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The Constitution of the Division at Wellsburg, from which you quote, although in your estimation it may be an “informal and vague thing," is as much of a “Magna Charta” as has any other Division of the Sons of Temperance, and is good authority in your hands or elsewhere. The articles and sections quoted by you are the essenlial ones, and your statement of the outlines of the order, as to its organization and its objects, is in the main correct. We do not differ in this. But the slur cast upon what you denominate "fraternal secrets” and “its regalia,” upon the exclusion of “females and boys," "old ladies and boys,” the provisions of the Constitution as to persons applying for membership who are over 50 years old, and the other provision that applicants must be possessed of "a good moral character,” contains a perversion of the objects and designs of the institution. I shall make an attempt at explanation here, for with the intelligent there is no necessity for a reason to be given, why ladies and boys are excluded from the Divisions Proper, although they are not in fact excluded from the great temperance movement, because the “Daughters of Temperance" and the “Fountains,” notwithstanding you may never have heard of the existence of such auxiliaries, are doing good service in the cause. It may be proper, however, to suggest that applicants over 50 years old pay an increased initiation fee, because, on account of their advanced age, the institution incurs a greater hazard for benefits, and that though it is required of them to be "of good moral character," no such standard of moral excellence is erected as to exclude all except those who compose the “amateurs of genteel castes in society.” In this last particular, it is known that one reason why the "old-fashioned Temperance Societies” lost their influence and were finally broken down, was because “they took in all sorts of men, women,
and children, good character or bad;" and it is not wondersul, when the charm of novelty had worn off, that these societies perished, having in their bosom such a material, and held together by an organization weaker than a rope of sand. They did nevertheless, in their day, great and untold good. The present organization of the friends of the temperance reform has risen out of their grave, and could never have come into existence had it not been preceded by them. But a lesson has been learned, and the Sons have wisely availed themselves of its teaching, to adopt an organization which it is believed will hold the fraternity together permanently, and enable them, under the smiles of Heaven, to accomplish a greater amount of good than the opponents of stimulating drinks have hitherto attained.
That the Sons of Temperance “are all of good moral character and in good circumstances, are able to pay an initiation fee, purchase regalia, and spend a portion of their income every week,” argues nothing against their institution, any more than does the intimation, if true, which it is not, that they "devote fifty-two evenings of the year to all the honors and generous deeds due to themselves, their families, and friends." Nor do they deserve any particular thanks “from the State for their noble efforts to raise up a genteel, honorable, and thrifty community, that needs no charity from Church or State;" but they do deserve the thanks of the good and philanthropic for their labor and zeal in a concentrated effort to
reclaim the inebriate, and to banish from our land and highly favored country the manufacture, sale, and use, as a beverage, of alcohol, in all its forms; more especially when those among them, who profess to know the truth as it is in Jesus, become "obnoxious to the censure of the church,” and have to meet the opposing sneers and contempt of their more cultivated, learned, and influential brethren, wh erudition and piety entitle them to assume a position in the church somewhat dictatorial.
This much in response to the badinage of your second number. In your third essay you are serious, and argue as you are wont; and you shall receive serious facts and arguments in reply. Truly your brother in Christ,
GEO. W. WILLIAMS. I will not now reply in full to these communications. I have, indeed, those highly commendatory of my course on this subject; of which I will give no specimen at present, unless one from brother Winans may be so regarded; though I not rank it in that class, but rather give it as an example of Christian candor and good sense, for which that brother has long been known and highly respected. Previous, then, to my advancing farther into the investigation, I will give his letter in full, as a word or a hint on the other side of the question will not be contemned by brother Williams:
Covington, Ky., June 13, 1848. Dear brother Campbell-Your essays on Sons of Temperance, Odd Fellows, and Free Masons, do not bite me, having been a Mason near twenty years before I became a Christian. If I understand you, you do not object to members of those societies becoming Christians, but rather to Christians becoming members of those 80cieties; of which sin, (if it be a sin,) I have not been guiltynot having joined any society since I professed Christianity; but I do not understand you to be opposed to those societies, as such. If all the world, or, rather, men of the world, belonged to those societies, and, through them, distributed their charities, you would not find fault, but readily admit that they had the right to give to whom they pleased, and to any amount they pleased, and through any medium they pleased.
But let me tell you, that all men do not understand you as I do. Many in fer that you are opposed to those societies named, and not only to those named, but to all philanthropic societies formed by
And those who wish to destroy your influence, would not hesitate to use those essays to prove that you were opposed to all charity or almsgiving except by or through the church. They will not hesitate to use those essays in the same way, and for the same purpose, that the Anti-Slavery men of Scotland used your essays on slavery. I never understood any thing you ever wrote on that subject as opposed to the emancipation of American slaves. So far from opposing, I came to the conclusion that if masters were dis. posed to liberate their slaves, you would encourage rather than hinder them.
What a pity it is that men will seek to destroy each other's influence in the way of doing good! Yours, by amanuensis,
M. WINANS. These things premised, I proceed with my objections, not to the Sons of Temperance, but to Christians uniting with them, any more than with Free Masons, Odd Fellows, &c. &c., in order to accomplish any good which, as Christians alone, they cannot do.
I have not said, nor do I intend to say, that Temperance Societies are more than literary societies, or Lyceums, to be repudiated as such. On the contrary, they may, in many cases, be highly commendable ard worthy of Christian aid. Nor have I affirmed, nor do I intend to affirm, that any one should be excommunicated the Christian church simply for having become a member of a Masonic, Odd Fellow, or Sons of Temperance lodge.
I will explain myself as I proceed. Strike, but hear one who has not shunned to avow his convictions regardless of men's opinions, and who owes his usefulness in life, whatever it may have been, to his not refraining fearlessly to exhibit his views of Christian truth, offend or please whomsoever they might. I cannot now change my course to please any one. I proceed, then, to show that it is not the duty nor the privilege of any Christian man in obedience to Jesus Christ, or for the sake of doing any good which he could not do as a practical and efficient Christian, in a truly Christian church, to unite himself to any of these human institutions.
It will be conceded without argument that there are civil and literary as well as eleemosynary institutions, to which Christiany may not only contribute their aid, but in which they may even sustain official relations as well as membership, which the exigencies of human society may require, and which, without any biblical sanction in the form of precept or precedent, are impliedly admitted in the general benevolence and philanthropy of the letter and spirit of original and apostolic Christianity. Such, in my opinion, was the old temperance associations and movement; but such are not the Masonic, Odd Fellow, or Sons of Temperance institutions.
These adopt some form of religion. Some of them administer oaths-found their institutions in part upon the Bible--carry it in their processions have their burial service; and the Sons of Temperance have their regular temperance worship-they are "duly” to open every meeting of a Division “by singing an ode, reading the scripture, or prayer.” They pray to God, I presume, professedly through a Mediator, and they sing praises to God through a Mediator, as Sons of Temperance merely; for they do not profess, as
such, to be Christians, any more than Jews, Deists, or Mahometans. I ask, then, a Christian brother, Can you thus desecrate the most sacred institutions of Christian prayer and praise, to say nothing of reading God's word as a religious institution,-by recognizing as fellow-worshippers Sons of Temperance, merely because of that simple relation!! If so, then, I ask, What did Paul mean when he said, “What fellowship hath light with darkness? What concord has Christ with Belial? the temple of God with idols? or, What part hath a believer with an unbeliever!”
The sons of Temperace, 'as such, have just as good a right to partake with Christians at the Lord's table, as to partake with them in the social acts of Christian worship with which they open their weekly sessions. It is the same God and Lord that is worshipped in Christian odes and Christian prayers that is worshipped with bread and wine; and he that is qualified for the one is, so far as the Lord has enacted, prepared for the other.
I am aware of the attempt that will be made to justify this gross insult to Heaven, by a reference to other usages, now very popular in fashionable Christendom-sanctioned by high, that is, by clerical and polite usage. Agricultural societies, political mobs, balls even, and masquerades, have been opened by prayers, and by invocations of “Holy Trinity.” Every Christian ordinance is abused, desecrated, and made as unmeaning as abracadabra in the cure of agues, by the pharasaic licentiousness of the age.
I wonder how a Christian man, of any Christian refinement, could, if there were no law upon the subject, kneel down with every thing in this Noah's ark institution, with every thing clean and unclean, and pray with them, merely because they all happened to be in the same ark! not because they have owned, acknowledged, and vowed to serve the same God, through the same Saviour, in hope of eternal life.
Tell me not of public prayers in religious assemblies, of Christian family worship in the presence of those who do not, who profess not, to unite with you. There is, or must be, those who unite in these acts of worship besides those for whom, and not with whom we pray. These are the distance of the poles distinct and separate from those laws that oblige any member of a Temperance lodge to unite in social worship merely in that character and relation with every other Son of Temperance, as such.
The Christian profession is not at present distinguished for high conscientiousness or good taste, any more than for a high standard of piety and morality. Jews were not allowed to intermarry with
Gentilez, nor to have any communion with them in worship. This was obligatory on them as a typical nation, that they might, in their peculiarities of secial intercourse, as much as in their ritual, adumbrate the Christian institution. Hence Christians are called "an elect nation, a royal priesthood, a peculiar people.” And as once said a true prophet, yet a wicked man, “The people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.” But “the Man of Sin" and the spirit that inspires him have always plead for a church and state amalgamation, and for bringing the whole unregenerate world into the forms and under the name of a Christian people.Hence the middle wall of partition being broken down not between Jew and Gentile, but between Christ's church and the world, Chris. tian people are prepared to intermarry, if not to commit adultery, with any institution that may be got up under the show of some public good that may do honor to them before the world.
One would think the world had ceased to be, as in old times, under Satan. John spoke in a very impolite, unsocial, uncharitable style, when he said, “We are of God, little children, and the whole world lieth under the Devil.” All mixed communion in religion with the world, under any pretence whatever, is spiritual adultery or furnication, according to my Bible. And it will require, in my judgment, a master metaphysician to justify a Sons of Temperance prayermeeting on any Christian principle that will not justify any other kind of Christian communion with every benevolent or politicobenevolent institution, christened at the font of popular expediency. If any one can, from the Bible, invalidate my position, I will publicly acknowledge my error.
BIBLE CAUSE. Our brethren, we are glad to learn from various sources, are doing something for the greatest cause in this world--the Bible cause. We are pleased to learn from our Baptist brethren, that in Ohio they are willingly co-operating in this good work.
From the Western Christian Journal. DISCIPLES CO-OPERATING WITH THE AMERICAN AND FOREIGN
AKRON, March, 1848. Messrs. Editors- I wish you to insert the following letter. It is one I received from J. H. Jones, a Disciple preacher in Wooster, who stands high in this region among his Disciple brethren; and as they are mostly inclined to send their money through the American SERIES 11.- VOL. V.