Lexington, Ky. Aug. 1835.
DEAR BRO. BEEBE: Your two letters came duly to hand, and but for absence from home in the discharge of ministerial duties, should have answered them sooner. It would give me much pleasure to be with the Old School brethren who meet with you in Oct. Next; and I indulge some hope that it will be in my power to accomplish it. The matter is however involved in doubt. I have sent you the “Cincinnati Journal” of the 17th July, which contains an unprovoked attack upon me and the society to which I belong, together with my reply to the attack. I had not heard a sentence of such a piece being in existence, until our Bro. Trott visited us in the latter part of December last. He came across the piece copied into the Southern Telegraph, printed at Richmond, Va. on his way out. After he had given me the information, I used some industry to get hold of the paper containing the original attack; having obtained the loan of it, I wrote a reply in January, but owing to the continued absence of my brother (who lives in Cincinnati) from the city during the most of the latter part of the winter and spring, I did not send the article first written (I may say that some friends urged that it was too lengthy) because of its length, and wrote a second which did not reach the press, owing to the absence of my brother until July.
You may form some idea of the nature of the war waged against me upon reading Mr. Brainard’s piece, as also the prospect of my “capitulating to the enemy,” when you shall have read my reply. A desperate struggle is making to build up their systems by the worshippers of the great goddess Diana; and no wonder, for her “craftsmen live by their craft,” and it is in danger. I think they find heavy pulling, deep roads and balky oxen; which renders the onward march of their machinery rather tardy. I think the gospel in its simplicity and purity is sweeter to me than ever; and when I find a brother here and there (and there are yet some amongst us, and occasionally we have visiters from a distance) who have firmness and independence enough to speak out plainly the language of the Jews – who can pronounce the “Shiboleth of Jordan” distinctly, he feels nearer my heart than ever. This consideration somewhat reconciles me to persecution. It always did, and always will tend to strengthen the cords of christian affection.
The Apostle has said, “yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” O, my dear brother, if we can only have grace (for on it alone am I dependent) sufficient to live as the faithful in Israel, “though an host should encamp against us,” we have nothing to fear; “for the Master has said, One shall chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight.” O that we may always remember that “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God, to the pulling down of the strong holds.” The Poet has said of Jesus:
“He is a solid comfort when
All other comforts fail.”
May we feel in our souls what another Poet has said,
“If bliss thy providence impart,
For which resign’d I’ll pray;
Give me to feel the greatful heart,
And hourly watch and pray.”
Affliction should thy love intend,
As vice or folly’s cure;
Patient to gain the gracious end,
May I the means endure.”
We live in an evil day, when “the love of many seems to wax cold.” I have frequently been reminded of the language of the Psalmist, within the last few months, “Help Lord for the Godly man ceaseth, for the faithful fail from among the children of men.”
Within the last three weeks a friend has placed in my hands the “Cross and Baptist Journal” published in Cincinnati, in which I find another attack on myself and our Association, over the signature of “R.T. /Dillard.” The ostensible cause of this attack is, the remark contained in my letter to Bro. Reis, viz: “Our Association remains firm as a body; we still have a few disaffected among us, but theri number has been diminished since I was with you,” and which was published in the Signs at the request of the Old School brethren. I take no exceptions to its publication. Eld. Dillard admits that dissatisfaction exists; that a majority of the Association is opposed to Missionary operations; and admits and denies that the number of disaffected have been diminished. My reply is written and will be forthcoming shortly – provided the Cross and Journal will agree to publish it; if not, some other medium will be sought. My best love to dear brother Conklin and all the brethren who enquire for me.
Your Brother and companion in tribulation.
THOMAS P. DUDLEY
THE REV. THOMAS P. DUDLEY, OF KENTUCKY.
Last Sept. more than NINE MONTHS ago, the editor of the Journal spent a week in Kentucky, and on his return, he wrote a short account of his visit. – Among other things, we referred to the operations of the particular Baptists, of whom the Rev. Thos. P. Dudley is a leader. The following is an extract from our observations:”
‘This is one of the most delightful towns in Kentucky, containing about 1500 inhabitants. Situated on rising ground, furnished with excellent water, surrounded by the rich and beautiful landscapes, so common in the centre of Kentucky, it will hardly lose by comparison with any town of its size in the United States. It is on the direct route from Cincinnati to Lexington, twelve miles distant from the latter, and sixty-eight from the former. A company has been chartered to construct a Macadmized road between the two cities, and when this work is completed, Georgetown can hardly fail to become one of the most flourishing and populous towns in the state.’
‘We have mentioned three kinds of Baptists. The Regular, the Cambellite and the Newlight. There is another kind still, called Dudleyites, or familiarly Iron Jackets. Their great leader here, is the Rev. Mr. Dudley. He preached at Georgetown the Sabbath we were there. His sermons are often two hours and a half or three hours in length. Wherever he starts he is sure to travel over about the same ground in each sermon. He and his party claim to be the original Simon Pure Baptist denomination, and they everywhere, like another party we cold name, denounce as heretics and innovaters all those pretended Baptists, who offer salvation to sinners, and endeavor to persuade them to repent and believe on all-sufficient and accessible Saviour. They believe that all efforts by men, to save souls, savor of sacrilege, by invading the sovereignty of God. They are wonderfully afraid of revival excitements; and without scruple, collect and trumpet forth to the world the slanders which the world is willing to originate against revival preachers. The Rev. Mr. Dudley does not scruple to take up Presbyterians, Methodists, Regular Baptists, Episcopalians, &c., by name, and lacerate them without mercy. We know of but one other minister, in any denomination, who deals in this personal abuse, and he in all respects above named is a true yoke-fellow of Mr. Dudley. Against our Bible, Tract, Missionary, Sunday Schools and Temperance Societies, the Dudleyites have a special antipathy. They rail at these as new measures, calculated to take the work of God out of his hands; as Arminian devices opposed to Calvinism, and not named in the Bible. WE know of at least one lady, a member of this ultra Calvinistic and essentially bigoted sect, who tried to break from her chains, by sending her children to the Sunday school. For this she was disciplined, and persuaded to make a public confession. Another, a father, whose son had joined the Temperance Society, came in a great rage and ordered his name to be stricken off. In these churches is still heard the old song about ‘man-made preachers,’ ‘ministerial hirelings,’ &c. The leaders of this denomination are striving to reform the Regular Baptists, by persuading them to give up their revival preaching, and benevolent societies, that all may lie down together and sleep, and ‘wait God’s time to gather in the elect.’ They are willing to trust sinners throughout a perishing world, to God’s naked sovereignty, bu they are afraid to trust the church to such keeping, and stir themselves right heartily to hold their own, and gain proselytes. Marvellous consistency!
Pity that all antinomians of all denomination, who are afraid sinners will be converted too fast, could not e collected into one body, and laid away quietly to sleep, where their slumbers would not be disturbed by the rolling wheels of the gospel chariot, and where they would no longer disturb, by their croaking, those who are fighting the battles of the Lord. Their number we know not, bu they are scattered here and there over the west.’
TO THE PUBLISHERS OF THE CINCINNATI JOURNAL.
Within the last few months, your paper of the 17th October last, has been placed in my hands and my attention especially invited to an unprovoked libel, published (under the editorial head) against me and a respectable proportion of the Baptist denomination, as well, in our own, as other countries.
Were the circulation of your paper confined to the limits of my acquaintance, I should treat that vituperative article with the contempt it merits. But learning that it has been copied into several of the eastern journals, amongst others, the ‘Southern Telegraph,’ printed at Richmond, Va.; I feel it a duty I owe myself, the society to which I belong, and to the cause of truth (unaccustomed as I am to newspaper controversy) to disabuse the public mind by exposing that issue of misrepresentations. As your journal has been the medium of communication for the ‘visitor’s’ attack, I ask it as an act of justice that you publish my reply.
With the author, I have no personal acquaintance, nor do I recollect ever to have heard of him, except in connextion with his unchristian and wanton attack on a body of people, who for integrity, honesty and real piety, would lose nothing by comparison with any sect in Christendom. It is true, the Particular Baptists stand aloof from the system of mendicancy (erroneously called benevolent institutions) peculiar to those days of invention in religious matters; believing that God has ordained the means which shall infallibly secure the salvation of his elect, and that not one word is said in the Bible (the standard of our faith and practice) about missionary, bible, tract and temperance societies, as conducing to effectuate the eternal purposes of Jehovah. Nor do we feel disposed to impose upon the credulity of the religious and irreligious; male and female, bond and free, by telling them, that contributing to rear and sustain those institutions of human invention, they are throwing into the Lord’s treasury. Nor yet, that approaching an anxious seat, front bench, or emphatically a work bench, is a means appointed by the Eternal of securing an interest in a Saviour’s blood. We rely on stronger and more effectual means than such trumpery as this. We rely on the atoning blood of the Lamb as efficacious in the ‘purchase of his church’ and the irresistable work of the Spirit to sanctify and prepare them for the Master’s use. Such was Paul’s reliance, as we learn from the following declarations: ‘We are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation (the end) through sanctification of the spirit and belief of the truth’ (the means:) 2 Thess. ii, 13. It is not surprising, however, that the young man has manifested so much bitterness of feeling, when we remember what the Master said to his disciples, ‘Marvel not, if the world hate you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own, but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore, the world hateth you.’ We have long since learned that to maintain consistently, that God saves his people by his own uncontrolable power, ‘according to the eternal purposes which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord,’ is enough to secure (from the children of the bond woman) the title of antinomian, fatalist, &c.; and to refuse worship to the great goddess Diana, and withold patronage from her craftsmen, rarely fails to secure (from the same source) the epithet of uncharitable. Yet it is said, ‘Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my name’s sake,’ and we are exhorted to ‘bear hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ.’
Had the ‘visiter’ made himself acquainted with the doctrine and practice of the ‘Dudleyites or Iron Jackets’ as he is pleased to name them, and given to the world a fair and impartial representation of them; not a murmur would ever have escaped one. But it is evident such was not his intention. The interest of many is promoted by suppressing the truth. Hence with them ‘the end sanctifies the means.’ If he really has a desire to know something of the doctrine and practice of the ‘Particular Baptists’ (of which he seems entirely ignorant) if he will examine what is commonly called the Apostle’s creed, supposing to have been written shortly after the ascension of the Head of the Church; the Confession of faith published by the Waldenses, who inhabited the valleys of Piedmont in the 12century; the London Confession of Faith, adopted by a number of Particular Baptists near two centuries past; or the Philadelphia Baptist Confession of Faith, adopted in 1742; he may learn something of them. The church of which I am a member, was constituted in 1786, and received as her declaration, the last named Confession. From it we have not departed. If there exists discrepancy between our views and those of the Regular Baptists, it is because of their departure from original principles, and not from our adopting a new theory, whether called ‘new-school divinity,’ or by any other name.
I might with confidence appeal to the First Presbyterian society, and the various Baptist churches in Cincinnati, (at each of whose houses of worship upon special invitation, I have several times tried to preach) in refutation of the slanders of Mr. Brainerd. His allusion to the length of my sermons and my traveling over the same ground in each, is too contemptible to merit serious notice. That I believe the doctrine and practice of the Particular Baptists to correspond with the Bible, is most true; but that I denounce all those who differ from us as ‘heretics and innovators’ is a perversion of truth, for which the author of the attack is holden responsible before the religious community. That I descend to ‘personal abuse’ is equally destitute of foundation in fact. To assign the reasons why I conceive other denominations are in error, and to expose such errors, is my privilege as a minister of the gospel, in doing which, I have studiously avoided misrepresentation, and Mr. Brainerd is challenged to produce a single instance in which I have misrepresented any creed. His cause is indefensible, hence he is disposed to meet argument, sound argument, with abuse. I have again and again said publicly, that I believe there are many heaven-born souls attached to the various denominations of professed christians, but that, in so far as they differ from us I conceive them to be in error.
If I abuse and denounce all other denominations, as Mr. Brainard accuses me of doing; or if I ‘collect and trumpet forth to the world slanders,’ is it not passing strange that our congregations have increased since Mr. B’s. visit to his classmate in Georgetown, and that those congregations are composed of Presbyterians, Methodists, Episcopalians, Regular Baptists, Reformers and Unitarians, &c? which is known to be a fact. Gentle reader, ask yourself the question: Is it rational to suppose, that those congregations meet me month after month, to hear themselves abused? Shameful perversion of truth! We believe that Jesus is an all-sufficient Saviour only for those whom he has redeemed, and that he will save all such with an everlasting salvation. We believe him the only medium of access to the Father; ‘For though him we both (Jews and Gentiles) have access by one spirit unto the Father.’ Eph. ii, 18. We warn the impenitent of the claims of the LAW upon them, their duty to turn from sin; but we dare not promise them salvation upon their obedience to the law. ‘By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight.’ Rom. iii, 20. Men are ‘dead in trespasses and sins;’ when made alive by the Spirit, (whose province it is to give life, ‘it is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing:) then and not till then are they the subjects of gospel address. ‘But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned.’ Hence it is seen that the agency of the Holy Spirit is indispensable to the production of gospel faith, without which it is impossible to please God. The law, and the law alone has to do with men in an unregenerate state; the gospel has to do with those who are alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ The Saviour said ‘make the tree good and his fruit shall be good,’ in reference to the principle of faith, whence flows good works.
A heavy charge is leveled against us for our supposed opposition to ‘revival preaching and benevolent institutions.’ Whence the term ‘revival preaching I know not; I am very certain it is not drawn from the sacred volume. The gospel of Christ is the same whether preached in times of revival, or when Zion is languid, and the ministry is required to ‘preach the gospel.’ Why then is this distinction drawn? In relation to ‘benevolent institutions,’ as they are called, I remark, we have no earthly objection to men associating together for the suppression of vice and substitution of virtue in its place; but we do object to setting up those institutions as ‘religious institutions.’ – They are unknown to the Bible (the standard of our faith and practice) hence we are unwilling to dishonor our divine Head by saying (virtually) he has been deficient in the appointment of the means to secure his ends, and that we will supply that deficiency with our societies. Or that the laws for the government of Zion are inadequate, and we will therefore, supply that inadequacy. Religious and irreligious may, and have become members of most or all of them, by paying their money. In such association, are we not violating the command of Christ: – ‘Be ye not conformed to this world’ – ‘Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers’ – ‘Touch not, taste not, handle not?’ But, it is said we ‘are willing to trust sinners throughout a perishing world to God’s naked sovereignty.’ In this, he has said truly; but as untruly has he said, we are afraid to trust the church to such keeping. We have no city of refuge but the eternal God; hence we cannot trust ourselves or others any where else. ‘Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it; except the Lord keep the city, the watchmen waketh not in vain.’ Ps. cxxviii, 1. Every soul who has experienced regeneration, who has been made acquainted with the holy character of his Creator, the purity of his law, the heinous nature of sin, the corruption of his own heart; who has tasted, figuratively, of the wormwood and gall, being ‘ten thousand talents in debt and having nothing to pay,’ is brought to cry ‘Lord save, we perish.’ ‘God be merciful to me a sinner.’ ‘Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.’ Here he relies exclusively on God’s naked sovereignty and here must Mr. Brainerd be brought to rely, or he will assuredly hear the sentence depart. – ‘Not unto us, but unto thy name give glory.’
Mr. Brainerd says, we know of at least one lady, a member of this ultra calvinistic and essentially bigoted sect, who tried to break from her chains, by sending her children to the Sunday School. For this she was disciplined and persuaded to make a public confession.’ There is not the least shadow of foundation in fact for this charge, and Mr. Brainerd should be holden up to the world as a calumniator for asserting it. The case of the father, which he says he knows to exist, is alike untrue in every essential particular. It is humiliating indeed to see a man professing to be a minister of the gospel, so reckless of truth.
Tenacious as we are of our principles, believing them to be gospel principles, I rejoice that no individual is to be found in our ranks, who seems to regret that all these who differ from us ‘could not be collected together, and laid away quietly to sleep (ay, the sleep of death) where the rolling wheels of the gospel chariot can no more disturb their slumbers.’ No, they may ‘croak’ on, until the Lord shall stop them. Christians of all denomination, has it come to this, that because an individual or body of christians want ‘precept or example’ drawn from the bible to sustain the inventions of men, before they are to be prescribed; yes, but for the laws of the land, deprived of their liberty, and perhaps of life? Charity would hope that the young man’s pen wrote that which his heart did not dictate. But that I may do the Rev. T. Brainerd a presbyterian preacher of Cincinnati, Ohio, no injustice, I quote his own language. ‘Pity that all antinomians of all denominations who are afraid sinners will be converted too fast, could not be collected into one body, and laid away quietly to sleep, where their slumbers would not be disturbed by the rolling wheels of the gospel chariot, and where they would no longer disturb, by their croaking, those who are fighting the battles of the Lord. Their numbers we know not, but they are scattered here and there over the west.’ The above sentence closes Mr. Brainerd’s phillipie against me and the society to which I belong. We have cause of gratitude to God in that we enjoy religious toleration. Had Mr. B. the sanction of law, we know not how soon he would engage in exterminating all who dare proclaim ‘salvation is of the Lord.’
THO’S. P. DUDLEY.
Fayette, Co. Ken. April 1, 1835
Signs of the Times
Volume 3, No. 21
October 14, 1835