THE following is copied from the Baptist Record:
“New York, Nov. 24, 1842.
“That is a very limited idea of the Home Mission effort in this country which contemplates merely the supply of a destitute church or population with the preaching of the gospel. (a) It embraces all those religious, moral and social influences which are essential as restraints upon prevalent immoralities, correctors of vitiating social manners and customs, (b) safeguards against the encroachments of false religions systems, especially such as antagonize against the institutions of the country or the consciences of men. (c) They discountenance ignorance, cherish knowledge and aim at making every one within their reach useful and happy. (d) In the accomplishment of these objects the missionary encounters many serious obstacles, not the least of which is that morbid conception of the divine economy among professors of religion, which leaves every purpose of God to be accomplished without human instrumentality. (e) It is adverse to all active agency in extending the kingdom of Christ, (f) and fosters a spirit of apathy in practical religion which is utterly at variance with the gospel of Christ. (g) We give an instance in illustration.
“There is an association in Indiana embracing churches in some ten or twelve counties, the first article of whose constitution reads, ‘This association shall be called the Missiniwa Predestinarian, Regular Baptist, Anti-Missionary Association.’ The fourth article provides that, ‘If any member of the churches unite with any other society to perform any religious or moral duty, they thereby dishonor the church of Christ, and should be dealt with accordingly.’ All churches and ministers of this association are said to be imbued with the spirit of their constitution; of which there is indisputable evidence in the fact that a few years since they adopted the following rule, copied verbatim, et literatim, from One of their record books: ‘we do not have fellowship with the mistion sistom nor aney of her benevolent institutions so called such as temperance Societies Bible Societies Sunday schools nor aney one advocating for them we believing them to be entirely unwarranted in the word of God in their present features.’ With what power must such sentiments, expressed by professed disciples of Christ, operate to retard the advances of an evangelical ministry! It would be worthy of the whole Home Mission effort, though nothing else were done, to remove this unlovely spirit from the land, and substitute one more congenial with the gospel. Such, with others, is our appropriate work, and God is blessing us with success. Would that our means were half adequate to the employment of the necessary number of missionaries to hasten the consummation of our object.
“In the same territory occupied by the above mentioned association, is another of a different stamp, constituted in 1840, with only three churches. There are now ten, supplied by only three ministers. They wish us to aid in supporting one of them as an itinerant, but we have no funds! It cannot be done! They ask, but from us they cannot receive.
“In another part of the valley of the Mississippi, (Iowa Territory) our missionary Rev. Daniel Jewett, meets the same difficulty as described above, but he fearlessly and successfully attacks it. He states that an anti-mission preacher from Missouri made appointments for preaching near one of his stations. He attended the meetings, and suffered great mortification in being obliged to listen to the language of slander and detraction against all missionary operations. At the close of the meetings, however, the people invited him to preach, with which invitation he complied, and with the assistance of a ministering brother he continued the meeting another day. The result was the conversion and baptism of several persons; and ultimately, the organization of a church within the bounds of one of an anti-mission stamp. A revival of religion attended this movement.
“Brother J. relates an interesting incident at one of his stations, connected with his efforts in the temperance cause. Several persons given to intoxication had been reclaimed. One of them especially addicted to the habit, brother J. says, now sits clothed and in his right mind.’ When he signed the pledge his wife became intoxicated, not with rum but with joy, and said, ‘Now I hope to enjoy some comfort, which is what I have not enjoyed for ten years.’
“Such is the contrast between the spirit of missions and anti-missions. Such is the power of the former over the latter. Why should it not exert that power? It originated in The gracious designs of the God of salvation, and is armed with eternal truth and righteousness. It is the hope of the church, the ark of safety to our country and the world. “Pray, christian friends, shall an instrumentality so powerful, so efficacious, so essential to Zion’s welfare and the promotion of God’s declarative glory be neglected by you, or used so sparingly as to half defeat your own intentions.
“We say again, weeping as we say it, our treasury is over drawn, and we can send no more laborers into the vineyard till you replenish it.
“BENJAMIN M. HILL, COR. SEC.”
(a) Small as it may seem to the corresponding secretary of the Home Mission Society to supply the destitute churches with the preaching of the gospel, it is infinitely beyond what any well informed christian ever expected them to perform, and as infinitely beyond their power. We have no disposition to doubt the ability of the society represented by Mr. Hill, provided they be kept in funds, to supply preachers to any amount; but the gospel of Christ, or even the preaching of it, is quite another thing. The gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation, to every one that believes; and the preaching of that gospel is by the gifts which Christ received for men when he ascended up on high and led captivity captive. Neither the power of God nor the gifts of Christ can be estimated or controlled by men or money, and if they could, what a field for operation lays before the society.— Not one of all the New School Baptists in America or in the world at this moment, can be numbered among those churches which are supplied with the gospel or even with the preaching of it. Nor is there more than one in twenty of them that would not sooner burn down their meeting houses than have them occupied by the servants of Christ, called, qualified and sustained by him as ministers of the gospel. Such ministers as can be bought up, hired by mission funds, may be well qualified to preach what are called mission sermons, begging sermons, &c., and to use their own mouths and say, “The Lord saith.” They may possess ample ability to creep into widows’ houses and lead captive silly women, to promulgate damnable heresies and doctrines of devils, to lead the blind into the ditch, to persecute and scatter the flock of Christ, to daub with untempered mortar, to look every man for his gain from his quarter, and, in some instances at least, to please the ungodly, allure and flatter the wealthy, and make numerous proselytes to their doctrines. Such of the churches of the Redeemer as are destitute of a stated ministry of the word, are taught of God to pray the Lord of the harvest (not the mission speculators) to send forth laborers into his harvest, therefore do not stand in need of the service of gentleman mendicants.
(b) The gospel, as understood by the mission agents, is not expected to suppress prevailing immoralities. It is not by them supposed to possess any such redeeming qualities; and hence in addition to the gospel the society contemplates all that mass of humanly devised machinery which is, in their estimation, essential for the suppression of immorality; such for instance as total abstinence societies, to prevent their converts from drunkenness, Magdalene societies to save them from debauchery, together with other societies to keep them from murder, theft, &c.; but as truth in their inward parts would altogether disqualify them for discipleship in the New School ranks, they have not thought it necessary to organize any society against lying, cheating and swindling in general.
(c) Apprehensive that such as are proof against their delusive charms may speak out and warn their credulous fellow men, they contemplate measures for the suppression of all such admonition; and like their venerable mother and mistress, (whose name and character is written on her forehead, Rev. xvii.) they denounce as heretics, and attempt the extermination of all such as will, in contradiction of their doctrine, contend for the faith once delivered to the saints. Mr. Hill, less sagacious than some of his brotherhood, has leaked out the that which his associates iii wickedness have long at tempted to conceal: that the A. B. H. M. Society, in setting up their idols, intend them as safeguards against encroachments from those whose religious views the society denounce as false, and such they certainly profess to consider all that oppose their dictation in religious matters; but their batteries are more especially provided as a defence against such as antagonize against the institutions of the country. Not the political institutions of our country are meant, for none are more clamorous against the policy of our republican form of government than the New School missionists. Witness their movements in regard to the Sunday mail and the abolition excitement. But by the institutions of the country are evidently intended ecclesiastical institutions of a national character, such as the American Bible Society, American Tract, Sunday School, Missionary Societies, &c. These are to be regarded as tile institutions of our country, and the A. B. H.M. Society is the safeguard, and all such as oppose such institutions are to be regarded as guilty of treason against the powers that be.
(d) They “discountenance ignorance.” It is true they contend for making a. science of religion, and are greatly in favor of theological schools, and to sustain such schools they have connected with their train an “education society;” so far they advocate scholastic knowledge, but did not the papists and the pagans patronize a similar description of schools? Upon the same principle the Roman Catholics and heathen philosophers may claim to discountenance ignorance. Such ignorant men as Peter and John, and even the Nazarene him self they would undoubtedly discountenance, while the learned inscription which Pilate placed above the head of the dying Lamb would be admired and copied. An illustration of these remarks will be found in the very article on which we comment, in the ridicule and contempt with which this New School scribe alludes to the imperfect orthography of an article copied from the records of au association in Indiana.
Mr. Hill and his associates can, as beneficiaries upon the bounty of their societies, learn to read and spell more perfectly than the early settlers of our western states, and then insult the very men who have paid for their tuition; but with those Old Fashioned, heaven taught Baptists, our learned novices in religion can never compare in spiritual understanding, for God has hidden these things from the wise and prudent of this world, and revealed them to babes, because so it seemed good in his sight. God has also made foolish the wisdom of this world, and stained the pride of man by an irrevokable decree, that man by wisdom shall not know him, neither by searching shall find him out; and the inspired apostle declares that his speech and his preaching were not with such words as man’s wisdom teacheth; and the reason why man’s wisdom was by him rejected in preaching, was that the faith of his brethren should stand, not in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God; evidently demonstrating that the faith of God’s people could not stand in both. Then let Mr. Hill and all his Ishmaelitish connections mock on. The saints can well afford to suffer reproach and scandal for the excellency of the knowledge of God their Savior. The Old School Baptists are often reminded of their ignorance by their New School neighbors, but we are in a fair way to become enlightened. A few more such disclosures as that made by Weston of the Jamaica affair, will cause the scales to fall from our eyes, and all the glories of New School philanthropy will flash upon us with the force of electricity. Mr. Hill claims for his society that “They aim at making every one within their reach useful and happy.” If this be true they have hitherto missed their mark. True they have endeavored ‘to make all within their influence useful to themselves by their contributions to their funds, &c.; and would gladly, we doubt not, have them so trained as to regard it a pleasure to subserve their schemes of priestcraft. But the children of the kingdom of Christ have no occasion for their adulterous interference, as they are happy iii the embrace of their own Husband and Lord.
(e) “In the accomplishment of these objects the missionary encounters many serious obstacles.” In the accomplishment of what objects First, the preaching of the gospel, which is ‚with the society only of minor consideration, is encompassed with difficulties; they may buy up men with their funds, but the gospel is utterly beyond their control, as it is beyond Their comprehension or relish, and can never be estimated in dollars and cents. Second, to restrain the tide of immorality while swindling, gambling, lying and hypocrisy are the elements of their own existence as religious institutions, is also a very difficult task; and the safeguards by them provided against antagonistical sentiments is out of the question while the constitution and laws of our land allow men to think and .act in religious matters for themselves. But give the mission society power to slay the Lord’s witnesses, let them have the full measure of power which the beast, of which they are the image, once had, and all obstacles will vanish. Third, they find it no easy matter to frown clown those whom God has called to preach his word, by reproaching them as an ignorant set. Hence they complain of serious obstacles, such as one Saul experienced when trying to kick against the pricks. “Not the least of which is that morbid conception of the divine economy among professors of religion, which leaves every purpose of God to be accomplished without human instrumentality.” If this hindrance to mission ambition be not among the least, it is among the great and serious obstacles, and among those which they are, by their own confession, endeavoring to overcome. That conception of the economy of God which confides in him alone for the accomplishment of all his purposes, is found in what Mr. Hill calls the “anti-mission spirit.” Indeed he complains of it no where else. That spirit must be either good or bad; if good, it is of God and must be in harmony with the scriptures; if not in harmony with the scriptures, it is not of God, nor can it be good. Let it then be brought to a test: do the scriptures sustain that spirit among professors of religion which confides in God alone for the accomplishment of all his purposes? We have the express declaration in scripture that God “Worketh all things after the counsel of his own will;” that “His counsel shall stand and lie will do all his pleasure;” and “There are many devices in a man’s heart, nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.” – See Eph. i. 2, Isa.. xlvi. 10, and Prov. xix. 21. Isaiah, Paul and Solomon were therefore strongly imbued with that “morbid” spirit, as our modern missionists dare to call the spirit of divine inspiration. They believed that God would assuredly execute all his pleasure upon the earth. But it may be said that the inspired writers believed God sometimes made use of instruments in the execution of his purposes, and so do those Primitive Baptists of our day who are called anti-missionary. We believe that God makes use of good men, bad men and even devils as instruments to execute his will, nor have we ever denied such to be our belief; but we do deny that instrumentalities are used in quickening the unregenerate. God truly uses instruments according to his purpose, but men as instruments can not use God. God had a purpose in raising up Pharaoh, and in the part acted by each of Joseph’s brethren, as he has in everything that transpires in the world; but from this admission how preposterous to infer that God depends on man to devise ways and means for the execution of his purpose and decrees! The faith of God’s elect leaves every purpose to be accomplished according to God’s sovereign will and his divine pleasure, confident that his power is ample and his wisdom infinite; while the fiery zeal of modern missionists leads them unbidden to attempt to steady the ark, like Uzzah, to provide a priesthood like Dathan, and to call down fire to consume such as they deem enemies of the cause, like certain disciples whom the Lord reproved.
(f) That those who oppose the modern missionary machinery are adverse to humanly devised or humanly provided agencies for extending the kingdom of Christ is true; for God has laid in Zion a foundation for his kingdom to rest upon, and should the kingdom be extended it would be carried beyond the foundation, which would be as disastrous to the security of that kingdom as it would be for it to fall short of that location. We wish the church of God to remain where Jesus has built it, and as the foundation of the righteous cannot be removed, so we rejoice in the assurance that the kingdom which the God of heaven has set up shall never be removed nor left to the tender mercies of the missionists. What base hypocrisy for B. M. Hill and his confederates to talk of extending the kingdom of Christ, while every device which they are capable of planning, and every power they can command are constantly employed by them in opposing the government of Christ, the loyalty of his subjects and the supremacy of his laws! They wish to extend his kingdom! To what bounds and to what purpose? To compass Babylon and to embrace every heresy by them invented; but thanks, eternal thanks to God, not one of her stakes shall ever be removed, not one of her cords shall ever be broken.
That the spirit of those who prefer the gospel of Christ to the mission system of men and devils, “fosters a spirit of apathy in practical religion which is at variance with the gospel of Christ,” is as false as the source from which the falsehood emanated is corrupt. Those who refuse to bow their knees to Baal, or to worship the image which the king of Babylon has set up, are the most actively engaged in the practice of obedience to Jesus their King of all beings this side of heaven; and they are the only people under heaven that do practice as the gospel directs, while the whole hypocritical, pharisaical league of priests, lawyers and fops engaged in what B. M. Hill calls missionary labor do make void the law of Christ by their own traditions, and teach for doctrines the commandments of men.
How much the missionary hireling adversaries of the cause of God are annoyed to find here and there a church standing, like those held forth in B. M. Hill’s tirade, as marks for scorn and derision! and with what apparent satisfaction they can boast of organizing their New School synagogues of Satan within the bounds of the churches of the living God! Truly they glory in their shame. Two prominent charges are urged as sufficient cause for raising their war-whoop: the first is that these churches have declined to fellowship the unscriptural institutions of modern origin; and the second is that some of them are imperfect grammarians! As though the Lord Jesus had chosen the wise and prudent of this world, the eloquent and the popular, the mighty and the noble of this vain world, to confound the weak and illiterate, the fishermen and the tent-makers, the babes and the sucklings, to whom it is his pleasure to reveal the things of the Spirit of God.
How wonderfully the Home Mission Society is disconcerted at the name and order of the “Missiniwa Predestinarian, Regular Baptist, Anti-missionary Association!” This long string of adjectives seems to shock the tender feelings of the prowling wolves that wish to break iii upon them. To the first and last of these terms they would not object; but Predestinarian seems to imply too much of divine sovereignty to leave much hope that an association bearing such a distinctive cognomen would ever consent to subserve the plans and designs of men. Regular is another word very full of meaning, and seems to charge those who have stolen the name of Baptist with irregularity or with something worse; but the term Anti-Missionary is outrageous. Albeit they almost universally use the same term when speaking of the Old Fashioned order of Baptists.
The fourth article of agreement in which these Old Regulars have united for social purposes, and the rule copied from the record book of the association, seem very unlovely to the American Home Mission Society, and to their very classic (?) scribe. Hence it is gravely suggested that it would be game worthy of all the combined talent, learning and ardent (very laborious) piety, all their thousands of men and millions of money to attack and to despoil this little company of invincible Regulars of those unlovely distinctions. How very unlovely is predestination to the eye, the ear, and to the taste of the missionists! And scarcely less offensive to them is the idea of regularity among the Baptists, while at the very mention of anti-mission they seem petrified with horror. Let the whole A. B. H. M. Society encamp around that little illiterate band of Old School Baptists, and they will find that “When the enemy cometh in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard” for his chosen ones. The little trifling barley cake, contemptible as they may regard it, may presage the near approach of the victorious “Sword of the Lord and of Gideon,” and the precipitate flight of the boasted multitude of Midian.
Upon the whole, what candid reader will pretend to say that the awkward construction of the sentence, quoted verbatim, et literatim by way of ridicule, with all its bad punctuation and worse orthography, is half as flagrant an outrage on the English language as the sentiments advanced by B. M. Hill are upon the doctrine of the New Testament! If it were a fact that the association was possessed of the devil, and the whole mission apparatus with all their steam power and locomotive force, with all their men and money, literature and fine arts, should attempt to drive out that spirit and substitute one compatible with the gospel, Old Sambo would certainly play off the same prank on them that he did on a former occasion upon their five brethren of the family of one Sceva. – See Acts xix. 11. But should their old master, in consideration of services rendered him by them, condescend to shift his quarters, what spirit in harmony with the gospel is subject to their control! There is no other spirit than that by which the scriptures were indited, and by which the heirs of glory were born, which is in consonance with the gospel of the Redeemer; even the Spirit of truth whom the world receiveth not, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; and if the world can neither see nor know the Spirit of truth, that worldly national society whose members are added by money instead of grace, which shuts out the poor moneyless saint and receives the wealthy worldling, cannot see nor know him; and if they knew him, they would know that he is not under their control. Arrogant as is their pretension to power over spirits, says Mr. Hill, “is our appropriate work.” Construe his words in any way we can and they betray a most lamentable ignorance of God and of the power and work of the Holy Spirit. If we regard his idiotic expression as having reference to the spirit of opposition among the Old Fashioned Baptists to humanly instituted religious institutions, he considers it the appropriate work of the missionaries to remove such sentiments. The experience of all past ages shows no other way to remove the sentiments of the Old Fashioned Baptists but by putting them to death; and if this be their appropriate work, we do not wonder that he regrets the want of means to accomplish it. The Old Fashioned Baptists are not to be frowned down by reproach, slander, ridicule or abuse. We may say to Mr. Hill and the society by him represented, in the language of Polycarp, “Bring on your lions.” Mr. Hill seems to suppose that nothing is wanted but a sufficient number of missionaries, and there is “A howling among the shepherds” for money to buy up a sufficient quantity to accomplish the murderous work. Already do their hirelings infest all parts of our country, and swarms of them encompass the city of the saints; but victory will not perch on their banner unless the number can be doubled; short of this the consummation of “our object cannot be expected. The chariot wheels drag heavily, as when the host of Pharaoh pursued the chosen Israel of God into the Red Sea; for says Mr. Hill, “But we have no funds!” As well might we expect our bodies to subsist without food or move without animal life, as that a worldly religious society, devoted to the worship of mammon, can succeed in their purposes against the people of God without funds.
In another part of the Mississippi valley they have another howling shepherd, who boasts of trampling the good pasture of the flock of Christ with his feet, and of fouling the water, &c., but he has difficulties to encounter. Poor fellow, he cannot subdue the truth of heaven because he has not an arm like God’s.
Mr. Hill, in his very pathetic appeal to his fellow-craftsmen, after declaring that the mission exerts a power over what he denominates the anti-mission, meaning that the New School are by this part of their machinery able to oppress the old order of Baptists; he further avers that it originated in the gracious designs of the God of salvation, and is armed with eternal truth and righteousness. If it be not blasphemy to assert that this poor, mean, filthy, swindling monied institution, not yet of thirty years’ existence, and at best but a refuge of lies, is an emanation from the gracious designs of a holy God, and that it is armed with eternal truth, we can form no conception of what would constitute that sin.
In conclusion, we charge Mr. Hill and those for whom he writes, and all those New School papers which have endorsed his blasphemous assertions by reiterating them without contradiction, with idolatry. They have attempted to deify their idol by ascribing to it the name and attributes of the eternal God. Mr. Hill says, “It is the hope of the church.” The prophet says, “O the Hope of Israel and the Savior thereof.” And the apostle says to the church, “Christ in you the Hope of glory.” But who would suppose them to be speaking of the president, directors, & Co., of the A. B. H. M. Society, made up of worldly, fleshly and devilish materials? Or that the ark of safety to our country and the world was in the name, by the power or at the command of this filthy institution? Did the sires of the revolutionary war fight, bleed and died to maintain the rights of man; or was it the Mission Society that crowned the struggle with victory Such an ark of safety would gladly sap the foundation of all our civil and religious liberties, and give us in lieu of our invaluable rights, priestcraft, hierarchy, oppression and death. But this religious falsehood carries its own refutation on its face. If it be so powerful, so efficacious and essential to Zion’s welfare and to the glory of God, why such lamentable wailing and entreaty for help? Is the Ark of safety, the Hope of the church and the Savior of the world dependent for success upon the puny contributions of gold and silver extorted from the Sons of men? Or can the God of heaven, to whom these names are applied in scripture, be defeated or even half defeated by the negligence or covetousness of mankind? As they know no god but money, we do not wonder that Mr. Hill and those for whom he is hired to write, wept while he wrote the lamentable tale that their treasury was overdrawn. With such a greedy set of hirelings to be maintained out of the mission fund, can it be strange that their treasury should be empty and overdrawn? These crocodile tears of Mr. Hill are full of deception and hypocrisy; they are only intended to work upon the weak minds of those who have money, to excite them to fork it over to them, that they may feast them selves more abundantly at the expense of their deluded patrons, whom they persuade to believe, like Simon of Samaria, that the “gift of God may be purchased with money.” – See Acts viii. 18-24.
New Vernon, N.Y.,
Dec. 15, 1842
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 2
Pages 107 – 121