header image
Home arrow Griffin's History arrow Griffin's History: Chapter 22-Benedict's History
Griffin's History: Chapter 22-Benedict's History PDF Print E-mail
Written by Benjamin Griffin   

 

BENEDICT'S HISTORY

If the late History of the Baptist Denomination, by David Benedict, is no more reliable generally than that portion which treats of the Primitive Baptist Association in Mississippi, it is unworthy of the name. He says: "The Yazoo and Primitive communities occupied the same ground, as the latter came up after the other went down." This is correct in order of time. With what propriety, then, could he say, "These two little companies are both on the Yazoo river," when he had previously stated that one went down before the other came up? He then goes on to say, "The ministers who were connected with them were Nathan Morris, Joseph Morris, and Wm. L. Morris." and refers to a letter from the latter, in 1844 as his authority.

Now, in the first place, there were several other "ministers connected" with the Primitive Baptist Association, viz: Simpson Parks, J. A. Scott, D. W. Stephens, E. N. Langford, Joel Harvey and Francis Baker. And secondly, Joseph Morris never was connected with it. And thirdly, Wm. L. Morris was not, in 1844, a member of any Baptist church, and if he ever has been since, it is unknown to us. Our personal acquaintance with him has been fifteen or twenty years, and we never have known him charged with willful misrepresentation. And therefore, it would be too great a stretch of courtesy towards the great Baptist historian to suppose, that Wm. L. Morris ever represented himself as a minister of any denomination, to Mr. Benedict or any other man. Those who will examine his scattering and incoherent remarks, on pages 772, 777 and 778, relative to the Primitive Baptist Association, will readily see, that his mind was under a slight hallucination, or his heart a little tainted with malice.

Under the head of "Old School, Primitive or AntiMission Baptists, on page 935, Mr. Benedict says, "If I have been less full in my description of their affairs, it is on account of the backwardness of the people, and because their history could not be obtained." A few years back, while he was getting up this history, he wrote a kind of circular letter to D. E. Jewett, which was published in the Christian Doctrinal Advocate, New York, in which he stated, "I have said in my papers, and now say again, that if your people will supply me with the arguments and reasons for their opposing course, I will publish them without note or comment, verbatim et literatim, to the word and letter." Now, if this pledge has been fulfilled any where in his history, which numbers 970 pages, we are unable to find it. And lest the reader might conclude, that the "reasons" perhaps were not furnished, we will quote from page 746, under the head of Western Association, No. 2, viz: "The first minutes give, in full detail, their reasons for withdrawing," &c. The substance of them are, that the old body "had become connected with a variety of institutions not known in the scriptures, which cause a general confusion in the churches by attempting to unite them with the world in the spread of the Gospel. Come out from among them, be ye separate, touch not," &c, is the language of exhortation which the seceding party addresses to their brethren." Again, on page 749, under the head of "Uharley Association," which, Mr. Benedict says, "was an off— shoot from the one last named, in 1839; the few churches of which it was formed, came out with the stale string of resolutions," &c. There were also many letters addressed to him, through the Doctrinal Advocate, by Old School Baptists, giving the "reasons" for their "opposing course," none of which have been published "verbatim et literatim, to the word and letter."

These things are not noticed by way of complaint, but to show that he was not qualified in heart to act justly towards the Primitive Baptists. Many more quotations might be made to establish this fact. The following quotation, bearing on this point, is from the Signs of the Times, an Old School Baptist periodical, viz:

"But of the brevity of the notices taken of us we would not complain; as he is a religionist of a different and altogether dissimilar order from that of ourselves, we had no claim on him to notice us at all; but of the unfairness, misrepresentations, and falsehoods of the caricature he has given, we have a right to complain, and to repel the slander. If Mr. Benedict had been ignorant of the real character of the Old School Baptists, why did he essay to give their history until he should become acquainted with them, so as to know whereof he affirmed? The "Signs of the Times" have been regularly mailed to him, from the first number of the eleventh volume to the present date; we have also forwarded to him, by his special request, the minutes of many Old School Baptist Associations every year, besides other documents, including the Address of the Old School Baptists assembled at Black Rock, Md., about 17 years ago; and he has also received all the Old School periodicals published in United States. Can it be possible that with every means of information before his eyes, he has been so stupidly ignorant, or so blindly prejudiced, that he has failed to learn our real character? If so, he is not to be relied on as an authentic historian in any other respect."

On page 935, under the head of "Old School Primitive, or Anti— Mission Baptists," Mr. Benedict says:

"These people generally claim the first two of these appellations as descriptive of their peculiar views, in opposition to those of the friends of benevolent efforts; the last is applied to them by their opponents. Most of them disown the name; while D. Parker and a few others freely admit it as the proper cognomen of their party."

The reader will readily perceive, in the foregoing, a sly, insinuating attempt to identify the Old School Baptists with D. Parker and his two— seedism. If illiberality and the absence of christian candor were the worst features of such a course, it would be more creditable to him as a historian. He knew that the Old School Baptists had repudiated that ism as another New School system of even more modern date among the Baptists than Fullerism.

On the same page Mr. Benedict goes on to say:

"It is one thing to complain of the modus operandi in the collection of funds, and the management of missionary affairs at home and abroad, and another to take a dead stand against what is properly denominated the efforts system."

If the modus operandi of the effort system was restricted to a Gospel mode, and a Gospel object—such as "to communicate to him that teacheth," "distributing to the necessity of saints," "remembering the poor," &c, there would be no dead stand against it by the Old School Baptists.

The "modus operandi" of sending the Gospel to the heathen, as they call it, seem to be of very little consequence with Mr. Benedict and his missionary friends. But when they meet their opponents on baptism, why, then, the "modus operandi" is of the utmost importance.

The Old School Baptists are strict constructionists in everything else, as well as baptism, for which there is precept or example, requiring the discharge of christian duty. They believe that the mode or manner of doing, is as important in religious matters as the thing to be done—the propriety of which is clearly proven by the typical dispensation. It was for presumption in this respect, relative to the ark, that Uzza was smitten dead by an offended God. He believed that the ark of God was in danger of falling, and put forth his hand to sustain it. Mr. Fuller, and his associates believing that the church of God was in danger of falling, matured a missionary plan or mode of sustaining it. And let those who believe in external signs, as evidence of a peculiar blessing, read Mr. Fuller's biography and see whether or not his punishment was less than that of Uzza.

Presumptuous impudence is universally considered more offensive than indolent negligence. And when we carefully look over Scripture precepts and examples, relative to christian duty, in connection with Scripture warning, the conclusion is rivetted on our minds, that the same principle holds good with the Divine being. The one is an omission of duty through the weakness of the flesh, but the other cannot be attained by the flesh, in religious matters, without the aid of an evil spirit.

Let those who are in favor of the Effort System, regardless of the "modus operandi," read the following quotations, spoken by our Savior:

"Wo unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he is made, ye make him two— fold more the child of hell than yourselves."

Again:

"Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity."

Once more:

"For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."

Now turn to the 25th chapter of Matthew, and see what kind of duties he appreciates at the final winding up of all things:

"For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger and ye took me in; naked and ye clothed me; I was sick and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me; verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

Let it be remembered that those who administer to one of his brethren, yea, to one of the least, are administering to the King of Saints. Nothing said about the heathen whom he shall break with a rod of iron and dash in pieces like a potter's vessel. But all his concern seems to be about his brethren. And He has also said:

"But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a mill— stone was hanged about his neck and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea." "Vengeance is mine; I will repay saith the Lord."

One other view of this subject should not be omitted; and that is the marked difference between the two classes, relative to works performed. One were so full of the Effort System, that they boast of the many "wonderful works" that they had done in the name of the Lord. But the other, having never viewed what they had done as in any wise meritorious in their eternal salvation, but only as a discharge of duty in connection with their temporal salvation and welfare in time, they had never treasured it up in their minds—for they had been so rooted and grounded and fixed in the doctrine of free grace alone, that they had lost sight of the genuine good works which they had performed.

DOCTRINE

For the sake of brevity we have selected nine extracts, and bundled them together, for the purpose of showing the position of the New School Baptists. In a history of 970 pages, Mr. Benedict has studiously avoided an exposure of the true position of his party. He sneeringly denies the right of the Old School Baptists to that appellation—pretending that they, instead of his party, have left the Old Regular Baptist faith and practice. The following extracts, bearing on this point, though few and far between, in his history, which the reader will observe by reference to the pages. In the relative position in which he has placed them, they may be read without arresting the attention of the general reader. But when they are brought together and read in one collection, it is impossible for any person, of a sound mind, not to see that the Missionary party have denied the faith, ever held to by the Old Regular Baptists:

1st. "But doctrinal matters have been at the bottom of all the troubles, and predestination has been the bone of contention. The anti— mission party, as near as I can learn, without any exception, are high or hyper— Calvinists, and are so tenacious of the old theory of particular atonement," &c. Page 935.

2nd. "Is salvation made possible for every individual of the human race? One whole day was spent in debating this subject, and most of the preachers took part in the debate. Those who supported the affirmative were called Arminians, the other side were denominated Calvinists. Had these brethren been acquainted with the distinctions made by Fuller and others, of a general provision and particular application, it would have relieved them from embarrassment and altercation. The reader must bear in mind that in this day (1775) those were called Arminians who held to the universal provision of the Gospel, or that the atonement of Christ was general in its nature. Page 651.

3rd. "Similar agitations and altercations were experienced in all parts of the country, when the orthodox portion of our denomination adopted Mr. Fuller's exposition of the Atonement in preference to the old particular and limited plan. Page 794.

4th. "Such a rule would have robbed us of a Fuller, at whose feet so many educated theologians of Britain and America have delighted to sit. Page 939.

5th. "Our old ministers in this region, half a century since, would have denounced as unsound in the faith, the great mass of our community of the present day, both in Europe and America, Fuller and Hall among the rest. Page 580.

6th. "But a new state of things has arrived; most of these old self— denying ministers have ceased from their labors; a new set of men are coming on the stage, without the secular means and talents of their predecessors, but generally with more acquired abilities; and, moreover, with a fixed determination that they will devote all their time and powers to the work of the ministry in all its various departments; and the churches must make up their minds on this subject, and make their election of one of two things, viz: Either to give their pastors a competent support, or remain in a pastorless condition. Page 941.

7th. "So cautious were the Kentucky brethren, and so much afraid of a consolidation of power, that they were slow at first to come into the measure. The late Dr. Nole, the moderator of the first meeting, was one of the principal movers of this undertaking; when I was in the State in 1829 he informed me that his brethren stood off—were afraid, &c. I (David Benedict, the great Baptist historian,) encouraged him to make a beginning, if they got no more together than the English Baptists did in their first missionary meeting in Kettering. Page 832.

8th. "Besides these there are a few others, which are much reduced in number, or are crippled in their operations, by infusion of priciples adverse to the benevolent and evangelical enterprises of this active age. Page 595.

9th. "This is the way to do the thing in our growing cities and towns; and if our people had been half awake to enterprises of this kind, half a century ago, what augmentations might have been made to our community." Page 458.

These extracts are deemed amply sufficient to expose the deceitfulness and insincerity of the New School Baptists, in pretending to occupy the position of the Old Regular Baptists. In 1775, says Mr. Benedict, "those were called Arminians who held that the atonement of Christ was general." Yes, and they were called Arminians now, just as they were then.

But in process of time, says Mr. Benedict, "the orthodox portion of our denomination adopted Mr. Fuller's exposition of the atonement in preference to the old particular and limited plan." This they had a republican right to do. But, having repudiated the old plan, and adopted a new one, why do they deny the fact? Having "adopted Mr. Fuller's exposition of the atonement in preference to the old particular and limited plan," they should, as honest men, acknowledge it before the church and the world.

As to their delighting to sit at the feet of an Englishman in preference to a Nazarene, they are of age and must answer for themselves. All that we have a right to demand is, that, having adopted their new plan in preference to the old one, they should not hide the fact from public view. Mr. Benedict has truly said that doctrinal matters have been at the bottom of all our troubles. And these have led to practices equally as objectionable.

"Our old ministers in this region half a century since, would have denounced as unsound in the faith the great mass of our community of the present day, Fuller among the rest."

And now, because we do the same thing, they become fretful, and call us all sorts of ugly names.

On page 935, Mr. Benedict says:

"If I have been less full in my descriptions of their affairs, it is on account of the backwardness of the people, and because their history could not be obtained."

For the purpose of exposing the hypocrisy of such a statement, in addition to what has already been shown, we now propose giving extracts from various letters written to Mr. Benedict on the subject. First, however, let us give an extract from the very next page of his history, from which the above bare— faced statement was taken, viz: "A large amount of their documents are before me, which contain the resolutions and decrees of their churches and associations." We now proceed to give extracts:

EXTRACT FROM MR. BENEDICT'S CIRCULAR OF PROMISE.

"I have said in my papers and now say again, that if your people (O. S. B.) will supply me with the arguments and reasons for their opposing course, I will publish them without note or comment, verbatim et litteratim, to the word and letter."

Instead of doing as he promised to do, he has merely alluded to them—and that too, usually in a sneering manner. And yet, after all, towards the conclusion of his history, he attempts to embrace them as brethren, and calls it a "family matter." But we wish Mr. Benedict to understand, that we repudiate all such insinuations—our mothers are no more alike than Sarah and Hagar, and our fathers are still less alike.

 

LETTERS TO BENEDICT. CHRISTOPHER SERCH, OF PENN., TO ELDER BENEDICT

"I understand that there is a work in progress under your hand, styled "A History of the Baptists," in which it is your intention to give an account of all sorts of Baptists, &c.*******

"As to giving you our reasons and arguments against such societies, I am afraid, that it would be like casting pearls into the sea. Christ said to Nicodemus "except a man be born again he cannot see (or understand) the kingdom of God." So if you have been "born again," we can safely leave God to reason and argue the case with you; whereas, if you have not been "born again," we cannot make you understand the kingdom of God, if we should reason with you till doomsday.

"However, Ed. B., we will give you the reasons why we cannot fellowship your societies; and wherein we find your societies interfering with our Gospel privileges; and we shall, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, contend against them.

You say the Baptists were always a missionary people; as to this we may not disagree. But as to their always having been a mercenary people, I contend, that they have not; nor did they become a mercenary people, so long as they regarded the Law and the Testimony, above the inventions of man. Though to deny that they are nowmercenary, would be to deny what actual begging of money from the poor, is carried on, for the support of your institutions.

That the Lord Jesus commanded his disciples to "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature," is not denied. But that the Lord ever commanded his people to form societies out of the church for the spread of the Gospel, is denied. And, that he ever instructed any to raise money by begging, to send a perverted Gospel into all the world or rather to pay men for preaching a perverted Gospel, is denied; though such, when they cannot get what money they want, cry, that the Lord's cause is suffering for lack of money. Hark! 'The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof; and who shall supply the Lord in that He lacketh.'

That the formation of such societies, for the advancement of the cause of Christ and the building up of the church of God, is not of Gospel order, wants no proof. To these societies no one becomes a member, but such as contribute of their substance, or are made members by others; consequently building up the churches upon 'wood, hay and stubble.' Yes; and what then? Why, they who have been taught by blessed experience, that the gift of God cannot be purchased with money, are stigmatized as being opposed to the spread of the Gospel. But hark! Christ's kingdom is not of this world, else would his servants fight with the weapons of this world."

ELDER J. M. WATSON, OF TENNESSEE, TO ELDER D. BENEDICT

"The Gospel was preached on the Lord's plan throughout the whole world, after the commission was given; but it was so done, under His special care and providence; and if his plan do not carry it throughout all the world now, it is because his power and mercy are not put forth to the same extent; and not for the want of human power, human benevolence, and human institutions, as modern missionaries would have us to believe. None dare deny that the Gospel under its greatest general dispensation, was withheld, at particular times, from particular countries.

The Gospel has not degenerated into the power of man, but is yet the power of God, and its going forth is according to Divine , and not human power. Nor have its spiritual blessings degenerated into human benevolence; therefore it still blesses 'with all spiritual blessings,' according as the subjects were chosen in Christ before the world began, and not according to general benevolence. The blessings of the Gospel are communicated after having been 'made sure to all the seed,' the elect, or chosen seed; not according as man's power, wisdom, or benevolence may devise, but according to the course of God's grace and mercy on earth.

We are told that if we wait for the operation of God's grace in this affair, the world will not be evangelized. Then, I suppose, we are not to wait in faith, praying unto the Lord to send forth more laborers, and for putting forth His power and mercy according to the Divine plan, but must devise plans of our own, and carry them out by human power, put forth through human institutions, on the principle of general, human benevolence, at the cost of those millions of means, which the Scriptures know nothing of.

Thus we see that the missionary course now pursued, is calculated to lessen our confidence in the Divine plan, to oppose the operation of faith, in the providence of God, and to beget idolatry of heart, in relation to the institutions, and millions of money, which have been brought into requisition, to subserve the world's plan. The ' Golden Calf of missionism has been fully set up, and much idolatrious worship has been offered up to it.

Besides all the foregoing, the modern missionary spirit is decidedly Arminian, in its course and tendencies--is disposed to compromise with all errors--is the bond of union for all religious shams and devices. It

matters not to this spirit, whether it goes forth through a Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Pseudo— Baptist or Roman Catholic, in evangelizing the world. All unite in their means of human power, gold and silver, put forth through human institutions. Their machinery may differ somewhat, but it is to be feared, that the same spirit works them all. Moreover, this spirit has so little fellowship for the Lord's way, so little regard for worlddispleasing truths, that it seems to be on much better terms with world, than with the unpopular truths of the Bible, which it shows far more good will to pervert, than to defend. Another characteristic of this spirit is, that in its efforts to evangelize the world, it looks more to the world for help, than to heaven.

It is very strange to look back and see how much opposition and how little help Primitive ministers derived from the world, and how much is now offered and given, professedly, for such service! Surely it cannot be the same Gospel, but is 'another Gospel/ that the world has fellowship for, in like manner as have all its ministers.

Take particular and unconditional election, predestination and effectual calling, with many other things which most modern missionaries are won't to take, from the Gospel, and connect all its blessings with time contingencies, free will, free agency, and moral power, and the world will find no fault therewith; neither will Satan oppose a Gospel of this kind, but on the contrary will espouse its cause, transform himself into an angel of light, and raise up missionaries in all denominations to propagate it, and bring all this world's availables to help it on."

ELDER JAMES KING, OF TENNESSEE TO ELDER BENEDICT

"You say 'it is contended that the Baptists have always been a missionary people.' I ask you for the proof, that the Baptists ever were a missionary people, in the modern acceptation of the term, until the 18th century, when, according to your own showing, missionism sprang up among the English Baptists. See your account of the formation of the society at Kittering, in your former History of the Baptists, vol. 1. page 233. It is true, in the same volume, page 43, you say, 'the Apostles and Primitive preachers were almost all Missionaries.' And then describe them thus: 'At the call of God, they "went forth without regard to parish lines or ecclesiastical districts—asked not for license—waited not appointments—sought no emoluments—but dependant on the treasury of heaven they journeyed, aided by the common succor and miraculous influence of the Holy Spirit, they went everywhere preaching the word.

Really, Mr. Benedict, an Old School Baptist could have no manner of objection to such missionaries as you here describe. Please, careful reader, to compare this account of Primitive Missionism, with modern missionary doings, and it will not require a Solomon to discover the contrast. Do those in the employ of New School Missionary Boards have no regard to fields of labor, appointed them by their masters? Do they seek no emoluments? Do they journey, dependant on the treasury of heaven? What means that continual din about money—to obtain which the selling memberships in missionary and other societies, has been invented? Indeed, Mr. B., modern missionary doings are not found in the Bible—and are sought in vain, except in the history of modern times.

But, Elder B. calls for objections. Well, one objection I hear continually urged, is 'it is not in the Bible'— but, like infant baptism, is wholly dependant on inference, for its support. Is it not strange, passing strange — —if so much depends on modern missionism, as its advocates would have us believe—that the thing is no where mentioned in the Bible, the divine directory for christians?

It was said of God's ancient national people, that they should dwell alone, and not be reckoned with the nations; and one crying sin of Israel, was their continual hankering after the manners and customs of their neighbors. On one occasion they asked for a king, that they might be like other nations. And if Rome has not led the vain in modern missionary doings, you have missed the mark—for you tell us, that in the year of our Lord, 1622, Pope Gregory, the 15th, formed an institution, for the propagation of the faith, and that by it a great number of missionaries were sent forth.

Elder Benedict, you can behold a great deal of Roman Catholic superstition and error in infant Baptism; but nothing objectionable in modern missionism, which is evidently another offspring of the old scarlet Lady. O, consistency! thou art a jewel! If, as you assert, the Apostles and primitive preachers were missionaries, in the modern acceptation of the term, will you, or some of your numerous friends, please tell us who was President of that Board; who were vice-Presidents; who were corresponding and recording Secretaries; and who were constituted life-members by paying $30?

"Elder B., your long— standing as a member of all the Boards, has in all probability made you quite an adept in vindicating their doings; and by this time no doubt you can bring forward all their mighty array of human reasoning and human expedients for evangelizing the world. To preach the Gospel is quite another matter— to know Christ and him crucified, was the extent of Paul's determination—and Old School Baptists feel disposed to say, to modern missionaries, go thou and do likewise.

Elder Benedict, you deal largely in the hacknied epithets 'anti, non— effort, omission Baptists,' &c, as though the O.S. Baptist ministry suffered no privations, underwent no hardships, or in fact preached not at all— as though they studied not to show themselves approved unto God. Ah, there lies the rub—they study not to show themselves approved unto men—but, in the fear of God, they preach a Gospel, which is not after men; they neither received it of men, neither were they taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. And as to all humanly invented schemes and projects, they are wholly indifferent whether they were invented by Catholics or Protestants; they assign them all over en masse, as the inventions of Anti-Christ.

ELDER MARTIN SALMON, N. Y., TO ELDER D. BENEDICT

Should a full history be given of that people, who claim the name of Baptists, embracing 30 years past, I am of the opinion, Sir, that the digressions, substitutions, experiments, expedients, and new measures, would be truly sickening to the honest soul. I thus judge, Sir, from quite a correct knowledge of the conduct and loose course of the entire popular, or New School Baptists of the State of New York. While many of the professed churches seem to hold with iron grasp their former creeds in one hand, with the other they are grasping Sabellianism, and every other ism that caused to err. Ah, truly, Ichabod is inscribed on the once fair tablet of that people, who in the main were once walking in the love of the truth.

Is it not manifest to you, Sir, that the people of the land called Baptists, have taken to themselves strange wives—and that the princes and priests are 'foremost' in this unlawful trespass? Have they not adopted worldly policy, while professedly laboring to build up a kingdom which is not of this world? Are not the people with whom you stand in fellowship, wedded to filthy lucre as a helper—an efficient, helper to promote the cause of God? For proof, suffer me to cite you to a circular, sent out by the ministerial conference of the State of New York. One clause must satisfy every honest man, viz: 'The gold and silver are the Lord's, and the cattle upon a thousand hills are his. And he now calls for it, that he may expend it for the salvation of a perishing world, as he did his own heart's blood."

Now, sir, I aver, fearless of successful contradiction, that all religious compacts, whose reliance is money, to carry forward the kingdom of grace, is anti— christian— The conversion of the whole world to God, including "the man of sin," is in the outset anti— Bible. The Mystic Harlot is not to be converted—but to be stripped naked and bare, and then to be burned with fire! O, that you and I, Sir, may avoid her sins, that we may also escape her plagues.

The church with which I stand connected have for more than twelve years maintained independent and opposite ground to the reigning errors of the day. And for our thus standing, we have been denounced, as Antinomians, Anti— Efforts and Anti— Missionists, &c. But, Sir, we cannot endorse the dogmas of unauthorized Boards and Conventions who "lord it over God's heritage." Believing, as we do, that the Church is the highest body ever constituted by the Lord Jesus, or his Apostles; we believe the Church to possess all the facilities necessary to carry into effect the designs of her Lord— without resorting to those humanly devised means and Societies, natural Ability, human Efforts, for rendering the grace of God effectual.

The preaching of the Gospel, sir, is an ordinance of "the King of Kings"—not to make sheep but to feed them. Therefore, the Lord Jesus has sent forth his angels or ministers, with the great sound of a trumpet— not to make—but to gather together his elect. This agrees with Paul's view of the subject, as he wrote to the Ephesians, viz: "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers—for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying the body of Christ." "Herein, we do rejoice and will rejoice."

 

ELDER FRANCIS BAKER TO ELDER D. BENEDICT.

Yours of the 15th of October last was received, with your printed circular, and their contents were considered. The answer has been necessarily delayed until now. Our apology for delay will be found in the fact that the meeting of the Association was late in November, the winter came on, and the committee did not meet directly. But there has been a meeting of a majority of the committee, at which it was resolved to decline furnishing any statistical materials for the publication of the history of the Primitive Baptists in Mississippi. And it was further resolved to request you not to give our history, nor mention us in any way in your book.

The reasons for this course of procedure on our part are as follows: 1. To do justice to the work, it was found that it required more time and labor, than the committee could bestow on the subject. 2. From some facts that have been developed, we are satisfied that the Missionary brethren have furnished materials from this State, through which, we have reason to fear that we may be misrepresented. 3. We are unwilling to furnish materials for one who has expressed so poor an opinion of the party as you have done in your letter to me. 4. We believe that your prejudices against the Old School Baptists are too strong to do them and their cause justice. 5. We cannot consent to furnish the weapons to break our own heads; or, in more respectful terms, we are unwilling to furnish the means, and pay the man to misrepresent us.

In the letter you wrote me, immediately after answering my enquiry, you complain in the following language, viz: "I am sorry I cannot find more candor and openness among the Anti— mission people; they write me well enough in private, but when they publish anything as brethren Watson, of Tenn., and Jewett, of New York, they show a disposition I do not like. The way they speak to me and of me, does not increase my good opinion of the party, but rather the other way." In the above you have expressed your unfavorable opinion "of the party"—of the whole party—because the publications of brethren have not met your approbation. In the above declared opinion, you have not only betrayed a want of charity, but you have also disclosed your prejudices against the party—the Anties as you are pleased to call us. And wherefore? Not because your private feelings or personal character have been disrespected. O, no; but their publications, which refer to systems, societies, principles, doctrines and practices with which you are associated, have not been approved by you.— Now, this was all as it should be; for should not those systems and societies be investigated, and their Divine authenticity established? or their fallacy exposed? But the brethren referred to can speak for themselves.

In the next place, you declare yourself to be an old school Baptist, and have long been a minister; and have had much to do in the denomination for more than forty years; and that you are neither anti— Mission nor antiEffort—adding, "the more I see and know of the party, the less opinion I have of the reasons of their separation from the main body of the Baptists." To which I will add that I, too, am an Old School Baptist, and perhaps your equal in years, if not in talents; and have also seen, heard and known much of the old Regular Baptists to the Southern States; and I have read their history in foreign climes and ancient times, and rejoice to be able to say in truth that the more I see and know of their faith and practice, the more I am united to that people.

On the contrary, it has been my unhappiness to have had but too intimate an acquaintance with the Effort or Missionary Baptists; and the more I see and know of their anti— scriptural systems, money— begging schemes, proselyting inventions, heretrodox principles, and salary preachers, "the less good opinion I have of the party." But you say that you are neither anti— Mission nor antiEffort." To which I reply that I am anti to both, according to the modern latitudinarian construction of the terms; for they are made to cover and embrace almost every system, society, principle, doctrine and practice, false and true, moral and religious, earthly and divine, that is now known or set up, on the face of the whole earth, which has for its avowed object the improvement of the condition of the human race. And what is strange and very objectionable is, that all these are made, or attempted to be made, parts and parcels of the Christian system; and all those who do not embrace and support them all, in their ramified departments, are denounced as Anties, opposed to the Gospel, and the spread of the Gospel. These things, as fairly stated above, are the causes, and produced the separation of which you complain. And I will here unite with you and say, "I, also, have but a poor opinion of the causes of separation."

You next request me to to "say in few words why we are against each of the offensive institutions; whether we are against them for their own sake, or on account of the manner in which they are conducted; and whether we have among our people anything of the kind under other names and forms." Answer: We are opposed to them because—1. They are anti— scriptural and unchristian. 2. They have a direct tendency to unite the church with the world, and the world with the church. 3. They produce discord, division and distress in the church.

To the first objection, viz: "their being anti— scriptural and anti— Christian. To this capital objection we invite the learned and talented brethren of the Missionary order to show from the Bible where the Ministry ever left the church and associated themselves with the world in Missionary societies for the advancement of the kingdom of Christ. Brother Benedict, as an avowed Old School Baptist, and a Baptist historian, you are called upon to show from the Bible, either precept or example for the modern Mission system—which of the inspired writers have recorded an account of the organization of a Missionary society? In what chapter shall we find an account of a Bible society? Or where under the whole heavens, except in "Mystery Babylon," was generated, brought forth and reared, that Institution which has been christened and called Sunday School Union? whose great object is to disseminate sectarian principles, and proselyte children to a profession of religion in their nonage; and thereby to build up anti— Christian sects, like Missionary Baptists.

Suppose the Apostles on the day of Pentecost, with the other disciples, one hundred and twenty in all, had formed a great Missionary Society in Jerusalem, upon the modern plan, viz: by associating with the spiteful Jews and Roman soldiers; Scribes and Elders; Doctors and Lawyers; Pharisees and S'aducees; with every other creature that could pay the entrance money,— King Agrippa, President; Pontius Pilate, Vice President: Gamaliel, Secretary, Caiaphas, Corresponding Secretary; Simon Magus, Treasurer—I stop to ask: What analogy, of what likeness would there have been between the practice of the Apostles in the execution of that commission which their Master gave them, and the Society as pictured above, in its operations? Could the wise, the learned, or sagacious, discover any likeness or similarity between the one and the other? We think not. Yet we are free to say, that there would have been, in our opinion, as much of Apostolic practice and likeness in that Jerusalem society as pictured above, as there is similarity between Modern Missionism and the preaching and practice of the Apostles. Now we, the Primitive Baptists, cannot fellowship such a heterogenous concourse, of saints and sinners, godly and ungodly, pagans and christians, believers and infidels, embracing those whose carnal hearts are "enmity against God, not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." Nor do we think that such an amalgamated mass ever has or ever can engage in the promotion of that Kingdom which is not of this world; for he that gathereth not with us, scattereth; he that is not for us is against us. But the command is, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness, and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God—Wherefore, COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM, AND BE YE SEPARATE, SAITH THE LORD, AND TOUCH NOT THE UNCLEAN THING, AND I WILL RECEIVE YOU"—2 Cor. vi., 14— 17.

But some zealous Missionary brethren will yet object, and say 'that was a day of miracles, but this is a day of means.' Well, adopt that maxim, and the Scriptures cease to be a rule of faith and practice in these days of MEANS.

But it is objected again—'That the gospel of the kingdom must be preached in all the world for a witness, and that the preacher cannot preach, unless supported; and that this support must necessarily be supplied by the church, and carried out with him; and this society system is the only plan to raise that supply.' Those brethren who have adopted these views, have fallen into two capital mistakes. The first is in carrying supplies in direct opposition to an express prohibition of Christ, who said, "Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses—nor two coats, nor shoes," &c. This command seems valid, as it, or its like, is in four places in the gospel. And the reason given why they should not carry supplies, is that "the workman is worthy of his meat"; and as proof that those who went forth preaching the gospel and trusting in God, while they executed

His high command, "Go ye into all the world," &c, were and should be supplied, the Master asked the Disciples on a certain occasion—"when I sent ye without purse or scrip, lacked ye anything?" they said "Nothing Lord." Where, then, the necessity for the society system? How very different the answer of the disciples from the views of those who trust in Systems, Societies, Money and the world; and whose employ is begging, and their whole theme is money.

The other mistake is, that the Missionary preachers have been trained by their party to trust in the world, and in the men of the world, for their supplies, while they have sown their Arminian stuff! The Lord has pronounced a curse on all that trust in man, saying— "Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm." And this curse evidently marks the missionary progress; for in addition to the divisions in churches, associations, and the denomination generally, fifty years hard begging has failed to supply the insatiable desire for money, with which the party seems intoxicated. Revivals are made subservient to this moneygetting business; the day of rest is devoted to this sacriligious system of begging; and the worship of God is prostituted to this golden calf, which is now set up in what are called Baptist churches; and the Ministry— the learned Ministry—who have taken their course in theology—are not only engaged in it, but take the lead in this nefarious system!

We have thus given you the reasons in part for our opposition to the so— called benevolent institutions. And it is our plan to keep up our opposition to an indefinite degree.

You speak of the divisions among the Baptists as a family difficulty among brethren, and the least said of it the better; and that you have no idea of its long continuance. Now, sir, I must be allowed to think and say, that you are not a good judge of what constitutes a spiritual family and spiritual brethren. For, if we may judge from appearances, they could never have had one father; for if there is any likeness between them, except they are all fond of water, I cannot see it. And certain it is, that they are not agreed in Faith; and you will allow that we differ essentially in practice; for while you do everything which relates to the worship of God and the spread of the Gospel, by money and means, we seek 'to worship God in spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.' Yea, we preach Christ crucified, without the aid of Societies, schools or conventions; and that, too, without money and without price —having no salary men among us.

But, Bro. Benedict, we have some of your over zealous Missionary preachers in this country, who have a great desire to preach to certain communities, but cannot without a stated salary, say six hundred dollars; and when the salary is in hand, or well secured, they can preach eloquently, exhort warmly, sing melodiously, pray devoutly, and weep bitterly over sinners. But to use the vulgar phrase of a coarse— bred gentleman— "They may all go to hell for him except he receive the salary." Now, sir, you, and men of finer taste than myself, may object to the style of the above, but is neverthe less a fair picture of facts; yes, of the practice of Missionary men and doings in this country. And as reflecting men we believe that the love of money is the main spring and cause of all their devotion to God and Missions. We think if the money should be removed, it would be "no longer pipe no longer dance," no longer pay no longer preach; no more money, then, no more Missionaries to the heathen.

But you seem to think that the family difficulty will not be of long continuance. While we approve a pacific disposition, we would have you to recollect that family difficulties are sometimes hard to settle. And, if ever the difficulty alluded to is settled, the New School or Missionary Baptists will have to come back to Old Baptist ground.

In another part of your letters, you are pleased to say: "The Parker two— seed humbug is a miserable affair, and a disgrace to any body of men, and so it will be viewed when men come to their sober senses in future time." Now, sir, I cannot see why this humbug was dragged into the correspondence, unless it was to reflect on the denomination through that miserable affair, as you are pleased to term it. Be the object what it may, you who "have had much to do in the denomination for more than forty years" cannot be ignorant of the fact, that the Old School Baptists as a denomination never received the two— seed system or doctrine, as held by Daniel Parker. And you must also have known, that the Old School Baptists in Tennessee, where Parker disseminated his theory, did formally condemn and reject the doctrine— But should some brethren have been ultra in their views on this subject, are there no ultras or fanatics among the New School or Missionary Baptists? Have you no heresies in doctrine?

If it is your conclusion that you are free from heresies, and consequently may cast stones at other denominations, look at some of your preachers, who preach any and every doctrine, that will move the passions, excite the feelings, increase your numbers, and loose the pursestrings. So wild and profuse are they in their proselyting declamations, that it is difficult to know of what faith, what sect, or what religion they are; except they touch Baptism, and then they will turn the world upside down, and raise arguments strong enough to move a mountain, in favor of the one Baptism. But the subjects may have as many faiths, and such qualities as best suit their prejudices or carnal inclinations—provided they are favorable to the Missionary Enterprize.

In the last place, you charge us with "Another thing which is all wrong among the Anti— people. Your votes of unfellowship; this is anti— Republican, and contrary to all the principles and usages of the Baptists. I put a double veio on the whole concern on either side." Now, sir, you must be either ignorant, or forgetful that fellowship, the right of fellowship belongs to christians, churches, and denominations; and that they always have, and ever will use that right. The Apostles exercised that right freely against false doctrines, and false teachers in their day. And were they anti— Republican? Was Paul acting contrary to Baptist usage when he said— "Though we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you, than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." And yet your Effort preachers can and do preach any gospel that may best suit the times and circumstances; and all this you can fellowship, and call it Baptist usage and Republicanism. But I call your attention to some instances of the exercise of the right of fellowship by the Apostles, that will strain the nerves of some men to approve, viz: the rebuke of Simon Peter on Ananiah and Sapphira. It seems to me, that a Missionary would have received one half, and let them off with their lie; and that he would have bartered off the gift of the Holy Ghost to Simon Magus for his large money. And as proof that they would, they sell titles and life membership in Societies, to the men of this world, and make them managers in what they are pleased to call the kingdom of Christ; and for large money, they make them honorary members and managers for life.

Sir, I cannot but think that you and your people would have received that "large sum of money," and would have fellowshipped Mr. Magus according to "your Baptist usage and Republicanism." Yes, and to extend and perpetuate the right of fellowship, and your Baptist usage, you would take Demetrius the silversmith, and Alexander the coppersmith, and every other Smith and every other human creature, that can raise and advance the entrance money; and would embrace them all as the lovers of Christ, and co— workers with you in the great cause; while at the same time denouncing the Old School Baptists as anties, and opposers of the Gospel; and acting contrary to Baptist usage; consequently you put a double veto on us and our acts. But "none of these things move us." We shall still "stand in the ways and see, and ask for the good old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein," and observe the Lord's command, "Wherefore, come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you."

 

REMARKS

The foregoing extracts have been promiscuously taken from the many letters addressed to Mr. Benedict; besides, he received all the Old School Baptist periodicals published in the United States, as well as the Minutes of many Associations—in fact, he acknowledges, on page 936, that "A large amount of their documents are before me, which contain the resolutions and decrees of their churches and associations." And instead of publishing them as he had promised to do, he suppressed them, and then asserts ,on page 935, that their history could not be obtained.

We have now devoted as much time and space to Mr. Benedict, and his History, as our limits will admit. It would, perhaps, be admissible, however, to show what a ridiculous dilemma he has voluntarily placed himself in, through the influence of a malicious spirit. He says, in his late History that—

"The anti-Mission movement must of necessity be a short-lived one. It has within itself the elements of its dissolution; and before my steroytyped pages could reach the different parts of the country, to say nothing of remoter regions, it will be among the things that are past and forgotten."

Well, his History has been published several years, and the Old School Baptists still exist, and are in at least as prosperous a condition, and as strongly opposed to Missionism, as when the above prophecy was made; and ithough it may be exceedingly mortifying to Mr. Benedict, they will continue to exist, and to oppose Missionism, whether his sterotyped pages ever should reach the different parts of the country or not. This, then, necessarily brings up a new question; and though somewhat metaphysical, we should be pleased to have it solved. And that is, whether Mr. Benedict had rather be branded with the name of false prophet, and enjoy a large sale of books and a big pile of money, or that his "sterotyped pages could (NOT) reach the different parts of the country, to say nothing of remoter regions," and the truth of his prophecy stand unimpeachable.

The Missionary leaders have been for the last half century attempting a regular siege of Babylon, intending "to carry the assault to the very gate of the enemy, to storm his garrison, and drive him from his last entrenchment." And though the great mass of their followers, having eyes see not what they are doing, yet the following extract from Mr. Benedict's History would seem to indicate that he, at least, had some glimmering view of the final result. If so, in what condition must his conscience be, to permit him for filthy lucre's sake, to encourage such a state of affairs? Here is the quotation, viz:

"This whole subject, however, I must dismiss for the present, with one single remark: while Babylon is taken at one end, a new race of Babvlonians may be coming in at the other."

The weapons of their warfare are mighty through money to the pulling down of strongholds. But the true christian's "weapons of warfare are not carnal but mighty through God," &c, "casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."

It seems hard for the Missionaries to understand that the christian warfare is directed against vain and foolish imaginations, that are ever exalting something against the knowledge of God; and that the object of this warfare is to become reconciled to God, and to bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ—"obedience is better than sacrifice."

Notwithstanding all the hard speeches which have been spoken against the Old School Baptists for their refusing to countenance the Missionary system, and the stale insinuation that covetousness is the cause, yet, we assure the reader, that such a charge is made through a demagogue spirit, by those who are unable to meet the question by legitimate arguments. Could millions of money be obtained from a foreign source for the support of Missions, still we should repudiate the whole system, as religiously filthy and unclean. And as to the support of the Gospel Ministry in a gospel manner, it is a part of our platform; and if it is not done, it is a neglect of duty, of which we acknowledge ourselves guilty in many other cases. But— —while on the subject—we feel authorized to say, that the Old School ministry are some how or some how else better provided for than the New School ministry, or else they are more patient and forbearing— for the difference between them in begging money is so wide and so well understood that a comparison is unnecessary. And as to the ministerial labor performed by the former; it is not uncommon for one Elder or Preacher to attend two, three, and sometimes four churches, besides special appointments, and an occasional circuit among the churches.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 25 March 2007 )
< Previous   Next >

Purpose

The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.