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S A L U T A T O R Y .

VERY much to our surprise, the publishers and editor of the SIGNS OF THE TIMES have insisted that we assume the duties and responsibilities of associate editor of the above named paper. Inscrutable indeed it is to us why their minds should revert in our direction when in search of some one to serve them in this capacity, for of all the ministering brethren within the range of our acquaintance surely we are the least qualified in every way for such a place as that of editor of such a substantial periodical as is the SIGNS. However, during all of our life in the Old School Baptist Church since our baptism in December, 1900, at Southampton, Bucks Co., Pa., by the late Elder F. A. Chick, we seem never to have been able to set ourself against the wishes of our brethren when expressed with definite emphasis. When the church at Southampton in the spring of 1903 declared that in their opinion we were called to the ministry, and thereupon called for our ordination, we could do nothing but submit, though had the church at that time had respect to our own personal feelings in the matter they would have immediately dropped it. Well-nigh all the evidence that we have ever had of a call to the ministry has been in the manner in which our ministry has been received by those among whom our lot has been cast, rather than in any special exercises of mind to which we have been subjected. We do not mean to say that we have had no exercises of mind whatever with reference to our being called to the ministry, but it seems to us they would have been negligible without the affirmative testimony of the churches where our labor has been allotted us. For the reason, therefore, that the church has demanded and called for our service, and not because we felt we had any great service to render, we have endeavored since our ordination to preach the gospel of the Son of God with such ability as he has been pleased to afford us at the times of his appointment and in the places of his guidance. And now comes to us the strongly expressed request of those in charge of the SIGNS that we undertake, in conjunction with Elder Ker, the editorial work of the SIGNS OF THE TIMES. We dare not be obstinate and refuse, though we wonder very seriously what they have ever seen in us to make them think we can perform such work. It is in much trepidation that we agree to assume with them the care and labor of issuing this oldest and highly appreciated paper of the Old School Baptists, which has and still does afford comfort to many otherwise deprived of gospel privileges, and we agree to do this fully realizing our great limitations, and that nothing but superhuman intelligence and wisdom can fit one to faithfully discharge such arduous duties. The SIGNS from the time of its first publication has been remarkable for its cleanliness – its freedom from controversy and from false doctrine. The present publishers and editor desire to maintain it so, and with this aspiration we are in most hearty accord. The SIGNS has never been a hobby-rider, but has always endeavored to accord equal emphasis to all phases of the doctrine and of the experience of the people of God. The gospel is so full of such an infinite variety of harmonious truths that a man’s limitations alone get him into a rut, and not the narrowness of the gospel. Therefore in our editorial work our limitations will be plainly manifest to all who read our writings, and there will appear from time to time our failure to treat satisfactorily upon all texts submitted to us with request for our views. We can only submit such views as we have, and many requests must perforce remain uncomplied with for lack of knowledge to answer them. Only with such ability as the Lord is pleased to give us can we promise to serve the readers of the SIGNS, for we have no reserve capacity of our own to draw upon. That which the Lord has freely given us we are disposed to hand on to you, no more, no less. To preserve the SIGNS free from error and from the fallibility of men requires the everlasting vigilance of the Holy Spirit, and nothing short of it. In former days the SIGNS has had to meet and combat outspoken and visible forms of error and false doctrine, but never before in the history of the Baptists in America has the insinuation of evil and falsehood been so secret and subtle as now. Such a situation demands clear and bold presentation of the truth, with great plainness of speech. When we think of the warriors of God who have since 1832 labored in editing the SIGNS in defense of the truth, we seem to ourself to be but a mere stripling beside them, but rejoice that David’s God still reigns and rules in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth, and that he will ever unerringly direct the simplicity of truth to the fatality of all that arrays itself against the little flock, to whom is given the kingdom of heaven. To all the readers of the SIGNS we would say, we need your charity and forbearance, and the encouragement of your prayers to help us forward in our work. Remember that we are by nature but a weak, erring man, in constant need of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ to make us of any value whatever to those who love the truth, and only with that measure of divine grace which God in his mercy grants us do we promise to serve you. With the sincere desire that the relations of the editors and publishers of the SIGNS with each other and with the readers of the paper be mutually helpful and comforting to all concerned, we desire to subscribe ourself, Yours to serve in the obedience of the gospel, H. H. LEFFERTS.

Signs of the Times
Volume 82, No. 13
July 1, 1914