ONE of the missionaries acting under a commission given him by the authority of the President, Directors & Co. of the A. B. H. Mission Society, writes thus:
“I have selected Fayette, together with some of the adjoining counties of Tennessee, as the field of my future labors. Should heaven prosper my efforts, I hope to be the means of raising and promoting the Baptist cause in this region; and churches raised in this intelligent and wealthy section of the country will be a great accession to our cause.”
These are indeed great calculations. M. J. G. Hall has selected the field of his labors — God’s ministers are to feed the flock over which the Holy Ghost has placed them. But these are to select the field of their labors. But why select this favorite spot? Is it in order that the poor, in whose name thousands of dollars have recently been collected by his employers, may have the gospel preached to them; and that the ignorant, (according to the statements of the missionary agents, who are scouring our land in search of gold,) for lack of vision, may be instructed? Quite the reverse. Mr. Hall has something of greater importance to the interest of our cause, in his eye. “The people in this section of Tennessee (he says,) are wealthy and intelligent.” If, then, the people of that country are wealthy, why must the poor of this land be taxed with the support of their missionaries? If they are so remarkable for their intelligence, whence these numerous fables concerning the situation of the great valley of the Mississippi? But why should a wealthy and intelligent people be the best among whom to raise our cause? Why are they the choice of the modern missionary? Is it because our Lord has chosen “the poor of this world, rich in faith,” &c., and the illiterate, yea., and base things of this world, or because he has said by his apostle, “Not many noble, not many mighty, &c., are called?” Is it for the express purpose of showing that they consider their wisdom superior to that displayed in the choice and calling of the poor? We think not. The grand secret appears to be this: from a wealthy people a greater revenue may be expected; and that which they so emphatically call our cau8e, depends much on revenue; besides, these appear to be the shepherds spoken of by the prophet Ezekiel, xxxiv: “Wo be to the shepherds that do feed themselves. Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat and ye clothe ye with the wool, &c. Seemeth it a small thing unto you to have eaten up the good pasture, but ye must tread down with your feet the residue of your pastures? And to have drunk of the deep waters, but ye must foul the residue with your feet.”
The publishing committee of that society says: “The letters of Rev. J. G. Hall presents interesting information respecting the state of things in Tennessee. The committee have appointed him their (not the Lord’s,) missionary, to be located in Fayette and its vicinity. It is probable that another will soon be appointed (by the board, of course, not by the Lord,) for the middle district; but there should be forthwith a good man for East Tennessee. Where is he? And still more important question, Where are the FUNDS to sustain them? It is proposed to the friends of Home Missions, whether the committee shall cease making additional appointments. This they must do, though frequently called on to send missionaries into regions as greatly needing help, and as promising as Tennessee, unless pecuniary aid is afforded.”
How plain the above language. A good man is wanted, - but stop, that is not the most important; “A still more important question is, where are the FUNDS?” &c. Let the people contribute the funds, and the society will find the good men, who will take the charge of this business, of a ready mind, but for filthy lucre’s sake.
New Vernon, N. Y.,
August 14, 1833.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 1
Pages 83 - 85