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BROTHER BEEBE: – As I have written nothing for the MESSENGER in some time, I hope you will bear with me while I express a few thoughts on the subject of the Old School Baptists keeping up religious periodicals; and I still feel deeply impressed that the object should be to cultivate christian correspondence and acquaintance with each other, more extensively that we possibly could in any other way. I am apprised that some of our brethren are fearful that through this channel division and distress are brought among our brethren, who otherwise would remain in christian love and fellowship. I do believe that through this medium divisions, that already existed are made known to the saints who otherwise could know nothing of them, but that our papers have caused division among brethren I doubt very much. Would it be reasonable when a company of preaching brethren {O.S.Baptist} were assembled together to let none of them preach for fear they by preaching might cause division among brethren? Would it not be best for the church to let them preach and if there is division among them, some teaching perverse things to draw away disciples after them, while others preached the truth in simplicity, to hear all and let the brethren judge, then they could see a division that before existed, and they would be better prepared to receive the sound, and reject the unsound; and every man’s writing should be esteemed just like his preaching, not as a rule by which the saints are to be governed, but of which the saints are to judge, and determine by the Scriptures of divine truth. The peculiar gift of preaching the gospel publicly is bestowed upon but few of the saints comparatively, but the gift of knowing the truth when it is preached, all have; for when the saints hear important truth preached in a manner different from what they ever heard it preached before, if they do not speak out, they feel in their hearts to say, “that’s the truth,” just so it is in reading from the pens of brethren or sisters. The saints understand the truth when preached or written; they are quick to detect or pass by as every strange sound which they do not understand. We would all think a brother a bigoted fanatic, who would tell us that he intended his preaching, or writing, as a rule by which he wanted his brethren to be governed. Oh, no; none could be so presumptuous, then why should any become offended when their preaching, or writing, is scrutinized and brought to the standard of truth and found wanting. Surely none will, but such as think more highly of their own productions than they do of the truth of God’s word. Sinful nature would make itself appear approved, even if it had to be done, by making others appear contemptible, while the spirit or mind of Christ, prompts a man to love and hate falsehood, as much in others as he does in himself. But to the subject of our religious newspapers. I am sure the enemies of the O.S. Baptists would rejoice to know that all our papers were sunk in silence to rise no more, because through them their pernicious doctrines are exposed to all who will read for themselves, and our enemies who designedly misrepresent us are exposed to every candid reader; therefore they would be glad we had no such channel of communication. When the church of Rome was established, her Bishops and clergymen made every effort in their power to cut off from the laity every channel of religious communications save the mouths of themselves and their priests, so much so that eventually the laity were not suffered to read the Bible for themselves, lest they might see and read where God had cautioned his people against just such wicked priests and clergymen. When teachers of anti-christ rise up in the church of Jesus Christ, they have much better opportunity to distress the church and scatter the flock than they could have outside of the church. Since I have had the name of an ordained preacher, I have witnessed some such cases, a few of which I will notice. Soon after the constitution of the Oconee Association, {of which I am a member,} we had a preacher who was very severe to abuse Missionaries, and all others, who dared to differ with the O.S. Baptists; eventually he manifested a disposition to be the leader of our little Association, but when he found the brethren would not submit, he began to show himself by misrepresenting brethren publicly as well as privately; this with other improper conduct continued, until he sunk himself in the estimation of his brethren, and though he had before this, been a great advocate for Associations, he now cried out against them, charging them with being the channel through which division and distress come; he also had been a constant, or occasional writer for the PRIMITIVE BAPTIST before this, but when it became a convenient channel through which he could be made known to the Baptists generally, he fell out with the religious newspapers, charging them with being the cause of distress and division. As long as he continued with us, his theme in preaching was but little else than that of striving to justify himself, and charging others with being heretics. But soon he fell in with the poor Missionaries he had formerly abused so much, and we have never heard of his finding fault of their religious papers, nor Associations since. Another one {about the time the MESSENGER was commenced in Lexington,} had been a zealous, if not ambitious opponent of Missionism, and had promised to be a liberal supporter of the MESSENGER, but when he found it would not be a channel through which he could publish the doctrine that God used ministers or their preaching as means or instruments through which he saved sinners, &c., he turned enemy, and never stopped till he was excluded, and went with the Missionaries, though as long as he stayed with us, he did all he could against the MESSENGER, charging it with being the cause of distress and division, when it proved a convenient medium through which his case was made known to the Old School Baptists generally. After he united with the Missionaries, we never heard of his finding fault of their religious newspapers. Another one who had been with us, fully, as we thought, when things did not go to suit him, fell out with Associations, and religious newspapers, and now he stands disconnected from any Old School Baptist Association. I merely refer to these cases to show that religious newspapers are not the cause of division among brethren, while they have been a channel through which brethren have been warned against such as rise up among us, teaching perverse things to draw away disciples after them. They of course would charge the papers with advocating heresies and with being a channel through which divisions and distress come while they would encourage their dupes to read all papers through which they could be heard, &c. Liberty of conscience, liberty of speech, and liberty of press, looks Republican like to me. Let all my brethren who hear me preach, or read what I write, examine it closely, and let any of them discovering an error, correct me in a brotherly manner, and it shall not break my head, but prove an excellent oil. If I preach the truth as it is in Jesus, let them receive all the benefit they can, and let me feel that I am an unprofitable servant, having done only my duty, and I beg to remain with them, one of the most unworthy of all.

Yours in love,
D.W. Patman.
Oglethorpe Co., Georgia, Sept.15, 1858.