A WOODEN SWORD BRANDISHED AT ELPIS ISRAEL—SIR KNIGHT DISARMED, AND HIS WEAPON SHIVERED TO SPLINTERS.
“We war casting down imaginations and every lofty notion exalting itself against the knowledge of God.”—Paul
As a part of his note on the Throne of David, our refined and polished friend over the mountains writes concerning Elpis Israel and its author, in the following chaste and classic style! It may be regarded as a specimen, doubtless, of the “pure literature” and the Christian spirit it exhales, for the development of which Bethany College, as a Queen of the West, is presented as a nursing mother to Zion, that is, spiritually, “the church!” Is it not extraordinary that with such elegant impromptus thrown off from time to time from the pen of our amiable and celestialised friend, that “the brotherhood” is so irresponsive to his eleemosynary hints, exhortations, and demands! Wonderful indeed that “the disciples” do not bestir themselves amain, and without delay secure “a little stock in the Bank of Heaven,” by contributing to its endowment that the nursing Queen may forever bless the world with dainties such as we now present:
“Any one,” says Mr. Campbell, “who wishes to peruse the most conceited, consequential, and dogmatical treatise, based upon a hallucination, and a parody of the words ELPIS ISRAEL, will, if he have a dollar to throw away, have a demonstration of a disease called in Kentucky “the big head,” probably unequalled in this century; making the Hope of Israel—indeed the Hope of the Gospel in full development, to consist in raising up again a throne of David in Palestine or Jerusalem; as if that throne had been vacant now for 1800 years, or as if Jesus Christ would remove his throne out of the Heavenly Jerusalem, to rebuild and locate it in old Jerusalem, and there to aggrandise the empire of the universe!! But this only in passing, as one of the specimens of the power of the love of notoriety or of the marvellous, in wrecking and bewildering the human mind. We regard this development of the passion for notoriety as one of the most admonitory dispensations in our immediate circle of observation. It has made a man that might have been useful, worthless to himself, worthless to his friends, and worse than worthless to the world.”
While we were in England our loving friend favoured us with one of his characteristic notices in which he styled us “the erratic materialist and rather plausible sophist of no-soul memory.” Previous to this, he announced us to the public as “a half-sceptic, half-christian, fit only for the society of Voltaire, Tom Paine, and that herd;” and now the climax is capped by proclaiming us as utterly worthless! —yea more, afflicted with one of the worst diseases, if we rightly guess what in the “half-horse and half-alligator” country they elegantly style “the big head”—as an incurable leprosy, and therefore in our influence upon society “worse than worthless!” Really, when we look at ourselves in the manuscript before us, with this long handle to our name, we inquire of ourselves, is it possible that we are such a character as our sweet friend declares? Why the most worthy candidate for penitentiary distinction cannot be worse than our unfortunate self! But, even supposing we be as wretched an outcast as our gracious friend affirms, we humbly suggest that it is not very agreeable to be published as such to all the world. Impartial judge as he is in matters affecting himself, still it is not comfortable to be accused, condemned without a trial, or being permitted to show cause why sentence of death should not be pronounced against us, and to be summarily executed. We don’t altogether relish this nephew-of-my-uncle style of administering law, especially when we are to be victimised by it. It is bad enough in theory, and it is by no means better in practice. Our judicial friend, however bright the attribute of jealousy may shine in his celestial crown, has not displayed towards us an overflow of mercy—and he should remember that “mercy and truth meet together” in the true believer, and that “mercy boasts itself against judgment”—in the treatment he has dealt out to us these seventeen years. He has, or has had, thousands of readers, to whom he has declared on the faith of a man aspiring to celestial honours and sublimities in the Milky Way, that we are every thing that is contemptible in faith, opinion, acquirements, and character. This has been the general indictment, a sort of summary compilation of pestiferousness, by which a prejudgment has been secured against us. The counts of the indictment have been predicated upon garbled extracts of very scanty dimensions, and on no extracts at all. Our disinterested friend out of kindness to us has had it all his own way, taking care for the good of the cause, that is, the cause of Origenic sublimities and the vested interests dependent thereon, that we should not be permitted to speak to his readers to whom he had written such creditable and delightful things concerning us! Hence, say what we might in our own paper, those to whom we were accused saw nothing of it, because they were not our readers, but his alone. This policy having been carried out for so many years has not failed to cause us to be esteemed by those who know us only by name, and as our ingenuous friend has misrepresented, as just such a worthless character as he affirms. We are said to be “hallucinated,” “mad,” “a devil,” and many other things known, or supposed to be known, by like respectable appellatives. It seems strange, yet so it is; though we can produce several of the most compos mentis people in society, of good and honourable standing, who know us intimately, and readily testify that we are the very opposite to what our benevolent friend and his reflectors, who have no personal acquaintance with us, aver. But unfortunately, as soon as a respectable man testifies in our favour, the tables are forthwith turned upon him, and he is regarded as no better than ourselves! This is the way the Jews serve the witnesses for Jesus. So long as they are his enemies their testimony is considered as credible and respectable; but so soon as the truth converts them into friends, immediately they are set down as liars, and not to be regarded. Thus it has been from the beginning, and, we suppose, will be to the end. Error and errorists are essentially oppressive and tyrannical. The part of truth is to contend, protest, reason, testify, and endure, until Christ shall come and “break in pieces the oppressor,” when the truth will prevail gloriously, and all its suffering friends rejoice together in his presence. It is a consolation to know that contemptible and worthless as we are esteemed by worldly-minded men, we cannot be more sovereignly despised than were Jeremiah, Paul, and his co-labourers by their contemporaries, who made them “as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things unto this day”—Lamentations 3: 45; 1 Corinthians 4: 13. Misery loves company; it is therefore very consoling when that company turns out to be the very salt of our groaning world.
But, be we ever so pestilent that does not nullify the Kingdom of God as expounded in Elpis Israel. The building up of the kingdom and throne of David as in the days of old is not disproved by declaiming against us, or proving us to be as worthless as it is said. Our extreme worthlessness does not alter the testimony of the prophets and apostles, who both declare that Messiah shall restore them. Our fri8end likes to talk about logic, but what logic is there in reviling a book and its author in support of any opposite theory? But, we suppose, we must pardon our celestial friend the indiscretion of which we complain. He is doubtless in a super-excited state, and scarcely knows whereof he affirms. Some months ago before he had read the book, he said that we had “proved all the apostles to be wrong in making the resurrection to eternal life the hope of God’s people, and for it, had substituted another terrestrial paradise. True,” said he, “I have never read the new book, or the newly discovered Elpis Israel, but am informed that it is maintained by some Jews of the present day, as a substitute for the hope of the resurrection of the just.” He afterwards tells us what his hope is not. “It is not,” says he, “the literal return of the true Messiah to reign in Palestine, or on earth, or in any portion of the solar system.” But since telling his readers what we had done in Elpis Israel before he had read it, our intuitive friend has probably read it. His report, we think, ought to induce every one to seek to possess it, as a literary curiosity if upon no other grounds. Our critical friend says it affords “a demonstration probably unequalled in this century.” We believe he is right in this. We know of no other book that contains a similar demonstration of the truth. Our pathological friend calls it “a demonstration of a disease,” &c. He is excusable in this; for it is natural enough that he should style that a disease which demonstrates his sky-kingdom throne of David, his trans-solar new heavens and earth, and his Origenic sublimities, to be mere “philosophy and vain deceit.” The reading of Elpis Israel has evidently transformed our ordinarily meek friend into a wide-mouthed vial of wrath. He calls the book hard names as well as its author having no other arguments to bring against it. He finds that it does not even attempt to prove the apostles wrong in any thing; and that it does not substitute a terrestrial paradise for the resurrection to eternal life; but that while it maintains that the promised “Paradise of God” is to be established on earth, it also shows that the dead must be raised to eternal life to inherit its good things for ever; and the living believers therein contemporary with its formation changed in the twinkling of an eye for the same purpose. Our sky-kingdom friend, we presume, is mortified to find that his informant led him into such an inconvenient error about our substituting one thing for another when there is not a word of truth in the allegation. His honest and virtuous indignation, doubtless, would make his studio too hot to hold said informant. Still the discovery of the imposition upon his credulity has not put our friend, ever great and undogmatical, in a sweeter disposition towards our unoffending self. We sent him a present of the book all the way from London; studiously avoided alluding to him, or to his reformation in its pages; and endeavoured simply to show what the Bible reveals as the destiny of the earth and of man upon it. But instead of sending us a polite note, gratefully acknowledging our kindness and thoughtful consideration of him though so far away, our astonishing friend falls into a paroxysm of interjections as the only defence he can offer against the overwhelming evidence with which Elpis Israel has assailed and demolished his entrenchments. There is nothing easier than to prove the truth of the things that excite his astonishment—that the Hope of Israel and the Hope of the Gospel are identical; that the throne of David will be re-established in Jerusalem; that the Lord Jesus will sit upon it there; and there aggrandise the empire of the whole earth. These are truths which shine from the sacred page as the sun in the midst of heaven; and blind, very blind, yea even stone-blind, must be the man who says, “I cannot see them there.”
This short denunciatory paragraph suggests to us that our friend does not suspect the reason of the King of Israel’s prolonged absence at the right hand of power. We will inform him. It is, because there is no throne of David for him to sit upon. Had this throne existed when he was on earth, or had all things been ready for its erection anew, Jesus would have remained upon earth and in Palestine to enter upon his reign, and to proceed in the work of aggrandising his dominion until it should extend over the whole earth. But the then unknown time, the knowledge of which the Father reserved to himself, had not come to erect the throne; therefore he departed to remain in a far country until the time to put down the enemy should arrive, which is equivalent to setting up the throne and kingdom of the united Twelve Tribes of Israel.
Again, we perceive that he uses the phrase “the universe” in an unscriptural sense when speaking of the chieftaincy of the Lord Jesus. Universe is not used in speaking of Messiah. The universe comprehends all created things in boundless space. This is the Father’s dominion, not Christ’s. We have no where hinted the idea of the Lord Jesus aggrandising the empire of boundless space from “old Jerusalem.” No such empire is promised to Messiah. The promise to him is,
“Thou shalt have the nations for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.”
Jerusalem and Zion restored, and invested with their beautiful garments, are to be the seat of the government of Messiah and his brethren over this empire. The empire of the universe ruled by Jesus in any Jerusalem is one of the many fictions which compose the philosophical religion of our romantic friend; who, being a man of lively fancy and boundless imagination, delights to vary the monotony of terrene pursuits by ideal flights among the nebulosities of the Galaxy even to the jumping-off place of immensity, until by oft-repeated excursions, like fabulous relations oft-told, he comes to believe them real, and speaking as he believes, publishes them to his admirers as the first principles of the oracles of God! Elpis Israel, however, takes all this wind out of his sails. It tolerates no flights of the imagination; but brings every high-flown speculation to the Law and Testimony. But this is a test the articles of our friend’s creed cannot endure. Hence his restiveness in gear. But what doth it avail? It is hard for him to kick against the goads. His acceptance or rejection of Israel’s Hope will make or mar his destiny for ever.
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