T H E   K I N G D O M   O F   H E A V E N.


      The world had its infancy as well as man. Families preceded nations. Family worship was, therefore, the first religious institution.

      At the head of this institution naturally stood the Father of every Family. From necessity, and from choice, he was the prophet, the priest, and the king of his household. As a prophet, he instructed his household in the knowledge of God and in the history of man. As a priest, he officiated at the family altar, interceded for those under his care, and pronounced benedictions upon his children. As a lawgiver and king, he commanded his children and servants, and rewarded them according to merit. By a divine ordinance the first fathers of mankind were thus constituted prophets, priests, and kings, Hence the first religious and political institution is properly called "the Patriarchal."

      Family worship was, then, the first social worship; and, during the first ages of the world (for at least 2,500 years) it was the only social worship of divine authority. Though other institutions have since been added, this has never been superseded. Having its foundation in the matrimonial compact, the most ancient of all religions and political institutions, and this being founded on nature itself, it never can be superseded. While the forms of this warship have always been adapted to the genius of the various revelations of God vouchsafed to mankind, it has continued through all the changes of six thousand years, and will continue till the day when men, like the angels of God, shall neither marry nor give in marriage.

      Family worship, so long as it continued the only social worship, underwent no material change; and this is the period which is properly called the Patriarchal Age of the World. So long as the descendants of one man and one woman continued under the paternal roof, or until they became heads of families themselves, they continued under this religious and political administration. And if, after marriage, they did not migrate to a great distance from the patrimonial inheritance, the paternal authority was still acknowledged and acquiesced in. Thus, in process of time, he who at first was only the head of a single family, if his days were prolonged and his progeny multiplied, became the paternal prince or chief patriarch of a tribe. [221]

      In the youth of time and freshness of human nature families soon became large; and as the father and head could not be always present while he lived, and as he might die before all his children could have become heads of families, it became necessary that a substitute in his absence, and a successor in case of his premature death, should be appointed to fill his place and administer the affairs of the family. Nature and reason alike pointed to his first-born son, and religion consecrated him his vicegerent. Hence the privileges and honors of the first-born son were both religious and political; and thus the duties devolving upon him gave him a right to a double portion of the inheritance. Esau was, therefore, both prodigal and profane in selling his birthright for a meal of pottage.

      The antiquity of this arrangement appears from the envy and jealousy of Cain, roused at the rejection of his offering and the acceptance of that of Abel. That jealousy seems to have been kindled into rage because of the birthright. This is fairly implied in God's address to Cain, when that address is fairly translated and understood. "If you do well, shall you not have the excellency; and if you do not well, sin precludes you (from the excellency). And (Abel shall be subject to you) to you shall be his desire, and you shall rule over him."1

      The moral and religious institutions of the patriarchal or family worship, which continued from the fall of Adam to the covenant of circumcision, were the Sabbath, the service of the altar, oral instruction, prayer, praise and benediction. With the addition of circumcision in the family of one patriarch, for special purposes, these were the parts of that system which continued for two thousand five hundred years.

      The religious observance of weeks or Sabbaths in commemoration of Creation, and prospective of an eternal rest, to arise out of the sacrificial and typical institution, was religiously observed to the giving of the law, or the erection of the Jewish institution. Thus the law of the Sabbath commences with the words, "Remember the Sabbath." The righteous always remembered the weeks, and regarded the conclusion of the week as holy to the Lord. Hence even after the Apostacy, which issued in the neglect of family worship, in consequence of the sons of God intermarrying with the daughters of men, and which brought a flood of water upon the world of the ungodly--we find Noah religiously counting his weeks even while incarcerated in the Ark. In the wilderness of Sin, before the giving of the law, we also find the Jews observing the Sabbath. And to facilitate the observance of it God wrought three special miracles during the peregrinations of Israel. [222] He gave two days' portion of manna on the sixth day--none on the seventh--and preserved from putrefaction the portion laid up for the Sabbath.2

      Sin-offerings and thank-offerings, on altars both of stone and earth, were presented to the Lord--the former, in faith of the promise concerning the bruising of the Serpent's head by the offspring of woman--the latter, in grateful acknowledgment of the goodness of God in creation and providence. Cain, without faith in the promised redemption, like many deists and natural religionists in our time, did acknowledge the goodness and care of God by a thank-offering; but Abel, by faith in that promise, not only offered his thank-offering, but a lamb as a sin-offering: therefore, while God respected not Cain's oblation without faith in that promise, he testified in favor of the gifts of Abel--he accepted his sin-offering and his thank-offering.

      In the very brief and general outlines of almost two thousand five hundred years given us in the book of Genesis, we find sundry allusions to this part of the patriarchal institution. Immediately after his egress from the Ark, we find Noah rearing his altar upon the baptized earth, and of every clean bird and beast offering to the Lord whole burnt offerings. Thus began Noah, after the deluge, to worship the Lord according to the patriarchal institution. And thus we find Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Job, and other patriarchs presenting their sacrifices to the Lord, while the family worship was the only religious institution in the world.

      Even libations, drink-offerings, and anointing as tokens of gratitude and consecration, are found in this most ancient and venerable institution. "Jacob rose up early in the morning, took the stone which he had put for his pillow, set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it."3 "And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where God talked with him, even a pillar of stone, and he poured a drink-offering thereon, and he poured oil thereon."4

      A beautiful and instructive instance of ancient family worship, and of the sacerdotal functions, as exercised by the patriarchs in reference to the Altar, we have in that most ancient of books, supposed by many to have been written by Moses, while in the land of Midian; but, according to others, by Job himself, who was certainly contemporary with Eliphaz the Temanite. Eliphaz was the son of Teman, who was the son of Eliphaz, who was the first son of Esau, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham. He therefore lived before Moses. Thus we find him also officiating at the altar. We are told that "his sons went and feasted in each other's houses, every one his day, and sent and called for their sisters to eat and drink with them. And it was so, that [223] when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts. Thus acted Job continually."5

      The same Job, by divine appointment, acted as priest or intercessor in behalf of his three friends, princes of Edom: for having spoken amiss, they were commanded to take seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to Job the servant of God, and to offer them up for themselves; and "Job my servant shall pray for you." "Job prayed for them, and the Lord accepted his prayer, and forgave Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar." "The Lord also accepted and blessed Job after he had prayed for these his friends, and the Lord turned again the captivity of Job."6

      During this period of the world there was but one high or general priest, specially called and sent by God. "He was King of Salem and Priest of the Most High God." To him the patriarch Abraham paid tithes or gave the tenth of the spoils taken in war, and Melchisedeck blessed him. He was of an order sui generis. He had no predecessor, successor, nor equal in the age of family worship.

      From all these facts and documents we learn that the service of the altar belonged first to the father of the family--next, to his eldest son;--that it consisted in presenting sin-offerings and thank-offerings of various sorts in behalf of himself or family--that all pious sons and individuals might for themselves erect altars, offer sacrifices, and pour out libations and thank-offerings to the Lord;--that these sacrificial observances were generally, if not always, accompanied with prayer, intercession, and thanksgivings;--and that intercession in behalf of those under the care of any father or patriarch was a part of the first institution.

      Benediction also was one of the duties of this office. Fathers pronounced blessings on their children. Superiors in age and standing blessed their inferiors. Melchisedeck blessed Abraham, Isaac blessed Jacob, and Jacob blessed the twelve patriarchs. The invocation of blessings and the imposition of hands upon the head, were parts of the family worship institution.

      Concerning prayer and praise, as we can not imagine a religion without them, it is unnecessary to speak particularly of them as parts of the patriarchal institution. Jubal soon taught men to handle the harp and the organ, and piety soon consecrated them to the praise of God. The melodies of nature soon taught man to tune his voice to God. Isaac went out into the fields at eventide for secret prayer. Abraham interceded for Sodom until he was ashamed to push his [224] importunities farther; and for Abimelech, king of Egypt, and his family, he made his requests to God. Of him and his patriarchal character God said, "I know Abraham that he will command his children, and his household after him, and they shall keep the ways of the Lord, to do justice and judgment, that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he has spoken of him."7

      Prophets of a public character were occasionally raised up to bring men back to the primitive simplicity of the patriarchal institution, as well as to lead them forward to the future developments of God's purposes in reference to the work of redemption. Amongst these the most conspicuous were Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob. To all these were given new visions of the future, and thus they were all preachers of righteousness and reformers in their respective generations.

      From these gleanings from the book of Genesis, one may learn that the family worship institution, which was divinely instituted in the first age of the world, embraced the observance of the Sabbath, the service of the altar, oral instruction, prayer, intercession, thanksgiving, and benediction. It contemplated no other bond of union than the marriage covenant and the relations springing out of it. Doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God, were enforced in all its maxims, and in the examples of those whom God honored and approved.

      There was, during the long period of this family institution, no community separated from the world larger than a single household--no public altars--no temples--no established order of public teachers; therefore, there were no initiating or separating institutions. There was no circumcision for the infant, nor washing of regeneration for the instructed. These institutions of later times had respect to public professing communities; and, therefore, for two thousand years there was no initiating rite or ordinance amongst men.

      Wherever the family curtains were spread and a tent erected, the devout father built his own altar to the Lord, gathered his own children and domestics around him, instructed them in the knowledge of God the creator and preserver of all; and in the history of man, his origin and destiny, as far as revealed to them. They offered their thank-offerings, acknowledgments of favors received; and when conscious of sin, they presented their sin-offering, with confessions, and in faith of God's promise, supplicated pardon. Such are the essential attributes of the patriarchal institution, and of the family worship, as learned from the writings of Moses.

[A. C.]      

      1 Gen. iv. 7.[222]
      2 Ex. xvi. 15-27. [223]
      3 Gen. xxviii. 18. [223]
      4 Gen. xxxv. 14. [223]
      5 Job i. 4, 5. [224]
      6 Job xlii. 8-10. [224]
      7 Gen. xviii. 19. [225]
      Alexander Campbell. "Patriarchal Age of the World." The Millennial Harbinger Extra 5 (August 1834):
      NOTE: With the exception of the "Preface," Alexander Campbell's The Kingdom of Heaven is reprinted in its entirety, from an Extra of The Millennial Harbinger (August 1834, pp. 387-444), as "Book V.--The Kingdom of Heaven" in The Millennial Harbinger Abridged (pp. 219-285).

But as the root of all the subsequent dispensations of God's mercy and favor to man was planted in the patriarchal institution, it is [225] THE FRIEND OF GOD. The intelligent reader needs not to be informed that we now call his attention specially to


      Reader, attend! "I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob: this is my name forever, and this is my memorial to all generations." And shall not the name, the calling, the blessing, and the history of Abraham always occupy a large space in the records of God's government of man, and in all the details of his redemption!

      Because of his unprecedented faith in God's promises and exalted piety, he was constituted the father of all believers; and his whole life is made a model for all the children of God, as far as walking by faith in God's promises is an ornament to human character.

      Sufficient then to our present purpose, we observe, that during the family worship institution, a little after the commencement of the third Millennium, about the 75th year of his life, God appeared to Abraham while he yet lived in Ur of Chaldea, and commanded him to depart out of that country, and that he would do for him certain things. Abraham obeyed. God gratuitously tendered to him two promises, not only interesting and valuable to Abraham himself, but to all the human race.

[A. C.]      

necessary to our plan, before we advance farther, to pay some attention to one of these patriarchs, whose fame is eternal, on whom God bestowed an honor above all earthly honor, and who stands enrolled in the annals of time as
      Alexander Campbell. "Abraham." The Millennial Harbinger Extra 5 (August 1834): 391-392.

These two promises were intended to be the basis of a two-fold relation to God, and the foundation of two distinct religious institutions called "the Old Testament and the New," "the Old Covenant and the New," "the Two Covenants," and "the Covenants of Promise." There was contemplated in them the constitution for a temporal and a spiritual kingdom of God--a kingdom of God of this world, and a kingdom of God not of this world. Be it, however, always remembered, when we attempt to form correct and comprehensive views of the whole economy of God's redemption, that these two promises were made while the patriarchal institution was yet standing and several centuries before its close. What, then, it will be asked, are these


      We find them in their most simple form in the beginning of the twelfth chapter of Genesis. The first--

      "I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee and make thy name great, and thou shalt be a blessing. I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curses thee."

      The second--"In thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed."

      These promises when fully developed contained numerous blessings. They are, however, in all their details separate and distinct from each. [226] other. Abraham's family alone are personally concerned in the first--all families of the earth in the second. Temporal and earthly are the blessings of the former--spiritual and eternal are the blessings of the latter. Paul calls the second, "The gospel preached to Abraham," and "The covenant confirmed by God in reference to the Messiah, four hundred and thirty years before the giving of the law." The Jewish kingdom in all its glory was but the development of the first--the Christian kingdom in its present and future blessings is the consummation of the second.

[A. C.]      

      Alexander Campbell. "Two Promises." The Millennial Harbinger Extra 5 (August 1834): 392.


      In pursuance of the first promise, and in order to its exact and literal accomplishment, about twenty-four years after its promulgation the "Covenant of Circumcision" was established. This "covenant in the flesh" marked out and defined the natural descendants of Abraham, and gave to the world a full proof of the faithfulness of God, putting it in the power of every one to ascertain how God keeps his covenants of promise with all people. This gave to the descendants of Abraham the title of "The Circumcision," and beautifully represented the separation of God's people from the children of this world.

      The land of Canaan, as the inheritance of this nation, is repeatedly promised to Abraham; and as soon as Isaac, the child of promise, is born and circumcised, the promise of the "SEED," in which all nations were to be blessed, is confined to him. Not in Ishmael, but "in Isaac shall thy seed be called."1

      After the death of Abraham and towards the close of the life of Isaac, his father's God give him a second edition of these two promises. The first is considerably amplified in its details, while the second is repeated almost in the same words. That which was first to be accomplished is first developed, and its provisions pointed out. "I will be with thee and will bless thee; for unto thee and to thy seed I will give all these countries, and I will perform all the oath which I sware to Abraham thy father; and I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give to thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed: because Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws."2

      The same two promises are repeated in almost the same words to Jacob the son of Isaac at the time he had the vision of the ladder reaching from earth to heaven, while in obedience to a command given him by his parents, he was on his way to Padan-aram in quest of a wife. On these three great occasions--to Abraham--to Isaac--to Jacob [227] --these two promises are solemnly pronounced; always standing in the same order--never confounded; but as distinct as earth and heaven--as time and eternity.

[A. C.]      

      1 Gen. xxi. 12. [227]
      2 Gen. xxvi. 3, 5. [227]

      Alexander Campbell. "Covenant of Circumcision." The Millennial Harbinger Extra 5 (August 1834):

Four hundred and thirty years after the first solemn declaration of these promises, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in virtue of the first promise, were redeemed out of bondage in Egypt, and saved from the tyranny and cruelty of Pharaoh. Then, in order to the full completion of its stipulations, God, by the hand of Moses, proposed a covenant with all Israel at Sinai; in which he guarantees to do all for them contemplated in the promise, confirmed by an oath to Abraham, in being a God to his seed after him. This


constituted them a kingdom of God, a holy nation, a peculiar people. All the blessings comprehended in the first promise to Abraham, or that could grow out of the relation to God which it contemplated, were in full detail carried out into this transaction, and secured to the whole nation. The relation was, however, temporal, and its blessings temporal and earthly. The second promise made no part of the Jewish institution or covenant at Sinai, more than it did of the patriarchal or antecedent institution. The typical or figurative part of the family worship, enlarged and improved, was translated into the national institution and made a part of it; and whatever spiritual privilege was enjoyed by the Jew, was enjoyed upon the same principle with the patriarch--by faith in the second promise, and by an intelligent and believing attendance upon all the appointed means which either prefigured the coming redemption, or realized the blessings which were to be derived through the promised seed.

[A. C.]      

      Alexander Campbell. "Sinaitic Covenant." The Millennial Harbinger Extra 5 (August 1834): 393-394.

The SEED in which all the families of the earth were to be blessed, was in the nation, but in no other sense than as it was in the people while in Egypt, or in the patriarchs before they went down into Egypt. It was in the nation, but no element of the national institution. They had the second promise made to their fathers, and all the faithful and approved among them believed that promise, and acted conformably to it. Thus amongst the Jews, even before the coming of the Messiah, there were


The natural and the spiritual children of Abraham. The whole nation were his literal and natural children; and such of them as believed the second promise and understood it, were not only his natural children, but his children in the same sense in which all believing Gentiles are by virtue of the second promise constituted the children of Abraham: for these two promises raised up two seeds to Abraham. The [228] first, like Ishmael, were born according to the flesh--the fleshly seed of Abraham; the second, like Isaac, were the children of faith in the promise: and thus Abraham is the constituted father of all who believe in that promise, whether of his flesh or not.

[A. C.]      

      Alexander Campbell. "Two Seeds." The Millennial Harbinger Extra 5 (August 1834): 394.

But the second promise was not fulfilled for nearly one thousand five hundred years after the first, or after the national institution was confirmed at Sinai; and therefore


Which was to come on the nations through his seed, through faith in the accomplished promise, was to be the basis and the substance of a new institution. This "blessing of Abraham" includes all the spiritual and eternal blessings which were laid up in his seed, who is the ark of this new constitution, in whom all the promises of God are verified, and in whom they are deposited for the comfort and salvation of all the children of God. Whatever concerned the family of Abraham coming through the first promise, descended upon the family principle, which is only flesh; but whatever concerns all saints of all nations, descends upon the new principle of faith. "They who are of faith," says Paul, "are blessed with believing Abraham." And "If you be Christ's, then," and only then, "are you Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise."

       The blessing of Abraham was then promised in the patriarchal age antecedent to the Jewish national institution, and independent of it; therefore, that institution can not affect, much less disannul, the blessings promised in the covenant, confirmed before by God, respecting the Messiah, in the time of family worship, and four hundred and thirty years before the Jewish institution began.

      In calling Abraham, and in making him the father of many nations, and the depository of still more precious promises and revelations, God did not supersede the family worship. He only added to the stock of religious knowledge, strengthened the faith, and enlarged the hopes of that single family. The family institution continued without the slightest change, except in one particular specified in the covenant of circumcision, as respected the single family of Abraham, for four hundred and thirty years after the charter concerning his seed and that concerning the Messiah was secured to this renowned patriarch. Thus we have traced the continuance of the family religion, or patriarchal economy, for two thousand five hundred years, and are now prepared to make a few remarks on the Jewish national institution, though we have already anticipated almost all that is necessary to our present object. Still, however, we shall make it the subject of a distinct notice.

[A. C.]      

      Alexander Campbell. "The Blessing of Abraham." The Millennial Harbinger Extra 5 (August 1834):
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