THE importance of christian correspondence has been felt and acknowledged by the children of God in all ages and circumstances of the church, but more especially when compassed about by the enemy and infested with those who would pervert the right way of the Lord. When christians enjoy the special presence of God and feel the joys of his salvation elevating their affections and strengthening the social cords that bind their kindred hearts in fellowship and union, they desire to speak to one another of the goodness of the Lord. Like the bottles of new wine, they require vent; they must speak, that they may be the more abundantly refreshed, and that those whom they love in the Lord may be partakers of their joy.
When clouds of darkness lower – when the divine presence is not realized – when temptations, doubts and fears distress and perplex them – when foes without and fears within hold them in captive bands – when the chilling east wind of worldly cares dampens their zeal, and their love grows cold, they are not unfrequently led to exclaim:
“Like one alone I seem to be,
Oh, is there any one like me?”
As cold water is to thirsty souls, so is good news from a far country; and the saints under such circumstances have ever regarded christian correspondence as a peculiar privilege.
Again, when christians are situated remotely from the social privileges of the sanctuary, and seldom enjoy the favor of meeting with the worshipers of God, to them the correspondence of the brethren is truly refreshing.
From these considerations, in the absence of all others, we should be led to conclude that the publication of our paper as a cheap and convenient medium of correspondence, ought not to be discontinued. So great an amount of correspondence, embracing an extent of country so great, could in no other way be within the reach of the poor. But to the above we may add other very important advantages secured by a periodical publication of this kind, among which we will point out the following:
Since the commencement of this journal, “evil men and seducers” have continued to grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. The clouds which darkened our horizon twelve years ago, have thickened fearfully, and those sly, insidious innovations which were then foisted in as helps to the gospel, now begin to develop their dragon voices in tones which none but anti-christian beasts can utter. Incautious christians, who at the first, in the simplicity of their hearts, felt inclined to censure us for raising the voice of warning, by sad experience have learned what they were so slow to comprehend. Experience, that thorough but severe schoolmaster, has enforced the conviction that all departures from the word of God, in matters of religion, are seductive, and lead astray from the peaceful gates of Zion. For more than twelve years past God has been scourging his children out from those corrupted bodies whose end is to be destroyed. And now, with the little flock of Jesus marshaled under his banner, and the alien army drawn up in hostile array against them; while the former corresponds in appearance with the men of Gideon’s reduced army, and the latter are like grasshoppers for multitude, is it proper at such a time as this to discontinue our publication? Should we not rather “Cry aloud and spare not; lift up our voices with strength, and be not afraid; and say to the cities of Judah, Behold your God?”
There is at this time an unusual disposition manifested by the adversaries of Zion to bring about a direct alliance between the church and the state, or the ecclesiastical and civil powers in our country. National conventions are already being held to facilitate this object. The design to create a power of infinite magnitude to be exerted upon the Congress of our nation, is openly and unrebukedly avowed and published to the world. Proscription, for conscience sake, is becoming more and more common. Leading demagogues of power and influence and of all the different grades and parties in politics, are enrolling themselves among the advocates of measures, which, if consummated, must involve our country in scenes of persecution and religious intolerance. The elements of religious despotism are rife among us, and the majority of the people of our country seem more and more inclined to favor the schemes of a designing and wicked clergy. Thousands have already been reared under the fanatical drilling of Sunday Schools, directed principally by an ambitious and never satisfied priesthood. Powerful efforts are now being made to bring all the schools of our country and every fountain of mental training under the same corrupting influence. Nearly all the secular and religious presses of our country are either enlisted to favor the craft or so shackled for fear of leasing patronage as to prevent their remonstrating. The great dignitaries of the popular church openly avow that religion and science are twin sisters – that they go hand in hand together, and that the state is bound so to patronize science as to indirectly patronize religion in our public schools. A powerful party of a mongrel breed has lately risen up under the auspices of the “Protestant Association,” avowing their design to strike from the Constitution of our country the guarantee of equality to all classes – to proscribe and coerce a conformity to the rites of popular religion. And have the Old School Baptists no interest in all this at stake? Or will it be in time for us to remonstrate after the chains of oppression are legally riveted upon us? To us it appears although our trust and confidence is alone in God, we are bound to make every lawful effort in our power to avert the threatening calamity; at least we are in duty bound to let our brethren know of the signs of the times – of the approach of the enemy, and of the necessity of being upon their watch tower. With party politics we are pledged to have nothing to do or to say in conducting the publication of this paper; but with religious intolerance and efforts to unite church and state, by whatever sect or party, religious or political, we have much to do in the discharge of duty which solemnly devolves on us, both as a christian, a citizen of the world, and as a publisher.
New Vernon, N.Y.,
January 1, 1845.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 2
Pages 510 – 513