Immagini della pagina

United StatesState of Religion. Complaints of lukewarmness and conformity to the world, among professing Christians. The neglect of family prayer, the want of zeal for extending the interests of the Redeemer's kingdom, attachment to the world, conformity to its sinful customs and pleasures, and in some few instances, dissensions and backslidings, prove that these complaints are but too well rounded. Such professors seem to have forgotten the deep obligations which they are under, from their own voluntary engagements of obedience to God, and from the dying love of Him who gave himself for them, to redeem them from all iniquity ; that the God whom we serve is “a jealous God ;" and that the sins of his professing people are peculiarly hateful to bim. We affectionately, and yet solemnly call upon them to remember from whence they are fallen, and to repent and do their first works; to be watchful and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die.

In some parts of our land, attempts are made to propagate the most pernicious errors. With a zeal worthy of a better cause, and under lofty pretensions to superior rationality and to deeper discoveries in religion, some are endeavouring to take away the crown from the Redeemer's head ; to degrade Him who is the mighty God and the prince of life, to a level with mere men, and to rob us of all our hopes of redemptiop through bis blood. Pretending too, a more expanded benevolence to man, and more ennobled ideas of the goodness and mercy of God, they assiduously propagate the sentiment, that all men will ultimately obtain eternal happiness, however sinful their present temper and conduct may be, without any regard to the cleansing of the blood of atonement, or the sanctifying influences of the Spirit of God. Believing that these sentiments are utterly subversive of Gospel truth and holiness; that they are alike dishonouring to God, and destructive to the present and eternal welfare of men, we cannot but affectionately warn you against them. Beware brethren, lest


also being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. Cherish an ardent attachment to the truth which is according to godliness: and seek to experience in your own souls its sanctifying influence.

The gross vices of intemperance, profane swearing, Sabbath breaking and gambling, still extensively exist. The excessive use of spirituous liquors continues to produce the most deplorable effects, and threatens still greater injury. That such crimes should any where exist, is matter of astonishment and sorrow. They prove that man has deeply apostatized from God: and that our nature is both degraded and depraved.

But there is one subject to which the Assembly advert with the most painful feelings. Vast sections of our country, particularly our frontiers, are destitute of the stated means of grace, and are loudly calling upon us in the words of the man of Macedonia, come over and help us.

In the Presbytery of Niagara, which consists of twenty-six congregations there are but four which have pastors. In the presbytery of Ge nessee, which consists of nineteen congregations, two only have pastors, and of these two, but one enjoys the stated preaching of the gospel more than half the time. In the presbytery of Bath, the churches are few, and

most of them feeble and destitute of the ministry of the word. There are but six ministers in nearly as many counties. Multitudes are evidently living without God in the world, and paying not even an outward respect to the institutions of the gospel. In many families the Scriptures are not to be found, and in too many instances. httle or no desire is shown to possess them. In many places no mettings for the public worship of God are held; and in many others such meetings are tbinly attended. In the Presbytery of Champlain, many towns are destitute of a preached gospel and church privileges; and in the Presbytery of Susquehanna, which spreads over an extensive country, among twenty-six congregations, which are widely scattered, there are but ten ministers. of twenty-nine congregations, which belong to the Presbytery of Erie, twenty-one are destitute of a stated ministry; and of thirty-three covgregations which belong to the presbytery of Louisville, more than half are io the same destitute condition. In the presbytery of Union, two or three times the present number of ministers are needed, to supply the spiritual wants of that portion our Church. In the Presbytery of Grand River, which consists of twenty-nine congregations, there are bui twelve ministers. The Presbytery of West Tennessee, which spreads over a large tract of country, and embraces within its bounds a population of 310,000 inhabitants, has only fourteen ministers belonging to it; and there is not a single licentiate with their bounds. The few missionaries who have passed through this region have been well received, and much solicitude is manifested by the people to obtain the labours of a zealous and enlightened ministry. That section of our church which is contained within the bounds of the Presbyteries of Missouri and Mississippi, loudly calls for the attention of the Christian public. The Presbytery of Missouri extends over a country nearly 300 miles square, and contaios upwards of 120,000 inhabitants : and much of it is still a moral waste. Thousands are crying for the bread of life ; and there is reason to believe that many new churches might be formed, if there were a sufficient number of faithful and devoted ministers. The Presbytery of Mississippi, too, covers a vast extent of country, embracing the two states of Mississippi and Louisiana, the population of which must considerably exceed 200,000 souls. Though covering such a vast exteat of country, and embracing so large a population, only eight ministers belong to it, and only four licentiates are under its care. Several towns of importance which are rapidly increas. ing in population and wealth, present most interesting stations for mis. sionary labours. Among these, New Orleans deserves to be particularly mentioned, as presenting a field for exertions truly astonishing for mag. nitude, interest, and difficulty. It contaius 46,000 inhabitants, and is annually growing in resources of all kinds. The short ministry of Mr. Larned we have reason to believe was very useful, and while we affectionately sympathize with the congregation in that city, on the loss of their late esteemed pastor, we offer our prayers to God, that he would speedily bestow on them another faithful pastor to supply his place. The Presbytery of Georgia, which extends over piore than half the state of Georgia, and consists of but eight ministers; and the Presbytery of Concord, contain within their bounds extensive tracts of country, where the ordinances and institutions of religion arshardly known.

i !


United States.--State of Religion.


In most of these destitute parts of our country, pernicious errors are assiduously and successfully propagated; and in all of them gross immoralities abound. Removed from the benign influence of the gospel of Jesus, without its powerful restraints, destitute of Sabbaths and Sanctuaries, unchecked by the solemn admonitions, and uncheered by the glorious hopes of the gospel, multitudes there live in sin and die in impenitence. Seldom does the herald of salvation raise his inviting voice among them, and seldom do

the sounds of prayer and praise ascend as grateful offerings to heaven. And these are our brethren; bone of our bones, and flesh of our flesh , many of their fathers worshipped with our fathers in the same Sanctuary, and with many of them we have gone up to the house of God. Surely their claims upon our Christian liberality are peculiarly strong and we cannot suffer their earnest requests that we would send them the word of life, to be refused.

It is truly gratifying to learn, that a very earnest desire is felt, and a laudable zeal shown, to obtain the gospel ministry in these destitute parts of our land. Many of the followers of Jesus ofter up to him their fervent prayers, that he would send among them faithful labourers; and Sabbath day schools, and Missionary, and Education Societies, have been in some places established. In some instances, the destitute congregatious persevere in maintaining public worship: and there is an increasing attention to the means of grace. We have heard, too, with pleasure, that in many of these destitute parts of our land, ministers have frequently gone forth in company, two or three at a time, and preached and visited, and God has greatly blessed their labours.

But, we torn to contemplate more pleasing subjects. It cannot but be gratifying to the friends of the Redeemer's kingdom, to learn that with few exceptions, the statements which we have received from the different Presbyteries, represent the interests of religion to be on the increase.

Infidelity is scarcely any where openly professed. The churches are generally walking in peace. There is generally an increased attention to the public ordinances of worship; and many new congregations have been organized, and new churches erected throughout our country. Several of these have been built in regions where but a short time since was nothing but a waste wilderness, uninhabited by civilized man.

The monthly concert for prayer is generally observed. Bible classes and the catechetical instruction of youth, are still continued with the most beneficial effects. Baptized children with their parents, have in many instances been convened, and reminded of the solemn obligations imposed upon them, by the baptismal convenant. Praying Societies are very generally established. Sabbath day Schools are numerous and flourishing, and thousands of youth who probably would otherwise ave grown up ignorant and vicious, have by means of these institutions been instructed, and fitted to make useful members of society.

Liberal patronage has been generally extended to the various benevolent and pious institutions, whichare established within our bounds, and many Missionary, and Education, and Bible Societies are flourishing. It has given the Assembly inheigned joy, to hear of the very flourishing condition, and the increasing prosperity of the American Bible Society. During the past year a considerable addition has been made, both to its funds. and to the number of auxiliary societies connected with it. We oiler our fervent prayers that the blessing of the God of heaven may rest upon it. Several societies for the education of poor and pious youth, who have the gospel ministry in view, have been established during the last year; and the churches appear in some degree to be awaking to a sense of the importance of this subject.

It is with pleasure that we notice the formation of several Missionary Associations of young men. The Young Men's Missionary Society at Richmond, is entitled to particular notice. During the last year they have employed eight missionaries, and have expended in their support about one thousand dollars.

The students in the University of North Carolina, who are members of the Dialectic Society, have generously engaged to contribute $250, payable in five years, towards endowing a professorship in the Theological Seminary at Princeton. It deserves also to be mentioned, that several children in the Island of Ceylon and in other places, are clothed, and fed, and instructed by the contributions of pious females, residing within our bounds.

From the report of the Board of Missions, the assembly are gratified to learn, that the missionary concerns of our church, appear to be crowoed with the blessing of God. The number of missionaries is increasing, though by no means sufficiently to meet the growing demands of a rapidly increasing population. Our Seminary at Princeton is yearly furnishing valuable missionaries, whose labours are received with gratitude, and accompanied with a blessing. Under these circumstances it is hoped that the churches will not fail to take up annual contributions for the missionary fund, to the application of which the Presbyterian interest is so much indebted.

It is also gratifying to learn that God still blesses with the influences of his Spirit several of our colleges. Hamilton college has about 100 students, a majority of whom are pious. Union College has about 240 students, and of these about 70 are hopefully pious.

But we have not only to rejoice in the general increase of the interests of religion, there are also special reasons for thankfulness. On many of our congregations God has been pleased to pour out his Spirit, and to grant them times of revival and refreshing.

[The narrative enumerates the places which have been especially favoured with revivals, and remarks that, with very few exceptions the sub

jects of these revivals continue steadfast in the faith, and attentive to the 1. duties of religion.]

The same benign effects which have attended past revivals, have attended these. Professing Christians have been awakened to zeal and devotedness to the cause of Christ. And though the operations of the Holy Spirit, on the minds of sinners, have been diversified, yet, generally, they have felt deep and pungent convictions of sin, accompanied which a sense of their undone condition as transgressors of the divine law, and a discovery that salvation can be found only in Christ. Deep silence has prevailed in the religious assemblies.

This blessed work has been confined to no particular age or sex, or class of society. Blooming youth and hoary age; the child seven years

United States.-State of Religion.


old, and the sinner.weighed down with the sins of threescore years and ten, the infidel, the profane, and the mere moralist, have all been brought to a sense of their lost condition ; have been made to bow to the sceptre of the Prince of Life; have sought salvation fronı his hands, as his free gift, and, we trust, have found deliverance to their souls, through his peacespeaking blood.

Among the means which God, in his sovereign good pleasure, has blessed, to the producing of these blessed effects, special prayer, on the part of his people, deserves first to be mentioned. In many congregations, particular days have been set apart for fasting and prayer. Concerts for prayer have been held by private Christians, and they have frequently met in religious societies at the rising of the sun.

Pastoral visitatiou from house to house, and, also, visitations by private Christians, with personal conversation on the concerns of eternity, have been greatly blessed

In the preaching of the word, the spirituality of God's law, and its tremendous curse denounced on sin, have been explained and pressed on the consciences of sinners; they have been warne of their inability to work out a justifying righteousness of their own, and have been solemnly exhorted to immediate repentance and faith in Christ.

The fruits of these revivals have been exhibited in the moral reformation produced in the lives of those who have been their subjects; and in an increase of the spirit of prayer, and of liberality in the support of the gospel.

From the General Association of Connecticut, we learn, that the churches in that state, are not only gathering the fruits of the late extensive revivals, but, that the Lord is mercifully extending his work of grace to many other congregations. A large proportion of the members of the mission school, at Cornwall, give good evidence of piety, and the establishment answers the most sanguine expectations of its founders and friends. Arran gements are making for the extension of the Theological department of Yale College, with hopeful prospects of success.

From the General Association of Massachusetts, we learn, that there is much reason for thankfulness on account of the manifestations of the divine presence and blessing. There have been, in that part of our country, great revivals of religion in the county of Berkshire. More than 300 young men have been assisted in obtaining an education, by the American Education Society, since its commencement. A missionary spirit is much increased, and in Plymouth and Norfolk counties, a Palestine Missionary Society is established, which supports a missionary to the Holy Land. The Andover Institution still flourishes, and contains 132 students.

From the General Convention of Vermont, we learn, that the interests of the Redeemer's kingdom are greatly on the increase in that State. It is true, the want of faithful pastors is selt. Of 171 Churches, connected with the Convention, near half are vacant. Still the cause of religion is advancing. Through the past year there have been great and powerful revivals, in 50 towns, in each of which from 15 to 200 persons have been received into the churches. These revivals still continue in many places. It is supposed that about 2500 persons have joined the churcleg' during the past year. In Middlebury College there has been a revival

Vom. IX.

« IndietroContinua »