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bibited in public debates with a great variety of prominent champions of faiths and opinions diverse from his own, are all instructively described in these volumes by Mr. Campbell's biographer.
The story of the progress of this anti-sectarian sect, this "anti-party" party, is also recorded with great spirit. That among a population such as then inhabited western Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, etc., the doctines of Campbell should have been very attractive is not in the least surprising. The broad-minded and independent farmers of these districts could not but admire the catholic promises and the large hearted principles of Mr. Campbell and his associates. They could not but be disgusted with the bigotry and narrowness of many of the sects which abounded among them. The scholastic creeds, the hair-splitting distinctions, the abstract psychological tests of character which were made the conditions of admission to the church and the Kingdom of Heaven, could not but contrast unfavorably with the simple requisitions and the definite acts which were imposed by the so called New Testament Christianity of the new preachers. The general freedom and liberality of spirit in respect to conduct which was allowed, had its good as well as its dangerous side.
It is difficult for us at the East to form any judgment in regard to the general character of this communion. It would be wrong to express such a judgment if we had formed one, without either documents or testimony. We shall have discharged our duty when we have called the attention of our readers to this very interesting personal memoir, this instructive chapter in American Ecclesiastical History. But what is much more important, in these days of ecclesiastical reconstruction and of more or less vague aspirations after the church of the future, we advise ovir seekers after the comprehensive and nnsectarian church which is to be, to read the story of Alexander Campbell's gropings and struggles in the same direction. Perhaps the record of his experience will increase the catholicity, while it will not diminish the caution of those who are looking for a simple, yet comprehensive, symbol of Christian faith and bond of Christian fellowship.
Vol. xxix. J 8
Article V.—CHRISTIANITY A UNIVERSAL
The religion of the Old Testament had two unlike faces. If you looked at it on the one side, it was narrow, local, exclusive; if you looked at it on the other side, it was broad, free, intended for mankind. The hedge of national and formal observances, which gave it an uninviting aspect, was designed for the protection of its absolute and universal doctrines, until in the fulness of time, having impressed themselves on the mind of one people, they could pass the more readily over the human race. It was like a blossom of surpassing beauty, hid in a thorny calyx until the sun burst it open and displayed it to the eyes of men. The calyx, having done its work, dropped, but the blossom shone in perpetual glory.
Meanwhile from within the pale of this narrow, national, and ceremonial religion, voices of the noblest and truest men reach us, showing that they beheld in the future a spread and a glory for the worship of Jehovah, which nothing in the past justified. Let us listen to some of these voices.
First, we may notice, scattered through the ancient scriptures, a conviction of the greatness of Jehovah, as the universal creator and Lord, and of the nothingness of gods worshipped by the heathen. "The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens." Next we perceive the expectation of proselytes coming to worship at Jerusalem, and of whole nations joining themselves to the God of Israel. At the dedication of the temple, Solomon spoke of the stranger who was not of God's people, but should come out of a far country for his name's sake. '' For they shall hear," says he, "of thy great name, and of thy strong hand, and of thy stretched out arm," and he prays that the prayer of the stranger may be heard when he shall come and pray towards the house of God, so that all the people of the earth may know God's name and fear him, as do his people Israel. So in one of the Psalms,
(lxviii, 31) it is said that "Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands to God," that is, either in prayer or to offer gifts; and in the prophets that " Israel shall be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the land, whom the Lord shall bless, saying blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance." In another place the eunuch, whom the law of Moses shut out from the blessings of the congregation, and the sons of the stranger, who complained that they were separated from the Lord's people, had the promise made to them that they should be joyful in God's house of prayer, and should be accepted in their burnt offerings and sacrifices, "for my house," saith God, "shall be called a house of prayer for all people." Thus out of Zion was the law to go forth, and the word of the Lord out of Jerusalem, or as the prophet Zechariah says, "the Lord shall be king over all the earth; in that day there shall be one Lord and his name one."
Still more spiritual is the picture which Jeremiah gives of the worship of the future, where he says that in the coming time, "they shall no more say the ark of the covenant of the Lord, neither shall they remember it," . . . "but Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the Lord, and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem; neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart." As if the holiness of the penetrale of the temple and of the ceremonial worship should fade and grow pale, before the holiness of Jerusalem, as the gathering place of converted and purified heathens.
But especially remarkable are those places in the later chapters of Isaiah, where the servant of Jehovah is spoken of in connexion with a spread of religion over all lands. That servant or messenger at first, owing to his marred form and visage, shall cause many to be astonished, but afterwards he shall cause many nations to rejoice in himself,—for so what is rendered " he shall sprinkle " ought probably to be translated. "He is mine elect," saith God, " in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him, and he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles,"—" he shall not fail nor be discouraged till he have set judgment in the earth, and the isles (or coasts) shall wait for his law." And in another place the same servant of the Lord is thus addressed: "It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up tie tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel; I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation to the end of the earth."
We may add that what prophets taught, the very faith of an Israelite wonld make him look upon as probable. The sublime conception of God was the pions Jew's highest treasure. To him Jehovah was God alone; he held no divided empire with heathen objects of worship. Should not this idea, which seemed so real to him, triumph over all unreality? He could not but live in hope of a glorious future, because God was his God and the God of all the earth, though unknown, as yet, to most of his creatures.
Still more must this faith have given the promise of triumph, when in the lands of the dispersion he had opportunity to contrast his God and his religion with those of even the most polished heathen. Theirs were the religions of children; his rested on truths wide as heaven and deep as the earth's base, which would have made Plato bow in adoration. How could such a faith fail to spread? He saw proselytes coming to the synagogue: he felt that his nation had a great destiny. The promise to the fathers, the declaration of the prophets, the very notion of Jehovah's religion, all betokened its universality.
And so there can be no doubt, that about the time of Christ's coming, every pious Jew, however narrow and national might be his view of the Messiah, did expect the Gentiles to share in the great blessing. As the aged Simeon by faith saw in the infant Jesus the promised Saviour, he called him a light to lighten the Gentiles, as well as the glory of Israel. Our Lord himself encouraged these expectations. Thus he says, "and other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also must I bring, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd." So in speaking of the progress of the gospel iu the world, and of its rejection by the Jews, he teaches us that "many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the Kingdom of God, while the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness." And indeed, the command to the Apostles to teach all nations, and the declaration that the gospel of the kingdom would be preached to all nations ere the end came, involve this universality of the gospel,—a doctrine into which Paul especially penetrated earliest and most deeply, and to which he was committed with all his heart, from his conversion to his martyrdom.
Having thus shown that the ancient scriptures taught the spread of Jehovah's religion over the world, that the expectation of this event was fondly cherished by the Jews, and that Christ applied the predictions to his gospel, we propose to enquire next, on what this universality of the gospel depended, what there is in it which tits it to be a religion for mankind, how it cut the cord which bound it to Judaism, and how it has proved itself in the experiment to be the universal religion.
I. In the first place, the gospel discarded whatever was local, national, and ceremonial, in the old religion, and retained whatever had a bearing on the whole human race. It put aside all that required worship to be confined to Jerusalem, all that was preparatory to a higher state of religions knowledge, all symbols half concealing and half revealing something glorious in the future. It kept, as it could not help keep, those doctrines of world-wide bearing which lay at the foundation of Judaism, the doctrines, namely, concerning God and concerning the fallen state of man, for the sake of which, Judaism had existed, while it rejected all that separated the Jews from the rest of the world as the peculiar people of God. There were three possible courses for the gospel to take in its practical workings, with reference to the old dispensation. It might, first, form a union with the older system, retaining the whole of the ceremonial law, and simply adding itself as a new element or institution to that which was already established, in which case Jew and Gentile would form one body, with common obligations to obey the law. Or, secondly, it might release Gentile converts from obligations which lay on Jews, and so form two communities, both professing a faith in the gospel, but differing most widely in worship and tone of char