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worse than "we of the Jews,” and “they of the Gentiles” of ancient times.
Under the able instruction of brother Walter Scott, for some two years this new society made rapid progress in the study of the sacred scriptures. Finally, Sidney Rigdon left the city and returned to Ohio; and in the next year, 1826, brother Scott migrated to Steubenville, Ohio, and for a time lectured to the Baptist church in that place. And here we shall leave matters and things in Ohio, and proceed to Washington, Ky., the scene of the discussion with Mr. M-Calla, now the Rev. W. L. M‘Calla, D. D., of Philadelphia,
MORAL SOCIETIES, Having religious rites and secrets, “Sons of Temperance," "Odd
Fellows” and “Free Masons.”—No. VI.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE MILLENNIAL HARBINGER. My dear Sir-As far as my observation extends, you are a head of the Editors of the other religious periodicals, in regard to a notice of “Moral Societies, having religious rites and secrets—Sons of Temperance, Odd Fellows, and Free Masons.” I could wish that other Editors, as well as yourself, had, ere this, considered it expedient to bestow some attention on the subject of secret societies---s0 far as Christians are concerned in that matter; because I feel deeply impressed with the persuasion, that the prevalence of such institutions, among Christians, is calculated to shed a deleterious influence on the interests of vital and practical godliness.
In these remarks my attention is directed particularly to the first of these above named- the “Order of the Sons of Temperance”-not because I consider it the most exceptionable in its character; but because, in these regions, it has come more within our observation, having enlisted a considerable number of the members of a neighboring church, where it has proved the occasion of much unhappy dissension and alienation of feeling.
I have read, with increasing interest, your articles on this new organization, in the Harbinger; and have been somewhat disappointed at not finding a continuation of your animadversions in the August number. I hope, sir, you will not suffer your correspondents to crowd you out: I see your notice of “a host of them,” on this subject—"Sons,” I suspect, who are coming forward in defence of the “Order."
It appears to me to be very desirable that those characteristics of this institution which render it justly objectionable, should be severrally exposed, and subjected to that censure which they may appear to deserve. And herein I am moved, not by any disposition to exeite controversy, or to awaken the hostile feelings of those who are SERIES III.-Vol. V.
devoted to the “Order;" but from a conscientious persuasion that the interest of scriptural morality requires it.
Under this impression, (and hoping to see something more from you on the subject,) I will, with your permission, offer a few hints on some of the objectionable features of this novel institution. Les me premise, however, that the question concerning temperance is not here at issue: there are many as thorough-going temperance men among those who disapprove of the institution, as are the most enthusiastic advocates of the “Order." And let it be observed, that in the remarks which I make on this subject, I have special reference to Christians. About such Societies as those above named, considered as worldly institutions, conducted by “the children of this world,” I have, (as well as yourself, but little concern: and I only say, if they can do any good in their own way, let them do it. But now, to the hints which I proposed to offer.
1. Instead of depending for success on principle, called into action by an appeal to the understanding, the conscience, and the heart, recourse is had to adventitious circumstances—to machinery, to mince-meat for-vanity;—such as the creation of a number of officers, with officers taving affected honorary titles;-trappings, oddly enough termed regalia, in which the "Sons” are attired at their meetings, with some other ceremonials not fajtly understood. All this may be considered as forming but comparatively a slight objection; though as professedly designed to subserve the cause of religion, or of scriptural morality, it savors strongly of the Popish spirit; seems to be unworthy of the Christian character, and much beneath the true dignity of a minister of the gospel.
2. The creation of a factitious, or (if you please) a fictitious benevolence, different from the practical benevolence of the gospel, and calculated to detract from it. The Christian benevolence speaketh on this wise: "As we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, especially to them who ar ? of the household of faith:” but this artificial benevolence says, “especially to our own self-formed confraternity-faith or no faith.” And what does it amount to? A sort of mutual insurance: a fund formed by equal contributions from all, for the benefit of those who are little likely to suffer from want; as all the members must be in a condition capable of supporting themselves. Such is this boasted benevolence! That in some in stances good may have been done, in the way of benevolence, as well as in the way of temperance, is not denied: but this furnishes no valid argument, upon the whole, for the propriety of the institution. In some instances good has been done by the religious efforts of Roman Catholics, and even by some of the precepts of the Koran.
3. If there were no other objection, it would be sufficient to condemn this institution, so far as Christians are concerned, that its business meetings are held in secret;-a feature, this, utterly inconsistent with the genius—with the spirit and the letter of the religion of Christ, and a strongly Popish trait of character. Think of a company of Christians going weekly into conclave, with a mixture of the unconverted— (possibly the majority,) there, in secret meeting, with closed doors and sentinels duly placed, to unite in divinc worship, and proceed to devise ways and means for the ad
vancement of religion, or of scriptural morals! Spirits of Peter, and Paul, and John-of Timothy and Titus, would any of you consent to act as their chaplain? No! but see!--there goes a preacher, (with his white collar and other regalia,) to officiate as chaplain; and lend his aid in these secret proceedings! I wonder he does not think of that expression of our Lord, “He that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manisest, that they are wrought in God.”
Much remains unsaid: but fearing that I have already made too large a draft on your pages, I must come to a close: but not without expressing the wish and the hope, that no offence may be taken, on account of these remarks, by those whose predilections I may have assailed-since no offence has been designed to be given. Though conscientiously expressing my opposition to this institution, it is done in the epirit of friendliness and in good will towards those who belong to it With Christian regard, and very respectfully, yours,
A. BROADDUS. Newtown, K. f Q. Co., Va.,
August 28th, 1848.
SPARTA, September 1st, 1848. ELDER A. CAMPBELL:
Dear SirA subject is in course of discussion in the ‘Harbinger," in which I take more than ordinary interest, to wit: the propriety of Christians becoming members of the Order of Sons of Temperance; and as you have been kind enough to invite a reply from any member of that Order, I will, with your leave, avail myself of that invitation to say a word or two. The necessity for saying much, at least by me, is, to a great extent, removed by your correspondent, Geo. W. Williams of Kentucky, who, judging from the two letters of his already published, is fully competent to do justice to the suùject. And here let me beg Mr. Williams to continue to conduct the discussion on the part of the Sons of Temperance-believing as I do that the whole fraternity are willing to trust their cause, so far as this discussion is concerned, in his hands.
And in the first place let me say, that your correspondent, Mr. Winans, in the ‘Harbinger' of July, has very correctly in!ormed you that there are those who, from reading your pieces headed “Moral Societies," have come to the conclusion, and are endeavoring to make the impression, that you are opposed to all charity or almsgiving except by or through the church.
And permit me to inform you that others have, at some time, come to the conclusion that you are opposed to all human societies, or, at least, to Christians uniting with human societies; and then, at another time, the same persons would be led to believe that you were not altogether opposed to a union between the world and the church, or rather between Christians and men of the world, for cerHain purposes and in certain societies; and these various and conflicting opinions all profuss to be drawn from, or founded upon your
own words. And really it does seem to me that there is an ambiguity, or contradiction if you please, in what you have said on this subject, which is altogether unusual with you—and I am at a loss to account for it in any other way than by supposing you to be in error on the whole subject; for error you know is always inconsistent with itself, while truth is always consistent with itself.
And now permit me to state some of these seeming inconsistencies or contradictions, with a view of asking an explanation, so that I may fully understand the ground you really do stand upon. All this you will at once see, is necessary to any thing like a successful attack upon your position; and very much, too, of my object I may thus get you to accomplish,-for in defending certain societies and institutions which you seem to favor, if indeed you do favor them, you will most certainly defend the Order of the Sons of Temperance.
Please return to the April number of the Harbinger, and on page 229 will be found this sentence: “The church is, therefore, the only rational, moral, and religious society, under the broad heavens, that can at all hope to ameliorate, sanctify, or bless the world.” On page 230, same number, you quote from your Christian Baptist and re-affirm the following sentence: “They,” that is the primitive Christians, “knew nothing of the hobbies of modern times. In their church capacity alone they moved. They neither transformed themselves into any other kind of association, nor did they fracture and sever themselves into divers societies. They viewed the church of Jesus Christ as the scheme of heaven to ameliorate the world; as members of it, they considered themselves bound to do all they could for the glory of God and the good of men. They dare not transfer to a Missionary Society, or Bible Society, or Education Society, a cent or a prayer, lest in so doing they should rob the church of her glory, and exalt the inventions of men above the wisdom of God. In their church capacity alone they moved.”
In the June number, page 350, on the same subject you say, “For if the Christian church require auxiliaries in works of humanity, benevolence, and mercy, she is most unquestionably a defective and imperfect institution; and on the assumption that her Founder was and is the Supreme Philanthropist, how can this idea be entertained by any one believing in him? A person must become in fact, if not in theory, an infidel before he can entertain for a moment the opinion that the Christian church needs any auxiliary in any one of the objects or purposes for which she was instituted by her Founder.” Now these are but some of the many extracts which may be made of a similar character; and if upon the reading of these and such like, one would not be led to form conclusions like those spoken of by Mr. Winans, then I am at a loss to know what conelusions could be formed from such words—unless, forsooth, you have, (as you charitably suppose the Sons of Temperance to have) a lexicography of your own, which makes fire to mean water, light to mean darkness, &c. I ask, to what conclusion would any person come, attaching the common meaning to the words used by yourself in the foregoing extracts, but that you were decidedly opposed to all attempts by Christians at ameliorating the world or doing acts of charity through any other medium than the church? That you
were decidedly opposed to all co-operation between the world and Christiaus for any moral, literary, or religious purpose whatever? That you were opposed to all Missionary, Bible, Education, and Temperance Societies, as such-regarding it as the peculiar duty of the church, as such, to perform these various works? Now if this is your position, then your arguments are of the kind to sustain yourself.
But then what are we who read your productions on this subjec to make of declarations and opinions like the following: In the July number of the Harbinger, page 407, on the same subject, you say, "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 and worthy of Christian aid.” And again, on the same page, you say, "It will be conceded without an argument, that there are civil and literary as well as eleemosynary institutions, to which Christians 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 movements." Now if the views put forth in these last quotations are in unison with those uttered and set forth in the first quotations, then I must confess that my mind is too dull to perceive the agreement. How can it be true that the primitive Christians "dared not transfer to a Bible, Missionary, or Education Society a cent or a prayer, lest in so doing they should rob the church of the glory, and exalt the inventions of men above the wisdom of God.” And yet it is allowable, nay, proper for Christians to sustain official relations to, and even membership in, literary, eleemosynary, and temperance societies! and these societies made up, too, of men of the world and Christians. What, let me ask, are these societies-formed for? Is it not to bestow charities!-to meliorate the condition of the world?—and to advance the good order and morality of the community? Most certainly; and yet it is said by yourself that none of these objects must be promoted by a Christian except in his church capacity, and not in conjunction with the world. Is it true that Christians may , unite in membership with men of the world, in societies, "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 apostolic Christianity”? If so, (and to this sentiment I give my most hearty assent) then we contend that the Order of the Sons of Temperance is just that sort of institution, which the exigencies of human society have made pre-eminently necessary; and so believing, many of us who profess the Christin religion have united with this institution with a view of trying to ameliorate the condition of the human family. And now it remains for you to show why it is, and how it is, that a Christian may unite himself with the old temperance moveinent and not with the new