“These be thy gods,” O New School Baptists!
BROTHER BEEBE: – I submit to your consideration, and the consideration (if you please) of all concerned, through the Signs, whether New, or Old School Baptists, or any others, if the above is not the substance of, or proved by the language of the following extracts from “a valuable article furnished by Professor T. Stephens, Granville College, Ohio.” See 11th Report of the American Baptist Home Mission Society, pages 66, 67. “The first movement towards combining the Baptists in any form of benevolent action, was the organization of the Cincinnatti Baptist Missionary Society.” (A) “Professor S. Furnishes a table, showing the whole number of Baptists in the State at different periods; the absolute annual increase, the annual increase per cent, and the proportion opposed to missions. We can only give the total number at different periods, thus: In 1826, 7,000; in 1832, 10,493; in 1834, 13,926; in 1836, 14,415; in 1837, 15,410; in 1839, 18,000; in 1840, 21,579; in 1841, 29,685.” He says, “I have supposed one half of the number in the State in 1826, to belong to the anti-mission class, to wit: 3,500, and have estimated that the number of the same class in 1831, was about the same, (3,500,) (B) losing the estimate upon the number that have since distinctly taken the anti-missionary ground. In the statistics that have been made out several times since 1831, the estimated number of the anti-mission class has varied from 3,500, to 3,000, remaining about the same, absolutely considered from year to year, while the missionary class have rapidly increased, (C) the difference now and ten years ago, being nearly as 312 to 1.” (D)
“GAIN IN CHRISTIAN EFFORT.”
“The difference in contribution to spread the (a) gospel among the heathen between this year” (perhaps alluding to 1843, the year the report was printed) “and 1832, is as 200 to 1.” (b)
“INFLUENCE OF THE BAPTIST H. M. SOCIETY.”
“We are indebted to the Home Mission Society, (c)
1st. For many of our ablest ministers, who have either been sent into the state by your Society, or have come in consequence of the Home Mission movements. (d) 2d. For the establishment of Baptist churches in many places. (e) 3d. For much of the increase in numbers and efficiency of many other churches. (f) 4th. For much of the increased support given by the churches to the ministry, (g) and for much of the effort made to provide good meeting houses. (h) 5th. For much aid in sustaining our religious paper, by contributing to its columns, and extending its circulation. (i) 6th. For much aid in various ways to the cause of ministerial education. (j) Doct. Going, the originator of your society, (k) in his western tower preparatory to that event, was present and gave his consent at the organization of the Ohio Baptist Education Society, and laying the foundation of the Granville Institution, (l) 7th. For much of the impulse of the vigorous course of action in which our Convention is now engaged. (m) In a word, it is my opinion, that without the Home Mission effort, our absolute gain would have been small; while relatively, to the whole population, and to other denominations, we should have fallen far in the rear. (n) Your Society has given light, and strength; it has roused our churches to action; (o)it has been, in many instances, theirLIFE. (p) May those who have hitherto sustained you, be encouraged to continue and enlarge their aid in accomplishing the mighty work before you in the vast regions of the west.” (q)
(A) Giving Prof. Stephens the credit of telling the truth, as ratified by the A. B. H. M. Society. “The first movement towards continuing the Baptists (in Ohio) in any form of benevolent action, was the organization of the Cincinatti B. M. Society.” Then it could not have been of our God, according to their own acknowledgment. Does not God move first in all his people towards combining them in gospel union with himself and with each other, for, and in every effort of duty and gospel benevolence? Otherwise the dead move before God moves them, and they must perform conditions while dead, in order to move God to give them life, when he would not, unless they moved first! When Peter, in contradiction to what his Lord had said, that “He must suffer at Jerusalem,” said, “Be it far from thee, Lord; this shall not be unto thee,” Jesus turned and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me satan, &c. Matt. xvi. 21-23. It would seem that this getting before the Lord is a bad business, – it is much better to follow him. (B) But Prof. S.'s table shows an abundant increase! And no wonder; if the dead can move first to perform conditions of salvation, or if ministers by preaching can convert souls, and change them from hating to loving God, or missionaries give the bread of life to them that are dead, and cause them to eat, andlove it. And except one or all of these be true, their gain of members, [lumber,] is in reality no better than the gain in numbers attending the worship of Nebuchednezzar’s image, over the number of the Hebrews bowing before their calf in the wilderness. Though the calf might be insignificant in size, and the image 100 feet high, and 10 wide, it was the same principle in the Hebrews when they said in their feasts before their calf, These be thy gods, O Israel, that was in Babylon’s proud monarch when he said, at the dedication of his image, Whoso falleth not down, &c., shall in the same hour be cast in the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and I can see no real difference of spirit between these, and the principle that ascribes the salvation of man and the building up of the Zion of God, to the organization and operations of societies of men founded on filthy lucre; where memberships and offices are bought and sold for money, and in some instances differing according to the sum paid; and where the piety of the devotees is rated according to the liberality of their donations. If rapid increase of numbers, occasional answers to prayer, and influence over a multitude, proves a case, or those engaged in it to be right, the devils that entered the swine in Gadora, and the missionaries, may vie with each other for the palm. (C) But Prof. S. as much as tacitly allows that one half of the number of Baptists in Ohio in 1826, were impregnable to the force of the artilery of missionism, and have stood their ground, “remaining about the same, absolutely considered from year to year, while the missionary class have rapidly increased.” When we consider the frailty of man, the charming snares of popularity, the powerful appeals of learned eloquence from men in high standing, and vehement zeal; the influence of flatter, the difficulties to be encountered in separating from those we once held as dear brethren in the Lord, and the numerous juggling tricks of the missionaries, then living intermixed, and not in a body by themselves; what but the power of grace could have supported, protracted, and defended them from being overcome, destroyed, scattered and disheartened by their foes for twelve or more years, especially as their combatants were enjoying such rapid reenforcements, their numbers increasing until they are “nearly as 312 to one?” (D) Their rapid increase is doubtless attributable to their extra exertion, to which they ascribe it, while the christian’s God, the God of the Bible, has no more to do with, in, or about it, than he has with idols, and their worshippers in other places, and at other times. Then while they play their juggling tricks, practice witchcraft, and run greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, may all that are born of God fear and trust in him. For, As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people. Psalm cxxv. 2. And though idolators should continue to increase, until, instead of being as 312 to 1, they are 1,000 to 1, one shall chase a thousand; for the Lord our God is he that defends and protects us, as he hath promised.
“Gain in Christian Effort.”
[a] As for such to whom God shall send strong delusion, that they should believe that lie, that it will be “a source of enjoyment to” him “when he stands and looks at the redeemed millions coming up around the throne from heathen countries, to reflect that he has contributed something to their conversion by sending them the Bible, and the living teacher,” so that some are saved for, or in consequence of what money he has paid, that otherwise would not have been. I say, for such to contribute their cash is nothing strange, as they imagine they are laying up treasure in heaven. But let them believe the truth, that men arenot redeemed with corruptible things as silver and gold, &c., and the missionary mendicants would get but little of it.
[b] If the gospel they send to the heathen is such as the missionaries preach here, and such as the missionaries send from that, to this country, it is another from the one which Paul preached. They are therefore under the curse of God. Can it be of any saving benefit to the heathen to be converted from one degree of heathenism to another?
[c] The influence of the American B. H. M. Society [not the influence of the Spirit of God,] has brought the Ohio Baptist Convention in debt to them, 1st. For many of their ablest ministers.
[d] Had Prof. Stephens been agreed in sentiment with Luke about sending ministers, would he not have used similar language, (Acts xiii. 4,) and have given the Holy Ghost the credit of sending them, and acknowledged the indebtedness to him, instead of the A. B. H. M. Society?
[e] Would any spiritual worshippers of the true God give the credit of establishing “Baptist churches in many places,” to the A. B. H. M. S., and leave the name and work of God wholly out of the account?
[f] As to the increase in numbers and the efficacy of the churches, the A. B. H. M. Society doubtless deserves the credit for it, for I have strong doubts whether the praise belongs any more to God, than Aaron’s making the calf did; or any of the converts being more the children of promise, than Ishmael was.
[g] There can be no doubt, but a money-loving priesthood are glad of all the cash they can gather, and as money helps to power, they rejoice in having power over their dupes to obtain their money, that they may enjoy a luxurient living.
[h] And make a splendid show; money will pay for fine houses, and the love of it is the root of all evil.
[i] The A. B. H. M. S., has aided much by the contributing to the columns, and extending the circulation of their (Ohio Convention) religious paper; probably filled with accounts of their toils and sufferings, in the service of their god – of their success at their protracted, or rather distracted meetings – victories over their peaceable neighbors – divisions and destructions of churches, and obtaining meeting-houses belonging to others, and the cry of the daughters of the horseleach, with a variety of other items of false doctrine, evidently showing to such as are not blind, that their “religious paper” advocates their own, and not the religion of Jesus Christ.
[j] The A. B. H. M. S., has aided the Ohio Baptists much in various ways, in the cause of ministerial education. If such educated ministers as I have seen are a fair sample, they are taught works which man’s wisdom teaches; and have need to be taught by the Holy Ghost before they can preach a living Saviour: without which they preach nothing better than efforts to perform legal duties, by which to encourage the dead in sins, that they can obtain eternal life; or giving the children’s bread to dogs, applying the promises to men in unbelief, and denouncing the curses on God’s living children.
[k] As Doct. Going has the credit of originating the A. B. H. M. S., I envy him not that honor; if it is true, I am as willing that he should enjoy it as any other man: and it proves what I have long believed, that the society was not of God.
[l] And I have no doubt but his counsel was more fervently sought, much more useful, and depended upon at the organization of the Ohio B. E. Society, and laying the foundation of the Granville Institute, than the counsel of the Most High.
[m] See seventh item, all of which is fully believed. But we dare not make ourselves of that number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves; for they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
[n] See the first sentence in Prof. S.'s closing remarks, to lettern. The credit there given to the A. B. H. M. S., is probably correct; and what a sad state the Ohio Baptists would have been in, had they been in the rear of the whole population, and of other denominations, and thus have been prevented from being a popular people! Ah! it always was, and is yet unpopular to be a follower of the despised Nazarene. Ye adulterers, and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend to the world, is the enemy of God.
[o] “Your Society has given light and strength; it has roused our churches to action.” If Christ had given them light, and strength, would they have praised the society for doing it? But as the society has done it, no wonder that the praise is given to the society, and none to Christ. They walk in the light of their own fire, and compass themselves with the sparks which they have kindled.
[p] “It,” (the society,) “has been in many instances their” (their churches) “life.” Either this is not true, or Christ is not their life; and they are not his people. Christ gives spiritual life – men cannot: Christ gives eternal life – men cannot; the life of God’s children ishid with Christ in God; the life that the M. S., gives, ispublic in Babylon.
[q] I can discover no cause why men should ascribe so much to any combination of mere worms, however dignified in character among their fellows, and instructed in human literature, only ignorance: ignorance of themselves, ignorance of God’s love, and of his righteousness; and ignorance of Christ, as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Every thing necessary to save a sinning world from sinking beneath the wrath of God, seems embraced in the principles expressed in the foregoing; and all attributed to the American B. H. M. Society, and endorsed by their executive committee, with only the priviso, if they can obtain money sufficient for their purpose. And if it is not in substance saying, of the A. B. H. M. S., These be thy gods, O Now School Baptists, what is it?
I am, through grace abounding to the chief of sinners, yet permitted to speak of the blessed name of Jesus.
Yours as ever,
South-hill, Bradford co., Pa., March 20, 1844.
Signs of the Times
Volume 12, No. 9.
May 1, 1844