of the Kehukee Association,

delivered July 4, 1830, at Tarboro, N. C.


A biography of Elder Joshua Lawrence was published in the
minutes of the Kehukee Association for 1843. He was born the
10th of September, 1778, and commenced preaching when about
twenty-three years old. In 1803 he was sent as a messenger to
the Association held at Log Chapel, and heard the query of Elder
Martin Ross propounded, which gave rise eventually to so much
angry discussion, strife and contention, and finally resulted in
the great Division among the Baptists, of which so much has
already been written. In his youth Elder Lawrence was a great
sinner, but he found a great Saviour, who called him by His
grace, and made him one of the ablest and boldest ministers of
the New Testament in modern times. For more than forty years he
advocated powerfully and fearlessly, both from pulpit and press,
liberty of conscience, the specialty, spirituality and efficacy
of God's salvation, and the unscripturalness and corruption of
all the money-based religious institutions of the nineteenth
century, notwithstanding storms of slander and vituperation, and
threats against his life, and, during the latter part of his
life, great physical debility and suffering. He was profoundly
acquainted with the Scriptures and church history. Few men could
command larger audiences, or so enchain the attention of hearers.
He was sometimes known, while asleep, to give out a hymn, sing,
pray, and preach a long sermon, without remembering anything of
it when he awoke. He was pastor of several churches. His church
at Tarborough experienced, in his last days, a glorious revival,
for which he had long prayed. Just before his death, Jer. xxxi.
33, and Eph. i. 4, were powerfully and meltingly applied by the
Spirit of God to his soul, abundantly comforting and establishing
him more fully than ever before in the eternal truth of that
doctrine of rich and reigning grace, which had been taught to
him, as to Paul in his own experience, and which, for two-thirds
of his life, it had been his meat and drink to proclaim to poor
sinners. He occupied his last days in warmly exhorting his
ministering brethren who visited him to be on their guard against
corrupting and distracting religious innovations, and to contend
earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints.--Sylvester
Hassell. History of the Church of God, p. 783.


XIX Chapter of Acts, 25th Verse: "Whom he called together, with
workmen of like occupation, and said sirs, ye know by this craft
we have our wealth."

MY AUDIENCE:--This day is the memorable 4th of July--a day long
to be remembered by the American people--the day when the
citizens of young America had the hardihood and patriotism, in
the face of the sun and of British armies, to declare they owed
no allegiance to the King of Great Britain--the day when the
nerves of the hearts of our ancestors were strong and unyielding
to British oppression, though they knew they must stake their
all, their fortunes and their lives, in opposition to British
cruelty; yet their ardor and courage failed them not, but
proclaimed to the world that America should be free and
independent of all Kings and foreign States whatever, and make
her own laws, or their lives should be a sacrifice to the cause
of liberty. And that God who hates robbery, cruelty, and
tyranny, in nations as well as individuals, prospered their
cause, and gave success to their arms, to the joy and glory of
America. And we are this day, my audience, sitting under our
vines and fig trees and none to make us afraid, as the effect of
that patriotic blood that stained roads, fields, and decks of
ships, fifty years ago, from the feet and bosoms of our suffering
forefathers. I would then this day, my respectable audience,
remind you that the price of this inestimable jewel, civil and
religious liberty, was the price of blood--the blood of long
forgotten fathers, who purchased this jewel for their children.
Then for Heaven's and your children's sake, don't sell it for
liquor, nor barter it with money-hunting designing priests.
Remember, also, that civil and religious liberty must live and
die together; for hand in hand they came to us out of the
revolutionary struggle--and I would further remind you that
nothing but blood and treasure can perpetuate liberty to your
children; therefore, be watchful, be jealous at the first attempt
made to attack or take this prize from your children, and rise
like one man, and if needs be, transmit it to them at the first
cost. And as we all enjoy this blessing in common, every man
should act his part, and put his shoulder to the wheel to
perpetuate this blessing against designing usurping tyrants,
whether kings or priests. And as the wise man said, there is a
time for all things, so, since the establishing of independence
fifty years ago, much blood and treasury have been lost by the
sons of liberty to maintain it, during the space it has been
enjoyed by us. The American statesmen have not been idle, in
thought, word, pen and service to vie with their foreign
opponents; our soldiers have come forward to act their part by
land and sea, and have mingled their warm crimson fluid with
their enemies at the mouths of cannon and the points of bayonets;
nor are our officers less, but equally or more praise-worthy,
because of the action of both body and mind in opposition to
their opponents in the field and on the sea. And what shall I
say of old ANDREW, who taught the generals of European pride, not
to dare snatch at the pole of American Liberty, for while in the
attempt he plucked their laurels and now wears them on his crown.
Thus from the President to the soldier and sailor, they have
acted a noble, a bloody and an honorable part to support the
Declaration of Independence proclaimed on this memorable day by
our fathers.
But, my audience, where is the poor priest all this fifty
years? While these noble patriots have been struggling through
blood and carnage, and political services to their country, to
defend and perpetuate civil liberty to themselves and children,
in comparison of whose services gold is but as sand, they, the
priests, are aloof from war and from the halls of legislation by
the laws of their country. Why, are they drones in the American
hive? No, my audience, I only view them as held in reserve, and
I now consider, the time come, yea fully come, for them to take
the field in defence of religious liberty at the risk of life and
blood; then, oh! ye idle, independent priests, gird on armor,
helmet, shield, and sword, and come forth to the battle of
religious independence, against usurping tyrannical priests, for
the rights of conscience, dearer than life itself, are invaded;
there are laurels for you, and the liberty of conscience of your
children is at stake. I say arise, and fight with tongue and pen
the cause of religious liberty, for when once gone, perhaps, as
in other nations, gone forever. For my hearers, there are many
apparent facts, that show to me that designing priests are
endeavoring to bind us with the bands of spiritual tyranny, and
rivet the broken chains of British priestcraft on us and our
children, and become our conscience keepers and purse-plunderers
as in days of yore, anything said to the contrary
notwithstanding. As one who has enjoyed the sweets of liberty
for fifty years, I come forward and stand forth to help my fellow
citizens in this common cause of liberty, nor will I yield it for
less than cost; and therefore now call your attention to my test,
upon which I shall make some remarks, to show you how to judge
rightly in this matter.
On a strict examination of history, it will be found that
all religions, whether heathen, pagan, Mahometan, or Christian,
are founded on a belief of certain tales, whether true or false;
with an injunction of certain ceremonies or practices to be
performed by the believers of such tales. Then, to judge of the
truth of any religion whatever, we have only to judge of the tale
that is told and the veracity of the teller, and the evidences
corroborating the whole circumstances; and whether self-interest,
for fame, honor, or wealth, is connected with the cause, as the
main spring of motion to the practices that such religion enjoins
on its votaries.
As all sects profess that their religion is from above, like
the Ephesians--what man is there that knoweth not (said the Town
Clerk) how the city of the Ephesians is a worshiper of the great
goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter--
mark that--fell down from Jupiter. But where is the evidence on
which this priestly tale is founded, by which Demetrius and his
crafty gang got their wealth by making shrines for the goddess
Diana? Mark this heathen religion, wealth to the craft men;
therefore, all could cry out for the space of two hours, great is
Diana of the Ephesians--she came down from Jupiter. And no doubt
the priests, as well as other craft men, were foremost and
loudest in the mighty cry, until the whole city was in confusion,
because their several crafts were in danger.
I shall now endeavor merely to sketch out, my hearers, in a
few particulars, five different religions that have been
established in the world; and in a short way examine some
evidences attending them, to shew the difference between a true
and a false religion.
The first religion that I shall mention is the religion of
public opinion, no matter what may be its creed, form, or
ceremonies, nor whether it be heathen, pagan, or Christian, so
that public opinion in any nation gives it currency. For it is
but too well known that public opinion governs the world, and not
individuals--and though oftener wrong than right, yet because of
that force which custom and example have upon the human mind,
there is an itching disposition in man to conform and be like
other people, and travel the road of public opinion in fashions
of all kinds, religion not excepted. Hence, in almost every
nation, we find a different religion, propagated, believed, and
practiced, and thought by its votaries to be the best in the
world; because the religion of antiquity and of the nation, and
the sect of which they are members, from the idolater to the
Christian, without examining by some proper standard impartially
for themselves, the evidences on which such religion is
predicated. Thus we find Abraham's family served other gods,
beyond the river Euphrates; and that Rachel loved her father
Laban's idol gods enough to steal them. The Egyptians worshipped
a pied bull--in imitation of which Aaron made the golden calf,
and Jeroboam, the two golden calves at Dan and Bethel; with a
great variety of gods mentioned in scriptures as well as in
heathen mythology, such as Baal, Bell, Baalpeor, Baalberith,
Remphim, Nergal, Nibhas, Tamas, Sheshach, Nebo, Nisroch, Meni,
Mahuzzim, Ashtoroth, Succothbenoth, and Diana, &c.--and in fine,
their modes of worship and ceremonies were various as well as
their gods; which you can know by comparing the worship of Moloc,
Dagon, and the Babylonish eating god; while they also worshiped
deceased kings, animals, plants, stones, sun, moon, stars, and a
thousand other imaginary gods, according to their fancy. Now all
these may be wrong, but all cannot be right; and although the
nations differed in names of gods, modes of worship, rites and
ceremonies, yet public opinion predominated every where, and led
captive the duped multitude from generation to generation. And
although they differed as above observed, yet in two things they
differed not; and these were, each sect had its priest, and the
priests of all sects made a craft of it. Witness Micah's idol
priest, who when the Danites promised him greater wages than
Micah gave him, stole his gods and away with them for a more
plump craft from the Danites, like some of our modern priests,
from town to town to find a more fat craft. We may add to this
religion of public opinion that of Simon Magus, the priest of
Jupiter, conjurers, soothsayers, diviners, astrologers,
necromancers, charmers, spellers, fortune tellers, &c., nearly
all of which rest on some novel, mysterious, priestly tale, or
false shews and say soes, of those that make a craft of their art
on duped devotees. And thus every stratagem of hypocrisy and
duplicity, is made and has been made use of by priests and others
to impose on the strong, the weak, and the credulous, to rivet
their crafts to get their wealth like Demetrius by shrine making;
so that we see all hands in false religions make a craft of it,
from the priest to the lying fortuneteller.
Now I ask, by what means have all these different religions
and cheating arts been established in the different nations of
the earth? I answer, I believe that man was made and is born a
religious being, and that he cannot reconcile himself to live and
die without a ground of hope; whether true or false, to satisfy
his conscience before the judge of futurity--if a true hope it is
attended with fears; if a false hope, if it is the best he knows,
it is to him as if true, because he knows no better ground of
hope, and therefore, it answers his present purpose in some good
degree. Secondly, I think that it is impossible for a notion to
exist, and government to be administered in it, without some form
of religion as a band to tie society together; and the best
religion man knows he takes hold of, for refuge to his trembling
soul. Thirdly, because by the fall of the first man he lost his
God and the true knowledge of him, and became vain his
imagination, and his foolish heart darkened; and therefore he has
so easily been imposed on, and worshipped and served the creature
more than the creator. The making of idol gods became a great
craft of wealth, the attendant priests on these deaf and dumb
dieties made a great craft of oracles, &c.--in a word, the whole
worship of idols was a craft of gain to the various officers of
the craft, from the idol maker to the shrine seller. Jeroboam
had his craft for sitting up two golden calves at Dan and Bethel;
and that was, to maintain his crown and get his wealth out of the
ten tribes of Israel. Nebuchadnezzar, Balaam, Judas, Simon
Magus, Gehazi, Micah's priest, and all witches, conjurers,
fortune-tellers, &c., have their several forms of ceremony and
religious cheats as a craft for gain, and so all of the same
craft may be expected to be called together, lest the temple of
Diana should be despised and her magnificence destroyed whom all
Asia and the world worshippeth. What a pity that a goddess of
such antiquity and high veneration, should, by such pestilent
fellows as Paul and his comrades, be set at naught--ye craft men
come together--ye men of Israel help--ye Congressmen help, our
craft is in danger.
If we examine the Bible for marks of a false prophet,
teacher, or preacher, we shall find these as unchangeable marks
given throughout the scriptures--gain by godliness--greedy of
filthy lucre--the fleece and not the flock--or, craft by their
religion; and every false religion introduced into the world, has
these marks of craft engraven on it, from the idolatrous to the
metamorphosed Christian religion; and is made by its priests a
craft of gain, honor and applause, except the religion of Jesus
Christ, which is not a religion of craft. Witness Simon Magus,
trying to buy the Holy Ghost of Peter, to form a new craft, after
the preaching of the apostles had broken his former craft on the
people. Witness the damsel by the craft of soothsaying brought
her master much gain. Witness the craft of Jezebel's prophets,
and the prophets of Baal, always prophesying good things
concerning wicked Ahab, that they might have the favor of the
king and fare sumptuously at Queen Jezebel's table. Witness
Balaam, under the craft of sacrifices, divining to find out the
mind of God to curse Israel to get Balaak's promised silver and
greatness. Time would fail me to tell of the craft of Judas the
purse bearer; of Gehazi, who made a craft of the miracle of his
master; of those that followed for the loaves and fishes; and all
the deceptive crafts, fortune-telling not excepted, for gain or
I shall then say, that all false religions, of whatever sort
have been introduced into the world; have been founded on some
mysterious, novel, deceiving tales, under the garb of virtue; and
by certain false shews without evidence, founded on facts of
sense or miracles done in the presence of eye and ear witnesses,
confirm the truth thereof, have this mark, craft--from Sechem,
who would be circumcised to get Dinah and Jacob's cattle, up to
the missionary beggar, and have only been religion in masquerade,
imposed on the credulous, and gained strength in process of time
by the cunning, art, and stratagem of priests, and establishing
itself by public opinion on succeeding generations. And there is
as much danger in opposing public opinion, however vague and
unscriptural, in the country where such public opinion reigns, as
there was for Paul to say a word against the goddess Diana; for
one reason only, the priests' craft is in danger, therefore such
a tumultuous uproar is made on the man that dares question public
It is easy to see, by referring to the scriptures, that this
whole train of idolatrous worship and religious cheats, was and
is copied from the Old and New Testament--from God's having sent
prophets into the world, diviners and fortune-tellers have
arisen; the oracles of idol temples are in imitation of
consulting the Jewish high priest with his urim and thummin; and
the craft of priests for gain from the tithes paid to the Jewish
high priests, and from the New Testament, the laborer is worthy
of his meat, ministers in this day set up their claim as a right
to their craft of gain by their preaching. But it is plain by
referring to the scriptures, that all these religious crafts are
of the devil, transformed after the fashion of God's ways, to
deceive and ruin the souls of men; for the devil has his temples,
his oracles, his priests, his sacrifices, his rites, his
ceremonies, his baptism, his altars, his saints, his prophets,
his transformed ministers, as well as God. But there is as wide
a difference between the two as God and the devil, or heaven and
hell, or this world and that which is to come; and this
difference lies all in this one mark--craft--or running greedily
after the error of Balaam, or supposing gain is godliness--from
such turn away, for they are the ministers of the devil. This is
a mere sketch of crafts of times of old, in various forms by
priests and others under the sanctity of religion imposed,
enforced, engrafted and maintained by cheat, fraud, guile, and
hypocrisy; and fastened by public opinion; custom, example and
teaching, on raising youth from age to age to revere the holy
sanctified priest and the religion of their ancestors, though
they be of the devil's making, and have been blood suckers on
earth. And craft men love to have it so, or else they lose their
gain and Demetrius his wealth by shrine making. Hence all of the
same craft may be expected to unite against gospel truth, which
if admitted, overturns to the very foundation all priest craft;
then no wonder to hear the craft men roar out from the pulpit and
press, you ought not to oppose us, our cause is God's cause; you
ought to throw your money into the treasury of the Lord, to help
the Lord convert the heathen; you an infidel, yea a devil if you
don't--when the cause is men's cause, to say the least of it; and
the treasury, the treasury of craft men, to get money out of the
pockets of honest men, children, widows, negroes, and Indians, to
enable craft men to live in idleness and luxury on the labor of
others. But, said Paul to his brethren, these hands have
administered to my necessities, and I have showed you all things
how that so laboring you ought to support the weak, &c. Thus I
must leave you, my hearers, to compare this mere sketch of crafts
of ancient times with the crafts of this day, if any can be
The second religion of crafts that I shall notice, is a
religion established by the laws of men--by the laws of kings,
states, of nations--so as to compel men under certain penalties,
whether agreeable to their conscience or not, to believe and
practice certain articles of faith, swear to support them, or be
compelled by law to conform to a national form of worship, sacred
rites, ceremonies, dues to the priests, &c. Whether the majority
or the minority have given their sanction to such a law, matters
not; for to prove the validity of such a law of pains and
penalties to make men conform to modes of worship, or be of one
mind in matters of religion, is not to be found in the New
Testament, and is the resort of craft men, to force their wealth
from the pockets of their neighbors. Hence law religion is one
of the priest's crafts for wealth; by them it has been
perpetuated in the nations of the earth with cruelty, and is a
bloody craft--yea, the blood of saints has never yet satisfied
the greedy stomachs of these sort of blood hounds.
The first established religion that strikes my mind, is that
of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, who commanded all men
under the pain and penalty of the fiery furnace, to fall down and
worship the idol image he had set up in the plains of Dura. But
there were three men in his kingdom, Shadrac, Meshach and
Abednego, whose consciences would not let them do so, and who
thought different from the King and crowd of his subjects; though
I am persuaded he had not more loyal subjects in his kingdom,
because one conscience subject is worth five purse subjects. Now
is there any man in the world that will say this law was right?
Will any man say that the king and his counsellors should dictate
to the consciences of others? Will any say the king shall
prescribe the duty of the creature to his creator, and be judge
of other men's consciences in matters of religion? Will any man
say that a man is to pay a fine, be imprisoned, have his goods
confiscated, or be burned in a fiery furnace, because he cannot
see out of other people's eyes, or believe like others? How
foolish, absurd and vain. The case of Daniel is one of the same
sort--under penalty of the lion's den. If such men there be that
will say yes, the whole narrative proves, by these examples of
God's interference for the deliverance of the oppressed
consciences of his servants, that such a law established religion
is wrong and contrary to the divine mind, unless it can be proved
that the magistrate is a competent judge of religious truth--an
opinion falsified in these circumstances, and abundantly
falsified by the rulers of all nations who have undertaken, to
establish law religion--by so doing they miss the mark, and
establish a craft, and support hypocrisy, robbery, and bloody
cruelty on the earth; and shew us very plainly that a man may
oppose, and has a right to oppose, all law religion in matters of
conscience, and that God is on his side. But perhaps you will
say they had a right to oppose, because the king required them to
be idolators. I answer, that kings or states establishing any
set form of worship, or prescribing limitation of conscience, is
just the same; and that the conscientious may resist the
authority of kings or states with good conscience, and in so
doing fight the battle of God and contend for the inalienable
rights of free men against such usurpers of the dominion of God.
For all statesmen who aid and abet in the establishment of any
law religion are enemies of God and to the rights of freemen; and
are laying claim to the sovereignty of God, to dictate for God
what shall be the homage paid by the creature to his creator; and
thus make their own conscience the standard of others, and set up
an image of their own making and compel others by law to bow
thereto under pains and penalties always severe! Oh, cursed
fraud! since all true religion must be a voluntary offering of
the heart to the supreme creator of the universe, to whom man is
first bound in duty as his conscience may dictate to him. Then
law religion only supports a craft of priests and tyrants on
earth for gain, and the blood that has been shed under such laws
has been innocent blood, and the law makers of religious
establishments are wilful and premeditated murderers, and the
accessories before the fact to the murders committed. For if the
fiery furnace had burnt those three men, and the lions had eaten
Daniel, would you not have said, innocent blood shed by usurped
power and unlawful right; for which I say, the king, by the law
of justice and the rights and equality of man, should have died
as a murderer. I might name many more of the same sort, but must
pass them by.
We shall next notice the established Christian religion--
turned from its simplicity and virgin beauty into a craft. For
three hundred years the religion of Jesus Christ stood and
flourished without the aid of schools, laws, or help of kings or
magistrates--and in spite of them all, and in opposition to all,
bore down all before it, commending itself to the consciences of
men during this time as not being a craft of priests. But in the
year 323, Constantine undertook to protect and defend the
religion of Jesus Christ, and established it by law; enjoining
the Christian Sabbath, salaries to ministers, &c. And now we
might suppose this established law religion was right and could
do no harm--for what harm could there be in compelling men to do
right by the laws of government. I say this law was wrong--
first, because there is not, nor can be, such a thing as true
religion by compulsion; but it is voluntary and of free will.
Secondly, true religion is the gift of God; and therefore,
no man is to suffer in his person or goods, because he does not
nor cannot possess this gift; hence law religion is altogether
founded in self righteousness and craft. Thirdly, because the
religion of Jesus Christ disavows in every page of it a
dependence on the power, wisdom and wealth of this world for its
support, and stood and flourished when all these opposed; and it
cannot be the duty of statesmen to support that which disowns all
need of support. Fourthly, an established religion opens a door
to a craft, to corrupt men, and of course to a corrupt ministry,
and thence a corrupt doctrine, corrupt ordinances, corrupt
discipline, corrupt members, and corrupt practices, &c. And
hence from this one wrong step in establishing even the true
religion by law, a door was opened for craftsmen of many kinds;
while a judgment from God, in the first instance followed cruelty
and blood, and craftsmen arose by thousands, such as bishops,
arch bishops, patriarchs, ex-archs, metropolitans, suffragans,
popes, cardinals, monks, nuns, synods, councils, anathemas,
dungeons, gibbets, flames and death--all for the glory of God and
the good of the church. But take notice, there was a craft at
the bottom of all these titles--and thus the true religion became
a religion of craftsmen from the Pope to the monk, by weaving it
with state policy, and was no longer the religion of Jesus
Christ, because removed by craftsmen from the pedestal on which
he first set it. True religion is the greatest blessing on
earth; but, when interwoven with state policy, the greatest curse
and mother of cruelties. And how many times has the Pope called
his craft men together, like Demetrius of old, and said sirs, you
know, by these our crafts we have our wealth--hence the Roman
Catholic religion was a religion of crafts for gain, honor, power
and state influence. Then as soon as even the true religion
became established by law, it was no longer the religion of Jesus
Christ, but a popish and a Demetrius priest craft. Oh, how
crafty are priests to get money--lawyers live by the folly of
men, physicians by the diseases of men, but crafty priests live
and roll in idle luxury on the vices of ignorant men, who submit
to them to be their conscience keepers and pay them for a
passport to heaven, when the king's highway is free for all that
may choose to walk therein.
We shall next notice the crafts of this law religion. And
first the craft of titles has in part been given you above, from
the Pope to the Monk; of which titles of craft the New Testament
has no account in it, as all may see that choose to examine. Secondly, the craft of gain, like Demetrius', was the craft of
selling to sinners indulgences in their lusts at fixed prices by
the laws of the Pope, and not by the laws of Jesus Christ; such
as the following prices--for killing a father, 1 ducat, 5
carlins; for the lewdness of a clerk, 36 turnois, 3 ducats; for
him that wants to keep a concubine, 21 turnois, 5 ducats, 9
carlins. Oh, devilish priest craft--and further these
indulgences could not be granted to the poor, who had not money
to buy their fleshy enjoyments. This was a priest craft contrary
to reason, right, modesty, decency, chastity, honor, virtue, God,
scripture, peace, good breeding and good sense, yet thousands
were duped by it so that Friar Sampson sold and and collected by
this selling craft in Switzerland alone, to the amount of 120,000
crowns, and if the like was done in all the countries over which
the chief craft men presided; I shall say this was a gaining, fat
craft--as good a craft as the chieftain in missionary craft of
the present day.
A third craft was to sell the pardon of past sins--and this
was a gainful craft for as much as rich sinners would find it
more easy to pay their money than repent of their sins--so no
doubt this was a gainful craft, like that of Demetrius that
brought much wealth to the craftmen; or, like the soothsaying
damsel, to her martyr--yet the Pope, like Demetrius, fearing that
a poor Luther, like Paul at Ephesus, would endanger his craft,
sent his detestable pardon sellers to cry aloud in almost every
country the Pope's power to forgive sinners, and thus carried on
his craft, like the missionaries, by runners, and like them paid
for services, men of craft dividing the spoil.
A fourth craft of popish priests was to pray souls out of
purgatory--they had so much for Tom, and so much for Dick, but
the price always depended on the riches of the deceased or their
relatives; and this brought much gain to the craft men. But as
for the poor, who had nothing to pay, or died insolvent, they
might climb the wall of purgatory if they could, for no priests
would help them out without money--and it is much so now with the
craft of missions; the missionary will not preach to the heathen
and many others, or help get these poor creatures out of hell
without money. What a likeness of getting souls out of purgatory
by money, and heathen out of hell by money--I say priestcraft--my
hearers, what say you?
Time would fail me to pursue the various crafts in the
Romish church for titles, purse and power--be it sufficient to
say, that even the establishment of the true religion by law,
metamorphosed gospel ministers to statepensioners, cruel blood
suckers, tyrannical craft men, and grandees on the laboring part
of the community--lit up fires to roast human flesh, made weeping
widows and orphans, builded prisons, confiscated goods, and
covered the fields of Europe in blood. Yea, how many millions of
lives, law religion has sacrificed to the demon of priest craft
can only be made known when God the righteous judge shall make
inquisition for blood. Then let the American States beware how
they meddle with the most distant species of law religion, lest
they again unchain these blood hounds, craft men by trade.
We shall next notice the high Church of England, as a law
established craft. This craft was founded by the amorous Henry
VIII of England, about the year 1520--a prince, who, for vice,
was not surpassed by any prince of his age. And because the Pope
would not grant him a divorce from his wife, he renounced the old
man of crafts, and was declared, by the Parliament and people of
England, supreme head on earth of the Church of England--hence
you see king craft in the outset, and that was, to get a new
wife. Secondly, Henry put down more than a thousand popish
religious houses, and seized on their property to the amount of
one hundred and eighty-three thousand pounds yearly--here you see
craft again for money. And thus he proceeded to fit up a new
fashion of crafts; but as I only intend a mere sketch of crafts,
I shall proceed:--From the best accounts I can recollect from
history, there were, many years ago, 18,000 clergymen in England
and Wales, of this law religion of craft; and, no doubt the craft
men have greatly multiplied in number, since David Simpson left
that corrupt establishment, and refused, like an honest man, any
longer to practice the craft among them, and has given us a short
account of it as follows: there are twenty-six bishops whose
annual craft is $408,888.90, when divided makes each craft-man's
share $15,726.50; such a fat craft as this is enough to make a
Jew laugh. Well may these craft men ride in their carriages
about the country like kings, and hire others to preach for them;
well may they be called Lords spiritual, support my lord John
Bull in his tyranny, and sing and dance the tunes of Parliament
for such plumb puddings as these. Who would not turn the spit,
roast beef, swear to the liturgy, support the crown, and sell his
conscience for such a fat craft as this, and go to hell, if it
needs must be, in the bargain? There is a mighty gang of
craftmen, besides priests, in this establishment, for there are
28 cathedrals, 26 deans, 60 arch-deacons, 524 prebends, canons,
&c. Besides these there are about 9,000 in orders, 800 lay
officers, singing men, organists, &c.; this band of craftmen
amounts to 36,000, and at that time the whole income of the craft
was $6,666,666.67; so much for law craft, for laboring farmers
and mechanics to maintain by the sweat of their brows. All these
36,000 craftmen are of like occupation, and if called together,
what can't they do? They can and will keep the galling yoke of
tithes, oppression, and poverty upon the people of England; and
the farmers and mechanics must maintain these men, made tyrants
in luxury and pride, hell-ward. Don't think me harsh, for if you
could hear the groans of the poor laborers of England, and the
cries of their wives and children for bread and clothes, you
would be of another mind. Then take care of your priests, for
all of the same craft may be expected to sing and dance the same
tune, and pull the same string for wealth, by their several
crafts, for they are all of the same gang. If a priest looks for
gain from his religion, he is a craft man, and may call Demetrius
brother. It is as plain as a, b, that self-interest will bind
the whole band of craftmen together, from generation to
generation; and thus the people of England and Wales must expect
to wear the yoke of oppression so long as theological schools
keep going on. And this is one of the great curses of
theological schools--to make craftmen to tyrannize, oppress, and
suck the purses and the blood of men; for in all countries where
these factories have been set going, priestcraft and oppression
are reigning predominant, and will continue to do so until they
are stopped; for no sect can exist without priests, so the more
priests the more force, until they ride rough-shod over the
liberties of the people, and establish their craft of gain. And
in my opinion, theological schools in multiplying priests are
rapidly hurrying Americans to the yoke of oppressed civil and
religious liberty--this is my rule to go by--same cause same
effect is but sound philosophy. Oh, that I had a voice like
thunder, I would speak to every American to stop, pause and
think--think what theological schools, priestly influence, and
law-religion have brought other nations to--and when priestly
influence once gets the yoke of tithes on your necks, their money
and influence will hold it there--farewell civil and religious
liberty--labor, poor farmer-- toil, poor mechanic--to riot in
luxury, blind guides. It appears to me very plainly, that the
present movements of the priests are like a man breaking a yoke
of oxen--first to coax them gently--then the rope--then coax,
rub, feed, and stroke--then the yoke--then gently the cart--then
a light load--then as much as they can bear--then more, galled
necks or not, go they must, or the whip they must have, without
mercy or compassion. Just so are the priests doing. Oh ye sons
of liberty, ye children of wild oxen, independence, to rove where
you please, and graze on the pastures of happiness according to
your own liking, they are coaxing, persuading, begging, and
putting on the yoke and cart, by large sums of money, theological
and Sunday schools, combined with the press and priestly
influence--and I tell you, these worms will cut the root of our
independence, and if they get law on their side, they will load
the cart with tithes, to the galling of your hearts, and you must
go, or pop goes the whip.
If you will take a spy-glass of church history, you can see
the effect of law-religious craft--see a Bunyan groaning in
prison twelve years, and a Rogers led to the flames, with a heart
ready to burst with grief, and nine loving children weeping, with
a wife following in anguish of soul, to behold the funeral pile
to burn their only stay and comfort in life. Oh, dreadful sight! See the poor quakers banished, whipped, imprisoned and hung, in
New England. See the baptist ministers in Virginia fined,
imprisoned, and whipped like slaves. All this, and ten thousand
times as much more, came by law-stimulating craftsmen. Oh,
heavens! what a monster is a covetous priest, when he can have
law on his side to support his craft; he is without feeling--he
can hear the cries of weeping widows and children for bread, when
he has been the means of taking out of the world the kind father
that might have given it to them, and yet his heart be set on
wealth by his craft. Oh, hellish monster law-craft! never show
your bloody garments in America, since revolutionary patriotism
has driven you from our shores. Then, Americans, beware of law-
religion--beware of craftmen in sheep's clothing--beware of their
calling all their craftmen together, and making a dead set on
Congress to establish their craft by law for gain--then for
blood. Oh, let the tears of widows and children, the groans of
prisoners, and the bloody beacons that stand on the coasts of
other nations, warn Congress of any kind of law-religion, no
matter how foreign; or else step by step to ruin our highly
favored country goes. Law-religion never was any thing else but
a craft of tyrants and priests for gain. Jesus Christ nor his
apostles never did, not never will claim any kin with this
metamorphosed imp of hell. I must desist, only observing that
Ireland is paying 72,000 pounds to 26 bishops, besides thousands
to other crafts; and from a late statement, the British people
are paying their clergy $50,000,000 yearly; France $7,000,000--
and Spain more. Ought not this to make Americans look out, and
rise as one man, in opposition to the first attempt of law-
religion, and look back with thankful hearts to God, and highly
venerate the blood of our revolutionary fathers, that burst such
bands from the hands of us their children, and on this memorable
day established religious liberty in opposition to priestcraft
and British tyranny--and I call on you, my audience, this day,
never, no never to part with liberty for less than it cost--the
blood of the heart.
The third religion that I shall notice as having been
established in the world, is that of Mahomet, or Mahomed--who was
a very extraordinary man, an Arab of Hejiar by birth, commenced
telling his tales in the seventh century and thus began laying
the foundation of his craft. Mahomet was beautiful in his
person, with forward large and keen eyes, clear judgment,
decisive conduct, in his wit easy and social, possessed much
natural acuteness, and spoke fluently in the purest language of
Arabia. In solitary retirement in the cave of Mecca, Mahomet
appears to have conceived the idea of his prophetical mission, or
founding of this new craft. And as I have said all religious
crafts are founded on certain fabricated tales, and not on
miracles like the religion of God, I must mention some of his
tales--he tells the world of his night journeys to heaven, his
visions were very frequent he said with God and angels, and some
of them wonderful, beatific, &c. Mahomet was the grandson of the
most powerful family in Mecca, and got much wealth by marriage--
the first twelve years of his mission he had recourse to
persuasion to establish his craft; three years were silently
employed in the conversion of fourteen proselytes; for ten years
his craft advanced with a slow and painful progress within the
walls of Mecca--how soon his first adherents were let into the
secret of his views of empire, is not easy to determine; but not
to dwell--has the religion of Mahomet the marks of craft upon it? Yes, my audience--I have diligently compared the Alcoran with the
New Testament and found perhaps not less than twenty places of
forgery, where he borrowed the ideas from the New Testament, but
changed the phraseology of the words; as well as acknowledged the
name of Abraham, Noah, Jesus Christ, and others to gloss over his
craft and make it pass with these sons of Ishmael. And when he
fled from Mecca to Medina the people received him, and it was
here that this craft man with a naked sword in his hand and
uplifted arm, commenced proclaiming to the whole world the great
dogmas of his craft--that there was one God, and that Mahomet was
his prophet, and whoever refused to acknowledge him as such,
should be instantly put to death. This is a sword craft--a craft
too powerful to be resisted; and he soon compelled the whole
country of Arabia to join in with his craft, and then burst forth
into the Roman territories, and taught them his Koran craft was
not to be despised; and thus established this craft in Arabia,
Asia, part of Africa, Spain, Sicily, and many European isles. Now for the marks of this craft--first, by joining the craft they
saved their lives; secondly, every soldier in this craft equally
divided the spoils of the conquered nations, after the
reservation of one fifth for charitable purposes; thirdly,
lustful gratifications was another part of this craft, for the
craftmen were allowed a plurality of wives; and fourthly, they
were assured that the sword of Mahomet was the key of heaven and
hell; a drop of blood shed in the cause of God, a night spent in
arms is of more avail than two months of fasting and prayer--
whoever falls in battle his sins are forgiven at the day of
judgment, his wounds shall be as resplendent as vermillion and
odoriferous as musk, and the loss of his limbs shall be supplied
by the wings of angels and cherubims. Another part of his craft
was his voluptuous paradise, his robes of silk, his palaces of
marble, his groves and shades--but above all, his seventy-two
virgins assigned to each of the faithful, of resplendent beauty
and eternal youth, were enough to intoxicate the imaginations and
seize the passions and make craft men by thousands. Much more
might be said, but surely here is enough to convince any man that
this is a religion of crafts, though established by the sword,
and of course a religion of blood.
The fourth religion that I shall notice as having been
established in the world, is the Missionary establishment--and
will examine that for the marks of craft. It is abundantly
harped upon that Jesus Christ and his apostles were all
missionaries; that is agreed to as to words or office, but here
lies the great matter in dispute; were they craftmen? Did they
make gain by godliness? Did they make a craft of their religion,
like modern missionaries? I hope to shew presently from the New
Testament they did not. The first moneyed Missionary Society
that ever was established in the world, as I can find on the
pages of history, was established in the year 1622, by Pope
Gregory XV (for the New Testament knows nothing of money
established religion) and then called the Congregation for
Propagation of the Faith. It had like our modern missions, an
incredible number of donors, rich and emulous to excel in the
greatest gifts, as well as being greatly enriched by Urban VIII. And by this Congregation's money a vast number of missionaries
were sent to the remotest parts of the world, among the most
barbarous nations, and in India, China and Japan. Thousands were
won over by the artful and industrious Jesuits and monks, to
embrace the Catholic Faith. But this boasted missionary career
was of short duration, for these missionary craftmen soon began
to meddle with political affairs, like some of modern time, and
were by the jealous rulers of those countries expelled from their
dominions; and thousands of their converts were put to the sword,
and the rest returned to paganism; and thus ended the first
moneyed missionary enterprise. Now was there any craft in this
mission? Surely--for it is well authenticated from history, that
the Pope was often generalissimo of the armies, and often gave
battle in person to the enemies of the Catholic faith; and of
course the more territory the more soldiers, the more soldiers
the more power, as well as the more room for the sale of pardons
and indulgences; and the more sale the more wealth to the craft
while the great object was to grasp at the reins of government,
which the jealous rulers caught them at in nick of time to save
their country from the hands of such tyrants, whose masters often
sent these purse plunderers to force the heathen into the belief
of Christianity, and baptize nations at the point of the sword to
enrich the See of Rome, or bring wealth to the craftmen.
The sect of Christians called Moravians, founded the second
mission about one hundred years ago. The third missionary
establishment was formed about twenty or thirty years ago in
London, called the Evangelical Society. The fourth, called the
Baptist Missionary Society, in England.--And lastly, the Baptist
Missionary Society in America--with others of like occupation. All of which are founded on beggars and money, like that of Pope
Gregory's. These are all important establishments of the craft
kind, (for their like cannot be found in the New Testament) the
basis of which are money, honor, and titles--the love of which
(money) is the root of all evil, to clergymen as well as others--
has been--is--and will be; and when sanctioned by law for priests
to obtain it, the curse of nations.
Now all these established societies of the craft kind have,
by the money given to agents, running beggars, subscription
bearers, &c., been wonderfully prolific throughout the several
States, as well as other countries, in begetting daughters whom I
shall call auxiliary societies to the craft. Now I ask you
candidly, my hearers, to put your hands on your breast and say,
whether you do or do not believe that money, has been the main-
spring, the chief stimulus in all his mighty doing, and not God
but men by money are doing this. Some no doubt are giving from
what they conceive the purest motives, while others are filling
their pockets out of their weakness, and the givers to the
theological schools and other societies I say, according to my
best information and judgment at fifty years old, are sowing the
hemp that will make the ropes to hang their children--for all
hands but the honest givers, it seems to me, shew the same length
of foot--craft, from the priests to the printer.
But as I am limited to a mere sketch, I shall begin with the
Baptist Missionary Society, founded in England. In the year
1781, at an Association held at Nottingham, England, it was
agreed to set apart an hour of prayer the first Monday evening in
every month, for a revival of religion and the extension of
Christ's kingdom in the world--so far plausible. Now, who were
at the head, plan, or seem to have had the chief management of
this society? Why, John Ryland, Reynold Hogg, William Cary, John
Sutcliff, and Andrew Fuller. Were they priests? Surely--for do
you not know that the priests, were, and must be at the head of
all the schemes of the day. And Mr. Cary was one of the
committee and help form the plan that has got him along,
according to the best accounts I can get, to $6,000 a year; a
good business indeed for a preacher--neither the prophets, John
the Baptist, nor Christ nor his apostles, ever shared such a loaf
as this. Mr. Robertson, and wife were allowed $840.00 per year,
and Mr. Chater and wife and two children were allowed $960.00 a
year for missionary services. Now my hearers, say whether you
think either of these men would have left the British shore, if
it had so turned out there had been no money. I think not. Then
if they could not go without money, but you must add that before
they can go, I should say money turns the point--and on this
pivot turns all the societies of the day, in my opinion. You
find no money in Jesus' going to Nineveh, nor in Paul's voyages
to the heathen, nor in Christ's crossing the sea of Galilee to
preach the gospel--no money is begged, no society is formed, nor
salary is allowed them for scouring the seas and preaching the
gospel to the heathen--but although these things cannot be found
in the New Testament, they are said to be right; but if they are,
in my opinion, it is only so to support priestcraft in the earth,
and live on the labor of other people.
We next, my audience, shall notice the American Missionary
craft. And for goodness' sake, how came this craft to find its
way to the land of steady habits, the land of liberty? I tell
you, it was the priest's doings--for you know the American
tailors cut their cloth after British fashions; and the whole
train follows the higher orders of society--and why should not
the priests of America form their plans of money getting, and
adopt British fashionable crafts, since they are men of like
occupation? Then the truth of the case is just this--the
northern priests, many of whom are salary men, hearing of the
fashion of missions adopted in England, called together men of
like occupation, and when assembled they hatch this missionary
egg, which has since filled the States with a peace-disturbing
brood of crafts, without thus saith the Lord for their
proceeding. But fellow citizens, lest I should weary you with no
doubt what some will call nonsense, or as they have done,
political harangues, I shall proceed to examine for the constant,
united scriptural marks of a false religion and false priests--
that is, whether the American mission has the mark of craft. These northern priests soon in their pamphlets, letters and
papers, let the scattered priests know their design, and a great
many fell into their views, some no doubt from one cause and some
from another; but take it by the lump, the priests are the cause
of all this whether the craft is right or wrong, for that they
led others into it must be acknowledged; but from what motive
they have been actuated is the main point in question; and as we
cannot search their hearts, we must try them by their actions,
for actions speak louder and more truth than words, pamphlets, or
missionary newspapers, since by their fruit ye shall know them. And first as regards theological schools--who but the priests
conceived the scheme and devised the plan and set them going,
through their influence on society? You must know this is the
truth. Is there any craft in them? I should say there is
nothing else but craft. The religion of Jesus Christ stood and
flourished for three hundred years, not only without their aid,
but in opposition to them; and how else should it be, since
salvation is by grace, and the Gospel the power of God and the
wisdom of God, and the world by wisdom knew not God, and I defy
any man to prove that theological schools were ever made an
auxiliary to Christianity, until it became an established
priestcraft--and since those days it has been necessary, my
audience, to have them to support priestcraft; but when
Christianity shone in her virgin beauty it was not so. Do you
not think the teachers of theology were thinking when those plans
were formed, I am the man that will be chosen, and $2,500 will be
a handsome craft, besides the honor attached to the office? Do
you not think that those young men who go thither, have in view
the craft of getting a salary, the more of the gentlemen, a rich
wife, the honor of being called the learned, the great preacher,
and living without work? But I am sorry to say some of them are
not ashamed to beg, and thus disgrace the ministerial office--
when all the moneyed affairs of the Christian community, by the
New Testament, belongs to the office of deacon.
Secondly, as to missions. We find in black and white that
the board of the North Carolina Baptist Society for foreign and
domestic missions, ordered that their agent should be paid $540
for services, being at the rate of $40 per month; and to others
who were not so proficient in the art, $10 per day for their
services as missionaries. What were there gain or loss I know
not--but one thing I know, they have broke the peace and harmony
of the churches of North Carolina; and I think that money, and
not the souls of men was the cause--for out of the fund of the
society, which was $2,088.82 1/2, they divided $1,852.21 1/2, if
they got what the Board ordered them for services. Now I ask you
seriously my audience, as some of you are Bible readers, whether
such forming societies, begging, funding and dividing the spoil,
is a craft or not; and whether the first Christians practiced any
craft like this; or whether such conduct is found among Christ
and his apostles? It has always appeared to me, that when I see
a minister, after preaching a missionary moneyed sermon come down
out of the pulpit, singing and shaking hands to whet up the
passions and press upon young ladies to form a missionary society
and give their money, that the preaching, the singing, and the
shaking of hands of the minister, were but the craft of the
preacher to have access to the purse; and it would be in my mind,
these are they that creep into houses and lead captive silly
women laden with divers sins, &c., (Paul)--and also when I have
seen the missionary preacher stretch every nerve of eloquence,
and bear hard on every pathetic string to affect his audience in
favor of missions, I never could help saying craft in the
preacher, to catch money and not souls. And when I have seen a
parcel of priests assembled to devise plans to get money to
convert the heathen, (for I have set in missionary board) I have
been astonished to see that they, by the by, would get part as it
was passing; and that they should form the plan and so turn the
wheel as to bring them out the prize, I was forced to think there
is craft somewhere--and the same board ordered that my humble
secretary should be paid $15 for his services--shall I say craft
or not. And I ask what has become of the $1,799, left in this
fund the last time that the Board met, as I know of? For it has
been rumored that $600 of it has gone to buy western country
land; the rest it is supposed has taken French leave. Now does
one instance appear, my hearers, in the New Testament, of a
Prophet, or Christ, or his apostles, ever being hired to preach,
to beg, or to form societies to make money?--You know there is
not such a precedent in the word of God. Then I must say
preaching, begging, and forming of societies, is a craft to get
money set in operation by priests and carried on by--you comb my
head and I will scratch your elbow. But what is the worst of
all, the conversion of sinners which is the work of God must be
lugged into this craft to make it current with the public. You
beg for me and I will pay you for your services. And what has
become of the $25,000 begged out of Congress for the ministerial
factory--to give away which Congress had no right, for it was the
nation's money and they ought to have applied it to national use,
and not sectarian individual benefit. And I would further ask
you, my audience, if any of you know to what use the missionaries
applied that $16,000 it is said they got from the Indians that
was due from the United States for these poor creatures' land,
and how Congress paid it? Why what will not a priest do, even
beg and then divide, and perhaps the last cent of negro, widow,
children or Indian--for what differs this craft from that of
Demetrius, in getting wealth out of negro or Indian, goat or
sheep, so wealth is coming? And what differs the selling of
membership, from the sale of pardons, indulgences, or silver
shrines by Demetrius? I see none--or at least, I think, my
hearers, they are all crafts, and equally craftmen's different
trades for wealth--what say you?
But time would fail me to tell of the barefaced conduct of
craftmen, imposed on the public under the color of the say so of
Jesus Christ--be it sufficient to say, when you see a missionary
box on the frontispiece, or on board of a steamboat say to
yourself, oh cunning, crafty priest, you shall not befool me, for
here stands an evidence of your craft; when you see a board of
missionaries met to devise plans for the conversion of sinners,
tie your purse fast, if you do not, craftmen are so crafty that
by some hook or crook they will get into it, when you see a
subscription runner, say craftman--take care you are not begged
out of countenance; when you see a young man hunting about from
town to town, in boots and sacred black, for a place to preach
for hire, say craftman; when you see and hear a man preach, go ye
into all the world and preach money to every creature, say
craftman; when you see a publication to call craftmen together;
be sure of some new devised craft for wealth, or they think their
craft is in danger; when you see and hear a man preach the poor
heathen, the destitute, and instead of the gospel the wonderful
works of missionaries, and oh come, both goats and sheep, cast
your money in the treasury, blasphemously called the Lord's, be
sure that man is paid in some way for his services, and is at his
craft; when you see a bag hanging at the meeting-house door,
full of old rags, say paper priestcraft, when you hear a
missionary promise to send a parcel of ladies a preacher, if they
will give their money and get their money and away, say craft--
and indeed it seems to me, that this system of religion is
nothing else but craft, from the priest to the printer, for to
get their wealth like Demetrius of old, since they can sell
images of northern priests and memberships in various societies,
to support their craft. And what shall I say of the titles
annexed to missions--are they not intended as a craft to catch
men and women for wealth? such as his highness, president, vice
president, director, directress, corresponding and recording
secretary, treasurer, D.D.--LL.D.--A.M. &c., are these not good
bait to catch flies? of which titles the first christians speak
not a word of their being among them--for all these crafts have
arisen since, of which the devil must keep his register, for the
New Testament keeps none. Then is it any wonder that some men
pour forth in strains of eloquence, like the town clerk, which of
you knoweth not that the high-minded baptists, and rich men, and
great and honorable men, and my lord governor, and judges,
lawyers, and chief captains have bought membership into
missionary and bible societies, and are worshippers of the great
goddess of missions--and keep the churches and people of the
United States in an uproar, like the city of the Ephesians by the
craft of Demetrius and his gang, because a few like Paul oppose
them. Thus the cry to Congress, to help maintain the sanctity of
the Sabbath--and hence, oh ye sons of liberty, look abroad and
behold these men of like occupation in every State, and almost in
every county, actively engaged and concentrating their force to a
point, and at the same time attacking one of the most valuable
institutions of our country, that of the transportation of the
mail. I call on you, fellow-citizens, to arise like Samsons, in
defence of religious liberty, and burst those priestly withes and
carry away web, beam and all--and not sleep in Delilah's lap
until the yoke is on your necks and your locks shorn by vigilant
priests and acts of Congress and your children grind in the
prison house of civil and religious tyranny.
We preach not ourselves but Christ Jesus the Lord, and
ourselves, your servants for Jesus' sake, is the language of a
Paul, but the language of missionaries seems to me should read
thus: ourselves your servants for money's sake.
And what shall I say of tract, Sunday school, temperance,
and bible societies, &c. Are they not of the same sort? Were
not the priests the inventors? Do they not use all their
influence, like Demetrius, to keep up a trade in these things, as
he did by selling shrines? Do they not roar out in their papers,
like him, against all that oppose our craft is in danger? I
understood these bibles were to be given away, as the effect of
the money given by donors to the society; but is it so? Is not
the society selling them at any price they can get? Are not the
bible distributors making a craft of it, at $40 per month? Are
not the printers making a craft of it, like other printers? Are
not the vendors of these bibles making a craft of it, like other
booksellers? And are they not, by reason of this money, given to
the society, forcing other printers out of employ, and amassing
the printing of the bible to themselves as a religious craft? And where is the $25,000 of stock, that it is said the society
has taken in the institutions of the North? And who does that
money belong to? the givers? No, indeed, for they have neither
bond nor assurance how this money is to be disposed of, but just
as the society may choose. And is the society incorporated? I
understand not. Well, then, suppose they betray trust, how then? Why it can only go as some others have gone--a hint to the wise
is enough. But the distribution of bibles has been going on for
some time; what has been the effect on society in general? Why,
from all I can see and hear, society is worse in its morals than
when I could first remember--more pride, more dress, less
confidence between men, more failures, suicides, and murders,
than there were thirty-five years ago. The Bible is the best of
books; but how many thousands have lived and died in sin, with
one in their house for forty years; and how many thousands have
been hopefully converted to God, that never owned a bible, nor
read a word in one? Yea, my observation tells me, of this sort
is the greater number of professors of religion. In a word--when
I see men trading and trafficking in religious matters, it smells
to me rank of priestcraft--and the giving money enables the
society to sell them for less than others, then look out for this
trade to become, wholly in the end, the traffic of the priests--
and are they the most to be entrusted with the bible? No, my
audience, whenever it shall so fall out that any one sect has the
trust, and disposal of the Bible, look out for the corruption of
the sacred text--for I have seen some instances already.
Much is said about the Temperance Society--but if I am
rightly informed, those who join are not to drink one drop--if
so, it has a wrong name, for it ought to be called the Abstaining
Society. Does such a society agree with scripture? Drink no
longer water, says Paul to Timothy, but use a little wine, and of
deacons he says, not given to much wine--and the Saviour drank
wine. And because some men make a store-house of their belly, I
must eat none--and because some men have burnt up their kettles,
I must not hang mine on the fire--and because some men have been
killed by medicine, I must not use it prudently. What sophistry
of priests! And because some men eat so much as to make them
sick, I must not eat enough to keep me alive--and because some
men eat too much meat and bread, I must not make meat and bread,
nor trade in these articles--and because some men make a beast of
their belly and get drunk, I must not make fruit brandy, still
it, or trade in this article. The scripture is not against
drinking, but against drinking too much, or drunkenness: for the
Mosaic priest was permitted to drink wine, but not when he was
going to officiate. And Paul saith, every creature of God is
good, and nothing to be refused, for it is sanctified by the word
of God and prayer; and let your moderation be known to all men. And it is the right way to make drunkards--to keep sober all day,
and be drunk all night--the worst sort of greedy drunkards are
these, priests not excepted. Don't mistake--set all things
right-- for this society puts me in mind of Paul's prophecy, who
said, some should arise that would forbid to marry, and abstain
from meats which God had created to be received; and that was
priestcraft under the Romish Church, none can deny; and this
being so nigh a kin to it, I think this is modern priestcraft,
that has a form of godliness, to a better craft out of present
sight. I shall then take my grog, wine, or what not, when I
please, nor will I debar myself the privilege and pleasure of
asking my friends or enemies to do so; and let such over-
zealous, self-righteous craftmen help themselves if they can; for
it is like the Pharisees of old--great pretence outside, but the
craft was to devour some widow's house. Cry aloud, ye priests,
and spare not, against drunkenness; but let moderation alone,
lest you get just as far in the ditch on the other side.
And as it regards Tract Societies and Sunday School Unions,
they are about the worst of the whole gang; for they are also the
inventions of the priests, and contain craft for printers, and
they should cry out as well as the priests, our craft is in
danger, for you know by this, our printing tracts, we have our
wealth--and the writers should cry out, since premiums are
offered for the best tract on such a subject--and the traders in
tracts also may cry out; but the worst of all the effects, is the
sectarian principles infused in the minds of youths, for it is
but reasonable to suppose that the writers will squint an eye to
their party, and give that turn to them that will mostly
establish and enhance their sect. And will not Sunday School
Unions force out of schools all books but those approved by the
priests and their party, and bend the twig to incline to their
point, and thus pave the way to the desired end--and this party
in the end monopolize books, schools, sentiments, men and power,
and the end of all crafts, money? Besides, it is a great
convenience, as well as advantage, to get the people formed into
various societies, because they are much easier governed; and
much more easily brought to bear at any wanted point, and at a
given time, because it increases the greater number of actual
controllers in lesser bands--hence, see what an easy matter to
bring all the priests, at a given time, to a focus, in the
several States in their petitions to Congress for stopping the
mail--what an easy matter it is for them to collect money, when
they have got men and women thus craftily formed into societies;
this was a grand piece of priestcraft. Now having them thus
formed, it is but say and receive without much trouble; well they
might pay runners to go about and form societies, because they
can now stay at home and money is pouring in to the craft; for
some of these societies, if I am informed right, pay annually,
after having purchased a shrine of the craftmen of membership
into Bible and other societies. I tell you, my audience, that it
is my candid opinion, that this society craft will enslave our
country. In a word, all these chief societies make use of
employed runners as sponges, to suck up the riches of a tour, and
squeeze it, and then send them off in another direction to be
filled again. I repeat it, these societies of every sort
manifest a wonderful love of money, for they embrace every method
of procuring it, even to old rags; and thus they sponge and
squeeze, and never say enough. It does appear to me, my
audience, that the greater part of the religion of these days is
a craft, a religion of trade and speculation, from the priest to
the printer; and has been established in public opinion, without
a proper comparison to the religion of Jesus Christ; and that the
priests have devised the plans of all these things to handle
money; and after devising the plans, then hire others to carry
them into execution, and pay them for their services; thus, by
the influence of the priests and money, great things have been
done, it is said.
But I am such an unbeliever of these priestly tales, I must
say, like Jesus said in his day to such craft men--you compass
sea and land to make a proselyte, and when you have made him he
is but two-fold more the child of hell than yourselves. For by
plans of priests, by hired beggars, by subscription runners of
those priests they thought had the most influence and could work
most on the passions of men to get money, was this religion
begun, continued, carried on, and not by God's spirit. And
secondly, the publication of donor's names has been a great means
to establish this religion of missions, since thousands of men
will buy honor with money. Thirdly, the great concern that some
priests seem to have for the destitute and the heathen, while the
end of the row was money in their own pockets. But most of all
those who have gone the furthest and done the most to establish
this missionary religion, are the givers to those various
societies, to make shrines for the goddess of missions; for no
customers do trade by Demetrius and his crafty gang, equally so
no giving, no runners, no subscription bearers, no craft men of
course, and the goddess of missions and her magnificence are soon
destroyed. Thus this religion of crafts, with the whole train of
missions, bible and tract societies, theological and sunday
schools, have their men, and I think may properly be called craft
men, employed every man looking for gain from his quarter. And I
think, my audience, when all these craft men are called together
with money and influence on the people, they can do wonders in
the United States--all moving in harmony at the same juncture of
time and to the same point. I tell you, my hearers, as a
faithful watchman on the walls of Zion, our civil and religious
liberty is in danger, in my opinion; and the magnificence of our
republic in great danger of being destroyed by these designing
men. Up, each one of you, and be doing his part, for there is no
time for you to sleep on your oars, or else backwards we go by
the adverse winds of priestcraft, to the chains of priestly
tyranny as in the days of Britain--and don't forget, for heaven's
and your children's sake, that the price of liberty is blood. A
thousand times more might be said on the schemes of the day, but
I must desist at present, only observing that there are ways to
avert this storm and save your country and liberty to your
children, and perhaps children's children, or I think our country
is gone--first, don't give one cent to any of these societies;
but what you have to give, give to the poor and needy, the
fatherless and widow, and their souls will bless you, and you
will be acting according to scripture, and shall be blessed in
the deed; for without money craft men or the societies cannot
exist. Secondly, discountenance every man traveling under the
patronage or to promote any of these societies, being sure he is
a craft men, and not even honor him with a hearing as money is
his design--which I for many years have determined not to do, as
I regard such as laying a foundation that may hereafter overturn
our happy republic. Thirdly, I say to save your country, you
should not support any man for public office in the States, that
is a member of, or that is in favor of the societies of the day,
lest any bill supporting priestcraft should come before the State
or National Legislature, and there meet with priest-made friends
to rivet the yoke on your necks--for as the people are now
sovereign of the States, for God's sake hold on and don't let the
priests have the sovereignty; if you do, nothing but money will
not do, for then blood and slavery must be added to these craft
men--for of all the men in the world I dread the tyranny of the
unconverted, men-made, money-coveting priest; I had rather be
under the government of a deist, an atheist, or a Turk, than such
hell and men-made tyrants as these money-hunting craft men, who
have stimulated the magistrates of the world to fill the earth
with blood and cruelty. And the American unconverted factoried
priests are no better; all that is wanting is law on their side,
and then for dungeons, gibbets, flames, fine and forfeiture,
whips and confiscation of goods and banishment--and for heaven's
sake, my countrymen, never come even to a toleration. Fight until
you die by the pole of American liberty and under the banner of a
saving eagle, rather than ask of the magistrate, how you shall
worship your God--for such a favor is not to be asked by the
citizen, nor granted by the creature of human power, but is the
right of all men.
Fifthly and lastly, I come to notice the religion of Jesus
Christ, as having been established in the world, and examine that
in a short way for crafts. Jesus Christ the founder of this
holy, humble, self-denying, world-loosing, and God-depending
religion, was born, according to the best accounts, on the 25th
day of December, in the year of the world 4004, in a stable, in a
town called Bethlehem, in the land of Judea, but of poor
parentage, yet of royal extraction, from the family of David king
of Israel. And he must have been the same person of whom the
prophet Isaiah speaks--that a virgin should be with child and
bring forth a son and call his name Emanuel, (God with us) when
compared with the birth and conception of Jesus as given by the
Evangelist--for mark, he does not say a woman shall be with
child, for thousands had been and were in this day and had
brought forth their sons--but, my hearers, the prophet here has a
clear view of God's method of providing the world with a Saviour-
-a virgin shall be with child (that is, a woman that never knew a
man)--a miracle indeed, and such an one as infidels snuff their
nose at; yet compared with Paul's saying, (made of a woman) and
with the declaration of the angel, thou shalt conceive and bring
forth a son, &c., will be found to exactly agree. and whoever
will be at the pains to carefully examine and compare the various
prophecies in their most minute and circumstantial details, with
the New Testament, as regards the birth, life, death,
resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ, must be struck with
the accurate fulfilment of prophecy in the person of Christ
Jesus; and it cannot be applied to any other character, or any
other man of whom history informs us--as well as the spread of
his doctrine, increase of his followers, &c., for the novel
circumstance of a virgin being with child by the Holy Ghost, a
case I never heard of but this; nor read of in the pages of
history--his character by the prophet, God with us, which could
not have been any other way but as described by Gabriel--Joseph's
dream--his star in the east--the coming of the wise men to
Jerusalem--their inquiry in the courts of Herod, for him that was
born King of the Jews--the consulting of the prophecies to find
where, and finding as they said, the star going before and
standing over where the young child was--the proclamation of the
angels to the shepherd--their directions where to find him, and
the signs, swaddling bands and laying in a manger--the heavenly
hosts singing the exact ditty of the life-effects of the gospel
on the souls of sinners, by the life and death of this man--the
prophecies of Simeon and Ann--the death of the Hebrew children by
the sword of Herod--his going to Egypt, his return to Nazareth,
&c., is such a combination of uncommon, evidential circumstances
to prove the extraordinary personage of this man Jesus Christ,
that cannot by one-fifth part be found to prove any other
historical fact on earth--for the birth of Julius or Augustus
Caesar, Solomon, David, Washington, or Bonaparte, has not the
twentieth part of evidences for their birth, and the manner, how,
and where, and their character that should follow, and was
fulfilled in the presence of eye witnesses, as well as prophecies
going before accomplished. And as for the character of his life,
where, and how he lived, the doctrine he taught, the suffering
and reproaches he underwent, the miracles he wrought, the cures
he effected, the goodness of his conduct and disposition, his
readiness to help the distressed without money, the manner of his
death, the followers he had, and their sufferings, and
disinterested character, and world losing behaviour, and labor to
support themselves, are as well and better founded than many
other historical facts that are universally received--having the
testimony of sacred and profane history, of cotemporary
historians, of friends and enemies, of angels and of God, of eye
and ear witnesses, of miracles, and of a virtuous, and suffering,
and disinterested life--with the addition of a system of
morality, whose evidence is such, that shows that the system must
have emanated from the Deity, because it breathes the very spirit
of the general dealing of God in the government of the world;
breathing nothing else but peace, love, good will and kindness
from God to man; and not blood and cruelty like priestcraft has
in most of the nations of the earth for gain to priests. And I
cannot see why I should not as fully believe in all Jesus did,
and taught, whose writings have come down to us--and more so,
because Christ is not the writer of his own history, but the
united history of four men who were eye witnesses of the facts,
who suffered hardships, faced dangers, suffered losses, and died
in defence of what they taught and wrote; which, though they
somewhat disagree in their history, yet that disagreement is but
the better proof of the authority of their several accounts of
his transactions; for the only difference is in mode of
expression, and omissions and additions, and shews plainly that
they did not copy one from another, and that no four men on earth
could have compiled a fabulous history to have agreed in so many
particulars, but must have been eye witnesses of the facts
recorded--for if false, they being cotemporary must have known
it; if true, surely it is to be expected there would be some
difference in the relation of the facts. On the publication of
the life of Christ, we find no histories, either sacred or
profane, daring to dispute the facts, for these things were too
notorious among both Jews and Gentiles, in town and country, to
be disputed; and if they did dispute, miracles were wrought in
confirmation of these truths, to the stopping of the mouths of
gainsayers--as said the Jewish magistrates, a notable miracle has
been done by these men, and we cannot deny it--and God bearing
the apostles witness, with divers signs and wonders, and gifts of
the Holy Ghost, stopped the mouths of gainsayers; while their
clothing, manner of fare, reception in town and country, as well
as generally and daily conduct, proved they were not craftmen in
woollen blue.
This poor Jew, Jesus by name, commenced his ministry in the
land of Judea without education; which should prove to us his
religion is not a religion of education; without wealth, then his
religion is not a religion of wealth; without missionary society
funds, without the aid of the rich priests, scribes, pharisees,
or rulers of the Jews; without the aid of schools, or the
patronage of law, kings, or statesmen--nor with sword like
Mahomet--or law, or fear of prisons, fires, gibbets, banishment,
confiscation of goods, or death, like the Pope, or High Church of
England; nor as the craftmen of heathen gods and goddesses, with
persecution of a Paul for fear of danger of losing the sale of
silver shrines; but in that low, humble, reasoning, persuasive,
gentle, and peaceable disposition of the gospel spirit, that
breathes peace on earth, good will towards man, or even to
enemies, like God in his providence, sending rain on the just and
unjust, giving life, health, and blessings to all. And thus
commenced establishing Christianity upon conduct and principles
as foreign to priestcraft as north is to south; for proof of
which, I beg you to read the New Testament; for the religion of
Jesus Christ has neither the money, learning, honor, titles, nor
wealth for its support, and of course there is nothing to make a
craft of; so Christ's religion is not a religion of craft, but
ungodly priests have often made a craft of it. For the sublimity
and morality of the doctrine of Christ carried conviction to the
hearts of the enemies, of their rightness and fitness to benefit
men here and hereafter, as well as the peace and good of society;
and not like priest-craft, that spreads uproar and confusion in
cities, and cruelty and desolation in nations--for although these
things followed wherever the religion of Jesus came, it was not
the effects nor the disposition of the religion of Jesus Christ
that done it--but was because the religion of Jesus Christ upset
to the very foundation all craft in religion, for it admits it
not. Thus, when the Romish priests introduced their priestcraft,
blood flowed in torrents, because there were some men on earth of
the religion of Jesus, that protested against the introduction of
this new craft of Popes and priests trading in religion.
Equally so when the High Church of England by her priests,
king and parliament introduced their law priestcraft--there were
some in that country that did possess this disinterested, world-
loosing religion of Jesus Christ--and protesting against it,
prisons and flames were their lot--this did not flow from the
religion of Jesus Christ, but from the craft men like Demetrius
who was afraid of the loss of his wealth by his craft. Just so
now in our times, the introduction of missionary crafts has made
a terrible hubbub in towns, country and church, and missionaries
say it is the opposers that have done it--I say, with the
independence of that liberty of conscience bought with blood,
they are false charges of those that fear for their craft--for
the case is the same, there are yet some men on earth that
possess the religion of the humble Jesus, and preach for Jesus'
sake and not for money's sake, and whose daily conduct proves
they are not craftmen--and those that roar out, infidel,
ignorant, weak, fools, or it is for want of sense such fellows as
these are men of craft; and nothing is wanting but law on their
side, and then like Demetrius, Popes, priests of England and
America, for prisons, flames and hanging, and roaring out our
craft is in danger, kill these heretics and do God and the world
service. Now to convince any man that such cruel, bloody craft
men do not possess the spirit of Christ or his doctrines, listen
to specimens of his doctrine to his followers: I say unto you,
love your enemies, do good to them that hate you and pray for
them that despitefully use you and persecute you--and for what? that you may be the children of your father which is in heaven. And again--hear and understand--whatsoever you would that men
should do unto you, do you even so unto them. Did Demetrius do
so? Did the pharisees do so? Did the priests of Rome, Spain,
France, England, or America, that have robbed the purses of
negroes, widows, and men and imprisoned and burnt thousands to
death, act up to these sublime and peace-making doctrines?
No, my audience, fallen nature possesses no such spirit we
know, from what we feel within; nor does it possess even an
inclination to act according to those doctrines, more especially
when gain or self interest is at stake. And I tell you, there
never was, nor never will be a covetous craftman that ever did or
will possess this heaven-born disposition; it is alone in the
regenerate soul, and not in men of craft. These doctrines of
Christ are short, easy to be understood, and no man can question
if acted up to, that their advantages both to civil and religious
society must be unspeakably great; hence it was said, never man
spake like this man; no, neither Moses, Seneca, nor Cato, in all
their lessons of morality.
But, my hearers, I have no doubt already wearied you and
therefore shall hasten to a conclusion. I call upon you this
day, that are readers of the New Testament, to say, in defence of
the honor of Jesus Christ and his doctrine and apostles, as well
as the Christian religion in its primitive state, whether he was
a craftman or not? whether you remember one instance in his
life, or precept, that will shew anything like a craft, or gain,
or that even smells of a scheme to get money? I call upon you to
say, if you do not think he could have made a great craft of his
preaching, his miracles, his cures, or even the sight of himself? You know he could; but you know also the history of his life
shews he did not. All was free, all was willingly, only living
on the voluntary charity of the world; Susannah and others, and
Simon the pharisee, administering to his necessities, without
hired beggars, society formers, or subscription runners, to
create funds to send him or support him as a preacher while in
the world; and would sooner work a miracle to get money to pay
his tax; than be a craftman. What shall I say of John the
Baptist? In those days came John the Baptist preaching in the
wilderness of Judea; the same John had his clothing of camel's
hair (coarse stuff) and a leathern girdle about his loins (and
not boots and broadcloth, and silver-headed canes and goldwatch
chains, often the effect of scheme-craft on the weak and
credulous) and his meat was locusts and wild honey. Is there, my
audience, found in the New Testament, anything like craft in this
first gospel minister? You know there is not. Next we come to
the apostles Paul, Peter, James and John; and upon examination of
their epistles, as to doctrine, practices and exhortations, is
there anything like forming societies to raise money outside the
church of God? Are there any exhortations to that effect? Are
there any beggars, societies, or subscription runners among the
Jews, to send the gospel to the heathen? Is there any forming
societies, begging, funding, and dividing thereby, among the
apostles? Are there any schemes laid by them, to bring them in
money? Do they seek to have laws passed to give them salaries? Do they say, if you will give me so much, I will preach for you? Oh no, these are all the marks of craftmen, and not the marks of
Christ's ministers, as you may easily see; ourselves your
servants for Jesus' sake, not for filthy lucre sake; these hands
have ministered to my necessities, I will most gladly spend and
be spent for you; I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are
at Rome also; and for his name's sake they went forth, taking
nothing of the Gentiles. And although Paul received a gift from
the church at Philippi, yet he laid the foundation and built up
that church; Lydia and the jailor the first converts; and this
was a church that knew and did her duty. Let him that is taught
in the word communicate to him that teaches in all good things;
and in this way has the Lord ordained that they that preach the
gospel should live of the gospel, by the voluntary charity of the
church and world, and not by scheming and begging craftmen,
lying, and cheating the public, promising to do one thing with
their money and do another. But is there anything among the
apostles, in life, conduct, or doctrine, that has even a shew of
priestcraft for gain, as in these days, by every strategem that
the ingenuity of craftmen can devise? You know, my hearers,
neither their conduct nor doctrines as given us in the epistles,
shew such marks as those of a scheming craftman; no they disclaim
it, for hear Paul: supposing gain is godliness, from such turn
away; and they shall make merchandise of you, and run greedily
after the error of Balaam; these are the marks of craftmen, given
by the Holy Ghost, and don't they fit priests in conduct in
these days, is for you to judge.
Lastly, can you find anything like money craft among the
prophets, from Enoch to the close of prophecy? Doth not Elisha
put the mark of his disdain on monied religion, by enstamping the
leprosy on Gehazi, who made a craft of the miracle of his
master? I now challenge the world to show any marks of craft on
the prophets, John the Baptist, Christ, or his apostles, or the
first propagators of Christianity. Come forth, if such marks are
to be found; I am ready to meet you in the field. And if you
cannot, say by what authority do you form societies, beg money;
oh, ye priests, ye crafty scheming priests, to get money by all
the shameful schemes of the day; and under what master you serve,
God or devil? For if the proceedings of missionary conduct is to
be found in the scriptures, either in begging money or scheming
to get it, I am a fool in christian politics. I challenge any
man, from Canada to Pensacola, to show by the scriptures any
marks of craft in the conduct of the prophets, Christ or his
apostles; or shew any appearance of scheming and devising plans
to get money by selling memberships into societies, begging or
trading in religion for gain to themselves or others. But that
they lived on their own labor and the voluntary charity of their
brethren and the world, this is a God's truth. And the religion
of these days is the reverse of their conduct, and so must be a
The religion of Jesus Christ is peaceable, gentle, kind,
humble, world-loosing, God-depending, benevolent; and in its
doctrine, conduct and spirit, breathes nothing but peace and good
will to all mankind; and has not, nor cannot, nor never did, nor
is not, the author of that blood and persecution and suffering,
which has filled the world under the color of religion. But
those dreadful sufferings have in all countries originated with,
and been carried on by priestcraft, whether pagan, heathen, or
christian; priestcraft has been the sole cause for wealth, and
craftmen in all countries and in all ages, are justly chargeable
with the sorrows of the nations, and the blood that has been shed
about religion, and not the religion of Jesus Christ, in its
precepts, spirit, or real followers; but by craftmen, who borrow
the garments of religion to hide, cover, and under which robe of
innocency to perform all their cursed crafts and cruelty on the
sons and daughters of men. Proof enough; witness the craft of
Demetrius, raising the uproar in Ephesus; for the town clerk
clears Paul and his companion of any charge; witness the craft of
the soothsaying damsel, that brought her master much gain; it was
that priestcraft that threw Paul and Silas into prison; witness
the priestcraft of the Pharisees, persecuting and killing Jesus
Christ, or whom the judge on the trial said, I find no fault in
this man; witness Paul with letters in his pocket from the chief
priests making havoc, killing men and women; witness the pagan
persecutions, coming from the pagan priest; read the letter of
Governor Pliny of Bethany, to the Emperor; witness the craft of
the priests of the Romish church; witness the priests in Paris,
with crucifixes in their hands, stimulating the Roman Catholics
to murder sixty thousand in a night; witness these crafty priests
in Spain, building and filling the hellish Inquisition, those
abodes of darkness and dungeons of human misery, with the victims
of their wrath; witness these men of crafts, for fear of the
danger of their craft in England, imprisoning, burning, hanging,
drowning, and banishing the innocent opposers of their craft;
sparing neither age nor sex, but wreaking all their cruelty on
them; witness craftmen before the revolution in America,
stimulating and exciting the magistrates of New England and
Virginia to whip, imprison, fine and banish men and women for
heresy, or because they would not conform or pay their money to
Time would fail me to cite more evidences, for a thousand
others from different ages and countries could be brought to
prove that all these evils, and ten thousand times as much more,
have originated with money hunting; and money-getting priests;
they and they only were the sole cause of all law religion, blood
and cruel tyranny in the nations of the earth, and not the
religion and world-loosing followers of Jesus Christ for proof of
which I have the scriptures and histories of nations to establish
the facts. Then, my audience, if the schemes of the day is a
craft of money-hunting and money-getting priests, I have put the
glass to your face to see what all this will end in, unless you
resist betimes and save the liberty of your country. For I tell
you, as in the presence of my God, that the religion of Jesus
Christ needs no law for its support, nor never had any; though
craftmen have called their religion by that name. And I tell you
also; that craftmen must and will, if it is to be had, have law
on their side to support their craft; for all crafts are in
danger where free inquiry is granted. Therefore we hear the cry
our craft is in danger, we shall lose our wealth; therefore have
these money-hunting craftmen in all countries cried out, ye men
of Israel help--help, king--help, Emperor--help, governor--help,
magistrate--help legislators--help Congress, our craft is in
danger. And that moment any of these help, they put the dagger
in hand to stab his brother, and establish priestcraft in the
earth, and stand up against the Lord and his cause: and shut the
door against the messengers of heaven, that brings the tidings of
peace and goodwill towards men; and maintain on the labors of
poor farmers and mechanics a set of blood hounds in the world.
Now, my respectful and attentive fellow-citizens, I tell you
that it is my candid opinion, that the independence and liberty
of our country is in more danger at this time from priestcraft,
than it has ever been since the revolution, from all the nations
of the earth, or any past or present source whatever; and I wish
to remind you, that united we stand, divided we fall, a prey to
the tyranny of kings or priests. Yea, if you suffer the priests
by law to ride on your back, you will soon, I assure you, have to
carry a king behind him; for do you not know that our
forefathers, before the revolution, had to wag along with both
king and priest. And look at Spain, France, and England wearing
the chains of both these tyrants, for I tell you, that craftmen
and kings ride the same horse to poverty. And in order to save
and perpetuate that most blessed and best inheritance of civil
and religious liberty, left us by bleeding fathers, keep Congress
to the text book of the Constitution, and the church of God to
the letter of the New Testament; and when either is perverted to
self-interest, and to mean anything and everything, to the
interests of the statesman or priests, resist, as the people is
the sovereign of the country. For if you lose sight of these
polar stars, and do not often refer to first principles, we sink
into the whirlpool of tyranny like other nations. Be jealous of
your rights and liberty, while you have got them; for if lost it
will be your own fault, and when gone, perhaps, gone forever. And if you should carelessly, and negligently let scheming
priests take them from you, you will deserve to be accursed by
your dead fathers, and by future generations yet unborn. Oh! look abroad and behold all the nations of the earth in tyranny
but ourselves; and oh! think how high liberty was, after the
Declaration of Independence, banished from the earth; see only a
little band of patriots, three thousand strong, whose bosoms were
fanned with the heavenly flame of liberty or death, under the
leading of the God-like Washington, crossing the icy Delaware,
and marching up the hill of snowy Trenton, to make now, as it
were, the last struggle to plead her cause against oppressing
tyrants; for this was the crisis of American Independence; this
victory gave fresh life to whigs, but to tories and priestcraft a
lasting blow at the root. I call upon you, therefore, by the
blood of the martyrs of liberty, by the tears of weeping orphans
and widows, and by the blood-stained roads, fields, and decks of
ships, and the groans of the wounded and dying heroes of our
country, never, no never, no never suffer a law religion of any
kind, however foreign.
I leave you now, my audience, to compare, reflect, and
improve on what I have said; praying that God, that manages the
destinies of nations, to perpetuate the independence of our
country, which was bought at so dear a rate.



State of North Carolina
Edgecombe County, Feb. 7, 1832.

The subjoined is as true a character of Brother Lawrence as our
ability, integrity, and knowledge of him enable us to draw:

Brother Joshua Lawrence, of Edgecombe County, North
Carolina, as a man, is just, honest and respectable; plain,
familiar and social: As a citizen, loyal, peaceable and useful:
As a neighbor, quiet, friendly, kind and charitable; As a
husband, faithful, indulgent, and affectionate; As a father,
tender, forbearing, and attentive to the temporal interests and
morals of his children; As a master, feeling, reasonable, and
humane; He is a member of the order called "Predestinarian
Baptists," or, "United Baptists;" and as a professor of
religion, pious, orderly, ardent, cordial, and tenderly
affectionate; evincing by his deportment, much brotherly love and
good will; As a minister of Jesus Christ, faithful, ingenuous,
candid, unwavering, unostentatious, humble, fervent, free from a
man-fearing or man-pleasing spirit, yet seldom boisterous or
harsh. He seems to feel the power and taste the sweets of the
gospel he preaches, anxious that those who hear should feel and
taste them too. A most firm believer of the scriptures contained
in the Old and New Testaments, which he has made the rule of his
faith and practice about thirty years, from which he seldom
advances any doctrine which he does not prove from them; and in
which he is more than commonly orthodox. As a divine, he is well
versed in the Gospel and Scriptures generally; combining
readiness with ability and correctness; acuteness and
penetration, with profoundness; jealous and watchful for the
truths of the Gospel, and bold and able in defending them; slow
to offend, apt to see and acknowledge a fault in himself, and
lenient, and ready to forgive one in another.
So far from ever having "denied the Bible," or Scriptures,
his love for them appears to grow with his growing knowledge of
them; and the farther he declines down the steps of age, the more
of a veteran, (if possible) he is in their vindication and
support. He has, for the most part, through life, declined
receiving anything for his ministerial services. Through life he
has labored with his own hands; and, though now able to live
without, yet his "own hands minister to his necessities."
As he is now living immediately amongst us, modesty and
expediency would forbid us to say so much, were it not that his
character has been so much impugned and aspersed abroad. His
character, as above given, may be criticized upon, and even
denied at a distance; but we believe that those who act thus,
risk more than the unbiased and dispassionate part of his
acquaintance are willing to risk. We believe that, in addition
to the names subscribed, five hundred may be found that will
testify to the above; and that he has by preaching and writing,
done much for Church and State; that he is as pure a patriot as
he is a Christian; that his sound doctrines and wholesome
precepts in his public ministrations, have been fortified by his
own examples in his private walks, which have exerted a kindly
influence upon society around him.
We whose names are undersigned, being all personally and
intimately acquainted with the aforesaid Joshua Lawrence, do
testify that we believe the above to be his true civil and
religious character.

Mark Bennett--Baptist minister, Edgecombe
John Mercer--Justice of the Peace, do. do.
George Boddie--Member of the Baptist Church.
James S. Battle--Clerk of the Baptist Church at
Falls of Tar River, Nashville, N. C.
Jesse Battle--Deacon of the Baptist Church at
the Falls of Tar River, Nash County, N. C.
Isaac Lessums--Justice of the Peace, Nash
County, N. Carolina.
Plummer W. Lankin--Deacon of the Baptist
Samuel W. W. Vick--Sheriff, Nash County, N. C.
Bennett Bunn.
Robert Lorey--Baptist member at the Falls.
Joseph S. Battle--Deacon of the Baptist Church,
at the Falls of Tar River.
James J. Phillips--A neighbor.
James Biggs--Justice of the Peace, Edgecombe
Spencer D. Cotton--Randolph Cotton.
Redmun Bunn--Justice of the Peace, Nash County.
Francis L. Daney--Attorney.
R. Harrison--Justice of the Peace.
Michael Heams--Clerk of the County Court of
Louis D. Wilson--Chairman of the Court of Pleas
and Quarter Sessions, for the county of
Edgecombe, N. C.


The remarkable discourse, and expose of the Craftsmen, By Elder Lawrence, which you have just read, is noted for its influence upon the Baptists of North Carolina and surrounding states at that time.

We do not wish to criticize the sermon, but lest we should be misunderstood in our republication of it, we wish to state that the views and related practice of the Primitive Baptists of
our acquaintance generally differ with the sentiments expressed by Elder Lawrence on the temperance question.

Our people today hold to the spirit and principle set forth by the Apostle Paul in the following scriptures, to wit, "All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient."--I. Cor. 6: 12. In other words, we believe abstinence is taught.

"Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend."--I. Cor. 8: 13. "Abstain from all appearance of evil." -- I. Thess. 5: 22.

With these few candid remarks, we leave the reader to judge the sermon for himself.

---The Primitive Baptist Library

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