About eighteen hundred years ago, a Baptist Church was constituted at Jerusalem, under the immediate superintendence of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to an ancient prediction was born of a virgin, and came into the world to preside as Head over all things to the church, which is his body and the fullness of him who filleth all in all. Having manifested himself as the Only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, and the only foundation upon which his church could rest securely, he claimed the exclusive privilege of building and of governing his church in his own way; his language is, "Upon this Rock will I build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
After the similitude of "a stone cut out of the mountain without hands," the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, nor left to other people; but bearing down all opposition, it shall stand forever. The eternal Father set his King upon his holy hill of Zion, and to his Son he said, "Thy throne, O God, is forever; a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom:" and in an audible voice from the third heaven made proclamation, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him." At an early period in the reign of the glorious Messiah, his authority was questioned by the high priests, scribes and pharisees: "Tell us (said they) by what authority doest thou these things, and who gave this authority?"
The subjects of King Jesus were chosen in a furnace of affliction, and advised that in the world they should have tribulation, but in Christ they should have peace.
Tracing the history of the church from the morning of her visible existence, we find her constantly beset with enemies; presenting to our view the anti-type of the burning bush which Moses saw in the wilderness. She has been constantly enveloped with the flames of persecution; yet, to the astonishment of all her cruel foes, she is not consumed. We behold her King taken, and led like a lamb to the slaughter, after bearing the reproaches of ungodly men for about thirty years, during which time he was a man of sorrow and acquainted with grief. - He was scourged and crowned with thorns, and to finish the horrid picture, was nailed to the fatal cross, and between two thieves, on Calvary, crucified and slam, - not by the open and avowed enemies of God and man, but by the most learned and popular denomination of professors of religion on the earth, - not by an "inert or anti-effort class," but by those who had a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge; by men whose religion was a science, whose ministry was learned, and whose titles were honorary. We cannot do justice to our subject and stop here. No, the cry of slaughtered thousands who were put to death for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held, ring in our ears, - who from under the altar cry with a loud voice, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth." These things have been done in the green tree, and they will be repeated in the dry. They have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, and they will much more call them so, who are of his household.
We know there are many in our day crying Peace! Peace! and so there were in those times of bitter persecution above mentioned. The present is a time when men will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts they are heaping to themselves teachers having itching ears. Popular creeds are substituted in the place of the faith once delivered to the saints - the commandments of men instead of the gospel of Jesus Christ - human inventions taken the place of divine ordinances - the work of the Holy Ghost, in gathering in and quickening the elect of God, is superseded by human contrivances. The holy scriptures are made an article of religious speculation; repentance towards God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, are dispensed with, for a mere excitement of the natural passions, and the peculiar virtues of an anxious seat. Four days, or protracted meetings, got up by men, are received as seasons of Pentecost, while the amount of money given in aid of the inventions of men, is made the standard of orthodoxy and the stepping stone to power. Instead of a strict adherence to the command of Zion's King, "Render unto Caesar things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's," a profession of religion is urged as an indispensable qualification of civil magistracy. In short, by a general amalgamation of the world and the church, by the onward march of priestcraft, the cloud of persecution is gathering fast, and the impending storm is almost ready to burst with dreadful fury upon this unhappy land, and to stain the American soil with the blood of all such as will not worship the beast or receive his mark. Candid reader, we appeal to you, are things so, or are we deluded? Would to God we were; but alas! awful realities stare us in the face. Ye can discern the face of the sky, and can ye not discern the signs of the times?
We do not flatter ourself that this little sheet will be able to shut the flood-gates of delusion; for the man of sin must and shall be revealed, whom the Lord will consume by the spirit of his mouth, and by the brightness of his coming. But we feel it to be our duty to "blow the trumpet in Zion," and to sound an alarm on God's holy mountain, and exhort our brethren, and so much the more as we see the day approaching.
In conducting this paper we expect to call down upon ourselves the indignation and wrath of those whom we oppose. We shall be greatly disappointed if they do not load us with reproaches and hard names; but it will be to us a privilege rather than a trial to follow our beloved Lord through evil as well as through good report. Our prayer to God is, that we may be governed by the same spirit which beautified and adorned the life and conversation of our Lord Jesus Christ in the days of his flesh, that when we shall be reviled we may not revile again.
New Vernon. N.Y.
November 23, 1832
Elder Gilbert Beebe