BROTHER BEEBE: – Almost, yes, I may say that every denomination of professors of Religion, have some error more prominent than all their other errors, by which they are especially distinguished. Thus the “Catholics” by their Pope, and seven Sacraments; the “Church of England,” by her “Apostolic succession” and “Prayer Book;” the Presbyterians by their Synod, and most “Evangelical Catechism;” The Methodists by their professed subjection to Mr. Wesley, their Free-will and falling from Grace, &c. &c. But the Baptists of late seem to have no distinguishing error, but to have collected together some of the ready made errors of every sect in christendom, so that they truly appear in a coat of many colours. Our intention is to enumerate on the present occasion, a few of these errors. Secondly, shew where they were borrowed, and in some future numbers, prove that they are errors. And firstly, Ecclesiastical councils, composed of Ministers and lay delegates, gathered together to decide on cases of discipline, and give law to Churches, which must be obeyed on pain of exclusion from all fellowship with the “Churches” whether right or wrong. (We have a case in our mind, which occured in Litchfield South Farms, a year since, by which we will illustrate our subject in due time.) Second, the adopting of Creeds, and Confessions of Faith, articles, &c. as the ground of admission into the Church and fellowship of the members. Third, assigning to the servants or Ministers of the Churches a place above the Brethren, as a higher order, and holding the principle that human learning is any part of their qualification for the work of the Ministry, or in any way assists to edify the Church of God. Fourth, holding the doctrine, that salvation in any manner or measure depends on the free will or volition of creatures, and yet is the absolute free gift of God through grace, depending on his election. Fifth, holding the doctrine, that the natural man knoweth not the things of the spirit of God, neither can he discern them, and yet that parent and guardians ought to, and can teach the things of the Kingdom of God to their natural children and others, who are not born of God. Sixth, that Wooden Buildings and stone or brick, are the “Church” of the living God, and as such are named in Baptists papers and are dedicated to the service of “Almighty God,” and held to be sacred. Seventh, that the first day of the week is “holy time,” and is the “Sabbath,” and binding on all men to be kept (in manner and form as tradition directs) and that to labor on that day, is to sin against God. Eight, that christians are under the Law of Moses, especially the “Moral Law;” and that some part of the Law is done away and some remains as such, and that christians are not the Lords free men, but Moses slaves. Ninth, that the instituting of societies, other than the Church of God, to show forth Gospel charity, to further the cause of God, to edify his people, to exercise authority, to circulate the Scriptures &c. &c., is right. Tenth, that it is proper to unite with the world in the worship of God and in the fellowship of ministering to the necessities of the saints; and also to use musical instruments, as viols. flutes, &c., to assist the devotion of the Saints and world.
Our object in some future Nos. will be to discuss each of these ten topics severally, and in union with the “four Carpenters,” to help fray them away, for they have scattered Israel and Judah. We would endeavor to point the minds of our Brethren to “old paths” and the “good way,” that they might walk therein and find peace; for “great peace have they who love the Law of God, and nothing shall offend them.” Therefore they will not be offended at our plain dealing, and if any are offended, we shall know they love not the Law of our Lord. So fare well,
Signs of the Times
Volume 1, No. 3
January 2, 1833