CAUTION TO THE CHURCHES

Sharpsville, Tipton Co., La.
March 13, 1867.

Brother Beebe: There is a man by the name of Joseph Smart, an Englishman, who came from Philadelphia, to Jeffersonville, Ia., and from thence to Columbus, Ia., where he has been living nearly four years, in which he has represented himself as a minister of the Old School Baptist order, and in that character has been preaching among some of our churches. There seems to be some mystery about his standing. He brought no letter of commendation, but gave as a reason that the Baptists where he came from did not give letters of dismission. (I suppose he meant his new style of Baptists.)

Since the last session of our Conn’s Creek Association, I received a letter from a very worthy and highly esteemed brother in the ministry endorsed by others of the same standing, informing me that this man, Smart, had once obtained a standing among the Old School, evincing considerable speaking ability, and seeming to be sound in doctrine. He was soon ordained to the work of the ministry, and called to the pastoral care of two churches. His career, however, in this position was short. Although his preaching was called sound, yet the spirit of the gospel seemed lacking. Instead of meekness, humility and love, his ministry was characterized by a harsh and proscriptive spirit, having a tendency to scatter and divide the flock more than to unite and harmonize them. I am informed by the brethren that he did not appear to have any idea of gospel order as held by Old School Baptists. On one occasion, he called on the church to exclude a minister who had previously supplied her, for some misconduct, whose membership had never been in that church, and when informed that the case was out of their reach, he took his hat and left the house, and on the next day set up an opposition meeting. After a few such moves, and the brethren had become greatly tried with him, he set up a distinct order for himself, refusing to recognize any church or people on earth who did not follow him. They refused to give or receive letters of dismission, and thus denied fellowship with the Old School Baptists whose order he had departed from.

On another occasion, the Welsh Tract Church with Elder Thomas Barton, their pastor (a church of the first standing), was denounced by him as the Spanish Inquisition. For his general disorderly course, sarcasm and bitterness against the Old Baptists, he was duly excluded from the church. He continued, however, to maintain his hostile position for about twenty years; neither asking or receiving any fellowship from the Old School Baptists.

These exposures are painful for me to make, nevertheless having this knowledge myself, I feel it to be my duty to warn the churches of approaching danger.

If he is a manifest child of God, let him go back to the church from which he was excluded, make gospel satisfaction, be restored to fellowship, and bring from thence a regular letter, and then be received here in regular order.

Jesse G. Jackson.

Remarks: We were personally acquainted with Joseph Smart when he had a standing with the Old School Baptists, and were cognizant of his departure from our faith and order some twenty years ago, and of his exclusion; and of his virulent and persistent opposition to the Old School Baptists in Philadelphia for many years. A disorganizer of the stamp of those described by the apostle in Romans 16:17,18 and II Thessalonians 3:6, who cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which we have learned (from the apostles), and such as the saints are commanded to avoid. If anything further concerning his disorderly course should be desired by churches or brethren in the West, we refer them to any of the churches, ministers and brethren in the Delaware Association.

Middletown, N.Y.
April 15, 1867.

Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 6
Pages 474 - 475