Circular Address to the Baptists of Illinois

Dear Brethren:

Although some of you may not be prepared to concur fully in the measures, which have been adopted by the "General Union Meeting," by whose direction and on whose behalf we now address you, yet we ask your candid and Christian attention to the following


For some years past, various causes have operated to alienate the affections and rend asunder those who hold to "one Lord, one faith, one baptism," in this State, much to the injury of the cause of truth, and the prosperity of our denomination. Gladly would we pass over the occurrences of a few years, and let them sink into the grave of forgetfulness, were it not necessary to explain to a large number of our brethren, who have emigrated to the State at a later period, some of the causes, that have operated to produce these divisions and alienations.

Brethren of the same common faith and practice, whose soundness in the faith cannot be questioned, and whose orderly Christian walk is unexceptionable, have been denounced, in public bodies, as "wolves in sheep's clothing" - "enemies of the truth," and many other equally unchristian epithets, because in common with nine-tenths of the Baptists throughout the world, they have believed it to be their duty to take some humble part in the benevolent operations of the times, and have been favorably inclined to missionary efforts. Baptist Associations have virtually declared non- fellowship with those who engage in, and even defend such "works of faith and labors of love;" -churches, or rather some of the preachers, have shut their doors of fellowship against Baptist preachers of the most unblemished character and standing.

Unchristian epithets, slanderous charges, hard speeches, and cruel insinuations have been made from the stand, instead of the lessons of the Gospel of peace and love. Not only have the objects to which Baptists are favorable as means of enlightening the world been grossly misrepresented, but motives of the baser kind, unworthy of the character of a Christian, or even an honorable man, have been imputed to Baptist brethren, whose character and standing no reasonable man can call in question. In proof of all this, and in obedience to the instructions of the "General Union Meeting," by the appointment of which we now address you, we ask your patient attention to the following well attested facts.

More than twenty years since, the small Baptist churches then existing in this territory formed a "Union," and continued for a period in amicable connection. A portion of these Baptists were opposed to slavery, and to a correspondence with those Associations where the spirit and practice of involuntary, perpetual, and hereditary slavery prevailed. Instead of a reasonable compromise, on a principle that would not have crossed the conscientious feelings of either party, by confining their Associational intercourse to the limits from which slavery had been excluded by law, an attempt to carry the measure of a correspondence, beyond these bounds, produced a rupture, which has never been entirely healed.

In 1818, the question of missions first came up in the Illinois United Baptist Association, by the suggestion of one of our number, then a visitor to that body, and it was harmoniously agreed to open a correspondence with the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions. The same year, two Associations in Missouri (the Bethel and Missouri Associations), entered into the same correspondence.

Two years previously, the Wabash District Association (then a large, flourishing and united body, but now by divisions and intestine commotions reduced to a small number), did the same. This correspondence was also entered into by a large majority of the Baptist Associations in the United States. This Board of Missions was gotten up, and has been sustained to this hour by a majority of the Baptist body. This correspondence, in its whole extent, embraces nothing more than the following particulars.

The Associations were requested to send copies of their Minutes with a statement of their condition and prospects, revivals of religion and other interesting facts to the Board, and in return receive copies of its Annual Reports and Circulars, by which means all the churches would have exact knowledge of all its movements. No approbation, or disapprobation or missions was asked; - no money was called for as a consideration of correspondence; - no delegates were appointed. Only a simple interchange, by mail, of letters and minutes on the part of the Association, with Reports and Circulars on the part of the Board.

Such a correspondence might have been carried on safely with any body of people on the earth. How much more, then, with Baptists of the same faith and order, who in every respect then did, and now do, enjoy the high confidence of the great majority of their brethren.

We will now explain how the spirit of disunion and discord, on the subject of missions, crept into the Associations of this state.

In 1818, Daniel Parker moved into the bounds of the Wabash District Association. Previously, that body had unanimously patronized missions, printed circulars on the subject, recommended the monthly concert of prayer, and advised the churches to contribute money to support missionaries, all in peace and harmony. In the same year that Parker fixed his residence near the Wabash and visited Little Village Church, a query came into the Association from that church in these words: - "Is the principle and practice of the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions in its present operations justifiable, agreeable to gospel order?" The Association, hitherto in peace, were not prepared to denounce their brethren. The query was postponed. The next year a majority was obtained, by the untiring labors of Parker in misrepresenting the whole concern, and the mission was denounced. Since that period, the history of the Associations and churches in that quarter, is a history of tumults, divisions and criminations. (See Note "A".)

"The spirit like a peaceful dove
Fled from these realms of noise and strife."

Pamphlet after pamphlet has issued from the press, teaming with invectives and abuse against all who favor missions, or any benevolent enterprise, and no pains or effort has been spared to produce an impression on the public mind that the friends and supporters of missions are ungodly men, the advocates of an ungodly ministry, who are waiting for the opportunity of consummating some dark and nefarious plan, and who are impelled in all they do by the love of money, or the love of power.

This opposition to, and entire misrepresentation of missions has been followed up with that monstrous abortion in theology, known by the name of "Two Seed doctrine," a scheme built upon a few insulated and figurative expressions of Scripture, wrested from their meaning and distorted to a most pernicious effect: - a scheme of doctrine alike dishonoring to God's plan of grace, and destructive of man's obligation to repent of sin and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. This scheme supposes that God never made a creature that will suffer eternal misery - that the elect only were created of God, and created in Union with Jesus Christ, - married to him from eternity; that they were afterward captivated by the Devil, fell in Adam, and that Christ so loved them that he could not be happy without them, and therefore came into this world, suffered and died, rose again, and is now engaged in delivering them from this captivity. This scheme further supposes that the Devil is self- existent and eternal, the author of all evil, as God is the author of all good, - and that those not elected are his natural children, begotten of the woman, by their father the Devil, through the instrumentality of the man. For them Christ never died: - no means of salvation are provided on their behalf, and who, with their father the Devil will be finally punished.

This monstrous and shocking blasphemy is designed to follow through this State in the wake of opposition to missions, - not by those of you who have opposed through mistaken views and false misrepresentations, but by those who have originated and kept up all this opposition and confusion in the churches.

In 1820 and 1821, attempts were made from the same quarter to break the peace of the Illinois and Missouri Associations, by the introduction of the same "query" which was sent on by its author.

But the majority in those Associations then believing they had no right to make proscriptive laws, and denounce their brethren in the churches, the means did not succeed. It never was sustained in the Missouri Association, and only succeeded under another form in the Illinois Association in 1824.

In November 1823, the Sangamon Association was organized, and by a preconcerted and clandestine movement, to which a few individuals only were knowing, the "tenth article" as it was called, was carried by a bare majority.

This Article read as follows: "It shall be the duty of the Association to debar from a seat any United Baptist, who is a member of any missionary society."

At that time the prospects of the Baptists, in Greene, Morgan, and Sangamon counties, were as favorable for future prosperity as ever opened in a new and rapidly populating country. The majority of the people were favorably inclined to the principles of our order; and had the preachers in that region then engaged in earnest labors for the conversion of sinners, and the encouragement of the saints in their duty, and the promotion of spirituality, brotherly love and prayer, with undivided attention, the Baptists now, instead of being torn into contending factions, would have exhibited a flourishing condition, and exerted an influence that might have been felt to the latest posterity. But as it was said to Israel of old, it may be said to us, "Thou hast destroyed thyself."

The distress and confusion in the churches, that followed the introduction of this tenth article, are well known to many of you. The majority of one vote having previously adopted this article as a "Rule of Decorum," the same lean majority then placed it among the "Articles of Faith," which they had made unalterable without a unanimous vote, and thus attempted to shut out their brethren, who were in favor of missions, by a perpetual law.

The consequences were fatal to religious prosperity. Instead of union and mutual cooperation, in promoting a revival of religion and the cause of Christ, the churches were occupied in a conflict with the Association. Some of the preachers were incessantly haranguing the people against their brethren, because they were in favor of missions. Misrepresentations and appeals to unholy passions and popular prejudices, were made to perpetuate the power the few had gained over the many, - the Association had gained over the churches. So much dissatisfaction was manifested, and so general and repeated were the remonstrances of the churches, that in 1826, the Association was disorganized, a convention of the churches called, and a new constitution formed, from which the offensive article was expunged. The agreement then was made that hereafter the mission question should be no bar to fellowship. Unfortunately this compromising principle was not expressed in writing and printed, but for proof we appeal to the brethren who were present and agreed to the new compact.

In violation of this agreement, the Sangamon Association in 1828, again denounced their brethren who were friendly to missions, and in 1831, their Circular cautions the churches against the "Money hunters, title sellers, the supporters of the missionary spirit in any or all their plans, forms, and ways," and says, "they should be rejected by you as the enemies of truth and the church of God."

When the Morgan County Association was formed, the brethren agreed to live in fellowship and peace without denouncing each other as friendly or opposed to missions, but at its late session, in obedience to Sangamon, which acts in subserviency to Wabash District, the following vote was passed: "This Association says, by way of answer to the corresponding letter from Sangamon, that she will have nothing to do, directly or indirectly, with the Foreign Board of Modern Missionaries, or any of its branches, - such as Bible Society, Sunday School, Auxiliary to the Sunday School Union, Temperance Societies, so called, believing them all to be inventions of men in their present operations."

It was also declared on the floor in debate, that the church ought to have control over the money of its members, - that we might as well give our money to support the worshippers of idols as to missions, and that the Devil was at the bottom of it.

It is mortifying to see on the minutes of a deliberative body, bearing the name of Baptist, a resolution so awkward in structure, ungrammatical in its language, and so entirely incorrect in its statements. It affords lamentable proof of a great deficiency in the qualifications of the preachers of that body. The fishermen of Galilee, called "ignorant and unlearned men" by their opponents, never made such wretched work in writing a sentence. An Association, which meddles with such subjects, is wholly inexcusable for making such ridiculous blunders. There is no such body as a "Foreign Board of Modern Missionaries." I suppose they meant "The Baptist Board of Foreign Missions." It is not true that the Bible Societies, Sunday schools, Temperance societies, &c. Are "branches" of the "Baptist" or any other "Board of Missions," foreign or domestic. There is no more connection between these different institutions and societies, than between any other distinct and separate associations or societies. True, they all aim at one great object, to promote the gospel, and thus do good to all men, and often times the same men who aid in one aid in the others, but as societies, they are entirely distinct. It is necessary for people to understand these facts, that they may see how little dependence is to be placed upon the assertions of those who declaim from the stand against all these institutions. One of the Committee.

In obedience to the mandates of the Wabash District Association, expressed through the Sangamon, a majority of the Spoon River Association refused correspondence with all who directly or indirectly have anything to do with missions. (Note "B".)

The Illinois United Baptist Association took this unscriptural and anti-Baptist ground in 1824, and since, has repeatedly denounced Baptists in general union in no measured terms. Such is the language of its minutes. See the Circular Letter for 1824. "If we look at the fruits of the pretended reformation under Luther and Calvin, the multiplicity of societies that hath arisen, each striving to be the greatest, their zeal breaking over all bounds, hath established the missionary plan, and called this a day of wonders, striving for power and money to send the gospel to the heathen nations. Thus Zion is astonished at their unbounded cravings; wherefore pray daily to be delivered from such impositions."

Here a deliverance of a portion of the world from the evils of popish tyranny, by Luther, Calvin and others, is called a "pretended reformation," - and the "societies that hath arisen," meaning missionary and other benevolent societies, are "fruits" of it, - that each is striving "to be greatest," - "striving for power," and "striving for money," - that "Zion is astonished at their unbounded cravings." And that all this is "imposition," and of course all those who are engaged in missions are imposters, from which Zion is exhorted to pray for deliverance.

Now these charges, all of which we pronounce grievous slanders, are made against nine tenths of the Baptist denomination in the United States, for not less than that proportion approbate directly or indirectly missionary measures. (Note "C".)

Is this Christian like? Does the word of God permit a people who call themselves "United Baptists," to utter such calumnies and publish such railing accusations against their professed brethren? We might make large extracts from the Circular of this Association for 1828 to prove the same thing. The chief part of that Circular was copied from The Reformer, a monthly periodical published in Philadelphia, which opposed the doctrine of grace as usually taught by the Baptists, and ridiculed revivals of religion; - a periodical which regular and sound Baptists would never patronize. (See The Reformer, Vol. 9, page 83, and compare it with the following extracts from the Circular.)

Extracts. "We hesitate not to say, that the new fangled plan of missionary institutions, and the going out of missionaries are made absolutely to depend on the monies which can be collected together, and hence it will appear, that money is their foundation, and human schemes are the means employed to establish that foundation." Again, "Let the people withhold the monied support, and it will soon be seen that those institutions will totter and fall, and those well dressed beggars, who are traveling to and fro in search of money, will grow scarcer and scarcer. We believe the missionary spirit that is abroad in the land, is the same spirit that pervaded the church in the Apostle's day, and which he called the mystery of iniquity."

All this, and much more is said of Baptists in general union, - the great majority of the denomination, and without a shadow of proof! Nay, against the most positive testimony.

It is evident also that these associations mean to compel the churches and all the brethren to come into their opposing measures on pain of exclusion. They pretend to be only an "advisory council," and yet if the churches, preachers, and members do not follow their advice, they are exposed to censure, and to these severe slanders. In this respect they have departed entirely from the Baptist faith in a fundamental principle of church government.

The manner in which they oppose Baptists, who are in favor of missions, from the stand and from the press, by their preaching and their printed decrees calls loudly for the disapprobation of all orderly Baptists. Preachers who are continually bringing railing accusations, and crying "wolves in sheep's clothing," "money begging missionaries," and other abusive epithets, when they pretend to preach the gospel of peace, should be deemed deserving of church censure, as they do meet with the censure of all good men of every order.

We do not object against preachers and others, either in public or in private, stating what they believe to be wrong, or defending what they think to be right, though it betrays either great weakness or a bad spirit, for a man to denounce and declaim against a subject he knows nothing about, and in view of which he has shut his eyes to all means of correct information. But we do complain of abuse when individuals and public bodies make such slanderous charges, and use such unkind language about their brethren as we have quoted. We ask all concerned to give the subject a fair and candid investigation. With respect to those who oppose us, and vilify us, we would say, read all they write, notice attentively their conduct, scrutinize their motives, and take nothing without proof. Treat us precisely in the same manner; hear our sermons, read our publications, listen to our explanations, observe our actions, examine our whole character, and then see whether those who are friendly to missions and other benevolent institutions are the most anxious for the peace, purity and prosperity of the church and the salvation of sinners; or those who speak and write those slanders and get up these hostile measures in the associations. Judge scripturally and candidly whether they, or the friends of missions, possess most of the spirit of true religion.

It is a fundamental principle among all correct Baptists, that each church is strictly and substantially independent in its government and discipline, - not in making laws, - but only in executing the laws of Christ in its own sphere, and amenable to no earthly tribunal. It cannot surrender this power to any association or other body of men on earth, by any compact, without giving up the keys of its government and virtually disowning Christ as its head. Churches, when associated for general purposes, are as much independent as before. Associations may advise churches what to do, and how to do, though they should be cautious about obtruding their advice when not asked, but each church has entire right to follow, or not to follow the advice, as may seem right, without any breach of fellowship. When an association attempts to coerce a church or any of its member, by any direct or indirect measures, that moment the association violates a fundamental Baptist principle, and ought to be put down by the authority of the churches. The power assumed by the association over the churches, ministers and brethren, in passing the rules and adopting the Circulars we have quoted, and in declaring non-fellowship with all who will not obey them, is a direct violation of this principle. It is impossible to avoid this conclusion.

Where associations, under the name of an "advisory council," thus dictate to churches and brethren, and pass censure upon them when they do not obey their "advice," they violate the prohibition of God in I. Peter 5:3. This prohibition originally applied to Elders. They are commanded to "feed the flock of God," and forbidden "being Lord's over God's heritage;" - that is, to dictate by laws or rules to the church or its members. It is only 143 years since the first Baptist Association was held. There is no scriptural authority for them, though we consider it expedient and useful for the churches thus to meet annually by delegates, and concentrate their efforts for promoting the cause of God, but not if they are to follow the course of those associations whose conduct we are deprecating.

We appeal, brethren, to those of you who are opposed to missions, how would you feel to have your conduct vilified and misrepresented, your motives impeached, mean and base vices imputed to you, and harsh and unchristian epithets heaped upon you, because you do not engage in the missionary work? How would you like to have associations publish you on their minutes, or allude to you as imposters, because you acted according to what you believed to be your duty? And to have all this done by those who call themselves "Baptists," - "United Baptists," - "Regular Baptists"? Would you not consider such conduct, if against yourselves, as very unchristian, illiberal, and deserving the censure of the church? Will you then continue to countenance those bodies and individuals, who thus wantonly trample upon the rights and feelings of their brethren?

It is not only wrong for associations to take this arbitrary course, but it is equally wrong for churches to do it. A church has no right to exercise arbitrary and oppressive authority over its members, and to forbid them to do what they think the word of God requires, in promoting the gospel and in doing good to their fellow men. Would it not be a violation of Christian privilege and individual right for a church to require you, on pain of exclusion, to give ten dollars, or one dollar a year to send out missionaries? Or to require you by a rule of the church to devote one third of your time to benevolent purposes? Would you not resist such rules? And is it not an equal infringement of Christian rights for a church or association to make rules forbidding members from doing such things? Is it right for a church, or its preacher, to shut its doors and bar its communion table against Baptist preachers of the most unquestionable standing in the Union, because they were in favor of Sunday Schools? This has been done in Illinois! Baptist brethren have been excluded from churches for sending their children to a Sunday School, reading a religious news paper, and being in favor of missions.

It is against all such oppressive and unrighteous measures, that in the name of the Union Meeting, and in the name of the great body of Baptists in the United States, we solemnly protest.

Against all the decrees of Associations, these arbitrary measures of churches, these abusive, slanderous and unchristian Circular Letters, these harsh denunciations from the stand, these hard speeches, cruel misrepresentations, and unchristian spirit; - against all that is said and done in vilifying, opposing, and persecuting Baptist brethren, who are sound in the faith, and are engaged in labors of love, we do solemnly protest, and that for the following reasons.

1. It is a violation of that Christian charity, "which suffereth long and is kind, which vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth. Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things."

2. As a violation of the apostolic injunction, in Eph. 4:31, 32, "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice. And be ye kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." Chapter 5, verse 6, "Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God on the children of disobedience." I. Tim. 6:3, 4, "If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings," &c. I. Peter 2: 1, "Wherefore, laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby."

3. We protest, because the conduct of these Associations of which we complain, is a violation of the 8th, 10th, and 11th articles of the terms of Union formed betwixt the Regular and Separate Baptists in Kentucky, in 1802, which follow:

Art. 8th. "That it is our duty to be tender and affectionate to each other, and study the happiness of the children of God, in general, and to be engaged singly to promote the honor of God."

Art. 10th. "And that each may keep up their Associational and church government as to them may seem best."

Art. 11th. "That a free correspondence and communion be kept up betwixt the churches thus united."

The Separate Baptists were extremely tenacious of the independent form of church government, and afraid of associational power, which accounts for some of the expressions used in the foregoing articles. Their churches also were usually formed without "Articles of Faith," separate from the Scriptures; hence, each church was left to manage its own business in its own way, without a breach of fellowship.

Those associations that have declared non-fellowship with their brethren on account of missions, have violated the principles of "United Baptists."

4. We protest, because these Associations have violated the principles upon which they were formed. The Illinois Association was formed upon the "Terms of Union," which we have just quoted, and which we have already shown has been violated. The Sangamon Association at its reorganization in 1826, struck out the "tenth article," because it destroyed the peace of the churches, by its anti-mission character, and it was then the verbal agreement amongst the brethren that the mission question should be no bar to fellowship; and yet this agreement has been since violated in every denunciation made against Baptists who are friendly to missions, in their minutes and by their preachers. Such, also, was the agreement in the formation of the Morgan County, and the Spoon River Associations, both of which, this year, have violated this compact, acting as they did in obedience to the decree of Sangamon.

5. We protest, because the Sangamon Association upholds and supports, and is in strict fellowship with the Wabash District Association, and thus countenances the monstrous doctrine of the "Two Seeds," and the errors of Daniel Parker, who has been excluded with a party, by the majority of his church, for holding and preaching that doctrine.

6. We protest, because the course of these Associations and the hard speeches alluded to, are ruinous to the prosperity of a portion of the Baptist denomination in this State, calculated, by producing disgust against a description of churches and preachers, to open a door for the introduction of errors of another and highly alarming character, and drive from the Baptist communion many worthy brethren, who might be ornaments to the church, but who will not submit to such unrighteous and unscriptural oppressions. And because the course pursued by these Associations is a virtual declaration of non-fellowship with more than nine-tenths of the Baptists in General Union throughout the world.

7. And finally, we protest, because this system of coercion by Associations, churches, and individuals, is a violation of the principles of republicanism, the rights of conscience, and the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free; and because orderly Baptists maintain that every member may judge and act for himself on the subject of missions without compulsion or forfeiture of the fellowship and confidence of his brethren.

To our brethren who have been thus oppressed, we say, Return not "evil for evil, railing for railing, but contrariwise, blessing." Mildly, but firmly remonstrate against this usurped power. Do all you can by conciliatory measures to enlighten the brethren. Frown upon those preachers, of every party, who deal out harsh, unkind and unchristian language. And if you live in churches or associations who attempt to abridge your liberties in doing good, and are bent upon pursuing coercive measures, we hesitate not to say, "Come out and be separate." Your brethren will receive you, and the Baptist denomination throughout the United States will pray for, and help to sustain you. When a church or association has so far lost respect for itself, as to denounce, and continue their denunciations upon brethren, for patronizing missions, Sunday Schools, Bible Societies, Temperance measures, &c., we hesitate not to say, it is your duty to leave them to the fate of those who are destroying themselves.

In forming new churches and associations we ought to avoid the other extreme. Erect no barrier to shut out brethren, who are disposed to live in union, and yet do not see it to be their duty to support missions. The principles which we urge, and which all Baptists ought to act upon, are those of liberality, kindness, and equal rights. None should be compelled to act for or against missions, but each be left to the dictates of his own judgment, according to the light he can obtain, without a breach of fellowship.

Brethren, in this day of action, we must not stand idle in the vineyard of the Lord. Our brethren in the Old States are awake, and are willing to help us. Surely we ought to help ourselves. We have preachers among us, who might be very useful, and perform extensive labors, if they could be wholly devoted to the work. Other denominations are systematic in their efforts, united in their measures, and putting forth all their strength to occupy this fair portion of our common country. In Illinois, more than any other western State, will be the contest between truth and error. If we believe the principles of our denomination to be those of the New Testament, we ought to contend for them. This cannot be done successfully without more system, more union, more Christian concert, without hearts more deeply imbued with the love of Christ. Direct and systematic efforts must be made to plant and water churches. The gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation, must be preached, regularly and constantly, to all classes. All the efficiency of working is of God, but he works by means, and we have no more just reason to expect a crop, where no culture has been bestowed, or seed cast into the ground, than to expect a harvest of souls without the word of truth being sown in the heart. We ought to have a number of preachers, wholly devoted to traveling, preaching and laboring for the good of souls, throughout the different settlements of this State. They cannot do this without the means of support. Every man who preaches the gospel has to be supported. The expenses of his living and that of his family must be paid. No man ever did or ever will preach the gospel without support. Either he must support himself, - or the church must do it, - or the world must do it. We know of many preachers in our State who pay the exorbitant tax of from 50 to 100 working days labor (besides Lord's days,) with a horse, and frequently ferriage and other traveling expenses within a year, while their brethren pay nothing. A man and horse is worth from 75 cents to one dollar per day on his farm. Consequently these preachers really pay from 50 to 100 dollars yearly to support the gospel, while their brethren, who get the benefit of their labor, pay nothing. Is this just, equitable, or scriptural? Christ has said, "the laborer is worthy of his hire," the workman is worthy of his meat, and he forbid his disciples to take "purse or script," that is, to support themselves.

There are no two ways about it. Either the gospel cannot be preached, and the command of the Savior must be violated, - or the preachers must pay all the expense, as they have heretofore done in this country, and thus violate the law of the Savior; - or the brethren must aid them according to the scriptural command. The question then, is, will the churches voluntarily and freely give of their substance to support preachers, whom God has called and sent into the field, and who will devote their whole time to the gospel ministry, - or shall the preachers be compelled to pay a tax of from fifty to one hundred dollars each, per annum, as many of our brethren in the ministry have done, while private members pay nothing.

Our brethren abroad, through the medium of the newly organized "Baptist Home Mission Society," and other channels, will help us, if we will but try to help ourselves.

In fourteen States, the Baptists have organized annual meetings, by delegates either from churches, associations, or missionary societies, called "State Conventions," the object of which is to bring about union and cooperation among Baptists throughout the State, in the use of scriptural means to promote the cause of religion and the general interests of the denomination. These "conventions" have nothing to do with the internal discipline of the churches. Such conventions have been organized in the following States: - Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, and Ohio. In many of these States, all, or nearly all the churches are united in the objects of the Convention. In others, such churches only as feel disposed to cooperate in doing good. In four other States are organized bodies that are engaged in the same work as these Conventions, though not called by that name.

In Pennsylvania, is the "Pennsylvania Baptist Mission Society," that extends its labors throughout most of the State.

In Virginia, the "General Association of Baptists," that has in its employ about 20 missionaries in that State, "who have been instrumental in bringing many souls from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God."

The "Mississippi Baptist Education Society" operates for the same purpose in that State, and the "Baptist Home Mission Society of Louisiana," affords a rallying point for Baptists in that State. Thus in 18 States the Baptists have commenced the work of mutual cooperation in promoting the spread of the gospel and extending the Redeemer's Kingdom within their borders.

Upon due deliberation on the subject of a Baptist Convention in this State, the late "Union Meeting," Resolved, unanimously that such a Convention be held at Alton, to commence the Friday before the second Lord's Day in October, 1833, and that ministers and other brethren be invited to attend, and Baptist churches, throughout the State, be invited to send delegates to consult upon the measures to be adopted and pursued.

And now brethren, we affectionately exhort you not to condemn this proposal, without examination or trial. If you are doubtful of the project, and enquire, can any "good thing" come out of such a plan? In the language of one of old, we affectionately invite you to "Come and see."

November, 1832.

Notes. By One of the Committee.

A. On the minutes of the old Wabash District Association for 1814, 1815, 1816, and 1817, the subject of missions occupies a prominent place. The Association then consisted of 12 churches, 7 ordained preachers, and were enjoying peace and harmony. They mentioned with pleasure the Circular Letter received from the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions, and said they "were highly gratified with the information it contained."

In 1818, this harmony was partially interrupted by the introduction of Parker's query from the Little Village Church. The object of this man in commencing this war on missions, and breaking up the peace and harmony of the churches through the Wabash country, is too obvious to every reflecting man, to be misunderstood, who knows the circumstances.

At that time Elder Isaac McCoy was a member and the most influential minister of this body. It was under his labors that most of the churches and the Association had grown up. The people regarded him with the confidence and affection of children. He had commenced his operations as a Missionary among the Indians, but not so far distant as to prevent his deserved influence from being felt. Parker was not the kind of man, who would suffer another man to hold a more elevated place, in the estimation of Baptists, than himself. Hence, under the show of great zeal for the cause of Christ, it became necessary for him to undermine and destroy McCoy's influence and that of his friends. His indefatigable zeal, which would have done honor to a good cause, and the prejudices of the people, at last enabled him to accomplish his object in part. This explains at once his attack upon the members of Maria Creek Church, where McCoy was formerly pastor, his maneuvering in the Association, and the formation of an extensive combination among churches and associations both in Indiana and Illinois. In 1826, he published his pamphlet on the "Two Seeds." By this time he supposed his mountain was strong, and all those who held fellowship with him would submissively bow to his dictation. He found his mistake in his own church, for he was dealt with for holding and propagating false doctrine, and after a laborious trial and patient waiting, was excluded by a majority of the church. As might have been expected, he drew off a few partisans, claiming them to be the church, retained his influence and took his seat in the little Association which he continued to manage. The writer has not time to go into particulars, nor does he deem it necessary.

After having examined impartially the statements and publications of both parties, the conviction of the writer was that Mr. Parker stands fairly and righteously excluded from the Baptist Union for holding and propagating the "Two Seed doctrine" and other matters.

His next attempt was to get the Association with which he had influence to adopt the term "Regular Baptists;" but there is a wide and impassable barrier betwixt his party and the Regular Baptists of the Old States.

B. Since the session of the Spoon River Association, dividing measures have been introduced into the churches of that body by the anti-mission party. In Crane Creek church in Schuyler county, where a large majority of the members were in favor of liberal measures, a minority, headed by a preacher from another Association, left the place of meeting, - the clerk, one of the party took the church book, - and the party claimed to be the church. Rather than produce an unpleasant quarrel the majority (of more than two to one) reorganized themselves into a church and peaceably occupied their own ground.

C. Our readers who know nothing of the numbers, strength and influence of the Baptist denomination in works of benevolence, excepting what they have been acquainted with in these remote States, may feel some surprise and doubt at the assertion that nine-tenths of the Baptists approbate some or all of these works of mercy.

In the "Baptist Annual Register," recently published by Elder I. M. Allen of Philadelphia, and compiled chiefly from minutes of Associations and other documents, are accounts of what many Associations and churches are actually doing. The mission business is no new thing amongst Baptists, as some imagine: nor is the education of preachers. These things are doubtless somewhat new to a portion of our western population, but it is only so because we have been so situated as not to hear much about it till later years.

One fact is incontrovertable. Those churches and associations that have labored the longest, and done the most in missionary work, are the most flourishing, and are the most frequently visited with refreshing showers of grace in revivals of religion. Wherever churches and associations have opposed these things, passed resolutions against their brethren, and cast them out, they are left like the barren heath of the desert.

In the Circular Letter of the Wabash Association for 1831, they say, "The door is now open for temptations, envy and strife among ourselves; worldly mindedness and every evil thing; Zion is almost forgotten; but little prayer for her, for sinners, ourselves, or for our brethren, is now felt or done. Watching over each other for evil, becomes more common, than for good. The errors of our brethren are apt to stand higher on our account, than our own wickedness. Church discipline becomes more resorted to for the purpose of excluding, than for the object of reclaiming the wandering lambs. ..... Our souls are barren, our labors fruitless, our minds dark, feelings dead, faith weak, hopes little, and a guilty conscience often keeps us from a throne of grace."

Such is the melancholy though reluctant confession of an anti-mission Association!!! Much more of the same is found in the letter. Such, brethren, is the torpifying and fatal effects of the "Two Seed" and anti-mission principles combined. "By their fruits shall ye know them."

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