“The best evidence that a man is sent of God, to preach, is that he can preach; but these cannot preach. Did God send them? Never!”
THE above extract is copied from the Cross and Journal, of Ohio, and in by that paper credited to another paper called The Baptist. After diverting themselves with a ridiculous account of the call of the pastor of a certain anti-church in the Mississippi Association, (which, by the by, we believe to be a, base fabrication,) they give utterance to the words at the head of this article.
Let us examine this declaration of the New School a moment. And is it true that the best evidence that a man is sent of God to preach, in their estimation, is that he can preach? Let their established practice answer the question. Pious young men, as they call them, are selected from their assemblies, and from their churches, receive a certificate that they are fully convinced that these young lads are called of God to preach, but being illiterate and poor, they are commended to the attention of the House of Lords, who preside over the concerns of Theological Seminaries, as suitible objects for their patronage. Anon, money begging agents are sent out from Dan to Beersheba, to collect the funds to pay for qualifying these promising young men to preach the gospel. A course of from three to seven years study in such a school is deemed, by the New School, highly necessary, if not indispensible to qualify them for the work; and yet Dr. Kendrick (boss of the theological factory at Hamilton, N. Y.,) declared to the editor of this paper, that they received none, as beneficiaries into their theological school, but those who gave them undoubted evidence that they were called of God to the work.
In defending the divinity of theological colleges, a Mr. Fisk told us, a few years ago, that when he received his call to preach, he could not preach - he attempted, but failed; he was still panting for the work, and was induced by the advice of friends to go to Hamilton Seminary; he accordingly packed up all his worldly estate and carried it on his back, three hundred miles, on foot, to the school of the prophets; (or rather profits,) and to that institution he confessed himself indebted for his preaching talents. Poor soul, he could neither preach before or since his three years apprenticeship at the business.
Who does not know that the college bred preachers, will show the greatest proportion of fops and fools, of any class of our citizens? Dr. Ely stated in his paper some four or five years ago, that one of these manufactured clergymen, at the West, was so excessively stupid, that when he had mounted his horse, he tried in vain to make the poor animal go, until the good woman at the house informed him that it would be necessary to unhitch the poor brute. But the Doctor added, (and very justly, we presume,) that they had many others among them who sometimes mounted horses which did not belong to them.
No, Mr. Stevens. We have nothing to fear from a comparison of the Old and New School preachers, as to character, or preaching talents. In literature and numbers you excel us; but the most illiterate of our old fashioned preachers, will preach more of the gospel of Christ in one sentence, than your ablest divines will ever understand, until they become subjects of grace.
ALEXANDRIA, D. C.,
October 5, l838.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 1
Pages 431 – 432