The following article taken from the Watchman and Reflector ought, as it seems to me, make every Baptist doubt the propriety of joining these Union Societies which Pedobaptists are determined to control! It really appears that "Union Prayer Meetings," "Young Men's Christian Associations," "Sabbath School Conventions," &c., Baptists are to be treated, if not with positive contempt, at least with reckless discourtesy. It is to be hoped that Baptists, North and South, will in [the] future feel the promptings of dignified self-respect, and act accordingly. This will save them many a mortification and happily put it out of the power of Pedobaptists to violate, as they have often done, the proprieties and courtesies of life. Here is the article. - P.
The Boston Tract Society
Dr. Huntington's essay before the Sabbath School Convention at Worcester, and the comments of the Congregationalist and the Boston Recorder thereon, have been perused by a few of us outside of Massachusetts with some attention, and more interest. Perhaps you would be willing to hear what we think of them.
The Congregationalists, if we understand them, through their newspapers above mentioned, take the ground that the view of the necessity of infant baptism to Christian nurture, which Dr. Huntington propounded, is one whose presentations they might rightly demand at a Union Convention. If they have hitherto honestly entertained this opinion, what excuse have they fir having sought the co-operation of Baptists in their convention, who they knew regarded this doctrine as a dangerous error? Have they not been guilty of a deliberate breach of Christian courtesy, in inviting them to a participation in their conventions, attaching them there, then justifying, and never apologizing for the attack? And if they have not hitherto generally held to this position, but have now for the first time brought it forward, are they not guilty of rudeness which would be considered disreputable in political organizations?
The truth or falsity of the positions taken by Dr. Huntington is a matter of no moment in the view we are taking. No intelligent Baptist would find any difficulty in confuting them; the deliberate judgment of our ablest and wisest men has repudiated them, and certainly no Congregationsist, in his sober senses, expected that Baptists would accept them when forced down in the way they were at Worcester, if the arguments of Dr. H. had been irrefragible.
The only question is, whether a union in which one party declares itself free to treat the other with deliberate discourtesy and contempt, in matters dear to the conscience, can be continued without loss of self-respect. To us the answer is evident, but perhaps we are not so meek as you. We are accoustomed here to regard ourselves as possessing the same rights as others; and when those rights are infringed, on whatever pretext, we should regard ourselves as wanting self-respect if we hesitated in taking an independent position. But then we have not had thet raining which you have in usbjection to the "standing order," and have not yet learned that the arrogant assumption which is born of Puritan supremacy and persecution, is only an appropriate ma[n]ifestation of the brothrly love which should exist between the different families of the one body of Christ.
Another question arises, on which you will pardon our offering your advice. You are invited and urged to join another movement, the Tract Society of Boston, of which the Congregationalist with all its bitterness toward Baptists, has constituted itself the special advocate, the principle officers of which are leading and prominent Congregationalists, a few of the subordinate offices being tendered to Baptists, and they allowed a small and powerless minority in its Board of Directors. In its infancy that society may be full of courtesy to its Baptist co-operators, for it is doubtless desirous of receiving their contributiions; but when once well assured of it position, how long will it be with such managers and advocates, before it too, will consider it a Christian duty to publish some tract or book offensive to Baptists, and if they make complaint, treat them with cool superciliousness manifested since the Worcester convention, and which has ever marked the conduct of Massachusetts Congregationalists in their treatment of our denomination?
We are no strangers to the noble traits of many of the Congregationalists in your State; but they are as a body greviously lacking in Christian courtesy, greviously unmindful of the rights of others; and until they learn to pursue a different course, it is the wisest policy to let them alone, so far as any united action is concerned.
Such a course it seems to us is infinitely preferable to one which occasions such frequent and painful collisions. It would honor Christ more, and lead other denominations to respect you, because they would see that you respect yourselves.
Excuse the freedom with which we, living at a distance from you, proffer our advice. It is because we cherish you as brethren beloved, and do not wish to see you place yourselves in a position, where, if we may judge the future by the past, you are certain to be wronged, by those who like the union only when it contributes to the promotion of their special ends. - W.
[From The Tennessee Baptist, December 15, 1860, p. 2. Transcribed and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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