We owe an apology to our brethren of the Miami Association, and particularly to brother Saunders, for so long delaying the publication of his communication, which appears in this paper. Our unavoidable absence from home so large a portion of our time since we received the manuscript, has been a principle reason for its being deferred until the present.
Our readers will discover that the churches which were dropped from this association, have raised a great outcry against the right of the association to drop them. But what is fellowship? Is it anything more than an empty names We Old School Baptists hold it as the bond of’ vital and spiritual union, and it certainly cannot imply any thing less than a union of faith and practice. Do these Fullerite and Missionite churches pretend to say that such union did exist between themselves and the association from which they have been severed? Let the history of their quarreling jargons for the last few years, and up to the time of their separation from the congregation of the Lord, answer. Yet in what plaintive sounds they vociferate the cry, oppression, injustice, &c., because the Miami Association will no longer recognize them among the living in Jerusalem.
One word upon the subject of the. charge of oppression. Professing the faith of the old Miami Association, these four churches applied for admission; on that profession they were received. Now does it follow as a matter of course that because they have made that profession as a passport to get into that association, that the association is bound to retain their names after they have thrown off the disguise and demonstrated that they are not of the same faith and order? Certainly not. If the association had a right in justice and equity to judge of their profession of faith, and to extend to them their fellowship on such professions, in the first instance they must have the same right to determine what they can not fellowship. Hence, away with the cry of oppression.
Again. What advantage could result to either party from a continuance of a nominal union of such heterogenious materials? They could get together once a year and quarrel, and disgrace the very name of that holy religion which we profess. Nay, more: these new light churches, if they could manage to perpetuate their connection, could eat their own bread, and wear their own apparel, and be called by the name of the association to take away their reproach, and thus keep up their standing on the credit of those who are esteemed sound in the faith. But what would be the expense to the association? Paul says, “He that is joined to a harlot has become one flesh.” The association would identify herself with the whole mass of the iniquity of the other; and she would also have to sacrifice all the grand objects of her first organization, and give way to discord, contention, and continual strife; but the Miami Association has gloriously acquitted herself - she has dropped them from her connection - she has returned them to the place from whence she has taken them, and we hope she has learned a profitable, if an unpleasant lesson in this case, to beware of again being entangled with the yoke of bondage.
The rejected churches have organized themselves apart from the others; this was their right, and to this the old school should have no objection; and whether they feel disposed to christen themselves Tom or Harry, is a matter of little importance, except the mere compliment of selecting the name of Miami, in preference to any other, which shows that they were aware of the high standing of the legitimate Miami Association. To us, however, it seems more rational to suppose that their object was to build on better credit than their own, and so they have borrowed the name, but rejected the purity of Miami Association.
The bearing which this separation has in a general point of view on other churches and associations, cannot be otherwise than salutary. Already do the good results begin develop themselves. The churches cast oft are driven to the necessity of separating from them such as will not bow to Baal. The line is drawn, and stragglers of both sides are compelled to return home. The East Fork, of Little Miami Association were compelled to show their flag, and choose their associates, at their last session; others are and will be compelled to go and do likewise. So mote it be.
ALEXANDRIA, D. C.,
September 8, 1837.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 1
Pages 395 – 397