WE have devoted much of the present and of the preceding number to the disclosure of the corruption and abomination of the missionary speculation at Jamaica; and truly we may say in the language brother West has quoted from Jeremiah at the head of his communication, “A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests (or clergy which are so called) bear rule by their means; and my people (or those who claim to be the people of God) love to have it so.”
The awful profanation of the sacred name of religion to cover the most base and deceptive robbery of the poor, ignorant, superstitious sons of Africa, that has ever soiled the pages of Baptist history, is indeed a wonderful and horrible thing. Modern mission advocates have been prophesying for many years the conversion of the world through the operation of their missionary movements, which prophecy is false; for salvation is of the Lord, and there is no salvation in any other name. By means of this false prophecy the clergy are enabled to bear rule, and although they rule as with a rod of iron, yet men are so extravagantly fond of being deceived that they love to have it so. We cannot offend them more than by exposing their errors and holding forth the truth. The disclosure made by Mr. Weston is a very fair illustration of the above remark. From a residence at Jamaica as a missionary for two years, Mr. Weston was certainly qualified to speak from his own knowledge of the facts in the case. As a New School Baptist, and as a missionary himself, it cannot be reasonably supposed that he would have any inducement to exaggerate; and from the candor evinced in the tone and spirit of his writings we have great reason to believe that his statements were made with the utmost caution, and that he was ready to make every possible allowance for every circumstance which could weigh in favor of the missionaries.
By reference to our 16th number of the present volume, the reader will find the letter of Mr. Weston, in which he charges the English Missionaries with extorting from their poor deluded people vast sums of money, which in the aggregate amounts to $6,500 annually for each English Missionary, by making them believe that their salvation depends on the punctual payment of their ticket money, from which source this immense revenue is derived; with instituting the office of leaders, whose duty it is to make proselytes, teach them the questions and answers required to be known as a prerequisite to baptism, and to set them off by raising them from their knees and saying, “I raise you up to newness of life in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.” Mr. Weston charges them also not only with failing to preach to the people the necessity of the quickening operation of the Holy Ghost, the blood and righteousness of Christ as the ground of their justification with Christ, &c., but also with opposing others and censuring him for Preaching these things to them. From nearly two years’ acquaintance he says, “Aside from their schools I can see very little to choose between their religion and the basest Catholicism.”
When these charges were first published, an attempt was made to evade their force by charging the Old School Baptists with having fabricated them to raise a prejudice against missionary operations, but as this slander against the Old School did not take, the letter of Weston was passed about through nearly all the New School prints. This brought out several communications from various quarters in defence of the English Missionaries at Jamaica, among which is that of C. H. Hoskin, and those documents and apologies of the committee of the Baptist Missionary Society; and from all that we have seen, and all that we have presented to our readers of their defence, to us it appears that so far from invalidating the testimony of Weston they have established it. First, they give Weston a first rate character for truth and veracity. Second, they admit the existence of the leadership system, with many other things of which Weston complained. Third, they admit that tickets are given and exchanged as Weston has represented, and that when these tickets are renewed a certain sum of money is expected. They attempt to justify the practice by saying that the situation and circumstances of the blacks at Jamaica require a different provision from any mentioned in the New Testament, and some of them have asserted as much. Mr. W. Hume for instance says, “To do without either (tickets or leaders) would be impossible, if the cause of Christ is to prosper.” This declaration is handed over by the committee to the public, as a justification of the persons implicated, showing that the committee and the Missionary Society in general are agreed with the sentiment.
New Vernon, N.Y.
Dec. 1. 1842
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 2
Pages 101 – 103