Apr 23, 2009

Campbell on Fuller III


"MR. FULLER, in his Strictures on Sandemanianism, New York edition, page 7, makes the following remarks:--

"It is not my design to censure Sandemanianism in the gross. There are many things in the system which, in my judgment, are worthy of serious attention. If Mr. Sandeman, and his followers, had only taught that faith has revealed truth for its object, or that which is true antecedent to its being believed, and whether it be believed or not--that the finished work of Christ, exclusive of every act, exercise, or thought of the human mind, is that for the sake of which a sinner is justified before God--that no qualifications of any kind are necessary to warrant our believing in him--and that the first scriptural consolation received by the believer arises from the gospel and not from reflecting on the feelings of his own mind towards it, they would have deserved well of the church of Christ."

"Fuller and Sandeman agree too well in metaphysical regeneration, or a regeneration without any thought, volition, or act of mind or body...But to return to metaphysical regeneration. With Mr. Fuller there is a twofold regeneration--a "strict" and a "general". "Like every other term," says he, in the appendix, page 210, "it [482] (regeneration) is sometimes used in a more strict and sometimes in a more general sense." We have before shown the term is used but twice in all the Jewish and Christian scriptures."

"In his Strictures on Sandemanianism, written some years afterwards, he says, page 135:--"Though in a general sense it be true that we are regenerated by believing the gospel, yet in a more particular sense it is equally true that we are regenerated in order to it." Mr. Fuller has a general regeneration to offer to his opponents when he is pressed by their arguments, and a particular regeneration for himself.

This particular or strict regeneration, he defines to be "a real physical work, whereby the Holy Spirit imparts spiritual life to the souls of all who are truly regenerated," p. 132. He adds, "When God created the soul of man originally in righteousness and true holiness, I suppose it must be allowed to have been a physical work. Man certainly was not induced by motives to be righteous any more than to be rational." The doctrine, then, is, God made man righteous as he made him rational without any moral means, and now he makes, or creates, him anew, or regenerates him without any means, other than he employed in making man rational, or in creating man at first. This philosophy is most unphilosophic, and what is incomparably worse, it makes the Word of God of non-effect. Mechanical power is employed upon what already exists; but physical power, when referred to God, denotes such energy as was displayed in originating the heavens and the earth, or such power as was displayed in causing an ear to grow on Malchus, an arm or limb upon a maimed person, or the infusion of life into Lazarus, Dorcas, and the son of the widow of Nain.

To talk of a physical work upon the soul is, in my humble opinion, preposterous in the extreme. Not a Doctor in christendom can define it: no, not one. To argue about an indefinable nonentity is not more ridiculous than to hear scribes and elders talk about a physical operation upon a spirit, or upon the soul of man. Such a thing is inconceivable to any mind unsophisticated by mysticism. The spirit of man ought to have been shown to be susceptible of such a power. Why did all the doctors of physical regeneration of spirits, all the living and all the dead, take for granted, that the spirit, or soul of man, is, or can be, a subject of physical influence or power? They seem, one and all, to have taken this for granted; and so all their reasonings are based upon a mere assumption. We may be the first who have called this assumption in question; but whether or not, we affirm it to be an untenable, because an irrational and unscriptural assumption. No man can demonstrate from any principle, natural or moral, that the soul of man can be the subject of any operation, or power, that is either physical or mechanical. Let some of the Fullerites attempt this; for if this cannot be sustained, their system vanishes into smoke. Whenever they prove that any power other than moral, or any power purely physical, can operate upon [483]
the soul of man; in one word, that it can be the subject of physical operations, then I will prove that spirits may be pierced with a dagger, or beheaded with a sword.

But the assumption is absurd on other grounds. Physical power could not renew, or regenerate, man, because his fall was not effected by physical power. If the soul of man had been physically destroyed, it might be more plausible (but even then only plausible) to talk of its being physically restored. If the Devil had overcome and ruined Eve and Adam by physical power, then it would have been necessary for man to be physically cured, or restored by physical power. But Satan did not operate physically upon the soul or body of Eve, and consequently physical power is not now called for. He operated by motives, arguments, or what is called moral means. By these means the happy pair were dethroned.

We shall suppose a case and submit it to the Fullerites. Suppose, then, Satan, who was stronger than Eve, had physically, or by power, taken hold of her arm, opened her fingers, and made them close on the fruit of the forbidden tree, and then, by his strength, made her hand pull it off, and put it into her mouth, would she have fallen by such an act? They answer, No. I am bold to affirm that they will say, that man could not have fallen by any physical operation. If, then, man could not fall by physical operations, how can he be restored by them? It is, in my judgment, as impossible to restore, or renew, man by physical operations, as it was for him to fall by such means. As he could not fall by physical operations, it is absurd, then, to argue that he can be renewed by them. Wise, and learned, and good as Andrew Fuller may have been, and as his American and English disciples now are, we cannot refrain from affirming that, to our apprehension, they appear to assume, as a fundamental principle, a position at war with reason, experience, and revelation. I trust that if any of his disciples in this country think the system defensible, they will attend to, and attempt to solve on some principle, the case which we have here submitted.

The power which Satan employed was his word. All his energy was put forth in his word. He was a better philosopher than any of our opponents; for he knew too well that a spirit could not he operated upon physically, and, therefore, he could not even imagine such a thing as the fall of man by physical operations.

Satan has an honor bestowed upon him by the mystic spiritualizers to which he is not entitled. They represent him as wiser and more puissant than the Almighty. They say he could subvert and ruin the race of men by his word without any physical operation on the body or soul of man; but God cannot restore, or save man by his word without the use of other weapons than Satan employed against him. Satan's bow and arrow, his sling and stone, say they, call for the artillery, all the munitions of Heaven, physical and moral.

Prove, then, Fullerites, that Satan used other means than his word to ruin man, before you say and teach that God's word is not able to restore him!! Prove that the soul of man is, or can be, the subject [484]
of physical operation before you preach physical regeneration. Prove that physical power can restore one morally depraved, or that sin can be cured by strength, or the conscience by force before you proclaim the impotency of God's word, or the necessity of almighty strength to now create, or repair, the soul of man.

Until these remain, of the dark and barbarous night of Mystery Babylon, are scattered to the four winds of heaven, until these fragments of the Platonic science, falsely so called, and the Aristotelean categories are banished from christian assemblies, the oracles of the living God will be despised, and men will grope in darkness, live and die in doubt, and in despair, as they have so often and so long done under the doctrine of physical and metaphysical regeneration.

Incur what censure we may, our veneration for the great Teacher sent from God, and our benevolence for our deluded contemporaries, command us to expose the sophisms of the schools, and to proclaim an interminable war against mystic doctors, mystic systems, and mystic religionists, however consecrated in the affections of a population whose reason has been perverted, whose minds have been confused, and whose consciences have been polluted with the mysteries and idolatries of an apostate church.

We have traced these errors to their sources. And, if the Lord permit, we will assist others in tracing them through all their meanderings up to the fountain. We have now glanced at only one of the assumptions in the propositions in which it was found. Concerning the implantation of "spiritual life," we shall offer some remarks in our next.

EDITOR. (Nov. 1830)


"IT will be remembered that Mr. Andrew Fuller defines his strict regeneration to be "a real physical work, whereby the Holy Spirit imparts spiritual life to the souls of all who are truly regenerated." It were well for mankind that the terms were well defined which writers use in all these great controversies, on the one side of which all is life; and on the other side of which all is death. To make men damnably erroneous for a tenet, contradictory to "essential points," it is surely necessary and all-important that these essential points should be plainly expressed, in a style familiar and perspicuous to all. In this definition of "strict regeneration" there is great obscurity resting upon the subject for the want of a definition of the terms. It is a philosophical definition and couched in terms excogitated by speculative reasoners; very unlike the terms which the Holy Spirit employs to communicate his mind to men upon the gospel.

A "physical work" few understand; and "spiritual life" is a phrase not understood by a tithe of those who use it. Ask a majority of our proclaimers and teachers what they mean by either, or both of these expressions, and how embarrassed will they be to give an intelligible definition. Mr. Fuller gives a hint or two indicative of his meaning of "physical power." He means a power in which there is nothing moral; that is, in which there are no motives presented. As for example, no motives were presented to man in order to make him rational: he was made rational without argument, or persuasion; just as he was made with two eyes or two feet. The power that made man rational was the same which made a fish swim, a bird fly, or a stone quiescent; and was put forth in the same manner. No moral power, or power influencing by motive, was displayed in giving either fins and scales, or their use, to fishes; or wings and their use to birds. Fire acts physically upon metals; and a hammer in the hand of the smith who uses it, works physically upon the iron. But he that overcomes by persuasion, argument, or motive, works morally, as philosophers would call it; and such power as operates upon the understanding,
will, or affections of men to induce to voluntary action, is called moral power.

It appears to be more consonant with the christian philosopher, Paul the Apostle, to affirm that the quickening act, or that which imparts spiritual life is the act of remission. This he positively affirms. "You," says he to the Colossians, chapter ii. 13, "who were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, has he made alive, having forgiven you all trespasses." Sin cut man off from the spiritual system. Our iniquities have separated between us and our God. They have gone up over our heads as a cloud; yea, as a thick cloud, and we see not the light of his animating countenance. "Dead in trespasses and sins" is the death of which the Apostle has spoken. Absolve or remove these trespasses and sins, and we can approach God with confidence, and can have communion and fellowship with him. Without this there can be no friendly connexion; so no life. But so soon as we are buried and raised with Jesus, we begin to enjoy this new life; "we are made alive together with him;" and as those alive from the dead, we now walk in a new life--have our fruit to holiness, and the end everlasting life.

Whatever that act be which engrafts us into Christ, that is the act by which the life that is in him is communicated to us. If that act be a physical operation upon the mind, then is spiritual life imparted by such an act; but if, as Paul teaches, we are "planted together with him," or "put him on;" by being through faith "immersed into his death," then we are born of God only when "born of water and [539]
the Spirit," and made alive from the dead, when raised with him to a new life. "If, then, you be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits at the right hand of God; for you are dead (wherein you were once alive) and your life is hid with Christ by God." EDITOR. Dec. 1830


"TO-DAY I beguiled the tediousness of the road from Zanesville to New Lancaster, Ohio, by reading Fuller's Strictures on Sandemanianism a second time. I was not a little entertained with many things in this work; and I might add, amused, if one might be amused with a zealous controversy about regeneration between three Doctors, who seemed to agree to differ with one another in a matter in which they are so well agreed that their greatest embarrassment is to explain the difference in their respective systems, or to show that there is a very important difference between them, yet so subtle and minute as to require the greatest labor in words to make it intelligible. Messrs. Archibald M'Clean, Ecking, Sandeman, and Fuller, are continually figuring in these pages. One while almost agreed in all the cardinal points of faith, repentance, justification, and regeneration, and ever and anon so opposite to one another, that Jews and Samaritans are quite as sociable as they.

Mr. Fuller introduces them into his pages as so many characters in a drama--only with so much ambiguity that the reader cannot conclude till he comes to the last page whether it is to be a comedy or a tragedy; and even then, without taxing his memory, it is not easy to decide whether the whole performance ought to be dedicated to the comic or the tragic muse. Suffice it to say, that the most knotty point in the volume is to decide whether the physical influence consists in removing blindness or hatred, ignorance or enmity, previous to the impartation of spiritual life. Messrs. M'Clean and Ecking appear to agree that the removal of ignorance, as the cause of unbelief and unregeneracy, or "spiritual illumination," is essentially previous to faith. Mr. Fuller will have something more necessary as a previous principle; and between him, Sandeman. M'Clean, Ecking, and Co. the controversy is not about the necessity, but the nature of this previous change of mind. A spiritual principle of life, or a spiritual principle of light, superadded to the preached gospel, must, on either hypothesis, be infused or communicated as prerequisite to faith. With Messrs. M'Clean and Sandeman this previous principle of illumination is "the truth passively received." Mr. M'C. says, as quoted by Mr. Fuller, page 126, "It is not pleaded that any truth or sentiment is communicated to the mind by the Spirit, besides what is already revealed in the word, and the illumination of the Spirit is to MAKE MEN PERCEIVE AND UNDERSTAND THAT REVELATION WHICH IS ALREADY GIVEN, IN ITS TRUE LIGHT." Mr. Fuller contends for a QUICKENING INFLUENCE which he cannot explain; but such an impartation of life as that communicated to Tabitha by the immediate power of God, which at once makes the mind spiritual, destroys the enmity, and new-creates the soul previous to believing, and in order to believing the gospel. "That for which I contend," says he, page 120, "is, that there is a change effected in the soul of a sinner, called in scripture, giving him eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to [568] understand--a new heart and a right spirit--a new creation, &c. &c.--that this change is antecedent to his actively believing in Christ for salvation; and that it is not effected by motives addressed to the mind in a way of moral suasion, but by the mighty power of God." In page 133 he represents Mr. M'Clean, his opponent, as essentially agreeing with him, and more fully explains this work of the Spirit upon the regenerated in the words following:--"He (Mr. M'C.) holds with the necessity of a divine supernatural influence being superadded to the word, by which the mind is illuminated and rendered spiritual. But if divine influence consist in any thing distinct from the influence of the word, it must be supernatural and physical. The party is also equally unconscious of it on his principles as on mine: he is conscious of nothing but its effects. He finds himself the subject of new views and sensations; but as to knowing whence they came, it is likely he thinks nothing of it at the time, and is ready to imagine that any person, if he would but look into the Bible, must see what he sees so plainly taught in it. He may be conscious of ideas suggested to him by the word, and of their effect upon his mind; but as to any divine influence accompanying them, he knows nothing of it."

He also introduces President Edwards as teaching that a "NEW SPIRITUAL SENSE" is communicated in regeneration, and defining spiritual understanding in the following words, p. 111: "It consists in a sense of the heart of the supreme beauty and sweetness of the holiness, or moral perfection of divine things, together with all that discerning and knowledge of things of religion, that depend upon and flow from such a sense." "Spiritual understanding consists primarily in a sense of heart of that spiritual beauty--I say, a sense of heart; for it is not speculation merely that is concerned in this kind of understanding."

These extracts fully show Mr. Fuller's views of the physical work upon the heart is order to faith; and prove that, in his view, a person is regenerated or born again of that which he receives; than which we cannot conceive a greater outrage upon the use of words, figures, and analogues. The pangs of the new birth, as explained, are transferred to the child. In nature the mother travails; but in grace these Doctors make the child travail in birth! Paul once said that he travailed in birth in bringing forth his spiritual children; and that though the Corinthians had ten thousand instructers, they had not many fathers; for he was their only father, having begotten them by the gospel. But Paul had respect to the propriety of the analogy and language, and not to the marrow of modern divinity. The regenerated unbeliever, or he that, is born again in order to faith, receives the sixth sense, or a sense in the heart, by which he perceives the truth before he believes it.

All these Doctors agree that man is naturally dead; but the nature; of this death, or rather the cause of it, is not so unanimously agreed upon. A death in trespasses and sins it is said to be; but whether ignorance, carnality, or hatred, as such, is the cause of their spiritual death, is with them an important question: for with them the removal of the cause is the removal of the effect. Removing the ignorance [569] by supernatural and physical illumination with one; slaying the enmity, or destroying the carnality by the infusion of spiritual life, with another, is the necessary work of regeneration in order to faith. According to the Scriptures, which theorize not upon this subject, some persons are said to be dead in trespasses and sins. To this apply their favorite maxim, "Remove the cause and you remove the effect," and then we approach the Scripture doctrine, as stated in my last essay on this subject. "You who were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, he has made alive, having forgiven you all trespasses." Remove the sins and the death in trespasses and sins, as an effect is removed."

"Mr. Fuller labors to prove that faith is "a spiritual act" and a "holy act," in order to prove that a man must he spiritual and holy before he can perform such an act. "Believing is a holy exercise of the mind." p 52. To say, with Mr. Sandeman, that "the holiness of faith is in the truth," Mr. F. repudiates; "because it places the nature of a thing in its cause, and in the object on which it terminates." p. 53. Yet in page 39, he affirms, that "to say that faith includes no holiness, and yet produces it as the seed does the plant, is to contradict the established laws of nature, according to which every seed produces its own body. If holiness, therefore, were not included in faith, it would not grow out of it." Now what is this but affirming that the nature of a thing is in its cause, and in the object on which it terminates? If Celadon love Amelia as his mistress, is not his affection of the same nature with its cause and the object on which it terminates? But this only by the way.

The holiness of faith and its spirituality, as taught by Mr. Fuller, arises from its being "the act of a holy person--of one born of the Spirit." If this were worth a controverting, we might show it to be a gratuitous assertion. Are all the acts of the Spirit of God spiritual in Mr. Fuller's sense of the word? If so, matter is spiritual; for the Spirit of God is said to have operated upon it. Are all God's acts holy in his sense of the term? Then was the creating of the fowls, and the fishes, and the reptiles, holy acts. This will convert wisdom, power, and goodness, every attribute and work of God, into one called holiness?

Holiness is a term which appears to he little understood by some of our most erudite teachers. The term holy is used, as it etymologically imports, to denote separation from that which is common or unclean. God's presence on Horeb made the mount holy for the time being; and every knife, fork, and spoon belonging to the service of the tabernacle, because separated and not for common use, was holy. As disciples are separated to the Lord, they are saints or holy persons. But only as separated, are they said to be sanctified or holy: for this [570]
the term imports. Holy acts are the acts of persons sanctified or separated to God. To call a person holy, or any of his acts or feelings holy, before he is sanctified through faith and immersion, is as much at war with reason and the meaning of language, as with the plainest affirmations of the Apostles.

But in all the refinements of these religious metaphysicians, one thing seems to have escaped their notice, that there is as great an incongruity in representing their natural mind, or "natural man," as being a fit subject of this physical, regenerating, sanctifying energy, as there is, according to their own reasoning and showing, in an unregenerated person believing; or being fitted, without such supernatural aid, to receive the testimony of God. IS NOT GOD'S WORD AS HOLY AS GOD'S POWER, AND GOD'S POWER, ON THEIR REASONING, AS HOLY AS GOD'S WORD?"

"But the doctrine of Mr. Fuller is, that independent of the word believed, without the word, and in order to enabling a person to believe it, the Spirit of God does impart something he is pleased to call spiritual life, by a physical operation, as he made man rational, at first; and until this work is completed, and to effect which, neither argument, nor motive, wish, nor prayer, nor any agency in the power of man, can avail any thing; man is as dead as Lazarus in the grave, as to all power to help himself, to believe, repent, or obey the gospel; and that God withholds this power from some, and imparts it to others according to no other rule or principle than his own secret purpose. This is a capital item in Mr. Fuller's gospel, who yet disguises it all in a parade about the universality of the atonement, while it is as special in its application as this secret decree, physically and supernaturally to impart spiritual life to A, B, and C, which he calls regeneration in order to faith "strict and literal, and evangelical regeneration," from which D, E, and F are excepted, for no other reason than this same special and secret decree!!!! I hope I shall be excused from a farther exposition of this popular doctrine of metaphysical regeneration and its tendencies.

EDITOR. Oct. 1830

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