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For the Signs of the Times.

Richmond, Me., July 26, 1849.

BROTHER BEEBE: – A few weeks since the annual conference of the Congregationalist Churches of Maine was held in the city of Bath, Me. Amongst their proceedings, the Rev. Mr. Dean of Rhode Island made a report to the conference. Embodied in his report, was the following statement, “That the moral atmosphere of that State was not very good, owing to the variety of religious sects, & the errors of Roger Williams being somewhat disseminated there. Therefore if any man had lost his religion he might go to Rhode Island and find it. He mentioned the names of five or six kinds of Baptists, and among the rest, and last of all “Ironsides, called, out in the Western States, Hard Shells. They are opposed to education, temperance, and every benevolent enterprise. I am glad to say that they are on the decrease, and we bombard them in Rhode Island at a great rate.”

We read in the scriptures of a sect that was every where spoken against, consequently were vilified, misrepresented, and abused in every form and shape. And in all ages they have been denounced by the antichristian world in the most unqualified manner, and even now they do not spare them in their denunciations.

The Ironsides, or Hard Shells, alias Old School Baptists are well fortified against the malediction, and malevolence of their enemies, for the Lord is their strength and shield, therefore they will not fear what men may do unto them. They ever have been, and still are in favor of education, temperance, and every true benevolent enterprise, and great sticklers for the civil and religious rights of men. If Roger Williams had been a bigoted Presbyterian, he never would have fled from Massachusetts to Rhode Island to enjoy his religious privileges free from the dictation of the civil and ecclesiastical establishment of the old Bay State. And it is evident that the same spirit of oppression now prevails in Rhode Island, that once existed in the old Puritanic establishment of New England, for it appears that the “Ironsides” are bombarded at a great rate. I hope there are some in that State who are so ironsided, so steadfast in the truth of the gospel, as not to be moved when bombarded by their adversaries, through any means they may resort to for their extermination. That the exit of that people from the earth that maintain God’s eternal truth, is desired, is not a new thing, for it has been so ever since Cain killed his brother; or to be glad that they are on the decrease is synonymous with the same desire. The calumniation of being opposed to “education, temperance, and every benevolent enterprise,” is, by no means, a strange thing, while contending for, and advocating the doctrine and practice of the apostolic church, and exposing, and opposing legalized temperance societies, and religious education societies, with their concomitants the Sunday school union, and the home and foreign missionary societies, &c.

God’s people are a hidden people, the world know them not, neither have they any feeling of sympathy for them as the church of God. All such as are seeking to be justified, as it were, by the deeds of the law, and are walking in the way that seemeth right unto a man; ever have persecuted those that are in the way of holiness, the way that is cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. And Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” and he is, emphatically, the salvation of his people.

May the Lord have mercy upon us, and upon his people, and guide us in the way of truth and righteous.

“The God we worship now
Will guide us till we die
Will be our God while here below
And ours above the sky.”

Affectionately yours,
JOSEPH L. PURINGTON.

Signs of the Times
Volume 17, No. 16.
August 15, 1849.