ELDER JEWETT, – I send the following lines for your disposal. I am not tenacious of having them appear in print, especially to the exclusion of other matter that may be more profitable to the readers of your paper.
As to the Sunday School Union, I ask its advocates if they seriously believe that any system can be productive of ultimate good, that has been conceived in fraud and prosecuted with deception; or is it not a nursery for furnishing material for building up a false church? When first proposed, the avowed object was to give the children of the poor, on Sunday, who were deprived of an opportunity in the course of the week, the rudiments of a plain education, to which none would object; but so soon as it was rendered popular, it was perverted from its legitimate purpose to that of teaching religion, and they now report 2,000,000 children under its care in the United States. Was not this fraudulent? By some this is denied, but the history of the whole system furnishes the proof of its truth. It is also denied that the schools are sectarian. Is there one in the union that is not so? In the nature of things they cannot be otherwise. Each sect inculcates its own peculiar views of the scriptures, and it cannot be expected of a Protestant teacher to instruct his pupils that this, or that passage would admit of the construction given to it by a Roman Catholic; or of Baptists to teach that sprinkling means baptism; but each is very tenacious of enforcing its own doctrine. Does not this render them strictly sectarian? If any doubt the fact, let him examine their own testimony, a part of which is as follows: ‘The teacher, each Sabbath, should sit down before his class and ascertain that his scholars are well acquainted with the lesson; (in the Bible, for they have no other lesson;) then he may ask them the questions, or as many of them as he pleases. Teachers should take pains to explain the meaning of each verse, and ask many questions which are not in the book.’ – Union Questions.
Now notwithstanding each sect is endeavoring to make proselytes to its own creed, yet in the great scheme for converting the world from heathenism (with them it is of but little importance to what they are converted, so they are converted) there is a general union in the grand effort; all engaged in building up the cause of anti-christ; establishing a spurious church. Examine the system from beginning to end, and it is found to be emphatically a worldly one, contravening the express declaration of the Saviour himself, ‘My kingdom is not of this world.’ ‘They (the saints) are not of the world, even as I am not of the world,’ & also the whole testimony of the scriptures. Are not what are called gospel preachers furnished by the ungodly world? The answer is a plain one. The ‘pious young man’ is first selected by an education society, that is controlled by the world, inasmuch as it is composed of such as pay a stipulated sum of money, without reference to moral character. The next step is for him to be qualified to preach at a theological seminary, supported by the world upon the same principle. After being instructed by these Doctors of Divinity, (their dependence being placed on no higher power,) that have received their instruction from the same worldly source, they apply to a missionary society, based upon the same ‘root of all evil,’ and composed of the same class of characters, who have paid the requisite sum of money, to designate their field of labor. Indeed, the church has become so dependent on the world, that it has not the privilege of saying who it will have to preach; for when a pastor is to be called, the congregation, comprising a larger number than the members of the church, determine by their vote who shall, or shall not feed the sheep and lambs of God. – Hence we find a perfect consistency throughout; a system worldly from the beginning to end, and being worldly, arrayed against the truth of the Bible, for that declares ‘the friendship of the world is enmity with God.’ Of the advocates of such a system, what saith the scriptures? ‘They are of the world, therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.’ 1 John iv. 5. ‘If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.’ 1 John ii. 15. ‘The natural (or worldly) 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.’ 1 Cor. ii. 14. ‘The world hath not known thee.’ John xvii. 25. One consequence resulting from such system is a perfect mockery in their mode of worship. Their sermons are composed of scraps collected together from the writings of some of their most approved divines, and, prepared with such, from the pulpit they address the Lord (in words) asking him to furnish their hearers with hearing ears, and understanding hearts, and the speaker with ideas to communicate to them; when they place no reliance on the Lord for any ideas, having them already committed to paper, and snugly stowed in their pocket.”
Signs of the Times
Volume 12, No. 16.
May 15, 1844