Issued from the office of the Baptist Missionary Convention of the State of N.Y.
BUT few of our readers probably are prepared to believe that the Baptist Missionary Convention of this State have yet arrived at that state of consummate arrogance and lordly dominion over the independence of Baptist churches, and over those who are called the ministers of the everlasting gospel, as to require the former to bow to their legislation, and the latter to receive their commissions and instructions from their executive department. For the information of such we subjoin a copy of the Bull, sent by the convention to the Westmoreland church and their pastor, for which document we are indebted to the kindness of brother Richmond.
In defence of this assumption of ecclesiastic power, we are aware it will be urged that inasmuch as it is lawful for every one to do as he pleaseth with his own, that on the same ground the convention had a right to appropriate their funds as they please; but to this defence we have two objections: First, the principle of an individual’s having the right to dispose of his own according to his pleasure, is disputed by this convention, whose latest minutes we have before us. We find this grave assemblage of dignitaries, including 1 President, 35 Vice-Presidents and 30 directors, in parliamentary form, legislating upon the destiny of the world, and voting away the moneys belonging to the Baptists of this State by tens of thousands, to be collected, appropriated and expended in such form as their Hons. - the Presidents, Directors & Co. of the convention, shall have decreed, viz: To the Home Mission, $10,000; the Tract Society, Sunday School Union, Literary and Theological institutions, &c., all that they can extort from the people. Instead of allowing to individuals the right of disposing of their own property in their own way, they dictate to them the amount to be raised, and the objects to which the same shall be appropriated; hence we conclude this argument cannot belong to them.
Our second objection is, that although they have systematized their plans of mendicancy so far as to settle the amount of tax to be levied on each Baptist in our State, and to be able in anticipation of the proceeds, to make their appropriations, yet, being for the present destitute of such arguments as Sheriffs, writs, attachments, halters, flames and faggots, their publicans (tax-gatherers or agents) are under the necessity, when presenting what they term the claims of the convention, to tell the people that their money shall all be faithfully appropriated to the aid of feeble churches, indigent preachers, &c., so that upon the general principle of honesty the convention have no right to apply the money to any other use than the specific objects for which it was contributed.
Leaving, however, this part of the subject to be settled by this host of presidents, directors, &c., and their constituents, we pass to inquire to what class of preachers they belong, who can be bought and sold for money, or who will consent to receive a commission and pledge themselves’ to obey the instructions of a convention? Is it likely that Simon Peter, who said the church was not redeemed with such corruptible things as silver and gold, and who detested the filthy stuff when offered him by Simon Magos, would, if now on earth, consent to become the humble servant of the Missionary Convention, and agree to obey them for hire? No, he would say to them as he said to their proto-type, “Thy money perish with thee.” Brethren, Christ has not left us in the dark on this subject; Christ has forbid his servants calling any man or set of men on earth father or waster, and the apostle speaks of this subject as being so plain that all must know it. “His servants ye are to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey;” and our Lord forever settled the point that his disciples cannot serve two masters. But we see the troop who are commissioned by the convention can serve two masters according to their profession; they profess to serve Christ, and do in reality serve the convention; indeed they are required to do this by the commission they receive from the convention, for as the reader will observe by reference to the one copied into this paper, they are required to attend to Sunday Schools, Temperance Societies, and many other services no where enjoined by our Lord Jesus Christ, and to report progress in these things to their earthly masters four times a year; and in addition to this, their employers and paymasters enjoin upon them that they shall serve the Lord also, by devoting a part of their time to the preaching of the gospel. Now reader turn to the commission in question, read it and then say, are they not required to serve two masters who receive and act under the authority of a commission from the convention? None can dispute the fact. We then hare the answer to our inquiry negatively: they are not the disciples of Christ.
Let not this decision be viewed as the rash judgment of this article, but the unavoidable result of a close comparison of their commission with the express declaration of our Lord Jesus Christ, “Ye cannot serve two masters.” Here the previous question returns: To what class then do these hirelings belong, since it is plain from their own mouths and from the scriptures of truth, they are not the ministers of Christ? Our Lord again tells us that all who are not with him are against him, and as the word anti means against, we conclude they are anti-christ.
This decision indeed may seem severe, and they may tell us that anti-christ means the Pope of Rome and his patrons, but what has his Holiness done more deserving of the title than their Reverences have? True, he has claimed the right to raise up, educate, prepare for the work, commission, instruct and send forth his Jesuits, or Missionaries, and so have they; he has directed his teachers to preach doctrines not only unwarranted by, but hostile to the bible, and so have they; he has delivered over to the secular powers such as would dispute his authority, and who will trust them when they shall have the. secular power on their side? Not the Old School Baptist.
In view of what has been said on this subject, is it to be expected that the churches do or will derive any spiritual aid from the New York Baptist Missionary Convention? The scriptures assures us that “Not one” can bring a clean thing out of an unclean. The convention itself is a creature made up of church and world, and bearing the name of Church and State, viz: Baptist is the name of a church, New York the name of a State. The first is a spiritual kingdom, the other is a worldly government; and as a convention comprising officers and power, derived primarily from the church and world, the convention being made up of both, the mongrel name it has assumed is very appropriate to express the nature of the beast. We say beast, for so it is called in the scriptures of truth; but we mean the image of the original Beast, “whose deadly wound was healed,” (see Rev. xlii.) having a plurality of natures, heads and horns. Its foundation is money, and not Christ; the necessary qualification for membership in it is money, and not grace; governed by their own legislation and not the laws of Christ; employing those who are or can be the servants of two masters, and not the disciples of Christ; lording over the independence of Baptist churches, and not subject to the authority of the church; begging in some cases, and in others demanding m6noy for the professed object of aiding feeble churches and assisting indigent ministers of the gospel, and then refusing appropriations to such churches unless they virtually relinquish into the hands of the convention their independence, and comply with such conditions as are set forth in their letter to the Westmoreland church; and requiring of such ministers as they see fit to assist, that they observe such parish boundaries as they prescribe, and binding them to visit schools, to encourage Sunday Schools, and a host of other human inventions, and to avoid reflections upon other denominations, &c.
Thus reader, fancy to yourself the minister who is bound by these instructions. His labors are confined to the bounds allotted him in his commission, and if the Lord should say to him, “Go in the way that looketh toward the South,” to preach Christ, and to baptize an Ethiopian eunuch, he would then find it a hard matter to serve two masters. Here we can but see that his obligation to the convention utterly disqualifies him for being the servant of Christ; for to obey Christ he must disobey the other master; confined to the limits assigned him, he must visit such families only as reside within said limits, and preach the preaching which his employers have bidden him on all occasions, and under all circumstances; he must visit common schools, establish and superintend Sunday Schools and Bible Classes, and mingle a powerful moral, alias clerical influence in the whole system of youthful education; he is bound to observe the Monthly Concert, and on all such occasions to plead the Missionary cause; must be a stickler for Foreign and Domestic Missions, Education, Bible, Tract, Sunday School and Temperance Societies; he must urge upon the people of his charge the N.Y. Baptist Register, and a co-operation in the efforts of the domestic mission. All this he must do, and what may he not do? Why, he may not oppose error, nor contend for the truth of the gospel of Christ, nor contend for the supremacy of the laws of the King of Zion; for in so doing he would not only reflect on other denominations, but would also reproach those from whom he has received his commission. Can a man of God, can a minister of Jesus Christ submit to all this bondage? We think not. Can their labors promote the cause of God, or perfect the saints? “I have not sent them, (saith the Lord,) yet they run; because I have not sent them, they shall not profit this people.” Christians, examine this subject; read your bibles; “prove all things; hold fast that which is good,” and admit nothing as good without scriptural authority.
GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS TO THE PASTOR OF THE
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH IN WESTMORELAND.
“Although the preaching of the gospel holds the first and highest place in the vows and responsibilities of the ministerial office, yet there are a variety of subordinate measures which with a view to the permanent and best effect of gospel ordinances, require the diligent attention of every pastor and every missionary. This is especially the case in congregations where, from their recent organization or other causes, the importance of religion and of religious instruction is not generally understood and felt. The Board therefore request your attention to the following measures, as important to be adopted and vigorously pursued in the station assigned you.
1. Without wishing to abridge your liberty or obligation, as a minister of Christ, as far as practicable to seek the spiritual good of the surrounding country, the Board will expect you to confine your labor’s principally to the field designated in this commission, that the people, for whose benefit the aid of the convention in your support is especially designed, may learn from the influence of your uninterrupted efforts, suitably to appreciate the importance ,of a settled ministry, and that they may thus be induced and strengthened the sooner to maintain the administration of christian ordinances without assistance from others.
2. The visitation of families, and of the sick, is particularly enjoined, as second in importance only to the public preaching of the word. In the performance of these duties, the Board will expect you to visit every family within the limits of your charge, which is not under the pastoral care of some other minister; and that you will feel the importance of making your visits strictly religious and ministerial, urging upon individuals, with faithfulness and affection, the necessity of repentance towards God and faith in one Lord Jesus Christ, and in families inculcating the importance of family religion
3. The visiting of schools, and the establishment and superintendence of Sabbath Schools and Bible Classes, are objects which claim your careful and zealous attention, and which the Board urge upon your notice with strong solicitude. These measures, dictated by benevolence and pursued with christian humility and kindness, will not fail, with the blessing of God, to give you access to the best affections of the youth of your charge, and will thus secure to you the delightful and important privilege of mingling a correct and powerful moral influence in the whole system of their education.
4. Meetings for prayer should be held at such convenient times and places as shall afford to all the families within your charge the privilege of attending them. These meetings the Board will expect you to encourage and promote; and particularly that you will hold the monthly concert for prayer Of this it is desirable that you give previous public notice from the pulpit, and that you make it an occasion for communicating to the people, in a concise form, such missionary intelligence as you shall have received during the preceding month.
5. The Board take a deep and lively interest in the cause of Foreign as well as Domestic Missions, and in the objects of the Education, Bible, Tract and Sabbath School societies, and will expect you, by every laudable means, to promote these great enterprises of christian benevolence. You are particularly desired to solicit the co-operation of your people, as, far as they have ability, in the work of domestic missions; And to promote the circulation of the New York Baptist Register.
6. The Board regard, with great pleasure and gratitude to God, the recent efforts of many churches, physicians and leading civilians of our country, for the promotion of temperance. Among the numerous and deplorable evils resulting from the use of ardent spirits, none is more universal than that of counteracting all the means which God has appointed for the moral improvement of mankind, and the salvation of souls. You are desired therefore, publicly and privately to instruct the people to whom you minister, respecting the causes, symptoms and fatal consequences of intemperance, and endeavor to persuade them to abstain from the use of intoxicating drinks.
Lastly, and particularly, it is desired that not only “in doctrine you be uncorrupt,” but that you “show yourself a pattern of good works,” “by manifestation of the truth, commending yourself to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” As an embassador of the Prince of Peace, “follow peace with all men;” and, avoiding reflections upon other denominations of christians, let your conversation in the world show that you have at heart, not the interests of a sect or party, but the salvation of souls and the prosperity of the Redeemer’s cause. Be eminently a man of prayer; and, as you are bound to do by the terms of your own consecration to the work of the ministry, “preach Christ and him crucified.” Be faithful unto death, and the fruit of your labor will be “unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” Signed by order of the Board, - C. G. CARPENTER, Secy.”
Office of the Baptist Missionary Convention of the State of
New York, Utica, November 20, 1834.
To the Baptist church called First Westmoreland:
“Having learned that a door is open for preaching the gospel among you, and that you cannot obtain sufficient means to sustain an acceptable minister, and that the prospects are so encouraging as to justify further expenditures for sustaining the ministry of the word and pastoral labors, the Board of the Baptist Missionary Convention of the State of New York has appropriated thirty dollars to aid you in this object, to be paid either wholly or partly in money as our treasury may admit, when the following conditions shall have been fulfilled, viz:
1. That you enjoy the faithful labors of a pastor who shall be approved by this Board, and shall regard the accompanying instructions, as far as consistent, for the period of one year from October 16th, 1834.
2. That the plans of the convention, for diffusing information, and for raising funds for the various benevolent objects, be fully presented and faithfully prosecuted, especially that you raise as large an amount for Domestic Missions as shall be practicable.
3. That you receive no additional foreign aid for the above named period.
4. That you forward to the Secretary, on the first day of January, April, July and October, a report of the labors of your pastor, the number of sermons preached by him among you, the number added by letter and by baptism, the whole number of members, a general statement of their pecuniary condition and prospects, their activity and zeal in religious duties, the course of meetings usually attended in the church, the amount contributed for each of the benevolent objects, and for the ministry among you, the state of the society and congregation, of Sabbath Schools, Temperance Societies, &c., and in general, of whatever will tend to give a correct view of your state and of the benefits of the ministry among you.
If on examination of your report it shall appear that the above conditions have been fulfilled, you will receive an order on our treasury for thirty dollars. Signed by order of the Board, - C. G. CARPENTER, Secy.”
NEW VERNON, N. Y.,
February 18, 1835.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 1
Pages 203 – 211