BROTHER PAYTON of Indiana requested our opinion on the above subject, as will be seen by reference to his letter in our last number, page 158. Our reply was necessarily deferred until now, for want of room in the last number.
We conclude the scriptural way to discharge this, and every religious duty, is the best way. All our religious duties are pointed out in the New Testament, with the rule to be observed in the performance of the same, with as many of the whys and wherefores as are necessary for us to know. In that blessed volume the man of God is thoroughly furnished to all good works. - 2 Tim. iii. 16, 17. If we are unable to determine the connection of the rule laid down with the duty before us, we are instructed to ask counsel of God, who giveth freely unto all men, and upbraideth not. We are not at liberty to tax our wits with the invention of ways and means, for upon that rock all the New School have split. It has been thought by some of them, that a direct tax upon the members, of ten dollars on every thousand they may possess, is the best way to bring them into the traces. Others have formed their congregations into societies, for the express object of making them contribute to the support of their preachers; and as an inducement, allow them the privilege of voting at the election of a pastor. This they consider the best way. While others think it still preferable to sell or rent the pews in their meeting-houses; each thinking their respective way the best, without the least reference to any rule that God has given.
As our individual opinion is required on this subject, we freely give it. From all the light we have, either from the word or from personal observation, we judge the best way for a preacher to manage with his brethren, when he finds them disposed to neglect his temporal wants, is to feed them well; for when they are well fed, they will feel better able to be liberal. If the preacher frets, scolds, and finds fault, they will in return feel unwilling to pay him for growling and snarling; as all the time he spends in dunning and urging the flock to pay him for his services, the sheep will be on short allowance of gospel food; but let them be well fed on the sincere milk of the word, and they will grow and thrive; and instead of feeling so lean, and poor, and parsimonious., they will feel their hearts expanding with gratitude, to God, for all his benefits; and as they bask upon the marrow and fatness of the gospel, they will remember the wants of their pastor, and of their poor brethren, for whom God has made it their duty and privilege (so far as he has blessed them with the means) to provide.
If the brother or brethren are aggrieved with the backwardness of others in the church, who having the ability, do not come cheerfully up to the work, they should labor with them in the same manner they would if aggrieved on account of any other offenses.
NEW VERNON, N. Y.,
November 1, 1841.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 1
Pages 726 – 727