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James M. Mathes, ed.
Works of Elder B. W. Stone (1859)

  • First Interview.
  • Second Interview.
  • Third Interview.
  • Fourth Interview.
  • Fifth Interview.
  • Sixth Interview.

  • C H A P T E R   V I.


          A YOUNG student had passed with honor the laborious routine of college, and received his diploma; he had just completed his theological studies, and received license to preach the Gospel. He had amassed vast stores of knowledge from ancient and modern writers on theology; from the dead and the living--he was well prepared to enter the arena with any disputant, and to contend earnestly for the prize. Musing upon the proper course to be pursued, he determined first to visit an old preacher, celebrated for wisdom and prudence, and for his great success in converting souls to the Lord from his youth, and from him to receive advice, how he should preach in order to be useful to the world. This was the dictation of wisdom. He immediately went, and was kindly received by the old father. "I have come," said the young preacher, "to learn from you how and what I must preach to the world in order to be profitable."

          O. P.--My son, I can give you the same advice that Paul the aged gave to young Timothy, "Take heed to thyself, and to the doctrine, continue in them, for in doing this, thou shalt save thyself and them that hear thee." Two things are here enjoined: 1st, Take heed to thyself; 2d, Take heed to the doctrine, and continue in them. The end will be salvation, both of [164] thyself, and of them that hear thee. If then you would be useful in saving sinners as well as to save yourself, here your course is plainly marked out.

          1. Take heed to yourself, and learn this truth, that without me ye can do nothing--Christ, the great teacher of the world, never preached the Gospel till he was full of the Holy Ghost--his apostles were forbidden to leave Jerusalem and preach the Gospel till they had received the Holy Spirit of promise, endued with power from on high. Even deacons, who were to attend solely to the temporalities of the Church, must be full of the Holy Ghost, as a qualification of their office. The Lord will have no servants in his Church without this qualification. Without we have the Spirit, how can we minister it to others. We may lecture as a philosopher, as Socrates lectured to his hearers, and with as little success; we may declaim as Demosthenes or Cicero, and agitate the crowds, but can never penetrate the heart of the sinner, so as to convert him to the Lord; we may make proselytes, but not Christians. The new covenant is not written on tables of stone, as was the old, but on fleshly tables of the heart. The Jews' religion was outward, that of Christians is inward. On this the salvation of yourself, as well as others, depends.

          2. Take heed to thyself. Young preachers, especially those favored with a liberal education like yourself, are apt to feel more self-confident and independent than others. They can deliver a wordy, and even a sensible discourse, without the quickening Spirit; but such discourses are without fruit. A young man just rising from a long course of theological studies, has gotten on Saul's armor. In it he feels cramped, and [165] not free. He must be armed with Gospel weapons, or no Goliah will fall before him.

          "Let no man," says Paul, "despise thy youth, but be thou an example to the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." By thus conducting yourself, you will gain the favor and respect of all, and thus be the means of saving them. Instead of despising your youth, they will highly esteem and revere it. In vain you labor to preach successfully to people who despise you. They may admire and applaud your talents, but in heart despise you.

          In order to avoid being despised, and consequently useless, be an example:

          1. In word or speech. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, so as to make it more palatable and purifying. Though you may preach as an angel in the pulpit, yet when in private circles you indulge in vain talk, as innuendal self-praise, or in detracting from others, or in speaking evil of any man, or in jesting and sportive speech, or on any topics not calculated to administer grace to the hearers, you lose your influence and become contemptible.

          2. Be an example in conversation, or behavior, as the word in the original literally signifies, and so rendered by Dr. McKnight. Let, then, your behavior, your walk, be as becometh the Gospel. I have seen even in preachers in their common walk a nondescript something, so disgusting that my eyes have turned away with contempt. They walked as if the ground was unworthy of their tread. I have seen them lightly skipping up the stairs of the pulpit--then adjusting their collar and bosom, combing their hair in [166] dandy style--then rising in the vain confidence of respect, and reading their hymn and text with an affected air, and tone of sanctity, visible to all but themselves. Such conduct forestalls any good effect of their preaching.

          3. Be an example in charity, or love, not in word and in tongue, but in deed and in truth, by administering of your goods to the poor and needy. Let your charity condescend to men of low estate, and treat them with respect, even the poor African slave. The salvation of their souls is equal to that of the kings of the earth. In death--in heaven, the distinction is lost forever.

          4. Be an example in spirit. Always cherish a meek, gentle, and quiet spirit--an humble, loving, heavenly, and praying spirit. Such a spirit will almost silence the tongue of slander, or cause its poisoned darts to fall harmless at his feet.

          5. Be an example in faith; prove to all by your works, your zeal, and labors of love, that you heartily believe what you profess and teach to others. To teach the truth in a dull phlegmatic manner and style, is to lessen the force of truth, and pour contempt upon its glory. People will think the preacher does not believe what he preaches, and are rather confirmed in their infidelity. But the truth preached in the spirit of faith will have a different effect on the hearers. It kills and makes alive. That preacher, whose heart is glued to earth is throwing water on fire, is dragging heaven-bound souls down to bondage, and is making death more deathly.

          6. Be an example in purity--purity of heart and life. Avoid impurity in word and action, as well as [167] in thought. Keep your garments unspotted from the world. In all things show thyself a pattern in every good work.

          The second advice given by Paul to Timothy is, "Take heed to the doctrine." The words are emphatic--the doctrine, not the doctrine of Moses--not the doctrine of uninspired men--but the doctrine of Christ and his inspired apostles. It is the Word, the Gospel, the faith of Jesus Christ. Preach the Word, the whole Word, and nothing but the Word; keep nothing back, and dare not transcend it, or add to it.

          1. Preach the Word, the Word that reveals the fallen condition of the world--that they are all under the reign of sin and death--all led captive by the devil at his will, to everlasting punishment--that they are unable to break the grasp of their enemies, or to deliver themselves, being without strength--that if they die in their sins, where God is they can never come--that they must be born again, and made new creatures, or never see Heaven. Try to arouse them from their deathly sleep and show them their danger. This they must see and fear before they will inquire after the good old way, and seek salvation. Point the poor trembling sinner to Jesus, sent in love by the Father, to be the Saviour of the world--that he is able and willing to save to the uttermost all that come to God by him. Preach his universal and kind invitations--his kind assurance that he will cast out none that cometh to him--urge them to faith, repentance and obedience; and let them know, Now is the accepted time, and now is the day of salvation. Urge them to accede to the terms of salvation immediately, by the horrors of hell, by the joys of heaven, by the [168] mercies of God, by the coming of the Lord Jesus to judgment, and by our gathering together unto him to hear our eternal doom from his lips.

          These are themes that will inspire you with holy zeal, and well calculated to waken the sleeping sinner. Preach not the scholastic jargon of depravity, as moral depravity, natural depravity, total depravity. These things gender strife. Preach the word in the language of the Spirit, and your labor will not be in vain in the Lord. Preach the way of salvation, irrespective of man's opinion--preach the word.


          Y. P.--My father, I have come to you again under a burden of difficulties, from which I wish to be delivered; and now I earnestly request your assistance.

          O. P.--What is the matter, my son?

          Y. P.--I lectured last Lord's day, on Rom. iii: 10, 19. From this passage I endeavored to set forth the fallen and miserable condition of the world--that they were all under sin--all gone out of the way--none righteous, no not one, all led captive by the devil at his will. After describing their wretched condition, I showed that they were all without strength to deliver or save themselves, and none able to redeem his brother. I then endeavored to show the way of salvation, and introduced the ii: of Ephesians, "By grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." I remarked that salvation was of grace--free, sovereign grace--and that the means by which this salvation was received, is faith, and this the gift of God. I urged them to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ that they might be saved; and that if they believed not, they must be damned. That without faith [169] it was impossible to please God. After I had closed, a man in tears came to me, and thus accosted me: Sir, I am convinced that I am a sinner undone. I know not what to do. You have closed every avenue to hope, but in the sovereignty of God, in giving or withholding his saving grace or power. You tell me faith itself is the gift of God, without which there is no salvation, but certain damnation. Do tell me how I am to get faith. I replied, you must pray for it. He said, "How can they call on him in whom they have not believed?" "Whatsoever is not of faith is sin." I must have faith before I pray for it; for he that prays without faith commits sin, and shall receive nothing of the Lord. What shall I do? I told him he must wait the Lord's pleasure. But, said he, you preached that now was the accepted time, and now the day of salvation. I have long waited in hope that sovereign grace would move to my salvation, but my hope is almost gone. I am distracted with tormenting fear, lest death and hell overtake me in my sins. Oh, what shall I do? I was struck dumb; I knew not what to say to him. Ever since my mind has been sorely agitated. I have believed that faith was a command of God, and made the condition of our salvation. But would he command an impossibility, and damn us for disobedience? Would he suspend our salvation on a condition impossible to be performed by us? Now you see my case; do help me.

          O. P.--Yes, my son, I see your case, and well remember how I, when young, was similarly agitated from the same cause. These are to you the beginning of sorrows. You have been long walking in the fogs of scholastic divinity, which have obscured the sun and the air, or thrown on the Scriptures an almost [170] impenetrable mist of darkness. You are now beginning to learn the truth as it is in Jesus. I rejoice at it. From your representation of your lecture, you did well in describing the sinful, miserable and lost situation of the human family, and that they were without strength to save themselves--you did well to show that salvation was by grace through faith. But on these points you erred, having been taught the mystic theology to which I have referred, and in which your mind has been tangled and confused. For your help I will give a short lecture on these subjects (i  e.), Grace and Faith.

          Grace (Charis, Gr.) signifies favor in opposition to merit or desert. Grace is taken in the Scriptures in four senses. 1st.--As a perfection of God. 2nd.--As the revelation of this perfection. 3d.--As the gifts of God to man. 4th.--As an ornament.

          1st.--Grace is a perfection of God. This is an undisputed truth, and therefore needs not a long train of witnesses to confirm it. It is the beginning and ending of our salvation. From it bursts forth the ten thousand gifts to man--temporal and spiritual, called the gifts of grace, so often found in the Scriptures. But the word has various acceptations, as is clearly seen in John i: 14, 17. "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." In these verses we see at one view three of the senses of the word grace. "Full of grace and truth," means the fulness of the gifts of grace; for, "out of this fulness we all have received grace." It pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell--the fulness of salvation--of the spirit-- [171] of eternal life, etc., all of which are given us in Christ Jesus, and which we receive from him. Grace is here also used as a perfection of God; as, "we have received grace for grace." Received grace, not for works of righteousness which we have done, not for or on account of our merit, but on account of his grace or free favor as a perfection of his nature. Grace is here also used as the revelation of it in the Gospel; as, "The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." This is a contrast between the law and the Gospel, for overlooking these distinctions, the mind becomes confused in reading the Scriptures.

          2. I have shown what is universally admitted, that grace sometimes signifies perfection of God. I now shall show that it sometimes means the revelation of this perfection, toward fallen man, which is the Gospel of the Son of God. This I have already shown from John i: 17; Acts xiv: 3, "Long time, therefore, abode they, speaking boldly in the Lord, who gave testimony to the word of his grace;" Also Acts xx: 24, 32, and Acts xviii: 27, "Who when he was come, helped them much who had believed through grace," i. e., through the word of grace; for faith comes by hearing the word of God. Rom. vi: 14, "Ye are not under the law, but under grace." Here the law is contrasted with grace, or with the Gospel, the revelation of God's grace. Gal. v: 4, "Christ is become of no effect unto you, whoever of you are justified by the law;" ye are fallen from grace, i. e., from the Gospel. Eph. ii: 8, 9, "By Grace are ye saved through the faith (tes pisteos), and that (touto) not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works." By grace ye are saved, means [172] by the free favor of God as a perfection. This salvation by grace is effected through the faith, as it is in the Greek, which is equivalent to the Gospel, or the word of his grace. The obedience of the faith, or Gospel, is certainly here intended--for the faith or Gospel, will justify no one, who is disobedient to its requirements. It is God that justifieth, it is added, and that not of yourselves. The word that (touto) is in the neuter gender, and can not agree either with grace, salvation, or faith, for they are all in the feminine gender. Every Grecian knows this, and they also acknowledge, that it agrees with the whole sentence going before; as, "By grace are ye saved through the faith," and that salvation by grace through the faith, is not of yourselves, not by your works of the law, but it is the gift of God. Now it is plain that faith, as an act of the man, is not meant, but the object of that faith, is here intended. Tit. ii: 11, "The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared unto all men, teaching us," etc. This is doubtlessly the Gospel. I might multiply quotations to prove this point, but shall add no more.

          I now proceed to show that grace sometimes and very often, signifies the gift of grace. Rom. v: 15, "Much more the grace of God and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many;" Rom. xv: 15, "Because of the grace of God that is given tome of God, that I should be the minister of Jesus Christ unto the Gentiles;" and Gal. ii: 9; Eph. iii . 8; Eph. iv: 7, "But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ;" II. Thes. ii: 16, "Hath given us good hope through grace; "' 1 Pet. v: 5, "God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble." In a [173] word, pardon, salvation, strength, glory, honor, immortality, and eternal life are all the gifts of grace--Jesus with all his unsearchable riches, the Holy Spirit with all his quickening powers, a new heart with all its holy affections, all, all are the gifts of grace.

          4. Grace also signifies an ornament of beauty. Ps. xlv: 2, "Thou art fairer than the children of men; grace is poured into thy lips;" Jas. i: 11, "For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth." The gifts of grace adorn the happy recipient. He is adorned with the robe of righteousness the garment of humility, of a meek and quiet spirit, which reflect glory to God, and honor to the truth, and good to the world; for they seeing are induced to glorify God also.

          The grace of God is sovereign, as all his perfections are; but the gifts of grace are not sovereign; for it passed by fallen angels, and apprehended fallen men--a Saviour was given to the world but not to devils. The gift of salvation and eternal life is given to the obedient, penitent, believer in Jesus; but denied to the opposite character. By inattention to this, thousands have been led astray, as you confess you have been. All the gifts of grace are offered freely to the world; but on conditions of faith, repentance, and obedience; without which, none shall receive them, or be justified by them, but condemned for rejecting them. If faith, repentance and obedience, were sovereign gifts of God, to us, then the reason why a sinner has them not, is because God did not please sovereignly to give them; and the reason of his damnation is because God sovereignly withheld them.

          Instead then of the Gospel being glad tidings of [174] salvation to all people, it would be to the wicked, the greatest curse that could be given; for it would lay them under a necessity to greater sin, seeing they can not believe it--they would have greater condemnation, because this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world and men have rejected it--of course their punishment must be far more severe. If this doctrine be true no man can be blamed for his infidelity.

          Can not a natural man believe his fellow-creatures when they relate to him a fact? This is undeniable. If they receive the witness of men, the witness of God, is greater. Are men so depraved that they can not believe God? They surely are not more depraved than the devils are; yet devils believe and tremble; and so do natural, wicked men; for they believe God in his threatenings, and are often sorely affrighted on that account. This proves that they can and do believe a part of God's Word, and why not all? Why not believe that in love he sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world, of them that believe in his name? All depends upon the same testimony. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. One great reason why so many believe not is, because they are taught to think that they can not. This doctrine either drives them. to negligence, or to stubborn, blasphemous opposition to God, as an austere being, reaping where be has not sown, and gathering where he has not strown. This is the rock, upon which thousands have perished.

          Go immediately, my son, to that poor weeping sinner, and show him the way of salvation, lest he despair and die. Tell him he must repent and convert to God--that be must obey the Gospel, and come to [175] Jesus for salvation. May the Lord go with you, and enable you to be an able minister of the New Testament, not of the letter which killeth, but of the Spirit, that giveth life!


          Y. P.--I have come again, father, to receive more instruction from you. I was abundantly edified by the truth received through you at our last interview. I learned then more useful truth than ever I had acquired by years of reading and studying the systems of divinity written by men. I am only beginning to learn, and have some difficulties in my mind respecting some doctrine of the Scriptures, which I wish you to remove. I will give you a succinct account of a discourse I preached last Lord's day to a numerous assembly, from Mark xvi: 16, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned." I do this in order to receive correction from you in any point in which I may have erred.

          O. P.--I approve of your plan proposed, and will gladly hear, and labor to assist as far as I am able.

          Y. P.--After reading my text, I said the Gospel meant glad tidings--sent from heaven--brought and first preached by the Son of God, and confirmed unto us by them that heard him. I dwelt some time on the glad tidings to all nations, an epitome of which I considered to be contained in John iii: 16, "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him might not perish, but have everlasting life." I tried to exhibit the love--the great love of God to the world--that this was the source of every good to the world--of the gift of his Son, and [176] of eternal life and salvation in him--that this love included all the fallen world, Jew and Gentile--every creature--that the gifts of love were free as water, as free as the light of the sun to all, Though these gifts were free and offered to all, yet they could only be received and enjoyed by a certain character--"He that believeth." Faith was an indispensable condition of salvation and eternal life, without which condition performed they must perish--must be damned. I showed that the very Gospel of salvation, to be preached to every creature, implied that every creature needed salvation, and therefore was in a lost condition. I endeavored to portray the sinful, guilty, helpless condition of the world in the language of the Scriptures, and the danger to which they were exposed in their unconverted state. I urged them to fly--to fly immediately for refuge from impending ruin to the Saviour of sinners and be saved--that they should now believe and now obey the Gospel, and obtain eternal life. Now is the accepted time, and now the day of salvation.

          The congregation was serious, feeling and attentive. After I had closed and the assembly dismissed, I, with a number of the elders, was invited to dine with the pastor of the church. After dinner, the pastor, a very good and intelligent man, began, in a friendly manner, to remark on some subjects which I had just preached. Said he, If God loved the whole world, and gave his Son to be the Saviour of the world, and if he has almighty power, why are not all saved? I answered that the Scriptures plainly declared he loved the world, and that he sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world; and the reason assigned why all were not saved is that they did not believe, and therefore did not receive the [177] love of the truth that they might be saved. They did not perform the condition God required in order to be saved. He replied, Faith is the gift of God; and until he gives it, a natural man can no sooner believe than make a new world. I answered, If your doctrine be true, then God has suspended our salvation upon an impossible condition. Suppose a man commands his little son playing in the yard to pluck up a large oak by the roots; if he did it he would liberally reward him; if not he would unmercifully punish him. On the failure of the child to do it, the father stamps him with fury under his feet. What would the world say of such a father? Would they not execrate his conduct? Would they not view him as a merciless tyrant, a monster in human shape? Would they not hiss him from society? This character is hateful in any being; and dare we attribute it to God? You say a natural man is as unable to believe as to make a world; and yet God has required him to believe on pain of damnation. Suppose the terms of damnation were thus proposed--that whosoever shall make a new world shall be saved, and whosoever does not shall be damned. Would not the world say with good reason, Lord thou hast required a condition impossible to be performed by us; and wilt thou damn us for not performing it? What is the difference, if to believe is as impossible as to create a world? Maugre all your plausible reasoning, said the pastor, the Scriptures positively say that faith is the gift of God--Eph. ii: 8; and this outweighs a thousand carnal arguments. I replied, my dear brother, I think you are mistaken in affirming so positively that faith is the gift of God in the sense you take it. You have no doubt said it without sufficient examination, as others have done. You well know [178] that the word faith (pistis) is often used to express two very distinct ideas; one is the word of faith, or the foundation of believing, the other is the act of the creature in believing. The first is generally written with the article (he) the before it, as he pistis, the faith. This you know is very common if not universal; as, "Contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints." Paul preached the faith he once destroyed--he preached obedience of the faith among all nations. Many of the priests were obedient to the faith--and Gal. iii: 23, 25; "But before (he pistis) the faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterward be revealed. But after that, he pistis, the faith, is come we are no longer under a schoolmaster," etc. So the text you have quoted--Eph. ii: 8, "By grace are ye saved through tes pisteos, the faith." All these texts, and many others demonstrably prove that the faith means the Gospel of Jesus Christ, or foundation of believing. By grace are ye saved through the faith, or by the means of the Gospel; but all agree that the Gospel will never become an effectual means to salvation, until it is believed.

          The pastor said, all of this is granted; but you have forgotten the main part of the text, "And that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." This surely must mean that faith is the gift of God. No, my brother, it does not so mean. The word touto, that, in the text, is in the neuter gender, and can not agree with any one word in the sentence--neither with grace nor faith. Here look at it in the original. It agrees with the whole preceding sentence. But should you, contrary to grammar, make it agree with faith, you have granted that the faith here means the Gospel, and therefore not the act of the creature. [179]

          We readily grant that the faith, the word of faith, or the Gospel, is the gift of God. This is universally admitted. We also admit that faith, the act of the creature, is also the gift of God in one sense, because he has given us the testimony or witness in the Scriptures, by which we are brought to believe in his Son. "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. God hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained, whereof he has given assurance (pistin, faith) to all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead." How did God give faith to all men? The answer is, by raising Jesus from the dead. By this act of raising his Son from the dead, he was declared and witnessed to be the Son of God with power. When we receive the testimony of God, we believe; and God is acknowledged as the author and giver of our faith. A person testifies to me a fact--I believe him. Now who was the giver of that faith I possess? Surely the person who testified the fact to me. By the prophecies, miracles, death and resurrection of Jesus, contained in the Word, men are brought to believe. "These are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing, ye might have life through his name"--John xx.

          The pastor replied, And do you really teach that we can believe from the testimony of the bare Word of God, without the internal and direct operations of the Spirit, in order to prepare the heart to believe? Yes, said I, if we can receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater, and worthy of all acceptation. He immediately replied, I believe no sinner can believe without this powerful operation of the Spirit in his heart to enable him. I asked him if the testimony of [180] God was defective, or not sufficient to produce faith. O no, said he, but the sinner has not capacity to receive it. Then, I observed, the testimony must be useless, if the sinner can not receive it. He said, the sinner was dead, and the dead can not act; they must be made alive, or quickened, before they can act in believing. I replied that the dead sinner must believe before he is made alive; and that believing they might have life. He that believeth hath eternal life--and he that believeth not shall not see life! No where in the Scriptures is believing taught to be dependent upon Divine life, but every where life is taught to be the fruit of faith. But said he, the sinner is blind--he must have spiritual sight given him before he can believe. "Therefore they could not believe, because he hath blinded their eyes," etc.--John xx: 39, 40. I endeavored to answer the objection, but not to my own satisfaction. Before I detail any more of our conversation, I wish you to instruct me on this point.

          O. P.--I will. God is frequently said to do things, when nothing more is intended, than that he suffered such things to take place in his government. He is in this text represented as active in blinding the eyes of his creatures; but Matthew and Paul represent the creatures themselves as doing it, and assign the reason why they closed their eyes, "Lest they, seeing and hearing, might convert, and be saved." What they closed their eyes and ears from seeing and hearing, was the testimony concerning the Son of God. Had they attended to and received the testimony, they would have converted and been healed. Now a man may choose or refuse to attend to testimony; he may close his eyes, ears and heart against it. So those mentioned by the Saviour, willfully closed their eyes and [181] ears against the testimony, and therefore could not believe; for faith depends upon testimony. In the same way thousands do in all ages, and therefore can not believe. I wish you to draw the distinction between the testimony and the thing testified of. The testimony must be seen and heard, before we can believe; but the testified of is unseen. Hence the apostle, in Heb. xi, defines faith to be "The evidence of things not seen," and proves his position by many examples. Verse 3, "Through faith we understand the worlds were framed by the word of God." We did not see the worlds framed, yet we believe the fact. This faith is founded on the testimony of Moses, and is seen and heard. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

          Verse 7. By faith, Noah being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house. He saw and heard the testimony, that a flood would shortly deluge the world, and believed it; he did, not yet see the flood, but was preparing an ark for the salvation of himself and family. Had he acted on the principle that he could not believe till he saw, he with his family would have been drowned with the world of the ungodly.

          Verse 8. By faith, Abraham when he was called to go out into a place, which he should after receive for an inheritance; and he went out not knowing whither he went. He saw and heard the testimony and believed there was such a land, yet he had never seen it. I might multiply cases of this nature, In fact, there is nothing more common in our ever day transactions. We believe a thousand. things we never saw, barely from testimony. A criminal for murder stands before the judge and jury. A witness swears before them [182] all, I saw this man on a certain day, at a certain place, with a certain weapon, kill my neighbor; a second, a third, a fourth witness, all of them of unimpeachable veracity, depose to the same facts. The judge and jury believe the testimony, though not one of them had seen the fact. In truth, seeing is the end of believing. If we see a thing, it is not proper language to say we believe it. For faith is the evidence of things, not seen.

          Y. P.--My mind is perfectly clear on this point now, by your short lecture. Should your mind be not fatigued with, hearing, I will now proceed in my conversation, with the pastor.

          O. P.--I am pleased to hear, and feel no fatigue. Proceed if you please.

          Y. P.--The pastor insisted that the sinner must have the Spirit's immediate and direct operation on the heart before he could believe. I asked him, if the Spirit was among the promises of God? Certainly, said he. I asked whether we did not receive the promise of the Spirit through faith? Whether the promise by, faith of Jesus. Christ is not given to them that believe?. Gal. iii. If so, faith must precede the reception of the Spirit. "This spake he of the spirit, which they that believe on him should receive."--"And whom (the spirit) the world can not receive." He hesitated to reply. I proceeded: If faith be the gift of God, according to your doctrine, how could God so pathetically plead with sinners, as, Why will ye die?--What more could I have done that I have not done? Might not the sinner answer and. say, the reason I die, is because thou. dost not give me faith--and thou mightest have done more, for thou mightest have given me faith. He again spoke: Your plan [183] gives too much power to the sinner, and detracts from the glory of God in our salvation. I asked him which of two artisans was worthy of most glory, he that made the complete image of a man without life or motion, or he who made the complete image of a man with life, motion, intelligence, and all the senses, with a capacity to receive and believe testimony, and to be affected with it? This is the image or being the Lord made, in which he is glorified for his wonderful skill and wisdom displayed, and by which he will be actively glorified to eternity. How far more glorious to the maker is this than the senseless image which man is represented to be by your doctrine--a mere machine. But how God-dishonoring is it, to represent him as taking vengeance on such a being for not doing impossibilities? He replied, Man is a fallen being; God has not lost his right to demand, though we have lost our power to obey. Therefore he has a right to demand of us faith, though we have lost our ability to give it. Remember, said I, the Scriptures are given to fallen man, and God has adapted his government to such. He requires of us what he knows we can perform, and not what he knows we can not do. You can say what you please, said the pastor, but I experimentally know that a sinner can not believe. I tried for one year in praying, fasting, attending the house of God, in order to get faith, but never obtained it till God directly gave it to me. Brother, said I, you must have had faith at this time, or you never would have acted as you did. You wanted to feel the love of God shed abroad in your heart by the Holy Ghost given unto you. This is the fruit of faith, which has been improperly called faith itself. This is a very great mistake among Christians, and has led them to [184] conclude as you have done. Here our conversation ended.


          Y. P.--I find that the lecture I delivered at B--l, and the conversation with the pastor after public worship, as mentioned in our former interview, are highly spoken of, and I hope, will prove a blessing to the people; I am come again to receive from you, father, instruction on other points of truth.

          O. P.--I will tell you an anecdote, which you will remember for good. A young preacher having preached a flaming discourse, and having descended from the pulpit, was immediately told by a prominent member of the church, that he had preached a great sermon. The young preacher replied, that the devil had just before whispered the same thing in his ear. Take heed, my son, lest such improper talk may puff you up. I once heard another preacher pretty lengthily descant on the proof that women had souls, and were therefore moral agents, and responsible beings to God as well as men, and to whom the Gospel should be preached, as well as to men. I thought then as I now think, how useless is such lucid nonsense! Had he addressed women as having souls, he might have profited them, for they were conscious of this without his logical arguments to prove it. His attempts to prove the proposition would rather lead them to doubt the fact. Another preacher consumed two hours in a discourse to prove that all men were possessed of free will. No doubt each of his auditors was conscious of this truth before he began his proof. Had the preacher addressed them as having a free will, he might have profited them. So my son has delivered a popular discourse to prove that men have capacities to believe [185] the witness of God. Now, men are as conscious that they can believe from good testimony, as that they are possessed of a free will; and women, that they have souls. Why attempt to prove them? We should address men in the truth of God as capable of believing the Gospel we preach, without turning aside from the way to prove a truism, that men are capable of believing it. The apostles did not preach thus. They simply presented the testimony to the truth they delivered, and urged the acceptance of it immediately upon all who heard it. The folly of denying that men can believe the testimony of God, may be a reasonable excuse to those who attempt to prove it now.

          What has led men to deny that sinners can believe, is the doctrine that they are so totally depraved, and consequently so helpless, that they can not act or move in obedience to God, more than a mill wheel can move till acted upon by extraneous power. They have labored to establish the doctrine that the Holy Spirit must first move upon the sinner, regenerate, or make him a new creature; and that till then he can not believe, repent, convert or turn to God. This is believed to be the foundation of Calvinism--of sovereign grace, of unconditional election, partial redemption, etc., etc.

          Y. P.--And do you believe, that mankind can repent, convert, or turn to the Lord independent of the Holy Spirit? I have, always viewed these as the works of the Spirit. Do instruct me on all these points, if you please.

          O. P.--Yes, my soul they are the works of the Spirit, in the same sense that faith is his work. The Spirit speaks in his Word, and gives in it the testimony that it is true. We receive the [186] testimony--or we believe, thus, "God gives or offers faith to all men, in that he has raised his Son from the dead." The Spirit has in the Word, revealed the depraved, lost and dangerous state of the world, exposed to wrath and everlasting death. He believes and is alarmed; and in distress cries out, what shall I do to be saved? Now it is plain that he would not be thus alarmed, and would not thus inquire, if he did not believe himself a sinner, and exposed to hell. What shall I do? He is not Divinely told to do nothing; but is instructed to repent and be converted, and to be baptized that his sins may be blotted out. Repentance is not barely distress on account of sin and danger; this he has already as the convicted pentecostian Jews had; he must also reform, convert or turn from sin and turn to God with all his heart and be baptized; and then he shall receive the forgiveness of sins, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. He must cease to do evil and learn to do well. All men, every where are commanded to repent. Why? Because God "has appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness;" and "Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish." Here is presented one motive to engage the sinner to reform. Another motive is, that if he reforms and turns to God, "he shall receive the forgiveness of his sins, and refreshing seasons from the presence of the Lord," or the Holy Spirit. "Turn ye at my reproof, behold I will pour out my Spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you"--Prov. i. Till they convert or turn to the Lord, there is no promise of forgiveness--no promise of the Spirit, nor of refreshing seasons from the presence of the Lord--no promise that Jesus will be sent again to them for salvation in the last day. When the [186] sinner believes these things, with all the kind invitations, and assurances of acceptance given by the Spirit in his Word, he reforms, he converts, and turns to the Lord with all his heart, determined to spend his days in the Lord's service. The doctrine that sinners can and should repent, reform, convert or turn, was never once objected to by sinners in the days of Christ and his apostles, as things that they could not perform. Nor would they have been reckoned impossible for sinners to perform, but for the system above mentioned. Jesus once upbraided certain cities, highly favored, because they repented not; if this was a work beyond their power, he would not have thus upbraided them. He further said, if the Sodomites had had the same privileges as those cities had, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. Their great depravity would not have prevented their repentance. If men can not repent and turn to the Lord, would they have been commanded to do it, on pain of damnation? None can repent for, or in the room of the sinner, he himself must repent or perish--he must turn or die without the Spirit, without hope.

          Y. P.--How shall we understand Acts xi: 18, "Then hath the Lord granted repentance unto life to the Gentiles?"

          O. P.--In the same way as he gave faith to all nations--seeing he gave evidence (the means to believe) to all nations, by raising Jesus from the dead. So he gave the means of repentance to the Gentiles, the Gospel of salvation and life, by which believed, they were led to repentance.

          Y. P.--I have been taught that repentance is a change of heart; that none but a new creature can [188] possess it--none but those who have received the Holy Spirit.

          O. P.--That repentance is a change of heart, or of mind or purpose, I readily grant--a great and visible change. That it is effected by the Spirit through faith in the Word, I also believe; but that it is only to be found in the new creature, and in those who have received the Holy Spirit, I can not admit; because by faith, repentance, conversion and baptism, we are brought into Christ Jesus, and receive his Spirit. If any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creature--none out of him are such. Such have received the unction, the eye salve, or spirit of wisdom and revelation, whereby they know all things. I might enlarge here, but you have the Bible, and can examine for yourself this subject at leisure. One thing I wish you to examine carefully; that the promise is one thing, and the thing promised is another. "He will give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him." Here are both the promise, and the thing promised. I have no idea of any new revelation given. But by the reception of the Spirit, the Scriptures are experimentally known in their power and glory, and the person renewed in knowledge after the image of him who created him. They are no longer led by the flesh but by the Spirit; they follow not after the flesh, but after the Spirit; they are justified and saved from sin, are new creatures created anew in Christ Jesus unto good works.

          I advise my son to preach this doctrine in the language of revelation. Too much speculation has been written and spoken on this subject; such speculation, however plausible, is of real injury. The minds of many have been entangled by it, and brought into [189] distress and death. Preach the Word with all humility of mind, yet with the boldness of a firm believer.


          Y. P.--And do you admit such to be Christians, who are sincerely engaged in obedience to all God's commandments, but one, which is immersion, of which as a duty they are in ignorance, and in error involuntary, through the cunning craftiness and sophistry of their teachers? Do you admit such into communion, and into the Church?

          O. P.--I certainly do admit them to be good men; but whether such can be properly called Christians, admits of doubt; or whether they can be said to be members of Christ's Church--of his family--or of the body of Christ, requires stronger faith than the Scriptures warrant; for they declare that in (en) one spirit we are all baptized into one body--baptized into Christ Jesus. This plainly implies that no unbaptized person was a member of the Church, according to the order of Heaven, in the time of the apostles.

          No alien is called a citizen of the United States till he has taken the oath of allegiance. He may be a good man, but not recognized as a citizen--as a member of the American family. His ignorance of his duty to take the oath of allegiance, may palliate his conduct in neglecting it, but does not entitle him to citizenship; he may think another plan, not prescribed by the government, may do as well, but this alters not the case; he may have been taught and may honestly think, that the oath is unnecessary, because a man may be as honest, good and true without it as with it; yet this does not entitle him to citizenship--he is still an alien. [190]

          A man may be a good man, yet in error--but not such error as leads to ungodliness, or to willful disobedience. The apostles were, without doubt, good men, yet they lived in disobedience to one important and plain command, for eight or ten years. This command was to preach the Gospel in all the world, to every creature, Gentile as well as Jew. They were ignorant of its extent, and their prejudices against the Gentiles propped up their ignorance; therefore they neglected to obey the command in preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles. Nor were they, nor the Church, convinced of their error but by a miraculous interposition, as in the case of Cornelius. This demonstrably shows that men may be good men, and yet be ignorant of their whole duty, and be in very great error.

          It may be said, that for any to neglect baptism is inexcusable ignorance, because they have the Scriptures, which plainly teach this truth. This objection arises from our own ignorance of human nature, the power of education, and of prepossession. The commission to the apostles was in as plain language as could be well used--they had the prophesies, which plainly taught that the Gospel should be preached to the Gentiles, and that they should be saved; yet their prepossessions prevailed against these glaring truths. I say not these things to excuse ignorance, but to engage the too uncharitable and self-confident to search the Scriptures and their own hearts.

          How many thousands lived in error and ignorance of some duties even in apostolic times. "Thou seest, brother," said the elders at Jerusalem, to Paul, "how many thousands there are of the Jews, who believe; and they are all zealous of the law"--Acts xxi: 20. These believing Jews still attended to the law of [191] circumcision, to sacrificing, to the ceremonies and to the traditions of the fathers (yet they were not unchristianized by the Church; they still continued together in fellowship--how godlike to bear with the errors of the weak in such matters). Yet these Judaizing believers were tolerated by the apostles, until they were for compelling the Gentiles to live as did the Jews--that they must be circumcised and keep the whole law of Moses, or they could not be saved. Then the apostles with the Church at Jerusalem in conference, interposed their authority in favor of Gentile liberty.

          Many of the sects now, are, like the Judaizers of old, shaping their religion after the model of Moses--trying to unite law and Gospel, or blending them together in a confused system. Many honest believers, on account of its plausibility, tenaciously and conscientiously adhere to it as the truth. They are to be pitied, rather than blamed, but never derided or insulted for their errors. They are humble believers, and are laboring to please their God. We should labor in love, in the meekness of wisdom and plain truth, to convince them. Such arguments alone can prevail, and bring them into the knowledge and acknowledgment of the truth as it is in Jesus. Had such a course, connected with an humble, holy life, been pursued by us from the beginning, what incalculable good would have followed. The prejudices of the sects would have been uprooted to a great degree, and the truth received in the love of it by thousands, who have been driven from our assemblies by our hard, intolerant speeches.

          Instead of healing the wounds inflicted, we are too often fretting them to a gangrene. Once our periodicals were filled with cheering news of many [192] conversions in various sections of our favored country; but now they teem with accounts of religious, or, rather, irreligious debates and quarrels, challenges and victories won, and with the should-be concealed imperfections of the sects. With the Universalists there is a mighty struggle. Were they less attended to, their influence in society would be sooner paralyzed. Controversy is their very life. Piety is not their object. Let us hold forth the truth in the spirit of it--that he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned. This will bring their doubting minds to a solemn pause, and cause them to cease from the perversion of simple truth to support a rotten foundation. It will be seen hereafter that the controversies and debates of this age, have injured the real, vital interests of Christianity, and are substituting a carnal, cold morality for a spiritual and fervent religion. Arguments, however good, have but little effect on minds long indoctrinated in error--long prejudiced against the truth. Those prejudices must be softened and removed before good will follow. A holy, devoted life to Christianity and brotherly love can only effect this.

          I will now, after this digression, proceed to answer your other queries. Do you admit such into communion? Do you receive them into the Church?

          Communion is the equal and common enjoyment of all the rights and privileges of the Church. An American citizen, however poor and humble, has an equal and common right to all the privileges and honors of the United States. There are certain terms prescribed by every community, by which an alien may be inducted into it, and become a member of it. The United States require that an alien take the oath [193] of allegiance; then, and not before, he is recognised as a citizen, and entitled to all the privileges of the government. The Church of Christ requires baptism as the term of induction into it. The believing alien, when baptized, is acknowledged a fellow-citizen of the Commonwealth of Israel, and has a right to all the privileges of the Church. Baptism answers to the oath of allegiance; and thence it has long been called a sacrament or oath. Now the oath of allegiance does not change the heart of the alien, for he might have been as good a man before as after the oath; but it entitled him to citizenship, and gave him a legal right to all the privileges of American citizens, which he had not before. So baptism does not change the heart, but it inducts the believer into the body or Church of Christ, in which he has the communion of the Holy Ghost, the communion of saints in every act of Divine worship, counsel and government. From this representation it would appear to be improper to receive any unbaptized person into the Church, and consequently into its peculiar privileges. They can not legally exercise any office in the Lord's house, because they have not entered it by the door, baptism. They can take no part in the government for the same reason.

          In Christendom, has not the true worship of God been greatly corrupted, and idolatry substituted in its place? Has not the spiritual house, or temple of God, been almost destroyed by the apostacy, by a desecration of its sacred ordinances and despoiled treasures? What shall we do? There are thousands that believe, and are honestly engaged in what they deem the service of God, and yet they are swept down by the tide of human tradition, ignorance of duty, and of error. [194] Contemptuously to expose their aberrations, is to rivet their prejudices in their favor, and to weaken the power of truth. We object not to the exposition of error; but to the improper manner in which it is too frequently done. In the same course many of us once walked in all good conscience toward God. We well remember the effects of contemptuous, sarcastic arguments against us by our opposers. Similar means, we judge, will produce similar effects in others. By this we have been taught their improprieties. But when we became convinced of our error, we forsook it, and sacrificed all for truth. So will every Christian; for a Christian is an honest man.

          I will propose a course, though acknowledged to be clogged with difficulties, yet it is believed that time and truth will remove them, and happily unite the flock scattered in the dark and cloudy day.

          1st. Let us hold up the Bible alone, as the foundation of the Church--to believe what it says, and do what it enjoins. Against this doctrine there are but few who will object. It is too plain to admit of opposition by honest Christians, whose hold of human institutions is greatly relaxed in this age, and has become so feeble, that they are almost persuaded to let them go.

          2d. Even should any be reluctant to give up their human creed, reject them not on this account; provided they take the Bible for their directory in faith and practice. They may have a dozen creeds, if they do not impose them on others as authoritative.

          3d. Let them be kindly and affectionately treated in brotherly love. An alien may live among the citizens of the United States--his conduct may be irreproachable and good--he may be esteemed and [195] beloved by all good men; yet there are privileges from which the law of the land debars him--he is debarred from holding office in the government, and from the privilege of the ballot-box to choose representatives. This is good policy; for if such were admitted to these privileges, our government might pass from us into the hands of aliens. So of the Church of Christ, the citizens of Zion. They may love aliens as good men, and treat them with due respect, yet they can not constitutionally admit them into the Lord's house as members of the Church; they can not admit them to participate in its government, or offices, for reasons before stated.

          Were we piously to act on this principle, a great cause of offense would be removed, and Christians would begin to flow together in love, and be of one soul and one heart. Why should we be accused of uncharitableness by the popular sects, when they themselves do the same thing to the Friend Quakers? The popular sects admit there are good men among the Quakers, but will not admit them as members of their church, because they refuse to be baptized. They surely can not justly blame us for acting on the same principle. All substitutes for baptism we deny, and hold the abettors of them equally unbaptized, as are the Quakers themselves.


          Y. P.--I have of late heard much talk about our annual meeting, to commence the Friday before the third Lord's day of September, at Winchester, Illinois. I can not determine, from all I have heard, for what purpose that meeting is appointed, and who are to compose it. Will you please inform me. [196]

          O. P.--It is that all the churches may meet together, and co-operate on the subject of sending forth competent evangelists into the field of labor, and to devise ways and means of sustaining them in their labors. This I believe to be the principal thing in view.

          Y. P.--Do we read of such meetings, and for such purposes, in apostolic times? We find then that the one church at Antioch sent two evangelists abroad to preach the Gospel to the poor, and destitute in the world. Why do we not follow their example now?

          O. P.--It is not because the churches now are not as numerous and wealthy as they were in those days. But the reason--the plain reason is, we want the Spirit they had. No Christian then considered aught he possessed his own, but the Lord's, and cheerfully resigned them to promote his cause on earth. The Christians then loved not the world, nor the things of the world. They were crucified to the world, and the world to them. They loved the salvation of souls better than wealth, honor, or ease, or life itself. If required, all were sacrificed to these divine purposes. Now churches in this spirit can easily sustain in the field one or two evangelists without feeling it oppressive. Besides, the evangelists themselves were then more easily supported; they were contented with food and raiment. This they enjoined upon the Christians, and, doubtless, they were examples of the flock. Their great business was to please God, and save souls.

          But the professors of religion now love the world, its wealth, its honors and ease. They can serve God and mammon too--they seek the honors of both God and man--they love ease. They do not like to labor with their own hands--if they part with their wealth, they lose the honor and friendship of the world. [197] While their hearts are thus inclined and glued to the world--while they mind earthly things--while they can wallow in wealth, and repose in ease, and see around them millions descending the stream of time to everlasting woe, and feel no tender concern for their salvation--they have no disposition to aid an evangelist weeping over the desolation of the world. While the Church is in this state, in vain we meet to co-operate in order to get the means of supporting evangelists in their labors to a dying world--nothing will be done to purpose.

          If the churches now were in the spirit, as they were before the man of sin arose, evangelists would be under no temptations to demand four or five hundred dollars a year for their services, in order to equip themselves with a gold watch and chain, and with costly apparel to adorn their persons, that they might obtain respectability from their brethren and the world. I fear the churches now in this country could hardly be prevailed on to hear a Paul in his plain simple dress; and yet they would be unwilling to purchase him better.

          Y. P.--You appear to be in opposition to such meetings. What are your real sentiments respecting them?

          O. P.--My real sentiments I will fearlessly speak out. If the churches were in the spirit there would be no necessity for them; for every church would itself support an evangelist--and if too weak, she would co-operate with another neighboring church. If the churches be not in the spirit, there. can no good arise from such annual meetings; for they will do nothing on which any dependence can be had by the evangelists. They make a fiery flourish of promises, but they too generally have evaporated in smoke. [198] Disappointment and a want of confidence in the churches succeed. I am opposed to stipulated sums of money to be offered an evangelist for his services. Let the church, or two churches say to the spiritual, faithful preacher, Brother, we wish you to go into the world and preach faithfully and diligently the Gospel of salvation. Your wants we will supply, your family (if he has one) shall be our care--our deacons shall attend to them and see that they want nothing. Go, and do the work of an evangelist, trusting to the Lord the care of yourself and family. Take nothing for your services from the people where you may go--tell them your brethren at home supply you. Tell them to give to such evangelists as may need. If we fail, the Lord will be witness against us, and our iniquity will be by him reproved and punished. Such churches will be blest with all good, and shall shine as a lamp in a dark place--such evangelists, freed from pressing cares, labor to profit in the Lord's vineyard.

          I am pleased at the prospect of the meeting before us; not because I consider that any thing contemplated by the brethren will be effected; but that we may have an opportunity to consult on the best plan to send evangelists abroad; and that we unite in our endeavors to re-convert the churches, that they may be filled with the Spirit, and cheerfully co-operate in the spread of the Gospel. Till this be effected, in vain we labor, in vain we meet, in vain we look for better days.

          To prove that evangelists are greatly needed, and that it is the duty of the churches to support them in their labors, is easily done; but it would be a gratuitous work, for all are convinced of these truths. If all were disposed to act up to their convictions, the work would be easily effected; but this will not be done till [199] the love of the world be destroyed by the spirit of truth, and our greedy grasp of it be relaxed and broken by the same spirit. Were we, the preachers, as spiritual as we should be, we should cry aloud and spare not. The attention of the churches, and of the world would be awakened, and great and glorious would be the results. The preachers would not wait for the churches first to do their duty, in order to enable them to do theirs. No, the Word of the Lord would be as fire in their bones, and they could not forbear to publish it. This is the spirit of a useful evangelist, without which all his studied orations, all his argumentative and logical exhibitions, all his oratorical flourishes avail nothing--they are but opiates, the reverse of what is indispensably necessary. Give me a husbandman in the spirit of truth, in preference to a learned doctor of divinity without the spirit. The one with his homely rusticity is a blessing to the world-the other with all his learned lore, is a curse; for by such the world has been lulled to sleep, on the very edge of ruin's precipice. The Gospel is simple, and easily learned by the honest learner, and is easily preached by those in the spirit of it. But those who have not the spirit are ever learning, and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth, and therefore can never preach to profit. In selecting evangelists we can not be too careful. Generally, the more learned have been chosen, for the present the more spiritual. I love learning; but it can not supply the lack of the Spirit. Both united form a complete evangelist. I have feared that our attention has been too much distracted from the Gospel of salvation by a thirst and exertion to imitate and equal the sects in having colleges and seminaries among us as our own. Is it to make learned preachers? If [200] so, we shall as a people surely degenerate, and lose what little of the Spirit we may have, and sink into carnality. I have wondered that the divine Saviour and his disciples, especially the learned and influential Paul, did not establish, or recommend to be established, colleges for the education of a learned ministry, and have gotten charters from Cæsar to have them permanently fixed. But I have long since ceased to wonder at this, from reading and seeing the history of the Church. I have seen that a learned ministry has excluded, and is excluding all the unlearned, however spiritual, from a participation in the preaching of the Gospel. They have assumed the reins of government and every thing must emanate from them, and terminate in them. They have a superior order of men--they are the clergy and the people are the laity. The like may take place again, even among us. I have seen young college preachers go forth to labor in the vineyard, and attempt to preach the Gospel. The people stare at their wonderful display of learning and eloquence, as high above the Gospel as the heavens are above the earth. They have not the Spirit--they know every thing but the power of truth. Poor evangelists!

          Y. P.--Are you opposed to colleges and human learning?

          O. P.--No, far from it. I wish we had ten for every one we have. The world needs information. But I do not wish to see them made a part of heaven's religion to man. The poor have the Gospel preached unto them, and the great Teacher accommodated his teaching to the lowest intellect among us. "True it is," that knowledge puffeth up, and too often "swells a haughty worm," but "charity edifieth." We might as well make our policy or civil government a part of [201] Christianity, as some nations have done, as to make colleges a part. Let both occupy their proper places, and not be amalgamated with Christianity, and they will be a blessing to the world, and not a curse.

          Y. P.--What would you advise the brethren to do in the approaching meeting?

          O. P.--To pray more and preach less than at former meetings of this nature. Let all agree together to ask the Lord for the Holy Spirit--the Spirit of promise, under the conviction of need of it; and let all believe, when they pray, that God will give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him. In such meetings there are commonly strange preachers, and some that are called big preachers. Politeness has generally ruled in these meetings--the strangers are generally put forward to preach, whether they have the Spirit or not. Being strangers, too commonly they labor to preach a big sermon; they preach themselves, and not Christ Jesus the Lord. The time is lost; another, and another succeeds to no better effect. The people are wearied, and yawn for dismission. Thus the meeting throughout proves too commonly unprofitable. If any good is effected, it is generally by some short, spirited exhortation from some spiritual brother. Let such be invited to speak, who are in the spirit of the work; and not because they are strangers, or big preachers, and good will follow.


          Y. P.--I am truly glad to meet you. A few days ago I met with a man of considerable note in the religious world, who affirmed that there were many in our communion who denied the efficacy of Christ's death in saving sinners; and that an old preacher in our ranks had been prominent in giving currency to [202] this soul-destroying doctrine, both from the pulpit and from the press. Now from you I hope to receive correct information on these allegations. Please inform me; for if they are true, we do wrong in retaining such among us; but if false I wish to know, that I may be enabled to meet the scandal, when I may hear it reiterated by our opposers.

          O. P.--Such allegations against us as a people, and especially against that old preacher referred to by your informant, have been made for nigh forty years, and have been as long met with satisfaction to the judicious and unprejudiced part of community. It is believed that many honest men, not well taught in the Scriptures, have alleged these things against us, firmly believing their old systems of divinity, and at the same time believing that ours stood in opposition to theirs. But others opposed from different motives, to keep us from making inroads upon their parties at ease, and of destroying the influence of their jarring systems.

          Y. P.--But what could have given ground for such allegations? Something must have been said or written to give rise to such things.

          O. P.--You have judged rightly. About the close of the last century and the beginning of the present, the controversy between the Calvinists and Arminians was very warm on the question, Did Christ die for all men? The Arminians affirmed, and the Calvinists denied. The Calvinists drove the Arminians into universal ruin, and the Arminians pushed the Calvinists into partialism and fatality. Some Calvinists endeavored to modify their doctrine, by saying Christ died for all, and therefore there was virtue enough in his blood for the salvation of all, if they would believe. [203] But they taught that none could believe till God gave them faith; therefore none could be saved but that favored number to whom God sovereignly bestowed faith. The death was for all; yet the application of its virtue was partial. The Arminians so modified their doctrine that the difference between them and the Fullerite Calvinists appeared to be nothing. They preached that Christ died for all for the purpose of saving them, but that they must first believe; and yet that this faith was the gift of God. The doctrine is the same, for they all believed that Christ died as a surety or substitute.

          We viewed these modifications of Calvinism and Arminians as unscriptural salves to bide the deformity of their doctrine, and were firmly convinced that Christ died for all, and that if he died for all as a substitute, then Universalism must be true, and that the Scriptures must clash, and be untrue. These were awful thoughts. And yet if he died not for all, then we could not, without hypocrisy, preach the Gospel to every creature, and pray for all. We were often asked how we could avoid Universalism? We answered: He that believeth shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned. But they would reply, Is not faith the gift of God? Here we stumbled, and knew not how to reply, till we had learned from the Bible the simple truth, that "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."

          It was preached and believed commonly, that Christ by his death reconciled the Father to us--pacified his anger, propitiated and appeased his wrath, and thus destroyed his enmity to the world. The Father was represented as furiously grasping his thunderbolts of destruction and poising them aloft with intent to hurl [204] them upon his guilty creatures. Jesus by his prayers and blood calmed his frowning face, and caused him to lay his thunder by. The wrath of the Father was poured out on his Son, he was fully satisfied, and turned to grace. A mighty change in the unchangeable God, we thought! Now the Son has plainly taught us of the Father; but none of these things has he taught us. In the Son we see the Father (for they are one), but none of these things have we ever seen in him. We soon learned that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself--"that he so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

          Those commonly received doctrines before named, we rejected, and we now rejoice that they are scarcely found any where but in the creeds and confessions of the parties; their former advocates seem almost ashamed to avow them, and are incensed that they should be attributed to them.

          We diligently and prayerfully searched the Scriptures to learn the true designs or ends of the death of Jesus. We searched not in vain, for we found them, and published them to the world. The professed Christians said then: We believe what you have said is true, but you have not said enough--you have omitted the essential doctrine or end of his death. You have omitted to state that his death was designed to satisfy the law and justice of God, as a substitute in our stead. We have said to them, show us this doctrine in the Bible, and with all readiness of mind all will receive it. They have not yet done it, and their attempts have been so feeble that we are rather confirmed than convinced. It amounts to the same as [205] reconciling, or pacifying, or appeasing God, for which but few now will attempt to contend.

          From the Bible we have learned the following to be the real ends of Christ's death, which no Christian will deny, but all will receive as the truth of God.

          1. He died that he might take away the law that was against us, nailing it to the cross, causing its death as a husband, and accomplishing its end as a covenant, that it should vanish away.

          2. He brought in everlasting righteousness, the new covenant, or the Gospel, and dedicated and confirmed it by his blood, the blood of the New Testament. His word is sure.

          3. Through death be destroyed, or made void him that had the power of death, that is the devil, and delivered them who all their lifetime were subject to bondage, through fear of death.

          4. Jesus said, I lay down my life that I might take it again; that is, I die in order to rise again from the dead. Had he not died he would not have been buried nor raised from the dead. Had he not risen from the dead, your faith is vain, ye are yet in your sins--there would have been no resurrection to the saints forever.

          5. Jesus speaking of his departure to the Father by death says, "It is needful for you that I go away; for if I go not away the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I go away I will send him unto you." It is needful that I die, rise again, and ascend to the Father, in order to receive the promise of the Holy Ghost--the promise of the Father, which will comfort, sanctify and save you.

          By faith in these plainly revealed designs, we pre-eminently see the love and grace of God to the fallen world--are led to repentance, and encouraged to obey, [206] to come to the Saviour and receive the Holy Spirit of God, by which, given to us through faith and obedience, we have the love of God shed abroad in our hearts--are created anew in Christ Jesus, and become new creatures. What greater or better efficacy can be attributed to his blood than these? Salvation from sin, and the resurrection of the body to immortality and eternal life?

          The controversies on this subject are but the dreams of poor erring men, who ascribe to the blood of Christ that efficacy of which the Scripture is silent--the efficacy of reconciling God to man, or of appeasing his anger toward them. We can find nothing in the Scriptures to sustain such a sentiment as this, that the death of Christ had any effect on God to make him more benignant to fallen men in their salvation.

          These truths are called by our opposers speculations, and this is among the strongest arguments against them. But are they speculations, I humbly ask. If reasonable men, we think, are not afraid to speak out are not afraid of losing their popularity among their fellow-creatures--they will answer boldly, they are confirmed Bible truths. I have written these things in order to rescue the truth, and myself, with others, from the slanders of many tongues and pens, now employed in opposition. Let them candidly consider that what we have stated are scriptural facts; and if we have omitted to state what they believe to be the main point, let them state that point in plain, intelligible language, as that Jesus as surety was, put to death by the Father, and by his shed blood appeased the Father's wrath, and satisfied his law and justice by paying our debts of obedience, and suffering in our stead. Let those be proved by the Bible--we yield. [207] Till then, we must and will bear the reproaches of men.

          Y. P.--But, will not these things cause discord among ourselves?

          O. P.--Not greater than now exists; for some are offended at us, who have listened to the slanders afloat, and will not inquire, as you have done, into the true grounds. This is an attempt to conciliate their minds to their brethren. We are not afraid that evil will grow out of it, with the thinking, unprejudiced part among us. We are too fearful to be useful Reformers, disposed rather to tolerate error than incur the odium of exposing it.


          Y. P.--Father T., my mind has been, and yet is much embarrassed on viewing the effects of the Gospel now preached, in comparison of what they were in its first promulgation. Will you explain to me the reason of it?

          O. P.--I will gladly try. It is an important matter, and has not been sufficiently considered by the present generation of Christians. I will state what I view to be the causes-first, negatively, and secondly, positively.

          1. Negatively. It is not because we have not the same Gospel. This must be acknowledged by all. It is not because we have not the same gracious and Almighty God and Saviour, who are the same yesterday, to-day, and forever. It is not because we have not the same privilege, for the throne of grace is as accessible by the fallen world now as then--the same Spirit of promise--the same life and salvation offered freely to all, without exception-the same motives to obedience proposed to the world in every age. [208]

          2. Positively. I consider the reasons why the Gospel produces not the same great and good effects now as in the first ages of the Church, to be many, which are necessary to be known in order to be corrected, as soon as can be done, as far as human agency is concerned.

          1. The early rise, growth and establishment of Anti-Christ, or the man of sin; or the apostacy spoken of by Paul (II. Thes. ii:), is one great cause. The two witnesses--the Old and New Testaments--have been prophesying in sackcloth ever since, as predicted by the Apostle John. This event is represented by him in two very strong figures, one of which is recorded in Rev. v. A book, sealed with seven seals; so effectually sealed, that none in heaven nor on earth was able to open the book or to look thereon. Yet it was preserved and held in the right hand of him who sat upon the throne. This book was, without doubt, the book of God's revelations--the Bible given to the poor benighted world as a directory how to escape from ruin, and enter into eternal life. But an enemy--the man of sin--sealed it from the view of men, even forbidding them to read it; for in the light of it he could not live, nor seat himself as God in the temple of God, and bind the nations under his power and dominion. John wept much at the sight, till an angel was sent to inform him that the Lion of the tribe of Judah had prevailed to take the book, and loose the seals thereof. The seals have been opening ever since that time; the seventh remains yet unopened, when the mystery of God shall be finished--the everlasting Gospel restored--the king of glory again descend to earth--and Babylon and the man of sin be destroyed.

          Another representation is a star fallen from heaven, [209] which opened the bottomless pit, and a great smoke, as of a furnace, issued thence, which darkened the sun and the air. This smoke is the doctrine of devils, and of men under their influence--this has darkened the character of God--the sun and shield of his people--and has obscured the Scriptures, which is the air through which medium he shines, and communicates light and life to them. Well may the two witnesses be in sackcloth and mourning, that their testimony is so obscured, and so little effect produced among mankind now! That the book is partially sealed yet, and the testimony obscured, is too evident to be denied: witness the jarring, contending parties in Christendom. This state of things, I fear, will continue till the destruction of the man of sin, and fall of Babylon, which will not take place till the seventh seal be opened. Oh, that the Christian world would lay these things to heart! They stand in their party feuds and divisions an impassable, dark mountain, between the world, with its countless millions, and heaven! All this is the influence of Antichrist, though Christians will not consider--they will not reform. This antichristian influence on Christendom, I believe to be the great cause of the difference between the effects of the Gospel as now preached, and when preached at first.

          2. Another cause is the great want of piety and devotion to God and his cause, in the professed ministers of the Gospel. Without these we can never hope for better days. It is now deemed essential that every preacher should be well versed in the doctrines of his party, and to know well how to defend them from the attacks of opposing parties--they must learn the art of parrying off the blows of adversaries, right [210] or wrong; never to yield in one point, or submit to one argument, however just and plain. By this course they learn to speak lies in hypocrisy, and proceed on till they believe a lie. This is certain; for all the opposite doctrines of men are not the truth, can not be the truth; yet all are believed by the contending parties--therefore, some of them must believe a lie. The hours set apart for meditation and secret prayer are neglected, or, if attended to, are interrupted, and the thoughts of the heart are diverted to these divisive doctrines, how they can be established or overthrown to advantage. When the Scriptures are read, it is not to hold converse with God--to learn duty and do it--but to find something there to establish their received doctrines of controversy. When the pulpit is ascended, the burden of the sermon is the agitated controversies of the day, teaching the congregation the art of war. The same subject is continued in private circles. This in general.

          A preacher should never preach a doctrine to the people, the power and efficacy of which, in converting, sanctifying, comforting and building up into Jesus, he has not experienced, does not experience in himself. Then truly is he eloquent, and earnestly speaks what he knows to be true, not only from the testimony of the Word, but also from a heartfelt experience of its power, leading him to Divine love and obedience. His earnestness and godly zeal in speaking arrests the attention of his hearers--he so speaks that many believe and turn to the Lord, and saints are built up and comforted. Such were the first Gospel preachers, and hence their great success in winning souls to the Lord. Such preachers of the same Gospel now would produce the same effects; but such preachers will not be [211] found, unless they pursue the same course the apostles did. They denied themselves of all honor, ease and wealth, and sacrificed all to the Lord. They were often in prayer, and converse with God--they had communion and fellowship with the Father and the Son; and of course had fellowship one with another. They were holy in all manner of conversation, or behavior--the Spirit of God and of glory rested upon them. They viewed their citizenship to be in heaven, not on earth. The want of this Spirit and practice, is another great cause why the Gospel now preached has not the same Divine effect that it had then.

          3. Another cause is, the preachers, not impressed with Divine truth, are rather inquisitive after the new than the old paths, are more solicitous to please men, than God--to preach themselves, rather than Christ Jesus, the Lord--to substitute opinions and speculations of truth for truth itself. Were Socrates with his pagan spirit, to learn and preach the Gospel, he would preach it as well, and with as much effect on the people, as preachers now do, who are unimpressed by the truth. Know, my son, that truth preached without the Spirit, is rarely, if ever, blessed to saint or sinner, either to convert or sanctify.

          4. Another cause exists among the people who hear, as well as among the preachers who preach. They have become generally partial skeptics, and therefore reject the truth when addressed to them. The reason is obvious. They hear so many contradictory doctrines, all claiming to be the Word of God--they see so many wrangling parties, all claiming to be the Church of Christ--they see so much debate, contention and strife among those who profess the faith of Christ--they see in professors so little brotherly love [212] and piety, so little kindness and good feeling, so much worldly-mindedness and selfishness, so much carnality and pride--that they half conclude there is no reality in religion. The Church becomes a stumbling-block to the men of the world--instead of giving them light to guide them in the way of life, she is exhibiting darkness--instead of healing and preserving, she is corrupting them. This is not the case with all; there are many happy exceptions; there are "a few names among us who have not defiled their garments, and they shall walk with their Lord in white." Till the churches of every name reform, we may not expect to see a reformation among the men in the world. They are to be the light of the world, the salt of the earth.

          5. Within the churches we find a great deal of unbelief, bordering on scepticism, and this is a cause also of the little effect produced by preaching the Gospel. How many run well for a while, and afterward fall away--how many have only a name to live, and are dead--how many have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof--how many are loud and zealous to promote a party and defend their party doctrines, who have no zeal for practical religion, no engagedness to promote it, no delight in prayer, nor in the ordinances of God's house. What is all this? Whence do these things proceed? Surely, from unbelief in that Gospel and Saviour they profess. This unbelief, long continued, becomes more and more sceptical, till they plunge with a groan of despair into eternity. All this is seen by the discerning world, and hardens them against the reception of truth.

          Y. P.--I am alarmed at the picture you have drawn, [213] am awfully afraid for the preachers--for the Church, and for the world. Oh! what must be done?

          O. P.--Something must be done, and done speedily, to rescue the world from death. That work must begin at the house of God, for it is designed to be the light of the world, and the salt of the earth; from Zion is the word of the Lord to be sounded to the ends of the earth. The work must begin with the preachers in the house of God; the house of Levi must be first purified--for it pleased God, at first, by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believed; and so he yet pleases to save. They were once employed to build his spiritual house or temple, and are to be employed still. They were once set as examples to the flock; they are still designed to be such.

          Y. P.--But how will they co-operate in effecting this great work? They are very numerous and far scattered through the world--very discordant in their views of truth, and entirely wedded to their systems, from which it seems they will never move.

          O. P.--The prospect is gloomy, and I have sometimes thought that God, by some strange, unexpected work in Providence, may drive or draw them together. Popery may prevail, and drive the alarmed shepherds together for common safety. They may unite with their flocks in the truth, and spread it through the world. Or he may do it by restoring the gifts of the Spirit, which have long ceased. This must be acknowledged within his power, and he has given us no intimation that he will never do it. The Jews had Moses and the prophets, and their words confirmed by miracles, yet believed them not without miracles by Christ and his apostles--so it may be with us. We [214] must pray God to effect the union, and leave the means with himself; he can do it. This should satisfy us. We must not only pray, but do. We must be co-workers with God; every one should be engaged, and as large bodies move slowly, let each one begin in himself, and correct his own errors. Labor after the character of the pioneers of Christ's Church--act as they acted, and say not of your brother, "Lord, and what shall this man do? What is that to thee? follow thou me, said Jesus." From small beginnings great effects have followed. You, my son, may be the instrument which the Lord may use to effectuate his purpose. Be often on your knees before him--plead fervently and diligently--read the Word with prayerful attention, and be instant in season and out of season. "God is love."

          Y. P.--Oh, for the spirit of grace and supplication! I desire to be in relation to God as clay in the hand of the potter. Oh, that he would deign to make me a vessel of honor to his glory!

          O. P.--Amen!


          O. P.--Well, my son, what success have you had in enlisting soldiers for the holy war since we last met?

          Y. P.--None, none. The way is completely obstructed by counter currents of worldly policy, called politics. This appears to be the all-absorbing theme, and spring of action among the people of every age, sex, religion and profession in the land. It is a thick veil thrown over eternity and eternal things--it is an opiate which has induced a senseless torpor to religion--it is ruination to Christian character--it has banished shame from the heart of the professor, who seems to enjoy the revels of the day--and last, not least, it [215] has entered the modest precincts of the women, and prostrated female propriety. A few days ago I was riding abroad, and accidentally fell in with a large body of men and women, wending their way to a mass meeting of politicians, called together by a few interested demagogues. The young ladies, in a separate company, rode before in uniform, bearing each a small banner in their hands, following a large flag waving over their heads, with the names of their candidates written in large letters, and a band of music before them. I was completely astounded at such a novel sight. I could devise no excuse for such impropriety but ignorance. The small still voice of religion can not be heard in such a turmoil, nor can she have entrance or abode into hearts so heated with politics.

          I remembered similar conduct in 1840. They gained their candidates for the presidency and vice-presidency of the nation. But, like a judgment from heaven for the iniquities of the people, the president was cut off by death as soon as he was inaugurated--and the vice-president, they say, proved a traitor to the cause he was elevated to advance. How soon are such striking events forgotten! And how soon the infatuated, fickle multitude renew the former scenes with greater interest! Lord, what is man? I am almost sunk into discouragement. To preach during such excitement appears in vain; and yet to refrain I can not. I find a few, and but a few mourners in Zion, who weep for her desolations. This upholds my sinking spirit, with the heart-cheering truth, the Lord reigneth. Here the young preacher's sorrows burst into a flood of tears, and prevented further utterance.

          O. P.--My son, wipe your tears and trust in the Lord. It is true a dark cloud hangs over the world, [216] which may burst in vengeance or mercy. An exterminating war has long been waging between religion and the world, and "the fight will be maintained until the weaker dies." A compromise can never be effected between them; for whosoever loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him; and whosoever will be a friend of the world is an enemy to God. The friendship of the world is enmity to God. To seek the friendship of the world and the friendship of God at the same time, can not be done consistently with truth--it is a vain work; and yet this work, vain as it is, seems to mark the professors of Christianity at the present day; almost an armistice seems to be concluded between the world and professed Christianity. The God of this world has blinded the eyes of professed Christians, and is fast leading them deceived into their ranks into captivity--into bondage and death. Christians are virtually forsaking the government and laws of heaven to prop up and sustain the governments and laws of men, whether those men and laws be ecclesiastical or political; in fact, they are based upon the same foundation.

          Israel were always scattered when they forsook the laws and ordinances of heaven and followed their own devices. Their enemies prevailed against them, and led them into captivity; nor were they ever gathered together from their dispersions, till they returned to the laws and ordinances of God which they had forsaken. These things were written for our example, on whom the ends of the world are come. We must return to the government, laws and ordinances of our rightful king, the Lord Jesus, before we shall ever be gathered together and become worthy subjects of his kingdom. We must unite our energies, advance the [217] government and kingdom of our Lord, and meddle not with the government of this world, whether human, ecclesiastical, political or civil; all others aside from that of heaven will be put down by a firm decree of our Lord before the end come.

          Y. P.--You astonish me. Are not the civil powers and governments that be, ordained of God? And is it not the duty of Christians to be subject to them, and to sustain them? Do instruct me oil this subject.

          O. P.--If it be the duty of Christians under one worldly government to uphold and support that government, then it is the duty of Christians living in every worldly government to uphold and support that government; those living in North America must uphold and support the democracy of all the United States; those in Britain must support the monarchy of England; those in Russia must support the despotism there; those in Rome must support the government of the pope, the man of sin, the Antichrist of our rightful Lord; those in South America must support every petty tyrant that wades through blood to sit in the supreme chair of State. These governments must be supported and sustained by all their power, influence, blood and treasure. Can we for one moment think that the Lord enjoined on his people under the Cæsars of old to uphold and defend their bloody governments, which enjoined the extirpation of the Christians, or to force them to abandon their religions and sacrifice to idols? Can we think it possible that the government of the pope, the man of sin, the true Antichrist, must be supported by Christians at the expense of all their influence, blood and treasure, and that by oath, and I may add, at the expense of their own souls? I grant that Christians are bound to submit to the powers as [218] far as to pay their dues, as custom, tax, etc. But they are not enjoined to seek for nor fill those powers, and thus sustain the government. How awful the thought that the Lord would enjoin on his followers to sustain and support the antipodal, the antagonistic government of Rome, which aims at the subversion of his own!

          Y. P.--You confound me; but are not the powers or governments that exist ordained of God? Is it not then right for Christians to support or maintain them?

          O. P.--If all the governments which exist are ordained of God in the common acceptation of the term, then it undeniably follows that all the jarring governments on earth are Divine and good--constitute parts of his own government. Will this be admitted by any intelligent man? No, not one. The translation of the verse (Rom. xiii: 1) has caused this confusion. The words are ordained, in our version, are in the present tense, but in the original, are in the perfect, and should be translated have been ordained. Trace the history of God's government from the beginning, and we shall find that he, as monarch of the world, always gave his own laws to his people for their government, but always ordained or appointed men to rule under him according to those laws. But we never find that he ever gave authority to uninspired men to make laws in any age or nation for the government of his people. The authorities or executors of any laws but his own, it is evident he did not ordain.

          The people soon, through their depravity, became dissatisfied with God's government and laws, and began to depart from the laws of Heaven, and to legislate for themselves; yet they retained the authorities and offices which God had ordained. Then were the people scattered, and formed nations, and made laws, [219] and instituted governments for themselves, retaining the offices Divinely ordained to execute the laws, not those laws given by God, but those made by themselves. Thus the whole world is divided into kingdoms, states, governments and parties, whose opposite laws and governments, create collision of interests, strife, war and carnage. The kind purpose of God was to reunite the jarring world, and to make them one, and to reconcile the world unto himself by his Son. This will never be effected till they all return to the government and laws of God, and forsake their own. These laws are given us by Jesus Christ, and when received and fully acted upon will unite the world in harmony, love and peace; wars will cease to the ends of the earth, and discord and strife be known no more forever. It will truly be the kingdom of peace--of heaven on earth.

          Y. P.--Could we live on earth in safety without civil government? Would not the strongest sect of professed Christians persecute and oppress the weaker, unless checked and restrained by the civil authorities? Would not the wicked part of the world continually bring upon us tribulation and distress?

          O. P.--We may imagine a thousand difficulties; but have we not a king in Zion, who is jealous for the glory of his Church upon earth? Is he not almighty? Can he not check and restrain opposing powers? Will he not hear prayer, and interpose in time of need? To these queries our enlightened judgment answers in the affirmative; but where is our faith? Can we trust in this king? Persecution would add a score to the ranks of Immanuel for one cut off. The Church would continually gain from the world by the truth, and sufferings for it, until he whose right it is to reign [220] triumphantly over all. While civil governments exist, we may, as did Paul, appeal to Cæsar from the judgment of our enemies; he is to keep his subjects from injuring us, because we honestly and punctually pay our dues to his government. The amalgamation of Church and State is an unholy alliance, and every advance to it is a departure from truth. The world is beginning to be awake to this subject. Yet some of the parties seem to cast a wishful eye to the highest. [221]

    [WEBWS 164-221]

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    James M. Mathes, ed.
    Works of Elder B. W. Stone (1859)

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