At Br. L. Harding’s, New Milford, Susq’h.
Co., Pa., Nov. 27, 1840.
MY DEAR BROTHER BEEBE: – As I have to write to you on business, – having of late a few more thoughts, I shall embrace the present opportunity to tell you them.
A few days since, in some house where I was, I cast my eyes on a work which appeared to be of great antiquity; and I felt half inclined to spend a leisure moment in examining its contents. In turning over a few of its pages I found it to contain a circle of information on various and some apparently discordant subjects. It might serve as a compass either to the mariner floating in his feeble bark across the sea of life, or to the traveller passing through the vast wilderness of sin. It might also serve as a map to the land man, or as a chart to the seaman. It contained some of the most ancient historical sketches that I ever had heard of, and records of some things that took place before time began. And besides, a great many other useful and entertaining things were contained in it, (for I presume it was the intention of the author to make it the most useful and entertaining of any book extant at the time of its publication.) I cast my eyes, as I was glancing along its pages, on some ancient records of schools; their teachers, their scholars, their manner of teaching, the progress of their scholars, &c. Having, myself, spent some little time in different schools, and under different regulations, I had my curiosity somewhat attracted by an account that I saw of a certain scholar, (as some of his remonstrances with his teacher were recorded.) And his stubbornness being so manifest, brought a train of reflections into my mind that I did not know but might yield some amusement to some others whose minds were as weak as my own.
The scholar was one of a high grace, i. e., his fare was sumptious and his clothing gar, while he lived; and his sentiments the same as are taught by those we are in the habit of calling New School folks: or, in other words he believed the missionary doctrine and advocated it with great zeal. But I noticed that the record stated that it was in hell that he enjoyed the opportunity of most affectionately attempting to vindicate his mission cause. And there is not the least room left us to doubt but that he as fully believed as any of our missionaries do, that it would avail to the salvation of some that otherwise would be lost, if a missionary of the RIGHT STAMP, such as he would choose, should be sent. It does not appear however that all the formulas with which the mission system has since been decorated by the sapient heads of the present department, were so very important in his view as they are now claimed to be: otherwise he might have called on a board of directors, who might have manifested more union with his doctrine in hell than father Abraham did. But father Abraham being in heaven, and knowing that his son’s zeal was misguided by a false doctrine, would not yield the point, nor grant his corrupt petition, though he vehemently plead the claims of the heathen before him. Yea, though he had like many of his missionary brethren of the present day, the effrontery to contradict the pure testimony, yet Abraham was like some they now call stubborn, and stuck for the testimony of Moses and the prophets. To me it appeared there was a real coincidence in the plea was that if one went unto them from the dead they would repent, and of course not come to the place of torment. The popular plea is in substance the same: If we send missionaries qualified from the schools, (dead as theologians are as to communications of the Spirit of God) men will repent. Abraham knew the doctrine to be false, and so do all who walk in the light of truth; and so would many that are engaged in it, if they believed Moses and the prophets, and the record that God has given to his Son: for in that record it is fully shown that some that did know that Jesus had risen from the dead, would not repent nor be persuaded to escape from that place of torment; but were employed as missionaries at high wages, to go and proclaim that which they knew to be a falsehood.
Yours as ever,
Signs of the Times.
Volume 8, No. 23.
December 1, 1840