MINISTERIAL EDUCATION

(Concluded)

"AT a meeting of the Executive Committee on Education, held at Tecumseh, June 1st, the following, resolution was passed, viz.:

"Resolved, That the committee request, through the Herald, the pastors of the various Baptist Churches in this state, to take up a collection in their respective congregations to enable the Board of the Convention to aid brother Fletcher Marsh in obtaining an education for the ministry.'

"CIRCULAR.

"DEAR BRETHREN: - Among the items of benevolence recognized by the Constitution of our State Convention, as claiming and receiving its patronage, is Ministerial Education. Hitherto, little or nothing has been done by the Convention, beyond the appointment of an Executive Committee, in this department. The urgent calls for ministerial labors, echoing from settlement to settlement, present the Home Mission cause in such an imposing attitude, that it absorbs the undivided attention of the churches, associations and convention. The cry, ‘Send us ministers,' thrills through the delicate nervous system of gospel love, and awakens to lively exercise the noblest sympathies of the devout mind. The cry is heard - is felt, and nearly our whole pecuniary force is directed towards the relief of the applicants; consequently the operation of the Convention, in the other departments of benevolence, is of an exceedingly restricted character. We call not upon you, brethren and friends, to relax your efforts in behalf of Domestic Missions. No; God forbid! but we call upon you, as God has prospered you, to aid the Convention in their noble purpose of giving to Michigan an educated ministry. You will soon be in your graves, and your spirits, saved! saved!! eternally saved, will, in immortal triumph, stand day and night in the presence of him who, though rich, for your sakes became poor; your offspring will take your places in Zion, and, be assured, will long feel the effects which the attitude you may now take, with reference to ministerial education, may produce. Let the sentiment be deeply engraven on every heart - let it be proclaimed from every pulpit - let associations and the Convention take up the sound, and send it on the wings of the wind through the length and breadth of the peninsula, that an educated ministry is essential to our ultimate prosperity as a denomination in the state. In arriving at this conclusion we do not look back fifty or an hundred years, but fix our eye upon the attitude assumed by the community in 1843. Education is now liberally patronized by the state. The church must keep pace with the march of mind or sacrifice her dignity, and with it, her moral power over cultivated intellect. It is also worthy of notice, that a large proportion of our Pedo-Baptist brethren send only men of finished education in the field. These annihilate one of the Savior's institutions, substitute a rite foreign to the New Testament in its place, and gravely inform the community that they are sustained by the Greek. Such assertions may be, must be passed by in silence, when there are no kindred resources to meet them; but ‘when Greek meets Greek, then comes the tug of war;' truth is not prostrated without a rational defence, and the church is, on this point, blameless before God, having ‘done what she could.' There are several young men in the state, belonging to our denomination, whose souls burn within them to preach the gospel of Christ to their fellow-men; but they are poor, and destitute of the requisite amount of knowledge to render them acceptable or useful pastors or missionaries. Brethren, shall we let the internal fires consume them? Shall we suffer them to pine away in agony of spirit, panting to do good t Will God bless us as churches or as individuals should we, in the premises, do less than our duty? Must these brethren enter the field as they are, and, in mortification of soul, contend with learned opposition all the days of their life? Or has the church of God nothing to do with the matter? I trust that every Baptist in the state understands his duty to God, to the church and to his fellow-men, better than to arrive at such a conclusion. It is sometimes said that uneducated men have done much good in Zion. True, there have been brethren, there still are, possessing clear heads, warm hearts, anti the most rigid powers of analysis - brethren of capacious minds, capable of grasping and illucidating the darkest points of revelation, (except when obscured by Grecian metaphor, or concealed beneath the usus loquendi of eastern nations) and of making the hearts of their hearers tremble under the awful truth of the Almighty; yet men thus great and useful by nature, must even be greater and more useful still when educated.

"‘As the rough diamond when it leaves the mine
Only in little breakings shows its light,
Till artful polishing doth make it shine -
So education makes the genius bright.'"

"The question is not solely, what will promote the interests of the Savior's kingdom? but what will most promote it? It was wrong before God for the church to attempt to build up Zion by the adoption of measures which she knows to be less efficient than others which might be adopted. Now ask our aged brethren, both educated and uneducated, those who have exhausted their energies in striving to forward the interests of truth, what course shall we take with our young men who, in the judgment of the churches, are called of God to preach the gospel, in order that they may effect the greatest amount of good? With one voice the veterans of the cross will say, GIVE THEM AN EDUCATION. If this is the mind of God, he cannot accept less at our hands, and that it is his will, might be argued from the diversity and complexion of human language, the miraculous bestowment of knowledge, classical and sacred, upon those who were first appointed to preach the gospel, and the enlightened state of society at the present day. But our limits forbid our elaborating the subject, nor do we deem it necessary, amid the light of the nineteenth century, to do more than to present a brief acumenical view of it.

"Our object in writing this Circular at the present time is to call the attention of our brethren to the resolution of the Executive Committee on Education at the head of this article. Our beneficiary, brother Fletcher Marsh, to whom the Board promised assistance six months ago, is pursuing his studies at the University at Ann Arbor. It is not too much to say to the churches that brother Marsh is a brother of great promise. From the developments which we have witnessed, both of his head and his heart, we believe that he ‘will be a valuable accession to our ministerial ranks; especially should he be permitted to complete his studies. But be needs assistance; he is already in debt for his last quarter's board, or rather, the Board of the Convention are indebted to him, according to their pledge. His hope is directed to us as a Board - our hope is based upon the benevolence of the churches. Brethren, will you help us? Will you do it immediately? Can we not raise six cents from every Baptist member in the state for educational purposes? We can. Brethren in the ministry, let us try. Pastors and missionaries, attend to it immediately. Our brethren are liberal - our Board, our brethren, are needy; and God says, He that giveth to the poor lendeth to the Lord. Produce or any article of family consumption, sent (care of B. Align) to Ann Arbor, will be acceptable.

"By order of the Executive Committee on Education.

"JAMES PYPER, SEC'Y.

"ADRIAN, Aug. 17, 1843."

IN addition to our remarks on this subject in our last number, we promised to copy the Circular into this paper, and to show the corruption, hypocrisy and covetousness of its doctrines; but before we proceed to uncover its doctrines, we will offer a word or two in regard to its origin. This Circular is the Ishmael of a church and state establishment in Michigan; it emanates from the Michigan Baptist State Convention. The kingdom of Christ is not of this world, but the Michigan Convention is of this world, and without a warrant, either example or precept, in the scriptures. Separate what is called "the church" from the world, and you annihilate the Michigan Baptist State Convention, and with it the whole brood of its kindred arminian institutions; it is therefore unlike the kingdom of the Lord Jesus. To justify our conclusion, that this convention is a church and state establishment, examine its composition, and the number of its name. This creature is not the church, nor does it claim to be; but take from it its connection with what is called the church, and you destroy its existence. Again, it is not the state of Michigan, or it would adopt a more summary modus of raising the lucre for Mr. Marsh to sport in idleness upon; but it is a thing composed of church and state, and of this its sponsors were aware when they christened it, by a name appropriately signifying its mongrel composition. The number of its name distinctly articulates the names of the church and of the state, and in the absence of either it must cease to be. It is a religious organization, whose maker and builder is man. Without being born again, men can see it. Without being born of the water and of the Spirit, men can enter into it. The Lord Jesus Christ whom God has set upon his holy hill Zion, presides not over it; for the president's name is J. Booth. It is not governed by the New Testament; for it has a constitution and laws of it own. Not grace, but money, is the required qualification for membership. This beast is not to occupy a place subordinate to the church, but is destined to hold the station of a god. Prayers and supplication are made unto it, and offerings and costly sacrifices are made unto it. The cry comes up to this humanly devised deity, from settlement to settlement, and the cry "Send us ministers!" absorbs the undivided attention of the churches, associations and Convention, so far at least as relates to those compressed within the slimy folds of this leviathan. If the worshipers of this beast do not regard it as a god, or cause it to sit in the temple of God, showing itself to be a god, why do they pray to it for ministers, or gifts and qualifications for the ministry. The King of Zion has instructed his subjects to pray the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his vineyard; and in regard to qualifications for usefulness, "If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth liberally, and upbraideth not." But how different the policy of anti-christ! If settlements and churches want ministers, let them pray the Convention, and let their piteous cry echo from settlement to settlement, until it absorbs the undivided attention of the Convention. And if any of their ministers lack wisdom, let them ask it of the education department of the Convention. Is not this rival of the government of Christ an idol? "The cry, Send us ministers," says the Circular, "thrills through the delicate nervous system of gospel love, and awakes to lively exercise the noblest sympathies of the devout mind - the cry is heard - is felt; and nearly our whole pecuniary force is directed towards the relief of the applicants - consequently the operation of the Convention in the other departments of benevolence, is of an exceedingly restricted character." What a burst of eloquence! Who, by reading one plain old-fashioned bible would have thought of the delicate nervous system of gospel love? Gospel love is not quite so nervous as the Circular would represent. By gospel love, in a scriptural sense, we understand the love of God. It is sovereign, immutable, efficacious, and eternal. Such is the love of God, and such love God communicates to his children, and they when under its governing power, love the gospel, and all that it develops, of doctrine, of faith, and practice; and as they love God, his people and his laws, they discard all who would rival him in the management of his kingdom. This love is not so nervous as to be acted upon by animal magnetism, or the galvanic battery of arminianism. What this Circular profanely calls gospel love, is only the love of the world, its sympathies are to be moved by human machinery, and when excited, to be measured out in dollars and cents, until "nearly the whole pecuniary force" of the Convention is exhausted. But what is the pecuniary force of the love of the gospel of Christ, when reckoned in silver or gold? That love which Judas possessed, amounted to thirty pieces of silver! But gospel love could not be displayed with such corruptible things as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ.

Pecuniary force may properly belong to that kind of love which is excited by State Conventions, and other idols set up and worshiped by men. But if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, (the love of God, which is stronger than death) it would be utterly condemned. - Canticles viii. 7. These pecuniary exhibitions of the Convention's love, have, like Pharaoh's lean kine, eaten up all the fat kine. "Consequently the operation of the Convention in other departments of benevolence is exceedingly limited. This may explain the reason why bread is not dealt out to the poor, by these monopolizers of modern benevolence; no milk of human kindness dealt out to suffering humanity around this monster; and it would be regarded as a prodigal waste of benevolence, for this Convention, under its present embarrassments, to even speak the truth concerning the Old School Baptists.

But, says the Circular, "We call upon you, as God has prospered you, to aid the Convention in their noble purpose, of giving to Michigan an educated ministry." Like all other heathen deities, this god is dependent upon its worshipers for the means to execute its dispensations, and those who worship this beast are called upon to furnish the funds for supplying Michigan with an educated set of hirelings. But it is quite different with the King of saints. He has never had occasion to call on his subjects to furnish him with the means to supply Michigan, or the world, with ministers, nor has he ever called for aid in the business of preparing men for the work whereunto the Holy Ghost has called them. He came in possession of ample means for supplying his church with all needful gifts, "When he ascended up on high, and when he led captivity captive;" then did he receive gifts for men, and in evidence thereof, he gave a specimen of what sort he was able to give, for he gave to some apostles, to some prophets, and to some pastors and teachers; and before he left the world, (in his ascension) he left with his church the standing order, which we have before referred to, viz: Pray ye the Lord of the harvest, &c. All the idol gods that have ever been made or worshiped by pagans, Jews or professed christians, have required a supply of priests. God's ministers of course are not the kind wanted; they have consequently been under the necessity of making or buying such as would answer their purpose. The glitter of gold has uniformly called them out, and, as far as we can judge, Satan has always been as ready to furnish the men, as the people were to supply the funds; nor has the old serpent been backward to furnish just the sort that was wanted, provided the requisite sum of lucre could be forthcoming, as he is only averse to barely one sort of ministers. Not so with the ministers whose vocation is of the Lord; they take the oversight of the flock of Jesus, not for filthy lucre's sake, but of a ready mind.

"We call not upon you," says the Circular, "brethren and friends, to relax your efforts in behalf of Domestic Missions. No; God forbid! But we call upon you to bid the Convention, &c., to give to Michigan an educated ministry."

How their pious, covetous souls recoil at the thought of relaxed efforts to provide for the support of their machine-made ministers, and they pray God to issue an order from his throne, forbidding their dupes to give less for the support of their ministers, when made, on account of being taxed by the Convention, to give more for the manufacturing of an additional number of them. If the Convention should succeed in giving Michigan an educated ministry, to whom will that state be indebted for the pestilential boon? Not unto God, for they have only asked him to forbid the people's giving less to the Domestic Mission; but to the brethren and friends of the Convention, as they alone are called upon to aid the Convention to make the bequest. Next flows a train of incentives: "You will soon be in your graves, and your spirits saved," &c. "Your offspring will take your place in Zion and be assured, will long feel the effect which the attitude you now take, &c., will produce." This extract is partly true; those who are cajoled out of their property will not live always to need what they so foolishly contribute, to enable the Convention to insult the God of heaven, and afflict the church of Christ: they may be enclosed in their graves before the scales fall from their blinded eyes, and not live to see what their offspring shall see, nor to feel what their posterity must inevitably feel. Posterity robbed, by an aspiring, avaricious hierarchy, finding the inheritance to which they were naturally and justly entitled, in the hands of a religious aristocracy, and in lieu thereof, entailed to them, poverty and vassalage, embellished with religious establishments of proscription, persecution, inquisitions, prisons, racks, tortures, stakes, chains and fagots, and well may we be assured that posterity shall long feel, and also groan under the deleterious effects of the attitude now taken by those who lend their aid to make an image to the beast whose deadly wound was healed. But that their spirits shall be saved eternally, as promised by the Convention, is not so clear. The original beast, as well as the false prophet, made similar promises of eternal life, to their deluded millions, but who is prepared to believe that the pope's pardon or Mahomet's promise can remit our sins or raise us to immortal glory. The Circular demands a general effort; the sound must echo from every pulpit, and, go from every association and convention on the wings of every wind of doctrine. The zeal with which the Convention labors to forge chains to bind down the people of Michigan, is astonishing, and can only be equaled by that of kindred institutions in other parts of the land. "In arriving at this conclusion," says the Convention, "we do not look back fifty or a hundred years." Well, then they certainly do not look back far enough to find a warrant in the scriptures, or in the practice of the apostolic church; for that would require them to look back eighteen hundred years. But by their own admission, there was nothing of their New School machinery to be found even fifty years ago. These new gods have come newly up. If not fifty years, how old is their idol? Why, it was born in 1843, and lacks some months, according to their own chronology, of being one year old. But here leaks out the secret, viz:

"Education is now liberally patronized by the state. The church must keep pace with the march of mind, or sacrifice her dignity, and with it her moral power over cultivated intellect."

Can "the church," spoken of in this passage from the Circular, be the bride, the Lamb's wife? Is this the virtuous, chaste, modest, beauteous and unspotted spouse, whose Maker is her Husband, and whose Redeemer is the Mighty One of Israel? Does Zion "gad about" in this manner to seek new lovers, and to keep pace with the world - even step with an adulterous generation? Base slander! It is the whore of Babylon, whose name is in her forehead, "Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots, and Abominations of the Earth," and Michigan and all her sister states are even now drunk with the wine of her filthy cup. In the seventh chapter of Proverbs, and the seventeenth of Revelation, this lewd and strange woman is described with unerring accuracy.

How ridiculous, to represent the church upon a stride with the states and nations of the earth, striving to maintain a dignity, by securing humanly cultivated intellect, as though she was afraid of being eclipsed by the superior excellence of the world. If the poor stupid fool who wrote this slander, could but see the kingdom of God, he would behold her as the holy city coming down from God out of heaven, adorned as a bride for her husband; and not adorned as a harlot to seek lovers. In the next sentence of their Circular the Convention brings railing accusations against her Pedo Baptist brethren, her own mother's children, and charges them with annihilating one of the Savior's institutions. This charge is false. The Pedo Baptists do not annihilate any institution of our Savior; nor have they power to annihilate anything that God has established. It is true they practice what they call baptism, as they received it from the pope, but with christian baptism they have nothing to do; and it would greatly relieve the people of God, if all other anti-christian establishments would follow their example, and not profane that sacred rite by applying it to the productions of their anxious benches. But according to the old adage, "Set a rogue," &c. The New School Baptists do oppose the government of our Lord Jesus Christ, preach false doctrine in his name, deny the faith of God's elect, prostitute the ordinances of the gospel, believe that gain is godliness, and usurp the peculiar prerogatives of our Lord Jesus Christ, and then gravely inform the community that they are sustained by the Greek. But the sons of Zion are able to meet, combat, and put them to silence, with no other qualifications than those which their God has given them. One can chase a thousand, and two can put ten thousand to flight.

The next passage of the Circular requiring notice is the pathetic appeal in behalf of those poor panting lads in Michigan! Only imagine, reader, the Position occupied by these boys: they are longing to preach; their souls burn within them to preach; they are poor; they have not the requisite knowledge; with all their ardor and fire, they cannot be pastors, nor missionaries; the internal fire is burning them up. Poor fellows! they are pining away! Oh, shocking! They are in agony of spirit; and lastly they are panting; like a fish out of its element, or a wind broken horse! Is not this enough to touch your sympathies? Will you not shell out your sixpences, and relieve them? Are your hearts made of granite, that you should withhold your money when these panting, burning, agonizing, longing, brainless, lazy, greedy, pining youngsters feel as though they cannot do without it!

"If," says the Circular, "this is the mind of God, he cannot accept less at our hands." Very well, show us in the scriptures, which are the record and revelation of his mind, where he has authorized this course, and we will go into it most heartily; but this cannot be found; the word of God virtually forbids it, and commands those whom he has called to the work to trust alone in him, and to speak with the ability that he giveth; and to speak, not with the words which man's wisdom teacheth, &c. Therefore to require it, as the Convention does, is ad ding to the words of the book of God, and to demand it in the name of Christ, without his order, is forgery.

New Vernon, N.Y.,
Feb. 15, 1844.

Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 2
Pages 396 - 408