“BROTHER Joseph Baker keeps an excellent Female Seminary, assisted by able teachers, in the branches of an ornamental and polite education, and he preaches to three churches. By the way, let me urge brethren to follow his example. He carries the publications of the American Tract Society to all his appointments, and has already distributed a considerable quantity. Go thou and do likewise. Every Thursday night he preaches in his school-room. I preached there to a crowded audience. One year he paid $50 for a room; but he ought not to pay for room rent out of his own pocket; – some effort should be made to get a house in Winchester. It is a shame that a place numbering over 5,000 inhabitants should be represented chiefly by Hardshell Baptists. At Strasburg, Shenandoah Co., the Rev. Gilbert Beebe gave out my notice, and said that I “would not preach the gospel, but say something about tracts.” He was returning from New Market, Where the Ketocton Association held its meeting. In a late SIGNS OF THE TIMES he has copied my article calling for 3,000 for the Virginia Tract Society, upon which he makes some very queer remarks. By mistake, I stopped at one of the Old Fashioned Baptists. He told me that brother Buck had recently called on him with brother Trott; the former filled up his soul with joy by a sweet sermon from the song of Solomon; the latter comforted him beyond description, in putting his things into his saddle-bags. Deluded souls,
“‘Like barren sands, imbibe the shower,
But yield not either fruit or flower.’”
As we find our name placed in the good company of brethren Buck and Trott, it might be thought uncourteous in us to pass the article by in silence. The writer of the article before us has awarded to the Old School Baptists the very significant appellation, Hardshell, and indeed we do not wonder that he should so consider us, seeing that all the arrows and missles thrown at us from the New School party fall so harmless at our feet. He has not yet understood that the shield which our glorious Leader has provided for his followers possesses the quality of quenching the fiery darts of the devil.
This gentleman has been traveling extensively, as appears from his communication, and seems to have been exploring the country for the purpose of looking out such locations as he might think most favorable for the establishment of New School machinery. Populous cities, flourishing villages and rich country places have irresistible charms in his eye. He has only to find the place, and then call on his co-operators for men and money, and the work goes on. With him it is a shame that. the Hardshell Baptists have an existence at Winchester, Va. But unto whom does he intend to impute shame? God has raised up in that city a monument of his goodness and grace. God has located them there, and does this blasphemous wretch intend to charge the God of heaven with shame? Does he believe that God has anything to do with raising New School or Softshell Baptists? If so, still the charge of shame is impiously hurled at his Maker! Or does he only wish to awaken a spirit of persecution against the people of God, and to appeal to the pride of Winchester to rouse up her sons to wipe off the reproach by exterminating the Old School Baptists from their city? With what an envious eye he looks upon the church of Jesus Christ wherever he finds them in his travels. If he only means to shame his own party for suffering an Old School Baptist church to exist at Winchester, he is both unjust and ungenerous, for that party have done all in their power to drive them from the ground.
In regard to the affair at Strasburg, when we were returning from Ebenezer (not Ketocton) Association, at New Market, we preached at Strasburg, and finding a written note laying on the pulpit, of the Presbyterian House which we occupied, we were told that it contained an appointment, which we understood our brother Hupp to say we were desired to publish. At the close of the meeting we took up the paper and read to the congregation, as near as our recollection now serves, as follows: “Elder Crane, preach in this house on –– evening, and present the claims of the American Tract Society, (and perhaps) the Bible Society.” After having read the paper, we remarked that the appointment was not for preaching the gospel of Christ, but for presenting the claims of the institutions named in the note. And this we did on the authority of the note. We did not say that he would not preach the gospel, but that the appointment was not for that purpose. If, however, Mr. Crane did preach any gospel on that evening, and it can be made so to appear by him or his friends, we shall conclude that a corrupt fountain can send forth pure water. His allusion to our queer remarks on his offer to mortgage heaven for $3,000, requires no reply from us, as he does not dispute what we have written on that subject; and how queer the truth may sound to one so accustomed to error, we are not prepared to say.
That his calling on an Old School Baptist was by mistake, is altogether probable, as he could have very little occasion for calling on any but New Fashioned Baptists. To hear an Old Fashioned Baptist tell of his soul’s being fed, comforted or filled with joy and gratitude on hearing brother Buck or Trott preach from the song of Solomon, or from any other part of divine revelation, would be very likely to sound queer to him. It would undoubtedly be more interesting to him to call on one of his own sort, and hear him talk of hearing sermons from missionary agents, presenting the claims of the clergy upon the pockets of the laity. The couplet quoted, and with which lie concludes his remarks concerning the Hardshells, whom he calls “ deluded souls,” is expressive of his feelings, in common with those of his fellow-craftsmen, that while the Old Fashioned Baptists imbibe the dew of divine grace, and the showers of refreshing from on high, they yield no support to their humanly devised institutions.
New Vernon, N.Y.,
October 15, 1843
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 2
Pages 348 – 351