« PreviousContinue »
Spring Mills, Presb. Church, Pa., coll, in church, in part, by Mr. D. Duncan, Hamiltonville, Pa., Rev. J. McKnight, $20; James McAlpin, $5; Wm. Watkins, $5, Clinton-st. Presb. Church, Philadelphia, Mr. M. L. Burr,
Darby, Presb. Church, Pa., coll. in part, to const. Rev. M. E. Cross, L. D., Marple, Presb. Church, Pa., coll. in part, $31 37; also Fem. Miss. Soc., $14 75, in 667 75 part to const. Rev. M. E. Cross L. D., 450 52 Neshamony, Presb. Church, Pa., coll. in church, in part,
Sudbury, Ladies' Aliss. Society,
Amherst, East Parish, Ladies,
6 00 4.00 21 86
30 00 30 00
Hublersburg, Presb. Church, Pa., T. Huston and wife, $10; Miss S. M. Huston, $2.50; Miss C. Huston, $2 50; Miss J. Huston, $2 50; Miss J. E. Huston, $2 50; Mrs. M. Harris, $3; G. W. Hutchins, $3; others, $4 45, by Rev. Mr. Harris, Harrisburg, Presb. Church, Pa. F. Wyith, $20; Cash, $20; John A. Weir, $10; Mrs. D. Armond, $8; Mrs. McCormick, $5; Mrs. Mahony, $5; Mrs. Halderman, $5; Miss Todd, $5; Mr. and Mrs. Briggs, $5; Mrs. Geiger, $6; R. M. Crain, $6; R. J. Ross, $2; Dr. McPherson, $2; others, $27 25,
Lynn, 1st Congl. Soc.,
Chelsea, Winnisimit Church,
Fitchburg, Religious Char. Soc.,
Milford, Pa., Rev. Wm. Belden, Jr., Northumberland, Presb. Church, Pa., coll in church, in part, by Rev. John Patton, West Chester, Presb. Church, Pa., Mon. Con. coll., by Mr. W. Purves, Central Presb. Church, Newark, N. J., coll. in church, by Mr. C. Baldwin, Wells, Presb. Church, Bradford county, Pa., Mon. Con. coll., $1 58; Mrs. C. Roosa, $1; Rev. J. L. Riggs and wife, $2.50,
Lenox, Mrs. Lucy Northrup,
Haverhill, Mr. David Marsh,
East Whiteland, Presb. church, Pa., coll,
Hampden Co. Home Miss. Soc., H. Brewer,
McKean Presb. Church, Pa., Ladies' Soc., a box of clothing, unvalued.
In the last number of the Home Missionary, considerations were adduced, which impress our own minds-and, also, we trust, the minds of our readers-with the conviction that no time is to be lost by those who would stamp upon the future people of this land the image of a pure Christianity. Especially do the condition and prospects of the NEW STATES demand, that the arduous and long continued struggle by which their peculiar moral difficulties are to be surmounted, should begin, in all its vigor, without delay.
The more we become acquainted with the character and condition of the mass of western mind-its diversity of habits and moral tendencies, the prevailing carelessness of religious restraint, the want of a public conscience in respect to the demands of religion and religious institutions, the allowed disregard of the Sabbath, the prejudices which prevail, and the errors which are inculcated by many professed religious teachers, and fostered by that want of better information which springs from the too prevalent neglect of common school instruction-the more are we impressed with the greatness of the obstacles to be overcome in bringing our vast Central Valley under the power of the Gospel. The work demands the sympathies of all hearts, and the efforts of all hands. There ought not to be, there cannot be, any monopoly of the toils, and privileges, and glory of this work. The zeal which spreads the Bible, and religious tracts, and Sabbath schools, over that great field, is all wanted; and every truly christian heart must hail these agencies with a cordial fellowship. But still, we are more and more convinced, with every passing year, that to give direction, concentration and efficiency to all these auxiliary methods of doing good, the population of the West must be supplied with the PREACHING of the Gospel. All other means, without this, will produce but limited and transient effects. Nothing else leaves permanent memorials of its influence, any further than it tends to draw after it the stated ministrations of the Gospel. Over the tract, the religious volume, nay, over the Bible itself, with all its treasures of wisdom, hundreds of thousands of that people will slumber till they die. They cannot, or they will not read. "They are not generally a reading people, but a thinking and a talking people. They are accustomed to catch the glance of the living eye, and to be instructed and animated by the living voice. Books do not attract their attention; and before the Bible will ever be read by that population, there must be in all that land, the voice of one crying in the wilderness' to prepare its way."
We wish that this great truth could be held up in all its importance before every Christian mind in the nation. Our best people, we fear, are not half awake to the indispensableness of a living ministry—a holy ministry—a ministry now. They are lulled into present slumber by that fatal dream, that a "future day will do as well." We are therefore grateful for every voice, by whomsoever it is lifted up, that tends to rouse the churches to this subject. The following remarks, from the Ohio Observer, are refreshing to our hearts, for the timely and well-expressed suggestions which they contain; and we gladly give them such diffusion as our columns may afford.
The Home Missionary Society.
At the present era of our national history, when questions vitally affecting the peace, the honor, the integrity of the Union are swept into the Maelstrom vortex of party spirit, beyond the reach of every thing but the prayers of the truly patriotic, so that good men stand, with heavy hearts, not knowing what they can do to avert the impending evil; and when also, in the religious world, many schemes of benevolence are afloat, which in the absence of divine precedent, must rest their claims to patronage only upon human calculations of utility; it is most refreshing to be able to turn our thoughts and efforts to a Society that takes for its groundwork, the example and precepts of the Savior and his Apostles.
We do not mean to claim for the American Honfe Missionary Society, exclusively, this high vantage ground; but we do mean to assert that this Society is treading in the path marked out by Christ himself, and pursued by those who received from his own hands their commission to preach the Gospel.
The divine method for saving the world is exceedingly simple. It can be stated in a few words. It is that Christ's disciples should go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature; that they should, every where, gather churches, and set over them in the work of the ministry, "faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also." Churches planted every where, and furnished with an able and faithful ministry-this is the beginning, middle, and end of the divine method. It embraces very little machinery, but a vast amount of labor, suffering, self-denial, and prayer. Its divine simplicity, makes it less imposing than some schemes of human invention, but it is, for this reason, better adapted than they are to the wants of man: and having God for its author, he every where accompanies it with the life-giving energies of his Spirit. Worldly-minded politicians may call it "weakness," and visionary philanthropists, "foolishness" but they will find that "the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." The world, after wearying itself out with systems innumerable to make men wise and virtuous, and to qualify them for political freedom, will be compelled to return to the primitive plan of our Savior; "Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature."
Every year we feel, with increasing solemnity and weight, the truth that here is to be found our nation's only hope. Political freedom implies the capacity of self-government-that the individuals who compose the nation are themselves emancipated from the dominion of ignorance and corrupt passions, and made freemen by the knowledge and love of the truth. A population sunk in igno
rance and corruption could not retain civil liberty, though it were given to them as a direct boon from Heaven. A population whose minds are enlightened, and whose hearts are purified by the Gospel cannot be kept in slavery.
We look not therefore to political parties, whatever may be their name or pretensions, nor to any reform-societies of human origin, but to the preaching of the Gospel, and the establishment of christian churches, for the perpetuity of the glorious fabric of our civil constitution.
We are aware, indeed, that the Gospel does not seek, as its primary end, the civil freedom of a nation, but the sanctification and salvation of the souls of individual men; and that this latter end ought always to be allowed to retain its paramount importance-that the moment we degrade the Gospel into an instrument of political freedom, we cut the sinews of its power. Collaterally, in its efforts to redeem men, as individuals, from sin and misery, it accomplishes for their civil welfare, what it could not accomplish by direct effort. Still we are not forbidden to look at times at these collateral benefits, and the present posture of our nation is peculiarly adapted to turn off the thoughts of reflecting men from all human devices to that source of safety which is found in the Gospel of Christ alone.
The American Home Missionary Society, and all its sister societies of other denominations, who are laboring in direct accordance with the divine plan to plant churches with a living ministry every where, we hail as destined, if sustained by the prayers and contributions of the churches, to achieve not only that for which they are immediately laboring, the salvation of men's souls, but also that at which they can only indirectly aim,-the perpetuity of our civil institutions.
The Divine Plan.
CHURCHES PLANTED EVERY WHERE, AND FURNISHED WITH AN ABLE AND FAITHFUL MINISTRY-THIS IS THE DIVINE PLAN FOR SAVING MANKIND. This plan has the following characteristics:
1. It is simple. It includes little machinery, but much labor, prayer, and selfdenial. Hence the derangements to which it is liable are few and easily rectified. Hence, also, it is adapted to all ages and states of society. This divine simplicity, which makes it less imposing in the eyes of the superficial multitude, constitutes one of its chief excellencies.
2. It is comprehensive. It includes the entire duty of man, and all the truth on which that duty is based. It is the whole Gospel which God commits to his churches, and not some fragments of it-not practice without doctrine, nor doctrine without practice, but both united. He has not made them his witnesses for some part of the truth, to the neglect and undervaluing of the rest, but for "the whole counsel of God." Consider, for a moment, what a vast range of truth comes within the province of every pastor, and in what endlessly varied applications. His preaching is not all warm exhortation, or all doctrinal discussion, all promises or all threatenings, all instruction of believers, or all admonition of unbelievers, all revival efforts, or all laboring for remote results, all moral reform, all anti-slavery, or all church order and ordinances, but each and
all of these in its place. And it is addressed to men in all conceivable circumstances, young and old, in sickness and in health, in prosperity and in adversity, and through every kind of channel-the pulpit, the conference meeting, the tract, the private interview, the family visit. Thus are he and his people kept from the error into which those who devote themselves to the propagation of one specific truth are in perpetual danger of running-that of making a particular province of the Gospel larger than all the rest of it.
3. It is direct. It is the common sense way of meeting men face to face, the very way which all spontaneously adopt when they wish to persuade their fellow men. The man of God, thoroughly furnished for his work, is not a principle which may be understood, but whose presence cannot be seen or felt; nor is he a letter or a book that utters one thing alike to all, without any power of adaptation to their individual wants; but a person, who makes his presence felt, and who gives to each just the instruction which he needs, and in the way in which he needs it. The divine plan has, therefore, an unlimited flexibility, a power of self-adaptation, which makes it every where the very thing which is wanted.
4. It is stable. It takes the form of an institution, with its simple but efficient organization, that stands from age to age, independent of the lives of the individuals embraced in it; exerting its influence without intermission, and moulding the character from the cradle up to manhood. In this one particular it has an infinite advantage over all random modes of doing good, that make powerful impressions for the present moment, without embodying them in any permanent living organization which shall secure their perpetuity.
5. It is economical-the most economical way of doing good that is known on earth, hard as it is to make men believe it. Estimating the salary of a pastor wholly devoted to his work at 500 dollars per annum, (which is considerably higher than the average of salaries in this region,) it will amount in ten years to 5,000 dollars. Now, if he has been faithful and efficient, consider what an untold amount of good he has accomplished--good that has pre-eminently a self-propagating power, that will endure and multiply itself indefinitely when he is in his grave. Look at his steady, healthful influence, on the education of the young, on the social habits of the community, on the character of the piety of the church; look at the streams of beneficence which his labors have caused to flow out from his parish to water and bless others; at the young men who have under his preaching been set in the way to enter the ministry--look at all this, and much more, as well as at the immediate results of his preaching in the conversion of sinners. Five thousand dollars could not have been expended so economically in any other way.
"Well," you will say, we knew all this before; why tell us of it." We answer, because, though you may have known it theoretically, you have not fell it; you have not acted accordingly; you have not believed, with all your heart, that the simple plan of establishing churches every where, and furnishing them with an able and faithful ministry, is the only plan which gives any promise of saving the nation or the world. Had you done so, with what warm affection, with what rich liberality, would you have cherished those institutions that are acting in direct accordance with this plan-Home Missions--Foreign Missions