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plans for conducting evangelical exertions among the heathen, which bave of late been spread out beneath the public eye.
It is with the sincerest pleasure, that we express our full conviction, that in all important respects the American Board and kindred institutions, have fallen upon the true method of laboring for the conversion of the nations. It is a method, which seems to us, to be as far as the circumstances of the case admit, happily accordant with the official course of the first christian missionaries. Let the present plan of operation be acted on with greater energy and increased confidence. It has been attended with the smiles of the Savior. We exult in the full confidence, which it is our privilege to cherish, that the smiles of the Savior will not be withheld in time to come.
But we now approach a point, on which we cannot but speak with deep and painful emotion. We know full well, that the conductors of foreign missionary operations in this country, would most gladly extend their plans—would eagerly increase their operations a thousand fold. Our hearts have ached within us, to hear them utter again and again in tones, which should fall upon the ears of the churches with startling effect, the word EMBARRASSMENT. Oh, if professed christians in this highly favored land would rise up, as by a common impulse, to the full performance of their duty; if they would cordially yield to the obligations, which bind them to the Messiah's throne, the word embarrassment would in such connections be heard no more. The treasury of the Lord would be filled to overflowing. “The company of the heralds of salvation would be 'great.” The angel having the everlasting gospel to proclaim, would soon be seen urging his flight through mid heaven. His voice, loud as the “sound of many waters,” would fall upon the ear of the nations. Glad voices would be heard in heaven, and be echoed from the earth ; shouting, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdom of our Lord, and He shall reign forever !"
We sometimes seem to hear the voice of our beloved missionary brethren as from their different stations, they look back towards the redeemed churches of their native land. We hear them addressing those, who are devoted to the sacred office. Dear brethren, they exclaim, Lift up your eyes, and survey the field in which you stand. “ The field is the world.” for a moment think, that compared with the laborers, who are toiling at home, a full proportion of laborers are engaged in foreign service? You cannot, for a moment, indulge such an apprehension. Who then can be found among you, who will promptly, cordially, joyfully devote himself to this exalted work? Come, dear brethren, and help us. We faint beneath the burden, which rests upon our shoulders.
author of a Natural History of Enthusiasm, for consolidating the different missionary societies into one grand institution, to be directed and controlled by the established church! This plan was carefully examined, fully exposed, and triumphantly exploded the Rev. WILLIAM ORME, the late beloved, and able Secretary of the London Missionary Society, in an Essay, introductory to Mr. Swan's Letters.
Come and help us. We are overwhelmed with the golden sheaves, with which we are so richly laden. Do none of you pant to tread in the footsteps of Brainerd, and Martyn, and Hall? We long to bid you welcome to the field of missionary effort, which it is our privilege to occupy.
Again, we seem to hear them addressing the churches, bought with redeeming blood. Bear with us, we hear them say; bear with us in what some may deem our folly. Look on us. We have literally devoted whatever we are and have, to the service of the churches. We are ashamed to speak of our labors, self-denials, and sufferings. Yet, brethren, we are not entirely strangers to suffering and self-denial. We have no complaint to make; but you will permit us affectionately to appeal to your consciences and hearts. Will you sustain us in the service, to which we have been consecrated ? From this service, we do not ask to be relieved. We rejoice “ to spend and be spent,” in so glorious a work. But to be crippled and embarrassed in our designs for want of those aids, which you, dear brethren, are well able to afford,—this, this goes like a dagger to our hearts. We rejoice in the circumstances of ease and plenty, by which we see you surrounded. We rejoice to see you," sitting beneath your own vines and fig-trees, having pone to molest you or make you afraid." Long and graciously may heaven smile upon you! But, dear brethren, REMEMBER us. Remember the cause, to which both you and we are devoted;—a cause dear to the heart of everlasting Love, and which should be dearer to us than life itself. Oh, let not that cause longer be embarrassed. Stand up to sustain it. Give it your prayers, your influence, and a portion of your property. Cling to it, we beseech you, with a warmth of affection, and a strenuousness of effort, proportioned to its importance. Urge on; Oh, urge on the triumphal car of your Messiah, that you may unite in the shouts, which shall proclaim Him King of a redeemed, conquered world!
ART. VI.-REVIEW OF SPRAGUE'S LECTURES TO Youth.
Lectures to Young People. By WILLIAM B. SPRAGUE, D. D. Pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church in Albany. With an Introductory
Idress, by SAMUEL MILLER, D. D. Professor in the Theological Seminary at Princeton. New-York : 1830.
The work before us is what might be expected from the author, who is well known to the public as one of our most popular and attractive writers. It includes seventeen lectures, delivered by Dr. Sprague in the ordinary course of his ministrations, to the young people of his congregation, on a connected series of topics. The preacher adapts his admonitions and instructions to the case of a youth, to whom he first presents the peculiar importance, and the many dangers, of the period of life through which he is passing ; on whom he urges, by every suitable consideration, an immediate attention to the claims of God and of his own immortal nature ; whom he supposes to pass through a process of inquiry, conviction, and conversion; who enters on a profession of religion, and becomes acquainted with the labors and struggles of the christian life. Among the many books designed for the benefit of the young, we know of none on the same plan; nor do we remember any which in regard to spirit and execution, is, on the whole, better adapted to the end.
It is one of the encouraging indications of our times, that ministers and churches are feeling so deeply, and are continually feeling more and more, the importance of efforts to imbue the generation that is to follow us, deeply, practically, and vitally, with the principles of christianity. The most imperious duty, and the noblest task, devolving on the present age, is the formation of the next to manly virtue, and to intelligent and primitive piety. We rejoice in every indication of increased attention to this great object. We say, let us have more books, more sermons and stirring exhortations, adapted—like the discourses before us—to win the attention and to meet the peculiar necessities of the young. Let ministers every where bestow more and inore effort on the youthful members of their charge. Let them spare no pains to catch the attention and to secure the affections of those whose habits are unfixed, and whose character in life is yet to be formed. Let them not be satisfied with the influence of a sabbath school, or even with the ordinary exercises of a bible class; but seize every opportunity of addressing them from the pulpit, in the lecture-room, in the school, and in the family. Nor let the press be unemployed. If one pastor in Hartford, and another in Albany, has successfully tried the experiment of addressing a series of discourses to this single class of society, and if each has given his course of lectures to the public, let other pastors instead of thinking that the work is done, be encouraged to try the same experiment in other places. And if the result should be the publication of fifty volumes of discourses to the young, by as many authors, in different districts of our country, that result would be, with us, matter of encouragement: for every such volume would have its own sphere of peculiar influence, and its own peculiar adaptedness to do good; and would tell on the great object, better, perhaps, than all the others, in the region of its author's local and personal connections.
The importance of increased effort on the part of ministers and churches, to secure the early conversion, and the elevated christian character of the rising generation, is a subject which cannot easily be presented to the public mind too frequently, or with too great variety of illustration. "We shall therefore encounter the hazard of seeming to repeat some things which we ourselves have said on former occasions, and some things perhaps which have been better said by Dr. Miller, in his Introduction to the volume before us; and shall embrace the present opportunity of interweaving with our extracts from Dr. Sprague's Lectures, a few remarks on a subject, the triteness of which by no means diminishes the interest with which it must be regarded by every benevolent mind.
On this subject, the well known susceptibilities of the youthful mind to deep and permanent impressions both of good and evil, is a topic full of persuasion. No pastor has ever assembled the young of his flock and addressed them on the great question of their personal salvation, or has brought to their special attention any appropriate subject of doctrine or duty, without feeling that for peculiar effort, in this department of the pastoral office, there is peculiar encouragement. No pastor has ever seen how rapidly the habits of the young may be perverted by evil communications, or how deeply and suddenly their minds may be poisoned by false principles, without feeling that for peculiar effort in their behalf, there is a peculiar necessity.
It admits of no question that there is something in the very state of the soul during the period of youth, which may be said in a comparative sense, to favor the work of its own sanctification. The understanding not having been brought under the dominion of prejudice, is open to the reception of truth. The conscience not having had its dictates frequently opposed and trified with, is ready faithfully to discharge its office. The various affections of the heart are easily excited ; and more easily than at any subsequent period, may receive a right direction. Who will not say that there is in all this a most desirable preparation for becoming truly religious; especially when the state of the soul to which I referred, is contrasted with that almost invincible prejudice, that deep moral insensibility, which often results from long continued familiarity with the world. p. 6.
There is danger resulting from that very susceptibility of character, which has already been mentioned, as favorable to early piety. For if the mind is then peculiarly susceptible of truth, it is also proportionably
susceptible of error. If the conscience possesses all the native sensibility, opposition to its dictates must exert a peculiarly hardening influence. If the feelings may be excited, with comparative ease, in favor of religion, they may even more readily be enlisted against it. And hence the melancholy fact is, that in a multitude of instances, the understanding, the conscience, the affections—the whole man, has become enslaved to a life of sin, at the very period when it was most susceptible of the intiuences of piety. Let no young person then repose in the conviction that his mountain stands strong, and ihat he is in no danger of becoming a hardened transgressor, merely because he is occasionally roused, or melted, or agitated, under the exhibition of divine truth: let him take heed lest the enemy come, and avail himself of that very susceptibility to bind him hand and foot with the cords of depravity and error, and consign him over to a most fearful destruction.
The fact that comparatively few individuals ever form a character of piety, after the character has been formed in other respects,the fact that almost all who are converted under the stated ministration of the gospel, are converted in early life, is a consideration still more impressive. From what class in society are accessions made to the churches ? Now and then a man of “hoary hairs” stands up to profess for the first time his faith in Christ, and in the decline of life to take upon himself the engagements of churchmembership; but such an occurrence is so rare, that when it comes to pass it is regarded with wonder, and is chronicled accordingly. Sometimes, in a period of extraordinary and powerful religious excitement, men in the midst of life experience the efficacy of christian truth, and are brought to devote their matured energies to God and to his church; but all such instances are felt to be out of the common course. The great majority of those who are added to all our churches, are such as reinember their Creator in the days of their youth. Every revival of religion, however extraordinary it may be in rousing the indifference and breaking down the opposition of old and hardened worldlings, affects first and chiefly the young. Every church is to be perpetuated and enlarged by means of early conversions. Every pastor is to gather those who will be the crown of his rejoicing, from among the youth and children of his charge.
Besides all this, the conversion of the young is decidedly of more moment than the conversion of those more advanced in life. Such conversions are more valuable as it respects the elevation and consistency of christian character. The piety which takes its date from early youth ; which grows with the growth, and strengthens with the strength of the mind in all its faculties; which sheds its benignant influence on all the features of the character; and which has full opportunity to exert its purifying and ennobling tendency, while the very substance of the soul, as it were, is yet unformed and plastic, acquires a consistency, a symmetry, a strength and “ beauty of holiness,” which is rarely acquired in any other way. VOL. II.