THE New School papers for a few weeks past have been unusually prolific in heaping their reproaches, misrepresentations and slanders upon the Old School churches and brethren. Among the many examples we give the following:
From the Baptist Record.
“ANTI-EFFORTISM ASSOCIATION. - The following sensible remarks we take from the letter of a valuable brother in the South. Alluding to the Almanac of the American Baptist Publication and Sunday School Society, he says, ‘We are pleased to see that the list comprehends the anti-effort associations, as well as those favorable to benevolent effort. In the Kehukee association the mother of anti-effortism in North Carolina., there has been a considerable decline. A general view of this kind, should convince every unprejudiced mind that our brethren are in error, when we recollect that God has promised to bless his people in these latter days, and if we are not blessed it must be our fault.’
By a careful and impartial comparison between the anti-benevolent associations, or those that are ill affected towards benevolent co-operation, and waiting with their arms folded for the accomplishment of God’s purposes, but who are not enjoying any of his promised blessings - by a careful comparison we say, between what they were in point of numbers and influence ten years ago, and what they are now, making every proper allowance for exclusions, deaths and removals, we shall find them to have rapidly diminished. Hence we must reach the conclusion that in a few years those organized bodies now violent in their opposition to the various objects of christian benevolence will become totally extinct. For as the light of truth reflected by education, sheds its influence upon the minds of the present generation of youth, brightening their adolescence and pouring its full blaze into the meridian of their ripened years, our entire and multitudinous denomination will have been entirely emerged from the gloom of sluggish indifference or sordid antonianism, by which she has been crippled, her energies, and her already powerful strength and resources, will be augmented; her churches and institutions, her intelligence and intellectual power will be extended, and she will take her place in influence and usefulness, in a position more than equal to where she now stands in numbers.”
Were we to reply to the sensible remarks of the southern writer as copied into the Record, we should admit it perfectly rational to suppose that every natural mind illuminated only by the light of education, or unenlightened by the holy Spirit, would form the same conclusion with himself, that the anti-effort associations, as he has been pleased to term them, will soon become extinct, While the “effort” associations are swelling their numbers by the accession of hundreds of thousands, these little anti-effort associations do not even hold their own in point of numbers - are rapidly declining. What can be more in harmony with human wisdom and carnal sense than to believe the days of the anties (as they modestly call us) are nearly numbered. Indeed the children of God themselves, when left to confer with flesh and blood on this subject, are but too apt to reason in the same way; and the inspired Psalmist would have fainted had he not believed that he would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. There are moments of darkness when the saints are prone to say, “God’s mercies are clean gone forever!” God has forgotten to be gracious, and Zion has said, “The Lord has forgotten me,” &c. But all this despondency, this doubting and murmuring is with them, in the absence of the gracious presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. But when under the gracious influence of the blessed Comforter, how differently do they view the subject - when in the enjoyment of his gracious presence they see the meal nearly exhausted from the barrel, and the oil from the cruise; the herds all perished from the stall, the vine and the olive withholding their wonted supplies - still, amidst all these discouragements they are heard to say, “Yet will I trust in the Lord!” Yea, I will trust in him though he should slay me. When blessed with that measure of faith that stands not in the wisdom of men but in the power of God, they hang upon his promises and plead the immutability of his truth; they can sweetly sing:
“Should frightened rivers change their course,
And backward hasten to their source;
Swift through the air should rocks be hurl’d,
And mountains like the chaff’ be whirl’d;
Should sun and stars forget to rise,
Or quit their stations in the skies;
Should heav’n and earth both pass away,
Eternal truth cannot decay!
True to his word, God sent his Son,
To die for crimes that we bad done:
Bless’d pledge! He never will revoke
A single promise he has spoke!”
It was a matter of astonishment to Moses, until he was better taught of God, when he beheld the bush on fire, that it was not consumed. Human wisdom would have believed that the frail bush could endure the flame but a very short time, and this conclusion would have been just if God had not been there. That bush was typical of God’s people whom he chose in a furnace of affliction: they are constantly enveloped in the devouring element, and long ere this would have been utterly consumed if left to resist the fire with only human power; but such has not been the case: God will never leave nor forsake them, and while the God of the patriarchs is in the bush it cannot be consumed;
“When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace all-sufficient shall be thy supplly;
The flame shall not hurt thee, I only design
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.
The soul that on Jesus has lean’d for repose,
He will not, he will not desert to his foes:
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
He’ll never, no never, no-never forsake.”
The confidence of the saints is in the Lord; they walk by faith and not by sight. Those things of the Spirit that God has hidden from the wise and prudent of this world are revealed unto them. It is on this account they are led to view the subject in quite a different light from that which nature would suggest. That which would to the human reasoner presage the diminuation and ultimate extinction of the church from the earth, cannot possibly· diminish one soul from the heirs of salvation, nor drive from the militant kingdom one soldier of Jesus until that soldier receives an honorable discharge from the war under the direction of the Captain of salvation.
How easy it is for an enlightened child of God to see that the Lord is at this time purging his floor! In the progress of this work, many of our associations are greatly reduced in regard to numbers; but at this we are not half as much surprised as we are that any of us are supported and kept from deserting the standard of our crucified Redeemer, in this time of unusual trial. In former times, when there were no two parties bearing the Baptist name, the church became lumbered with a grievous multitude of mocking Ishmaelites; those that could mimic the exercises of the sons of the free woman; but now that our Lord appears with his fan In his hand, these sons of the bond-woman are allured away from us by the new institutions of the day, by such as claim Andrew Fuller, Judson, and others as their founders, and who possess charms for them: and while all the charms of New Schoolism are spread out to admirable advantage before those whom the Lord has destined to be removed from among his people, so as to invite them out from among us, all the reproach and scandal, affliction and persecution, the Lord has been pleased to let loose upon his people, has had a tendency to push forward the glorious work of separation. As the maget to the needle, so are the charms of the popular institutions of anti-christ to those in Zion whose hearts are not stayed on God. Can we wonder then that Zion is ploughed like a field - that our numbers are reduced in many churches and associations, and that the multitude of false professors is greatly augmented at this day? No - we are rather inclined to say, in the language of inspiration, “Except the Lord of Sabbaoth had left us a very small remnant we should have been like Sodom and like unto Gomorrah, or, in other words, had not the Lord set us upon a rock, and established or goings, our inconstant feet had also departed from the statutes of the Lord, and we would have been as the New School Baptists, and like unto the Papists.
As to the epithets employed to stigmatize the Old Fashioned Baptists, such as, anties, anti-effort, anti-mission, anti-benevolent, and anti-nomian, they are wholly gratuitous and utterly unworthy of our notice. Our efforts, so far as we are informed by the Spirit and truth of our Lord, and will he directed by his word, to deny self, take our cross and follow Jesus through evil as well as through good report; to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints, and in the name and strength of our all-conquering Leader, to level the artillery of eternal truth at all the sons of Anak who dare defy the armies of the living God.
To that benevolence, which was manifested by him who was rich and for our sakes became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich, and which leads those who are in possession of it to be kindly affectionate one towards another, and to bear one another’s burdens and so fulfil the law of Christ, we are not aliens; but with the benevolence of which Fuller, Judson, Rice and their colleagues are the authors, we are quite as familiar as we wish to be.
To the American Baptist Publication Society, to their editor and to their Southern brother to whom they are in this case Indebted for a pretext for abusing us, we will say, as Job said to his self-righteous neighbors “Mock on.” We can afford to bear all your reproaches, your ridicule and your wrath, for we choose rather to suffer afflictions with the children of God, than to enjoy with you the pleasures of sin, for us to be identified with Christ’s little flock is far more desirable than all the treasures of Egypt.
NEW VERNON, N. Y.,
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 1
Pages 642 – 647