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REMARKS ON ELDER J. H. BIGGS’ LETTER.

It is gratifying to know that in all our trials and persecutions, we have kind, constant, true and faithful brethren and sisters who sympathize with us, and whose ardent prayers ascend to God on our behalf. We would much rather endure all the malicious calumny and reproach to which we have been inured from our youth, than to be deprived of the love and fellowship of kind confiding brethren and sisters who have been taught of the Lord to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” It could hardly have been expected that one so weak, and imperfect as ourself, could have occupied so prominent a position as we have been called to fill, for nearly forty years, without provoking the malignity of enemies, and calling for the sympathy and support of friends. Indeed we seriously doubt whether among the most gifted of the sons of Zion, any one could be singled out to fill the same public position, who would altogether escape the bitter aspersions of those who are hostile to the cause we advocate. If such a one can be found, we would cheerfully resign our place in his favor. It is not our privilege to claim that our course has been without fault; that in the thirty-seven years our pages have been free from marks of defection; that we have on all occasions pursued the most judicious course. Such pretentious we have never made. But we do assert that we have aimed to make our paper a useful and truthful medium of correspondence; and to the best of our ability we have battled error, and contended for the truth as it is in Jesus. We have never designedly advanced an error, nor shunned to declare the whole truth.

We have neither been disappointed, nor disheartened by the opposition which we have encountered from our avowed opponents; but the opposition we have in some few instances received from those on whom we have relied on as brethren, has occasioned us grief. If it were not that some precious brethren may have been misled by the slanderous misrepresentations of designing men, we would willingly bear all the reproach and vituperation of all others. But we esteem too highly the confidence and fellowship of our brethren to feel unmoved when they are by the wiley arts of wicked men drawn into the ranks of our opposers.

As to those preachers who can find no better employment than to malign our correspondents or ourself, we leave them in the hands of him who judgeth righteously. We are not inclined to retaliate, or to return railing for railing, or reviling for reviling; we would rather pray the Lord, if consistent with his holy will, to subdue the enmity of their hearts, and incline them to a better employment. Those persons named by brother Biggs, {whose names we suppress} may injure us to some extent, by their calumny in misleading some honest brethren, for their hatred is cruel, but their friendship would be to us far more intolerable, so long as they retain so much rankling venom in their hearts.

We have thought that the purification of the church of God requires such agencies, or the Lord would rebuke them. As those who love and fear the Lord can only comfortably affiliate with those religiously who are of like precious faith, so, on the other hand, those who cherish hatred and malice, envies and evil speaking in their hearts, will naturally attract and draw out from the churches those who are of a similar proclivity. If we have in our connection those who love to slander the saints; and to oppose those who are contending for the truth, it will greatly relieve the churches when they go to their own company. It need not disturb us that such “vain talkers and deceivers” should plunge deeper and deeper into the popular heresies of the times; this will tend to dismantle them ultimately of their sheep’s clothing, in which they lie in wait to deceive, and expose them in their detestable ugliness.

Their threats to crush the “Signs of the Times” we have heard before, and frequently reiterated for about thirty years; but the “Signs of the Times” still survives their wrath, and, for aught we can see to the contrary, is like to continue. But if it should be annihilated, still God will preserve his church, and defend his truth. The general character of the paper and the sentiments of its humble editor, are too well known throughout the continent to suffer much from their aspersions.

Middletown, N.Y.
February 1, 1870.
Elder Gilbert Beebe