Harrisburg, Indiana, July 23rd, 1838.
BROTHER BEEBE: – The declaration and order advocated in the ‘Signs,’ are such as the Baptists in our connection, most cordially believe in in general, but we find many (not a majority) who are wedded to a covenant of works so closely, that they cannot be satisfied to trust the whole control and government of Zion and the conversion of souls to our King. “Come up to the help of the Lord against the mighty,” is much insisted on, and this help, they suppose is to be afforded by a zealous prosecution of those benevolent schemes now in operation, and we on the other hand believe these schemes and their advocates constitute a very formidable phalanx in the ranks of the mighty against which our help should be directed. We know of no way in which we can help the Lord against the mighty, but to search the Scriptures, learn their doctrine and precepts and then proclaim and practice them. In the kingdom of God, certain fixed ends and purposes are predestined and the veracity of Jehovah is pledged for their accomplishment, and less than his dishonor could never result from a failure. We may well believe that the mode of fulfillment and all the minutia and execution, would be equally arranged with certainty, and when thus fixed could not with safety be trusted to any fallable agency, or left suspended on any contingent circumstances, nor even hurried into confusion, or deferred into ruin, either by the enthusiasm or the sloth of friends or foes. Therefore, the conversion and all the gifts and graces of every member can only with safety be placed under the agency of the Holy Spirit; this infallible agent can never fail to accomplish its work correctly both in reference to time, persons, and circumstances; and the bestowment of the proper gifts to qualify each member to fill his pre-ordained station in the order of time and place in the great machine.
This gospel of the kingdom, is to be proclaimed to all nations, and is designed to direct every qualified member how to exercise his proper gift, so that the man of God may be thoroughly furnished – and every ordinance and branch of truth, may be well defended, defined and enforced; and that no failure may happen in consequence of the imperfection of either the preacher or hearer of the word, the agency in this whole matter is in the hands of the Lord, so that although the treasure is in earthen vessels, the excellency of the power is of God and not of us. Now in this view, all is certain and no contingences can derange the economy of the divine will and yet every member in the body of Christ has his proper work to do, and God the agent over all, is working in them, both to will and to do according to his good pleasure; so that no one member, no not even the head, can say to another, though it be the foot, I have no need of you; but God hath set every member in its proper place in the church, in regard to time and the work to be done by each in its proper time, and so we should all come up in our proper order as the Lord hath called and qualified us, “To the help of the Lord against the mighty.”
If the above doctrine be correct in substance, the whole church and every member thereof, should search the Scriptures, knowing that whatsoever was written aforetime was wrote for our learning; and when we have learned our work, then be up and doing. But in what book, chapter or verse can we learn the first sylable about one of these modern societies, their available means (money hire to effect the conversion of men) or the end they have in view, (the conversion of the universal world) or the spring of their action (the hurrying in the millenial glory sooner than it would otherwise be) or the consequences of their exertions being impeded, (the eternal perdition of vast numbers of precious souls, who might and would have been ultimately saved, if they had only obtained by these societies sufficient of the available means, money.) Nay, verily, all of these things with the whole train of concomitants thereunto belonging, are not only left out of the written word, but are evidently repugnant to what is written, both in doctrine, example, precept and moral and political influence and tendency. It indulges the love of money, it opens a door for imposition, it wages war with the immutability of God – it substitutes human agency in the place of divine purposes and power, and introduces an order of things exclusively human, to superceded the divine order, both as to time and end; and naturally tends to alienate the confidence and faith of the subject from the king, and place them on the things (learning and money) of this world. I have now neatly filled my sheet, and have scarcely began any subject, but like some sermons, Amen, is all that the people are pleased with, so no doubt some will be better pleased with the end than any thing in the letter, and as I cannot depart from my bible to follow cunningly devised fables, and without so doing I cannot please the wise of this world, I suppose I had better desist for the present.
I am, dear brother, in the defence of the gospel truth and order, yours, &c.
Signs of the Times
Volume 6, No. 17.
August 24, 1838