THE editor of the Cross and Journal is apprehensive that we Old School Baptists do not understand the meaning of the apostle in his use of the words quoted above, and has condescended to give us his construction of them. We perceive that Mr. S. is very unwilling to take them home, with their connection, as in that case he would suffer the mortification of being himself, with his missionary brethren, classed with the Cretians of the apostles’ day. It may divert, if not edify, our readers to know his version of the text. He says: “Many among us consider soundness in the faith to denote a mere mental qualification; they regard it as referring chiefly, if not exclusively, to the accuracy and extent of one’s theoretical belief, to depth in theological knowledge, especially in a few abstruse points in theology.” That there may be many around Mr. S. who entertain such views, is quite probable; but one thing is certain, they are not Old School Baptists, for all Old School Baptists believe that faith, sound faith, the faith of God’s elect, is a gift of God, a fruit of the Spirit, the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen; that wherever it is implanted in the heart, it invariably produces the work of righteousness - conformity to the revealed will of God. Examples of this are not wanting In the sacred volume. We are referred to Abraham, Lot, Moses, and time would fail to tell of Gideon and a thousand others, who, through faith, subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, &e. See Heb. xi. And hence it is that we judge those around us, “who say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie, and are of the synagogue of Satan.” - Rev. ii. 9; also iii. 9. We could also name many who think faith to be but a mere science, which can be learned in a theological or Sunday school, from tracts or from anxious benches, from missionary labors or something or anything short of Christ, and we are quite mistaken if Mr. Stevens is not in reality one of those very characters.
Sound faith produces sound practice in the saints. That kind of faith which does not lead its possessor to conform to the requisitions of the laws of Christ, as they are stated (not abstrusely, but very plainly,) in the New Testament, is far from being sound; it is rotten. Thus the Cretians, having a nominal or defective - faith, were reprobate; and thus also the new school religionists of every name, having a faith that is rotten to the core, have, like their ancient brethren at Crete, become evil beasts, slow bellies, and incessant liars; and although in some instances they may retain a form of godliness, yet they invariably deny the power thereof; and from such the Old Fashioned Baptists desire to turn away.
Mr. S., in his article, appears to think that the external deportment of professors is of infinitely more importance than the possession of the grace of faith, and the doctrine of faith in the heart; but we believe that where this grace is shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost, that it never fails to produce the doctrine of faith, and the practice which is according to the faith of the gospel. The Old School, for instance, have faith in God that he will cause the redeemed of the Lord to return and come to Zion, with songs and. ever:lasting joy upon their heads; and hence we see them act as though they believed in God and trusted in him, for he that believeth shall not make haste; while the faith of the New School is that the destiny of the world is committed to them; that they can, with martyr-like efforts, prepare sinners for the courts above. No, it is not at all strange that this kind of rotten faith should produce all the rotten inventions under which the name of christianity groans at this day.
NEW VERNON, N. Y.,
June 17, 1836.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 1
Pages 308 – 310