UNDER this imposing pretension all the wheels of modern speculative philanthropy are put in motion, and all their revolutions are made to tell of the magnitude of the enterprise; every agent employed, from the generator of steam to the little twirling spindle, are made to bubble and buzz with large accounts of unprecedented success attendant on these human contrivances for the reformation of mankind and the overthrow of Satan’s kingdom. Magnificent societies encircling the great and wealthy of Europe and America have been employed for years in distributing bibles, tracts, missionaries and heresies throughout the accessible parts of the world, and the numbers of converts have been multiplied at home and abroad to an astonishing amount. The favorite idols of numerous pagans have been renounced and hurled back indignantly to their bats and moles, for the more refined systems of modern invention. The Washingtonians, or professedly reformed drunkards, with the abolitionists, the Millerites and the Mormons are all employed in preparing the world for the exit of time. “Father Matthews” in Europe, and Delavan, the “apostle of temperance” in this country, are doing exploits; and some have whispered that the end of all things will be in April next. Others there are indeed, afternoon sort of people, who think that without an astonishing harvest of pecuniary aid they will not be able to prepare for their anticipated millennium in less than thirty or forty years; but these are willing to avail themselves of all the excitement produced upon the public mind by Mr. Miller’s theory, notwithstanding they very generally denounce him as a fanatic.
Many new orders of revivalists have been originated to do the business of evangelizing the world. The Baptists in the south have adopted the camp-meeting plan, and drive on business with a zeal surpassing that of the Methodists, while their New School brotherhood in the north are making rapid work with tents and protracted meetings.
At present Mr. Miller, Alexander Campbell and Finney the perfectionist are all engaged in the benevolent work of reforming the citizens of New York City. Time and space would fail us to spread out before our readers any adequate idea of the numerous schemes, inventions, machines and appendages now in full operation for the suppression of sin and the annihilation of Satan’s kingdom, and yet we greatly mistake if there has ever been a period in the history of our country when all manner of crime and immorality, heresy and spiritual wickedness in high places flourished to so great an extent. There are reported by our courts of justice, perhaps twice as many murders, suicides, robberies, thefts, duels, perjuries and frauds than at any previous period in the recollection of the most aged of our generation. The numerous cells of the new prison in this county are at this moment literally filled to overflowing with culprits awaiting their trial. Nor is this state of things at all peculiar to this meridian; from every quarter we hear of a similar state of things.
To us it appears very evident that the God who looked down upon the folly and madness of the builders of Babel, and in judgment inflicted on them a confused language, gives too plain an indication of his righteous indignation to be mistaken. How can it be otherwise? God will not be mocked by men who profanely undertake to supercede his method of salvation by the substitution of their own inventions. How arrogant and presumptuous for mortal worms who profess to know the Lord, in whose sight the heavens are not pure, and by whom angels are charged with folly, to presume to improve his plans or to excel his wisdom. Will he not demand of them, “Who hath required this at your hands?” More than twenty years since the general apostacy of the Baptists have been spent in fruitless experiments to mature a system of salvation by works, and to make converts without the special operation of the Holy Ghost. Thousands of conversions have been reported as the result; but alas! how mortifying to the pride of man to hear the keen reproof of Jesus, “Every plant that my heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up.” All the heresies, delusions, persecutions and religious extravagancies that have ever agitated our guilty world, disturbed the church of God and caused rivers of innocent blood to flow, were introduced under the specious pretence of reforming, christianizing or evangelizing the world and improving the state and condition of the church.
The conspiracy of Jews and Romans, of wicked men and devils against the life and character of the immaculate Savior, against his apostles and the primitive saints was headed by high priests and elders, scribes and Pharisees; and the crucifixion of Christ and the proscription and martyrdom of his disciples was effected under the highest profession of profound regard for the glory of God and the spiritual good of man. The establishment of the professedly christian religion by law, under Constantine, together with the whole train of improvements in religion, the creation of a pope, an inquisition and the lighting up the fires of the papal persecution, were all conceived, undertaken and consummated professedly for the salvation of mankind. No theory can be too heterodox, no practice too corrupt to gain patronage from the multitude if it be but enrobed in the livery of religion. Mahomet succeeded in fastening his delusions on his numerous dupes; Peter, the hermit, in securing the patronage of the crowned heads of Europe, and in enrolling a mighty army to attempt the extermination of infidelity and the substitution of the papal heresy in Palestine; and with the same kind of zeal the Puritans of the east and the Protestants of the south waged their wars of extermination against the Baptists and all other non-conformists, and persecuted them in some instances even unto death. And now while verging upon the middle of this nineteenth century, with all the boasted light, science, patriotism and religion, and with the full mass of historical testimony pouring its meridian radiance upon us, we see the same spirit, zeal, delusion and excessive fondness of error as an incubus fastened upon the citizens of these United States, and from this country breaking forth like a flood to deluge the more barbarous nations of the earth. And this is called evangelizing the earth; while the laws of Jesus, the doctrine of the gospel and the institutions of the house of God are cast aside as being quite too antiquated and inefficient to be of any further use.
NEW VERNON, N. Y.,
Dec. 1, 1842.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 2
Pages 94 – 97