“THE WAY TO MAKE ERROR THRIVE.”

“CAMPBELLISM and Anti-Mission Baptists increase by opposition, and the Religious Herald very justly observes that the best course is to let them alone. The best defence of those christians who are engaged in the great works of benevolence is to point to the results of their labors in the four quarters of the world. How many missionaries have the Hickory and Infidel Baptists sent forth to preach their own iron-bound system?” ―Baptist Repository.

On as much of the above article as relates to Anti-Mission, Hickory and Infidel Baptists, together with their iron-bound system, we have somewhat to remark, leaving Mr. Campbell or his followers to defend their own cause in their own way, as we know of no connection between Campbellism and that class of Baptists which Mr. Crosby in the exuberance of his modesty has denominated Anti-Mission, Hickory and Infidel.

In prosecuting our present object we shall in the first place attempt an explanation of the terms brought into requisition by the learned editors of the Religious Herald and the Baptist Repository to designate that class of Baptists to which they allude.

Second. We shall notice their best method of treating those Baptists, and why the proposed course is the best.

Third. We shall answer as much of their inquiry as relates to us.

First we attempt an explanation of the terms used. We only promise an attempt; we may fail; the fact must not be disguised; our information is too limited fully to explain the etymology of these terms in such a manner as to harmonize with the use to which the learned editors have applied. them. Anti-mission, according to the modern use of the term, may be used to designate that sect, which have been, and still are, everywhere spoken against; that cold-hearted set of Baptists, a regular succession of whom from the days of John the Baptist have been upon the earth, and who are so bigoted, or iron bound, as to be opposed to the popular scheme of making and employing missionaries. For the better illustration of the subject, we will give some account of this wicked sect.

The Anti-Mission Baptists, as they are now called, made their first appearance in the land of Judah about eighteen hundred years ago; their appearing made a great disturbance among the pious missionary pharisees, who were at that time making powerful efforts in their missionary cause, “compassing sea and land, to make proselytes; for this sect declared that there was another King, one Jesus; and they were forbidden to preach in any other place or manner than that he directed; and they chose rather to obey their Lord and Master than to follow the more popular schemes of men; for, strange as it may seem at this day of religious enterprize, they verily believed that it was their duty to obey God rather than men. it must be confessed, there was one member in this community who was not so anti-mission as the rest. We allude to the one who carried the bag. He was very much concerned about the Lord’s treasury, and was very much hurt to see the waste of a box of ointment on the person of his professed Master - he thought it might have been sold, and the money put into the bag, (for he was a thief) Our readers will recollect that this distinguished individual went on a mission, (without divine authority,) to the high priests, to collect funds, &c., and he was too zealous in his calling to leave an opportunity unimproved, when he could collect thirty pieces of silver, though it was the price of his Master. But Judas was an exception; the rest of them were Anti-Mission Baptists. It was not uncommon in those by-gone times for Baptist preachers to be found without a sixpence in their pockets, as witness the case of Peter and John, “at the beautiful gate.” “Silver and gold we have none.” Witness also, when it was necessary for Jesus and Peter to pay tribute; and when the disciples were sent out to preach they were charged to provide “neither gold nor silver, nor brass in their purses.” It is true, this sect were not only anti-missionary, but they were also anti-popular, and they rejoiced in this; and were exceeding glad when they were persecuted; yea, they thanked God when they were accounted worthy to suffer shame and reproach for his name’s sake; his sect were so iron-bound in their views, of the necessity of their obedience to Jesus as their only King, that nothing could break the bands. The tongue of slander, the whip, the prison, and death itself; were all employed (by those who were not anti-missionary) to rend these iron bands, but all these experiments failed - they could not be prevailed on to give up their unpopular notions. for the more popular doctrines of Judaism, or Paganism. They were even so obstinate as peremptorily to refuse to sell any of the gifts of the Holy Ghost for money. They had no idea that souls could be redeemed with such corruptible things as silver and gold, nor was it discovered that money had any such power until the days of his holiness, the Pope; the apostle Paul, with all his erudition, was so far from this secret that he even said that the love of money was the root of all evil; the craftsmen of Ephesus, however, were not of Paul’s opinion on this subject; they believed in gold and silver, for it was by that they had their wealth. The term “Anti-Mission Baptist” has been applied to the Elders and brethren who met last fall at Black Rock, and to all others. who refuse to join in the new order of things, such as forming Missionary Societies, uniting the church and the world together, selling memberships, directorships, &c., for money to put into the missionary bag, with a view of helping God. If we are to understand the words in their simple signification, i. e., anti against mission, commission or legation; Missionary, one sent of God to preach the gospel; the terms anti-mission or anti-missionary will not apply to us. it is only in the modern use, or rather abuse, of the words that they can apply to the church of Christ. Our constant supplication has been unto the “Lord of the harvest,” to raise up,. qualify and send forth faithful laborers; and when it has been his pleasure to grant our petitions we have ever been ready to communicate to them of our earthly substance. According to the simple meaning of the terms, the conductors of the Herald and Repository are a fair specimen of the anti-missionary spirit, as the whole drift of their publications are devoted to the promotion of the’ various popular institutions of men, which in our judgment are hostile to the mission instituted’ by our Lord Jesus Christ, and practiced lay the apostles.

The next New School word to be noticed is Hickory. This word is the name of a particular species of wood. It has been used by politicians in reference to the Chief Magistrate of the United States. But the precise meaning of the word, in its application to religious concerns, we have yet to learn we presume, however, it has been brought into requisition by way of reproach. For further particulars concerning the term we would refer to the letter of our “Correspondent Obscuratus,” published on our 102d page.

The word Infidel has been in use from the apostolic age, and the meaning of it has been definitely fixed. It was used to denote all those who denied the faith once delivered to the saints, whether Jew or Pagan, Pharisee or Workmonger, of that age; nor does it apply with less force at the present day, to all such as deny the faith of God’s elect, either directly, like Thomas Payne, in his “Age of Reason,” or indirectly, by setting aside the only rule of faith and practice God has ever given to the saints, and substituting in the stead thereof the clumsy contrivances of men, who teach for doctrines the commandments of men, making void the law of God by the traditions of men, after the manner of certain editors in the city of New York, and elsewhere. But this term cannot apply to that iron-bound sect who would sooner die than to depart from the gospel rule of faith and practice.

The infidel is certainly a very bad character, yet there is a worse spoken of in the New Testament, viz: “He that will not provide for his own, especially they of his own household,” &c. In this latter class may be numbered the following: Those paupers who are supported in idleness at the Theological Seminaries. Those who give to the various institutions of priesteraft that which should be applied to the payment of their debts, or laid out for the comfort of their families. And such as are slothful in business, and do not discharge that obligation to their families, which many infidels do to theirs. Such principles of worse than infidelity are advocated by the editor of the Repository. As Mr. Crosby has insinuated that to be an anti-missionary is to be an infidel, he is challenged to support his insinuation, and show in what particular that class of Baptists have departed from, or denied the faith of the bible.

But second, we will notice their proposed method of treating that class of Baptists who are called, by way of reproach, “Anti-Mission, Hickory, Infidel,” &c. Mr. Crosby and the editor of the Religious Herald are of opinion “that the best course is to let them alone.” Truly we honor their judgment in this particular; various experiments have been tried upon them, at sundry times, and in divers places, but their enemies have uniformly found that the best course after all was to let them alone. When Pharaoh, with his magicians and counselors, thought to prevent the increase of the Hebrew’s seed, they oppressed them, but this only made them the more fruitful, and their increase the more abundant. Their next experiment was to slay all the male children of the Hebrews, but this only brought Moses into the king’s house. Again,. they determined not to let them go out of Egypt; but in this. they also failed, and brought upon themselves the judgments. of God, until Pharaoh was of the opinion, too, “that his best course was to let them alone.” The Philistines, after taking captive the ark of the Lord, were presently forced to the same opinion expressed by the Herald and Repository; they sent back the ark, and concluded to let Israel alone. Goliath of Gath came in contact with the stripling David; he soon found that his better course would hare been to let David alone. And when the prophets of Baal came in collision with a prophet of the Lord, better had it been for them to let the Lord’s prophets alone. Haman also found, after attempting the destruction of the Jews, that it would have been better to hare let them alone. The Scribes, Pharisees, Saducees, lawyers, doctors and priests found that it was not a light matter for them to exterminate the disciples of Christ from among them. When they thought by persecution to prevent Christ’s ministers preaching the gospel, they found that the better course was to let them alone; for they were scattered by persecution, and being scattered, went everywhere preaching the word. The old mother of abominations has witnessed that God could raise from the ashes, as it were, of his martyred servants two for one, to stand in the testimony of the truth, so their best course is to let them alone.

The mortified Arminians, Unitarians, Socinians, Arians and Pedo-Baptists, in general, when vanquished from the field of combat, by the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, have always been, at such times, of opinion that their best course was to let this sect alone. And finally the advocates of the mongrel systems of church and world policy, after raging blasphemy, and heaping on those who stand fast in the apostles’ doctrine, all the calumny, abuse, and ridicule they are capable of, (which is considerable), have at last concluded, with their ancient predecessors, that their best course is to let them alone.

Third, why is this the best course? The reasons are as obvious as the sun in the heavens. Almost six thousand years the enemies of God and truth have been engaged in warfare against the cause and people of God, but in, what single instance have they ever been victorious? Not one! Hence the gloomy prospects of the Herald and Repository presents one good reason for their adopting this course. “Every one that (beth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest that they are wrought in God,” so instead of the saints being discouraged or daunted by the tumult of their enemies, they court, and even challenge, investigation. This, then, is another good reason why Mr. Crosby & Co. should withdraw from the field.

Last, but not least, the bulwark of the popular system being darkness, they can bear anything else rather than the light of truth. They can confidently appeal to depraved human reason; and they will tell us plainly that their “best defence” is to point to the results of their labors in the four quarters of the world, where we are informed the fool’s eyes are. Let it be remembered that this is their best defence; but we thank God, christians have a much better defence than this; their place of defence is the invincible munition of rocks. The God of Jeshurun rideth upon the heavens in their help, and in his excellency on the sky. The eternal God is their refuge, and underneath them are his everlasting arms. Hence it is wisdom in these editors to let this iron-bound sect alone.

In closing our protracted remarks, let us attend a moment to the exulting interrogatory with which our extract concludes. “How many missionaries have the Hickory and Infidel Baptists sent forth to preach their own iron-bound system?” Receiving, as we do, these scurrilous names as the dying groans of exhausted argument, of course the inquiry relates to us. We answer. It is not our method of defence to point to the world for testimony. If we were of the world, the world would hear us, and the world would give testimony in our behalf; but this is not the case. We look for nothing in this world but what our divine Master has taught us to expect from it. His words are, “In the world ye shall have tribulation,” &c. We ask not for the witness of the world. No, sirs, we scorn the armor of which you make your boast, as we do the system for which you contend, and instead of looking or pointing to the world as our defence, we make our appeal to the word of God which liveth and abideth forever. The world, and the fulness thereof, is to pass away, the elements to melt with fervent heat, and then, gentlemen, your witness will be no more. But then, even then, amidst “the wreck of nature, and the crash of worlds,” will the saints with joy lift up their heads and rejoice, for their Eternal Rock abideth. Yes, sirs,” Walk round Zion, tell her towers, consider her palaces, mark well her bulwarks,” and forever remember that God will appoint salvation for her walls and bulwarks. These are our best, our only defence. What think ye of such fortifications? Do ye ask, “How many missionaries we have sent forth to preach our iron-bound system?” We answer, “The Lord gave the word; great was the company of them that published it.” We do not arrogate to ourselves the right to make and employ missionaries. The king, in whose service we delight, has ever attended to that department of his government himself. He has directed us to pray him to send more laborers into the harvest, and we obey him; the system of the gospel may in some respects be figuratively considered an “iron-bound system” on account of its superior strength and security, and of the impossibility of uniting it with clay, or the muddy systems which are set forth in the columns of the Herald, Repository, &c. Yet as the term is not bible, we feel inclined to let our opponents have the exclusive use of it.

And now a word to the editor of the Repository. You, sir, commenced your attack on our publication, even before it came into being. You told your readers that it was an anti-gospel publication but, as soon as you discovered that your scurrilous attempts to injure us were turned to our advantage, you concluded that your best way would be to let us alone. You will recollect that we requested you in our first number to point out any error you might have discovered in our publication; but this you have not done. We now call on you, as a professed christian, Baptist, minister of the gospel, or even as a gentleman, to come to the light with your insinuations, and make a fair exposure of such errors as you have discovered. If you have no regard for us to prompt you to this measure, consider the hundreds who are receiving our publication as truth, and show them wherein they err. We assure you that it is not our intention to advance or support error. We are, however, a fallible creature, and liable to err, but we stand open to conviction, and when you will bring from the book of God a “Thus saith the Lord,” to convict us, we promise, as soon as we shall be so convicted, to retract what we have stated amiss.

Think not to secure yourself in ambush to deal out your bitterness against the truth. Come boldly to the light of truth, or else have the honesty to tell your readers that you dread the contest; that yours is a system of darkness, and that it will not bear the light. But if; after all, you still continue to throw out your wicked insinuations, and then in a cowardly manner retreat to your best course, be assured we will not follow you example, but we will continue to circumambulate your battlements, and disturb your repose, as with the sound of “ram’s horns.” You will find it quite too late to pretend that we are unworthy of your notice, for you have already noticed us, you have already put on the armor and boasted, therefore, for your own credit’s sake, let the public know that you have not boasted in vain.

New Vernon, N. Y.,
March 13, 1833.

Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 1
Pages 39 - 48