MR. STEVENS, of the Cross and Journal, after giving some late account of baptisms among the Karens, in which Mr. Vinton says, “The christians do not recognize any as disciples who have not abandoned all kinds of nat Worship, and the use of intoxicating liquor, and do keep the Sabbath, and pray in their families,” enquires thus: “Whose rule will be most likely to be approved before the tribunal of Jehovah, at the last day, the rule that rejects idolators, drinkers of ardent spirits, Sabbath breakers, and prayerless persons, or the rule that rejects such as labor to spread the gospel - the rule of the newly converted Karens in Asia, or the Old School Baptists in America?” And in his remarks on the recent division of Mad River, (Ohio) Association, he reiterates Mr. Waller’s challenge to the Old School men of Kentucky, to show that any such creatures were in being, prior to thirty years ago; and then concludes with the interrogeration at the head of this article.
In regard to the rule to be approved at the last great day, we, the Old School Baptists, have no idea that any humanly invented rule will then, or does now, meet the divine approbation. The rule which God has spread open before his children, and which is given in the scriptures of truth, will most assuredly stand approved by him who changes not, seeing that it emanated from him as the immutable God, while neither the rule of newly converted Karens, nor his version of the Old School rule, will stand the test. But we, with all other Old School Baptists, disclaim all knowledge of any such rule among us. The New Testament is the only Old School Baptist rule we have among us; and that rule does not reject such laborers as the Lord of the harvest has put into the work of the gospel ministry; it only rejects all the inventions of men in religious matters, and among the rest, those for the professed object of converting the world and evangelizing the heathen; and because the bible rule does not authorize or countenance them, the Old School Baptists also reject them.
To give Mr. Vinton’s description of the Karen converts, all the consideration which it deserves, we would respectfully enquire, If the rejection of nat worship, and the use of intoxicating liquors - the keeping of a legal Sabbath, and a formal saying of prayers in their families, are the best, evidences which can be produced in proof of the christianity of these Karens? Is this what is required by the Old School Baptists’ bible Rule? The old Phairisees did not worship nats; and by their rejecting our Savior as a wine-bibber, we conclude they as piously rejected the use of all intoxicating liquors, as do the Karens in question; they certainly were so strict in keeping the Sabbath, that they were grieved to see the Old School Baptists pluck and eat the ears of corn on the Sabbath clay; and as to praying in their families, they were not charged with any deficiency on that account; they certainly prayed much in the streets, market places, &c., and on the whole, had all the negative and positive evidences of christianity which Mr. Vinton and Mr. Stevens can give us of the Karens. Now, we ask, were the Pharisees genuine converts to christianity, or not? If not, it follows, neither are the Karens. And if they were, why did our Lord reject them as serpents and vipers? If Mr. Vinton or Mr. Stevens can muster any better evidences of the real christianity of their Karen proselytes, than we can produce in behalf of their brethren, the Pharisees of old, why do they trifle with us?
In regard to Waller’s challenge, endorsed by the editor of the Cross, it requires a very low stoop indeed, to notice it at all. We cannot view Mr. Waller as a responsible man; he is very apt to challenge, but that is all; he dare not meet the Old School in the open field, for a discussion of the subject on which he is at issue with them. But Mr. Stevens seems to imagine that this challenge is rather smart, and wonders what the Old School will do with it. We will, therefore, for the information of Mr. Stevens, remark that there has ever been, from the days of John the Baptist, and that there is now, and until the end of all things will continue to be on the earth, a regular succession of Old School Baptists, holding inviolably the very sentiments which the Old School Baptists of our day are contending for; and these have ever rejected all the inventions of men, in matters of religion, as we now do. They have been designated by various epithets, which have generally been applied to them by their enemies. There has not, for the last century, been any occasion for distinguishing the discip1es of Christ from a new school of Baptists, until within the last thirty or forty years; at no period prior to that have the Baptists harbored among them a school of men who teach for doctrines the commandments of men, and who make void the law of Christ by their traditions. There was no place found in the Baptist churches for Sabbath Schools, Mission, Temperance, Tract, Seventh Commandment, Education and Rag Bag Societies, until a school was introduced into our midst, in an unguarded hour, composed of men who have more confidence in human inventions and human efforts than in the God of our salvation. this school has stolen our name, and professes to be Baptist. To avoid mixing with them, we are content to be known as the Old Fashioned order of Baptists; and if Mr. Stevens, or any other person, can show that we have departed from the principles held by the church in the apostolic age, we will readily surrender the name, and endeavor to find the ancient paths, and walk in them.
ALEXANDRIA, D. C.,
October 20, 1837.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 1
Pages 397 – 400