A debate between Elder Mark Bennett, a Missionary Baptist preacher of N. C. and Elder G. M. Thompson, of Ky., a minister of the Old School Baptist Church, at New-Hope M. H., Edgecombe County, N. Carolina, on the 27th day of Sept., 1852 – –
In which the following propositions were discussed:
1st. Is the Modern Missionary Enterprise supported by the Word of God? Thompson affirmed – – Bennett denied.
Primitive Print, – – Raleigh, N. C.
I have been induced to publish the following discussion between Mr. M. Bennett and myself, through the solicitation of many of my friends and brethren who are desirous of seeing it in print. If it should prove an advantage to any of Zion's children in saving them from the error's and delusions of the present day, I shall feel fully compensated for my labor.
In writing out the debate, I have had no assistance but my own recollection of the arguments, and the notes I took on the occasion, and I do not pretend to present it to the reader as a full and perfect report of all that was said by us both the in the two discussions. But I believe that every candid reader who listened to the two debates, will say I have fairly and faithfully given the substance of the arguments made use of by us both. It may be that some of the arguments do not come in the precise order that they did in the debate, nor do I profess to give them in the precise language made use of on that occasion, but I believe the arguments are fairly presented, and as forcibly presented as they were in the debates. The reader will see that Mr. Bennett has challenged me to meet him at three other places and debate the same questions, and that I refused to meet him any more, unless he should be selected by the Missionaries as their champion. I also stated that I would come to Raleigh and meet any man they might select. But I will here state that if Tarboro' or Williamston would suit them better, I am willing to meet them at either of those points and discuss the same questions again. Truth has nothing to fear from investigation, and I feel no disposition to put my light under a bed or a bushel, or to shrink from defending the truth on all occasions. But I have no idea that the Missionaries of North Carolina have another Mark Bennett in their ranks, or that any respectable portion of their denomination would be willing to put forth any man to defend their anti-scriptural system. Neither do I believe that they have another man that would be willing to undertake to defend, by scriptural evidence, their anti--Christian institutions. Whether in this I am wrong are not, time will prove.
And now, may God, who brought against our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, deliver us from all error, that Zion may look forth as the morning, fair as the sun, clear as the moon, and terrible as an array with banners, is a prayer of your humble servant, and fellow-sufferer for the cause of truth.
G. M. Thompson
Between Elder M. Bennett, a Missionary Baptist Preacher, of North Carolina, and Elder G. M. Thompson, and a minister of the Old School Baptist Church, of Kentucky, at New Hope Meeting House, Edgecombe County, N. C. on 27th Sept., 1852 – In which the following propositions were discussed, (viz.) – 1st. Is the Modern Missionary Enterprise supported by the Word of God? Bennett affirmed – Thompson denied.
2nd. Is the Modern Missionary Enterprise condemned by the Word of God? Thompson affirmed – Bennett denied.
Each speaker was to be limited to thirty minutes, and two speeches each were to be made upon each question. The debate was opened by Mr. Bennett, upon the first proposition, substantially as follows:
Gentlemen, Moderators: –
In entering upon this discussion, I think it requisite that I should give a definition of what is meant by modern Missionary enterprise. Mission means an establishment of Christians, united together, and operated upon by the love of God, and love to their fellow-men, for the dissemination of religious knowledge, and to secure as far as possible the conversion of all the world to the faith of the gospel. The Missionary societies of our day, are patronized by almost every Christian denomination of our day, and is doing incalculable amount of good, in dispelling the ignorance, idolatry, and superstition of Heathenism from our world. –– In dissiminating the glorious gospel of salvation among the benighted heathens, and building up the blessed Kingdom of Immanuel, upon the ruins of idolatrous worship. The word Missionary means one sent on a Mission, as I can show by upwards of eight hundred dictionaries. Our Missionaries, are those pious and God-fearing men whose souls are filled with love to God, and their fellow-men, have been sent out under the auspices of our Missionary societies to publish the glad tidings of salvation to the poor benighted heathens, who set in darkness and the shadow of death. They have made a sacrifice of their property, and worldly ease, and have gone to distant parts of the world and settled among heathens, and have spent a lifetime in suffering and toil, to disseminate the glad tidings of salvation among the heathens, and to be instrumental in converting their souls to God.
The Missionary enterprise has its embodiment in the gospel, and to establish this I will introduce a few passages of Scripture, and 1st, I will call your attention to the Commission has given by Mt 28:19, "Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." By this we are clearly taught that the servants of Christ are not to be prescribed by any national boundary, but are to "go into all the world." The Jews had a notion among them, that Masiah's kingdom was to be limited to them as a people. But Christ in the Commission, shows that his benevolence embraces the whole human family, and that the glad tidings of salvation is to be preached to all, and all that the Modern Missionary Societies are doing, is by a union of effort, to carry out the great and benevolent design of the Savior, expressed in the Commission. Now, to show that in the Apostolic day, boards were formed, and Missionary sent out by their authority and under their patronage, I will first call your attention to Ac 13:2-3. "As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me, Barnabas and Saul, for the work whertinto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away." Also Ro 10:14-15, "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And, how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" From the passage in Romans it is clear that they that preach the gospel must be sent, and from that in Acts in is plain to every intelligent mind that the Apostles, and Primitive preachers were sent by the joint authority of men and God. All modern Missionary boards like that at Antioch (whether we call it a board are not) operate jointly with the Holy Ghost, in sending out ministers as Missionaries to preach to the destitute parts of the world. We are indebted to the Missionary enterprise for all the blessings of the gospel enjoyed by us. The translation of the Scriptures from the original languages into ours, was a Missionary enterprise, and all the various translations are the work of Missionaries. By their indefatigable labors, and great love for mankind, the Scriptures are now translated into many different languages, and the lamp of life, is now lit up among the heathens, and the poor benighted idolatrous people of heathen lands, are now flocking to the cross of Christ, through the mentality of those pious ministers sent by our Missionary boards, and as they learn to lisp the name of Christ, they bless God that he ever put it into the hearts of Christians to send them the word of eternal life. While the good, and pious, of all denominations of Christians, are laboring to send the gospel to all nations, and to afford the means of grace, to every nation, tongue and kindred, Mr. Thompson and his denomination are doing all they can to oppose the spread of the gospel, and to obstruct the benevolent operations of the day, and to prevent if possible the carrying out of the benevolent designs of the Savior, when he gave the Commission, "go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature."
The Scriptures, as we have them, is not the language dictated by the Holy Ghost, but only what translators say the Holy Ghost meant.
Mr. Thompson then replied substantially as follows:
Circumstances has made it my duty upon the present occasion to stand up before you, and this large and respectable congregation in defense of my Lord and Master. While I feel sensible of my inability to do justice to the question under consideration, humbly relying upon Him that can bring strength out of weakness, I fearlessly step forward to meet the great Goliath of the "Modern Missionary enterprise," and to defend the character of my Lord, and the purity of his institutions, against modern invasions, and institutions wholly of human origin, which have not the shadow of divine sanction in the Holy Scriptures. Institutions which have their origin in infidelity, and a want of confidence in the immutable promises of our Lord Jesus Christ, and his ability to do his pleasure, and carry out his purposes in the world. The Modern Missionary enterprise had its origin in the dark ages of Popery, was hatched in the nest of fanaticism, superstition, and idolatry. Monks, Friars, and other members of the great "Mother of Harlots," first introduced this splendid scheme for the "evangelizing of the world." Many of us can remember when the Missionaries did not pretend to claim divine authority for their board, conventions, and hired beggars, but only plead for it as a matter of expediency, arguing that if Catholics, and anti-Christian powers could do so much by these means, what a mighty lever it would be in the hands of those who are the true disciples of Christ, and are promulgating the truths of the gospel. An argument of anti-Christian origin, and used by the Roman church when aspiring to unite the ecclesiastical with the civil governments of the world. The civil authority would give force and energy to the cause of Christ, and ensure the conversion of the world to the Roman Catholic faith. And for a like purpose a system of tithing was introduced to support a profligate, lazy, and extravagant clergy, who never were satisfied but were always crying, Give! give! until they had obtained both civil and ecclesiastical powers, and caused the streets and highways to run with the innocent blood of the unoffending followers of the meek and lowly Lamb of God. I now challenge Mr. Bennett, and the world, to give an instance, where a Missionary or a Missionary Society or board, has ever said, we have enough, we are full and abound. But to the contrary, the country is flooded with periodicals, applets, tracks, and travel and beggars, crying give! give! The Lord's treasury is empty! "Come up to the help of the Lord, against the mighty!" Selling memberships, and life memberships, to any who will pay their money without regard to character, or religion, (and as I have understood, have lately granted eternal life membership to some, who in their last will have robbed their heirs of their just rights, and bestowed their wealth upon their anti-Christian institutions,) and have got up fictitious Post Offices, made fairs, and practiced every other kind of trickery, that a wicked and profligate priesthood who are too lazy to work, can invent to rob the people of their honest earnings. All this is played off by such men as Mr. Bennett, under the fine name of "BENEVOLENCE," and a desire to ameliorate the condition of the poor heathens, while he and those engaged in this money making craft, fill the description beautifully given of them by the pen of inspiration. "But there were false Prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction." And many shall follow their pernicious ways, by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. "And through covetousness (the love of money,) shall they with feigned words (pretended benevolence) make merchandise of you? Whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not." And again, "for many walk of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things." And are all the time begging money to fill their own pockets.
The Commission as given in Mr 16:15, and Mt 28:19, is not a joint operation, as contended for by Mr. Bennett, but Christ alone, and distinct from all boards, or combinations of men, commissioned his disciples to go forth under his divine authority, and preach the gospel to every creature. Mr. Bennett will admit that all gospel ministers, go forth and operate under this commission, to the end of time, for there is no other one given by our divine Lord. Now Mr. Bennett cannot find one word or syllable in the commission which hints at a necessity of forming boards, or societies to aid the Savior in carrying out his benevolent designs but to the contrary the Savior has connected with the commission the whole plan of operation. 1st. By asserting his authority to commission them, by saying "All power (authority) is given unto me in heaven and in earth." 2nd. By teaching them what they are to preach, (Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: 3d. The warrant for their protection, support, and success, (And lo, I am with you all way, even unto the end of the world. Amen." It follows then, as a matter of course, that all the gospel ministers are called, qualified, and sent forth by the Head of the church, and he has taught them to go, trusting in him for support, telling them to "Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be of doubtful mind. For all these things to the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth "that ye have need of these things." All those preachers (like Mr. Bennett) who are called by men, qualified in colleges, and sent out by boards, conventions, or Missionary societies not being the servants of the Lord Jesus Christ, dare not trust his faithful promises, but must look to boards, conventions, and men for their support. And this is the reason why their Lord's treasury is always empty and his seed begging bread. But the true servant of Christ has nothing to fear, the earth belongs to his Lord, and the fullness thereof, his treasury is always full, and if needs be, he can send a Raven to feed them, or cause a jailer to wash their stripes. When God has called and qualified a man for the work of the ministry, and the church has evidence that God has committed to them a dispensation of the gospel, they may lay their hands upon them, and pray as the Holy Ghost directs, and send them away, under sanction or approbation of the church. Such was the case with Barnabas and Saul, as recorded in Ac 13:23. This is the practice of all our churches. But the Missionaries claim the prerogative of calling, qualifying, and sending out there preachers, or at least a joint authority with Christ, although Christ has no where delegated that joint authority to them or any other body of men.
In Ro 10, (and hear Mr. Thompson read the whole chapter,) it is evident that it is God who calls and sends, for none can preach unless they are called, qualified, and sent by God himself, and this the Apostle abundantly teaches in all of his epistles, by declaring that he was not an Apostle of men, nor by men, but by the will of God, and that he received it not from men, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. The twelve Apostles, and the seventy Disciples, were sent out by the Lord Jesus Christ himself, without any board, or society whatever, exercising joint authority with him, or giving their bond to support his servants, but they went trusting in the promise of their lower, and when the seventy returned, he asked them if they lacked anything? And they answered, “NAY, LORD,” A nasty word which a Missionary has never yet said.
I have now noticed every text introduced by Mr. Bennett, and you have all discovered that he has failed to bring one scriptural proof for “Modern Missionary enterprise,” and I now before taking my seat call upon him, to give one text for selling life membership, or memberships of any can to people religious or irreligious, and I will yield the question at once. Shew one place where Christ or his apostles, sold privileges for money, and I will cease to oppose your anti-scriptural institutions. Mr. Bennett has attempted to evade the question, by giving a description of the “poor heathens,” and making an eloquent appeal to your sympathies, but this will not do, we want scriptural testimony, and not sympathetic appeals. He says, I am here opposing the spread of the gospel. I have for the rise of twenty years, been trying to preach it, and have traveled pretty much over nine or ten States of this Union, and if I were to compare books with Mr. Bennett, I expect I travel ten miles to his one, and preach five times to his once, every year. I have never had the promise of any board, neither have I ever looked to any man or set of men for support, but have went, as I trust under the commission of my Lord, and I have never found his treasuries empty, but he has supplied all my wants.
Mr. Bennett then replied substantially as follows:
The Scriptures have been translated and the translators were paid for it. This was a Missionary enterprise, we are therefore indebted to the Missionary enterprise for the blessed privilege of reading the Bible in our own language. Shall we now say that we have got them anti-scripturally, and so them aside? Could men spend their time in translating the Bible, and not get paid for it? And if they were paid for it, was it not upon the Modern Missionary plan? Mr. Thompson and his friends are doing all that they can to keep the Scriptures away from the people, and to prevent their being sent to nations who are destitute of the word of life. The ministers of the gospel cannot travel from place to place, and in distant lands, and preach the gospel, cross rivers, lakes, and seas, pay terriage, tavern bills, &c., without pay. The Commission, it is true, was given by our Lord and Savior, and nothing is said about pay, nor is any provision made for the support of the Apostles, or ministers of the gospel in it. But circumstances have changed since that time, and are still changing, and we must operate according to the countries, times and circumstances which surround us. This the Modern Missionary board is providing for, and have been providing for and have done great good, as has been noticed by all historians, and geographers.
The Savior has given the commission, but has left it for the Missionary societies of the day, to provide the means for carrying out his great and glorious purposes, and to send the gospel into all the world, this we are doing, and through our efforts the glorious light of salvation is now beginning to shine in heathen lands, and thousands are now rejoicing in hope of a blessed immortality through these benevolent means, and have the Bible to read. The indefatigable labors, and almost unparalleled sufferings of Judson, Rice, and others have planted the cause of Immanuel in distant lands, and have seen their labors abundantly blessed, while they have died poor, with scarcely enough to give them a decent burial. Others have begged for bread alone of the board, rather than to be called home from a field of so great usefulness, and where they could be instrumental in doing so much good. The Modern Missionary board is only trying to do what the Commission commands them to do, and are operating under it, and according to its provisions. They are laboring to send the gospel into all the world, and Mr. Thompson and his friends are doing all they can to oppose this benevolent and scriptural enterprise. I have traveled and preached among his brethren – I still love them, and believe with them in the doctrine of grace, and that God will save his Elect, but it is through the instrumentality of a preached word, that they are to be saved. I know that the liberality of the Old Baptists of this country, but they are doing nothing to send the gospel to the poor benighted heathens! Oh! If they would but help us, what a vast amount of good might be done through their instrumentality!
Mr. Thompson read the whole of Ro 10 and, no doubt, think she has made some capital by it; but the dividing of the Scriptures into chapters and verses, is not the work of the Holy Ghost. This was the work of Hugo, and Mr. Thompson has only giving you Hugo’s options of what the Holy Ghost meant. Paul and Barnabas were sent out under the joint operation of the Holy Ghost, and a Missionary board; and it was in this way the gospel was first carried to the heathens in the Apostolic day. No system but ours has ever done any thing for the spread of the gospel, and Mr. Thompson cannot show that the gospel has ever been carried to the heathens only upon the Modern Missionary plan; and if our plan is not a good one, I want him to show us a plan that is a good one, and that has ever done any good, and I will join him. But if he has no plan, why oppose ours, – – which is the only one that has ever done any thing for the spread of the gospel, and the amelieration of the condition of the poor benighted heathens? Paul received money of the churches to enable him to go and preach among the poor and destitute, and he took up contributions for the spread of the gospel, and to sustain those engaged in publishing the glad tidings of salvation. I have seen a letter published in the “Primitive Baptist” stating that the brethren contributed liberally last Fall to Mr. Thompson, even beyond his expenses, and I doubt not but that his brethren will be equally liberal to him this Fall. Mr. Thompson knows were to travel, and you will not find him traveling among the poor and destitute, who are not able to pay, but you will find him traveling among the rich and liberal churches. I will venture the prophecy that, if you should not give him any thing this Fall, you will not see him down here again next Fall. Mr. Thompson rejects the Missionary enterprise because he says there is no Scripture for it. He cannot show any Scripture for Associations, neither can he prove by Scripture that the Baptist church is the true church of Christ. If he is, therefore, encouraging and sustaining institutions that are not found in the Scripture, why oppose us when we have as much Scripture ye then be not able for our institutions as he has for his?
It is by the means of preaching that souls are to be saved, and the preacher cannot go, unless means are provided for his support; to supply these means Missionary societies are formed, and good men of all denominations, are contributing to the support of the gospel, and for the evangelizing of the world. Their efforts have already been blessed in the salvation of thousands of immortal souls, and all the Christian world is praying for their success. The heathens are turning from their idols, to the religion of the gospel, and while thousands of them are rejoicing in hope of immortality, they bless God for the message of peace and salvation sent them, through the labors of our pious Missionaries. And while these Missionaries, like the messengers of peace, are carrying the glad tidings of salvation to poor blind sinners of all nations, and are instrumental in opening the eyes of thousands, and of saving them from the wrath to come, Mr. Thompson and his friends are opposing them, and calling them hirelings. Missionaries do not labor for the money, neither do they get high wages, or the most of them die poor. Rice commenced with a fortune and spent at all in the service of the cause, and died poor, and many more such instances might be sighted to show the sincerity and devotion of these men. There is no system of Missionary operation given in the Bible. We are therefore left to devise such plans, as we might think best calculated to effect the great end contemplated by the Savior when he gave the commission, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”
Mr. Thompson then spoke substantially as follows:
Mr. Bennett, in this speech, as in his other, has spent much of his time in charging me with opposing the spread of the gospel, and of trying to keep the Bible away from the people. This is a false charge, as I successfully shewed in my other speech, and Mr. Bennett knows it is false, and you know it is false, and should he make the charge again, I want you to look him in the face and see how a man will look who can have the affrontry to make such assertions in the presence of this congregation. I stand here to oppose the anti-scriptural institutions and inventions of men. Mr. Bennett has failed to give you one text of Scripture to prove the Modern Missionary Enterprise. Where is the Bible authority for boards of foreign Missions, of Home Missions, of Sunday Schools, Tract Societies, and their kindred institutions? I called upon Mr. Bennett for one text and pledged myself to yield the question if he would give but one. But Mr. Bennett had not thought of the call worth his attention, or has been conscience that there was no such a passage of Scripture, for he has studiously avoided the point at issue between us, by lamenting over the condition of the heathens, and telling us what a vast amount of good the Missionaries are doing among them, and assertion which to my mind is very questionable and might lay grounds for another very interesting debate, for were I to judge in this matter, I would say that if the translations they have made of the Scriptures, accord with the sentiments they preach, they are only converting the heathens from one species of idolatry to another. But this is all foreign to the question and does not properly belong to this discussion. Gentlemen, Mr. Bennett must be grossly ignorant, or think you are, when he tells you that the “Bible was translated under the operation of the Modern Missionary enterprise.” It was translated under this auspices of King James of England, and Modern Missionism had no more to do with it, than it had in sending out the seventy disciples, or in furnishing them means of support, while they traveled and preached to the cities of Judea. All this was long before Mr. Bennett’s glorious scheme for evangelizing the world was thought of. But Mr. Bennett tells us that we have not got the language of the Holy Ghost, we have only got the opinions of the translators what the Holy Ghost meant. If this be true, the Scriptures which we receive as the word of faith, is as fallible as the opinions of men. This would establish infidelity as to our version of the Scriptures, and we do most solemnly protest against such an admission. This is Missionary infidelity, when they find that the Scriptures are opposed to the whole money making, speculating, system of religion, they will tell us we have not got the Scriptures, we have only got the “opinions of men.” But the infidelity of Missionaries is still more evident, in their want of confidence in the power of God to perform his promises, and this want of confidence is what has led them to form their boards, conventions, and Missionary societies, to give a better warrant to their preachers for support, than the promise of Christ of affixed to the commission. “Lo! I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world, Amen.” Mr. Bennett calls upon me for a plan, when I get the affirmative I will shtw of a plan which our Lord has devised for the spread of the gospel, which has been efficient in all ages of the world, and compare it with the plan of Modern Missionaries; but while I am on the negation I am bound to reply to Mr. Bennett. This I have done, and this I will do, and shew most conclusively that his plan is anti-scriptural and anti-Christian, having its foundation in a want of confidence in God. I have repeatedly called upon Mr. Bennett, if he has one text in Scripture to authorize the selling of membership to non-professors or irreligious people for their money, making fairs and fixing up sham post offices to get money, I will yield the whole question. But as he does not, it amounts to an acknowledgment that is whole system is anti-scriptural and anti-Christian. Mr. Bennett acknowledges that there is no plan in the Bible, and that we must act according to countries, and circumstances. This is imputing great ignorance, or neglect to the Holy One, and not providing for times, countries, and circumstances. Either because he did not know what these circumstances would be, or if he knew, he neglected to make provisions for them; and to supply the defects of the Holy One, the Modern Missionary institutions are invented. This reflects great dishonor on Zion’s King, for no good government in sending out ambassadors, will neglect to provide for all circumstances, and contingencies. I stand here to defend my Lord against either the charge of ignorance or neglect. He has fully provided for, and fully comprehended all TIMES, COUNTRIES, CIRCUMSTANCES, EVENTS, COSTS, AND WANTS, so that nothing can ever befall those that he has sent, but what he has amply provided for. If cast in a fiery furnace he is with them. – If cast into a Lion’s den, he protects them – if cast upon heathens like Paul, the heathens will supply them with provisions, – or if in prison, he will send a mighty earthquake to loosen their chains. This is the God in whom I trust, under his commission I go forward, relying upon his promise, which is a far better warrant, than the bond of all the Missionary boards under heaven. Mr. Bennett tells a pitiful tale, about the suffering and the poverty of Missionaries. Of this I know a little. I have seen them flocking about the great city Cincinnati, and St. Louis, and traversing over the rich and populous state of Ohio, at the moderate wages of forty dollars per month, and every sermon they preached would begin with money and end with money; MONEY, is the soul and body of their sermons, and of their religion. If (as Mr. Bennett affirms) Luther Rice started with a fortune and died poor, his missionary god had not provided for times, circumstances and countries. And he must have been extravagant and profligate, to have run through a fortune, when he had nobody to support but himself. The servants of our King have never wrote back to boards, when in a foreign country under the commission of their King, begging bread, or they would have to leave their field of labor. I recollect of having read the letter of one of our brethren who was laboring among the heathens and he said, “I am full and abound.” From this you may draw the contrast between those who trust in man, and those who trust in God. Mr. Bennett has spoken of the liberality of the brethren towards me last Fall. It is true, the brethren were liberal so that I lacked nothing. But I left home then, as I did this Fall, without the promise of one cent, from any person, and in my whole tour I never asked for a farthing of any body. Mr. Bennett says I will never travel among the poor. In this he is mistaken, I have traveled through Indiana when it was a new country and the people were mostly new settlers and poor, I have traveled through Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina, and in all I have lacked nothing, but continue to this day, and stand here to defend my Lord against the charge of neglect. While Mr. Bennett is telling the pitiful story about Missionaries starving and begging for bread alone, let me say to my fellow laborers in the cause of Immanuel, (for I see some around me whose heads are gray in his service,) “Fear not little flock, for it is your Fathers good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” He clothed the grass, and feedeth the birds, and ye are of more value than they; and not a hair of your head shall fall to the ground without his notice. He will be a present help in every time of need, for you shall never be forsaken, nor your seed be begging bread, like Mr. Bennett’s starving Missionaries. Mr. Bennett says we have no Scripture for Baptist churches. He ought to be ashamed to tell his name, for he professes to be a Baptist, if there is no Scripture to prove the Baptist Church of divine origin. The first preacher we read of in the New Testament was a Baptist, he baptized Christ who of course was a Baptist, his followers were all Baptists, and if I had time I could trace the history and identify the church from the Apostolic age, through all the dark ages of Pagan and Papal Rome, and up to the present time, and show that all other churches, like Mr. Bennett’s Missionary institutions, have come out of the Mother of harlots, and are her legitimate daughters. Mr. Bennett still insists that Paul and Barnabas went forth under the appointment of a Missionary board. If you will read the three first versus in Ac 10 (Ac 10:1-3), you will see that it was the church and not a board, and that they acted under the direct command of the Holy Ghost, and they done nothing but what every Old Baptist Church does when they ordain a Minister.
Here a recess of an hour was taken, after which the congregation seated themselves to hear the second proposition debated, which was as follows. Is the Modern Missionary Enterprise condemned by the word of God; Mr. Thompson affirms – Mr. Bennett denies.
Mr. Thompson then spoke substantially as follows:
Mr. Bennett has been urging upon me to give a plan of operation for the spread of the gospel, and has utterly failed to produce one solitary text to prove his “Modern Missionary Enterprise.” I now have the affirmative and stand pledged to bring forward and substantiate a plan which is fully laid down in the Scriptures, which provides for all times, for all countries, and for all possible contingencies, and circumstances: which is efficient, ample and full; which lacks nothing, and has always been successful, in all countries, times, and circumstances and can never fail. A plan devised in infinite wisdom: God being the author of it. And they that operate under it, have the immutable promise of God for a warrant that they shall be defended, and provided for in all countries, times, and circumstances. This plan is plainly coupled with the commission as given in Mt 28:19-20 and Mr 16:15. Under this commission Mr. Bennett acknowledges all true gospel ministers go, in all ages and in all nations. Affixed to the commission is the declaration, “All power (authority) in heaven and in earth is given unto me.” Go therefore under the authority of heaven, as the ambassadors of peace, for he that hath all power sends you out as sheep among wolves, and as they have persecuted, and rejected me, your Lord and Master, so shall they reject and persecute you, but he that has all authority’s “in heaven and in earth,” says, “Go.” The command is therefore imperious, and no countries, times, or circumstances, can be a lawful excuse for those who he has commanded to go, to refuse implicit obedience to the command of their sovereign Lord. But if they should say, Lord, if we must go, what shall we preach? Full and ample instruction is given in the commission, “Preach the gospel to every creature.” – “Teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” But do I again hear them say, as though they wished to scrutinize the plan in all its parts, and have its efficiency for all countries, times, and circumstances, fully demonstrated to their minds, should we fall among enemies or lack wisdom what shall we do? “Lo! I am with you alway, even to the end of the world, “Amen.” Wherever they go, therefore they have all power in heaven and in earth to protect and defend them, and that power is always with them, “a present help in time of trouble.” The disciples of Jesus were surrounded with every possible circumstance to discourage them and to fill their minds with fear. The Jews, and Romans, but forty days before, had crucified their Lord, and were now ready to put them to death wherever they could find them. It is therefore reasonable to suppose that the question arose in their minds: what shall we say if we should be brought before the rulers and kings of this world? But here they are provided for. “But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate; but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.” This begins to look like providing for the all countries, times, and circumstances, but our thoughts are quick and busy, and how natural it would be for the question to arise in the mind, where is our food and raiment to come from? For all men are our enemies, and we have no boards, conventions, or Missionary societies to give us a warrant that we should be supplied with these things. But read the glorious provision made in the plan devised by Zion’s King as recorded in Lu 12, “And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat and the body is more than raiment. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap: which neither have storehouse, nor barn; and God feedeth them. How much more are ye better than the fowls? And which of you taking thought can add to his statue one cubit? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass which is today in the field, and tomorrow is cast into the oven! How much more will he clothe you, O, ye of little faith! And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind, “For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.” “But rather seek ye the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you.” I have now presented a system, taught in the Bible, which provides for all times, countries, and circumstances. And if you will read the Acts of the Apostles, and the history of the church in all ages you will find that it has been efficient. The first seventy that were sent out under it, on their return was asked by their Lord and they lacked anything? And they answered, “Nay, Lord, the very Devils were subject to us.” Paul, who operated under it for many years, declared that he lacked nothing but was “full and abounded.” If he suffered shipwreck, and was cast among heathens, he lacked nothing. Provisions were made and the heathens administered to him. If a poisonous serpent fastened upon his hand, he was provided for, and received no injury: if forty men enter into an oath, that they will not eat or drink until they kill him, – he is provided for so that they cannot kill him. And as for the efficiency of this plan, Paul testifies that under it the gospel had been preached to “every creature under heaven,” in his life “whereof (he says,) I Paul am a witness.” Paul himself traveled through France, Spain, and Italy, and some have supposed that he preached in London. It is evident that he preached in many parts of Europe and Asia. Under this plan the gospel was preached in Africa, and under it a Roger Williams brought it to our own country, a Parker has preached it in Texas, a Cranfield in Oregon, and an Owens in California. “Will Mr. Bennett now say that ”there is no plan in the Bible and that the King of Zion has not provided for countries, times, and circumstances? Every plan devised by man, reflects dishonor upon Zion’s King; and is founded in infidelity, as to the plan God has devised.
It now devolves upon me to show that the word of God condemns the “Modern Missionary Enterprise.” This I have already done in effect by presenting you God’s plan, which is perfect, and supersedes the necessity of any other plan. I might here set down, having fully redeemed my pledge, but I am not done, I intend to condemn his plans in Bible language, and make it evident to all that it is of antichrist. To do this I call your attention to Nu 22:7. “And the Elders of Moab and the Elders of Midian departed with the rewards of divination in their hand; and they came unto Balaam, and spake unto him the words of Balah.” The reward from Balah was to hire Balaam to curse Israel; and the Apostle Jude applies this text to those in the gospel day who preach for pay, or have run for a reward, like “Modern Missionaries,” under the pay of a board. But here is what Jude says, Jude 11 “Wo unto them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the errors of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.” But Jude is not alone, Peter comes in and gives his testimony against those who preach for filthy lucre, and says, “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of ready mind;" 1Pe 5:2. God has pronounced a wo, upon all such as trust in man, and who, I ask, does Mr. Bennett's Missionaries trust in, but the men who pledge them a support? Then it is against them the wo is pronounced. But we find that their system is not only condemned in these general terms in the Scripture, but their practice is exposed and condemned. Should a man come to Mr. Bennett with twenty dollars and say, sir, give me a membership in your Modern Society, with all the rights and privileges belonging to a member, Mr. Bennett would write his name down with one hand, and grasp the glittering dust with the other. But if such a Simon was to come to Peter he would say, "thy money perish with thee." I might go on to show that we are not to be unqually yoked with unbelievers, that Christ and Belial has no fellowship, but I think enough has been said to convince you that Mr. Bennett's "Modern Enterprise" is most clearly and positively condemned by the word of God. And that there is a system in the Bible which gives a warrant to every true follower of Christ in all ages, countries and places, and provides for all his wants and necessities. Protection, food, raiment, and everything else is provided in this plan that the true minister can want, and the veracity of his King to supply him with all these things. O! My brethren, who of you are fearful to go relying on this glorious plan? Who of you are fearful to go trusting in your Lord, who esteems you of more value than birds, or grass? Ah! When the treasury of "Modern Missionary boards" fail so that their hirelings have to "beg for bread alone;" the inexhaustible treasures of heaven and earth are pledged for your support, for our God shall supply all our needs. Under this glorious plan you can go; determining to know nothing among the people but Jesus Christ and him crucified. And if you should be cast into a fiery furnace, into a lion's den, or into prison, and in chains, fear not, your God will be with you to supply all your wants, and to administer to you out of the inexhaustible treasure of his grace. Though mothers may forget their sucking babes, your God will never forget you, leave you, nor forsake you. He rules the nations so that the wrath of man shall praise him, and the remainder of wrath he will restrain. He will be around you as a wall of fire and the glory in the midst.
Mr. Bennett then spoke substantially as follows:
Mr. Thompson complained of me for addressing the sympathies of the people, and I have scarcely ever heard a stronger effort made to excite the feelings that he has made in his last address, but this will avail him nothing in this discussion. It is testimony we are after, and not find speeches. He has failed to give us a plan that was to operate beyond the Apostolic age, and all he has said applies to the Apostles and no further. That was the day of miracles, but God does not now miraculously supply and provide for the ministers of the gospel. The Holy Ghost only contemplated that age when the commission was given, and the provisions so much talked about by Mr. Thompson, had reference alone to the Apostles, and not to future ages of the church. If Mr. Thompson was to drink any deadly poison it would be very apt to kill him, or if a poisonous serpent was to fasten upon his hand like it did on Paul's hand, he would find that he was provided for, but would swell and die. It has pleased God that they that preach the gospel shall live of the gospel: this living the church is provided and to secure this living to the ministers of the gospel, is what has given rise to the Modern Missionary Enterprise. The necessities of the ministers of this age, not provided for by the Holy Ghost is what has given rise to the Modern Missionary Enterprise. The promise of providing made by the Holy Ghost, was to the apostles, and the apostles alone. Paul took up contribution to sustain his brethren and wrote to the churches to have ready it for him when he came, and this fully justifies us in collecting funds for Missionary purposes, and in this we have apostolic example all that we do. The Missionaries are the servants of Christ, and are sent forth to do his work, and have been instrumental in converting thousand. God works by means, and the gospel is the means of saving souls, for, – "how can they believe on him whom they have not heard?" Men have to preach the gospel, and, "how shall they preach unless they are sent? And how shall they go unless we make provisions for them? Our boards are doing the work of Christ in providing means and sending out men to preach the gospel to the destitute. And for their course they have the very best example, for Paul traveled and preached, and took up contributions under the appointment and patronage of a board that sent him and Barnabas out. This has been the practice in all ages, Whitefield traveled and preached under a board, and God blessed his labors wherever he went, and by him the gospel was preached in the United States and he was instrumental in the conversion of thousands. God has ordained that they that preach the gospel shall live of the gospel, and we are not to muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. If God has made it our duty to give of our temporal things to those that administer to us in spiritual things, why make so much fuss about boards, conventions and Missionary societies? For this is what they are doing, and in this they are fully sustained by the word of God. Mr. Thompson has misapplied the passage in Numbers and in Jude; for these passages had reference to some bad Jews who had been sent over to view the land, and made a very discouraging report, by saying that they could not go over and take it, for there were giants there, and people had chariots of iron. The whole therefore applies to these bad Jews, and not as Mr. Thompson supposes, to the Missionary Enterprise. The Missionaries are charged of being money-hunters – the charge, however, carries its own reputation with it. For these men were learned and talented men, and could have made a fortune; but they gave up all, and have spent their lives among strangers, and died poor, that they might win souls to Christ. Mr. Thompson talks about Parker and others that have gone into new countries. It was the hope of gain that caused them to go. The rich lands and the prospect of speculation, was the great thing that operate upon their minds. If lands had not been cheap, and a prospect presented for them of accumulating wealth, we would never have heard of their leaving the old countries, and going to the new. But our Missionaries go with no prospect of making a fortune, all they ask is barely a support, and sometimes this has been so badly furnished, that they have had to live on bread and water. Judson was imprisoned and came near losing his life, but notwithstanding all of his sufferings, he could not be induced to leave the field where he has chosen to labor; salaries were offered him by rich churches in this country, but he refused them all, and lived and died among heathens. The Missionaries do not love money any better than Mr. Thompson and his friends, and I do not believe that any Missionary gets as much for the same time and labor as he got for his trip down here last Fall. Mr. Thompson complains because I have said that he was opposed to the spread of the gospel: but how does he get out of it? Why! By telling us that the time is not yet come for the spread of the gospel. This is strange logic, the commission was given eighteen hundred years ago, and the time for the gospel to be preached has not yet come. Do pray tell when it will come? How are we to know when we are to start out in this work? This is only a subterfuge and shows the badness of his cause. If this be true, the Apostles, and all these men that Mr. Thompson had been talking so much about, have misunderstood the commission, and I have went out for the time for the spread of the gospel has come. But this, like all the rest of his arguments, will not bear scrutinizing, nor stand the test of investigations. Mr. Thompson was going to do much when he got the affirmative, but he has failed to give us the efficient plan he talked so much about, and we are left right where we started with no plan that has ever done any good, for Mr. Thompson cannot shew any plan that has ever done any good but our plan. If then ours is the only plan that has ever done any good, and there is no other plan proposed, why oppose ours and call it anti-scriptural and anti-Christian, when it is all the plan that has ever done any good? If any other plan has done any good, or is doing any good, tell us something about it. But I say that there is no other plan doing anything for the heathens but our Modern Missionary plan. I demand of Mr. Thompson to shew who is doing anything for the evangelizing of the heathen but Modern Missionaries. If we are all the people that are doing any thing, why, this great opposition by Mr. Thompson and his friends? When we see them doing something under their plan we are ready to put our shoulders to the wheel and help them. But his plan is to do nothing, and to oppose all who are doing anything. I now say, give us a plan; or if you have no plan, do pray, let us do all the good we can upon our plan, and do not oppose us until you can give us a better one. Paul received wages, and robbed churches that he might be able to preach the gospel to the poor, and the church sent money to him while he was a prisoner at Rome. But if we send money to our Missionaries it is an awful sin, and anti-scriptural. The cause of Missions is the cause of God, and is all that is doing any good for the destitute of all nations. Geographer and Historians all speak of good they are doing – Idolatrous worship is falling before them, churches are rising among the barbarous nations, and the souls of these barbarians are filled with love to God and fellow-men. And what is Mr. Thompson and his friends doing but to oppose us in all our benevolent operations?
Mr. Thompson then spoke substantially as follows:
This is my last speech and I intend to notice the gentleman's arguments as briefly as I can. He now accuses me of opposing his "benevolent operations;" I have opposed no benevolent operations, neither have I said one word against benevolence. But I have opposed his anti-scriptural, speculating, money making institutions, falsely called benevolent. If it is benevolence for men to ride over the country at forty dollars per month, and beg money to pay themselves, and others hired at the same or a higher ratio, then I oppose benevolence. Paul never did beg money for himself or to pay others for preaching as Mr. Bennett alleges, and I demand of him the chapter and verse where it is recorded, if Mr. Bennett will show it I will yield the whole question. I know that Paul received the contributions of the Gentile churches, for the poor Saints at Jerusalem. Now let Mr. Bennett make all you can do this and it reverses the whole order of his Modern plan. When was it under his plan that the church is among the heathens made up money and send it back to the mother church to feed and clothe the poor? But make the best of it, and all that Mr. Bennett has said about that, is but a perversion of Scripture, of which he ought to be ashamed, and of a like character is what he has said about Paul's receiving money of the churches. The brethren administered to Paul's necessities, without any hired beggars, boards, or Missionary societies. For this our plan has fully provided, as I have shown in my last speech, and as Mr. Bennett has not attacked that plan, or attempted to show that it is not the scriptural one, it as a matter of course stands unimpeached, and I have redeemed my pledge.
Mr. Bennett says that I have perverted the texts in Numbers and Jude; he says that it was the wicked Jews that made an unfavorable report and said that they could not take the land that the woe was pronounced against. If that should be the case, then Mr. Bennett's people are the wicked Jews, for they say we cannot take the land without money and means, for our preachers cannot cross seas, rivers, and pay tavern bills without money. But our plan provides for all that, for while our God says, "go," He will divide the seas, or Jordan, and give us the land. And like Caleb and Joshua, our brethren, make a favorable report, having full confidence in God. But Mr. Bennett has misapprehended the text. Balaam was desirous to curse Israel for the reward, like his men are always ready to go for money. He was ready to serve a wicked Balak for money, like they are ready to take wicked men into their societies for their money, and this is the reason that Jude compares them to Balaam and pronounces the "WOE!" upon them. Mr. Bennett still says that Paul traveled under the appointment of a board. This I have met so often and proved to the reverse, that I shall not repeat the arguments again. In this Mr. Bennett is like a drowning man catching at a straw. Neither shall I say anything more about the liberalities of the brethren towards me last Fall, he is welcome to all the capital he can make out of it. I never have said nor intimated as alleged by Mr. Bennett, that the time for the spread of the gospel and not yet come. He calls upon me for a plan. I have given a plan. He wants me to show that any plan but his is doing any good. This I have done; and have shewed that under it the gospel began to be preached about Jerusalem, and was preached in Europe, Asia, and Africa, and that Paul testified before his death that it had been preached to "every creature." That under this plan it was preserved through all the dark ages of superstition, and Roman Catholic persecution and that under it, it was brought to America by Roger Williams, and that under it, the gospel has crossed our continent to the Pacific Ocean, and is now preached upon its shores, by old-fashioned, anti-Mission Baptists. But says Mr. Bennett, these men went to these Countries through speculative motives. But his poor Missionaries that are traveling from country to country with gold spectacles astride their nose, and receiving thousands, have no speculative motives, no! no! Nothing sinful can be in them! They are laboring for the good of souls. But if an old Baptist leaves his home and his friends, and penetrates the dark forest, trusting in his God, and plants the standard of Immanuel in distant and destitute parts, his motives are all corrupt, sorded, selfish. Let Mr. Bennett blush at the weakness of his arguments, and I hope the people will not attribute this unjust conclusion to a wicked heart. When Mr. Wade and his lady were traversing the United States, dressed in their broad-cloth and silk, and wearing gold spectacles, and showing their little wax or China doll, and calling it a heathen idol, to arouse the people's sympathies and get their money, there was "no selfish motives in it." O no, this was all right, because a pious Missionary done it. Had I time to enumerate the pious trickeries of the pious Missionaries, and describe the operation of their sham post offices, their fairs, their baking a cake with a ring in it, and cutting it in a certain number of slices and all that will pay a certain sum can draw a piece of the cake, and he that draws the piece with the ring in it gets the ring, but when all have drawn and the cake is eaten up – lo! There is no ring there. The people might think it possible for a pious Missionary to be selfish. Heaven never has established a plan of gambling, speculating, and cheating, and were I to say that this plan was of antichrist and the Devil, I believe their practices would bear me out.
Gentlemen and friends, I am now done with this discussion, and while the Modern Missionary Enterprise fulfills the prediction of Scripture, that "wicked men and seducers shall grow worse and worse" the Church of God is built upon a rock and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And the ministers of God are shielded on every side, by sea, and by land, among friends or among foes, in palaces, or in prison, God is their shield, a present help in time of trouble. Should the sea boil as a pot, and mountains be hurled into its midst, the servants of God have nothing to fear for the everlasting arm is beneath them, and their God will sustain them, and if I never should see you again, my brethren! Be strong, fear not; behold your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you. The foundations of the earth may be removed, but the servants of our God, will be preserved and defended, no weapon that is formed against them shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise in judgment against thee, thou shalt condemn, this is the heritage of God's servants, "and their righteousness is of me saith the Lord." When the great day of God Almighty shall come and all who have made merchandise of the faith, and divined for hire, shall have their portion with the beasts and the false prophets. Your descending Lord shall invite you away from the sorrows, and toils of this lower world, to the high and holy enjoyments of heaven, and immortality saying, "Well done thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joys of thy Lord. With such a high and heavenly prospect before you, bear hardness as good soldiers, and fearlessly oppose every institution of men; that is unauthorized by the word of the Lord, and is calculated to sow the seeds of discord among his saints: be ye steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.
Mr. Bennett then closed the debate substantially as follows:
Mr. Thompson has made a very eloquent address, but has left us, as he found us, without any system of operation. He has not given us the great plan he boasted so much about, and that we all have been looking for. He has acknowledged that Paul received money of the churches, and thereby has acknowledged all that I have contended for in reference to the Modern Missionary plan. (Here Mr. Thompson interrupted Mr. Bennett and said, "I have never admitted that Paul, or any other Apostle received money of a board or a Missionary society, or any other institution resembling the Modern Missionary society, all that Paul received, he received as the voluntary offering of his brethren, without any hired beggars or agents to collect it.) Mr. Bennett then proceeded.
The Missionaries do not force people to pay any amount, but leave the matter with them as they may think proper. What we give is all a voluntary offering, without any coercion or arbitrary means whatever. I will insist that there is no plan that is doing any thing for the spread of the gospel but our plan, and Mr. Thompson has not told us of any one that is doing anything. It does seem to me, that if his plan was as good a one as he has represented it to be, he could have told us were it was doing some good, he has failed to do, and until he does that I shall contend that ours is the only plan that he is doing any good, and that no Christian ought to oppose us. Through the instrumentality of our institutions, the gospel is spreading for and wide. Mr. Thompson talks about the Roman Catholics. His people and the Roman Catholics are all the people that oppose the circulation of the Scriptures. (Here Mr. Thompson denied, opposing the circulation of the Scriptures, and called upon the board of order to say whether he had made any such assertions. After some talk, Mr. Bennett said that he would not contend that Mr. Thompson had said it, and then proceeded.) Mr. Thompson seems disposed to interrupt me, and not give me a change to make my closing argument, which, I think, shews that he has not confidence in his system, and that he is fearful to have it scrutinized in all of its parts. The Priests under the old dispensation were supported at the altar. (Mr. Thompson asked if Mr. Bennett was called to bring in new arguments in the closing speech.) (Mr. Bennett said that he would say no more about that and proceeded.) The gentleman seems to be very sensitive, and perhaps I had better stop, for he seems disposed to stop me at every point. I hardly know what more to say, I expect my time is very nearly expired, is it not? (The president of the board remarked, no, your time is not yet out.) The commission says, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." And it is men that have to go, and they have to be fed and clothed, and how are they to get food and clothing if the Missionary societies of the day do not furnish them with it? How can men spend all their time in riding from place to place, if they get nothing for it? Mr. Thompson speaks of some bad men among the Missionaries. There are bad people among all denominations of Christians, and we must not reject a good institution, because bad men have been connected with it. The church of Christ has had bad man in it, but that does not make it a bad institution. Mr. Thompson no doubt has had unworthy men in his society, but he would think it hard if we were to call them all bad, because some bad people had been among them. Perhaps those Missionaries that Mr. Thompson speaks of, and has been acquainted with, was bad men; but does that prove that they are all bad? Judas betrayed his Lord, but that does not prove that all the disciples were wicked men and would betray their Lord. Neither does it prove that the cause of Christianity is a bad cause, if some were bad men and have apostatized from their profession. Judson was put in prison and was Providentially preserved from being put to death by the Heathens. So you see that God protects the Missionaries as well as Mr. Thompson's preachers, and this goes to prove that he (Judson) was a servant of Christ, and that God was with him and preserved him from that fury of his persecutors. So you see Mr. Thompson has nothing to boast of upon this point. If God preserved Paul and Silas, and that is evidence that they were his servants, when he preserved Judson, was it not equally as strong have evidence that he was a servant of the Lord, and that is God would not suffer the heathens to kill him? The Missionaries believe that God exercises his providential care over all his servants; and they trust in God for a blessing upon all that they do. They believe that the Holy Ghost must bless their efforts, and attend the word, to the hearts of the people, if any good is done. It is therefore with an humble reliance upon God for his blessing, that our societies send out men to preach the gospel, and we do rejoice to know that God is blessing our efforts, and that hundreds and thousands through our efforts, are rejoicing in hope of a blessed immortality. (Is my time about out?) (The moderators answered, no, not quite.) The people have been together a long time, and I expect it would be about as well for me to conclude my remarks. I shall now leave the matter with you for your deliberate consideration. I cannot think that Mr. Thompson has given us any plan of operation, and must still insist that it is our privilege and duty to adopt such plans as we might think best calculated to effect the great end of evangelizing the world. The present or Modern Missionary plan I think is the best, and feel it, therefore, to be my duty to do all that I can to advance the interests of that institution.
I thank you for your good behavior and attention.
BY THE SAME, AT
On the 29th of October, Elders Bennett and Thompson meet again at Goldsborough and debated the same questions debated in the foregoing discussion. Mr. Bennett having the affirmative on the first proposition, opened the discussion substantially as follows:
In the first place in opening this discussion, I intend to explain to you the object of the "Modern Missionary Enterprise," and then adduce such Scriptures as will prove it to be of divine origin. The great object of all our benevolent operations, is to send the gospel to all nations and people under heaven. Mahometanism, Roman Catholicism and Heathen idolatry, was the only religion known by the greater part of the nations of the earth. Christians of England and America, saw the superstition and idolatry of their fellow beings, and their souls were filled with pity, and a desire if possible to ameliorate their condition, and send them among them the blessed gospel of salvation. The condition of the heathens, and that universal love for mankind which is felt by every Christian, leads Christians to make the inquiry if something could not be done for the destitute parts of the world? It was soon discovered that to effect any great good, some general system of operation must be devised that would secure the cooperation of all evangelical denominations of Christians. Pious men who were desirous that all the world should enjoy the blessing of the gospel, set about this work. Societies were formed and a union of Christian effort was secured, for the promulgation of the gospel, and the sending of the Bible to the poor without note or comment. Missionaries were appointed to go among the heathens, and preach the gospel to them, and to translate the Scriptures into their languages, and by the liberal contributions, and untiring exertions of the brethren at home, they have been sustained to labor among the heathens, under almost every discouragement that could befall men. They had to cross the great ocean to get to their field of labor, and when they had got there, were exposed to sickness consequent upon a change of climate, and to which the country was subject. But all these embarrassments did not deter them from prosecuting their arduous undertaking. The love of souls was near their hearts; this led them to leave their homes, and their friends, and the society of civilized men, for a residence among heathens. I would therefore say that the Modern Missionary Enterprise, is a body of Christians united together for the dissemination of religious intelligence in all the world. This is truly a laudable enterprise, and I cannot see how any Christian can be opposed to it. Under the indefatigable labors of our Missionaries the temples of idols are beginning to tumble down, and Ethiopia, and the Island of the sea, are hearing the glad tidings of salvation, and flocking to the standard of Immanuel through the instrumentality of our Missionary Enterprise. Having promised thus much I shall now introduce some Scriptures, to show that this is all according to the word of God, and the directions of the Holy Ghost. I will in the first place invite your attention to Mt 28:19. "Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Also Mr 16:15. "And he said unto them, go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." Also Lu 24:47, "And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." I have now read the commission as recorded by the Evangelists, authorizing the preaching of the gospel in every nation. This is all the commission given in the Scriptures, and it declares that the gospel shall be preached in all nations. The Savior would never have commissioned his disciples to go into all the world, if he had not designed that he should be preached to all the world. Through the instrumentality of the gospel the Savior designed to save all that believe on him in every nation. The disciples were to tarry at Jerusalem, until they were endowed with power from on high, and then they were to go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature this is what the Modern Missionary Enterprise is trying to do: as the Savior has commanded that the gospel shall be preached in all nations. Our benevolent societies are doing all they can to afford the means, and enable the Minister of Christ to discharge this great and solemn obligation, and to enable him to proclaim the glad tidings of salvation to the destitute of all nations. Christian benevolence, and love to our fellow men, prompts us to do all that we can for the spread of the gospel, and the salvation of immortal souls. To the effect this, societies are formed, and men who are approved as pious and orthodox, are sent out under their patronage to preach the gospel to the destitute. This is the only plan that is doing any thing for the spread of the gospel among the heathens. The commission fully authorizes our plan, and we are sustained in what we are doing by it.
I now insist that Mr. Thompson shall give us some other plan if he has got any. He opposes our plan, but has got none himself neither can he shew any that is doing any good. It is his duty to give us some plan, and to establish that plan by the Word of God, and I insist that he shall do it; for if he should fail to do that, then he has lost the question and ours remaining to be the only plan that is doing any thing, must be the right one, and it is wrong for him to be opposing it. He is the opposing the only plan that ever has or ever can do anything for the spread of the gospel. Our plan is not only clearly proven by the commission, as already shown, but we have apostolic example for boards, or conventions of brethren, to send ministers out to preach the gospel, and to prove this I will read Ac 13:2-3. "As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, separate me Barnabas and Saul, for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away." Here was a company of ministers assembled at Antioch to devise means for the spread of the gospel, and to send out ministers to preach among the heathens. Barnabas and Saul were sent out by them, and under their authority. But this is not the only place where they were sent out by the brethren as he is clearly proven in Ac 17:10: "And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither, went into the synagogue of the Jews." Here it is stated that they were sent out by the brethren, and that is all that our Missionary boards do. A board, is a certain number of brethren joined together to perform certain duties, and although it is not called a board in Scripture, it is evident that it was a number of brethren acting together and doing every thing that our boards do: for they sent out the Apostles; and our boards send out our preachers, I do not care whether you call it a board or what you call it. If the thing done by both was the same, and the end to be accomplished was the same, it is the same thing, call it by whatever name you please.
I think I have now established very clearly that Christians in the apostolic day associated themselves together in bodies for the spread of the gospel, and in Joh 3:5-8, we are taught that they paid them while they were preaching among the heathens, I will read the passage. Beloved thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers; which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well; because that for his name's sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. "We therefore ought to receive such, that we may be fellow-helpers to the truth." It is evident from this passage that it was the custom of the apostles to go out depending upon the church, and that the church made the necessary arrangements for their support? This is also proven in Php 4:3, "And I intreat thee also, true yoke-fellow, have those women which labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellow-laborers, whose names are in the Book of Life." Is it not strange that any man would now say that there is no Scripture for helping those that preach the gospel? But the Apostle still goes farther with this subject and shews that it is right and lawful for us to assist and sustain those that preach the gospel. As proof I will read 1Co 9:11,14,18. "For it is written in the Law of Moses, thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God care for oxen? If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse n. Ot my power in the gospel." It would be useless for me to spend any more time in reading texts to prove that the apostles and ancient preachers dependented upon the church for support. I shall now invite your attention to 2Co 9:2,9-10,12-13. "For I know the forwardness of your minds, for I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many." "As it is written, he hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor; his righteousness remaineth forever. Now he that ministereth seed to the sower, both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness; for the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgiving unto God; while by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men." Here is a system given us by the apostle for the collecting, disbursing, and raising money to sustain those engaged in preaching the gospel, and Paul declares that some had their money ready a year before-hand, and he boasts of their liberality. If money was collected by the apostles for the support of the gospel, is it not the duty of Christians in this day to raise money for the same purpose? Mr. Thompson calls the "Modern Missionary Enterprise," a begging institution. We will now see what Paul says about the liberality of the brethren in the support of the gospel, 2Co 11:9,11. "And when I was present with, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man; for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied; and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself. Wherefore? Because I love you not? God knoweth." If you will turn to 2Ki 12:13-14, you will see that they had a college in Jerusalem, and that they sent men there to be educated, and that they had to go to the college to get learned men to explain the word of the Lord to them. I will read the passage, "Go inquire of the Lord for me, and for the people, and for all Judea, concerning the words of this book that is found; great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us. So Hilkiah the Priest, and Ahikam, and Achbor, and Shaphan, and Asahiah went unto Huldah they Prophet, and wife of Shallum the son of Tekvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe; (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the cottage;) and they communed with her." We have therefore scriptural authority of theological schools, where the Scriptures were taught, and men were prepared for explaining the Word of the Lord. Suppose we were in the condition of the people before John Wickliffe, we could not read the Scriptures or know any thing about the way of salvation, only as we could receive it from the learned. The Scriptures were all in the original languages, until the learned translated them, and we are now dependent upon the learned; for all we have is what the learned say the Holy Ghost meant. This shews the importance of men being learned, to prevent them from being imposed upon by Mr. Thompson has not got one man in his denomination that can translate the Scriptures. I have now proven that the first churches raised money for missionary purposes, and that the Apostles were sustained up by their liberality while they went and preached the gospel to the destitute, and that some of them had their money ready a year before Paul the collecting agent called to get it. And that Barnabas and Saul was sent out by a board which met at Antioch, and that there was a Theological College at Jerusalem, where learned men expounded the word of the Lord, and that people sent to this college to get the Scriptures explained to them.
Mr. Thompson then spoke substantially as follows:
I regret exceedingly that I have to appear before you in the attitude that I now do. I am not very partial to religious discussions of this kind, however circumstances sometimes make it necessary that we should engage in them, and I consider that I am on the present occasion justifiable in taking the part that I do. Mr. Bennett and myself have, upon a former occasion, discussed the same points that are to be discussed today. At the close of that debate I was perfectly satisfied to let the matter stop, and to let the people take the arguments, and bring in their own verdict. However, Mr. Bennett was not satisfied I suppose, and challenged me for another discussion, and under his challenge, I agreed to meet him at this place, not feeling willing to return back to Kentucky and leave and uncircumcised Philistian challenging the armies of the living God. I shall, therefore, like David, fearlessly engage in the battle, trusting in the God of Israel, and feeling confident in that truth and righteousness shall prevail. I see, from the course pursued by Mr. Bennett in his opening speech, that the present debate is to be a repetition of the arguments made use of in our former debate, but I shall follow him, and I think I shall be able to show before I set down, that Mr. Bennett has proved nothing for his "Modern Missionary Enterprise." He commences by giving us an explanation of what the "Modern Missionary Enterprise" is, and he tells us that, "it is a body of Christians united together for the dissemination of religious intelligence in all the world," if Mr. Bennett has given us a correct definition, where his his benevolent institution to be found – composed of Christians? In looking over the constitutions of their institutions called benevolent, and professing to have for their the "dissemination of religious intelligence," I find that any man, professor or non-professor, religious or irreligious, can become a member, and often a director by paying his money into the treasury. If then Mr. Bennett's societies are "made up of Christians," the paying of money, and becoming a member "makes a "Christian" of them, this is an easy way of buying the Holy Ghost with money. Peter had not found this out when Simon the sorcerer wanted to buy the Holy Ghost of him. It is a pity that Simon lived so long ago; if he was now on earth he could go to Mr. Bennett's society and for his money get to be as good a Christian as any of them, for Mr. Bennett will not deny that any have bought membership in his "benevolent societies who make no pretensions to religion, and some of them not even to morality. Will Mr. Bennett be kind enough to give us apostolic example in his next speech for selling membership to any person? I expect that he is done with this point, and you will hear but very little more from him about it.
Mr. Bennett next introduced the commission as given in Mt 28:19; Mr 16:15, and of Lu 24:47, and spent much of his time in trying to prove that the gospel is to be preached in all the world, this is not denied, neither does it have any thing to do with this debate. For in the commission there is not one word said about the formation of any societies. The command is, go; and this command is from him that hath all authority in heaven and in earth. And connected with the commission is a warrant given which secures to the minister of the gospel every thing that he can need in all ages of the world. "Lo! I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." The Lord when he sends out ministers goes with them, and while he is with them they can want nothing, for he is a Son and a shield, and he will give grace and glory, and no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. Mr. Bennett tells us that this is all the commission given, and the only authority any have for preaching the gospel, in any age of the world. Will he be so kind as to shew us the board that was united with Christ in giving the commission, and sending out the first preachers? For he says this is all the authority under which true ministers of all ages go, if then there was no board connected with Christ in giving the commission under which "ALL GOSPEL MINISTERS OF ALL AGES go," those that go out under the appointment and authority of boards cannot be gospel ministers according to Mr. Bennett's shewing. I fear Mr. Bennett has got himself into difficulty, he ought to have read the passage in Revelation 23, which gives to the Missionary board joint authority with the Lord Jesus Christ. I am willing to let the whole matter rest here, and let it be understood by the people, that Mr. Bennett and myself have agreed, that "all true ministers of all ages go out under the commission given by Christ alone, and that all who go under the appointment and authority of boards are ministries of darkness and Angels of the bottomless pit.
Mr. Bennett has spent much time in proving it is the duty of the church to aid those that preach the gospel, and the poor. This is not denied, but is believed and practiced by all consistent old Baptist churches. We have not met here to debate whether it is right to help the poor or not, I do not know that we differ upon that subject, and every effort of Mr. Bennett to drag it into the debate is a begging of the question, and evidence that he is sensible of the badness of the cause he has espoused.
The question to be discussed was read at the opening of this debate, and there is not one word in it about feeding and clothing the poor, are about helping those who labor in word and in doctrine, – the question to be discussed is simple and plain, viz., "Is the Modern Missionary Enterprise taught in the word of God?" Mr. Bennett has the affirmative and (as lawyers say) the honus probendi rests upon him Mr. Bennett calls upon me to give a plan for the spread of the gospel. This I shall do when I get the affirmative, but it is my duty now to follow him, and show the defects and anti-scriptural parts of his plan, and this I shall do. He need not give us the Modern Missionary plan, for we have it, and it may be expressed in a very few words, (viz.) "Get all the money you can, and by whatever means you can."
This money-getting, speculating system is called "benevolence," and all who oppose it, are called the enemies of mankind, and represented as even opposed to the spread of the gospel the history of all ages, however, shows that the people that have been everywhere spoken against, and that Mr. Bennett and his people are laboring to heap calumny upon, have always been the true minister of the gospel, and friends of mankind.
The question to be debated by us is plain and simple, and there is but little of Mr. Bennett's speech that has any bearing upon the subject, and what little does is the most palpable perversion of Scripture I have ever heard fall from the lips of any man. To prove his "Modern Missionary Enterprise, he refers you to Ac 13:2-3," and says this was a board that met at Antioch and sent Paul and Barnabas away under their patronage. A school-boy of ten years old, that would read this passage and could not give a better explanation, ought to be put upon the dunce block. What are the facts of the case? Barnabas and Saul had been called by the Holy Ghost into the work of the ministry, and after having preached in many parts of among the Gentiles, and having many testimonies following their ministry that they were the servants of God; they came to Antioch, where there was a church having "Prophets and teachers," "and the Holy Ghost directed them to separate Barnabas and Saul" – "for the work whereunto I have called them." And when they had fasted and prayed they laid their hands on them and sent them away." All that this passage proves is that the church at Antioch under the immediate direction of the Holy Ghost laid hands upon Barnabas and Saul and sent them away, having received the direction of the Holy Ghost, the church gave her approval of the gifts of Barnabas and Saul. This has been the practice of all the churches ever since, and all our preachers are ordained by prayer and the laying on of hands. It is an old adage "that in the mouth of one or two witnesses every word shall be established." And Mr. Bennett has introduced a second witness to prove that ministers are sent out by boards, and under their patronage. This last and crowning testimony is found in Ac 17:10. And what does this witness say? Why, it tells us that Paul and Silas were at Thessalonica, and had reasoned in the synagogue three Sabbath-days, and that some had received their preaching and became believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. But that certain Jews who believe not, collected some lewd fellows of the baser sort, and assaulted the house of one Jason, who they accused of harboring Paul and Silas, and the people, and the rulers when they heard these things were troubled, and took security of Jason (to keep the peace) and let him go. And at night the brethren sent Paul and Silas away to Berea.
Ought I not to yield the question now? Think you, I can hold out any longer? Ah! These boards to send out preachers! How plain Mr. Bennett proves them! If the preacher is set off by night to keep their persecutors from getting them the next day, it proves that Missionaries have the right to form boards, and hire thousands of beggars and send them all over the country, to collect money to fill the pockets of a proud and profligate clergy. Well! If this is Mr. Bennett's strong fortification, it would be easily demolished by the sounding of a ram's horn, or if the inmates were to see a little barley cake coming down upon it they might with certainty prophesy its destruction. I want Mr. Bennett in his next speech to tell us how much money the board at Antioch or the board at Thessalonica were to give those they sent out per month.
Mr. Bennett introduces a great many passages of Scripture to prove that it was the practice among the ancient Christians to feed and clothe the poor, and to administer to the needs of those they preached the gospel. This I admit, and shall not spend time in noticing what he is said upon that subject. But while dwelling upon this point, he introduced one passage of Scripture and so grossly perverted it, that I must notice it. This was where Paul received the "contributions of the Gentile churches, and carried it up to the poor Saints at Jerusalem." Mr. Bennett would try to make us believe that this was a Missionary Enterprise, but it was so far from it that it was sending assistance back to the mother church, that her poor might be fed and clothed, who had been reduced to starvation by the persecuting Jews. Mr. Bennett, however, insists that this was money raised for Missionary purposes. What a great change has passed over Mr. Bennett's mind in a few years; I have with me some of Mr. Bennett's writings; in which he, in a masterly way, exposes the "corrupt money-making system of Modern Missions." In one place he says, "The Modern Missionaries have joined together the words "Pay and pray; pay and pray; Pray a little, and pay a heap."" Again, he says, "the Modern Missionary plan never did and are never can make one New Testament Christian." But now Mr. Bennett, like Peter's sick dog, is licking up that which he has spewed up heretofore.
I have but one more argument to notice, and that is Mr. Bennett's Theological college at Jerusalem. Although I have read much about that college and its teachers, this is the first time I ever heard any man acknowledge that he was of that school, and bring it up as a patron of Modern theological school. It was the teachers in that school that persecuted to death our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul was brought up at the feet of one of its teachers, and was afterwards persecuted by the same school. It was the teachers of this school that had the disciples scourged, and commanded to speak no more in the name of Jesus. And I expect if I was to go to one of the Modern colleges and speak the truth, they would scourge me and order me to speak no more if they had the law upon their side. I would propose that they put for a "motto" upon the Wake Forest College, "MR. BENNETT'S JERUSALEM SCHOOL," and we will all know where to find the Sanhedrin to persecute the true disciples of Jesus Christ. The true ministers of the gospel have been persecuted in all ages, and the gospel has spread further under persecution, then it has under all the boards, conventions, or Missionary societies of Modern times, even were we to admit that they were engaged in sending the gospel, which to say the least of it, admits of great doubt.
Mr. Bennett then spoke substantially as follows:
I have read of the mountain that brought forth a mouse; and Mr. Thompson has made a great deal of noise, but has brought forth nothing. He has given us no plan for the spread of the gospel, neither has he shewed us any plan that is doing any good, but the one I am defending. He is very boisterous against the "Modern Missionary Enterprise," but tells us of nothing else that is doing any good. His system was only designed for the Jewish nation, and he still is opposed to the gospel being preached among the Gentiles. If he believes that the gospel is to be preached to all the world, what is the reason he does not go among the Gentiles? The Holy Ghost was given the disciples in Jerusalem, and in the commission they were commanded to go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. But Mr. Thompson is satisfied if the gospel is only preached to the Jews; and you find him opposing every benevolent effort of Christians to send the gospel to the Gentiles. Mr. Thompson's position is, to give no plan for the spread of the gospel, but to oppose every plan introduced by me. If he wished the gospel to be preached to the Gentiles, he would give us a plan, and if his plan was a good one we would all unite, and do all that we could under his plan. But if he has any plan it teaches us to do nothing, for the spread of the gospel; we are to say, "go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." "Be ye warmed, and be clothed," but send them away cold and naked. The Lord will not plant the preachers corn, neither will he fill his corn crib. If we do not sow we shall not reap, and if the minister is not provided for by the church, he cannot go and preach the gospel. He must have food and raiment as well as other men; he cannot live upon the wind. This is what has given rise to the "Modern Missionary Enterprise," and by it pious men are enabled to go into all the world and preach the gospel. Mr. Thompson says that "we are not spreading the Gospel." He certainly has not read the history of the age, or noticed any of our modern geographers are he would not say so. The New Testament within the last twenty or thirty years has been translated into a great many different languages, our Missionaries have been distributing it among the heathens in their own language, and thousands of them have embraced it's blessed doctrines, and are now rejoicing in hope of immortality. Must not Mr. Thompson be grossly ignorant of what is going on, to say, that we are doing nothing for the spread of the gospel? Thousands of money have been spent in this glorious enterprise, and the labors of our Missionaries have been abundantly blessed; so that it will not do to say that we are doing no good. Mr. Thompson will admit that the New Testament without note or comment is the gospel, and if so, we are sending the gospel to the heathens, for our translators are translating it and giving it to them without note or comment. It is useless for any man to say that we are doing nothing for the spread of the gospel; this is a fact noticed by all historians, and geographers, and established beyond the possibility of successful controversy, and he must be ignorant of what is going on that will deny it.
It was through the instrumentality of the "Missionary Enterprise" that the gospel came to the United States, and we are indebted to it for all the blessings which we enjoy, as a Christian nation. Whitefield, Wesley, and others, came over here under the patronage of a board, and preached the gospel to us. Is it not right in us, if we had received the gospel through the instrumentality of "boards" that we should sustain the "boards" in sending it to other nations that are destitute? I do not care what the plan is, so it will answer the end designed, and the gospel can be sent into all the world; I go for it; it is the good I am after, and I care but little what the plan is, so that the end is accomplished. We might quarrel about plans all of our lifetime, and no good would be done. I am for doing the good, that the plan be whatever it may; and if Mr. Thompson will give us a good one we will do all we can upon it; but so long as he gives us none, we must operate upon our own plan, and do all the good we can. Mr. Thompson would have us to believe that the commission only meant that we must preach about home, and not go among the poor and destitute, and that none ought to have the gospel but the rich. If a man has plenty of money he may go and preach among the rich about home; but if he is poor he cannot go, for we are not allowed to collect any money, or do anything for the poor, to enable them to go and preach. Many of the best and most useful gospel ministers we have are poor men, that could not go if the church was not to them. All the poor, but pious, and useful men must stop in stay at home if we adopt Mr. Thompson's plan. The churches send up their contributions to Mr. Thompson's associations to pay their preachers, but if our boards pay the preachers sent out by them, it is wicked and Mr. Thompson's conception, and must be put down. His churches annually send money to their associations to pay their preachers, but it is wicked in us to do the very same thing.
I have shewed that Paul took up contributions of the churches for Missionary purposes, or to pay those engaged in preaching the gospel, and that he speaks of some that had their money ready a year beforehand, and he speaks of this in their praise; because they had been forward in raising means for the support of the gospel. These churches had not stopped to quarrel about the "plan," but had went to work to do some good if possible; and Paul commends their zeal; and speaks of it, so that he may excite others to step forward in the good cause, and not be behind their brethren in doing this. Paul evidently spoke in their praise, that others might be stimulated by their example; and by the united effort of all, the gospel could be sent into all the world. I have seen a letter published in the "Primitive Baptist," stating that Mr. Thompson and his Father was coming down here this Fall, and urging upon the brethren to not forget to provide means for them. They cannot come this long journey without money; and the brethren are urged upon to have it ready. Mr. Thompson has a great abhorrence for money when the Missionaries are getting a little. But his brethren knows that he must have some, and are urged upon to have it ready when he comes. –
Mr. Thompson called upon Mr. Bennett to tell who wrote the letter referred to by him.
Mr. Bennett answered; "Jesse C. Knight,"
Mr. Thompson then said, "There is not one syllable in that letter about money. Brother Knight thought that we were coming by public conveyance, and suggested to the brethren the necessity of providing for us means of conveyance from place to place."
Mr. Bennett then proceeded.
Mr. Thompson must have money as well as any of us, or he cannot travel from place to place. The Lord will not fill his barn, or crib, or meat barrel, any more than he does other people’s.
I would ask Mr. Thompson if, while he was down here last Fall, one brother did not give him seventy-five dollars?
Mr. Thompson answered, No.
Mr. Bennett then asked, Did not one give you fifty?
Mr. Thompson answered No.
Mr. Bennett asked, Did not one give you twenty-five?
Thompson answered, No. And then arose and addressed the Moderators and said: it is useless to be spending the time asking and answering these foolish questions, which have nothing to do with the subject in debate. But if it be of any advantage to Mr. Bennett, I will say to him, that while down your last Fall, some of the friends and brethren gave me a dime, some gave me a quarter of a dollar, some gave me half of a dollar, some gave me a dollar, some gave me more, and some gave me less; and that their liberality towards me was such that I lacked nothing. But I never asked them for a farthing, neither did I leave home with a promise from any body of getting one cent.
Mr. Bennett then resumed his speech.
From the best information I can get, Mr. Thompson received about three hundred dollars while down here last Fall. This accounts for his being back here again this Fall with his Father with him; and if he gets as much this Fall as he got last, I shall look for him again next Fall with one or two more with him. But if he should not get too much his visits will soon stop, and we will not see him again next Fall.
I shall still insist upon it, that there is no plan that is doing any good but the Modern Missionary plan, and if there is any other one that is doing any good, it devolves upon Mr. Thompson to shew it; and until he does shew us one, I shall insist that he is opposing the only one that is doing anything for the spread of the gospel, and of course is opposing the spread of the gospel.
Before taking my seat, I will challenge Mr. Thompson to meet me in Tarborough, and at my meeting-house, and the Temperance Hall, near where I live, and debate this same subject again at each of these places. He thinks that truth has nothing to fear from investigations, and if he has confidence in his system, he will be willing to defend it any where and every where, and I want him to understand that I challenge him to meet me at those three places, and debate the same questions, that we are now debating. If he refuses, it will shew that he has not got confidence in his system, and wants to shun the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
Mr. Thompson then spoke substantially as follows:
Gentlemen, Moderators:Mr. Bennett has closed his speech by giving me a challenge to meet him in Tarborough, at his meeting-house, and at the Temperance Hall. I am done with Mr. Bennett, I shall not fool away any more time in meeting him. This is the second time that we have met, and he has failed to bring one text of Scripture to sustain his "Modern Enterprise," and should we meet two or three times more he would still fail, and I think it useless for me to be spending my time in fighting a shadow. But I will hear say, that if the Missionaries will select a man, that they are willing to trust their cause to, and let me know. I will come all the way from Kentucky to Raleigh to meet him, and debate the question until they are satisfied, as if they should select Mr. Bennett I will then meet him. But I cannot consent to meet him any more unless his denomination puts him forward as their champion. With the word of God before me I fear none of them, but challenge the whole fraternity to bring one text of Scripture within the lids of the Bible to prove their "Modern Missionary Enterprise" to be of Divine Authority. While upon the other hand I can shew, and I have shown in this debate that it is positively condemned by the Word of God. They are making merchandise of of the gospel, and with feigned humility, and fair speeches are deceiving the people; while they are grasping after civil power, and laboring to get the control of the Legislature of our country. Petitioning for acts of incorporation, giving them exclusive privileges, and uniting them with the political institutions of the country. Their whole system of religion is a system of speculation, having money for its foundation and soul. Some of them have estimated how many cents per head it would take to convert the whole world. Money, by them, is substituted for the Holy Ghost, and is to do his work. Money, by them, is substituted for the blood of Christ; and we are told that the heathens must all perish if we don't give them our money.
I recollect of having read in the report of some "Modern money-hunting Missionary," of a poor widow that threw a sixpence into the "Lord's treasury" and with it one verse of the prophecy of Isaiah was printed and thrown upon board a ship, her son being a hand on the ship, read the verse and became a Christian. He then argued that the Mother' s sixpence had saved the soul of her son. O, my Lord! Why did you sweat, as it were, great drops of blood in the garden? Why have your immaculate temples pierced with the thorns? Why have your hands and feet nailed to the wood, and for three whole hours suffer torture and pain? A sixpence a soul may save the world, and make all your sufferings of no avail whatever. Oh! Peter was mistaken when he said that was not with silver and gold that we are redeemed from our vain conversation, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
Mr. Bennett says that I am opposed to preaching of the gospel among the Gentiles. I don't know that I ever preached any but to Gentiles in my life. And then he tells you that I am not willing for any but the rich to have the gospel.
I never have said one word about not letting rich or poor have it, or about confining it to any class of men.
Mr. Bennett has been very much pushed in his last speech to find anything to say and has spent his time in calling on me for a plan of operations for the spread of the gospel, and in talking about the liberality of the brethren towards me last Fall. I do not care how much Mr. Bennett's people give him, neither have I said one word against the church is helping those that preach the gospel. If I had to have received a thousand dollars last Fall, it would have proved nothing for or against the "Modern Missionary Enterprise."
Mr. Bennett says that Whitfield and Wesley came to this country under a "board." Suppose they did – does that prove the "Modern Missionary Enterprise," to be of divine origin? Who were Whitfield and Wesley? They were members of the church of England, the first daughter of the "Mother of Harlots;" and all such as these, are the men that go out under the appointment of a Board. The whole system belongs to "MYSTERY BABYLON, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS, AND ABOMINATION OF THE WHOLE EARTH."
Mr. Bennett says that I am opposed to the spread of the gospel, and teach, that men must stay at home, and not go out into all the world. I have taught no such thing, but were I to examine the course pursued by his "Modern institutions," I could very easily show that they do not send their ministry out into all the world, but that they described their boundaries, and they must labor within the field laid out for them by their employers.
Mr. Bennett has not thought proper to say anything more about his Missionary board that met at Antioch, and sent out Barnabas and Saul under their employ. Neither has he told us how much the "Board" at Thessalonica were to give Paul and Silas, when they sent them away by night; and we are left without evidence that there ever was such a "board" as Mr. Bennett talks about.
Mr. Bennett thinks I am very ignorant if I doubt whether the Missionaries are doing any good among the heathens or not, and boasts that they are giving them the Bible without note or comment. He cannot prove that they are giving them the Scriptures at all. We have a great number of translations made for sectarian purposes, and Mr. Bennett will not contend that they are all good translations. If men will be wicked enough to make false translations among us, might they not do the same among the heathens? I think it probable that their translations have got the "board" at Antioch, and at Thessalonica in them with the amount they promised the minister per month when they sent them out. What does all of Mr. Bennett's arguments amount to? Simply this: – that the kingdom of Christ is built upon the rotten foundation of money and human instrumentality. But the Scriptures informs us that it is built upon the Rock of ages; the Lord Jesus Christ, and that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. It is a little stone cut out of the mountain without hands, (human instrumentality) and propelled by Almighty power; it shall roll on until it shall fill the whole earth. The mountain of the Lord's house shall be established forever, and God will dwell in the midst of her and bless her, and that right early. God will be about his church and people as a munition of rocks, their bread shall be given them and their water shall be sure. While Mr. Bennett's men-made and man-supported clergy, are begging bread, and their Lord's treasury is empty, the sons of Zion shall be as plants grown up in their youth, and her daughters shall be as a corner-stone, polished after the similitude of a palace. Her garners shall be full, affording all manner of store, and her sheep shall bring forth thousand and tens of thousands in her streets, and her oxen shall be strong to labor. This is the happy position of that people whose God, is the Lord. "Glorious things are spoken of thee, O! Zion, City of our God." The heathens may rage, and the kings of the earth, and the rulers might take counsel together, against you, that they may break your bands asunder, and cast away your cords from you, but that God who sitteth in the heavens shall laugh, and have them in derision. He has set his King upon his holy hill in Zion. He shall break, as with a rod of iron all your enemies, and dashed to pieces like a potter's vessel, all the plans and schemes of Mr. Bennett, and all the host of anti-Christian denominations, united together in the "UNIVERSAL ALLIANCE," (or as they falsely named it EVANGELICAL ALLIANCE") for the destruction of the Church of Christ. When the second beast which bears the lamb -like appearance, and has written in his forehead, BENEVOLENCE, shall exercise all the power of the first beast, and shall put you to death, and cast you in prison, fear not, for the great day of God Almighty will come, when the beasts and the false prophets shall be cast into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, and all of the speculating schemes of Mr. Bennett shall be carried away with the balance of the chaff and burnt up with unquenchable fire. Then shall you, my brethren, stand upon the sea of glass mingled with fire, and saying the song, "Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty, just and true are thy ways, that King of Saints."
Mr. Bennett says that our churches annually send money to our Associations to pay their preachers. This is not the truth; our churches to send money to pay for the printing and distribution of their Minutes, &c., but it has never been the practice of our churches to send money to the associations to pay preachers, and Mr. Bennett cannot be honest in making the charge, for he lived with us long enough to know better.
After a recess of two hours, the congregation again assembled, and the house being called to order, the question to be discussed was read, and Mr. Thompson having the affirmative, spoke substantially as follows:
Mr. Bennett in every speech she has made, has spent much of his time in calling upon me to give a plan for the spread of the gospel. I now have the affirmative, and it devolves upon me to show the plan God has devised, and laid down in his word for the promulgation of the gospel in all the world. The Scriptures are the man of our counsel, in this and all other matters of religion. In them we have an infallible rule of both faith and practice. They are given by the inspiration of the Spirit, and in them the man of God is thoroughly furnished, or furnished throughout, to every good work, so we are lacking in nothing, and do not have to speculate, and introduce human plans, and inventions to make up for the defects of the Holy Ghost. The way is marked out so plain, that a wayfaring man, though a fool, need not err therein. In God's plan, there is not many wise nor noble called; but he has chosen the foolish things of this world to confound the wise, and things that are not, to put to naught things that are. He conducts the affairs of his own Kingdom, and can, out of the mouth of babes and sucklings, perfect his own praise. He dispenses the gifts, and qualifications of the Spirit to the various members of his Kingdom as shall redound to his glory the edification of the saints, and the perfecting of the Body of Christ. As the Body naturally has many members and all have not the same gift, so the mystical body of Christ (the church) has many members, and a variety of gifts, and all by the same spirit, if one as the gift of prophecy, another of teaching, another of exhortation, another of prayer, etc., all these various gifts are by the same spirit, and are placed in the body by him who works all things after the counsel of his own will. "For ye (the church) are God's husbandry and are God's building." And in this, God will not give his glory to another, (Modern Missionary institutions) or his praise to graven images, (money.) The Savior in view of the wisdom of God, in arranging, ordering and conducting the affairs of his kingdom, says: "I think thee, O, Father! Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hath revealed them unto babes; even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight." Christ's kingdom is not of this world, neither does it look to this world nor the institutions and governments of this world for support.
I will here give you a rule by which you may always know an anti-Christian church. Whenever you see a petition sent to your legislature, by a body of people professing to be religious, asking for acts of incorporation, set it down as an infallible rule that they are of anti-Christ. Any preacher that will become chaplain to Congress, the Legislature, the Navy, or under this clerical coat will seek any governmental patronage whatever, Mark as one of the ministers of "MYSTERY BABYLON," and watch them as you would the deadliest enemies of civil liberty. The Savior declared that his kingdom was not of the world, therefore shall the world hate you, – I have chosen you out of the world – ("not in conjunction with a" Missionary board" as Mr. Bennett teaches,) and the world will be your enemies, but you need not fear the world, for "I have overcome the world." "Because I live ye shall live also." Through him, all that trust, and confide in his promises, shall be brought off conquerers and more than conquerors. The SHALL of the Lord Jesus Christ, is a better warrant to the minister of the gospel, then the bond of all the Missionary societies under heaven. He says that no weapon that is formed against them "SHALL" prosper. The "SHALL," and immutable decree of Him that hath all power in heaven and in earth, is the foundation upon which our plan for the spread of the gospel rests, and is the warrant for its future success. Heaven and earth may pass away, all Missionary and monied institutions may become bankrupt, but the SHALL, and the immutable decree of our God, can never pass away. The decree has gone forth from him that sitteth in the circle of the heavens, and measures the ocean in his palm, and weighs the earth as in a balance, saying, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature"." Mr 16:15. Connected with this command is the gracious promise of our Sovereign, giving us a warrant for protection and success in all ages of the world; "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." Mt 28:20. Here is a plan that secures everything to them that trust in it, things present, and things to come, so that they that trust in it need not think "what they are to eat, or what they are to drink; or wherewithall they are to be clothed," for He that commands them to go, watches them with such interest that not a hair of their heads can fall to the ground without his notice. Luke 12;22;23;24;25;26; 27;28;29;30;31;32. Under this plan, the disciples and apostles of Jesus, went forth in the midst of a wicked and perverse generation; and although they were mostly poor, illiterate fishermen, God protected them, and the Holy Ghosts supplied them with wisdom, so that with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost they were enabled to confound their enemies, and thousands became obedient to the faith of the gospel. Persecution and opposition raged upon every side, – Stephen was stoned to death, and the church at Jerusalem was dispersed; but God's plan preserved them and wherever they went, they went preaching Jesus and the resurrection. God was with them, and churches were raised up in various parts of Judea and among the Gentiles. The rebellious and persecuting spirit of Saul was subdued by the Son of God, and He was sent under the commission of Heavens King for a witness to the Gentiles. If it was the design of God that he should take a sea-voyage, the ship is prepared and in waiting for him. – If cast into prison at Philippi, his God was with him, and could cause the Earth to tremble, and the fetters to fall off of Paul, – if a prisoner at Rome, God was with him, and for two whole years, in his own hired house. He could preach and teach those things which concerned the Kingdom of Christ. And such was the success and spread of the gospel under this plan that Paul tells us that it had been gone into all the world, and had been preached to every creature under heaven. Under it the gospel has been carried to the four quarters of the globe, long before Mr. Bennett's "Modern Missionary Enterprise" was ever thought of. This plan was established by God himself, and is to last to the end of time, and it is the only plan which has the divine sanction. And all other plans are of human origin, and belong to antichrist. The opposition of men and governments, never could prevent the appeal of the gospel under God's plan. Seas, lakes, and mountains, under the government of God have all answered their purpose in this great and glorious plan. If a sea is to be crossed he can divide the waters. – If while in a vessel it becomes tempestuous, he only has to speak, and a calm succeeds. – If one of his servants attempts to disobey his command, with in the sea is found a fish to swallow him, and hold him, until he is willing to obey – if the gospel is to be preached in Rome, the sea will bear up the left will, in which the messenger of peace is sailing. If an established church, and the civil authorities wage a war of extermination against the followers of the Lamb, the mountains make a wall for them, and the dens and caves of the earth afford them a hiding place, from their bloodthirsty persecutors. While the mountains give them protection, the rich valleys yield them food, their God is with them and the everlasting arm is beneath them.
Will Mr. Bennett now say that I have given no plan? Or what objections can he bring to this plan? Under it the gospel has been preached to all the world, long before Mr. Bennett's plan was thought of. And if I should admit (which I do not,) that his plan was doing any good, it would be when compared to God's plan, as a drop to the great ocean. What is the Modern Missionary plan? MONEY. Someone said, "give me money, and I will conquer the world." The Missionaries say, "give us MONEY, and we will convert the world." Balaam was willing to curse Israel for money. Nu 22:7. Judas Iscariot betrayed his Lord for money, Mt 26:14-16. Simon would have bought the Holy Ghost with money. Ac 8:18. But Peter, full of the Holy Ghost, said, Thy money perish with thee." And every true servant of the Lord Jesus Christ say to all these money making institutions, "Thy money perish with thee." If our Lord was to visit some of their "Modern boards" while they are counting over their dollars, and devising means to raise money, he would cast them all out, overthrow their tables, and say, "Ye have made my Father's house a den of thieves." Mt 21:12-13. Peter warns the Elders against taking the oversight of the flock of Christ for filthy lucre, 1Pe 5:1-3. We are abundantly taught in the Word of God not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. All of which the Modern Missionaries are guilty of, and stand condemned by the Word of God.
I have now redeemed my pledge, and have given a plan which is revealed in the Word of God, and is the only one under which the true ministers of Christ are to go out in all ages of the world; and I have also shewn you that Mr. Bennett's money-making speculating system is positively condemned by the Word of God.
Mr. Bennett then spoke substantially as follows:
I have fully established the fact that there is no plan that is doing any thing for the spread of the gospel but the "Modern Missionary Enterprise." It had its foundation in the apostolic age, and the first churches had conventions to devise means for the spread of the gospel, and sent Paul as a Missionary to the Gentiles. Paul declares that he had robbed other churches, taking wages of them, that he might preach the gospel to others; and as I have clearly shown, took up collections among the churches for the spread of the gospel. All that Mr. Thompson has said about the gospel being preached in all the world, and to every creature, has reference to the day of Pentecost. There was at that time in Jerusalem, people from all the adjacent countries, and through the instrumentality of Peter's sermon upon that day were converted to the Christian faith, and as they went home they carried the news with them of the wonderful works of God, and it is evidently in reference to this that Paul speaks when he says, "The gospel has been preached to every creature," for there were at that time people from every nation. You will see therefore that all that Mr. Thompson said upon that subject has reference to the day of Pentecost, and can avail him nothing in this discussion. The first seventy that were sent out by the Savior, were only sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and were not to go into any city of the Samaritans, or among the Gentiles. But when Christ gave the commission to the disciples after his resurrection, it was to "go into all the world." In the first commission they were not to take purse or script; but in the last if they had a purse they were to take it. The first commission was limited to the Jewish nation, and upon it Mr. Thompson builds his whole system.
Mr. Thompson talks much about persecution, and says that the gospel spread faster under persecution than it ever has since. If this be true, he ought to pray for persecution to come again, for then the gospel would spread, and the church would prosper. But history proves to the reverse of this, for in the dark ages of persecution the church almost lost its visibility, and was never revived until the days of Luther and Calvin. But if persecution is an evidence in favor of Mr. Thompson's plan, Missionaries have been persecuted too. Judson was cast into prison for preaching the gospel among the heathens, but God preserved his life. Ought this not to be an evidence that God was with him, and in the plan? If God was with Paul and Silas when they were in jail at Philippi and delivered them, so was he was Judson and delivered them from chains and from prison. The Missionaries are persecuted and called by almost every hard name Mr. Thompson can think of. But this is a light thing with them, while they are engaged in the great and glorious workups of sending the gospel to the poor benighted heathens, and extending the blessed influence of the Redeemer's Kingdom to every nation, tongue and kingdom under heaven. Mr. Thompson says that our system is built upon "money." Why did the Savior tell them to take their purse if he had not allow them to have any money? Mr. Thompson denies the authority of the Savior; for he told them to take their purse. But Mr. Thompson says that they must not think what they are to eat, or what they are to wear. This, as I have already told you, had reference to the seventy who were to go to the Jews, but it was not so when they were sent into all the world; they were then commanded to take purse and scrip. This is the direction of the Savior, and all that we are doing is to furnish them in the purse and scrip, and let them go as the Savior has directed. Will Mr. Thompson tell us of any of his preachers who have gone among the heathens upon his plan? If he can he will confer a favor upon this congregation; for if one of them has ever gone among the heathens, I have not heard of it, nor seen any account of it in church history. I have stated that there is no plan but ours that is doing any good, or sending the gospel among the heathens, and Mr. Thompson is not pretended to shew that him are his denomination are now or ever has been doing any thing for the spread of the gospel, and until he does this I shall insist upon it that he has failed to prove his plan to be a good one, and that all he is doing is to oppose the spread of the gospel. He seems to think hard of me for saying that he opposes the spread of the gospel, but I do not know what else to call it, for he is opposing the only plan that is doing any thing, or ever has done any thing to send the gospel among the heathens.
Mr. Thompson talks much about "sectarion translations of the Scriptures." The Missionaries can have no sectarion ends to accomplish, they are sent to the heathens were there is no religion but idolatry, and all denominations are engaged in this work, so that if they were disposed to do as Mr. Thompson would make you believe they do, they would be detected and exposed. This is nothing but a way adopted to get around the force of my argument, which stands as yet unanswered by Mr. Thompson.
The Apostles were commissioned to go and preach and to work miracles, but the day of miracles is now past and we need not expect that we will be miraculously fed and clothed. If our corn grows we must plant it and work it. God is not going to fill our cribs for us without our making use of the necessary means; and if we do not provide for those that preach the gospel, how shall they live of the gospel? Mr. Thompson says they must go, not taking thought what they shall eat, or wear. I think from the way he is dressed that he took thought what he should wear; neither do I believe he would make many long trips if he was to get no money. I expect he loves money as well as those he calls money-hunters, and speculators in religion. The missionary does not get high wages, he hardly gets a support. Judson and many others have contributed all that they had to the cause, and after spending a lifetime in toll and labor, died poor. This is evident that money was not what they were after, for had they been after wealth, they would have kept all they got. History will always defend the character of such men as Judson and Rice against the charge of being greedy for filthy lucre. James tells us that we must feed the poor and clothe the naked, and Paul speaks of some that helped him on his way, but Mr. Thompson tells you that this is all of antichrist; he now condemns the very system that Paul recommended and praised some churches because they had been forward in it. The priests were to be supported at the altar, and were not allowed to own a part of the land. God had appointed them to be priests, and they were to be supported by the rest of the tribes. And in the offerings they were brought, the priest had his part, and it is even so ordained under the new dispensation that they that serve at the altar shall live of the altar, and that they that preach the gospel shall live of the gospel. We should not think it hard to give our temporal things when we have received spiritual, for no man can go up on a warfare at his own charges. Christ himself had to have tribute money, and they that preach the gospel have to have money to pay tavern bills, ferriages and the like, and it is the duty of the church to supply them with all these things, – in this way they helped Paul on his way, and in this way we help our Missionaries. For this we have abundant example in the Bible, and if Mr. Thompson opposes this he opposes the Bible and the authority of the Holy Ghost.
Mr. Thompson talks about the number of translations, and accuses us of sending false translations to the heathens. He has not got a man in his denomination that can translate the Scriptures, he ought not therefore to talk about false translations. But I am more astonished to hear him say that the Missionaries are doing more harm among the heathens than any thing else, when the reports show that thousands of these poor benighted people are now reading the Bible in their own language, and every Sabbath assembling at the place of worship, to hear the word of God explained to them, and to unite with our pious Missionaries in praise and prayer. Such is their desire for the Bible and the knowledge of salvation, that every page of the Scriptures printed is eagerly sought for, and such is the demand for the Scriptures among them, that all the efforts of the Missionaries cannot supply the demand, and yet Mr. Thompson said we are doing more harm than any thing else.
Mr. Thompson then spoke substantially as follows:
This is my last speech, and I have very little to do, for Mr. Bennett has not attempted to controvert the positions I have taken, but has spent the most of his time in giving us a lecture upon the support of the gospel, a question that has nothing to do with this debate whatever. I have not called in question the duty of tending the poor, or contributing to the aid of those that preach the gospel; neither have I denied that Paul received aid from his brethren, and that it was the custom among the first churches to give of their temporal things to those that administer to them in spiritual things. If Mr. Bennett could prove that every church Paul visited gave him five, ten or twenty dollars, it would not prove his "Modern Missionary Enterprise," or have any bearing upon the present question. I have shown that his "Modern plan" is to "sell memberships to professors and non-professors," and now called upon him to shew one text for this practice, and he has failed to give us one. I have shewed by positive Scripture that this practice is condemned, in the command, for us not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers, and in the case of Simon who wished to buy the Holy Ghost with money. I have called upon him to give me one text for their "boards and hired beggars," but he has not given one; while I have shewed that we are to covet no man's gold or silver, I have shewed that the contributions taken by Paul among the Gentile churches, was to feed and clothe the poor Saints at Jerusalem and not for Missionary purposes as alleged by Mr. Bennett. I have shewed that the commission given by our Lord Jesus Christ, was given independent of all boards, conventions or Missionary societies what ever, and that the true minister goes out under the authority of Jesus, and not of a board. I have also shewed that in the gospel plan, provision is made for the protection, food and raiment of all that God calls to preach to the end of time, and to prove this, I have quoted the various deliverances of Paul and others, whom God had sent out. I have also shewed that this plan secures them wisdom, so that they need not take thought what they are to say, for the Holy Ghost will teach them what to say. I have shewed that under this plan the gospel has been preached to the four quarters of the globe before ever Mr. Bennett's plan was thought of. I have also shewed that it has been carried across this continent to the shores of the Pacific, and is now preached in Oregon, Texas and California by old Baptists. I have shewed that even to admit that Mr. Bennett's plan is spreading the Gospel, (of which however he has given us no evidence,) that what it has done in comparison with ours, is "as a drop to the great ocean." And yet Mr. Bennett says, I have not shewed that our plan is doing any good. I have shewed that the Ministers sent out under our plan, have reported that they were "full and abounded." But Mr. Bennett has confessed that his plan is such a poor one, that the ministers sent out under it have had to "beg for bread alone." I have shewed you that our plan was such a good one that in the life time of one man the gospel was preached to every creature under heaven. But Mr. Bennett says that was spoken in reference to the day of Pentecost. Well, suppose it did, what does it prove? It proves that our plan can do more in one day, than his could in a thousand years. And yet Mr. Bennett says I have failed to shew a plan that ever has, or ever can do any good." Under this plan I have traveled for more than twenty years, and have always had a sufficiency. I believe that if I was to compare books with any Missionary in North Carolina, I travel more than any of them, and I have never looked to any board or a body of men for a support, and instead of begging money, I have often said that if any person could feel just as well to keep his money, as he would to give it to me, I had rather he would keep it, for I believe that God will provide for me if he has called me to preach, and when he sees that I need any thing he will put it into the hearts of the people to give it, without my having to "take bread." Mr. Bennett says "he thinks I must have taken thought what I was to wear, from the way I am dressed." He certainly did not expect me to come here naked; if God has blessed me with a coat to wear I put it on, and take no thought where the next is to come from, believing that when I need it, it will be provided. God's plan, as I have shewed, provides for all these things, and that his immutable promise gives a warrant to their servants in all ages, that he will not leave or forsake them. I have shewed that the curse of God is against all such as divine for money, or make flesh their trust; – And that Mr. Bennett has, in former years, exposed, in as severe terms, the Modern Missionary money-hunting, speculating system, as I can: he calls it a "pay and pray" system, "pay a heap and pray a little:" and he says, "it never can, nor never has made one new Testament Christian." If what Mr. Bennett has said about them is true what good can they be doing the heathens? For their plan "never has, nor never can make one New Testament Christian." And the heathens had just as well be what they are, as to be any thing else but New Testaments Christians, I have proved by the Bible that Mr. Bennett's plan is anti-scriptural, and I have proved by Mr. Bennett himself that it is anti-Christian and "can never make one New Testament Christian. By the Word of God, and out of his own mouth, I therefore condemn him, and the whole system that he is now advocating. Page after page, I could read to you of Mr. Bennett's editorials where he has ably and masterfully proven that this new system, which he is now advocating, belonged to the Pope, and anti-Christ – made money it's God, and was seeking to grasp the civil governments and encircle the world in bondage under a proud and worldly priesthood. What more could he ask me to prove? Or what better testimony could he ask me to bring? Surely the Bible, and Mr. Bennett together, ought to establish any point beyond doubt; and by both of these witnesses I have proven his system to be of antichrist.
Mr. Bennett says that Judson was persecuted and cast into prison for his religion. This I deny. Judson was never put in prison for his religion, it was for being suspected of being a spy sent into their government, by their enemies, and Mrs. Judson confessed that she burnt Judson's papers to prevent them from coming in evidence against him. The truth is, Mr. Judson was under the employee of the British East-India trading Company, and was there as a spy, and Mrs. Judson burning his papers, was what saved his life. If I remember right, Judson got a thousand pounds for the services he rendered that company as their spy. The history of the "Modern Missionary Enterprise" is a history of intrigues, and speculations, and wherever they have went they have carried with them confusion and distress. Their history in the United States, has been a history of dividing asunder, and splitting to pieces churches, associations, and brethren, that were mixed together in peace and Christian fellowship. From Maine to Georgia, and from the Atlantic to the Pa "cific, they have sowed the seed of discord and confusion among the churches by them; many flourishing churches have been broken up and their meeting-houses are now rotting down, and made a hiding place for the owl and the bat. And this is the good plan that Mr. Bennett wants us all to fall in with, and he tells us, "that it is all the plan that is doing any good." Where I to ask the old brethren of North Carolina, what was your condition before the Missionaries came among you, the answer would be, we were all in peace and love, and the gates of Zion were crowded. What followed their appearance among you, division, strife, animosity, backbiting, and a devouring of one another, would be the answer. And should I ask them what is your condition now, since the line of separation is drawn, and these people have left you, the answer would be, that "we now begin again to feel the sweet chords of brotherly love bind us together, and the Lord is beginning to refresh some of our churches, and the songs of Zion again cheer our hearts, when we visit the house of the Lord. Rice, Beck, Welsh, and others came to the West and found us all in peace, but they soon sowed the seeds of discord among us, and brought sorrow, lamentation and distress in the house of God. And this is Mr. Bennett's plan that is doing so much good. Lord, save us from such a plan!
I have introduced a host of witnesses and Mr. Bennett at the head, all proving his plan to be of antichrist. I shall now leave you to judge whether I have redeemed my pledge or not.
Mr. Bennett then spake spontaneously as follows:
Mr. Thompson has boasted much because I once was opposed to the Missionary Enterprise. It is true, that I, for a long time tried do believe with the old Baptists, and, like Mr. Thompson, was trying to war against the benevolent operations of the day, but I knew that the commission said, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." And I saw that the old Baptists were doing all that they could to oppose the spread of the gospel. I therefore began to think they must be wrong, and after mature deliberation and investigation, I became convinced that the "Modern Missionary Enterprise" was all the plan that was doing any good, and I ceased to war against it, and have ever since been doing all that I can for it. I doubt not, but that brother Meredith used to pity me, when I was warring against him, and saying hard things of him, as much and now pity Mr. Thompson, and all those that are laboring under the same delusion that he is Judson, it is true, got a large sum from the East India trading Company, for services rendered them, but he gave it all to the Missionary Society.
Mr. Thompson remarked, "Then your society were all engaged in a conspiracy against the people you profess to be caring the gospel to."
Mr. Bennett proceeded. It was no conspiracy. Judson was going out as a Missionary, and there being some difficulty between the British trading company and the government where Judson was a going, they employed him to act as agent for them. (Mr. Thompson said spy.) Mr. Thompson seems to be tickled, I see nothing to please him so well. The Scriptures have said "Blessed is the peacemaker," and if Judson could heal national difficulties he was fulfilling the command of the Savior.
Mr. Thompson asked, "why did Mrs. Judson burn the papers if he was a peacemaker?"
Mr. Bennett said, "because the people were in a rage, and she feared the consequences, should the papers we discovered."
The Moderators here spoke and said, "the Gentleman must not talk to each other – they must address us."
Mr. Thompson said, "I acknowledge that an apology is due you and the house from us both."
Mr. Bennett then proceeded. I hope I shall not be interrupted in them more, for I don't expect to speak long. I have proved the "Modern Missionary Enterprise" to be of God, because Paul received money, and took up collections, and that Mr. Thompson is opposing the only plan that is doing any thing for the spread of the gospel, and is therefore opposed to the spread of the gospel. I must say that he is opposed to the spread of the gospel, even if he should deny it, for I can look at what he is doing in no other light. Mr. Thompson makes a great low about the selling of memberships. This is nothing more than it is to pay our money and become a member of an agriculture society.
Mr. Thompson then asked, "Do you claim no more Scripture for your society than for agriculture societies?"
Mr. Bennett said, "That has nothing to do with the question, for a membership in our societies is worth nothing."
Mr. Thompson then remarked, "You sell a membership for twenty dollars that is worth nothing, and thus cheat the foolish buyer out of his money."
Mr. Bennett proceeded. Mr. Thompson seems to be much pleased. I reckon he thinks he has achieved a great victory, but he will find that his efforts are not as highly valued by the community, as by himself. This great and boasted scheme for the spread of the gospel, as I have shewed, only had reference to the Jewish nation and had nothing to do with the Gentiles. But under the commission, we are to go into all the world. The gospel is the means of salvation, for it has pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. God works by means, to accomplish all of his great and good purpose is. He used the clay and the spittle in opening the eyes of the blind man. How can we believe on him of whom we have not heard? And how can we hear without a preacher? And how can they preach except they be sent it is therefore important that the gospel should be preached, for it is the power of God unto salvation. Paul tells us that he came not in word only, but in the Holy Ghost and in power. It is evident therefore, that it is the means by which God save sinners. Paul says, that the word of reconciliation is committed to us, as the ambassadors of Christ. It is, therefore, through the earthen vessels that the gospel is to be preached, and it is through their instrumentality that sinners are to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Mr. Thompson asked, "is Mr. Bennett to be allowed to introduce a host of new arguments in his closing speech when I am no change to reply?"
Mr. Bennett proceeded. Mr. Thompson seems disposed to not let me close my speech; he must be alarmed for the tottering fabric he has been laboring to set up. But truth has nothing to fear, and the more it is rubbed the rider it will shine. If Mr. Thompson gets money, and the old Baptists pay their preachers, why do they oppose us paying our Missionaries that leave their homes and go into distant countries and labor among the heathens? Shall we oppose giving to all men the means of salvation? My conscience often reproved me while I was opposing the spread of the gospel. But I now feel that I am doing God's service, and I hope to live and die an advocate for the spread of the gospel, so that at the end I may be able to give a good account of my stewardship. It is a happy thought for the pious man to believe that he has been instrumental in doing his fellow-creatures good, and imparting to them the word of Eternal Life. To do good, and to communicate for the spread of the gospel, is great and important duties, which belong to Christians, and how any Christian can spend a whole lifetime without doing any thing for the spread of the gospel and the salvation of his fellow-man, is to me a mystery. Our Lord loved sinners and gave his life for them, and it is through his name that remission of sin is to be preached in all the world, and it cannot be preached in all the world unless we send out preachers, for the Bible will not be translated and sent to the heathens in any other way than through the instrumentality of men, and those men must be paid for their labor or they cannot do it, for they cannot live upon the wind.
I see the people are disturbed – I suppose the cars are coming in, and some want to leave in them. (Someone spoke and said they were.) I will close.
Mr. Thompson cannot go back to Kentucky without leaving the uncircumcised Philistinian, as he called me, challenging him, for I challenge him to meet me again, in Tarborough, at my meeting-house and the Temperance Hall.
Mr. Thompson arose and said, "I have no idea that David, after he had taken off Goliath's head and was bearing it in triumph to the Army of Israel, would have turned back to have fought the dead body, had it have hollowed after him ever so much.
Both, Mr. Bennett and Mr. Thompson, thanked the people for their good attention, and good order during the discussion, and the congregation dispersed.