“A NEW discovery for supplying the great valley of the Mississippi with a preached gospel.
“Let all the Baptists west of the Alleganies contribute as much for this object as it costs them for tobacco, and every time they replenish their pipes, their mouths, or their noses, retire and offer to Almighty God a fervent prayer for this specific object, and the work will most assuredly be accomplished. Brethren and sisters, if you doubt it, try the experiment.*”
THIS is truly an age famous for discoveries – it cannot be well doubted that man has sought out many inventions. The apostles of the Lamb did not know of this cheap and easy method of supplying the world with the gospel. They had not progressed beyond the simple lessons which the Savior had taught them; that they were to pray the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into the harvest. The primitive church had not learned to estimate the worth of the gospel of Christ by the price of tobacco and snuff; neither had they any idea that the fervent prayers of the saints were justly comparable to replenishing one’s pipe, mouth, or nose with tobacco! We suppose the star that has risen at last, ]the above extract is signed *,] has made a mathematical calculation of the comparative prices of the two commodities – gospel preaching and tobacco – or he could not have made the discovery of which he claims to be the author. Weill he avail himself of a patent right, and so go into a speculation and turn his invention to his pecuniary emolument, or will the credit of the invention be glory enough to satisfy his ambition?
Should this wonderful star ever twinkle again, we request him to inform us precisely how much depends upon the prayers of the saints, and how much on the price of tobacco, that we may know the exact proportions.
We wish also to know how he has discovered that his plan will “assuredly” succeed. Has he tried the experiment? If so, that valley is supplied, and farther efforts are uncalled for; but if he has not tried and failed, how does he know that others would be more successful? Other questions suggest themselves also, as, to whom are those contributions of money, tobacco, snuff, and prayers to be made? Is there any receiver duly appointed? And will he give due security that the work shall be done on the presentation of the cash, produce, and worship? And when they pray for that specific object, if the Spirit would help their infirmities and make intercession for them, according to the mind of God, and they should be constrained to pray as the Spirit gives them utterance, would such answer? If not, would they lose the tobacco? Or finally, Will the prayers do without the tobacco, or will the tobacco do without the prayers?
The king of England might have disputed the claim of our modern Venus; for he provided for the preaching of his gospel on the east side of the Alleganies by the same means excepting the prayers. The tobacco alone was sufficient to sustain his ministers until the day of Patrick Henry, who succeeded in stopping the tobacco, and the stoppage of the tobacco effectually succeeded in stopping the mouths of the king’s ministers; and if the Lord had not raised up ministers in the old way, old Virginia would have been without gospel preaching to this day.
Is not the tobacco leaf as productive of anti-christian ministers, as the mulberry leaf is of silk worms?
New Vernon, N.Y.,
May 15, 1845
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 2
Pages 555 – 557