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agent. As a missionary, it presents the doctrinal, the prophetical, the experimental, and the practical, truths of our holy religion to its tens of thousands, in its weekly visits to the habitations of our brethren and fellow-citizens. By it "the violated law speaks forth its thunders, and by it, in strains as sweet as angels use, the gospel whispers peace. Its efficiency in arousing the dormant energies of the saints, provoking them to love and good works, has often appeared. Still it is confidently believed that, in this particular, as well as in its efforts to instruct the ignorant, to confirm the wavering, to reclaim the wanderers, and to alarm the thoughtless, its success will only be known in that day for which all other days were made.' Notwithstanding, from what is known, we are fully aware that, without undervaluing the living teachers, we may safely say we have no more effi. cient missionary than this. As an agent, its worth is truly great ; for, while it secures no inconsiderable sum to our treasury from its own revenue, its exhibitions of the field spread out before the church, and of the claims of God and a perishing world upon her prayers and alms, have often untied the purse-strings of selfishness, and caused the Lord's silver and gold, which has been hoarded up, to be consecra. ted to the advancement of his blessed cause in the world, and to await the calls of his servants who are the almoners of the needy. Its weekly arrival is hailed with interest by multitudes ; and although it may not adapt itself to the ca. priciousness of all, yet we believe there is no other religious periodical in our country more commended in its general course, or more sought after, than the Register. The well. earned reputation of its editor is untarnished. Nor should it be forgotten, that, from the responsibility of his station, he has a strong claim upon the prayers of Zion, that he may share largely in the wisdom that is from above, and, thus endowed, be able to fulfill the high expectations cherished regarding his labors.
“The present number of subscribers is 5,250. The amount of the rent paid by the publishers for the past year was $630. Should the subscription list continue as it now stands, the rent for the present volume will be $700, all of which will be devoted to missionary purposes. We most ardently desire every friend of the Convention to remember that every five new subscribers will put one dollar into its treasury; and we fondly hope that their regard for the destitute will urge each one to endeavor to secure at least five new subscribers to commence with the next volume.”
In reviewing the ground over which we have passed, from the first commencement of a feeble church"in this then vast wilderness to the present numerous great and flourishing churches and associations of the Baptist order (to say nothing of the multitude of other religious denominations) spread through this extensive and richly cultivated country called western New York, we are led to exclaim, How wonderful are the works of God! The rising glories of the Redeemer's kingdom are calculated to inspire the pious soul with ecstatic pleasure, and excite the warmest feelings of devotion and gratitude. In the year 1795, in all this part of the country, there were only fifteen churches, comprising five hundred and seventy-two members. Now, within the same territory, there are twenty-seven associations. There were then only seven ministers in all this tract of the country, where now, (1836,) from the minutes of the associations, there are found about 300 ministers, and 100 licentiates. At that time there were only three associations in the State of New York, viz. Shaftsbury, New York, and Warwick; and several of the churches composing those bodies were located in other States.* There was then only one small meeting-house in this great wilderness ; and now, how numerous are the houses erected for the worship of God! The glittering spires appear in view, and the sound of the church.bell strikes the ear, in almost every direction in traversing this now populous and flourishing region.
* All the members in the Baptist churches in the State of New York amounted only to 5,263. Asplund's Register for 1794. But now there are in the State 35 Associations ; 651 churches ; 495 ministers; 64,406 members.
The few ministers, as well as the few feeble and scattered churches, were then very poor. But few roads, and those very bad, they had to make their own way through the vast wild by marked trees, and ford rapid and dangerous streams, without bridges, surrounded by howling beasts, and roaming parties of Indian hunters. The small churches were unable to afford them assistance, and there were no missionary societies to patronize and support them: but love to God, and the souls of men, prompted them to engage in the great warfare at their own charges ; the hope of spiritual benefit to the scattered and destitute settlers induced them, unaided by mortals, (trusting in God alone,) to encounter privations, dangers, and hardships, through mud, and mire, and storms, sometimes on horseback and sometimes on foot; sometimes overtaken by night, far from human abode, where they were compelled to remain in some lonely forest until the slow returning morning should illumine the desert. Amidst these labors and fatigues their hearts were frequently pained in reflecting upon the situation of their families left in a desti. tute condition at home : their wives often having the care and toil of all, both in and out of the house, and but very scantily supplied with the necessaries of life. However, they trusted in God, their Redeemer, and he sustained them.
When their husbands returned from these missionary ex. cursions, they recounted the goodness of God and the displays of his mercy which they were permitted to witness. With 'what mutual joy could they mingle their songs of praise and
thanksgiving before the mercy-seat! Here joy and peace "which they were permitted to experience (perhaps unknown among the rich and opulent in populous towns and villages) were a rich reward. These were truly missionaries at their own expense. They sowed the seed which has been springing up in a rich harvest, and, under God, laid the foundation for the increasing prosperity and growing interest of the Baptist churches in this country.
But, oh! could they have foreseen what we are permitted to see and enjoy--the widely extended fields—the populous towns, villages, and cities—the turnpikes, canals, and railroads—the churches and houses for worship-the Bible, tract,
and missionary, societies, domestic and foreign the schools, academies, and colleges-the Sunday-schools and Bibleclasses—the extensive revivals of religion--and the literary and theological seminaries,--how would the prospect have caused their hearts to leap for joy! Could the venerable Hosmer in vision have seen the present condition of Hamilton, where he closed his useful labors could he have seen the noble structures on the hill overlooking the growing vil. lage, consecrated to sacred literature could he have seen the number of pious youth, who, having finished their courses, becoming pastors in the rising churches in our own country, some making their way to Burmah, to China, to the west, and to different parts of the globe, to proclaim salvation in a Savior's name to perishing millions of our fallen race-and now more than one hundred and seventy young men panting for usefulness, ardently pursuing their studies with a view to go forth heralds of the cross how would it have cheered his heart, animated his soul, and poured consolation on his pathway to the tomb !
And with what mingled feelings of delight, gratitude, and wonder, may we now look back to the year 1807, when the society, now bearing the name of the “ Baptist Missionary Convention of the State of New York,” took its rise-its funds amounting to only $20, and enabled to employ only one missionary for eight weeks ; but now, (1836,) the whole amount reported in the treasury is $17,390—employing and sustaining missionaries, local, and itinerating among the natives of the wilderness, to the amount of more than fifty years' labor ; besides $10,000 given to the Home Mission Society for spreading the gospel in the great Western Valley and other parts of our continent.
We have now brought the history down to the present time; and on reviewing the way through which the Lord has led his people, let our hearts expand with holy thanksgiving to God ; and let us, too, cherish the memory of those laborious, self-denying, and faithful, pioneers and soldiers of the cross, whom God was pleased to employ as honored in. struments in preparing the way for the blessings and privi. leges which we enjoy. Let us bless and adore the great Head of the church, that, while these venerable fathers have mostly been called from their labors, he has raised up others,