“At the Rev. J. McCauley’s church in Murray street, Rev. Doct. Baird, missionary in France, stated, that although in Germany there were as near as could be ascertained under existing difficulties, 15,000, and possibly 20,000, nominally Protestant clergymen; yet not more than 1,500 could be considered as evangelical, converted men. – They were men of good morals, who exerted a moral influence and restrained in some measure the populations from the gross iniquity into which many might plunge, were it not for their influence: still they could not be considered as devoted to the cause of religion from any true sense of its value. Their profession was their means of support, and for that purpose they held it. These offices were filled by men appointed by government.”
The above is the testimony of a missionary, and it appears to me that no better result could reasonably be expected from a system wholly based upon natural things, as is the missionary. Its cornerstone, indeed its whole foundation rests upon money, the love of which is the root of all evil. Is there any well founded objection to preachers being appointed by government, that will not apply to a missionary society? One is no more warranted by scripture than the other, and if the effect of one is to produce men “Not devoted to the cause of religion from any true sense of its value,” have we any good reason to look for anything better from the other? Both being worldly, we can expect no divine influences operating upon either. – To discover that civil government is no more worldly than missionary societies, it is only necessary to examine the principle upon which they are constituted. It precludes no grade of moral character: whoever will pay the stipulated sum of money may become a member, life member, or life director. In designating the field of labor, of what is called gospel preachers, (who are first prepared by an education society, although worldly, wholly based upon money, which gives membership without regard to any religious or moral character) the drunkard, blasphemer, gambler or horse racer, exercises an influence in exact proportion to the amount of money paid; hence we may expect preachers emanating from such a source to be void of religion from any true sense of its value.
January 13, 1843
Signs of the Times
Volume 11, No. 2.
January 16, 1843