“YE have taken away my gods which I made, and the priest, and ye arc gone away; and what have I more? And what is this that ye say unto me, What aileth thee?” - Judges xviii. 24.
FROM THE “WORLD.”
Extracts of a letter from Davis Dimock, Esq., one of the Vice-Presidents of the Baptist Missionary Association of Pennsylvania, dated:
MONTROSE, Pa., July 16, 1833.
“You requested me to give you all the information in my power, which I am Willing to do. You ask, What are the churches able to do for missions, &c? I answer, more than they have done; but they need to be made acquainted more fully with the necessity and importance of giving. The churches, however, are poor, in comparison to those in older settlements. A paper called the “Signs of the Times,” opposed to every benevolent exertion or christian effort is circulating in some of our churches, greatly to their injury. A few only, however, are distracted by it, and I am happy to say that most of our churches are awaking to a sense of their duty to send the gospel to the destitute. Taking the whole northern part of Pennsylvania, with a few exceptions, it may be compared to a wilderness before the new settlers - they must clear the ground, sow the seed, and wait patiently one year for a harvest. So must the Missionary Societies do in relation to pecuniary motions. But their missionaries have not been obliged to wait a year for a harvest of souls. They seem to resemble the tree that yields her fruit every month.
You ask, How many missionaries are wanted? If I were to answer according to my best judgment, I should say not less than eight for four counties - Luzerne, Bradford, Susquehanna, and Wayne. But one for each are much needed, in addition to those already in the field. There needs at least two in the Wyoming Valley - where Elders Morton and Brown are now laboring, under the direction of the New York State Convention, for three months. Brother Morton can be continued at Wilksbarre, if the two Boards of the New York State Convention, and the Baptist Missionary Association of Pennsylvania, agree in his support, as a settled minister; and I am confident he is a suitable man for that station. I hope measures will be immediately taken to continue him there. I do not know but brother Brown could be persuaded to continue, but fear not. I spent two weeks in the Valley, assisting them, by an appointment from the New York Board, and find them excellent men, well qualified for the work.”
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“The missionary tide seems to roll from every quarter of our country toward the Mississippi Valley, but I believe we are almost as destitute as that desolate region.”
It is remarkable to witness the frequent acknowledgments made by the advocates of the modern enterprises for evangelizing the world, that their entire faith and knowledge of religion consists in, and is composed of, these schemes and human inventions.
The editor of the Christian Secretary, in an article which we copied into the last number of the “Signs of the Times,” speaking of the address of the Old School brethren, says that “It is not within our immediate knowledge that any other christian community but our own is put to shame before the saints of all the world, by a combination of men, bearing their own name, making war upon the entire whole of their labors and sufferings and sacrifices” &c. Elder Dimock, in the above letter, says: “A paper called the “Signs of the Times”, opposed to every benevolent exertion or christian effort, is circulating in some of our churches, greatly to their injury. A few only, however, are distracted by it.”
We feel no spirit of resentment excited by their unfriendly allusions to our humble sheet; but we do feel bound to pity the spiritual blindness of all such learned novices (they must pardon the term, as our language affords none more suitable to convey our meaning) as can discover no other benevolence in the gospel of a blessed Savior than that which has been ushered into existence within these last thirty years, and if the editor of the Secretary can point out to us any passage in either of the two addresses published in our sixteenth number which can be righteously construed into an opposition to any system of benevolence of an earlier date, we shall feel obliged; or if the Hon. Judge Dimock of Pennsylvania can prove his assertion true, we will confess our errors on the house-top.
We acknowledge ourself not a little surprised at the unqualified assertion that the “Signs of the Times” “is opposed to every exertion or christian effort” from the pen of one on whose name concentres so many dignified titles. Having been duly appointed one of the Judges of a county in Pennsylvania, and having also been duly set apart by ordination to the ministry of general atonement and offered salvation, in the year 1803, by a community of united brethren, who were subsequently formed into what is called the “Susquehanna Baptist Association,” holding the doctrine that “Christ died for the sins of the whole world, and that the Holy Ghost moves irresistibly upon the mind of every man until they are convinced of sin, and brought to that liberty of choice which was lost in their head, by the which they may repent of their sins, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. and be made free indeed,” &c. (See their Articles of Faith, Sec. 6th and 7th.) We know not but he is in good standing with that association to this day; but we discover by the announcement of the receipt of his letter in the World he is dubbed Vice-President of the Baptist Mission Association of Pennsylvania.. We say we were not prepared to receive even from so distinguished an individual a statement so destitute of truth. Let it be understood distinctly we do most unequivocally deny the charge, and call on Eld. Dimock to prove that the “Signs of the Times” is opposed to every benevolent exertion, or to any christian effort. We readily admit our opposition to the present system of Bible Societies as religious institutions for the conversion of the world; but we are so far from being opposed to the gratuitous circulation of the bible, (without note or comment), that in a preceding number we have offered to supply a whole country at our own expense. We are opposed to Tract Societies, and we are ready to give the reason of our opposition; but we are not opposed to the circulation of bible truth in pamphlet, tract, newspapers, or any other form, gratuitously or otherwise.
We oppose such Mission Societies as are independent of the church of God, which we hold to be the only divinely authorized religious society upon earth; but we have, through the columns of a former number of this paper, offered to support the Lord’s ministers or missionaries to the utmost of our ability, even to the dividing of our last loaf with such of them as go out without purse or scrip, relying upon the sure mercies of David, without waiting to get the Lord’s promises endorsed by a Mission Board. We feel disposed to let such as have hired themselves out to Missionary Boards stand or fall to their own master, knowing that “his servants they are, to whom they yield themselves servants to obey.” We consider all that a kind Providence has put into our possession belongs to the Lord, and as his steward we are ready to deal it out to his servants according to his word.
If it be gospel benevolence to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the widow and the fatherless, and to preach the gospel to the poor, without fee or reward, then let our accusers, Messrs. Canfield and Dimock, point out the instances where we have been delinquent, or have opposed others in the pursuit of these christian duties. We would call on Elder Dimock once more to seriously reflect on the subject, examine all the back numbers of the “Signs of the Times,” and then say if there is no benevolent exertion or christian effort but what the “Signs of the Times” is opposed to, and if upon reflection he should find that he has been premature in making the assertion, he will act his own pleasure about acknowledging such conviction. If he can reconcile his conscience to his conduct, we envy him not.
With Mr. Canfield’s “Worldly saints,” or “saints of all the world,” we have but little more to do. than to expose them. They are not the saints of God, for “God’s kingdom is not of this world.” - John xviii. 36. Christ disowns them, consequently they must belong to some other kingdom; and we read of but two kingdoms on the earth, (as spiritual kingdoms.) The one has for its monarch the “Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace,” and the government is on his shoulder. But the other has “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” The former is distinguished as the kingdom of God; the latter is the kingdom of Satan. The one is of heaven, and owns none as its subjects but such as are born of the water and of the Spirit; the other is of this world, and embraces all those communities spoken of by Mr. Canfield as saints of all the world.
Our war with the “Mother Arminianism, and her brood of institutions,” is considered by Messrs. Canfield and Dimock as making war upon the entire whole of their labors, and sufferings, and sacrifices, and opposing every benevolent exertion and christian effort embraced in their system. Their language is plain, and we shall only add in the words of Moses, (Deut. xxxii. 31,) “Their rock is not as our rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.”
NEW VERNON, N. Y.,
August 28, 1833.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 1
Pages 91 - 96