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(See “Signs of the Times,” Vol. viii. page 23.)

“OF the progress of infidel principles, under the name of Socialism, we see some melancholy notices in our late English papers. In one it is said: There are now upwards of sixty Branch Societies in the principle towns in the kingdom, in which there are places of meeting for lectures on Infidelity and Socialism. The Sabbath is occupied in the delivery of seditious and blasphemous addresses, tea parties, profane singing, music, &c., &C. In some places, Sunday and Infant-schools have been established for the inculcating of Infidel principles. A Tract Society has been formed, and six tracts issued; these are frequently distributed under the Wesleyan and church tract covers. A most blasphemous periodical is circulated, at the the rate of 40,000 per week. There is a regular organized central board, with President, Vice-President and Secretary, and a great number of salaried emissaries, whose whole time is devoted to the advancement of Socialism. Additional impetus has been given to their proceedings by the disgraceful presentation of their founder, Robert Owen, to the Queen.

At a late meeting in Cheltenham, a clergyman of Manchester called the attention of the meeting to the increase and the baneful influence of publications devoted to the dissemination of infidelity and atheism in their darkest forms. Perhaps some of them had heard of a paper called the Star in the East. In the north they had also a paper called the Northern Star, which had a very wide circulation, and which, though not openly broaching the principles of Infidelity, endeavored to foist on the people principles which, if carried out, would quickly put an end to the monarchy, the constitution, our liberties, comforts, and lives. That paper had a circulation so great that it could not be conveyed to Manchester except by means of a vehicle for that purpose. The paper was published on Saturday, and on the day of publication the shop-keeper had at his shop a greater number of applications for infidel and atheistical trash than all the booksellers in the town had for books containing what was sound and wholesome food for the mind and for the spirit. The reverend gentleman then adverted to another ominous sign of the times. At Manchester the week before last, with great pomp and ceremony, and amid an assembly of thousands, many of whom afterwards had their dinners at a public hotel, the stone had been laid for the erection of a vast hall, consecrated to infidelity in one of its direct forms, under the misapplied name of Socialism. Four men - for we could not call them gentlemen, though we regret to say they were Englishmen - four men of sufficient property were found to become guarantee to the builder of the edifice for $5,000. Similar halls are now in the course of erection at Huddersfield, Bradford, Leeds, and Sheffield. Amidst all out-breaks and irregularities, we never had before in this country, temples dedicated to atheism, rising over the face of the land. To the foregoing he would add another dark feature. He alluded to the circumstance of a member of parliament and a minister of the crown having introduced the high priest of Socialism at the court.” - S. S. Journal.


Is this the dawn of that millennial glory which the advocates of the new religious inventions of our day have been so long engaged in ushering in? Is this the impress by which we are gravely told, heaven has stamped her approbation on the modern system of religious mendicancy? Has it been for the birth of such a day that millions on millions have been heaped for the diffusion of light, and for the dissemination of the gospel? Alas! what better fruit could reasonably have been expected from such a deadly tree? How frequently are we greeted with flattering pictures of the progress of the new order in converting the heathen and evangelizing the world! How often are we told of the thousands converted to christianity by the modern machinery of the age! and so much credit is given to those luring statements, that the new inventions in religion are lauded to the skies, and the ancient platform of our faith and practice is considered quite below the spirit of the age. But with the above statement before the reader’s eye, we would ask, Has not infidelity in its undisguised form, kept an even pace with human improvements on the divine plan of saving sinners? We do not accuse the modern misguided missionists of being directly confederate with Owen, Fanny Wright, & Co., but we do say, and most firmly believe that the very elements of which deism and socialism are composed, are furnished by the New School Baptists and their extensive Ishmaelitish brotherhood of other denominations. In confirmation of this position, mark the following particulars as developed in both systems: 1st. The New School reject the scriptures as their only rule of practice and standard of doctrine - Infidels also reject the Bible. 2d. The New School appeal to the light of science, theological schools, &c., to point out the way of happiness and glory - Infidels derive their strongest arguments from the same source. 3d. The New School depend on tracts, temples and direct appeals to the mental faculties of the human family, for the dissemination of their doctrines - these are also the strong holds of Infidelity. 4th. The New School require large funds to carry on their inventions - so do the Infidels. 5th. Both systems alike require the efforts of men (not the grace of God) to sustain them. Besides all this, when we consider the bearing which the numerous tricks and projects for amassing money, popularity and power; their persecuting disposition; men of good natural intellects, but destitute of grace, are led to conclude that all the corruptions of New Schoolism among protestants, and all the bloodshed of Catholics is justly attributable to christianity; they are therefore led to renounce a name, which by its abuse, is rendered odious to them. We are circumscribed as to limits, but will resume this subject again soon.

February 1, 1840.

Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 1
Pages 586 - 588