We have been furnished with the following copy of an extraordinary certificate which has been copiously issued by a number of influential citizens of Philadelphia, who are interested in promoting the present religious revival. It bears a close resemblance to the old Papal expedient of selling indulgences:
Stockholders are guaranteed to receive one hundred times as much as they put in. (Matt. xix. 29.) Those who continue to pay into the fund as much as six cents a week, for three years in succession, to be life-members of the American Systematic Beneficent Society. Those who do this for six years, to be honorary members for life. Those who do this for ten years, to be honorary Vice-Presidents for life. Those who do this (from love to Christ) while they live, will have a free admission through the gates into the Heavenly City, a snow-white robe, a heavenly harp, a crown of gold, and a seat at the right hand of the final Judge.
[Signed.] M. W. BALDWIN, President.
GEO. H. STUART, Vice-Pres’t.
THOS. COOPER, Treasurer.
W. J. R. TAYLOR, Rec. Sec.
JOHN GULLIVER, Cor. Sec.
This certificate, with the remarks which precede it, appears to have been clipped from a Philadelphia paper; it was handed us by a friend who seemed to think it entitled to some special notice, as indicating the progressive march of anti-christ. It is true the spirit of modern fanaticism assumes occasionally some new and novel phases; but the principles and policy of the powers of darkness have always been substantially the same in all ages.
Chartered companies, with titled officers, for evangelizing the world, together with numerous financiering agencies for collecting and disbursing funds, for the professed object of sustaining that kingdom which is not of this world, and that gospel which is without money and without price, have been too numerous to attract any unusual attention. But the stock-jobbing enterprise of the “American Systematic Beneficent Society,” proposes to divide the throne of the Eternal God into six-penny shares, and sell the mansions of immortal glory for filthy lucre. Were any organized company of men to practice such frauds in regard to any earthly territory that does not belong to them, they would, on conviction of their rascality, be lodged in our State prisons. But the fraud of thus swindling the unsuspecting and credulous Sunday School victims of their toy-money, mean and unjustifiable as it is, sinks to insignificance when compared with the bold, unblushing blasphemy of offering the throne of Jehovah for sale. God, who occupies that high and exalted seat, has said, “Heaven is my throne.” And this band of pious swindlers advertise that heaven for sale. And, to crown the climax of their effrontery, they forge the indorsement of him who overturned the tables of the moneychangers, and scourged all manner of religious traffickers from his temple, and forbid peremptorily that his Father’s House should be made a place of merchandise, or occupied as a den of thieves. To pretend that the blessed Savior, in Matt. xix. 29, gave his sanction to their swindling religious stock-jobbing operations, is handling the word of God deceitfully, and turning the truth of God into a lie. In the darkest ages of Popery, no greater abominations were practiced for swindling unconscious children of their money. Truly has the Scriptures said of these worshipers of mammon, that they subvert whole houses, and lead about the silly, for filthy lucre’s sake.
Middletown, N. Y.
June 15, 1858
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 4
Pages 114 - 115