MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE.

WE copy from the Baptist Repository the following resolutions passed at a meeting of Baptist preachers at the Hamilton Theological Seminary, June 5, 1833:

Resolved, That it is the duty of every minister of Christ to become well acquainted with the various objects of benevolence in which christians are engaged for the extension of the Redeemer’s kingdom, to explain the objects to all the members of the church in which he labors, and urge upon them the duty of serving Christ with their talents and with their property.

Resolved, That as it is the duty of every disciple of Christ to make temporal sacrifices to promote the eternal salvation of men, to aid them in rendering their sacrifices regular and effectual, we will furnish them, through the Baptist Register and the Repository, a schedule, with a column for the names of members, and one for each of the objects of benevolence, which we recommend to their patronage, and use our influence in our own churches, to induce every member to subscribe to each object such amount as their circumstances and duty may require, annually, to be paid promptly.

Resolved, That in our opinion nearly an equal amount ought to be contributed by the churches in this State for ministerial education, Domestic and Foreign Missions, the present year. And we will do all in our power, consistently with other duties, to raise for each of these objects ten thousand dollars this year, trusting in God to infuse his own spirit into his people, and succeed our endeavors.

Resolved, That we recommend the immediate formation of associational and sectional Conferences, auxiliary to this conference, throughout this State, and that they use their efforts to carry into effect the above resolutions in their respective limits.

Resolved, That this Conference hold its next annual meeting at Hamilton, on the day after commencement, at 10 o’clock, a. m.

Adjourned.
O. C. COMSTOCK, MODERATOR.
N. N. WHITING, Secretary.

REMARKS.

How astonishingly rapid is the advancement of priestcraft and clerical power amongst the Baptists of the present day. Never, until the present, has anti-christ appeared so conspicuously to flourish under the Baptist name. Never, until the present, have the saints so fully and so fearfully realized the apostolic prediction, “Even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways, by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they, with feigned words, make merchandise of you; whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” - 2 Peter ii. 1, 3. Can it be doubted that these men who assume to be teachers, divinely authorized to teach young men the science of preaching, and the arts of modem medieancy, are pointed out by the apostle as false teachers? Or who can doubt that these are teaching damnable heresies, who in the second of the above resolutions are teaching that “it is the duty of every disciple of Christ to make temporal sacrifices to promote the eternal salvation of men!” This sentiment, glaring as it is, is set down as a given point with them, and seems to be the very ground and pillar of their faith; remove this pillar and down their entire system must fall. Now if it be the duty of the disciples of Christ to promote, or aid Jehovah, in the eternal salvation of men, we ask, On what page of the bible is the obligation recorded? Or in what respect, or respects, is God deficient, that he should need the aid of his saints in the promotion of the eternal salvation of men? Will the diviners of the Ministerial Conference inform us what proportion of eternal salvation is of works, and what of grace? How much depends on the saints, and how much the Lord intends to do himself? Should those learned sages condescend to answer our enquiries, they will please to recollect that we have been in the habit of believing that the eternal salvation of men,. i. e., all that God ever designed to save, was beyond the reach of being promoted by our temporal sacrifices. We read that God “hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling; not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus (before this ministerial meeting was organized, aye) before the world began.” Hence it appears to be quite too late for us to promote that which was accomplished before the world began. We would have them inform us to whom these temporal sacrifices are to be made? They cannot be to God, for he is full of burnt offerings; “and sacrifices and offerings he would not,” says the Lamb of God, “because he has no pleasure in them.” He has also said, “Go ye and learn what this meaneth, I will have mercy and not sacrifice.” Hence it cannot be our duty to disobey God, and offer sacrifices to him in violation of his express command. Is it then divine justice that calls for temporal sacrifices to promote eternal salvation? If so, how much must be added to the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, which through the eternal Spirit he offered up to God, in order to secure the eternal salvation of the elect? But should we be told that the sacrifice of our Lord secured the eternal salvation of the elect, and that he by one offering or sacrifice (not temporal) hath forever perfected them that were sanctified. Heb. x. 14. We would ask those knowing ones of Hamilton Theological Seminary how many of the non-elect can be eternally saved by the offering of temporal sacrifices? Again since it is written, “There remaineth no more sacrifice for sin.” For what are these temporal sacrifices to be made? And how are they to promote the eternal salvation of men? If the eternal salvation of men may be promoted by our temporal sacrifices, surely the cattle upon a thousand hills would be a glorious offering, and ten thousand rivers of oil would be an offering of great magnitude.

But perhaps those ministers will say we have mistaken their design, and misinterpreted their sayings, and that their object is only to awaken the saints to a sense of their duty touching the temporal concerns of the church. If this be all, why tell them to make temporal sacrifices “for the promotion of the eternal salvation of men?

Is salvation of the Lord? And if it is, can that eternal salvation which is of the Lord be promoted by men? And if it can, why did the apostle say, “By grace are ye saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast,” &c. See Ephesians ii.

How easy for a reflecting mind to detect the sophistry of those lovers of filthy lucre. They would make the people believe their money, if rightly applied, will save the souls of men with an eternal salvation; but in order to secure this grand object it is necessary that all the young gentlemen of Hamilton Theological Seminary, with as many of the Baptist ministers of the State of New York as will say aye, to all their propositions, should form one grand phalanx, whose business it shall be “to aid in rendering their (the peoples’) sacrifices, alias money, regular; i. e., inform the people when, how much, and to whom their sacrifices mi(st be made to be effectual, as all the liberality of the saints will be null and ineffectual unless it passes through their priestly hands, like the unhallowed loaf in the eucharist, until it receives the blessing of the Pope.

“We will furnish, through the Baptist Register and the Repository, a schedule, with a column for the names of members, (in order that the left hand may be informed what the right is about,) and one column for each of the objects of benevolence which we (not the the bible, for that is buried among the rubbish, as in the days of Ezra,) WE recommend to their patronage, and will use our influence, (for popular men, even magicians, have influence,) in our own churches, to induce every member (to “watch and pray lest they enter into temptation?” O no, nothing of that kind,) to subscribe to each object such amount as their circumstances and duty may require, annually, to be paid promptly.

The next resolution announces to the gentle and simple of the churches through this State, and throughout their respective dioceses, “in their opinion nearly an equal amount ought to be contributed, &c., for ministerial education.”’ Thus one-third of the people’s money, or “sacrifices for the promotion of the eternal salvation of men,” is by those inmates. of the Theological Seminary graciously and modestly bestowed upon their own dear selves; and the other two-thirds is to be devoted to “Domestic and Foreign Missions,” so that in the end they will get the whole. Who can wonder that the prophet should call these watchmen “Greedy dogs?” “And (say they) we will do all in our power, &c., to raise for each of these objects, (i. e., for themselves,) ten thousand dollars this year,” making in all $30,000; $10,000 for their education, $10,000 for their use as Domestic Missionaries,. and $10,000 for them as Foreign Missionaries.

Thus we see them, after organizing at the place where the greater part of the constituents of this august assemblage first received their ministerial existence, proceeding to transmigrate themselves into an Annual Conference, for the purpose of drawing into their ranks all the Baptist ministers within the bounds of this State, and thus to spread themselves like a green bay tree. The object of all this can need no interpretation. Their object is imprinted in legible characters upon the very frontlet of their proceedings. They tell us that the object is “to promote piety, usefulness, &c., and to excite the churches to the performance of practical duties, especially in reference to all benevolent objects - objects in accordance with the mind of God.” Now let us seriously enquire, Is it necessary that a new order of things should be established, and new combinations of clerical power and authority should be brought into requisition, in order to excite the churches to attend to such benevolent operations as are in accordance with the mind of God? Surely not. “It is God that worketh in his people both to will and to do of his good pleasure?’ We have no right to believe that any system, (call it benevolence, or what you please,) is, or can be in accordance with the mind of God, but such as are authorized by the precepts and examples of our Lord Jesus Christ. But they say, “And such as are approved by our denomination.” Now this last clause seems to give them more room, for if on this ground they can make it appear that their projects are pleasing in the eyes of the denomination, they will not be put to the inconvenience of proving that their plans are agreeable to the mind of the Lord; they will only be required to show that it is approved by a majority of themselves.

The second article of the constitution breathes the same language, viz: “And to devise and prosecute an efficient and Systematic plan of benevolent efforts, which shall arouse, direct, (mark their language) and concentrate the energies of the disciples, &c., for the salvation of a perishing world.”

NEW VERNON, N.Y.,
September 25, 1833.

Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 1
Pages 104 – 109