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BEWARE OF DOGS!

So said the apostle Paul, and so says our brother of Bradford Co., Pa., whose communication will be found on the 125th page, in this number; but while it is very imprudent for children to leave the plain, straightforward path, to meddle with the ears of such surly curs as may be at strife among themselves, it is equally important that they should not be driven from a correct course by their growling or harking. When we see dogs fighting among themselves it is certainly the safer course to let them alone, but if we see a large number of them joining together to kill sheep, a trick which they have sometimes been guilty of, or when we find them in mischief which threatens to jeopardize the lives or property of ourselves or neighbors, it may be necessary to turn some what aside from the strict rules of neutrality, even at the imminent hazard of being thought officious, or ridiculed as being in an awkward plight. It may, perhaps, be difficult always to know exactly when, and where, and how, to meddle with strife, without disregarding the apostle’s admonition or the instruction of the proverb. The wise man, however, has drawn the line thus, “strife belonging not to him.” There is certainly a great deal of strife and contention at times among the potsherds of the earth, which does not immediately concern the children of God, and therefore does not belong to them. Such examples might be given as when J. M. Peck and W. C. Buck quarrel through their respective papers about the superior claims of their New School hymn books, or the strife between the eastern and western New School Baptists concerning the comparative merits of their mission plans, their talents, respectability, &c. In all these matters it would be downright folly for the Old School Baptists to interfere; for their strife in no manner concerns or belongs to us. But when we see a number of the most popular, wealthy, and influential sects of the anti-christian interests, leaging together for the express purpose of destroying the civil, social, and religious liberties of our country, and so augmenting their power as to put the civil and military forces of our country at defiance; and when we know that but for these restraints they would long since have driven us from the land for which our fathers fought, and from those sacred rights for which they bled, may we not expose their anti-christian spirit without justly incurring the censure of meddling with strife belonging not to us? Is our Bradford County brother weak and blundering enough to suppose that when the allied powers, which have united together, and called to their aid the mob, who have already lit up the fires of persecution in our land of boasted civil and religious liberty, shall have exterminated the Catholics, and butchered the residue of the Mormons, that they will spare the Old School Baptists? Whether he entertains any such thoughts or not, he must excuse us for so far yielding to the strong convictions of our judgment as to raise the note of warning, that our brethren may judge for themselves the cause of alarm, and prepare for the battle; that they may stand “every man with his sword upon his thigh, because of fear in the night.” Although the dogs with which we have to do, may, when the balance of numbers and of power has been against them, have displayed the qualities of the fawning or of the sleepy dogs, let the balance of power preponderate in their favor, and they will be found real bloodhounds; for they are greedy dogs which can never have enough.

Dogs which are in the habit of killing sheep are the most cunning dogs in the world; they will congregate together in the night when their masters are asleep, and when they have finished their depredations they will wash off every trace of blood and be back to their places long before he day dawns, and put on the airs of the most harmless innocence; you must catch them in the very act or you would be tempted to believe it impossible they were guilty.

New Vernon, N.Y.,
August 15, 1844

Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 2
Pages 482 – 484