Our readers have probably all heard the ludicrous tales which have been frequently told on Yankee pedlers of their oak leaf segars, wooden cucumber seeds, &c., and all have united in the general verdict against that class of our community. But should a question be raised for discussion at this day on the comparative merits of the clergy and the Yankees, who will undertake to show up one roguish trick of the Yankees for every score we can detect in. the proceedings of the religious jugglers of this nineteenth century?
In looking through the columns of a stray number of the American Messenger, a paper published by and devoted to the interest of the American Tract Society, we were involuntarily led to make the comparison implied in the words at the head of this article, and to strike the balance greatly in favor of Yankee trickery! We have no knowledge of any class of the non-professing world that is not left far in the distance, for dishonest, hypocritical, sly, artful and cunning plots and schemes for gulling the public of its wealth, character and self-government, by those who wear sacerdotal garments, and love to be greeted in the market places.
From the number of the Messenger before us, (No. iv. Of Vol. i.) we copied a few articles into the last number of the SIGNS, accompanied with our remarks, and we shall give one or two more in the present.
The disposition betrayed by the society in the following article, to usurp a censorship over the press, and to dictate to the community what books are proper to be read, and what should be suppressed, deserves a rebuke. Those who purchase hare not always time to examine, and if they hare, their discrimination or ability to judge and choose for themselves what kind of books to introduce into their families, is questioned. How very kind and benevolent in the Tract society to appoint a committee of, if not black legs, black coats, who have plenty of time, being supported on public bounty, and who have discrimination in quantum sufficit to suppress all books which are not published by themselves, and shut out every ray of light which would be calculated to expose the corruption and base hypocrisy of their abominable institutions.
Their committee consists, as we are gravely told, of men who are thoroughly evangelical. Cobb defines the word Evangelical to mean according to the gospel. But what resemblance can be traced between this hireling nest of money-begging mammon worshipers and their doctrines, and the gospel of Jesus Christ, no ordinary intellect can conceive. If this committee is composed of men w ho are thoroughly conformed to the gospel, why do they belong to separate and conflicting denominations? Can they all be thoroughly conformed to gospel rule and yet remain as widely apart from all other in faith and practice as Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, &c., agreeing in nothing but their schemes to gull the public, oppress and persecute the saints of God, and gormandize upon their ill-gotten plunder? With what effrontery they challenge, “What evangelical christian, fully acquainted with the American Tract Society, doubts that all this is true of their publishing committee, and of every publication it issues?” We answer, every one to whom the name of christian and the character of evangelical legitimately be longs, not only doubts, but has painful evidence to the contrary. The committee of that institution is composed of such men as Herod and Pilate, who can lay aside their sectarian wrangling only for the purpose of uniting their hostility to God and to his Christ. We doubt not that they would gladly select all our books for us, and all our preachers, our sentiments, and our laws, both civil and religious. To look for protection from imposition, heresy, or from anything that is abominable, to such men, would be like seeking for a cool and safe retreat in the bowels of Vesuvius.
“It has been loudly complained of, and most justly too, that editors of papers, and eminent ministers and laymen often give their endorsement to books of very little worth, not to say of a highly injurious tendency. He who would purchase for himself or others has not always the time to examine, even if he has discrimination to decide on the merits of a book.
“Of how much value, then, is an institution having an able committee consisting of men thoroughly evangelical, known and loved in the churches, and connected with different communions, who carefully examine every book they issue, and send out nothing to poison the minds of youth, or give false or distorted views of religion or of human life.
“What evangelical christian fully acquainted with the American Tract Society, doubts that all this is true of its Publishing Committee, and every publication it issues? In this aspect alone is it not an institution of incalculable worth? You wish to circulate good books over the land and world – here they are furnished to your hand, every one of them worthy of the labor and the cost you may expend.”
Now let the reader compare the spirit manifested in the above article, and the general policy of the American Tract Society, ‘with all its kindred institutions, with the following, copied from the same Messenger, (of Satan) and point out the difference, if any difference there be, between the Jesuits of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and the New School Baptists and other arminian denominations in the United States of the nineteenth century – as exemplified in the general character of the latter as well as in the Jamaica case in particular. In both cases creeds are conformed to carnal taste and numbers and funds thereby acquired.
“This learned and artful society in the Romish church was founded by Ignatius Loyola, a Spaniard, in 1537, and became the grand bulwark of papacy. Their characteristics were craft and subtlety; and the facility with which they relaxed the moral system of christianity, and accommodated it to the propensities of mankind, rendered them exceedingly popular as spiritual advisers and confessors. They were perfectly unscrupulous in the use of means for the accomplishment of their ends. This powerful society was suppressed first by the French Parliament, then by Spain, Portugal, Italy, &c., and finally the order was extinguished by Pope Clement XIV. in 1773. This was a grievous blow to the papacy. In the course of the present century this dangerous order has been revived by Pope Pius VII. and is beginning again to trouble the church. It is spreading itself secretly, but taking root firmly in Europe and in the United States, and with its wonted policy seeming to adapt itself to the institutions of the country, while by getting the control of education it prepares to modify and direct those institutions at its will.” – Palmer’s Church History, 1842.
“The churches in Jamaica, West Indies, which have been nurtured by the English Missionary Society, have resolved hereafter themselves to support the gospel, and the aid of the Missionary Society is no longer required.” – American Messenger.
No doubt the disclosures of Weston, published in a former number of the SIGNS, have led to this result. When these missionists have drilled their victims to the tune of five or six thousand dollars per annum, the work is pronounced completed.
New Vernon, N.Y.,
June 15, 1843
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 2
Pages 278 – 281