THE text for this occasion, though not in the bible, may be found in the American Baptist Home Mission Society Record of Proceedings, at their fourth anniversary, held in Philadelphia. In the thirty-seventh item of their minutes we have the following remarkable passage:
“Resolved, That the Home Mission enterprise is one of the highest importance to the prosperity and perpetuity of our republican institutions, and should therefore receive the most cordial approbation and efficient support of every christian and patriot in all parts of our country.”
To prove the divine inspiration or infallible veracity of the words of our text is by no means the object of the present ‘lecture, as we presume that whosoever shall doubt the divinity of this passage will have his portion with those who suffer persecution and reproach for the sake of Jesus of Nazareth.
Be it ours, in the present discourse, to show, first, what is intended by “The Home Mission Enterprise.” Second, to examine wherein the prosperity and perpetuity of our republican institutions are in the superlative degree dependent on said enterprise. Third, the universal obligation of all parts of our country to approbate and efficiently support this august assembly,
As a preacher, we are somewhat long-winded, but in the present case our limits admonish us to be very brief. We, therefore, without further preliminaries, come to the work before us. And
First. What is the Home Mission enterprise?
This part of our subject presents for consideration two inquiries, viz: first, of the Home Mission Institution, and secondly, of its enterprise.
1. The American Baptist Home Mission Society is a combination of men, women and children, governors, senators, congressmen, assemblymen, magistrates, lawyers, doctors, reverends, farmers, mechanics, merchants and laborers, embracing professors of christianity, and non-professors of all creeds, moral and immoral, Jew. or Turk. The only indispensible requisite for membership in this establishment is money; traitors, tories, whigs, democrats, administration or anti-administration men are alike acceptable in this confederacy, providing always they have money. None are constitutionally debarred from this society but the poor, who are not able or willing to pay the price required for membership. This institution is a union of church and world, an amalgamation of civil and ecclesiastical power, and is beyond all reasonable doubt a very prominent part of the image of the beast spoken of in Rev. xiii. 14-48.
2. The enterprise in which this moneyed hierarchy is at present ostensibly engaged is the salvation of the souls of men in the United States. but particularly in the great valley of the Mississippi. This object they propose to accomplish, first, by raising a vast amount of funds.; second, by calling forth to the work a multitude of missionaries, who, but for this bait, would never think of preaching; third, by arrogating to themselves the right to select, commission, pay off, and discharge from service, preachers, agents, mendicants, school-masters, tract peddlers, &c.; fourth, by sending their hirelings into the valley of the Mississippi, with directions to “Go and possess the land.” This object they openly avow their printed documents. (See Home Mission Record from which we have taken our text.) The following words we copy from the speech of the Rev. John Dowling:
“The object of the Home Mission Society is not to set themselves in battle array against the enemies of truth; but to pre-occupy the ground.”
No, indeed, they know better. To fight the enemies of truth would but illy comport with the objects or interests of this institution. Not, therefore, to combat error, but to possess the ground, are their missionaries sent thither, and under cover of their commission from the lords and nobles of this society, their underlings hesitate not to wage a war of extermination against the Old School Baptist churches and ministers, which until the rage of modern missionaries commenced, were quietly and happily permitted to worship God according to his word in the far West; to drive them from their homes, and Ahab-like, take possession of their vineyards.
In the prosecution of this diabolical enterprise the old fashioned bible Baptists of the Western Valley, by whom that immense territory was first settled, who have encounted the savage Indian, the wild beasts and serpents of that then wilderness region, who have cleared and cultivated for themselves a little spot, as they vainly hoped, which was and should remain far removed from the baleful effects of New England divinity, we say, in the prosecution of the mission enterprise, these venerable children of the Most High God have been made to weep, as it were, tears of blood; for no sooner was the mission contrivance introduced among the Baptists of our Eastern States, and swarms of their hirelings were sent to the West, than we heard the groanings of our oppressed brethren sounding with agony over the Alleghany, praying the churches of the East to let them alone - to stay the scourge, call back their emmisaries, and leave the Baptist cause in that country in the hands of God. But to all their entreaties and tears the Mission Societies turned a deaf ear. The daughters of the horse-leech were by the society let loose throughout our eastern churches, with a lie in their mouths, declaring that the Western States were destitute of the gospel, and of the bible, and of schools, and of all means of information and of salvation; than which a more down-right falsehood had never been uttered. The sympathies of thousands of well meaning, and in many instances real children of God, were enlisted in the enterprise. Thousands of men and millions of dollars were demanded by the conniving, avaricious engineers of this missionary machine; while their demand was but too promptly complied with by the unsuspecting Baptists and citizens of the East.
Our readers will recollect that our discourse is in short hand. We have not room at present to enlarge; so we pass to the consideration of our second proposition.
Second. We would inquire wherein or how oar republican institutions are in a superlative degree dependent on the enterprise of the American Baptist Home Mission Society? It is not our object to meddle with politics. We have and shall continue to avoid making our paper a vehicle for political matters. But in the present case, in ferreting out the hidden things of dishonesty, we are compelled to touch upon the subject, which, under other circumstances, would not belong to, or comport with the design of our journal.
With that effrontery which might amply nerve a pirate, the American Baptist Home Mission Society claims to be the bulwark of our republican institutions; and upon that claim infers that she is justly entitled to the approbation and efficient support of all the patriots and christians in all parts of our country. Now if her imperial ladyship’s premises are good, her inference must be just; for all must allow that it is duty to cherish and support the pillars on which the fair fabric of our civil amid religious liberty rests; but if her premesis are false, and republicanism does not depend for prosperity and perpetuity upon her clerical interference, then her claim upon christians and patriots is a religious fraud. And in order to determine the equity of her claim, we will examine the subject as briefly as possible; and in so doing, let us inquire, as we have proposed, On what is this claim founded? Is it because by her our republican institutions were called first into existence? Certainly not; this institution is now but four years old, and the foundations of our republican institutions were laid in the blood of our patriotic progenitors more than half a century ago. But second, Does not her claim then rest upon the supposition that no republican form of government can stand unaided by a religious national establishment like herself? If so, nothing can be more absurd or ridiculous. The very history of our nation vetoes her claim, and sixty years’ experience has told the listening world in a voice of thunder that America could be free, republican and happy, without the aid of priestcraft or Popery. This voice has been heard with surprise, and at its sound the nations of Europe have trembled. Their population have, from degraded servitude to earthly priests and potentates, attempted to throw off their galling yokes and imitate our glory; but they, alas! bound fast in ecclesiastical chains, have, as yet, struggled to but little purpose; while the very chains which binds them down are those of institutions which are now precisely what the American Baptist Home Mission Society wishes to be. It is a remarkable fact that there never has existed a republican form of government connected with a religious hierarchy; for fire and water are not more opposite to each other than these two extremes. Nor was there ever a republican government overthrown or prostrated without the interference of priesteraft. This religious viper has ever labored to make, nations believe that their prosperity and perpetuity depended on their religious maneuverings; and whereever this notion has prevailed, the glory of nations has fallen to rise no more forever. Mark the prevalence of this sentiment in all the papal nations of the earth. In every instance these governments have been persuaded to believe their prosperity and perpetuity depended on their religion; and as legitimate consequence, emperors have bowed obsequiously to the Pope of Rome, and received their crowns, and making peace by the most humiliating acts that mortals could perform - in kissing the toe of his holiness. And yet for such halcyon times in the history of America the society seems to pant.
But again. Was this insulting resolution of the society passed in order to awe the people of these United States into a compliance with their clerical arrangements? Truly it wears such an appearance. Make the patriots and christian of America believe the doctrine of the resolution, viz: that the missionary enterprise is of the highest importance to the prosperity and perpetuity of our republican institutions, and every democrat and christian in our land will, in the spirit of our illustrious fathers, pledge their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, to support the enterprise, which they shall be duped to believe is identified with the foundation of our civil and religious rights. But let us suggest for the consideration of the society that in our opinion Columbia’s patriotic sons are at this time hardly prepared to commit to their sacred hands their lives, their honor, and what the society holds still more dear, their fortunes. Never while the voice and blood of our pilgrim fathers, who were martyred on the shores of our Eastern States for non-conformity to the dogmas of the dominant party of religionists, who, in a kindred spirit with that of the society, held that the prosperity of the American continent depended on their religious phrenzy, continues to stain the soil on which they gloriously fell, rather than submit to clerical dominion those invaluable rights which no republican government could ask, or christian and patriot could yield. Before the citizens of this great republic can believe the doctrine of the resolution, they must be made to forget whose blood was poured forth in torrents. to set us free from tyranny and priesteraft. Base ingratitude, foul apostacy, unexampled degradation, and an utter destitution of respect for the memory of the sainted heroes of our revolution, can ever sink us low enough to submit to the abominable corruption of that resolution, which would couple priestcraft with christianity and republicanism.
But last of all, we inquire, Is the American Baptist Home Mission Society itself a republican or a christian institution? Let the task be ours to prove that it is neither republican or christian, and of course cannot be identified with the republican institutions of America.
1. We prove that it is not republican. By the term republican we understand a government that not only rejects a monarchy, but which invests the people with the supreme authority, and which rejects aristocracy. This is the republicanism for which our heroes bled, and the logic which kind heaven, through them, has handed down to us, and which the resolution calls on us to barter away for very priestcraft.
But to the investigation. We show that this institution is anti-republican because pure republican principles qualifies no man to participate in the concerns of the establishment.
2. Because anti-republicans, tories, savages, or even Satan himself, would be alike eligible to membership, and to any office or power in this institution for a sum of money, providing always that they call themselves Baptists, and pay. the requisite sum for their birthright.
3. Because this institution denies the republican doctrine of equal rights in civil and religious matters, and has declared a war of extermination against all such religious sects as will not favor their plans.
4. Because she has sent her emmisaries (called missionaries) with instructions to invade the peaceable churches of the Mississippi Valley, and by whom the peace and harmony of the Old Fashioned Baptists in the West have been prostrated, so far as the influence of these agents could effect it, and in consequence thereof have been made to weep; while to their tears, remonstrances and entreaties this mammoth institution has invariably turned a deaf ear.
5. Because this institution is emphatically a huge moneyed monopoly, amassing large funds, and professedly intending to occupy the whole ground; i. e, turning the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ into merchandise, and arrogating to themselves the right of dictating to the churches and citizens of the West what preachers they shall, and what they shall not hear and support.
6. Because the Home Mission Record, published under their immediate patronage, has attempted to stigmatize the name of Richard M. Johnson, and other distinguished. patriots and statesmen, with infidelity, because they opposed the amalgamation of civil with religious legislation, in the case of the Sunday Mail question.
7. Because the constitution and regulations of this institution are highly aristocratic; vesting the supreme authority in the hands of a few dignified characters, and dealing out to the rich and influential seats and titles of honor, dignity and distinction, irrespective of character, and proportioned only to the amount of money which they pay for such titles and distinctions.
Having in the seven above named particulars shown that the institution is anti-republican, we now pass to show that they are equally anti-christian, and consequently not entitled to the patronage which they arrogantly claim from the christians and patriots of our country, for the following reasons, viz:
1. Because all christian institutions are under the immediate direction of the great King of Zion, and authority for them is distinctly given in his statute book - the bible. In that sacred volume there is not one word of authority to be found for the American Baptist Home Mission Society, or any other religious society except the church of God alone and she is not only forbidden to amalgamate with the world, but commanded to “come out and be separate from the world.”
2. Because this institution, regardless of the order. of the house of God, and of the indignity which they thereby cast upon the sacred name and office of our Lord Jesus Christ, assume the right to call, commission, send forth and sustain men to preach in the name of our, Lord Jesus Christ, what they profess to believe is gospel: appointing for them their field of labor, the time of their service, the manner of their work, and the amount of their reward; and for all which assumption of power they can find just about the same divine authority that the Pope of Rome, and his mistress, the Whore of Babylon, can for the same extravagances, but no more.
3. The anti-christian character of this institution is manifested by the national character which she assumes, and the dragon voice with which she speaks. In the former, calling herself American; and as in the resolution before us, she claims the patronage of this entire nation. In the latter particular, her voice is dragon-like, because she calls on the world for support and approbation. The church of Christ has never called on the civil powers for either support or approbation. All the church of Christ has ever asked of the civil governments has been simply to let her alone. She knows no king but Jesus; she will be supported by no husband but her Maker, and will ascribe salvation to no other name than Jesus.
4. We show that this institution is anti-christian because she employs men who are prepared for her service, not by the Holy Spirit, but by a course of preparatory study at some theological seminary or college, and gives the decided preference to such of them as preach a system of works, or means, and such as are the most expert in getting up revivals, collecting funds, establishing Sunday Schools, Tract Societies, and other kindred institutions of modern human invention.
5. Because they give flattering titles to men; such as Reverends, D. D's, Presidents, Vice Presidents, &c., which in their religious application, as by them used, are expressly forbidden in the word of God. Among the numerous presidents, directors, life-members, &c., published with the Minutes of their late meeting at Philadelphia, we can scarcely and a name disconnected from some title like Rev., Hon., Zsq., M. D., D. D., Gov., Gen., or something of that description; by which is made to appear their utter disregard of the authority of the bible, where such authority comes in competition with their ambitious notions.
6. Because of the dishonorable means resorted to to gain funds to carry on their enterprises - pretending that the Lord’s treasury has been overdrawn, and that the Lord, through them, is calling upon the people to replenish it with silver and gold, and endeavoring to impress upon the minds of the people the false and idolatrous notion that a liberal supply of money will promote the eternal salvation of souls. All of which is false and anti-christian.
7. This institution is anti-christian because in opposition to the Old School Baptist church, ministers, and private members, who will not own their clerical power, or regard their arrogant pretensions. Their hostility has to a greater Or less degree been felt in perhaps every branch of Zion in America, which stands on the primitive platform.
Thus have we, in as brief a way as the nature of the subject would admit of, examined the grounds of the resolution of the society - “that their enterprise is of the highest importance to the prosperity and the perpetuity of our republican institutions” - and found their claims to be about as well founded as Satan’s title was to those lands which he once offered our Lord as a temptation; but no better. From the investigation of the subject thus far we may infer,
Thirdly. The arrogance of the universal claim of this institution on all the christians and patriots of our country to approbate and support the institution. This obligation we find, on strict examination, to be as just, and equitable, and republican, and imperative, as are the claims of his holiness, the Pope, when he calls for universal homage as the Vicegerent of God, prince of the apostles, and universal bishop of the church, &c.
Therefore, to close our lecture on this subject with a word of exhortation, as the custom is, we exhort you, our readers, as you love priestcraft, clerical usurpation, bigotry, persecution and idolatry, to shell out your cash; as nothing can so much contribute to the elevation of this machine for the production of this train of evils, as the bestowal of your money, your cash, your influence, your name; and above all, dash out your yellow-jackets - gold - for this will immortalize you. Buy yourself a membership, it will cost but a few dollars; or a life-membership; this will cast more, to be sure; but then it will secure you a membership as long as you live, let your character be what it may. Or, buy a directorship for life; this will emblazon your name on the list of modern philanthropists, and give you a seat on which the moneyless Peter and John did never sit, in an assembly from which the despised Nazarine, who for our sakes became poor, stands constitutionally rejected; a seat where christians will not envy your situation. Therefore, as you hate that civil and religious liberty for which our fathers’ bled, as you despise the equal rights of man, and the republican institutions of our country, as you prefer anarchy, hierarchy, or aristocracy to the present form of our government, make no delay; hasten to the support of the American Baptist Home Mission Society; take with you all your worldly substance, and reek assured you will thereby cast in your mite to overthrow all that republicans hold dear, and aid to afflict and persecute, and finally slaughter, the despised followers of the meek and lowly Lamb of God. “But know ye, that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.”
A word to our Old School brethren, and we will close for the present. Brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might; have no confidence in the flesh; be patient in tribulation; suffer reproach cheerfully for the sake of your adorable Master. Remember it will be but a little while, at the longest, that you are to endure these things. God will shortly bruise Satan under your feet. The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath you are his everlasting arms. Therefore, fear not, thou worm Jacob; no weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper, and every tongue that riseth against thee in judgment shalt thou condemn, and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee. Mark the footsteps of your Captain, your Leader; he passed this way before you; and with him may it be our glory to despise the shame, endure the cross, and bear his reproach; for unto you it is given, in behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake. Bear a faithful testimony against all the hidden things of dishonesty, by your words, by your lives, and by your conversation.
“And when your Captain, Christ, shall come,
With sound of trumpet, not of drum,
Even then our well dress’d ranks shall stand
In full review, at God’s right hand;
Then we’ll march up the heavenly street,
And ground our arms at Jesus’ feet.”
NEW VERNON, N. Y.,
July 15, 1836.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 1
Pages 310 – 321