“Thou sawest till that a stone was cut without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.” - Dan. ii. 34.
WE have hitherto refrained from saying aught in reference to the subject of the present excitement in the camp of the American Bible Society, waiting partly to know the result of their tumult, and partly because we had matter of more importance to our Old School readers, with which to fill our columns. It must at this time, however, be pretty generally known that that mammoth mongrel institution of iron and clay has come in contact with, a particle of the truth and order of the gospel of the blessed God, and the consequences, as might have been expected, have proved extremely disastrous to the confederacy.
Our readers must be aware, also, that the society is made up principally of five denominations, who profess christianity, together with divers non-professors, Deists, infidels, horse-racers, governors, counselors, sheriffs, &c., who have bought their membership in the institution at a stipulated price; each party professing to lay aside its sectarian peculiarities, and unite in the general object of monopolizing the business of publishing the bible. Immense sums of money in one way and another have been raised for the ostensible purpose of circulating the bible, without note or comment, in all languages and to all nations. Of the amount of funds raised,. the proportion collected from the Baptists is variously estimated at about one-fifth of the whole. Some appropriations have been from time to time made to the Baptists, and particularly to aid Mr. Judson in the translation of the bible in the Burmese language. These appropriations have served to stimulate the Baptists to more vigorous efforts to replenish the treasury of the society, until recently, it having become known to the society that Mr. Judson has translated a portion of the scriptures which the interest of the major part of that society requires should be kept in the dark. The word baptize he has translated by using a word which is equivalent to immerse, in our language, and which of course must be a just translation of the word. But this exhibition of the true meaning of the original text the American Bible Society can by no means endure, and their executive board have now decisively voted to withhold further appropriations where their own terms are not strictly complied with. All the popular Baptist periodicals which we have seen are loud in repudiating the course taken by the managers of the institution, and many are suggesting the expediency of forming a separate Bible Society, and very liberal sums of money are offered by different individuals, churches and conventions to sustain Judson’s translation. Dr. Sharp, of Boston, Dr. Wayland, of Providence, and William R. Williams, of New York, have distinguished themselves as dissenters from the opinions of their denominational brethren, and give their influence to sustain the managers of the society.
We do by no means reprobate the principle of contending for a just translation of the word baptizo, but would rather suggest the following enquiry: Why should not those who profess to be Baptists be equally tenacious for every particle of sacred truth contained in divine revelation? Are the ordinances of the gospel more precious than the doctrine of God our Savior? If not, why divide with anti-christ upon the former, and remain united on the latter?
If the combination of all the discordant and heterogeneous, materials of which the American Bible Society is composed was, as has been so frequently avowed, under the superintendence and absolute control of the all-wise providence of God, designed to shake the powers of darkness, and uproot paganism, papacy, judaism, ignorance, will-worship, and all manner of superstition; and eventually to result in the universal triumph of the church of Christ over all opposition; would a small stone, cut out without hands, brake asunder the iron and clay of the feet of this huge image? Or to speak without a parable, Would the translation of a single word expose so much iniquity in the very bowels of the institution as to shake the establishment to its very centre, and dissolve the confederacy? We believe not; for where the Lord begins a work he will carry it on until the day of Jesus Christ.
Do any inquire what other points of truth or gospel order must necessarily be surrendered by Baptists in order to form such institutions as the American Bible, Tract, or any similar society? We answer, That the divine command of God to his saints to be separate from the world, to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, to follow Christ, to learn of him, rely upon him, and own him practically as well as professedly, as their Prophet, Priest and King, are injunctions no less imperative upon the saints than is the command to be buried with him by baptism; and we are positive that all these must be violated or disregarded in order to unite in the popular doings of the day.
It will be in vain to argue that in the Bible Society the object sanctifies or makes holy the means. This plea was made by the papists when they were slaughtering thousands of the saints of God, in order to exterminate heresy from the world. We doubt not that God will overrule the great machinery of the Bible Society, and its kindred institutions, in such a manner as to cause them eventually to subserve his own sovereign and eternal purpose; but it will be in such a way as to abase the proud and lofty, imaginations of the hearts of men, and glorify the author and finisher of the faith of his people; for his glory he will not give another, nor his praise to graven images.
NEW VERNON, N. Y.,
May 6, 1836.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 1
Pages 305 – 308