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Benjamin Sawyer, for three months, in the county of Washington (Maine;) the Rev. Asa Meach for six months in the Bounties of Hancock and Washington; and the Rev. Nathan Waldo, for four months in such part of the District of Maine as a committee of the Maine Missionary Society should assign.
Messrs. Schermerhorn and Mills caused it to be known to the Board, that they contemplated a tour, for missionary purposes, into the western parts of Pennsylvania; thence through the states of Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, down to New Orleans; and thence across through the Mississippi Territory, and up through the western parts of Georgia, the Carolinas, and Virginia. The Board had great confidence in them as men eminently qualified for the missionary service; hoped that, besides being immediately useful to many in preaching the Gospel, they would also, in their tour, collect much important information, respecting the religious state of large portions of our country; and judged it consistent with the great purposes of this Society to patronize their arduous enterprise. At first indeed the commission given was limited to a mission for two months at New Orleans; but afterwards, in consequence of a letter to the Secretary from Mr. Schermerhorn, dated Marietta, Ohio, Oct. 24, 1812, their commission was enlarged. From this and other letters the Board beg leave to introduce extracts in this place, as a part of their report.
In the letter of Oct. 24, Mr. Schermerhorn says; "It was my intention to have written to you before this, but my wish to form a union with Mr. Mills, my companion in labor, in order to give a fuller account of our labors and prospects, has been the cause of so long silence. This is the first place at which we have had the pleasure of seeing each other since we left Andover in May.
"I cannot enter into particulars. The account I shall give will be general. The state of Pennsylvania is far more in want of evangelical laborers than I had conceived. From Philadelphia to Chambersburg, a number of Presbyterian ministers are settled; a small number, however, compared with the extent of country. The district referred to is 150 miles by 70 or 80; containing 347,000 inhabitants, and only 24 Presbyterian clergymen. It must not be understood, that these are the only elergy. The number of German Lutheran and Reformed Dutch clergymen is greater.
"Intemperance prevails greatly among the Germans: also profanity and gambling. The Sabbath is not regarded as the Lord's time.
"From Chambersburg to Greensburg,
on this side the Allegany mountains, a region of 110 miles by 70 has but one Presbyterian clergyman, and contains 60,880 inhabitants. In this region, there are some Dutch clergymen; but very few. This last region I have districted on my map into three missionary circuits. The people are generally anxious to hear the Gospel, and would generally help to aid a Society to support a missionary among them. From Greensburg to the Ohio river, the country is better supplied. On the north of Pittsburg from that place to the line of New York, and eastward of the Allegany river to the east branch of the Susquehannah, I know of but one Presbyterian minister. This is a very destitute region. It contains 60 or 70 thousand inhabitants; perhaps 100,000.
After leaving Pittsburg, I struck the Ohio at Grave Creek, (Vir.) In four counties in Virginia, which lie on the Ohio, viz. Brooke, Ohio, Wood and Cabell, and Mason, containing 20,000 inhabitants, there is only one minister, except a few itinerant Methodists. From Steubenville, Ohio, to Marietta, 110 miles, there is no minister. A good missionary route might be established up and down the river. I have proposed it to the people who were pleased with the plan, and expressed themselves willing to support such a mission.
"We preach as often as occasion offers and our health will permit. Thus far we have been gladly received. It is doubtful, Sir, whether we shall be able to go on to New Orleans, on account of being obliged to relinquish going through Indiana territory to St. Louis and New Madrid."
It appears from Mr. Schermerhorn's letter, that the brethren had been useful in promoting the formation of a Bible Society at Marietta; and that they hoped to exert themselves with success in making a similar attempt at Lexington, (Ken.)
In a letter to Mr. Jenks, one of the Trustees, dated Cincinnati, Ohio, Nov. 20, Mr. Schermerhorn states, that in Pennsylvania he found whole counties, containing from 5,000 to 10,000 people, without regular preaching; and that in Virginia, west of the Blue Ridge, a district containing 150,000 inhabitants, only three clergymen were settled.
In a letter dated at Nashville, (Ten.) May 7, 1813, Mr. S. informs, that he and Mr. Mills crossed the Ohio in the latter part of November; and that they had labored till the date of his letter in the west
ern country." "We have preached,"
*This letter was received a few days after the meeting of the Society; but its principal contents are now incorporated in the report.
says the writer, "as often as we could conveniently collect the people, and as the other object, viz. that of obtaining religious information, would admit, while in Kentucky and Tennessee. On the 10th of January, we started for New Orleans agreeable to our commission. We arrived at Natchez on the 15th of February. I was taken sick with an inflammatory fever, immediately on my arrival; which confined me nearly three weeks and disabled me from preaching, while in the Mississippi territory; though Mr. M. and myself were instrumental in procuring the formation of a Bible Society at Natchez. We arrived at New Orleans on the 16th of March. A Baptist and Methodist preacher had arrived a few weeks before us. We immediately united our labors with Mr. Rice, the Baptist, as there was only one place of preaching. In addition to services on the Sabbath, we had two sermons during the week, beside two prayer-meetings. The congregations during our stay were large, and very attentive; and I trust much good was done by our going to that place. During our stay, we here also obtained the formation of a Bible Society, which was entered into with much spirit, and with the approbation of the Catholic clergy. When about to leave the place, I was importuned to stay with them until the sickly season commences."
The brethren left New Orleans on the 6th of April, and after a tedious journey of 700 miles, (500 through a wilderness) arrived at Nashville on the 6th of May.
From Mr. Badger no intelligence has been as yet received.
Mr. Pettengill had for several years been settled in the ministry at Champlain, a town upon the west side of the Jake of the same name, and on the Canada line: but, in consequence of the war, his settlement was broken up, and his people thrown into a state of confusion and dispersion. Deeply afflicted by the event, and earnestly desirous of ministering to the spiritual instruction and consolation of his people in their distressed cireumstances, and of thousands of others on the frontiers similarly situated, he came down and made the case known to some members of the Board, and the duty of appointing him to the mission appeared peculiarly clear and urgent.
By the communications received from him, it appears, that his labors in the service of the Society commenced about the middle of August, and were continued without interruption into December; and after a suspension of about two months, they were resumed, and continued until the latter part of March; when, finding the travelling extremely difficult, and his
strength much exhausted, he judged it expedient to return to his family. His whole time in the service of the Society was about five months. His labors were performed under circumstances and midst scenes which called for all the wisdom and fidelity of the minister of Christ; but there is reason to believe that he was enabled to commend himself to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
"My mission," he says, "while it was attended with many depressing occurrences, introduced me into an an extensive field of labor, and afforded me opportunity for communicating religious instruction to persons, in a great variety of distressing circumstances, who would otherwise have been almost entirely destitute of the means of grace. Though prohibited by my instructions, as well as by a sense of duty, from entering into political controversy, I considered it expedient to use my exertions to prevent depredations and bloodshed among neighbors, now viewed as enemies to one another, being divided by the provincial line. For this purpose I frequently passed into Canada, in such a manner, as not to offend either government, and preached to the destitute British subjects, and urged them by motives of religion, humanity, and personal safety, to restrain themselves, their Indians, and all unprincipled persons, from molesting, under any pretext, our defenceless inhabitants. When it was practicable I held meetings near the line, composed of persons from both sides, and endeavored to address them in an appropriate manner, and impress it upon their minds, that a state of war does not alter the law of Jehovah, which requires us to love our neighbor as ourselves, and to do to others, as we would that others should do to us. I prayed repeatedly with different companies of the militia, and entreated them to enlist under the banner of Christ; frequently conversed and prayed with the sick and dying; spent considerable time in hospitals, conversing and praying with sick soldiers, and in distributing, among such as were able to read, the Bibles and tracts, left in my care by Mr. Osgood. The distressed, perplexed, forlorn inhabitants-the scattered companies of militia, collected from destitute settlements-the loathsome hospitals, filled with the sick and dying, claimed particular attention. I generally met with cordial reception; and I hope that the serious addresses to the young, the solemn warnings to the impenitent, the declaration of the promises of the Gospel to mourners in Zion, and the great doctrines of grace to thousands of attentive hearers, through destitute settlements extending about two hundred miles,
have by Divine blessing produced effects, in some measure answerable to the benevolent design of the Society."
In two or three places, Mr. Pettengill witnessed a pleasing prevalence of religious seriousness and inquiry. At a town called Essex, he notes in his journal, "An unusual attention to religion is manifest in this vicinity. Meetings are frequent, crouded, and solemn. Many are dis posed to inquire what they shall do to be saved; some have recently obtained a hope. It is not uncommon to see persons at meeting from the distance of eight or nine miles.'
Mr. Booge performed nine weeks missionary service, and was then interrupted in his labors by a dangerous illness, from which it is doubtful whether he has yet entirely recovered. His services were greatly needed in the region where his duty was assigned him; and seldom has any Society been favored to afford spiritual instruction and consolation to so great a proportion of mourners and other distressed persons. The prevailing epidemic had filled many families with grief; and many neighborhoods were peculiarly accessible to religious instruction, on account of the uncommonly painful instances of sickness and death, which were before their eyes. Mr. B. kept a particular journal of his labors from which we make the following extracts.
"Saturday, Oct. 24. In the forenoon visited a sick woman, who had a great desire to unite with the church, and give up her children to God in baptism. Entered into free conversation, with respect to her views of the transaction, concerning the state of her soul, and the reason of her hope. She appeared to have correct views with respect to the essential doctrines of grace, and gave comfortable evidence that she was a sincere believer. In the afternoon, went to the centre of the town, and preached a preparatory lecture.
"Sabbath-day, 25. Preached to a full and very attentive assembly, received one person into the church, administered the sacrament of the Lord's supper, and baptised two children.
"Monday morning, 26. The church accompanied me to the house of the sick woman. Her husband received us very kindly. Preached a lecture, and baptised the woman and her household. I also baptised the household of the woman, who was admitted to the church the day before. It was a most interesting and solemn scene. The people appeared to have a deep sense of the disinterested kindness of the Missionary Society, to which they were specially indebted for my services. "Toward night I rode five miles to the
north-west part of the town, and preached again in the evening.'
"Dec. 30. Went to visit a woman languishing with the consumption. It was in the woods, in a very solitary place; and every thing around wore the marks of extreme poverty, except the heart of the sick woman. She gave me to understand, that she had been in a state of great uneasiness and discontent. She could not be sick-and she could not die: but her heart now appeared to be reduced to a state of reconciliation, subjection, and obedience to the will of God. The poor couch on which she lay, under all her bodily distresses, was the first place in which she found and enjoyed true happiness. The Holy Spirit had been her instructor and comforter. She had very supporting views of the grace, power, faithfulness, and glory of the Redeemer. Conversation and prayer appeared very refreshing to her; and I am sure they were
"Feb. 10. Visited a sick man, whose wife lay dead in the house. He manifested peculiar serenity, resignation, and hope. Prayer and religious conversation were refreshing to his heart. The burden of his prayer was, that he might be wholly devoted to God. On asking him if he did not wish to get well, he replied, that he had rather love God." On the 19th Mr. B. attended this man's funeral.
24. Attended the funeral of a deceased woman, who had left a sorrowing husband and eight weeping children. My appointments in the north part of the county forbad that I should spend any more time with this afflicted and distressed people. When I took my leave of them in a public manner, at the close of the funeral exercises, they manifested the warmest gratitude to the Missionary Soeiety, and to me for my unremitting labors among them."
Mr. B. preached on week days, as well as the Sabbath, held conferences, advised churches, healed divisions by his counsels, visited from house to house, preached to the militia near the frontiers, and administered the sacraments.
Mr. Sewall spent about eight months in the District of Maine, and nearly all the remainder of his appointment in Rhode Island. He often found solemn and attentive audiences; though there was not in general any unusual attention to religion. In Dixfield, Maine, there was a considerable awakening, and 16 persons were added to the church in that place. Mr. S. states in his abstract, that he journeyed during the year upwards of 2,500 miles, preached 364 sermons, visited 459 families and 19 schools, prayed with sick per
sons 33 times, attended 20 conferences, 29 prayer-meetings, 3 associations, 4 funerals, and several other interesting meetings, and visited prisoners twice. He baptised 10 adults and 31 children, admitted 17 persons to church-fellowship, and administered the Lord's supper 10 times. Mr. S. considers the field of missionary labor as very extensive in the District of Maine, and gives his decided approbation to the plan of locating missionaries, whenever that shall be practicable. He represents the need of evangelical laborers in Maine as very great, there being more than 20 destitute churches in that part of the country, and a vast number of desti
Messrs. Warren, Lawton, J. Sawyer, B. Sawyer, and Waldo have severally made returns of their having performed the services assigned them, in the District of Maine. As the state of that region is now pretty well understood, and as there was nothing extraordinary in the recep tion of these brethren, or in the result of their labors, there is no reason for making extracts from their journals. They were faithful, we trust, in the discharge of their duties as heralds of the Savior, and their exertions cannot have failed of producing
a desirable effect.
Mr. Meach, having received a call to settle in the ministry, was unable to accept of his appointment.
cient. The plan of aiding in this way the settlement of ministers in parishes desirous of having the settled ministry, but unable fully to support it, has been adopted by the Maine Missionary Society, has been attended with very encouraging success; and has been earnestly recommended, not only by that Society; but many gentlemen, intelligent and judicious, and well acquainted with our eastern missionary field. And it must be exceedingly obvious that the settlement of good ministers in those destitute regions, in situa tions affording opportunity for extensive missionary usefulness around them, must, be attended with great advantages.
At the semiannual meeting, information was communicated to the Board, that the people of Brewer, in Maine, were desirous of having Mr. Thomas Williams for their minister; but not feeling themselves able, at present, to give him a full support, had proposed to settle him upon the plan of supporting him a part of each year, and allowing him, for the remainder of the time, to be employed as a missionary, until they should become able to take his whole support upon themselves. It also appeared, that a minister located in Brewer, would be in a situation for great usefulness in reference to the destitute places around him. To afford help in such a case was deemed consistent with the general design of this Society. The Board therefore caused assurance to be given of aid in supporting Mr. Williams, for one year from the day of his ordination, to any amount, (not exceeding one hundred and fifty dollars,) which should be judged expedient by the Rev. Messrs. Gillet of Hallowell, Bayley of New Castle, and Ward of Alna, (formerly New Milford.) These gentlemen attended to the subject, and concluded that it would be expedient to allow for the first year one hundred and fifty dollars; but were of opinion that should we continue to extend our aid, a a hundred dollars in future would be suffi
Fifty dollars were appropriated the last year, in further aid of Mr. Eleazer Williams in his preparations for a mission to his red brethren.
The President, Secretary, and Treasurer, with Rev. Timothy Dickinson, and Dea. Isaac Warren, were appointed by the Board a Committee for purchasing and distributing books: and four hundred dollars of the money brought into the treasury by the Cent Institution, and remaining unexpended, together with the Panoplists and Magazines, and other books belonging to the Society and designed for distribution, were placed at their disposal. With the four hundred dollars the committee purchased one Scott's Family Bible, cheap New York edition, three hundred common Bibles, one hundred and forty-four Watts's Psalms and Hymns, forty Baxter's Saints' Rest, thirty Memoirs of Brainerd, one thousand Evangelical Primers, one hundred Watts's Divine Songs, and two hundred Hymns for Infant Minds. The copy of Scott's Bible was purchased at the particular instance of our missionary, Mr. Silas Warren, for the benefit of Jackson's and Union Plantations, in Maine. Those Plantations are united in a religious society, and from the representation made, it appeared to the committee that such a gift to them might greatly conduce to the religious instruc tion of many, and be perfectly consistent with the liberal design of the Cent contributions.-Most of the other books have been distributed, chiefly in the District of Maine.
The Cent Institution, from which our funds for books have principally proceeded, deserves particular and grateful notice. The total amount of its contributions in ten years, ending at our last anniversary, was about four thousand five hundred dol lars. This money, excepting about nine hundred and seventy dollars, has been laid out in books, chiefly Bibles and Testaments, Watts's Psalms and Hymns and Divine Songs; and the books have been distributed among the destitute. In this
way many poor families have been supplied with the word of life; and many poor Christians have been edified and comforted; and many poor children have been furnished with means of early instruction and religious impressions. For this charity Mrs. Simpkins and her female coadjutors in different places, not only are entitled to the thanks of this Society, but will receive, we devoutly hope, the gracious benediction of Him, who so kindly noticed the pious widow's two mites, and have the sublime satisfaction to hear the thanksgivings of many to Him, on this behalf, in his everlasting kingdom.
Nor should we omit to acknowledge with equal gratitude and fervency of hope, that other females have done not less worthily in the ircharitable benefactions in aid of this Society.
To several religious societies, and to many liberal individuals, very grateful acknowledgments are due for their contributions and their private donations. And it is earnestly recommended to the members of this Society to use all proper means to promote this charity in places where it has been hitherto not so constantly or so liberally manifested, and to remind all of the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. The Trustees cannot close this report, without expressing their earnest hope, that the members of this Society will not grow cold in their charity, languid in their zeal, or weary in their well doing. The cause in which they are engaged is incalculably important; and the success, which has hitherto attended their efforts, is such as should inspire them with increased animation. The times we know are dark, and many circumstances in the state of our country are depressing; but those who profess to trust in the Lord, and to be engaged in his work, should never faint or be discouraged. While in view of the judg
ments with which the nation is visited we bow with reverence, humility, and submis sion, it should not be overlooked, that the fearful aspects of the times, instead of deterring the friends of Zion and of the true interests of mankind from exertion, should rouse them to augmented zeal, and more strenuous activity. If we lift up our eyes and take an extensive survey of our country, we shall see that the harvest truly is great, but the laborers are comparatively few.
We call ours a Christian land, and are accustomed to consider it as being eminently enlightened, and blessed with religion; and, to be sure, we cannot entertain too high a sense of the many and inestimable favors of Heaven, with which it has been distinguished. It is, however, a melancholy and alarming fact, that great as our privileges are, and kindly as the Sun
of righteousness has shone upon us, there are many thousands of people in these States, who visibly live without God in the world, and are really sitting in darkness, and in the region and shadow of death. Large sections of our country, more or less advanced in settlement, and some of them even populous, are without the stated ordinances of divine worship, without Sabbaths, and almost without Bibles. We need not go to the extensive, and destitute regions of the South and West to awaken our commisseration; we may look nearer home. In the District of Maine, that important part of our own state, more than two hundred thousand people, and more than two hundred towns and parishes are destitute of the regular and stated ministry of the Gospel. The call for the exertions of Christian benevolence are solemn, urgent, and deeply affecting; and it deserves very serious inquiry, whether our remissness in imparting the blessings of the Gospel, and promoting the cause of truth, piety, and virtue, among the thousands and millions in the land, who, either willingly or unwillingly, live without regular religious instruction, may not be among the principal causes of that divine displeasure under which the nation is mourning and trembling. Great as the numbers are of those who are famishing for the bread of life, the means for supplying them are ample; and were Christians to feel as they ought to feel, were all to be done by them which might be done, no part of our coun try would long be left unsupplied.
Let us then, beloved Brethren, one and all, bring this subject home to our own hearts, and endeavor to press it upon the hearts of others. Let us not shut our eyes upon the wants of the multitudes ready to perish, nor withhold ourselves from doing whatsoever our hands find to do for their help. As a society let us stir up the spirit. of Christian benevolence and zeal in our own body; be more enlarged in our views, more fervent in our prayers, more strenu ous in our exertions; and be always ready to co-operate with other similar bodies in every eligible measure for advancing the common cause. And as individuals, let us call to mind the blood which was shed to redeem us, the price of all our hopes, and feelingly recognize our infinite obligations to Him who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth. Let us enkindle our hearts at his holy altar, and carry home the sacred fire to our friends and neighbors; and let us never cease to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, or think that we have done enough, that we have done any thing indeed, for her prosperity and increase, so long as any thing remains to be done.