"Beware Of Covetousness" (Luke 12:15)
Written by Sylvester Hassell
ADVOCATE AND MESSENGER
Williamston, N. C., September 1924 (SEE HERE)
"Covetousness, as generally used in the scripture, is an eager and inordinate desire for earthly things. It was the sin of Balaam, Achan, and Gehazi; and the besetting sin of ancient and modern Jews, and of many of the children of God. Isaiah says, "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins." (Isa. 58:1).
I am in my 83rd year and have been a member of the Primitive Baptist Church about 64 years, and I testify, in love, that covetousness is the greatest sin of our people, not scripturally helping their pastors, nor their poor and needy members.
And the subscribers to our religious periodicals should promptly pay their little subscription to our brethren, who publish them, and who cannot continue to supply us with this truthful and wholesome and comforting literature unless the subscribers pay them their small dues. Liberality to the poor is wise and profitable; while withholding what we should give them tends to poverty. (Prov. 11:24; 19:17; Acts 20:35)."
But, Sylvester was not the first to say this. Notice these words of Elder Joshua Lawrence, whose credentials as one of the main ringleaders in the division of 1832 is undisputable (as is that of Sylvester Hassell):
"Think for yourselves, and so shall I; but this I know to be a fact, that most of the Old School Baptists are a closefisted and covetous set, or else they would not have treated their ministers as they have done for sixty years."
(See the full citation in Hardshells & Mission Opposition XXII
Chapter 165 - HERE)
Whether or not this is the Hardshell's greatest sin may be debatable. It is a great sin, no doubt, and one that characterizes the "Primitive" or "Old School" people generally, and one that their greatest leaders have been honest enough to confess. They have other sins also, but, sadly, few of them will even listen to criticism.