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mentioned. The mention of this place, and the disposition in the Board to enlarge the field of their Missionary exertions,were, to my knowledge, peculiarly grateful to a number of the friends of Missions. Not that they look upon any portion of South America as a more hopeful field in itself considered than that portion of the eastern world, where our Missionaries are, or we doubt not will soon be, settled. But it enlarges the field of missionary exertion, and will be a mean of producing greater union among Christians in this country, and induce many to aid the Board by their liberal contri. butions, who have been inclined to think it was our duty to pay more particular attention to the destitute on our own continent. I have no doubt we may carry on Missions in South America, without at all diminishing our ability to support them in Asia. God acts on a liberal plan, and He loves to have his servants imitate him. He that watereth shall be watered also himself.

I have for sometime been possessed of an anxious desire, that we might obtain a more perfect knowledge of the state of South America; particularly to ascertain what missionary stations may be ready for the reception of missionaries; and also whether the Bible might not be distributed throughout a great portion of that extensive country. South America is reckoned to contain not fewer than 15,000,000 souls; of whom perhaps 5,000,000 are Europeans and their descendants. It presents a vast vast field for missionary labors, and is at present in a great measure unoccupied, except by the Cath


Large portions of this country are at present in the hands of the revolutionists. Within their limits liberty of conscience is enjoyed. But perhaps we have not the particular information concerning any one province which might be desir ed previous to an attempt to introduce a mission there.

It has seemed to me very desirable, that there should be two Missionaries appointed, or travellers, if you please to call them so, to explore this portion of our continent. It would not, perhaps, be expedient to confine them to South America. They might sail, with suitable instructions, as soon as affairs could be ar

ranged. Their first object

should be to visit Old Mexico. The country which the government of Spain claims north of the Isthmus, is supposed to contain 6,500,000* inhabitants. The travellers should be at liberty to proceed from Mexico, either by the castern or the western coast, toward the southern part of the continent. It would be desirable, when no very great obstacle opposed, that they should travel by land. As it is not likely this would always be practicable, they would improve those opportunities which might be presented to go by water, touching at the principal places, if they went down on the eastern coast, until they arrived at Buenos Ayres. From thence by land to Lima in Peru, and visiting St. Jago, the capital of Chili. From Lima they would endeavor to visit the principal places, until they arrived at Acapulco; thence across to Vera Cruz, by Mexico. Or should they go *Humboldt.

down the western coast (which is most likely) they would go from Mexico to Acapulco, and then pursue the rout which has been described, through Peru, and Chili, to Buenos Ayres; thence up the eastern coast to Carthagena.

The prosecution of this mission seems the more desirable, as there is reason to hope, that Christians throughout the United States will before long be united by some general bond of union, for the purpose of distributing the Bible among the destitute, not confining their views to the supply of the ncedy in our own country. The inhabitants in South America, and indeed in North America on our western coast, are destitute of the Scriptures, except a few copies retained in the hands of the priests; and we should not approve of their version, especially when accompanied with their notes and comments. It is true that the greater part of the inhabitants living in those regions of our continent now under consideration, are not able to read. But many there are who have been taught to read; and if these were supplied with the Bible, a knowledge of its

contents would be more generally diffused.

Since the commencement of the late active exertions for the distribution of the word of God, it has been found, that many have been induced to learn to read, from a desire to become ac quainted with the way of life. That the Spanish colonies, both in North and South America, support the Catholic religion is well known. But the Bishops, the Priests, and the people, in many Catholic countries, have of late expressed not only a willingness, but an earnest desire to obtain the Scriptures Nor are we authorized to say, that this would not be the case, in that portion of country now referred to, were an opportunity presented; or a prospect that their wants could be supplied. As it is one object of the Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions to aid in distributing the Scriptures, as well as in sending out and supporting missionaries to the heathen, might not these two objects be combined, with hopeful prospects, by a prosecution of the mission proposed?


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well as the honor of Christ, are at stake. When a man is once introduced into the ministry, who is corrupt in doctrine, or immoral in practice, a deep wound is inflicted upon the Church. The mouths of infidels and revilers are opened, and saints hang their harps upon the willows. ly is such a man afterwards divested of the office. He becomes a contaminating leaven to corrupt the Church during his life, and often for many subsequent years. When also a person of doubtful piety is consecrated to the work of a pastor, the welfare of souls is put at hazard. There is then reason to fear, that the blind are appointed to lead the blind to destruction.

The injunction of the Apostle to Timothy, Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be thou partaker of other men's sins,* seems to be intended as a general rule upon this subject. His words demand the utmost im partiality in the execution of this duty, and allow no man to be inducted into the ministry, merely because he is a favorite or a friend, or from fear of incurring the odium of a particular circle of his admirers. They require of the ordaining body, that they should be cautious in proceeding, and thorough in their ex amination, so as to have satisfactory evidence, that the candidate is pointed out by the Holy Ghost to be a minister of the Gospel. Those who are invested by the Head of the Church, with the power of or daining, are to be particularly careful that they do not in the

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exercise of this power, justify error, impiety, or immorality, in the view of the world, and thus bring a scandal and disgrace upon the cause of Christ, while they endanger the immortal in. terests of men

It is not. the purpose of the writer to discuss at large the qualifications of an evangelical minister, as these have been often and abundantly delineated by many able pens. But among the requisites, which the apostle describes, there are two, which are not so often brought into view, and which it may be useful to examine.

A bishop, or overseer of the Church, must not be a novice, lest being lifted up with pride, he fall into the condemnation of the devil↑ The word translated novice literally signifies recently planted, or lately sprung up. In its secondary meaning, as applied to Christianity, it denotes one who has recently professed religion and obtained a standing in the Church. A bishop must not be of this description. He must not be a new convert; who has had but little religious experience, and who has only for a short time made a credible profession of his faith in Christ. Such an one, by being elevated to the rank of a religious teacher, set apart to instruct those who have had greater experience and knowledge, will be peculiarly liable to be filled with high ideas of his own consequence, and to be inflated with pride, vanity, and self-conceit. Little acquainted with the depravity and deceitfulness of his own heart, he will be much +1 Tim. iii. 6. 52

exposed to fall before those temptations which are addressed to the selfish passions; passions which are as yet but partially subdued. He is not to be presumed to have obtained a clear, full, and connected view of the various doctrines and duties of Christianity, so as to be capable of exhibiting their proofs, their order, mutual dependence, and consistency, in a manner calculated to edify the saint and convince the gainsay er. From his own short acquaintance with religion, and from his limited knowledge of divine truth, he will be greatly in danger of running into error and confusion, while he plunges his hearers into doubt and perplexity.

How long a person must have had an experimental knowledge of religion, and what time must be assigned for him to discipline his mind, and establish his character, before he officiates as a religious guide, is not absolutely determined by this direction of the apostle. Doubtless, circumstances would require that it should be longer in certain cases than in others, according to the previous character and advantages of the person in question. Thus much, however, the apostolic rule seems to me plainly to require; viz. that, in no case should a person be invest ed with the office of a Gospel minister, till in the view of candid and impartial judges, he may be pronounced an experienced Christian. But it may be asked, Did not the apostle Paul become a preacher of the Gospel, immediately after his conversion? I answer, yes. Christ personally appeared to him, as to one

born out of due time. When on his way to Damascus, breathing out threatening and slaughter against the saints, he was smitten to the ground by the insufferable effulgence of the light which burst upon him from heaven. He was commissioned by Christ, in person, to bear his name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel. Any one who can give as incontestable proof, as the apostle did, that he has been thus miraculously converted and commissioned by Christ himself, may, like him, straightway preach Christ, that he is the Son of God. But the age of miracles has long since passed by, and to make a single fact, in that age, a standing rule of the Church, against the plain direction of the apostle to Timothy, is to adopt a practice, big with consequences most destructive to the welfare of Zion.

Another qualification of an overseer of the Church is thus expressed. Moreover, he must have a good report of them which are without, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the dev• il.* This seems nearly allied to the requisite first mentioned. A bishop then must be blameless,† a man inoffensive and irreproachable in his behavior. In whatever this good report is to con. sist, it is obviously made indispensable. He must have a good report. But here questions immediately arise. Have not the nanies of Christians, individually and collectively, been cast out as evil, in past ages of the Church, and are they not to expect the same treatment at the +1 Tim. iii, 2:

* 1 Tim. iii, 7.

present day? Were not the most malicious charges brought against Christ and his apostles? I answer, yes, they were persecuted for righteousness sake. All manner of evil was spoken against the primitive believers, falsely, on account of their faith in Christ. It is then to be observed, that in these cases, the accusations were either false, or else such, as, if true, did not injure their character as Christians, all of them springing from hostility to religion. Reports of this nature, certainly cannot be intended by the apostle, as disqualify ing a man for the work of the ministry.


He must have a good report, of them which are without. The persons intended by the phrase them which are without, seem to be men out of the Church, or those who do not make any profession of religion. It is from them that he must have a good report. This doubtless refers to a man's general reputation among his acquaintance out of the Church. It must refer to his general reputation; for where is the man, concerning whom some calumniator may not circulate a story, which, if true, would materially affect his char. acter, and which the friends of detraction will be fond of propagating? The report must come fron a man's acquaintance; for they alone have the means of originally knowing his character, whether good or bad. If a man's acquaintance generally concur in giving testimony favorable to his character, he has a good report; if they do not, but by pret ty general consent agree in giv. ing unfavorable testimony, he has a bad report. It is also to

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be observed, that though the testimony of those out of the Church, is the only testimony spoken of, yet this must not be construed to deny the importance of having a man's character good in the view of the professors of religion. The rule seems to go upon the ground, that if a man's character is really bad, in the opinion of the world, it will of course be so, in the opinion of the Church, as the standard by which the latter judges of characters must be higher in its demands, than that instituted by men destitute of religion.

But it may be asked, From what time is it necessary that a man should maintain a fair character, in the view of his acquaintance, so as to be qualified, in this respect, for the ministry? Certainly from the time of his making a public profession of his faith in Christ, if not from the time which he assigns as the date of his conversion. If his life is such after his profession of religion, that an evil report is circulated and credited respect.. ing him, a wound is inflicted upon the cause of Christ, and a scandal is brought upon the Church. If the same is true, after the time of his conversion, a stigma will be liable to be fixed upon his religion, if its genuineness is not called in question. But an evil report concerning a man's life previous to his conversion, cannot disqualify him for the ministry; else the persecuting Saul could never have become an apostle, and the Church of Christ must have been deprived of the labors of such men as the heavenly-minded Newton and Bunyan.

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