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separate from her communion a single transgressor. For in almost all, if not in all cases, when the transgressor acquiesces in the justice of the church's censure, his acquiescence is accompanied by penitence, and he is restored to the church as a matter of course; but if be continues obdu. rate, he has a right to appeal to a neighboring church, and if she affords liim the ready credence of which you in the case before us have given the example, she may thrust bim back upon the church that has excluded him; or, at least, her affirmation will be necessary to consummate the sentence of the sister churcb. We presume all the churches, as well as ourselves, will require strong authority to prove that our great Head bas left us in so unhappy a position. But, sir, the logic which you use to establish your theory appears marvellous to us: you say in order to prove that there ought to be an appeal, that 'no single community professes infallibility.' Please, then, let us know how many of these fallible communities will make one infallible community? Your logic proves too much for your own views, and if carried out will take away from every church the power of preserving its own purity: for by no law of scripture or common sense can any number of fallibles constitute an infallible, and without infallibility you say there should be no final supreme sentence.
6. “But you plead authority: and the conduct of the church at Antioch you say sustains the ground which you have taken. Let us examine this authority, and in doing so it may be that we shall light upon the arbiter on earth that is at once supreme and infallible. We notice, first, that the dissensions in the Antiochan church did not arise from a case of discipline. 2d. That the dispute was not, and could not, be referred to neighboring churches. * 3d. That no church but that of Jerusalem could have decided the question. 4th. That every church on earth was equal. ly interested with that of Antioch in the decision of the question, and equally bound by the law which was to go furth from Jerusalem. All these facts are fully verified by the apostolic letter in answer to the inquiries of the Antiochan church, as it is recorded in Acts xv. 23. The answer is addressed to the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia.' The dispute was not about discipline, but a mat. ter of fact; and that the church at Jerusalem alone could decide, it is all evident in the first sentence of the aposiolic letter-'Forasmuch as we have beard chat certain wbich went out from us, have troubled you with words subverting your souls, saying ye must be ciscumcised, and keep the Jaw: to whom we gave no such commandment,' &c. From this sentence it is apparent to us, that the heretical teachers were tolerated by the church at Antioch only because they declared themselves authorized by the church at Jerusalem: the latter church disowned their doctrine, and thus stamped it with the seal of heresy. Now, sir, if those teachers had persisted after this in teaching the same, do you think the Antiochan church would have sent to Jerusalem to ask what they must do with such false teachers? We presume not: Paul, at least, seems to have entertain. ed no such view; for when writing to the churches of Galatia he says about such teachers at the 5th chapter, 12th verse, 'I would they were even cut off that trouble you.'
7. "And now, sir, permit us to call your attention to the infallible and supreme arbiter on earth, the only one wbich we acknowledge-the church at Jerusalem, True, she does not exist in the fresh, in the city of bordage. If she did, she would smell too much of mortality to be trusted with such power; but her spirit, her vitality, her infallibility, and her supremacy are all with us in their primitive purity and truth, as she received them fresh from our great Head: even within the lids of the sacred volume; and there we went and appealed as she of Antioch did, to the Jerusalem church, even to her that is above, who is the mother of us all: but though she showed us the law and made plain before our face the path of duty, our accusers would not regard her counsel nor listen to her admonition and reproof, and we were therefore compelled, bowever reluctantly, to enforce the penalties which she denounced against such offenders. We mean to show, sir, before we are done, that we have been as literally and truly directed in this case by the Jerusalem church as was the church at Antioch.
8. “But we have another authority to set before you from the C.Baptist, Burnet's edition, page 531:- 'I cannot give my voice in favor of appeals to any tribunal, but to the congregation of which the offended is a member; neither to a council of churches specially called, nor to an association. The old Book written by the Apostles has compelled me to hold this dogma fast; and I can, 1 know, show that it is superior to every other course. I will grant, however, that this plan will not suit a denomination or a sect, but it will suit ihe kingdom over which Immanuel reigns.'
9. “And now, brother Campbell, here is the Baptist versus the Harbinger. Which is right? Our mind has been long made up on this point without assistance from either; but we agree entirely with the former. We leave this discrepancy with two remarks-1st. That it illustrates what we mean by intimating that it is better for us that the Jerusalem church exists in the volume and not in the flesh. 2d. It evinces the wisdom that speaks through the Prophet, saying, 'Cease ye from man whose breath is in his nostrils, for wherein is he to be accounted of ps»
This certainly is a reasonable castigation for my temerity in presuming to adduce the case of that unfortunate community as affording a good example of the need of some restraint upon the arbitrary and oppressive proceedings of a successful majority, who might, after the example of a very distinguished personage in one of John's epistles, desire to lord it over the faith and conscience of a weak minority.
The reader who desires to form a correct judgment of the occasion of these strictures, will please read what I have written on this affair in the October number; and if he thinks that what I have written either justified or called for such an address, I will only say that I am sorry to differ from him in opinion. I may err in the judgment that I have given; but certain it is I can give better reasons for it than any I have yet seen against it; and as it is freely tendered, he that does not thank me for it is neither obliged to approve nor adopt it.
How easy to impute to pride and passion the pamphlet before me, and to place one text from John and four from Solomon at the head of my remarks, in imitation of the good example set me by the elders 3 John, 9, 10. “Before honor is humility.” “Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud." Prov. xvii. 19. “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” Prov. xvii. 32. “Go not forth hastily to strive, lest thou know not what to do in the end thereof when thy neighbor hath put thee to shame.” Prov. xxv. 2. I ask, What conviction will such quotations make in the mind of the reader, and what kind feelings in the party to which they are applied? As much certainly as the five aphorisms at the head of the pamphlet addressed to me.
These brethren have as much mistaken me as they have the right of appeal, when they construe my remarks into an ex-parle reprobation of their course. I am not apt to do such deeds. I have long disapproved the course pursued by some that meet in North street, both from what I saw and what I heard, not merely of late, nor from these four brethren whom they excluded contrary to the first of their own five proof-texts. John vii. 51. Not only in proof of this fact, but also of my entire impartiality, I will state that in 1838 I passed through the city of Baltimore without entering the house of a single disciple in the city; preferring the hotel to the hospitality which I knew many of them would gladly have extended to me. The reason was, their unhallowed partyism. I would not associate with either party, and I could not speak to the world over the voices of those who were crucifying my Master's cause by their unchristian bickerings and strifes.Again, in the month of July last I sojourned one night nine miles ont of the city, rather than to enter it--for the same reasons; and that, too, before they had laid violent hands upon these brethren. I stood: aloof because I knew, and learned from numerous sources—from resi. dents of Baltimore, and from strange brethren that occasionally attended their meetings, that the humility, condescension, and love of Christ's family did not appear among them. And finally, when I was constrained to allude to them in the October number, I did not pass any sentence or give any opinion condemnatory of one party, nor exculpatory of another. I simply stated the fact, whieh they themselves allow in the pamphlet before me, that they had, in the absence, and without the defence of four brethren of good standing with the Christian public, as persons of intelligence and moral worth, as good as themselves, excluded them from the family of God, and given them over to Satan as factionists. I did not then, nor do I now, say, that these excluded brethren were wholly right in all their views and proceedings; nor that those who excluded them were altogether wrong in the whole procedure: but I regarded it as a proper example of the necessity and propriety of some provision in Messiah's kingdom by which a case of that sort could be reconsidered by a more competent and more impartial tribunal. So stands the case and my relations to it first and last.
I may concede a great deal of what is said in this pamphlet, both as to the indiscretions and even improprieties of some of those named in it, though I know little or nothing about the precise verity of the matter; but I will take the testimony of the elders whose names sanction it, and from their own showing I must declare my fears that those in North street have sinned against the constitution of Christ's kingdom in excluding those brethren, and in retaining persons in office as incompetent to the exigence of the church, as they are evidently destitute of some essential qualifications, and inacceptable to those whom they have at sundry times and in divers manners driven from their communion.
Brother Sweeney may be that rash and precipitate man of which they speak, and some of the other brethren may not always have spoken, written, or acted with infallible correctness; but who has!? Still they have been most cavalierly treated, and those who have so unceremoniously excluded them cannot be justified by all that they have alleged in their own justification. But of this I may say something when next I take up the subject. Meantime, I am called upon to be more explicit upon the subject of appeals.
That an appeal is necessary and a tribunal, I need not prove to those brethren in North street. They have made an appeal themselves. The pamphlet before me is palpable proof of it. They say, “It remains only for us to state in conclusion, that we are aware that the length of this communication and the arrangements of the Harbinger will necessarily prevent its appearance there for some time: we intend to have a number of copies printed and sent to our brethren: for we cannot consent to remain deprived of their love and confidence so long as the tardy movements of a periodical would subject us to. We look, however, to you, sir, to do us the earliest justice in your power by placing defence on your pages, that the antidote may have a circulation coextensive with the poison.” The words which we have italicised, are unquestionably an appeal. They appeal through the pamphlet, and through the pages of the Harbinger, to sister churches! Their words
for justification on ex-parte testimony. It asks for the approval of the churches on the testimony of one of the parties. “Doth our law condemn any person before hearing him?" And would the brethren in 'orth street ask the churches to condemn those brethren and justify chemselves without hearing those brethren? Certainly they do this, by making an appeal to an improper tribunal, in the manner of making that appeal, and by asking that tribunal for a decision on the testimony of one of the parties.
They not only make an appeal, and to an unauthorized tribunal, but they agree to abide by its decision. But they are too acquiescent when they say as they do in another paragraph: “If any of our sister churches should desire to admit to their communion these factionists, we shall find no fault,” This is too liberal for the New Testament. They are, however, obliged to this course when they refuse a rational and scriptural appeal. Any other course would be a full refutation of their views of discipline. The case is this: In the name of the Lord they have expelled certain brethren from their communion. Now should any other church receive these expelled brethren in the name of the Lord, they would commune with that church; for they find no fault with it. It is blameless. But this reminds me of a judgment which the Lord once pronounced. It is equivalent to this: If Christ cast out Christ, how then shall his kingdom stand? This he alleges would destroy Satan's kingdom. And have we not in the reasonings of these brethren a case of Christ casting out, and again receiving Christ? In the name of the Lord certain brethren are excluded, and when another church receives them in the name of the Lord, they will recognize that church as blameles3, and commune with her!! If such be the issue of the views of discipline preached and practised by these brethren, is it not most evident that there is a radical mistake on the whole subject of the communion of churches?
In arraying the Christian Baptist against the Harbinger, they again demonstrate a want of correct conceptions of our views of an appeal. In the Christian Baptist, in the passage copied, certain questions from the Religious Herald were discussed. I then objected, and still object, to Baptist Associations and Councils as proper tribunals to decide matters of belief, matters of opinion, and cases of discipline. We hope to show a more scriptural and a more rational way of ascertaining truth and exercising Christian discipline.
Their critique upon how many fallibles would make an infallible, evinces a similar mistake. We do not say that we ought to have an infallible tribunal on earth. But we said that a church that refuses an appeal from her decisions ought to possess, as she certainly does pro