Populist Saints - B.T. and Ellen
has taken the world a log while to understand the Gospel of Jesus
Christ; and even now it is but imperfectly understood. ... I do not
know but we are too much taken up with our own personal salvation
and fail in taking as deep an interest as we should in the affairs
of the day. ... Pure religion does not consist in withdrawing from
the world, but in keeping one's self unspotted from the world. ...
We should take God's part in the great moral warfare being carried
on in the world. We should array ourselves on God's side in every
controversy that is carried on between righteousness and iniquity.
"In a country
where laws are made and administered, often according to popular
clamor, men of one class, if united, may exert a much more powerful
influence than men of a much larger class, if acting in their
individual character. Seeing this, all the great interests of the
State, except the farming interest, have become thoroughly
organized. As a result there is manifest a strong tendency, by our
legislature, to enact laws operating unjustly against farmers.
Several such laws are not in force, and others still more unfair are
proposed. ... The monopolists should, for their own safety, lift the
hand of oppression from the farmers, which is now crushing them into
the earth. (744, 786)
greater the proportion of men who work for others, the greater
danger there is of riotous disturbances. It is as advantageous to
the city, as it is to the country, to have the property and the
business divided up among a large number of owners. ... In the old
Jewish republic, the greatest possible precautions were taken that
each family should possess a competence. The land was divided among
them. Every one had a farm, a homestead, in the country. If one was
compelled to sell his inheritance, he could alienate it from his
family for only fifty years at the longest. At the year of jubilee
debts were cancelled and inheritances restored. (720-1)
laws should make provision for the breaking up of great estates upon
the death of the owners. The steady aim of our Government should be
to afford to all, every just and proper facility for unfavorable to
the acquisition of a vast amount of property by any one person, and
to the handing of it down unbroken from generation to generation.
"The Gospel gives to
woman the same religious rights that it does to man. It allows of no
distinction on account of sex or social condition. This, Paul
plainly asserts. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is
neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are
all one in Christ Jesus. - Gal. 3:28. The Gospel witholds
not a single privilege from any person, because he is a Gentile, or
because he is a bondman, or because she is a woman. One is your
Master even Christ: and all ye are brethren. (723)
other institution that has appeared among men produces such radical
changes in society as the religion of Christ. It is revolutionary in
its character. Wherever the Gospel plow breaks up the soil, school
houses and churches, and colleges and asylums for the insane, the
blind and the dumb, spring up in its furrows as if by magic ...
unsettling every false foundation of the social edifice. (740)
must awake to the importance of promoting righteousness. Conversions
amounts to nothing unless those converted turn fully to the right in
every thing. Wrong principles and wrong practices must be fully and
forever forsaken by every one who would become a disciple of Christ.
A revival without a reformation is one of Satan's devices to
perpetuate his kingdom. (741)
reform is greatly needed. Our Legislatures are utterly corrupt, our
administrators of justice are bought and sold far more shamefully,
and almost as openly, as the negroes were in the days of slavery.
... But if a reform is effected, a few impracticable radicals, who
consult only the right, must take the lead, and when the cause
becomes popular so that their help is not needed, the co-operation
of the leading ministers and churches of the day (and, presumably,
citizens generally) may be expected. (788)
Saints: B. T. and Ellen Roberts and the First Free Methodists by
Howard A. Snyder, Eerdmans, 2006.
is no class of society in such imminent danger of eternal damnation
as the rich. If any among them are saved, it will be like Lot coming
out of Sodom - the exception not the rule. ... It is not merely
trust in riches, that renders it so difficult to enter the kingdom
of God, but their possession. ...
"Jesus forbids his disciples to
amass wealth. His language is plain. It requires a great deal of
ingenuity to pervert it." (p. 12)
'The people should see to it that
their representatives in Congress pass laws in their interest, and
not in favor of the moneyed class and rich corporations in the
injury of community generally. ... (money) controls legislation until it becomes so
oppressive that the people rise up against its control. (16-17)
"Aspects of Early Free Methodist History" by Howard A.
Snyder (United Seminary, Dayton, Ohio, 1994)