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you a written statement of all matters, as you proposed them, on my return, which communication should be regarded as an original document, and as the basis of our correspondence relative to a discussion, and, therefore, I considered nothing as fixed about it, further than, I did agree to meet at Lexington, Kentucky, in conference, with such persons as the synod of Kentucky would appoint—provided they would select certain persons to meet a delegation to be appointed by our brethren in Kentucky; but that I would agree to debate, not as one of a conference, but with one responsible person only, and then named President Young, as such a person. You immediately responded, I should have him, as you did not doubt the synod would select him. As for propositions, on my inquiry, you went on to name those concerning baptism, &c. I emphatically say, that I then considered, and now consider, every thing else as open to our future arrangements, not as arranged. True, indeed, as a conference was spoken of, without any distinct understanding of the mode of procedure, or of the topics to be introduced into it, it might have been said, that a committee might arrange such matters; but as to a personal discussion, on my part, with any reputable and authorized disputant, I repeatedly said, that I went for single combat; and on premises explicitly stated, propositions clearly and fully expressed, before we met upon the ground. And this is all for which I now feel it my duty to contend. I am happy, indeed, that there appears, on the principal points, named by you, at our interview, so nearly a perfect agreement. I cheerfully accept your amendment to the second proposition, and will agree to place the third in an affirmative form. The three propositions would then read,
1st. The infant of a believing parent, is a scriptural subject of baptism 2nd. The sprinkling, or pouring water, upon any part of an infant, or adult, is scriptural baptism.
3rd. There is a scriptural connection, of some sort, between baptism and the remission of sins of a believing penitent.
These three cover all the ground of debate between us, on christian baptism. If you insist upon five propositions only, I shall not insist upon any more. One of these would respect the Holy Spirit; the other, human creeds as the causes of schisms among christian professors. Touching your suggestions of a proposition, embracing the difference between us, on special influence, I have not much objection to either of them, as containing, in the connections, and with the modifications, always contemplated by me, a just view of the matter. Still, they cover not the whole ground of debate. We both agree, that the Holy Spirit is given to all who believe and obey the gospel. But, with regard to the influence of the Spirit in converting sinners, there is some discrepancy. We teach, that the Holy Spirit operates on sinners only through the Word, and not without it. Your denomination teaches, that the Spirit, without the Word, regenerates the sinner. Thus, the Word contains the converting power-and regeneration is a change of heart and life by the Word. But the 3rd and 5th contemplate a change of state, in reference to the kingdom of heaven, therein referred to. I will then offer two propositions, expressive of our real position.
4th The Spirit of God regenerates sinners, without the Word."
5th. Human creeds have always occasioned and perpetuated divisions among christians, and are barriers in the way of their union.
To this I would add a 6th-"The celebration of the Lord's death is essential to the sanctification of the Lord's day, by a christian community." Of these six propositions, I affirm three, and you affirm three. You affirm the 1st, 2nd, and 4th. I the 3rd, 5th, and 6th. I will discuss these in single debate with Mr. Young, provided the conference, you contemplate, do not agree on these points.
It will then be necessary for me to have a distinct understanding upon this view of the matter. All the preliminaries, for such a discussion, must
be agreed upon before I leave home. Such as, 1st. The proposition. 2nd. The order of discussion on the affirmative and negative sides. 3rd. The board of moderators. 4th. The stenographer, and the mode of publishing said discussion. 5th. The disposition of the avails of said publication.
I will select for the conference, Elders James Shannon, Dr. James Fishback, Aylett Rains, and John Smith, of Kentucky, as associates in the conference. The two first shall be my committee of arrangements as to the conference; and as to the debate, they shall be my moderators, to meet two of your choice; these four choosing a president moderator. If these matters are thus despatched, as aforesaid, I see no great need of delay in securing a stenographer, and in agreeing to bestow the avails of the publication, half and half, to the two Bible Societies. So soon as I hear from you satisfactorily, I will address Messrs. Shannon and Fishback, on the subject of meeting your committee at Lexington.
ELDER A. CAMPBELL:
Very respectfully, yours fraternally,
Richmond, Ky., Dec. 8, 1842.
Your favor of the 22nd ult., is now before me. After the explicit state ment, in my last letter, of the circumstances which led to our interview in Richmond, and which resulted in an agreement to have an amicable discussion of the points of difference between us; I deem it unnecessary, at present, to say any thing more on that subject.
In regard to the points to be discussed, I hope we shall be able, without serious difficulty, to make a fair and honorable issue.
You say "I cheerfully accept your amendment to the 2nd proposition," and yet you immediately present it again, without that amendment. This, I presume, was done through mistake. The proposition, with my amend ment, which you have accepted, reads as follows, "I affirm that sprinkling or pouring water, on a suitable subject, is scriptural baptism. You deny." Concerning the 3rd proposition, as presented in my last, you say nothing, but present another, as follows:
"3rd. There is a scriptural connection, of some sort, between baptism and the remission of sins of a believing penitent."
This proposition is an exceedingly indefinite sort of thing, and is, therefore, decidedly objectionable. I can see no possible objection to the following proposition, as already offered you, viz:
3rd. You affirm that the new birth, as mentioned in John, 3d chapter, is a change of state, and not a change of heart. We deny." With you, baptism is the new birth, so that the proposition, above stated, presents for discussion the design of christian baptism, and this is what we desire to embrace in the proposition.
Your 4th proposition, of which you expect us to maintain the affirmative, is as follows: "The Spirit of God regenerates sinners, without the Word." This is not the doctrine of the Presbyterian church. We main tain, that in the conversion of men, there is an operation of the Spirit distinct from the Word, but not in ordinary cases, without the Word. I propose, as a substitute for your 4th, the following proposition, taken verbatim from your Christianity Restored, p. 350.
4th. The Spirit of God puts forth all its converting and sanctifying power, in the words which it fills with its ideas."
The 4th proposition, as contained in my last, is, I think, preferable to your 5th, on the subject of creeds; and mine certainly is not stronger than the language you have on that subject.
The sixth question, which you propose, I think, does not present a differ ence of such importance, as to make it a point of discussion. If a 6th question be desirable, (though not embraced in our original agreement) I propose the following:
6th. None, except ordained ministers, are by the Scriptures, authorized to administer baptism.
There is now no probability that Brother Young will be able to enter into the discussion with you. He has, for several weeks, been confined to a sick bed, and, when last heard from, was dangerously ill. Should he recover, the condition of his lungs would not admit of his engaging in a protracted discussion. You shall, however, be met by "a reputable" disputant.
It is my duty, also, to state, that the name of Rev. R. J. Breckenridge, was placed among those selected by me, without his knowledge. He informs me, that he cannot be in Kentucky at the time the discussion will take place. In his place, therefore, I will name the Rev. J. K. Burch.
Rev. N. L. Rice, and myself, will meet your committee of arrangement. Rev. J. K. Burch, and myself, will be moderators. Other matters, such as the order of discussion, &c., I presume can be settled by the committee of arrangements. If you object to this, you can make, in your next letter, any proposition which you may think important.
I hope to hear from you, at your earliest convenience. If you agree to the propositions for discussion, as now presented, other necessary arrangements can be made, I presume, with little difficulty. Very respectfully, yours,
JNO. H. BROWN.
Bethany, Va., Dec. 15, 1842.
My Dear Sir-Yours of the 8th ult., was received yesterday. My acquiescence in the proposition you were pleased to make in August, touching an amicable discussion of points at issue, between our respective denominations, was given with a reference to two great objects. The first, the prospect of having the main topics of difference fairly laid before the community, with the reasons for and against-the second, that the arguments, on both sides, might go to the world with the authority of the denominations, so far as their selection and approval of the debaters were concerned.
Only on these grounds, and with these expectations, could I have been induced to participate at all in any oral discussion, after all that I have written and spoken on these subjects; and, therefore, it is essential to my Dosition and aims in this affair, that the preliminaries be so arranged as to secure these objects. I should think, indeed, that, to you, these points are equally interesting and important.
Allow me, then, to say, that the three great topics which have occupied public attention for some twenty-five years, so far as our purposed reformation is concerned, are,
1st. The ordinances of christianity.
2nd. The essential elements of the gospel itself.
3rd. The influence of human creeds as sources of alienation, schism, and partyism in the church.
Now, in some points, only, of these three categories do we differ from Presbyterians, and other Pedo-baptist professors. These are baptism, the Lord's supper, spiritual influence, as connected with the use of the word “regeneration,” and human creeds.
You selected baptism, and I alluded to the others. On baptism we agree, that, both logically and scripturally, there are three distinct propositions. The action, the subject, and the design. On the Lord's supper there is one-on regeneration one, and one on the subject of human creeds. In all six. According to our respective teaching and practice, these six propositions are as follows:
1st. Sprinkling, or pouring water, upon a suitable subject, is scriptural baptism.
2nd. The infant of a believing parent is a scriptural subject of baptism.
3rd. Personal assurance of the remission of past sins, to a believing penitent, is the chief design of baptism, or, if you prefer it, "Baptism is for the remission of sins."
4th. In all christian communities the Lord's supper should be observed every Lord's day.
5th. The Word, as well as the Spirit of God, is, in all cases, essential to regeneration; or, some persons are regenerated by the Spirit, without the Word believed.
6th. Human creeds, as bonds of union and communion, are, necessarily, heretical and schismatical; or, human creeds, as bonds of union, are essen tial to the unity and purity of the church.
You affirm the 1st and 2nd positions on baptism, and, also, the two last versions of the 5th and 6th. I mean to say, your printed creed and party I affirm the 3rd and 4th, and the 1st version of the 5th and 6th. We can, therefore, easily find each three affirmative propositions, such as we are accustomed to teach and to defend. Now, sir, as I said before, I am prepared and willing to defend what I teach, on my affirmatives. Are your party? If so, then I am not fastidious about a word. I regard the above as a candid and definite expression of our relative positions on these six points and these involve our whole systems of christian doctrine and teaching. As you have led the way in baptism, I claim as many propositions on the other points at issue. You have extracted some two or three propositions from my writings; and, in return for these, I might select as many from your creed, which is still of higher authority than the writings. of any individual-and, although you may believe them, such as some articles on effectual calling and election, yet they are not such propositions as convey all that you would affirm on those themes. This is just my case. These propositions are expounded in their contexts, and they need their contextual adjuncts. I, therefore, prefer independent, clear, and definite expressions of great principles. I have no doubt that you, too, will prefer these, to such passages as those to which I have alluded.
After this full expose of propositions, I have only to advert to the second great object of such a discussion, viz. the authority with which it addresses the community. You cannot have forgotten that the express condition of my taking part in any oral debate with your denomination on such topics, was, that the synod, to whose timous meeting you alluded, should select, or approbate, such persons as might be supposed able and competent to enter into such a discussion, to make it as much as possible an end to the controversy. You first alluded to synodical arrangements, and this suggested to me the necessity of stipulating for Mr. Young, president of the Centre College, at Danville, because I regarded him as a gentleman, and a scholar of high standing, who had the double stake of a theological and literary reputation, to stimulate and govern his efforts on the occasion. You immediately rejoined, I should have him. Now, sir, allow me to say, that having consented on this condition, and only on this condition, to attend such a discussion as you proposed, I could not be expected to engage with any other person, unless in one of two events;-that Mr. Young continued to be physically unable to attend in person, within some reasonable term, or, in case of his ultimate inability, that the synod have appointed some person in whose ability the community might confide. It will, therefore, on your part, as well as mine, be expected that I should be assured of the fact, that Mr. Rice, or Mr. Burch, or some other person, has been selected, or approbated, by the synod, to represent the party in the contemplated discussion. The propositions being agreed upon, and the person with whom I am to contend, selected by the proper authorities, those other matters, as to a stenographer, and the rules of discussion, &c., &c., can be easily arranged. I do hope, then, kind sir, that you will embrace your earliest convenience in responding to such items, in the communication, as may demand your special attention. With the kindest regard, I remain, as ever, yours. A. CAMPBELL.
Richmond, Jan. 3, 1843.
Dear Sir-Yours of the 15th ult., was received on the 22nd, and would have been answered earlier, but protracted religious exercises prevented.
One point only, in your last, demands present attention. Until that is understood and agreed, all efforts to settle the questions for discussion, and arrange preliminaries, will be unavailing.
I allude to synodical action. I understand you to take the ground that you will not debate, unless the individual is appointed, or approbated, by synod.
In your first communication you intimated as much. In reply, I stated definitely, that the synod neither was, nor could be, a party in the contemplated discussion. I also stated, that the persons selected, were chosen, not by the synod, but in conference, and, that some of them were known and acknowledged to be the most prominent men in our church.
All these facts were before you, yet, in your reply, you do not make a single objection, but pass the whole matter in silence.
Surely, if you intended to object on this ground, then was the time, and there the correspondence would have terminated.
My understanding was, that the persons engaging in the discussion would be agreed upon at the meeting of synod, not that there would be a synodical appointment.
I well knew that such an appointment, for such an object, was not within the legitimate power of any of our ecclesiastical judicatories.
Even had the synod possessed the power, and exercised it, and appointed the requisite number of men, there appears to have been no appointment by any body of men on your side.
If the appointment, on your side, had been made by a body of men, convoked for the purpose, still, that body would sustain to your church no such relation as our synod does to ours, and, therefore, we would not stand on equal footing.
Perfect equality is that for which we will most certainly insist.
If your object be to give importance to the discussion, we will agree to add, 5, 10, or 15, to the number on each side, with the understanding, that the debater, on each side, be selected by them.
We fear not discussion, and are willing to do all that is equal and honorable, but, if you insist on making unequal or impracticable terms of debate, the matter, of course, must terminate. I await your response. Very respectfully, yours, JNO. H. BROWN.
Bethany, Va., Jan. 13, 1843.
Dear Sir-Yours of the 4th inst., was received on the 11th ult. My engagements yesterday forbade an immediate reply.
You say one point only demands present attention, viz.-synodical action. The idea of synodical action was suggested by yourself at our interview, and again presented in your first written communication, in the words following to-wit:-"The brethren, who will engage in the discussion, so far as the Presbyterian church is concerned, will be selected during the sessions of the synod, which will convene at Maysville, on the 13th proximo." This, though strong enough, is not quite so expressive of synodical action in the case, as your original, verbal declarations, in the presence of our mutual friend, Mr. Duncan.
Your next epistle, after the meeting of synod, contained the ambiguous phrase, that the synod were not "to be a party" in the debate. I did not then contemplate them in the light of a party; but while I hesitated what such a phrase could mean, after our previous interchange of views and intentions, I concluded, for the moment, to reserve it for future explanation On learning, from your last, that certain persons were to be withdrawn,