Strickersville, Pa., March, 1847.
BROTHER BEEBE: – In the 6th number of the present volume I find a report, copied from the “Christian Chronicle,” on the Baptists of Maryland. In the first place the reporter has committed a historical blunder, in saying, “Many years ago Maryland was a Baptist State,” for in truth the number of Baptists in Maryland was never sufficiently large to justify its being claimed as a Baptist State. I was a member of a Baptist church in that state before the introduction of missionary operations among them, and they were then comparatively like a handful of corn on the top of the mountains, or like a few berries in a branch; there were two small churches scattered throughout other parts of the State, and, like their brethren of the primitive age, they were looked upon as the offscouring of all things. But although they were few, they were Baptists indeed, united in doctrine, order, christian experience, and brotherly affection; when they met together, they met as brethren of the same family. The sovereignty of God in the dispensation of his grace, a full and complete salvation through the blood of Christ, constituted the topics of their conversation. True, the preachers and others were guilty of the charge brought against them by the reporter, of leaving God to do his own work! and that, because they had not the daring presumption to attempt to wrest it from his hand. But the reporter has ventured to define the work of God to be, “to frown upon them,” and yet according this reporter’s own showing, he has not succeeded, so far as to destroy them; for there are yet FOUR HUNDRED AND TWENTY FOUR Old School Baptists in Maryland. But, why have they not all perished? Why, the reporter tells us they would have all perished, had it not been for the sympathy of a few benevolent souls! From this it would appear that God had intended their utter destruction, but found the sympathy of the precious few more powerful, than his wrath, and so they are safe. How shall the Old Baptists of Maryland pay their debt of gratitude to this few. The gold of Peru, and the marble of Italy would be too poor to erect a monument sufficiently splendid to commemorate their achievement. What were the achievements of a Washington, a Jackson, or a Taylor, compared with this? Their competitors were men; but in this case the contest was between God and men! The part of God was to frown upon them, and to seek their destruction; but these few have prevailed and come off conquerors; for, says the reporter, they would have perished had it not been for a few, whose hearts still sympathized &c. But what is this I hear uttered by this 424? They tell me they are under no obligation whatever to this sympathizing few: so far from it, they had it not been for the protection afforded them by God, this very band of sympathizing men, would have swallowed them up! and indeed I am decidedly of their opinion. If the feelings of them all, correspond with the feelings of their reporter, they all breathe forth the same desire. He has expressed his sympathy in strong language, “May heaven hasten their utter extinction.”
Well might the inspired penman say, the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel; for such are the sympathies of the New School for us. But we have one consolation left us, and that is, the sacrifices of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord. This man reminds me of the first part of the history of one of whom we read in the good old book. And Saul breathed out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples, and after his conversion, he tells us that he had been exceedingly mad against them; and he, no doubt, earnestly wished their utter extinction. Well let them curse, but bless thou; and let them call for fire from heaven to consume us, we have nothing to fear; for if their god is rightly described by themselves, he cannot hurt us. According to their own showing, their god is a subordinate being, and perfectly submissive to their will. They claim the prerogative of either impeding or facilitating the work of salvation; their pulpits and presses abound with declarations to this effect. The celebrated Mr. Judson has attributed the eternal destruction of thousands to the tenacity with which the ladies of America held on to their jewels. Oh, naughty ladies! Mr. Vinton says that, shortly after the apostolic age, the church fell asleep, and that during her nap, Satan had possessed himself of the fairest portion of Christ’s inheritance; but now the church has wakened, &c.? They not only tell their immediate hearers that their own salvation is at their own disposal but that the salvation of the world devolves on their prayers and exertions; that if they will pray and use other means, the salvation of the world is certain; but if not, their damnation must result from the neglect, and they must be accountable; for God has done all he can do. If such declarations do not represent God as subordinate to their wills, there is no meaning in words; and of such a god we have no fears. Our God is the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heavens in our help; and in his excellency on the sky. The ETERNAL GOD is our refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. The counsel of our God shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure. He is a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall; even – should they be such terrible ones as this reporter.
What an important difference there is between the God of the Bible, and that of our enemy. “Their rock is not as our Rock, our enemies themselves being judges,” theirs is a poor subordinate being, perfectly subject to the caprice of his votaries, and bound to do whatever they command; but the other is an independent sovereign, doing all his pleasure in heaven and upon the earth, by whom kings reign and princes decree justice. He putteth up one, and another he putteth down. Whatever instrumentalities he requireth, are at his command. If he has use for an Alexander to scourge the world, he knows where to find him; if he requires ministering servants to comfort his poor despised ones, he is able to supply them, and to qualify them for the service, for which he intends them.
Well, let them have their god; we do not want him; neither do we fear him; but of Zion’s God we can say –
“This God is the God we adore,
Our faithful unchangeable friend,
His love is as great as his power,
And neither knows measure nor end.
‘Tis Jesus, the First and the Last,
Whose Spirit shall guide us safe home;
We’ll praise him for all that is past,
And trust him for all that’s to come.
Deceived by the father of lies;
Blind guides cry, Lo here! and, Lo there!
By these our Redeemer us tries,
And warns us of such to beware.”
Yours, as ever,
Signs of the Times.
Volume 15, No. 10.
May 15, 1847