MR. J. M. PECK, one of the editors of the Banner and Pioneer, is engaged in inflicting on the readers of that print a series of articles, in which his professed object is to show the rise and progress of the mission cause in the Western States, particularly in Illinois. His object seems to be twofold; first, to show what a mighty champion he has been in the cause of New Schoolism in that part of the country, and. thus vindicate himself from the implications cast on him by the no less ambitious missionists who have somewhat eclipsed. him by pitching their tents in that land, and offering some improvements to his earlier plans of operation. The other object is evidently to repeat his oft reiterated complaints. against the Old School Baptists of the West.
By his own showing, Mr. Peck, when he first visited Illinois, found the churches all settled on the old ground. Not a solitary New School Association among them; and as soon as he and his colleague began to insinuate their new doctrines, the Illinois and Sangamon Associations passed resolutions, disfellowshiping the whole missionary craft.
Mr. Peck admits, or rather appears to boast, that for some years he was the only Baptist missionary in. that country. Happy would it have been for the church if thus it had remained; but such was not to be the case. Missionaries have been subsequently poured in upon them, until the churches have, suffered the most severe afflictions in consequence of their multiplicity.
We have no thought, at present, of attempting a general review of Mr Peck’s essays; the game would not pay for the ammunition. We only wish to notice that “the legs of the lame are not equal,” as we have been often noticed in the Banner and Pioneer as a new sect, as a New Test party, and our claim to the distinction of Old School Baptists frequently disputed. We show from his own pen that what the Old School Baptists of the West are now is what he found them to be when he first intruded himself upon them. For some years, he says, he was the only Baptist missionary in the country, We believe this to be a fact. Again he says, “At that time there was not a Bible Society in Illinois.” One Missionary Society had been organized in 1818, but became defunct in 1820.
From these statements from his own pen, if we had no other testimony on the subject, we perceive that until he troubled Israel in those parts, there were no missionaries nor Mission Societies, Bible Societies, nor anything of the kind, known among the Baptists in that country. The Lord in his providence paralyzing his efforts by sickness, the churches had rest until 1823. For he says, “In December, 1823, he fitted up a French cart and horse, as the most convenient and least expensive vehicle his circumstances permitted; provided a box for a seat, and obtained from the Missouri Bible Society a quantity of bibles and testaments, and from his own stores and those of the late Rev. Mr. Giddings, then a Presbyterian minister of St. Louis, a large quantity of missionary pamphlets, reports, tracts, &c. With this armament he started,” and, as he shows, was not unsuccessful in scattering alarm, discord and division among the Old School Baptists of that country.
How very different this sort of armament must have looked from that which the Baptists of that country had been used to - the whole armor of righteousness, recommended by the apostle Paul. Eph. vi. 13-18. How contemptible must his French cart, missionary reports and tracts, with his Pandora box mounted, have looked to those who acknowledged no other armament for the soldiers of Jesus than truth for a girdle, righteousness for a breastplate, the preparation of the gospel of peace for shoes, faith for a shield, salvation for an helmet, and for a sword, the word of God. How ridiculous has Mr. Peck shown the pretensions of himself and party to be in claiming the classification of Old School.
ALEXANDRIA, D. C.,
January 1, 1840.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 1
Pages 569 – 571