« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
for the States. Such a proposal evidently required to be looked at with greater caution, in all its bearings, before a so ciety could pledge itself with propriety or honour. It stood over. The sense of the sister society here was sought. I was the instrument of conveying it, and offering the needful explanations. The proposal was modified, and submitted to the meeting in the following terms:
“In view of the Divine promise as to the ultimate spread of the gospel over the earth ; of the signal success of the Bible cause during the present century; and of the numerous trauslations of the Scriptures already made; of the establish ment of able and faithful 'missionaries in almost every Pagan and Mabommedan country; and of the wide extent of commerce and international communication; it is the serious con. viction of this Society, and is therefore
"Resolved,—That were the friends of the Bible in Christian countries to exercise that faith, to offer those fervent supplications, to make those efforts and sacrifices which the present aspects of Providence and the word of God demand, but a short period need pass away before the families of all nations might be favoured with the light of revealed truth.
« Resolved,—That in consonance with the sentiment ex. pressed in the preceding resolution, this Society will steadily aim, and, under the blessing of God, employ its best endeavours, in concert with similar institutions, towards effecting the distribution of the Bible among all the accessible population of the globe, within the shortest practicable period.
" Resolved,—That the zealous and united prosecution of this grand object be affectionately and earnestly recommended to all the Bible Societies and friends of the Bible in this country and in foreign lands.”.
This proposition, thus qualified, was unanimously accepted. There can surely exist no objection to it. - It is, indeed, the expression of what we all desire; but the expression is useful. It awakens the sentiment where it is dormant; it presents a recognised and snblime object before the eye; and it creates sympathy with every other society in every quarter of the world, from the instant conviction, that it is only by the union of all, that it can be accomplished. I trust the resolutions will be responded, as with an angel's voice, from the father land.
The American Board for Foreign Missions was formed in the year 1810. It was first suggested at an association of ministers, by some young students, who were anxious to devote themselves to missionary labour. Its rapid growth is
evidence sufficient, that it has laid firm hold on the convictions. and affections of the churches. Its receipts, in the last year, are 145,844 dollars; being an increase on the former year of 15,270 dollars. In the same period, forty-eight persons have been sent out; nineteen ordained missionaries ; two physicians;: two printers; other assistants, twenty-five; total, forty-eight. The present state of this prosperous society is as follows :
It is the intention of this Society to send out at least an equal nurgber of missionaries this year. Its proceedings are reported in The Missionary Herald, a well-conducted periodical, now commanding a sale of about 15,000 copies.' : It should be observed that it embraces only the Presbyterian and congregational denominations; and not more than 2,500 churches, are at present contributors.
The Home Missionary Society is a remarkable instance of sudden advancement towards maturity. It was constituted in 1826. - It commenced by some previous movement with 104 missionaries ; in the first year this ramount was increased to 169; in the second to 201; in the third to 304; in the fourth to 392 ;- in the fifth to 463; in the sixthr to 509; in the seventh to 606 ; and in the eighth and last to 676. The income bas risen in proportion to this demands. The receipts during the last year were, 78,911 dollars, which is an advance on the former year of 10,284 dollars. It has contributed to revive the domestic societies connected with the Presbyterian and Reformed Church bodies; 30 that there are not about one thonsand missionaries employed by these societies in the United States and in the Canadas; and about fifteen bundred churches supported or assisted through their instrumentality." Apart from these, are to be computed the efforts put forth by the Methodist, the Baptist, and other religious bodies, for the same objectif
+ Undoubtedly, the astonishing success of this society is to be referred chiefly to the deep sense of its need on the minds of the people; but no small proportion of it must be ascribed to the confidence which has been inspired by its management..
It was my privilege, frequently, 'to plead its cause; to become acquainted with its detail ; and to witness, in the West; its labours ; and I have certainly never met with an institution under more excellent government. And this is the more remarkable, when the brevity of its existence and the rapidity of its growth is borne in mind.' ;;
. There was danger that its 'sudden advancement, and the · crying claims made on it from the wilderness, might have betrayed it to hasty and unwise measures. On the contrary, while it moved with surprising energy, it has acted with equal prudence. It has started on the principle of employing no one as a missionary who had not enjoyed a regular education for the ministry. It has accepted no man for this service who would not have been deemed eligible to act as a Christian pastor. It has thus saved the ministry from degradation; it has inspired confidence in the congregations needing help; and by maintaining the character of the missionary in full equality with that of the pastor, it has secured his usefulness, and disposed the most respectable meu to look to its service, as offering an inviting, as well as an important, field of exertion. From the want of some such principles of action, so simple, and yet so wise, what mischief has been done, where there was, doubtless, a sincere desire to do only good!
The Education Society has for its object the preparation of young men of talent and piety for the Christian ministry, either for home or foreign service. It was formed in 1815 ; and although claiming priority of existence to the Home Mission Society, it has recently owed much of its success to the principle on wlich it bas acted. They are admirably ealculated to work in harmony, and to the highest issues.
This institution does not provide itself with the means of educating its beneficiaries'; it merely sees them placed in the existing colleges, and meets the expenses which are consequent. The applicant is required to produce, from his pastor and others who know him, certificates of his talents, piety, need of pecuniary aid, and preparation to enter on a' collegiate course of study ; and if he is accepted, he is required also to enter into an engagement to refund the expenses of bis education at a future time, should he be able, and should the society call on him so to do. The society have a discretional power to cancel the engagement under particular circumstances. This ar. rangement had been adopted subsequently to its formation, and is considered to work with advantage.
During the past year, 1834, it had dish is ut You
118 Beneficiaries in 14 Theological Seminaries.
ili Academies and Schools,
The applicants, in the same time, had been two hundred and eighty. • The receipts of the institution, in the last year, were 57,818 dollars, being an increase on the year 1833 of 11,000 dollars. The expenditure has been 56,363 dollars. The beneficiaries have refunded, in the same period, 1,947 dollars.
About six hundred of its beneficiaries have completed their course of education, and are now actively employed in the ministration of the word of life. Forty are missionaries in foreign parts ; and between two and three hundred are employed wholly, or in part, by the Home Mission Society. About twenty are engaged as editors of literary and religious publications, and the remainder are settled as pastors, or are looking to such settlement. One-sixth of all the ordinations and installations in the past year, throughout the States, were under the patronage of this society. During the last eight years, eleven thousand dollars have been repaid : and about one hundred thousand dollars have been earned by teaching schools, manual labour, and other services.
Besides this society, there is the Presbyterian Education Society, which, in the last year, had 436 beneficiaries, and had received 12,277 dollars ; so that these societies, which embrace only the Congregatioual and Presbyterian bodies, have not less than fourteen hundred young men in training for the Christian ministry!
The Tract Society requires to be named here, for the extent and importance of its operations. It was formed only in 1825; but it has on its lists 737 works, which it has published. Of the tracts, it has printed 36,303,250 copies; and of the volumes, 33,669,918 copies. The receipts on the past year were 66,485 dollars ; and the whole amount had been disbursed. No less than 20,000 dollars had been applied to foreign distribution'; and a resolution is adopted to use 30,000 dollars in - the present year for the same purpose ! Apart from
many smaller societies, that at Boston deserves notice, as it is the parent of the one I have reported, and as its principle of action is equally general and comprehensive. It has upwards of seven hundred auxiliaries ; its receipts, in 1832, were 12,606 dollars; and it issued 14,500,740 pages.
This society is conducted with much vigour, and equal pru. dence; its noble efforts in behalf of foreign objects deserve especial commendation.
The Sunday-School Union is an important tributary in the great work of benevolence. It is catholic in its spirit, and is second to none in the ability and zeal with which it is conducted. This society was formed in 1824. Its committee is composed of religious men of different denominations, and no book is to be adopted until it has the sanction of each member. In the year 1832, the eighth of its existence, it had 790 auxiliaries ; 9,187 schools were in connexion ; having 542,420 scholars, and 80,913 teachers. As many as 26,913 teachers and scholars are reported to have become pious in the same period. The expenditure for that year was 117,703 dollars; for the last
year it was 136,855. The more vigorous efforts of this Society lave been directed, most wisely, to the valley of the Mississippi. In 1830, it was resolved unanimously, " Thal, in reliance upon Divine aid, they would, within tivo years, endeavour to establish a Sun. day.school in every destitute place, where it is practicable, throughout the Valley of the Mississippi ;” that is, over a country which is 1,200 miles wide, and 2,400 in length! If this great work is not perfected, much has been done, and much is doing. There are thirty-six agents wholly employed in this service; and during the past year, they, established five hundred schools, and revived a thousand.
I must not omit in this notice, The Temperance Society. It was instituted in 1826, and has wrought an astonishing renovațion" amongst this people. From the circumstance that ardent spirits were to be had at about a shilling a gallon, the temptation became exceedingly great. As the demand for them rose, extensive orchards were planted, and fruits and grain were grown for the purpose of extracting spirit; till at length it threatened to become the beverage of the country. The serious attention of the benevolent was called to it. The subject was discussed and urged in all its importance on public notice. At last, the principle of total abstinence from spirits as a drink, was adopted as the basis of the Society. It had, of course, to contend every where with unreined apr petite and pampered vice; but every where it fought to conquer.
In the short space, of its existence, upwards of seven thousand Temperance Societies have been formed ; embracing more than one million two hundred and fifty thousand mem,