WE copy the subjoined developement of corrupted human nature from the Monthly Paper, published at Philadelphia, by the Baptist General Tract Society:
While the inventive genius of so many thousand of our mistaken, deluded and corrupted fellow men is kept upon the rack to find out new schemes of operation in the business of collecting the precious stuff on which they vainly suppose the salvation of souls and the conversion of the world is predicated, and on which they appear to imagine the church of God is built, and in which consists the bulwarks of her security, and the ground work of her prosperity, who can wonder that the schemes of the present times are so many, so novel and so corrupt.
In the wonderful march of mind, characteristic of the present day, those who have caught the infection, seem determined to outstrip everything that has been known or practiced by the Jews, Pagans or Papists, in making a science of divinity, and a mechanism of the regeneration of souls, and it is worthy of note, that every absurdity has to be palmed on the public by degrees, lest the people in view of the palpable incongruity of the project should say, Is thy servant a dog, that he should do this thing?
The use of Missionary Boxes was found out at an early period in the rage of Missionism among the Baptists of America. We distinctly recollect the circumstance, published in an eastern Baptist periodical some eight or ten years ago, of a lady who placed a Missionary Box at her door for the purpose of soliciting donations in behalf of the perishing heathen, and in a very few weeks collected enough money in her box to purchase a splendid piano forte; but the circulating of missionary boxes among the poor of our land, to extort from suffering humanity the little comforts which may remain with them, has been reserved for the day in which we live. How truly did the prophet shy of such “Behold? Ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness.”
When Sunday Schools were first, introduced among us, they professed to be for the benefit of the poor, as charitable institutions, intended only for the benefit of the suffering and much neglected class of community; but what are they now become? Not only are they now viewed as nurseries to the church, auxilaries to religion, and indispensible to the political security of our government, but they are used as a connecting link, to unite the church and state, and in the following extracts the reader will see that they are now to be made a source of revenue to their pious originators and conductors. Missionary Boxes are to be circulated among the children of Sunday Schools, who are of course supposed to be poor and needy, and for whose aid thousands of pounds have been annually collected from the public, which the poor children never knew anything of or received any benefit from.
To palliate the gross impropriety of thus robbing the poor, the writer of the following note says she has often asked “the dear smiling donors if they had suffered hunger or deprivation in consequence of putting their pennies at the disposal of their blessed Lord!” Is it possible that Mrs. Gillett can be the wife of a professed Baptist minister, and living in the city of Philadelphia, and yet be so stupidly ignorant as to believe that the Lord had not the power to dispose of these pennies until she gulled them from those unsuspecting and misguided children, or that these pennies are more immediately at the disposal of the blessed Lord now than when in the hands of the poor children, from whom she has thus clandestinely wrenched them? Or does the lady imagine herself or Ezra Going to be the blessed Lord of these deluded children, and that putting their money at her or his disposal is placing it at the disposition of the Lord? In either case the inevitable conclusion is the same, and she is left to betray a lamentable want of information in regard to these things. Cakes and candies Mrs.. G. denounces as pernicious for children, especially when they cost pennies which might be put into her hands for the Lord hence this scheme to rob them of the means of procuring such pernicious things. Would it not be well for Mrs. G. to get up a Juvenile Anti-cake and Candy Society?
Some parents and guardians have made these boxes a kind of Lord’s treasury, we are told, where in addition to their usual contributions they put their mite! How very ingenious this trick of collecting what mites may remain in possession of those who have already contributed all they can afford, and all to teach the children what neither this lady, nor Ezra Going, nor any of their order themselves appear to believe, viz: that it is more blessed to give than to receive; for if they believe the doctrine they wish others to believe, why are they forever begging, and never allowing themselves the blessed luxury of giving?
(From the Monthly Paper.)
SUNDAY SCHOOL MISSIONARY BOXES.
PHILADELPHIA, November 22, 1838.
“Received of Mrs. A. D. Gillett fifty dollars, for Pennsylvania Missions, it being half of the money collected in the San son Street Children’s Missionary Boxes up to this date.
EZRA GOING, Agent.
MR. EDITOR: - As a friendly notice was taken in your paper of our juvenile enterprise, I hope you will allow me to thank you, and to say, the above is one half the proceeds of thirty-four boxes, which have been out about six months only. More than one hundred have been sent out, most of which I presume will return in due time as richly laden as these have been.
While some of these funds have been given by the wealthy, yet some other has been gathered among the industrious poor. I have frequently asked the dear smiling donors as they presented me their box, anxious to know the value of its contents, if they had suffered hunger or any deprivation in consequence of putting their pennies at the disposal of their blessed Lord, instead of spending them for useless toys and pernicious cakes and candies. “None at all,” has been the prompt and sincere reply.
Some parents and guardians have made these boxes a kind of Lord’s treasury, where in addition to their usual contributions, they have “put in their mite,” and by example taught their children a divine lesson. It is more blessed to give than to receive.
That these little rills may join and enlarge the tide of holy benevolence and so increase human joy, is the prayer of yours sincerely.
ALEXANDRIA, D. C.,
December 30, 1836.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 1
Pages 335 – 338
NOTE: The office of publication was moved from New Vernon, N.Y., to Alexandria, D.C., in November, 1836