Locks For The Meetinghouse

by M. Winans

We allow any body, of any sect or denomination whatsoever, to preach in our meetinghouse: Provided always, nevertheless, that if they attack the doctrine taught by the Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, (alleging that they aim at error held by somebody; or when they act manfully, and say, that we are a deluded sect, following a phantom of A. Campbell's discovery,) we reserve the right of reply, that the people may judge for themselves who it is that are following cunningly devised fables. And we have found this reserved right to reply to be one of the safest locks that was ever put upon the door of a meeting-house. We would recommend it as the best lock ever invented to preserve truth. Error will never enter the door if the lock be visible; and if, without noticing the lock, it should enter, its unpleasant situation is soon manifested by deep groans and a kind of sanctimonious visage, calculated to excite sympathy.

I have sometimes taught that this was the only kind of lock that ought to be put on the doors of meeting-houses. The Temple, which was expressly built for the Lord, had no other lock that we read of. The Lord and his Apostles taught in it, as well as the Scribes and others, and when the Sanhedrin threatened the Apostles, and forbid them to preach, they did not lock the doors of the Temple, nor did the Jews ever lock their synagogues against the Apostles. But if error be the thing taught in meeting-houses, an iron lock would be better calculated to prevent innovation than the lock above recommended for the preservation of truth.

The Millennial Harbinger, February 1835