“ELD. WM. C. BUCK – DEAR BROTHER: – Inclosed I send to your care five dollars, which u will please hand over to the treasurer of the Indian Mission Association, to be disbursed for the spiritual benefit of the red men of the forest I would be glad that I could do more, but I cannot at this time. I have set apart a certain portion of my fees, which I receive as clerk of McNairy County Court, for missionary purposes, say twenty-five cents on each marriage license that I issue, to be divided equally between foreign and domestic missions. This I expect to do so long as I am permitted to hold the office. At times I burn with missionary zeal. Oh, bow freely I could then bestow any thing of which I am possessed, if an agent of some missionary society were then to appear before me! At other times, (to use a familiar expression) when I am in the brush, the old antinomian principle (I say old, for I believe it is nearly as old as the world) of withholding more than is meet, draws its snaky folds around my heart. But when I feel, as I believe, the love of God burning in my soul, I feel benevolent; those folds, like Sampson’s cords, become like burnt flax, and then it is that I have a spirit truly missionary. There is one thing which I would be glad to know. Can any person become a life member of any missionary society, according to its constitution, by paying so? If so, I would like to see the propriety shown. And is it not dangerous for wicked men to have a vote in matters of so much moment to the cause of God? Might we not fear the consequences of being so closely united with ungodly men? I would be glad that at some convenient time you would insert the article, if there be such in the constitution of any missionary society, in your valuable paper, with your comments annexed. I have not written to you in order that any part of this letter should be published; but I know of no safer hands into which to throw my mite, in order for it to be applied to the use I have mentioned. Oh, may the good Lord bless the little offering, and make it the means of some poor sinner’s return from the errors of his way to Christ, the great Shepherd and Bishop of souls.
“I am, as ever, yours in Christ,
“A. A. SANDERS.
“PURDY, May 17, 1843.”
“IN answer to our brother’s inquiry respecting life membership in benevolent societies, it may be sufficient to say that the American and Foreign Bible Society grant life member ships for $30 in hand. Many other societies have a similar provision in their constitution, but not all requiring the same sum. We, however, regard such a provision as not only free from all danger, but as a matter of duty to God on the one hand, and of justice to those benevolent individua1 on the other, who not being members of the church, bestow their money for the spread of the gospel. It is an act of duty to God, because as all the gold and silver are his, it is their duty to receive it for his service, let the offering be made by whom it may. And it is an act of justice to those who bestow, that they should at least have a voice in electing the board and officers of the society, who alone have a right to dispose of the money they have given, and especially as all are excluded from these boards but members of the church.
“That no such danger as brother Sanders suggests can arise from such provisions in the constitutions of benevolent societies, is evident; first, because even the prince of darkness himself could lot stir up wicked men enough to give $30 each, whose numbers would exceed those of the church so as to take the direction of the means out of their hands; and secondly, because if such a thing should occur, still as none but members of the church could be elected members of the board, the funds would still be in their hands. But should it be suggested that a sufficient number of worldly men might get into these societies to change the constitution and make a board of their own sort, and thereby control the funds, then we remark that the danger would not consist in their having control of these funds, but in the fact that the church was less christian than the non-professing world, seeing that they done less to honor God and benefit mankind; and in that event we should want to get out of such a church and into such a world, and so we think every good man would. Our good brother need apprehend no danger from this quarter; in this matter the earth is only permitted to help the woman.” – Banner and Pioneer.
WE have copied the above from the Banner and Pioneer, that the readers of the SIGNS may form some adequate idea of the craftiness whereby the New School Baptists, in common with their work-mongrel brotherhood of other denominations, lie in wait to deceive.
Mr. Sanders has no desire to conceal from his left hand the benevolence of his right hand; for a strict conformity to the directions given by Christ to his disciples would not answer the purpose of these worshipers of mammon. Sanders is the happy occupant of the fat office of clerk of the county court, and wishing, as we presume, to retain that office, publishes to the world that a portion of his fees are appropriated to sustain one of the numerous schemes of priestcraft for which the present times are so famous. Thus by giving five dollars, and sounding a trumpet as other hypocrites do, he may secure his re-election to that office. It is now distinctly understood that so long as Sanders holds the office, he will pay a bonus to the popular institutions of anti-christ. He may therefore with considerable safety calculate to enjoy the honor and emoluments of that office, until some one will offer to give to the religious speculators who are now becoming sufficiently potent to control the elections in many parts of the land, a greater percentage of the fees. This deep laid plan is commended by the editor of the Banner, who says in his introductory remarks, “We recommend others to adopt similar measures to those of brother Sanders for benevolent purposes.”
The query of Sanders, whether any person can become a life member of any missionary society by paying $30, and whether so close a union with ungodly men is not dangerous, has drawn from the editor such remarks as will, we doubt not, silence all conscientious scruples on the mind of Sanders. After admitting the fact that flattering titles are sold to all descriptions of characters who will pay the money, the editor professes to regard the measure as a duty to God on the one hand, and justice to the ungodly donors on the other, and free from all danger, &c. How little idea friend Buck has of what constitutes a duty to God and justice to ungodly men, may be learned by his decision on this subject. He does not pretend to show that God has anywhere required at our hand to set up this kind of merchandise in his name, and hence we see that what God has required of his creatures is not, with him, the rule of duty; nor does he show what just claim the ungodly have upon professors of religion, to be united with them in the traffic of flattering titles and high sounding encomiums for their precious gold and silver.
Mr. Buck says that “The prince of darkness himself could not stir up wicked men enough to give thirty dollars each, whose numbers would exceed those of the church, so as to take the direction of the measure out of their hands,” &c. Well, we conclude that Mr. Buck knows how much power Satan has in drawing members into those mission institutions about as well a any other man, and we have no doubt that he speaks advisedly when he concludes that if the devil can not persuade a sufficient number of men to join and pay their money, that his emissaries will find it somewhat difficult. But should the missionists beat the devil in his zeal and success in this modern mission mendicancy, and get the world to give mere money than what can be collected from the church, it will only, in the estimation of our friend Buck, prove that the devil and the ungodly, as he denominates them, will have claims upon the christian name superior to the claims of those who bear that name but withhold their pelf, as his rule of judgment is not the scriptures but the amount of money given.
New Vernon, N.Y.,
June 1, 1842
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 2
Pages 268 – 272