IN the professedly orthodox American Baptist, we are greeted with an extract from a Pastor’s sketch-book, showing by what sort of machinery a drunkard was converted, by the effort of said pastor, assisted by two females, extracted from the N. Y. Evangelist; to which are added the following remarks:
1. “If any church are wishing to have a revival of religion, let them pray for it; let all the members agree that morning, noon, and evening, they will set apart some time to pray especially for a revival. And they will not pray long, before their hearts will be stirred up to labor for the same blessed object.
2. When a sinner under conviction lingers, it is generally some one darling sin that is keeping him out of the kingdom of Christ. Search out that sin, and persuade him to forsake it; and the work is done. He will immediately submit his heart to God, and follow the leadings of the Holy Spirit.
3. If a minister wishes to do his duty, and have his labor blessed when going out to talk with a hardened sinner, let him engage two or three pious females to pray for him while he is gone; and he will not dare to be unfaithful; and the Lord will bless his work.”
These three simple rules are published to the world, and particularly, by Dr. Going, to the Baptists of America; as calculated infallibly to secure the conversion of the most hardened sinner. These rules too, are not the mere conjecture of an enthusiast, but a matter which has been actually tested, by a pastor and two praying females, in the case of the drunkard above alluded to, as is fully shown by “A Pastor’s Sketck-book.” This drunkard, we are informed by the same authority, was an Universalist, and also a Deist! Nor is this all: he lived within twenty rods of a meeting-house, and in a district where christians had pledged themselves to pray three times a day for the outpouring of the Spirit, and to labor for a revival of religion. Being thus situated, we are told by the sketch-book, the prayer-hearing God sent his Holy Spirit to strive with him while he was digging a grave. Now the striving of the Spirit, together with a powerful sermon prepared and delivered by the pastor himself, drew from this thrice-hardened drunkard, Universalist, and Deist, a resolution “never to neglect the worship of God’s house on the holy Sabbath day;“ and to the wonder of all, his resolution to worship God’s house once a week was by him regularly executed for about the space of one week, on the Sabbath day; but alas! the next day proved a damper - the half-made convert got drunk again! This was awful! The pastor was discouraged, and had well nigh concluded to let Satan have him, when two praying sisters came and prayed the pastor, saying, “O don’t give him up so. Do go and see him now.” The pastor consented, upon condition that the two females would pledge themselves to stop and pray for him while he was gone; they agreed. He went, and the result, as stated by the pastor himself, was, the conversion of the poor sinner from Universalism, Deism, and drunkenness, to the same kind of religion which the pastor and his praying assistants possessed.
Who, then, can entertain a doubt of the efficiency of these three rules for converting drunkards, &c., when they have been so fully and clearly tested in this very agravated case? And here let it be observed, according to the above statement, God had tried his power; the Holy Spirit had strived, the sinner himself had resolved; but all in vain; the washed sow was back again in the mire; the dog had returned to his vomit; and all hopes had fled. But these blessed females - O what salvation in their names! - jealous for the honor of the Lord, could not bear the thought that the wicked should have occasion to reproach the cause. To give their own words, “We almost forgot the salvation of that man’s soul in our supplications, for the burden of our prayer was, that God would save his own cause from the reproaches of the devil, so that it need not be said that the enemy, by the aid of intoxicating drink, has destroyed a man with whom the Holy Spirit had began to strive’ And the pastor adds, “God heard that prayer; for from that hour, that man became a strictly temperate man; and soon after, a decided christian; and for three months past, he, and his wife, and one son, have been worthy members of the Presbyterian Church.”
We never found ourselves in want of demonstrative arguments to convince us that Presbyterians may be made of infants or idiots, by a very simple process. The application of a small quantity of water from the hand of their clergy to the face of their victim, with the repetition 6f certain words, will be amply sufficient without their knowledge or consent; but to make Presbyterians, or what is infinitely more, to make christians of old, hardened drunkards, Universalists, and Deists, and especially such as omnipotence itself could not effect, must be a secret not only hidden from ages, but from the apostles of the Lamb. And if it be a fact, that christians can be made in this manner, surely none need be lost. One minister and two praying females can bid defiance to the most desperate case of hardened depravity that the world can produce; and by the application of these three simple rules, can get up revivals of religion at pleasure, convert whomsoever they will, head and rebut the Catholics, abolish Universalism, and exterminate Deism from the world. Seeing, then, the novelty of this engine for revival making, and the great utility which it claims, should not the Pastor Reverend Doctor apply to the instituted authorities for a patent right, in order that while they apply their scheme to the salvation, they may be able to show withal that the laborer is worthy of his hire?
But irony aside. Had we met with this article in the Evangelist, or any other arminian print not professing the Baptist name, we should have passed it by in silence; but as Dr. Jonathan Going, Correspondind Secretary of the American Home Mission Society, and editor of their paper, National Baptist and Home Mission Record, has culled it from the Evangelist, and would palm it upon professed Baptists, we are unwilling to let it pass, at least without our decided veto.
NEW VERNON, N. Y.,
November 11, 1835.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 1
Pages 265 – 268