Hezekiah West, To the brethren of the Old School Meeting, expected to convene at Upper Seneca, Md:
DEAR BRETHREN: – Unworthy as I am, I rejoice that I am yet indulged with the privilege of having my name enrolled among the men that are hated of the world, for their testimony concerning Jesus and his grace. And since instances of apostacy yet occur among such as are called Old School Baptists, my earnest desire is, that I may be in heart and life a follower of him, who is the head and leader of the Old School Baptists. And that like an ancient sister of the fraternity, I might be indulged to sit at his feet, and feast upon his instruction; rather than attempt with my chaffy chattering to feed him. And that I might always have such a sense of my weekness and need of help from him, as to prevent the vain glorious attempt to assist him in his work, or teach him what to do. It seems more fit for worms to dwell in the dust, content as the LORD has made them; than for them to conceit they are butterflies; and attempt to soar in the air, to shew the fine plumage they do not possess. And much more safe for men, to bear the cross after Jesus; than to attempt to lead the way for him without his instruction. How much better is it for lambs, to rest in the bosom of the Shepherd, than to rise in an air balloon among the stars, thinking to show a glittering appearance; where if seen at all, they must appear like a dark spot on the sun; and instead of increasing the warmth, serve only to chill the air. Such is the faint view that I have of the distinction between the idolatrous harlots called New Schoolites; and the Bride of the Lamb. Their attempts to help the LORD in his work of saving souls, is as vain as the attempt of that mighty hunter of ancient memory, the beginning of whose kingdom was Babel, &c. And notwithstanding their boasted achievements in burning brick and calling them stone; and gathering slime and calling it mortar; and fancying that they are building the temple of the LORD; when the fire shall try every man’s work, their supposed way to heaven proves a Babel, and they hear the LORD say, who hath required this at your hand? Depart from me – I know you not; their confusion will doubtless be great! And as sure as salvation is of grace, so sure their system of union of effort, will meet the disapprobation of God. And while I am trying in my feeble way to show the distinction between law, and grace; between the mystical harlot and the bride of the Lamb; and am endeavouring to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints; I do not pass without opposition; even from such as desire to be thought sound in the faith. There are many that have turned aside to vain jangling, desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. But their arrows do not wound deep, for they are not sharp; nor do they bruise much, for they are neither very hard, nor very heavy. But there is one that a little curious; while some would fain make me, and the public believe, that they believe and preach the same doctrine that I do, they would vote that I should not have the privilege of preaching in their house. But one thing I am sure of; (i. e.,) that all they can do, will not prevent the salvation of the chosen of God. Jesus said, All that the Father giveth me, shall come to me; nor will it add one to the number of the saved; for He said, Every plant that my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. With all their fuss, and noise and racket, nothing more nor less can be done by them than God designs. It sometimes comforts me to think of what the Psalmist, and some of the old folks said, Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together, against the LORD, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, both Herod and Pontius Pilot with the Gentiles and the people of Israel were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. While they are breaking the bands of divine rule, and casting away the cords of brotherly love, for the sake of gratifying their fleshly desires of covetousness and popularity. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; the LORD shall have them in derision. I might easily extend my communication to a great length; but, “a word to the wise is sufficient.”
If my brethren are willing that my name should be seen in company with theirs, please to continue it on your list. I still remain desirous to be bound with you and qualified to glory in tribulation.
South-hill, Bradford Co., Pa., March 25, 1839
Signs of the Times
Volume 7, No. 9.
May 1, 1839