MR. AMOS SNELL, a writer in the Christian (so called) Secretary, of Hartford, Connecticut, in explanation of the above phrase, which it seems he had previously used in a communication to that paper, writes as follows:
“Although there may be people that endeavor to maintain sentiments that are unscriptural, and still claim to be the Old School, or old fashioned stamp in distinction from others, there is justice in their claim only so far as they have been of long standing, and without change. Yet I think them not old-fashioned gospel Baptists; for an unscriptural sentiment or practice never helps to make a scriptural person or denomination, notwithstanding a paper to support their cause may be sustained by 1600 subscribers, and the devil may have a hand in it, yet this does not alter the case. What I understand by an old fashioned gospel Baptist is, to believe what primitive christians believed, and practice what they practiced, as it respects an exhibition of sentiment; in other words, to obey the commands of God, and practice the ordinances of the gospel according to their design. I suppose a Baptist is to be known as such when his sentiments and practice agree with the bible; then if this is indefinite, the commands and precepts of the bible are altogether ambiguous; and I believe every consistent or old fashioned gospel Baptist will feel a deep interest in the circulation of the bible, and as they love to sit under the sound of the gospel, and have their children and friends enjoy the same, acting from a fixed principle at heart, they will endeavor to do all in their power that can consistently be done, that their fellow men may enjoy the same privilege, and sustain the cause of missions by their alms and prayers, looking into the old fashioned bible for this rule: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” It would be a natural consequence for such a Baptist to be perseveringly engaged in the temperance cause, for Paul, that I consider one of them, reasoned on temperance, and our guide, the bible, says, “Be temperate;” in short, be diligent in every scriptural benevolent operation of the present day, without covetousness, and not in any case give half-way fellowship to the unfruitful works of darkness, or the unscriptural inventions of men, in theory or practice. You spoke of new fashioned Baptists as though my remarks implied there were such. I think in some respects we have reason to fear there are such, and even in New England. The Baptists, or the sentiments of such as I have endeavored to describe, I think surpass in age the western or southern school sentiment, the exhibition of which originated in the wilderness of Judea and in Jordan’s stream, in some of its parts, and the rest not long after at the time the first Baptist that I have ever heard of commenced his public labors, more than eighteen hundred years ago. For this reason I have supposed such to be the most consistently entitled to the name of Old Fashioned Gospel Baptists.
“Yours in christian lore,
WE have not the means of knowing on whom Mr. Snell intended to bestow the application of this sentence; but as we are not aware of any set of Old School Baptists in the United States except that in which our name is enrolled, who have taken a stand against the corruptions in doctrine and in the practice of those who “say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie, and are the synagogue of Satan,” we are led to the conclusion that we are the “sect which is everywhere spoken against;” and on this conclusion we will venture so far to correct the statement that it may at any rate give a more correct idea of who we esteem to be the Old School Baptists.
And first, he represents them as endeavoring to maintain sentiments that are unscriptural. Mr. Snell has not condescended to tell us ‘what unscriptural sentiment the Old School Baptists undertake to maintain, but like all others who have attempted to slander us, has thrown out the insinuation in a way calculated to make a false impression on the mind of the public, and then dodge behind the ambiguity of his own language, if called on to substantiate his insinuations, by saying, I did not say there were, but that there might be such a people. This is certainly the most contemptible and cowardly method of attacking the character or standing of any individual or class of men ever practiced among the fallen sons of Adam. We, however, challenge Mr. Snell, or Canfield, or any other writer or editor, to point out one or more unscriptural sentiment held by the Old School Baptists. We do not say that we are free from error, but we have a right when charged with error to demand of our accusers to show by the word of God wherein we err. We wish to be understood that being accused of attempting to maintain unscriptural sentiments, we do hereby challenge all the writers and editors in the United States to show by the bible any one or more sentiments held or advocated by the Old School Baptists which are unscriptural. If this challenge is not promptly met by our opponents, the reason why cannot be disguised.
But let the scene be reversed. Let the New School demand of us to point out by the bible wherein they are unscriptural in doctrine and practice, and we will meet them promptly, with bible in hand. “In meekness instruct those who oppose themselves, if peradventure God may give them repentance to acknowledge the truth.” Amos Snell is right in regard to our claiming to be of the Old School or Old Fashioned stamp, in distinction from others; and we also admit that there is justice in the claim so far only as this school has been of long standing, and the sentiments and practices by which it is distinguished without change. Hence it is that we reject from our fellowship in doctrine and in practices every sentiment and ordinance which has not been of at least eighteen hundred years standing; and on this ground prefer to bear the jeers, insults, ridicule, slander and persecution of the advocates of the new order, rather than to relinquish one point of the primitive faith delivered to the saints, or originally established in the gospel church, or admit into our faith or practice aught that is not fully warranted in the New Testament. He adds, “Yet I think them not old fashioned gospel Baptists,” &c.
Passing the thoughts of Mr. Snell, we agree that unscriptural doctrine, unscriptural practices, with sixteen hundred, or as many thousand patrons, with the devil in the bargain, can never make a scriptural person or denomination; for if it would, it would follow of course that the New School party laden as they are with their unscriptural doctrines and practices, including all the mass of inventions planned and brought forward by men and devils, against which the Old School from the days of John the Baptist have uniformly contended, would have to be recognized by us a scriptural body. . But Amos Snell further states that what he understands to be an old fashioned gospel Baptist is, to believe what primitive christians believed, &c. To this we say amen; this is the very thing for which we contend, and for which we suffer the loss of all things. But will Amos Snell consent to be tried by this standard? He says that he supposes a Baptist to be known as such when his sentiments and practice agree with the bible, and so say we. Let us then come up to this rule, compare our faith and practice with the bible, and see according to the supposition of Amos who is on the Lord’s side, and first let the Old School Baptists be weighed in this balance of the sanctuary. They reject all the popular schemes of the day, because they can find no bible authority for them. They endeavor to walk in all the ordinances of the gospel, as did the primitive saints, and being sensible of their shortcomings through the weakness of the flesh, they call on all who profess to know and fear God, to show them if in any particular they err, that they may abandon their error. Thus stands the case of the Old School Baptists. Now let our friend Amos get into the scale, let him be measured by the divine rule, let his own statement be compared with the bible, and the discrepance will appear.
He speaks for himself and says, “I believe every consistent or old fashioned Baptist will feed a deep interest in the circulation of the bible, and as they sit under the sound of the gospel, and have their children and friends enjoying the same privilege, and sustain the cause of missions by their alms and prayers.” So much then for Mr. Amos Snell’s belief or faith. But from whence has he received it? On what is it founded? Not one word of bible from Genesis to Revelation to support a single item of this popular creed. Hence we adopt the language of Moses and say, “Their rock is not as our Rock, our enemies themselves being judges.” But hark! Amos invites us to look into the old fashioned bible for a rule. Rule for what? Why what he has just stated above: the patronizing of Bible Societies, and missionary operations of his creed. Well, let us hear what his scriptural rule says. Here it comes. “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Now for the question: How does this rule and the above statement of Amos’ belief compare? The rule commands one thing, and the faith of Amos embraces another and quite different. Hence we may say to Amos, as Daniel read to the king of Babylon, “Thou art weighed in the balance and found wanting.” But bear with us, Amos, If we tax your patience a little. it is so seldom that our opponents quote scripture to us, that we feel disposed to bestow on this text more than a passing remark.
1. By whom were these words spoken? By the Great Head of the church, to whose hands all power in heaven and on earth was committed.
2. Unto whom were these words addressed? Not to all the world, nor to all the church, but to the apostles of the Lamb.
3. Did the apostles and primitive preachers of the gospel understand and obey this command of our Lord Jesus Christ? They certainly did.
4. In obeying this command of Christ, did the apostle and primitive preachers of the gospel organize Theological Colleges, Seminaries or Schools? Did they spend three, six, or more years, after receiving this commission, to prepare themselves for the ministry? Did they form or patronize Bible Societies, Tract Societies, Sabbath School Unions, temperance or any other societies other than the church of the living God? They did not.
5. Were they hired by or dependent on Missionary Societies composed of professors of christianity, and unregenerate men and women? Not at all; freely they received and freely they dispensed the gospel.
6. If then the primitive preachers of the gospel understood and obeyed all that Christ commanded in this text, without going into any of the above measures, which are so popular in this day, we ask again, How far does this text go to prove the position assumed by Amos Snell, and with him all the New Light Baptists of our country? Indeed it is so far from sustaining their schemes, that it proves them to be uncalled for and unscriptural, and consequently anti-christian.
We have already extended our remarks as far as we shall be able to insert in the present number. We therefore leave the subject to the consideration of our brethren, believing that all who fear God and tremble at his word, will examine for themselves.
NEW VERNON, N. Y.,
April 1, 1835
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 1
Pages 217 – 223