THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES, which is one of the exchanges that comes to our office, in its issue of January 1, contains an Obituary notice written by J. N. Badger, of Manassas, Virginia, in which he makes an attack upon the Baptists at Occoquan.
The obituary was of a man who had been regularly excluded from the Occoquan church, and received in a church under Badger’s care.
Now the fact of Badger’s coming to this village and attending the funeral was a matter with which we have no business whatever, and certainly such an event could be of no interest to orderly Baptists, but when he goes out of his way in writing an obituary notice to make an attack upon us, and the Church that we serve here, the affair assumes a very different shape.
So far as the deceased is concerned, we have no desire in this article to reopen his case, but we do mean to demolish the glass house which shelters “Joe” Badger while engaged in throwing stones.
Some of our readers will recall that this is the same J. N. Badger who wrote the famous or infamous defence of the Corresponding Meeting published in 1890, in which he lied and claimed that the Corresponding Meeting had committed the same disorder with which they were charged (i.e., receiving alien baptism), once before and that nothing had been said about it, and why make a fuss about it now.
To this remarkable defence one of our correspondents replied, stating that it reminded him of a man who was once arraigned for stealing a horse, and whose defence was that he had stolen one once before, and nothing was said about it, and why should he be arraigned for it now?
Badger shows in his obituary an inexcusable ignorance of all Virginia churches in stating that the deceased was baptized “in the fellowship of the Old School Baptist Church called “Bacon Race.”
This is the first time that we have ever heard of such a church. There is a place some miles from Occoquan where in former years they used to race for Bacon, and we suppose that Badger has confounded this distance race-track with the Church whose meeting place is near here. It would seem, however, that a man claiming to be a Gospel-minister ought to have sufficient discernment to distinguish between a race-track and a Gospel church, and to know that Baptists churches are never named for race-courses!
Such ignorance of the name of a Church with an honorable record of 130 years (est. 1775), located only 10 miles from his door is, we say, inexcusable. From the article in question we quote:
“In writing this outline of brother Davis’ life I feel that those who turned their backs upon him have more need of the prayers of God’s people than his own immediate family. Thank God a religion of hatred can never supplant the pure religion of the almighty love of God.”
By “the prayers of God’s people,” evidently he means the prayers of himself and his compromising associates. Now we are quite sure that, judging from the malignant persecution, the constant falsehoods, misrepresentations, and vile slander, heaped upon us in former years, had there been any efficacy in such “prayers,” we would have been in a hot place long before this! Instead of this, however, in the face of such a fierce onslaught our churches have steadily grown in love, and fellowship, to say nothing of the fact that the VIRGINIAN ANNUAL MEETING organized in 1889 with two churches, now number five.
It is written: “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord,” – Proverbs xv, 8, which we might interpret to mean the “prayers of the wicked availeth not.”
“What a terrible thing was the Cardinal’s curse,
Yet nobody was ever any the worse.”
We repeat Badger’s words that “a religion of hatred can never supplant the pure religion of the Almighty love of God.” If he means hatred against the Truth and order under which he was baptized and ordained, then we say with him that such hatred cannot supplant the love of God; but if this is his meaning, he writes himself entirely out of the possession of such love, as it would be difficult to find an article that appears more inspired by hate than his last little squib in the SIGNS, as well as his assaults upon us in former years. It is written of God’s people; “Ye that love the Lord, hate evil.” Yea, “He preserveth the souls of His saints; He delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.” – Psalm xcvii, 10. To love God is not to love anti-christ, is not to love every false way, is not to love the enemies of God.
Joseph Badger was invited and entertained by members of the Methodist denomination upon his recent visit here. He preached in their meeting house, the bell was tolled in modern worldly style during that funeral service, and the Methodist preacher sat side by side with him in the pulpit during the service, endorsing his preaching, which was also well received by the Methodist congregation, while, though a few yards of an Old School Baptist meeting house. With a good sized congregation, not a single member either of the church or her congregation was present, and as far as we are informed, took any interest in the proceedings, which we are sure would have never been heard of among us, had it not been for the bitter and uncalled for attack upon us. . . .
We invite Mr. Badger to visit our village again. We have no doubt but what his Methodist friends here will be glad to entertain him, and to furnish him with a congregation; if for no other reason, to show their unfriendliness to us, and to the Old School Baptist exclusivism that attend our religious travel.
Such occurrences go far to unmask the hypocritical pretensions of such men to sound doctrine and good order, and are beneficial to the cause of God and Truth.
William M. Smoot,
The Sectarian, Feb. 1905.