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the time shall come in which the character of voluntary associations shall be made to 6 stink” in the nostrils of the religious public; if ever the time shall come in which they shall be dreaded as dangerous to the peace of the Christian community, we predict it will be in consequence of their deserting their proper course, interfering with ecclesiastical bodies, disturbing ecclesiastical peace, manifesting an encroaching, and even an invading spirit, and giving too much reason to suspect that they are under the influence of a sinister ambition, rather than of disinterested benevolence.
While on this subject, we candidly avow, that we are disposed to extend these remarks much beyond the two Missionary Boards whose reports stand at the head of this article. We once entertained Utopian ideas of the feasibility and desirableness of great NATIONAL institutions, which, with perfect unity of character, and all-absorbing potency of influence, should serve for the whole United States. We were once, for example, of the opinion, that there ought to be but one Theological Seminary for the whole Presbyterian Church. We thought this practicable, and by far the best plan, for promoting that homogeneousness of character, which is a source of such great and multiplied advantages to our brethren of New-England. And we still think that, in theory, there is much force in many of the reasonings by which we arrived at this conclusion. Many circumstances would, no doubt, recommend this course, if the thing were practicable. BUT IT IS NOT PRACTICABLE. Neither the state of the country nor the temper of the age will admit of it. Theological peculiarities, and sectional feelings call for separate institutions. They will be had, and they must be had. And, although it cannot be denied that some serious disadvantages are incurred upon this plan; yet we can as little deny that a greater amount of Christian effort is put forth, and a much greater number of young men called into view and educated for the ministry, than there would be if there were but one such institution in the whole land, even if that were ever so wisely placed, and ever so attractively furnished with buildings, funds, teachers, and books.
The same principle we consider as applicable to most other classes of public institutions. The tastes of Christians, as well as others, are so diverse, that we must not expect to satisfy all with any one institution, as a great NATIONAL ONE. Our lot is cast in times of unprecedented character. There is abroad among men, and especially among Americans, a degree of excitement, enterprize, impatience of control, and zeal for physical, intellectual, and moral improvement, which must, and will, without a miracle to oppose it, have its course. And it ought to be permitted to have its course; or rather every friend of man ought to help it on, taking care, in every case, as far as possible, to give it a wise and hallowed direction, and to guard against those excesses and deviations in a good cause, to which a zeal, without knowledge, is continually prone. In this career, institutions of the same kind will be apt to be too much multiplied. We cannot constrain all to unite in sustaining any one. Different localities or feelings, as we said, will call new ones into being. This is an evil; but it cannot be prevented without a course of procedure which would be a still greater evil. The whole concern will find its level. Time and experience will bring the claims of each to the test. And the true policy, as well as duty of each, is not to attempt to interfere with the others. Such as most perfectly stand aloof from all interference of this kind, will be most likely to live and flourish. Those which are sustained by the greatest amount of public suffrage will stand; and the rest will decline, or cease to exist. To this ordeal religious institutions must be left, and ought to be left; and he who would sustain them upon any other plan, in this free country, (which, may He who sits as Governor among the nations, long continue such!) manifests very little of that sound practical wisdom which is "profitable to direct.”
We would venture, then, to express the earnest hope, that between these two Boards there will, in future, be no collision. Why should there be? If their conductors were secular men, animated by a secular spirit, and of course, intent on self-aggrandizement, there might indeed be much room for collision of the most violent kind. But as we must suppose them both to be seeking, “not their own, but the things which are Jesus Christ's;' nothing, it appears to us, can be more easy than to maintain peace and amity between them. Let the conductors and agents of the Assembly's Board of Missions, be careful to ascertain, wherever they go, which those ministers and congregations are, who prefer voluntary to ecclesiastical associations, and who, of course, would rather contribute to the support of the Home Missionary Society than to them; and after ascertaining who these are, let them pass all such by, and go on to those ministers and Churches who are known to be friendly to themselves. Let them abstain from all complaints against the other Board, and never hint at any comparisons between their own plans, movements, and missionaries, and those of the other. Let the Home Missionary Society do the same thing with scrupulous care, and never say another word, in public
or private, about amalgamation or union. Let not only these Boards themselves, and their several agents, resolve to take this course, and pursue it with sacred caution; but let all the ministers, elders, and Churches, within our bounds, from this hour, determine that every part of the Church shall be left to its own free, unbiassed choice between the two Boards, and that nothing adapted to excite jealousy or to give pain, shall be willingly indulged on either side. Let this plan of procedure be conscientiously adopted, and rigorously acted upon, and then, we are verily persuaded, these two Boards may move on, each with growing vigour, popularity, and success, without interference, and without controversy. Let this be sincerely and faithfully done, and the precious cause of domestic missions, which is the cause of the purest benevolence, may be pursued with all the zeal and vigour corresponding with its unspeakable importance, and yet with such movements as shall not produce a single jar in the Presbyterian Church.
From the report of the Home Missionary Society we learn, that the number of missionaries and agents employed by the society, during the last year, was four hundred and sixtythree; and the number of congregations and missionary districts aided in their support, five hundred and seventy-seven. Of these missionaries and agents, two hundred and ninety-nine were in commission at the commencement of the year; and the remaining one hundred and sixty-four, were new appointments during its course.
From the report of the Board of Missions of the General Assembly, it appears, that the whole number of appointments, and re-appointment of missionaries for the year preceding the date of the report was three hundred and fourteen; that the wbole number of missionaries actually employed was two hundred and thirty-three; and the number of congregations and dictricts aided, more than three hundred and fifty.
This is an aggregate truly animating! We are verily persuaded, that no such account of missionary labour could have been presented, if only one of these Boards had existed without a rival; even if it had enjoyed the most extensive and un
VOL. Iv. No. I.-L
disputed reign in public favour. There is much in generous competition; much in the division of labour; and much, very much in those personal and sectional feelings which impel good men to do more and give more for an institution near at hand, than for even a better one at a greater distance.
ART. V.–BABINGTON ON EDUCATION.
À Practical View of Christian Education, from the se
venth London edition, by T. Babington, Esq. late member of Parliament, with a Preliminary Essay by Rev. T. 6. Gallaudet. Fourth American edition. Hartford, published by Cook & Co. 1831. pp. 212.
Having formed some acquaintance with this little volume, several years ago, it was with no small gratification that we recently learned a new edition had been given to the American public; and we may as well add in this place as any other, that on obtaining a copy, our gratification was not a little increased by the circumstance of the neat and inviting style of its execution.
The outward appearance of a book may be regarded by some as a small matter; but we deem it of sufficient importance to deserve remark. Indeed, if we do not mistake, the fate of a book, at least when thrown into the market unknown, often greatly depends on its outward appearance.
If the paper be dark and coarse, the typographical impression obscure and irregular, and the binding rough and unsightly, it requires more philosophy than most readers possess, to dissociate these repulsive qualities from the inherent character of the book; and, consequently, there is danger, either that the book will not be read, or if read, that it will be read under the disadvantage of a most unfavourable association. But, on the contrary, when the appearance is such as to meet the eye agreeably, when the whole style of mechanical execution is neat and tasteful, a book invites attention, and at the same time gives fair promise of rewarding the attention that it secures by the pleasure and profit of the reader. Our conviction of the correctness of these remarks is strengthened by our own experience in relation to copies of a former, and of the present edition of the volume before us.
But it is to the inherent character of the work that we wish to draw the attention of our readers. It was doubtless designed by the author exclusively for the aid of parents in training up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; and yet the following outline of the particular topics embraced in the volume, and of the scope of the whole, will show that teachers of common schools, of Infant and of Sabbath schools, and, in short, all who have in any way the charge of children, may find much in these pages that is applicable to them also.
The treatise is divided into nine chapters. In the first, the author shows that, notwithstanding the paramount importance of religion, comparatively little, and a very inadequate attention is paid to the subject in a course of education, and then points out some of the causes of this delinquency.
The following extract from the beginning of this chapter and of the book, may be given as a specimen of the style and spirit of the author, as well as of his mode of treating the subject in hand:
“ Most persons have occasionally met with a new mansion, showy in its appearance, and commanding a fine prospect, but destitute of that first of all requisites-good water. Captivated by the beauties of a favourite spot, and anticipating a long and happy residence in the midst of attractive domains, the gentlemen who build houses, sometimes forget that there are certain necessaries of life, for the want of which none of its embellishments or honours can compensate. A similar disappointment, but of a more affecting nature, very frequently awaits the builders of that figurative house-a family of children. Their parents have taken the greatest pains to enable them to make a figure in the world; but they have neglected to use the proper means for furnishing their minds with certain items in the catalogue of qualifications for a useful, respectable, and happy life-namely, religious principles and habits. The house is erected; but alas! there is no water! That those who despise religion, should not wish the minds of their children to be imbued with it, is natural, and to be expected; and that those who, while they ostensibly acknowledge the value of religion, yet hold that the heart of man is naturally good, and that the evils which abound in the world may be ascribed to the prejudices of nurses, the reveries of enthusiasts, the craft of priests, and the tyranny of rulers, should