(From the Baptist Repository.)
“OF all the objects which can be presented to the christian community, none is more urgent, or mere worthy of their regard or liberality, or demands more wrestling in prayer, or greater sacrifices, than those of our Home Mission Society.
“This institution dispenses her charities to our neighbors, friends and countrymen. She offers life and pardon, through a crucified Redeemer, to the destitute of our land, to the perishing of our own nation. She holds up the lamp of divine truth to enlighten the eyes, and its holy influence to purify the hearts of a citizen of a republic, whose perpetuity under God depends upon the intelligence and morality of its individual members. With a benign and heavenly step she-marches through the western wilderness, giving tread to the hungry, strength to the weak, knowledge to the ignorant, and life to the dead; laying broad and deep a permanent foundation for the properity and happiness of the American people, and through grace divine, for the eternal salvation of thousands.
“From the claims of Burmah and other nations of the east we would not detract; rather would we augment the resources of Foreign Missions.
“We feel for the deluded worshipers of Guadama, and our prayers and alms have long been enlisted in their favor. We weep for the millions of Asia who are without God, and daily dropping into the grave of eternal misery. But whilst we feel and weep, pray and give, to rescue them from their danger, we cannot forget that thousands of our fellow-citizens, speaking our own language, members of the same community with ourselves, and at all times accessible, are also every day falling one by one into the same awful pit of in-terminable wretchedness, without a messenger of mercy to warn them of their danger, or proclaim deliverance through. the great Redeemer. We admire the sentiment of the man who exclaimed, “The earth is my country, and every honest man my neighbor;” but we remember the God of nature has deeply implanted in the human breast love of country, home and kindred; and the God of grace directed his disciples, when he commanded them to teach all nations, to begin at Jerusalem. The sympathies of our nature, and this injunction of our Lord and Savior, alike urge American christians to supply the destitute of their own country. But these are by no means the only peculiar claims of the Home Mission.. They are numerous, urgent and powerful; but to the follow-ing considerations only would we direct the attention of your readers, viz: Upon the present support of the Home Mission will greatly depend the future enlargement of Foreign. Missions.
“The fuel to feed the heavenly flame kindled here and there in distant lands must principally be grown in these Untied States. Here must be reared the men to supply the places vacated by missionaries prematurely cut off by disease or violence. Feeble stations must be reinforced by large accessions, printing presses and printers must be greatly multiplied, numerous tribes and nations yet unknown are destitute of a knowledge of the living God, and must be supplied with the written and preached word of life. Thousands of men and millions of money should be sent abroad, because the Lord has given the command to his people “to preach the gospel to every creature.” But how may we rationally expect God to provide the necessary men and means? Surely not by the people sowing sparingly, but most bountifully, in the field in which they are to be produced. Not by their neglecting the fountain from which sustenance and succor are to flow, but by its speedy enlargement, and by seasonable and liberal supplies.
“And where may we reasonably expect greater accessions to the church in men and means from ministerial labor than in the great valley of the Mississippi? We may not indeed see great results from it in one year, or two, or even in ten, particularly with reference to missionary contributions; but let our old established churches faithfully and fully discharge the duty they owe to the West, let them do it without delay, and before the present generation shall have passed away we may expect to see Western christians and their gold freely consecrated to Foreign Missions. Indeed it would be less wonderful than many events which have transpired amongst men, should a Western Missionary Society be formed some forty or fifty years hence, to supply the destitution of the Eastern States. May God grant to the people of the Great Valley the disposition and ability to do it without its necessity.
“Baptists are wise too late. Had they formed our national Home Missionary Society some twenty years since, and liberally patronized it, strict economy and plain duty would alike have been consulted. Flourishing villages and cities, with their influence, would not then, as now, have been in the possession of other denominations. One amongst the most important and influential cities on the Mississippi, but a few years since was entirely in the hands of the Baptists, and with but little of the right kind of aid at that time, it would have continued so; but that little being withheld, other denominations stepped in, took the ground, and being assisted by their friends, became established, and now have flourishing and efficient societies, which are able to aid in building up others, while the Baptists are few in number, without a house, without a minister, and without influence. This is but one instance; others of a similar character might easily be named. Now who does not see that, had a few hundred dollars been given to our denomination in that city in their time of need, that the amount thus seasonably expended would by this time have been returned to the treasury of the Lord with more than compound interest, and that a foundation would have been laid greatly advantageous to the Baptist cause for succeeding generations.
“Other cities and important towns in the Great Valley are at this very moment in the same situation as the city just alluded to when in its infancy. Should these be neglected at this important juncture, should efficient and suitable aid be now withheld, they will be lost comparatively to our denomination, and a few years hence hundreds will do less for the cause in those places than tens would now. Whereas, on the contrary, with a little trouble at this crisis, they will be placed in circumstances which will enable them to do vast good in the vicinity of their several locations, and eventually become able coadjutors in the great work of evangelizing the world.
“The effect of genuine christianity is always the same. Give to the people of the West the gospel, deeply imbue their minds with its heavenly, its diffusive spirit, and the millions of men and’ the millions of money already there, and rapidly increasing, will, by the grace of God, exert a powerful influence in favor of Zion, which shall be felt in lands far remote, and which shall greatly enlarge her borders.
“R. S. T.”
READER, we present for your serious consideration the above article, written by ‘R. S. T.,” on the subject of Home Missions, which we have copied from the record of that institution. Mark the sovereign efficacy by the writer ascribed to the sordid dust, and what God-like power he represents as vested in this two-year-old H. M. S. Although she is only in her infancy, he beholds her emerging from nonentity, and with gigantic strides pursuing her onward course, dispersing her charities, and offering life and pardon to the destitute; and with superhuman step, marching through the western wilderness, giving bread to the hungry, knowledge to the ignorant, and life to the dead. Laying a broad, deep and permanent foundation for the happiness and for the eternal salvation of thousands, having also in view the evangelization of the heathen, and the conversion of the world.
Such, candid reader, are the ostentatious pretensions of this engine of modern contrivance. And shall it be thought presumptuous or sacreligious for us, who are but rustics, to approach so near this magnificent Babel as to raise the curtain and let in the light of truth upon the deception which seems to enshroud in darkness, which may be felt, the minds of thousands of honest souls?
Know, then, from the declaration of the infallible word of God, that with God alone are the issues from death. Neither is there salvation in any other name or way. He has chosen and ordained his people unto salvation, through sanctification of his Spirit, (not through the amazing energies of this institution,) and a belief of the truth. Our Lord Jesus Christ in an address to the Eternal Father, recorded in the seventeenth chapter of John, gives us to know that the Father has given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as the Father has given to him. Hence we are assured that a definite portion of the human family are given unto the Mediator, and that it is given unto him, and to him exclusively, to give unto them eternal life; that this work was assigned the Lord Jesus to perform, but few, in the face of this scripture, will have the effrontery to deny. And our Lord declares in this same chapter, that he has finished the work which the Father gave him to do; and this declaration he repeated on the cross, with a voice at which the solid marble burst asunder, the vail of the temple was rent in twain, the sun was darkened, and the slumbering dead brought forth, in demonstration of the words of truth which he uttered with his dying breath. And do our readers still doubt the efficiency of a Savior like our Immanuel? One who is mighty and able to save unto the uttermost all who come. unto the Father by him. One in whom is vested “power over all flesh.” One to whom is entrusted for this specifice object all power in heaven and on earth. And can we then for a moment question either his will or his ability to give eternal life to as many as the Father has given him? No. It is impossible, if we believe the scriptures, for us to indulge the thought that the eternal destiny of any portion of the human family is suspended upon the pleasure or performance of man whose breath is in his nostrils, a creature of yesterday, who in all his flower and prime, yea, in his best estate, is altogether vanity.
Let then these scriptures be received as the testimony of God on this subject, and then enquire where is the necessity for these modern systems of mendicancy and extortion which are resorted to at this day as an instituted means of saving souls? It has been peremptorily denied that the benevolent institutions of the day, as they are called, make any pretensions to the power of saving souls, and when we accuse them of attempting anything of the kind, they call it calumny and misrepresentation, and utterly disclaim the thought.
But let us compare their declarations with their practices and writings, and be astonished at the contrast. If they do not believe that men or angels can quicken or make alive those who are dead in sin, why do they, as in the article before us, tell that the Home Mission is giving life to the dead? What mean they by saying that there are thousands of our fellow citizens, at all times accessible to us, who are every day one by one falling into the same awful pit of interminable wretchedness, and representing these as having peculiar claims upon the H. M. S.? We do not deny that thousands are falling into the pit of interminable misery, but we have the sacred testimony of the holy scriptures to assure us that of all the thousands who go down to hell there is not included with them one solitary individual whom God has chosen to salvation, or for whom Jesus has shed his blood. God has given his word for it, that all the election of grace shall be saved with an everlasting salvation. Who then are these that have peculiar claims upon the Home Missions Not the elect. They have no claim on man or on God for salvation; and they rejoice in this. God has saved them, and called them with an holy calling, not according to their works,. but according to his own purpose and grace which was given them in Christ Jesus before the world began. 2 Tim. i. 9. Hence the characters intended must be those who are not chosen, called, redeemed, or appointed to salvation, but .those who were of old ordained to this same condemnation. Now these being the characters, we ask what claims have even these on the H. M. for life and salvation? Now we would not do them the injustice to say that they ever presented any, or pretended to claim salvation at the hands of this institution. But still this writer seems to admit the justice and their right to claim salvation at their hands. This is indeed an important stand which he would assume for that institution - having the power to save from interminable misery even the non-elect.
“Baptists are wise too late.” Ah, why? “Had they framed our national Home Mission Society some twenty years since, and liberally patronized it, &c., flourishing villages and. cities, now in the hands of other denominations, might have been, with their influence, cash, &c., in the hands of the Baptists.”
God be praised for so great a salvation as that by which he has been graciously pleased to deliver us from so early an innundation of corruption, by the opening of the flood-gates to let in upon us whole villages and cities of baptized Presbyterians, Methodists, Episcopalians, Universalists, Quakers, Roman Catholics, Mormons, &c. We doubt not, if the Home Mission could have sprung their net some twenty years ago, they would by this time have been in possession of a greater amount of power and influence than what at the present they can boast. A few hundred dollars! Oh, what wonders it could do in making New School Baptists; and “who does not see that had a few hundred dollars been given to our denomination, &c., in their time of need, that the amount seasonably expended would, by this time, have been returned to the treasury of the Lord, with more than compound interest, and the benefit would have resulted to succeeding generations.”
Now, according to the above calculation of “R. S. T.,” if the Lord had done for us what he promised, by the apostle Paul, that he would do, viz: supply our need, the Baptists would have been seasonably prepared to have made a moneymaking business of this evangelizing system, and with more than compound interest they could have refunded the amount of capital. But alas! Baptists are wise too late, and the wickedly intrepid Presbyterians, Methodists and Catholics, taking time by the foretop, reap the golden harvest, while succeeding generations are left to feel and mourn over the neglect.
But, candid reader, don’t give up to despair. The writer of this article informs us there is yet a chance for us to invest our cash in this profitable stock; there are, at this very moment, other cities and important towns in the Great Valley, now in their infancy, and the Home Mission Society, even at this late hour, is willing to receive all the loose change you have to part with, to lay it out in making the necessary arrangements for constituting these new settlements Baptist communities, and thus preparing them at some future day to come forward as able coadjutors in the great work of evangelizing the world.
The last paragraph of this article being a very remarkable one, we cannot consent to pass it entirely in silence. We grant that the effect of christianity is always the same, but it does not nor can it follow that the gospel is within the gift of the patrons of the Home Mission Society, or that mortals may attempt to imbue the minds of their fellows with its heavenly spirit, or that the spirit of it is by us to be diffused. If the views which Simon once entertained of heavenly gifts were correct, (and we can but remark the coincidence between his and the views of the writer of the above article,) what an opening would the present state of things. show for speculation. “Millions of men and millions of money!” O delightful thought! all this, by the grace of God. Just as James was king of England, Ireland, &c., would exert a powerful influence in favor of Zion. What a libel on Zion to represent that her cause may be promoted and her borders enlarged by men and money, through the contrivance of these devoted servants of mammon.
NEW VERNON, N. Y.,
October 8, 1834.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 1
Pages 173 – 181