AN ECCENTRIC EPISTLE.
Columbia, Maury, Tennessee,
February 24th, 1852.
Dear Sir—Having to send you some money, and hating blank envelopes, as a waste of paper, I have concluded to scrawl on the inside a few loose thoughts, in the way of friendly observations.
And first, I must say that, take you all in all, you are a man to be wondered at! With great intellectual powers, and wonderful industry, you have pursued a self-sacrificing course! Always at war with men and systems, and carrying it on, as I expect, and as you say, pretty much at your own cost: and which must embarrass you; whereas, had you worked as hard at your profession, your abilities would have made you one of the “upper ten!” Does not this look like enthusiasm? It seems so to me! But it is also a truth, that to achieve any thing great, a man must be, more or less, enthused.
But your present position what is it? The Protestant sects are nearly all on the same ground! But the Shakers, the Mormons, and yourself, have each a distinct platform. Shall I predict your several fates? Should “the powers that be” permit the Mormons to go on and establish a Mohammedan Paradise round their salt sea, (a Paradise of Houries,) they will be a powerful numerous sect. When the Shakers are among the Capulets, and you and your folks, should the “Lord delay his coming” beyond your expectation, will be as the Millerites: both of you among the things that were!
Bro. Thomas, (we should all be brotherly,) you are a fifth monarchy man—your kingdom is too carnal! What! A heaven of mortals and immortals, kings, priests, governors and serfs!! Why we have enough of such a heaven here already!! I am weary of governing and being governed, both of which evils I have to endure here! Do you ask what kind of heaven I want? I will tell you. I want a heaven where there is no self-interest, no work, no pain, no sickness, no death; where we shall fly through an endless world of flowers, feast on ambrosia, drink of the waters of life, and sip the nectar of heaven, and be so filled with extatic joy as to burst forth in perpetual songs; all without care, toil, or trouble, and that for ever! This is the kind of heaven I have been taught to expect; and not a kind of mixed up affair—a better government here on earth!
You will see by this I am not with you, though I admire your talents and indomitable spirit; but my wife is much taken with your views and wants to see “ELPIS ISRAEL;” I therefore enclose $5. 00; three for the book and postage, and two for the current volume of the Herald, &c.
I would, were I young, (as I think you sincere,) open your eyes on the subject! and save you much labour—I would do it in a sheet or two!! But I like to see you buffet old errors with your new ones, and shall not try to open your eyes unless you ask me.
I cannot think you are turning the gospel into the “Hope of Israel” through wrath against A. Campbell. Bro. Campbell has injured us both; but he and his party are fast approaching a sect, little differing in spirit and doctrine from the old ones. We both wanted to go a little further than where he put down his Jacob-staff. The nature of the man would not bear this. He would bear with those who wished to pull him back, but not those who wished to lead him forward! And I have no doubt he hates you worse than all the Clarks, Merediths, and Pecks, &c., that ever pecked at him, because you wanted to reform his reformation. But if he will not follow you, you ought only to pity him, as he does those that will not follow him. Should any man go beyond you and make a new platform, destructive of yours, you will, from nature and precedent, be authorised to hate him, but not by the gospel.
If you will act as a friendly editor, by correcting any errors and making none yourself, you may insert this if you choose in the Herald. It will fill up space and serve as a text to make remarks on! And whether they are bitter, or sweet, it will be all one to me.
Wishing, at whatever time and in whatever manner the Lord may come, that we may all be prepared for the solemn event, and in the meantime wishing you well in this evil world, and hoping the world to come will be better, I remain, with much esteem, very sincerely,
Your brother in the One Faith, &c., &c.
P.S.—By-the-bye, have you received my Valedictory? And what do you think of it? Especially my National Church? But if the Advent takes place in ’64, the people will not have had time to consider of the matter, and so all my labour lost! Well, many others will lose their labours also—that’s some comfort.
Yours as above,
A FEW WORDS ON A POINT OR TWO IN THE ABOVE.
Our humorous correspondent seems to be quite an original. Were we as bitter as our theological friends in general, so facetious an epistle could not fail to convert us into sweetness. But while his good nature puts us on good terms with him, it fails to create a sympathetic longing for an eternity of fellowship in ambrosial feastings and celestial intoxication. The heaven he has been taught to expect is not the heaven of the Bible, though generally received. The Bible heaven for redeemed humanity is a heavenly constitution of things upon earth progressively manifested. “The meek shall inherit the earth;” saith the Lord Jesus. It is not an extacy; but a reality, intelligible, demonstrable, beneficent, and glorious. The ensuing thousand years are but introductory to the ages of eternity, when humanity, freed from sin and death, will be blessed according to the capacity of its nature for enjoyment. Let our friend aspire after this. No destiny can surpass it.
However “carnal” the kingdom we advocate, it is scriptural, and none has yet appeared who can show the contrary. We are a sixth, rather than a fifth, monarchist. Nebuchadnezzar’s Image represents five empires, and the destroying Stone the sixth. Thus, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, Gog, and Israel Restored under Christ. This sixth monarchy, the only truly universal one, is the kingdom in whose glad tidings we rejoice.
We cannot afford to “hate” any man. It costs too much. Some men we beware of, keeping ourselves out of their power; but hatred of them we cannot indulge in. The Lord will reward those that hate us better than we have power or judgment to do; we therefore turn them over to him, biding our time, and tranquilly awaiting the result. We have no wrath against our friend the President. Being on the right side of the argument, we can afford to be placid, amiable, and complaisant. “He may laugh that wins,” and though means may fail for carrying on the war, enough has been done to prove that we are with the truth, and that the strength of the adversary is in stratagem, not in reason, testimony, and interpretation; so that in defeat itself is victory.
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