divine precept or a Scripture precedent," he made from this impregnable fastness many a sharp foray into the territories over which the clergy had so long exer- THE CLERGY CENSURED. 55 cised almost undisputed sway. That caustic sarcasm and playful irony to which he was naturally disposed, but to which decoi-um forbade him to give utterance as a preacher, found expression through the pen of the editor, and much of the earlier numbers of the paper was devoted to lively sketches of the working of the clerical machinery in the manufacture of preachers ; in the securing and enlarging of salaries ; in the obtaining of high positions and of pompous titles, and in the ex- tending of authority by means of " confederations in the form of general councils, synods, assemblies, associa- tions and conferences." He was at some pains to ex- pose, from official documents, the large expense and small avails of missions to the heathen as conducted by particular sects, and the petty methods resorted to for the purpose of obtaining contributions, which he con- ceived to be wholly unworthy the character of the gos- pel. Costly meeting-houses and organs ; selling of pews; "missionary wheels," "stalls" and "boxes;" priestly tithes and offerings, with various other features of modern Christianity, were commented on with unex- ampled freedom, pungency and vigor. Mr. Campbell had become fully convinced, both by observation and experience, that religious bigotry could not be overcome while the clergy were permitted to use their usurped and factitious power in fostering and supporting it, and he therefore sought to deprive them of an influence which they had consecrated to partyism. In order to accomplish this, he had recourse to the Bible alone, being satisfied that the sectarian spirit which then con- trolled religious society could be cast out only in the name of Christ ; and, though he foresaw the violence of the conflict, he justly thought, to use the language of Macaulay, that " the miseries of continued possession 56 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL. were more to be dreaded than the strug-fjles of the tre- mendous exorcism." He continued to fulfill his task, therefore, with unfalter- ing faith and courage. Neither the calumnies by which his opponents sought to ex'cite public odium against him, nor the gentle remonstrances and cautions of timid friends, availed to move him from his purpose. Thomas Campbell, alarmed at the adventurous boldness of his son in handling so roughly things and persons hitherto considered as sacred by the people, expostulated often, and sought by contributing to the paper milder essays (signed T. W.) to soften or extenuate censures whose substantial justness he could not but acknowledge. But the honest and candid utterances of a soul earnest for truth and right could not be repressed. Utterly deny- ing the propriety of the distinction between the clergy and laity, Mr. Campbell believed that the so-called " clergy" had taken away the key of knowledge from " the people," and " kept them in ignorance" by assum- ing to be the only authorized expounders of the will of God. He found them, therefore, directly in the way of the accomplishment of his great purpose, which was to convince the people that they could understand the Scriptures for themselves. It was necessary, accord- ingly, that the claims of the clergy should be disproved, and their assumed authority overthrown, before the people could be released from spiritual bondage. *' We wish," said he, " cordially wisli, to take the New Testament out of the abuses of the clergy and put it into the nands of the people. And to do this is no easy task, as the clergy have formed the opinions of nine-tenths of Christendom before they could form an opinion of then- own. They have, in order to raise the people's admiration of them for their own advantage, taught them in creeds, in sermons, in catechisms, EXPOSURE OF ABUSES. 57 in tracts, in pamphlets, in primers, in folios, that they alone can expound the New Testament — that, without them, people are either almost or altogether destitute of the means of grace. They must lead in the devotion of the people ; they must con- secrate their prayers, their praise ; and latterly, they must even open a cattle-show or an exhibition of manufactures with prayers and religious pageantry !" It was this view of the position and doings of the clergy that led Mr. Campbell to condemn Sunday- schools, missionary, education and even Bible societies, as THEN conducted, because he thought them perverted to sectarian purposes. In Sunday-schools the denomi- national catechism was then diligently taught, and the effort was made to imbue the minds of the children with partisan theology. Missionary societies then labored to propagate the tenets of the party to which each be- longed, and even Bible societies seemed to him to be made a means of creating: offices and salaries for a few clerical managers, who exercised entire control. " . . . I do not oppose, intentionally at least," said he (Christian Baptist, vol. i., p. 2oS), "the scriptural plan of converting the world. . . . My opponents do represent me as opposing the means of converting the world, not wishing to discriminate, in my case at least, between a person oppos- ing the abuses of a good cause and the cause itself." Of Bible societies he remarks: "In the multiplication of copies of the Scriptures I do rejoice, although I do conceive even the best of all good works is managed in a way not at all comporting with the precepts of the volume itself. And shall we not oppose the abuses of any principle because of the excellency of the principle itself.''" His chief objection, then, to the instrumentalities em- ployed for missionary and other religious purposes was that, in the hands of the clergy, they were perverted to SS MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL. denominational aggrandizement and to the perpetuation of the yoke which they had imposed upon the people. His view, on the other hand, was that God's revela- tion was complete, and that it was able, as it affirms of itself, " to make the man of God perfect and thoroughly furnished to every good work." He taught, further- more, that the Church of Jesus Christ, formed and organized according to this word, with its elders and deacons, was appointed to be "the pillar and ground" or support " of the truth," and that such a society is ' ' the highest tribunal on earth to which an individual Christian can appeal." " The Lord Jesus Christ," said he, " is the absolute Mon- arch on whose shoulders is the government, and in whose hands are the reins. That his ivill^ published in the New Testament, is the sole law of the Church ; and that every society or assembly meeting once every week in one place, according to this law, or the commandments of this King, requires no other head, king, lawgiver, ruler or lord than this Mighty One; no other law, rule, formula, canon or decree than his written word; no judicatory, court or tribunal other than \S\Q. judgment-seat of Christ" (Vol. i., p. 69.) Again, page 205, he says : *■' I am taught from the Record itself to describe a Church of Christ in the following words: It is a society of disciples professing to believe the one grand fact, the Messiah- ship of Jesus, voluntarily submitting to his authority and guid- ance, having all of them in their baptism expressed their faith in him and allegiance to him, and statedly meeting together in one place to walk in all his commandments and ordinances. This society, with its bishop or bishops, and its deacon or deacons, as the case may require, is perfectly independent of any tribunal on earth called ecclesiastical. It knows nothing of superior or inferior church judicatories, and acknowledges no laws, no canons or government other than that of the Mon- arch of the Universe and his laws. This Church, having RADICAL REFORMS. 59 ri»r** coniniiited unto it the oracles of God, is adequate to all the purposes of illutnination and reformation which entered into the design of its founder." Such being his view of the position occupied by a Church of Cnrist, he found in this an additional argument against such missionary and other societies as acted independently of church control. " Every Christian," said he (vol. ii., p. 97), " who understands the nature and design, the excellence and glory, of the institution called the Church of yesus Christy will lament to see its glory transferred to a human corpora- tion. The Church is robbed of its character by every insti- tution, merely human, that would ape its excellence and sub- stitute itself in its place." Believing that the primitive Church never transferred any of its duties to other associations, but fulfilled them always in its own character that Christ might be glori- fied, he was jealous of every separate organization formed to accomplish any of the purposes for which the Church was established. These were among the radical reforms urged at this time by Mr. Campbell, and in his exposures of prevail- ing errors, as well as in his developments of the primi- tive faith and order, he was ably seconded by Walter Scott, who furnished a number of articles for the "Chris- tian Baptist," mostly under the signature of Philip. A series of essays which he commenced in the second number of the paper upon the subject of "Teaching Christianity," may be especially mentioned as develop- ing his favorite theme, the Messiahship of Jesus, in which he shows that this majestic truth constituted the rock on which the Church was founded and the great gospel theme to be preached to the world. Mr. Campbell has been censured by some for the severity of his strictures at this period upon the clergy 6o MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL, and their proceedings. A milder course and gentler words, they think, would have succeeded better. It is to be remembered, however, that the milder method had already been tried. No gentler words, no kinder re- monstrances, no warmer entreaties, no sounder argu- ments, could have been employed than those addressed to religious society, and particularly to the clergy, by Thomas Campbell and the "Christian Association." But all these well-meant efforts the clergy had treated with disdain. The soft and' harmless missiles of for- bearance had been employed apparently to no purpose to induce the clergy to come down from the elevated position they had gained, and from the possession of the spoils they coveted, and it had become necessary to use something more solid and effective in order to compel attention. It should be remembered, moreover, that Mr. Camp- bell regarded the Church and the clergy from a point of view very different from the popular one, and did not consider all ministers of religion as "clergy" in the sense he condemned. Hence care is to be exercised in giving to his censures an application no more extensive than he designed. The clergy, in Mr. Campbell's view, consisted of those who, claiming, without creden- tials, to be " ambassadors of Christ," placed themselves upon apostolic thrones ; and, having no new divine rev- elations, assumed to be the sole authorized expositors of the sacred oracles, denying to the people the right or the power of comprehending or interpreting the Scriptures for themselves, and exercising over men, by means of these false assumptions, a powerful influence, largely devoted to the maintenance of their own usurp- ations and the religious partyism of the times. He had before his vision the lordly prelates of Europe, and e»- ARROGANT BAPTIST PREACHERS. 6\ pecially of the Established Church of England^ whose revenues, he shows from public documents, were nearly forty millions of dollars, being two hundred and eight thousand six hundred and eighty dollars per annum more than those of all the remaining clergy of the whole Christian world. With these he associated all in other churches who arrogated to themselves similar official claims, and who sought, each in his own sphere, a similar priestly domination. It is to be particularly noticed that he did not include among the ^'"clergy" ■whom he denounced the ministers of the Baptist and other independent churches. These, being appointed by the churches, and acting as elders and preachers of the gospel in subordination to just scriptural authority, he constantly recognized as a lawful ministry in the Church, for the accomplishment of the purposes for which it was established on the earth. He thought, in- deed, there were some preachers even among the Bap- tists who were disposed to assume " the airs and arro- gance of some Psedobaptist priests," placing themselves, when fresh from college, over the heads of " old and experienced members a thousand times better qualified than they to be overseers." " I hope, however," he adds (C. B. for Oct., 1824), "the number of such among the Baptists is small. Perhaps the whole aggre- gate number is not greater than the aggregate of good, well-meaning men amongst the Paedobaptist clergy." Again, in the same " address," he says : "Amongst the Baptists it is to be hoped there are but few clergy, and would to God there were none ! The grand and dis- tinguishing views of the Baptists must be grossly per- verted before they could tolerate one such creature." It is to be noted, also, that his condemnation of the clergy and their undertakings was not indiscriminate. 62 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL. In speaking of their worldly ambitions and desire of aggrandizement, he says (C. B.,vol. i., p. 48) : "To say that every individual of this nation of clergy is actuated b}^ such motives, and such only, is very far from our intention. There have been good and pious kings, and there are good and pious clergy." Again, in speaking of those who sustained the schemes of the clergy, and of his own aims and purposes in opposing them, he says (Id., p. 89) : " Our views of Christianity differ very materially from the popular views. This we fearlessly and honestly avow. But while we remember our own mistakes and the systems and teaching of our time, we must acknowledge many to be Christians who are led away and corrupted from the sim- plicity of Christ." Referring to the missionary plans, he says (Id., p. 208) : '" I am constrained to differ from many whom I love and esteem, and will ever esteem, if we should never agree upon this point, as well as from many whom I cannot love for the truth's sake. At the same time I am very sorry to think that any man should suppose that I am either regardless of the deplorable condition of the heathen world or opposed to any means authorized by the New Testament for either the civilization or salvation of those infatuated pagans." Again, of his motives and designs, he thus speaks (Id., p. 90) : '' Many will, from various motives, decry the clergy. ... In opposing and exposing them and their king- dom, it is not to join the intidel cry against priests and priest- craft ; it is not to gratify the avaricious or the licentious; but it is to pull down their Babel, and to emancipate those whom they have enslaved ; to free the people from their unrighteous dominion and unmerciful spoliation. We have no system of our own, or of others, to substitute in lieu of the reigning systems. We onlv aim at substituting the New Testament in lieu of every creed in existence, whether Mohammedan, Pagan, Jewish or Presbyterian. We wish to call Christians to con- sider that Jesus Christ has made them kings and priests to PERSONAL INTERCOURSE. 63 God. We neither advocate Calvinism, Arminianism, Socin- ianism, Arianism, Trinitarianism, Unitarianism, Deism nor Sectarianism, but New T'estamentistn" Mr. Campbell, furthermore, would be greatly misun- derstood if he were supposed to have cherished feelings of personal unkindness toward those whom he so sternly arraigned before the bar of Scripture on account of their assumptions. While he denounced their errors as a class, he had a very high regard for many of them in- dividually, and exercised Christian benevolence toward them all as men, while he repudiated them as clergy- men. Among them he had many warm personal friends, who understood and esteemed him too well to take um- brage at his essays. There was a charm about Mr. Campbell in his personal intercourse which speedily disarmed all the prejudices which his writings were calculated to excite. In these, like Paul, he appeared in a guise wholly different from that which invested his personal character. For religious errors and for classes of errorists he had in his writings nothing but cold, in- cisive logic ; the crushing strength derived from his singular knowledge of unwelcome facts ; the shafts of piercing satire and the sharp, two-edged sword of the divine word. But for men, individually, he had the most affectionate and almost reverential feelings. He could say nothing to wound their sensibilities or to de- tract in any degree from their real or supposed position. He was the same kind, sympathizing friend, and the iame lively, agreeable companion to the clergy of his acquaintance that he was to others, and with that deli- cate courtesy which always characterized him he for- bore to make in their company any direct application of his well-known views. He loved, indeed, to con- verse with them upon the great themes of nature and
64 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL. religion ; and he delighted to give them a sharp thrust or a sly rub occasionally in his pleasant, humorous way, in order to set them to thinking, but he never exceeded the boundaries of the most cordial good feeling. In this sort of skirmishing he was almost invariably tri- umphant, and his keen, flashing wit never shone to greater advantage than in such encounters. Occasion- ally, however, he would be foiled with his own weapons. One day, Dr. Joseph Doddridge, the Episcopal minister at Wellsburg, for whom he had a very high esteem, was out at his house on a visit. As they were taking a stroll in the orchard, the bell rang for dinner. Hav- ing been conversing pleasantly on various subjects and Hearing the topic of church government, Mr. Campbell said to the Doctor as they were passing over to the house, and with a sly twinkle in his eye : " Doctor, that is a very ugly story they tell us about Harry the Eighth and Queen Boleyn !" The Doctor, perceiving his drift, and that he meant a blow at the origin of episcopacy, replied instantly: "Yes, sir; a very ugly story. But, Mr. Campbell, we have a good many ugly stories in the Bible !" At this repartee they both laughed heartily and came to dinner in high humor, and ever afterward Mr. Campbell's cheery laughter would make the welkin ring when he related, as he often did to his friends, how readily and adroitly the Doctor had parried and returned his thrust. Mr. Campbell's bold attacks upon the popular clergy, roused, as may well be supposed, on their part an in- tense indignation. Instead, however, of trying to re- form a single abuse, they continued to abuse the indi- vidual who dared to urge reform, and all their influence was exerted to put down one whom they regarded as a most dangerous " adversary." In attempting to do this, REAL PURPOSES. 65 they resorted, unfortunately, to personal detraction and misrepresentation, rather than to truth and Scripture argument, and preferred, in general, to circulate pri- vately such reports as were likely to excite public odium against Mr. Campbell, rather than to accept his liberal offer of page for page in the " Christian Baptist" for manly discussion of the questions involved. They re- ported that he was a Socinian, because he refused to adopt the terms of scholastic divinity. To this he replied: "We regard Arianism, semi-Arianism and Socinianism as poor, blind, miserable and naked non- sense and absurdity" (C. B. vol. i., p. 443). They charged him with being a " disorganizer." But it was not his aim merely to overthrow the existing order of religious society. He was well aware of the vast bene- fits resulting to mankind from Christianity, even in its most corrupt forms, and was far from proposing, as seen in the above extracts, to accomplish the merely nega- tive work of subverting these. He desired to dethrone the false, that he might re-establish the true ; to replace the traditions of men by the teachings of Christ and the apostles, and to substitute the New Testament for creeds and human formularies. Said he (p. 89) : " To see Christians enjoy their privileges, and to see sin- ners brought from darkness to light, are the two great objects for which we desire to live, to labor and to suffer reproach. In endeavoring to use our feeble efforts for these glorious objects we have found it necessary, among other things, to attempt to dethrone the reigning popular clergy from their high and lofty seats, which they have been for ages building for themselves. While we attempt to dethrone them, it is solely for this purpose — that we might enthrone the holy apos- tles on those thrones which Christ promised them ; or rather that we might turn the attention of the people to them placed upon thrones by the Great and Mighty King."
VOL. II. — 66 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
His work was thus, as said before, eminently positive, designed to restore the pure, primitive gospel with all its ordinances and administrations, and he was careful, therefore, in the " Christian Baptist," to present this for consideration and adoption on the one hand, while, on the other, he exposed the errors of modern systems. Thus to separate truth from error in relation to the most important of all subjects was certainly the greatest service that any one could have rendered to the world. Under the peculiar circumstances of this period, nothing could have been more desirable or more needed than to bring religious teaching and religious enterprises into exact conformity to the Word of God. Providence had evidently raised up in Alexander Campbell the man for the times. It needed one of an intrepid spirit to brave theological odium and clerical denunciation, and to re- buke the bigotry, sectarianism and venality which ex- isted in the religious world. It needed one, too, of supreme regard for truth and uncompromising fidelity to the teachings of the Bible to exhibit boldly the simple apostolic gospel and the primitive Church order, in op- position to the corruption and spiritual despotism which then prevailed. His fine natural abilities ; his previous training ; his enlarged experience and observation of the actual condition of religious society ; his social and worldly circumstances, — all contributed to fit him for the work assigned him. Even his early resolve to labor in the gospel without charge gave him in the conflict with a salaried clergy a marked advantage, and led him, doubtless, to employ a freedom of censure in which he would not otherwise have indulged. Believing, however, as he did, that a distinct order, such as the clergy, was wholly unauthorized, everything connected with their position became legitimately a subject of re-
PROGRESS OF TRUTH. 6
mark ; while on the other hand, taught by the Scripture that every congregation should have its own elders and deacons, and that its divinely-appointed rulers and laborers should be duly honored and supported, he did not fail to urge this duty and to distinguish these officers from the clergy, against whom alone he directed his shafts. On this subject he says (p. 209) : When I arrived a stranger in this Western country, with- out any other property than my education, I did, from a con- firmed disgust at the popular schemes — which I confess I principally imbibed when a student at the University of Glasgow — determine that I should, under the protection and patronage of the Almighty, render all the services I could to my fellow-creatures, by means of the Bible, without any earthly compensation whatever. On these principles I began, and having no other prospects than to turn my atten- tion to some honest calling for a livelihood, I prosecuted this design without looking back. At the same time I did not censure nor do I censure any Christian bishop who receives such earthly things as he needs from those to whose edifica- tion and comfort he contributes by his labors. Aware, indeed, of the danger of being misunderstood on this subject, he, in the very first number of the "Christian Baptist," prefixed to an article referring to the clergy, the following: Nota Bene. — In our remarks upon the Christian clergy we never include the elders or deacons of a Christian assembly, or those in the New Testament called the overseers and servants of the Christian Church. These we consider as very dif- ferent characters, and shall distinguish them in some future number." In spite of all the hindrances interposed by the clergy and their supporters, the reformatory views urged by Mr. Campbell found access to many minds, and in various quarters began to produce marked results.
68 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
At the time, however, they were but imperfectly ap- prehended. They were far in advance of the age, and their spread served but to intensify the opposition of the clergy and their adherents. His opponents in the Red- stone Association were particularly incensed and, as for the past six years he had been too much confined by the duties of BuflTalo Seminary to visit often the churches belonging to the Association, the opportunity afforded by his absence had been diligently used to increase the prejudice against him. The " Sermon on the Law," which had been printed, furnished a favorite ground for charges of heresy, and the minority, led on by Elders Brownfield, Pritchard and the Stones, was full of expedients to gain an ascendency in the associa- tion, and to thrust Mr. Campbell and his friends out of it. In the month of August, 1823, he learned that they had determined to make a strong effort for this purpose, and, in order to ensure success, that special brethren traversed all the churches in the Association, and had induced many of them to appoint as messengers to the next meeting such persons as were unfriendly to him, in order to secure a majority against him. Considered in itself, Mr. Campbell cared but little for this impend- ing excommunication on the part of the Association, but as he was to engage in a public debate shortly with Mr. McCalla, he thought it best to evade the denomi- national discredit designed by his enemies, lest this should mar his success, or possibly prevent the discus- sion altogether. He determined accordingly, though the time for action was but short (the Association hav- ing appointed to meet in September) , to defeat the pro- ject, in a way his enemies little expected, but which was in strict accordance with Baptist usages. As he had been occasionally pressed by Elder Bentiey
BELLSBURG CHURCH. 69,
to leave the Redstone Association and unite with the Mahoning, and as a number of the members of the Brush Run Church lived in Wellsburg and its vicinity, he concluded to form there a separate congregation in which he would have his membership, and which might afterward unite with the Mahoning Association. He announced, therefore, to the church at Brush Run that for special reasons, which it was not at that time pru- dent to disclose, he desired from them letters of dismis- sion for himself and some thirty other members, in order to constitute a church in Wellsburg. This re- quest, in deference to Mr. Campbell's judgment, was granted, and the second church of the Reformation was at once constituted in the town of Wellsburg, and con- tinued to assemble regularly thenceforward in the house which had been previously erected.* The church at Brush Run meanwhile appointed Thomas Campbell and two others as messengers to Redstone, while Alexander resolved to attend the meeting as a spectator. When the letter from Brush Run was, in the usual order of business, called for in the Association and read, a good deal of surprise was manifested that Alex- * The following is a copy of the letter of dismission in the handwriting of Thomas Campbell : " Be it known to all whom it may concern, that we have dismissed the following brethren in good standing with us, to constitute a church of Christ at Wellsburg, namely : "Alexander Campbell, Margaret Campbell, John Brown, Ann Brown, Mary Sayres, Mary Marshall, Mary Little, Richard McConnel, Stephen Priest, Mr. Jones, John Chambers, Mary Chambers, Jacob Osborne, Susan Os- borne, Mrs. Bakewell, Selina Bakewell, Mrs. Dicks, William Gilchrist, Jane Gilchrist, Mr. Brockaw, Nancy Brockaw, Alexander Holliday, Joseph Freeman, Margaret Parkinson, Jane Parkinson, Mrs. Talbot, George Young, Daniel Babbit, Catharine Harvey, Mrs. Braley, Solomon Salah, Delilah Salah. " Done at our meeting, August 31st, A. D. 1823, and signed by order of the church. Thomas Campbeu."
70 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
ander Campbell was not named in it as one of the mes- sengers. On this ground objection was made to a mo- tion to invite him to a seat, and a debate ensued which occupied much time. At length Mr. Campbell, who had listened in silence, was requested to state why he was not, as usual, a messenger from Brush Run. Upon this he arose and expressed his regret that the Association should have spent so much of its precious time upon so trifling a matter, and observed that he would at once relieve them from all further trouble by stating that the reason why he had not been appointed a messenger from Brush Run was simply this : that the church of which he was then a member was not con- nected with the Redstone Association. " Never," said he, in relating the incident, " did hunters, on seeing the game unexpectedly escape from their toils at the moment when its capture was sure, glare upon each other a more mortifying disappointment than that indicated by my pursuers at that instant, on hearing that I was out of their bailiwick, and consequently out of their jurisdiction. A solemn stillness ensued, and, for a time, all parties seemed to have nothing to do." Mr. Campbell, having thus checkmated his opponents in the Association and escaped the excommunication, by which it was hoped the ears of the Baptists would be closed against him, remained still free as before to ad- vocate amongst them those principles of reformation which, he thought, if adopted by them, would rapidly regenerate the whole of religious society.
Journey to Kentucky — Debate with Mr. McCalla — Workings of religious bigotry — Design of baptism— Incidents — Results — Candor of Mr. Camp- bell—His reputation in Kentucky— Effects of his labors.
THE Ohio river, in the beginning of October, 1823, being too low for steamboat navigation, Mr. Camp- bell was compelled to set out on horseback in order to meet his appointment with Mr. McCalla in Kentucky. On this journey he was accompanied by the pastor of the Baptist church in Pittsburg, Sidney Rigdon, who wished to be present at the discussion. A'^ they journeyed along for nearly three hundred miles through the inter- vening State of Ohio, Mr. Campbell felt his health and strength improve, and took great pleasure in seeing the rich valley of the Scioto, and the new districts of coun- try which he had never before visited. For the last one hundred miles, however, from New Lancaster through all the fertile level land to Wilmington, in Clinton county, he found the country overspread with gloom, owing to the prevalence of a fatal form of autumnal fever which pervaded town and country, and of which many were dying. Reaching Washington, Ky., on the nth, he thus writes home : " My Dear Margaret : Through the mercy and kind- ness of our heavenly Father we have arrived in safety and in health at the ground of debate. . . . This is a healthy and fine country, and everything is cheerful and animating.
72 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
have no news relative to the debate. Great expectations on all sides, and much zeal. Too much party spirit. I hope and pray that the Lord will enable me to speak as I ought to speak, and cause the truth to be glorified. I intend, if my health will permit, to visit Lexington and Cincinnati after the debate, and therefore you need not expect to see me for nearly six weeks from my departure from home. I will write in a few days again. Remember me to all the children — to Joseph Freeman, James Anderson and all inquiring friends. May grace, mercy and peace be multiplied unto you ! Your loving husband, A. Campbell." After resting for a time, he was introduced, on the evening of the 14th, to Mr. McCalla by Major Davis, and endeavored to arrange the preliminaries of the dis- cussion. He found Mr. McCalla unwilling to agree to such rules as he thought requisite, or even to leave the matter to the moderators. Finally it was thus arranged : " 1. Each of the parties shall choose a moderator, and these two a third person, who belongs to neither party, for the pur- pose of merely keeping order. 2. Alexander Campbell shall open the debate. 3. Each disputant shall have the privi- lege of speaking thirty minutes without interruption, unless he chooses to waive his right. 4. Whatever books are pro- duced upon the occasion shall be open to the perusal of each disputant. 5. The debate shall be adjourned from day to day until the parties are satisfied." Mr. Campbell chose Bishop Jeremiah Vardeman as moderator on his part.* Mr. McCalla chose the Rev. * Jeremiah Vardeman was, beyond question, the most popular preacher in Kentucky. Although without much education, he had, by his energy and zeal, and his fine hortatory powers, aided by his noble personal appearance and social qualities, acquired immense influence. He had heard many things about Mr. Campbell, and was anxious to see and hear him for himself. He used to relate afterward that as he was on his way to the debate, traveling in a gig, he overtook, about eleven miles from Washington, a man on foot, and, hailing him, inquired whither he was going. He said be was on his way to EXORDIUM. 73 James K. Birch ; and these two chose Major William Roper, and appointed him president of the board of moderators. The debate was to have been held in the Baptist meeting-house in the town of Washington, but, as the concourse was great and the weather now clear and pleasant, it was concluded to have the discussion, for the time, in an adjacent grove, where a Methodist camp-meeting had recently been held, and where the people were well accommodated. At the appointed hour (12 o'clock), both parties ap- peared upon the ground, Mr. Campbell having only a few books with him, such as he could conveniently carry in his portmanteau. In personal appearance there was considerable difference between the two dis- putants, Mr. McCalla being lower in stature and more slender than Mr. Campbell, with dark hair, a self-pos- sessed and solemn aspect and much of the clerical air. Mr. Campbell's exordium was as follows : Men, Brethren and Fathers : " Through the goodness and mercy of God, I appear before Washington. " Why," said Vardeman, " you must have very urgent business to walk so far in such roads as these ;" for, as it had been raining recently, the roads were very muddy. The man replied that he had no call of business, but that he was going to hear the debate that was to come off on the 15th. Surprised at this, Vardeman took him at once to be a very zealous Baptist, and, affecting to be on the other side, he said : " Is not our man likely to whip your man Campbell ?" The man gave him a searching look, and asked : " Can you tell me if this is the same Mr. Campbell who debated with Mr. Walker at Mount Pleasant, Ohio ?" Elder Vardeman said he believed he was. The stranger then said : " I am not a member of any church. I am going to the debate on the supposition that this is the Mr. Campbell who de- bated at Mount Pleasant three years ago. I heard that debate, and all I have to say is, that all creation cannot whip that Mr. Campbell." Elder Vardeman, who was noted for his power in defending the practice of immersion, was not a little gratified with this unexpected and very decided testimony to Mr. Campbell's ability, and came on to the debate, full of cheerful expectation as to the fortunes of his favorite tenet
74 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.
you, at this time and in this place, for the purpose of con- tending for a part of that faith, and an item of that religious pi'actice, once delivered to the saints. My prayer to God is, that for the sake of his Son Jesus Christ I may speak as I ought to speak ; that in the spirit of the truth I may contend for the truth ; that with humility and love, with zeal accord- ing to knowledge and unfeigned devotion, I may open my lips on every occasion when I address my fellow mortal and immortal creatures on the subject of religion. Expecting that they and I will soon appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, may I speak in such a way that I may not be ashamed nor afraid to meet them there. May I ever act under the in- fluence of that 'wisdom which cometh from above, which is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and of good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.' And may you, my friends, examine and ' prove all things, and hold fast that which is good.'" He then went on to detail the circumstances which led to the discussion, and, after adverting to the import- ance of the subject, called upon his opponent to point out any advantages resulting from the practice of infant sprinkling. Mr. McCalla, after some just remarks upon the value of religion, went on to descant upon the propositions in the challenge given by Mr. Campbell, speaking of him as an " adversary," and endeavoring to excite religious prejudice against him. Then, after saying that Mr. Campbell had not as yet offered any argument in proof of his propositions, he announced the method he him- self intended to pursue in proving their contraries. " In the first place," said he, " I will produce a divine com- mand for infant baptism — a command of God authorizing infants to be baptized — the infants of believers. *' In the second place, I will produce probable evidence of apostolic practice of infant baptism.
WESTMINSTER CONFESSION. 75
In the third and last place, under this head, I w.ll pro- duce positive evidence of apostolic practice of infant bap- tism." In Mr. Campbell's next speech he expressed his re- gret that Mr. McCalla should have attempted to preju- dice the feelings of the audience by representing his challenge as " an accusation against the whole Paedo- baptist world," and as imputing to them " a crime worthy of punishment by the civil law." " Our design, my Paedobaptist friends," said he, " is not to widen the breach, or to throw stumbling-blocks in the way, by inflaming your passions ; but to lead you to understand this most important institution of the Lord of glory, that whosoever of you feareth God may unite with me in keeping his commandments as delivered unto us by his holy apostles." After some further remarks, he then submitted his proposed method of procedure, laying down, first, cer- tain principles to which he might appeal in any perti- nent case. These principles he adopted from the " Confession of Faith," and said he took for granted Mr. McCalla's assent to them, since he had, as a Pres- byterian minister, solemnly vowed to teach that Confes- sion and declared it to be, according to his belief, " the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures." He then quoted the Presbyterian Confession : " 'AH things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all ; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned but the unlearned., in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.' You will then bear in mind, my friends," added he, " that my opponent considers you all competent judges of Scripture testimony, in a due use of the
EMBRACING A VIEW OF THE ORIGIN,
PROGRESS AND PRINCIPLES OF
THE RELIGIOUS REFORMATION WHICH HE ADVOCATED
Originally By ROBERT RICHARDSON
Annotated by NewtonStein
CINCINNATI - STANDARD PUBLISHING COMPANY.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1897, by ROBERT RICHARDSON, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for the District of West Virginia.