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ANTIQUITY OF THE OLD SCHOOL.

IN the “Recorder and Watchman” we find an article over the anonymous signature “Faith and Works,” copied into that sink of corruption edited by Mr. Waller, advertising the Old School Baptists as impostors, and calling on the Baptist denomination to beware of them as such!

The writer defines an impostor to be one who practices a cheat or imposture upon a people or community, and adds that the impostors he alludes to call themselves Old School Baptists. He says moreover, “If he establishes the fact that they (meaning the Old School) are of a New School, and not the Old School order, he proves them cheats or impostors.”* Well, be it so, we will on the part of the Old School Baptists pledge ourselves, as far as we are concerned, that we will yield the ground, if this or any other writer will prove that we are not of the Old School order, and as he has unhesitatingly and unreservedly charged us with imposition, we hold him bound to prove his assertion, or he must be considered a vile calumniator, a slanderer, and a fit companion for such as Wailer, Sands, Meredith, and the whole clan of our persecutors. Now for his proof, the first item of which is palpably false, viz: “They assume the title of Old School because they oppose Bible, Education. Missionary and Sunday School Societies.” All who are acquainted with the sentiments of Old School Baptists know that they oppose these institutions because they are Old School Baptists, and as such feel themselves bound, by their allegiance to King Jesus, to reject from their religious order, all that is invented by men and unsupported by any direct warrant from his royal throne. So it is not their opposition to these inventions that constitutes them Old School Baptists; hence if the writer has proved anything by this part of his testimony, it is that he has mistaken or wilfully misrepresented the ground of our claim to antiquity. “If these objects, therefore,” says this anonymous writer, “were taught and practiced by the Old School Baptists, such pretenders are to all intents guilty of a gross trick, palpable imposture, which should be exposed.” To this proposition also we cordially consent; let him prove that in the Old School of Christ, these humanly invented institutions had a place, in the primitive age of the church, and we will be content to pass for impostors. But hear him! He proceeds to his proof thus: “They must claim their seniority from the English or Welsh Baptiste, or from the Waldenses of Piedmont.” What a consummate scholar! He appears to have read something in the history of the church as far back as the days of the English and Welsh Baptists, and of the Waldenses of Piedmont, and for-sooth he concludes he has got to the end of the row, into the remote depths of antiquity. Poor, infatuated, stupid soul, when he has finished his study of Ivimy’s history, if he will read a few volumes of church history, indicted by divine inspiration, and written by such as Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, Jude and James, he may learn that he has greatly erred, not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God.

We must claim our seniority from the English or ‘Welsh Baptists or the Waldenses, must we? Has any Old School Baptist ever set up such a claim? Never. We do claim, however, that even these, with, some few discrepancies, which the New Order are hard run to dig up in justification of their course of hostility to the gospel, were Old School Baptists; but we are far, very far from claiming them as the originators of our faith and order. We could no sooner take them as our guides than we could any other set of men, any farther than they followed Christ, and in our use of the distinctive. appellation, we have, as we have frequently published, not the remotest allusion to any school of men, we reject alike every system of scholastic divinity, and profess to be pupils in the school of Christ, who as a teacher, teaches as never man taught; we call this the Old School, because it is the original gospel school, and in it the same divine lessons are taught now which were taught eighteen hundred years ago. And although, to our mortification, we confess that we are but dull scholars in this blessed school, yet it is our mercy to be found among those despised ones, who renouncing every other kind of religious teaching, are taught of God, come to Christ, learn of him, for he is meek and lowly, and here alone we find rest to our souls. It is the privilege of all Regular Old School Baptists to set where Mary sat, at the feet of Jesus, where they may receive his gracious words and divine instruction. It is our peculiar glory to wait on him; not like the New School, to plan, contrive, chalk out and dictate, and then call on the Lord to lay aside his plan and wisdom and adopt ours, or to come on in our rear, and succeed our undertakings, and follow with his blessing our efforts, &c. “‘Tis his to command, and ours to obey.”

But this mighty champion of New Schoolism, by dint of study, has found that some English Baptists, in 1686, set up an abomination in Israel (if their historian does not belie them) called the Baptist Bristol Education Society, and one Edward Ferrel was silly enough, even as long ago as 1686, to bequeath his large estate to sustain this idol, and that a swarm of young men have been instructed, &c. From this beginning Mr. Faith and Works, (as the writer has been silly enough to nickname himself,) has in attempting to prove that the school to which we belong did not exist anterior to that date, has succeeded in proving the origin, rise and progress of the New School Baptist anti-christian beast. From this small beginning, this little harmless looking horn, the Bristol Divinity School, and the estate of E. Ferrel, this inlet of corruption in faith and practice found its way among the Baptists, has gathered force and impetus, as it has dashed its headlong way for centuries, and has now become a mighty flood; but agreeably to the divine assurance given in the book of God, the Spirit of the Lord has now set up a standard against it.

But shall we ask this valiant historian, this learned novice, what was the state and condition of the church of Christ prior to the setting up of these abominations among the Baptists? Could he! would he! dare he tell us? The truth is they were then precisely what the Old School Baptists are now, “a poor and afflicted people which trust in the name of the Lord.” They did not trust in E. Ferrel’s large estate, nor this Bristol minister-making machine, before the first gave his bequest, or the other was erected. They had no confidence in the flesh.

Go back then, Mr. F. and W., with your researches into the ancient history of the church, as far as the third of Matthew, and from thence trace down the channel of time the history of the people of God. Read it not in ostentatious bequests, in the erection of Theological Seminaries, or the formation of unscriptural Mission Boards, but read in characters of blood, the rise and progress, the persecutions, afflictions and the deliverance of the people of God, placed by grace in the Old School of Christ. You may find them, with some few interruptions, steadfastly adhering to the doctrine of the apostles, and conforming to the laws of Christ.

Should you be at any loss to recognize them, remember the infallible mark by which they sha11 be known. Such as will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer. persecution. The Old School, of whom we write, and among whom we desire to be numbered, were persecuted by the Jews, Scribes, Pharisees and priests, then by the Pagans, afterwards by the Papists, subsequently by Protestants, and now by the New School Baptists, but thanks be to God who giveth them the victory, they are the same people, one in the Lord their Savior, who will bring them one and all up out of great tribulation, having their robes made white in the blood of the Lamb.

We once saw when a boy a bird called, where we were raised, a woodpecker, dash his bill against the trunk of a very large tree, and immediately flew round the tree, apparently to see if he bad not forced a hole through its diameter. We were reminded of the circumstance when we read the conclusion of our hero’s silly attack, for in his conclusion he apprehends that some of the readers of the Watchman may conclude that be should not have exposed the Old School Baptists so far; but should they not be satisfied with this hint, he threatens to give them another or two in a future number. O, spare us, Mr. Mule, (for we suppose by your significant anonymous title you must be something of a mongrel,) spare us the trouble of sifting out your trifling trash, for the game will but too poorly pay for the amunition.

* We will not dispute the writer’s notion, that to be of the New School implies cheating and imposition.

ALEXANDRIA, D. C.,
August 25, 1838.

Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 1
Pages 441 – 446