Muncie, Delaware Co., Ind., Oct. 15, 1857.
DEAR BROTHER BEEBE: - I find by noticing some of the religious periodicals of the day, that there are those professing to be of the old order of Primitive Baptists, who are holding out flags of truce to our enemies, and the enemies to the truth, (the New School Baptists,) with the hope, I suppose, of enlisting under their lead a more numerous train of followers; and I, for one, am willing to be rid of those who are figuring in the contemplated confederacy, so far as my knowledge extends, for I know of none who are leading off in the conspiracy who have not heretofore proved themselves to be restless spirits and ambitious aspirants for the mastery, and have caused more perplexity, strife and grief amongst the Baptists, than ever they have been, or ever they will be able to balance, by all the profit they have ever been, or ever will be to us, should they live a thousand years, and follow the zigzag wanderings that have characterized their course up to the present time. I have no disposition whatever, therefore, to court the stay or crave the company of those individuals; nor would I now write three lines across this sheet to secure their residence among us, or the residence of those who can with them amalgamate with the new order of Arminian Baptists, while understanding their position. But, lost there should be some well-meaning ones amongst us led among them, who have not taken pains to inform themselves of the abominations of that troop, I think it high time that a warning voice should be raised, and those wandering stars rebuked. I have been an unworthy member of the Old School Baptist Church for twenty-seven years, and for more than twenty years of that time my brethren have required my services in the promulgation and defense of the gospel. Often has my heart been made to overflow with gratitude to God for the rich repasts and consoling interviews I have enjoyed in the sweet fellowship and communion of the saints; and often on the other hand have I witnessed that the Paschal Lamb had to be eaten in the night, roast in fire, and with bitter herbs. "How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity." But warfare is not so pleasant, but perhaps at times, quite as necessary; and the watchman that would skulk from the enemy when he sees him approaching, screen himself and fail to give alarm, would certainly prove himself to be recreant in point of duty, treacherous to him who had chosen him to be a soldier, and unworthy of the confidence of his companions in arms. I have been called upon to meet the enemies on many occasions, and perhaps few with capacities feeble as mine, have passed through more fiery ordeals. Often have I been made to tremble, and oft to feel the thrusts of the enemy. But having obtained help of God, I continue to this day, and feeling confident that the enemy is on the alert and preparing for a subtle fight, feeble as I am,
"I take my breastplate, sword and shield,
And boldly march into the field."
Truth, plainness and candor, shall be my motto, and I expect to draw down the vengeance of the enemy upon me by this kind of course, but perhaps it may as well fall upon me as upon another. One of those restless aspirants is in East Virginia. He and his compeers have already hurled many of their envenomed darts at me as an individual, both through the columns of his shameless periodical, publicly, and in private communications by letters to myself and others. I have their writings in my possession now, that would do dishonor to the vilest chronicler of political demagoguism. Others of the brethren, with myself, have been courted, kicked and goaded for the purpose of inducing us take part in their base bickerings through their columns, I suppose to give notoriety to their unenviable sheet; but I am glad to say that, so far as my knowledge extends, none of our names have been disgraced under our own productions in that paper; and I trust that we may all continue to disregard with perfect indifference all the rage of the howling beagles, however much they may still persist in snapping at our heels. I have not so much as read any of their scurrilous attacks upon myself, although I am informed that they have several. Another one, pandering to the Virginia editor, and one of the principal contributors to his columns, is holding out the flag to the Fullerite Baptists in Georgia.
I do not wish to make any unjustifiable allusions in reference to any of these characters, but will say this much, that when I have suspected a wolf in sheep's clothing, and was not at the time able to satisfy myself of the fact, I have been in the habit of taking their back-track; and when I have been able to follow the trail any considerable distance, I have generally had clear manifestations of the claws and fangs of the wolf, and the parting of the hoof, and the chewing of the cud of the sheep. And I hope, that if the Georgia lion is trailed back through Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri, a fair and truthful report may be had concerning him.
And I trust, too, that if he should form a confederacy with the New School Baptists, again, he will find a more agreeable home, and a more lasting residence among them, than when he united with them in Missouri. An impartial investigation of the course and conduct of an upright man will be of service to him, while a similar course to a contrary character may be of service to others. There, is yet another in Ohio, who is displaying the flag both to the Fullerites and the Means Baptists of Indiana. But I need not say much to our brethren at a distance about these un-formidable little foxes. They are "small fry’s" at best. We have so far survived their ravages without suffering any material injury, and apprehend no particular danger now, since they have been made manifest.
Indeed, they have been serviceable to us as a washpot, and we may have need of them again in that line; if we should, they will no doubt be ready to take away the refuse. The Ohio leader was once famous as a Methodist, but signalized himself by turning a half-somersault, and making a most desperate attack upon Arminians of every grade, with the prospect, apparently, of wearing the big bell for the Baptists. But finding they would not all dance to his jingle, he made the other half of the somersault, which set him as he was in the outset. He then proclaimed publicly that he quit fighting the Arminians and made war upon the Old School Baptists. Accordingly he did, but the little fellow has not hurt us yet, and we trust he may live long and agreeably with his present allies, and unless we should need another washing, we shall not need him.
Now, brethren, when I look over all this motley mixture, and consider what it will be when fully amalgamated and wrapped together in its contemplated conglomeration, with all its different casts and hues, I am made to ask myself the question: What will there be in the whole mass that a Baptist will have any use for? I, for one, feel fully assured that "I will not take from a thread even to a shoe-latch," from the heterogeneous compound. And I will here say to the New School Baptists; Take them if you have any need of them, but remember you must truckle to them, or there will be a fuss in the camp and the truce will be broken. But to those who love the truth, and whom I love for the truth's sake, let me say, dear brethren, " Say not a confederacy to all them to whom this people shall say a confederacy, neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. But sanctify the Lord of hosts himself, and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread."
Why need we court the popular crowd, when we hear the cheering voice of our heavenly Leader, "the Captain of our salvation," bidding us "fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."
I never yet read of, or heard of, or knew the people of God to suffer any serious difficulties in consequence of a lack of numbers. Did Gideon suffer because he had too few to meet the Midianites? Did Elijah suffer any particular inconvenience because he had to meet four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal alone? When and where did the remnant, according to the election of grace, receive injury because they were too few?
Rather than court the carnal and confused multitude, let me, with Israel, "dwell in safety alone." "Lo, the people shall dwell alone, and not be reckoned among the nations of the earth."
It was when we were too many that we saw trouble; when the strange children, consisting of Fullerites, Meansites, and anti-unionists, had to be fought out of our ranks. Let me dwell with the afflicted and poor people who trust in the name of the Lord. Brethren, may God enable you to discern between him that serveth him, and him that serveth him not.
Your brother, truly,
J. F. JOHNSON.