South Hill, Bradford Co., Pa. Feb. 28th 1838.
BROTHER BEEBE: – I am glad you published Mr. Dennison’s reply to Brother Barton’s communication, it was such a spur to my sluggish thinking powers. And as my thoughts were moving on the subject, I had a notion to collect a few of them and send to you for publication, if you thought they would be of use to any of your readers. I do not take my pen to defend either yourself or Brother Barton, under any view that you are not fully qualified to defend yourselves; that my feeble exercise might be to the praise of his glory, who hath (as I trust) taught me something of the difference between the order of the gospel, and the doctrines, ordinances and commandments of men.
There is such a display of Belles-Letters and fine feelings in his address to you, as might lead to suppose that he thought that he had covered his spleen so deep as not to be discovered in ranking you with the most inveterate of the false zealots, who are enemies to God and his people. How kind might the feelings be “which reign in his bosom” while he is free to express his “belief that you think, you are doing God service!” He probably thinks (after all his display of words) that you have not known the Father, nor the Son, see John xvi. 2,3. He says, “From my heart I honour the stand you have taken on some points.”
In what points he has not told: and he has left me to guess; I guess that he honours you, as the opposers of truth of old, honoured such as the Lord had set for the defence of the gospel.
He is certainly opposed to the stand you have taken, or there is no truth in his statements. But he hopes he is as “sincere as you and your associates can be, in advocating measures which promise to advance the declarative glory of God.” I am not disposed to doubt Mr. D’s. sincerity. Nor dare I doubt the sincerity of Saul the son of Kish,, when he forced himself and offered a burnt offering. Nor do I think Mr. D. would doubt the sincerity of Uzzah when he put forth his hand to stead the Ark, and prevent its falling and scattering its sacred furniture in the dirt. Yet their conduct, though they were as sincere as Mr. D. was not approved of God.
I suppose Saul the persecutor, was as sincere as Paul the Apostle. And I do not think that the “good societies” which Mr. D. advocates promises more to advance the declarative glory of God, than King Saul’s splendid sacrifice which he offered, of the beasts he brought from the land of Amalek; or Balaam’s seven oxen, and seven rams, smoking toward heaven from idolatrous altars while he was seeking enchantments against Israel.
But to pass to his strictures on Brother Barton’s performance, –
He seems to triumph over Brother Barton’s complaint about his Pharisaic Motto “Holiness to the Lord;”, and says, “If it be so, then the millennium will be a Pharisaic millennium; for we read that then even the bells on the horses shall be inscribed with that motto.” Just hold still one moment Mr. D. and not be frightened; if an old bush-whacker who thinks that he has read his Bible as far as Zech. xiv. 20, should doubt your assertions and tell you that he has not found it as you say. Pardon me Sir, if I should ask what sort of a millennium that will be, when all nations shall be gathered against Jerusalem to battle, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished, and half of the city go forth into captivity, and when a great tumult from the Lord shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour? It is certain that these things shall be in that day when Holiness to the Lord, shall be on the bells of the horses. I do not read it “inscribed,” but the same day that the things have named take place “shall there be upon the bells of the horses HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD.” And for ought that I know, the bells on the horses might have as much holiness on them, without its being inscribed, as the holy censers on which the 250 men of Korah’s company burned incense; which are declared to be hallowed. But he says, “If Brother Barton cannot see any thing worse on our banners than such a watch-word as that, we shall not only be well satisfied, but look for certain victory.
“In this sign we conquer.” How different this from the saints conquest!!! And they overcome him, by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony. Suppose however for light on the subject, that instead of the motto on a piece of cloth hoisted in the air so high that it could be seen as far as the Pharisees could be heard when praying in the corners of the streets, that Mr. D. and his condjuvancy were really Holiness unto the Lord? what would it prove? Why! it would prove that they had been conquered by sovereign grace; as all that over will be saved must be, instead of being frightened, or flattered, into a profession of religion by a yea, and nay, gospel preacher, who was himself under the curse.
But who are the mighty foes that Mr. D. is at war with? which he expects to conquer; as he says, “In this sign we conquer” referring to the “motto” on his lettered flag? Are they the non-elect? No. Not if he believes what he says he does.
Is it the Anti-christian Beast? No. Unless he is a mutineer, for he is enlisted in that army! and pleading for Anti-christian practices. Who then? Why really, if his own statements be true, it is Antinomian, or believers in the Aitinomian faith, of which Elder Peckworth has informed him there is one family in the whole City of Wilmington; and Mr. D. thinks there may be some more found in the State. And after all, if the Delaware Antinomians should happen to agree with the modern Antinomians in Europe; and by chance Mr. D. should read Wilkes’ fearless defence, he might be conquered by it himself; and fall in with them, if his heart was not callous against the truth, and God had not sent him strong delusion, that he should believe a lie, that he might be damned, which I hope is not the case.
The next thing that I shall notice is, his complaint against Brother Barton, for ridiculing him, for calling his labours poor. I can see nothing that looks like ridiculing in Brother Barton’s expressions on that subject; unless quoting his own words is ridiculing him. Brother Barton said some things that might sound unpleasant to a man who wished to be esteemed a useful minister. But if Mr. D. had not made himself more ridiculous by professing to believe sound doctrine, and following directly the legitimate fruits of error for his religious practice, than Brother Barton has appeared to make him by quoting his own language; he might appear quite respectable for all that Brother Barton has said by way of ridiculing him. Is Mr. D. so weak as to think that he can make men of common sense believe that he holds “precisely the same doctrinal views with” Brother Barton, while his conduct declares that he believes a yea, and nay, gospel. It is astonishing to see an honest man profess to believe the doctrine of sovereign discriminating grace, and then enlist in the Anti-christian’s effort army, whose general force, and most powerful battering-rams, are all designed to bear directly against that doctrine. The societies which he named, as being conscientiously in favour of, he calls “good societies,” he must then advocate them as they are, in their present form, doctrine, administration and effects.
Now as sure as Jesus spake the truth, when he said, “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit; neither a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” Just so true it is that these societies are corrupt. Surely Mr. D. must dwell in thick darkness, or God has given him the spirit of slumber, if he does not see that the fruit or effect of these societies is to bring forth an host of professors of religion that are at war, openly at war with the sentiment he professes to believe; and that his favouring them is an open violation of his own protestation. Again, he pledges himself to adopt a wiser plan, if you or your brethren can fix one. It seems that he is looking to men to fix a plan; not being contented with the one that infinite wisdom fixed before the world began, for the spread of the gospel – the gathering the bride of the Lamb and rolling into effect all that God designed his children to do, or enjoy. O that he would quit the worship of calves, and worship God in spirit and truth. So sure as Jeraboam led Israel into idolatry, by sitting up his calves at Dan and Bethel, and changing the time of the festivals; just so sure the societies he named, in their present form and operation are advancing the cause of Anti-christ; and I do not think it possible for men or devils to fix a wiser plan for that purpose.
Once more, Mr. D. seems quite uneasy to think Brother Barton should insinuate that he used enchantments. Will he deny the fact, that he his consorting with, and building up the influence of those that do?
Soothsayer, Diviner, Magician, all have one signification. See Batterworth’s Concordance.
They all use enchantments, to bewitch, to delight highly. This they learn; enchantment was doubtless one of the curious arts contained in the books burnt at Ephesus. Probably taught in the school of Tyrannus. I think it was by the enchanting eloquence, and flesh pleasing doctrine taught by some learned scholars that bewitched the churches of Galatia. Men, religious men, now as well as then, go to school to learn the curious art of pleasing; and men, perhaps christian men, may be bewitched now as easy as then. Because men are highly delighted with appearances false teachers, (Diviners) take advantage, learn to please, by appearing to be what they are not; so they bewitch the people by their enchantments (art of delighting). Thus they play upon the animal passions, and when once an object is enchanted, it is hard to break the enchantment; and men may be led to almost anything (unless the Lord break the enchantment) by one that highly delights them. By the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness whereby they be in wait to deceive, hypocrites live in the church, and false teachers get into the ministry among the ministers of Christ. If Mr. D. is a minister of Christ, may the Lord break the charm that leads him to advocate anti-christian societies.
There were priests in by gone days that taught for hire, let Mr. D. say if he dare that it is not much the custom now, for those sent out by men, (mission boards) as missionaries, agents, etc., to teach for hire.
All the prophets divine for money, the substance of modern statements are, if you will give or pay me so much (naming the sum) per month or year, I will preach (divine) for you, if not I must go where I can get it. Yet they will lean upon the Lord and say, Is not the Lord among us? none evil can come upon us. Who but a Magician, would ever have thought of men having power to create a revival of religion by the power of moral suasion, and of making converts by scores in consequence of holding a protracted meeting? Who but such as love the wages of unrighteousness, would ever have thought of telling the world that the Lord was calling for money, that He might have it to expend as he did his heart’s blood for the salvation of a perishing world? Who that had not learned the curios art of enchanting, would ever dare to trifle so with sacred things as to undertake to determine how long the day of grace would last, for a frightened son to make his peace with God, and if he did not do it in the given time, he would seal his own damnation, and there would be no mercy for him for ever; though he might have years afterwards?
I have here stated but few of the thoughts that I have had upon the subject; if Mr. D. wishes for more of them let him write to me if he please at South-Hill, Bradford co., Pa.
If you please to publish this, please send Mr. D. one of the copies.
I am dear brother bound with you to the bar of God, in hope of eternal life, which God that cannot lie, promised before the world began.
Signs of the Times
Volume 6, No. 8
April 20, 1838