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THE NEW YORK
ASTON, LENOX ANO
Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1844,
BY JOHN H. BROWN,
Stereotyped by J. A. James,
CincinnATI, March 6th, 1844. Having carefully examined the Report of the within discussion, furnished by Messrs. Gould, of Cincinnati, and Drapier, of Louisville, and compared it with our notes and memoranda ; we hesitate not to authenticate it, and to commend it to the public, as a full exhibition of the facts, documents, and arguments used by us on the several questions debated.
Richmond, Ky, September 19, 1842. Mr. CAMPBELL:
I should have addressed you at an earlier date, but my engagements have been such as to utterly forbid. Upon reflection, I have concluded to leave the questions involved in our contemplated discussion, with other prelimi. naries, to a committee, which can meet, probably, at an early day in November.
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 commence at Maysville on the 13th proximo.
Of how many shall this arranging committee consist-two or three on each side? When and where shall they meet-Lexington ? say November any time before the 5th or after the 17th.
This committee will be empowered to fix the time (Lexington being the place agreed upon) of debate, form of questions, rules, moderators, and make arrangements for one or more competent stenographers to take down the debate preparatory to publication, as agreed by the committee.
To shorten our correspondence, I hope you rill fix the number of the arranging committee, at either two or three, as you may prefer; also the day of meeting, within the time specified. I hope to receive an answer before I leave for synod, so that all our arrangements and appointments can be made while there. I consider our correspondence as private until consent is given for publicity. Yours, fraternally, JNO, H. BROWN.
Bethany, October 5, 1842. Mr. John H. Brown:
Dear Sir-Yours of the 19th ult., mailed the 20th, is to hand. From the earnestness with which, while I was in your town, you sought a discussion of certain points at issue between Presbyterians and those christians called Reformers, and from the proposition to address me in writing, soon after my arrival at home, about the end of August, I had promised myself the pleasure of an early communication from you relative to the proposed discussion, and a more ample interval for settling, the propositions for discussion, as well as other preliminaries, before the meeting of the synod. But from your delay, no doubt occasioned by an unavoidable expediency, you now propose, “ upon reflection, to leave the questions involved in our contemplated discussion, with all other preliminaries, to a committee, which can meet, probably, at an early day in November."
You then ask me of how many shall this arranging committee consist, &c. &c. To all which I beg leave to respond, that I do not think that any committee, which I could nominate, in conjunction with such a one as you might raise, could so satisfactorily to the parties arrange all these matters, as we ourselves, who enter into the discussion. I prefer to express my own propositions, in my own words; and in all such matters, where the principals can so easily act, I do not think it expedient to employ attornies or proxies. As to the appointment of moderators and the adoption of the rules of discussion, these are minor matters, compared with the propositions to be discussed; still, they are important, and, while I would not pertinaciously object to any equitable arrangement of such matters, my conscientiousness and my prudence alike forbid the selection of propositions by a committee on which to form an issue, unless after their submission to my consideration and adoption. This would require time, and, probably, occasion a long delay. But it is competent to the synod to select its own propositions, and to propound in its own terms what it wishes. I will therefore suggest what I think will meet your views, as expressed during our interview.
1st. You affirm that the infant of a believing parent is a scriptural subject of baptism. We deny it.
2nd. You affirm that sprinkling water upon any part of an infant or adult is scriptural baptism. We deny it.
3rd. You affirm that there is no indispensable connection between baptism and the remission of sins, in any case. We affirm that there is.
4th. You affirm that the constitution of the Presbyterian church is founded on the New Testament. We deny it.
5th. You affirm that the doctrinal portions of the Westminister confession of faith are founded on the Scriptures of truth. We deny that they all are.
In this form, or by dividing the propositions into affirmatives and negatives, so as to give to each party an equal number, we can soon form a just and honorable issue. In one word, I will defend what I teach and practice, in plain and definite propositions, and on your agreeing to do the same, the whole matter may be arranged in the most satisfactory manner by correspondence, the only alternative that I can at this late period think of. Very respectfully and fraternally, your obedient servant,
Richmond, October 22, 4842. ELDER A. CAMPBELL:
Dear Sir-Yours of the fifth was received previous to my leaving for synod, also a duplicate copy while at Maysville attending its sessions.
There is evidently a misapprehension, on the part of one of us, as it regards our interview at Richmond, in August last. You seem to intimate that I, with earnestness, sought a discussion of certain points at issue between Presbyterians and those christians called Reformers. Let the facts speak for themselves. They are briefly the following:
At the close of your address in Richmond on the 3rd of August, your friend, Mr. Duncan, approached me and asked my opinion as to the address, which I gave with as much candor as it was sought.
After other interrogatories were propounded and answered, he inquired, if I thought discussion advisable; to which I gave an afhrmative reply. He then remarked, that he had engaged to dine with you, and would ascertain your feelings and wishes on the subject.
All this occurred before we left the church. About 4 o'clock in the afternoon Mr. Duncan souglit a second interview with me, and requested me to call in company with him at your room, stating that you desired an interview with me on the subject, about which he and I had conversed in the forenoon.
I conformed to his wish, and accompanied him to your room, which ultimated in a mutual agreement to discuss certain points of difference for the edification of the church and the prosperity of the cause of Christ, with a definite and expressed understanding that neither was to be considered the challenging party.
You further intimate that my delay in commencing the correspondence was doubtless “occasioned by an unavoidable expediency.” This I consider a very unkind and unfraternal insinuation, and one which I had not expected from your urbanity as developed in our interview, and especially after recognizing me as a “ brother” in the close of your epistle. It is a plain intimation that the correspondence was procrastinated solely on the ground of expediency, when I had expressly placed it on another and a very different ground.
I also understood it to be settled, in case we did not agree as to the form of the propositions, that this, with all other preliminaries, was to be left to a committee, selected from ten chosen individuals, composed of an equal number from each side. Your reply is evidently a departure from this agreement. You say, no committee could so satisfactorily arrange the propositions as we ourselves could. You add, "I prefer to express my own propositions in my own words ;” “My conscientiousness and my prudence alike forbid the selection of propositions by a committee on which to form an issue, unless after their submission to my consideration and adoption."
You further state, “ It is competent to the synod to select its own propositions, and to propound in its own terms what it wishes."
The competency of the synod to express its wishes on this or any other subject, I presume, would not be questioned. But the synod is not a party in this matter, and, as such, has no propositions to ma According to our arrangement, they were to be agreed upon by you and myself, and, in case of our disagreement as to their form, the committee, referred to above, was to arrange the whole matter.
You present five propositions, which “you think will meet my views, as expressed during our interview.”
The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd of these propositions embrace points of discussion agreed upon in our interview.
The 4th and 5th not only embrace subjects agreed, but every thing else we, as a denomination, believe and teach. In the 5th, you put us upon the defence of the entire confession of faith. To this I do not object, because of its indefensibleness, but on the ground of its not being one of the agreed points of discussion, and introducing far more than was, at the time, contemplated either by you or myself.
Your 1st proposition, in the following words, " You affirm that the infant of a believing parent is a scriptural subject of baptism," is accepted without any modification or alteration.
Your 2nd, in these words, “ Your affirm that sprinkling water upon any part of an infant, or adult, is scriptural baptism," I accept with only a slight verbal alteration, viz: I affirm that sprinkling, or pouring, water on a suitable subject is scriptural baptism. You deny.
I might justly have required you to take the affirmative and prove immer. sion only to be baptism, but I would not pertinaciously stand out for the mere verbiage of a proposition, but only for its substantiality.
Your 3rd proposition is, “You affirm that there is no indispensable connection between baptism and the remission of sins in any case.”
Strange as it may be, you make me, in this proposition, affirm a negative. I therefore substitute another, which, while it will in its discussion involve substantially your proposition, presents as the main point, a question on which we differ widely, and one which you urge in your various works as of primary importance. The proposition is as follows:
3rd. You affirm that the new birth, as mentioned in John, third chapter, is a change of state, and not a change of heart. I deny.
I now propose a substitute for your 4th and 5th propositions, covering the agreed points of discussion, and to which you will not object, as they are taken substantially, if not verbally, from your own publications.
4th. You affirm that the use of creeds, or confessions of faith, is contrary to the Scriptures, and destructive of the unity and perpetuity of the church of Christ. We deny.
5th. You affirm that all the converting and sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit is contained in the Divine Word. We deny.
Upon these several propositions an equitable issue can be taken, and the whole matter speedily arranged for full and free discussion.
On my part the men are selected :-Brethren Jno. C. Young, R. J. Breckenridge, N. L. Rice, J. F. Price, and myself, will engage in the discussion. Brother Rice and myself have been selected as a committee of arrangement, to meet such committee as may be selected on your part, to settle preliminaries, at some suitable time and place, agreed upon by you and myself. I would suggest Lexington as the place, and the 21st of November next as the time.
In hope that the issue is now made, and that the preliminaries may soon be settled, I subscribe myself, respectfully, yours,
JNO, H. BROWN.
Baltimore, Nov. 17, 1842. ELDER John H. Brown,
Dear Sir-Your favor of the 22nd ult., addressed to me at Bethany, Va., having been, by my orders, copied by my clerk, was duly forwarded to me at this point, and received by me on my arrival here. Such, however, have been my engagements with the public, (having had to deliver a public address for every day during the last three weeks, on a tour in eastern Virginia, and to this city) that I could not find a leisure hour to reply before this date. Of this tour. I gave you some intimation when you proposed to me your views and wishes relative to a public discussion.
To proceed, then, to the contents of your favor, now on my table, allow me to say, that the narrative you now give of the occasion of your soliciting a discussion, is as curious as it is novel and unexpected. The fact of your soliciting a public conference, with no other preamble to me expressed, than " that once yourself and your brethren had not been friendly to public debates, out that now you have changed your ground, being convinced that the state of society and religious opinion demanded it,” is all that I thought important to the arrangements proposed, without the details of the mere occasion of your personal application to me. As to the definite and express understanding that neither should be regarded as the challenging party, I have no distinct recollection. I do, indeed, remember that you emphatically spoke of your desiring a friendly discussion; and, if the phrase " challenging party," was expressly used, of which I cannot say I have any recollection, it could, in the connection of ideas, by you suggested, intimate no more than that you did not desire to be contemplated in the light of a challenger, but as of one desiring an amicable discussion ; to which I fully accorded, as in courtesy bound. Still, however, our respective positions to the fact of a discussion must stand, now and forever, different. You as the originator and propounder of it; I as accepting, and agreeing to, your proposition. No complimentary or courteous disclaimer of the technicalities or usual compellations on such occasions, could possibly change our positions to the fact of a discussion.
I admit the ambiguity of the phrase, at which you demur, in my former communication to you, viz. “ Your delay in reply was, doubtless, occasioned by an unavoidable expediency.” But I left it with you to interpret it; and as you now say, the expediency was not of choice but of necessity, I am perfectly willing to accord to you in the case, the most ingenuous conduct. I wonder, however, how you could construe this into a discrepancy with
my subscribing myself yours," fraternally," inasmuch as I have often heard, in synods and councils of your own church, much less complimentary interpretations of actions pass most fra nally amongst the ministry.
You next proceed to say, that you “understand it to be settled, in case we do not agrec as to the form of the propositions," &c. I, indeed, as you will, I doubt not, remember, stated distinctly, that as our conversation in Richmond was wholly extemporaneous and fugitive, that I would expect from