“Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid.” – Isaiah viii. 12.
THE time and place for the convention of all evangelical denominations of professed christians, is now fixed to be held in London, England, August 19th, 1846. The professed object is to form an “Evangelical Alliance,” which will be, if they succeed, ecclesiastically what the “Holy Alliance” of European nations has been politically; an alliance, not very dissimilar to that of Pilate and Herod in the first century, or of the forty total abstinence men mentioned in Acts xxiii. 12. We find by our exchange papers that Doctor Dewitt of the city of New York, has taken leave of his flock and preached his valedictory, preparatory to setting out for this great convention. Delegates are appointed from the principal wards of the “Great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth.” – Rev. xvii. 18. And the expectation of aspirants for ecclesiastical power appears to be at its highest elevation. This movement contemplates the open consummation of a series of progressive operations which have been maturing for more than thirty years, under the most sly and insidious management of a set of men whom we find advertised in holy writ as men who lie in wait to deceive; men of corrupt minds, who, concerning the faith are reprobate; men who, with feigned words, make merchandise of the unwary; who lead captive the silly, and turn the grace of God into lasciviousness. The popular religious machinery of the present age has been operating for a long time, not without success. The nominal church and the secular powers of our beloved America have been ripening for the crisis to which the world’s convention is designed to bring the popular religious institutions of christendom. No other nation on earth has so much reason to look with a vigilant and jealous eye to the result of this ultimatum of anti-christian experiments as our own country. The national churches which have always been patronized by their state governments, have nothing to lose by this contemplated concentration of clerical or ecclesiastical Power; but the citizens of our states have much to lose. To us a sacred boon has been entrusted, which cost the toil, the treasure and the blood of our ancestors. All they fought for and gained in the revolutionary struggle, that has not already been frittered away from us, is now at stake; and the liberty to live, to be free, to pursue happiness, as designed and expressed in our declaration of national independence, is now to be contested. The anti-christian interests of America cannot become identical with its kindred anti-christ of foreign nations, in a direct organization, without involving the most wanton hazard of our free institutions. A direful specimen of this description of confederacy has, even when limited to a central location in our states, involved a neighboring city in conflagration and blood. The scenes of riot, murder and arson, which occurred a short time since in Philadelphia, resulted from a confederation of the anti-Roman-Catholics of that city and the neighboring districts, into a Protestant association for the suppression of Romanism. The history of all nations throughout all former time bears ample and astounding testimony that all alliances of the kind which is now sought for, have resulted in the prostration of every liberal and republican principle, and produced the most revolting persecution and martyrdom of those who were conscientiously opposed to the wicked machinations of infatuated bigotry.
Had the pure, peaceable and holy religion of our Lord Jesus Christ required the combination of earthly powers, and the amalgamation of conflicting religious interests for its support, the admonition at the head of this article would not have been given by the inspiration of God; nor would our Redeemer have declared so emphatically as he did, that his kingdom is not of this world.
Independently of the project of linking the anti-christian interests of America with those of foreign and antagonistic powers of despotic nations, in our own country, and in the open face of those who claim to be the uncompromising advocates of civil and religious liberty, the very sects and mongrel combinations of sects, which are now most prominent leaders in forming this alliance with the powers of other nations, have been exerting a most corrupting influence upon the legislatures and executives of our states and nation; and few have been found in either department whose virtue and patriotism have been proof against their wily arts and malevolent efforts. Our legislatures have been flooded with incessant memorials for charters, special privileges, and legislation upon religious subjects, especially for the last two or three years. Powerful efforts have been made to induce our government to define and enforce the laws of God; and not on1y to define, but also to alter the divine code, and compel our citizens, irrespectively of their conscientious scruples, to receive, observe and obey their version of it. It is true revisions have been called for and obtained under the pretence of regulating the morals of the community; but it is equally true that under this pretence they have not hesitated to give us a new version of the decalogue, changing the day which God enjoined on Israel for a Sabbath, from the seventh to the first day of the week; and the manner of observing it, from a rest and total cessation from all labor, to a license to travel any distance not exceeding twenty miles, to attend Public worship; and the penalty for a violation of that law, from death to a flue of a few shillings! The subject of meats and drinks, if not of new moons, has received the grave consideration of our legislatures. Laws to moralize the community have been made with aim eye to religionize and sectarianize, and thereby to rob the people of their inalienable and constitutional rights. In order to secure “a power behind the throne greater than the throne itself,” the clergy, through their numerous coadjutors have asked for and obtained in this state the power to control our public schools, and to supervise and direct the education of about 800,000 children, with machinery sufficient to control the religious and political drilling of the whole rising population. We might trace the operations of this anti-christian combination, fur many years past, in its corrupting, corroding and blighting effects upon both church and state in our country. But our object in this article is more particularly to remark upon the project of forming this alliance of the ecclesiastical powers of the whole world. The principal objects of this convention, according to Mr. Cox, are as follows:
“1. To collect and digest knowledge, statistical and general, on the state of religion, and the strength of the Protestant interests, in all the represented districts of the world; and then to dispose of it, to preserve it and to make it useful in the best manner, for the permanent anti the common benefit of the churches and the cause.
“2. To form with admirable and heaven-directed wisdom, an ecumenical creed or code of principles, for all christians, evincing their substantial union, and promoting their moral consolidation as the commonwealth of Israel symbolizing their oneness to the nations.
“3. To constitute a permanent organization of some sort, as the Evangelical Alliance, with centres of influence and circles of correspondence throughout the world, offensive and defensive, or rather aggressive and protective, with officers and means; an organization simple and yet efficient, with defined powers and duties, and a prospective re-convention, septennial or quinquennial, it may be, in America or Europe, for objects or ends congenial, opportune to varying occasions and edifying the common cause.
“4. To facilitate the operations of the missionary enterprise; co-operating in some general views and measures, considering the best economies of administration and efficiency, diffusing a spirit of catholic rather than partisan propagation of the gospel, and agreeing as to what objects of proximate aim and effort we are all to affect, and in what best way we may bring our common christianity in its genuineness, to act on universal mind, the heathen, the Jewish, the infidel, the Romanist, the heretical, and the prejudiced, for the advance of the kingdom of God.
“The subordinate aspects and ramifications of these are innumerable, as well as so vast and so indefinite as to make uncertainty and danger.”
Mr. Cox anticipates some difficulty in preventing some sects and religionists from taking part in this World’s Convention. The Quakers, and Universalists, and some others, although legitimately citizens of the world, in the broadest sense, are to be proscribed, and cashiered out of their right to a seat or representation in this convention of the world, and that little flock which our God has chosen out of the world, and which is not reckoned with the nations, of course, will have no voice in their proceedings. But it is to be expected that they will receive some attention when this “Evangelical Alliance” shall reach the summit of its power. The object to be attained, as stated by themselves, as in the extracts above, when obtained will show an investment of ecclesiastical power and influence, sufficiently potent to reign over the kings of the earth.
New Vernon, N.Y.,
June 1, 1846
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 2
Pages 646 - 650