From Volume VIII, December 20, 1845, of “The Star in the West”
SUMMARY JUSTICE—’WHO STOLE THE BEEF?’
The Primitive Expounder at Alphadelphia, Michigan, tells a good story about the exposure of two Methodist preachers who lately held forth at a Camp Meeting at Romulus in that State. It seems the Methodists, at their Camp Meetings in the West, have a practice of killing Universalism regularly, by the announcement and delivery of a sermon against the doctrine. On this occasion great numbers of people were present, and a Rev. Mr. E., was put forth to preach the sermon against Universalism. He went on, it seems, quite a la mode M. H. Smith, retailing all the slanderous stories he ever heard or could manufacture against the characters of those wicked people who dare believe in the universal and unchangeable goodness of God. Whilst in that part of his sermon devoted to show that we are a set of thieves, robbers, etc, and whilst giving as a fact in proof, the case of somebody who stole, a voice was heard from the body of the great congregation, uttering in a loud voice, above that of the preacher, these mysterious words—”But who stole the beef!” The inquiry raised an excitement, and the Elders came forward and demanded what he meant by such disorderly language? Being called on for an explanation, he went on to say in presence of the multitude, that a few years ago ‘he knew a certain gentleman in Ypsalanti, very intimately connected with the mysterious disappearance of a quarter of beef from that place, and that the said gentleman ran away from there on that account, and that he had never seen him since till that day and that hour when and where he now saw him preaching against Universalism as a licentious doctrine!” Was not that an argumentum ad hominem?
The editor of the Expounder adds to this story, another equally mortifying narrative. lie says that at the same Camp Meeting there was another preacher “who occupied a conspicuous station, by the name of W. T. who also abused Universalists. A gentleman present said he arrested him 7 or 8 years ago in Ann Arbor (I think) and carried him to Poutiac where he was convicted for stealing a horse.”
We mention these things only as an admonition to our opposers to have a care that in condemning their neighbors they do not greatly condemn themselves.—Gospel Banner.