« AnteriorContinuar »
profit; while those who are more advanced in life, taking little or no time for meditation and reading in private, do not grow as they ought in scriptural knowlege, and remain but babes, while they ought to be strong men in Christ.
“ Hence it arises, that among the mass of the professors of religion in great cities, there is, commonly, less accurate and digested knowledge of Christian doctrine, than among an equal number of professors in the country. Not that there is less general intelligence, or less access to books, in the former than in the latter : but, on the contrary, more, usuially, of both. But because there is more mixed society; more of those distracting interruptions which multifarious society cannot fail to produce; and, of course, less retirement, less religious reading, and less leisurely digestion of what is read and heard.
Now, it is perfectly obvious that all this is unfriendly both to the comfort and the success of a Christian pastor. Whatever has a tendency to interrupt or to abridgethe exercises of retirement and devotion; whatever has a tendency to prevent professors of religion from enjoying much deep, undisturbed converse with themselves, their Bible, and their God; and whatever tends to interfere with the patient, laborious pursuit of family instruction, and family discipline, will always be found to have an equal tendency to increase the toil, and at the same time to diminish the fruit of a ninister's work : will render the closet a less edifying preparative for the sanctuary, and the parental mansion a less wholesome nursery for the church of God."--pp. 25, 26, 27, 28.
2d head is, " That as peculiar difficulties and temptations attend the preaching of the gospel in great cities; so it is of PECULIAR IMPORTANCE THAT THE GOSPEL BE PLAINLY AND FAITHFULLY PREACHED IN SUCH PLACES.
“ It is of unspeakable importance that the gospel be plainly and faithfully preached every where. For it is the power of God unto salvotion, to every one that believeth. If the salvation of the soul be of infinite ntoment; is the gospel of the grace of God be the only message of life and peace to fallen man; and if he that believeth this gospel hath life, but he that believeth it not, shall not see life, but hath the wrath of God abiding on him ;—then no tongue of men or of angels can tell the importance of preaching the gospel, in its simplicity and purity, to every creature.
“ But the thought which I wish to illustrate and enforce is, that there are some considerations which render it PECULIARLY important that the gospel be plainly and faithfully preached in GREAT CITIES. Among many which might be suggested, I will only request your attention to the following.
“ If there be any justness in the remark offered in a former part of the discourse, that there is a certain intensity of character usually observable among the inhabitants of great cities; that, especially, their luxury and dissipation, their follies and vices are, in common, more strongly marked, than in the more spare population of the country; then it follows that there is, humanly speaking, more NEED of the gospel in the former than in the latter: a more imperious call for exhibiting, in all its solemnity and power, that most potent of all means for opposing and subduing the depravity of man. It is a maxim, among wise physicians, that the most strongly marked diseases, call for the most bold and vigorous treatment. To counteract a poison of peculiar virulence, remedies of the most active character must be employed. So it is in the moral and spiritual world,
Where difficulties more than commonly powerful and obstinate exist, remedies of correspoding potency ought to be sought and diligently applied. Since, then, the gospel of Christ exhibits the only adequate remedy for human depravity and misery, it ought to be preached with peculiar plainness, fidelity and perseverance, wherever the diseases which it is intended to heal reign with more than ordinary malignity.
“ Again; it is of peculiar importance that the gospel be faithfully and powerfully preached in great cities, because there it is commonly addressed to GREATER NUMBERS AT ONCE than in more retired places. There the preacher has a more favourable opportunity of doing good apon a large scale; and, of course, the result of a given amount of labour, other things being equal, will be likely to be more extensively useful.”-pp. 29, 30, 31.
“ A large city forms the heart, the most vital portion of the state or country to which it belongs. It gives fashion, and almost law, to the surrounding districts. A favourable impression made here, will be extended in every direction. A happy impulse given here, will vibrate, and be beneficially felt to the remotest bounds of the social body. How important, then, that in the metropolis of a state or nation, the truth be known and honoured, and orthodox churches established and edified ! How peculiarly desirable, that in such a great centre of action and of influence, there be able, faithful men, well qualified to be guides of the faith and practice of those around them.
“ In a great city, there is special need of instructive, faithful preaching, because there, as you have heard, there is apt to be less reading, less retired devotion, less patient use of the private means of growing in scriptural knowledge, than are commonly found in other places, where the means of grace are statedly enjoyed. It often happens, in large cities, that the instructions given them from the pulpit, form the greater part of what many professors of religion and others, ever receive. Of what unspeakable importance is it, then, that the preaching, in such circumstances, be plain, clear, sound, able, faithful, and edifying! How important that preachers be scribes, well instructed in the kingdom of God; qualified rightly to divide the word of truth, and give to every one his portion in due season!
“In a large city, moreover, the faithful, popular preacher will, almost every sabbath, address a number of strangers, who flock to the metropolis, on business or pleasure, from every part of the surrounding country; and who, if they be benefited themselves by his labours, will carry with them a portion of the sacred treasure, wherever they sojourn, or wherever they abide. When Peter preached in Jerusalem, on the day of Pentecost, he was the instrument of saving benefit to many who resided in almost every part of the Roman Empire. Some of the inhabitants of Egypt and of the Lesser Asia, of Crete and Arabia, of Rome and of Parthia, were found together, drinking in the word of life from his lips; and each, afterwards, going to his own home, we may suppose, became a means of saving knowledge to many around him. O how animating, and, at the same time how solemn, is this thought to one who, from sabbath to sabbath, proclaims the message of salvation in a populous city! Every time he enters the pulpit, he will, perhaps, preach to some who never heard him before, and will never hear him again ; and who may carry away an impression eternally beneficial or injurious, according to its character, not VOL. VII.
only to themselves, but also to many others over whom they may exert an influence!
“Finally; in a large city, as we have seen, there is generally collected a much greater amount of intellectual power, of literary acquirement, and of pecuniary means, than are to be found in other places. Of course, if a right direction be given to public sentiment by the faithful preaching of the gospel (and we cannot hope that it shall be given by any other means) we may expect to see a much greater amount of talent, of learning, of wealth, and of exertion devoted to the cause of the Redeemer, to the promotion of human happiness, than could otherwise be reasonably expected. The servant of Jesus Christ, then, who takes the oversight in the Lord of a large and wealthy city congregation, may consider himself as called to preside over the movements of an engine of mighty power, which, under , wise guidance, may accomplish more than can easily be estimated ;—not
for his own personal aggrandizement;-not to gratify the littleness of sectarian bigotry ;—but to support and extend those great plans for building up the church of God, at home and abroad, which now do honour to those who engage in them, and which will promote the happiness of unnumbered millions in time and eternity.
“It is plain, then, that the labours of a gospel minister, in a great capital, are more important than those of most others in the sacred office : That greater benefits, or greater mischiefs are likely to flow from them, according to their character :-and that, as he is called to struggle with many peculiar and most painful difficulties; so he has, also, peculiar inducements to be faithful, and may expect peculiar rewards for his fidelity."-pp. 32, 33, 34, 35.
CHEROKEE INDIANS.-BRAINERD. This is the principal station among the Cherokees, so called in memory of the distinguished missionary of that name situated in the district of Chickamaugah, and on the creek so called about 500 miles in a direct line north of the gulf of Mexico.
American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. With this mission not only the Board, (says their tenth Report) but the Christian community extensively, have become familiarly acquainted. It is near; seemingly even in the midst of us; has intercourse with all parts of the country; is established in the affections and confidence of all, who wish well to the long neg. lected natives of the wilderness; and, from various causes, has engaged general attention, and inspired elevated hope. May it please the Father of Lights, that it may continue to be worthy of all these kind regards, and never disappoint its patrons and friends.
The company, consisting of Messrs. Abijah Conger, * Jobs Vail, and John Talmage, with their families, designed for the Cherokee mission; and the Rev. Alfred Finney, with his wife
* See Christian Herald, Vol. VI. p. 640.
and Miss Minerva Washburn, an unmarried female assistant, for the Arkansaw mission; described in the Report of last year, as having then, as was supposed, just set out from Rockaway, N. J. arrived at Brainerd on the 10th of November.
Their setting out was delayed by a heavy visitation of Providence. An epidemic prevailed at Rockaway, by which the families of Mr. Vail and Mr. Talmage were visited severely. Two sons of Mr. Vail were buried in one grave; and another, after the company had been detained about three weeks, the bereaved parents were constrained to leave behind, as too feeble to bear the journey. The affliction was deeply felt by them all; but appears to have been made, by divine grace, a means of promoting in them the feelings, suitable for all Christians, and especially for those who are devoted to the missionary work.
They left their houses, and their kindred and friends, with tender cheerfulness-went on their way rejoicing; and from Rockaway to Brainerd, a distance of more than 900 miles, had a prosperous journey, of only about six weeks. On their arrival, the hearts of the brethren and sisters of the mission, burdened as they had been with continually increasing labours and cares, were filled with gladness and thankfulness. “It is a time," say they in the journal, “ It is a time of great rejoicing at Brainerd. We feel that the Lord has heard our prayers for help, and it is now our duty to render praise. O that we could be sufficiently thankful to our gracious Saviour, for the abundant mercies which we have experienced, and the sweet consolations now afforded us."
On the 8d of January, 1818, the Rev. Ard Hoyt, with his family, and the Rev. Daniel S. Butrick, arrived at the station ; and the Rev. William Chamberlain, on the 10th of the ensuing March.
About the last of May, of the same year, Mr. Kingsbury, with Mr. and Mrs. Williams, left this mission, for the purpose of commencing an establishment in the Choctaw nation; and your Committee regret to state, that about four months ago, Mr. Talmage, from some feelings of discontentment, retired from the mission.
There remains of the mission, Mr. Hoyt, superintendent, with his wife and children, four of whom are very useful assistants S; Mr. Conger, with his wife and children, and an apprentice, George Halsey, about 20 years old, and a devoted helper of excellent promise ; Mr. Vail, with his family ; Mr. Butrick; Mr.. Hall, with his family; and Mr. Chamberlain, with his family.
Mr. Milo Hoyt, who served with his father in the work, as a true son, has lately been married to an amiable and distinguished native convert, Lydia Lowry. And as, by this marriage, he has become entitled to all the privileges of a native Chrokee, he thinks, that by occupying a situation near the establishment, or
in an eligible place for a local school, he can well support brimself, and render as much service to the mission as if he were under the immediate direction of the Board.
The general plans and operations of the mission are so well known to the community, that we shall add but one or two extracts more from the Report of the visiting Committee.
To the farm, of which about 60 acres were in a state for cul. tivation when the Visiting Committee were there, large additions and improvements have been made, and are making. The design, indeed, is entered upon with spirit, to raise from the farm, as soon and as fast as possible, a large and increasing proportion of the corn, and other productions of the soil, necessary for the establishment.
The number of scholars in the two schools at Brainerd, has not been definitively stated in any recent communication ; but the general representation has been, that the schools are full, and in a highly satisfactory state.
The gracious influences from on high, which have been so signally the glory of this mission, appear to be still continued. The young man, John Arch, of whom an interesting account is given by the Visiting Committee, has since been received to the church. Another hopeful convert also has been received, David Brown, a brother of Catharine. To your Committee, and to many others who have seen him, he appears to be a youth of great promise. He is now in our school at Cornwall.
The whole number gathered from the wilderness into this mission church, and thus made fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, including four or five black persons, is about twenty. A considerable number more, some at Brainerd, and some at other places in the nation, where our missionaries have bestowed attention, are made subjects of deep religious impressions ; and several of them hopefully of renovating grace.
At Springplace alsoand it is with high and heartfelt pleasure that your Committee report and record the fact-at Springplace, where the Rev. John Gambold, the venerable Moravian missionary, with the excellent helper, his wife, has been for years labouring for the good of the Cherokees, with the spirit of humility, devotion, and perseverance, by which the Union of Brethren has been long and eminently distinguished, -the power of divine grace
has lately been manifested; and three or four persons of consideration and influence, in that part of the nation, have come as believers to the ordinances of Christ; and others give serious attention to divine instruction.
In the Report of the last year, the design was submitted of establishing, at eligible places, in different parts of the nation, local schools, in connexion with the primary establishment at Brain. erd; and it was stated, that for one school of this kind a place