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With one little exception, we do not question the truth of the facts here stated. The missionaries to whom allusion is made, instead of "requesting,” if we are correctly informed, merely suggested the propriety of having all versions of the Scriptures made in such a way that different denominations of Christians could unite in using them. It is true that these brethren, having labored faithfully in that pagan land, were called home by the great Head of the church when their work was done. True that this happened previous to the reception of information by the Baptist missionaries in India that the British and Foreign Bible Society would not countenance sectarian versions of the word of life. But O, what is the spirit that dictated the manner in which these truths are promulgated in the reports before us! It is bad enough to slander the living; to intimate, as we have seen, that the curse of God rests upon the Bible societies of Europe, Asia, and America. But to revile the dead—and those dead, men who hazarded their lives to proclaim Jesus and the resurrection to the perishing heathen ; to tear open the half-healed wounds of hearts that bled when they heard that God had called them from the cross to the crown; to intimate, that after all their sacrifices, and toils, and sufferings, they died accursed; to say of such men, and to say it with apparent delight, that their being called to render an account of their stewardship to God is an “awful reflection;" to blacken their memory, now that they may not meet the slander, by charging upon them injuries to the cause of Christianity which God only can estimate ; these are things which human language lacks energy adequately to characterize.
“They were not permitted to have the gratification of receiving the tidings of their success." That's a mistake! The tidings of their success reached heaven before those tidings arrived in India. They had the gratification of receiving them while in the midst of the spirits of the just before the eternal throne.
The reader will bear in mind that our knowledge of the facts upon, which we have felt it a duty thus to animadvert is all derived from the publications of the new institution. We have looked in vain for any retaliatory remarks in the reports of the American Bible Society. We are not able to find therein even a solitary allusion to the secession of our brethren, or to the very strange reasons given for it. Conscious of their integrity, the board of
managers have left unnoticed these aspersions of character, these imputations of motive, these charges of sectarianism. Like Him, whose unadulterated word it is their object to give to the nations of the earth, being reviled, they revile not again. Their course in this respect has been worthy of the cause in which they are engaged. It is honorable, dignified, Christ-like. But their silence in this matter is no reason why the friends of that noble institution should be silent also, any more than the conduct of the Saviour would be a valid reason for neglecting to defend him and his mission from the sneers of the scoffer, or the slander of the blasphemer.*
We have no expectation that our brethren will be induced to retract any thing they have said, or to retrace their steps. But we do not therefore esteem our labor vain. Nobody supposes that a putrefying carcass may be restored to life by the dissecting knife of the surgeon; but dissection, though an unpleasant task, is not therefore unnecessary.
The managers of the new society are careful to inform the public that they have met with opposition and reproach in their new enterprise. It is fair, inasmuch as a knowledge of these facts is to be obtained from no other source, that they should be allowed to speak for themselves on this subject. President Cone, in his address, as found on page 9 of the first annual report, says :
“ Our separate action in the Bible cause has been ascribed to pride, to sectarianism, to passion; some have recklessly named motives still more offensive.”
Mr. Cushman, in his speech, as given in the second annual report, page 49, speaking of the efforts of the new society, informs
“Not a little has been said and written about sectarianism and bigotry; about embarrassing missionary operations," &c.
In the third report, our friend Maclay, to whom we have already acknowledged our obligations, is permitted to indulge himself in
* The publication of a little pamphlet on the subject of Bible translations, just issued by the board of managers, (February, 1841,) does not at all invalidate the force or the propriety of these remarks. On the contrary, every unprejudiced reader, while he cannot fail to be convinced by the arguments and facts therein presented, will admire the moderation and candor with which they are clothed.
the peculiarities of his style as to what is, and will be. He appears to know as much about the future as he does of the present and the past
“ It makes my heart ache,” he says, “ to hear the measured [Qu., unmeasured ?] language of adulation, at times made use of, in reference to the British and Foreign Bible Society :-a society that has treated us with injustice and contempt, and by their actions say, that they would rather see the heathen perish in their idolatry, ignorance, and unbelief, than give them a Bible that shall inform them the exact mind of the Holy Spirit on the subject of baptism!... I feel, however, persuaded that English Baptists will be compelled to go right ahead, and maintain their ground with firmness, for the wrath of a whole host of infant sprinklers will be down upon them immediately.”—Letter dated Bristol, England, April 13, 1840, 3d Report, p. 67.
By the designation which we have printed in italics in the last quotation, the writer evidently means the numerous divisions of the Christian church who dedicate their little ones to Almighty God by baptism. It is rather an uncourteous appellation, and, we think, not classical. The prediction, we hope, will not be fulfilled. So, we trust, hopes also its author, even though he thereby loses his reputation as a prophet. The "wrath of the infant sprinklers,” who compose nineteen-twentieths of God's Israel, will not be down upon” any one of the tribes, whatever be the provocation given, or the insolence indulged in; at least, not until the angel flying in the midst of heaven has proclaimed the everlasting gospel to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people : and then, there will be no revolting tribe to challenge or deserve their wrath.
We have given a fair specimen of the charges and accusations which our brethren tell us they have had to meet since their new organization. They are all, like those we have quoted, vague and indefinite. We are told that such things have been said, but we are not told by whom, or where, or when.
There is, however, in the “provisional report” a letter signed E. D. Fendall, which seems a little more specific in the nature of its charges. As it has some reference to a branch of the church with which we are connected, our readers will pardon us for quoting from it at some length. It is dated
“ Cedaroille, December 3, 1836. “Dear Brother, When I providentially came to this place last June, I found the whole community in a state of extreme agitation, and the theme of all conversation was the new Baptist Bible; almost every
hour I was asked the question, 'Have you seen the new Baptist Bible? and when I replied negatively, together with the declaration that I had not heard there was such a new Bible,' the inquirers were astonished, to think of my coming direct from Philadelphia to this remote place, without seeing or knowing any thing of that sacrilegious attempt to make a new Bible'—and that the said Baptist Bible was now in circulation. The effect which these reports had was of an unhappy nature. The Baptist cause was at a low ebb. The few Baptists themselves were almost ready to believe that there was indeed a new Bible to be imposed upon them by a • Baptist ecclesiastical council,' of the nature of the General Assembly' or the General Conference,' so boldly were these reports uttered. The friends of the Baptist cause began to regret that they had declared themselves friendly to such innovators; every thing looked gloomy—and I felt that it was high time to examine into the thing. I asked where the reports came from, and they were all traced to Mr. a Methodist local preacher, who was very busy in riding throughout the whole country, spreading the report; and, not content with endeavoring to make enemies to the Baptist cause, in one instance he went to the house of an old Baptist lady, who is in her dotage, and told her that the Baptists were making a new Bible, and that they were going to take all the old ones from their members. This good old sister, who was very much attached to her old-fashioned Baptist Bible, was nearly frantic at the thought of losing her Bible, and declared that they should never have it: for she would hide it and fight for it.' This is but one instance out of many of a similar kind. I sent to this · Alexander the coppersmith' a copy of the constitution of the American and Foreign Bible Society, and positively contradicted the reports in circulation, and soon convinced the reasonable part of the people of the absurdity of the thing, from the nature of the Baptist churches, each being INDEPENDENT. Another report which this man circulated was, that the Baptists already had a translation of the New Testament, which they had adopted, and that it was by Alexander Campbell, a Baptist preacher of Virginia. I soon let them into the real secret, that the honesty of such men as Drs. Campbell and Macknight, of the church of Scotland, would not allow them to transfer a word that could be translated."--Proceedings, fc., p. 79.
Our knowledge of geography does not enable us to inform the reader where Cedarville is; and although our acquaintance with the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church is somewhat extensive, it is insufficient to identify the local preacher above alluded to with any living reality. Whoever he was, he might have been better employed than in “riding throughout the whole country, spreading the report.” We were in the country at that time, and it is certain he never called on us with his report, or we should most assuredly have told him so. It seems, however, from the above letter, that there is, or was, such a thing as a Baptist Bible ; but then it was not a new, but an “old-fashioned Baptist Bible," to which this good old sister—“in her dotage”—was very much attached.
Let us now turn our attention to the results effected by the new society. The amount of receipts, according to the treasurer's reports, is as follows:During the first year, including a balance from the incipient organization
$38,714 66 24,745 75 25,812 22
These amounts indicate liberality on the part of the donors, and are evidence of the zeal by which the new society has been characterized. They are certainly much larger than was ever derived for this object from the same sources in any one year previous to the new organization. In fact, so far as can be ascertained, the average of these first three years exceeds the whole amount of unrestricted donations received from Baptists by the American Bible Society during the whole period of its existence. It is clear, moreover, that there has been no diminution in the receipts of the last-named institution since the establishment of the new society. And hence, it would seem, that, so far as raising money is concerned, the withdrawal of our Baptist brethren has been of beneficial tendency; the liberality of multitudes who had previously given little or nothing for the dissemination of the word of life having been thereby excited. Whether this will continue to be the case when the charm of novelty is worn off, remains to be
At any rate, there has been a very great falling off in the number of auxiliary societies recognized by the new parent institution since its formation in 1837. Thus, as we learn from the third annual report, pp. 86, 87, there were recognized, during the year 1837, no less than sixty-four auxiliaries; during 1838, only eighteen; and in 1839, only nine.
The greater part of the moneys received by the society has been appropriated to the Baptist General Convention for missionary purposes, to aid in printing and circulating the Scriptures in foreign lands. Indeed, the sole professed design of its original organization was to assist foreign translations; and a resolution, contemplating, as one of the objects of the new society, the circulation of